IAN GILLAN BAND - Child In Time (1976) & Cherkazoo And Other Stories... (1998)
Child in Time is the debut album by British jazz-rock fusion band Ian Gillan Band, released in 1976. The album took its title from the Deep Purple song "Child in Time", a version of which appears on side two of the LP. The album reached No. 36 on Swedish charts and No. 55 in UK. This was Ian Gillan's first release after leaving Deep Purple, and also features his former Deep Purple colleague Roger Glover. Before Ian returned full-time to the rock music industry, he made one brief, but significant, live appearance on the performance of Roger Glover's "The Butterfly Ball", on 16 October 1975 at Royal Albert Hall, London. Ian sang "Sitting in a Dream". A film of the event was originally shown in UK cinemas in 1977. Later released on video, it was quickly deleted. Although Ian Gillan Band went on to produce material more suited to their jazz-rock label, this first album has much more of a harder rhythm and blues style.
As perhaps the crowning glory in Spitfire/Eagle's extensive Ian Gillan reissue series, Cherkazoo & Other Stories is at once both the most eagerly anticipated volume by hardcore fans and the lone disc in the series to appeal to a larger audience than Gillan fanatics. Nothing on the collection has been previously been released, yet it is all legendary among Deep Purple and Gillan followers. The first eight tracks (six songs, two dialogues) of the compilation are all taken from the previously unreleased soundtrack to Cherkazoo, a children's story Gillan labored over in the early '70s as Deep Purple were riding the crest of their popularity. The remainder of the record is devoted to sessions Gillan cut between his departure from Purple in 1973 and the beginning of his solo career in 1976. Both items are equally sought-after among collectors, but outside listeners will undoubtedly be taken with Cherkazoo, a delightful collection of psychedelic pop and whimsical British music hall numbers. These are utterly charming songs, sounding like Sgt. Pepper's-era Beatles or early pre-Space Oddity Bowie, and having all the appeal of the best obscure British psychedelia: high praise indeed. The early solo sessions find Gillan in more familiar territory, namely hard rock. That doesn't mean it's predictable, however. On these songs, he's willing to play around, whether that means returning to early inspirations (including a fine cover of Elvis Presley's "Trying to Get to You"), or stretching out with organ solos or dipping into orchestrated pop, such as "Music in My Head," which sounds like a great forgotten AM radio hit. There's more variety here than on Machine Head, yet it never sounds as contrived or forced as early Ian Gillan Band records occasionally do. It won't necessarily satiate those who just love the psychedelic pop that dominates the first half of the compilation, nor will it please those who just want hard rock, but all of the music on Cherkazoo & Other Stores makes a convincing case for Gillan's musical strengths. As a matter of fact, it's one of the most satisfying records in his catalog.
SWEET - Action - The Ultimate Story (2015)
Sweet (also referred to as The Sweet) were a British rock band that rose to worldwide fame in the 1970s as a prominent glam rock act, with their most prolific line-up: lead vocalist Brian Connolly, bass player Steve Priest, guitarist Andy Scott, and drummer Mick Tucker.
Sweet were formed in 1968 and achieved their first hit "Funny Funny" in 1971 after teaming up with songwriters Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman and record producer Phil Wainman. During 1971 and 1972, their musical style followed a marked progression from the Archies-like bubblegum style of "Funny Funny" to a Who-influenced hard rock style supplemented by a striking use of high-pitched backing vocals. The band achieved notable success in the UK charts, with thirteen Top 20 hits during the 1970s alone, with "Block Buster!" (1973) topping the chart, followed by three consecutive number two hits in "Hell Raiser" (1973), "The Ballroom Blitz" (1976) and "Teenage Rampage" (1974). The band turned to more hard rock style with their mid-career singles like 1974's "Turn It Down". Their first self-written and produced single, "Fox on the Run" (1975), also reached number two on the UK charts. These results were topped in West Germany and other countries on the European mainland, where the band was very popular.
The Sweet had their last Top 10 hit in 1978 with "Love Is Like Oxygen". Connolly left the group in 1979 to start a solo career and the remaining members continued as a threesome until disbanding in 1981. From the mid-1980s, Scott, Connolly and Priest each played with their own versions of Sweet at different times. Connolly died in 1997 and Tucker in 2002. The two surviving members are still active in their respective versions of the band; Scott's is based in the United Kingdom and Priest's in the United States.
THE EAGLES - Eagles Live (1980)
Eagles Live is the first live album by the American rock band Eagles, a two-LP set released on November 7, 1980. The Eagles unofficially disbanded on July 31, 1980 after a concert in Long Beach, California. However, the band still owed Elektra/Asylum a live record from the tour. Eagles Live was mixed by Glenn Frey and Don Henley on opposite coasts, as the two decided they could not stand to be in the same state, let alone the same studio, and as Bill Szymczyk put it, the record's perfect three-part harmonies were fixed "courtesy of Federal Express." The 1983 Rolling Stone Record Guide said it is "perhaps the most heavily overdubbed [live album] in history." "Seven Bridges Road" was released as a single and would become a top 40 hit. The song was a showcase for the band's close harmony singing; the first and last verses feature all five Eagles singing in five-part harmony.
DISC 1: 01. Hotel California 02. Heartache Tonight 03. I Can't Tell You Why 04. The Long Run 05. New Kid In Town 06. Life's Been Good
DISC 2: 01. Seven Bridges Road 02. Wasted Time 03. Take It To The Limit 04. Doolin-Dalton (Reprise II) 05. Desperado 06. Saturday Night 07. All Night Long 08. Life In The Fast Lane 09. Take It Easy
KIM SIMMONDS AND SAVOY BROWN - The Devil To Pay (2015)
Real music is hard to find. If you've ever felt suffocated in the age of fakery and hype, then Savoy Brown's latest album The Devil To Pay is a blast furnace. Driven by classic blues and age-old human truths - but dragged into contemporary relevance by stinging musicianship and modern savvy - Kim Simmonds' new songs have arrived when we need them most. "In many ways," considers the legendary guitarist, "this is the best album I've ever done. It's fresh and new, and belongs to the twenty-first century".
Released on Ruf Records in 2015 - and marking Savoy Brown's 50th year as pack-leaders of the British blues scene - 'The Devil To Pay' was born during a white-knuckle burst of inspiration. "We recorded the album in April 2015 at SubCat Studios in Syracuse, New York," reflects Kim. "I record very fast, within two or three days, and most of the work is done in a single day. "All the work is done in the months before going into the studio. The songwriting, getting the focus right, the rehearsals, the practice, playing the material live." The Devil To Pay represents years of wood shedding in Kim's White Cottage Studio, usually at o'dark thirty in the morning.
TRACKS: 01. Ain't Got Nobody 02. Bad Weather Brewing 03. Grew Up In The Blues 04. When Love Goes Wrong 05. Oh Rosa 06. The Devil To Pay 07. Stop Throwing Your Loving Around 08. Snakin' 09. Got An Awful Feeling 10. I've Been Drinking 11. Watch My Woman 12. Whiskey Headed Baby 13. Evil Eye
BRYAN ADAMS - Get Up (2015)
Get Up the thirteenth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Bryan Adams, released physically in Australia and New Zealand on October 2 and set to be released worldwide on October 16, 2015 by Universal Music. Produced by ELO frontman Jeff Lynne and co-written with his long-time collaborator Jim Vallance, the album features nine new songs and four acoustic versions. The first single "You Belong to Me" has a video shot and directed by Adams himself, using his black and white photography style, with only his guitar and “a muse” to assist him. Get Up is Bryan Adams' first studio album consisting of original material since 11 (2008), following the release of cover album, Tracks of My Years in 2014. Adams has said of the album, "It came together quite organically, song by song, working with Jeff producing over the past couple of years whenever he had time. It was a great partnership as it gave me plenty of time to write the songs, most of which are a collaboration with Jim Vallance. We all worked primarily over the internet from Canada, Europe and LA, sending demos and parts of songs until we got it right".
TRACKS: 01. You Belong To Me 02. Go Down Rockin' 03. We Did It All 04. That's Rock And Roll 05. Don't Even Try 06. Do What Ya Gotta Do 07. Thunderbolt 08. Yesterday Was Just A Dream 09. Brand New Day 10. Don't Even Try (Acoustic) 11. We Did It All (Acoustic) 12. You Belong To Me (Acoustic) 13. Brand New Day (Acoustic)
... next posts - Monday ...
GARY MOORE - Spanish Guitar (1979) [Japan Limited Edition, 2008]
01. Back On The Streets
02. Fanatical Fascists
03. Don't Believe A Word
04. Spanish Guitar (P. Lynnot Vocal)
05. Parisienne Walkways
06. Put It This Way
09. Fighting Talk
10. The Scorch
11. Spanish Guitar (G. Moore Vocal)
12. Spanish Guitar (Instrumental)
This single ("Spanish Guitar") was released during the autumn of 1979, after Gary has left Thin Lizzy. "Spanish Guitar" was recorded right before the band's summer US tour, while the band was on an unexpected vacation at the Bahamas, due to some cancelled shows in Europe at the end of May. Originally it was recorded with Phil Lynott's vocal, but after the breakup Gary was replacing it with his own version to release it as a single in the United Kingdom. It was also produced in Norway (for the Swedish market), but due to a mistake with the mastertapes, the single was produced with the original version, featuring Phil Lynott, and went for sale in a small quantity. They are real collector's items now!
RY COODER - Bop Till You Drop (1979)
The first major-label, digitally recorded album, Bop is a nice set of moderately known to obscure tunes from the '50s and '60s (along with a Cooder/Tim Drummond original) that doesn't always live up to its promise. Cooder and his excellent band, which includes the rhythm section of Tim Drummond and Jim Keltner along with guitarist David Lindley, understand the material and are more than capable of laying down a decent groove, but something must have gotten lost in translation from what was played to what came across on the recording. There's a thinness to the tracks that undermines the performances, which according to Cooder is due to the digital recording. If you check out the live version of Bop Till You Drop's opener, "Little Sister," from the No Nukes record (using the same band), you can see what surely could have been. Still, Bop is worthwhile given Cooder's penchant for choosing great tunes, as well as the tight performances, brilliant guitar work, and a handful of great guest vocalists (including Chaka Khan). A few of the highlights include his arrangement of the early-'60s Elvis hit "Little Sister," the soulful "The Very Thing That Makes You Rich (Makes Me Poor), an instrumental take on Ike & Tina Turner's "I Think It's Gonna Work Out Fine," and "I Can't Win," featuring Cooder's longtime cohort Bobby King on lead vocal .
TRACKS: 01. Little Sister 02. Go Home, Girl 03. The Very Thing That Makes You Rich (Makes Me Poor) 04. I Think It's Going To Work Out Fine 05. Down In Hollywood 06. Look At Granny Run Run 07. Trouble, You Can't Fool Me 08. Don' t Mess Up A Good Thing 09. I Can't Win
ERIC STECKEL - Black Gold (2015)
Eric Steckel (born 1990) is an American blues guitarist and singer. He hails from the Lehigh, Pennsylvania area, and began sitting in with local blues acts before he was 10. His first album "A Few Degrees Warme"r was recorded live in 2002 when he was just 11 years old.
Now, after years on the European festival and concert circuit, Eric is back with an all new record, 'Black Gold'. Recorded in Amsterdam, Netherlands and Nashville, Tennessee, Black Gold stands out as Eric's best work to date. On Black Gold, Eric takes listeners on a musical roller-coaster ride that embodies the human spirit and captures the emotions of daily life. His most diverse album to date, fans of vintage guitar rock will immediately fall in love with Black Gold. From soft, dynamic Blues ballads to heavy, low-tuned Rock anthems, Eric's signature guitar style is front and center. No pedals, samples or drum machines. No apologies for turning it up to 11. This is rock the way they used to make it.
