DAN FOGELBERG - The Innocent Age (1981)
Daniel Grayling Fogelberg (1951 – 2007) was an American musician, songwriter, composer, and multi-instrumentalist whose music was inspired by sources as diverse as folk, pop, rock, classical, jazz, and bluegrass. The Innocent Age is his seventh album released in 1981. It was also one of his most successful albums; three of his four Top 10 singles on the Billboard pop chart ("Hard to Say" (no. 7), "Same Old Lang Syne" (no. 9), and "Leader of the Band" (no. 9)) were from this album, as well as another Top 20 single in "Run for the Roses" (no. 18). All four also reached the Top 10 on the Billboard adult contemporary chart, with "Leader of the Band" reaching number 1 on that chart. The album also includes his song "Times Like These" from the 1980 "Urban Cowboy" soundtrack. The Innocent Age drew its inspiration from Thomas Wolfe's major novel Of Time and the River.
DISC 1: 01. Nexus 02. The Innocent Age 03. The Sand And The Foam 04. In The Passage 05. Lost In The Sun 06. Run For The Roses 07. Leader Of The Band/Washington Post March 08. Same Old Lang Syne
DISC 2: 01. Stolen Moments 02. The Lion's Share 03. Only The Heart May Know 04. The Reach 05. Aireshire Lament 06. Times Like These 07. Hard To Say 08. Empty Cages 09. Ghosts
Leaf Hound formed in 1969 under their original name, Black Cat Bones. Early incarnations of the Black Cat Bones featured guitarist Paul Kossoff and drummer Simon Kirke who both left to form Free. Black Cat Bones issued one album for Decca Records entitled Barbed Wire Sandwich. They replaced their vocalist shortly after releasing the album, adding Peter French to the line-up. Guitarist Rod Price departed soon after to join Foghat and French added his cousin Mick Halls on guitar. Soon afterwards, Black Cat Bones changed their name to Leaf Hound. At this point the band consisted of French on vocals, Halls on guitar, the Brooks brothers, Derek and Stuart, on guitar and bass respectively, and Keith George-Young on drums.
Growers of Mushroom was recorded at Spot Studios in Mayfair, London in late 1970. Shortly after the Brooks brothers departed and Ron Thomas filled in on bass. The band toured Europe as a four-piece and released the "Drowned My Life in Fear" single and the Leaf Hound album in Germany on Telefunken. The Growers of Mushroom album was released shortly after (featuring all of the tracks on the self-titled album) but by this time French had already departed to join Atomic Rooster for their album In Hearing Of. French would also later join American hard rock band Cactus. Growers of Mushroom became a collectors item in the years to come and was voted the number one most collectable rock album in Q magazine.
New album Unleashed was released on 12 November 2007. It features eight all new compositions by Peter French and Luke Rayner and also a reworking of Atomic Rooster's "Breakthrough". The album has been met with critical acclaim from the music press with Kerrang! calling it, "As good a rock album as you could hope to hear." Classic Rock Magazine noted, "An unpretentious hard rock record, relying on strong songs and powerful performances." French and Rayner were also praised for their production skills, "Preserving the Classic Rock sound."
LINDA RONSTADT - Greatest Hits (1976) & Greatest Hits: Volume Two (1980)
Greatest Hits was Linda Ronstadt's first major compilation album, released at the end of 1976 for the holiday shopping season. It included material from both her Capitol Records and Asylum Records output, and went back to 1967 for The Stone Poneys' hit "Different Drum". It remains the biggest-selling album of Ronstadt's career, being certified seven times Platinum (over 7 million US copies sold) by the Recording Industry Association of America in America alone. As of 2016 - 40 years after its initial release - it has never been out of print and has reportedly sold nearly 20 million worldwide. It peaked at #6 on the main Billboard album chart and also reached #2 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart, where it remained for over three years. The album was criticized by the Rolling Stone Record Guide for being "premature", as Ronstadt continued to have record-breaking mainstream successes for many years following this release, however by the time this collection came out Ronstadt had already been recording hit records (as a solo artist and with the Stone Poneys) for a decade and there were many examples of other artists releasing greatest hits albums much sooner, such as Elvis Presley.
