RORY GALLAGHER - A Blue Day For The Blues (1995)
A quickie compilation issued a few months after Rory Gallagher's untimely death in June of 1995, this generous collection assembles 16 tracks that show the deeper blues as opposed to harder blues-rocking side of the Irish guitarist. At the time it was issued, IRS only had rights to seven of Gallagher's albums, so there is a large bulk of material that might have fit the concept that could not be included. Additionally, this was released before Gallagher's catalog was overhauled in 1999 for CD, so the sound quality here is not as full and pristine as later versions of the same tunes. Out of print after IRS' demise, this is still a solid representation of the guitarist's diverse blues approaches. The songs are noted with the style they represent Texas, Chicago, ragtime, bottleneck, Appalachian, etc. and even though the sequencing seems random, the album does show Gallagher's amazing diversity. Covers of Lightnin' Slim, Blind Boy Fuller, Tony Joe White, Sonny Boy Williamson, Son House, and the traditional "Bullfrog Blues" (mistakenly credited to Gallagher as opposed to William Harris, the tune's typically accepted writer) share space next to originals whose influences are obvious. From a blues-rocker who had taste and class even when tearing through his barnstorming material at full volume, this music is reasonably well selected, especially since the compilers did not have access to his entire catalog. The disc is worth seeking out, especially for blues fans, since there are no other collections that focus exclusively on Gallagher's bluesier aspects.
ERIC CLAPTON - 24 Nights (1991) [2CD Edition + 2LP Vinyl Edition]
Eric Clapton, who had not released a live album since 1980, had several good reasons to release one in the early '90s. For one thing, his spare backup band of keyboardist Greg Phillinganes, bassist Nathan East, and drummer Steve Ferrone was his best live unit ever, and its powerful live versions of Cream classics like "White Room" and "Sunshine of Your Love" deserved to be documented. For another, since 1987 Clapton had been playing an annual series of concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in London, putting together various special shows (blues nights, orchestral nights, etc.). 24 Nights, a double album, was culled from two years of such shows, 1990 and 1991, and it demonstrated the breadth of Clapton's work, from his hot regular band to assemblages of bluesmen like Buddy Guy and Robert Cray to examples of his soundtrack work with an orchestra led by Michael Kamen. The result was an album that came across as a lavishly constructed retrospective and a testament to Clapton's musical stature. But it made little impact upon release (though it quickly went gold), perhaps because events overcame it three months later, Clapton's elegy for his baby son, "Tears in Heaven," was all over the radio, and a few months after that he was redefining himself on MTV Unpled a live show as austere as 24 Nights was grand. Still, it would be hard to find a more thorough demonstration of Clapton's abilities than the one presented here.
BLACK OAK ARKANSAS - Underdog Heroes (2019)
Black Oak Arkansas is an American Southern rock band named after the band's hometown of Black Oak, Arkansas. The band reached the height of its fame in the 1970s with ten charting albums released in that decade. Their style is punctuated by multiple guitar players and the raspy voice and on-stage antics of vocalist Jim "Dandy" Mangrum.
Southern Rock underdogs Black Oak Arkansas return with their first full-length album of all new recordings in more than 30 years! Founding members Jim "Dandy" Mangrum (vocals) and Rickie Lee Reynolds (guitar) have been keeping the spirit of BOA alive and their songwriting partnership makes this album an essential release in the band's much heralded catalog! Includes a very special recording of virtuoso guitarist Shawn Lane, regarded by many as one of the fastest guitar players to ever live, and a member of the BOA clan since 1978! Mangrum and Reynolds continue to tour around the US to enthusiastic audiences and will be hitting the road in support of this album!
SAMMY HAGAR & THE CIRCLE - Space Between (2019)
Sammy Hagar & The Circle released their debut album of original material, titled Space Between on May 10 via BMG. With Space Between the band harnesses the depth of their artistic experiences and seminal collaborative sound with Hagar's prolific writing vein to produce an album that builds and explodes, song after song, around the concepts of money, greed, enlightenment and truth. Lyrically and musically, the collection of songs on Space Between build from intimate and introspective eye-openers to heart-pumping anthems. The music draws on the bands' substantial careers independently and collaboratively; presenting a veteran band still at the peak of their game.
Formed in 2014, the acclaimed supergroup featuring Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees Sammy Hagar and bassist Michael Anthony, drummer Jason Bonham and guitarist Vic Johnson, quickly established themselves as one of the most emphatic and exciting live acts on tour today, seamlessly ripping through career-spanning hits from Montrose, Van Halen, Sammy Hagar and The Waboritas and Led Zeppelin.
ALBERT CASTIGLIA - Masterpiece (2019)
As many artists will attest, the most unexpected circumstance can spark artistic inspiration. That’s a fact that hasn’t been lost on singer, songwriter and guitarist extraordinaire Albert Castiglia. With his latest album, the aptly named Masterpiece, he celebrates an unforeseen triumph - a connection with a daughter he never knew he had. The result is a work that’s both personal and provocative all at the same time.
Co-produced by long-time friend and colleague Mike Zito, and coming out on Zito’s own label, Gulf Coast Records, the album also finds Castiglia reflecting on the disappointment and disconnect that’s gripped the nation in the past several years. “This album is an observation of life through the eyes of a father, grandfather, husband and citizen of the world. My newly found family brought out a perspective I never thought I’d have.”
INGA RUMPF - In The Beginning (1998) & At Rockpalast (2007)
Inga Rumpf was one of the best-known German R&B singers. Her voice often drew comparisons to Janis Joplin, but Rumpf was able to develop her own unique vocal style. Catapulted to stardom in the ‘70s with her band Frumpy, she released a number of highly acclaimed solo works in the ‘80s and ‘90s and came to be regarded as the grand old lady of German R&B. Whereas other German female vocalists such as Nina Hagen faded away over time, Rumpf consequently followed her path and never compromised herself artistically (unlike her ex-bandmate Udo Lindenberg, whose creativity died down by the end of the ‘80s when he started putting out lightweight pop).
From 2001 onward, Rumpf started to perform rock, R&B, and soul on a weekly basis in her hometown of Hamburg. Three years later, she founded her own record label, 25th Hour Music with the release of the live album Live im Michel. Rumpf's work with Frumpy and Atlantis, as well as her solo output of later years, is essential listening for everybody who wants to get to know German rock music.
