My computer is definitely broken (graphic card chip, processor, half of condensers etc). I'm very sad and disappointed, because the computer was a gift and keepsake from my American friend and visitor of my (our) blog. Some of you talk about donation to me and I don't know what to say. So, if you insist of it and want to help, sent email to me ( zinhof [at] gmail . com ) and I will reply with necessary details I would like to know "who is", "when" and "how much" because I'll sent money back if not enough.
I have borrowed a notebook for a while until the new one arrives.
WILSON PICKET - 4 X 2ON1 (1966 - 1970) [2016, Remastered]
Of the major '60s soul stars, Wilson Pickett was one of the roughest and sweatiest, working up some of the decade's hottest dancefloor grooves on hits like "In the Midnight Hour," "Land of 1000 Dances," "Mustang Sally," and "Funky Broadway." Although he tends to be held in somewhat lower esteem than more versatile talents like Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin, he is often a preferred alternative of fans who like their soul on the rawer side. He also did a good deal to establish the sound of Southern soul with his early hits, which were often written and recorded with the cream of the session musicians in Memphis and Muscle Shoals.
Before establishing himself as a solo artist, Pickett sang with the Falcons, who had a Top Ten R&B hit in 1962 with "I Found a Love." "If You Need Me" (covered by the Rolling Stones) and "It's Too Late" were R&B hits for the singer before he hooked up with Atlantic Records, who sent him to record at Stax in Memphis in 1965. One early result was "In the Midnight Hour," whose ching horn line, loping funky beats, and impassioned vocals combined into a key transitional performance that brought R&B into the soul age. It was an R&B chart-topper and a substantial pop hit (number 21), though its influence was stronger than that respectable position might indicate: thousands of bands, black and white, covered "In the Midnight Hour" on-stage and record in the 1960s.
Pickett had a flurry of other galvanizing soul hits over the next few years, including "634-5789," "Mustang Sally," and "Funky Broadway," all of which, like "In the Midnight Hour," were frequently adapted by other bands as dance-ready numbers. The king of that hill, though, had to be "Land of 1000 Dances," Pickett's biggest pop hit (number six), a soul anthem of sorts with its roll call of popular dances, and covered by almost as many acts as "Midnight Hour" was.
Pickett didn't confine himself to the environs of Stax for long; soon he was also cutting tracks at Muscle Shoals. He recorded several early songs by Bobby Womack. He used Duane Allman as a session guitarist on a hit cover of the Beatles' "Hey Jude." He cut some hits in Philadelphia with Gamble & Huff productions in the early '70s. He even did a hit version of the Archies' "Sugar, Sugar." The hits kept rolling through the early '70s, including "Don't Knock My Love" and "Get Me Back on Time, Engine Number 9."
One of the corollaries of '60s soul is that if a performer rose to fame with Motown or Atlantic, he or she would produce little of note after leaving the label. Pickett, unfortunately, did not prove an exception to the rule. His last big hit was "Fire and Water," in 1972. He continued to be active on the tour circuit; his most essential music, all from the 1960s and early '70s, was assembled for the superb Rhino double-CD anthology A Man and a Half. It's Harder Now, his first new material in over a decade, followed in 1999. Pickett spent the early part of the 2000s performing, before retiring in late 2004 due to ill health. He passed away on January 19, 2006, following a heart attack.
RICK WAKEMAN - Piano Portraits (2017)
Piano Portraits is a studio album by English keyboardist Rick Wakeman, released on 13 January 2017 on Universal Music Group. The album was made following the positive reception to Wakeman's live radio performance of his piano arrangement of "Life on Mars?" by David Bowie following the singer's death in January 2016, and a subsequent single of the track released in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support released in 2016. After Wakeman received offers from several music labels to produce an album of piano arrangements, he chose Universal and chose songs that were his favourites, he played on as a session musician and as a member of Yes, classical music pieces, and original material. Upon release, the album reached number 6 on the UK Albums Chart, becoming Wakeman's highest charting album in the UK since 1975. Wakeman will support the album with a 10-date tour of the UK from May to July 2017.
TRACKS: 01. Help 02. Stairway To Heaven 03. Life On Mars 04. I'm Not In Love 05. Wonderous Stories 06. Berceuse 07. Amazing Grace 08. Swan Lake 09. Morning Has Broken 10. Summertime 11. Space Oddity 12. Dance Of The Damselflies 13. Clair De Lune 14. I Vow To Thee My Country 15. Eleanor Rigby
DEEP PURPLE - Limitless: An Exclusive Deep Purple Collection (2017)
01. Time For Bedlam
02. All I Got Is You
03. All The Time In The World (Radio Mix Version)
04. First Sign Of Madness
05. No One Came (Live In Gaevle)
06. Strange Kind Of Woman (Live In Wacken)
07. Perfect Strangers (Live In Tokyo)
08. Black Night (Live In Milan)
This is an excellent little comp, cover mounted on the latest edition of Classic Rock Mag to celebrate the upcoming release of Purple's latest studio offering 'Infinite' which drops on April 7th. What you get are a couple of tracks from the forthcoming album plus some rare B-sides and live tracks, a welcome edition to any Purple fans collection.
COCO MONTOYA - Hard Truth (2017)
The old Willie Dixon adage, “blues is truth,” perfectly describes the searing, passionate contemporary blues-rock of world-renowned guitarist and vocalist Coco Montoya. Taught by the “Master of the Telecaster,” Albert Collins, but with a hard-edged sound and style all his own, Montoya mixes his forceful, melodic guitar playing and passionate vocals with memorable songs, delivering the blues’ hardest truths. He earned his status as a master guitarist and soul-powered vocalist through years paying his dues as a sideman with Collins (first as a drummer) and then with John Mayall’s Blues Breakers, before launching his solo career in 1993. Five years of constant touring with Collins and 10 years with Mayall turned him into a monster player and dynamic performer. Montoya has released eight solo albums - including three for Alligator between 2000 and 2007 - and has played at clubs, concert halls and major festivals all over the world. Returning to Alligator with his new album, Hard Truth, Montoya delivers 11 career-topping performances, the music immediately ranking among the best he’s ever recorded.
TRACKS: 01. Before The Bullets Fly 02. I Want To Shout About It 03. Lost In The Bottle 04. Old Habits Are Hard To Break 05. I'll Find Someone Who Will 06. Devil Don't Sleep 07. The Moon Is Full 08. Hard As Hell 09. 'Bout To Make Me Leave Home 10. Where Can A Man Go From Here 11. Truth Be Told
JULIAN SAS - Feelin' Alive (2017)
In his genre, Julian Sas is one of the best artists ever to come from the low-lands and as a guitarist he belongs to the absolute top of Europe. Julian Sas made name and fame with a series of strong, critically acclaimed albums but especially as an excellent live performer. Feelin’ Alive is a live CD that features a renewed band in top form. Without doubt the best Julian Sas band so far and consequently Feelin’ Alive is his best live record so far. Winner European Blues Award 2016 Best Musician (Performance). "Here we are again, burning down highways, making it groovy, rocky, bluesy and everything in between… The spirit of Rock ‘n Roll is captured on this live album. That is how we feel it and we hope you do to! We called this one Feelin’ Alive, because that is what playing in this band, with these guys, is all about. Night after night, the moment we walk on that stage, we feel alive… we love playing and delivering the goods."- JS
TRACKS: 01. Jump For Joy 02. High And Low 03. Did You Ever Wonder 04. Fear Of Falling 05. Mercy 06. Coming Home 07. Helping Hand 08. Highway 61 Revisited 09. Bullfrog Blues
SHERYL CROW - Tuesday Night Music Club (1993) & Sheryl Crow [Special Edition] (1997)
Tuesday Night Music Club is the debut album from American singer/songwriter Sheryl Crow, released on August 3, 1993. The lead single "Run, Baby, Run" was not particularly successful. However, the album gained attention after the success of the third single, "All I Wanna Do," based on the Wyn Cooper poem "Fun" and co-written by David Baerwald, Bill Bottrell, Sheryl Crow, and Kevin Gilbert. The single eventually reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100, propelling the album to number three in the US Billboard 200 album charts, selling over 5.3 million units there as of January 2008. On the UK Album Chart, Tuesday Night Music Club reached #8 and is certified 2× platinum. It is listed as one of 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
TRACKS: 01. Run, Baby, Run 02. Leaving Las Vegas 03. Strong Enough 04. Can't Cry Anymore 05. Solidify 06. The Na-Na Song 07. No One Said It Would Be Easy 08. What I Can Do For You 09. All I Wanna Do 10. We Do What We Can 11. I Shall Believe
"Sheryl Crow" is the second studio album by the American singer Sheryl Crow, released on September 24, 1996 by A&M Records. Unlike its predecessor Tuesday Night Music Club, which was written by a casual collective formed by Crow and several other musicians, "Sheryl Crow" was entirely produced by Crow, who wrote most of the songs alone or with only one collaborator. Most of the album was recorded at Kingsway Studio in New Orleans, Louisiana. The album covers topics of American life, relationship breakups, and moral and ethical issues, while encompassing a variety of music genres such as rock, blues, alternative rock, country, and folk. "Sheryl Crow" was a commercial success, being certified 3× platinum by the RIAA and 3× platinum by the BPI. It also reached No. 6 on the US Billboard Top 200 chart and produced five singles, including the international hit "If It Makes You Happy". The album received very positive reviews from critics, who praised its intricate production and Crow's louder and more assured singing. At the 39th Annual Grammy Awards, the album was awarded Best Rock Album and Crow received the Best Female Rock Vocal Performance award for "If It Makes You Happy". Retrospectively, it is often regarded as one of Crow's best albums.
