GREGG ALLMAN - Laid Back (1973) [Deluxe Edition, 2019]
A few months after the Allman Brothers Band released their revered fourth studio album Brothers And Sisters, legendary frontman, vocalist, pianist Gregg Allman stepped out on his own with his masterful debut solo album Laid Back. Co-produced by Allman along with Johnny Sandlin, the collection of songs was a creative outlet where he was able to assume full control and explore his varying influences, including rhythm and blues and soul music. Exemplified by the album title’s relaxed approach, the songs were a departure from his band’s guitar-heavy sound in favor of gospel-tinged organs, slower tempos and a choir, all of which beautifully buoyed Allman’s soulful, and at times, mournful vocals. On several songs he sounds like a man reflecting on the last few tumultuous years which included the deaths of his bandmates, brother Duane Allman and Berry Oakley, hard touring and incredible success. Of the album, NPR wrote, “It’s amazing stuff, deep and intense yet nowhere near the decibel levels of his work with the band. Allman is amazing when he’s belting his heart out about being tied to the whipping post. But he’s equally compelling — maybe even more so — in a quieter space, when he’s less fired up.” Upon release in October 1973, Laid Back received positive reviews and peaked at number 13 on Billboard’s Top LPs & Tape chart while “Midnight Rider” became a top 20 hit across North America.
Gregg’s masterful debut solo album Laid Back has been remastered for release as an expanded two-disc deluxe edition and reissue on vinyl. The deluxe edition of Laid Back features more that two dozen bonus tracks of rarities including unreleased demos, outtakes, alternates and new mixes.
THE BEATLES - Abbey Road (1969) [The 50th Anniversary Edition, 2019)
Abbey Road is widely seen as one of the Beatles’ greatest achievements, that spectacular 1969 curtain call where they put their animosity aside and got back to their old magic one last time. But for such an exalted hallmark of rock history, its making has always been a little mysterious, even under-documented. By now, very few stones remain unturned in the Beatles’ story, but when it comes to Abbey Road, diehards still find a lot to agonize over: Did they hate each other? Was it supposed to be the last album? Is it their last album at all? And for whatever reason, Abbey Road often gets the thinnest chapter even in the heftiest Beatles tomes: in Bob Spitz’s 983-page biography The Beatles, its sessions get a whopping nine pages. Maybe Abbey Road wasn’t designed to be their last. But coming only a few weeks after the tempestuous Let it Be, how did they arrive at the good vibes of “Come Together,” “Here Comes the Sun” or the open-hearted closing medley? Bonus material reveals levity and light during the sessions, from Ringo Starr and George Harrison cracking up through “Octopus’s Garden” to John Lennon rip-roaring through “Come Together” and “Polythene Pam” like he’s having the time of his life.
The classic original Beatles studio albums have been re-mastered by a dedicated team of engineers at Abbey Road Studios in London over a four year period utilising state of the art recording technology alongside vintage studio equipment, carefully maintaining the authenticity and integrity of the original analogue recordings. The result of this painstaking process is the highest fidelity the Beatles catalogue has seen since its original release.
V.A. - Jon Savage’s 1967: The Year Pop Divided (2017) & Jon Savage's 1968: The Year The World Burned (2018)
Jon Savage follows up last year’s “1966” set with a similarly packaged 2CD anthology of hits and rarities from 1967. There is no accompanying book this time – so you’ll have to buy this to read all about it in his sleeve notes. In a nutshell: Now typified as the year of flower power, 1967 was the year the 60s divided. During those 12 months, the revenues from LP sales in Britain finally overtook those from 45s. It’s also the year when the British singles charts suddenly revealed a vacuum that, in March 1967, was filled by a Top 10 that included Englebert Humperdinck, Petula Clark, Harry Secombe, Vince Hill, the Seekers and other mums and dads records that you will not be hearing on this compilation. Nevertheless, the single was still king … just. It took a while for albums to take over – this happened with the massive success of “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” in the summer. Although outlawed on 14 August 1967, the Pirate Radio stations were still operating for much of the year, with their highly eclectic playlists: soul was rampant, and many psychedelicised acts still felt compelled to pour all their ideas into three or four-minute symphonies for the kids. The album might have been growing in popularity as a format but it was still in its comparative infancy. In 1967, singles cost 7/6d and albums 32/6d – a significant difference to many consumers that brought down volume as opposed to income sales. There were only four UK#1 albums during 1967: “The Sound Of Music”, “Monkees”, “More Of The Monkees” and “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”. In the US there was a similar split: only seven albums, including three by the Monkees and one “Greatest Hits” by Diana Ross & the Supremes. The transatlantic split had begun to deepen, with America firmly in the driving seat. The UK chart might have been dominated by a succession of dreary ballads at #1 (‘Release Me’, ‘The Last Waltz’, ‘Silence Is Golden’, ‘Let The Heartaches Begin’, etc) but the US had chart-toppers such as ‘Light My Fire’, ‘Respect’, ‘Groovin’’ and, god bless the Strawberry Alarm Clock, ‘Incense And Peppermints’.....