TRACKS: 01. Holding On 02. Juke Joint 03. El Camino 04. Fugitive 05. My Darkest Hour 06. Speed Of Light 07. Texas 1983 08. Outta My Mind 09. What It Means (To Be Alone) 10. Rocket Fuel 11. If I Ain't Got You
TOM KILLNER - Hard Road (2015)
Born in Rotherham UK, Killner was deemed a child prodigy of six-string blues by age 9, formed his first band a year later, and now at 19 his debut release contains a smoking hot collection of covers and originals! The album is currently at number 6 in the Amazon UK blues Hot releases charts!
Says Tom: "It's been a long wait for my fans for me to release an album. Over the last two years they have asked when I would be bringing my album out, so when the offer came along from Cleopatra Records to make this album I felt greatly honored and pleased to be one of their artists, alongside the massive names on their label. This album is my first and it's really about the strle, knockbacks and pain, and how you get back up and fight some more for what it takes to finally get there. That's why I decided to go with 'Hard Road' as the title track. Along with the other tracks there's love songs, soul and good old rock in there about my journey so far. There is something for everyone."
TRACKS: 01. Coming Home 02. Ain't No Rest For The Wicked 03. Feeling Good 04. Fake It 05. Cocaine Blues 06. Hard Road 07. Lifting Me Higher 08. Whiskey Haze 09. Do It Again 10. Taking Its Toll 11. Midnight Call
RORY GALLAGHER - Defender (1987)
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. The 2000 reissue adds a pair of red bonus tracks (along with a cleaner sound mix), which are actually better, or certainly as good as the best cuts on the rest of this competent but hardly essential Rory Gallagher disc.
TRACKS: 01. Kickback City 02. Loanshark Blues 03. Continental Op 04. I Ain't No Saint 05. Failsafe Day 06. Road To Hell 07. Doing Time 08. Smear Campaign 09. Don't Start Me Talkin' 10. Seven Days 11. Seems To Me 12. No Peace For The Wicked
SHEMEKIA COPELAND - Outskirts Of Love (2015)
The Blues. Much has been written about how it has influenced countless artists in a variety of genres, but few can claim to have been born into the blues. Blues singer Shemekia Copeland, as daughter of Texas bluesman Johnny Copeland, has this unique distinction, and has borne this trait with heartfelt integrity. Bequeathed with a dynamic and assertive voice, Outskirts Of Love is an affirmation that she has taken the blues into contemporary territory, while maintaining the raw emotion that is demanded of those that dare venture into this expressive and exclusive vocation. As times have changed, so has the blues. From the title track, with its hard edged guitars, this record finds Copeland accompanied by an innovative group of musicians who take the songs into rock, soul, Americana, and even country, as witnessed by "Drivin' Out Of Nashville," which she defines as "blues with a twang." "Devil's Hand," penned by her late father, has a riveting African syncopation and "The Battle Is Over (But The War Goes On) popularized by the duo Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, is given a blues-rock treatment, with selective breaks allowing Copeland to exert her voice. The downhome texture of "Cardboard Box," dealing with homelessness, features Alvin Youngblood Hart on guitar and exchanging lyrics with Copeland. Back on Alligator Records, where she made her stunning debut back in 1998 with "Turn the Heat Up," and now with half a dozen records to show, Shemekia Copeland is a force to be reckoned with. Her commanding and emphatic vocals are conceivably the best in the business when it comes to genuine blues singers.
TRACKS: 01. Outskirts Of Love 02. Crossbone Beach 03. Devil's Hand 04. The Battle Is Over (But The War Goes On) 05. Cardboard Box 06. Drivin' Out Of Nashville 07. I Feel A Sin Coming On 08. Isn't That So 09. Jesus Just Left Chicago 10. Long As I Can See The Light 11. Wrapped Up In Love Again 12. Lord, Help The Poor And Needy
DIANE BLUE - Blues In My Soul (2015)
Blues in My Soul album for sale by Diane Blue was released Jul 29, 2015 on the Regina Royale Records label. Diane Blue's debut album on Regina Royale Records features blues royalty: The masterful blues guitarist, Ronnie Earl, and Boston's Queen of the Blues, Ms. Blues in My Soul buy CD music Toni Lynn Washington singing along with Ms. Blues in My Soul songs Blue on a few tracks. Blues in My Soul album for sale Ms. Blues in My Soul CD music Blue performs vocals and harmonica in this soulful collection of original and cover tunes, paying homage to Nina Simone, Koko Taylor, Dinah Washington, and Aretha Franklin. Blues in My Soul buy CD music Her ensemble includes drummer Lorne Entress and pianist/Hammond B3 organist Dave Limina (both of Ronnie Earl's "Broadcasters"), along with Boston's Bobby Gus on guitar, Johnny "Blue Horn" Moriconi on trumpet. Scott Shetler does double duty on saxophone and horn arrangements. Diane Blue is featured on Ronnie Earl's three most recent CDs: Father's Day (released July 17, 2015) Good News (released June 17, 2014) Just for Today (released April 9, 2013). Diane Blue is currently touring and performing regularly with Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters.
TRACKS: 01. That's What They Call The Blues 02. Do I Move You 03. Nothing You Can Do 04. In The Dark 05. I Love Your Lovin' Ways 06. Someday Soon 07. Soulville 08. Today I Sing The Blues 09. Day And Night 10. I Can't Shake You 11. Man About Town 12. Cry Daddy 13. Jump For Joy
SUPERTRAMP - Paris (1980) & Classics: Volume 9 (1987)
Paris is the first live album by progressive rock band Supertramp, released in September 1980. Paris was recorded on Supertramp's Breakfast in America tour in Paris, France, with most of the tracks taken from a 29 November 1979 show at the Pavillon de Paris, a venue which was once a slaughterhouse. The album was originally going to be called Roadworks. Paris reached number 8 on the Billboard 200 in late 1980 and went Gold immediately, while the live version of "Dreamer" hit the US Top 20.
Unlike most practicioners of so-called "art rock" (bands such as Yes, Pink Floyd and King Crimson), Supertramp actually aspired to be a singles band. And for the most part they succeeded as their singles were ofthen far better than their albums. They achieved worldwide superstardom in 1979 with their "Breakfast in America" album that is represented here by "Goodbye Stranger," "The Logical Song," the title track and "Take the Long Way Home." Not surprising, since the band did not before or after "Breakfast" release an album nearly as good. The remaining highlights are "Dreamer," "Give a Little Bit" and "Bloody Well Right." The worst track is "Cannonball," which was released on the only album recorded after falsetto lead vocalist Roger Hodgson had departed for a solo career. Overall, this is a decent anthology for the casual fan, which probably characterizes the overwhelming majority of people who listen to Supertramp.
DON HENLEY - Cass County (2015)
Don Henley was country before it was cool, long before he was a singing, drumming and songwriting member of the Eagles. Cass County, his first solo album in 15 years, is named after the East Texas plains where Henley, now 68, grew up amid farming, oil rigs and the Southern radio crossfire of blues, gospel and honky-tonk music that produced rock & roll. Henley alludes to those roots and ideals in his true grit here - 11 original songs of working-stiff portraiture, broken-love autopsy and sunset-years judgment - along with a handful of rich-soil covers. They include the Louvin Brothers' 1955 hit "When I Stop Dreaming," Jesse Winchester's rustic 1970 jewel "The Brand New Tennessee Waltz," and the psychedelic-prairie waltz "She Sang Hymns Out of Tune," originally a 1966 single by Jesse Lee Kincaid.
A whole record of that rewind would have been an instructive pleasure. Instead, Henley has made an album of quietly defiant pure-country modernism. Written and produced with Stan Lynch, the original drummer in Tom Petty's Heartbreakers, Cass County is meticulously crafted, sharply written and absolutely free of neo-country additives like reheated Seventies-rock bombast and Twitter-verse vernacular. The single mother slinging hash in "Waiting Tables," the farmer staring at the sky in "Praying for Rain" and the overdue divorce at the center of "Take a Picture of This" are all framed by a rich, vintage minimum of strumming, steel-guitar tears and straightforward harmonies. "It's the oldest form of suicide," Henley warns in the saloon blues "Too Much Pride," the kind of morality lesson you'd expect on an Eagles LP - except Henley cuts it more like the seasoned hardass romanticism of Merle Haggard.
STYX - The Best Of Times - The Best Of Styx (1997)
Although they began as an artsy prog rock band, Styx would eventually transform into the virtual arena rock prototype by the late '70s and early '80s, due to a fondness for bombastic rockers and soaring power ballads. The seeds for the band were planted in another Chicago band during the late '60s, the Tradewinds, which featured brothers Chuck and John Panozzo (who played bass and drums, respectively), as well as acquaintance Dennis DeYoung (vocals, keyboards). By the dawn of the '70s, the group had changed its name to TW4, and welcomed aboard a pair of guitarists/vocalists, James "JY" Young and John Curulewski -- securing a recording contract in 1972 with Wooden Nickel Records (a subsidiary of RCA). Soon after, the group opted to change its name once more, this time to Styx, named after a river from Greek mythology that ran through "the land of the dead" in the underworld.
Styx is best known for the hit songs "Lady" (#6, 1973), "Come Sail Away" (#8, 1977), "Babe" (#1, 1979), "The Best of Times" (#3, 1981), "Too Much Time on My Hands" (#9, 1981) and "Mr. Roboto" (#3, 1983). Other hits include "Show Me the Way" (#3, 1990), "Don't Let It End" (#6, 1983), "Renegade" (#16, 1979) and "Boat on the River", a big hit in much of Europe and Japan. The band has five consecutive albums certified multi-platinum by the RIAA as well as sixteen top 40 singles in the US.
MUDDY WATERS - Fathers And Sons (1969) [Expanded Remaster, 2001]
Put blues legends Muddy Waters and Otis Spann together in a recording studio with young upstarts such as Paul Butterfield, Mike Bloomfield, Buddy Miles, amongst others, and hope that the magic will flow. On Fathers and Sons it does, and then some. Originally a two-record set now pared down to one CD, Fathers and Sons displays the love that these musicians shared for the blues and the care they put into getting that feeling down on tape. Standout cuts include "Can't Lose What You Ain't Never Had," "I'm Ready," and "Standing 'Round Cryin'," which Eric Clapton covered in 1994. The live concert is loose and funky with everyone getting in their licks, especially Muddy Waters, who shines throughout. A fine touchstone for anyone looking into Chicago blues and generally good music.
ROXY MUSIC - The Complete Studio Recordings [10 CD Box Set] (2012)
Evolving from the late-'60s art-rock movement, Roxy Music had a fascination with fashion, glamour, cinema, pop art, and the avant-garde, which separated the band from their contemporaries. Dressed in bizarre, stylish costumes, the group played a defiantly experimental variation of art rock which vacillated between avant-rock and sleek pop hooks. During the early '70s, the group was driven by the creative tension between Bryan Ferry and Brian Eno, who each pulled the band in separate directions: Ferry had a fondness for American soul and Beatlesque art-pop, while Eno was intrigued by deconstructing rock with amateurish experimentalism inspired by the Velvet Underground. This incarnation of Roxy Music may have only recorded two albums, but it inspired a legion of imitators -- not only the glam-rockers of the early '70s, but art-rockers and new wave pop groups of the late '70s. Following Eno's departure, Roxy Music continued with its arty inclinations for a few albums before gradually working in elements of disco and soul. Within a few years, the group had developed a sophisticated, seductive soul-pop that relied on Ferry's stylish crooning. By the early '80s, the group had developed into a vehicle for Ferry, so it was no surprise that he disbanded the group at the height of its commercial success in the early '80s to pursue a solo career.
