DICKEY BETTS & GREAT SOUTHERN - 30 Years Of Southern Rock [1978-2008] (2010)
Dickey Betts is an American guitarist, singer, songwriter, and composer best known as a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band. He was inducted with the band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and also won with the band a best rock performance Grammy Award for his instrumental "Jessica" in 1996. Recognized as "one of the most influential guitar players of all time", he had early on in his career one of rock’s finest guitar partnerships with the late Duane Allman introducing melodic twin guitar harmony and counterpoint which "rewrote the rules for how two rock guitarists can work together, completely scrapping the traditional rhythm/lead roles to stand toe to toe". Dickey Betts was ranked #58 on Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time list in 2003.
A double-disc entry into SPV's mammoth exhumation of the Rockpalast vaults, representing the greatest performances from Germany's premier live concert TV show, 30 Years of Southern Rock serves up two seething shows from Dickey Betts -- the first from 1978, shortly after the collapse of the Allman Brothers, the second from 2008. And note for note, it's as if not a day has passed between the two. Of course the sets are riddled with oldies -- "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" alone devours 30 minutes of playing time across the two shows, but both shine with fresh passion. Another half hour is devoted to "High Falls," drum solo and funky bass included. "Jessica" is simply pristine; "Ramblin' Man," which closes both gigs, is remarkable. In between times, though, the band shines and Betts just gets better, whether blues-wailing through "Good Time Feelin'" or driving through an edgy "Dealin' with the Devil," or simply kicking back through "Blue Sky" and "One Way Out." An accompanying DVD package adds pictures to the music.
Former Allman Brothers Band guitarist Dickey Betts is in critical condition after an accident at his Florida home. Please add Dickey into your thoughts and prayers.
LYNYRD SKYNYRD - Skynyrd's Innyrds (Their Greatest Hits) (1989) & V.A. - Lynyrd Skynyrd, Solo Flytes (1999)
Skynyrd's Innyrds: Their Greatest Hits comes close to being a solid single-disc overview of the Southern rockers' biggest hits, but it falls short in a number of important ways. Most notably, "Free Bird" is not in either its studio or live incarnations; it's presented as an outtake, something that will only be of interest to hardcore Lynyrd Skynyrd fans, just like the outtake of "Double Trouble." Also, several major songs "Down South Jukin'," "You Got That Right," "Whiskey Rock-a-Roller," "Simple Man," "Tuesday's Gone," "I Know a Little" are missing, with album cuts in their place. That said, it has most of the big hits "Sweet Home Alabama," "Gimme Three Steps," "Saturday Night Special," "What's Your Name," "That Smell," plus "Workin' for MCA" and "Call Me the Breeze," which were not on Gold & Platinum which is enough to make it a good sampler, even if it doesn't provide as complete an introduction as Gold & Platinum.
Lynyrd Skynyrd wisely disbanded after the tragic 1977 plane crash that killed its leader, Ronnie VanZant. The band later reunited, another wise move, but at that point in time, the members needed time to grieve and move on by pursuing other projects. And that's exactly what they did. Guitarists Gary Rossington and Allen Collins formed the Rossington-Collins Band, which featured various other Skynyrd members. A little while later, drummer Artimus Pyle formed his own band. Both groups were active in the early '80s, with Collins releasing his own album in 1983, but tragedy struck again in 1986 when Collins suffered a car accident that left him paralyzed. Rossington carried on briefly, before re-forming Skynyrd. Highlights from these three post-Skynyrd bands, plus a solo cut by Steve Gaines, the guitarist who joined Skynyrd for the Street Survivors album, are compiled on 1999's Solo Flytes, a 17-track collection that tells everything that needs to be told about this period in the band's history. Neither the Rossington-Collins Band (which dominates this disc with 11 songs), the Artimus Pyle Band, nor the Allen Collins Band made any classics, but they were entertaining Southern rock outfits. By and large, the music on Solo Flytes is material in the best sense -- meaning that it typifies its genre -- but it suffers from songwriting that is not only weaker than Ronnie VanZant's, but not as good as that of .38 Special, the most popular Southern rock band of the early '80s. That said, dedicated fans of Lynyrd Skynyrd will likely find this interesting and, by and large, pretty enjoyable. It fills in some gaps nicely, pulling the best songs from records that were well-done but uneven.