50 years ago, America was in turmoil. An ever-increasing public awareness of both the vast brutality and absolute futility of the Vietnam War stretched itself like a cinematic backdrop across all that was happening on home soil, with peace protests turning to riots, and riots to assassinations. In Europe, France was forever changed by nationwide general strikes and the May Paris student riots. The UK was in social conflict, playing uncomfortable host to Enoch Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech whilst younger generations campaigned for greater moral enlightenment. The bubble of hope had been burst worldwide and change was coming at a disturbing cost. Jon Savage’s choices for 1968 include reactions to the rise of feminism: we see Martha Reeves singing “One day I’m gonna get stronger/ And I won’t need you no longer” on ‘Honey Chile’ and Janis Joplin positively screaming ‘I’m gonna show you baby that a woman can be tough” on ‘Piece Of My Heart’ whilst the 5th Dimension are worrying that “she walks all over you” on ‘Carpet Man’. We also see nods to the spectre of Otis Redding’s death in December of 1967, a source of worldwide grief over the following months as well as many posthumous singles, and Eddie Floyd’s ‘Big Bird’, written at the airport on his way to pay tribute at the funeral. We have the deceptively simple, upbeat rock steady smash of Desmond Dekker’s ‘Israelites’ entering the mainstream US Top 10 with its singsong nursery rhyme feel masking the bittersweet lyrics about extreme poverty and dissatisfaction. This was also the year of James Brown’s civil rights anthem, ‘Say It Loud! – I’m Black And I’m Proud’ and Sly & the Family Stone’s call for harmony with ‘Everyday People’ - coiner of the phrase “different strokes for different folks”. It’s hard to imagine the Crazy World of Arthur Brown’s ‘Fire!’ in any other year – as Jon puts it, “the madness and the glory of 1968”. The year, and the album, finishes with the MC5’s ‘Kick Out The Jams’ – possibly the best version of it I’ve ever heard, and I only heard it when putting together this album with Jon. Given away as a free 7-inch at a gig in December 1968, it’s never been compiled before, and will leave you feeling fully ready for social change in 2019.
TEN WHEEL DRIVE With GENYA RAVAN - Construction #1 (1969) & Brief Replies (1970)
Ten Wheel Drive was a highly influential rock/jazz group not afraid to push the envelope while exploring various musical styles. Though musicians came and went, including the original lead vocalist, by the time the fourth album was released, the records have stood the test of time, influencing the successful Bette Midler breakthrough film The Rose, inspiring women with the drive and ambition to front their own group in a once male-dominated industry, getting sold on online auction sites to be discovered by new generations of music lovers. The original lead vocalist and founding member, Genya Ravan, spoke with AMG concerning how she formed the band: "I went to see Billy Fields, he was going to manage me. He had a friend in New Jersey that befriended two guys that were writers and they were looking for someone to sing their songs. Billy asked me if I wanted to hear them, I said 'OK' since I was always looking for material, so I met with Mike Zager and Aram Schefrin at a dinky little piano studio in Times Square. They played "Polar Bear Rug" and "I Am a Want Ad" and got me interested even though I thought they sounded more like show tunes, I was also an actress, so I liked it. At this time, I had an R&B band and they came to hear me in some sleazy bar and they liked what they heard and saw. They did not have a band nor musicians in mind, I knew some good jazz players, so (we) got the musicians and started to audition and rehearse." When asked how the idea took shape, Ravan replied: "When I heard Blood, Sweat & Tears -- (the) first record with Al Kooper ( Child Is Father to the Man), my fave. I said, oh I want a horn band. It was 1969, we started to rehearse at the Bitter End, Sid Bernstein joined in the management with Billy Fields. It was a very exciting time, we played the Atlanta Pop Fest. Every great band that lived played that gig, that gig is what broke our band (and) we were an instant success." On the material, Ravan said she "seldom wrote with Ten Wheel Drive...Aram was a brilliant lyricist, Mike and Aram were easy to work with, so I wrote some, it made me feel good, because the ones I wrote turned out to be the most soulful, like "Pulse," "Tightrope." I came into my writing more during the Urban Desire and ...and I Mean It! recordings." Those were the albums that came out on 20th Century Records at the end of the '80s, apart from Ten Wheel Drive.
