RAY CHARLES - Singular Genius: The Complete ABC Singles (2011)
It’s easy, in retrospect, to map out Ray Charles' journey to musical icon status his one-of-a-kind talent became more evident each step of the way as he moved from Swing Time Records to Atlantic Records, and then on to ABC Records. Charles' first recording sessions from the late '40s and very early '50s featured an artist heavily influenced by Nat King Cole and Charles Brown and working in a pronounced pop direction. Charles recorded for several small West Coast labels during this time, but most notably for Jack Lauderdale's Swing Time Records. It wasn't until Lauderdale sold Charles' contract to Atlantic Records (for a mere $2,000) in 1952 that Charles began the legendary fusion of R&B and gospel that led to hits like "What'd I Say" and "I Got a Woman" that single-handedly created what became known as soul. Charles hit his stride at Atlantic, creating the signature synthesis of R&B, gospel, blues, country, and jazz that made him one of the most important and influential figures in pop music history. When ABC-Paramount offered him more creative freedom, ownership of his master recordings after five years, and his own label imprint, Tangerine Records (which Charles used to record some of his personal R&B favorites, including Percy Mayfield, Louis Jordan, and Little Jimmy Scott), Charles left Atlantic and signed with ABC in 1960, remaining with the label through 1972, by which time he was firmly established as an American treasure and icon, thanks to his enduring versions of songs like “Georgia on My Mind,” “Hit the Road Jack,” and “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” This expansive five-disc set collects the A- and B-sides of the 53 singles Charles released for ABC-Paramount between 1960 and 1972, along with select album tracks that were formatted for radio play at the time and a handful of live tracks from the period, to make a full survey of Ray Charles at his creative and commercial peak. He was always the Genius but these are the songs and performances that finally convinced America and the rest of the world.
ERIC CLAPTON - Eric Clapton (1970) [Deluxe Edition, 2006]
Happy Bday Eric!!!
Eric Clapton's first solo album, originally released in August 1970, represents one of rock history's most successful reinventions. After emerging as one of the seminal guitar heroes of the '60s (as a member of the Yardbirds, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Cream and Blind Faith), the English superstar decisively reestablished his musical priorities with Eric Clapton. The album marked Clapton's transition from flashy instrumental icon to well-rounded recording artist, downplaying sonic pyrotechnics in favor of a song-focused ensemble sound that would lay the groundwork for his massively successful solo career. For the occasion, Clapton surrounded himself with a new cast of American musicians, notably Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett and Friends, tapping into a rootsy musical foundation that provided an inspired framework for his talents. He struck up a musical and personal rapport with the Bramletts and the seasoned, roots-steeped musicians who comprised their band, including (future Derek & The Dominos members) keyboardist Bobby Whitlock, bassist Carl Radle, drummer Jim Gordon, as well as percussionist Tex Johnson, backup singer Rita Coolidge and horn players Jim Price and Bobby Keys. Two distinctive mixes of Eric Clapton were originally prepared one by the album's producer/co-writer/arranger Delaney Bramlett, and one by legendary producer/engineer Tom Dowd, who'd previously worked with Clapton on the Cream classics Disraeli Gears and Wheels Of Fire. Although Dowd's mix was the one ultimately released, many who've heard both have expressed a preference for Bramlett's version. Eric Clapton 2CD Deluxe Edition, explores in detail, this landmark recording, presenting a remastered version of the original album,along with a previously unreleased version of the album, as well as session out-takes, and related singles recordings.
ERIC CLAPTON - 1987 Royal Albert Hall: Romantic Isolation (2004) [Bootleg, Excellent]
It has become an Eric Clapton tradition to play an extended engagement of shows at the Royal Albert Hall. Normally a time to experiment with different themes and playing with different musicians, this began on the August tour with six shows. Mark Knopfer and Phil Collins on the final two shows joined the band and on January 8th Sting and Steve Winwood joined them onstage for the encores “Money For Nothing” and “Sunshine Of Your Love.” These shows were professionally recorded for a planned live album but Polydor, after releasing the Crossroads boxset and The Cream Of Eric Clapton were concerned about saturating the market with Clapton product. From the last three RAH shows “Miss You” from January 10th and “I Shot The Sheriff”, “Hung Up On Your Love”, “Tearing Us Apart” and “Layla” from January 12th were intended for this project. Poor sounding audience tapes exist for the concerts on January 6th and 8th, but almost complete soundboard did surface for the final three and various labels have utilized the tapes. The EC Is Here label attempted to create this project with The Unreleased Live Album 86/87 which includes “Holy Mother” and “Miss You” from the 10th, “Tearing Us Apart” from the 11th, and “Crossroads,” “White Room,” “Hung Up On Your Love,” and “Layla” from the 12th. The Electric Monkey label released The Unreleased Live Album 1986-87 with “Miss You” from the 10th and “Crossroads” and “White Room” from the 12th. Silver Rarities released the complete January 12th concert on On Tour 87 Parts 1 & 2. All three shows were released on 3 Nights (Zigzag Records) in 1999 and five years later Mid Valley released Romantic Isolation. The Mid Valley covers the same ground as the Zigzag release by presenting the three soundboard recordings in excellent quality but is cleaner than the others and can be considered to be definitive. British rhythm and blues revival act Big Town Playboys are the opening act for each of the nights and Clapton is joined on stage by Mark Knopfler, Nathan East (bass), Greg Phillinganes (keyboards), and on January 10th with Steve Ferrone on drums.
Romantic Isolation is packaged in a six disc fatboy jewel case. A two-sided insert has photographs of the master cassettes used, and the two four page inserts have the track listing and band line ups for each of the three concerts with period photographs. The front and back cover is a bit puzzling with a close up of Clapton’s hair. For those who love the late eighties Clapton, this is a fantastic release worth having.
CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE'S SOUTH SIDE BAND - Stand Back! Here Comes Charley Musselwhite's Southside Band (1967) &CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE BLUES BAND - Tennessee Woman (1969)
Charles Musselwhite is an American electric blues harmonica player and bandleader, one of the white bluesmen who came to prominence in the early 1960s, along with Mike Bloomfield and Paul Butterfield. He has often been identified as a "white bluesman". Musselwhite was reportedly the inspiration for Elwood Blues - the character played by Dan Aykroyd in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers.