Greatest Hits, Volume 2 is a hits compilation album from American singer/songwriter/producer Linda Ronstadt. It was released in late 1980 on Asylum Records. The disc covers mostly Ronstadt's hard rocking singles. The venerated release has sold close to two million copies in the United States alone and was the superstar's eighth consecutive Platinum-certified album. This album simply named Linda Ronstadt was under license released by Supraphon recording company in 1980 in Czechoslovakia, where it sold over 350,000 copies, considering it a major success. This album has never been out of print.
METALLICA - Master Of Puppets (1986) [Expanded Edition, 2017]
Master of Puppets is the third studio album by American heavy metal band Metallica. Recorded at the Sweet Silence Studios with producer Flemming Rasmussen, it was the first Metallica album released on a major record label. Master of Puppets was the band's last album to feature bassist Cliff Burton, who died in a bus accident in Sweden during the album's promotional tour. Master of Puppets was originally released on March 3rd, 1986, on Elektra Records and went on to become the first Metallica album to be certified Platinum by the RIAA. The album has been certified 6x Platinum in the United States and has sold over 10 million copies worldwide. In 2016, the album became the first metal album to be added to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress, an honor granted to works deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
The Expanded Edition include previously unreleased demos, rough mixes, interviews, live tracks, and a 28-page booklet.
ELTON JOHN - Diamonds (2017)
Elton John was one of the biggest pop star of the '70s, grabbing headlines and generating hits throughout the world. As it turned out, this was merely the first act in a remarkable career that kept him at the top of the charts for over 25 years. He charted a Top 40 hit single every year between 1970 and 1996, a sign that he knew how to both change with the times and mold the times to fit him. Initially marketed as a singer/songwriter, John soon revealed he could craft Beatlesque pop and pound out rockers with equal aplomb. He could dip into soul, disco, and country, as well as classic pop balladry and even progressive rock. His versatility, combined with his effortless melodic skills, dynamic charisma, and flamboyant stage shows, became his calling cards and many of his songs - including "Your Song," "Rocket Man," "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," and "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" - became contemporary pop standards.
Elton John Diamonds Greatest Hits Collection 3CD limited edition box-set contains 34 tracks over two discs, plus 17 bonus tracks of personal favorites curated by Elton himself.
YUSUF - The Laughing Apple (2017)
The Laughing Apple is the fifteenth studio album by Yusuf Islam (formerly known as Cat Stevens). The album was released on 15 September 2017 by Cat-O-Log Records. It is Yusuf's fourth mainstream release since his return to music and his first one since 2014's acclaimed Tell 'Em I'm Gone. The album was produced by Paul Samwell-Smith and Yusuf. Its title is a reference to one of Cat Stevens' earlier hits, "The Laughing Apple" that was included in his 1967 album New Masters. Yusuf marks the 50th anniversary of his first two albums, both released in 1967, by reinterpreting some of his songs from the era, including four from New Masters and others never released at the time. It helps that he’s reunited with his old 1970s foils Alun Davies (guitar) and Paul Samwell-Smith (production), resulting in cleaner, less cluttered arrangements. Northern Wind, in particular, benefits, Yusuf’s gravelly, age-weathered voice now giving it a greater gravitas. The new songs are no less impressive, with the philosophical Don’t Blame Them unexpectedly changing gear towards its end. Throughout, there’s a disarming warmth and thoughtfulness, making for a pleasantly surprising late-career highlight.
TRACKS: 01. Blackness of the Night 02. See What Love Did to Me 03. The Laughing Apple 04. Olive Hill 05. Grandsons 06. Mighty Peace 07. Mary and the Little Lamb 08. You Can Do (Whatever)! 09. Northern Wind (Death of Billy the Kid) 10. Don't Blame Them 11. I'm So Sleepy
EMMYLOU HARRIS - Profile I & II - The Best of Emmylou Harris (1978 - 1984)
Profile: Best of Emmylou Harris is a compilation of hits by Emmylou Harris from her first four Reprise/Warner albums: Pieces of the Sky, Elite Hotel, Luxury Liner and Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town. The album rose as high as #9 on the Billboard country albums chart in 1978.
