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Cherry Pop

Title - 'Spirit - Hybrid SACD' [Audio Fidelity]
Artist - Spirit

For those not in the know, even after all these years, Spirit was an American rock band founded in 1967 and based in Los Angeles, California.

Their most commercially successful single in the United States was "I Got a Line on You", but they were also known for their albums; including their self-titled debut album, The Family That Plays Together, Clear, and Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus.

That aforementioned self-titled debut, Spirit is a classic album from an under-appreciated rock band. Their original line-up only lasted four albums, with one full reunion album where they re-recording their classic hits, for the most part, but man did these guys know how to make music.

Now released as a SACD Hybrid Numbered and Limited Edition CD, Spirit's debut album largely consists of original material written by Jay Ferguson along with guitarist Randy California, Bassist Mark Andes and keyboardist John Locke contributed additional material throughout the recording though.

For my money, California was an inspired guitar player and is still sadly missed to this very day. The album only made it to #31 on the charts, mainly because of all the FM radio airplay at the time, but should have gone a lot, lot higher.

Oh, for those not in the new technology know either, a Super Audio CD (SACD) is a read-only optical disc for audio storage, introduced in 1999. It was developed jointly by Sony and Philips Electronics, and intended to be the successor to their Compact disc format. Indeed, this SACD format can offer more channels (ie: surround sound), and a longer playing time than regular CDs.

1. 'Fresh-Garbage'
2. 'Uncle Jack'
3. 'Mechanical World'
4. 'Taurus'
5. 'Girl In Your Eye'
6. 'Straight Arrow'
7. 'Topanga Windows'
8. 'Gramophone Man'
9. 'Water Woman'
10. 'The Great Grand Canyon Fire in General'
11. 'Elijah'

Bonus Tracks:
12. 'Veruska'
13. 'Free Spirit'
14. 'If I Had A Woman'
15. 'Elijah (Alternate Take)'

Regardless of only reaching #31, Spirit's 1968 debut album spent more than six months nestled away on the Billboard Album Charts - and deservedly so. Just listening to a couple of the opening songs and it was very obvious that the band could play more styles than almost any other group.

On the album they unveiled a cornucopia of rock, jazz, blues, folk-rock, and even a bit of classical and Indian music. The music was experimental, that's for darn sure, but it was also a porthole into a late '60s, early '70s prog world that would soon become anything but underground.

The lead vocals of Jay Fergusson, let alone all of their backing vocals, flow as easily as their instrumentals which means that Spirit struck a careful balance between disciplined studio work, jazz improvisation, and, of course, driving rock and roll. Aside from all the aforementioned guys, two other stand outs include both Ed Cassidy's precision drumming and the sumptuous string arrangements from Marty Paich.

Also included here on this SACD remaster by Steve Hoffman are four (4) Bonus Tracks in the form of 'Veruska', 'Free Spirit', 'If I Had A Woman' and 'Elijah (Alternate Take)'.

CD Purchase Link

Title - '25 Years: 1992-2017'
Artist - Jackyl

For those not in the know, Jackyl is an American hard rock band formed in 1991. With a sound described as heavy metal and Southern metal, their eponymous album sold more than a million copies in the United States.

With it came hit singles like "Down on Me" and "When Will it Rain", but the band are also best known for its song "The Lumberjack", which features a chainsaw solo by lead singer Jesse James Dupree.

Well, turn it up, drink it down and fire up your chainsaw because Jackyl celebrates 25 years of ball-busting rock 'n' roll swagger with a brand new, 18-track, career-spanning retrospective entitled 25 Years: 1992-2017.

Including a live recording of "Redneck Punk" and a never-before-released version of Black Oak Arkansas' "Hot and Nasty", this is the album every Jackyl fan has been waiting for.

01. "I Stand Alone"
02. "Down On Me"
03. "When Will It Rain"
04. "The Lumberjack"
05. "Push Comes To Shove"
06. "Secret Of The Bottle"
07. "Dumb Ass Country Boy"
08. "Cut The Crap"
09. "Kill The Sunshine"
10. "My Moonshine Kicks Your Cocaine's Ass"
11. "Just Like A Negro" (featuring DMC)
12. "Screwdriver"
13. "Encore"
14. "Favorite Sin"
15. "Rally"
16. "Just Because I'm Drunk"
17. "Redneck Punk" (live previously unreleased)
18. "Hot And Nasty" (previously unreleased)

The raunchy Southern rock band kick things off here with "I Stand Alone", the guitar fest of "Down On Me", the mid-tempo gear change of "When Will It Rain", and then launch into the Dixieland boogie of "The Lumberjack" and then "Push Comes To Shove."

From then on they never, ever look back and like an uncorked, shaken bottle of bubbly we get hit after hit. The ballad "Secret Of The Bottle" is then followed by a trio of Southern greats in "Dumb Ass Country Boy," "Cut The Crap" and then "Kill The Sunshine."

One of my all-time Jackyl favorites is up next in the form of "My Moonshine Kicks You Cocaine's Ass," and that's backed by "Just Like A Negro" (featuring DMC), the powerhaus tune "Screwdriver," "Rally" and the brilliant storytelling of "Just Because I'm Drunk". The album then rounds out with two previously-unreleased cuts in the drum-tastic "Redneck Punk (Live)" and then a cover of fellow Southern rockers Black Oak Arkansas' "Hot And Nasty."

Having reached their 25 year anniversary, and on tour throughout 2017 and 2018, and with their last album ROWYCO (2016) having sold over 14K, prepare to crank Jackyl's 25 Years: 1992-2017 up to 11 on your stereos!

Jackyl released their 25 Years: 1992-2017 on July 28th, 2017 via Mighty Loud Records as a CD. [Although, in truth, I would love for a vinyl album to be made of this music too! Finger's crossed!]

Jackyl @ Facebook!

'25 Years: 1992-2017' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Life Is Fine'
Artist - Paul Kelly

For those not in the know, Paul Kelly has recorded over 21 studio albums as well as film soundtracks and two live albums, in an influential career spanning more than thirty years.

Inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 1997 and in 2017, he was appointed as an officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the performing arts and to the promotion of the national identity through contributions as a singer, songwriter and musician.

On August 11th, 2017, Paul Kelly will release yet another new album. Entitled Life Is Fine, and with an album cover art that (to my mind) harken's back to the old Stevie Smith poem "Not Waving but Drowning", this is actually Kelly's most normal album of music in recent times.

Given that for the past five years or so a lot of what he's been putting out has been experimental music projects - like an album for funerals, another chock full of Shakespeare sonnets - this is Kelly now at his songwriting, storytelling finest.

1. "Rising Moon"
2. "Finally Something Good"
3. "Firewood And Candles"
4. "My Man's Got A Cold" (featuring Vika Bull)
5. "Rock Out On The Sea"
6. "Leah: The Sequel"
7. "Letter In The Rain"
8. "Josephina"
9. "Don't Explain" (featuring Linda Bull)
10. "I Smell Trouble"
11. "Petrichor"
12. "Life Is Fine"

He kicks things off with the piano ballad "Rising Moon", and then turns the tempo up with "Finally Something Good" and then gets things rockier on one of my own personal favorites here, "Firewood And Candles." Some deep, staggered, probing piano and drum work then allows the brilliant "My Man's Got A Cold" to emerge, and boy, what a stunner of a track it truly is. Sung by Vika Bull, it comes across as an old-school Southern blues gem and showcases Bull's vocal styling just perfectly.

Next up is the mid-tempo hipsway of "Rock Out On The Sea" and that's followed by the slow poke groove of "Leah: The Sequel" and then the storytelling balladry of "Letter In The Rain." The gentle guitar strumming of "Josephina" is next, the guitar rock that backs Linda Bull's vocals on "I Don't Explain" yet bringing forth yet another memorable track on this album.

For 25 years, the glorious voices of sisters Vika and Linda Bull have comprised one of the most distinctive, versatile and emotionally charged sounds on the Australian music landscape. Here now as parts of Paul Kelly's new album, the ladies add weight, gravitas to the songs, to the album, in general. They balance it out so perfectly, and are a vocal joy to behold.

The piano ballad "I Smell Trouble" is next up, and that's backed by the soulful guitar playing on the two songs that then round out this stunning album: "Petrichor" and yet more storytelling within the title track, "Life Is Fine."

Paul Kelly released his Life Is Fine on August 11th, 2017 on Gawd Aggie / Cooking Vinyl via The Orchard as a CD, digital download and vinyl LP.

Paul Kelly @ Facebook

Vika & Linda Bull @ Facebook

'Life Is Fine' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Urban Psalm: Deluxe Edition'
Artist - Icon

iCon was the collaborative band of the late John Wetton and keyboardist Geoff Downes. They released three (3) albums in their time: Wetton Downes (2002), Icon II: Rubicon (2006), and Icon 3 (2009).

Indeed, Wetton and Downes were primarily known as being the songwriting duo behind the Asia catalogue including the mega hit "Heat Of The Moment". Sadly John Wetton passed away this year. Geoff Downes is a current member of Yes.

Urban Psalm has only been available as a DVD on the artists' merchandise store previously, so this is it's first mainstream release.

Now inclusive of the audio as an accompanying additional two CDs, this release is part of a prestigious reissue campaign which will see all of the band's studio and live albums re-released as definitive editions.

CD 1:
1. "Countdown to Zero"
2. "Go"
3. "I've Come to Take You Home"
4. "Twice the Man I Was"
5. "Elstree"
6. "Voice of America"
7. "The Die Is Cast"
8. "To Catch a Thief"
9. "Starless"

CD 2:
1. "Paradox/Let Me Go"
2. "Raven"
3. "True Colours"
4. "Heat of the Moment"
5. "Rubicon"
6. "Don't Go Out Tonight"
7. "My Own Time"
8. "Days Like These"
9. "In the End"
10. "Rock and Roll Dream"

DVD 3:
1. "Countdown to Zero"
2. "Go"
3. "I've Come to Take You Home"
4. "Elstree'
5. "Voice of America"
6. "The Die Is Cast"
7. "To Catch a Thief"
8. "Starless"
9. "Paradox/Let Me Go"
10. "Raven"
11. "True Colours"
12. "Heat of the Moment"
13. "Rubicon"
14. "Days Like These"
15. "In the End"
16. "Rock and Roll Dream"

This side project of both John Wetton and Geoff Downes was something relaxing for the duo. A side step away from the hectic touring around the time of the ASIA reunion shows and albums, the guys came together effortlessly for iCon.

The DVD concert was filmed at the iconic St Mary-le-Bow church in London and features a unique set including iCon songs, heritage tracks and the greatest hits of ASIA.

The show is a lovely record (no pun intended) of the guys performing together. Whether it was for ASIA or as part of iCon, Wetton and Downes came musically together seamlessly. Featuring tracks from two iCon albums and the Asia Astra album that was being toured around that time, the mix of songs is sweetly balanced.

The show is also inclusive of tracks that even dare to delve into Downes' Buggles era along with, of course, Wetton's time spent in King Crimson. The sound is great and with the show being rather intimate re: the venue and the gathered audience, it's one of those shows you were either glad you were at, or wish you had have been. Sadly, I fall into the latter group, as I'm sure most all of us do.

This Urban Psalm recording also features Dave Kilminster (Roger Waters, Keith Emerson) on guitars, Pete Riley (whom John called "the best drummer in the world" and played with Keith Emerson alongside Dave), Panic Room's Anne-Marie Helder on vocals and ELO's Hugh McDowell played cello.

This re-release is fully approved by Geoff Downes and the John Wetton Estate.

'Urban Psalm: Deluxe Edition' 2CD+DVD Purchase Link

Title - 'The Age Of Reason (Deluxe Edtition)'
Artist - Bronski Beat

For those not in the know, Bronski Beat were a popular British synthpop trio who achieved success in the mid-1980s, particularly with the 1984 chart hit "Smalltown Boy".

All members of the group were openly gay and their songs reflected this, often containing political commentary on gay-related issues.

The initial line-up, which recorded the majority of the band's hits, consisted of Jimmy Somerville (vocals), Steve Bronski (keyboards, percussion) and the late Larry Steinbachek (keyboards, percussion).

Somerville left Bronski Beat in 1985, and went on to have success as lead singer of The Communards and as a solo artist. He was replaced by new vocalist John Foster, with whom the band continued to have hits in the UK and Europe through 1986. Interestingly enough, Steve Bronski, the only original member, now leads a revived touring version of the band, and has now teamed up with singer Stephen Granville and programmer Ian Donaldson to create an updated line-up of this classic, much-loved sythn-pop band.

Their new album, The Age Of Reason - which comes seven months after original keyboardist Larry Steinbachek died - is their first in 22 years and features a 25-track 2CD edition that boasts over two hours of all new music from today’s version of the once-beloved Bronski Beat.

Disc: 1:
1. "Why"
2. "No More War/It Ain't Necessarily So"
3. "Screaming"
4. "Love & Money"
5. "Smalltown Boy"
6. "Heatwave"
7. "Junk"
8. "Hard Rain"
9. "Run from Love"
10. "A Flower for Dandara"

Disc: 2:
1. "Stars" (Radio Edit)
2. "Stars (Extended)
3. "Stars" (Sordid Soundz Remix)
4. "Stars" (Qubic Cosmic Energy Mix)
5. "Stars" (S.S. Darkstar Mix)
6. "I'll Be Gone"
7. "I'll Be Gone" (Dub and Dusted)
8. "I'll Be Gone" (Stompin' Stiletto Mix)
9. "I'll Be Gone" (S.S. Down & Out Mix)
10. "A Flower for Dandara" (Radio Edit)
11. "A Flower for Dandara" (Sordid Soundz Edit)>br> 12. "A Flower for Dandara" (Extended)
13. "A Flower for Dandara" (Sordid Soundz Extended)

The Age Of Reason is a GREAT album, let me just get that out there right away! Growing up in the UK, I loved the synth pop fun of Bronski Beat and what followed with The Communards, and so to hear that this trio have not only paid sincere homage to to the origins of the band, but at the same time creatively reinvented their landmark debut album ‘The Age Of Consent’ blows my mind.

The album kicks off in fine style (albeit without Somerville's original vocals, please do let that sink in here) with the infectious Hi-NRG of "Why" and backs that up seamlessly with both "No More More War/It Ain't Necessarily So" (which were separate tracks on the original album) and then the always-brilliant to hear "Screaming".

The slow roll soul of "Love & Money" is up next and is followed by their massive smash worldwide hit "Smalltown Boy," before the sultry, smoldering "Heatwave," the dancefloor vibe of "Junk," and then "Need a Man Blues" are lovingly upon us.

Newly additional tracks from the original release are up next in the form of the mid-tempo NRG of "Close to the Edge" and that's backed by the seemingly-muffled sounds of "Hard Rain," and then a track that sounds like it's being played on the wrong (slow) speed, "Run from Love."

The first side then rounds out with another new track, "A Flower for Dandara," a heartbreaking tribute in song to the recently murdered Brazilian transexual Dandara dos Santos. Sung by Rose McDowall, singer with cult ’80s favorites Strawberry Switchblade, the track is heartbreaking when the lyrics are fully explored.

Released in 1984, in reflection, being that 'The Age of Consent' was criminally the only album released by the band to feature the vocal strains of Somerville, I could have sworn that this album had spent the whole '80s in my head.

As for the second CD of goodies, well, there may well be 13 tracks, but there are only three actual tracks to behold amongst them. Showcasing the template for the future direction of this latest Bronski Beat incarnation, they are all new songs and come complete with a generous offering of celebratory dance mixes, of course.

The first of these new tracks is a cover of Sylvester's so-termed queercore disco classic, "Stars" (written by the scene legend Patrick Cowley). Now complete with a refreshing electro-soul makeover, next up is another brand new song, "I’ll Be Gone" that celebrates, with Bronski Beat’s trademark searing vocals, the euphoric self-realization gained in ditching a less than perfect love affair.

Finally, and showcasing quite palpable evidence that Bronski Beat have lost none of their social campaigning and gay activist zeal, the aforementioned "A Flower for Dandara" gets a multitude of mixes to listen intently to.

'The Age Of Reason: Deluxe Edition' 2CD Purchase Link

Title - ‘Best: 1983-2017’ (3CD)
Artist - Howard Jones

For those not in the know, Howard Jones is an English musician, singer, and songwriter. He had ten top 40 hit singles in the UK between 1983 and 1986, including six which reached the top ten, and his 1984 album Human's Lib went to number one.

Around the world, he had 15 top 40 hit singles between 1983 and 1992 and he has been described by AllMusic editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine as "one of the defining figures of mid-'80s synth pop.".

Having also performed at Live Aid in 1985, Jones is out on the road once again as part of the brand new Retro Futura Tour 2017 - along with Paul Young, Katrina of The Waves, Men Without Hats, The English Beat, and Modern English - and has released to coincide with the tour a quite BRILLIANT new 3CD album, simply entitled Best: 1983-2017.

Disc: 1:
1. “Things Can Only Get Better”
2. “No One Is to Blame”
3. “What Is Love?”
4. “New Song”
5. “Like to Get to Know You Well”
6. “Pearl in the Shell”
7. “Hide & Seek”
8. “Everlasting Love”
9. “Look Mama”
10. “Life in One Day”
11. “Specialty”
12. “All I Want”
13. “You Know I Love You … Don’t You?”
14. “Little Bit of Snow”
15. “The Prisoner”
16. “Will You Still Be There?”

Disc: 2:
1. “Lift Me Up”
2. “City Song”
3. “One Last Try”
4. “Cookin’ in the Kitchen”
5. “Nothing to Fear”
6. “You’re the Buddha”
7. “If You Love”
8. “Let the People Have Their Say”
9. “Just Look at You Now”
10. “Revolution of the Heart”
11. “The Presence of Other”
12. “Someone You Need”
13. “Soon You’ll Go”
14. “Ordinary Heroes”
15. “Joy”
16. “The Human Touch”
17. “Eagle Will Fly Again”

Disc: 3:
1. "Back in Your Life” (Acoustic Live)
2. “Building Our Own Future” (Acoustic Live)
3. “City Song” (Acoustic Live)
4. “No One Is to Blame” (Acoustic Live)
5. “Everlasting Love” (Acoustic Live)
6. “Just Look at You Now” (Electric Live)
7. “Don’t Wanna Fight Anymore” (Electric Live)
8. “Like to Get to Know You Well” / “Cookin’ in the Kitchen” (Mash Up Live)
9. “You’re the Buddha” (The Robbie Bronnimann Mix)

Compiled and annotated by Howard Jones himself, Best: 1983-2017 is the very first retrospective to properly span Howard’s entire recording career, with all his major hits and key tracks across the decades.

Inevitably, the first disc of 16 tracks contains his well-known hits. This retrospective being as indepth as it gets for Jones, there could be no other way to present the first of the three discs, in truth.