Stand Back! Here Comes Charley Musselwhite's Southside Band is the 1967 debut album of American blues-harp musician Charlie Musselwhite, leading Charlie Musselwhite's Southside Band. The Vanguard Records release brought Musselwhite to notability among blues musicians and also helped bridge the gap between blues and rock and roll, musically and in marketing. With rough vocals and notable performances on harmonica, guitar and bass guitar, the album was critically well received. It introduced Musselwhite's signature song, his cover of Duke Pearson's "Cristo Redemptor".
Tennessee Woman is one of the few early Charlie Musselwhite releases with Tim Kaihatsu on guitar, who passed away recently in April of this year. This CD has a long version of Christo Redemptor showcasing the band members, sometimes getting jazzy. Each musician is given free reign, and as is typical in Charlie's music, nobody steps over each other. A "must" have for Musselwhite and blues fans.
ROY BUCHANAN - The First 6... (1971 - 1975)
Roy Buchanan has long been considered one of the finest, yet criminally overlooked guitarists of the blues rock genre whose lyrical leads and use of harmonics would later influence such guitar greats as Jeff Beck, his one-time student Robbie Robertson, and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons. Although born in Ozark, AR, on September 23, 1939, Buchanan grew up in the small town of Pixley, CA. His father was both a farmer and Pentecostal preacher, which would bring the youngster his first exposure to gospel music when his family would attend racially mixed revival meetings. But it was when Buchanan came across late-night R&B radio shows that he became smitten by the blues, leading to Buchanan picking up the guitar at the age of seven. First learning steel guitar, he switched to electric guitar by the age of 13, finding the instrument that would one day become his trademark: a Fender Telecaster. By 15, Buchanan knew he wanted to concentrate on music full-time and relocated to Los Angeles, which contained a thriving blues/R&B scene at the time. Shortly after his arrival in L.A., Buchanan was taken under the wing by multi-talented bluesman Johnny Otis, before studying blues with such players as Jimmy Nolen (later with James Brown), Pete Lewis, and Johnny "Guitar" Watson. During the mid- to late '50s, Buchanan led his own rock band, the Heartbeats, which soon after began backing rockabilly great Dale ("Suzy Q") Hawkins.
By the dawn of the '60s, Buchanan had relocated once more, this time to Canada, where he signed on with rockabilly singer Ronnie Hawkins. The bass player of Ronnie Hawkins' backing band, the Hawks, studied guitar with Buchanan during his tenure with the band. Upon Buchanan's exit, the bassist-turned-guitarist would become the leader of the group, which would eventually become popular roots rockers the Band: Robbie Robertson. Buchanan spent the '60s as a sideman with obscure acts, as well as working as a session guitarist for such varied artists as pop idol Freddy Cannon, country artist Merle Kilgore, and drummer Bobby Gregg, among others, before Buchanan settled down in the Washington, D.C., area in the mid- to late '60s and founded his own outfit, the Snakestretchers. Despite not having appeared on any recordings of his own, word of Buchanan's exceptional playing skills began to spread among musicians as he received accolades from the likes of John Lennon, Eric Clapton, and Merle Haggard, as well as supposedly being invited to join the Rolling Stones at one point (which he turned down).
The praise eventually led to an hour-long public television documentary on Buchanan in 1971, the appropriately titled The Best Unknown Guitarist in the World, and a recording contract with Polydor Records shortly thereafter. Buchanan spent the remainder of the decade issuing solo albums, including such guitar classics as his 1972 self-titled debut (which contained one of Buchanan's best-known tracks, "The Messiah Will Come Again"), 1974's That's What I Am Here For, and 1975's Live Stock, before switching to Atlantic for several releases. But by the '80s, Buchanan had grown disillusioned by the music business due to the record company's attempts to mold the guitarist into a more mainstream artist, which led to a four-year exile from music between 1981 and 1985.
Luckily, the blues label Alligator convinced Buchanan to begin recording again by the middle of the decade, issuing such solid and critically acclaimed releases as 1985's When a Guitar Plays the Blues, 1986's Dancing on the Edge, and 1987's Hot Wires. But just as his career seemed to be on the upswing once more, tragedy struck on August 14, 1988, when Buchanan was picked up by police in Fairfax, VA, for public intoxication. Shortly after being arrested and placed in a holding cell, a policeman performed a routine check on Buchanan and was shocked to discover that he had hung himself in his cell. Buchanan's stature as one of blues-rock's all-time great guitarists grew even greater after his tragic death, resulting in such posthumous collections as Sweet Dreams: The Anthology, Guitar on Fire: The Atlantic Sessions, Deluxe Edition, and 20th Century Masters and the live When a Telecaster Plays the Blues, which appeared in 2009.
KRIS KRISTOFFERSON - The First 4... (1970/72)
On the evidence of his first collection of songs, Kristofferson was ahead of his country music peers in realizing that, despite Nashville's conservative political tilt, there was a natural affinity between the country archetype of a hard-drinking, romantically independent loner and the rock & roll archetype of a drug-taking, romantically free hippie. A sleeve note sested that Kristofferson had been reluctant to record, but while he didn't have much range as a singer, he brought a conviction to his vocals and a complete understanding of the nuances of the lyrics. The songs were so personal that they seemed to demand a personal interpretation, and established the persona of a poor songwriter strling against despair. Nashville, as it turned out, didn't have much use for his countercultural songs, but the country music community could recognize a good love song, and Ray Price quickly cut "For the Good Times," which topped the country charts. Then Johnny Cash covered the first-person hangover narrative "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down" for a number one country hit, and Sammi Smith gave a twist to "Help Me Make It Through the Night" by recording it as a woman's song for yet another country number one. The finishing touch to Kristofferson's sudden renown was Janis Joplin's cover of the classic on-the-road song "Me and Bobby McGee," released shortly after her death, which topped the pop charts. When it was released in 1970, Kristofferson did not reach the charts. By the following year, however, its creator was on his way to becoming a major star, and after his second album broke into the pop charts in July 1971, Monument retitled the first album Me and Bobby McGee and reissued it. This time around, it made the pop and country charts and went gold.