THE ROLLING STONES - Totally Stripped [Deluxe Edition 4SD-BD+2CD] (2016)
One of the most anticipated releases in recent years, this collection features the Rolling Stones going back to the source of many of their favourite tracks, creating new stripped back versions. Selected material from studio sessions and shows presented here formed the Stripped album of 1995. Totally Stripped is available as a DVD or SD Blu-ray containing the newly-revised documentary of the same name, or on DVD+CD or DVD+LP featuring the documentary and single CD / 2LPs compiled from live shows. Additionally a DVD or SD Blu-ray deluxe edition is available, packaged with a 60 page hard book set containing 5 discs which boasts hours of previously unavailable music (three complete shows made available for the first time ever) from this truly legendary act. Totally Stripped itself is a brand new version of the documentary of the same name, which tells the stories of the two studio sessions and three live shows (the Paradiso in Amsterdam in May 1995, L’Olympia in Paris and Brixton Academy in London in July 1995) that make up this project. The Deluxe Edition contains a CD of favourites drawn from across the live shows and three DVDs featuring, for the first time, ever each of those shows in full. Following the ‘Voodoo Lounge’ tour, the Stones released Stripped, an album of reconsidered, pared back renderings of some classic Stones tracks, and also a couple of carefully chosen covers. The album mixed new studio versions of tracks with some live songs. The tracks that made up Stripped were taken from two studio sessions that took place in Tokyo [March 3-5, 1995] and in Lisbon [July 23-26], and a trio of live shows in July 1995 at small concert venues in London, Paris and Amsterdam. Keith Richards commented, “There’s something about playing these small venues, the immediacy of it. Also we can keep God out the band, because on big gigs he sometimes turns up as rain or wind”. As Mick Jagger said at the time, the aim was to “Take the best element from [MTV] ‘Unpled’, the intimate thing of it, without actually doing it completely unpled”. This collection is built on the power of lyric and melody, and the material here feels somehow simpler yet potent, as the songs stand on their individual timeless quality rather than on the production techniques and technical expertise that generally come as part and parcel of being the biggest band in the world.
Totally Stripped is the release that the fans have been waiting years for, a document that reveals the inner workings not only of the Rolling Stones themselves but also indeed some of their most loved tracks. Revealing, intimate and moving, Totally Stripped is unmissable.
JOE VITALE - Roller Coaster Weekend (1974) & Plantation Harbor (1981)
A multi-instrumentalist, Vitale is most known for his close work with Joe Walsh. On this, his first solo album, he's responsible for most of the music, playing everything from drums and keyboards to flute and tympani. Filling out the other slots is a mini-guitar army of Rick Derringer, Walsh, and Phil Keaggy. Yet, despite such luminaries, it's not a guitar show-off album. Rather, it's a song-oriented album, and the three guitarists always work in service to the songs. Yet, the songs are not particularly strong and, despite the production team of Ron Albert and Howard Albert (Derek and the Dominoes' Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, the Allman Brothers' Eat a Peach, and other legendary albums), the album never quite gets off the ground. One standout, however, is "Falling," which was borrowed in part for Walsh's later "At the Station."
Plantation Harbor is a dated sounding, but decent, collection of light and airy late 1970s/early 1980s rock. Long-time musical partner Joe Walsh guests on the album, as do a bevy of other similarly styled musicians, including Timothy B. Schmidt, Don Felder, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash. "Theme From Cabin Weirdos" is another in the series of atmospheric "Weirdo" instrumentals ("Theme From Boat Weirdos," "Theme From Island Weirdos," etc.) that Walsh and Vitale have placed on albums, but is less interesting than the others. Ultimately, the rest of the album is also similar to Joe Walsh's albums, but unfortunately without the strong hooks or the bite.
KENNY WAYNE SHEPHERD - 10 Days Out [Blues From The Backroads] (2006) & Live! In Chicago (2010)
10 Days Out may well be Kenny Wayne Shepherd's most important and intriguing album, even though the guitarist is hardly the featured artist on any of these tracks, working instead more as a sideman and facilitator for the impressive cast of venerable blues players who get a chance to shine here. Make no mistake about it, this recording belongs to such senior citizens as Henry Townsend, Etta Baker, Pinetop Perkins, and Henry Gray, and Shepherd's presence (and the presence of Stevie Ray Vaughan's Double Trouble rhythm section of bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton) simply helps to focus the attention on these veteran blues players. Shepherd embarked on a ten-day journey into the American South in 2004 with a documentary film crew, a portable recording studio, and Double Trouble as a house band in an effort to catch the blues in its natural habitat of living rooms, kitchens, porches, back yards, and local watering holes, and the performances that resulted are priceless. Here is one-armed harp player Neal Pattman and blind guitarist Cootie Stark turning in a joyous, ramshackle version of "Prison Blues." A little later, Stark delivers further on a delightful song called "U-Haul," complete with a marvelous improvised rap over the tune's run-out coda. Here, too, is the then-96-year-old Henry Townsend turning in a poignant "Tears Came Rollin' Down." Etta Baker, then 93, shows that age hadn't slowed her as a guitarist at all as she delivers an elegant "Knoxville Rag." Shepherd wisely stays in the background on cut after cut, allowing these amazing musical treasures to unfold naturally and without intrusive elements. There are absolutely no hotshot guitar histrionics anywhere on this disc, which speaks to Shepherd's sincere vision for this project. He's after the preservation of blues history with 10 Days Out, and as if to underscore that aim, five of the album's participants (Neal Pattman, Cootie Stark, Gatemouth Brown, George "Wild Child" Butler, and Etta Baker) passed away before the album and concurrent documentary film were finally completed and released in 2007. Shepherd's name may be above the title, but he knows full well to whom this album belongs, and to his immense credit, those are the voices he lets speak the loudest.
First off, Kenny Wayne Shepherd was 33 years old at the release of this album, so he’s not a kid playing hot guitar anymore, he’s a grown man doing it. And he does play a hot lead guitar that, in a nutshell, is what he does. But over the years he’s also learned that the blues isn’t just about blazing lead licks, it’s also about letting the song say its say and on Live! In Chicago he does that. This is a concert full of songs and not just a bunch of guitar leads broken up by someone singing for a bit. Shepherd is also fully aware of the history of the blues and he honors some of his heroes here by playing with blues legends like Hubert Sumlin, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Bryan Lee and Buddy Flett and he doesn’t step all over them with his guitar playing he supports them. The concert grew out of the tour Shepherd put together in support of 10 Days Out: Blues from the Backroads project, a DVD/CD documentary that featured Shepherd traveling around the country on a ten day trip interviewing and playing with icons from the blues world, including the surviving members of Muddy Waters' and Howlin' Wolf's bands, making this show, recorded at the House of Blues in Chicago, a kind of culmination. It’s all crisp and sharp, full of fine keyboard work by Riley Osbourn and, of course, stinging guitar from Shepherd, but there’s a lot of love and respect here, too. This isn’t just about the blues it’s about living to play it. The whole disc is really of a piece, but among the highlights are a jaunty version of B.B. King's "Sell My Monkey," the blues ballad “Deju Voodoo,” and the scorching take on Slim Harpo's “I’m a King Bee” which closes things out. This isn’t a live album from some teenaged savant it’s an album from a grown man proud and honored to be playing the blues with some of his heroes. It also rocks.