DISC 1 - Sheryl Crow: 01. Maybe Angels 02. Change Would Do You Good 03. Home 04. Sweet Rosalyn 05. If It Makes You Happy 06. Redemption Day 07. Hard To Make A Stand 08. Everyday Is A Winding Road 09. Love Is A Good Thing 10. Oh Marie 11. Superstar 12. Book 13. Ordinary Morning 14. Sad Sad World 15. Hard To Make A Stand (alternate version)
DISC 2 - Live From Shepherd's Bush Empire: 01. If it Makes You Happy 02. Leaving Las Vegas 03. Hard To Make A Stand 04. Can't Cry Anymore 05. Everyday Is A Winding Road 06. On The Outside
GARY WRIGHT - The Dream Weaver (1975) & Ring Of Changes (2016)
Gary Wright is an American singer, songwriter and musician, best known for his 1976 hit songs "Dream Weaver" and "Love Is Alive", and for his role in helping establish the synthesizer as a leading instrument in rock and pop music. Wright's breakthrough album, The Dream Weaver (1975), came after he had spent seven years in London as, alternately, a member of the British heavy rock band Spooky Tooth and a solo artist on A&M Records.
Best known for his hit single ‘Dreamweaver’ in 1976, and his time in Spooky Tooth, Gary Wright’s ‘Ring Of Changes’ was made in 1972 but, in spite of a single release (included as a bonus track), the album was shelved by A&M. After leaving Spooky Tooth for the first time, Wright played with George Harrison on his ‘All Things Must Pass’ album and the Quiet One returned the favour on Wright’s second solo album ‘Footprint’ and here on the song ‘Goodbye Sunday’. The album also features future Foreigner titan Mick Jones who co-wrote most of the material. In overall feel this album looks across the Atlantic and aligns to the likes of Leon Russell and Little Feat with a mix of harder (note the excellent ‘Lovetaker’) and softer rock, sometimes with a late-sixties Procol Harum-ish vibe. There is read across to what Eric Clapton was doing in the early 1970s including his work with Delaney & Bonnie. I can understand why Wright’s albums were popular on FM radio in the States and it seems criminal that this album has remained in the vaults for over forty years. Wright’s organ interjections are a joy throughout and the album merits further attention than merely its Foreigner/Beatle associations.
At a time when punk rock and new wave were sweeping the music charts, Birmingham, England-based quintet, City Boy, produced melodic, hook-laden, progressive rock tunes. Despite placing two songs, "5-7-0-5," and "The Day the Earth Caught Fire," the title track of their 1978 album, in the British Top Ten, the band failed to capitalize on their commercial success and disbanded in 1981. According to The Gibraltar Encyclopedia of Progressive Rock, City Boy is remembered for their "strong identification with progressive rock and funk-oriented tracks." The inspiration for City Boy was sparked in the early '60s when lead vocalists Steve Broughton and Lol Mason met in prep school. In 1964, Mason befriended 12-string guitarist and bongo player Max Thomas.
Two years later, Broughton, Mason, and Thomas recorded an acoustic album. left school and began writing songs together. When Thomas left to attend Suffolk University shortly afterwards, he lost touch with Broughton and Mason. By the time they reestablished their relationship, in 1969, Thomas had suffered several nervous breakdowns and was confined to the psychiatric ward of a hospital. Broughton, Mason, and acoustic guitarist Chris would pick him up each evening to spend the night jamming together. As an acoustic group, "Back-in-the-Band," the musicians began playing semi-regularly in a folk club, The Cherry Trees. In 1973, the group, renamed City Boy, was signed by the Vertigo label with the stipulation that they add an electric guitarist (Mike Slamer) and a drummer (Roger Kent).
Their debut album, Mark I, was released three years later. Their first single, "Hap-Ki-Do," reached number 32 on the British charts. Kent was replaced by Roy Ward in 1978, shortly before the band embarked on a four-month tour of the United States as opening act for Hall and Oates. Although they signed with Atlantic for U.S. and Canada distribution, the days of City Boy were practically over. Despite moving to New York State, the band began to splinter with the departure of Broughton and Chris. Shortly after releasing a single on their own City Boy label in 1982, the group disbanded.
CHUCK BERRY - The Ultimate Collection (2007)
Legendary musician Chuck Berry dies at age 90. - RIP
Of all the early breakthrough rock & roll artists, none is more important to the development of the music than Chuck Berry. He is its greatest songwriter, the main shaper of its instrumental voice, one of its greatest guitarists, and one of its greatest performers. Quite simply, without him there would be no Beatles, Rolling Stones, Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, nor a myriad others. There would be no standard "Chuck Berry guitar intro," the instrument's clarion call to get the joint rockin' in any setting. The clippety-clop rhythms of rockabilly would not have been mainstreamed into the now standard 4/4 rock & roll beat. There would be no obsessive wordplay by modern-day tunesmiths; in fact, the whole history (and artistic level) of rock & roll songwriting would have been much poorer without him. Like Brian Wilson said, he wrote "all of the great songs and came up with all the rock & roll beats." Those who do not claim him as a seminal influence or profess a liking for his music and showmanship show their ignorance of rock's development as well as his place as the music's first great creator. Elvis may have fueled rock & roll's imagery, but Chuck Berry was its heartbeat and original mindset. Because when it comes down to his music, perhaps John Lennon said it best, "If you were going to give rock & roll another name, you might call it 'Chuck Berry'."
RAY DAVIES - Other People's Lives (2006) & Working Man's Cafe (2007)
As the leader of one the most vital and volatile bands of the British Invasion, Ray Davies may also have been one of the genre's most underappreciated, often playing second fiddle to the likes of Lennon, McCartney, and Jagger, but never failing to reignite the flame on a now-legendary songwriting caldron. More than a decade since the Kinks' last release, Davies makes his virgin foray into solo artistry with 13 songs that reverberate with the wistfulness and introspection that have forever been his trademark. It doesn't take long to detect, as the guitar/bass crescendo and tomorrow-will-be-better lyrics make "Things Are Gonna Change (The Morning After)" a singalong halfway through its 4:21. And then the world once again is put under Davies's uncanny surveillance: his pal Mr. Brown in the country-singed "Next Door Neighbour," "The Tourist" hobnobbing in New Orleans (where Davies makes an American home), and eras of lost acquaintances in "All She Wrote," a Kinks-ish acoustic rocker. They are reminders of what we've missed - and hopefully what's yet to come - from a remarkable artist whose return is undoubtedly being celebrated from the streets of a restored Big Easy to the barstools of Muswell Hill.
Recorded in Nashville, Working Man s Café is Davies second solo album, following his solo debut Other People s Lives, released in 2006. Working Man s Café, focuses on the plight of the worker, the every day man around the world. It is Davies American record (many of the songs were written and all produced in the US) describing the changes he s seen in this country since he first started visiting in the 60s. In a recent four star Mojo Magazine review Davies is described as having a tourist s blend of enchantment and bafflement when writing about the United States.
TEDESCHI TRUCKS BAND - Live From The Fox Oakland (2017)
Live From the Fox Oakland captures the band firing on all cylinders at their Sept 9, 2016 show that fans and band members regard as one of their finest performances to date. The band’s commitment to making the best sounding live recording possible is evident throughout. There aren’t many acts that can shift from riveting blues standards to soulful renditions of Leonard Cohen classics to digging deep into the catalogs of artists as disparate as the Beatles and Miles Davis, bringing their unique style and approach to each. Aside from the Tedeschi Trucks Band, there may not be any. As impressive as the sprawling 12 piece is in the studio, this talented aggregation is made for the improvisational freedom the live setting encourages. Hence the group’s second double concert CD in five years doesn’t feel like the contract fulfiller its presence might imply, even if six of its 15 tracks originate from last year’s Let Me Get By. Besides the music, most impressive is that these performances are taken from one show (9/9/2016), not cherry-picked from dozens of dates. That provides the same natural rhythm to the recording as being there. Additionally, extra care is taken in tweaking the mix, especially important for this expanded outfit, which boasts two drummers, a three-piece horn section and backing vocals. The double CD (also available with DVD or Blu-ray video) puts you in the middle of the music, making this the perfect way to absorb the impact of the Tedeschi Trucks Band firing on all cylinders in their natural habitat.
JAMES COTTON - Living The Blues (1994)
Blues harmonica virtuoso and onetime Muddy Waters sideman James Cotton died on Thursday at a medical center in Austin of pneumonia. He was 81. - RIP
James Cotton was an American blues harmonica player, singer and songwriter, who performed and recorded with many of the great blues artists of his time and with his own band. He played drums early in his career but is famous for his harmonica playing. Cotton began his professional career playing the blues harp in Howlin' Wolf's band in the early 1950s. He made his first recordings in Memphis for Sun Records, under the direction of Sam Phillips. In 1955, he was recruited by Muddy Waters to come to Chicago and join his band. Cotton became Waters's bandleader and stayed with the group until 1965. In 1965 he formed the Jimmy Cotton Blues Quartet, with Otis Spann on piano, to record between gigs with Waters's band. He eventually left Waters to form his own full-time touring group. His first full album, on Verve Records, was produced by guitarist Mike Bloomfield and vocalist and songwriter Nick Gravenites, who later were members of the band Electric Flag. In the 1970s, Cotton played harmonica on Waters's Grammy Award–winning 1977 album Hard Again, produced by Johnny Winter.
BRYAN LEE - The Blues Is... (1991) & Live at the Old Absinthe House Bar... Friday Night (1997)
Bryan Lee is an American blues guitarist and singer based in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is also known by the nickname braille blues daddy and has been a fixture on Bourbon Street scene since the 1980s. Lee completely lost his eyesight by the age of eight. His avid interest in early rock and blues was fostered through the 1950s by late night listening sessions via the Nashville-based radio station WLAC AM, where he first encountered the sounds of Elmore James, Albert King and Albert Collins. By his late teens, Lee was playing rhythm guitar in a regional band called The Glaciers that covered Elvis Presley, Little Richard and Chuck Berry material. Through the 1960s, Lee's interest turned to Chicago blues and he soon found himself immersed on that scene, opening for some of his boyhood heroes. In 1979 he released his first album named Beauty Isn't Always Visual. In January 1982, Lee moved to New Orleans, eventually landing a steady gig at the Old Absinthe House on Bourbon Street becoming a favorite of tourists in the city's French Quarter. For the next 14 years, Lee and his Jump Street Five played five nights a week at that popular bar, developing a huge following and a solid reputation.