By the time Monument came to release Kristofferson's second album, The Silver Tongued Devil and I, in July 1971, he was the author of four songs that had topped the country or pop charts for others. Kristofferson himself had not yet reached the charts with a recording of his own, but his spectacular success as a songwriter made The Silver Tongued Devil and I a much-anticipated record. One consequence of this was that Monument was willing to spend more money; three of the album's songs boasted strings and another a horn section. But the key, of course, was still the songwriting, and though there were several excellent songs, the album could not live up to its predecessor, which was the culmination of years of writing. Typically for a second album, Kristofferson reached back into his catalog, presenting his own treatments of "Jody and the Kid" and "The Taker," which had been hits for Roy Drusky and Waylon Jennings, respectively. In his newly written material, Kristofferson continued to examine the lives of society's outcasts, but the antiestablishment tone of some of Kristofferson was gone along with much of the wry humor, and in their place were touches of morbidity and sentimentality. Kristofferson retained his gift for intimate love songs, and the album's most memorable selections turned out to be "Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)" (which became a semi-standard) and "When I Loved Her." And even if his observations seemed less acute, his talent for wordplay often rescued the songs from banality. On its way to becoming a gold record, The Silver Tongued Devil and I reached the pop Top 20, Kristofferson's career high on that chart, and the country Top Five; thus, Kristofferson made the transition from being a successful songwriter to a successful recording artist.
Border Lord was a crucial album for Kris Kristofferson. After five years of scuffling in Nashville, he had broken through in 1970-1971 largely because of a series of song hits recorded by others, though his first two albums, Kristofferson (aka Me and Bobby McGee) and The Silver Tongued Devil and I had enjoyed healthy sales, the latter even spawning a Top 40 pop hit in "Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)." But he needed to consolidate that success and even increase it, especially as a recording artist. Yet, as is so often the case, he was afforded precious little time to craft his next work. Border Lord, which, like its predecessors, was an album of all-original compositions, was in record stores only seven months after The Silver Tongued Devil and I, and it was his third such collection in 20 months. He continued to draw upon the dwindling store of songs in his trunk, using the 1967 copyright "Burden of Freedom," as well as "Somebody Nobody Knows," published in 1968, while two others, "Smokey Put the Sweat on Me" and "When She's Wrong," were published by his first publisher, Buckhorn Music, sesting that they may have been written well before their 1972 copyright dates. New or old, the songs on Border Lord often seemed like retreads of already familiar Kristofferson themes. His interest on lowlife characters, especially fallen women, was so pervasive it practically turned the disc into a concept album. Of the ten songs, six -- "Josie," "Stagger Mountain Tragedy," "Somebody Nobody Knows," "Little Girl Lost," "Smokey Put the Sweat on Me," and "When She's Wrong" -- treated the subject of women in debased conditions, several specifically described as prostitutes. And Kristofferson tended to reuse his allusions and imagery, especially references to the Devil (already the subject of earlier songs such as "To Beat the Devil" and "The Silver-Tongued Devil and I"), who appeared in no less than five songs.
Kris Kristofferson is pictured smiling in sunglasses on the cover of Jesus Was a Capricorn, accompanied by his girlfriend and soon-to-be-wife Rita Coolidge. The album followed his previous LP, Border Lord, by only nine months and was his fourth album to be released within two-and-a-half years, which meant that a man who had strled for half a decade to get anybody to listen to his songs was now writing and recording them as fast as he could. Not surprisingly, he was having trouble filling the pipeline; he borrowed the melody of John Prine's "Grandpa Was a Carpenter" for the title song and even recorded a cover song for the first time, performing a duet with Larry Gatlin on Gatlin's "Help Me." There was nothing here that matched his best songs, but the overall quality of the material was quite good, as Kristofferson went back over familiar ground, singing about religion, romance, and roughhousing with equal fervor. Especially impressive were the two duets with Coolidge, "It Sure Was (Love)" and "Give It Time to Be Tender," which looked forward to their duo albums. Commercially, Jesus Was a Capricorn can be seen either as a case of record company ineptitude or perseverance, or both. Border Lord had marked a falloff in sales from Kristofferson's first two albums, and initially Jesus Was a Capricorn looked like it was going to do even worse, as Monument Records couldn't seem to figure out what the right single was. The label started by releasing a single version of the title track, in which Kristofferson described Christ as a sandals-wearing hippie, and, despite the subject matter, pop radio gave it enough play to get it into the bottom of the charts for a few weeks. But the LP quickly peaked in the charts and started to fade, not helped by the second single, the medium-tempo rocker "Jesse Younger," which made no impression. (Meanwhile, Brenda Lee had no trouble locating the album's best song; she covered "Nobody Wins" and established herself in country music by taking it into the country top five.) Finally, four months after the album's release, Monument issued a third single, the slow-paced statement of faith that closed the LP, "Why Me." (Actually, a disc jockey had started playing the song, which Monument hadn't even wanted on the album. Though sometimes described as a spoof, "Why Me" sincerely reflects a religious experience, according to Kristofferson.) It quickly entered the country and pop charts, hitting number one in country in July 1973, and peaking in the pop Top 20 after a slow climb in November. That turned around the fortunes of Jesus Was a Capricorn, which marched back up the charts and reached number one on the country charts a full year after it had been released. Both album and single went gold, giving Kristofferson his greatest success as a recording artist.
KENNY ROGERS - The First 50 Years (2009)
Kenneth Ray Rogers (August 21, 1938 – March 20, 2020) was an American singer, songwriter, actor, record producer, and entrepreneur. He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2013. Rogers was particularly popular with country audiences but also charted more than 120 hit singles across various music genres, topped the country and pop album charts for more than 200 individual weeks in the United States alone. He sold over 100 million records worldwide during his lifetime, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. In the late 1950s, he started his recording career with jazz singer Bobby Doyle and joined the folk ensemble the New Christy Minstrels in 1961, playing double bass and bass guitar as well as singing. In 1967, he and several members of the New Christy Minstrels left to found the group the First Edition, with whom he scored his first major hit, "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)", a psychedelic rock song which peaked at number five on the Billboard charts. As Rogers took an increased leadership role in the First Edition, and following the success of 1969's "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town", the band gradually changed styles to a more country feel. The band broke up in 1975–1976, and Kenny Rogers embarked on a long and successful solo career, which included several successful collaborations, including duets with singers Dolly Parton and Sheena Easton, and a songwriting partnership with Lionel Richie. His signature song, 1978's "The Gambler", was a cross-over hit that won him a Grammy Award in 1980 and was selected in 2018 for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress. He would develop the Gambler persona into a character for a successful series of television films starting with 1980's Emmy-nominated Kenny Rogers as The Gambler. Rogers' albums The Gambler and Kenny were featured in the About.com poll of "The 200 Most Influential Country Albums Ever". He was voted the "Favorite Singer of All Time" in a 1986 joint poll by readers of both USA Today and People. He received numerous awards such as the AMAs, Grammys, ACMs and CMAs, as well as a lifetime achievement award for a career spanning six decades in 2003. Later success included the 2006 album release, Water & Bridges, an across the board hit, that hit the Top 5 in the Billboard Country Albums sales charts, also charting in the Top 15 of the Billboard 200. The first single from the album, "I Can't Unlove You", was also a sizable chart hit. Remaining a popular entertainer around the world, he continued to tour regularly until his retirement in 2017.