The group signed with Polydor when Sid Bernstein brought Jerry Schoenbaum to the band's rehearsal and to one of their gigs at the Bitter End. The vocalist noted: "Jerry flipped. Signed us immediately." There were artistic consequences to having phenoms like bassist Bill Takas and drummer Leon Rix moving on to LaBelle and Buzzy Linhart, Rix recording with Bette Midler as well. Over the span of four albums, guitarist Aram Schefrin and keyboard player Mike Zager (no relation to Zager & Evans of "In the Year 2525" fame, though because of the point in time, there was some confusion in rock circles) worked with more than a dozen and a half different players. When Ravan was asked about this, she replied: "It turned out to be good for us, fresh blood, it was creative, I love changes like that. I did not like the canning of musicians, but I was the one that had to do it. New blood is always exciting, You know how laid-back jazzers can be, they get excited for the first five minutes." The band played Carnegie Hall on Ravan's birthday and she cites the Central Park gig for WNEW when the Nightbird disc jockey Allison Steele hosted it, as well as the Atlanta Pop Festival as just two of the highlights of their brief but important career. Steele would later co-write the liner notes to Bill Levenson's 1995 16-track compilation on Polygram, The Best of Ten Wheel Drive With Genya Ravan. With all the excitement the band generated live, there was, unfortunately, no full concert performance on video or record. "One of the last gigs we did was a show at Carnegie Hall with a symphony," Ravan said. "Mike and Aram were geniuses. This was their forte -- they wrote this rock opera of "Little Big Horn" and it was brilliant, Polydor did not want to record it, I swear 'til this day, had it been recorded, Ten Wheel Drive would have gone down in history, it was one of the reasons I was disillusioned into leaving the label, it made me want to quit the business." There were no unreleased gems recorded and left in the vaults, Ravan stating that everything happened all too fast. And then she left the group she founded: "Things started to get complicated. The music was not the main thing anymore, it was too expensive to have that many people involved. We had accountants, lawyers, roadies, and of course the group, we could not tour Europe because it was to expensive to get there and stay there. I just felt like there would be no future for me with the band anymore, also some personal stuff went down, that made it awkward. It just felt like it had hit the end for me." Ravan recorded a solo album in 1972 for Columbia Records with Schefrin and Zager co-producing. They enlisted the Rascals vocalist Annie Sutton to sing on the self-titled 1974 Capitol release that featured Hall & Oates on backing vocals, but it wasn't the same. The band created essential music and has a revered place in rock history. Schefrin practices law in Rhode Island, having produced other records after the final breakup of Ten Wheel Drive; Zager does soundtrack work; and Ravan continues to record.
ROBBIE ROBERTSON - Sinematic (2019)
The Dylan sideman and Band songwriter spins a new set of stories, including some about himself. “There’ll be no revival/there’ll be no encore,” sings Robbie Robertson in a raspy voice — a voice rarely heard in The Band — on “Once Were Brothers.” It’s a sing-speaking voice here, like latter-day Leonard Cohen with less gravitas, or Robertson’s old boss Dylan with less insouciance. A narrator’s voice, in a sense, which is its basic role on Sinematic, Robertson’s first LP since his guest-packed 2011 How To Become Clairvoyant, and first since the 2012 death of estranged Band-mate Levon Helm, an album of story-songs set to the sort of diaphanous blues-rock that characterizes Robertson’s expansive film music.
The album draws inspiration in part from Robertson’s recent film score writing and recording for the much-anticipated crime epic The Irishman, directed by Martin Scorsese.
STATUS QUO - Backbone (2019)
The new album from Status Quo has divided the band’s legion of fans. The first new music since the death of founding member Rick Parfitt in 2016, Backbone marks out a new era for a band that’s already had its fair share of eras. Whether it should or shouldn’t have been released under the name of Status Quo, or recorded at all for that matter, is an argument that can be played out elsewhere – we’re not getting into it here. Backbone finds the band energised and optimistic. With two new members in Richie Malone (rhythm guitar) and Leon Cave (drums), there’s youth and vibrancy to balance out the experience of stalwarts Francis Rossi, Andy Bown and John ‘Rhino’ Edwards. It’s not all plain sailing though. A band of Status Quo’s stature and longevity faces the impossible task of sounding familiar to stalwart fans at the same time as innovating, updating and progressing. There will be purists who might never be pleased but given a fair listen it’s hard to see anyone picking too much fault with Backbone. With significant airplay already, thanks to those rock/pop crossover melodies, it’s likely this collection will add a few new fans waiting for an excuse to break out the double denim. In a modern Status Quo live set they’ll more than hold their own alongside the Frantic Four’s classics and, for more open-minded Quo fans, will represent a welcome return to form.