Marking 40 years since the release of their debut album in 1972, Roxy Music present 'Roxy Music: The Complete Studio Recordings 1972-1982'. A 10 CD deluxe box set featuring all eight Roxy Music studio albums. These iconic albums are housed in rigid gatefold style sleeves - mimicking the original vinyl releases. They also contain never seen-before outtakes from the original album cover artwork.
PAUL McCARTNEY - McCartney (1970) & McCartney II (1980)
Paul McCartney retreated from the spotlight of the Beatles by recording his first solo album at his home studio, performing nearly all of the instruments himself. Appropriately, McCartney has an endearingly ragged, homemade quality that makes even its filler -- and there is quite a bit of filler -- rather ingratiating. Only a handful of songs rank as full-fledged McCartney classics, but those songs -- the light folk-pop of "That Would Be Something," the sweet, gentle "Every Night," the ramshackle Beatles leftover "Teddy Boy," and the staggering "Maybe I'm Amazed" (not coincidentally the only rocker on the album) -- are full of all the easy melodic charm that is McCartney's trademark. The rest of the album is charmingly slight, especially if it is read as a way to bring Paul back to earth after the heights of the Beatles. At the time the throwaway nature of much of the material was a shock, but it has become charming in retrospect. Unfortunately, in retrospect it also appears as a harbinger of the nagging mediocrity that would plague McCartney's entire solo career.
TRACKS: 01. The Lovely Linda 02. That Would Be Something 03. Valentine Day 04. Every Night 05. Hot As Sun/Glasses 06. Junk 07. Man We Was Lonely 08. Oo You 09. Momma Miss America 10. Teddy Boy 11. Singalong Junk 12. Maybe I'm Amazed 13. Kreen-Akrore
Entitled McCartney II because its one-man band approach mirrors that of his first solo album, Paul McCartney's first record since the breakup of Wings was greeted upon its release as a return to form, especially since its synth-heavy arrangements seemed to represent his acceptance of new wave. In retrospect, the record is muddled and confused, nowhere more so than on the frazzled sequencing of "Temporary Secretary," where McCartney spits out ridiculous lyrics with a self-consciously atonal melody over gurgling synths. Things rarely get worse than that, and occasionally, as in the effortless hooks of "Coming Up," the record is quite enjoyable. Nevertheless, the majority of McCartney II is forced, and its lack of memorable melodies is accentuated by the stiff electronics, which were not innovative at the time and are even more awkward in the present. At least McCartney II finds Paul in an adventurous state of mind, which is a relief after years of formulaic pop. In some ways, the fact that he was trying was more relevant than the fact that the experiments failed.
TRACKS: 01. Coming Up 02. Temporary Secretary 03. On the Way 04. Waterfalls 05. Nobody Knows 06. Front Parlour 07. Summer's Day Song 08. Frozen Jap 09. Bogey Music 10. Darkroom 11. One of These Days 12. Check My Machine 13. Secret Friend 14. Goodnight Tonight
MOTT THE HOOPLE - Greatest Hits (1976)
Mott is a bit of an anomaly. They began their existence as a hard rock band, but with the addition of Ian Hunter as lead singer and principal writer, they took on a Dylanesque coloration. However, it was their affiliation with David Bowie during his early-Seventies glitter period that provided them with "All the Young Dudes," a song that catapulted them to brief fame. Consummate borrowers from their better- and lesser-known rock brethren, Mott melded disparate elements into a dynamic, often humorous, sound that combined the bombast of early heavy metal with Seventies glitter, and just about everything else you or they could think of. In retrospect, Mott was a more potent band than originally perceived. Greatest Hits is a reasonable sampler, but is inferior to both All the Young Dudes and Mott. As an overview, thirty-eight minutes isn't long enough; too much quality material is omitted, such as "Ready For Love," "Sea Diver," and "Sweet Jane." What remains is generally first-rate, it's just too bad that Columbia didn't take advantage of the other half of the CD's capacity and provide a disc that is a fairer sample of this fun band's erratic but rocking career. Given the diversity of original material, the compact disc's sound is remarkably consistent and generally acceptable. However, it does suffer from compression, some mudiness, and rather closed imaging.
TRACKS: 01. All the Way From Memphis 02. Honaloochie Boogie 03. Hymn for the Dudes 04. Born Late 58 05. All the Young Dudes 06. Roll Away the Stone 07. Ballad of Mott (March 26, 1972, Zurich) 08. The Golden Age of Rock 'n' Roll 09. Foxy Foxy 10. Saturday Gigs
V.A. - The Many Faces Of Ramones (2014)
The Ramones were, undoubtedly, one of the most influential bands in the history of rock. They created, almost by accident, the cornerstone of a sound that later became punk and all its sub-genres. Drummer Thomas Erdelyi (Tommy Ramone) was the one who gathered his friends Jeffrey Hyman (Joey Ramone, vocals), John Cummings (Johnny Ramone, guitar) and Douglas Colvin (Dee Dee Ramone, bass) to form the group in 1974, never imagining they were going to build a career for more than 20 years, amd more than 2,000 live shows with just a few lineup changes. The group broke up in August 1996, but his spirit is still alive in the new generations of fans that constantly rediscover their music and with an ongoing stream of releases with old material. The fact that they released over a dozen albums was not enough for them. For that reason, during and after his career all members participated in side projects showing in them, unknown artistic facets. In this triple album, 42 songs (in the tradition of the early albums by The Ramones 14 issues per disc) present some of the most important projects the members of the group were part of. We do it by diggin' thru the group's first demos (1975) through recent recordings by Joey and Dee Dee; from the solo adventures of drummer Marc Bell (Marky Ramone, replacement of founder drummer Tommy) to Christopher Joseph Ward's (CJ Ramone) new project. This material is of a great musical diversity that shows the quality of the different projects and features many golden nets, currently available only in this collection, plus a couple of unreleased, never before heard tracks.
B.B. KING - Blues 'n' Jazz (1983)
The seemingly endless career of blues singer and guitarist B.B. King is documented in great detail, a discography rich enough in both bulls-eyes and misfires to keep the proprietor of any shooting range content for an equal length of time, whatever that turns out to be. Some of these records stand out in terms of industry success, this status hopefully grooving in lockstep with artistic achievement. The 1983 Blues 'N' Jazz wound up winning a Grammy for the best blues recording of the year. Without basically disagreeing with that particular status, many music critics nonetheless pointed out that King's recordings from between two and three decades earlier were better. It is both understandable and expected that critics want to establish themselves as hipper than the Grammy awards. While it is a nice change for something old to be considered better than something new, this particular argument leads nowhere -- despite being true. Of course, rhythm & blues and rock & roll records sounded better in the '50s and '60s. A long list of things that were likewise much better back then could be easily drummed up, perhaps with a blues backbeat: blue jeans, American cars, sodas, hot dogs, action films, Hawaiian shirts. It goes on and on. Appreciation of the here and now is, as opposed to nostalgia, something of a life lesson. The subject is discussed between parents and children more frequently then it comes up in music reviews, especially of albums where one of the lyrical directions is to "Sell My Monkey." The here and now of B.B. King at almost any point in his career was that he kept a band together, this ensemble growing in size as the bandleader's fame and fees expanded. Blues 'N' Jazz is a terrific documentation of King's big band during the '80s, sexed up just perfectly with choice guest stars. Tenor saxophonist Arnett Cobb's presence was duly noted by hipsters one and all in a decade when soulful saxophonists once taken for granted began to be feted, even lauded with documentary films. Shorted on appreciation as always, although some of the Grammy glory must have rubbed off, the journeymen of the King road band enterprise give off a huge part of this project's glow. Damning with faint praise, critics approaching the album from retrospect admit that it is a different stew entirely then later King hits sarcastically dubbed "blues lite." Sure it is, since King's touring ensemble always plays with a lot more heart than that.
Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album (1984).
TRACKS: 01. Inflation Blues 02. Broken Heart 03. Sell My Monkey 04. Heed My Warning 05. Teardrops From My Eyes 06. Rainbow Riot 07. Darlin' You Know I Love You 08. Make Love To Me 09. I Can't Let You Go
JOHN LEE HOOKER - Kabuki Wuki (1973) & Born In Mississippi, Raised Up In Tennessee (1973) [2013, Remastered]
BGO Records has released two early ‘70s albums by the legendary John Lee Hooker. While admittedly not his best albums, they both still show this man did more than play the blues, he lived them. On these offerings, Hooker pumped out a slow moving steam engine of blues music that never picks up too much speed, yet keeps things chooglin’ along just fine. Kabuki Wuki is the better of the two albums included on this two-disc package. This is a classic live set that saw a Hooker show captured at the Kabuki Theater in San Francisco. The music is moody and morose. John sells it in his vocal delivery and the band moves along like a slow cooked slab of ribs. It may not thrill you, but when it’s all said and done, the meat just falls off the bone. Born in Mississippi, Raised Up in Tennessee continues the same type of feeling but takes it from the stage to the studio. The beat moves about, slowly and carefully; Hooker’s vocals keep you on the edge of your seat, yet the pace does get to you after a while as you simply beg John Lee and band to get you on your feet. It just never happens, despite an appearance on the album by none other than the great Van Morrison. Both of these albums would probably rank higher in, say, Colorado, where one could enhance the music with some legal herb as this is stoner rock, done up blues style. At the end of the day remember this: a “C” rating for John Lee Hooker means that it may be better than the average album, yet when placed against his best, these two just fall somewhere in the middle. Still worthy of a listen, just not the chosen album by most of his fans.
Digitally remastered, slipcased and with new notes.
THE FACES - 1970-1975: You Can Make Me Dance, Sing Or Anything (2015)
Faces were an English rock band formed in 1969 by members of the Small Faces after lead singer/guitarist Steve Marriott left that group to form Humble Pie. The remaining Small Faces Ian McLagan (keyboards), Ronnie Lane (bass), and Kenney Jones (drums and percussion) were joined by Ronnie Wood (guitar) and Rod Stewart (lead vocals), both from the Jeff Beck Group, and the new line-up was renamed the Faces.
1970-1975 - You Can Make Me Dance, Sing Or Anything includes: The First Step (1970), Long Player (1971), A Nod Is as Good as a Wink...to a Blind Horse (1971), and Ooh La La (1973), and features unreleased bonus tracks included with each album. These albums showcase that incredible range from bar stool anthems like Had Me A Real Good Time, Miss Judy s Farm, and Stay With Me, to tender ballads that will leave you crying in your beer like Ooh La La, Love Lives Here and Glad And Sorry. In addition to the studio albums, the collection also features a bonus disc that gathers up nine essentials tracks that didn t appear on proper albums, including the 1973 single Pool Hall Richard, a live performance of the Temptations I Wish It Would Rain from the 1973 Reading Festival, and Dishevelment Blues, a song that came free as a flexi-disc in copies of the British music magazine New Music Express.