MUNGO JERRY - Adults Only (2004) & Cool Jesus (2011)
Can there actually be anyone who doesn't know or recognise the song In The Summertime? I doubt it, as thanks to the regular use of the song on TV commercials In The Summertime is one of those instantly recognisable songs. That hit in 1970 was the start of a major career for the band Mungo Jerry who went on to have a number of further hits throughout the seventies and while founder member and leader of Mungo Jerry, Ray Dorset acknowledges his illustrious past, like many artists he has moved on and produced a fine and respected body of work that in addition to the many Mungo Jerry releases includes recording an album with Fleetwood Mac legend Peter Green and Vincent Crane (Katmandu) and writing songs for the likes of Elvis Presley, Dr. Feelgood, Bob Dylan, Elton John and many others. In the early days of gigging as a band before they were called Mungo Jerry, Ray played in the same London pubs as bands like the Rolling Stones and in the early days as Mungo Jerry musicians such as Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa could be found in their audience. Over thirty five years on from the bands emergence things have almost come round full circle with Mungo Jerry's latest release Adults Only. The band is still led by Ray Dorset [also known as Mungo Jerry hence the aka title] and the band are still in high demand for live concerts more recent proof being the inclusion of Ray Dorset on the Legends Of R&B tour. Ray's band on that particular tour included musicians with the highest credentials and included a rhythm section that comprised bassist Colin Hodgkinson (Back Door, Alexis Korner, Whitesnake) and drummer Colin Allen (John Mayall, Stone The Crows, Focus). Mungo Jerry will support the release of Adults Only with a world tour that takes in America, South Africa and Australia and beyond into 2005 back into America.
Ray Dorset's present backing band (of Martin, Luederwaldt, Troike) creates faithfully here the good time music & sounds that Mungo Jerry first came out with in the early 70s. The recordings were made under live studio conditions which produces a beautiful vibe. There were a couple of the pure skiffle type offerings that I was not so keen on, but otherwise there are many excellent pieces here. There's nothing particularly new about it, but there is enough variety from jug band to rock'n'roll to 50s doo-wop to pure pop to rock to folk protest to skiffle, plus with an overall excellent performance like this, manages to straddle all age groups & countries. Certainly you can imagine this sounding forth from a German beer festival along with the sounds of thumping beer glasses. Less blues orientated than Mungo's previous album from 2003, & though there is still that, here it is really back to pure Mungo (Dorset's guitar playing & vocals seem ageless) & whose more purist fans should surely love.
THE SAVAGE ROSE - The Savage Rose (1968) & In The Plain (1968) & Travelin' (1969) & Your Daily Gift (1971) [The First 4...]
The Danish Legend, The Savage Rose, alias Annisette & Thomas Koppel. Not only Bjork has mentioned The Savage Rose among her major influences; They are intensely loved throughout Europe and by their ten thousands of dedicated fans around the world. Annisette’s name equals total integrity and honesty, absolutely unique stage performance and vocals, making her “one of ‘pop music’s most unique and powerful vocalists” - Archie Patterson, Eurock, USA.
Thomas Koppel’s name is synonymous with stone original composing and producing and enormous versatility: effortlessly moving from the mind-blowing songs of The Savage Rose to film music, symphonic works, musicals ballets and more. As noted in Miller-Freeman’s US book ‘The Unknown Legends Of Rock’n'Roll, they are among the rare true originators of the music of today. However, as noted by Rolling Stone’s David Fricke, The Savage Rose 2003 are far from nostalgia, they’re “not prisoners of history because they never stopped making it”. They are continuously at the very front edge of contemporary music, effortlessly combining elements of jazz, hip-hop, R&B, Alternative, and World Music into a unique, highly spicy and sensual pop, embracing audiences of all ages, nationalities, and ethnicities.
They have released 20 original albums; toured most of the world including prestigious festivals like The Newport Jazz festival (now the JVC Jazz Festival), the Montreux festival, the Molde Festival, Ragnarock and the Roskilde Festival. Their ballet “Triumph Of Death” is the greatest success of The Royal Ballet ever, with hundreds of sold-out performances worldwide, including the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Thomas has created symphonies, ballets, film music, an opera, music dramas, and, with Annisette, the painfully beautiful and controversial musical ‘Bella Vita’ on homeless children.
AL KOOPER - Rekooperation (1994) & Soul of a Man: Al Kooper Live (1995)
The best of all of Al Kooper's studio albums, Rekooperation is a mostly instrumental album, on which the artist (playing organ and piano, and occasional guitar) and a band including Jimmy Vivino, Harvey Brooks, and Fred Walcott, among others, roar and pound their way through a baker's dozen of R&B, rock & roll, and soul classics. Everything from chestnuts like "Soul Twist," "Honky Tonk," "Johnny B. Goode," "Clean Up Woman," and " "Don't Be Cruel" to originals such as "Downtime" and "Alvino Johnson's Shuffle" without a notable gap in quality between them, are included - and the one vocal number, "I Wanna Little Girl," contains one of the finest singing performances that Kooper has ever turned in on record (but is also played so well, that it would work as an instrumental too). In many ways, this recording is a distant cousin to Blood, Sweat & Tears' Child Is Father to the Man, and was his first attempt at leading a band since that 1968 venture, which was sort of fitting since it led to Soul of a Man, Kooper's live-in-concert career retrospective album, the next time out.
A gift from heaven is the only adequate way of describing this superb double-CD set, which comes in a slipcase with a neat little booklet. It is the definitive Al Kooper solo project, and a career reconsideration and retrospective, but it's also damn close to definitive as a document of the Blues Project and the original Blood, Sweat & Tears as well. At three February 1994 gigs at New York's Bottom Line, Kooper got together the original members of both bands (with BS&T billed as "Child Is Father to the Man") and his own Rekooperators, including John Simon and Harvey Brooks, with John Sebastian sitting in on harmonica, to perform new versions of 33 years' worth of repertory. The eerie thing is that it sounds like Kooper didn't skip a beat between the last shows of any of those bands and these gigs - his voice is better than ever, and the performance on "I Can't Quit Her" (a song he introduces by saying he hates playing it "except with these guys" - the original BS&T) and the rest of the '60s repertory has all of the energy one could wish for, and more precision than the group might have achieved in 1968 (and certainly better sound).
TIM HARDIN - Tim Hardin 1 (1966) & Tim Hardin 2 (1967) 
Raven presents two seminal folk-rock albums on one CD from renowned American singer / song writer Tim Hardin: Tim Hardin 1 (1966) and Tim Hardin 2 (1967). A gentle, soulful singer and brilliant song writer, Hardin combined folk, blues and jazz to become a popular performer on the American East Coast folk circuit. After his success at the 1966 Newport Folk Festival he signed to Verve Records for his debut album Tim Hardin 1 produced by Erik Jacobsen, followed by Tim Hardin 2 a year later. These timeless albums remain two of the most powerful, compelling and startling original works of the folk-rock era. Featuring acoustic guitar-based arrangements and subtle string accompaniment they are packed with "confessional folk-rock songs of considerable grace and emotion". Bob Dylan called him "the country's greatest living song writer". Dozens of performers have covered songs from these albums, including Johnny Cash and June Carter ('If I Were a Carpenter'), Bobby Darin ('If I Were a Carpenter'), Rod Stewart ('Reason to Believe'), Scott Walker ('Lady Came from Baltimore'), Fred Neil ('Green Rocky Road'), the Nice ('Hang on to a Dream') etc. Hardin performed at Woodstock in 1969 and recorded several more albums before his death in 1980. This essential 2-for-1 CD includes seven bonus tracks and captures the very essence of Tim Hardin, one of popular music's greatest singer / song writers.
Tim Hardin 1 (1966): 01. Don't Make Promises 02. Green Rocky Road 03. Smlin' Man 04. How Long 05. While You're On Your Way 06. It'll Never Happen Again 07. Reason To Believe 08. Never Too Far 09. Part Of The Wind 10. Ain't Gonna Do Without 11. Misty Roses 12. How Can We Hang On To A Dream
Tim Hardin 2 (1967): 13. If I Were A Carpenter 14. Red Balloon 15. Black Sheep Boy 16. Lady Came From Baltimore 17. Baby Close Its Eyes 18. You Upset The Grace Of Living When You Lie 19. Speak Like A Child 20. See Where You Are And Get Out 21. It's Hard To Believe In Love For Long 22. Tribute To Hank Williams
Bonus Tracks: 23. Lenny's Tune (Live) 24. Turn The Page (Live) 25. Airmobile 26. Danville Dame 27. I Can't Slow Down 28. You Got A Reputation 29. Keep Your Hands Off Her
GOLDEN EARRING - Complete Studio Recordings (2017) [29CD Box Set]
From their debut Just Ear-rings from 1965 till the tribute to their hometown The Hague from 2015 – all 26 studio albums by Holland’s most legendary rock band are collected in a monumental box Complete Studio Recordings, augmented with no less than three CDs full of non-album tracks.
Rinus Gerritsen and the little bit younger George Kooymans as kids live in the same area of The Hague and in 1961 decide to start a band. The two inspired musicians take on three band members and soon are ready to conquer the world as The Golden Earrings. In 1965 they get their first record deal with the prestigious Polydor label and soon after that their debut album Just Ear-rings is released containing the first hit single Please Go. In the ‘60s they continue to score many hits and in doing so lead the way for all Dutch Beat bands that follow. The Earring has some line-up changes in their first years, but when Cesar Zuiderwijk joins Barry Hay, George Kooymans and Rinus Gerritsen in 1970, finally the line-up is perfected: this formation rocks harder than ever before and it won’t take long before they travel around the world with their monster hit Radar Love.