DANNY BRYANT - Means Of Escape (2019)
Right now, so many of our biggest and best “blues rock” stars (for want of a better phrase) are experimenting with all kinds of different styles and so forth. King King went down a classic rock route for their last one, Kris Barras just has with his, Laurence Jones, has moved away from his roots and into some different areas, Bonamassa likewise (although he does so many that you are never sure what hat he is wearing) and Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s last album, although fantastic, was heavily southern rock influenced. It is telling then, that on “Means Of Escape”, Danny Bryant has remained resolutely true to himself and the music he loves. He produced this himself. From which we can deduce perhaps, that “Means Of Escape” was his vision. His deep love for blues is shot through it. And if he uses music to escape, then Danny Bryant has seldom sounded freer – or better – than this. It’s tempting to view Danny Bryant’s ‘Means Of Escape’ as a conceptual title, reflecting the view that whatever changes he’s been though in his life, it’s his chosen profession as a musician that provides him with all the focus and creativity he requires in which to direct his considerable talents. It’s also an album that works hard to strike a balance between his natural rock-blues instincts and those of an Americana balladeer. And while he doesn’t quite have the voice to stamp his own DNA on his better crafted songs, there’s no denying the veracity of his heart felt lyrics...
JANIVA MAGNESS - Change In The Weather: Janiva Magness Sings John Fogerty (2019)
Janiva Magness is a Grammy Award nominated American blues, soul, and Americana singer and songwriter. The Blues Foundation named Magness the B.B. King Entertainer of the Year in 2009, becoming only the second woman, after Koko Taylor, to be so honored. The award was presented by B.B. King himself and Bonnie Raitt. In 2014 she released her first album of all originals entitled Original which earned her the award for Song of the Year. Magness has earned seven Blues Music Awards with 26 similar nominations. USA Today stated, "Magness is a blues star."
With her new Change in the Weather: Janiva Magness Sings John Fogerty, the Grammy-nominated artist is at the nexus of re-invention and tradition. The album reframes 12 songs curated from the Creedence Clearwater Revivalleader's catalog in Magness' soaring, soul-centered style. She follows a lineage of classic singers who have made albums devoted to exploring the work of a single writer within the Great American Songbook-such historic recordings as Sarah Vaughan Sings George Gershwinand Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook.
THE SMALL FACES - Here Come The Nice (2014)
In the works for years, the Small Faces 2014 box set Here Come the Nice is unapologetically one for the devoted. Spanning four discs, the first containing newly remastered Immediate mono single mixes from the original masters, the rest rounding up tracking sessions, alternate mixes, backing tracks, Italian versions, live cuts, and other assorted ephemera, the box's allure lies in its packaging and not its music. Disregard the many attractive tchotchkes added to this set – all the autographs, poster replicas, hardbound books, and photos that are indeed handsome – and concentrate on the music and the contents are, if not necessarily thin gruel, not quite robust. Compared to the Faces' Five Guys Walk Into a Bar, another box set heavy on rarities and live performances, Here Come the Nice isn't designed to convert skeptics. Five Guys told a story, but this is merely a deep dive into the recesses of the group's vaults, scrounging up everything that could possibly be of interest to the dedicated. Some of this stuff is indeed interesting; the live performances showcase a muscular group, one that hit much harder than their mod reputation would indicate, while the outtakes reveal a band with innate musicality, knowing what overdubs and mixes which would showcase the band at their best. Thing of it is, this contains the mixes that, by and large, the group rejected because they knew what was better, or it drifts into live cuts that are powerful but not definitive. In other words, a bunch of tracks for the fans who know the catalog inside out; it's for the listeners who can recognize the excised guitar tracks or the excess harmonies and mixes that pan across two speakers or consolidate into a punchy mono mix. All of it is certainly enjoyable, sometimes revealing, and the set is gorgeous, but it's one for the converted, the kind of fan who can drop a couple of hundred bucks and feel no remorse.
V.A. - Blues Caravan 2019 (2019) [CD + DVD AudioRip]
The Blues Caravan rolled again. In 2019 – just like every year since the first trek back in 2005 – you could experience a night of house-rocking live music, as three unique artists hit the stage at clubs across the US and Europe. On this CD + DVD live album you get chance to see and hear the hottest insider tips of the scene again! Ina Forsman is no stranger to anyone who’s serious about modern blues. The Finland-born belter lit up the Blues Caravan back in 2016, when we first heard her head-turning smoky vocal and the material from that year’s acclaimed self-titled debut album (dubbed “joyous” by Classic Rock). This time, Ina returns to the Caravan with the speaker-rattling soul, blues, Latin and acid-jazz flavours of her upcoming second album, Been Meaning To Tell You. “I’ll be bringing a bunch of as-yet-unheard songs,” she says, “as well as some funky hidden treasures from back in the day. It’s going to be a once-in-a-lifetime tour, full of raw female power.” And they don’t come much more powerful than Ally Venable. Adding her modern twist to the proud heritage of Texas blues, this Lone Star State gunslinger has gathered armfuls of awards for her burn-it-down guitar style and the original songs of her recent Puppet Show release. Now, as she lights up the Blues Caravan 2019 – ably backed by the locomotive rhythm section of Roger Innis (bass) and Elijah Owings (drums) – you’ll walk in curious and leave as a convert. “I’m excited to bring my show and my Texas-influenced guitar slingin' background to this Blues Caravan,” says Ally. “When I play live, I want to connect with people and for them to let go of their troubles.” There must be something in the water in Belgrade. The Serbian capital has already given us Ruf legend Ana Popovic – and Katarina Pejak promises to make the same impact. With her soulful piano-playing, purred jazz vocal and sneak previews of the material set to appear on her forthcoming Mike Zito-produced album, this Berklee College Of Music graduate will have the crowd in her hand. “My shows provide a blend of blues, country, jazz and rock ‘n’ roll wrapped in a piano-driven sound,” says Katarina. “Between me and the other two ladies, the audience will get a 360 tour around the crossroads where blues meets with other genres.”