RIVERSIDE - Love, Fear And The Time Machine (2015)
Love, Fear and the Time Machine is the sixth album by Polish progressive rock band Riverside. The album was released on 4 September 2015 through InsideOut Music. Riverside is supposed to be a progressive metal band. On their latest effort, they are definitely not metal, and even the many of the prog elements have also prominently decreased. It’s hard to call any Riverside release purely metal, while contrarily they’ve always undisputedly been a prog band. Love, Fear, and The Time Machine generally has a stripped back, mellow sound, following the trend set by their previous album, Shrine of New Generation Slaves, though less based in prog. So does this mark the beginning of the end? Are the metallic aspects the first to go, then the prog? It’s always nice when a band continues to evolve their sound while remaining fairly consistent in quality. LFatTM has two distinct categories into which its songs fall: the prog rock songs are more often found near the beginning, and the ballads are clustered near the end. During the first half, even though this is the heavier end of the LFatTM spectrum, distortion and hard-edged riffs are rare. While these tracks do go into prog-style instrumental breaks, they lack intensity and remain rather laid-back, like everything else about the album. The second half is even more relaxed, with ballads Afloat, Time Travellers, Found, and Towards the Blue Horizon (though the latter still picks up in the middle).
McAULEY SCHENKER GROUP - U n p l u g g e d Live (1993)
McAuley Schenker Group was a multi-national band featuring core members Robin McAuley (vocals) and Michael Schenker (guitar), a successor (and eventual predecessor) to Schenker's earlier band Michael Schenker Group. McAuley was initially contacted to replace singer Gary Barden in MSG. However, the strong partnership immediately formed between McAuley and Schenker led to the change of the name from Michael Schenker Group to McAuley Schenker Group, retaining the same initials of the previous band MSG. The band, composed of German, Irish and British members, relocated to Los Angeles, trying to exploit the increasing popularity of hard rock and glam metal in the US. They released three studio albums, one EP and an acoustic live album before disbanding. Their first album Perfect Timing was released in 1987, and included their first hit "Gimme Your Love". Two years later, Save Yourself was released, giving this incarnation of MSG its biggest hit with the power ballad "Anytime". M.S.G. followed in 1992 and "Unpled" Live came out in 1993.
After the 1992 tour with a strictly acoustic set and the release of the unpled live, in 1993 McAuley and Schenker went their separate ways, the first getting married and retiring from the music scene for a few years, the latter working on his first solo album and eventually reforming the Michael Schenker Group in 1996. After leaving Survivor, McAuley started cooperating with Schenker again, playing 26 shows across the US in February and March 2012.
TRACKS: 01. Anytime 02. We Believe In Love 03. What Happens To Me 04. Bad Boys 05. Gimme Your Love 06. Natural Thing 07. Perrier 08. When I'm Gone 09. Nightmare 10. Doctor Doctor 11. Lights Out
DR. JOHN - High Priest Of Psychedelic Voodoo (2015)
Malcolm John "Mac" Rebennack, better known by the stage name Dr. John (also Dr. John Creaux, or Dr. John the Night Tripper), is an American singer-songwriter, pianist and guitarist, whose music combines blues, pop, jazz as well as zydeco, boogie woogie and rock and roll. Active as a session musician since the late 1950s, he gained a cult following in the late 1960s following the release of his album Gris-Gris and his appearance at the Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music. He performed a wildly theatrical stage show inspired by medicine shows, Mardi Gras costumes and voodoo ceremonies. Rebennack has recorded over 20 albums and in 1973 scored a top-20 hit with the jaunty funk-flavored "Right Place Wrong Time", still his best-known song. The winner of six Grammy Awards, Rebennack was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by singer John Legend on March 14, 2011. In May 2013, Rebennack was the recipient of an honorary doctorate of fine arts from Tulane University. He was jokingly referred to by Tulane's president, Scott Cowen, as "Dr. Dr. John".
A 2CD set of magical, musical voodoo from one of the most enigmatic and captivating singer/songwriters to ever emerge from the Louisiana swamps, the Night Tripper himself, Dr High Priest of Psychedelic Voodoo songs. Featuring some of the Doc s best medicine including Tipitina, Woman Is The Root Of All Evil, Zuzu Man, Mama Roux and so much more! Packaged deluxe gatefold sleeve with full-color booklet!
SHEMEKIA COPELAND - Never Goin' Back (2009) & 33 1/3 (2012)
The daughter of renowned Texas blues guitarist Johnny Copeland, Shemekia Copeland began making a splash in her own right before she was even out of her teens. Projecting a maturity beyond her years, Copeland fashioned herself as a powerful, soul-inflected shouter in the tradition of Koko Taylor and Etta James, yet also proved capable of a subtler range of emotions. Copeland was born in Harlem in 1979 and her father encouraged her to sing right from the beginning, even bringing her up on-stage at the Cotton Club when she was just eight years old. She began to pursue a singing career in earnest at age 16, when her father's health began to decline due to heart disease; he took Shemekia on tour with him as his opening act, which helped establish her name on the blues circuit. She landed a record deal with Alligator, which issued her debut album, Turn the Heat Up!, in 1998 when she was just 19 years old (sadly, her father didn't live to see the occasion).
While the influences on Copeland's style were crystal clear, the record was met with enthusiastic reviews praising its energy and passion. Marked as a hot young newcomer to watch, Copeland toured the blues festival circuit in America and Europe, and landed a fair amount of publicity. Her second album, Wicked, was released in 2000 and featured a duet with one of her heroes, early R&B diva Ruth Brown. Wicked earned Copeland a slew of W.C. Handy Blues Award nominations and she walked off with three: Song of the Year, Blues Album of the Year, and Contemporary Female Artist of the Year. The follow-up record, Talking to Strangers, was produced by legendary pianist Dr. John and featured songs that she proudly claimed were her best yet. The Soul Truth, produced by Steve Cropper, was released by Alligator Records in 2005. Never Going Back followed in 2009 from Telarc Blues, and was produced by the Wood Brothers' Oliver Wood. 33 1/3 appeared in 2012, and was again produced by Wood and issued by Telarc. Copeland returned to Alligator Records for the release of 2015's Outskirts of Love, which featured guest appearances from Robert Randolph, Alvin Youngblood Hart, and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top.
KEITH RICHARDS - Crosseyed Heart (2015)
Keith Richards' first solo album since 1992 opens like a fever dream, with the 71-year-old rock god croaking acoustic blues like Robert Johnson after burning down a half-ounce spliff. But it's a feint. "All right, that's all I got," he snaps just under two minutes in, before upshifting into his most eccentric and best-ever solo set. Crosseyed Heart is the sound of Richards following his pleasure wherever it leads, with a lean, simpatico team including longtime session pals Steve Jordan, Ivan Neville and Waddy Wachtel backing him up all the way. Naturally, there's a dip into roots reggae: Gregory Isaacs' 1974 lovers' rock signature, "Love Overdue," complete with brass and Neville's sweet backing vocals. There's also a straight read of "Goodnight Irene," a folk standard that Richards likely heard as a kid when the Weavers' version charted in 1950. Two originals are as strong as any Stones songs of recent decades: "Robbed Blind," a "Dead Flowers"-scented outlaw-country ballad that echoes Merle Haggard's "Sing Me Back Home," and "Trouble," all hiccup-riff swagger with a slide-guitar mash note from Wachtel to ex-Stone Mick Taylor. There's a charmingly cheeky duet with Norah Jones ("Illusion"), and some beautifully telling moments (see "Amnesia") where Keith's guitar is nearly everything - his sublime grooves sprouting melodic blooms and thorny leads. It's proof that, at core, dude's an army of one.
TRACKS: 01. Crosseyed Heart 02. Heartstopper 03. Amnesia 04. Robbed Blind 05. Trouble 06. Love Overdue 07. Nothing On Me 08. Suspicious 09. Blues In The Morning 10. Something For Nothing 11. Illusion 12. Just A Gift 13. Goodnight Irene 14. Substantial Damage 15. Lover's Plea
DAVID GILMOUR - Rattle That Lock (2015)
"Rattle That Lock" is the new solo album by David Gilmour, the voice and guitar of Pink Floyd. This is David's fourth solo album, and the first since 2006's # 1 album "On An Island". The primary lyricist for "Rattle That Lock" is Gilmour s long-term writing partner, Polly Samson, and the album is co-produced by David Gilmour and Roxy Music s Phil Manzanera. The album's striking cover has been art directed by Dave Stansbie. The lead single of this album is the title track, "Rattle That Lock". The song begins with the four notes, created by Michael Boumendil, which precede announcements at French SNCF railway stations which Gilmour recorded on his iphone at Aix station. Samson's lyrics are inspired by Book 2 of John Milton's Paradise Lost, which is also featured in her recent acclaimed novel, The Kindness. The single also features the Liberty Choir and singers Mica Paris and Louise Marshall. Hot on the heels of the incredibly successful release of Pink Floyd’s The Endless River, David Gilmour returns with his new 5th solo album, ‘Rattle That Lock’. One of Rock N’ Roll’s seminal front men and guitarists, and ranked by Rolling Stone as the #14 Greatest Guitarist of All Time, Gilmour is known for his pivotal involvement as the lead singer and guitarist of Pink Floyd – a band that has sold 250 million records worldwide. ‘Rattle That Lock’ is loosely based on a ‘day in the life of’, ranging across the myriad of thoughts and feelings that all of us have in the course of a single day: a mixture of both personal and worldly.
TRACKS: 01. 5 A.M. 02. Rattle That Lock 03. Faces Of Stone 04. A Boat Lies Waiting 05. Dancing Right In Front Of Me 06. In Any Tongue 07. Beauty 08. The Girl In The Yellow Dress 09. Today 10. And Then...
TEN YEARS AFTER - All The Best (2012)
Ten Years After was a British blues-rock quartet consisting of Alvin Lee, guitar and vocals; Chick Churchill, keyboards; Leo Lyons bass; and Ric Lee, drums. The group was formed in 1967 and signed to Decca in England. Their first album was not a success, but their second, the live Undead (1968) containing "I'm Going Home," a six-minute blues workout by the fleet-fingered Alvin, hit the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. Stonedhenge (1969) hit the U.K. Top Ten in early 1969. Ten Years After's U.S. breakthrough came as a result of their appearance at Woodstock, at which they played a nine-minute version of "I'm Going Home." Their next album, Ssssh, reached the U.S. Top 20, and Cricklewood Green, containing the hit single "Love Like a Man," reached number four. Watt completed the group's Decca contract, after which they signed with Columbia and moved in a more mainstream pop direction, typified by the gold-selling 1971 album A Space in Time and its Top 40 single "I'd Love to Change the World." Subsequent efforts in that direction were less successful, however, and Ten Years After split up after the release of Positive Vibrations in 1974. They reunited in 1988 for concerts in Europe and recorded their first new album in 15 years, About Time, in 1989 before disbanding once again. In 2001, Ric Lee was preparing the back catalog for re-release when he discovered the Live at the Fillmore East 1970 tapes. He approached Alvin about getting back together to promote the lost album, but Alvin Lee declined. The rest of the band was up for it, though, and together with guitarist Joe Gooch, Ten Years After started touring again. In addition to touring the world, this new incarnation recorded its first new material in about a decade and a half and released Now in 2004 and added the live double CD set Roadworks in 2005. Alvin Lee died on March 6, 2013 at the age of 68 due to complications from a routine surgery.
TOMMY BOLIN & ZEPHYR - 3CD Box Set (2014)
This late-’60s Denver group is most notable as the starting point for guitarist Tommy Bolin, who was still in his teens when they recorded their first album in 1969. A rather routine slab of bluesy, heavy rock, it made the Top 50. Aside from Bolin’s extended hard rock riffing, it prominently featured the lead vocals of Candy Givens, who affected a blues-wailing pose along the lines of Janis Joplin. But she didn’t have the full throat or guts to back it up, ending up closer to also-ran female psychedelic singers like Lydia Pense (of Cold Blood). Zephyr recorded one more album before Bolin left for stints with James Gang, Deep Purple, and a solo career; the group carried on throughout the 1970s.
