RORY GALLAGHER - Defender (1987) [Remastered, 2018] & Fresh Evidence (1990) [Remastered, 2018]
Released five years after his last effort (an eternity for the prolific Irish blues guitar slinger who had been churning out at least an album a year throughout the '70s), Defender is another quality blues-rock offering. Although Gallagher is in fine tough form here and it was his debut release for his own indie label, there is little difference between this and some of his less stellar '70s albums like Top Priority and Photo-Finish. The pounding, guitar-heavy opener "Kickback City" sounds more like hairy rockers Bad Company than anything approaching the deep Chicago and country blues Gallagher dearly loved. The quality picks up substantially as the volume subsides on "Loanshark Blues," but by-the-books crunch-rockers like "Failsafe Day" and the unfortunately titled "Road to Hell" don't bode well for Gallagher moving out from an increasingly formulaic pigeonhole. There are a few corkers here like "Continental Op," a blazing riff that stands with Gallagher's best work and revisits his familiar cloak-and-dagger theme. The swampy, less abrasive "I Ain't No Saint" also pushes the quality up a few notches, as does his gritty version of Sonny Boy Williamson's "Don't Start Me to Talking," the bluesiest song on the disc and one of the few times he pulls out his greasy slide. "Seven Days" is the lone acoustic track and it's a good one, with piano and harp accompaniment and Gallagher singing like he means it as he takes the part of a criminal fleeing from the electric chair.
Fresh Evidence is Rory Gallagher's eleventh and last studio album, his fourteenth album overall. The album was unusual in that Gallagher used more additional musicians and spent more time recording than he normally did. Not as unusual, the songs show his love for blues artists such as Robert Johnson and Son House and for other genres such as Zydeco as well. The album explores themes of ill health, mortality, and fighting back against overwhelming odds. It shows the toll that Gallagher's health problems were starting to take on him.
Wild Life (1971) & Red Rose Speedway (1973) [Special 2 CD Ediitions, 2018]
Wild Life is the debut album by Wings and the third studio album by Paul McCartney following the breakup of the Beatles. The album was recorded during July–August 1971 at Abbey Road Studios by McCartney and his wife Linda along with session drummer Denny Seiwell, whom they had worked with on the previous album, Ram, and Denny Laine, formerly of the Moody Blues. It was released by Apple Records on 7 December, in both the UK and US, to lukewarm critical and commercial reaction. Special 2 CD Edition - the original 10-track album on the first disc, includes previously unreleased demos and non-album singles on a second disc.
Red Rose Speedway is the second studio album by Paul McCartney and Wings. The album was released in 1973 after the relatively weak commercial performance of Wings’ previous album, Wild Life. Red Rose Speedway reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart in the United States and "My Love" was a No. 1 single in the US and the most popular track from the album. Special 2 CD Edition - the original 9-track album on the first disc, includes previously unreleased demos and non-album singles on a second disc.
VAN MORRISON - The Prophet Speaks (2018)
The Prophet Speaks is Van Morrison’s 40th studio album and proves he remains in fine form. This fourteen-track album follows a recent run of hugely acclaimed albums (Roll With The Punches, Versatile and You’re Driving Me Crazy), each of which has delved deep into the musical styles that have continued to inspire Van throughout his life – vocal jazz and R&B. Here, Van takes on a series of unarguable classics by the likes of John Lee Hooker, Sam Cooke and Solomon Burke (among others) and makes them unmistakably his own. Alongside these reinterpretations, The Prophet Speaks features six phenomenal new Van Morrison compositions.
The Prophet Speaks becomes a matter of his own personal preference. The rural backwoods Morrison of Tupelo Honey, Morrison, the celestial traveler of Astral Weeks and Morrison, the Celtic crooner that shared his ancient hymns throughout the ‘80s have clearly succumbed to his new persona as a timeless troubadour of a distinctly vintage variety. The prophet is speaking loud and clear and letting us know, he’s happy with the place where he’s arrived.