...new KWS album soon...May 31
THE LONG RYDERS - Psychedelic Country Soul (2019)
The founders of alt-country, The Long Ryders, release their first new album in over thirty years on February 15 2019 when "Psychedelic Country Soul "hits the airwaves and enters the shops. Featuring the classic line-up of Sid Griffin, Stephen McCarthy, Tom Stevens and Greg Sowders, it makes the day after Valentine's Day as much a romantic celebration. The stunning new album follows hot on the heels of the deluxe reissue treatment given to two classic Long Ryders long players, "State of Our Union" and "Two-Fisted Tales". The band featured Sid Griffin on guitar, autoharp, and harmonica, Stephen McCarthy on guitar, steel guitar, mandolin, and banjo, Tom Stevens, bass, and Greg Sowders, playing drums and percussion. With a sound reminiscent of the Buffalo Springfield and The Flying Burrito Brothers, but with a harder edge, they anticipated the alternative country music of the 1990s by a decade..Featuring eleven new Long Ryders compositions and a tribute cover of the late great Tom Petty's song 'Walls', this is a Long Ryders for the 21st century; kicking off with the anthemic 'Greenville', a track which proves the band haven't lost any of that magic guitar interplay. 'Molly Somebody' is an eclectic pop tune that doesn't neglect any of their country and rock sensibilities, while the likes of 'What the Eagle Sees' reflects the energy of early punk and power pop that so informed them in the early days. You can still hear their personal connection with the music of the 1960s', but as ever The Long Ryders aren't a band who live in the past. Album closer 'Psychedelic Country Soul' is the greatest testament to that, performed like the previous 11 songs, with precision and fire; the guitars weave and harmonicas build and ebb, the song spreading like wildfire.
FLINT - Flint (1978)
Interesting that when former Grand Funk producer Todd Rundgren adds his guitar to the mix, the album comes to life. "Too Soon to Tell," track three on side one, has that Columbia R&B/rock sound that Santana and Journey made famous. Vocalist Don Brewer hit number one five years prior to this with "We're an American Band," giving Flint a unique edge. In a world where the lead singer or guitar star is all, these remnants of Grand Funk moved on when guiding light Mark Farner went solo, retaining a voice that audiences could identify. That's something the latter-day Guess Who should have considered had Chad Allen joined them when Burton Cummings left, but impossible for the Doors, Bowie's Spider's From Mars, Cooper's Billion Dollar Babies, and so many other casualties. Opening side one with a respectable version of "Back in My Arms Again," well, Brewer can't reinvent the Supremes the way the J. Geils Band did with "Where Did Our Love Go." Without Mark Farner, it is sad to say, Craig Frost, Mel Schacher, and Brewer sound like your average bar band. Guitar work from Frank Zappa on "You'll Never Be the Same" and "Better You Than Me," backing vocals by White Lightnin', and saxophone from Jimmy Hall make for great, slick musicianship. But Todd Rundgren playing guitar on "For Your Love" sounds more like a rock star jamming with the local rock group than the magic you've come to expect from the wizard who recreated vintage sounds so perfectly on his Faithful album. The production by Brewer, Frost, and Shacher is as faceless as this music. Rather than be a new version of Rare Earth, which is exactly what this is what is it about singing drummers? Flint should have pursued the direction they touched upon in the aforementioned "Too Soon to Tell." Definitely more hip than Atlanta Rhythm Section, remember, these cats are from Grand Funk, not the Classics IV. A once mighty arena rock band turning the volume in the wrong direction. All the excess and grittiness found in Grand Funk Railroad's dynamic version of "Gimme Shelter" is forgotten here, traded for slick '70s power rock. Too calculated, too diluted. Rundgren adds something to "Keep Me Warm," Zappa's cosmic guitar lines are the highlight of "Better You Than Me," but even a good stompin' tune like Brewer's original "Rainbow" is desperate for Jimmy Ienner or even, dare it be said, Terry Knight production. "You'll Never Be the Same" is a mini-epic, with shades of the Boston band New England, and superb Zappa guitar work. It is the second best track on a disc that is almost, but not quite.
CD reissue of this 1978 album. When Grand Funk Railroad disbanded in 1976, the individual members created new bands. One of those bands was Flint, formed by Don Brewer and Craig Frost. The album features guest appearances by Todd Rundgren and Frank Zappa. Funk fans will flip over this one!
LESLIE WEST - Mountain (1969) & The Leslie West Band (1976) + The Great Fatsby (1975) 
Leslie West is an American rock guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter. He is best known as a founding member of the hard rock band Mountain. His musical career began with the Vagrants, an R&B/blue-eyed soul-rock band influenced by the likes of the Rascals that was one of the few teenage garage rock acts to come out of the New York metropolitan area itself (as opposed to the Bohemian Greenwich Village scene of artists, poets and affiliates of the Beat Generation, which produced bands like The Fugs and The Velvet Underground). The Vagrants had two minor hits in the Eastern US: 1966's "I Can't Make a Friend" and a cover of Otis Redding's "Respect" the following year. Some of the Vagrants' recordings were produced by Felix Pappalardi, who was also working with Cream on their album Disraeli Gears. In 1969, West and Pappalardi formed the pioneering hard rock act Mountain, which was also the title of West's debut solo album. Rolling Stone identified the band as a "louder version of Cream". With Steve Knight on keyboards and original drummer N. D. Smart, the band appeared on the second day of the Woodstock Festival on Saturday, August 16, 1969 starting an 11-song set at 9 pm.
Mountain is the debut album by American rock guitarist and vocalist Leslie West, released in July 1969 by Windfall Records. Mountain is West's first solo album after several years spent as a member of the Vagrants. The album was recorded with bassist and producer Felix Pappalardi, who shortly after formed the band Mountain (named after the album) with West; this has given it the reputation of being the band's first album.
The Great Fatsby is the second album by American rock guitarist, singer and songwriter Leslie West. It was released on Bud Prager's Phantom Records in March 1975 and distributed by RCA Records. The album features Mick Jagger on rhythm guitar.
The Leslie West Band is the third album released by American rock guitarist Leslie West. The album, recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York City, was released on Bud Prager's Phantom Records in 1976 and features Mick Jones of Foreigner on guitar.
DETROIT with MITCH RYDER - Get Out the Vote - Live at the Hill Auditorium - April 1, 1972 (1997)
Detroit was a latter-day incarnation of Mitch Ryder's Detroit Wheels; formed in 1970 after the singer returned to the Motor City following a stint in Memphis recording with Booker T. and the MGs, the new group reunited Ryder with his former Wheels drummer John Badanjek, and also featured guitarists Steve Hunter and Brett Tle, bassist W.R. Cooke and organist Harry Phillips. An energetic, R&B-influenced outfit firmly in the tradition of Ryder's past projects, Detroit issued their lone self-titled LP on Paramount in 1971, scoring a major radio hit with a gritty rendition of Lou Reed's "Rock and Roll" which so pleased its writer that he later recruited guitarist Hunter to join his own backing band. As throat problems began plaguing Ryder more and more, he was forced to quit singing in 1972, and his relocation to the Denver area a year later dashed any hopes of a second Detroit album; local singer Rusty Day then assumed control of the group, guiding the unit until its 1974 break-up.