The second disc contains 17 tracks that may not have all been hits, as much as the UK charts can attest to, but for those devoted fans (much like myself) who have followed him since day one, all the tracks will be more then well known to you all, trust me. Inclusive of some tracks from albums you could only ever order at his live shows or direct from his website, they are true little gems, one and all.

Housed in a deluxe Digipak, the package also boasts an exclusive bonus third disc, which was only previously available as a DVD with the interactive book edition of Engage - and now even adds an exclusive remix!

Containing eight tracks, inclusive of five (5) of his hits performed as Acoustic Live cuts here, two (2) as Electric Live, a "Like To Get To Know You Well/Cookin' In The Kitchen" (Mash Up Live), and then the aforementioned exclusive remix "You're The Buddha" (The Robbie Bronnimann Mix), this entire 42-track 3CD retrospective collection is pure Heaven on a stick, my friends. Heaven on a stick!

'Best: 1977-2017' 3CD Purchase Link

Howard Jones @ Twitter

Title - 'Play It Again, Sam - The Fox Box' [2CD+2DVD]
Artist - Samantha Fox

For those not in the know, Samantha Fox is an English dance-pop singer, actress, and former glamour model. In 1983, at the age of 16, she began her topless modelling career on Page Three of The Sun, and went on to become a popular pin-up girl.

And then, riding the wave of some serious media attention, in 1986, she launched her pop music career with her debut single 'Touch Me (I Want Your Body)', which instantly became a #1 hit in 17 countries.

She has since sold over 30 million albums worldwide, released seven original albums, has also appeared in a number of films, worked as a TV presenter, and has even appeared on reality TV shows!

Having digitally remastered and expanded into two CD deluxe editions her debut four albums, now we get a massive retrospective of her musical and visual gems in the (and as a BIG fan since day one I can say this) stunningly delicious shape of Play It Again, Sam: The Fox Box.

Play It Again, Sam: The Fox Box is the long-awaited, first-ever definitive retrospective of Samantha Fox’s musical career to date. This lavish 2CD + 2DVD box set is replete with a fold-out double-sided poster, a set of button badges and a picture-packed 32-page booklet.

As you could well now expect, this is an essential package for Sam’s army of Foxy fans and all self-respecting aficionados of '80s pop culture.

Disc: 1:
1. 'Touch Me (I Want Your Body)'
2. 'Do Ya Do Ya (Wanna Please Me)'
3. 'Hold on Tight' (Radio Mix)
4. 'I'm All You Need' (Single Re-Mix)
5. 'Nothing's Gonna Stop Me Now'
6. 'I Surrender (To The Spirit of The Night)' (7" Mix)
7. 'I Promise You (Get Ready)'
8. 'True Devotion' (New Mix)
9. 'Naughty Girls (Need Love Too)' (Single Edit)
10. 'Love House' (7" Edit)
11. 'I Only Wanna Be with You'
12. 'I Wanna Have Some Fun' (7" Edit)
13. ('Hurt Me! Hurt Me!) But The Pants Stay On' (Radio Edit - Sam Talks)
14. 'Another Woman' (Harding/Curnow 7" Version)
15. 'Go for the Heart' (with Sox)
16. 'Let Me Be Free'
17. 'The Reason Is You' (Radio Edit)
18. 'Santa Maria' (with DJ Milano)
19. 'Angel with An Attitude'
20. 'Call Me' (with Sabrina)
21. 'You've Got Me Believing in Make Believe' (Bonus Track)

Disc: 2:
1. 'I Should Have Known Better'
2. 'Confession'
3. 'Lovin' Don't Grow on Trees' (Alternative Mix)
4. 'All I Wanna Do ...' (with Full Force)
5. 'Love to Love You Baby' (Hip Hop Mix)
6. 'Even in the Darkest Hours' (7" Edit)
7. 'Love House' (7" Remix)
8. 'I Only Wanna Be with You' (Special Single Edit)
9. 'Too Late to Say Goodbye' (Original 12" Mix)
10. 'The Winner Takes It All'
11. 'La Isla Bonita'
12. 'A Question of Honour'
13. 'Midnight Lover'
14. 'I Give Myself to You' (Pete Hammond Remix)
15. 'Touch Me 2016' (Radio Edit)
16. 'It's You' (Nick Harvey Club Mix)
17. 'Gimme Shelter' (with Hawkwind)
18. 'The Best Is Yet to Come' (7"Mix)

Disc: 3: The Videos (DVD)
1. 'Touch Me (I Want Your Body)'
2. 'Do Ya Do Ya (Wanna Please Me)'
3. 'Hold on Tight'
4. 'Nothing's Gonna Stop Me Now'
5. 'I Surrender (To The Spirit of the Night)'
6. 'I Promise You (Get Ready)'
7. 'True Devotion'
8. 'Naughty Girls (Need Love Too)'
9. 'Love House'
10. 'I Only Wanna Be with You'
11. 'I Wanna Have Some Fun'
12. '(Hurt Me! Hurt Me!) But The Pants Stay On'
13. 'Another Woman'
14. 'Just One Night'
15. 'Go for the Heart' (with Sox)
16. 'Let Me Be Free'
17. 'The Reason Is You'
18. 'Santa Maria' (with DJ Milano)
19. 'Angel with An Attitude'
20. 'Call Me' (with Sabrina)

Disc: 4: Bonus Footage (DVD)
1. 'Rockin' with My Radio'
2. 'I Surrender (To the Spirit of the Night)' (Unedited Version)
3. 'Naughty Girls (Need Love Too)' (Club Version)
4. 'Love House' (Dance Mix)
5. 'I Only Wanna Be With You' (Alternative Version)
6. 'All I Wanna Do ...' (with Full Force)
7. 'Touch Me' (with Günther)
8. 'Rockin' with My Radio' (Behind the Scenes)
9. 1987 Interview
10. 1989 Interview
11. 1991 Interview
12. 'Call Me' (with Sabrina - Behind the Scenes)

This definitive retrospective of one of the UK's most revered, beloved women, Samantha Fox, not only contains every single released during her phenomenally successful Jive Records tenure for the very first time ever, but comes very up to date with the release of both 'Call Me' with '80s icon Sabrina and Fox's very own 'Touch Me' (2016) remix.

That's right, the first two discs take us from the phenomenal smash hit era of the 1986 mega hit 'Touch Me,' on through to the Stock Aitken Waterman favorite 'Nothing's Gonna Stop Me Now,' the Full Force classic 'Naughty Girls', and up to her newest release (the aforementioned 'Touch Me' 2016 remix 12" vinyl).

Proving to be able to put out a succession of global hits which made Fox the only British female to score a hat-trick of Top 10s on both sides of the Atlantic during the '80s, this selection also includes her European dancefloor smashes such as 'Santa Maria' and that aforementioned irresistible cover of Blondie's 'Call Me' with fellow '80s icon Sabrina.

An exclusive, previously unheard bonus track, 'You've Got Me Believing In Make Believe', direct from Sam's personal archive, rounds out the collection on the first disc rather nicely too.

The second disc features many sought-after and previously unavailable rarities from throughout Fox's career. With B-sides, remixes, that aforementioned updated take on 'Touch Me' (2016) and another exclusive track, 'It's You', there is plenty to discover for all her fans and newcomers alike.

The first DVD gathers together Fox's iconic original videos and boy, are there some memorable '80s flashback's right there, my friends! Wow! I mean ... WOW! Just work your way through videos for the hits such as 'Touch Me,' 'Hold on Tight,' 'I'm All You Need' (that not came as a 7" vinyl gate-fold sleeve that housed the second part of a calendar poster, July-December 1987 - I know that, because I have it and can still see it in my mind - but was also a Christmas release -- as the 12" vinyl, Numbered Picture Disc came with a spring of holly under the now printed in green and red name and song title!), and the euphoric 'Nothing's Gonna Stop Me Now,' and you'll come out the other side a changed man (or woman, of course!)

The second DVD features additional rare footage, including the seldom-seen early video 'Rockin' With My Radio', extended and alternative takes, three early interviews from her career, and behind-the-scenes footage of her and Sabrina recording Blondie's 'Call Me.'

In closing, and as I said about the recently released 3CD retrospective from Howard Jones, this entire Play It Again, Sam - The Fox Box 2CD+2DVD retrospective collection is pure Heaven on a stick, my friends. Heaven on a damn stick!

'Play It Again, Sam - The Fox Box' 2CD+2DVD Purchase Link

Samantha Fox @ Twitter

Title - 'Two Faces Of Fame: The Complete 1967 Recordings'
Artist - Georgie Fame

For those not in the know, Georgie Fame (actually born Clive Powell) is an English rhythm and blues and jazz singer and keyboard player.

Fame, who had a string of 1960s hits, is still a popular performer, often working with contemporaries such as Van Morrison and Bill Wyman.

Indeed, Fame is the only British pop star to have achieved three number one hits with his only Top 10 chart entries: "Yeh, Yeh" in 1964, "Get Away" in 1966 and "The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde" in 1967.

Now, via Cherry Red Records (UK) Georgie Fame's debut album for CBS back in 1967 has been remastered and expanded into a delightful double-disc edition. Now entitled The Two Faces Of Fame: The Complete 1967 Recordings, this brand new edition all the original songs along with bonus tracks, all via mono and stereo mixes.

Disc: 1: (Stereo)
1. "Green Back Dollar Bill"
2. "Things Ain't What They Used To Be"
3. "River's Invitation"
4. "Bluesology"
5. "Don't Try"
6. "Keep Your Big Mouth Shut"
7. "You're Driving Me Crazy"
8. "C'est la Vie"
9. "El Pussy Cat"
10. "It Could Happen To You"
11. 'Do It The Hard Way"

Bonus Tracks:
12. "Because I Love You"
13. "Bidin' My Time ('Cos I Love You)"
14. "Knock On Wood"
15. "All I'm Asking"
16. "Didn't Want To Have To Do It"
17. "Close The Door"
18. "(I'm A) Road Runner"
19. "Try My World"
20. "No Thanks"
21. "Celebration" (International Pop Song Festival Entry)
22. "The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde"
23. "Beware of The Dog"
24. "Nel Tuo Mondo" ('Try My World' - Italian Version)

Disc: 2: (Mono)
1. "Green Back Dollar Bill"
2. "Things Ain't What They Used To Be"
3. "River's Invitation"
4. "Bluesology"
5. "Don't Try"
6. "Keep Your Big Mouth Shut"
7. "You're Driving Me Crazy"
8. "C'est la Vie"
9. "El Pussy Cat"
10. "It Could Happen To You"
11. 'Do It The Hard Way"

Bonus Tracks:
12. "A Waiting Time"
13. "Jumping The Gun" *
14. "Bluesology"
15. "Nicoise" (working title of 'Try My World', Take 2)
16. "Respoken" (Take 10)
17. "Conquistador" (Take 8)
18. "Tell It Like It is" (Take 5)
19. "Waltz" (Take 3)
20. "Fool's Paradise" (Take 10)
21. "Tirare La Chinghia ('No Thanks' - Italian Version)
22. "A Ballata Di Bonnie E Clyde" ('The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde" - Italian Version)

* previously unissued

The first disc of this great debut album - that's split between live recordings from a show at London’s Royal Festival Hall and studio sessions - begins in stereo with the horn-sharp, finger-snappin' "Green Back Dollar Back", then moves seamlessly into the slow poke Hammond organ-backed "Things Ain't What They Used to Be", the upbeat funk of "River's Invitation", and then both the trippin' piano and do-wop vocals of "Bluesology" and the ballad "Don't Try."

The zoot-suit riot of "Don't Your Big Mouth Shut" is then backed by the drumtastic "You're Driving Me Crazy", the sultry "C'est la Vie," the '60s swing of "El Pussycat," and then the original album rounds out with the blues ballad "It Could Happen To You" and "Do It the Hard Way."

With the second disc containing all those very same aforementioned tracks, just now in mono, also included - and spread nicely over both discs - are all of Georgie’s A’s and B’s from that year. Plus there are tracks from his stand-alone eponymous EP, various Italian language variants, a Brazilian-only International Pop Song Festival entrant (‘Celebration’) and a host of previously unissued tracks representing all of his recorded output from 1967 available at this time.

The Digipak package also boasts exhaustive sleeve-notes and a host of photos and rare images, offering a long-overdue reappraisal of Georgie Fame’s first year at CBS Records, capturing a star at the pinnacle of his success.

'Two Faces Of Fame: The Complete 1967 Recordings' 2CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Space Dubs'
Artist - Spacewave

For those not in the know, Spacewave is the primary music vehicle of long-time engineer, producer, and artist John Palmer.

As a multi-media artist, John Palmer has produced a broad range of work over the past fifty years, working primarily in photography, painting, and music.

Palmer received his fine arts education and training at the Corcoran School of Art and under Jack Perlmutter at the predecessor of what is now University of the District of Columbia, in Washington, D.C.

He has had exhibitions at the Dickey Gallery (Washington, D.C.) and Andro-Media Galleries (Ann Arbor, Michigan). Palmer's nature photography has focused on the interplay between sunlight and water, and his digital cinema work has focused on music videos and music documentaries.

His paintings have ranged from the hard-edged op-art of the late 1960's to his floated color and air-brush atmospheres of the 1980's and 1990's.

Palmer is largely self-taught in music, playing electric bass and keyboards after early clarinet training. Recording music groups since high school, he founded Andro-Media in 1972 to expand his audio and video production work.

He has performed his musical compositions in the groups FMO, Metakone 53, Metakone 74, Soft Boulder, Oasis, Sparks, and Stormy in the Ann Arbor area, and most recently in a studio collaboration with Dub Reggae legend Lee "Scratch" Perry.

His post-modern electronic music style reflects jazz, r&b, rock, new age, and world music influences which all come together perfectly on this brand new album from Palmer aka Spacewave, Space Dubs.

1. 'Psycho Dread Dub'
2. 'Strip Off Dub'
3. 'House of Sin Dub'
4. 'Isabel Dub'
5. 'Jungle Tongue Dub'
6. 'No Evil Dub'
7. 'No Sorrow Dub'
8. 'Too Much Is Too Much Dub'
9. 'On Nigeria Dub'
10. 'Therapist Dub'

This quite stunning 10-track instrumental dub album from Spacewave combines all his favorite genres of music to work within - ska, reggae, dub, dubstep, acid jazz, and electronic - and brings together a collection of tracks that will, once heard, stay with you for a very long time.

Indeed, as Palmer himself has revealed about the making of these dub tracks, "While I play a bit of electric bass and synthesizer, I used a lot of sample and loop libraries to add different sounds and snippets, slicing and dicing, changing the feel and the key where needed."

"I left enough of some familiar riffs there to pull the ear in. They are generally dense mixes, so more than once I had to pare back to keep things from turning into mush."

Also, it should be known that with few modifications, these riddims were used by reggae dub legend Lee "Scratch" Perry for his album Must Be Free.

Spacewave released his Space Dubs on August 4th, 2017 on MegaWave Music as a CD and digital download.

'Space Dubs' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'NOW That's What I Call Tailgate Anthems'
Artist - Various

As expected as both snow and sun (well, at least here in Michigan) on a yearly basis, the world's best-selling, multi-artist series NOW That's What I Call Music! is back with yet another subtitled musical effort of jams.

Although, if truth be told, the idea was stolen / borrowed from the UK, as they are on about their 100th version of the series that is numbered with each release, these specialty versions of the Now universes do bring together en masse of great tunes, that's for sure.

The latest and greatest is 'NOW That's What I Call Tailgate Anthems', a single disc of some of music's oldest and newest, pop, rock, country and rap artists who have all managed to write/record songs that have done, or will still in our heads for years to come.

1. 'We Will Rock You' - Queen
2. 'Livin' on a Prayer' - Bon Jovi
3. 'Don't Stop Believin' - Journey
4. 'Rock and Roll All Nite' - Kiss
5. 'Eye of the Tiger' - Survivor
6. 'The Final Countdown' - Europe
7. 'Jump Around' - House of Pain
8. 'Turn Down for What' - DJ Snake & Lil Jon
9. 'My House' - Flo Rida
10. 'Black and Yellow' - Wiz Khalifa
11. 'I Gotta Feeling' - The Black Eyed Peas
12. 'Don't Stop the Party' - Pitbull feat. TJR
13. 'Let's Go' - Calvin Harris feat. Ne-Yo
14. 'Yeah!' - Usher feat. Lil' Jon & Ludacris
15. 'Get the Party Started' - P!nk
16. 'House Party' - Sam Hunt
17. 'Country Girl (Shake It For Me)' - Luke Bryan
18. 'My Kinda Party' - Jason Aldean

We kick-off with the BRILLIANT 'We Will Rock You' from Queen and that gets backed by a quintet of rockin' greatness in Bon Jovi's 'Livin' On A Prayer,' Journey's epic 'Don't Stop Believin', KISS's live version of 'Rock & Roll All Nite,' and then two massive musical beasts in both Survivor's 'Eye Of The Tiger' and then Europe's addictive sing-along hit 'Final Countdown.'

The tone changes direction next with the humpty-hump of House of Pain's 'Jump Around,' which is followed seamlessly by DJ Snake & Lil Jon's 'Turn Down For What,' Flo Rida's 'My House', 'Black And Yellow' by Wiz Khalifa, and then two massive worldwide dancefloor smashes in 'I Gotta Feeling' (Black Eyed Peas), and then 'Don't Stop The Party' from Pitbull feat. TJR.

With both Calvin Harris feat. Ne-Yo on 'Let's Go' and Usher feat. Lil Jon & Ludacris on the pulsatingly perfect 'Yeah!', P!nk rounds out that certain R&B vibe with 'Get The Party Started, before the boys from country round the whole party CD out. First up is Sam Hunt with 'House Party,' which is backed by Luke Bryan's 'Country girl (Shake It For Me), with the album coming to a close with Jason Aldean's 'My Kinda Party.'

Title - 'NOW That's What I Call Music! 63'
Artist - Various

As expected as both snow and sun (well, at least here in Michigan) on a yearly basis, the world's best-selling, multi-artist series NOW That's What I Call Music! is back with its 63rd edition. Although, if truth be told, the idea was stolen / borrowed from the UK, as they are on about their 100th version of the series, it just means they are now older than the US, that's all! [Which, in general, we all already knew!]

All that malarkey aside, 'NOW That's What I Call Music! 63' is yet another jam-packed 16 track party animal, including chart dance floor and ballad hits from THE biggest stars to hit our radios most recently.

That and the fact that, as seems to be their own growing custom, Sony Music Entertainment have included as an added bonus six (6) new tracks from what they claim to be "What's Next" in the search for nubile musical successors!