The concert was recorded on 15th February 2019 at Café Hahn in Koblenz!
V.A. - Johan Derksen Presents Blues Village (2016)
Johan Derksen is best known as a football expert, television personality and football analyst, but now increasingly he focused on his greatest love: the music: Country, Soul, Rock, Americana, and especially the blues. He it is the driving force behind the Holland International Blues Festival, and he has the ambition to make Grollo 'the Blues Capitol of Europe'. In his own words: "What was Woodstock for America, Grolloo should be for Europe. The album 'Johan Derksen presents Blues Village' is a personal choice of Derksen. This is not the usual suspects, but a selected collection of songs: old heroes and new talents, the trendsetter of the festival and of course some artists, who deserve more recognition.
MUNGO JERRY - Gold (2019)
Mungo Jerry are a British rock group who experienced their greatest success in the early 1970s, with a changing line-up that has always been fronted by Ray Dorset. The group's name was inspired by the poem "Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer", from T. S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. The group's biggest hit was "In the Summertime". They had nine charting singles in the UK, including two number ones, and five top 20 hits in South Africa. Mungo Jerry was awarded from Melody Maker the "best new band" title in 1970. Dorset was granted three Ivor Novello Awards as a composer.
Three CD set. Mungo Jerry Gold, features all eight of the band's Top Forty '70s hits across three discs. It includes the international hit 'In The Summertime', which topped the charts in over 20 countries around the world, going on to sell over 30 million copies worldwide. The track is still regularly used and featured in TV adverts and films. The 45 tracks also include the band's second chart topper "Baby Jump", along with "Lady Rose" (#5), "You Don't Have To Be In The Army To Fight In The War" (#13), "Open Up" (#21), "Alright Alright Alright" (#3), "Wild Love" (#32) and "Long Legged Woman Dressed In Black" (#13).
Stray Dog were a blues-based hard rock band formed in Texas in the early 1970s. They recorded three albums before disbanding around 1976. The band originally formed in Texas under the name "Aphrodite". They moved to Denver, Colorado, where they became very popular. They were introduced to Neville Chesters, a former road manager for Emerson, Lake & Palmer, who convinced the band to go to London where, along with a friend and a former Tour Manager Lorenzio Mazzio, he introduced Snuffy Walden to Greg Lake, who signed them to ELP's label, Manticore Records. Randy Reeder was replaced by Leslie Sampson. Lake produced three tracks on the 1973 debut self-titled album, Stray Dog, with the band producing the remainder.
In March 1973, the British music magazine, NME, reported that Stray Dog were to support ELP on their world tour, which was due to commence in Germany at the end of that month. Stray Dog's follow-up album, While You're Down There (1974), was co-produced by Austin Godsey and the band, which featured new members Tim Dulaine on second guitar and vocals, and keyboardist Luis Cabaza. The additions of Dulaine and Cabaza radically changed the band's sound from blues-based power trio to a more subdued and commercial AOR rock sound. Much of the material on While You're Down There was written and sung by Dulaine, with founder Walden's contributions being reduced. Only two tracks, "I Would" and the instrumental "Worldwinds", retained a sound and stylistic approach reminiscent of their debut. Sampson had played previously in another power trio, Road, with Noel Redding, and American guitarist Rod Richards. They produced one self-titled 1972 album on the Rare Earth label. After the demise of Stray Dog, Walden went on to write and produce the theme songs for several popular American television programs, most notably thirtysomething and The West Wing.
DAVID COVERDALE - The Early Years (2003)
David Coverdale is an English rock singer best known for his work with Whitesnake, a hard rock band he founded in 1978. Before Whitesnake, Coverdale was the lead singer of Deep Purple from 1973 to 1976, after which he established his solo career. A collaboration with Jimmy Page resulted in a 1993 album that was a commercial success. In 2016, Coverdale was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Deep Purple, giving one of the band's induction speeches. Coverdale is known in particular for his powerful blues-tinged voice.