Less than two years after her mentor Gram Parson's death, Harris recorded her first album for Reprise. Pieces of the Sky inaugurated a suite of four mid-'70s albums and a surprising number of hits: her sound was clearly traditional, but also tastefully up-to-date with folk-rock and singer/songwriter styles, and her cyrstalline, febrile vocals took standards such as "Sweet Dreams" and "If I Could Only Win Your Love" back up the charts. Profile focuses on these early hits, and if it's too brief to capture all the best songs from four-star albums such as Elite Hotel, Luxury Liner, and Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town, it shows why Harris is important and why she continues to make adventurous country music. Through unfailingly tasteful song selection, brilliant occasional songwriting, and her cool, velvety soprano, Harris extended Gram Parsons's vision of "cosmic American music" and made it her own.
Profile II: The Best of Emmylou Harris is a compilation of hits by Emmylou Harris originally from five of her albums released between 1979 and 1983 (Blue Kentucky Girl, Roses in the Snow, Cimarron, Last Date, and White Shoes), plus two singles, "Mister Sandman" from 1981, and "Someone Like You", a new tune which became a Billboard #26 country hit in early 1985. "Mister Sandman" is a different recording from the one which appeared on Harris's 1981 Evangeline album, and lacks the backup vocals of Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt featured on Evangeline.
Unlike her prior compilation, which collected all of her singles and two album tracks, Profile II omits several singles released during this period, including her duet with Roy Orbison, "That Lovin' You Feelin' Again" (from the Roadie soundtrack), "The Boxer" (from Roses in the Snow), "I Don't Have To Crawl" (from Evangeline), "If I Needed You" and "Tennessee Rose" (from Cimarron), "So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad)" (from Last Date), and "In My Dreams" and "Drivin' Wheel" (from White Shoes).
ROCK CANDY FUNK PARTY - The Groove Cubed (2017)
RCFP is a collection of top-notch groove loving musicians aimed at bringing the world fresh and funky vibes. Their collective credits include Joe Zawinul, Hugh Masekela, Prince, Ruth Brown, Chaka Khan, Simple Minds, Billy Idol, Tito Puente, Bruce Springsteen, Rod Stewart, Conan O’Brien, Sheila E. and many more. RCFP are: Tal Bergman (producer and drums), Joe Bonamassa (guitar), Ron DeJesus (guitar), and Mike Merritt (bass).
With The Groove Cubed, Rock Candy Funk Party continues to push musical boundaries, and seamlessly blends various genres together. The band shakes things up by adding two fabulous vocalists to the mix (Ty Taylor of Vintage Trouble and Mahalia Barnes), which "is a first for RCFP." According to Bergman, "It will take the listener on journey that explore the use of different styles of music from different eras and hopefully break some rules!!" The main goal for The Groove Cubed was “as always to say something different. This band is a perfect vehicle to make music in unorthodox ways that crosses different genres.”
DUKE ROBILLARD - Duke Robillard And His Dames Of Rhythm (2017)
Duke, a founding member of the acclaimed swing band Roomful of Blues has recorded and toured with a who’s who of roots music including Bob Dylan, Herb Ellis, Big Joe Turner, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Ruth Brown, Jay Geils and John Hammond to name several. Duke’ talents have garnered Grammy Award nominations, as well as having won or been nominated for multiple Blues Music Awards and Canadian Maple Blues Awards.
M.C. Records released Duke Robillard & His Dames of Rhythm, an eclectic collection of Jazz/Swing tunes from the 1920’s & 30’s. Duke invited some swinging and sultry ladies to the party, Maria Muldaur, Catherine Russell, Kelley Hunt, Sunny Crownover, Elizabeth McGovern (Downton Abbey) and Madeleine Peyroux. The record features a generous 15 tracks with liner notes from acclaimed producer and D.J. Bob Porter.
DEEP PURPLE - A Fire In The Sky (2017)
There has been no shortage of Deep Purple compilations over the years, but unlike some of the British hard rock legends' contemporaries (Sabbath, Zeppelin, etc.), they've managed a fairly consistent stream of output since their 1968 debut. Rhino's A Fire in the Sky, a 40-track career retrospective that includes at least one song from every studio album through 2013's Now What?!, is easily the most comprehensive anthology that the band has released to date -- a more manageable, largely singles-oriented 20-track version is also available, as is a triple-vinyl edition. Despite cycling through too many lineup iterations to mention, the band has consistently adhered to the heavy blues-rock foundation that made career highlights like "Hush," "Smoke on the Water," "Highway Star," and "Woman from Tokyo" so essential. Mid- to late-career offerings like "Perfect Strangers," "Call of the Wild," "Rapture of the Deep," and "Hell to Pay" may lack some of the bluster of those classic rock radio staples, but they still feel vital, sesting that the key to hard rock longevity is sometimes just staying in the game.