Throughout the years Golden Earring released no less than 26 studio albums. Next to that, dozens of songs were released but not on official albums including classics like That Day, Sound Of The Screaming Day, Another 45 Miles, Holy Holy Life and hard to find songs, like So You Want To Be A Rock’n’Roll Star / L.A. Woman and You Gun My Love. In total no less than 307 songs, that for the first time are compiled in this box set Complete Studio Recordings, including extended liner notes per album by respected music journalist Tjerk Lammers. So turn the volume up to 11 and hear how a little beat band from The Hague turned into the biggest and best Dutch rock band ever!
BOX: Disc 01 - Just Ear-rings (1965) Disc 02 - Winter Harvest (1967) Disc 03 - Miracle Mirror (1968) Disc 04 - On The Double (1969) Disc 05 - Eight Miles High (1969) Disc 06 - Golden Earring (1970) Disc 07 - Seven Tears (1971) Disc 08 - Together (1972) Disc 09 - Moontan (1973) Disc 10 - Switch (1975) Disc 11 - To The Hilt (1976) Disc 12 - Contraband (1976) Disc 13 - Grab It For A Second (1978) Disc 14 - No Promises … No Debts (1979) Disc 15 - Prisoner Of The Night (1980) Disc 16 - Cut (1982 Disc 17 - N.E.W.S. (1983) Disc 18 - The Hole (1986) Disc 19 - Keeper Of The Flame (1989) Disc 20 - Bloody Buccaneers (1991) Disc 21 - Face It (1994) Disc 22 - Love Sweat (1995) Disc 23 - Paradise In Distress (1999) Disc 24 - Millbrook U.S.A. (2003) Disc 25 - Tits’ n Ass (2012) Disc 26 - The Hague (2015) Disc 27 - Non-album tracks 1 (1965 – 1969) Disc 28 - Non-album tracks 2 (1969 – 1980) Disc 29 - Non-album tracks 3 (1982 – 2003)
RHIANNON GIDDENS - Freedom Highway (2017)
Rhiannon Giddens has always been keenly aware of the arc of American history - the Carolina Chocolate Drops, the 2000s band she once led, was designed as a critique of the darker moments of Americana - but Freedom Highway, her second solo album, puts her intent into perspective. Where her 2015 solo debut, Tomorrow Is My Turn, was essentially a covers album, gaining its importance through context, Freedom Highway relies on originals, but the past is never far behind. This should be expected from Giddens, who is at her core a folk artist building upon - and expanding - tradition, but it's still startling to realize how she establishes a vernacular at the outset of Freedom Highway, then explores all of the possibilities of African-American folk music on the album. "At the Purchaser's Option," the song that inaugurates Freedom Highway, explicitly evokes slavery, and it's spare and haunting, standing in contrast to the title-track closer, a funky number that illustrates how far African-Americans have traveled during the course of the history of the United States. Throughout Freedom Highway, Giddens plays with this idea - how oppression gave way to freedom - and it's not just through her lyrics, but how the music expands as the album reaches its conclusion: at the outset, it seems austere, but by its conclusion it's a robust celebration of all the weird, wonderful parts of America. This isn't an accident. Freedom Highway draws upon deep American traditions, and while its form may be a throwback, it speaks to a time when the phrase "Black Lives Matter" can be seen as controversial and, in doing so, it illustrates how these issues are deeply ingrained in American life and cannot be forgotten.
TRACKS: 01. At the Purchaser's Option 02. The Angels Laid Him Away 03. Julie 04. Birmingham Sunday 06. We Could Fly 07. Hey Bébé 08. Come Love Come 09. The Love We Almost Had 10. Baby Boy 11. Following the North Star 12. Freedom Highway
ELIZA NEALS - 10,000 Feet Below (2017)
“10,000 Feet Below,” is spelunking the new depths of the Blues with Eliza Neals as your fearless guide. Cavern’s of sound well up through Eliza’s supernatural voice and piano driven songs, as Howard Glazer’s guitar pierces the echo with honest tone. Breaking and entering an abandoned temple of blues-rock left long ago, descending each rung carefully to uplift your musical soul. Producer Eliza Neals rigged the journey, surveyed then mapped the suffocating walls, while finding soulful keys through narrow fissures of sound.
Cascading guest guitarists Paul Nelson (Johnny Winter, Grammy 2015) and Billy Davis (Jimi Hendrix, Rock n Roll HOF) cast light on adventurous dark paths. Colossal drummers Skeeto Valdez (Les Clay Pool), Demarcus Sumter, Brian Clune, Rubin Nizri and John Medeiros supply a profound rumble to orientate your feet. As the ceiling drops, blasting bassists Paul Randolph, Johnny Abraham, Mike Griot (SMIBF founder) and Lenny Bradford (Joe Louis Walker) resonate through the crawlspace. Eliza Neals unflinchingly dives headfirst to underwater eyelets that only a skilled writer can reach. Falling lower to get washed up on golden grotto beaches, a new entrance to blues once left undiscovered, 10,000 Feet Below…
TRACKS: 01. Cleotus 02. Another Lifetime 03. Burn The Tent Down 04. 10,000 Feet Below 05. You Ain't My Dog No More 06. Cold Cold Night 07. Hard Killing Floor 08. Call Me Moonshine 09. Down Hill On A Rocket 10. Merle Dixon 11. At The Crossroads
KARLA BONOFF - Karla Bonoff (1977) & Restless Nights (1979)
Karla Bonoff is an American singer-songwriter, primarily known for her songwriting. As a songwriter, Bonoff's songs have been interpreted by other artists such as "Home" by Bonnie Raitt, "Tell Me Why" by Wynonna Judd, and "Isn't It Always Love" by Lynn Anderson. She grew up in Los Angeles and briefly attended UCLA. Emerging from the Monday night hootenanny scene at the Troubadour nightclub, she was a member of Bryndle, a folk-rock group also featuring Wendy Waldman, Andrew Gold, and Kenny Edwards, that formed in 1969, signed to A&M, and cut an album that was never released. Edwards, a former member of the Stone Poneys (a band featuring Linda Ronstadt), and Gold were later part of Ronstadt's backing band, and they brought Bonoff to her attention.
Ronstadt recorded three of Bonoff's songs on her 1976 album, Hasten Down the Wind, leading to a recording contract for Bonoff and the release of three albums on Columbia Records, the last of which, Wild Heart of the Young (1982), featured the Top 40 hit "Personally." Bonoff worked on movie soundtracks during the '80s, notably on Footloose (1984) and About Last Night (1986). She released her fourth album, New World, in 1988.
QUINN SULLIVAN - Midnight Highway (2017)
01. Something For Me
02. Tell Me I'm Not Dreaming
03. Midnight Highway
04. Crazy Into You
05. Eyes For You
06. Lifting Off
07. She Gets Me
08. Rocks (bonus track)
10. Graveyard Stone (bonus track)
11. Big Sky (bonus track)
12. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
13. Buffalo Nickel
The seventeen year-old guitarist from Massachusetts first gathered attention when he appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show over ten years ago. But it was when legendary Chicago blues man Buddy Guy took him under his wing that Quinn’s musical chops started turning heads. In the decade since, Quinn has played all over the world with the elite of the music universe. Clapton, Richards, The Roots, Tedeschi-Trucks, Bonamassa, are just some of the royalty with whom Quinn has shared the stage. B.B. even let Quinn share a ‘conversation’ with “Lucille.” Mighty heady stuff for a seasoned artist and definitely a mind-blowing adventure for someone trying to survive being a teenager. Quinn Sullivan’s third album, Midnight Highway is a big step forward for Quinn in terms of expanding his comfort zone. The album is still blues oriented but moves into the rock and pop genre. He is also upping his songwriting game with writing credits on three of the tunes on the album.
PETER KARP - Alabama Town (2017)
01. Alabama Town
02. 'Til You Get Home
03. That's How I Like It
04. Blues In Mind
05. I'm Not Giving Up
06. Her And My Blues
07. The Prophet
08. Kiss The Bride
09. Nobody Really Knows
10. Lost Highway
11. Y'all Be Lookin'
12. I Walk Alone
13. Beautiful Girl
Award winning singer-songwriter, slide guitarist, pianist Peter Karp was raised both in the swamps of New Jersey and trailer parks in Alabama, Karp crafts music fueled with a Yankee-Rebel juxtaposition with plenty of humor and candor.
Alabama Town is Peter Karp’s eighth CD featuring his original songs. Produced by Peter and multi Grammy Award winning producer Dae Bennett (Tony Bennett). It was inspired by the music he heard growing up in Enterprise, Ala in the 1960s and is dedicated to his African American step mom Ruth Turner (1925 - 2016).
ERIC CLAPTON - From The Cradle (1994) & Me And Mr Johnson (2004)
For years, fans craved an all-blues album from Eric Clapton; he waited until 1994 to deliver From the Cradle. The album manages to re-create the ambience of postwar electric blues, right down to the bottomless thump of the rhythm section. If it wasn't for Clapton's labored vocals, everything would be perfect. As long as he plays his guitar, he can't fail -- his solos are white-hot and evocative, original and captivating. When he sings, Clapton loses that sense of originality, choosing to mimic the vocals of the original recordings. At times, his overemotive singing is painful; he doesn't have the strength to pull off Howlin' Wolf's growl or the confidence to replicate Muddy Waters' assured phrasing. Yet, whenever he plays, it's easier to forget his vocal shortcomings. Even with its faults, From the Cradle is one of Clapton's finest moments.