PAVLOV'S DOG - Prodigal Dreamer (2018)
8 years after the last Pavlov's Dog studio album the "prodigal dreamer" David Surkamp once again shares his poetic songs and musical tales with us. For a band that releases about one album per decade a new album is truly an extraordinary event. "Prodigal Dreamer" for David makes a special dream come true. The album contains a collection of songs that came together over the years, each one specifically picked and relating to a personal story. New compositions of the past eight years combine with just lately accomplished pearls of the past decades to a harmonious whole. Finally, the artwork closes the circle to Pampered Menial, the album that started it some 40 years ago. "Prodigal Dreamer" was recorded by method of room-miking. In this process the band performs together in one room, without clicktrack or similar appliances. The performance hereby is captured "for real". This recording method is an art for itself that today only few sound engineers are in control of. Paul Hennerich is an expert in this field, handling e.g. broadcasts and recordings of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra or monitoring renowned jazz projects. This procedure mostly passes on any post-processings. In this way an unequalled authenticity, warmth, dynamic and "in real character" is achieved, that interpret the sensitive songs on "Prodigal Dreamer" also soundwise in an appropriate way... and give the listener the feeling of being right in the middle.
JOHNNY CASH - Love, God, Murder (2000)
Each of the three CDs in this box set are comprised of 16 songs devoted to a single theme: love, God, and murder, of course. And each of the three CDs is available separately should you not have a yen for one or two of the discs. Certainly there is a lot of notable music on this box, as it was personally chosen by Cash himself from recordings spanning the mid-'50s to the mid-'90s, mostly heavily weighting the 1955-70 period. There are a few well-known classics here that virtually anyone considering buying this will already know (and probably have), like "I Walk the Line," "I Still Miss Someone," "Ring of Fire," "Folsom Prison Blues," and "The Long Black Veil." The emphasis, however, is on LP tracks, B-sides, and live recordings that probably won't be familiar to the moderate Cash fan; there are also three mid-'60s tracks previously unreleased in the U.S., though none of them are particularly outstanding. Some of those obscure songs are excellent ("Oh, What a Dream," the brutal hangman humor of "Joe Bean," "Mister Garfield") and almost all of them are worth hearing. And each of the CDs is decorated by liner notes from Cash and a celebrity (his wife June Carter for Love, Bono of U2 for God, and director Quentin Tarantino for Murder). The question still nags: who exactly will find this box wholly satisfying? Not the average Cash fan, who wants a smaller greatest-hits set with more familiar tunes. Not the rabid Cash fan, who probably already has much of this, and might want more well-balanced and thorough boxes, such as those issued on Bear Family of Cash's early material. It's for the in-betweeners, who certainly find the more conventional box retrospective The Essential Johnny Cash 1955-1983 the essential first stop.
EAGLES - Legacy (2018)
The Eagles are an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1971. The founding members were Glenn Frey (guitars, vocals), Don Henley (drums, vocals), Bernie Leadon (guitars, vocals) and Randy Meisner (bass guitar, vocals). With five number-one singles, six Grammy Awards, five American Music Awards, and six number-one albums, the Eagles were one of the most successful musical acts of the 1970s. At the end of the 20th century, two of their albums, Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) and Hotel California, were ranked among the 20 best-selling albums in the United States according to the Recording Industry Association of America. By 2006, both albums were among the top three best-selling albums in the United States. Hotel California is ranked 37th in Rolling Stone's list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time" and the band was ranked number 75 on the magazine's 2004 list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
Legacy includes all seven of the band’s studio albums, three live albums, and a compilation of singles and b-sides. It also includes two concert videos:Hell Freezes Over (DVD) and Farewell Tour: Live From Melbourne (Blu-ray). Legacy follows the Eagles through the different stage of the band’s storied career, from the country-rock of early albums like Desperado and the superstar success of Hotel California, to the band’s 1994 reunion Hell Freezes Over and its most-recent studio album, 2005’s Long Road Out of Eden. All of the band’s hits, deep cuts and fan favorites are here, including “Take It Easy,” “Already Gone,” “Hotel California,” “Please Come Home For Christmas,” “Heartbreak Tonight” “No More Cloudy Days,” and “Get Over It.”