1. 'I'm the One' - DJ Khaled feat. Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper & Lil Wayne
2. 'Stay' - Zedd & Alessia Cara
3. 'Something Just Like This' - The Chainsmokers & Coldplay
4. 'Say You Won't Let Go' - James Arthur
5. 'Castle on the Hill' - Ed Sheeran
6. 'Believer' - Imagine Dragons
7. 'Slow Hands' - Niall Horan
8. 'Bad Liar' - Selena Gomez
9. 'Swish Swish' - Katy Perry feat. Nicki Minaj
10. 'Crying in the Club' - Camila Cabello
11. 'Slide' - Calvin Harris feat. Frank Ocean & Migos
12. 'Swalla' - Jason Derulo feat. Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign
13. 'HUMBLE.' - Kendrick Lamar
14. 'Congratulations' - Post Malone feat. Quavo
15. 'Heavy' - Linkin Park feat. Kiiara
16. 'Malibu' - Miley Cyrus
17. 'Wander In Lust' - The Foxies
18. 'Keep My Head Afloat' - Jeremy Zucker
19. 'Straightjacket' - Quinn XCII
20. 'Hold On' - Chord Overstreet
21. 'Can You Touch' - Elley Duhé
22. 'Hit Parade' - Mutemath

We kick-off with the addictive beats of 'I'm the One' from DJ Khaled feat. Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper & Lil Wayne, and keep that groove alive with 'Stay' from Zedd & Alessia Cara. Hitting the soaring pop vein next with 'Something Just Like This' from The Chainsmokers & Coldplay, next up the tone is lowered for the more sedate approach to music from artists such as James Arthur ('Say You Won't Let Go'), and the annoying infectious 'Castle on the Hill from Ed Sheeran.

We pick the pop vibe back up again with 'Believer' from Imagine Dragons, before the solo effort from former 1D's Niall Horan is upon us, 'Slow Hands.' The dancefloor vibe of 'Bad Liar' from Selena Gomez is next and that's backed by the fun (and the best track on her new album, for my money) 'Swish Swish' from Katy Perry feat. Nicki Minaj, 'Crying in the Club' by Camila Cabello, and both 'Slide' (Calvin Harris feat. Frank Ocean & Migos), and the brilliant 'Swalla' from Jason Derulo feat. Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign).

Kendrick Lamar's poignant ode 'HUMBLE.' is next, 'Congratulations' by Post Malone feat. Quavo follows it, and then comes the always-solid Linkin Park with the mesmerizing new track 'Heavy.' Featuring Kiiara, that song is so much more meaningful now, given the recent passing of lead singer Chester Bennington. The new and 3.0 updated version of Miley Cyrus is back with the sugary sweet (and way too sugary for my tastes) 'Malibu', which itself rounds out the known hit makers of this album.

Up next we get those aforementioned "What's Next" artists and their songs, which begins with 'Wander In Lust' (The Foxies), 'Keep My Head Afloat' (Jeremy Zucker), 'Straightjacket' from Quinn XCII, and then Chord Overstreet's really quite great 'Hold On.' The entire collection then rounds out with both 'Can You Touch' from Elley Duhé, and Mutemath's 'Hit Parade.'

Title - Music from the HBO Limited Series Big Little Lies
Artist - Various

This is the brilliant Soundtrack to the critically acclaimed and Emmy nominated HBO series 'Big Little Lies' by director Jean-Marc Vallée starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern and Alexander Skarsgård.

Based on the same-titled best-seller by Liane Moriarty, 'Big Little Lies' weaves a darkly comedic tale of murder and mischief in the tranquil beachfront town of Monterey, California.

Amidst doting moms, successful husbands, beautiful children, and stunning homes exists a community fueled by rumors and divided into haves and have-not's, exposing fractured relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children, and friends and neighbors.

Indeed, just prior to the finale of the David-E.-Kelley-penned, seven-episode-long original series, HBO made their distinctive soundtrack available for purchase and download on March 31st, 2017.

Now out as a special, and beautiful 2LP vinyl record, it consists primarily of neo-soul and R&B-informed singer/songwriters, both old-school veterans (Irma Thomas) and relative newcomers (Villagers).

Also containing a track by cast member and musician-in-her-own-right Zoë Kravitz ("Don't"), this double vinyl LP version also includes two tracks not included on the CD or digital versions - "Treat Me Nice" by director Jean-Marc Vallee and It's Now Or Never" (Instrumental) by Jean-Phi, aka Jean-Philippe Goncalves; who also produced and arranged both tracks.

Side A:
1. Michael Kiwanuka: “Cold Little Heart”
2. Charles Bradley: “Victim of Love”
3. Martha Wainwright: “Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole”

Side B:
4. Leon Bridges: “River”
5. Kinny: “Queen of Boredness” [ft. Diesler]
6. Agnes Obel: “September Song”
7. Alabama Shakes: “This Feeling”

Side C:
8. Charles Bradley: “Changes”
9. Irma Thomas: “Straight From the Heart”
10. Villagers: “Nothing Arrived” (Live From Spotify London)
11. Zoë Kravitz: “Don’t”
12. Villagers: “The Wonder of You”

Side D:
13. Daniel Agee: “How’s the World Treating You”
14. Jimmy Valley: "Treat Me Nice"
15. Jean-Phi Goncalves: "It's Now Or Never"
16. Ituana: “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”

We begin with English soul musician Micheal Kiwanuka's dulcet, haunting piano work on 'Cold Little Heart', before moving seamlessly into the acoustic guitar work, and throaty soul of Charles Bradley's “Victim of Love”, American-Canadian singer-songwriter Martha Wainwright's forthright “Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole”, and then the always-great Leon Bridges with "River.”

The pop bounce flow of Kinny's “Queen of Boredness” [ft. Diesler] is one of my own personal favorites here. Reminiscent of early Macy Gray, that's followed by the stunning piano work of Agnes Obel on the boyant, hopeful "September Song.” American blues rock band Alabama Shakes are next up with their lo-fi "This Feeling” which is backed by American funk/soul/R&B singer Charles Bradley's Motown heartbreak flashback on “Changes.”

The old school vibe is continued on “Straight From the Heart”, a divine sixties harken back tune from Irma Thomas, a woman known affectionately as the "Soul Queen of New Orleans." The Villagers “Nothing Arrived” (Live From Spotify London) is a pure delight to behold also, and that's followed by Lenny Kravitz's daughter Zoe on her stoic cut "Don’t.”

Elvis Presley gets a look in here also via Conor O’Brien, the lead singer of the aforementioned Villagers. Although listed as being a straight out Villagers track here, his solo vocals bring us a quite stirring version of "The Wonder of You” and is yet another stand out highlight here. That's backed wonderfully by Daniel Agee doing his best Roy Orbison/Chris Isaak impression on "How’s the World Treating You” ("I've had nothing but sorrow. Since you said we were through. There's no hope for tomorrow. How's the world treating you?").

Those two aforementioned vinyl LP bonus tracks are up next, with "Treat Me Nice" by Jimmy Valley (aka Jean-Marc Vallee) the first, Jean-Phi Goncalves' "It's Now Or Never" (Instrumental) following it. Then, as it was with the CD and digital releases, this double vinyl album finishes with a real treat in the form of enigmatic band Ituana's version of The Stones' "You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” Wow, what a delicious, breathy cut and what a sensational way to round out an album.

In closing, this delightful, beautiful two-vinyl 'Music from the HBO Limited Series Big Little Lies' LP set is, for my money, as good as it gets when it comes to matching musicians with an emotional roller coaster of a TV show such as this one.

Title - 'In Transit: Original Broadway Cast Recording'
Artist - Various

Titled as "Broadway’s first a cappella musical", 'In Transit' is a very funny and poignant new Broadway musical that follows the intertwined lives of 11 New Yorkers faced with the challenges of city life.

With a groundbreaking Score by a team including the creators of 'Pitch Perfect', 'In Transit' takes you on a journey with people hoping to catch the express train to their dreams including the stops they make along the way.

The musical, which previously played Primary Stages in 2010, follows a group of 11 New Yorkers as they navigate the streets (and tunnels) of the city. The small ensemble takes on several roles, including an aspiring actress, a Wall Street honcho, a street performer, a cab driver and more.

Modern yet timeless, 'In Transit' is a story about all of us, set to music that will stay with you long after the ride is over.

With a book, music and lyrics by Academy Award® winner Kristen Anderson-Lopez ('Frozen'), James-Allen Ford, Russ Kaplan and Sara Wordsworth and vocal arrangements by Deke Sharon ('Pitch Perfect', 'The Sing-Off'), 'In Transit' is directed and choreographed by three-time Tony Award winner Kathleen Marshall ('Anything Goes', 'Nice Work If You Can Get It').

1. 'Deep Beneath the City/Not There Yet' - (Chesney Snow and The Original Broadway Cast of In Transit)
2. 'Do What I Do' - (Margo Seibert and The Original Broadway Cast of In Transit)
3. 'Four Days Home' - (Justin Guarini and Telly Leung and The Original Broadway Cast of In Transit)
4. 'Broke' - (James Snyder and The Original Broadway Cast of In Transit)
5. 'Saturday Night Obsession' - (Erin Mackey and The Original Broadway Cast of In Transit)
6. 'Wingman' - (Nicholas Ward and The Original Broadway Cast of In Transit)
7. 'But, Ya Know' - (James Snyder and Margo Seibert and The Original Broadway Cast of In Transit)
8. 'Not There Yet (Reprise)' - (Erin Mackey and Justin Guarini and Margo Seibert and James Snyder and Moya Angela and The Original Broadway Cast of In Transit)
9. 'Keep It Goin' - (Nicholas Ward and Moya Angela and Mariand Torres and David Abeles and Gerianne Pérez and The Original Broadway Cast of In Transit)
10. 'A Little Friendly Advice' - (Moya Angela and The Original Broadway Cast of In Transit)
11. 'Choosing Not to Know' - (Justin Guarini and The Original Broadway Cast of In Transit)
12. 'The Moving Song' - (Erin Mackey and The Original Broadway Cast of In Transit)
13. 'We Are Home' - (Telly Leung and Justin Guarini and Erin Mackey and James Snyder and The Original Broadway Cast of In Transit)
14. 'Getting There' - (Margo Seibert and The Original Broadway Cast of In Transit)
15. 'Finale' - (Chesney Snow and The Original Broadway Cast of In Transit)
Bonus Tracks:
16. 'Preshow Message' - (Kristen Anderson - Lopez and James
17. 'A Math Question' - (Steven "HeaveN" Cantor) [Bonus Track]
18. 'We Are Home Exit Music' - (The Original Broadway Cast of In Transit) [Bonus Track]

Listening to all 18 tracks, back-to-back twice, I have to say that I was delighted with the "chorus" that can be heard throughout. Not a real "chorus", per say, and with no specific voice to be heard above the others, the overall stylistic diversity here is spot on perfect.

Most of this 'In Transit' music from the Original Cast Recording is upbeat, joyous, and at times it even becomes rather cute with regard both lyrics and vocalizations.

The songs themselves give little indication that there was a story though, which is a tad bit weird, but that said, 'In Transit' tells it's own Broadway story without having to reply on the music underneath it.

In closing, and when the run of tracks at the end of the musical come to the fore, as in the musical itself, everything turns out for the best. For they truly are the best on here, in my humble opinion.

The 'In Transit Original Broadway Cast Recording' CD was released Friday, July 21st, 2017 and is now also available for download.

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Reggae Gold 2017'
Artist - Various

Reggae Gold is the annual collection of reggae’s biggest hits from the hottest artists. Now in it’s 24th year, Reggae Gold continues to set the standard for reggae music compilations.

Released on July 21st, 2017 via VP Records, Reggae Gold 2017 is their latest release.

Including a bonus DJ mix disc by Jamaica’s Chromatic Sound, the album continues to showcase the current trends and future classics in reggae music.

1. 'Luv (Explicit)' - Tory Lanez
2. 'Telephone Love' - Jah Cure
3. 'Loodi' (feat. Vybz Kartel) - Shenseea
4. 'Gyal You A Party Animal' - Charly Black
5. 'Me Love My Fatty' - Style X
6. 'Now' - Romain Virgo
7. 'Sheet' - Spice
8. 'Magic' - Christopher Martin
9. 'Love Like Ours' (feat. Tarrus Riley) - Estelle
10. 'Trueversation' (feat. Damian Marley) - Queen Ifrica
11. 'Leave You Alone' (feat. Jesse Royal) - Ikaya
12. 'Don't Come Back' - Tarrus Riley
13. 'Hide' - Deep Jahi
14. 'Banga' - Aidonia
15. 'Raggamuffin' - Raging Fyah
16. 'Hardcore (Remix)' [Feat. Chronixx] - Jah9
17. 'Spanish Town Rockin' - Chronixx

Kicking off in fine style, both 'Luv (Explicit)' from Tory Lanez and the crazy-addictive vocal tones of Jah Cure on 'Telephone Love' are superb, and they are followed by Shenseea's bouncy rap reggae on 'Loodi' (featuring Vybz Kartel). [FYI: Did you know "A Shenseea!” is what you hear at the beginning of every track, introducing the newest artiste to the Dancehall/Reggae community? No, nor did I, but we do now].

Next up is 'Gyal You A Party Animal' from dancehall singer, selector and singjay Charly Black, the fun lyrics and overtones of Style X's 'Me Love My Fatty,' and then come both the Latin-tipped dance pop of 'Now' from Romain Virgo and then the dominate vocal tones of Spice on 'Sheet.'

The lush, ballad R&B of 'Magic' from Christopher Martin is one oft he highlights here for me, and that's followed by British singer, songwriter, rapper, record producer, and actress Estelle on 'Love Like Ours' (featuring Tarrus Riley). Next up is 'Trueversation' from Queen Ifrica. Featuring reggae legend Damian Marley, this track from the daughter of ska music legend Derrick Morgan is my go to on here now - as I assume it might well be yours too upon listening to it.

The beautiful 'Leave You Alone' from Ikaya (featuring Jesse Royal) is along next, and that's backed by 'Don't Come Back' Tarrus Riley. The Jamaican-American reggae singer and member of the Rastafari movement really put together a winner of a song here, which is why it's deservedly included on this Best of 2017 compilation. 'Hide' by Deep Jahi is next, and that's followed by the life on the streets cut 'Banga' from Aidonia.

This incredible, fresh-sounding new compilation then rounds out with the five piece reggae band from Kingston known as Raging Fyah's 'Raggamuffin,' the dancehall/R&B flow of 'Hardcore (Remix)' from Jah9 featuring Chronixx, and the the album ends with the young man formerly known as "Little Chronicle", now grown up into the aforementioned Chronixx with 'Spanish Town Rockin.'

The 'Reggae Gold 2017', which also comes with a second Bonus Mix Music CD entitled "The Ultimate" Mix by Chromatic, was released July 21st, 2017 and is now also available for download.

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Let's Go To Outer Space'
Artist - Gary Wilson

For those not in the know, Gary Wilson is an experimental musician/performance artist best known for his 1977 album You Think You Really Know Me, after which he promptly retired from recording and performing concerts. He slowly gained a strong cult following during the 1980s and 1990s, and in the early 2000s became active again.

And active is what he truly is once again for following hot on the footsteps of his recently-released albums, Alone With Gary Wilson (2015) and It's Friday Night with Gary Wilson (2016), once again via Cleopatra Records he now brings us Let's Go To Outer Space.

Yet another alt-funk classic filled album chock full with experimental sounds, avant garde grooves, and demented space love songs that will make any exploration into the unknown a wild and crazy adventure, the "King Of Weird" has done it again!

Track List:
1. "Back To Where I Belong"
2. "Gary Kissed A Mannequin"
3. "Lost In A Mystery"
4. "Gary Feels Cool"
5. "Weird World Part 1"
6. "You’re The Girl From A Magazine"
7. "She’s The Girl From Mars"
8. "Let’s Go On A Walk Tonight"
9. "I’m Not Ashamed"
10. "I Want To Cry"
11. "Weird World Part 2"
12. "Let’s Go To Mars"
13. "My Beautiful Wife Walked Away"
14. "My Pretty Little Space Girl"

One thing you will quickly become aware of is that Gary Wilson is/was completely ahead of his time, and its sad that people couldn't catch on soon enough.

We kick things off with "Back To Where I Belong" "A girl from outer space doesn't care if it rains you see, it doesn't rain on her planet", which leads seamlessly into the psychedelic pop of "Gary Kissed A Mannequin," the mind bending "Lost In A Mystery," the both the upbeat "Gary Feels Cool," and then the short experimental adventure, "Weird World Part 1."

My personal favorite track from this new album is the poptastic "You’re The Girl From A Magazine" which is followed by the first single/video (see below) to be released, "She’s The Girl From Mars." "Let’s Go On A Walk Tonight" is backed by the trippy "I’m Not Ashamed," the low-fi, mid-tempo jaunt of "I Want To Cry," and then both the second half of the musical experiment, "Weird World Part 2."

The fun pop of "Let’s Go To Mars" ("Let's hitch a ride to the Milky Way and I'll hold your hand all day"), and then comes "My Beautiful Wife Walked Away," before the album rounds out with the (too) short, but sweet "My Pretty Little Space Girl."

I guess, simply put for those not yet familiar with the twisted genius that is Gary Wilson, it sounds something like this: Mix equal parts Zappa, ? & the Mysterians, Barry White, Steely Dan, Norman Bates, and 70s porn/TV soundtracks; filter through an alienated, small town adolescence and creepy borderline-stalker fantasies; add one large bag of white flour, a gallon of lukewarm milk, liberal amounts of Saran Wrap, and dirty underpants; stir in a reel of 1/4" analog recording tape, dump on basement floor, and let sit overnight. Enjoy!

Watch the EXCLUSIVE-to-Exclusive Magazine new video for “She’s The Girl From Mars" EXCLUSIVELY right here!

Official Video - "She's The Girls From Mars"

CD Purchase Link

Digital Purchase Link

Gary Wilson on Facebook

Title - 'Extremes' [CD/DVD]
Artist - Supertramp & Various Artists

For those not in the know, 'Extremes' is a much-loved, much-adored documentary about the British counterculture movement in the 1970s.

Recorded and filmed in 1971 on the road from London to the Isle of Wight Festival, and directed by Tony Klinger with Mike Lytton co-directing, 'Extremes' sets out to discover why so many people have taken a step back from society and decided to rebel against it.

Covering the whole gamut of present day human behavior, from carefree pop fans bathing nude at the Isle of Wight to withdrawn to out of their present minds junkies losing themselves - having taken en masse of drug paraphernalia - 'Extremes' captures their thoughts, one and all.

Taking a look at this documentary, available for the first time ever as a CD/DVD package via Gonzo Multimedia, it's obvious that those portrayed here (especially those in the latter category) didn't ever have a significant say in how things turned out, life wise.

Ergo, in some of what has to be the most natural, raw, open film footage to come from that era, from those captured moments, Tony Klinger and Michael Lytton have undoubtedly captured a unique cross-section of people going their chosen ways - whilst life passed them by as we watch.