On April 1, 1972, Detroit (the band, not the city), led by Mitch Ryder, performed at a Get Out the Vote rally in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This is a tape of the performance, which is listenable but rough around the edges, with a muffled quality that no amount of modern-day tweaking could fix. Ryder is in energetic form, but considerably hoarser voice than he was on the classic Detroit Wheels hits; you can believe it when the liner notes say he quit singing three months later rather than face a possible throat operation. The set is dominated by covers of Lou Reed ("Rock & Roll"), Chuck Berry, the Stones, Smokey Robinson, and Edgar Winter, as well as a reprise of the "Devil with a Blue Dress On"/Good Golly Miss Molly" hit by the Detroit Wheels; Steve Hunter, later to work with Lou Reed and Alice Cooper, plays lead guitar. It's good-time R&B-infused rock & roll, and no doubt was a good time indeed for those attending the event. But it's merely a souvenir when heard on disc, and not a recommended alternative to Detroit's official album.
GROUNDHOGS - The Best Of (1997) & TONY McPHEE & FRIENDS - Me And The Devil (1968) + I Asked For Water... (1969) 
The Groundhogs were not British blues at their most creative; nor were they British blues at their most . They were emblematic of some of the genre's most visible strengths and weaknesses. They were prone to jam too long on basic riffs, they couldn't hold a candle to American blues singers in terms of vocal presence, and their songwriting wasn't so hot. On the other hand, they did sometimes stretch the form in unexpected ways, usually at the hands of their creative force, guitarist/songwriter/vocalist T.S. (Tony) McPhee. For a while they were also extremely popular in Britain, landing three albums in that country's Top Ten in the early '70s. The Groundhogs' roots actually stretch back to the mid-'60s, when McPhee helped form the group, naming it after a John Lee Hooker song (the band was also known briefly as John Lee's Groundhogs). In fact, the Groundhogs would back Hooker himself on some of the blues singer's mid-'60s British shows, and also on an obscure LP. They also recorded a few of their very own obscure singles with a much more prominent R&B/soul influence than their later work. In 1966, the Groundhogs evolved into Herbal Mixture, which (as if you couldn't guess from the name) had more of a psychedelic flavor than a blues one. Their sole single, "Machines," would actually appear on psychedelic rarity compilations decades later. The Groundhogs/Herbal Mixture singles, along with some unreleased material, has been compiled on a reissue CD on Distortions. After Herbal Mixture folded, McPhee had a stint with the John Dummer Blues Band before re-forming the Groundhogs in the late '60s at the instigation of United Artists A&R man Andrew Lauder. Initially a quartet (bassist Pete Cruickshank also remained from the original Groundhogs lineup), they'd stripped down to a trio by the time of their commercial breakthrough, Thank Christ for the Bomb, which made the U.K. Top Ten in 1970.
The Groundhogs' power trio setup, as well as McPhee's vaguely Jack Bruce-like vocals, bore a passing resemblance to the sound pioneered by Cream. They were blunter and less inventive than Cream, but often strained against the limitations of conventional 12-bar blues with twisting riffs and unexpected grinding chord changes. McPhee's lyrics, particularly on Thank Christ for the Bomb, were murky, sullen anti-establishment statements that were often difficult to decipher, both in meaning and actual content. They played it straighter on the less sophisticated follow-up, Split, which succumbed to some of the period's blues-hard rock indulgences, favoring riffs and flash over substance. McPhee was always at the very least an impressive guitarist, and a very versatile one, accomplished in electric, acoustic, and slide styles. Who Will Save the World? The Mighty Groundhogs! (1972), their last Top Ten entry, saw McPhee straying further from blues territory into somewhat progressive realms, even adding some Mellotron and harmonium (though the results were not wholly unsuccessful). The Groundhogs never became well-known in the U.S., where somewhat similar groups like Ten Years After were much bigger. Although McPhee and the band have meant little in commercial or critical terms in their native country since the early '70s, they've remained active as a touring and recording unit since then, playing to a small following in the U.K. and Europe.
Tony McPhee was part of the first generation of young British blues disciples influenced by Cyril Davies and his band Blues Incorporated. A member of the same generation of young blues buffs as Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Brian Jones, he never ascended to the heights achieved by the future Rolling Stones, but has recorded a small, highly significant body of blues-rock.
You had to hand it to Liberty Records when it came to blues, they owned more treasures than they ever realized. While Canned Heat were busy burning up the charts in the United States, over in England Tony McPhee and some talented friends including Jo Ann Kelly, Steve Rye, Andy Fernbach, and Dave Kelly were generating this exceptional (mostly) acoustic blues record, which sounds live in the studio and is about as fine a blues revival record as ever came out of the Sceptered Isle. The slide guitar and acoustic guitar stylings alone are worth the price of admission, and the vocals are mighty strong, too. And Steve Rye's harmonica work and Bob Hall's piano blues are worth more than one listen as well indeed, this record deserves to be at least as well known among blues fans as any of Eric Clapton's much-vaunted output from the same era.
I Asked for Water features more acoustic blues stylings from Tony McPhee and some equally talented friends, but is not quite a repeat of the prior album -- the playing is more incisive and the boldness is ratcheted up at least half a notch, vocally as well as instrumentally. The overall effect, at times, is one of the "blackest"-sounding blues albums ever generated by white Englishmen (and Englishwomen), even if the presence of drums does present a slightly modernistic intrusion. This is distinctly a more late-'60s record at times, in sound and intent, than its predecessor, but that's not a problem when you're dealing with talent this prodigious, because it's all honest and unaffected.
THE LONG RYDERS - Final Wild Songs (2016)
The Long Ryders were formed by several American musicians influenced by Gram Parsons and the Byrds, with country and punk rock influences. The band featured Sid Griffin on guitar, autoharp, and harmonica, Stephen McCarthy, guitar, steel guitar, mandolin, and banjo, Des Brewer, bassist, (later replaced by Tom Stevens) and Greg Sowders, playing drums and percussion.
With a sound reminiscent of The Clash meeting Buffalo Springfield, but with a harder edge, they anticipated the alternative country music of the 1990s by a decade. This 4-CD career overview has been compiled with both Sid Griffin and Tom Stevens from original tapes (where they exist) – the entire band has contributed a track by track breakdown for the set. The set features all the original albums as well as demos, singles and rare live recordings. Re-mastered by Andy Pearce the recordings and in Sid’s opinion have never sounded so good. A new booklet designed by Phil Smee contains many rare photos and memorabilia.
BOB DYLAN - The Real... Bob Dylan (2012)
Bob Dylan's influence on popular music is incalculable. As a songwriter, he pioneered several different schools of pop songwriting, from confessional singer/songwriter to winding, hallucinatory, stream-of-consciousness narratives. As a vocalist, he broke down the notion that a singer must have a conventionally good voice in order to perform, thereby redefining the vocalist's role in popular music. As a musician, he sparked several genres of pop music, including electrified folk-rock and country-rock. And that's just the tip of his achievements. Dylan's force was evident enough during his height of popularity in the '60s the Beatles' shift toward introspective songwriting in the mid-'60s never would have happened without him but his influence echoed throughout several subsequent generations, as many of his songs became popular standards and his best albums became undisputed classics of the rock & roll canon. Dylan's influence throughout folk music was equally powerful, and he marks a pivotal turning point in its 20th century evolution, signifying when the genre moved away from traditional songs and toward personal songwriting. Even when his sales declined in the '80s and '90s, Dylan's presence rarely lagged, and his commercial revival in the 2000s proved his staying power.