V.A. - Confessin' The Blues (2018)
The Rolling Stones have always been the biggest champions of the blues, even taking their name from the Muddy Waters’ track ‘Rollin’ Stone’ – so who better to have hand-picked a special compilation album of the music that has inspired them throughout their career. Confessin’ The Blues collects together the greatest ever bluesmen, such as Chuck Berry, B.B King, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Elmore James and Muddy Waters and provides a perfect education to the genre. The tracklisting on the various formats has been chosen by The Rolling Stones, in collaboration with BMG & Universal and will be released on November 9th 2018. Our very own Ronnie Wood hand painted the cover art, which depicts the raw passion and emotion the blues artists channeled into their music.
GAMMA - Discography 1979 - 2000
Gamma was a band formed by guitarist Ronnie Montrose and singer Davey Pattison in San Francisco in 1979. They released four albums: Gamma 1 (1979), Gamma 2 (1980), Gamma 3 (1982) (all on Elektra Records) and Gamma 4 (2000). Some of their best known songs are probably "Fight to the Finish" from their first album, and "Meanstreak" and "Voyager" from the second album. Ronnie Montrose put the band together after having released a solo album Open Fire in 1978, after having disbanded the hard rock band Montrose in 1977. Gamma were a far more AOR-oriented band than Montrose, and used a lot of the latest keyboard technology in their sound. Their debut album Gamma 1 was released in 1979 and reached No. 131 on the Billboard 200, totalling 17 weeks on the chart. Gamma scored a hit single with "I'm Alive" which got to No. 60 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The original lineup of Ronnie Montrose (guitars), Davey Pattison (vocals), Alan Fitzgerald (bass), Jim Alcivar (keyboards) and Skip Gillette (drums) recorded this album. Guitarist Montrose, bassist Fitzgerald and keyboardist Alcivar had all been members of the band Montrose. Gamma 2 was issued in 1980. Alan Fitzgerald (who later joined Night Ranger as their keyboardist) was replaced by bassist Glenn Letsch, and Denny Carmassi (another ex-Montrose member) came in on drums. The album had a cover design by Mick Haggerty, featuring two sharks with only their fins visible burrowing through a lawn that was being sprinkled. The album peaked at No. 65, and featured a heavier sound. (e.g. "Mean Streak" and "Cat on a Leash"). There was also a cover version of Thunderclap Newman's "Something in the Air". It was produced by Gary Lyons and Ronnie Montrose.
Keyboardist Jim Alcivar was replaced by Mitchell Froom and Gamma 3 was released in 1982. The album reached No. 72 and produced the single "Right the First Time" which reached No. 77 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 10 on Billboard 's Album Rock Tracks chart. In Canada, "Right the First Time" peaked at No. 27, making the song the band's only top 40 hit on their national pop chart. The album's opening track, "What's Gone Is Gone", and tracks like "No Way Out", were arena rockers, while others like "Condition Yellow" and "Moving Violation", continued the odd writing style and sounds that the band started with on their debut album. However, Gamma's label Elektra Records never really promoted the band, and with only moderate sales, they disbanded.
BOB DAISLEY AND FRIENDS - Moore Blues For Gary (A Tribute To Gary Moore) 
The sky was crying when Gary Moore passed away on 6th February 2011. From Thin Lizzy to Colosseum II, together with his solo hits ‘Parisienne Walkways’ and ‘Out In The Fields’, Gary influenced a whole generation of guitar players and guitar playing. The bass player/producer Bob Daisley had played with Gary since the 1980's, and is known for sesting to Gary that he should make a blues album - the rest is history, ‘Still Got The Blues’ was an immense hit, followed by a series of classic modern blues albums. Bob, also known for his contributions to Rainbow and Ozzy Osbourne, was the driving force behind “Moore Blues For Gary”.