Ten years after his first all-blues album, From the Cradle, Eric Clapton released Me and Mr. Johnson, an album-length tribute to his hero, the legendary bluesman Robert Johnson. Not that this is the first time Clapton has paid tribute to Johnson. Throughout his career, Clapton has not only drawn on Johnson for inspiration, but he has covered his songs at pivotal moments: "Ramblin' on My Mind" on his classic album with John Mayall, Bluesbreakers; "Four Until Late" on the first Cream album; and, most memorably, the rampaging cover of "Crossroads" on Wheels of Fire that became his anthem and arguably his defining moment. Considering this long history, perhaps a full-length tribute was inevitable, yet Me and Mr. Johnson still is welcome, in part because it's been a long time since this guitarist has sounded so comfortable and relaxed, as if he was having fun making music. With the possible exception of the spotty yet charming B.B. King duet album Riding With the King, this is simply the most enjoyable record he's made since From the Cradle, and in some respects it's a better blues album than that since it never sounds as doggedly serious as that guitar-heavy affair. Given the somber, sometimes chilling lyrics Johnson wrote - Clapton admits that "At first [his music] scared me in its intensity," an accurate summary of the haunting nature of those 29 sides the bluesman cut in the '30s - it's a little ironic that this tribute winds up being fun, not somber, but the light touch makes for a better album. That lightness comes from the deep love Clapton holds for this music, since the enthusiasm and enjoyment he and his band - all the old regulars like Andy Fairweather-Low plus Billy Preston on keyboards - give the performance results in the album's light, infectious feel. While that does result in versions of "If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day" and "Hell Hound on My Trail" that sound anything but haunted, they do sound nicely next to the up-tempo rave-ups of "They're Red Hot," "Last Fair Deal Gone Down," and "Stop Breaking Down Blues" since all of them sound like Clapton is having a hell of a good time. Some might take issue with this, and others may find the album too slickly produced - admittedly, blues albums should never boast a credit for Pro Tools, as this does - but this is a heartfelt tribute that's among Clapton's most purely enjoyable albums.
DEREK DAVIS - Revolutionary Soul (2017)
01. Revolutionary Soul
04. Think About It
05. Love And Abuse
06. Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out 1
07. Vicious Heart
08. Woman's Gotta Have It
09. King Of Fools
10. Picture Of Love
11. Stop! Wait A Minute
12. All The Roads
Derek Davis, former Arista Records recording artist and Babylon A.D. front man follows up the successful reception of his first solo debut Revolt with his new 12-song release, Revolutionary Soul - a diverse collection of songs in which Davis pens nine, plays all instruments, sings, arranges, and produces. Davis’s exploration of combining old school R&B, Funk, and Hard Rock is awe-inspiring and leaves the listener wanting more. The funk driven, hard-hitting title track “Revolutionary Soul” delivers the angst and vocal delivery he is known for. Both lyrically and musically the track speaks to the frustration and passion of the forgotten man in today’s ever changing world. The second track “Rapture” is a sensual tale of a cat and mouse encounter between the sexes with an infectious groove. A brand new version of the Amy Winehouse hit “Valerie” shows Davis can take any song and turn it on its head to make it his own.
SHARON LEVIS & TEXAS FIRE - Grown Ass Woman (2016)
01. Can't Do It Like We Do
02. Hell Yeah!
03. Chicago Woman
04. They're Lying
05. Don't Try To Judge Me
06. Old Man's Baby
07. Grown Ass Woman
08. Walk With Me
10. Call Home
11. Home Free Blues
12. High Road
13. Why I Sing The Blues
14. Soul Shine
Sharon Lewis unleashes another extraordinary Delmark album; Grown Ass Woman features 12 new original songs with special guest appearances by Sugar Blue and Joanna Connor. In a review of her first Delmark album Rosalind Cummings-Yeates said 'The Real Deal' qualifies as one of the best blues albums of the year' - Illinois Entertainer, December 2011. The new album kicks off with 'Can't Do It Like We Do' a tribute to the current Chicago Blues sound and scene. 'Hell Yeah!' is a total party jam, there's plenty of soul like 'They're Lying' and 'Call Home', and 'Freedom' is a timely song which points out that 'freedom cannot be freedom until freedom means freedom for everyone!'. Special guest appearances by Sugar Blue and Joanna Connor.
SPOOKY TOOTH - The Island Years - An Antology 1967-1974 (2005)
While it may not be the complete works of Spooky Tooth issued by Island Records between 1967 and 1974, the 9 LP or 9 CD box set 'The Island Years' is by far the largest collection of the band's work ever made available. So what is on offer here for a pleasantly affordable price? The 9 LPs or CDs are each based around an album, beginning with 1967's 'Supernatural Fairy Tales' by the Spooky Tooth precursor band, Art, following with the 6 studio albums released by the band on their own, a 1969 album released by Spooky Tooth & Pierre Henry and a previously unreleased 1973 live recording from a gig in Oldenburg, Germany, in which the band reprised many of their best known songs. 9 CDs containing 114 tracks, or 9 LPs with 78 tracks. The CDs are each in gatefold mini LP sleeves and the tracks, mastered by Ben Wiseman are sounding better than ever. The 52 page booklet containing an essay by compiler, researcher Mark Powell as well as complete track annotations, many photos and other memorabilia. Also included is a poster of 'What's That Sound' by Art. All in all a wonderful package available at a reasonable price. This may not be the place for novices to begin but for fans of Spooky Tooth this is one incredible collection!
ROBERT RANDOLPH & THE FAMILY BAND - Got Soul (2017)
Robert Randolph is one of the rare artists who's been able to convince a sizable audience that the pedal steel guitar has a place outside country music. This is partly due to his over-the-top skills on the instrument, but just as importantly, Randolph and his Family Band have consistently shown their ability to launch a soul shakedown party of major proportions whenever they take the stage or set up in the studio. 2017's Got Soul, Randolph's fifth studio album, seems designed to capture the energy and power of Randolph and his band in full flight, and producer Matt Pierson has gone out of his way to give this material a big, rollicking sound that makes the most of the muscle and sweat of this music. While the tough, funky report of the rhythm section and the call of the organ provide the backbone of these songs, it's Randolph's pedal steel that gives Got Soul its unique sound, as the wailing peals of his instrument tear through the mix and lend this as much of a vocal presence as any instrumentalist can provide. While vintage soul and funk figures play a big role in these arrangements, Randolph's background in gospel is never entirely out of the picture, and there's a churchy passion at the heart of this music that adds plenty to the emotional resonance, especially on tracks like "Be the Change" and "Heaven's Calling." But even when Randolph is drawing on the gospels, the palpable joy of this music carries the day, and despite the presence of guest artists like Cory Henry, Anthony Hamilton, and Darius Rucker (the latter delivering one of the most emphatic vocals of his career on "Love Do What It Do"), it's Randolph & the Family Band's talent and fervor that make this album special. Got Soul is taut, joyous, heartfelt music that mixes Saturday night and Sunday morning, and the results will make you take notice any day of the week.
TRACKS: 01. Got Soul 02. She Got Soul (feat. Anthony Hamilton) 03. Love Do What It Do (feat. Darius Rucker) 04. Shake It 05. I Thank You (feat. Cory Henry) 06. Be The Change 07. Heaven's Calling 08. Find A Way 09. I Want It 10. Travelin' Cheeba Man 11. Lovesick 12. Gonna Be All Right
F.J. McMAHON - Spirit Of The Golden Juice (1969)
Digitally remastered edition of this great lost '60s Folk Rock album. FJ McMahon may not be exactly a household name but he certainly should be. Up there with the ramblin' loner Folk styling's of Fred Neil and Vince Martin, this weary ex-Vietnam vet crafted songs of his experiences and philosophies regarding war and love. The title of the album, in fact, refers to a brand of bourbon commonly drunk by McMahon and his compadres during the war. MC Mahon's red voice combined with his rustic and beautifully played guitar make him instantly endearing. His lyrical content is a rare snapshot of the young Vietnam vet returning home. The album has been lost for several years but now comes to you with it's sonic palette completely cleaned up and restored to it's delicate, mournful drifting glory....a mega collectable artifact of loner Wyrd private press folk, it has been a sought after high priced gem for many years now, and has never before been available on CD.
TRACKS: 01. Sister Brother 02. The Road Back Home 03. Early Blue 04. Black Night Woman 05. One Alone Together 06. Five Year Kansas Blues 07. Enough It Is Done 08. The Learned Man 09. The Spirit Of The Golden Juice
ROY ORBISON - Black & White Night 30 (2017)
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Roy Orbison's renowned 1987 televised comeback concert at the Cocoanut Grove night club in Los Angeles, Sony Music's Legacy Recordings has teamed up with Roy's Boys LLC, the Nashville-based company founded by the late icon's sons to administer their father's catalog and safeguard his legacy. Together, they are releasing Black & White Night 30, a re-imagined, re-edited, remastered and expanded version of the original television special, available both as a CD/DVD set and as a CD/Blu-ray set. Black & White Night 30 is NOT a reissue. Because the concert had been shot using seven separate cameras, there were hundreds of hours of footage that went unused and unseen. Roy's youngest son Alex Orbison and his co-editor Luke Chalk have gone back and re-edited the entire performance so that while the look will be familiar to those that have seen the original version, the vast majority of footage in Black & White Night 30 has never been seen before by the public. Furthermore, the program has been restored to reflect the correct set order, so that viewers can see Roy, brilliantly backed by Elvis Presley's TCB Band (James Burton, Glen D. Hardin, Jerry Scheff, Ron Tutt), blast through massive Orbison hits such as "Only the Lonely," "In Dreams" and "Crying" just as the star-studded live audience witnessed them on that very night.