Everyone captured here in this fascinating documentary is allowed to talk freely, frankly, openly and honestly, and so in doing so you just know that nothing was set up and no one was told to say what it was coming out of their collective mouths.

I mean, from what I viewed here today in my living room, nothing looks staged, nothing looks rehearsed and everything was filmed as it happened. All manner of people, male and female, clothed and (somewhat) otherwise, all talk about what's going on with them, and their friends.

Hippies, junkies, Hell's Angels, alcoholics, drop-outs and so many more groups within gathered there, they all fall into the category of nonconformist minorities. But here in 'Extremes', there is a diverseness within them that rises to the top as the documentary progresses.

Now available as an aforementioned CD/DVD set, the music portion is as stunningly open, vibrant, meaningful as the filmed audio is, trust me:

1) 'An ear Ago' - Arc
2) 'Great Lager Street' - Arc
3) 'Box Man' - Crucible
4) 'Black Rose' - Mark McCann
5) 'Refrigerated Warmth' - Mark McCann
6) 'Let Your Love Run Through' - Arc
7) 'Hit It' - Crucible
8) 'Surely' - Supertramp
9) 'Am I Not Like Other Birds Of Prey' - Supertramp
10) 'I'm A Perfectly Happy Man' - Arc
11) 'Words Unspoken' - Supertramp
12) 'Elvish Queen' - Crucible
13) 'We Gotta Watch Out' - Crucible

CD/DVD Purchase Link

Title - 'Divas Live: The One and Only Aretha Franklin'
Artist - Aretha Franklin

For those not in the know, although I would hope that would be a very, very small group, Aretha Franklin is an American singer, songwriter and musician.

Franklin began her career as a child singing gospel at the church of her father, minister C. L. Franklin's church. In 1960, at the age of 18, Franklin embarked on a secular career, recording for Columbia Records but only achieving modest success.

Following her signing to Atlantic Records in 1967, Franklin achieved commercial acclaim and success with songs such as "Respect", "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" and "Think". These hits and more helped her to gain the title The Queen of Soul by the end of the 1960s decade.

Divas Live: The One and Only Aretha Franklin is an all-star tribute to the one, the only, Queen of Soul, Ms. Aretha Franklin.

Recorded live at Radio City Music Hall, this refreshingly new 12 track audio CD, 13 track for the DVD re: "Respect", which features Aretha Franklin perform the song with her special guest Stevie Wonder, pays tribute to one of this country's national treasures.

1) "I Can't Turn You Loose" - Aretha Franklin
2) "Chain of Fools" - Aretha Franklin with Kevin Richardson, Howie Dorough and Al McLean from the Backstreet Boys
3) "Ain't No Way" - Aretha Franklin
4) "Natural Woman" - Jill Scott
5) "Long Walk" - Jill Scott
6) "Think" - Aretha Franklin
7) "Day Dreaming" - Mary J. Blige
8) "Do Right Woman" - Aretha Franklin and Mary J. Blige
9) "Nessun Dorma" - Aretha Franklin
10) "Rock Steady" - Aretha Franklin with Kid Rock and Teddy Franklin
11) "Precious Memories" - Aretha Franklin and Bishop Paul S. Morton with the New Jersey Mass Choir
12) "Respect" - Aretha Franklin
13) "Freeway of Love" - Aretha Franklin with Stevie Wonder (DVD Only)

Previously unreleased on CD or DVD, the undisputed Queen of Soul is joined by some very special guest stars, including Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, Stevie Wonder, the Backstreet Boys, Kid Rock, and more.

Originally broadcast on VH1 in 2001, Divas Live: The One and Only Aretha Franklin features many of her greatest hits in what was termed at the time, and has subsequently come to be, a truly rare one-of-a-kind performance that will never be repeated.

Divas Live: The One and Only Aretha Franklin will be released on August 18th, 2017 on CD/DVD and vinyl LP, with the digital download already having been made available this past July 21st, 2017 via MVD Audio.

'Divas Live: The One and Only Aretha Franklin' CD/DVD Purchase Link

Title - 'War for the Planet of the Apes'
Artist - Michael Giacchino

In 'War for the Planet of the Apes,' Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless colonel (Woody Harrelson).

After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind.

As the journey finally brings them face to face, Caesar and the colonel are pitted against each other in an epic battle that will determine the fate of both of their species and the future of the planet.

For those not in the know about composer Michael Giacchino he is not only an American composer of music for films, but both television and video games also.

He composed the scores to the television series Lost, Alias and Fringe, the video game series Medal of Honor and Call of Duty and many films such as 'The Incredibles', 'Mission: Impossible III', 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes', 'Jurassic World', 'Star Trek Beyond', 'Doctor Strange', 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story', and 'Spider-Man: Homecoming', to name but a handful.

Track Listing:
1. "Apes' Past is Prologue"
2. "Assault of the Earth"
3. "Exodus Wounds"
4. "The Posse Polonaise"
5. "The Bad Ape Bagatelle"
6. "Don't Luca Now"
7. "Koba Dependent"
8. "The Ecstasy of the Bold"
9. "Apes Together Strong"
10. "A Tide in the Affairs of Apes"
11. "Planet of the Escapes"
12. "The Hating Game"
13. "A Man Named Suicide"
14. "More Red Than Alive"
15. "Migration"
16. "Paradise Found"
17. "End Credits"

In my humble opinion, War for the Planet of the Apes is yet again another incredible, excellent even work of soundtrack art from Michael Giacchino. Solid at each and every one of the turns encountered within the 17 track score, Giacchino's ability to ebb and flow perfectly throughout the cinematic ups and downs is as precisely entertaining as ever.

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Tulip Fever' (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Artist - Danny Elfman

Set against the backdrop of the 17th-century Tulip Wars, a married noblewoman (Alicia Vikander) has an affair with an artist (Dane DeHaan) and switches identities with her maid to escape the wealthy merchant she married. She and her lover try to raise money together by investing what little they have in the high-stakes tulip market.

For those not in the know about Danny Elfman is an American composer, singer, songwriter, and record producer. Elfman is best known for his work scoring films and television shows, in particular his frequent collaborations with director Tim Burton, and for being the lead singer and songwriter for the band Oingo Boingo from 1974 to 1995.

Sony Classical have just released Danny Elfman's scoring of the film Tulip Fever as a soundtrack album this past August 4th, 2017. Available now as both a CD and digital download, it has to be one of the most enjoyable, playful, and atmospheric soundtrack scores that I have heard in the past decade.

Track Listing:
1. "Sophia's Theme"
2. "Lost"
3. "Willem"
4. "Unveiling"
5. "Streets"
6. "A Storm Is Coming"
7. "Ultramarine"
8. "Nailed"
9. "Reveal"
10. "Streets - Part 2"
11. "Devastation"
12. "Maria's Theme"
13. "Wait"
14. "It's Done"
15. "Storm"
16. "Grand Finale"
17. "Happy Family"
18. "Sophia's Theme (Reprise)"

From the moment the dulcet, and yet for the most part gently soaring "Sophia's Theme" is upon us, you just know the other 17 tracks that follow it will have you just as enraptured. One of my own personal favorites is the piano work on "Lost," which then bleeds seamlessly into such tracks as the vibrant cello work of "The Unveiling," the stirring 'A Storm Is Coming' and both the heart string tug of "The Reveal," and the romantic "Maria's Theme."

In my humble opinion, and as aforementioned above, Tulip Fever is yet again another incredible work of soundtrack scoring from the great, and always-impressive Danny Elfman. Each track as chock full of passion, so raw sometimes that you don't even have to know the scene and what the actors are portraying to know that there is either trouble, love or heartbreak ensuing. Now that is the true sign of a composing great, it is not.

CD Purchase Link

Danny Elfman @ Facebook!

Title - 'Intangible'
Artist - Patrick Bradley

For those not in the know, Patrick Bradley is a contemporary jazz keyboardist.

A self taught musician who began playing at the age of eight, he has a diverse background of jazz-fusion, smooth jazz, progressive rock, gospel and classical music.

And all that, and believe it or not more, comes forth on his brand new album, Intangible, due for release on his own label out now.

1. "Dear Friend"
2. "Funky Greens"
3. "Tail Wind"
4. "On Tap"
5. "Intangible"
6. "Find the Way"
7. "Newport Coast"
8. "Winds of Change"
9. "Destiny"
10. "Out of Bounds"

Here on the superb, from start to finish Intangible, the spiritually-minded jazz fusion keyboardist Patrick Bradley doesn't need a special occasion like marking his tenth anniversary as a recording artist to acknowledge his inspirations both tangible and divine.

However, the first track on the album and what is also the first single given to radio, "Dear Friend" (a song dedicated to the artists who have influenced is sound and style over the years) melds together genres such as jazz funk and urban soul seamlessly. "Funky Greens" is just as the label suggests, whilst both the "Tailwind" (feat. Paul Jackson Jr) and the harder rock edge of "On Tap" are spectacular showcases of what Bradley can conjure.

The title track is chock full of early evening, after dinner love, and that's backed by the upbeat "Find The Way" and that's followed by the triumphant horn and piano work found on "Newport Coast" (feat. Andrew Carney).

"Winds Of Change" is yet another example of how laid back and styling Bradley truly is with his work, seemingly effortlessly bringing these tracks of luxury to us, and that's backed by the longest cut, the horn-driven "Destiny." The album then, sadly, rounds out with the old school funk of "Out Of Bounds."

"My intent was to honor the influence and significant impact that late musicians have on me musically such as keyboardist giants Keith Emerson, Richard Wright, George Duke, Joe Sample and Jon Lord," Bradley has gone on record as saying.

"Bass players Chris Squire and Jaco Pastorius and guitarist Alan Holdsworth have a major influence on my approach to arrangements and melodies. Their influences are woven throughout my musical experiences, abilities and styles," he added.

Patrick Bradley will release his Intangible CD on August 25th, 2017 via his own label, Patrick's Song Factory.

Patrick Bradley @ Facebook!

'Intangible' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Turtle Soup: Expanded Edition'
Artist - The Mock Turtles

For those not in the know, The Mock Turtles (Martin Coogan — vocals, guitars; Steve Cowen — drums; Joanne Gent — keyboards; Andrew Stewardson — bass; and Martin Glyn Murray — guitars) are an English indie rock band, formed in Middleton, Greater Manchester in 1985, who enjoyed some success in the early 1990s.

Their song "Can You Dig It?" which was released in 1991, charted in the UK top 20 in 1991 and again in 2003. Their follow up single "And Then She Smiles" failed to replicate the success of the previous single, only reaching no. 44 in the charts.

In 1990 they released their much anticipated album Turtle Soup via Imaginary Records, then the following year cam the sophomore effort '87–90' (also on Imaginary Records). 'Two Sides' was released later that very same year via Siren Records, but The Mock Turtles were unable to follow up the early success and were dropped by their new label, again, that very same year of 1991.

Can You Dig It – The Best Of The Mock Turtles was released via Virgin Records in 2003 (and a mighty fine album it is, if I may say so myself), and nothing had been heard musically of the band - either new material or re-releases since then.

Well, all that has now changed because Cherry Red Records (UK) have just released a fantastic 2CD set of their debut album entitled Turtle Soup: Expanded Edition.

For this Expanded Edition of their debut Turtle Soup, which represents their complete Imaginary catalogue, all of the Mock Turtles’ non-album singles and B-sides, together with the many cover versions they recorded for Imaginary’s popular tribute albums (such as The Byrds, Jimi Hendrix, Syd Barrett, The Velvet Underground, Captain Beefheart and The Kinks), Cherry Red have brought together an incredible 41 tracks for our musical enjoyment.

Disc: 1 - Turtle Soup + Bonus Tracks
1. "Kathy Come Home"
2. "Head Run Wild"
3. "Lay Me Down"
4. "Another Jesus Walks on Water"
5. "Oh Helen How?"
6. "How Does It Feel?"
7. "And Then She Smiles"
8. "The Willow Song"
9. "Mary's Garden"
10. "Can You Dig It?"
11. "Wicker Man"
12. "Watching the Waning Moon"
13. "John O'War"
14. "Take Your Time"
15. "Fionnuala"
16. "Bathing in Blue"
17. "Calm Before the Storm"
18. "Magic Boomerang"
19. "Wicker Man (Live Version)"
20. "Watching the Waning Moon (Live Version)"
21. "Johnny Seven"

Disc: 2 - Second Sitting
1. "Angel"
2. "Golden Children"
3. "No Good Trying"
4. "One Eyed Jack"
5. "Turn on"
6. "Big Sky"
7. "Up Here in Heaven"
8. "Casting Pearls"
9. "Time Between / Why"
10. "Harvey Don't Die"
11. "King for a Day"
12. "Big Eyed Beans from Venus"
13. "See Saw"
14. "Falling All Over"
15. "Pale Blue Eyes"
16. "Wally's Dead"
17. "Somewhere in England"
18. "Shangri-La"
19. "The Only One"
20. "Are You Experienced?"

The first disc containing Turtle Soup (which also, and purposely, as it has since come to light) shares its name with the 1969 record Turtle Soup, released by the American psychedelic rock band The Turtles) and some delightful bonus tracks, features the entire 11-track album track-for-track. Kicking off with the great, and still wonderful to hear power pop sound of "Kathy Come Home" and backs that up with the frenetic guitar work of "Head Run Wild," the drumtastic beats of "Lay Me Down," and both the jangly guitars and piano of "Another Jesus Walks On Water" and the soft pop rock of "Oh Helen How?"

"How Does It Feel?" is up next, and is followed by "And Then She Smiles" (a version of which is the theme tune to the popular TV series Stella) and a continually appreciated gem from the quintet. The delicate "The Willow Song" and the The Cultesque "Mary's Garden" are then followed by the original version of "Can You Dig It?" (which has remained popular via various TV ads), with the original album rounding out with their ever-popular, and still stirring cut, "Wicker Man."

The bonus tracks begin on a high with the upright bass bliss of "Watching The Waning Moon," and that's backed by both the soaring violins on "John O'War" and the steady pop lite roll of "Take Your Time," the massively popular between the fans "Fionnuala" coming along next. Continuing their popular dishes of interesting and lively euro-pop tracks - that deserved more attention than they received - we next get "Bathing in Blue" which is backed by "Calm Before the Storm."

"Magic Boomerang" is yet another doozy of a euro-pop sound, and that's followed by a duo of stunning live versions in the form of both "Wicker Man" and "Watching the Waning Moon (Live Version)," before the first disc comes to a close with "Johnny Seven."

The second disc, entitled Second Sitting is a sweet collection of 20 tracks that most all of us have never heard before; or if we had, had long forgotten about. Still a blend of vocal harmonies against a backdrop of wall of sound guitars that don't overpower the vocals, now some 26 years later and each and every track sounds as fresh today as I'm sure they did back when they were written.

Indeed, you can thank Martin Coogan for most all the wonderful bonus tracks as he has unearthed no less than fourteen previously unissued Mock Turtles demos from his personal archive! Sleeve-notes are by Mark Hodkinson (The Guardian, etc.), who was the first-ever journalist to review the band back in the mid-1980s.

'Turtle Soup: Expanded Edition' 2CD Purchase Link

Title - 'This Minstrel Life'
Artist - Tokyo Rosenthal

The brilliant singer/songwriter Tokyo Rosenthal has just released his seventh album, entitled This Minstrel Life on the Rock & Sock Record label.

The new album is Rosenthal’s first release in over two years (since 2015's excellent Afterlife) and contains 6 original compositions and 4 live tracks.

Rosenthal, a 30 year veteran of the Americana Roots music scene, has always written well-created, storytelling songs, but here on This Minstrel Life, for my money, he has not only stepped his songwriting game up, but matured vocally also.

1. 'Hundred Mile Man'
2. 'This Minstrel Life'
3. 'The Last Seder'
4. 'Now I Believe There's A Devil'
5. 'Wiregrass'
6. 'The Immigrant Revisited'
7. 'Mama Tried' (Live)
8. 'Little Poetry Girl' (Live)
9. 'There is No Perfect Love' (Live)
10. 'Love Won Out' (Live)

We kick off with the gently Celtic-roused 'Hundred Mile Man,' a lovely, free flowing track that not only encapsulates Tokyo and what he brings to the musical table, but also happens to be one of my own personal favorites here. The accompanists that, well, accompany Tokyo on this new album come to the fore immediately on the title track 'This Minstrel Life,' with the delicate guitar playing and sounds of 'The Last Seder' along next.

The upbeat, mid tempo, accordion-led politically-driven 'Now I Believe There's A Devil' is up next and that's followed by the fast-paced, Mexican stand-off flavored 'Wiregrass'. That Mexican theme is continued on the beautifully updated 'The Immigrant Revisited', with the first of the live tracks (and also the shortest track on the entire album at just over two minutes) 'Mama Tried' (May 2015). Counted in, it's a real doozy of a storytelling tale, you can take my word for it.

Tokyo then introduces the next song about his oldest daughter who was an award-winning poet, who one day stopped writing and left him with no words for his songs, as he was stealing all hers! Hence, 'Little Poetry Girl' (2014)is about her. Next up is the pacey 'There Is No Perfect Love' (2012) and ending the new album is another moment of musical storytelling.

Introduced by Tokyo as a pro-gay marriage song, one that when he's on the road in the Blue States and the Red States he has to keep the car running for, just in case, 'Love Won Out' (2015) is the perfect way to round things out. An album theme written specifically by Tokyo about the lives of touring musicians, today and yesterday, This Minstrel Life (out now via Rock and Sock Records) is one of the finest heartfelt albums I have had the pleasure to listen to this year.

Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk

Tokyo Rosenthal @ Facebook!

Tokyo Rosenthal @ Twitter!

Title - 'Waterhouse Dub'
Artist - King Jammy

For those not in the know, Lloyd James, who is better known as Prince Jammy or King Jammy, is a dub mixer and record producer. He began his musical career as a dub master at King Tubby's recording studio.

Returning to the studio with his brand new album, Waterhouse Dub, listening to it we quickly discover that it is a brand new slab of megaton dub.

King Jammy, the undisputed heavyweight champion of drum and bass, has now brought out this August 11th, 2017 via VP Records a crucial selection of his toughest rub-a-dub specials. Inclusive of 15 mind-destroying dub knock-outs, this album is what we've all been waiting for.

With his dubs being well known for their clear sound and use of effects, here on his new album Waterhouse Dub the master of Dub has done it, once again.