The Early Years is a double CD compilation album released in 2003 by David Coverdale of Deep Purple and Whitesnake, not to be confused with the Whitesnake compilation album The Early Years released in 2004. It contains his first two solo releases, White Snake, and Northwinds, released in 1977 and 1978, respectively. Both albums retain the bonus tracks found on the Spitfire reissues from 2000.
THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND - Fillmore West '71 (2019)
Just two months before their iconic At Fillmore East, The Allman Brothers Band were at Bill Graham’s Fillmore West for an epic weekend, as the middle act between headliners Hot Tuna and the 24-piece opener Trinidad Tripoli Street band. The cover depicts a never seen photo of Duane Allman taken at these shows, from the legendary photographer, Jim Marshall. These recordings are being issued for the first time and any time there’s an opportunity to hear more of Duane Allman and this edition of the ABB, it’s more than worth a listen. Yes, these are the same tunes on the east coast Fillmore album, perhaps a bit more ragged, as the band was shaping their sound but there’s a pulsating energy and spontaneity across these four CDs that’s very bit as good, at times better than the versions of these tunes that are burned into our collective consciousness. Gregg Allman sings with so much unbridled passion that that alone is worth the listen while, of course, Duane and Dickey added down and dirty licks. These were young cats playing freely and establishing themselves.
Compiled from reel-to-reel soundboard masters, the January 29 show that kicks it off reads like an Allman Brothers Band greatest hits from their first two studio albums, from opener “Statesboro Blues” through an 11 minute version of “Dreams” to the set-wrapping “Whipping Post.” On the next night, the standard sequence of “Statesboro Blues,” Trouble No More,” “Don’t Keep Me Wonderin'” and “Elizabeth Reed” was typically riveting, and then the slow simmering “Stormy Monday” was worked in, replacing “Midnight Rider.” This “You Don’t Love Me” has even more improvisational moments than the familiar one while a rollicking “Whipping Post” closes it out. The band–Duane Allman, Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts, Jaimoe, Berry Oakley and Butch Trucks – demonstrates palpable chemistry, a relaxed rapport with the audience, and telepathic jazz-like moments...
THE NIMMO BROTHERS
The Nimmo Brothers are guitarists/vocalists Stevie and Alan Nimmo, plus their rhythm section of Sam Firth (bass) and Mark Barrett (drums). Based in Glasgow, Scotland, the Nimmo Brothers began mixing modern electric blues and rock & roll in 1997, and built an audience by touring the U.K. and Europe on the festival and club circuits.
The Nimmo Brothers was founded in 1995 by the brothers Stevie and Alan Nimmo (both of whom play guitar and sing) in Glasgow. Previously, they were in a group called the Blackwater Blues Band, which released one album. Over time, the Nimmo brothers have had several accompanying musicians. The Nimmo Brothers recorded their first album Moving On (1998) in Glasgow. Their subsequent albums have all been recorded for Armadillo Music. Their first album for Armadillo, recorded in 2001, was Coming Your Way. Since 2009, Alan Nimmo performs with his band King King. His older brother Stevie plays with the Stevie Nimmo Trio. But both brothers also continue to perform as The Nimmo Brothers.
BAD COMPANY - The Swan Song Years 1974-1982 (2019)
Bad Company are to celebrate their 45th anniversary with, The Swan Song Years 1974-1982, a new 6CD box set of their albums. The six-disc Bad Company: The Swan Song Years 1974-1982 collects together their output for Swan Song. These are all fairly recent remasters (from the original tapes), with Desolation Angels and Rough Diamonds brand new 2019 remastered versions. The other albums included are: Bad Company (1974), Straight Shooter (1975), Run with the Pack (1976), and Burnin’ Sky (1977). Bad Company formed when members of Free (Paul Rodgers, Simon Kirke), King Crimson (Boz Burrell) and Mott The Hoople (Mick Ralphs) decided to pool their talents back in 1973. They became the first band to sign to Led Zeppelin’s Swan Song label later that year. The band’s 1974 debut Bad Company went to number one in America and was a massive seller thanks to songs like ‘Can’t Get Enough,’ ‘Rock Steady,’ and ‘Movin’ On’. The multi-platinum streak continued a year later with Straight Shooter which delivered standouts like ‘Good Lovin’ Gone Bad,’ ‘Shooting Star’ and the Grammy-nominated smash, ‘Feel Like Makin’ Love.’ The band carried on with double-platinum releases for the next few albums, before ceasing operation in 1982 after the measly gold of Rough Diamonds, becoming the last studio album the original quartet released.
Paul Pena (1950 – 2005) was a blind American singer, songwriter and guitarist of Cape Verdean descent. His music from the first half of his career touched on Delta blues, jazz, morna, flamenco, folk and rock and roll. Pena is probably best known for writing the song "Jet Airliner," a major 1977 hit for the Steve Miller Band and a staple of classic rock radio; and for appearing in the 1999 documentary film Genghis Blues, wherein he displayed his abilities in the field of Tuvan throat singing.
