AMERICAN BLUES - Is Here (1968) & Do Their Thing (1968)
American Blues were an American 1960s Texas-based garage rock band who played a psychedelic style of blues rock music influenced by the 13th Floor Elevators. They are most notable for including two future members of the band ZZ Top in their ranks, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard. From 1966 to 1968, they played the Dallas-Fort Worth-Houston circuit and headlined in three clubs all called "The Cellar", in Dallas at clubs such as "The Walrus" on Mockingbird Lane, and in Houston at "Love Street Light Circus Feel Good Machine" on Allen's Landing, as late as 1968.
Around 1968, the band (the two Hill brothers and Beard) decided to leave the Dallas–Fort Worth area, relocating to Houston. At this time, however, guitarist Rocky Hill wanted to focus on "straight blues", while his brother Dusty wanted the band to rock more. Rocky left the band, and the remaining two members joined the recently formed ZZ Top. Rocky Hill continued to tour around Texas, and elsewhere, becoming one of a number of guitarists well-known within the state for their blues guitar prowess, such as Rocky Athis and Charlie Sexton. He sometimes referred to himself as "The Anti-Clapton", and one writer with the Houston Press called Rocky "perhaps the wildest and scariest – both onstage and off – of all the Texas white-boy blues guitarists."
KING CRIMSON - The Great Deceiver: Part One & Two (2007)
The 1973/74 touring line-up of King Crimson has a well-deserved reputation as one of the most dynamic, powerful, exciting live rock bands of that or any other era. The Great Deceiver, originally issued in 1992 as a 4 CD collection of some of those concerts, has earned a fine reputation as a definitive chronicle of the band in performance. Accompanied by a booklet containing contemporary road diaries, the box provided an illuminating & demystifying record of an era of touring normally mythologized only in it's excesses. Now reissued as two specially priced 2 CD sets with new artwork, containing all the original diaries & notes from the original editions.
At first glance it may have seemed like overkill, 4CDs of live, unreleased material from only one of the several of the King Crimson line-ups covering a 9-month period of performing. The key to success was in the music itself. Nine months in the life of an extraordinary group of musicians, musicians who listened to one another intently, musicians who had a wealth of existing material on which to draw, an emerging body of new material to perform (ultimately the basis for the classic album Red), and a passion for improvising that allowed them to treat their core with great fluidity. Few bands rocked as hard as Crimson. Fewer still had the ability to improvise with such skill. Almost none could combine the two elements so successfully. Crimson was helping to stretch the boundaries of rock music.
15 years after the original release, The Great Deceiver is presented in two 2CD sets, with new artwork, original diaries and notes from the original editions.
ZZ TOP - Live From Texas (2008)
Joseph Michael "Dusty" Hill was an American musician, singer, and songwriter, best known as the bassist and secondary lead vocalist of the American rock group ZZ Top; he also played keyboards with the band. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as a member of ZZ Top, in 2004. On July 28, 2021, Hill died in his sleep at his home in Houston, Texas, aged 72. RIP
That Little Ol' Band from Texas comes up big in ZZ Top: Live from Texas, a concert recorded in Dallas in November, 2007. The hirsute trio (guitarist Billy Gibbons, bass player Dusty Hill, drummer Frank Beard) has been at it for nearly four decades now, and notwithstanding their synth-tinged commercial breakthrough in the '80s, they haven't changed a whole lot in that time--not that that's a bad thing, as ZZ Top is still essentially a fine, gut-bucket blues band. In the course of this 80-minute gig, they dig deep into the back catalogue, mixing in tunes from '70s albums like Tres Hombres, Rio Grande Mud, and Fandango, as well as more recent items from the multi-platinum Eliminator. Their themes (cars, women, good barbeque) are as eternal as their beards are long (well, not Beard's beard; the fact that he doesn't have one remains a source of ironic amusement), their shtick is effortlessly cool, their presentation is minimal (calling Gibbons and Hill's moves "dancing" would be a major stretch), and their stage show is modest by Big Rock Show standards; the crowd eats it all up, especially when the band careens into a set-closing string of hits including "Legs," "Sharp Dressed Man," "La Grange," and, of course, "Tush." This is the only ZZ Top concert performance out there, and while it has occasional shortcomings (in terms of both performance and technical aspects), it's a fine example of a veteran band that remains a potent live attraction despite long-dwindling clout as record sellers.
Live from Texas is a live DVD/Blu-ray by ZZ Top. It was recorded on November 1, 2007, at the Nokia Theatre in Grand Prairie, Texas, and released on June 24, 2008, by Eagle Rock Records.
MOTORHEAD - No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith [40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition] (2021)
Motörhead in 1981 was a band of extremes; a flammable mix of non-stop celebration over their rising success and punishing graft, underscored by an inter-band powder-keg dynamic. Afterrecording Ace Of Spades, it had shot to number four in the UK; the killer breakthrough after Overkill and Bomber had done essential groundwork, late 1980’s Ace Up Your Sleeve UK tour was a triumphant lap of honour that spilled into the recording of No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith. The album took its title from an inscription painted on one of the trucks, referencing the 32 gigs they were playing with only two days off. The track listing ended up featuring three tracks from Ace Of Spades, five from Overkill, Bomber’stitle track and two from their self-titled debut. Originally released on 27th June 1981, Lemmy is quoted as saying of it “I knew it’d be the live one that went best, because we’re really a live band. You can’t listen to a record and find out what we’re about.You’ve got to see us.” Upon release No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith went straight to number one, their first and only in the UK and is still the most necessary live album of all time.
The No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith album, remastered from the original master tapes, featuring extra bonus tracks and newly unearthed, previously unreleased sound check recordings. The three full recordings of the concerts that made up No Sleep, never before released in their entirety.
THE JOHN DUMMER BLUES BAND - Cabal... Plus (1969) & JOHN DUMMER'S OOOBLEEDOOBLEE BAND - Oobleedooblee Jubilee (1973)
The John Dummer Band also known as John Dummer's Blues Band, John Dummer's Famous Music Band, John Dummer's Oobleedooblee Band and The John Dummer Band Featuring Nick Pickett was a British blues band, of the 1960s and 1970s, was noted for its extensive roster of members, including Graham Bond, Dave Kelly, Jo Ann Kelly, Tony McPhee, Bob Hall, John O'Leary and Pick Withers, and for supporting US bluesmen such as Howlin' Wolf and John Lee Hooker on UK tours.
This UK band came into being in 1965, evolving from the Muskrats and the Grebbells, and lasted until the early 70s, surviving numerous personnel changes. The line-up included prominent British blues artists such as pianist Bob Hall, guitarist Dave Kelly and his sister Jo Ann Kelly, Mike Cooper, and Tony McPhee. The band backed touring American artists John Lee Hooker and Howlin’ Wolf, and recorded albums for Mercury and Vertigo between 1969 and 1973. Drummer John Dummer went on to work with English pop vocal group Darts in the mid-70s. In recent years all Dummer’s albums have become much sought after items in the collectors’ market and currently carry very high prices.
This one (Oobleedooblee Jubilee) is a mix of country flavored rock, boogie blues, and semi-commercial rock, performed by very talented musicians, especially guitarist Dave Kelly. It features good production and imaginative song writing.
T. REX - Tanx (1973) + Zinc Alloy (1974) [Deluxe Edition, 2014]
While many stateside listeners never got much deeper into T. Rex and Marc Bolan's massive catalog than the boogie glam fun of "Bang a Gong (Get It On)," Bolan spent much of his life as an ever-morphing pop star in his U.K. home, recording hits and even living on as a television personality until his death in 1977. This massive repackaging of Tanx/Zinc Alloy inspects a two-year period in Bolan's glam rock phase, which could be looked upon as transitional, moving away from the woozy, sexy hard rock of Electric Warrior and The Slider into far more soul-inflected pop fare. When Tanx and Zinc Alloy appeared in 1973 and 1974, respectively, they were initially seen as commercially disappointing, with depleted sales and far less in the way of hits than their predecessors. The expanded instrumentation and production trickery of the albums would age better than it seemed, however, and songs from this time seemed to point at an embrace of soul backup singers, string arrangements, and other slick pop elements that Bowie would enjoy massive success with a few years later on his Young Americans album. Tanx/Zinc Alloy in this Deluxe Edition presentation includes both albums and singles from their respective periods remastered in full by original producer Tony Visconti (with assistance from Ted Jensen) as well as track after track of demos, outtakes, alternate versions, and other scraps from the cutting-room floor. All told, the collection includes more than 80 tracks from this particular period of Bolan's oeuvre. Though less celebrated than his best-loved hits, the highlights here are among some of his best-written songs, and the production choices he was making on these records were far more interesting than the straightforward rock of his first few T. Rex albums, despite their superior overall quality. This set is a must for any completist and will reveal much to anyone interested in Bolan's curious, inspired paths of development.
This 80 page 12x12 hardback book includes: 4 x CDs and 1 x DVD “Tanx” and “Zinc Alloy” and the contemporary singles remastered by producer Tony Visconti, Demos and outtakes, Brand new liner notes by Tony Visconti and acknowledged expert Mark Paytress, Plus photographs of ‘Tanx’ and ‘Zinc Alloy’ period 7” singles from around the world, previously unpublished photos, sheet music and press cuttings.