GENESIS - 1970 - 1975 (2008)
Genesis 1970–1975 is a box set of five studio albums by Genesis featuring Peter Gabriel. It was released on 10 November 2008 in Europe by EMI and on 11 November 2008 in North America by Atlantic/Rhino. The 7-CD/6-DVD box set includes newly remixed versions of the albums Trespass, Nursery Cryme, Foxtrot, Selling England by the Pound and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. The band's 1969 debut album, From Genesis to Revelation, was excluded because of the band losing the rights to it. The fifth pair of discs includes B-side songs, 3 rare songs from BBC Sessions in 1970 and the never-before-released Genesis Plays Jackson soundtrack. Each bonus DVD features audio versions of the albums in 5.1 surround sound, as well as videos from each album's corresponding tour, new interviews, and photo galleries. The European version includes CD/SACD Hybrids instead of standard CDs. EMI also released a limited edition six disc vinyl box set containing the original albums only on 24 November 2008. Genesis 1970–1975 appeared at position seven in the "Top 100 Recommended CD Reviews of All Time" at All About Jazz. It has since fallen to position nine. In 2010 the box set received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Surround Sound Album.
ERIC BURDON & THE ANIMALS - When I Was Young: The MGM Recordings 1967-1968 (2020)
“There is a house in New Orleans, They call the Rising Sun, And it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy, And God I know I’m one.”
Five CD set featuring all of the albums recorded by Eric Burdon & the Animals for the MGM Records label issued between October 1967 and December 1968. Eric Burdon & the Animals came together in December 1966 when the original Animals had ground to a halt. Vocalist Eric Burdon recruited Vic Briggs (guitar, piano), John Weider (guitar, violin, bass), Danny McCulloch (bass) and Barry Jenkins (drums) to form a new group which changed direction away from raucous rhythm and blues and embraced psychedelic rock and the influences of the emerging counter-culture. Signing to MGM Records in the USA (where he became based) and teaming up with producer Tom Wilson, the band's debut single "When I Was Young" was released in April 1967 and was a powerful statement, featuring Weider's violin and Briggs' fuzzed guitar, becoming a hit in Europe, Australia and the USA. The band's debut album, Winds Of Change was issued in October 1967. The album The Twain Shall Meet was recorded in December 1967 but not issued until May 1968. Incredibly, 1968 would see a further two album releases by the group in the USA and Europe; Every One Of Us, recorded in June and issued in August of that year. By the time of it's release, Vic Briggs had departed to be replaced by Andy Summers. This line-up recorded the double album Love Is in Los Angeles in October 1968, issued only as a single LP in the UK. Released in December 1968, it was to be the final album by the group. Burdon remained in the United States and joined forces with the group WAR in 1969. This box features the albums Winds Of Change (both stereo and mono versions), The Twain Shall Meet, Every One Of Us and Love Is, all newly remastered from the original master tapes, along with ten bonus tracks drawn from the band's single releases.
WILLIE NELSON & FRIENDS - Stars & Guitars (2002) & Live And Kickin' (2003)
An A-list of musically diverse acolytes surrounds the venerable country icon on this concert recording, which pays richer dividends than its studio-album predecessor, The Great Divide. Artists from Sheryl Crow to Norah Jones and Vince Gill to Keith Richards help celebrate one of the richest legacies in American music. Though some hit-and-miss is inevitable, the teaming with Richards, Ryan Adams, and Hank Williams III on "Dead Flowers" romps all over the Rolling Stones' original, while the duet with mentor Ray Price, who enjoyed an early hit with Nelson's "Night Life," shows a sense of history too often missing from such demographic-driven projects. Other highlights include the sweet-voiced balladry of Jones on "Lonestar" and a luminous rendition of "Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain" by Gill. As for the misfires: Adams and Nelson sound like they're in different keys on Jimmy Cliff's "The Harder They Come"; Toby Keith isn't even a poor man's Waylon Jennings on "Good Hearted Woman"; and the very idea of Matchbox Twenty singing "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys" is ludicrous. Even when the material and guest vocalists don't mesh, Nelson's guitar punctuation remains an understated (and underrated) delight.
For his 70th birthday gala, Willie Nelson decided to celebrate by inviting a cast of musical stars to join him in duets on a televised concert. In keeping with Nelson's eclecticism, only a few of the famous participants are country artists (Shania Twain, Toby Keith, and old pal Ray Price). How much is added to his classic "Crazy" by guests Diana Krall and Elvis Costello (then-hot celebrity couple of the moment) is an open question; what's really important is the well-deserved recognition Nelson receives from the musical world's biggest names. If you're a hardcore Willie fan, you've probably already got a couple of earlier live versions of, for example, "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain," but part of Live and Kickin's purpose is to expose fans of Nelson's duet partners to the magic they've been missing out on for many decades. In that, it's a success.
ESSRA MOHAWK [SANDY HURVITZ] The First 4... (1968-1976)
Singer/songwriter Essra Mohawk (b. Sandra Elayne Hurvitz, Philadelphia, PA) is a performing songwriter and recording artist whose career encompasses a who's who of popular music. In addition to releasing several critically acclaimed solo albums, she has collaborated with Al Jarreau, Bonnie Bramlett, Al Stewart, Narada Michael Walden, and Keb' Mo'; provided background vocals for John Mellencamp, Jerry Garcia, and Kool & the Gang; and written songs for Cyndi Lauper and Tina Turner. She released her first single, "The Boy with the Way" with B-side "Memory of Your Voice," on Liberty Records in 1964, under the name Jamie Carter. She later declined several offers of staff writerships, although the Shangri-Las and Vanilla Fudge began recording her material. In 1967, Mohawk met Frank Zappa, eventually joining the Mothers of Invention, where she reluctantly assumed the moniker Uncle Meat. Zappa signed her to his Bizarre label (a Verve subsidiary) and her first album, Sandy's Album Is Here at Last!, appeared soon after and remains the only album released under her birth name. It was during this period that a studio receptionist friend began calling her "Essie," a nickname that quickly morphed into "Essra." In 1969 she married Frazier Mohawk, the producer of her second album, who had worked on Nico's The Marble Index. Their working relationship spawned Primordial Lovers, hailed as one of the 25 best albums ever made by Rolling Stone magazine. It missed out on wider publicity and never charted, but gradually developed a strong following over the ensuing decades.