Solo Flytes is a compilation album by members of the American rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd. The album features tracks from various bands the members of Skynyrd had formed after the plane crash that took the lives of numerous members. The tracks were all recorded between 1978-1983 (Skynyrd reformed soon after).
BRUCE DICKINSON - Scream For Me Sarajevo - Music From The Motion Picture (2018)
Not only is this album just a great hard rock album, but it is a story. A story about how terrible war is. A story about how powerful music is. A story that can’t be forgotten. Scream For Me Sarajevo is a soundtrack to the documentary film of Bruce Dickinson and his band Skunkworks playing a concert in a war torn country. The band was literally smled into the country and performed a concert. If that alone doesn’t make you want to watch the film and play the soundtrack on repeat, then I don’t know what will.
Dickinson is known for rocking with Iron Maiden but has produced a very credible solo career as well as with a few side project bands. This particular album is Bruce with Skunkworks. They bring a familiar sound of heavy metal that Maiden fans will truly enjoy. Dickinson’s voice is as strong as ever, and the musical backings are incredible. The guitar solos are perfect, and all the live music has no missed notes whatsoever. If you haven’t already seen the film, then watch it. After that, play this soundtrack on repeat and prepare to have a sore neck from the headbanging that the music makes you do.
ALBERT COLLINS - Albert Collins & Barrelhouse Live (1996) & BARRELHOUSE - Vintage Blues (2010)
Collins is backed by a Dutch band on this recording of a December 1978 show in Alkmaar, Holland. Dividing his attention between originals and covers of tunes by the likes of Lowell Fulson and Guitar Slim, it's a typically energetic set with long solos, the backup musicians playing competently, and female singer Tineke Schoemaker taking the vocals on "Blue River Rising." But it's not particularly an essential addition, or preferable, to his more widely known live albums of the 1980s and '90s.
Barrelhouse emerged out of a shared obsession with the raw authenticity of blues in the summer of 2006. On the top floor of a vintage music store in downtown Richmond, VA, three of the six members exchanged numbers after a community jam session. A few short years later, Barrelhouse has shared stages with ZZ Top, Gregg Allman, Delbert McClinton, Jimmy Herring, and Jason Isbell. In 2011 the band represented their home town on Beale Street at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN. Harvesting influences from Chicago, Texas and the Mississippi Delta, Barrelhouse entered the studio to record their first full-length album of original music in 2012. With two guitars, an overdriven harmonica, a notoriously tight rhythm section, and three vocalists, Barrelhouse strives to create something unique, all while giving a respectful nod to the celebrated blues tradition that brought them together. Vintage Blues is a collection classic blues we fell in love with before we even could play. "All songs are written before 1974, when we started Barrelhouse. As a tribute to the old songs we recorded them in a way they probably did in the past. We wanted a natural way of playing, all together, no headphones, which is different from what's usual in studios nowadays. We also recorded this vintage blues because of the romantic feel what seems to have disappeared in modern blues." - Barrelhouse
LED ZEPPELIN - The Song Remains The Same (1976) [Remastered, 2018]
Led Zeppelin was at the peak of its powers on July 27-29 1973 when the band's performances at New York's Madison Square Garden were recorded for the concert film, The Song Remains The Same. The soundtrack to the film, produced by Jimmy Page, was originally released on Swan Song in 1976. The Song Remains the Same was stitched together from those three shows (in part because the band was partying too much to nail it every night), and the film footage was fleshed out with new material shot at a sound stage the next year, where the passage of time required bassist John Paul Jones to wear a wig. In When Giants Walked the Earth, a highly subjective and salacious biography, Jimmy Page said the soundtrack “wasn’t necessarily the best live material we had but it was the live material that went with the footage so it had to be used. So, you know, it wasn’t like A Magical Night. But it wasn’t a poor night. It was an honest sort of mediocre night.” The soundtrack is made more relevant by the accompanying movie, which comes as part of a “super deluxe boxed set” including assorted memorabilia associated with the film and an essay from Cameron Crowe.