STEVIE WONDER - The Last 4... (1985/2005)
In Square Circle is the twentieth studio album by American singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder, released in 1985. The album features the hit singles "Part-Time Lover", "Go Home", "Overjoyed", and "Land of La La". The album won Best Male R&B Vocal Performance at the 1986 Grammy Awards. In Square Circle made the Top 5 on the Pop Albums chart, and spent 12 weeks at number one on the Top R&B Albums chart. It also made #5 on the UK Album Chart. All songs written, produced and arranged by Stevie Wonder.
Characters is the twenty-first studio album by American singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder, released in late 1987. The album features six singles including the Grammy-nominated "Skeletons" and "You Will Know", which both reached number one on the Billboard R&B Singles chart (the former being the most-recent American top 40 hit of Wonder's career). Although highly anticipated like his last album, 1985's In Square Circle upon its release, the album received mixed reviews from critics, and debuted at number 17 on the US Billboard 200. It became Wonder's first album since Music of My Mind not to reach the top ten of the charts. In the UK, it also fared less well reaching only #33, the first album to miss the top 20 since Music of My Mind which failed to chart in 1972. It also debuted at number one on the Top R&B Albums chart for seven weeks, and spawned six singles including "Get It", "Skeletons" and the ballad "You Will Know" that had attained Billboard R&B chart success.
Conversation Peace is the 22nd album released by American musician Stevie Wonder, on the Motown label in 1995. The album was Wonder's first full-length non-soundtrack studio album since 1987's Characters. This album yielded the hits "For Your Love" (a Grammy winner for Wonder for Best R&B Male Vocal Performance) and the reggae-flavored "Tomorrow Robins Will Sing". This album also saw Wonder reuniting with Robert Margouleff, who assisted during Wonder's "classic period" from 1972 to 1974. Wonder wrote about 40 songs in 1993 after being invited to stay for six weeks in Ghana by President Jerry John Rawlings. A number of these songs were eventually shaped into album form. Motown announced in August 1993 that Conversation Peace would be released later that year; however, Wonder continued to work on the album through 1994 until its release in March 1995, when Vibe magazine reported that the album had been in development "off and on for at least the past four" years. A circulating outtake from these sessions, "Ms and Mr Little Ones", was later released on Natural Wonder.
A Time to Love is the twenty-third studio album by Stevie Wonder, his first since 1995's Conversation Peace. Originally to have been completed in 2004, it was finally released to stores on October 18, 2005, following an exclusive digital release on Apple's iTunes Music Store on September. The first single, issued in April 2005, was "So What the Fuss", which featured Prince on guitar and En Vogue on backing vocals. Follow-up singles included "Positivity" with his daughter Aisha Morris, "From the Bottom of My Heart" and "Shelter in the Rain". The song "Shelter in the Rain" was in tribute to his first wife, singer Syreeta Wright, who died of cancer the year before this album was released. Wonder was quoted as saying he would've had Wright singing lead on "Shelter", had she lived. Wonder makes a brief reference to singer Minnie Riperton in the song "Positivity".
GARY BROOKER - The First 4... (1979/1996)
After 10 albums with Procol Harum, lead singer, composer, and keyboard player Gary Brooker launched his solo career with this album. Of course, there were Brooker's familiar characteristics -- the steady piano work, the butterscotch soul voice. But he switched lyric partners for this set (except for the title track), trading longtime Procol wordsmith Keith Reid for Pete Sinfield, who had performed the same function for Procol contemporaries King Crimson and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Brooker also tried a couple of tunes by Stiff Records pub-rocker Mickey Jupp (Jupp's versions are better) and Murray Head's "Say It Ain't So, Joe" (Roger Daltrey's version is better). The result was a varied set that succeeded in sounding like something other than Procol Harum's 11th album, although it did not demonstrate that Gary Brooker solo was going to be an improvement over the group.
Gary Brooker wrote music and lyrics for all the songs on his second album and acted as his own producer, resulting in perhaps his most personal statement as an artist. Unlike No More Fear Of Flying, on which he sometimes just seemed to be the singer on his own record, here Brooker delivered his songs with feeling, enabling him to overcome the star power of his backup musicians, who included Eric Clapton, George Harrison, and Phil Collins. This was partly because Brooker no longer felt the need to separate himself from The Procol Harum sound that was so much a part of his natural musical identity. Brooker's lyrics weren't as philosophical as longtime writing partner Keith Reid's, but they could be just as intriguingly oblique.
Echoes In The Night was the album for all those fans who had been waiting eight years for a Procol Harum reunion. In addition to Gary Brooker's singing and keyboard work, it featured Procol organist Matthew Fisher, lyricist Keith Reid, and drummer B.J. Wilson. They didn't appear on every track, but when they got together, notably on the title song (which also featured Eric Clapton), "Saw The Fire," and especially the ambitious "Ghost Train," Procol Harum was back. Even when Fisher and Reid weren't collaborating, as on "Mr. Blue Day," Brooker aspired to a Procol approach, adding The National Philharmonic Orchestra for that old art-rock flavor. Like Brooker's other solo albums, this one didn't get much attention, but for anyone who was paying attention, Echoes In The Night was a welcome reminder of what the band could do.
When Procol Harum's Gary Brooker wanted to organize a concert to help raise money for the beautiful 13th Century church of St. Mary & All Saints in rural Surrey, England, he not only chose some of his finest musician friends to help out with the cause, but he also went on to record the event and release it on a fan club cd in a very limited run of 1000 units. This rare release Within Our House went on to become a highly collectable recording when the obvious happened as it sold out in a matter of days. However, with Gary Brooker's blessings, Friday Music is now releasing this fine live recording for the first time in North America, to go along with the extensive Procol Harum Remasters series. Procol Harum classics like "A Salty Dog" and "Holding On" get the five star treatment from this eclectic group of musicians. Brooker's vocals and piano work are stellar throughout the recording and his emotional readings of the gospel and religious material is second to none, as his interpretation of the classic Elvis Presley hit "Peace in the Valley" really conveys the true meaning of this charitable event. Other Procol Harum favorites like "The Long Goodbye" and the classic "Nothing but the Truth" are truly inspiring in the church environment, as the album closes with a heart rendering version of their number one classic "A Whiter Shade of Pale." The applause you will hear from this lucky audience will attest that this was a successful night for everyone involved with this wonderful event. Procol Harum fans rejoice!
THE KEITH REID PROJECT - In My Head (2018)
Keith Reid is a lyricist and songwriter who wrote the lyrics of every song released by Procol Harum that is not instrumental or a cover, with the exception of their most recent 2017 album Novum. Reid grew up in London and is Jewish, the son of a Holocaust survivor. He left school at an early age to pursue a song writing career. He met Gary Brooker, lead singer with Procol Harum, with whom he co-wrote most of the band's songs (some music was written by organist Matthew Fisher and by guitarist Robin Trower), in 1966. They soon began collaborating, and their composition "A Whiter Shade of Pale", Procol Harum's first single, was released in 1967. It reached the top of the UK Singles Chart and sold over six million copies worldwide. Reid continued to write lyrics for the band until they disbanded in 1977. Reid has said that the dark tone of his lyric writing derives from his familial experience of the Holocaust. He also wrote the lyrics for two songs by the French singer Michel Polnareff in 1966 ("You'll Be On My Mind" and "Time Will Tell"), and was co-writer for the John Farnham hit "You're the Voice" (1986). Reid moved to New York and founded a management company in 1986. He reunited with Brooker and Procol Harum for the albums The Prodigal Stranger (1991) and The Well's on Fire (2003). In August 2008, a new album, The Common Thread, was issued under The Keith Reid Project banner. Reid wrote the lyrics for the songs, which were performed by a variety of musicians, including Southside Johnny, Chris Thompson, John Waite and Michael Saxell. The album was produced by Keith Reid and Matt Noble, mastered by Fred Kevorkian. Executive Producer Bobby Stewart. A new album from the Keith Reid Project, In My Head, was released in December 2018.
HINKLEYS HEROES - Volume One (1999)
Hinkley's Heroes were a loose collection of musicians, what was called in the UK in the 70s a "pick-up" band or a "jam" band in the mould of Phil Lynott's Greedy Bastards. Based around ex Jody Grind musician Tim Hinkley and whomever turned up - Eric Burdon, Roger Chapman, Mike Patto, Jim Cregan, Bernie Holland, Henry McCullough, Mick Ralphs, Brian Robertson, Bobby Tench, John Whitney, Poli Palmer, Mel Collins, Boz Burrell, John Halsey, Mitch Mitchell, Kiki Dee, Steve Simpson. Hinkley's Heroes documents sessions that finally got the dust blown off them after some 20 years of lying on the shelf. Tim Hinkley, who is known as an all around session man and the leader of the group Jody Grind, has played with countless artists over the years. This LP featured some of those artists. Joan Armatrading, Tom Waits, Neil Hubbard (Elton John's Bluesology), Graham Bond, Joe Cocker, Marianne Faithful, Brian Ferry, Al Kooper, Robert Palmer, Alvin Lee, Mick Ralphs (Mott the Hoople, Bad Company), Micky Moody (Juicy Lucy, Frankie Miller), Mike Patto, Bobby Tench (Jeff Beck group), Kuma Arada (Peter Green), and Mitch Mitchell (Jimi Hendrix Experience) form a who's who of rock music. Musicians love to get together and just have fun and play without any restraints from labels, lawyers or managers. This is the way music is supposed to come to life. This album is a beautiful example of that kind of creative process.