Further interest in Mohawk's music was prompted in the mid-'70s by her appearance on Schoolhouse Rock, the popular educational and musical cartoon TV series. Her vocals were featured on "Interjections," "Sufferin' Till Suffrage," and "Mother Necessity." In 1974, Mohawk moved to the Elektra/Asylum label, where she released Essra Mohawk. The album should, by rights, have consolidated her position in the first league of singer/songwriters, but was insufficiently publicized and distributed, despite its positive reviews. Two years later, the same fate greeted her fourth album, Essra, which appeared on Private Stock. Despite such disappointments, Mohawk's reputation in musical circles was such that from 1980 to 1982 she performed as a background vocalist with the Jerry Garcia Band after narrowly missing out on joining Jefferson Starship following Grace Slick's departure in 1978.Further solo albums Burnin' Shinin' and E-Turn appeared without great fanfare, but in 1986 Mohawk enjoyed a huge hit as the songwriter of Cyndi Lauper's Billboard number three hit "Change of Heart," from Lauper's platinum-selling True Colors album. Later in that decade Tina Turner recorded "Stronger Than the Wind," again penned by Mohawk. After ABC Video released the Schoolhouse Rock cartoons on video in the '90s, the troupe, led by music director Bob Dorough, began performing live. In 1998, Rhino released a new album, Schoolhouse Rocks the Vote!, on which Essra sang, wrote, and produced "Do You Wanna Party," about political parties in the U.S.
Having moved to Nashville, Mohawk recorded the albums Raindance and Essie Mae Hawk Meets the Killer Groove Band and then starting in 2000 -- her earlier material began appearing on CD. Primordial Lovers was reissued by Rhino Handmade in a luxury package including non-LP singles and the entire follow-up album that had originally appeared on Asylum. Within a few years, additional albums -- including 1976's Essra -- were released as Japanese mini-LP CDs, and E-Turn also appeared on CD. In a phase of prolific creativity, albums including You're Not Alone and Love Is Still the Answer, as well as a career roundup of rarities, Revelations of the Secret Diva, were released. Maintaining her presence in television, Essra also contributed songs to the soundtracks of CBS series Joan of Arcadia and All My Children. Mohawk remains an active live attraction and recording artist.
ROAD - Road (1972)
Road was sort of a B-list supergroup, pairing Noel Redding (Jimi Hendrix Experience) with guitarist Rod Richards (formerly of Rare Earth) and drummer Leslie Sampson. The group's self-titled album ends up being little more than warmed-up post-Hendrix hard rock, heavy on the wah pedal. Richards actually turns in some fine, if not particularly original, performances on guitar, and Redding proves he couldn't write good songs if his career depended on it (clearly "She's So Fine" and "Little Miss Strange" were his high points). In true '70s hard rock form, the album drags a bit on side two during the obligatory drum solo on "Friends" and especially during Redding's ham-fisted bass "solo" on the unnecessarily epic "Road." Almost redeemed by Richards' guitar work, check this out only if you have a serious jones for '70s hard rock and/or wah-wah excess.
Road was formed in 1970, after Redding left Fat Mattress and Richards left Rare Earth. The band recorded their self-titled album at the Record Plant Studios in Los Angeles, California in 1972, the album was released later in the year before the group disbanded. In the brief time they were together, Redding and Sampson participated in the jam sessions that resulted in Randy California's 1972 Kapt. Kopter and the (Fabulous) Twirly Birds album. Following Road, Redding and Sampson formed The Noel Redding Band, while Richards went on to a solo career. Sampson also joined Stray Dog, played in The Gas in the early 80s and Sally Barker And The Rhythm and The Pirates in the 90s.
THE MASTER'S APPRENTICES - The Master's Apprentices (1967)  & Masterpiece (1970) 
One could easily make the case for designating the Masters Apprentices as the best Australian rock band of the '60s. Featuring singer Jim Keays and songwriter/rhythm guitarist Mick Bower, the band's earliest recordings combined the gritty R&B/rock of Brits like the Pretty Things with the minor-key melodies of the Yardbirds. The compelling "Wars or Hands of Time" and the dreamy psychedelia of "Living in a Child's Dream" were undiscovered classics, although the latter was a Top Ten hit in Australia. Bower left the group after suffering a nervous breakdown in late 1967, and the Masters grew steadily less interesting, moving from flower pop and hard rock to progressive and acoustic sounds. Plagued by instability (undergoing eight personnel changes between 1966 and 1968), the group moved to England in the early '70s, achieving some cult success with progressive rock albums before breaking up in 1972.
The Masters Apprentices is the self titled debut studio album by the Masters Apprentices, released in June 1967 on Astor Records. It featured two hit singles; "Undecided" and "Buried and Dead". Debut mixes sloppy covers of popular '60s rock and soul tunes with some fine originals, most of which were reissued on the much more widely available best-of Hands of Time. Collectors will find this of most interest for the fairly strong original track "Theme for a Social Climber," which somehow didn't make it onto that compilation. The German CD reissue also includes their second album, Masterpiece.
Masterpiece is the second studio album by The Masters Apprentices, released in February 1970 on Columbia Records. The Masters Apprentices had changed a lot in both personnel and style by the time they issued their second LP, two and a half years after their first. It's a respectable but oddly schizophrenic effort, finding them searching for an identity with competent forays into hard rock, early progressive rock, and poppy folk-rock, with orchestral instrumental links between many of the tracks adding to the confusion (as there's no concept driving the LP). "A Dog, a Siren and Memories" ranks as the most accurate Simon & Garfunkel imitation ever. [Some reissues also include their self-titled first album.]
PFM [Premiata Forneria Marconi]- The Manticore Studio Albums 1973 - 1977 (2018)
Premiata Forneria Marconi, better known in English speaking countries as PFM, were arguably the finest Italian Progressive rock band of the 1970's and certainly one of the most well-known. A successful act in their home land, they came to international attention when they signed to Emerson, Lake and Palmer's label Manticore in 1973, recording a series of albums with English lyrics, some penned by Elp and King Crimson lyricist Pete Sinfield. Over the next four years they released four studio albums for the label, Photos Of Ghosts, The World Became The World, Chocolate Kings and Jet Lag. This clamshell boxed set gathers these four albums in replica album sleeve wallets and also includes a new poster. It is a fine celebration of the band's studio work for the Manticore label.