The band continues revisiting their live canon on September 7 with a new edition of the soundtrack to The Song Remains The Same that features newly remastered audio. This release follows the recent reissue of their live album How The West Was Won, and rounds out the deluxe reissue series of their classic albums that began in 2014, building to the band's 50th anniversary celebration slated to commence later this year. Coincidentally, John Bonham, John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, and Robert Plant played their first live show together, under the moniker "The New Yardbirds" at the time, on September 7, 1968.
THE YARDBIRDS - Train Kept A-Rollin' [4 CD Box Set - The Complete Giorgio Gomelsky Productions] (1993)
Subtitled "The Complete Giorgio Gomelsky Productions," this four-CD set originally appeared just when the music world was going box-set crazy. It is somewhat awkwardly packaged as a pair of narrow double jewel cases in a too-large black box, which was handy to hold the bonus Yardbirds T-shirt that came in each of the first pressings. The set offers all 90 known 1963-1966 Yardbirds tracks -- featuring Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck (augmented by a pair of 1967 live tracks with Jimmy Page in the lineup) -- that are owned by Charly Records and were remastered using the best-known sources as of 1993 and state-of-the-art technology. The sound quality is pretty impressive for that time, and it's still acceptable, although it has since been improved upon by Repertoire's schedule of releases. Train Kept A-Rollin', however, is still the handiest way to get all of the hits, concert recordings, outtakes, and odd tracks in one place. The music is assembled Bear Family-style, in recording date order (and one wishes the song lists appeared on the outside rather than the inside of the jewel cases). Inevitably, there will be some feeling of repetition, as some songs appear in two or more live renditions or studio outtakes (though some of the latter, such as the sitar version of "Heart Full of Soul" are most fascinating). The CDs are accompanied by a booklet filled with (seemingly) just about every known fact about the Yardbirds.
WILLIE NELSON - My Way (2018)
Willie Nelson loves a tribute record. Over the course of his six-decade recording career, he's released albums in honor of country singers Lefty Frizzell and Ray Price, songwriter Cindy Walker, and George and Ira Gershwin nad now - "My Way," a salute to the late, legendary crooner Frank Sinatra, on Legacy Recordings. Nelson has been a longtime Sinatra admirer. The two performed at Las Vegas' Golden Net in 1984 and also filmed a public service announcement about space technology. On Sinatra's 1994 release "Duets II," they sang "A Foggy Day" together. Nelson re-recorded "A Foggy Day" for "My Way." The 11-song tracklisting also includes classics like "Fly Me To the Moon," "It Was a Very Good Year," "Night and Day" and "What Is This Thing Called Love," a duet with Norah Jones. "My Way" is Nelson's second studio album of the year. "Last Man Standing" came out in late April, just days before he turned 85. The record was produced by Buddy Cannon and Matt Rollings, who also produced 2016's "Summertime," Nelson's Grammy-winning Gershwin tribute.
SOFT MACHINE - Hidden Details (2018)
The studio album 'Hidden Details' is the first Soft Machine album (as opposed to Soft Machine Legacy) in 37 years. This is three quarters of the celebrated 1970's version of the legendary jazz-rock group, which recorded the acclaimed 'Softs' album in 1975 - John Etheridge, Roy Babbington and John Marshall - completed by outstanding saxophone star Theo Travis (Robert Fripp/David Gilmour/Gong). The music is broad ranging from psychedelia to jazz rock to free form improv to simple pop-ish tunes to hypnotic mood pieces. The band plays material from the era (compositions by Hugh Hopper, Mike Ratledge and Karl Jenkins) as well as many contemporary works. The music is broad ranging from psychedelia to jazz rock to free form improv to simple pop-ish tunes to hypnotic mood pieces. The band plays material from the era (compositions by Hugh Hopper, Mike Ratledge and Karl Jenkins) as well as many contemporary works. 'Hidden Details', released in 2018, exactly 50 years since the release of the band's 1968 debut album 'The Soft Machine' was recorded in the late Jon Hiseman's studio in Surrey in Dec 2017. The recording features new compositions by the band, group improvisations and interpretations of two Soft Machine classics - from 'Third' and 'Bundles'. Whilst the line-up of Soft Machine may have changed many times since the heady days of the late 1960's, the band's spirit of musical adventure, and the ease with which it freely avoids being pigeon holed and can move from powerful progressive jazz fusion to atmospheric psychedelia to free improvised jazz-rock to ambient loop music, continues to make it both unique and totally contemporary. Personnel: John Etheridge (electric guitar), Theo Travis (tenor and soprano saxophones, flute, Fender Rhodes piano), Roy Babbington (bass guitar), John Marshall (drums and percussion).