V.A. - The Rough Guide To Delta Blues (2016) & Rough Guide To Gospel Blues (2016) & Rough Guide To Bottleneck Blues (2015) & The Rough Guide To East Coast Blues (2015) [Reborn and Remastred]
This compilation highlights how the Delta blues became the most influential of all the blues forms. Featuring tracks by many Delta blues legends including Son House, Charley Patton and Skip James, plus many lesser-known gems by artists shrouded in mystery.
There can be little doubt that the blues grew up in the Mississippi Delta as an elaboration on work chants, slave songs, and the lyrical and haunting field hollers. Developing around the turn of the nineteenth century into the twentieth, the Delta blues became the most influential of all the blues forms, rising out of the fertile agricultural triangle located between Vicksburg, Mississippi to the south and Memphis, Tennessee to the north, and bordered by the Mississippi River to the west and the Yazoo River to the east.
The huge musical influence of the church has meant that gospel music and the blues have long been intertwined. From the true guitar evangelists such as Blind Willie Johnson and Reverend Gary Davis to blues legends Charley Patton and Skip James, these recordings illustrate how the line separating the Lord's song and "devil's music" was very thin.
Although the blues and gospel music of the African American in the pre-war era seem quite distinct, they were essentially two sides of the same coin. Both genres shared the same longing for a better life and an almost blind hope in deliverance and redemption. The musical influence of the church was profound on many blues singers, as this was often where they started out. Many early bluesmen would freely switch between playing blues and gospel and it was not uncommon for artists to go back and forth between careers as preachers and blues performers.
By imitating the cries and moans of the human voice, the haunting sound of the bottleneck has become synonymous with the blues. This Rough Guide shows how in the hands of many of the great early bluesmen it became the ultimate mode of musical expression.
Whatever the worldly origins of using a glass or metal object to slide across the strings of a guitar, this style has become famously associated with the blues. For many of the finest early blues practitioners it was the ultimate mode of musical expression as it could emulate the sound of the human voice to great effect. Employing open tunings, guitarists would use anything that they could find to produce the desired sound, ranging from pocketknives to medicine bottles and even bones, but because using a broken bottleneck was probably the most popular method, the term ‘bottleneck’ has endured.
The East Coast blues is a style born in the Piedmont region of the US, which lies between the Appalachian Mountains and the coastal plain, running from Richmond, Virginia, southwards through the Carolinas and Georgia to Atlanta. Often referred to as the Piedmont blues, it is very different in style from the harder and intense sounding Mississippi Delta blues and was pioneered by some of the greatest blues guitarists that ever lived. Their unique approach to the instrument was primarily influenced by the ragtime traditions of the early twentieth century, as well as string band, banjo and other forms of minstrel/medicine show music. This musical development was due to the cultural blurring of musical boundaries in this region and a more relaxed racial atmosphere, as blacks and whites borrowed musical ideas, tunes and instruments from each other.
KANSAS - Leftoverture Live And Beyond (2017)
For years, Kansas has “carried on” without Kerry Livgren, and more recently they suffered the loss of Steve Walsh and once again kept things going with Ronnie Platt competently stepping in along with guitarist Zak Rizvi. They released their first album in 16 years with last year’s The Prelude Implicit as if they had merely taken a short stage break during a long show. And, during the spring of this year, they went on a 12 show tour in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the amazing Leftoverture, the breakthrough album that not only salvaged their career but propelled them to the top of the prog scene in the late 70’s. This 2 CD set represents 19 songs culled from the different shows during that tour, so this is not one continuous performance. Unfortunately, this is an increasingly common practice and I miss the days when you just recorded one show and “it was what it was,” flaws and all with no overdubs or editing. Nevertheless, the live recording quality is consistent throughout so you wouldn’t know this wasn’t one show … and the band sounds great.