A very special deluxe edition of the 1969 recorded debut of guitar legend Tommy Bolin performing with his first major act, the blues rock outfit Zephyr! Newly remixed and remastered audio created under the supervision of founding member David Givens and with 2 bonus discs of never-before-heard live material and studio improvisations! Packaged in a custom over-sized box with mini LP sleeves for the CDs and a gorgeous booklet with detailed liner notes filled with stories and memories written by Givens!
THE HEAD CAT - Fool's Paradise (2006) & Walk The Walk... Talk The Talk (2011)
The Head Cat brings together Lemmy (Motörhead), Slim Jim Phantom (Stray Cats), and guitar wizard Danny B. Harvey (Rockats) for a batch of cover tunes from Buddy Holly ("Tell Me How," "Not Fade Away"), Carl Perkins ("Matchbox"), and Johnny Cash ("Big River"). A longtime rockabilly fan and skilled harmonica player (as evidenced on "You Got Me Dizzy"), Lemmy does at times sound a bit out of place and tentative in a setting stripped of the unmitigated power and unsubtle glory heard on all the best Motörhead albums, but there's a red charm hearing him beside Phantom and Harvey, who lend authenticity and spark to the affair. If it all seems improbable, a related live DVD, Rockin' The Cat Club: Live From Sunset Strip , captures the three friends plus ex-Guana Bats bassist Johnny Bowler in action. This won't take anyone involved away from their day job forever, but it is an interesting shift for the mighty Lem and a souvenir that will raise the eyebrows of diehards and the curiosity level of casual fans.
Lemmy (Motoread), Slim Jim Phantom (The Stray Cats and rockabilly legend Danny B. Harvey (Rockats, 13 Cats, Lonesome Spurs), have teamed up in a high-energy, take no prisoners combo just to remind the world how Rock n Roll is supposed to f*ckin sound. Forget all those rock posers, who have nothing new to say, passing themselves off as the real thing. When it come to real Rock n Roll these three guys have lived it breathed it, bled it and have set the lifestyle example that all you rebels, rockers and outcasts should strive to follow! You have seen the light now come over to the darkside.........we bring you HeadCat!
V.A. - The Many Faces Of The Doors (2015)
No one can denies that The Doors is one of the essentials bands in the history of rock. With tons of charisma (let's not forget that -at the time- Jim Morrison was referred by the press as "the american Mick Jagger"), a very personal sound and with an incredible catalog, The Doors have become not only a key band of the genre, but also a source of inspiration for countless artists. In this triple album, 'The Many Faces Of The Doors' we get into the secret world of the band, with hard-to-find tracks, side projects by its members, remakes and also, their roots. With a great cover art, a selection of songs that took a couple of years of work to secure, a remastered sound and liner notes, The Many Faces Of The Doors is a unique album, which is already being praised by many fans of the band.
CACTUS - Cactology: The Cactus Collection (1996)
Cactology is the definitive collection of music from one of the most underrated and overlooked hard rock bands of the '70s. From the opening notes of Howlin' Wolf's "Evil" (cast by Cactus as a Black Sabbath/Led Zeppelin-type monster riff sludge rocker), the listener is swept into a dark world of beer-swilling, testosterone-fueled stud boogie. On the CD's second track, the band gives Mose Allison's lightly swinging jazz/blues classic "Parchman Farm" a hyper-speed freight train treatment that shames even the Who's thunderous Live at Leeds version of Allison's "Young Man." All the while, bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice (both of whom are better-known for their work with Vanilla Fudge and Jeff Beck) add a thunderous, chops-heavy bottom end. This rhythm section is perhaps the most distinctive element of the Cactus sound, a kind of missing link between Cream's Jack Bruce/Ginger Baker tandem and the virtuoso grooves of Rush's Geddy Lee and Neil Peart. Although Cactus never had an actual hit song, Cactology includes all of the band's best-known recorded moments as well as two previously unreleased tracks. The first of the these is the gem, a reworked version of fuzz guitar pioneer Link Wray's "Rumble," entitled "Rumblin' Man." This track must rank among the heaviest music ever recorded prior to the advent of Metallica. A slow, steamroller-like goliath of a song, "Rumblin' Man" sounds like the upset digestive tract of some evil giant. Although this disc makes clear that Cactus lacked the songwriting skills to ever reach a mainstream Top 40 audience, it also gives the band its due as one of the most energetic pure heavy rock ensembles ever to enter a recording studio.
TRACKS: 01. Evil 02. Parchman farm 03. You Can't Judge a Book by the Cover 04. One Way ... Or Another 05. Alaska 06. Long Tall Sally 07. Let Me Swim 08. Bro. Bill 09. Rock 'n' Roll Children 10. Song for Aries 11. Restrictions 12. Oleo 13. Feel So Good 14. Rumblin' Man 15. Bad Stuff 16. Parchman Farm (Live)
RATTLES - The Witch (1996)
The Rattles are a rock band (initially beat group) from Germany. Their biggest selling record was their 1970 recorded song, "The Witch", which sold over one million copies globally. The Rattles performed in Hamburg, and played at the same venues as The Beatles on several occasions in 1962. In 1964 the group recorded "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah", which charted in the UK. In 1968 they recorded their first version of "The Witch", with vocals by Henner Hoier. The band's records sold well in Germany during the 1960s. Their second version of "The Witch" in 1970, this time with vocals by Edna Bejarano, became their only international hit. "The Witch" appeared in the Top 10 on the UK Singles Chart, the top 20 in Austria, and reached the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S., the first German record to reach that chart. It eventually sold over one million copies.
TRACKS: 01. You Can't Have Sunshine Everyday 02. The Mask 03. I Will 04. Where Is The Friend 05. Guy 06. The Witch 07. Worm Eaten Wood 08. Virgin 09. Rescue 10. Man 11. Eleanor Rigby 12. Suzie Q 13. The Witch (Single Version) 14. Get Away (Single) 15. Devil's On The Loose (Single) 16. I Know You Don't Know (Single) 17. Money Making Machine (Single) 18. Playing With Fire (Single) 19. Something Else (Single) 20. What Do I Care (Single)
JOAN BAEZ - Diamonds And Rust In The Bullring (1989) & Live At Newport (1996)
Although she released a comeback album, Recently, in 1987 after eight years away from U.S. record stores, Joan Baez continued to be more of a force in Europe than in her homeland, and she followed Recently with what was actually her third live album to be recorded in Europe in the 1980s. Diamonds & Rust in the Bullring is not to be confused with her 1975 studio album Diamonds & Rust, of course, and it is not a live recording of the songs from that album, either, even though the song "Diamonds & Rust" itself does lead it off. So, the title is not helpful. The album chronicles a show performed by Baez, in a bullring, naturally, in Bilbao, Spain, in 1988, and it demonstrates what makes her such a draw overseas. Half of the collection (side two of the LP and cassette, tracks seven through 12 of the CD) consists of songs sung in Spanish, recalling her 1974 all-Spanish album Gracias a la Vida and including that LP's title song, here performed as a duet with Mercedes Sosa, "El Preso Numero Nueve" (which was also on her debut album, Joan Baez, in 1960), "Llego con Tres Heridas," and "No Nos Moveran" (aka "We Shall Not Be Moved"). Also part of the Spanish side are a translation of Sting's "They Dance Alone (Gueca Solo)," called "Ellas Danzan Solas (Cueca Sola)." (Singing in Spanish always seems to remind Baez of the bloody Chilean military coup and its aftermath.) But the song that most moves the crowd is the pretty "Txoria Txori," a song in Basque with which they sing along. Actually, the Spanish side is more moving than the English one, in which Baez seems to be just running through some familiar material or turning in interpretations of such classics as Bob Marley's "No Woman No Cry," Leonard Cohen's "Famous Blue Raincoat," and the Beatles' "Let It Be" that have been done definitively by their originators. Diamonds & Rust in the Bullring smacks of being a placeholder in Baez's discography, which makes it an odd release for an artist willing to wait so long to return to making records.
This album (Live At Newport) draws tracks from Joan Baez's appearances at the 1963, 1964, and 1965 Newport Folk Festivals, a time period in which she was the very epicenter of the folk scene. With her clear, strong, and bell-like soprano, Baez brought together traditional-folk materials with some of the best songs of the then-emerging songwriters of the so-called folk revival (she was the introduction for many to the work of Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Richard Farina, and others), projecting a thematic unity between the old and the new that was instrumental in the success of the 1960s folk boom. This collection isn't quite as striking as her other live albums from this period, although only by degree, and there are several interesting tracks here, including the opener, a live version of Dylan's beautiful "Farewell Angelina," which seems almost written for (or about?) Baez. A duet with Mary Travers on "Lonesome Valley" is another highlight, as is an audience singalong on "Johnny Cuckoo." The final two tracks, "It Ain't Me Babe" and "With God on Our Side," are duets with Dylan, and while these performances may have strong historical value, the truth is that Baez and Dylan didn't sing well together at this point in their association, with both singers dragging the song in two different directions at once, almost as if it were a battle for dominance, which, time sests, it may well have been.
GARY CLARK JR. - The Story Of Sonny Boy Slim (2015)
Gary Clark serves up another dose of his unique blend of bluesy R&B with his latest album, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim. On the project, Clarks sisters Shawn and Savannah provide the majority of the background vocals. It should also be noted that Gary played most of the instruments on the album.
On his 2012 major label debut, Gary Clark Jr. was hungry for all the music he could get his hands on. He rose up out of Austin as a certified bluesman and killer guitar player, sure, but Blak and Blu also pulled funk, soul, and molten garage rock under its wide roof. What that album lacked in cohesion it made up for in spirit and a whole pile of hot licks. Three years later, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim smooths out some of that wayward fire, as Clark uses the album to comb through states of danger, frustration, and especially love.
DISC 1: 01. The Healing 02. Grinder 03. Star 04. Our Love 05. Church 06. Hold On 07. Cold Blooded
DISC 2: 01. Wings 02. BYOB 03. Can't Sleep 04. Stay 05. Shake 06. Down To Ride
JANIS JOPLIN - Joplin In Concert (1972) & Highlights (1990)
The greatest white female rock singer of the 1960s, Janis Joplin was also a great blues singer, making her material her own with her wailing, raspy, supercharged emotional delivery. First rising to stardom as the frontwoman for San Francisco psychedelic band Big Brother & the Holding Company, she left the group in the late '60s for a brief and uneven (though commercially successful) career as a solo artist. Although she wasn't always supplied with the best material or most sympathetic musicians, her best recordings, with both Big Brother and on her own, are some of the most exciting performances of her era. She also did much to redefine the role of women in rock with her assertive, sexually forthright persona and raunchy, electrifying on-stage presence.