NINE BELOW ZERO - Live in London (1995) & Doing Their Homework (2004)
Nine Below Zero started life in South London during 1977, in the midst of the punk rock boom in England but their sound and inspiration were so totally counterintuitive to what was going on in punk rock that they scarcely seemed to be part of that movement, apart from their extremely energetic attack on their instruments. Rather than noise for its own sake or auto-destruction, their inspiration lay in classic Chicago blues (though John Mayall's early music and that of the Who and the Kinks from early in their careers also figured into their sound). Dennis Greaves (lead vocals, guitar), Peter Clark (bass), and Kenny Bradley (drums) soon joined by Mark Feltham (who actually replaced a teacher of theirs who had sat in on the early gigs) on vocals and harmonica were schoolmates and friends who shared a love of blues; all had all come into the world in the early '60s, and might well have resigned themselves to having missed the boat for the British blues revival by virtue of having been born in the midst of it. Instead, they reached back to that era and found themselves pegged as part of the "mod revival" in the midst of the punk era.
Originally billed as Stan's Blues Band, they made a name for themselves locally in South London, sounding a lot like the Who from their "maximum R&B" days and the Kinks from their early days, and arrived as younger rivals to Dr. Feelgood. A couple of years later, they acquired a manager and a new name, taken from a song by Sonny Boy Williamson II, and cut a debut record on their own label. By 1980, they'd been signed to A&M Records' British division and took the bold step of making their major-label debut a live album from the Marquee Club in London to judge from the results, one heartily wished that some of the earlier bands that inspired them had displayed similar daring. Live at the Marquee, recorded on June 16, 1980 by which time Stix Burkey had replaced Bradley on the drums was a success and led to their follow-up album. For their sophomore effort, Don't Point Your Finger, they were determined to translate their live energy into the studio and turned to no less a producer than Glyn Johns, who had worked with the Rolling Stones and the Who in their respective best years. The resulting record reached number 56 on the British charts.
The band's upward momentum was slowed in the years that followed, with Clark's departure (replaced by Brian Berhall), though a third album, Third Degree, followed but it seemed as though the moment had passed, as that record never got the attention or recognition it deserved from the press or the public. Greaves' involvement with an outfit called the Truth, who coalesced as a full-time band in 1984, seemed to bring an end to Nine Below Zero, and that might have been as far as the group got. But a 1990 reunion got them playing before sell-out audiences, and the group has been working ever since, with Greaves on lead guitar and Mark Feltham even returning to the fold in 2001.
2004 compilation for raucous South London r&b combo, recorded live & in the studio. Compiled from three Indigo/Receiver CDs, including their classic 1997 studio LP 'Give Me No Lip Child' & 1979's live album Live At The Venue. Features 46 tracks including 14 bonus tracks from 1982's Live In London album, 'You Gotta Walk It Off' (Live), 'Doghouse' (Live), 'Three Times Enough' (Live), 'I Can't Quit You Baby' (Live), 'Rockin' Robin' (Live), 'Liquor Love' (Demo), 'Three Times Enough' (Demo), 'One Way Street' (Demo), 'Homework' (Live), 'I Can't Help Myself' (Live), 'Treat Her Right' (Live), 'Can I Get A Witness' (Live), 'The Hoochie Coochie Coo' (Live), & 'Keep A Knockin'' (Live).