“In my opinion, Gary was one of the best guitarists who ever lived”, says Bob Daisley. “It was an honour for me to have worked with him and to have known him so well. When Gary passed away in 2011 the world lost one of the all-time greats. I don’t think that enough was said or done at the time to acknowledge the loss of such a great player so I took it upon myself to pay personal tribute to the man and record some new versions of his music, mostly from his blues catalogue. I asked many members of the Gary Moore family tree, and some other great players, to contribute to the project. The response was not only encouraging, but very moving. It seems that the name Gary Moore is also synonymous with the words ‘respect’, ‘honour’ and ‘greatness’. I didn’t set out to recreate anything that Gary had done, or to compete in any way, these arrangements and performances represent a ‘hats off’ to Gary and nothing more. Long live the memory of Robert William Gary Moore. Yes, he was another ‘Bob’ - something that I wasn’t aware of for all of those years that I worked with him. I feel such gratitude towards the people who contributed to this album and I’m honoured to have worked with them all.” - Bob Daisley
TRACKS: 01. That's Why I Play The Blues 02. The Blues Just Got Sadder (Feat. Joe Lynn Turner & Steve Lukather) 03. Empty Rooms (Feat. Neil Carter) 04. Still Got The Blues (Feat. Danny Bowes, John Sykes & Don Airey) 05. Texas Strut (Feat. Brush Shiels) 06. Nothing's The Same (Feat. Glenn Hughes) 07. The Loner (Feat. Doug Aldrich, Eric Singer & Don Airey) 08. Torn Inside (Feat. Stan Webb & Darrin Mooney) 09. Don't Believe A Word (Feat. Damon Johnson) 10. Story Of The Blues 11. This One's For You (Feat. Gus Moore & Jack Moore) 12. Power Of The Blues (Feat. Joe Lynn Turner, Jeff Watson & Darrin Mooney) 13. Parisienne Walkways (Feat. Steve Morse & Ricky Warwick)
THE BAND - Music From Big Pink (1968) [50th Anniversary, 2018]
Music from Big Pink is the debut studio album by the Band. Released in 1968, it employs a distinctive blend of country, rock, folk, classical, R&B, and soul. The music was composed partly in "Big Pink", a house shared by Rick Danko, Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson in West Saugerties, New York. The album itself was recorded in studios in New York and Los Angeles in 1968, and followed the band's backing of Bob Dylan on his 1966 tour (as the Hawks) and time spent together in upstate New York recording material that was officially released in 1975 as The Basement Tapes, also with Dylan. The cover artwork is a painting by Dylan.
In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of The Band's landmark debut album, Music From Big Pink is released on a single CD featuring a new stereo mix of the album, produced by Bob Clearmountain from the original four-track analog master. This new mix achieves a striking clarity and incorporates some previously unreleased chatter from the studio sessions. The 50th Anniversary Edition CD also includes five outtakes and alternate recordings from the 'Big Pink' sessions and a previously unreleased a cappella version of "I Shall Be Released."
NEIL YOUNG - Songs For Judy (2018)
Songs For Judyis athoroughly engaging collection of live acoustic performances culled from Neil's November 1976 solo tour and features twenty-two songs recorded at various cities along the tour. This song cycle of live recordings is particularly powerful and unique. Young had spent much of the year traveling around the world on tour with Crazy Horse. When touring on his own, he recharged and focused on songs that would not surface in recorded form for several years. Of the albums many treasures, "No One Seems To Know" would not see the light of day until now and it remains unreleased in any other iteration. The raw versions of the tracks found onSongs For Judyreflect an artist completely unvarnished and unafraid to allow the songs to breath and to find their own shape when performed in a solo setting. Songs written in that era would come into focus and then seemingly disappear only to re-enter Young's orbit somewhere down the road. "White Line" and "Give Me Strength" are such examples of finding the light in 1990 and 2017 respectively. It's also fascinating to hear Young revisit early gems such as Springfield's "Mr. Soul" ('67), "Here We Are In The Years" ('68), and "The Losing End" ('69) from some of his earliest solo recordings which remain as timeless as ever.