Cheap ThrillsJoplin was raised in the small town of Port Arthur, TX, and much of her subsequent personal difficulties and unhappiness has been attributed to her inability to fit in with the expectations of the conservative community. She'd been singing blues and folk music since her teens, playing on occasion in the mid-'60s with future Jefferson Airplane guitarist Jorma Kaukonen. There are a few live pre-Big Brother recordings (not issued until after her death), reflecting the inspiration of early blues singers like Bessie Smith, that demonstrate she was well on her way to developing a personal style before hooking up with the band. She had already been to California before moving there permanently in 1966, when she joined a strling early San Francisco psychedelic group, Big Brother & the Holding Company. Although their loose, occasionally sloppy brand of bluesy psychedelia had some charm, there can be no doubt that Joplin -- who initially didn't even sing lead on all of the material -- was primarily responsible for lifting them out of the ranks of the ordinary. She made them a hit at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, where her stunning version of "Ball and Chain" (perhaps her very best performance) was captured on film. After a debut on the Mainstream label, Big Brother signed a management deal with Albert Grossman and moved on to Columbia. Their second album, Cheap Thrills, topped the charts in 1968, but Joplin left the band shortly afterward, enticed by the prospects of stardom as a solo act. I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!Joplin's first album, I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!, was recorded with the Kozmic Blues Band, a unit that included horns and retained just one of the musicians that had played with her in Big Brother (guitarist Sam Andrew). Although it was a hit, it wasn't her best work; the new band, though more polished musically, was not nearly as sympathetic accompanists as Big Brother, purveying a soul-rock groove that could sound forced. That's not to say it was totally unsuccessful, boasting one of her signature tunes in "Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)." Pearl For years, Joplin's life had been a roller coaster of drug addiction, alcoholism, and volatile personal relationships, documented in several biographies. Musically, however, things were on the upswing shortly before her death, as she assembled a better, more versatile backing outfit, the Full Tilt Boogie Band, for her final album, Pearl (ably produced by Paul Rothchild). Joplin was sometimes criticized for screeching at the expense of subtlety, but Pearl was solid evidence of her growth as a mature, diverse stylist who could handle blues, soul, and folk-rock. "Mercedes Benz," "Get It While You Can," and Kris Kristofferson's "Me and Bobby McGee" are some of her very best tracks. Tragically, she died before the album's release, overdosing on heroin in a Hollywood hotel in October 1970. "Me and Bobby McGee" became a posthumous number one single in 1971, and thus the song with which she is most frequently identified.
STRAY CATS - Live At Rockpalast - 1983 Loreley Open Air + 1981 Cologne (2015)
Stray Cats were an American rockabilly band formed in 1979 by guitarist and vocalist Brian Setzer, double bassist Lee Rocker, and drummer Slim Jim Phantom in the Long Island town of Massapequa, New York. The group had numerous hit singles in the UK, Australia, Canada and the U.S. including "Stray Cat Strut", "(She's) Sexy + 17", "Look at That Cadillac," "I Won't Stand in Your Way", "Bring it Back Again", and "Rock This Town", which the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has listed as one of the songs that shaped rock and roll.
Impressive footage of this time includes two performances in Germany: one in 1981 in Cologne and one in 1983 at the Loreley that were recorded by WDR. Both concerts also underline how rapidly Stray Cats' career progressed. Between both recordings were full worlds. In 1981 they were young rockers and by 1983 they had become full-fledged rock stars and known as tender teddy boys in part of the scene. The band rocked the mixed audience and were even honored by their discoverer Dave Edmunds. Next to Stray Cats were acts such as U2, Joe Cocker and Steve Miller. Classics like as "Stray Cat Strut," "Runaway Boys," "Rumble in Brighton," and "Rock This Town" will live forever through these two concert recordings.
ELLEN McILWAINE - Spontaneous Combustion (2001)
Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Ellen McIlwaine is a gutsy, spirited performer who plays and sings a fiery brand of blues like few other female blues singers. Why she's not more widely known is one of the mysteries of the record business, as she's been on the scene a long time. Rarely has an album title so captured the essence of a performer. Ever restless and eager to expand her musical horizons, this fiery slide guitar star burns with an unquenchable inner flame, which crackles on the electrifying title track. "Mockingbird," one of two duets with Taj Mahal, gets an expected reggae treatment to open, but McIlwaine also raises the roof with some wild Middle Eastern sounds on "Sidu (Grandmother)" and the album-closing "Egyptian Blues (True Mummy Theme)." This, her second straight release on the same German label, is a strong and versatile effort that is well worth a search.
TRACKS: 01. Mockingbird 02. Take Me To The River 03. Dead End Street 04. Up From The Skies 05. Sidu (Grandmother) 06. Sitting On Top Of The World 07. Bid You Goodnight 08. Spontaneous Combustion 09. Say A Single Word 10. Egyptian Blues
THE HENRY GRAY & BOB CORRITORE SESSIONS - Vol. 1 - Blues Won't Let Me Take My Rest (2015)
Legendary blues pianist Henry Gray has collaborated with harmonica ace Bob Corritore since 1996. This first volume presents a 14 song selection recorded over a 19-year period. Henry sings 9 of these selections and Robert Lockwood Jr. , John Brim, Nappy Brown, Tail Dragger and Dave Riley provide one vocal each. Joining the proceedings are a rotating lineup of some of the blues' greatest musicians, including Bob Margolin, Kid Ramos, Kirk Fletcher, Big Jon Atkinson, Chris James, Patrick Rynn, Bob Stroger, Chico Chism, June Core, Doug James and many more, for a program of fully-realized songs that alternate between rollicking, partying jumps and shuffles to the deepest of blues!
TRACKS: 01. Let's Get High 02. Blues Won't Let Me Take My Rest 03. I'm In Love Again 04. Ramblin' On My Mind 05. Worrried Life Blues 06. They Raided The Joint 07. Ride With Your Daddy 08. Trouble Blues 09. I'm Gonna Miss You 10. That Ain't Right 11. Can't Afford To Do It 12. Boogie Woogie Ball 13. Honey Don't Let Me Go 14. You Don't Move Me No More
V.A. - Acoustic (2002)
Acoustic brings together some great singer songwriters and bands and artists who gave them inspiration and influenced their writing styles. 36 tracks from various artists including, Badly Drawn Boy, Stereophonics, Mercury Rev, Turin Brakes, Moloko, Beth Orton, Wheat, Nick Drake, John Martyn, Jeff Buckley, Simon & Garfunkel, Aimee Mann, Paul Weller and more. Housed in a slipcase.
FEAR ITSELF - Fear Itself (1969)
Fear Itself was a short-lived psychedelic blues-rock band formed by Ellen McIlwaine in the late 1960s in Atlanta, Georgia. The band featured McIlwaine singing lead vocals as well as performing harmonica, rhythm guitar and organ. Chris Zaloom performed lead guitar, Steve Cook played bass guitar, and Bill McCord was on drums. (Steve Cook left Fear Itself after this album was recorded and Paul Album joined the group playing bass guitar.) Inspired by Jimi Hendrix and Cream, the group's sound was unique due in large part to the McIlwaine's gospel-bluesy voice and lyrics. The group performed at Woodstock Festival in 1969, and eventually separated after the bass guitarist Paul Album was killed by a drunk driver. McIlwaine later moved to Canada and started a solo career. The band released one self-titled album in 1969 on vinyl by Dot Records, and it was re-released on CD in 2006 by World IN Sound. Prior entry stated that the CD contains a bonus track, "Born Under a Bad Sign." That song actually appears on the original LP.
TRACKS: 01. Crawlin' Kingsnake 02. Underground River 03. Bow'd Up 04. For Suki 05. In My Time Of Dying 06. The Letter 07. Lazarus 08. Mossy Dream 09. Billy Gene 10. Born Under A Bad Sign
ALLISON CROWE - Tidings (2004) & This Little Bird (2006)
"Allison Crowe has a voice to fall in love with," says UK music industry journal Record of the Day. "She is from Vancouver Island in Canada, descended from Scottish, Irish and Manx stock. She's exactly the sort of artist who can make serious headway on her own label and that's just what she's doing." Across the sea, Ray Padgett (Cover Me, SPIN, Mashable) observes: "There are some voices that speak (or sing) for themselves. You know the ones. Voices where it doesn’t matter what they sing. Voices where it doesn’t really matter what instruments support them. Solomon Burke has such a voice. Jeff Buckley had it. Allison Crowe has it too."
Tidings is the third studio album by Allison Crowe, released in EP form and expanded to full album length. Recorded live-off-the-floor, it is primarily an album of traditional songs of the season and Christmas carols alongside cover versions of some of Crowe's favourite songs of spirituality and redemption.
This Little Bird is the fourth studio album by Allison Crowe to be released on her independent label, Rubenesque Records Ltd. Overall, it's the fifth album release from the Canadian singer-songwriter — following Crowe's double-CD Live at Wood Hall album of 2005 (see 2005 in music). The album's 12 songs were recorded, essentially, live-off-the-floor at locations spanning the breadth of Canada — from Corner Brook, Newfoundland in the east, to Salt Spring Island and Nanaimo, British Columbia in the west. The album was released on October 9, 2006. This collection consists of nine original songs along with cover versions of: Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You"; John Sebastian of The Lovin' Spoonful's "Darling Be Home Soon"; and Ronnie Shannon's "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)" (Aretha Franklin's break-out song in 1967). On This Little Bird, Allison Crowe, always in creative control of her recordings, for the first time took on the role of primary engineer and producer.
IRON MAIDEN - The Book Of Souls (2015)
The Book of Souls is the sixteenth studio album by British heavy metal band Iron Maiden, released on 4 September 2015. It is the band's first studio double album, and therefore also their longest to date, with a total length of 92 minutes. It also marks the longest gap between studio releases in the group's career at five years, following 2010's The Final Frontier. The album's launch and its supporting tour were delayed to allow vocalist Bruce Dickinson time to recover from treatment which he received in early 2015 to remove a cancerous tumour.
The album was produced by long-time Iron Maiden collaborator Kevin Shirley and recorded at Guillaume Tell Studios, Paris from September to December 2014, which they had previously used for 2000's Brave New World. The band wrote and immediately recorded many tracks in the studio, resulting in a spontaneous live feel. The first song to be released from the album, "Speed of Light", was issued as a music video on 14 August, while simultaneously made available as a digital download and CD single exclusive to Best Buy. In addition to being their longest studio record, it also contains the band's longest song, "Empire of the Clouds", at 18 minutes in length. While not a concept album, references to the soul and mortality are prominent, realised in the Maya-themed cover artwork, created by Mark Wilkinson.
ANTHONY GOMES - Electric Field Holler (2015)
Originally from Canada, Anthony Gomes has lived in the USA for some years. His latest CD was recorded in Nashville, St Louis and Ferguson MO and features all original music, three of the songs having contributions from Gary Nicholson, Jim Peterik and Talan Latz alongside Anthony. Anthony handles all guitar and lead vocals, Chad Cromwell is on drums, Theo Harden on bass and David Smith on keys. R Scott Bryan and Glen Caruba add percussion and background vocals come from Wendy Moten, Minnie Murphy, Kelly Wild and Vicki Hampton. It might be easy to sum up the latest album by Anthony Gomes with one word, “fun” but it’s so much more. While Electric Field Holler may be a record that doesn’t take itself too seriously it is by no means comedic. Electric Field Holler is a raucous celebration of blues based guitar driven rock. From the “more cowbell” intro of “Turn it up” to the joyful innuendo of “Junk in the Trunk,” Anthony makes no apologies. He is here to rock the house and that’s exactly what he does.
TRACKS: 01. Turn It Up! 02. Back Door Scratchin' 03. Whiskey Train 04. Blueschild 05. Nowhere Is Home 06. Losing Game 07. The Blues Ain't The Blues No More 08. Junk In The Trunk 09. Love Crazy 10. Red Handed Blues 11. Delta Raga 12. Listen To The Universe
CRAIG ERICKSON - Roadhouse Stomp! (1992) & Sky Train Galaxy (2015)
Blues/funk guitarist Craig Erickson learned to play while working in his father's record store in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He formed his first band at 13, and began playing around the area. Erickson signed a contract with Blues Bureau Intl. in the early '90s, releasing Roadhouse Stomp! in 1992 and Retro Blues Express the following year. Though the albums featured John Onder on bass and Atma Anur on drums, Erickson's regular band -- with which he has supported blues legends such as Koko Taylor, Little Ed & the Blues Imperials, Elvin Bishop and Lonnie Brooks -- includes bassist Al Robinson and drummer Kerri Collings. Erickson recorded Two Sides of the Blues for a 1995 release, and followed up with Force Majeure one year later. He appeared on tribute albums to Stevie Ray Vaughan and Albert King (Hats Off to Stevie Ray, Fit for a King), and also co-wrote and played on Blues, the solo album by Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Trapeze).