UNCLE DOG - Old Hat (1972)
Uncle Dog was a British blues rock band that released an album and single in 1972. Members of Uncle Dog were Carol Grimes (vocals), Terry Stannard (drums / percussion), Phillip Crooks (guitar), Sam Mitchell (guitar), John Porter (guitar, bass), David Skinner (keyboards, vocals), John Pearson (drums). Guest musicians on the LP were Paul Kossoff, guitar on "We Got Time" and John 'Rabbit' Bundrick (piano). Most of the songs were penned by Dave Skinner, although there are a few covers, including Bob Dylan's "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" (from John Wesley Harding) and Sam Phillips/Herman Parker's "Mystery Train". John Porter became a producer and produced The Smiths and John Lee Hooker's comeback album in 1989. Mitchell played with Clancy and The Sandmen. Pearson played on 4 tracks and was replaced as a member by Terry Stannard who appears on the rest of the album. After the group split, John Porter became a producer and produced The Smiths and John Lee Hooker's comeback album in 1989. Mitchell played with Clancy and The Sandmen. Skinner also played in Clancy and 801 while drummer Terry Stannard formed the hit band Kokomo later.
GRAND FUNK RAILROAD - Bosnia (1997)
Many people have thought many things about Grand Funk Railroad, but chances are, no one ever thought they were politically conscious, despite songs like "People Let's Stop the War," "Save the Land," and "Freedom Is for Children." That's only one of the reasons why the double-disc Bosnia seems so odd: it's hard to believe that the band had even heard of Bosnia, much less care about what was happening there. Evidently, the Bosnian ambassador went to high school in Cleveland, where he became a huge Grand Funk fan, and years later, that somehow led to the band giving a Bosnian relief benefit concert in Detroit in the spring of 1997. Since this was a special event -- not only were they reuniting, but they were doing it for a cause -- the trio decided to augment their lineup with a four-piece horn section led by the Silver Bullet Band's Alto Reed and, on occasion, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, which was under the direction of notorious Letterman lounge lizard Paul Shaffer. It's a lineup that flirts with kitsch, and since nobody involved with the project realizes that, it's even weirder and campier than it would be if the whole thing was intentional. So, Bosnia captures the bulk of Grand Funk's set, featuring 20 songs over two CDs. Of course all of their hits are here. It's the kind of overblown performance that has been out of favor since the late '70s, and it does sound outdated in the '90s. Naturally, that means that anyone who wasn't already a Grand Funk Railroad fan will be repelled by the sheer size and sound of Bosnia, but for those who have loyally stood by the band over the years, it's an interesting set, even though it's more of a memento than a real record.
FAMILY - Music In A Doll's House (1968) + Family Entertainment (1969) 
Family is an English rock band, active from late 1966 to October 1973, and again since 2013 for a series of live shows. Their style has been characterised as progressive rock, as their sound often explored other genres, incorporating elements of styles such as folk, psychedelia, acid rock, jazz fusion, and rock and roll. The band achieved recognition in the United Kingdom through their albums, club and concert tours, and appearances at festivals. The band's rotating membership throughout its relatively short existence led to a diversity in sound throughout their different albums. Family are also often seen as an unjustly forgotten act, when compared with other bands from the same period and have been described as an "odd band loved by a small but rabid group of fans".
Music in a Doll's House is the debut album by English progressive rock group Family, released on 19 July 1968. The album, co-produced by Dave Mason of Traffic, features a number of complex musical arrangements contributing to its ambitious psychedelic sound. In the Q & Mojo Classic Special Edition Pink Floyd & The Story of Prog Rock, the album ranked number 30 in its list of "40 Cosmic Rock Albums". It was voted number 606 in the third edition of Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums (2000).
Family Entertainment is the second album by the British progressive rock band Family, released in March 1969. The cover of the album was a takeoff from the sleeve of the Doors' second album, Strange Days, as Family admitted. Family Entertainment was the last album from the group's original lineup.
SUSAN TEDESCHI - The First 4... (1995/2005)
Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Susan Tedeschi is part of the new generation of blues musicians looking for ways to keep the form exciting, vital, and evolving. Tedeschi's live shows are by no means straight-ahead urban blues. Instead, she freely mixes classic R&B, blues, and her own gospel and blues-flavored originals into her sets. She's a young, sassy blues belter with musical sensibilities that belie her years. Tedeschi began singing when she was four and already active in local choir and theater in Norwell, a southern suburb of Boston. At 13, she began singing with local bands and continued her studies at the Berklee College of Music, honing her guitar skills and also joining the Reverence Gospel Ensemble. She started the first incarnation of her blues band upon graduating in 1991, with vocalist/guitarist Adrienne Hayes, a fellow blues enthusiast whom she met at the House of Blues in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Bonnie Raitt, Janis Joplin, and Boston-area singer Toni Lynn Washington were Tedeschi's most important influences; in starting her band, in fact, she used Washington's backing band and hustled up gigs on nights when Washington and her band were not already booked. Since they began performing around Boston's fertile blues scene, Tedeschi and her band developed into a tightly knit, road-ready group, and have played several major blues festivals. Guitarist Sean Costello has since replaced original guitarist and co-vocalist Hayes, who left the group to pursue her own musical interests.
Better Days (1995) is the debut album by American blues artist Susan Tedeschi, originally released in 1995 under the name Susan Tedeschi Band, but later re-released in 1998 after she found national success with Just Won't Burn.
Just Won't Burn (1998): The very idea of a lady slinging a guitar sets traditional blues fans swooning. But with the release of her debut, Susan Tedeschi slings, aims, and hits her target. What a talent! Singer, songwriter, player, performer, and more, the lady from Boston can do it all. Effective, she does justice to John Prine's classic "Angel from Montgomery" while making her own efforts known. Her tunes include "You Need to Be with Me," "Found Someone New," and the title cut. Leading her own band, she has what it takes to keep the boys in line while she wails away. Big Mama Thornton and Bessie Smith must be proud, and B.B. King must be impressed, since she has opened for that blues master on several occasions. Just a little taste of things to come, Just Won't Burn blazes a trail that Tedeschi is pioneering for herself and younger women in the blues world. A brave heart with spunk and plenty of soul.
Wait For Me (2002): Since it comes a whopping four years after her wildly successful major-label debut and Best New Artist Grammy nomination, the appropriately titled Wait for Me is a highly anticipated follow-up for an artist who nearly slipped into the "where is she now" bin. While the album doesn't totally justify the extended wait, Tedeschi returns with a tough, uncompromising release that's the equal of its predecessor. After touring the world, then marrying and having a baby (with husband/guitarist Derek Trucks), Tedeschi has shifted styles from guitar-slinging blues mama into a subtler but still passionate R&B approach. Trucks contributes a few of the album's bluesiest moments, laying into a slide solo on Paul Pena's exuberant "Gonna Move" that injects soul into its hooky chorus and bouncy groove. The title track's low-key horns, jazzy flourishes, and gospel underpinnings recall '60s Etta James, and a version of Dylan's "Don't Think Twice It's Alright" transforms the folk chestnut into a touching, torchy swamp ballad. It's here and on Tedeschi's own lovely "In the Garden" where her expressive vocals are a ringer for Bonnie Raitt's similar style. Those fired up by Just Won't Burn will easily warm to Wait for Me. With classy yet scorching performances and songs infused with roots rock, blues, funk, and even pop, it's a crossover album that oozes with integrity, terrific playing, and a loose yet distinctive direction.
Hope And Desire (2005): On her first outing in three years and her freshman offering for Verve's Forecast label, Susan Tedeschi digs deep into the soul and R&B fakebook for inspiration and comes out a winner. With an all-star band that includes guitarist Doyle Bramhall II, pianist David Palmer, organist Jebin Bruni, bassist Paul Bryan, drummer Jay Bellerose, and guests including husband Derek Trucks and the Blind Boys of Alabama, Tedeschi goes down into her own heart's well for inspiration. Wonderfully produced by Joe Henry, Hope and Desire is truly a singer's showcase of passion and class; she has signature phrasing and is an excellent interpreter. Henry proves that Tedeschi is one hell of a singer. From the roots-country blues of the Jagger and Richards opener, "You Got the Silver," to the hardcore soul of Otis Redding's "Security" (her version is closer to the Etta James reading than Redding's but Tedeschi puts her own hard spin on it), the garbage-can blues guitar of Percy Mayfield's ripping "The Danger Zone," and the finger-poppin' R&B of "Tired of My Tears," Tedeschi proves she's second to none by wringing every ounce of truth from these classic tunes. In addition, her subtle, to-the-bone reading of Bob Dylan's "Lord Protect My Child" (with great Dobro work by Trucks), a definitive version of Iris DeMent's "Sweet Forgiveness," and Dorsey Brunette's "Magnificent Sanctuary Band" offer solid proof that Tedeschi can sing gospel as well. In fact, based on the evidence here, she can sing any damn thing she likes and move your heart, making you believe every word and wail in the grain of a song. That's as high a compliment as one can pay.