1. 'Lethal Dub'
2. 'Revenge Attack'
3. 'Captivity Dub'
4. 'Kingdom Of Jah Dub'
5. 'Dubbing On The Riverside'
6. 'Holy Mount Zion Dub'
7. 'Top Secret Dub'
8. 'Super Power Dub'
9. 'Red Square Dub'
10. 'Village Dub'
11. 'Fire House Dub'
12. 'Experience Dub'
13. 'Queen's Highway'
14. 'Jammys A Shine'
15. 'Dub For Dave Hendley'

Kicking off with the atmospheric 'Lethal Dub,' 'Revenge Attack' takes it up a notch, albeit just, before one of my new favorites on this album, the reverb-aided 'Captivity Dub' is brought to the fore. The mid-tempo reggae cut 'Kingdom Of Jah Dub' is a blessing here also, as are both the dance hall 'Dubbing On The Riverside' and the arcade game vibe of 'Holy Mount Zion Dub'.

The reggae lite hipsway of 'Top Secret Dub' is next and that's backed by the arcade game gun fire-intro'd, melodic rasta of 'Super Power Dub'. The reggae bounce of 'Red Square Dub' is then backed by both the drum-inspired 'Village' Dub' and then the piano-inspired 'Fire House Dub.' A subtle air horn-blown intro to 'Experience Dub' leads us into another of my personal favorites here, and that's followed by one of the only tracks not vocally intro'd, 'Queen's Highway.'

This quite stunning album then rounds out with the uptempo, frenetic loops combined with low bass rolls of 'Jammys A Shine', before ending on distinctive high note with the jazz-like piano melodies of 'Dub For Dave Hendley.' Personally, I'd only ever heard word of King Jammy before this CD showed up and now I am, after only just one listen, addicted to hearing more of his work. I know you will be too.

Vinyl LP Purchase Link

Title - 'Freedom In Dub'
Artist - Alborosie

For those not in the know, Alberto D'Ascola, better known by his stage name Alborosie, and sometimes styled as AlBorosie, is an Italian reggae artist.

In 2013, Alborosie released System and followed it up in 2016 with the hotly anticipated Freedom & Fyah, a ruff and rugged musical escapade through the grime and gutta of Kingston, Jamaica.

A year later and Alborosie has re-recorded dub versions of all the songs from the aforementioned hit album Freedom & Fyah and called his new album Freedom In Dub.

This brand new album, out June 3rd, 2017 via VP Records, extends and explores new sonic directions within the structure of the original recordings of ten tracks.

Using vintage analog equipment, Alborosie bridges the sounds and rhythms of classic reggae to 2017, highlighting his lineage to producers like Linval Thompson and King Jammy among others.

With the tracks all originally written about the place Alborosie calls home, this searing set of ten rasta ragga anthems - where they originally featured collaborations with the likes of Protoje, Kymani Marley, Sugus, and Roots Radics - have now all been re-imagined in dub.

1. 'Zion Dub Youth'
2. 'Strolling Into Dub'
3. 'Rocky Dub Road'
4. 'Rich N Dubby'
5. 'Dubbing Everything'
6. 'Dub Posers'
7. 'Dub Cry'
8. 'Dub Can't Cool'
9. 'Dub 420'
10. 'Carry On Dub'

We begin with the triumphant, yet distinctively laid back sounds of 'Zion Dub Youth' which is backed up by both the reverb of one of my own personal favorite tracks on this reworked album, 'Strolling Into Dub' and then the brilliant 'Rocky Dub Road.'

The twisty, creeping 'Rich N Dubby' is next and that's followed by 'Dubbing Everything' and then the experimental-sounding 'Dub Posers'. 'Dub Cry' is yet another reworked gem here, and that's backed by the harder, more defined 'Dub Can't Cool.' The dub step wonderment of 'Dub 420' is next and then the album rounds out with the washy-vibe of 'Carry On Dub.'

Vinyl LP Purchase Link

Title - 'Africa Must Be Free By 1983'
Artist - Hugh Mundell

For those not in the know, Hugh Mundell was a Jamaican reggae singer and songwriter tragically murdered in 1983.

Sadly, he was shot and killed while sitting in a car with Junior Reid and that day reggae lost one of its most promising young performers.

Mundell's 1975 debut album, Africa Must Be Free By 1983 produced by Augustus Pablo, remains a classic roots reggae recording still today.

Originally awarded a five star review by Rolling Stone magazine upon it's 1978 release, Africa Must Be Free By 1983 was met with great acclaim and has gone on to be one the most sought after of all classic roots reggae albums.

Now re-mastered for release on August 17th 2017 (via VP Records) in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Greensleeves label, the album is a fitting testament to two titans of reggae (artist and producer Augustus Pablo) that were taken from us far too soon.

1. 'Let's All Unite'
2. 'Unity Dub'
3. 'My Mind'
4. 'My Mind Dub'
5. 'Africa Must Be Free By 1983'
6. 'Africa Dub'
7. 'Why Do Black Men Fuss And Fight'
8. 'Book Of Life'
9. 'Levi Dub'
10. 'Run Revolution A Come'
11. 'Revolution Dub'
12. 'Day Of Judgement'
13. 'Judgement Dub'
14. 'Jah Will Provide'
15. 'Ital Slip'
16. 'Western Kingston Style'
17. 'Sufferer Dub'

We start things off with the mid-tempo dub step of 'Let's All Unite' (a track that immediately showcases the young, tender vocals of Mundell) and as there is also artist and producer Augustus Pablo's subsequently-released dub version of this album included, each Mundell track is followed by (for the most part) Pablo's dub version (in this case, 'Unity Dub').

Next is the deep roots of 'My Mind,' then 'My Mind Dub', then come the gentle reggae pop flow of the title track 'Africa Must Be Free By 1983' and Pablo's 'Africa Dub.' 'Why Do Black Men Fuss And Fight' is followed the lighter fare of 'Book Of Life' and then Pablo's 'Levi Dub.'

Next up is the hushed vocal styling of 'Run Revolution A Come,' which is also quite easily one of my personal favorites on this album, and that's backed by Pablo's 'Revolution Dub.' Then comes Mundell's melodic gem 'Day Of Judgement' and it's dub companion 'Judgement Dub,' before the soothing 'Jah Will Provide' and Pablo's 'Ital Slip.'

That's followed by two Pablo dub mixes that subsequently now round out this remastered, re-released album. 'Western Kingston Style' and then 'Sufferer Dub' are musical companions to, so it sounds like, each other, but once the album finishes all you want to do is hit Play again. This album is just that musically infectious, trust me.

Knowing that Hugh Mundell was a protégé of Augustus Pablo, recording for his Rockers International imprint, together the two made these classic sides which still stand as genre defining forty years on. Buy it for yourself today and you'll soon be reaching back into both their history's to find out more about these two incredible reggae artists.

Vinyl LP Purchase Link

Title - 'The Rift: Dark Side Of The Moon' (OST)
Artist - Various

'The Rift — Dark Side of the Moon' tells the story of the search for NASA Space Shuttle astronaut who crash lands in Serbia, bringing back with him some kind of alien life form.

Starring Katarina Čas, Ken Foree, Dragan Mićanović, Monte Markham and both Denis Murić and Maya Lavelle, the movie is scheduled to premiere in December of this year.

With a stunning soundtrack companion, releasing this September 1st via Cleopatra Records, that features not only a bunch of classic space age songs, but also two interesting covers of songs from the classic Pink Floyd album that inspired the film’s name, 'The Rift: Dark Side Of The Moon' is one of the soundtracks of the year so far, trust me.

1. “Don’t Keep on Me Waiting” — Omega
2. “Us and Them” — John Wetton
3. “Brain Damage” — Colin Moulding & Robby Krieger
4. “Mask” — The Anix
5. “1799” — Echolust
6. “Paranormal” — Nik Turner
7. “Serenade for the Dead” — Leæther Strip
8. “Astronaut’s Nightmare” — Nektar
9. “C. abyssal” — Le Seul Élément
10. “Nebula” — Brainticket
11. “Dynamics of Delerium” — Rick Wakeman
12. “Into the Eyes of the Zombie King” — Chrome
13. “Notre Dame (Mothership)” (Edit) — Guru Freakout
14. “UFOlove” — Guru Guru Groove Band
15. “I Ran (So Far Away)” — A Flock of Seagulls

We start things off with the '70s space art of Omega's 'Don't Keep Me Waiting', and then comes one of the true gems of this album from the late John Wetton. His superb rendition of “Us and Them” showcases the Asia front man's stellar guitar work and vocals to perfection and that's backed by a version of the-must-be-heard-to-be-truly-appreciated “Brain Damage” featuring The Doors‘ Robby Krieger and XTC‘s Colin Moulding.

The trippy free flow of 'Mask' from The Anix is up next, and that's followed by both the crashing guitars of Echolust's brilliant '1799' and then Nik Turner's space adventure 'Paranormal.' “Serenade for the Dead” from Leæther Strip is a four minute delve into industrial space sounds, and that's backed by Nektar's stunning “Astronaut’s Nightmare.” At over seven minute long, this early '70s track is still as great to hear today as it was back then, of that you have my word.

“C. abyssal” — Le Seul Élément is as haunting as you would expect, whereas "Nebula” from Brainticket is a more subtly progressive, ever-organic track. Then comes another space adventure, this time from the Prog Rock God known as Rick Wakeman in 'Dynamics Of Delerium,' before we're reintroduced to Chrome's industrial beats of 'Into The Eyes Of The Zombie King.'

Guru Freakout's 30 minute plus opus 'Notre Dame (Mothership)' is now here in edit form, and that's backed by the Krautrock of 'UFOlove' from Guru Guru Groove Band. The soundtrack album then rounds out with the classic space rock of A Flock Of Seagulls' 'I Ran (So Far Away)' from 1982.

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Title - '8 Assassins - Beautiful the Bad & The Ugly' (OST)
Artist - Various

'8 Assassins - Beautiful the Bad & The Ugly' tells the story of a young thief who is pursued by bloodthirsty thugs from the alleys of Marrakech to the harsh Moroccan wilderness.

Seeking shelter in a remote city, he finds no refuge; only a beautiful woman, a tyrannical warlord, and eight assassins. Starring Mohamed Elachi, Sarah Kazemy, and Affif Ben Badra, the movie was directed by Said C. Naciriis.

With a stunning 2CD soundtrack companion, releasing this August 18th via Cleopatra Records, it features an incredibly diverse roster of artists that range from folk icon Judy Collins, to space rock legends Hawkwind, and include original Iron Maiden vocalist Paul Dianno, German krautrock pioneers Faust, Hawkwind co-founder Nik Turner, deathrockers Christian Death and many more!

Disc: 1
1. Hedersleben - 'Gulf of Lost Souls'
2. Jürgen Engler - '8 Assassins (Score)'
3. Nik Turner - 'Coming of the Maya' (Feat Simon House)
4. Klute - 'No Man's Land'
5. Alan Davey - 'Angel Down' (Feat. Simon House)
6. Hawkwind - 'Hassan I Sabbah'
7. Black Plastic - 'Sertraline'
8. Onyx - 'Do U Bac Down'
9. The Wake - 'Nazarene'
10. Faust - 'Parasiten'

Disc: 2
1. Judy Collins & Ari Hest - 'Run'
2. Philippe Besombes - 'Chocolate Cream'
3. Brainticket - 'Radagacuca'
4. The Coffin Daggers - 'Instigator'
5. Yellowman - 'The Happiness of One'
6. Space Temple - 'Acid Journey' (Feat. Wayne Kramer)
7. Jürgen Engler - 'Assassin Fuzz (Score)'
8. Damon Edge - 'I'm a Gentleman'
9. Spahn Ranch - 'Heretic's Fork'
10. Paul Dianno - 'War Machine'
11. Larry Donn - 'Honey Bun'
12. Blackburner Vs. DMX - 'We Gonna Tear Shit Up'
13. Christian Death - 'Psalm (Maggot's Lair)'
14. Loon - 'Belly Dance' (Feat. Gritty)

We kick things off with the frenetic, haunting 'Gulf of Lost Souls' from Hedersleben and back that up with the quite piano work of the title track score, '8 Assassins' by Jürgen Engler. Next up is Nik Turner's 'Coming of the Maya' featuring Simon House which is in turn followed by Klute's industrial pounding on 'No Man's Land,' the lush 'Angel Down' from Alan Davey (once again featuring Simon House), and then Hawkwind's Middle Eastern-flavored 'Hassan I Sabbah.'

The pounding bass work of Black Plastic's 'Sertraline' is up next and that's backed by the funky rap of Onyx's 'Do U Bac Down,' The Wake's goth vibe on 'Nazarene,' and the the first disc rounds out with Faust's jangly plucked guitar work of 'Parasiten.'

The second disc opens with Judy Collins and Ari Hest's atmospheric 'Run' before we get both Philippe Besombes' psychedelic pop cut 'Chocolate Cream' and then Brainticket's brilliant 'Radagacuca.' Raging drums and guitars then bring is 'Instigator' from The Coffin Daggers (who have long been one of my favorite surf rock bands), and the along comes Yellowman's reggae-tipped 'The Happiness of One.'

Space Temple's mind-freeing jaunt 'Acid Journey' featuring rocker MC5's Wayne Kramer is up next and then we get the '70s guitar flashback on Jürgen Engler's 'Assassin Fuzz' score track. That fun track is then followed by Damon Edge's stirring 'I'm a Gentleman,' which in turn is backed by the goth electro of Spahn Ranch's 'Heretic's Fork.'

Former Iron Maiden lead singer Paul Dianno is up next on the throaty 'War Machine' (and boy, does he still sing/record like he's in Iron Maiden, and that's followed by the Elvis Presleyesque rockabilly of 'Honey Bun' from Larry Donn. Blackburner Vs. DMX then combine to bring us the trip-hop fuzz 'We Gonna Tear Shit Up', before the album rounds out with both the Prayer-like 'Psalm (Maggot's Lair)' from Christian Death, and then finally Loon bring us the club vibe of 'Belly Dance' (featuring Gritty).

The '8 Assassins - Beautiful the Bad & The Ugly' film will be released on DVD and VOD in September 2017 and will be accompanied by a major publicity campaign.

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Title - 'Beyond The Pain Barrier'
Artist - Thor

For those not in the know, Jon Mikl Thor is a bodybuilding champion, actor, songwriter, screenwriter, historian, vocalist and musician.

Indeed, as a bodybuilder, he was the first Canadian to win both the Mr. Canada and Mr. USA titles. During his bodybuilding career, he has achieved over 40 titles around the world.

As a musician, he is the front man for the heavy metal band Thor, billing himself as "The Legendary Rock Warrior". He has also has had career in acting appearing in such films as Recruits, Zombie Nightmare, Fubar, and Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare.

Now the veteran metal outfit together with their very own Metal Thunder God aim to reclaim the classic metal throne with their brand new studio album of 12 original songs entitled Beyond The Pain Barrier, out August 4th, 2017 via Deadline Music.

1. "Tyrant"
2. "The Calling"
3. "Beyond the Pain Barrier"
4. "When a Hero Dies"
5. "On Golden Sea"
6. "Phantom's Light"
7. "Twilight of the Gods"
8. "Galactic Sun"
9. "The Land"
10. "Deity in the Sky"
11. "Thunder"
12. "Quest for Valor"

Perfect for all those metal heads out there still searching for that collection of thunderous metal anthems in their chosen music, Beyond The Pain Barrier kicks off with the Motörheadesque "Tyrant" and back it up with the slightly lesser harsh "The Calling" and then, if there were such a category here, the mid-tempo push of the title track "Beyond the Pain Barrier".

The ballad, of sorts, "When a Hero Dies" is also my favorite track on this cranked to eleven album and that's followed by the rollocking sea faring fun of "On Golden Sea." The funky, drum-backed "Phantom's Light" bleeds seamlessly into a great guitar piece, before the frenetic "Twilight of the Gods" is upon us.

The track with the most 'pop edge' to it is the bouncy "Galactic Sun" and that's backed by the foot-tappin' beauty "The Land." The temperature is taken down a notch on the Prog rock-sounding "Deity in the Sky," with the album rounding out with the Ramonesesque "Thunder," and then the seven and a half minute long opus, "Quest for Valor."

Says THOR himself, “I had the opportunity to work with young musician/songwriters on this record. Guitarist John Leibel and Ted Jedlicki know the metal sound of today. With my classic riffs and melodies combined with their modern metal songwriting and performing, we made a killer sounding album.”

With all tracks recorded in a low-fi style, the vocals never truly screamed, moreover spoken, thoughts gotten across no matter what, Beyond The Pain Barrier is just what the music business has been waiting for (whether they knew it or not).

It's not pretentious. It's not overly manufactured. And it's not built for everyone. It's simply a solid, real, honest, trustworthy album of metal rock from a band you can always believe in to deliver the goods.

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Title - 'The Family That Plays Together - Hybrid SACD'
Artist - Spirit

For those not in the know, even after all these years, Spirit was an American rock band founded in 1967 and based in Los Angeles, California.

Their most commercially successful single in the United States was "I Got a Line on You", but they were also known for their albums. These included their self-titled debut album, The Family That Plays Together, Clear, and Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus.

That aforementioned self-titled debut, Spirit is a classic album from an under-appreciated rock band. Their original line-up only lasted four albums, with one full reunion album where they re-recording their classic hits, for the most part, but man did these guys know how to make music.

Now released as a SACD Hybrid Numbered and Limited Edition CD this past June, Spirit's debut album has now been followed onto SACD by their sophomore album, The Family That Plays Together.

Indeed, The Family That Plays Together was the second of four albums released by the original Spirit line-up back in December 1968. More than its predecessor, Spirit, their self-titled and surreal debut, The Family That Plays Together displays the band's ability to play beyond the genre of psychedelic rock.

Also incorporating the elements of Jazz, rock & roll, and even classical vines too, these all combined to create one of the cleanest, most tasteful syntheses of its day. The album's hit single, and the first song on the album 'I Got a Line on You,' boasts not only strong, still-known-today harmonies, but one of the greatest rock riffs of the period.

Oh, for those not in the new technology know either, a Super Audio CD (SACD) is a read-only optical disc for audio storage, introduced in 1999. It was developed jointly by Sony and Philips Electronics, and intended to be the successor to their Compact disc format. Indeed, this SACD format can offer more channels (ie: surround sound), and a longer playing time than regular CDs.

1. 'I Got A Line on You'
2. 'It Shall Be'
3. 'Poor Richard'
4. 'Silky Sam'
5. 'Drunkard'
6. 'Darlin' If'
7. 'It's All The Same'
8. 'Jewish'
9. 'Dream Within A Dream'
10. 'She Smiles'
11. 'Aren't You Glad'

Bonus Tracks:
12. 'Fog'
13. 'So Little To Say'
14. 'Mellow Fellow'
15. 'Now Or Anywhere'
16. 'Space Chile'

Tracks such as 'It Shall Be' and 'Silky Sam' both demonstrate the ease with which the ensemble can incorporate jazz into their idiosyncratic form of rock, while 'Jewish' and 'Aren't You Glad' show the band's competence in exploiting both world music and jam rock.

One of my own personal favorites has always been 'Poor Richard,' but both 'Jewish,' and 'All The Same' also feature double track lead breaks by guitarist Randy California.