RICHARD HARRIS - A Tramp Shining (1968)
Richard St. John Harris (1930 – 2002) was an Irish actor and singer. He appeared on stage and in many films, appearing as Frank Machin in This Sporting Life, for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor, King Arthur in the 1967 film Camelot and the subsequent 1981 revival of the show. He played an aristocrat captured by Native Americans in A Man Called Horse (1970), a gunfighter in Clint Eastwood's Western film Unforgiven (1992), Emperor Marcus Aurelius in Gladiator (2000), and Albus Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter films: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), the latter of which was his final film role. Harris had a number-one hit in Australia and Canada and a top ten hit in the United Kingdom, Ireland and United States with his 1968 recording of Jimmy Webb's song "MacArthur Park".
A Tramp Shining is the debut album of Richard Harris, released in 1968 by Dunhill Records. The album was written, arranged, and produced by singer-songwriter Jimmy Webb. Although Harris sang several numbers on the soundtrack album to the film musical Camelot the previous year, A Tramp Shining was Harris' first solo album. "MacArthur Park" was one of the biggest singles of that year, reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States. The album as a whole was also highly successful, and was nominated for a Grammy Award for "Album of the Year" in 1969.
In his review in Allmusic, Bruce Eder gave the album four out of five stars, calling A Tramp Shining a "great record, even 35 years later, encompassing pop, rock, elements of classical music, and even pop-soul in a body of brilliant, bittersweet romantic songs by Webb, all presented in a consistently affecting and powerful vocal performance by Harris."
THE DOORS - Waiting For The Sun (1968) [(50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, 2018]
The Doors released their third studio album, Waiting For The Sun, in July 1968. It was the band's third platinum album in less than two years, and the first to top the album chart. Since its debut, the album has sold millions of copies around the globe and contributed to the Doors' legendary canon with classics like "The Unknown Soldier," "Five To One" and the #1 smash, "Hello, I Love You."
This 2-CD collection features a new version of the album's original stereo mix on both CD, which has been newly remastered from the original master tapes by Bruce Botnick, the Doors' longtime engineer/mixer. The set also includes a second disc of 14 completely unreleased tracks: nine recently discovered "rough mixes" from the album recording sessions and five live songs from a 1968 Copenhagen show.
McKENNA MENDELSON MAINLINE - Stink & McKenna Mendelson Mainline Blues (1969)
McKenna Mendelson Mainline is a Canadian blues band that has released four albums. In the spring of 1969, the band was signed to Liberty Records (United Artists). In the summer of 1968, in May, Toronto, Ontario, Canada blues guitarist Mike McKenna, formerly of Luke & The Apostles, placed an ad in The Toronto Star seeking musicians for a new project. In replying to the ad, acoustic blues artist Joe Mendelson sested to McKenna that the idea of searching for blues musicians through the want ad milieu was an exercise in naiveté. Nevertheless, the two worked well creatively and the basis of McKenna Mendelson Mainline's dynasty was formed. Former The Paupers bassist Denny Gerrard was invited to join, and The Spassicks' Tony Nolasco completed the quartet on drums. The band debuted at the Night Owl club in Toronto's Yorkville Village from August 5–10 and the following month recorded demos which later became the basis of a bootleg album, McKenna Mendelson Blues. Gerrard left the band in early October (immediately after a show at Massey Hall supporting The Fugs) because of artistic differences and was replaced by Mike Harrison bassist from popular Canadian R&B band Grant Smith & The Power. What came to be known as "the original line up" was now in place. Homesickness, dissension in the ranks, and the vagaries of youth facilitated a return to Canada in June 1969.
Shortly after the July release of Stink, Allied Records released the demos recorded in September 1968 as McKenna Mendelson Blues. MMM thus became Canada's first "major label" act to be the victim of a bootlegged album. However, while in Europe and England selections from the Stink album appeared on various blues samplers and compilations, notably Liberty's Gutbucket (1969), subtitled 'An Underworld Eruption', and Son of Gutbucket (1969). Following the success of Stink, MMM / Mainline had three subsequent releases of note - "Our Home and Native Land", "The Mainline Bump and Grind Review - Live at the Victory" (a well known, somewhat risqué Toronto burlesque theatre), and "No Substitutes". Following the release of "No Substitutes", Mainline disbanded and McKenna and Mendelson never played together again. In November 1968, MMM opened for The Jeff Beck Group at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit, United States, and garnered several standing ovations.
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