LINDA RONSTADT - The Linda Ronstadt Box Set (1999)
Linda Ronstadt's ally titled four-CD, five-hour, 86-track box set retrospective attempts with considerable success to encompass the many types of music she's sung from the mid-'60s to the late '90s. The album is divided into five unequal parts, with 31 tracks given over to an "Album Retrospective," followed by seven tracks from "The Nelson Riddle Sessions," her three albums of classic pop, then five songs "En Espańol," drawn from her three Spanish language albums. That takes up the first two discs, with the third disc consisting of 20 "Collaborations" and the fourth 23 "Rarities." It is significant that the first section is called "Album Retrospective," signaling to the listener that Ronstadt is not interested in presenting her hit singles as such. In fact, most of her chart hits do turn up somewhere on the set, but a whole chunk of them is missing. At the time that Ronstadt was peppering the singles charts in the late '70s, she caught flack for her covers of Motown and rock & roll standards, and she herself has disavowed her recordings of such work, so maybe it shouldn't be a surprise that she has chosen to forget "Heat Wave," "Tracks of My Tears," "That'll Be the Day," "It's So Easy," and even modern rock songs like "How Do I Make You," with "Back in the U.S.A." and "Tumbling Dice" included only in live versions. A critic can hardly object, but Ronstadt fans should note that, as a result, the box set will not allow them to throw their Greatest Hits albums away. Also, the omissions tend to make Ronstadt seem like more of a balladeer than she has been in her career. She is much more interested in emphasizing her non-rock work. The "Rarities" disc really only contains five previously unreleased songs, and they are hardly revelations, including outtakes of material written by the likes of J.D. Souther and Karla Bonoff, longtime Ronstadt favorites. But the disc does suggest the singer's range, from the art songs of Carla Bley and Philip Glass to theater songs from The Pirates of Penzance and Randy Newman's Faust. The Linda Ronstadt Box Set clearly had major input from the artist herself, and its contents may not be what a Ronstadt fan or chart researcher would have chosen. But it certainly makes the case for Ronstadt as a hard-working performer who constantly challenged herself by trying styles beyond the Southern California folk-rock for which she remains best known.
V.A. - Warren Haynes Presents: The Benefit Concert - Vol. 1 & 2 (2000/07)
It's not an everyday occurrence that the biggest names in American rock get together on the same stage, but this was not your average concert: this is the Annual Warren Haynes Christmas Jam. Recorded on December 22, 1999 at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium in Warren's hometown of Asheville, NC, Warren gathered an amazing group of musicians that included members of the Allman Brothers Band (Derek Trucks, Jimmy Herring, Johnny Neel) and the Marshall Tucker Band (Paul Riddle), along with blues legend Little Milton, Grammy-nominated Susan Tedeschi, Edwin McCain, blues sensation Larry McCray and Col. Bruce Hampton (originator and founder of Aquarium Rescue Unit and The Codetalkers). This concert also reunited Audley Freed, Robert Kearns and Jason Patterson with singer Kelly Holland, completing the original Cry of Love lineup for the first time in over 5 years. All net proceeds from this series of concerts and subsequent CD releases benefit Habitat for Humanity, an international non-profit organization dedicated to building affordable housing for those in need of shelter. This legendary concert is documented on two discs impeccably produced by Grammy and Jammy Awardwinning artist Warren Haynes.
Recorded live at Warren Haynes' 12th annual X-mas jam in Asheville, NC at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, The Benefit Convert Vol. 2 is the second CD release in an on-going series documenting the annual concerts. As with each previous benefit, all proceeds from this series of concerts and CD releases are to benefit Habitat for Humanity, an international non-profit organization dedicated to building housing for those in need of shelter. Like each of the benefits, the 20000 concert saw Warren Haynes put together a stellar lineup of musicians that featured Gov't Mule, Gregg Allman and the Allman Brothers Band, The Bottle Rockets, the Chiris Duarte Band and an Aquarium Rescue Unit reunion featuring Col. Bruce Hampton. Warren Haynes also welcomed very special guests: Mike Barnes, Audley Fred (Black Crowes) Kevn Kinney (Drivin' n' Cryin'), Dan Matrazzo, Edwin McCain, John Popper (Blues Traveler), Paul Riddle (Marshall Tucker Band) and Dave Schools (Widespread Panic). In addition, the Benefit Concert Vol. 2 includes previously unreleased solo acoustic material by Warren Haynes himself.
V.A. - Warren Haynes Presents: The Benefit Concert - Vol. 3 & 4 (2010/11)
It's unclear why Volume 3 of Warren Haynes' annual Christmas show (recorded December 2001), took three additional years for an official CD release after Vols. 1 & 2 (from 1999 and 2000 performances) were made available in 2007. Regardless, this edition, finally available commercially in 2010, follows the same basic template as the gigs and the previous two discs: it's a double package that begins unplugged and builds up steam culminating in a final all-star collective that closes the second platter. Haynes is never far from the festivities, adding his licks and/or gruff voice to the sets of Blues Traveler, Phil Lesh & Friends, and of course Gov't Mule. Alvin Youngblood Hart kicks things off with traditional Delta blues, Edwin McCain appears next and is joined by guitarist Jimmy Herring and others. That's followed by Drivin' N Cryin' who charge into their two biggest tunes, and Blues Traveler, whose frantic four-song, 25-minute performance, featuring Popper's jittery more-notes-per-second harp solos, end the first disc. Disc two is dedicated to the Grateful Dead's Lesh, whose band Haynes toured with that year, along with Gov't Mule and a closing all-in blowout on Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World," the only subtle acknowledgment to the September 11 events that occurred just a few months before. The jam factor is high throughout, a mixed blessing on what seems to be an interminable 12-minute acoustic version of McCain's "Alone" that feels nearly twice as long, as well as some of the BT material. That's to be expected of Lesh and his group, though, whose contributions make up approximately a half-hour on disc 2. Haynes' work, both vocally and on guitar, energizes and often focuses what can be meandering Dead-styled material. Gov't Mule is no stranger to improvisation either, albeit in a harder style, as they grind out spirited, gutsy, extended versions of their own "Blind Man in the Dark," "Sco-Mule," and a rollicking cover of David Crosby's "Almost Cut My Hair," the latter featuring sacred steel whiz Robert Randolph and Widespread Panic's Dave Schools. Any fan of Haynes and his diverse musical associations will find lots to like here, and since the proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity, others can feel good cherrypicking from over two hours of energetic, passionate music, all recorded live on a single night with no overdubs.
Warren Haynes Presents: The Benefit Volume 4, a 2-disc live benefit concert featuring Gov't Mule, Bob Weir & Friends, John Hiatt & The Goners, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, moe and more will be released December 6 via Evil Teen. 'The Benefit Volume 4' was recorded at the 14th annual Warren Haynes Christmas Jam in Asheville, NC on December 21, 2002. Proceeds from the album will Benefit the Ashville Chapter of Habitat for Humanity. 'The Benefit Volume 4' features over 2.5 hours of scorching blues, roots and rock including Bob Weir & Friends versions of classic Grateful Dead songs including "Truckin", Gov't Mule favorites "Sco-Mule" and "Worried Down with the Blues" and a mind-bending slide guitar/pedal steel duel between Warren and Robert Randolph set to "Shake Your Hips."
FUNKADELIC - The First 4... (1970/72)
Though they often took a back seat to their sister group Parliament, Funkadelic furthered the notions of Black rock begun by Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone, blending elements of '60s psychedelia and blues plus the deep groove of soul and funk. The band pursued album statements of social/political commentary while Parliament stayed in the funk singles format, but Funkadelic nevertheless paralleled the more commercial group's success, especially in the late '70s when the interplay between bands moved the Funkadelic sound closer to a unified P-Funk style. In the grand soul tradition of a backing band playing support before the star takes the stage, Funkadelic began life supporting George Clinton's doo wop group, the Parliaments. After having performed for almost ten years, the Parliaments had added a rhythm section in 1964 -- for tours and background work -- consisting of guitarist Frankie Boyce, his brother Richard on bass, and drummer Langston Booth; two years later, the trio enlisted in the Army. By mid-1967, Clinton had recruited a new backing band, including his old friend Billy "Bass" Nelson (born January 28, 1951, Plainfield, New Jersey) and guitarist Eddie Hazel (born April 10, 1950, Brooklyn, New York). After several temporary replacements on drums and keyboards, the addition of rhythm guitarist Lucius "Tawl" Ross (born October 5, 1948, Wagram, North Carolina) and drummer Ramon "Tiki" Fulwood (born May 23, 1944, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) completed the lineup. The Parliaments recorded several hits during 1967, but trouble with the Revilot label backed Clinton into a corner. He hit upon the idea of deserting the Parliaments' name and instead recording their backing group, with the added vocal "contributions" of the former Parliaments -- same band, different name. Billy Nelson suggested the title Funkadelic, to reflect the members' increased inspiration from LSD and psychedelic culture. Clinton formed the Funkadelic label in mid-1968 but then signed the group to Detroit's Westbound label several months later.