TRACKS: 01. Only the Lonely 02. Leah 03. In Dreams 04. Crying 05. Uptown 06. The Comedians 07. Blue Angel 08. It s Over 09. Running Scared 10. Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream) 11. Mean Woman Blues 12. Candy Man 13. Ooby Dooby 14. Blue Bayou 15. Go Go Go (Down the Line) 16. (All I Can Do Is) Dream You 17. Claudette 18. Oh, Pretty Woman (ALT Version) 19. Oh, Pretty Woman
CAPTAIN BEYOND - Captain Beyond (1972) & Sufficiently Breathless (1973) & Dawn Explosion (1977) & Far Beyond A Distant Sun - Live (2002)
Captain Beyond is an American/British rock band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1971. The original line-up for Captain Beyond were singer Rod Evans (ex-Deep Purple), drummer Bobby Caldwell (ex-Johnny Winter), guitarist Larry "Rhino" Reinhardt (ex-Iron Butterfly), and bassist Lee Dorman (ex-Iron Butterfly), as well as keyboardist Lewie Gold.
"Captain Beyond" is the self-titled debut album by Captain Beyond, released in 1972, and featured former members of Iron Butterfly, Deep Purple, Johnny Winter, and Rick Derringer. The album cover for the U.S. release included 3-D artwork (using lenticular printing). The album was dedicated to the memory of Duane Allman, who Captain Beyond drummer Bobby Caldwell had played with in an informal capacity.
"Sufficiently Breathless", the second album by Captain Beyond, was released in 1973 and features a jazzier, smoother sound than its predecessor, reminiscent of mid-1970s Santana. The medley format of the first album is retained only for the last six minutes of Sufficiently Breathless: "Voyages of Past Travellers" flows directly into "Everything's a Circle", which in turn is actually two distinct songs despite being listed under a single title. Original drummer/songwriter Bobby Caldwell had been replaced by Marty Rodriguez in the band, and subsequently Lee Dorman was credited as writing the songs on the album for legal reasons, due to Rhino and Rod Evans being in litigation with Iron Butterfly and Deep Purple respectively.
"Dawn Explosion", the third and final album by Captain Beyond, was released in 1977. Original singer Rod Evans was replaced by Willy Daffern, and original drummer Bobby Caldwell had rejoined the band.
"Far Beyond a Distant Sun - Live" in Arlington Texas 1973 is Captain Beyond's only official live album to date. It was recorded in 1973 (but wasn't officially released until 2002), after the release of Sufficiently Breathless, with the four original member reuniting for a brief tour before Rod Evans leaves. The album was recorded at the University of Texas at Arlington in support of King Crimson.
INA FORSMAN - Ina Forsman (2016)
Ina Forsman is a Finnish blues singer and songwriter based in Helsinki. A singer from a young age, Forsman initially caught the ear of renowned harmonica player Helge Tallqvist, who heard her compete on the inaugural season of The Voice of Finland when she was just 15. With her dynamic range and powerhouse voice, Tallqvist sensed Forsman's potential as a blues artist and became her mentor, helping her form her first band and inviting her to sing on-stage with him. In 2013, the two recorded a collaborative album together, and the following year Forsman represented Finland at the European Blues Challenge in Riga. This led to a tour with Belgian blues artist Guy Verlinde. Forsman made her solo debut with a self-titled album on the Ruf Records label in 2016.
Despite her European background, however, this eponymous album was recorded in Austin, Texas, with a stellar lineup. Laura Chavez, who spent years on the road with Candye Kane, and Derek O’Brien, who’s worked with everyone from Omar And The Howlers to Jimmie Vaughan and Fiona Boyes, handle guitar duties with Nick Connolly on keys, Russell Jackson on electric and acoustic bass and Tommy Taylor on drums.
TRACKS: 01. Hanging Loose 02. Pretty Messed Up 03. Bubbly Kisses 04. Farewell 05. Don't Hurt Me Now 06. Talk To Me 07. Now You Want Me Back 08. Devil May Dance Tonight 09. Before You Go Home 10. No Room For Love 11. I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl
V.A. - The Hired Hands: A Tribute to Bruce Langhorne (2017)
Bruce Langhorneis an American folk musician. He was active in the Greenwich Village folk scene in the 1960s, primarily as a session guitarist for folk albums and performances. He lost the second and third fingers on his right hand in an accident when he was seven years old, contributing to his distinctive fingerpicking style. Langhorne attended the Horace Mann School in 1954-1955. Langhorne worked with many of the major performers in the folk revival of the 1950s and 1960s, including The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem, Joan Baez, Richie Havens, Carolyn Hester, Peter LaFarge, Gordon Lightfoot, Hugh Masekela, Odetta, Babatunde Olatunji, Peter, Paul and Mary, Richard and Mimi Farina, Tom Rush, Steve Gillette, and Buffy Sainte-Marie.
The title character of Bob Dylan's song "Mr. Tambourine Man" was inspired by Langhorne, who used to play a large Turkish frame drum in performances and recordings. The drum, which Langhorne purchased in a music store in Greenwich Village, had small bells attached around its interior, giving it a jingling sound much like a tambourine. Langhorne used the instrument most prominently on recordings by Richard and Mimi Farina. The drum is now in the collection of the Experience Music Project, in Seattle, Washington.
THE 13th FLOOR ELEVATORS - The Complete Singles Collection (2009)
Rock & roll history is full of casualties, but the story of the 1960s Texas psychedelic folk-rock group the 13th Floor Elevators, led by guitarist and singer Roky Erickson and lyricist and electric jug player (and sometimes Svengali) Tommy Hall, reads like a slow motion cultural train wreck as the band battled record labels, local police, various inner demons, and several judges and courts while gobbling LSD like so many tic-tacs -- all of which culminated in Erickson proclaiming he was a Martian in order to avoid prison on drug charges, a move that landed him in an asylum for the criminally insane until 1972. It’s a wonder any music was made at all. But it did get made, and this was a very unique band, if never a commercially successful one -- maybe because their often unhinged recordings sounded like Captain Beefheart playing folk-rock while insanely drunk and pissed off in the basement. The 13th Floor Elevators released seven singles in all between January of 1966 and December of 1968, each of which, along with the B-sides, is preserved in this set in its original mono 45 rpm version, and hearing them back to back is a glorious piece of garage band heaven. Sides like the group’s signature “You’re Gonna Miss Me,” the queasy but perfect cover of Bob Dylan’s “Baby Blue,” the LSD treatise “Slip Inside This House,” and the beautiful and eerie “May the Circle Remain Unbroken” could only have been created by this singular band of sneering and evaporating Texas musicians -- they did sound at times like they came from Mars. Also here are the stereo mixes of four tracks the band recorded for a limited-edition French EP, which just spreads the wonderful chaos that was the 13th Floor Elevators across two channels.
TRACKS: 01. You're Gonna Miss Me 02. Tried To Hide 03. Reverbaration 04. Fire Engine 05. (I've Got) Levitation 06. Before You Accuse Me 07. She Lives (In A Time Of Her Own) 08. Baby Blue 09. Slip Inside This House 10. Splash 1 11. May The Circle Remain Unbroken 12. I'm Gonna Love You Too 13. Livin' On 14. Scarlet And Gold 15. Reverbaration 16. You're Gonna Miss Me 17. Fire Engine 18. Tried To Hide
RENAISSANCE - Scheherazade And Other Stories (1975) & Live At Carnegie Hall (1976)
Renaissance are an English progressive rock band, best known for their 1978 UK top 10 hit "Northern Lights" and progressive rock classics like "Carpet of the Sun", "Mother Russia", and "Ashes Are Burning". They developed a unique sound, combining a female lead vocal with a fusion of classical, folk, rock, and jazz influences. Characteristic elements of the Renaissance sound are Annie Haslam's wide vocal range, prominent piano accompaniment, orchestral arrangements, vocal harmonies, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, synthesiser, and versatile drum work. The band created a significant following in the northeast United States in the 70s, and that region remains their strongest fan base.
Many critics and fans alike consider Scheherazade to be one of the finest Renaissance albums, and one of the finest classical/rock fusion albums ever. Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs released an "Orignal Master Recording" (LP) of the album in 1978 featuring a remarkable remix of the original master tapes. Michael Dunford realised the potential of the "Song Of Scheherazade" and formed his initial concepts for a musical based on this piece after seeing the audience reaction to it being performed live with a full orchestra.
"Live At Carnegie Hall (1976)"1994 reissue on Repertoire of the prog icon's 1976 double live album for BTM, complete with the original artwork. Contains all eight tracks on two CDs within a double slimline jewel case. Includes Mother Russia, Ocean Gypsy and Ashes Are Burning. The album was recorded with the New York Philharmonic backing Renaissance.
ALISON KRAUSS - Windy City (Vinyl, 2017)
Alison Krauss is one of the artists who helped break down the barriers between bluegrass and mainstream country music, but even though country radio was willing to make room for her, Krauss never seemed to be interested in courting their favor. Krauss has always followed her own creative path and let the audience come to her with her mature and adventurous approach to acoustic music. Thirty years into her recording career, Krauss has made her most specifically "country" album to date, though it's a musical left turn into a very specific time and place in country's history. Released in 2017, Windy City is a polished and carefully crafted tribute to the countrypolitan sounds of the '50s and '60s, music that fused the emotional honesty and personal storytelling of country with smooth, sophisticated production dominated by pianos and strings, and the set list draws from old standards rather than contemporary compositions. Producer Buddy Cannon has designed Windy City as a showcase for Alison Krauss the vocalist, with her stellar fiddle work appearing on only one track. While pale shadows of contemporary country can be heard in these performances, numbers like "Losing You," "You Don't Know Me," and the title track owe far more to Patsy Cline's classic "Nashville sound" sides than anything that's come out of Music City in the past decade. Even when the music takes on a twangier approach on "Poison Love" and "It's Goodbye and So Long to You," Cannon's production and arrangements are steeped in the sounds of the past; while Krauss's bluegrass music always sounded fresh and contemporary in its approach, Windy City is the sound of her moving forward into the past. If this is a very different Alison Krauss album, it's also a good one; the accompaniment is slick, but it's brilliantly executed, and Cannon favors the clarity and emotional range of Krauss's voice. She meets the demands of the material beautifully, and she brings a warmth and subtle passion to songs like "Gentle on My Mind" and "You Don't Know Me" that makes you briefly forget the definitive recordings of these classics. It remains to be seen if Windy City is a brief creative detour for Alison Krauss or the first salvo of a new creative direction. But if Krauss wants to be the new voice of retro countrypolitan music, Windy City leaves no doubt that she has the talent and the intelligence to make it work, and this album is a richly satisfying experience.