Indeed, the album's title was inspired by the stepson-stepfather relationship between guitarist Randy California and percussionist Ed Cassidy and alludes to the slogan "The family that prays together stays together".

In truth, virtually every song is an interesting study in music without barriers, from rock to bluesy jazz to classical motifs. The songs flow in a fascinating manner into one another and produce a smooth, mellow, slightly melancholy feeling.

The background horns and strings are tasty. California's droning minor scale licks are great to dream to without falling asleep. I don't indulge in the old wacky weed anymore, but whenever I listen to this I feel like I've just had a big hit of something really good and it takes time for me to emerge back into the "real" world.

This Numbered, Limited Edition SACD has 5 bonus tracks that, unlike most bonus stuff, are actually worth listening to and fit into the overall feel of the CD. Three are instrumentals: 'Fog' is a short pretty thing, 'Mellow Fellow' and 'Space Chile' give the band a chance to jam a bit. Indeed, both have some nice solo drumming by Cassidy, which, when played live, was obviously always a pleasure for the other musicians.

Finally, some trivia for the album: the album cover was shot at the Sunset Highland Motel, located at 6830 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, California, just across from Hollywood High School.

'Jewish' is performed with Hebrew lyrics that are taken from the traditional song "Hine Ma Tov", based on King David's Psalm 133.

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Title - 'Cest La Vie' [Import]
Artist - Billie Jo Spears

For those not in the know, Billie Jo Spears was an American country music singer. She reached the top 10 of the country music chart five times between 1969 and 1977, her biggest being "Blanket on the Ground", a 1975 number-one hit.

Spears also had a large following in the United Kingdom with two of her singles reaching the pop top five. Her 1976 country top-five record "What I've Got in Mind" was followed up by "Sing Me an Old Fashioned Song", a track that was just an album cut in the US.

In fact, Spears' first hit came in 1969, when her Capitol Records release "Mr. Walker, It's All Over", which reached number four on the country chart. It also reached the pop charts at number 80.

The song told of a secretary who resigned a job where she was unappreciated for her skills and encountered sexual harassment. She gained four more top-40 country hits during the next two years, but by late 1972, was off Capitol and had two years without a charting release.

In 1975, Spears signed again with United Artists Records, now the home to some of country music's pop-based acts such as Kenny Rogers and returned to the charts with the aforementioned "Blanket on the Ground".

Funnily enough, the song had been previously turned down by Nashville producers who feared controversy due to the phrase "slip around", though the tune was not about adultery. The expected controversy never materialized, and it became her only number-one song.

On August 18th, 2017, Goldenlane Records proudly released C'est La Vie from Billie Jo Spears, an album of hers lost in time and now out on CD for the first time ever!

Having been rescued from the archives, remastered and released here now to the delight of all her fans, C'est La Vie was recorded circa 1982 by producer John Blower for Double D Records.

1. '(You Never Can Tell) C’est La Vie'
2. 'Apart At The Dreams'
3. 'I Can Hear Kentucky Calling Me'
4. 'Why Don’t We Go Dancing'
5. 'Reaching Out For Someone'
6. 'When I Dream'
7. '7 Lonely Days'
8. 'Fool'
9. 'Swingin’
10. 'That Wrong Road'
11. 'Things'
12. 'Everytime Two Fools Collide'
13. 'Dreaming'

Opening with the Chuck Berry monster smash '(You Never Can tell) C'est La Vie', complete with incredible guitar work, it is also one of my own personal favorites out of the baker's dozen. That's followed by 'Apart At The Dreams' and then the upbeat, free flowing country vibe of 'I Can Hear Kentucky Calling Me.'

Next up is 'Why Don't We Go Dancing' which is backed by the country ballad 'When I Dream'. The pacey country vibe is back on '7 Lonely Days' which in turn is followed by 'Fool,' and then the pop-country spoken, banjo delight 'That Wrong Road.'

The beautiful 'Things' is a right royal darling of a track, and that's backed by the piano and echoing guitar stretched moments of 'Dreaming', before the album comes to a close with the lush honky tonk flow of 'I'm Not Good At Goodbye.'

An incredible discovery (for there really is no other way to describe now hearing this long lost, thought to be forgotten album of country music from Spears), these 13 tracks from the legend Billie Jo Spears are enough to make you pine for the long-lost days of country too!

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Return of Crystal Karma: Expanded Edition'
Artist - Glenn Hughes

For those not in the know, Glenn Hughes is an English rock bassist and vocalist, best known for playing bass and performing vocals for funk rock pioneers Trapeze, the Mk. III and IV line-ups of Deep Purple; as well as briefly fronting Black Sabbath in the mid-1980s.

In addition to being an active session musician, Hughes also maintains a notable solo career. He fronted the supergroup Black Country Communion from 2009 to 2013, and California Breed from late 2013 to early 2015. On 8 April 2016, Hughes was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Deep Purple.

Return of Crystal Karma (often abbreviated to R.O.C.K.) was Hughes’ seventh solo studio album, and was originally released the 19th of June, 2000 on SPV and Nippon records.

Now digitally remastered and expanded into a two CD edition, the iconic British rocker's Purple Records reissue schedule continues. Produced by Glenn Hughes and Michael Scott, it features original songs written with guitarist JJ Marsh and keyboard player Hans Zermüehlen, as well as 'Gone', co-written with Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi. The album even features a guest cameo from The Cure's Lol Tolhurst.

This expanded two CD edition now includes a 45 minute, live bonus CD, recorded in Sao Paulo, Brazil on 25th November, 1999. Containing exclusive versions of Trapeze classics such as 'Coast To Coast' and 'Your Love Is Alright', as well as a live version of Black Sabbath's 'No Stranger To Love', it is now going to be a very highly anticipated release.

Disc: 1
1. 'The State I'm in'
2. 'Midnight Meditated'
3. 'It's Alright'
4. 'Switch the Mojo'
5. 'Gone'
6. 'The Other Side of Me'
7. 'Angela'
8. 'Owed to "J"
9. 'This Life'
10. 'Days of Avalon'

Disc: 2
1. 'You Kill Me'
2. 'Neverafter'
3. 'First Step of Love'
4. 'No Stranger to Love'
5. 'Coast to Coast'
6. 'Your Love Is Alright'

The album kicks off in fine rock style with 'The State I'm In', a cut that stinks (in the good way) of typical post '90s hard rock sensibilities, as do both 'It's Alright' and 'Switch the Mojo', with the lighter fare of 'Midnight Medicated' in between.

The impressive 'Gone' written by both Hughes and Iommi, and originally recorded for Sabbath's Seventh Star album in 1986 is up next, and that's followed by the heartfelt 'The Other Side Of Me.' Upping the funk aspects of his rock age, 'Angela' is up next and a beauty it sure it and that's backed by 'Owed to J'.

Interestingly enough, the instrumental track named in reference to the instrumental 'Owed to G', which featured on the Deep Purple album Come Taste the Band. The "J" in Hughes' track is a reference to Jeff Beck, and the song is very much influenced by the guitarist. The "G" in the Deep Purple song stands for Gershwin.

The album then rounds out with the melodic pop rock of 'This Life' and then comes to a finale with the trademark Hughes balladry of 'Days of Avalon.' Quite easily one of his finest and most heartfelt, for my money, and on a par with 'Blue Jade' from Addiction.

Also, and in closing, the expanded booklet features liner notes by Classic Rock magazine's Malcolm Dome based on new interviews with Glenn.

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'The Way It Is: Expanded Edition'
Artist - Glenn Hughes

For those not in the know, Glenn Hughes is an English rock bassist and vocalist, best known for playing bass and performing vocals for funk rock pioneers Trapeze, the Mk. III and IV line-ups of Deep Purple; as well as briefly fronting Black Sabbath in the mid-1980s.

In addition to being an active session musician, Hughes also maintains a notable solo career. He fronted the supergroup Black Country Communion from 2009 to 2013, and California Breed from late 2013 to early 2015. On 8 April 2016, Hughes was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Deep Purple.

The Way It Is was Hughes’ sixth solo studio album, and was originally released in 1999 on Nippon Crown, SPV and Shrapnel Records Records.

Now digitally remastered and expanded into a two CD edition, the iconic British rocker's Purple Records reissue schedule continues. Produced by Glenn Hughes and Michael Scott, as well as featuring original material written with guitarist JJ Marsh, the album also includes two versions of Jimi Hendrix's 'Freedom'.

This edition includes a live concert recorded at London's Astoria 2, and features versions of Trapeze classics 'You Are the Music', 'Coast To Coast' and 'Your Love Is Alright', as well as an extended medley of Deep Purple tracks plus the song 'Gone', co-written with Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi.

Disc: 1
1. 'The Way It Is'
2. 'You Kill Me'
3. 'Neverafter'
4. 'Rain on Me'
5. 'Curse'
6. 'Freedom'
7. 'The Truth Will Set Me Free'
8. 'Stoned in the Temple'
9. 'Too Far Gone'
10. 'Second Son'
11. 'Take You Down'
12. 'Don't Look Away'
13. 'Freedom (Shagmeister Mix)'

Disc: 2
1. 'The State I'm In'
2. 'Midnight Meditated'
3. 'Gone'
4. 'Might Just Take Your Life'
5. 'Muscle and Blood'
6. 'You Kill Me'
7. 'Medusa'
8. 'You Are the Music'
9. 'Your Love Is Alright'
10. 'Coast to Coast'
11. 'Purple Medley: Owed to "G" / Sail Away / Lay Down Stay Down / Gettin' Tighter'

The album kicks off with both the title track and 'You Kill Me' haring out of the traps, neck and neck as perfect rock partners of both voice and bass. Man alive, what a great way to open an album. They are then followed by the being-in-the-moment track 'Neverafter', which he backs up with both 'Rain On Me' and the addictive melodies of 'Curse.'

His cover of Jimi Hendrix's 'Freedom' is a right royal treat for all Hughes fans, and showcases the musicians perfectly on the album. Their collective sound, if not on this track alone, makes the hairs stand up on my neck! The subtle, yet heartfelt lyrics of 'The Truth Will Set You Free' is up next, with Hughes' dynamic voice brought out from under the hood once more for both 'Stoned In The Temple' and 'Too Far Gone.'

The quite brilliant-still-to-hear-today 'Second Son' is yet another gem on this fine album, and that's backed by the pop and soul of 'Take You Down.' The album then rounds out with the all out rocker 'Don't Look Away', and then finally comes to a close with an additional remix of 'Freedom ("Shagmesiter Mix").

Interestingly enough, the album features two songs co-written with funk guitarist Stevie Salas and performed by Hughes, Salas and former Guns N' Roses drummer Matt Sorum. The three of them had originally planned to put an album together, but this did not appear, thus 'You Kill Me' and 'Second Son' are the only tracks by the three of them to ever be released.

Also, and in closing, the expanded booklet features liner notes by Classic Rock magazine's Malcolm Dome based on new interviews with Glenn.

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'What You Don't Know: Deluxe Edition' [3CD]
Artist - Exposé

For those not in the know, Exposé is an American Freestyle vocal group. Primarily consisting of lead vocalists Ann Curless, Jeanette Jurado and Gioia Bruno, the group achieved much of their success between 1984 and 1993.

They soon became the first group to have four top ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart from its debut album, including the 1988 #1 hit "Seasons Change".

Indeed, in March 2015, Billboard magazine named the group the eighth most-successful girl group of all-time.

The group was popular in dance clubs, mainstream Top 40 and adult contemporary charts in the United States. The group actively toured and recorded music from 1984 to 1995, then retired from recording and public performances until 2003, and currently tour today.

What You Don't Know was Exposé's sophomore release to their debut Exposure (1987) and reached #33 (US Billboard Chart), becoming platinum sales status in the US and selling well in The Netherlands, Greece, Japan and Southeast Asia.

Originally released in 1989, What You Don't Know had five singles released from it: "What You Don't Know", "When I Looked at Him", "Tell Me Why" (which all peaked within the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100), and "Your Baby Never Looked Good In Blue" (top 20) and also "Stop, Listen, Look, & Think".

Now digitally remastered and expanded into a glorious three CD edition, What You Don't Know: Deluxe Edition showcases just perfectly one of the top 10 most successful girl groups of all time in the USA.

The trio defined the sound of dance music throughout the late '80s and early '90s. Gioia Bruno, Ann Curless and Jeanette Jurado were the face of freestyle, taking it from it's Latino club roots and splashing it across mainstream radio and TV.

This deluxe edition features 45 tracks including the original 11-song album alongside 35 bonus tracks, nine of which are previously unreleased. Four tracks make their first appearance on CD, which is super exciting for all Exposé around the world.

CD: 1
1. "What You Don't Know"
2. "Stop, Listen, Look & Think"
3. "Tell Me Why"
4. "When I Looked at Him"
5. "Let Me Down Easy"
6. "Still Hung Up on You"
7. "Your Baby Never Looked Good in Blue"
8. "Now That I Found You"
9. "Love Don't Hurt (Until You Fall)"
10. "Didn't It Hurt to Hurt Me"
11. "Walk Along with Me"

+ Bonus Tracks (Single Versions and B-Sides)
12. "What You Don't Know (Radio Mix)"
13. "When I Looked at Him (Single Version)"
14. "Tell Me Why (Radio Edit)"
15. "Your Baby Never Looked Good in Blue (Radio Remix)"
16. "Tell Me Why (7" Remix)"
17. "Stop, Listen, Look & Think (7" Single Version)"
18. "Walk Along with Me (Single Version)"

CD: 2 (Bonus Tracks: Remixes and Alternate Versions)
1. "What You Don't Know (Paradise Version)"
2. "When I Looked at Him (Suave Mix)"
3. "Tell Me Why (Extended Remix)"
4. "What You Don't Know (In Effect Mix)"
5. "When I Looked at Him (Suave Mix) (Acoustic Version - US Edit)"
6. "Tell Me Why (Groovehouse Mix)"
7. "Stop, Listen, Look & Think (House Mix)"
8. "What You Don't Know (Atomic Mix)"
9. "Tell Me Why (No Name Mix - Part 1 (Dub) / Part 2 (Vocals)"
10. "Stop, Listen, Look & Think (L.A. Mix)"
11. "What You Don't Know (Bass Mix)"

CD: 3 (Bonus Tracks: More Remixes and Alternate Versions)
1. "Tell Me Why (12" Remix)"
2. "Stop, Listen, Look & Think (Deep Thought Mix)"
3. "What You Don't Know (Crossover Mix)"
4. "Stop, Listen, Look & Think (Dub Mix)"
5. "Tell Me Why (Radio Edit)"
6. "Stop, Listen, Look & Think (7" Club Single Edit)"
7. "What You Don't Know (Might Hurt You Beats)"
8. "Stop, Listen, Look & Think (Ambient Mix)"
9. "Tell Me Why (Voice Me Why Percapella)"
10. "Stop, Listen, Look & Think (Lambada Mix Radio Edit)"
11. "What You Don't Know (Martinee Expo Mix)"
12. "Stop, Listen, Look & Think (12" Mix)"
13. "Tell Me Why (Dakeyne DMC Remix)"
14. "Stop, Listen, Look & Think (Dub)"

+ Bonus Tracks - Demos and Previously Unreleased Recordings
15. "What You Don't Know (Demo)"
16. "You Got Me Running"

Unlike Exposé's previous album, Exposure, What You Don't Know focuses on the vocals of Gioia Bruno, as she sings lead vocals on half of the tracks, whereas she only sang lead vocals on three of the tracks on their debut.

Also, for the record, Ann Curless sings lead on two tracks ("Stop, Listen, Look & Think" and "Now That I Found You"), and Jeanette Jurado on three ("When I Looked at Him," "Still Hung Up on You," and "Your Baby Never Looked Good in Blue").

Well, being a huge fan of this genre of music, I settled in for the afternoon with it, slipped in the first CD and let it waft over me. Musical greatness was instantly apparent as the original, and now remastered 11 track album went over its tracks. The upbeat title track kicks things of perfectly, with the free flowing dance floor slide of "Stop, Listen, Look & Think" backing it perfectly.

The Taylor Dayne-esque "Tell Me Why" is next and is followed by the smooth and sultry "When I Looked at Him". The beat is turned back up for "Let Me Down Easy" which in turn is followed by both "Still Hung Up on You" and the low-tempo ballad, complete with rock guitar, "Your Baby Never Looked Good in Blue".

Cranking the pop beats up we next get "Now That I Found You", which is most likely my favorite track of this original album, and that's backed by the pop-lock of "Love Don't Hurt (Until You Fall)". The soaring mid-tempo ballad "Didn't It Hurt to Hurt Me" and then the album is rounded out by the fun pop of "Walk Along with Me".

The bonus material on this collection features all of the singles, b-sides, remixes, and alternate versions that were released during the promotion of the original album. So this first disc rounds out with seven variations on the original song themes rather nicely.

The second and third discs count an amazing 27 tracks in total and what with most of them being extended mixes, remixes, 12" versions and such, well, trust me when I say that it was a good solid two hours before I finally came up for air at the culmination of the third disc!

Not saying that's a bad thing, how could it be, but what is apparent now is that when you hear the same song, no matter in what format, some seven or eight times over, it all starts to blur into one. Take, for instance, the title track, as that gets an amazing ten (10) different versions of it, and yet, to me, the original 7" single cut is still the one to beat.

This Deluxe Edition 3 CD set comes with a beautifully designed, carefully researched, and spectacularly detailed 24- page full color booklet that contains brand new liner notes, lyrics, photos, an illustrated discography, comprehensive credits, plus track annotations from Lewis A. Martinee who wrote 9 of the 11 songs and produced the original album.

'Deluxe Edition 3CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Results: Expanded Edition' [3CD+1DVD]
Artist - Liza Minnelli

For those not in the know, although it must be only a select few, Liza Minnelli is an American actress and singer. With a career spanning six decades, she has reached legendary status in multiple fields of entertainment and is among a small group of entertainers who have been honored with an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award. She is considered both an American icon and a gay icon.

Minnelli is the daughter of film actress and singer Judy Garland and film director Vincente Minnelli. She began her career as a teenager in New York City as a musical theatre actress and nightclub performer. Minnelli also regularly performed with her famous mother, including a 1964 joint engagement at the London Palladium and in Garland's own CBS television series The Judy Garland Show.

In 1965 she made her Broadway debut in the musical Flora the Red Menace and was awarded the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical, becoming the youngest ever recipient of the award. Critically lauded for her Academy Award nominated dramatic performance in the film The Sterile Cuckoo (1969), she rose to international stardom with the Emmy Award-winning TV special Liza with a Z (1972) and her performance as Sally Bowles in Cabaret (1972), which won her the Academy Award for Best Actress.

Her other film roles have included Golden Globe Award nominated performances in Lucky Lady (1975), New York, New York (1977) and Arthur (1981).