Released in 1970, Funkadelic's self-titled debut album listed only producer Clinton and the five members of Funkadelic -- Hazel, Nelson, Fulwood, and Ross plus organist Mickey Atkins -- but also included all the former Parliaments plus several Motown sessionmen and Rare Earth's Ray Monette. Keyboard player Bernie Worrell also appeared on the album uncredited, even though his picture was included on the inner sleeve with the rest of the band. Worrell (born April 19, 1944, Long Beach, New Jersey) was finally credited on the second Funkadelic album (1970's Free Your Mind...and Your Ass Will Follow). He and Clinton had known each other since the early '60s, and Worrell soon became the most crucial cog in the P-Funk machine, working on arrangements and production for most later Parliament/Funkadelic releases. His strict upbringing and classical training (at the New England Conservatory and Juilliard), as well as the boom in synthesizer technology during the early '70s, gave him the tools to create the horn arrangements and jazz fusion-inspired synth runs that later trademarked the P-Funk sound. Just after the release of their third album, Maggot Brain, P-Funk added yet another big contributor, Bootsy Collins. The throbbing bassline of Collins (born October 26, 1951, Cincinnati, Ohio) had previously been featured in James Brown's backing band, the J.B.'s (along with his brother, guitarist Catfish Collins). Bootsy and Catfish were playing in a Detroit band in 1972 when George Clinton saw and hired them. The Clinton/Worrell/Collins lineup premiered on 1972's America Eats Its Young, but soon after its release several original members left the camp. Eddie Hazel spent a year in jail after a combination drug possession/assault conviction, Tawl Ross left the band for medical reasons relating to an overdose of LSD and speed, and Bill Nelson quit after more financial quarrels with Clinton. Funkadelic hired teenaged guitar sensation Michael Hampton as a replacement, but both Hazel and Nelson would return for several later P-Funk releases.
Funkadelic moved to Warner Bros. in 1975 and delivered its major-label debut, Hardcore Jollies, one year later to lackluster sales and reviews. The same year, Westbound raided its vaults and countered with Tales of Kidd Funkadelic. Ironically, the album did better than Hardcore Jollies and included an R&B Top 30 single, "Undisco Kidd." In 1977, Westbound released The Best of the Early Years while Funkadelic recorded what became its masterpiece (and arguably the best P-Funk release ever), 1978's One Nation Under a Groove. During the most successful year in Parliament/Funkadelic history, Parliament hit the charts first with "Flash Light," P-Funk's first R&B number one. "Aqua Boogie" would hit number one as well late in the year, but Funkadelic's title track to One Nation Under a Groove spent six weeks at the top spot on the R&B charts during the summer. The album, which reflected a growing consistency in styles between Parliament and Funkadelic, became the first Funkadelic LP to reach platinum (the same year that Parliament's Funkentelechy vs. the Placebo Syndrome did the same). In 1979, Funkadelic's "(Not Just) Knee Deep" hit number one as well, and its album (Uncle Jam Wants You) reached gold status. At just the point that Funkadelic appeared to be at the top of their powers, the band began to unravel. As is sometimes the case, commercial success began to dissolve several old friendships. In 1977, original Parliaments members Fuzzy Haskins, Calvin Simon, and Grady Thomas had left the P-Funk organization to record on their own. In early 1981, they hit the R&B charts with a single called "Connections and Disconnections," recorded as Funkadelic. To confuse matters more, the original Funkadelic appeared on the charts at the same time, with the title track to The Electric Spanking of War Babies. During 1980, Clinton began to be weighed down by legal difficulties arising from Polygram's acquisition of Parliament's label, Casablanca. Jettisoning both the Parliament and Funkadelic names (but not the musicians), Clinton began his solo career with 1982's Computer Games. He and many former Parliament/Funkadelic members continued to tour and record throughout the '80s as the P-Funk All Stars, but the decade's disdain of everything to do with the '70s resulted in critical and commercial neglect for the world's biggest funk band, especially one that, in part, had spawned the sound of disco. During the early '90s, the rise of funk-inspired rap (courtesy of Digital Underground, Dr. Dre, and Warren G.) and funk rock (Primus and Red Hot Chili Peppers) reestablished the status of Clinton and company, one of the most important forces in the recent history of Black music. While they continued to perform in permutations, there were occasional archival releases, such as By Way of the Drum (a shelved 1989 recording; 2007) and Toys (previously unissued Westbound-era sessions; 2008). In 2014, they released the all-new First Ya Gotta Shake the Gate, which clocked in at a whopping 200 minutes -- roughly the same length as the sum of the band's first five albums.
COCKNEY REBEL - The Human Menagerie (1973) & The Psychomodo (1974)
Fronted by ex-journalist Steve Harley (born Steven Nice), Cockney Rebel first stirred in mid-1973 with the release of the epochal single "Sebastian." With a lineup selected as much for its classical versatility as its rock punch, but with little care for the orchestral conceits which marred other bands of that ilk, Cockney Rebel debuted with one of the most widely acclaimed albums of the year. The Human Menagerie succeeded in appearing both epic and concise at the same time and, while neither album nor single charted, both paved the way for what even cynics knew was an imminent breakthrough. Harley himself, meanwhile, was a brilliant self-publicist, adding his own very loud voice to the tide of approval which greeted Cockney Rebel's early work. Reading the group's press, it was often difficult to determine where Harley's ambition ended and the journalist's praise began, but that, too, added to the buzz which surrounded them. So much fevered activity finally paid off in spring 1974 with the release of "Judy Teen," the group's second single and an immediate Top Ten hit. Cockney Rebel followed through with landmark album, The Psychomodo, a gallant and extraordinarily adventurous album which promptly proved another massive success. A session for BBC Radio disc jockey John Peel, subsequently released on the At the BBC album, offered up further evidence of the band's inventiveness, while Harley demonstrated his own keen grasp of media by making himself as available (and appealing) to the pop market as to the heavyweight rock audience -- one of the group's most remarkable ventures that summer was a short-lived appearance at the Biggin Hill air show.
It was a successful band, but it was not a happy one. Conceived as a democracy, the musicians now chafed at being regarded as mere sidemen for their singer, all the more so after it became apparent that that was what Harley himself required of them. By the time "Mr. Soft" gave Cockney Rebel their second hit single, it was no more -- Harley went on Top of the Pops to perform the song with only drummer Stuart Elliot surviving from the original lineup, Curved Air's Francis Monkman, and session musician/songwriter B.A. Robertson completed this impromptu band. Fall 1974 brought the release of the group's next single, "Big Big Deal," presumably a taster for their proposed third album. No sooner was the record released, however, than it was withdrawn, while Harley and Elliot began piecing together a new lineup. This would debut, under the name of Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel the following spring, with the release of the album The Best Years of Our Lives and the chart-topping single "Make Me Smile (Come up and See Me)." Both proved remarkably enduring; both, however, were many miles removed from the evocative darkness of the original group's work. Indeed, although Harley would retain the Cockney Rebel identity for much of the decade, subsequent albums were solo shots in all but name. Of his erstwhile bandmates, violinist Jean Paul Croker moved into session work; while bassist Paul Jefferies and guitarist Milton Reames James were briefly members of Be Bop Deluxe, before forming their own band, Chartreuse, in 1976. Jefferies was killed in the Lockerbie air disaster in 1988.
THE STRAWBS - The First 4... (1969/71)
One of the more unsung British progressive bands of the early 1970s, the Strawbs differed from their more successful compatriots -- the Moody Blues, King Crimson, Pink Floyd -- principally in that their sound originated in English folk music rather than rock. Their transformation from acoustic bluegrass outfit to progressive folk-rock innovators was an impressive feat, and they hit their stride with gems like 1972's Grave New World and its follow-up Bursting at the Seams. As the '70s wore on, the Strawbs' career began to falter with ongoing lineup and label changes marring their progress. They survived a breakup at the end of the decade and went on to enjoy a robust revival period in the mid-'80s that, while not quite up to the level of their peak years, helped carry them and their fans into the 21st century. The Strawbs of the 2000s were particularly prolific, delivering an array of studio albums including highlights like 2005's Painted Sky and 2009's The Broken Hearted Bride. Over the years, the group have managed to remain stylistically adventurous even on late-period outings like 2021's Settlement, released over 50 years after their debut. Founded in 1964 as a bluegrass-based trio called the Strawberry Hill Boys by singer/guitarist Dave Cousins, the group originally consisted of Cousins, guitarist/singer Tony Hooper, and mandolinist Arthur Phillips, who was replaced in 1968 by Ron Chesterman on bass. That same year, the band -- now rechristened the Strawbs, and doing repertory well beyond the bounds of bluegrass music -- briefly became a quartet with the temporary addition of Sandy Denny, who stayed long enough to record a relative handful of tracks with the group on the Hallmark label before joining Fairport Convention. In 1969, the Strawbs were signed to A&M Records, and cut their first album, the acoustic-textured Strawbs, that same year.