WILD TURKEY - Battle Hymn (1971) & Turkey (1972)
Bass-player Glenn Cornick then known as Glenn Barnard, began his musical career as a member of the mid-60s outfit, Joey And The Jailbreakers. He also worked with a number of similarly underachieving outfits, such as the Vikings, Formula One, the Hobos and the Executives. Eventually he graduated into Blackpool’s John Evan’s Smash, soon to become known as Jethro Tull. Famous as much for his psychedelic costumes as his musicianship, Cornick spent three successful years with the band until quitting in 1970.
Cornick recruited Jon Blackmore (guitar), Graham Williams (lead guitar), John ‘Pugwash’ Weathers (b. 2 February 1947, Carmarthen, Glamorganshire, Wales; drums, ex-Eyes Of Blue) and Gary Pickford Hopkins (guitar, vocals, ex-Eyes Of Blue) to become Glenn Cornick’s Wild Turkey. However, within months of the band’s first rehearsals, Williams and Weathers had both defected to Graham Bond’s group. Their replacements were Man’s original drummer, Jeff Jones, and lead guitarist Alan ‘Tweke’ Lewis. The band had also shortened its name simply to Wild Turkey by the time its debut, Battle Hymn, was released for Chrysalis Records in 1972. Reviews were good and the band seemed to be in the ascendancy as they played regularly to audiences of up to 20, 000 as support to Black Sabbath. Soon after a successful support to Jethro Tull in America, Jon Blackmore deserted the band for a writing career with the New Musical Express, and Cornick recruited former roadie Steve Gurl (keyboards) and Mick Dyche (drums). The new line up’s only single, ‘Good Old Days’, preceded the release of Turkey in 1973. However, it failed to match the impact of the debut and the band imploded.
THREE DOG NIGHT - Seven Separate Fools (1972) & Around The World With Three Dog Night (1973)
Three Dog Night is an American rock band. They formed in 1967 with a line-up consisting of vocalists Danny Hutton, Cory Wells, and Chuck Negron. This lineup was soon augmented by Jimmy Greenspoon (keyboards), Joe Schermie (bass), Michael Allsup (guitar), and Floyd Sneed (drums). The band registered 21 Billboard Top 40 hits (with three hitting number one) between 1969 and 1975. It helped introduce mainstream audiences to the work of many songwriters, including Paul Williams ("An Old Fashioned Love Song"), Hoyt Axton ("Joy to the World"), Laura Nyro ("Eli's Comin'"), Harry Nilsson ("One"), Randy Newman ("Mama Told Me Not to Come"), and Leo Sayer ("The Show Must Go On").
According to an ever-increasing pile of Levinson-Ross press releases at my right elbow, this has been quite a summer for Three Dog Night. Their heralded Tour of Tours is nearing the five million gross mark, with an unoffical $125,000 record set at the Pocono Speedway Festival for roughly an hour's work. The group's recorded material, of course, continues to sell like there's no tomorrow (all seven of their previous LPs were certified gold), and Seven Separate Fools is likely to ease into that exalted company with merely the slightest effort. It is all capped, as if the foregoing hasn't been enough to glitter every band's eye from here to Reno, by a late August television special, in honor of which a higher-up in the Dogs' management firm has said "It's pleasant to find that patience is still rewarded."
After six studio albums, beginning in 1969, a single "in concert" disc Captured Live at the Forum, from Los Angeles, September 12, 1969, and the first of many "greatest hits" packages (Golden Biscuits), came the superstar band's ninth album, the double-disc live album from 1973, Around the World With Three Dog Night.
VANILLA FUDGE - Vanilla Fudge (1967) - The Beat Goes On (1968) - Renaissance (1968) - Near the Beginning (1969)
Vanilla Fudge was one of the few American links between psychedelia and what soon became heavy metal. While the band did record original material, they were best known for their loud, heavy, slowed-down arrangements of contemporary pop songs, blowing them up to epic proportions and bathing them in a trippy, distorted haze. Originally, Vanilla Fudge was a blue-eyed soul cover band called the Electric Pigeons, who formed on Long Island, NY, in 1965. Things started to pick up for the band in 1968: early in the year, they headlined the Fillmore West with the Steve Miller Band, performed "You Keep Me Hangin' On" on The Ed Sullivan Show, and released their second album, The Beat Goes On. Despite its somewhat arty, indulgent qualities, the LP was a hit, climbing into the Top 20. That summer, Atco reissued "You Keep Me Hangin' On," and the second time around it climbed into the Top Ten. It was followed by Renaissance, one of Vanilla Fudge's best albums, which also hit the Top 20. The band supported it by touring with Jimi Hendrix, opening several dates on Cream's farewell tour, and late in the year touring again with the fledgling Led Zeppelin as their opening act.
In 1969, the band kept touring and released their first album without Morton, the expansive, symphonic-tinged Near the Beginning. After part of the band recorded a radio commercial with guitarist Jeff Beck, the idea was hatched to form a Cream-styled power trio with plenty of individual solo spotlights. Exhausted by the constant touring, the band decided that their late-1969 European tour would be their last. Following the release of their final album, Rock & Roll, Vanilla Fudge played a few U.S. farewell dates and disbanded in early 1970. Bogert and Appice first formed the hard rock group Cactus, then later joined up with Jeff Beck in the aptly named Beck, Bogert & Appice. Appice went on to become an active session and touring musician, working with a variety of rock and hard rock artists. Vanilla Fudge reunited in 1984 for the poorly received Mystery album, and have since reunited several more times, though only for tours. Their most recent incarnation features keyboardist Bill Pascali in place of Mark Stein.
FANTASTIC NEGRITO - The Last Days Of Oakland (2016)
Oakland musician Fantastic Negrito took home a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album, a first for the singer-songwriter. The guitarist, whose real name is Xavier Dphrepaulezz, won for his album “The Last Days of Oakland," a record that tackles politics, society, race and a changing Bay Area landscape through slide guitar riffs and urgent, sometimes anguished, vocals. He refers to it as “black roots music for everyone.”
Fantastic Negrito is a man's truth told in the form of black roots music. Each song the true story of a musician from Oakland who experienced the highs of a million dollar record deal, the lows of a near fatal car accident that put him in a coma, and is now in the phase of rebirth despite his playing hand being mangled. Negrito's music emphasizes rawness and space. Slide guitar, drums, piano. Rather than update the Delta Blues, Fantastic Negrito leaves the original sounds of Lead Belly and Skip James intact, building bridges to a modern sound with loops and samples of his own live instruments. But the primary element that drives Fantastic Negrito's music is uncut realness and zero concern for "pop" anything.
TRACKS: 01. Intro - Last Days Of Oakland 02. Working Poor 03. About A Bird 04. Scary Women 05. Interlude 1 - What Do You Do 06. The Nigga Song 07. In The Pines 08. Hump Thru The Winter 09. Lost In A Crowd 10. Interlude 2 - El Chileno 11. The Worst 12. Rant Rushmore 13. Nothing Without You
V.A. - Motown: The Complete No. 1's [10 CDs Box Set] (2008)
The opening salvo to Universal's celebration of Motown's 50th anniversary, the ten-disc Motown: The Complete No. 1's wisely takes the broadest possible reading of "number one," interpreting that phrase to mean any single that topped the R&B or pop charts or any international chart, or even songs that topped the charts in a cover version by another non-Motown artist...or in the case of Stevie Wonder's "Pastime Paradise," was even sampled by another artist. In other words, this 202-track set -- 192 hit singles, plus those ten "bonus" hits that were either covered or sample sources -- means to feature every Motown song that everybody knows and it pretty much does, although it also contains a lot of singles that most Motown fans don't know and there are a lot of well-known songs that aren't here, because using the top of the charts as a definitive yardstick for measuring popularity is problematic. Not every huge hit reaches the pole position, nor is every chart-topper an enduring piece of pop art, and if the competition for the top was tough, as it certainly was during Motown's heyday of the '60s, there might be a lot of songs left behind, as there are here. Nevertheless, it's still pretty shocking to realize that by the time disc three on this gargantuan set starts, Motown has already left Detroit for Los Angeles, leaving behind their period of greatest creativity and iconic power, as well as that house on West Grand Boulevard that serves as the model for the creative packaging on this deluxe set. That means that most of this set doesn't sound like Motown, at least according to the classic definition of the Motown sound, which may make it of considerably less interest to the kind of listener who would be drawn to a replica of the Motown museum, but the range of the set is nevertheless impressive. There is certainly a drop-off in quality as the label enters the '80s on disc seven, but there's not only plenty of terrific music between Smokey Robinson & the Miracles' "Shop Around" and Erykah Badu's "Bag Lady," it's possible to hear the big picture of modern soul and R&B between these two extremes, which is pretty impressive indeed. - allmusic.com
ARC ANGELS - Living In A Dream (2009)
Arc Angels were a blues rock band formed in Austin, Texas in the early 1990s. The band was composed of guitarist and singers Doyle Bramhall II and Charlie Sexton and two former members of Stevie Ray Vaughan's band Double Trouble, drummer Chris Layton and bassist Tommy Shannon. The 'Arc' in the band's name came from the Austin Rehearsal Complex where the band first started jamming.
"Living in a Dream" is the first live album and DVD by the Texas blues rock band Arc Angels, their second album over all. The first disk of the album contains the majority of a show recorded March 26, 2005 at Stubb's Bar-B-Q in Austin, Texas. The show proved to be historic for the band, playing the entirety of their debut album, a then unreleased song, "Crave and Wonder" and a cover of Muddy Waters' "She's Alright." This show also proved to be the Arc Angels' final with original bass guitarist Tommy Shannon. The second disk contains 3 studio tracks recorded for specifically for this album in 2009 and the remainder of the 2005 show, the song "Spanish Moon." The DVD contains the Stubb's show and interview footage, directed by Kyle Ellison and produced by Mark Proct and Charlie Boswell.