Minnelli began as a nightclub singer as an adolescent, making her professional nightclub debut at the age of 19 at the Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. That same year she began appearing in other clubs and on stage in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and New York City. Her success as a live performer led to her recording several albums for Capitol Records: Liza! Liza! (1964), It Amazes Me (1965), and There Is a Time (1966).

From 1968 to the 1970s, she also recorded her albums Liza Minnelli (1968), Come Saturday Morning and New Feelin' (both 1970) for A&M Records. She then released The Singer (1973) and Tropical Nights (1977) on Columbia Records, before switching labels for Results (1989) on Epic Records, Gently (1996) on Angel Records, and her last album, 201's brilliant Confessions on Decca Records.

Now released as a Remastered & Expanded Edition 4-Disc Box-Set via Cherry Red Records (UK), her aforementioned 1989 album Results was Liza Minnelli’s 9th studio album.

Produced by Pet Shop Boys and Julian Mendelsohn, the album was a success in the United Kingdom, where it reached #6 on the UK Albums Chart and was certified Gold by BPI (promoted by the lead single, 'Losing My Mind', which also reached #6 on the UK Singles Chart).

This brand new Expanded Edition of Results now provides the most comprehensive collection of the original album together with 21 remixes; some of them rare and never-before-released commercially or on CD.

Completing the package is an expanded DVD edition of the original promotional video collection Visible Results, but this time with two additional exclusive tracks; a UK TV appearance of Liza performing 'Love Pains' and the promotional video for Liza's last single for Sony, 1993's 'The Day After That'.

Disc: 1
1. 'I Want You Now'
2. 'Losing My Mind'
3. 'If There Was Love'
4. 'So Sorry, I Said'
5. 'Don't Drop Bombs'
6. 'Twist in My Sobriety'
7. 'Rent'
8. 'Love Pains'
9. 'Tonight Is Forever'
10. 'I Can't Say Goodnight'

Disc: 2
1. 'Losing My Mind (7" Mix)'
2. 'Losing My Mind (Extended Remix)'
3. 'Losing My Mind (Full Length Ultimix)'
4. 'Losing My Mind (Ultimix Dub)'
5. 'Losing My Mind (Almighty Club Mix)'
6. 'Losing My Mind (Almighty Dub)'
7. 'Losing My Mind (Almighty Transensual Mix)'
8. 'Love Pains (Steve Hurley's Radio Edit)'
9. 'Love Pains (Steve Hurley's Remix)'
10. 'Love Pains (Deep House Pains)'
11. 'Love Pains (Deep Dub)'
12. 'Love Pains (Steve Hurley's Instrumental)'

Disc: 3
1. 'Don't Drop Bombs (New 7" Mix)'
2. 'Don't Drop Bombs (Extended Remix)'
3. 'Don't Drop Bombs (Disconet Remix)'
4. 'Don't Drop Bombs (Exterminator Remix)'
5. 'Don't Drop Bombs (Peace and Love Remix)'
6. 'Don't Drop Bombs (Dub Mix)'
7. 'Don't Drop Bombs (Percapella)'
8. 'Don't Drop Bombs (Accapella)'
9. 'Don't Drop Bombs (Instrumental)'

Disc: 4 [DVD]
1. 'Losing My Mind' (Promo Video)
2. 'Don't Drop Bombs' (Promo Video)
3. 'So Sorry, I Said' (Promo Video)
4. 'Love Pains' (UK TV Appearance)
5. 'The Day After That' (Promo Video)

The story goes that in 1988 Minnelli had expressed an interest in doing a pop album, completely in contrast with her normal output when she joined Epic Records. Tom Watkins, the manager of the Pet Shop Boys was in the US offices at Epic around this time, promoting his new band Bros.

He heard that Minnelli had just been signed by Epic and suggested that Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe of The Pet Shop Boys could work with her on the album. As it happened, Minnelli had heard their song 'Rent' and loved it and was thrilled to hear that they may be interested to work with her.

The rest, as they say, is now history, for Results was born. Chock full of Broadway theatricality and pop sensibility, it was, and still is today, a musically flawless album of ten tracks.

The album kicks of with the true electro pop associated with Pet Shop Boys (a running theme here throughout, as you would imagine) on the mid-tempo 'I Want You Now' which is backed by the brilliant 'Losing My Mind' (which has always reminded me of having a Blancmange tone) and then the softly sung 'If There Was Love'.

The subtle, calm, gentle 'So Sorry, I Said' is a delight, and a song that I always expect Liza to break out in French to sing halfway through, and that's followed by both the upbeat, fist-pumpin' 'Don't Drop Bombs' and then a unique cover of Tanita Tikaram's 'Twist In My Sobriety'.

Liza's take on PSB's very own 'Rent' is up next, and tracks her history as a Broadway megastar, and that's backed by the electro glide of 'Love Pains', before the soft, stirring Broadwayesque ballad 'Tonight Is Forever' is brought upon us. The album then comes to a close on the sultry seventies wink of 'Can't Say Goodnight,' a track that serves as the most perfect way to round out this most perfect collection of Liza tracks.

Now, in truth, and as much as I hate saying this, but given that this is an Expanded Edition solely due to the amount of discs contained inside, the fact that two of them only feature two songs between them does make me cringe, sorry.

The second disc houses no fewer than 12 versions of 'Losing My Mind' where as the third disc brings us 9 versions of 'Don't Drop Bombs.' There's just no need to have 21 remixes of the two songs. No need at all. As you would full expect, they all blend into each other after the third time for each has been listened to and it is truly hard to keep pushing through each disc knowing the song inside out by now, and yet still getting sent through musical mazes and down musical spirals; all culminating in the exact same feeling no matter what version you are currently listening to.

The fourth disc is the DVD and has music videos and such that were previously-released as Visible Results, but now include two exclusive tracks. The first is a rather interesting UK TV appearance of Liza performing 'Love Pains' (where she really does put her heart and soul into her performance, of that there is no doubt), and the other is a promotional video for Liza's last single for Sony, 1993's 'The Day After That'.

But that's not all as this truly is an Expanded Edition because there's also a richly illustrated 40 page color booklet with essays written by playwright Barney Ashton (Andy Bell Is Torsten) that tell the story of the album itself and give insights into all it's component songs.

Results: Expanded Edition [3CD+1DVD] is being re-released by Cherry Red Records on September 25th, 2017.

'Results: Expanded Edition' (3CD/1DVD) Purchase Link

Liza Minnelli @ Facebook

Title - The NeverEnding Story: Expanded Collectors Edition
Artist - Giorgio Moroder

For those not in the know, the men behind this superb soundtrack are two highly impressive, dedicated people to the genre and are as renowned today as they ever were.

First up is Klaus Doldinger, a German saxophonist known for his work in jazz and as a film music composer. Doldinger's recurring jazz project Passport, started in 1971 (then called "Klaus Doldinger's Passport"), still enjoys huge success in Germany. In its influence it was sometimes called the European version of Weather Report. He was also the recipient of 1997's Bavarian Film Awards.

The other master of his craft is Giorgio Moroder, an Italian singer, songwriter, DJ and record producer. Indeed, furthermore, Moroder is frequently credited with pioneering Italo disco and electronic dance music.

He produced singles for Donna Summer during the late-1970s disco era and also produced a number of electronic disco songs for the Three Degrees. Add to that two albums for Sparks, a handful of songs on Bonnie Tyler's album Bitterblue, and in 1990, he composed "Un'estate italiana", the official theme song of the 1990 FIFA World Cup.

The two mastroes came together, along with pop singer Limahl (Kajagoogoo) in 1984 to create the score of the new film 'The NeverEnding Story'.

'The NeverEnding Story' is a West German / English language epic fantasy film based on the novel of the same name by Michael Ende, about a boy who reads a magical book that tells a story of a young warrior whose task is to stop a dark storm called the Nothing from engulfing a mystical world.

Thus, the film score of 'The NeverEnding Story' was composed by Klaus Doldinger and the theme song of the North American release of the film was composed by Giorgio Moroder (with lyrics by Keith Forsey), and performed by the aforementioned Limahl (with additional vocals from Beth Anderson).

It was released as a single in 1984 where it peaked at #4 on the UK Singles Chart, #6 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart, and at #17 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Digitally remastered and now released as a joyous Expanded Collector's Edition, The NeverEnding Story (via Cherry Red Records, UK) is an atmospheric electronic soundtrack at its finest.

Now complete with all the officially released remixes of the title track as sung by '80s heartthrob Limahl and the extended version of Giorgio Moroder's 'Ivory Tower' (that originally appeared as the b-side on Limahl's 'The NeverEnding Story' single), this limited edition black vinyl effect CD release is packaged in a miniature cardboard LP style sleeve with an exclusive six page color insert.

1. 'The NeverEnding Story' (Lihmal)
2. 'Swamps of Sadness' (Giorgio Moroder)
3. 'Ivory Tower' (Giorgio Moroder)
4. 'Ruined Landscape' (Giorgio Moroder)
5. 'Sleepy Dragon' (Giorgio Moroder)
6. 'Bastian's Happy Flight' (Klaus Doldinger)
7. 'Fantasia' (Klaus Doldinger)
8. 'Atreju's Quest' (Klaus Doldinger)
9. 'Theme of Sadness' (Klaus Doldinger)
10. 'Atreju Meets Falkor' (Klaus Doldinger)
11. 'Mirrorgate / Southern Oracle' (Klaus Doldinger)
12. 'Gmork' (Klaus Doldinger)
13. 'Moonchild' (Klaus Doldinger)
14. 'The Auryn' (Klaus Doldinger)
15. 'Happy Flight' (Klaus Doldinger)
16. 'Ivory Tower (12" Version)' (Giorgio Moroder)
17. 'The NeverEnding Story (12" Mix)' (Limahl)
18. 'The NeverEnding Story (12" Dance Mix)' (Limahl)
19. 'The NeverEnding Story (12" Dub Mix)' (Limahl)
20. 'The NeverEnding Story (Rusty 7" Mix)' (Limahl)
21. 'L' Histoire Sans Fin (French Language Version of 'The NeverEnding Story')' (Limahl)

Once we have listened to the always-brilliant-to-hear opening title track from Limahl, we get the stirring 'Swamps Of Sadness', the upbeat, flowing 'Ivory Tower', the beguiling 'Ruined Landscape', and the guitar-fed electro rock of 'Sleepy Dragon', all from Moroder.

The remainder of this original album continues with all works from Doldinger, the first being the sweeping 'Bastian's Happy Flight', which is backed by the short, twinkling 'Fantasia', 'Atreju's Quest', the appropriately entitled, wood wind inspired 'Theme Of Sadness' and then the upbeat 'Atreju Meets Falkor'.

The stirring, haunting 'Mirrorgate / Southern Oracle' is up next, and is backed by the uber short, Halloween-inspired 'Gmork'. The gentle, yet ultimately triumphant 'Moonchild' is then followed by the soothing 'The Auryn', and then the original album comes to a close with the joyous 'Happy Flight'.

This expanded version now comes with six more tracks, which are a pure, unadulterated delight to behold. The 12" Version of 'Ivory Tower' from Giorgio Moroder is just everything you would hope it would be, and then we get four (4) versions of Limahl's '80s poptastic 'The NeverEnding Story'. Wrapping it all up is a stunning French Language Version of that very same title track song sung by Limhal, 'L' Histoire Sans Fin' (and yes, it's a wonderful as you would could ever hope it should be).

The NeverEnding Story: Expanded Collector's Edition was re-released by Cherry Red Records on August 18th, 2017.

'The NeverEnding Story: Expanded Collector's Edition' Purchase Link

Title - 'A Love So Beautiful'
Artist - Roy Orbison & The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

For those not in the know, and with that said, why on earth wouldn't you already know this, but the late, great Roy Orbison (also known by his nickname The Big O), was an American singer-songwriter and musician, best known for his trademark sunglasses, distinctive, powerful voice, complex compositions, and dark emotional ballads.

Orbison grew up in Texas and began singing in a rockabilly/country and western band in high school until he was signed by Sun Records in Memphis. His greatest success came with Monument Records between 1960 and 1964, when 22 of his songs placed on the Billboard Top 40, including "Only the Lonely", "Crying", and "Oh, Pretty Woman".

The rest, as they say, is history and so as much as its been said his career stagnated from 1965 through the entire 1970s, a spectacular recently-released MGM 13CD box-set most certainly told a different musical story.

Now that story gets expanded on this truly magnificent, well thought out, well devised, and tonally perfect new album A Love So Beautiful. Brought forth by the brilliant Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the album features soaring Orbison vocals with brand-new Royal Philharmonic orchestral accompaniment, plus additional instrumentation by Roy’s sons and grandson.

1. "In Dreams"
2. "Crying"
3. "I’m Hurtin’"
4. "Oh, Pretty Woman"
5. "It’s Over"
6. "Dream Baby"
7. "Blue Angel"
8. "Love Hurts"
9. "Uptown"
10. "Mean Woman Blues"
11. "Only the Lonely"
12. "Running Scared"
13. "I Drove All Night"
14. "You Got It"
15. "A Love So Beautiful"

Released by Sony Music’s Legacy Recordings in partnership with Roy’s Boys LLC, the Nashville-based company founded by the late icon’s sons to administer their father’s catalog and safeguard his legacy, A Love So Beautiful will be available on CD, vinyl LP and digital formats come November 3rd, 2017.

Listening to all the tracks, now brought ever more alive by an on fire Orchestra (who have always been known for their high class works, in truth), this delightfully crisp, stunning, and wholly alive new album infuses Orbison’s best original vocal performances with the aforementioned orchestra in such a way you will swear Roy himself was back from the grave to re-record them himself!

This album is just that good, that different, that required in a genre that has played itself out to death since his passing, I think we can all agree. Consisting of hits and fan favorites such as “Oh, Pretty Woman,” “Crying,” “Only the Lonely,” “Love Hurts,” “Uptown,” up to his comeback in the late '80s before his untimely passing (“You Got It,” “I Drove All Night,” “A Love So Beautiful”), now all backed, embroiled with the world class musicianship of The Royal Philharmonic, London’s most notable orchestra, A Love So Beautiful is an album of the highest quality.

Indeed, in addition, Roy’s sons Wesley (guitar), Roy Jr. (guitar) and Alex (drums) provided instrumental backing on selected tracks, along with ten-month-old grandson Roy III (guitar, tambourine).

In closing, you all should know that there will also be released this fall the very first ever estate sanctioned Roy Orbison book, The Authorized Roy Orbison. Filled with hundreds of photographs, many never before seen, gathered from across the globe and uncovered from deep within the Orbison Vault, The Authorized Roy Orbison shows Roy as a young child and follows him all the way through to the peak of his stardom and up to his tragic end.

Written by Wesley, Roy Jr. and Alex Orbison – Roy’s Boys – with the help of Jeff Slate, no stone has been left unturned in order to illustrate the people, places, things and events that forged their father, the man behind those famous sunglasses.

Roy Orbison & The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra 'A Love So Beautiful' Purchase Link

Roy Orbison @ Facebook

Roy Orbison @ Twitter

Title - 'Look What the Blues Has Done for Me' [2CD]
Artist - Arthur Adams

For those not in the know, Arthur Adams is an American blues musician from Medon, Tennessee. Inspired by B.B. King and other 1950s artists, he played gospel music before attending college.

He moved to Los Angeles, and during the 1960s and 1970s he released solo albums and worked as a session musician. In 1985 he was tapped to tour on bass guitar with Nina Simone, and he staged a comeback in the 1990s when he released Back on Track, and became a respected Chicago blues player and bandleader in B.B. King's clubs.

A prolific songwriter, with a blues style that incorporated a variety of genres, and a vocalist with a funky, soul-driven sound, Adams is known for his collaboration with many of blues' elite and continues to perform to date.

And now, here in 2017, Arthur Adams releases his brand new album, his first in over eight years. Here on the 2CD Look What The Blues Has Done For Me, he proves that the blues only gets better with age as Adams and his band bring the goods on these 13 all new compositions.

The second disc is An Introduction to Arthur Adams and features cuts from some of his past albums, such as 1972's It's Private Tonight, 1975's Home Brew, 1977's Midnight Serenade, 1979's Love My Lady, and even the bonus track of a 12" Single version of "You Got The Floor."

Track List:
1. "You Pullin' My Leg"
2. "Look What The Blues Has Done For Me"
3. "Helpin' Hand Man"
4. "No Refunds"
5. "Low Down and Dirty"
6. "All Dressed Up"
7. "Elevator Ride"
8. "I've Had Enough"
9. "Dump You"
10. "Leftover From Yesterday"
11. "Gutbucket"
12. "If You Let Me Love You"
13. "Gorgeous"

Kicking off with the free flowing vibe of 'You Pullin' My Leg', it's a great way to not only get to know the great man, but to marvel in the fact that his voice still sounds so incredible today. The outstanding title track is next and takes the Blues down a notch, before turning it slightly up again for the vibrant 'Helpin' Hand Man.'

The low-fi, slow-poke feel of 'No Refunds' is along next and that's backed by one of the best tracks on this new album, the brilliant 'Low Down and Dirty.' Then comes 'All Dressed Up', the beautiful 'Elevator Ride' (a story of mood swings at its finest), and they are backed by both the soulful 'I've Had Enough' and it's vibe companion 'Dump You.'

Adams' outstanding guitar work on 'Leftover From Yesterday' is another highlight on this new album as is the sung-spoken 'Gutbucket' (a certain type of done you wrong music from down south), which in turn is followed by the gospel-tinged "If You Let Me Love You". The album of new tracks then rounds out with the upbeat, Motown-inspired 'Gorgeous.'

Celebrating the career of this blues troubadour, and, as aforementioned, inclusive of a second full-length disc of bonus tracks from Adams' '70s albums (all of which are appearing on this release for the first time ever on CD); plus the jazz-funk dance single "You Got The Floor" (which went to #1 on the UK Disco Chart in 1981), Look What The Blues Done For Me is an album not to be missed or overlooked, trust me.

CD Purchase Link

Arthur Adams @ Facebook

Title - 'Eyes of the Sun'
Artist - Otis

For those not in the know, deep in South Central Kentucky authentic music is alive and well through native musicians who are still testifying to brothers and sisters all around the world.

Otis has taken in a steady diet of Roots, Blues, and Classic Rock and Roll, and created their own unique sound. Otis draws from the raw electric sounds of Muddy Waters and stirs in a heavy influence of Southern sounds, courtesy of The Allman Brothers Band, Wet Willie, and more.

This sums up what the sound of Otis is musically and gives a glimpse into the sound and soul of the four-piece band.

The members of Otis consist of Boone Froggett vocals/guitar, Steve Jewell guitar, John Seeley bass, and Andrew Gilpin drums. The members of Otis share the same vision of writing and creating organic music while taking their audience to church by hitting on all emotions.