For their second album, Dragonfly, recorded and released the following year, the group broadened their sound with the presence of a group of session musicians, including piano/organist Rick Wakeman. Soon after the release of this record, the Strawbs became a full-fledged band with the addition not only of Wakeman but also Richard Hudson and John Ford, on drums and bass, respectively. These changes, coupled with Cousins' increasing dexterity on electric guitar, gave the Strawbs a much more powerful sound that was showcased on their next album. The live Just a Collection of Antiques and Curios (1970) sold well, and was followed the next year by From the Witchwood. In 1971, Wakeman left the Strawbs in order to join Yes; he was replaced by Blue Weaver formerly of the Amen Corner. Grave New World (1972) showed the band entering their strongest period, with Cousins' songwriting augmented by the new prowess of the composing team of Hudson and Ford. The record became their best-selling album to date. Unfortunately, its release also heralded the exit of Tony Hooper. He was replaced by Dave Lambert, a more aggressive, rock-oriented guitarist, and his addition brought the group into their peak period. The Strawbs' 1973 album Bursting at the Seams featured two Top Ten U.K. hits, "Lay Down" and "Part of the Union," and one album track, "Down by the Sea," racked up substantial airplay on American FM radio. As happens with peak periods, the band's fortunes began to decline as the decade wore on. Blue Weaver left after one more tour, while Hudson and Ford exited to form Hudson-Ford, also signed to A&M. The Strawbs regrouped in 1974 with Hero and Heroine, recorded with a new lineup consisting of Cousins, Lambert, keyboardist John Hawken, bassist Chas Cronk, and drummer Rod Coombes. The new album was a critical and commercial failure in England, but proved popular in America. Their next two albums, Ghosts (1975) and Nomadness (1976), both did better in the U.S. than they did in the U.K. None of this was enough to sustain the group, however, which continued to lose members and also left A&M Records.
Two more albums on the Oyster label were poorly distributed and one album for Arista, Deadlines (1978), was a commercial failure, while a second record for the label was never released. The Strawbs called it quits at the end of the 1970s, and Cousins embarked on some solo projects in association with guitarist Brian Willoughby that attracted the interest of die-hard fans but few others. That might have been the end of the group's history, if it hadn't been for an invitation to play the 1983 Cambridge Folk Festival. The Strawbs responded, in the guise of Cousins, Hooper, Hudson, Ford, Weaver, and Willoughby, and the response was so favorable that a tour was scheduled, which, in turn, led to their return to America in the mid-'80s. The band followed this up with two new studio albums released in Canada. In 1993, the Strawbs released their own retrospective concert album, Greatest Hits Live!, which summed up many of the high points of their history. The group continued to play throughout the decade and into the following century, issuing a slew of live efforts and studio albums. The original lineup from the Hero and Heroine era returned to the studio in 2008 to record The Broken Hearted Bride, a return-to-form effort that solidified the band's staying power. In 2009, the group released Dancing to the Devil's Beat, while 2011's Hero & Heroine in Ascencia found Cousins and his bandmates revisiting the material from 1974's Hero and Heroine. After several years of touring in both acoustic and electric lineups, in 2017 the Strawbs released The Ferryman's Curse, their first studio album of original material in eight years. Celebrating their 50th anniversary, the group toured America in 2019, then returned with another studio album in 2021's stylistically eclectic Settlement.
THE MARSHALL TUCKER BAND - The First 4... (1973/75)
One of the major Southern rock bands of the '70s, the Marshall Tucker Band combined rock, country, and jazz, and featured extended instrumental passages on which lead guitarist Toy Caldwell shone. The band was formed in Spartanburg, SC, in 1971 by singer Doug Gray, guitarist Caldwell (born 1948, died February 25, 1993), his brother bassist Tommy Caldwell (born 1950, died April 4, 1980), guitarist George McCorkle, drummer Paul Riddle, and reed player Jerry Eubanks. The six-piece group was signed to Capricorn Records and released their debut album, The Marshall Tucker Band, in March 1973. They gained recognition through a tour with the Allman Brothers Band and found significant success during the course of the '70s, with most of their albums going gold. Their peak came with the million-selling album Carolina Dreams and its Top 15 single "Heard It in a Love Song" in 1977.
The band was slowed down by the death of Tommy Caldwell in a car accident in 1980 and faded from the album charts after 1982. Toy Caldwell left for a solo career soon after, and the original lineup disbanded in 1983. Later that same year, Doug Gray and Jerry Eubanks hired some Nashville studio musicians and took the band back out onto the road; a little over a year later, the second wave of the Marshall Tucker Band began, as Gray and Eubanks returned home to Spartanburg, SC, and hired guitarist Rusty Milner, bassist Tim Lawter, drummer Ace Allen, and guitarist Stuart Swanlund.
During the years since the original band dissolved, the group has had country chart hits, toured constantly, made forays into the blues and adult contemporary, and suffered the loss of founding member Toy Caldwell, who died in 1993. Some bandmembers left, some joined, and some stayed right where they were, but through it all, the Marshall Tucker Band endured. The band continued to record steadily, maintained a loyal fan base, and eventually began to receive their due as Southern rock pioneers. The 1998 Marshall Tucker Band consisted of Gray, Milner, Lawter, Swanlund, David Muse (formerly of Firefall, on sax, flute, and keys), and drummer B.B. Borden (formerly of Mother's Finest). The band took several stylistic detours with 1998's all-blues outing Face Down in the Blues and the 1999 spiritual album Gospel. A thorough reissue campaign was inaugurated in 2003, and the new studio record Beyond the Horizon appeared one year later. In 2006, the group released a live 1980 concert, Live on Long Island, and another new studio project, The Next Adventure, appeared in 2007.
RARE BIRD - Beautiful Scarlet: The Recordings 1969-1975 (2021)
Rare Bird was a late 1960’s/early 1970’s UK progressive rock band that lived up to their name by recording their first two albums without a guitarist, led instead by two keyboard players. This would change, with the band including lead guitar on their final three LP’s before calling it a day in 1975. Esoteric Recordings has gathered together all five studio albums, supplemented by all extant single sides, and included a previously unreleased live performance from 1974 in their new six disc box set named for a track from their self-titled 1969 debut long player.
Digitally remastered six CD set featuring all of the albums and singles released by legendary Band RARE BIRD on both the Charisma and Polydor labels between 1969 and 1975. Formed in 1969 with a line up featuring Graham Field (organ), Dave Kaffinetti (keyboards), Steve Gould (vocals, bass) and Mark Ashton (drums), Rare Bird had the distinction of being the first act to be released on Tony Stratton Smith's gloriously eclectic label Charisma records (also the home of Genesis, The Nice and Van Der Graaf Generator to name but a few) and for their excellent self-titled debut album released in late 1969 and their 1970 international hit single Sympathy. Despite selling a million copies worldwide, neither their debut album or the excellent follow up As Your Mind Flies By (issued in 1970) enjoyed the sales of their debut single. This lack of commercial success saw the departure of Graham Field and Mark Ashton, leaving Gould and Kaffinetti to form a new line-up in 1971 adding Andy "Ced" Curtis (lead guitar), Fred Kelly (drums) and Paul Karas (bass, vocals) to the band, with Steve Gould undertaking the role of second guitarist in addition to that of vocalist. Signing to Polydor Records in late 1971, Rare Bird recorded the excellent album Epic Forest the following year. The album was lavishly packaged with early copies featuring a poster and a bonus 7-inch EP with three additional tracks. In 1973 the band changed line-ups once more with departure of Paul Karas. He was replaced by Nic Potter (previously with Van Der Graaf Generator) and the band recorded the fine album Somebody's Watching the same year. The album featured guest John Wetton on bass for the track "Dollars". Despite the excellence of the band's work, commercial success still eluded them. In 1974 Andy Rae replaced Nic Potter on bass and Rare Bird recorded their final album, Born Again. The release of the album led to touring activity, including a memorable spot opening for label mates Barclay James Harvest at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in June 1974. However, the following year Rare Bird disbanded. This new anthology features newly re-mastered versions of all of Rare Bird's albums and singles, with Epic Forest being re-mastered from recently discovered first generation master tapes for the first time. The set also features an additional previously unreleased CD of the band's entire live set recorded by Polydor Records at the Theatre Royal, London in June 1974. Also included is an illustrated booklet featuring exclusive interviews with Steve Gould and Mark Ashton and a facsimile of the rare poster given with initial copies of Epic Forest.