UK three CD set from the Folk/Rock icon containing 44 of his best known tracks gathered together on one set.
ERIC ANDERSEN - Beat Avenue (2003)
Eric Andersen is an American folk music singer-songwriter, who has written songs recorded by Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Judy Collins, Linda Ronstadt, the Grateful Dead and many others. Early in his career, in the 1960s, he was part of the Greenwich Village folk scene. After two decades and sixteen albums of solo performance he became a member of the group Danko/Fjeld/Andersen. Since the late 1990s, he has resumed his solo career.
Beat Avenue is 60-year-old Eric Andersen's most ambitious album, a 90-minute tour de force that encapsulates his musical and lyrical concerns over a lifetime. The music is often-dense rock dominated by a rhythm section led by guitarist Eric Bazilian of the Hooters. Equally dense is Andersen's highly poetic versifying, which he sings in his gruff baritone. Andersen is world-weary in these songs, roaming the globe haunted by the past and fearful of the future. He confesses to a reckless youth, but acknowledges that he can no longer afford such license. "What once was Charles Bukowski," he sings in "Before Everything Changed," referring to the free-living beat poet, "is now Emily Dickinson." The ballads and love songs "Song of You and Me," "Shape of a Broken Heart," "Under the Shadows," and "Still Looking for You" are rendered tenderly, but they are also full of regret and loss, past-tense reflections that recount memories of love long gone. The first disc of Beat Avenue is complete and formidable unto itself, but there is a second CD consisting of two lengthy songs. The title track, running more than 26 minutes, is a beat poem with jazzy accompaniment by Robert Aaron in which Andersen recalls a poetry reading he attended as a 20-year-old on the day President Kennedy was assassinated. Beat writers such as Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac come up in his reminiscence, along with friends and fellow musicians, as he conjures up the sound and feel of the early '60s in San Francisco and pinpoints a moment when history changed, revealing how it felt for one young observer. This isn't folk music of the type with which Andersen is generally associated, and it can be demanding of the listener, but it is also a compelling transformation of memory into art song.
CHELSEA - Chelsea (1970) 
Chelsea was an early 1970s band from New York City, best known for being the band of drummer Peter Criss before he joined Kiss. They released one album, the self-titled album Chelsea in 1971 and then collapsed during the recording of their unreleased second album. In August 1971, the band became Lips (a trio consisting of Criss and his Chelsea bandmates Michael Benvenga and Stan Penridge). By the spring of 1973, Lips was just the duo of Criss and Penridge and eventually disbanded completely. Their sound has been compared to the Moody Blues and Procol Harum. In 1973, Pete Shepley & Mike Brand recorded an unreleased album which included post-Chelsea Michael Benvenga, a pre-Kiss Peter Criss, and on two songs Gene Simmons as session musicians. It was titled Captain Sanity.
PETER CRISS - Peter Criss (1978) & Out Of Control (1980)
Peter Criss is the 1978 debut solo album by Peter Criss, the drummer of American hard rock band Kiss. It was one of four solo albums released by the members of Kiss on September 18, 1978. The album was produced by Vini Poncia, who went on to produce the Kiss albums Dynasty (1979) and Unmasked (1980). Criss covered "Tossin' and Turnin'", which was a #1 hit for Bobby Lewis in the U.S. during the summer of 1961. The song was subsequently covered by Kiss on their 1979 tour. Much of the material on the album was originally written in 1971 for Criss's pre-Kiss band Lips. These include "I'm Gonna Love You", "Don't You Let Me Down", "That's the Kind of Sugar Papa Likes", and "Hooked on Rock 'n' Roll". The album also includes a cover of the song "Tossin' and Turnin" by Bobby Lewis.
Out of Control is the second solo studio album (his first being his 1978 self-titled) released by former Kiss drummer Peter Criss. Recording for the album began in March 1980, when Criss was still officially a member of Kiss. The album sold very poorly, and was not re-released on CD until 1997, as the Kiss reunion tour was underway. The lone single from the album, "I Found Love", failed to chart. The album also features a hidden bonus track of a cover of As Time Goes By. Criss sang the first two lines, "You must remember this, a kiss is still a kiss." The album also included a cover of the song "You Better Run" by The Young Rascals.
WHITESNAKE - Slide It In (1984) [35th Anniversary Edition, 2019]
Whitesnake scored its first platinum-selling album in 1984 with Slide It In, a release that has sold more than six million copies worldwide thanks to hard-rocking songs like “Love Ain’t No Stranger,” “Slow An’ Easy” and the title track. The classic album turns 35 this year and Rhino / Parlophone is celebrating with several new versions, including an enormous 6CD + 1DVD boxed set. The 6CD/DVD collection includes newly remastered versions of both the U.K. and U.S. mixes of the album as well as the 35th Anniversary Remixes from 2019, plus unreleased live and studio recordings, music videos, concert footage, and a new interview with Whitesnake founder and lead singer, David Coverdale.
“SLIDE IT IN was always meant to be a structured, more electric modern take on the classic blues-based hard rock that Whitesnake were famous for, but our new Hook City Hooligan, Mixer Extraordinaire Christopher Collier, has hand-tooled this classic record for the 21st century,” says Coverdale. “Hearing all the performances so fresh and so clear after 35 years was amazing. Mel, Cozy and Jon’s playing on the record is as vital now as it was all those years ago. All the featured players shine. Not only did Christopher get the best out of the recording, but, he gives the album a fresh coat of sonic paint bringing it right up to date. I’m personally thrilled with it.
V.A. - Hommage Au Roi Du Rock 'N Roll Par Scotty Moore - Live At Abbey Road (2005)
Fantastic live atmosphere with 24 Elvis songs that Elvis Presley's legendary guitarist Scotty Moore performed live along with a band that seems playing together for 50 years plus various singing Rock greats at the famous Abbey Road Studios, London. Following guest appearances as lead singer and guitarists were on the spot: Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, Ron Wood, Bill Wyman, Albert Lee, Steve Gibbons, Martin Taylor, Paul Ansell, Mike Sanchez plus Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings! Import from France! MM/Bear Family Records.
THE STEVE GIBBONS BAND - Any Road Up (1976) & Rollin' On (1977)
Steve Gibbons is an English singer-songwriter, musician, composer, and record producer. Gibbons' music career spans more than 50 years. The first lineup comprised Gibbons together with Dave Carroll and Bob Wilson on guitars, Trevor Burton on bass and Bob Lamb on drums. The new band worked the pub and club circuits until 1975 when they were spotted by Peter Meaden, former manager of The Who. This led to the Steve Gibbons Band joining The Who's management stable and recording their first Polydor album Any Road Up in 1976 (With John Entwistle of The Who playing on a few tracks). This was followed in 1976 by a tour with The Who in the UK, Europe and the United States. Playing the concert arenas, they shared the stage with Little Feat, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Electric Light Orchestra, The J. Geils Band, Rufus, and Nils Lofgren. In 1977 their second album, Rollin' On included their biggest hit single, "Tulane", a cover of a Chuck Berry song. The single reached No. 12 in the UK Singles Chart and spent eight weeks in the Top 40. 1977 also saw the release of the live album Caught in the Act. The band made two further studio albums with Polydor, Down in the Bunker (1978) and Street Parade (1980). In 1981, after a change in personnel, The Steve Gibbons Band recorded Saints & Sinners for RCA and later responded to an invitation from the German Democratic Republic to become one of the first western rock bands to tour the major cities of East Germany in 1982. Gibbons played at the Birmingham Heart Beat Charity Concert 1986 which featured George Harrison. Nine more albums were released in the 1980s and 1990s, and the touring continued.