DISC 1 - Live At Stubb's: 01. Paradise Café 02. Carry Me On 03. The Famous Jane 04. Good Time 05. She's Alright 06. Always Believed In You 07. Sent By Angels 08. Crave And Wonder 09. Nadine 10. See What Tomorrow Brings 11. Shape I'm In 12. Living In A Dream 13. Too Many Ways To Fall
DISC 2 - New Studio Tracks: 01. Crave And Wonder 02. What I'm Looking For 03. Too Many People 04. Spanish Moon
HERD - The Complete Herd (2005)
Before '70s superstardom, even before Humble Pie, Peter Frampton got his first taste of celebrity as a singer and guitarist in the Herd, who chalked up several hits in Britain in 1967 and 1968. Frampton was only 17 when the single "From the Underworld" went into the British Top Ten in late 1967; "Paradise Lost" and "I Don't Want Our Loving to Die" were hits for the group in the first half of 1968. The Herd's brand of mod was extremely commercial and good-timey- and pop-oriented, a bit like a muted and mainstream Small Faces. Much of their material (including all of the hits) was written by their management team of Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley, who had supplied songs for the Honeycombs (of "Have I the Right" fame). Frampton and keyboardist Andy Bown wrote most of the band's original tunes, and one can presume that the limitations of the Herd's overtly pop approach (which sometimes encompassed MOR ballads and orchestrated arrangements) were a factor in his decision to leave for Humble Pie after the Herd had issued just one album and a few singles. After a few Frampton-less singles, the Herd scattered; Andy Bown released a few solo albums and has done session work with Frampton and Pink Floyd.
GRATEFUL DEAD - The Grateful Dead (1967) [50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, 2017]
Before they were the Grateful Dead, they were “San Francisco’s Grateful Dead.” At least that’s how they were to be billed on the title of their debut album: a scuzzy, organ-drenched oddity, more representative of the era it came from than the band it introduced. Leading up to the record’s release in 1967, the Grateful Dead had fortified their reputation as an uncontainable force, a live act who had to be seen to be believed. They were a band inextricably linked to their locale (Haight and Ashbury, San Francisco) and the scene it had hatched (namely Ken Kesey’s Acid Tests, for which the Dead served as the house band). In a spirited but nascent Vancouver show attached to this 50th anniversary reissue, mostly comprised of embryonic attempts at original songs (“Cream Puff War,” “Cardboard Cowboy”) and jumpy renditions of soon-to-be standards (“I Know You Rider,” “New Minglewood Blues”), the audience greets the band with silence. Bob Weir responds dryly, “I see our fame has preceded us.” He’s not entirely kidding. At the time, no one was quite sure what to do with the Grateful Dead. It was a question the band would face multiple times throughout their career and one that was immediately apparent when they recorded their debut album: How do the Grateful Dead present themselves, stripped of the context that defines them?
While the band would never find a definitive answer to that question (although they came a hell of a lot closer on their next self-titled release, a staggering live album from 1971), their debut record found the Dead choosing the path of least resistance. Signed to Warner Brothers with a “jazz rate” deal meaning they were paid by song length, not number of tracks—the band conceded to nearly every label expectation, transforming themselves into something like a traditional garage rock band. In thirty-five minutes, they speed through the album’s nine songs with an anxious energy, resulting in an endearing-but-muddy listen—something Phil Lesh would describe as “sound and fury buried in a cavern.” Maybe it was the nerves of a group of young freaks trying to sell themselves for the first time, or maybe it was the massive amount of Ritalin they were all on, but the Grateful Dead sound more energetic here than they ever would. Which is to say, if the Dead’s characteristic brand of sprawling experimentalism isn’t your bag, then this might be the album for you.
The Grateful Dead 50th Anniversary Deluxe 2-CD Set includes the original album remastered as well as the full unreleased show from P.N.E. Garden Auditorium, Vancouver, BC, Canada on July 29th, 1966. Also includes four additional tracks from the subsequent night at same venue.
BOBBY CHARLES - Bobby Charles (1972) [Deluxe Edition, 2011] & Last Train To Memphis (2004)
Bobby Charles was a unique musical talent. The Louisiana native with Cajun roots brought all the swampy sounds and deep culture of his home to his music, but Charles’s songs also took a village to raise. Charles himself was a pure songwriter, one that operated more on intuition than musical ability. He didn’t really play instruments, but when he was a teenager he wrote hits like “See You Later, Alligator” and “Walking to New Orleans” that are classics to this day. Charles was a songwriting prodigy, a guy who worked out the words and some sort of melody in his head, and then enlisted friends to flesh them out with twangy, lush instrumentation.
Charles only released one album in the ‘70s, 1972’s Bobby Charles, but it is an undeniable classic, one of the great pop records the decade offered. At a time where singer-songwriters were everywhere - the 1970-‘74 bin at the record store is still an endless source of inspiration for modern folk and pop acts - Charles released a record that stood above the rest. Since four out of five members of the Band play on the record and it sure sounds like a Band record (albeit a more shuffling version of one), some have called this an unofficial part of that group’s catalogue. But while to do so may be a decent descriptor, it is also dismissive of Charles’s singular talents and charm.
Digitally remastered and expanded 3-CD Deluxe Edition of this 1972 album housed in a cardboard replica of a wooden box.
Includes a remastered version of the original album with a wealth of unreleased material recorded during those sessions and others recorded at Bearsville Studios throughout 1974. The set closes with a newly unearthed, 30-minute interview Charles did that was recorded shortly before the Bobby Charles album was released in August 1972. Released by Rhino Handmade 2011.
Not quite a new album and not quite a compilation, Bobby Charles' 2004 release Last Train to Memphis is closer to a clearing-house for little-heard recordings than a proper album. Billed as a single-disc release paired with a bonus disc, the two-CD set contains a total of 34 songs, and since there is no distinct difference between the two discs, it only seems appropriate to treat it all as a sprawling double album. Jim Bateman says in his perfunctory, largely biographical liner notes that this album "fills in the years between his critically acclaimed 1972 Bearsville release and today," which is certainly true, since all 34 songs on the two discs were recorded sometime between 1971 and 2001. The liners do detail the individual recording dates and lineups for the tracks, but it's hard to tell when and where - or even if - these songs came out prior to this release. This is particularly true because not only does the sequencing make no chronological sense - the first disc hopscotches from 1999 to 1979 back to 1975 then leaps ahead to 1997 before going back to 1984 - but because Charles' music is so consistent in both tone and quality it's hard to tell when these recordings are from, based on the production or performance. Of course, there's a certain charm to that. Very few artists could have such a patchwork assembled and make it sound cohesive, which this certainly does. This all flows from his brilliant eponymous 1972 album for Bearsville, which blended his signature spin on New Orleans R&B with an Americana bent borrowed from his friends in the Band. Overall, it's a little slicker and smoother than the loose-limbed, rustic Bobby Charles - plus, its sprawling nature means it's not nearly the compulsive listen as that underappreciated gem - but it's consistently satisfying, filled with satisfyingly modest new Charles originals and friendly, engaging reworkings of warhorses like "See You Later Alligator." So, even if Last Train to Memphis is frustrating when closely inspected, if it's taken as just a collection of 34 fine Bobby Charles recordings, it's very pleasurable, and not in the least because there are so few Charles recordings that it only seems right to savor every one.
THE MARSHALL TUCKER BAND - Together Forever (1978) & Tenth (1980)
The expanded reissue of Marshall Tucker's Together Forever, originally issued in 1978 and the follow-up to the platinum-selling Carolina Dreams, was not so much a change in direction, but a musical expansion of their various strengths. Working with veteran jazz producer Stewart Levine, the Tuckers looked outside the Southern rock paradigm a little farther for inspiration and sustenance. Jazz had always been a fringe element of the band's sound, and here, Levine brought it closer to the surface. That is not to say that Marshall Tucker abandoned their rock & roll aesthetic, far from it. They just deepened the open-ended nature of their tunes to include more improvisation and took a more textural approach to composing and recording. The set opens with Toy Caldwell's stellar "I'll Be Loving You." His stiletto-edged guitar is the catalyst for the song's drive, but the gorgeous suspended and major sevenths that created new harmonic vistas made Doug Gray's highly emotive vocals sound as if they were coming from the land itself. Likewise, "Love Is Mystery" was progressive country at its best in the 1970s. The jazzy stroll of "Dream Lover," with its lilting funk undertones, was something from outer space. The 2004 expanded remaster includes a live reading of "Bound and Determined," which is jazz-funk cowboy music. And if that sounds awful, its groove is over the top and riddled with knots and grease. The recording quality on the tune isn't so great, but the performance is so inspired it's a welcome addition here.
Riding high from such late-'70s classics as "Carolina Dreams" and "Together Forever," the Marshall Tucker Band appeared to be running on full cylinders heading into 1980. With the success and return to their cowboy roots on 1979's Running Like the Wind, many thought the tradition would continue with their next record. That said, Tenth was almost a 90° turn for the band, favoring the slick, warm radio-friendly production and boogie rock a la the Doobie Brothers and other contemporaries. Things only go back to the ranch ever so slightly on the jam-friendly "Cattle Drive," which could easily be backdrop music for a scene on Dallas rather than a "hands-down-back-at-the-ranch" working man's anthem. This isn't the band in their finest form, but it's nowhere near their worst, either. This 1980 release, recently reissued on theWounded Bird imprint in 2005, was the last recording by the Marshall Tucker Band to feature the original lineup. Founding member Tommy Caldwell died tragically a month after the album's release from injuries sustained in a severe automobile accident.
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