Pena's debut album was the self-titled Paul Pena, recorded with guitarist Jeff Baxter, drummer Juma Santos, and former Perkins classmate Ellis Hall on backing vocals, and released by Capitol Records in 1971. His follow-up album New Train was recorded in 1973 by Bearsville Records and was produced by Ben Sidran (keyboardist for the Steve Miller Band). New Train featured Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders, and The Persuasions. Albert Grossman, the owner of Bearsville Records (and best known as the manager of Bob Dylan), stopped release of the record after a dispute with Pena and his then-manager, Dr. Gunther Weil.Pena remained contractually obligated to Grossman, and was unable to record for another label. Pena died in his San Francisco, California, apartment of complications from diabetes and pancreatitis on October 1, 2005.
PAICE ASHTON LORD - Malice In Wonderland (1976) & Malice In Wonderland 2: Another Story (2001) 
When Deep Purple disbanded in 1976, Jon Lord and Ian Paice decided to start a new band, not trying to recreate what they already had with Deep Purple but to explore new musical directions. As frontman they recruited singer and keyboard player Tony Ashton. Jon Lord had already collaborated with Tony Ashton composing the soundtrack for “The Last Rebel” (published 1971 as “Musical score composed by Tony Ashon & Jon Lord, performed by Ashton, Gardner & Dyke”) and on “First Of The Big Bands” (published 1974 as “Tony Ashton & Jon Lord”), an album which could be seen as some sort of blueprint for “Malice in Wonderland”. The lineup was completed with Paul Martinez on bass and Bernie Marsden on guitar, a brass section fronted by Howie Casey and two female background singers, Sheila McKinley and Jeanette McKinley. The recordings took place in Munich in autumn 1976 in basement studio of the Arabella hotel (inspiration for the song “Arabella”) and the album was released in early 1977, surprising many DEEP PURPLE fans with a mix of Rock, Blues, Funk and Jazz. To promote the album, a tour covering major European cities had been planned, but as tickets didn’t sell as expected, most dates were dropped from the oncoming tour, leaving just five British dates to be performed. As time went by, Tony Ashton felt more and more uncomfortable with his role as frontman of PAL and it also turned out the fans needed more time to adjust to the sound of Paice Ashton Lord as expected. By the end of 1977, the band started the recordings for a second album, but as the momentum was gone the album was never finished and the band called it quits in 1978.
The 2001 reissue on Purple Records includes eight additional tracks from PAL's unfinished second album.
NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND - Notes From The Underground (1968)
Berkeley, CA, psychedelic outfit Notes from the Underground formed in 1965, originally comprised of singer/multi-instrumentalist Fred Sokolow, guitarist Mark Mandell, bassist Mike O'Connor, keyboardist John Miller, and drummer Joe Luke. One of the first Bay Area rock bands of any real distinction, the group played at the first Longshoreman's Hall concert presented by the now-legendary Family Dog collective they also regularly headlined the local club the Jabberwock when the house band, their chief rivals Country Joe & the Fish, were taking a night off. With the exits of Miller and Luke, Notes from the Underground recruited keyboardist Jim Work and drummer Peter Ostwald; soon after, fledgling producer and folklorist Chris Strachwitz proposed helming the Notes' first recording session, which yielded a self-titled EP issued in 1966 on the Changes label. The attendant publicity no doubt prompted an offer to serve as the house band at Berkeley's New Orleans House, followed by a contract with Vanguard Records after swapping Work for jazz-trained keyboardist Skip Rose, the Notes traveled to New York City to cut their lone LP (also self-titled), an expansive, eclectic affair highlighted by the single "Down in the Basement." However, both O'Connor and Ostwald resigned soon after the sessions wrapped, and Vanguard questioning the band's continued existence opted to cut its losses, spending no money on promotion and voiding their contract. Sokolow and Mandell nevertheless forged ahead, assembling a patchwork lineup that included prodigal bandmate Miller as well as bassist Bing Nathan and drummer Furry Grasso. Relocating from Berkeley to Taos, NM, did little to stave off the inevitable, however, and Notes from the Underground dissolved in 1969. Sokolow and Mandell then returned to Berkeley and formed a new project, Prince Bakaradi; in 1977, the former also recorded a solo bluegrass effort titled Bluegrass Banjo Inventions.