DISC 1 - Beyond: 01. Icarus II 02. Icarus (Borne on Wings of Steel) 03. Point of Know Return 04. Paradox 05. Journey from Mariabronn 06. Lamplight Symphony 07. Dust in the Wind 08. Rhythm in the Spirit 09. The Voyage of Eight Eighteen 10. Section 60
DISC 2 - Leftoverture Live!: 01. Carry On Wayward Son 02. The Wall 03. What's on My Mind 04. Miracles Out of Nowhere 05. Opus Insert 06. Questions of My Childhood 07. Cheyenne Anthem 08. Magnum Opus 09. Portrait (He Knew)
BIG STAR - Studio Discography 1972 - 2005
Star was an American power pop band formed in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1971 by Alex Chilton, Chris Bell, Jody Stephens, and Andy Hummel. The group broke up in 1974, and reorganized with a new line-up nearly 20 years later. In its first era, the band's musical style drew on the vocal harmonies of the Beatles, as well as the swaggering rhythms of the Rolling Stones and the jangling guitars of the Byrds. To the resulting power pop, Big Star added dark, existential themes, and produced a style that foreshadowed the alternative rock of the 1980s and 1990s. Before it broke up, Big Star created a "seminal body of work that never stopped inspiring succeeding generations" in the words of Rolling Stone, as the "quintessential American power pop band" and "one of the most mythic and influential cult acts in all of rock & roll". Big Star's first album 1972's #1 Recordwas met by enthusiastic reviews, but ineffective marketing by Stax Records and limited distribution stunted its commercial success. Frustration took its toll on band relations: Bell left not long after the first record's commercial progress stalled, and Hummel left to finish his college education after a second album, Radio City, was completed in December 1973. Like #1 Record, Radio City received excellent reviews, but label issues again thwarted sales Columbia R ecords, which had assumed control of the Stax catalog, likewise effectively vetoed its distribution. After a third album, recorded in the Fall of 1974, was deemed commercially unviable and shelved before receiving a title, the band broke up late in 1974. Four years later, the first two Big Star LPs were released together in the UK as a double album. The band's third album was finally issued soon afterward; titled Third/Sister Lovers, it found limited commercial success. Shortly thereafter, Chris Bell was killed in a car accident at the age of 27.
The Big Star discography drew renewed attention in the 1980s when R.E.M., and the Replacements as well as other popular bands cited the group as an influence. In 1992, interest was further stimulated by Rykodisc's reissues of the band's albums, complemented by a collection of Bell's solo work. In 1993, Chilton and Stephens reformed Big Star with recruits Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow of the Posies, and gave a concert at the University of Missouri. The band remained active, performing tours in Europe and Japan and released a new studio album, In Space, in 2005. Chilton died in 2010 after suffering from hart problems. Hummel died of cancer three months later. These deaths left Stephens as the sole surviving founding member. Big Star was inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame in 2014.
JOHNNY CASH - The Great Johnny Cash - Volume One & Two (2000)
Johnny Cash was one of the most imposing and influential figures in post-World War II country music. With his deep, resonant baritone and spare percussive guitar, he had a basic, distinctive sound. Cash didn't sound like Nashville, nor did he sound like honky tonk or rock & roll. He created his own sub-genre, falling halfway between the blunt emotional honesty of folk, the rebelliousness of rock & roll, and the world-weariness of country. Cash's career coincided with the birth of rock & roll, and his rebellious attitude and simple, direct musical attack shared a lot of similarities with rock. However, there was a deep sense of history as he would later illustrate with his series of historical albums that kept him forever tied with country. And he was one of country music's biggest stars of the '50s and '60s, scoring well over 100 hit singles.
Cash was reaching a second peak of popularity in 1970. In addition to his television show, he performed for President Richard Nixon at the White House, acted with Kirk Douglas in The Gunfight, sang with John Williams and the Boston Pops Orchestra, and he was the subject of a documentary film. His record sales were equally healthy as "Sunday Morning Coming Down" and "Flesh and Blood" were number one hits. Throughout 1971, Cash continued to have hits, including the Top Three "Man in Black." Both Cash and Carter became more socially active in the early '70s, campaigning for the civil rights of Native Americans and prisoners, as well as frequently working with Billy Graham.
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