SANDRA RHODES - Where's Your Love Been (1973)
Sandra Rhodes is known for providing backing vocals for Al Green and Conway Twitty (she also co-wrote Twitty’s hit “The Clown”), among others, and in 1973 released her own album on Fantasy. Titled Where’s Your Love Been, this album features lots of original material, some of it co-written by Sandra Rhodes and Charles Chalmers, who was then her husband, and some of it co-written by Sandra and her sister, Donna Rhodes. There are also some really good covers, including an excellent rendition of The Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” The backing vocals on these tracks are by Sandra herself, along with Charles and Donna (together billed as The Joint Venture). As you might guess, the vocals are excellent. But the songwriting is also top-notch. Sandra Rhodes may be a little bit country, but she’s got a whole lot of soul.
This CD re-issue of Where’s Your Love Been was released on March 18, 2014 through Omnivore Recordings.
MAHOGANY RUSH - Maxoom (1972) + Child Of The Novelty (1974) + Strange Universe (1975) 
Mahogany Rush is a Canadian rock band led by guitarist Frank Marino. The band had its peak of popularity in the 1970s, playing such venues as California Jam II together with bands such as Aerosmith, Ted Nugent and Heart. Mahogany Rush formed in Montreal during 1970. The band is perhaps best known for Marino's soaring lead guitar which bears a strong resemblance to the playing of Jimi Hendrix. Long term members of the band have included bassist Paul Harwood and drummer Jimmy Ayoub, and Frank's brother Vince on guitar; Frank Marino is the sole continuous member of the band. Starting in the late 1970s, the group recorded and toured as Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush.
Maxoom is the 1972 debut studio album by the Canadian rock band Mahogany Rush. It was also the debut of Frank Marino as the band's producer. Child of the Novelty is the second studio album by Canadian rock band Mahogany Rush, led by Frank Marino. It was released in 1974. Strange Universe is the third studio album by Canadian rock band Mahogany Rush, led by Frank Marino. It was released in 1975.
DEEP PURPLE - Mark I & II [Double LP] (1973)
Mark I & II is a 1973 UK only compilation album by Deep Purple. It contains material originally released between 1968 and 1973. This double LP was released after Ian Gillan had left Deep Purple in June 1973.
This is the first album with the single A-sides "Emmaretta", "Black Night", "Strange Kind of Woman" and the B-side "When a Blind Man Cries" in the UK. "Woman from Tokyo" is the single edit and "Highway Star" is the Made in Japan live version.
WHITESNAKE - Flesh & Blood [Deluxe Edition] (2019)
Fresh off celebrating their 40th anniversary, rock legends Whitesnake return with their latest studio album, “Flesh & Blood”. This album follows the 2011 critically acclaimed studio album “Forevermore” and 2015’s “The Purple Album”, a reimagining of Deep Purple classics from Whitesnake mastermind’s David Coverdale’s time in that band. The 13 original, visceral tracks on “Flesh & Blood”, the band’s 13th studio album, are, luckily for you dear reader, “all killer, no filler”, as the saying goes. But would you expect anything less from the ’Snakes? Since joining the band four years ago, and just in time for the aforementioned “The Purple Album”, Chicago native Joel Hoekstra has really come into his own, not only as a highly impressive axe-slinger, but also as a very accomplished songwriter too, co-writing six of the songs for “Flesh & Blood” with singer David Coverdale. Of course Joel’s talents are hardly surprising, considering he’s the son of two classical musicians. Guitarist Reb Beach, who originally joined Whitesnake in 2002, has stepped up to become the group’s bandleader and guides the band to implement Coverdale’s musical vision. As well as bringing his impressive musical chops to the band, Reb has co-written five songs on the new album, the fourth studio album he has appeared on, commencing with 2008’s highly acclaimed “Good To Be Bad”. It was the “Good To Be Bad” follow up, “Forevermore” (2011), that saw the debut of bassist Michael Devin. The New Englander’s four-string-depth-charge-bass-bombs definitively underpin and drive the sound of Whitesnake in the 21st century. Rounding out the rhythm section is David’s longest serving ’Snake, the renowned drummer and unstoppable percussionist Tommy Aldridge, who has been with Whitesnake in some capacity for 30 years. Tommy made his debut with Whitesnake way back in 1987 in the ‘Still Of The Night’ video, becoming a mainstay behind the kit for successive albums and tours.
DON & DEWEY - Jungle Hop (1991)
Man, is this stuff great! So why don't you already have this in your collection? Perhaps you haven't heard of it yet, or perhaps you've just heard of Don & Dewey -- a pair of high school friends who started performing as a duo after playing in the Squires together -- who recorded many sides for Specialty Records in the late 50s. They never had hits on their own, but they wrote and recorded songs that others brought to the charts, including the Sonny Bono-penned "Koko Joe," and the originals "Big Boy Pete," "Jungle Hop," and the perennial garage rock classic "Farmer John." That alone sests that they were first-rate songwriters, but their talents run deep; these may be the standouts, but their other singles and the songs not issued until this 1991 collection are uniformly excellent. And that's just one side of the group. Just as importantly, they were dynamite musicians, rocking hard (Dewey Terry played a mean guitar, and Don "Sugarcane" Harris wasn't a slouch himself on the instrument, though his violin talents weren't fully appreciated here.) Supported by the Specialty house band (the same band that played on Little Richard's records) and singing delirious tag-team vocals make this sound insanely alive with life. There isn't a bad track here; and even if they didn't have hits and are still a cult item, they left behind a hell of a legacy, as evidenced by this necessary disc.
DEWEY TERRY - Chief (1972)  & Pay Back (2003)
Dewey Terry, who has died aged 65, was one half of the pioneering rock'n'roll duo Don & Dewey, who never achieved great commercial success, yet across almost 50 years, together and apart, remained consummate entertainers who never lost their joy in making music. "It was just about gettin' the music across," said Terry in a recent interview. "I'm for the art and if you can see the art in it, that's my payment." Heading into the 1970's, 'Sugarcane' Harris became a notable rock and blues violinist, performing with Frank Zappa's Mothers and on a string of his own LPs. It appears that this 1972 album was Dewey Terry's only 'solo' record. It was recorded for the short-lived Tumbleweed record label, based out of Denver, Colorado.