Excellent new studio disc by this awesome, gifted blues/rock axeslinger from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Featuring 11 tracks of top-shelf, dynamic, soul-powered, blues-based, retro-70s guitar rock mojo of world class proportions. An outstanding guitar rocker that is full of depth, soul and blues power. Craig Erickson is a true, authentic old-school guitar hero who's incredible six string playing skills far surpass and outshine the norm. An accomplished, seasoned, diverse six string veteran of the highest order who speaks volumes with his signature moves on the instrument. Brother Erickson's superb guitar playing talents defy gravity and hit new levels of excellence on the incredible Sky Train Galaxy disc. And, as an added bonus, Craig Erickson digs in deep and pays musical tribute/homage to Tommy Bolin on an awesome version of Gettin' Tighter from the classic Deep Purple Come Taste The Band album.
VAN MORRISON - The Essential (2015)
The music of Van Morrison is returning to CD – and about to make a splash on digital platforms, as well. Rolling Stone broke the news today that Sony Music’s Legacy Recordings has recently acquired the rights to 50 albums, videos and compilations from the venerable Northern Irish troubadour. The vast majority of Morrison’s albums have been out-of-print on CD since the plug was abruptly pulled on a U.K. series of remastered and expanded editions. Legacy’s very welcome campaign kicks off with the release of the 2-CD, 37-song The Essential Van Morrison (check out our entry in the Release Calendar for the full track listing of that anthology!) and will continue with deluxe Legacy Editions of select records as well as a succinct single-disc compilation. The label will release Legacy Editions of 1972’s Saint Dominic’s Preview, 1973’s Hard Nose the Highway, 1974’s It’s Too Late to Stop Now and 1990’s Enlightenment to kick off the series. On the digital front, the following 33 albums will be made available for download and streaming as of this Friday. Note that the list below does not include Morrison’s four solo albums originally released between 1968 and 1971 – Astral Weeks, Moondance, His Band and the Street Choir, and Tupelo Honey. His 2000 duet album You Win Again with Linda Gail Lewis and 2012 Blue Note release Born to Sing – No Plan “B” also appear to be excluded. Morrison’s solo debut, 1967’s Bang Records release Blowin’ Your Mind!, is already under the purview of Sony.
FRANKIE MILLER - The Very Best Of Frankie Miller (1993)
Francis John "Frankie" Miller is a Scottish rock singer-songwriter, who had his biggest success in the 1970s. Miller wrote for and performed with many recording artists and is best known for his album Full House, the single "Darlin' " and his duet with Phil Lynott on the Thin Lizzy song "Still in Love with You." In 1978 Bob Seger remarked that Miller "was a huge influence" on him.
Blue-eyed soul singer Frankie Miller made his name on the English pub rock circuit of the early '70s, and spent around a decade and a half cutting albums of traditional R&B, rock & roll, and country-rock. In addition to his recorded legacy as an avatar of American roots music, his original material was covered by artists from the worlds of rock, blues, and country, from Bob Seger and Bonnie Tyler to Lou Ann Barton and the Bellamy Brothers. And Miller himself scored a surprise U.K. Top Ten smash in 1978 with "Darlin'," giving his likable, soulful style the popular airing many fans felt it deserved all along.
TRACKS: 01. Darlin' 02. When I'm Away From You 03. Be Good To Yourself 04. I Can't Change It 05. Highlife - Brickyard Blues 06. A Fool In Love 07. Have You Seen Me Lately Joan 08. Love Letters 09. Caledonia 10. Stubborn Kind Of Fellow 11. The Devil Gun 12. Hard On The Levee 13. Tears 14. I'm Ready 15. Shoo-Rah Shoo-Rah 16. Double Heart Trouble 17. So Young, So Young 18. The Doodle Song 19. To Dream The Dream
FAT MATTRESS - Fat Mattress (1969) & Fat Mattress II (1970)
Fat Mattress are primarily known as the just-post-Jimi Hendrix Experience band of Noel Redding, putting out a couple of albums in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Jimi Hendrix connection was probably responsible for gaining Fat Mattress much of whatever attention they managed to attract. It might have been a double-edged sword, however, as Fat Mattress' music wasn't at all similar to what Redding had played with Hendrix, being in far lighter folk-rock, psychedelic, and early prog rock styles, and integrating plenty of vocal harmonies. Too, Redding wasn't a dominant figure in the band, though he was an important one; Fat Mattress was a true group effort, with fellow members Neil Landon and Jim Leverton writing about as much of their material as Redding did.
Fat Mattress formed in late 1968 shortly before Redding's ultimate departure from Hendrix's band. Redding had been frustrated to an extent in the Experience, playing bass although he had more experience as a guitarist, and barely being allowed to write anything on their records. Fat Mattress would open up more opportunities for him to both play guitar (and sing), and to record more original material. The rest of the band were, like Redding, from Folkestone in England. Singer Landon had done a stint in the Ivy League, and multi-instrumentalist Leverton had been in the backing band of Engelbert Humperdinck, where he met Fat Mattress' drummer, Eric Dillon.
Fat Mattress came to the attention of the music business quickly, not only via the mere presence of Redding, but also from playing support on an American tour by the Jimi Hendrix Experience (in which Redding would double as the Experience's bassist and Fat Mattress' guitarist). Polydor signed them, and their first album, issued in 1969, was very influenced by American west coast psychedelic and folk-rock bands, as well as British pop-psychedelic bands like Traffic (whose reedsman, Chris Wood, played flute on one of the tracks). At the end of the day, the album wasn't nearly as distinctive as the best acts in those styles, but it did contain some pleasant and accomplished work. It was also modestly successful, making number 134 in the U.S., with one of the songs, "Magic Forest," becoming a big hit in Holland.
Fat Mattress IIFat Mattress ran into problems soon after that, when they returned to America to do their own tour, completing only five of 30 planned dates before going back to England. A second album, the unimaginatively titled Fat Mattress 2, ran over the same ground as their debut did, but with less flair and distinction, remaining derivative and suffering in comparison with other bands using similar approaches. Having failed to graduate to the big leagues, the group broke up soon after that.
THE BONZO DOG DOO DAH BAND - The History Of The Bonzos (1974)
Originally released in 1974, two years after the greatest comedy rock band in history discovered that, contrary to the title of their reunion album, they couldn't make up and be friendly, The History of the Bonzos has long been one of the most fondly remembered compilations of the age. Like the Beatles' red and blue collections, the Rolling Stones' Hot Rocks, and the Who's Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy, albums that so effortlessly absorbed the oeuvre that a discography seems incomplete without them, the two-album History of the Bonzos was conceived, designed, and universally lauded for delivering precisely what it promised, a seamless history and a priceless artifact. Drawn from (but not restricted to) across the Bonzos' years with Liberty, which in turn sums up their entire career bar three odd singles at the beginning, History runs from the psycho-sleaze drama of 'Big Shot' to the compelling inanity of 'Jollity Farm,' from the turbo-charged psychedelia of 'Mr Apollo' to the fey denouement of 'Narcissus,' and onto a selection of post-split singles by Viv Stanshall, Roger Ruskin Spear, and Neil Innes. And it is nigh-on perfect. Obsessions trail like running jokes - a hint of music hall madness, a healthy disrespect for cabaret, a tearful, fearful recollection of school, and a positive hatred of societal stereotypes. The sneering athletics master who torments the odd boy who doesn't like sport, of course, is the same ghastly being that dwells on the far edge of the drainpipe's pink portion - the kind of person who would never have his hair sculpted in the shape of the Queen Elizabeth ocean liner, who would never think of rhyming 'we want our freedom' with 'we dig Bert Weedon.' Like the best of Monty Python, the most obvious of their disciples, the Bonzos were funny not because they made you laugh, but because they could also make you feel very uncomfortable about your fellow man. The original vinyl release cannot be recommended too highly. The Beat Goes On CD reissue, however, is deeply flawed, and that despite retaining the original booklet and liner notes. Almost every track on disc one loses a fragment of its fade-out, while 'Noises From the Leg,' 'Narcissus,' and (on disc two) 'Rhinocratic Oaths' not only appear in the same inadvertently clipped format, they also lose their very punch lines. And, while the Bonzos never relied purely on humor for their impact, it does still help to hear it.
THE ROBERT CRAY BAND - 4 Nights Of 40 Years Live (2015)
In a career that has spanned more than four decades, Robert Cray has played with virtually all the guitar giants: Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker, Chuck Berry, and Keith Richards. And in the process, the Strat-wielding bluesman himself became a giant, as is documented in the video portion of his new release, 4 Nights of 40 Years Live. The double CD and DVD box set features new live recordings and archival footage that celebrates Cray’s storied journey, and we learn how he blended his gospel roots, a love of Hendrix, and a deep appreciation of the Beatles and their songcraft into his own soulful blues-rock fusion. The first CD offers 13 fresh, live tracks that Cray recently recorded during four shows in the L.A. area with his current band of seasoned players: longtime bassist Richard Cousins, keyboardist Dover (who was in Cray's first band), and drummer Les Falconer (O’Jays, Keb ’Mo). Cray’s stinging guitar is in the moment, singular, and timeless. Culled from an impressive catalogue of 20 releases, the song selections include rockers “Bad Influence” and “Right Next Door (Because of Me),” the soul-searing “Love Gone to Waste,” and “These Things”—a bluesy ballad that features one of Cray’s mind-blowing solos on his signature model Fender Strat.
The live CD is the fourth Cray Band release produced by Steve Jordan (John Mayer Trio), who plays drums on several cuts. Other guest musicians include vocalist Kim Wilson, harmonica player Lee Oskar, tenor saxophonist Trevor Lawrence, trumpeter Steve Madaio, and saxophonist Tom Scott. A bonus CD looks back at Cray’s early career and includes a cut from the 1982 San Francisco Blues Festival, as well as several songs (“Smoking Gun” and “Too Many Cooks”) from Cray's ’80s repertoire.
CHER - 3614 Jackson Highway (1969) [Limited Edition, 2001]
3614 Jackson Highway was released in the summer of 1969, was the first and last solo studio album for Atco, and was produced by Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd and Arif Mardin. This disc is certainly Cher's most ambitious project (at least for the '60s) and was designed to bring Cher success after a period of crisis because 1968-1970 wasn't a good period for Sonny & Cher and for Cher as a solo artist. The worldwide pop culture was moving on, but Sonny & Cher stayed in their original image and style. Pop music was transforming into a harder style marked by anti-war songs protesting the war in Vietnam. Cher's and Sonny & Cher's music didn't really fit in. So their records weren't really selling anymore. For months they had a nightclub act, but the audience response was less than positive. If the public response to this album was low, the criticism was ecstatic. Critics judged this as one of Cher's best albums. A surprising element of the disc was the maturing voice of Cher, which showed more strength and versatility than in previous works. Another surprise was the sophisticated instrumentation and arrangements, which gave the disc a Rock) edge, along with Cher's success in interpreting other artists' songs. The title of the album represents the address of Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Sheffield, Alabama, where the disc was recorded. In 1968 and 1969 Cher recorded songs which would have become an album in 1970. For unknown reasons the release was cancelled however five songs were released as singles. The other five tracks remained unreleased until 2001 when Rhino Records released a limited edition (only 4500 copies) of the album 3614 Jackson Highway with all the songs from the canceled album included as bonus tracks. The song "Superstar" is also included which was originally cut from the cancelled album.