MARC BOLAN & T.REX - Interstellar Soul: Hits, Favourites, Demos, Jingles, Interviews 1972-1977 (2007)
Back in the early '80s, EMI's Australian wing pulled off a remarkable coup, a three-LP Marc Bolan/T. Rex compilation which drew material from the length and breadth of his career, to serve up the most well-rounded portrait of the Bopping Elf that has ever been mustered. It disappeared from the racks pretty quickly, and fans have been praying for a similar gesture ever since. Well, it hasn't arrived yet, but the three discs here at least go halfway, covering the years during which Bolan operated his own record label, Hot Wax, and doing so with such precision that "perfect" is not too superlative a description for it. Quite simply, A Wizard offers the yardstick by which all box sets should be measured. Few of them will make the grade. The breakdown is breathtakingly straightforward, divided equally between the expected hits, the necessary album cuts, and the demanded rarities. Disc one follows Bolan through his period of greatest success, the 1972-early 1973 era during which U.K. hits like "Telegram Sam" and "Metal Guru" trailed one of the most astonishing albums of the decade, The Slider. Disc two tracks the downhill-quickly years of 1973-1974; disc three catches the rebirth which was so cruelly curtailed by Bolan's September 1977 death. Each is superlative. The year 1972, in particular, passes in a blur of excitement; Bolan was at his vivacious best, and it matters not what he's doing, whether it's laying down the next monster hit single ("Children of the Revolution," "Solid Gold Easy Action") or strumming rudely through a demo that might never see the light of day ("Over the Flats," "Is It True?" -- since covered by St. Etienne). At his best, even Bolan's B-sides ("Cadillac," "Thunderwing") were worth a dozen A-sides from anyone else, but the 27 tracks (plus eight more snippets) that comprise disc one are more than a simple portrait of pop at its purest. They offer an in-depth examination of how the portrait came to be painted in the first place. Then what happened? Clearly Bolan did not lose his magic overnight, but he did forget what made it magical. The most remarkable thing about disc two is the sheer quality of the songs he left on the shelf, a fact which the relevant volumes of the Unchained outtakes series have already made abundantly clear, but which is only reinforced here by its proximity to what was being released. The hit "Teenage Dream" notwithstanding, Bolan's best work through 1974, the material which proved he was still the most individual talent of his age, either lay unreleased and largely unheard until the last couple of years, or was buried away in a substandard version at the end of an album somewhere.
Maybe he was right and the world wasn't yet ready for the miasmic electric gospel of "Sky Church Music." But &"Everyday") is the kind of song Bolan's rivals would have killed for. He simply killed it. Other highlights include the glimpse into the power of the live T. Rex-perience provided by a shattering "Token of My Love," recorded in Cleveland during the band's last ever American tour, again in 1974, while Bolan's long-cherished dream of creating a stable of acts around his own star is represented by a cut from his work with vocalist Sister Pat Hall; he produced an entire album with her, since released by Edsel (of course, and represented here by "Jitterbug Love," a minor Bolan classic that never got the due it deserved. Until now. Like the period it documents, disc two is somewhat unfocused. Disc three, however, finds Bolan utterly regaining his equilibrium, first via excerpts (released and outtakes) from the still-underrated Futuristic Dragon and Dandy in the Underworld albums, then with the clutch of songs that, had he lived long enough to progress them beyond demo stage, would have comprised his next album. The sheer quality of "Hot George," "21st Century Stance," and "Celebrate Summer," his final 45, would have done the rest. A Wizard does have its weak spots, of course. The promise of 92 tracks is undermined by the fact that at least a score of them are merely radio jingles, interview snippets, and abandoned-after-two-notes demos. Yet they work within the overall concept, lending the box a documentary feel -- and one which sets out its intentions from the opening interview snippet: "On that stage I'm in a realm of fantasy," Bolan laughs. "I can do whatever I want to do -- and get away with it." Then it kicks into "Telegram Sam" and you know he was right. He could. Of the set's other deficiencies, Bolan's much-vaunted collaboration with Roy Wood is disappointing from a musical standpoint, although if the pair of them had ever got sick of the pop lark there would certainly have been a career for them in stand-up. Similarly, the excerpts included from 1974's uncompleted "Children of Rarn" suite are little more than tantalizing fragments that would have been better employed on the relevant volume of the Unchained series. Overall, however, there is little about the set over which even compulsive collectors could reasonably quibble. Indeed, amid the myriad Bolan collections currently available, it's nice to finally receive one that lets you appreciate every facet of his career and abilities, as opposed to the simple-minded hit machine that history most vividly portrays. Yes, he was a human jukebox and a purveyor of mighty fine records. But he was also a fabulous guitarist, a visionary poet, an astonishing live performer, and the most charismatic songwriter of his generation. And not even Todd Rundgren would argue with the title of the box.
STEVE MARRIOTT - Marriott (1976) & Rainy Changes: A Collecton Of Rare Recordings 1973-1991 (2007)
Steve Marriott (1947 – 1991) was an English musician, songwriter and frontman guitarist of rock bands Small Faces (1965–1968 and 1975–1978) and Humble Pie (1969–1975 and 1979–1983), spanning over two decades. Marriott was inducted posthumously into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012 as a member of Small Faces.In Britain, Marriott became a popular, often-photographed mod style icon. Marriott was influenced from an early age by his heroes including Buddy Holly, Booker T & the MG's, Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Muddy Waters and Bobby Bland. In later life Marriott became disillusioned with the music industry and turned his back on the big record companies, remaining in relative obscurity. He returned to his music roots playing the pubs and clubs around London and Essex. Marriott died on 20 April 1991 when a fire, which was thought to have been caused by a cigarette, swept through his 16th century home in Arkesden, Essex. He posthumously received an Ivor Novello Award in 1996 for his Outstanding Contribution to British Music, and was listed in Mojo as one of the top 100 greatest singers of all time.
In between the demise of Humble Pie and the reformation of The Small Faces, Steve Marriott found time to record this, his first solo record – and it’s a cracker! This classic album has been hidden away in the A&M vaults for many years having been deleted in 1980 and as such has never been available on CD. This fantastic album has been digitally remastered and contains 10 electrifying tracks of soul and rock n’ roll all delivered perfectly by the godfather of Britpop!
Rainy Changes: A Collecton Of Rare Recordings 1973-1991 features Over 25 Previously Unreleased Tracks Ranging from Alternate Versions of 1970’s Humble Pie Classics Right Through to the Very Last Recordings He Made with Peter Frampton, in Los Angeles, Just Weeks Before He Died in 1991. Also Included is the "lost" Official Receivers Studio Album from 1987 (CD2 Tracks 4-14) which also Includes Contributions from his 80’s Blackberries! Pp Arnold, Sam Brown and Margo Buchanan. Add to that the Inclusion of the Track Thought of as the Marriott Holy Grail, the Orchestral Version of Jo Brown's Song "soldier". This Previously Unreleased Track was Touted as a Possible Single Back in 1977.
ARTHUR LEE - Solo (1972/81)
Enigmatic frontman and driving force of the brilliant Love. Prior to forming Love, Arthur Lee was a Los Angeles hustler, desperately searching for the formula that would make him a star. In the early mid-'60s, Lee recorded some unsuccessful singles including one as the American Four on Selma, a subsidiary of Del-Fi, "Luci Baines"/"Soul Food." He also recorded a session for Rosa Lee Brooks that featured Jimi Hendrix as a session guitarist. Lee found his niche at last when he founded one of the '60s seminal garage/folk/psychedelic bands, Love, in 1965. The band, which also featured fellow songwriter and singer Bryan MacLean, recorded three amazing albums for Elektra including Forever Changes, an album that is certainly a contender for best rock album ever made. In 1968, Lee decided to scrap the idea of Love as a real band, kicked out all the remaining members, and began recording with pickup bands and sessionmen. The band's and Lee's fortunes quickly declined, and Lee, never the most normal person in the best of times, began exhibiting erratic behavior as his drug intake began to take its toll. He recorded more unsuccessful albums as Love, recorded a solo album, Vindicator, in 1972, and began to fade away. Lee would regularly tour and recordings were made of these shows, but he rarely returned to a studio or wrote new songs. In 1994, Lee recorded a new single "Midnight Sun"/"Girl on Fire," although the B-side was actually salvaged from an unreleased album Lee recorded with Jimi Hendrix years before.
In July 1972, Lee released his first solo album, Vindicator, on A&M Records, featuring a new group of musicians also playing as the band Love. At one point in time they would use the name Bandaid, a name originally suggested by Jimi Hendrix for a briefly considered lineup of himself, Lee, and Steve Winwood. This album failed to chart. Lee recorded a second solo album in 1973 entitled Black Beauty for Buffalo Records, but the label folded before the album was released. Lee contributed the title track to the 1974 blaxploitation film Thomasine & Bushrod. Lee's next move was to credit the backing group for Black Beauty with the addition of guitarist John Sterling as a new Love for Reel to Real (1974). Once again, the album went nearly unnoticed. A new Lee solo album, called just Arthur Lee, appeared on Rhino Records in 1981, featuring covers of The Bobbettes' "Mr. Lee" and Jimmy Cliff's "Many Rivers to Cross" and musicians Sterling (guitar), George Suranovich (drums), and Kim Kesterson (bass), as well as some of the members from "Reel to Real".