Prog Temple present a reissue of Dewey Terry's Chief, originally released in 1972. As half of the legendary R&B duo Don & Dewey (alongside Don "Sugarcane" Harris), Dewey Terry was responsible for numerous classic songs, and toured alongside Jimi Hendrix in Little Richard's Band. After a period out of the spotlight, he resurfaced in 1972 with this lost classic, a fun and funky stew of blues, soul, and rock that was produced by Bill Szymczyk (shortly to find fame for his work with the Eagles), and features guest appearances from Harvey Mandel, Jim Horn, and others. It makes its long-overdue CD debut here, together with background notes and images.
PETER FRAMPTON - Where I Should Be (1979) & Breaking All The Rules (1981)
Frampton's fall from grace has been scrutinized ad nauseam, but notice the abundant use of "I" on this record as opposed to "you" in his hottest songs: "Do You Feel Like We Do," "I'll Give You Money," and "I'm in You." Here, Frampton is focused on self-preservation, rather than just blasting audiences like the straight rocker he is. The decent title cut begs to be "Back on the road, where I should be." No doubt, as over the year preceding the album Frampton suffered a car accident and his celebrity star imploded. The most excellent opener, "I Can't Stand It No More," lets loose another cry for the simpler days (akin to Cheap Trick's "Stop This Game"); the single even rose to number 13 on Billboard's Top 40, the last time Frampton would see the charts. Otherwise this wax stumbles over some weird disco steps and drags in the talk box for an attempt at former glory. Frampton has always tried to escape the gilded cage of his looks, first through the dirty blooze of Humble Pie and then as a low-key average guy whose career unexpectedly hit the stratosphere. By Where I Should Be, the world wanted too much from Frampton, a rock guitarist trapped in a teenybopper body.
Breaking All the Rules is a good, solid effort by Peter Frampton which would have been better had he decided to break a few rules. The problem here is that Frampton is treading water, in familiar territory, singing and playing within the confines of a well constructed safe record. There is a brilliant hook in "Going to L.A." which might have been a hit had co-producer David Kershenbaum given it a little of what he would inject into Tracy Chapman seven years after this. A strong vocal from Frampton as well as a strong performance, but a failure to do what his last three albums did: generate a Top 20 hit! Billy & Bobby Alessi's "Rise Up" is in the pocket, one of the album's highlights, though it tends to sound like John Cougar's 1979 chart climber "I Need a Lover," chock full of the sound from that record and a little out of place here. Vanda and Young's eternal "Friday on My Mind" is decent, certainly better than Alice Cooper guitarist Michael Bruce's version, but not typical of Peter Frampton's repertoire and almost unnecessary. The production on this Easybeats cover is noticeably thinner than the rest of the disc. Bostonian David Finnerty's "I Don't Wanna Let You Go" shows up here, but it doesn't have the snap of his 1975 hit, "Let's Live Together," and sounds as labored as the Joneses, that author's 1980s band on Atlantic. "Lost a Part of You" is a worthy album track sequel to "I'm in You," Frampton's biggest hit, but is more laid-back in performance. There are some clever riffs that help make "You Kill Me" and the title tune interesting. "Breaking All the Rules," in particular, has a Sabbath-inspired fuzz guitar line from the Rolling Stones' "Bitch." Where he does break the rules is that Procol Harum lyricist Keith Reid writes the words on this title number, despite some of Frampton's best lyrics appearing on his own compositions. Steve Lukather and Jeff Porcaro provide guitar and drums as part of a more than competent band on an equally competent recording. Making a good record was not what was required of Peter Frampton at this point in time, he had to come back with something spectacular. Breaking All the Rules is hampered by its creator's position in the rock hierarchy, but shouldn't be overlooked because of that.
ALICE COOPER - The First 4...(1969 - 1971)
The man (and the band) who first brought shock rock to the masses, Alice Cooper became one of the most successful and influential acts of the '70s with their gritty but anthemic hard rock and a live show that delivered a rock & roll chamber of horrors, thrilling fans and cultivating outrage from authority figures (which made the fans love them all the more). The name Alice Cooper originally referred to both the band and its lead singer (born Vincent Furnier), as they played dark, eccentric, psychedelic rock on their first two albums, Pretties for You (1969) and Easy Action (1970).
After a spell in Detroit where they soaked up the high-energy influence of the Stooges and the MC5, Alice Cooper scored breakthrough hits in 1971 with "I'm Eighteen" and the album Love It to Death, in which the group finally stumbled upon the formula that made them stars, blending tough, dirty, guitar-fueled hard rock with Cooper's sneering vocals and lyrics that were by turns relatable ("I'm Eighteen," "Body") and wilfully spooky ("Black Juju," "The Ballad of Dwight Frye"). Coupled with a live show that included snakes, electric chairs, fake blood, and mock hangings, Alice Cooper had something to offend everyone, and from 1971's Killer to 1973's Billion Dollar Babies, they could seemingly do no wrong.
Following the commercial and critical disappointment of 1973's Muscle of Love, the Alice Cooper band broke up, and Alice went forward as a solo act, delivering a cleaner and more professional variation on the themes of his early '70s hits, while the band attempted to continue as Billion Dollar Babies, with little success. Cooper's glossy 1975 solo debut Welcome to My Nightmare was a massive hit, and his shows became even more elaborate as he became a regular fixture on television, but subsequent solo releases saw his following dwindle until 1989's Trash and 1991's Hey Stoopid, where he blended his trademark sound with hair metal arrangements and production and gained a new audience. Cooper's dedicated fan base kept him in the game as he kept recording albums well into the 2010s and regularly touring, playing fresh material alongside his greatest hits.
V.A. - The Inner Flame: A Tribute To Rainer Ptacek (2012)
Combining two currently popular trends in compilation albums, this disc is both a tribute record and a charity project, the subject in each case being singer/songwriter/guitarist Rainer Ptácek, a friend of Robert Plant, who has recorded several of his songs as B-sides. The German-born Ptácek grew up in Chicago and now lives in Tucson, where he suffers from cancer. The set includes recordings by Plant with Ptácek and with Jimmy Page, by previous tribute/charity recipients Vic Chesnutt and Victoria Williams, and by such other notable musicians as Emmylou Harris, Evan Dando of the Lemonheads, PJ Harvey, and Jonathan Richman. Ptácek appears on six of the 14 tracks, singing and/or playing National steel guitar. The songs are sparely arranged (many of them acoustic), with a distinct Delta blues feel: Ptácek's chief influence seems to be Robert Johnson. His lyrics are preoccupied with moral quandaries. "He was innocent," and goes a line in the title track, "but that was a long time ago," and another song is called "I Am a Sinner." This is not easy listening by any means, but it displays a gritty determination that is appealing. And, of course, completists of the named artists will want to pick it up.
The Inner Flame is a wonderful collection of Rainer's songs, and features Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, Emmylou Harris, PJ Harvey, the supremely gifted Chuck Prophet, Lucinda Williams, Vic Chestnutt, Jonathan Richman and others. Fire Records is proud to reissue this compilation and pay tribute and celebrate Rainer Ptacek's legacy. Includes an amazing booklet with lyrics, some really wonderful photos, and liner notes from Howe Gelb. Essential, really.