CRAZY HORSE - The First 4... (1971/78)
Out of all the backing bands Neil Young has recorded and performed with during his long and illustrious career, the best-known of the bunch (and perhaps one of the greatest garage rock bands of all time) remains Crazy Horse. The band's roots lay in the obscure early '60s doo wop band Danny & the Memories, which contained future Crazy Horse members Danny Whitten, Billy Talbot, and Ralph Molina, among others. Although all three would later play instruments in Crazy Horse, the trio focused solely on vocals for this early band, as the group relocated back and forth from the East and West Coasts. After finally settling down in Laurel Canyon in 1966, the members picked up instruments (Whitten the guitar, Talbot bass, and Molina drums) and formed the Rockets. Joining the trio were additional members Bobby Notkoff (violin), and two other guitarists, Leon and George Whitsell, who all played on the sextet's one and only record, 1968's self-titled debut. Shortly after the album's release, Whitten and Talbot met Neil Young, who had just left Buffalo Springfield and was about to launch a solo career. Young jammed with the Rockets at a gig at the famed Whisky A Go-Go, and immediately asked Whitten, Talbot, and Molina to play on a few new songs he'd written -- "Down by the River," "Cowgirl in the Sand," and "Cinnamon Girl." The trio accepted, playing on the three aforementioned songs and several others for what would become Young's sophomore effort, 1969's classic Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, resulting in the trio breaking up the Rockets to sign on with Young full-time, under the new name Crazy Horse.
The album established both Young and Crazy Horse as one of the most promising new rock bands, as he enlisted the band once again to play on his third solo release, 1970's After the Gold Rush. But at the same time Young joined up with Crazy Horse, he accepted an invitation to team up with Crosby, Stills & Nash. With extended periods of time between playing with Young, Crazy Horse inked their own recording contract, resulting in their 1971 self-titled debut. Although the record failed to match the success of their work with Young, it turned out to be an inspired effort (as Grin guitarist Nils Lofgren and renowned producer/pianist Jack Nitzsche guested on the album) showing that the group was not merely Young's backing band. But just as their own recording career began, Whitten became addicted to heroin, which hampered his talents and desire to play with the band, resulting in his leaving by 1972.
Crazy Horse continued on with a revolving door of replacement members taking Whitten's place for a pair of lackluster albums in 1972 Loose and At Crooked Lake. As Crazy Horse's career appeared to hit a skid, Young's career continued to flourish as he issued the biggest hit of his career, the mellow country-rock classic Harvest, the same year. When Young heard about Whitten's deteriorating condition (Young wrote "Needle and the Damage Done" for him), he wanted to help out his old friend and asked Whitten to be part of his touring band. But when Whitten proved to be too far gone during rehearsals, he was fired. On the same night he left Young and the band (November 18, 1972), Whitten overdosed and died.
TRAFFIC - 5 Classic Albums (2017)
Traffic were an English rock band, formed in Birmingham, in April 1967 by Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi, Chris Wood and Dave Mason. They began as a psychedelic rock group and diversified their sound through the use of instruments such as keyboards like the Mellotron and harpsichord, sitar, and various reed instruments, and by incorporating jazz and improvisational techniques in their music. Their first three singles were "Paper Sun", "Hole in My Shoe", and "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush". Traffic disbanded in 1969, during which time Winwood joined Blind Faith, then reunited in 1970 to release the critically acclaimed album John Barleycorn Must Die. The band's line-up varied from this point until they disbanded again in 1974. A partial reunion, with Winwood and Capaldi, took place in 1994. Traffic were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.
Though it ultimately must be considered an interim vehicle for singer/songwriter/keyboardist/guitarist Steve Winwood, Traffic was a successful group that followed its own individual course through the rock music scene of the late '60s and early '70s. Beginning in the psychedelic year of 1967 and influenced by the Beatles, the band turned out eclectic pop singles in its native Great Britain, though by the end of its first year of existence it had developed a pop/rock hybrid tied to its unusual instrumentation: At a time when electric guitars ruled rock, Traffic emphasized Winwood's organ and the reed instruments played by Chris Wood, especially flute. After Dave Mason, who had provided the band with an alternate folk-pop sound, departed for good, Traffic leaned toward extended songs that gave its players room to improvise in a jazz-like manner, even as the rhythms maintained a rock structure. The result was international success that ended only when Winwood finally decided he was ready to strike out on his own.
UK five CD set containing a quintet of albums from the classic rock band packaged together in a slim line slipcase. Includes the albums Mr. Fantasy, Traffic, John Barleycorn Must Die, The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys, and Shoot Out At The Fantasy Factory.
CREAM - Goodbye Tour - Live 1968 (2020)
The Cream album "Goodbye Tour - Live 1968" now available in a special, expanded edition and the first authorized release of these four historic complete 1968 concerts. Each concert features previously unreleased tracks and the Royal Albert Hall show hasn't featured on CD until now. This historic collection features 36 tracks, 29 of which have not been released until now. Originally released in Feb 1969, Goodbye originally mixed live performances from those last tour dates with a handful of studio recordings and rose to the UK no.1 slot and no.2 on the US Billboard. Goodbye Tour – Live 1968, as the name sests expands the recordings from the 3-piece powerhouse's last tour. This historic collection was produced by Bill Levenson. The Oakland Coliseum, Los Angeles Forum and San Diego Sports Arena concerts were mastered from the original 1968 analog mix reels by Kevin Reeves at Universal Mastering, Nashville, TN. The Royal Albert Hall concert was mastered from the original 1968 analog transfer reels by Jason NeSmith at Chase Park Transduction, Athens, GA.
FICKLE PICKLE - A Complete Pickle (2018)
A North-West London studio based quartet consisting of members best known as producers, engineers and session players, Fickle Pickle was actually a bit of an English psych pop supergroup consisting of Cliff Wade (lead guitar, rhythm guitar and bass guitar) and Geoff Gill (drums) from The Smoke, best known for their late 60’s acid classic “My Friend Jack” along with Wil Malone (piano, organ and electric piano) from Orange Bicycle and Steve Howden (lead guitar, rhythm guitar and bass guitar) from Red Dirt. Vocals for the band were supplied by all four members. The three bands had in common that they recorded at Morgan Studios in London, so it was rather inevitable that the four combined their talents and recorded a handful of singles as well as an LP that received very limited distribution. Luckily for fans of the band, albeit some fifty years later, the complete works of Fickle Pickle have been lovingly compiled and annotated by David Wells in a three CD box set aptly titled “A Complete Pickle” released on Morgan Music Co. Ltd.’s Morgan Blue Town imprint.