ALVIN LEE - The First 4 Solo... (1975/79)
As with many of the other English beat groups of the '60s, Alvin Lee cut his musical teeth in Hamburg, Germany in a band called the Jaybirds. By 1966, back in England, he had changed the name of his band to Ten Years After and was rapidly becoming a major attraction because of the virtuosity of his solo work. Most Americans first became familiar with Lee through his appearance at Woodstock, although he remained active throughout the decades that followed; among his releases were 1974's In Flight, 1986's Detroit Diesel, and 1996's Live in Vienna. Alvin Lee died on March 6, 2013 due to complications from a routine surgical procedure. Lee's performance at the Woodstock Festival was captured on film in the documentary of the event, and his 'lightning-fast' playing helped catapult him to stardom. Soon the band was playing arenas and stadiums around the globe. The film brought Lee's music to a worldwide audience, although he later lamented that he missed the lost freedom and spiritual dedication with his earlier public. Lee was named "the Fastest guitarist in the West", and considered a precursor to shred-style playing that would develop in the 1980s.
Ten Years After had success, releasing ten albums together, but by 1973, Lee was feeling limited by the band's style. Moving to Columbia Records had resulted in a radio hit song, "I'd Love to Change the World", but Lee preferred blues-rock to the pop to which the label steered them. He left the group after their second Columbia LP. With American Christian rock pioneer Mylon LeFevre, along with guests George Harrison, Steve Winwood, Ronnie Wood and Mick Fleetwood, he recorded and released On the Road to Freedom, an acclaimed album that was at the forefront of country rock. Also in 1973, he sat in on the Jerry Lee Lewis double album The Session...Recorded in London with Great Artists recorded in London, featuring many other guest stars including Albert Lee, Peter Frampton and Rory Gallagher. A year later, in response to a dare, Lee formed Alvin Lee & Company to play a show at the Rainbow Theatre in London and released it as a double live album, In Flight. Various members of the band continued on with Lee for his next two albums, Pump Iron! and Let It Rock. In late 1975, he played guitar for a couple of tracks on Bo Diddley's The 20th Anniversary of Rock 'n' Roll all-star album. He finished the 1970s with an outfit called Ten Years Later, with Tom Compton on drums and Mick Hawksworth on bass, which released two albums, Rocket Fuel (1978) and Ride On (1979), and toured extensively throughout Europe and the United States.
The 1980s brought another change in Lee's direction, with two albums that were collaborations with Rare Bird's Steve Gould, and a tour for which the former John Mayall and Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor joined his band. Lee's overall musical output includes more than twenty albums, including 1987's Detroit Diesel, 1989's About Time (the reunion album he did with Ten Years After) recorded in Memphis with producer Terry Manning, and the back to back 1990s collections of Zoom and Nineteen Ninety-Four (US title I Hear You Rockin'). Guest artists on both albums included George Harrison. In Tennessee, recorded with Scotty Moore and D. J. Fontana, was released in 2004. Lee's last album, Still on the Road to Freedom, was released in September 2012.
PETER FRAMPTON - Best Of FCA!35 Tour: An Evening With Peter Frampton (2012)
It's easy and natural to confuse this three-disc audio package with the similarly titled DVD/Blu-Ray that was released simultaneously with the same cover art, especially since the song selection is nearly identical. But the CD set is a slightly different animal since it grabs what Frampton thinks are the best performances of the material played from various gigs on his year-long tour from 2011-2012. In comparison, the video is two complete shows from a few cities. The musical differences are subtle, yet there is a case to be made that the audio is a better document of this material and that hardcore fans may indeed want to spring for both. Regardless, even if the concept of classic rockers and new wavers playing their classic albums from start to finish is already cliché in 2012, Frampton and his band, of which only bassist Stanley Sheldon remains from the 1977 Frampton Comes Alive! outfit, deliver a robust and thoroughly convincing show. Considering that the guitarist has likely played much of this material at every concert for the previous three decades, his commitment and sheer enjoyment seem to be fresh, and if not always inspired, certainly inspirational. Frampton's voice isn't quite as fluid as it was 35 years prior, but the slight, grainy edge that age brings injects a somewhat more sober note to these energetic performances. Almost every song is longer, too, with "I'll Give You Money" jumping from just under six minutes in 1975 to over nine minutes here. The show-stopping, talk box-driven "Do You Feel Like We Do" expands, for better or worse, from 12 to nearly 18 minutes with a newly added, jazzy interlude from electric pianist Rob Arthur. If that were all, it would be a pretty successful revival of an album that surprisingly hasn't lost its luster since its mid-'70s release. But Frampton returns with a stunning second set, arguably better than the first, that features live versions of more obscure, newer selections. He also digs into oldies from his tenure in Humble Pie, including a raucous "I Don't Need No Doctor" and an appearance from son Julian who sings lead on that track and a few others. Frampton's guitar chops are finely tuned throughout but he gets a chance to really exhibit them on the beautiful ten-minute classical/blues/jazz-based instrumental "Suite: Liberte" from 2010's unjustly ignored Thank You Mr. Churchill. A roaring 12-minute take on George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" begins with an almost avant-garde intro before Frampton hits the noted riff almost three minutes later and builds the intensity until it explodes in a goosebump-raising crescendo. With over three hours of music, nearly all of this is pretty terrific -- what could have been a shoddy, cash-generating knockoff is powerful proof that Frampton might indeed be getting better as he ages. The result is an artistic triumph and a musical treat, especially for fans and even for those who may not have been born when Frampton Comes Alive! was a staple in dorm rooms and ruled the charts in 1976.
PETER GREEN SPLINTER GROUP - Time Traders (2001) + Reaching the Cold 100 (2003) 
The Peter Green Splinter Group were a blues band formed in 1997, fronted by guitarist and singer Peter Green. Green was the leader of Fleetwood Mac until 1970. He suffered a mental breakdown during the 1970s. He was rehabilitated with the aid of Nigel Watson, the late Cozy Powell and other friends, and then began touring and recording with the Splinter Group. The group was disbanded in early 2004 with Green's departure from the group – an upcoming tour was cancelled, as was the planned release of a new album. A major figure and bandleader in the "second great epoch" of the British blues movement, Green inspired B. B. King to say, "He has the sweetest tone I ever heard; he was the only one who gave me the cold sweats." Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page have both lauded his guitar playing. Green's playing was marked with idiomatic string bending and vibrato and economy of style. Though he played other guitars, he is best known for deriving a unique tone from his 1959 Gibson Les Paul. He was ranked 38th in Rolling Stone's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". His tone on the Bluesbreakers instrumental "The Super-Natural" was rated as one of the fifty greatest of all time by Guitar Player. In June 1996 Green was voted the third-best guitarist of all time in Mojo magazine.
This release combines two studio albums from the Peter Green Splinter Group 'Time Traders' from 2001 and 'Reaching The Cold 100' from 2003. Peter Green's status as a blues guitarist is second to none. With first John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and then Fleetwood Mac, he created an extraordinary body of work which established his reputation. Time Traders and Reaching The Cold 100 were the last studio recordings by the Peter Green Splinter Group, which operated from 1997 to 2004 and in contrast to their earlier albums they feature entirely original compositions by members of the group. These are two great albums worthy of inclusion in any fan's collection.
GARY WRIGHT - The First 4... (1971/77)
Gary Wright is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and composer best known for his 1976 hit songs "Dream Weaver" and "Love Is Alive", and for his role in helping establish the synthesizer as a leading instrument in rock and pop music. Wright's breakthrough album, The Dream Weaver (1975), came after he had spent seven years in London as, alternately, a member of the British heavy rock band Spooky Tooth and a solo artist on A&M Records. While in England, he played keyboards on former Beatle George Harrison's triple album All Things Must Pass (1970), so beginning a friendship that inspired the Indian religious themes and spirituality inherent in Wright's subsequent songwriting. His work since the late 1980s has embraced world music and the new age genre, although none of his post-1976 releases has matched the popularity of The Dream Weaver. A former child actor, Wright performed on Broadway in the hit musical Fanny before studying medicine and then psychology in New York and Berlin. After meeting Chris Blackwell of Island Records in Europe, Wright moved to London, where he helped establish Spooky Tooth as a popular live act. He also served as the band's principal songwriter on their recordings – among them, the well-regarded albums Spooky Two (1969) and You Broke My Heart So I Busted Your Jaw (1973).
His solo album Footprint (1971), recorded with contributions from Harrison, coincided with the formation of Wright's short-lived band Wonderwheel, which included guitarist Mick Jones. Also, during the early 1970s, Wright played on notable recordings by B.B. King, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ringo Starr, Harry Nilsson and Ronnie Spector, while his musical association with Harrison endured until shortly before the latter's death in 2001. Wright turned to film soundtrack work in the early 1980s, including re-recording his most popular song, "Dream Weaver", for the 1992 comedy Wayne's World. Following Spooky Tooth's reunion tour in 2004, Wright has performed live frequently, either as a member of Starr's All-Starr Band, with his own live band, or on subsequent Spooky Tooth reunions. Wright's most recent solo albums, including Waiting to Catch the Light (2008) and Connected (2010), have all been issued on his Larklio record label. In 2014, Jeremy P. Tarcher published Wright's autobiography, Dream Weaver: Music, Meditation, and My Friendship with George Harrison.
DISCLAIMER: The music found through this blog is intended for review purposes and should not be seen as a substitute for the original, legal, RIAA approved, record company enriching product. Please note that songs are available for VERY short amount of time. And if you like the music BUY IT. Please support the artists and buy as much as you can directly from them and cut out the middle man.
zinhof [at] gmail.com