THE ROLLING STONES - Demos & Outtakes 1963-1966 (2019)
More than 40 rare Stones recordings (demos and outtakes!) from the years 1963-1966, presented as a generous double-CD set! In this collection many well known songs come with different arrangements! Fans of the band's early years will be thrilled!
Any self respecting Stones fan should have this in their collection. If you love the early Stones albums then your in for a mega treat with this release, absolute gems. Unlike Fake News, Fake Presidents, Fake MP's or Poison Social Media this is the real deal. The sound is top notch and will please even the most hypercritical HiFermaniac. After the last crop of "Lost Broadcasts" and the old Bootlegs this is the Holy Grail.
CIRKUS - One (Plus) (1973) 
Cirkus dated back well into the Seventies. Their first album Cirkus One was released in 1973. The band never achieved the mass-market appeal of some of their contemporaries and although they had an underground following they split in the early 1980s. In 1994 was released Cirkus II The Global Cut, where only Derek Miller features from the original line-up. This resulted in a renewed interest in the original album which was rereleased as One Plus with five extra tracks. In 1998 a third Cirkus album Pantomyne was finally unveiled. This splendid offering brought original members, and main songwriter, Stu McDade back into the fold and featured cameo performances by an array of other musicians most notably former frontman Alan Roadhouse, who played flute. Sadly Stu ‘Blue’ McDade passed away in 2016 the same year the band signed with Ramshaw Records and 2017 saw the release of Cirkus IV The Blue Star which is dedicated to Stu.
This CD is a newly re-mastered edition with new sleeve notes and pictures. Includes five bonus tracks.
JOHN ILLSLEY - Coming Up For Air (2019)
Dire Straits may have given up the ghost in 1995 but former member John Illsley is doing his level best to keep their trademark sound alive via expertly crafted albums such as this. The veteran bass player has kept a fairly low public profile since his old outfit’s sad demise but the old creative urge obviously remains strong, and Illsley’s ninth solo set is liberally peppered with atmospheric melodic rockers such as “So It Goes” and “Old Amsterdam” as guitarists Robbie McIntosh and Scott Mckeon occupy the distinctive Mark Knopfler role with rare eloquence and grace. Recorded at the beautiful British Grove studios, the new album features Robbie McIntosh and Scott Mckeon on guitars and a host of other exceptional musicians.
JOHN DIVA & THE ROCKETS OF LOVE - Mama Said Rock Is Dead (2019)
He’s back again! But was he ever truly gone? Rock’N’Roll with a capital ‘N’ – showing that anything goes in this profession – is experiencing what feels like its seventh or eighth spring. And in the middle of it all: John Diva & The Rockets Of Love. The flashy band in the style of the eighties has been blessed with the talent of bringing a breath of fresh air to classic rock music. They are the rightful heirs of an era in which Van Halen, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake, Scorpions, Guns N` Roses or Mötley Crüe roved around all over the planet and took apart anything they could get their hands on. John Diva is charged US entertainment at its very best. Equipped visually and musically with all the key ingredients that this form of music entails, John Diva and his Rockets embody smooth riffs, racy guitar solos bordering on supersonic, anthem like choruses and graphic texts filled with the stories of life, not always completely G-rated. Their debut album, named Mama Said Rock Is Dead with tongue-in-cheek humour, tells stories from the life of Rock’N’Roll James Bond John Diva in full sound. The band comprises of J.J. Love & Snake Rocket (guitars), Remmie Martin (bass) and Lee Stingray (drums) who all seem like they have been brought forward in time not only by their band names but by looks to.
MARC BENNO - Marc Benno (1970) & Minnows (1971)
Marc Benno has been giving blues, rock n roll, and pop music an unmistakable Texas flavor for years. A singer/songwriter who plays the guitar and piano, Benno is a strong force behind some of rock and blues greatest talents making them sound even better. The list of legends he’s worked with includes The Doors, Eric Clapton, Lightnin Hopkins, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bill Wyman, Georgie Fame, Rita Coolidge, Eddie Murphy, Leon Russell and many more! In the 60’s, after performing in Dallas with Steve Miller, Boz Scaggs, the Eagles, first known as Felicity and The Moving Sidewalks, Aka ZZ Top, Benno headed to Los Angeles to further his career. That put him in the right place at the right time! Marc Benno recorded a pair of albums with Leon Russell as a duo under the name The Asylum Choir. These recordings are considered rock classics by Billboard Magazine. Benno was then picked to play guitar on an album by the psychedelic rock greats The Doors. The sessions were for the classic L.A. Woman (1971), the group’s last LP before Jim Morrison’s death. Benno recorded four albums for A&M Records in Hollywood in the 70’s. Eric Clapton played guitar on two tracks from Benno’s 1979 album Lost in Austin, recorded in London, produced by Glyn Johns who was famous for producing The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. He toured with Rita Coolidge as lead guitarist and band leader opening for The Byrds at Royal Albert Hall in London!
After two years serving as Lightnin Hopkins bandleader and lead guitarist, Benno formed Marc Benno & TheNightcrawlers, opening shows across America for Humble Pie and The J. Geils Band. One of the Crawlers was a young guitarist named Stevie Ray Vaughan. Benno’s career got an unexpected boost in 1985, when his song “Rock & Roll Me Again”, recorded by The System for the movie Beverly Hills Cop, won a Grammy for Best Composition for a Motion Picture Soundtrack! Guitar World Magazine credits Benno for giving The Doors a Texas flavor, with his style of guitar playing on their album titled LA Woman release in 1971. He is featured on The Doors Greatest Hits album. Leon Russell’s Greatest Hits, a long overdue release, features the Asylum Choir II classic, Tryin to Stay Live, co-authored by Marc and Leon.
ALAN PARSONS - The Secret (2019)
Eleven-time Grammy nominated legendary music icon and master of progressive rock, Alan Parsons will returns with a new album, The Secret . Alan s longtime hobby has been performing magic and this brand new album showcases his own passion for the craft, hence the title The Secret. The album will see a return to the pop rock sound with symphonic and progressive rock interludes which the Alan Parsons Project was known for. Features guest appearances by Jason Mraz, Lou Gramm (Foreigner), and more. Available in CD, CD + DVD Audio Deluxe Edition, LP, and Box Set formats. Box Set includes CD+DVD Deluxe Edition, 180g Gatefold Vinyl, "LiveSpan" 2CD set, Exclusive T-shirt, Poster, Numbered Lithograph (album cover).
The album returns to the progressive pop-rock sound for which the Project were so loved, also reflecting Parsons’ longtime interest in magic. “[It] has always been a passion of mine,” he says. “I am a member of the Magic Castle in Los Angeles. I’ve also worked with the Japanese magic company Tenyo, writing instruction books and catalogues for their tricks. I dabble with magic myself in my free time, so an album with magical influences was a natural progression.”
DISCLAIMER: The music found through this blog is intended for review purposes and should not be seen as a substitute for the original, legal, RIAA approved, record company enriching product. Please note that songs are available for VERY short amount of time. And if you like the music BUY IT. Please support the artists and buy as much as you can directly from them and cut out the middle man.
zinhof [at] gmail.com