UNICORN - Uphill All The Way (1971) & Blue Pine Trees (1974)
It's easy to dismiss Unicorn's debut LP as little more than a Crosby, Stills & Nash ripoff, but listen closely what Uphill All the Way lacks in originality it makes up for in craftsmanship, with a beauty and grace that render arguments about innovation moot. Harmonies this natural simply can't be taught, let alone copied, and Ken Baker's original compositions though products of rainswept London effortlessly evoke the beaches and canyons of a southern California that only exists in dreams anyway. And while the counterculture ethos that inspired CSN resulted in songs that now seem quaint and even a bit silly, Uphill All the Way for years essentially lost to all but the most avid British folk-rock aficionados remains fresh and timeless by comparison. Highly recommended. Digitally remastered and expanded edition of this 1971 album including bonus tracks.
Always one of the most exquisite-sounding records of the mid-'70s, Blue Pine Trees was the sound of Unicorn at the peak of their musical and songwriting abilities. An album that puts you in mind of Lindisfarne before they got desperate, or the Beatles if Ashley Hutchings had produced them, this is British folk-rock at one of its most idiosyncratic extremes. On the one hand, Unicorn's roots in the sounds of the American West Coast are unmistakable. But, on the other, they never forget their English roots and, mindful too of their familial links to Pink Floyd (Dave Gilmour produced the best of their albums), Blue Pine Trees soars with melancholy subtlety above all of its influences, to remind us just how unique Unicorn were. Key cuts like "Electric Night," "Autumn Wine," and the spectral beauty of "Ooh! Mother" are subjective; like a great Al Stewart album, with the Flying Burrito Brothers behind him, Blue Pine Trees might lure you in with its overall sheen, but it can continue surprising your ears for weeks. And, according to the fan club, it's not even the best record they ever made!
FREDDIE KING - The Complete King Federal Singles (2012)
Of the three blues Kings, Freddie King often gets overshadowed by B.B. and Albert, so he's in need of a collection like Real Gone's 2013 The Complete King & Federal Singles, a two-disc set that rounds up all his greatest work. Sitting alongside these classics, songs so firmly embedded in our consciousness he sometimes doesn't get the credit he deserves songs like "Have You Ever Loved a Woman," "Hideaway," "San-Ho-Zay!," "The Stumble," "I'm Tore Down" there are singles where Freddie rode the wave of what was popular. He tried to dance "The Bossa Nova Watusi Twist," he flirted with a bit of funk, he got slick and greasy toward the end of the '60s, never winding up with chart success but never embarrassing himself. All this is documented on The Complete King & Federal Singles, a set that digs deeper than any collection outside of the comprehensive Bear Family boxes, but it's easier to digest and, for many, it will be preferable for that very reason. Also, it's not only easy to hear the arc of King's career; it's also easier to appreciate his brilliant highs, his stinging yet robust leads, and his full-throated vocals. All the major hits are here, of course, the songs that such guitarists as Eric Clapton copied, but what makes this so absorbing is hearing how King remained a forceful, compelling presence even when he was attempting to cash-in on trends. That's not so evident on either the early single-disc Rhino collection or the Bear Family set. By distilling King to his '60s singles, it's possible to hear all of his dimensions his influence, his force, his versatility and realize that he is every bit the titan that B.B. and Albert are.
ALBERT KING - The Ultimate Collection (1993)
Rhino's 1993 double-disc set The Ultimate Collection remains the greatest-of-all Albert King collection, gathering the best of his recordings. True, the collection is tilted toward his Stax recordings, somewhat shortchanging his '50s and early-'60s recordings, but it is also true that the late-'60s/early-'70s recordings are the cornerstone of King's legacy, the ones that showcase his stinging guitar at its blistering best. By acknowledging as much the set gains credibility, it doesn't lose it, and while an artist with a career as long as King's will certainly have some great cuts left off of a two-disc, 38-song collection, this truly does contain his very best work, particularly in regards to showcasing his influence as a guitarist. If you're looking for a succinct introduction, turn to Born Under a Bad Sign, one of the greatest blues albums and one that captures the full scope of his skills as well as this double-disc set, but if you want something a little more comprehensive, containing the great moments that aren't on that album, this is what to get. After all, it doesn't just contain all but one song from that album, it's one of the great blues collections.
B.B. KING - His Definitive Greatest Hits (1999)
B.B. King was the most successful and celebrated blues artist of his generation, a musician who came from humble roots in Mississippi and ended up taking his music to some of the most prestigious venues on Earth, giving the blues a level of respect and acceptance it had never enjoyed before. While King scored his first hits in the early '50s, it was in the mid-'60s that he first crossed over to the pop audience, and he cut his signature hit, "The Thrill Is Gone," in 1969. His Definitive Greatest Hits is a two-disc collection that brings together some of the best and most popular sides King recorded from the '60s onward, including "I Like to Live the Love," "Why I Sing the Blues," "Every Day I Have the Blues," "Into the Night," "My Lucille," "The Thrill Is Gone," and many more. The set also includes guest appearances by Robert Cray, Bobby Blue Bland, Gary Moore, and U2.
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