TRACKS: 01. For What It's Worth 02. (Just Enough To Keep Me) Hangin' On 03. (Sittin On) The Dock Of The Bay 04. Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You 05. I Threw It All Away 06. I Walk On Guilded Splinters 07. Lay Baby Lay 08. Please Don't Tell Me 09. Cry Like A Baby 10. Do Right Woman, Do Right Man 11. Save The Children 12. Easy To Be Hard 13. I Believe 14. Danny Boy 15. Momma Look Sharp 16. It Gets Me Where I Want To Go 17. You've Made Me So Very Happy 18. Yours Until Tomorrow 19. The Thought Of Loving You 20. The First Time 21. Chastity's Song (Band Of Thieves) 22. Chastity's Song (Band Of Thieves) (Stereo Album Version) 23. Superstar
RUSH - The Rush Remasters [Rush (1974); Fly By Night (1975); Caress Of Steel (1975) & 2112 (1976)]
Rush is a Canadian rock band formed in August 1968 in the Willowdale neighbourhood of Toronto, Ontario. The band is composed of bassist, keyboardist, and lead vocalist Geddy Lee; guitarist and backing vocalist Alex Lifeson; and drummer, percussionist, and lyricist Neil Peart. The band and its membership went through several reconfigurations between 1968 and 1974, achieving its current form when Peart replaced original drummer John Rutsey in July 1974, two weeks before the group's first United States tour. Since the release of the band's self-titled debut album in March 1974, Rush has become known for its musicianship, complex compositions, and eclectic lyrical motifs drawing heavily on science fiction, fantasy, history, and philosophy.
Rush's music style has changed over the years, from a blues-inspired hard rock beginning, later moving into progressive rock, and including a period with heavy use of synthesizers. Its musical style returned to a more guitar-oriented sound in 1989. The band's latest studio album, Clockwork Angels (2012) won the Album Of The Year Award from Progressive Music Awards. The supporting tour ran from September 2012 to August 2013.
According to the RIAA Rush ranks 80th with sales of 25 million units in the United States. Although total worldwide album sales are not calculated by any single entity, several industry sources estimated Rush's total worldwide album sales at over 40 million units as of 2004. The group has been awarded 24 gold, 14 platinum, and 3 multi-platinum albums.
CHRIS REA - The Road To Hell & Back (2006)
Chris Rea was a rock star with the sort of gravel voice that was ideally suited to singing the blues, or was he a blues star who occasionally lent his talent to performing rock. The Road to Hell & Back was his 28th album in total including five different greatest-hits compilations, but was his first live album. Recorded at various venues during his 2006 tour from Warsaw to Moscow and Plymouth, Oxford and Brighton, all the tracks show a tight, together band, the Fireflies led by Chris Rea, not in the best of health but enjoying performing to appreciative, sometimes too polite audiences, who applaud in all the right places (at the end of each song). Amazingly for an artist with such a famous repertoire of songs, he had only ever hit the Top Ten of the singles chart with one song, "The Road to Hell. Pt. 2" and along with its slower precursor, "Pt. 1," is included here along with Chris Rea favorites, "Josephine," "Stainsby Girls," "On the Beach," (on which he broke into some Bob Marley type reggae), "Let's Dance," and his first-ever hit single "Fool If You Think It's Over." Opening the set with a Jools Holland type of boogie-woogie with the track "Jazzy Blue," the band, almost as if in keeping with the politeness of the audiences, play a minimalist set, almost acoustic. "Josephine" takes almost four minutes to warm up, and "Stony Road" chugs slowly along until the guitar breaks in after nearly three minutes, but the tracks are given time to mature and develop. Both "I Can Hear Your Heartbeat" with its Dire Straits type guitar licks, and the two parts of "The Road to Hell" are over ten minutes each and "Stainsby Girls" and "Somewhere Between Highway 61 And 49" are both extended to over eight minutes, the former showing that the band can most definitely rock, and the latter giving the blues a chance to really grind the audience into believing they could really be somewhere in the Mississippi Delta instead of the Moscow Kremlin Palace watching a man from Middlesbrough, a town in the North East of England.
THE DEREK TRUCKS BAND - Live At Georgia Theatre (2004)
Derek Trucks is a world-class slide guitarist, still only 24 at the time of this recording. Most know him as a guitarist with the Allman Brothers Band. But here, with a smoking group of collaborators, he plays an incendiary, soulful, and wildly adventurous set that challenges all the accepted rock paradigms. This is the record to turn the heads of those who haven't gotten hip to Trucks' bottleneck magic. This performance is so inspired, so utterly spellbinding, it transcends the genre classifications it employs to get the music across. This is a musical first to boot: this show marks the first time the quintet recorded together. Kofi Burbridge (B-3, keys, and flute) and vocalist Mike Mattison join Trucks, drummer Yonrico Scott, and bassist Todd Smallie. Master percussionist Count M'Butu from Col. Bruce Hampton & the Aquarium Rescue Unit is also on board for the gig. The band showcases only four tunes from its catalog and all of these come from Joyful Noise, its last album. The rest is a rolling plethora of jazz, funk, soul, Eastern Sufi jams, and blues tunes by Rahsaan Roland Kirk ("Volunteered Slavery"), Wayne Shorter ("Angola"), Lightnin' Hopkins ("Feel So Bad"), Paul Pena ("Gonna Move"), Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan ("Sahib Teri Bandi"), and Curtis Mayfield ("Freddie's Dead"), among others.
GUN - Gun (1968) & Gunsight (1969)
Adrian and Paul Gurvitz might be better known for their travels with Ginger Baker in the Baker Gurvitz Army, but in the late '60s the brothers helmed the heavy rock trio Gun and caught a whiff of success in the U.K. with their debut single "Race with the Devil." Using the less-ethnic surname Curtis, Adrian (guitar) and Paul (bass) teamed up with drummer Louis Farrell and pounded out some distinctive psych-flavored proto-metal. Floating about in the mix along with the guitar pyrotechnics and drum workouts are brass and string sections that aren't always welcome, but "Race with the Devil" uses these potentially square instruments well, adding texture to an otherwise brutal stomp. "Yellow Cab Man" is the highlight of the set, a hard pop number with a buzzing guitar hook and frantic, heavily distorted soloing from Adrian. The obligatory freak-out comes with the finale, the 11-minute "Take Off" which begins with the sound of jet roar, then explodes into feedback, drum solos, backward guitars, and silly psychedelic exhortations to "take a deep breath and try to count to five." Elsewhere are half-baked orchestral interludes and some questionable songwriting chops, but the band is truly firing on all cylinders throughout and their interplay is solid like a fist. When Gun pours it on, the results are visceral and exciting enough to forgive the occasional wrong turn. The album artwork is impressively grotesque for the era, a flaming mass of squirming demons that wouldn't be out of place on a Slayer T-shirt today. There isn't any Satanism invoked in the grooves of Gun, but it's a lost gem for fans of the power trio format.
Following up the U.K. Top Ten success achieved by 1968 smash single "Race with the Devil" was never going to be an easy feat for Gun (when is it easy for any band?), but the sophomore slump experienced by the power trio's second LP, Gunsight, in 1969, still felt almost too predictable. Not unlike its preceding long-player, Gunsight invested in a broad variety of musical styles, easily dismissing any posthumous attempt to confine Gun to a psych-infused, proto-metal box, but as well as lacking that all important mega-hit to quell all troubles, the album's aggressive sonic experimentation arguably crossed the line from "daring" to just plain "unfocused." Not that you can blame them for trying. Lest one forget, even "Race with the Devil"'s hard rock heart had come wrapped in gusts of mariachi horns, and though the same applied to many of its fellow album tracks too (along with string sections, choirs, etc.), those embellishments were largely forsaken this second time around. Instead, Gunsight's still eclectic but more stripped-down songs wandered off into everything from country blues ("Drown Yourself in the River") to blissful California dreamin' ("Hobo") and spaghetti Western-meets-Spanish guitar (the two-part "Lady Link"). Perhaps more telling still, the brothers Gurvitz (Paul, guitar; Adrian, bass) and drummer Louie Farrell occasionally seemed blithely bemused with, or outright disapproving of, the tuned-in, turned-on, dropped-out flower-power generation they purportedly were part of -- as sested, respectively, by the Who/Kinks doppelganger "Long Hair Wildman" and tepid MOR disaster "Angeline" (where the singer speaks for the concerned old man of a missing acid casualty). And what straight-ahead psych rockers the trio did conjure up for Gunsight would, in the short term, fail to stand out amid the increasingly competitive heavy rock landscape (though latter-day cult enthusiasts would appreciate them to no end): not the meandering psychedelics of "Head in the Clouds," not the MC5-like punch of "Dreams and Screams," not the foreboding, presciently punk-themed "Situation Vacant." In sum and any way you sliced it, Gun as a name brand was clearly spent once Gunsight flopped in record stores, so no one can blame the Gurvitz brothers for starting from scratch as Three Man Army in upcoming years.
JOHN KONGOS - Lavender Popcorn 1966 - 1969 (2001)
Perhaps kicked into action due to the inclusion of Scr's "I Wish I Was Five" on Rhino's second Nets box from the year prior, the Castle label issued Lavender Popcorn: 1966-1969, which digs deep into the discography of eccentric psych-pop musician John Kongos. Prior to the period documented here, Kongos had several records under his belt as a South African artist, which were popular there but failed to translate elsewhere. Upon his 1966 relocation to England, he headed the short-lived bands Floribunda Rose (one single) and Scr (three singles) and then went solo. This anthology ties up everything from Floribunda Rose and Scr, while adding some unreleased material. Kongos' first solo album, 1969's Confusions About a Goldfish, is also included in its entirety. Though it doesn't include significant later singles like "Tokoloshe Man" and "He's Gonna Step on You Again," the disc is rather essential for psych-pop completists.
UK compilation for the South African musician/singer/songwriter who also recorded as Scr. Featuring every recording he made for Pye Records between 1966 & 1969, many of then never before reissued & some of them previously unreleased. The set kicks off with a folky debut 45 & a psych-pop rarity by Floribunda Rose before dipping into three singles & hitherto unheard material by Scr. The second half of the album is then devoted to John's first UK album, 'Confusions About A Goldfish' (1969) & the compilation concludes with more findings fresh from the vaults.
TEN YEARS AFTER - The Name Remains The Same (2014)
01. Sugar The Road
02. One Of These Days
03. I'm Coming On
04. Nowhere To Run
05. Me & My Baby
06. Standing At The Station
07. I Say Yeah
08. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
09. Help Me Baby
10. I'm Going Home
11. Choo Choo Mama
12. Love Like A Man / Love Jam Two / Love Like A Man [Bonus Track]
Great live recording from the 2014 Ten Years After line-up, featuring Marcus Bonfanti (guitars / vocals), Chick Churchill (Keyboards), Colin Hodgkinson (bass) & Ric Lee (drums). Recorded at Z7 near Basel, Switzerland in Summer, 2014, the set includes: Love Like a Man (bonus track); I'm Going Home; Sugar the Road, Good Morning Little Schoolgirl & plenty more, including Help Me recorded in Cologne in May 2014. The band are currently on a European tour. A full campaign is underway so expect plenty of reviews, features etc. in the rock & blues press particularly.
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