The three discs comprising “A Complete Pickle” are thematic. Disc one contains the twelve tracks from Fickle Pickle’s 1970 album “Sinful Skinful” which was released only in The Netherlands on the Explosion Records label along with nine non-LP single sides issued on various labels between 1970 and 1972. Disc two has twenty six tracks recorded, all but five previously unreleased, taken from the Morgan Blue Town tape library, while the box set’s real treat is disc three which contains fifteen previously unreleased studio tracks recorded during rehearsals for a Dutch tour, making for a total of sixty two tracks, thirty six of which make their debut on “A Complete Pickle” and making for an exhaustive document, nearly three and a half hours in length, of a finely tuned band who most certainly deserved a much better fate than they received.
LOU REED - The Sire Years: Complete Albums Box (2015)
Lou Reed was a singer and guitarist best known as a co-founder of the influential rock group the Velvet Underground and later, as a legendary solo artist. He wrote evocative music using his knowledge of poetry while exploring a variety of genres and personas over his career including glam rock and heavy metal. Famous for writing and singing famous classic hits including 'Perfect Day', 'Sister Jane', and 'Rock and Roll', Reed continued to perform and record into his later years, releasing more than 16 albums over the course of his lengthy career. He has won two Grammy awards including the Hall of Fame award after his tragic death in 2013 ‘The Sire Years: Complete Albums Box’ contains eight incredible Lou Reed albums in a quirky 10CD clamshell box including: New York, Songs For Drella, Magic and Loss, Set The Twilight Reeling, Perfect Night In London, Ecstasy, The Raven and Animal Serenade.
Starting with 1989’s New York, Reed’s stretch on Sire Records saw a robust return to form after years of weak albums, in a period that also saw him pick up his guitar again and finally find personal happiness with partner Laurie Anderson. Reed reunited with John Cale for the poignantly Warhol-homaging Songs For Drella, created the towering life-and-death epic Magic And Loss, humped the new millennium by trawling the deepest gutters with 2000’s underrated Ecstasy, rocked out on Set The Twilight Reeling and turned Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven into a massively ambitious opera. The first five releases already appeared in the bargain Original Albums Series, then again in March 2015 (joined by The Raven) for The Sire Years: The Solo Collection. Now this Complete Albums Box sees those six joined by Perfect Night In London, recorded at 1997’s Meltdown festival, and Animal Serenade, recorded live at Los Angeles’ Wiltern Theatre in 2003.
IAIN ASHLEY HERSEY - Fallen Angel (2001) & The Holy Grail (2005)
Growing up in New England, Iain cut his teeth on the heavier British Rock Bands such as Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Bad Company and guitar players like Beck, Blackmore and Hendrix. Later seeking to develop his musical vocabulary he studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston where he expanded his musical realm into that of Jazz improvisation, eventually to return to the fold of Rock and Blues. Iain comments, "There was something about the pull of one's roots and missing the power that comes from simplicity.” Certainly influenced by the voices from the past Iain has always strived to grow musically and develop his own style and has now certainly carved out his own unique voice and signature. To define his style would be conjure up an interesting recipe, and in his own words: “It’s kind of a heavy Bluesy Classic Rock with a hint of Fusion overtones.” But the comment that he most often hears and of which he most strongly identifies is: "People are always coming up and saying how much I sound like me." A connoisseur of vintage Fender Stratocaster’s Iain's playing contains some of the purist, sweetest and 'narlyist' tones from the instrument you will have the opportunity to experience. Shunning all hi-tech gadgets in favour of a 'less-is-more,' straight-ahead attitude he says, "Nothing beats a vintage Strat powered by an old Marshall!"
Debut album for the talented guitarist who's already worked with Paul Shortino (ex-Quiet Riot, Rough Cutt who also provides lead vocals) and Stuart Smith. The album style is classic hard rock in the vein of Rainbow and Whitesnake.
‘The Holy Grail’ is the second album and debut on Lion Music from American Classic Hard Rock Guitarist/Composer Iain Ashley Hersey and follow up to his worldwide acclaimed debut release ‘Fallen Angel’. The Holy Grail is full of the kind of expressive hard rock that only a handful of artists are able to produce these days. Utilising 4 powerful vocalists in Graham Bonnett (Rainbow/ MSG / Alcatrazz) David ‘Swan” Montgomery (Led ZepAgain), Randy Williams and Carsten “Lizard” Schulz; Iain has managed to bring variety yet consistency in the quality stakes to this album. Fans of expressive guitar work will hear a true original in Iain Ashley Hersey with super warm Strat tones being his stock in trade.
OZZY OSBOURNE - Ordinary Man (2020) [Deluxe Edition]
A decade passed between metal icon Ozzy Osbourne's 2010 album Scream and its follow-up, Ordinary Man. His 12th solo studio effort is charged with an unexpected crackle of life that hasn't graced an Ozzy album in a long time. In the time since his last solo endeavor, Osbourne reunited with Black Sabbath for touring and the recording of 13, the first Sabbath studio album he'd sung on since 1978. Possibly rejuvenated by his time back at the helm with one of the most foundational metal bands ever, there's a new level of heaviness throughout Ordinary Man. There have been Sabbath-isms scattered throughout much of Ozzy's solo output, but rarely as blatantly as the sinister riffing and cosmic metallic breakdown of songs like "Under the Graveyard" and the demented "Straight to Hell." Ozzy even goes so far as to reprise the "Alright now!" first heard on Sabbath's 1971 pro-pot anthem "Sweet Leaf" to open "Straight to Hell." Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, Guns N' Roses alum Duff McKagan, and guitarist Andrew Watt (who produced the album after first working with Osbourne during his cameo on a Post Malone song in 2019) serve as the backing band, and turn in powerful performances that move from full-force metal attacks to quickly shifting grooves. The album recalls the raw power of Black Sabbath, but also channels Black Album-era Metallica on the creeping, oozy "Today Is the End" and the unhinged punk thrash on the Post Malone-assisted "It's a Raid." While Ordinary Man is surprisingly strong, it's not a grand slam. The by-the-numbers piano ballad title track is largely without character, wasting an odd duet of Ozzy and Elton John on a song that takes no risks and attempts nothing new. Less-inspired tracks like "Eat Me" and "Scary Little Green Men" would fit as filler anywhere in the Ozzy discography between 1986 and 2020, with stock riffs and Osbourne's patented maniacal laughter both feeling a little phoned in. Despite a few weaker spots, Ordinary Man contains some of Ozzy's best solo work in years. The production is huge but the energy is spontaneous, sounding like it was as fun to make as it is to listen to. 71 years old at the time Ordinary Man was released, Osbourne's voice in in great shape, sounding more or less like he always has. How he's making music this strong after riding the crazy train for more than half-a-century is anyone's guess, but the better songs here rank among his best.
THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND - Trouble No More: 50th Anniversary Collection (2020)
When Berry Oakley, Butch Trucks, Dickey Betts, Duane Allman, Jaimoe, and Gregg Allman finally coalesced in 1969 as The Allman Brothers Band, after stints in other bands and musical endeavours – some alone, some with each other – the group’s very first informal jam together was the stomping Muddy Waters song, Trouble No More. Almost immediately the six musicians knew they were on to something special. Shortly after, it also became the very first song they officially demoed together for their eponymous debut record, an album that would begin their legendary, unparalleled, and often times, turbulent journey as one of the best American rock bands to ever exist. The band’s original 1969 demo of Trouble No More, which has remained unreleased for more than half a century, fittingly opens the new, aptly-titled Allman Brothers Band career retrospective, Trouble No More: 50th Anniversary Collection, which pays tribute to the 50th anniversary of the pioneering Southern rock legends and their incredible body of work. Available as a 10LP or 5CD box set or digitally, Trouble No More — produced by Allman Brothers Band historians and aficionados Bill Levenson, John Lynskey and Kirk West — offers a massive selection of 61 Allman Brothers Band classics, live performances and rarities from across their 45-year career, and includes seven previously unreleased tracks that take you from the very beginning until the very end. The collection is bookended with a live performance of Trouble No More from the Allman Brothers Band’s final show at New York’s Beacon Theatre that brought the band’s legend to a close and which brings this retrospective full circle.
COWBOY JUNKIES - The Nomad Series (2012)
The Cowboy Junkies are an alternative country and folk rock band formed in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1985 by Alan Anton (bassist), Michael Timmins (songwriter, guitarist), Peter Timmins (drummer) and Margo Timmins (vocalist). The three Timminses are siblings, and Anton worked with Michael Timmins during their first couple of bands. John Timmins was initially a member of the band but left the group before the recording of their first album. The band line-up has never changed since, although they use several guest musicians on many of their albums, including multi-instrumentalist Jeff Bird who has performed on every album except the first.
The Nomad Series is a box set by the Canadian alt-country band Cowboy Junkies, collecting the four individual albums of the Nomad series, Renmin Park, Demons, Sing in My Meadow, and The Wilderness on the first four discs, and on the final disc six of the seven songs from the Demons digital bonus disc, plus four previously unreleased songs worked on during the creation of the series. Each individual album is unique, but tied together with the Nomad painting series by the Nomad series of paintings by Enrique Martinez Celaya, by the maelstrom of creativity of creating four albums in eighteen months, and by the unifying voice of Margo Timmins. The box set also includes a 50-page booklet containing the ephemera that makes up a recording, such as photos and lyrics. The box set was released as a digital release from the Junkies website, as a CD set, and as a vinyl set by Diverse Records, with a bonus 12" record that includes live tracks from At the End of Paths Taken which are not included in the CD box set, although those tracks along with one other were sold digitally as a bonus disc for Sing in My Meadow.
THE VELVET UNDERGROUND - White Light-White Heat (1968) [2013 Box Set]
The Velvet Underground's White Light/White Heat is one of the most confrontational and inspirational second albums ever made by a rock band. Recorded in a matter of days at the end of the summer of 1967, a season in which everything seemed possible in rock and much of it happened at now-mythic speed, White Light/White Heat is an album that reeks of the gritty NY street life and could only have been made in New York, by one band. And that group is the classic-quartet lineup of The Velvet Underground - singer-guitarist Lou Reed; bassist-organist and viola player John Cale; guitarist-bassist Sterling Morrison and drummer Maureen Tucker.
The Velvet Underground - White Light/White Heat 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition, is a three-disc, 30-track set featuring both the original stereo and mono releases, completely remastered, with bonus tracks including alternate versions, unreleased outtakes, John Cale's last studio sessions with the band, and the official release of their complete show at The Gymnasium in New York recorded on April 30, 1967, which includes five previously unreleased performances culled from John Cale's personal copy. The Super Deluxe Edition includes four newly prepared remixes, including the earliest known, previously unreleased version of 'Beginning To See The Light,' and previously unreleased versions of 'The Gift (vocal version)' and 'The Gift (instrumental version).' Exclusive to this limited Super Deluxe Edition is a 56 page hard bound book with rare photos, memorabilia and David Fricke Essay/interview with John Cale and Lou Reed from 2013. The 45th anniversary editions were developed in conjunction with Lou Reed and John Cale.
TODD RUNDGREN - The Complete Bearsville Albums Collection (2016)
Todd Rundgren is one of those people who plows his own furrow. He avoids the usual well trodden musical pathways, avoids stardom, avoids standard patterns and prefers ‘different’ which is why he is generally viewed as something of an outsider and a nonconformist. We are all the better for it too. Rundgren can ‘do’ the pop star thing if he wants to and he did, briefly, when he released Something/Anything? but he quickly shunned that. His work roams over multiple genres including prog rock, pop, straight rock and your general singer-songwriter balladic effects while his pioneering work on music videos, computer software and Internet music delivery has proven that he is continually pushing and striving for ‘something else’.
This magnificent, value for money, collection serves as a good map of his early career and arrives in a clamshell box and includes 13 CDs plus a booklet. The titles include Runt (1970), The Ballad of Todd Rundgren (1971), Something/Anything? (1972), A Wizard, A True Star (1973), Todd (1974), Initiation (1975), Faithful (1976), Back to the Bars (1978), Hermit of Mink Hollow (1978), Healing (1981), The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect (1982). Don’t expect any bonus cuts or rarities but, for a box like this and one crammed so full of albums, the lack of them is not such a big deal. it comes to something, when you look down a list like this and realise that just about all of the included titles (with the possible exception of Initiation, which is more about synth technology than making music) are either brilliant, very good or, at worst, definitely worthy of a listen. Sound quality is pretty good. It won’t blow you away and inspire you to throw a party for friends and family but its a good pressing and very listenable while the mastering quality is variable from album to album, as you might expect. Thus, Initiation tends to take place in between the speakers and never really ventures further while Faithful, for example, is broad and expansive and pushes the music beyond the soundstage’s extremities. A great value package for a notable creative artist.
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