PAUL SIMON - In the Blue Light (2018)
In the Blue Light is the fourteenth solo studio album by American folk rock singer-songwriter Paul Simon. Produced by Paul Simon and Roy Halee, it was released on September 7, 2018, through Legacy Recordings. The album consists of re-recordings of select lesser-known songs from Simon's catalog, often altering their original arrangements, harmonic structures, and lyrics. The songs were recorded with guests including the instrumental ensemble yMusic, guitarist Bill Frisell, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and the National's Bryce Dessner. The album's title is a reference to the lyrics in the song "How the Heart Approaches What It Yearns" from the 1980 album One-Trick Pony. In an interview for CBC Radio, Simon confirmed that more songs were recorded during sessions for the album but ultimately left off the finished record. Outtakes include a number of unspecified songs from You're the One and a re-recording of "The Sound of Silence" with music based on the arrangement of Simon's live version from recent years. If and how those songs will be released remains unknown.
The latest release for the singer-songwriter features new arrangements on 10 songs that span his career and features contributions from such artists as Jack DeJohnette, Bill Frisell, Steve Gadd, Wynton Marsalis, and yMusic.
V.A. - A Breath of Fresh Air: A Harvest Records Anthology 1969-1974 (2007)
Although there are those who nail their spirals to Vertigo as the prog label of choice, EMI’s Harvest certainly vies with it for pole position. With Harvest, the detail was everything. Loaded with the bizarre, striking and the strange, turns abounded like the Third Ear Band, Kevin Ayers and The Greatest Show On Earth. From the bad acid of Edgar Broughton’s There’s No Vibrations, But Wait through the squiffy majesty of Dave Mason’s You Shouldn’t Have Took More Than You Gave, to Be- Bop Deluxe’s future pop of Jet Silver and the Dolls Of Venus, this collection is impressive and nostalgic – its very lack of a house style providing its consistency. It was Pink Floyd who took the label into most homes, and their two contributions here – including the super-rare (but really rather dull) Embryo – offer few clues to just how enormous they’d be. Syd’s here too, of course. It ends in 1974, as its original principles were being compromised and Marshall Hain and La Belle Epoque were just around the corner… Oh, Wot A Dream it all is.
Three CD collection of music that tells the story of the eclectic UK label, Harvest Records,, which featured a diverse roster of talent that defined the sound of underground music culture that exploded in Britain in the late 60's and throughout the 70's. Includes cuts from Deep Purple, Kevin Ayers, Pink Floyd, Chris Spedding, Barclay James Harvest, Quatermass, Michael Chapman, The Pretty Things, Syd Barrett, The Move, E.L.O., Be-Bop Deluxe, Babe Ruth and many others.
PAUL McCARTNEY - Tripping The Live Fantastic + Highlights! (1990)
Tripping the Live Fantastic is Paul McCartney's first official solo live album and his first release of concert material since Wings' 1976 Wings over America live package. It was released in 1990 as triple LP, double cassette and double CD. Tripping the Live Fantastic reached number 17 in the UK and number 26 in the US. It was also simultaneously released in an abridged form, entitled Tripping the Live Fantastic: Highlights!
Paul McCartney's return to the stage in 1989 for the Flowers in the Dirt tour was heavily hyped, since it was not only his first extensive tour since the '70s, but also marked the first time he incorporated large portions of the Beatles' catalog into his set list. The double-disc, 37-track Tripping the Live Fantastic documents the tour, and it's a pleasant, if ultimately inconsequential, nostalgia trip that puts the weaknesses of Flowers in the Dirt in a little too sharp relief. In fact, most of McCartney's flaws are on display throughout the album, whether it's his excessive cutesiness (the album opens with Paul and the boys being told "heidy-ho, it's time for the show"), his fondness for oldies, and his persistent desire to charm the daylights out of the entire crowd. Nevertheless, he often does charm the crowd, whether it's through the effortlessly dazzling performances or his thoroughly winning catalog of pop classics. The new songs may pale next to the classics from his Beatles and solo days, and those classics may be delivered in versions that are a little too studied, but Tripping the Live Fantastic is a fine exercise in nostalgia.
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