And now the Southern Blues Rockers Otis are about to release their sophomore album, Eyes Of The Sun this September 15th, 2017 via Purple Pyramid Records / Cleopatra Records. Executive produced by Paul Nelson, it already has ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons commenting "Stunning" as his reaction to listening to it!

1. 'Change'
2. 'Blind Hawg'
3. 'Eyes Of The Sun'
4. 'Home'
5. 'Shake You'
6. 'Turn To Stone'
7. 'Washed My Hands'
8. 'Lovin’ Man'
9. 'Relief In C'
10. 'Chasing The Sun'
11. 'Let Your Love Shine Down'

They kick things off with the heavy-hittin' 'Change' and back that up smoothly with both 'Blind Hawg' and the title twangin' track 'Eyes Of The Sun'. With obvious nods toward Lynyrd Skynyrd abounding, they polish that particular label in fine style with 'Home' and then back it with one of my own personal favorites, the guitar fest 'Shake You'.

The ballad 'Turn To Stone' is next and that's followed by the mid-tempo, searing guitar work of 'Washed My Hands'. The tempo is back up to max for 'Lovin' Man', which in turn is followed by a deceptively beautiful 'Relief In C.' Acoustic guitar twangin' with notes all kept within the C range, of course, it is another stand out highlight of this fantastic new album.

The album then rounds out with the slow poke 'Chasing The Sun' and then the storytelling journey within 'Let Your Love Shine Down'. A cross between a Gospel track and a backwoods BBQ sing-along, the track is just perfect to end an album that should give these guys everything they deserve on the Billboard Album's Chart.

Otis - 'Eyes Of The Sun' CD Purchase Link


Otis @ Facebook

Title - 'In My Head'
Artist - Unknown Hero

For those not in the know, Unknown Hero is a musical creator on a mission. He combines his extensive musical talents, which include composition, production, keyboards, and voice, with his lifelong love of animation, heroes, and their stories to offer unique and inclusive musical and visual experiences.

With the release of his brand new album In My Head this October 13th, 2017 via his own label, Unknown Hero Music, Unknown Hero brings his fans something a little extra. For this new CD comes in a 4-panel book format with artwork by Unknown Hero featuring four of the characters from Altarz.

1. 'Be Alright' (featuring Kate Wild)
2. 'Monsters In My Head'
3. 'Her Name'
4. 'A Minor 2125'
5. 'Hero Beware'
6. 'One More Day'
7. 'Make It Happen'
8. 'Dance'
9. 'Keep Moving Me'
10. 'Going For A Ride'
11. 'Ask Me'
12. 'Hero's Groove'
13. 'Close My Door'
14. 'Be Alright' (Instrumental)
15. 'Monsters' (Instrumental)

As you listen to this vibrant album, it's important you know the genesis of it, the game plan for the tracks, as a whole, so to speak. For each track on In My Head has a place in a dystopian drama unfolding in the year 2125 on the Planet Altarz, where Lord Kraven and the UNKNOWN HERO are moving toward a showdown.

Years before, Lord Kraven abolished any practice or mention of music. But recently he has learned that a mysterious figure known only as the Uknown Hero has been depositing strange music-generating devices around the city.

A growing band of rebels are plotting ways to support his apparent mission: to give music back to the people.

Ergo, this stunning electronic album, one that blends elements of Downtempo, Trap, Dubstep, Rock, Funk, R&B, and Hip-Hop features not only a wide variety of tracks; many of which blur genre boundaries, but at the same time weave together some of the finest musical storytelling I've heard in a long, long time.

Unknown Hero - 'In My Head' Pre-Order CD Purchase Link

Unknown Hero @ Facebook

Title - 'The Salentino Cuts'
Artist - UFO

For those not in the know, UFO are an English rock band that was formed in London in 1969. They became a transitional group between early hard rock and heavy metal and the new wave of British heavy metal.

The band's current line-up includes vocalist Phil Mogg, guitarist Vinnie Moore, bass guitarist Rob De Luca, keyboardist and rhythm guitarist Paul Raymond and drummer Andy Parker.

That said, like many rock bands of their day, they have gone through several line-up changes, leaving Mogg as the only constant member, and had two hiatuses (1983–1984 and again from 1989 to 1991).

The band are also notable for featuring former Scorpions guitarist and MSG founder Michael Schenker, who was a member of UFO from 1973 to 1978 and again, occasionally, between 1993 and 2003, when Moore replaced him.

Over a career spanning 48 years, UFO have released 22 studio albums, 14 live recordings and 16 compilation albums. They achieved moderate success in the late 1970s and early 1980s with several albums and singles (including their 1979 live album Strangers in the Night) in the UK and US Top 40 charts, and have sold over 10 million records worldwide.

Now available on both CD & Limited Edition two different vinyl LP pressings - one splatter vinyl and one white vinyl - their brand new album is entitled The Salentino Cuts. Released on September 29th, 2017 via Cleopatra Records, this is their very first ever covers album paying homage to a dozen of their personal favorites.

1. 'Heartful Of Soul'
2. 'Break On Through (To The Other Side)'
3. 'River Of Deceit'
4. 'The Pusher'
5. 'Paper In Fire'
6. 'Rock Candy'
7. 'Mississippi Queen'
8. 'Ain’t No Sunshine'
9. 'Honey-Bee'
10. 'Too Rolling Stoned'
11. 'Just Got Paid'
12. 'It’s My Life'

Kicking things off in fine rock style with 'Heartful Of Soul' (The Yardbirds), they then cover The Doors' 'Break On Through', before admirably tackling both 'River of Deceit' (Mad Season) and Steppenwolf's 'The Pusher.'

On an album that I had readily anticipated a harder, more metal set of choices to cover once I'd heard of its imminent release, it still has to be said that their choices are bold, their musicianship tight, and the final products are truly worthy of greater attention.

Indeed, Vinnie himself has said, "Making this covers record was a blast for me. I thoroughly enjoyed putting a little of my own spin on these tunes that I grew up with. I played ZZ TOP and Robin Trower songs about a gazzilion times onstage over the years. it was great to actually get to record some of my old faves."

Moving on and we next get a cover of John Mellencamp's brilliant 'Paper In Fire', before Montrose's explosive 'Rock Candy' springs forth. One of my favorites from this new UFO album, for sure. Next up is 'Mississippi Queen' (Mountain), a chancy, but ultimately rewarding cover of Bill Withers' 'Ain't No Sunshine', 'Honey Bee' (which is Tom Petty's cover, not that of the same-named song from Blake Shelton!), and then a really bluesy guitar session within 'Too Rolling Stoned' from Robin Trower.

The album then rounds out with ZZ Top's 'Just Got Paid' and what I was expecting to be the most surprising cover song on here, 'It's My Life.' For I was genuinely hoping it would be an ambitious have-a-go at Bon Jovi's hyper pop rock version, but no, it's a flashback salute of admiration to The Animals cut from 1965. Which is just fine also, of course.

Review By - Russell A. Trunk

UFO - 'The Salentino Cuts' CD Purchase Link


Title - 'Honkin' & Jivin' At the Palomino' [CD+DVD]
Artist - Big Jay McNeely

For those not in the know - which is perfectly fine, because I love this kind of music with a passion, and yet had no idea of this bands existence before the CD arrived here for review - Big Jay McNeely (born Cecil James McNeely) is an American rhythm and blues saxophonist.

Inspired by Illinois Jacquet and Lester Young, he teamed with his older brother Robert McNeely, who played baritone saxophone, and made his first recordings with drummer Johnny Otis, who ran the Barrelhouse Club that stood only a few blocks from McNeely's home. Shortly after he performed on Otis's "Barrel House Stomp" and son after that Ralph Bass, A&R man for Savoy Records, promptly signed him to a recording contract.

Indeed, it was Bass's boss, Herman Lubinsky, who suggested the stage name Big Jay McNeely, because Cecil McNeely did not sound commercial. McNeely's first hit was "The Deacon's Hop," an instrumental which topped the Billboard R&B chart in early 1949. As it turned out, the single was his most successful of his three chart entries.

And now here in 2017 - and following on the heels of last years brilliant, vibrant Blowin' Down the House: Big Jay's Latest & Greatest, we now get Honkin’ & Jivin’ at the Palomino (CD+DVD). Once again released via the Cleopatra Blues record label this past September 15th, 2017, this is a wonderful capturing of this live archive release from the blues great.

1. 'Palomino Hop'
2. 'I Can’t Stop Loving You'
3. 'All That Wine Is Gone'
4. 'There Is Something On Your Mind'
5. 'Pretty Girls Everywhere'
6. 'Honky Tonk'
7. 'Young Girl Blues'
8. 'Big Jay Shuffle'

This man, this soulful singer, and downright incredible sax player is one of a kind now in my eyes. His big, booming voice immediately takes control of the opening track, "Palomino Hop"" and from there on in, well, this CD is simply unstoppable.

The rhythm and blues saxophonist's new CD showcases the undisputed King of honking saxophone and jump blues bringing down the house in a raucous live show at the legendary Palomino club in North Hollywood, August 15th, 1989!

Although a short set of just 8 tracks, cuts such as 'All That Wine Is Gone', 'There Is Something On Your Mind' and both 'Young Girl Blues' and his signature 'Big Jay Shuffle' are enough to make you want to go out and buy his entire recorded collections. Which you should, in all truth, as there is nobody finer, now or then, in this musical genre.

Big Jay McNeely - 'Honkin' & Jivin' At the Palomino' [CD+DVD] Purchase Link


Title - 'Tokyo Dogs'
Artist - Slaughter And The Dogs

Slaughter And The Dogs, the true legends of Manchester UK punk rock have returned with a brand new album of guitar-driven savagery, their first in 15 years!

Formed in 1975 in Wythenshawe, Manchester, England, they were one of the first UK punk bands to sign with a major label, Decca Records. Their original lineup consisted of Wayne Barrett (vocals), Mick Rossi (guitar), Brian "Mad Muffet" Grantham (drums) and Howard "Zip" Bates (bass).

Interestingly enough, the name "Slaughter And The Dogs" was actually created by singer Barrett in 1975 by combining the names of Diamond Dogs and Slaughter on 10th Avenue, two of his favorite albums. They were one of the first punk rock bands in North West England and supported the Sex Pistols at their now-legendary gig at Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall on 20 July 1976. This concert, more than any other single event, spawned Manchester's punk scene, which was concentrated around the Electric Circus Club.

Featuring founding members, guitarist Mick Rossi and vocalist Wayne Barrett, their brand new album, following on the heels of last years Vicious, is called Tokyo Dogs and is a set of 16 tracks recorded live in Tokyo whilst on tour.

Released on August 25th, 2017 via Cleopatra Records, and available on both CD and your choice of red or yellow vinyl, this dynamite live recording features versions of the band’s best loved songs, including 'Where Have All The Boot Boys Gone?' and 'Cranked Up Really High' plus plus out of this world covers of Velvet Underground’s 'I’m Waiting For My Man' and 'White Light White Heat'.

1. 'I Got Your Number'
2. 'Who Are the Mystery Girls'
3. 'The Bitch'
4. 'You're a Bore'
5. 'Hell in New York'
6. 'Message from a Ghost'
7. 'We Don't Care'
8. 'Boston Babies'
9. 'Dame to Blame'
10. 'I'm Waiting for My Man'
11. 'I'm Mad'
12. 'Situations'
13. 'Quick Joey Small'
14. 'Where Have All the Boot Boys Gone?'
15. 'White Light White Heat'
16. 'Cranked Up Really High'

After some Japanese intro's, Slaughter And The Dogs launch into the powerhaus 'I Got Your Number' and after an arriba, arriba outcry, back it up with the trio of old school punk-inspired flashbacks 'Who Are The Mystery Girls,' the guitar-pumped 'The Bitch' and the total balls to the wall rock out of 'You're A Bore.'

'Hell In New York' - and it's furious drumming, is then backed by the melodic mid tempo of 'Message From A Ghost,' which in turn is followed by the guitar drum fest of 'We Don't Care.' With a continual crowd roaring approval, they move on with the ferocious pairing of both 'Boston Babies' and 'Dame To Blame', and then bring the tempo down (for a hot second) for the Velvet Underground's ballad 'I'm Waiting For My Man.'

Next up is a great 'I'm Mad' which is backed by 'Situating', which again showcases the drumming of "Mad Muffet" and the guitar solo work of Mick Rossi, and that's followed by 'Quick Joey Small' and after a short encore, they're back with 'Where Have All The Boot Boys Gone?'.

Wayne Barrett's vocals couldn't have sounded any better here live and as they head into the two final cuts of the night - a cover of the Velvet Underground's infamous 'White Light White Heat' and 'Cranked Up Really High' - it's obvious this band still have a lot to give their fans and the genre of music, in general.

Slaughter And The Dogs - 'Tokyo Dogs' CD Purchase Link


Title - 'One Earth, One People, Come Together'
Artist - Tiger-Tiger

Inspired by the nature of the Florida Everglades, their American Indian culture and Chief Buffalo Tiger (their Father) of the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida, the Tiger-Tiger band career highlights include initial recordings at Woodstock (later released in Germany on Sony’s ZYX label).

Based in Miami, Florida national recording artists Tiger-Tiger have headlined and graced the stages for numerous festivals and concerts over the years. They were featured in the First Miami Pop Festival along with Jimi Hendrix, Procol Harum, & Led Zeppelin.

In fact the actual jacket that Lee Tiger wore on stage at the first Miami Pop Festival in May 1968 has been put on permanent display in the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood. The jacket was designed and created by Stephen Tiger. At The Seminole Tribes Big Rock Pow Wow they performed with Chicago, Edgar & Johnnie Winter.

Released this past September 8th, 2017 via Arctic Music Group, Lee Tiger's new CD reflects his desire of inspiring One Earth, One People, Come Together (subtitled Chapter II) saving the Earth and joining humanity together as one.

Lee's father, Buffalo Tiger, always told him that we all share this Earth with many colors of humans and we must all learn to live together and love one another in harmony with our Mother Earth.

As much of the Earth has seen and felt and realized the human compassion and love has been affected by negative forces, this CD is dedicated to all-things Peace, Love and Happiness for All.

1. 'One Earth One People'
2. 'It Takes Time'
3. 'Everytime I Think About You'
4. 'If Your Heart Is True'
5. 'Summer Lover Man'
6. 'Trust Me'
7. 'Across The Blue'
8. 'Searching For You'

Combining elements of Latin percussion and the Native American Heart-Beat sound embedded in all compositions, Lee Tiger begins the musical proceedings with the chant for an uprising of 'One People One Earth' and backs that up with both the flowing pop vibes of both 'It Takes Time' and the '60s flashback sound of 'Everytime I Think About You.'

The mid-tempo 'If Your Heart Is True' is backed by the 'Summer Lover Man' ("love is all you need"), which in turn is followed by the '60s pop sounds of 'Trust Me.' The album, which as you might have followed along with here, starts out on topic of the message aforementioned in the intro, then brings us nothing but freeflowing tracks of flashback pop gems, to my mind.

Rounding out with the heavier guitar work of 'Across The Blue' and the out of nowhere electronic pop buzz of 'Searching For You,' trust me when I say that One Earth, One People, Come Together may well come under the touted banner of American Indian culture, but when 7 out of the 8 tracks are pop rock blues, the album begins to truly steer its own course.

Tiger-Tiger - 'One Earth One People Come Together' CD Purchase Link

www.CleopatraRecords https:///

Title - 'Super Ape Returns To Conquer'
Artist - Lee Scratch Perry & Subatomic Sound System

For those not in the know, Lee "Scratch" Perry is a Jamaican music producer and inventor noted for his innovative studio techniques and production style.

In fact, Perry was a pioneer in the 1970s development of dub music with his early adoption of remixing and studio effects to create new instrumental or vocal versions of existing reggae tracks.

He has worked with and produced for a wide variety of artists, including Bob Marley and the Wailers, Junior Murvin, the Congos, Max Romeo, Adrian Sherwood, the Beastie Boys, Ari Up, and many others.

The Subatomic Sound System was founded in 1999 by John Emch and Noah Shachtman. Subatomic Sound System brought together musicians, producers, DJs and visual artists from a variety of backgrounds and traditions primarily based in New York City and Brooklyn to form a record label and collective.

They then built on a combination of new music technology and traditional instruments to produce music across a variety of genres, often combining genres, in an effort to adapt 1970s’ Jamaican sound system culture and dub studio techniques to current music genres and forms of live performance.

1. 'New York Subatomic Energy'
2. 'Zion's Blood'
3. 'Chase the Devil' (featuring Jandon Blakkamore & Screechy Dan)
4. 'War Ina Babylon'
5. 'Dread Lion'
6. 'Patience Dub'
7. 'Super Ape'
8. 'Curly Dub (Sing Along Jah Jah Children)'
9. 'Underground Roots' (featuring Ari Up of The Slits)
10. 'Dub Along' (featuring Screechy Dan)
11. 'Three in One (Go Feya)' (featuring Screechy Dan)
12. 'So It Conquer'
13. 'Croaking Lizard' (dubstrumental mix)
14. 'Super Ape' (dubstrumental mix)
15. 'Dread Lion' (dubstrumental mix)

Trust me when I say that this new album is a must-have for all Lee "Scratch" Perry and reggae lovers alike! You can quite understand why back home he is called "The Upsetter"! His sound upset the entire reggae industry at the time, because it was so psychotic and dread and successful. He tried to take the crown from King Tubby, but as we all know, that never really happened.

That said, , out September 22nd, 2017 via Subatomic Sound Records, is one of the best albums released this year, for my money, and in my humble opinion.

Forty-one years after Lee "Scratch" Perry defined dub music with his seminal 1976 Super Ape album, he returns with NYC's Subatomic Sound System to conquer again, reincarnating the magic of his Black Ark studio in Jamaica, heavy on Ethiopian horns and percussion, while reinvigorating it with the 21st century booming bass and beats that capture the energy of their innovative live electronic show.

"Scratch" co-produced Super Ape Returns to Conquer with Subatomic Sound co-founder Emch. The pair recorded the LP at Subatomic Sound Studios in Brooklyn and "Scratch"'s home studio, the New Ark, in Jamaica.

The LP features Troy Shaka Simms and Omar Little on horns, Screechy Dan on vocals and Larry McDonald – who played on the original Super Ape – on drums and percussion. Ari Up, the late singer for the Slits, contributed vocals to "Underground Roots."

Lee Scratch Perry & Subatomic Sound System - 'Super Ape Returns To Conquer' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Troublemaker'
Artist - Stephanie K

Hailing from our very own hometown of Detroit ("Rock City"), MI, Award-winning singer-songwriter Stephanie K will soon release (October 20th, 2017) a quite brilliant 6-track debut EP entitled Troublemaker via Woodward Avenue Records.

So, with her label being named after the infamous long road that joins Royal Oak all the way to Pontiac, and herself having been born and raised here in our beloved city, it's obvious that these 6 brand new tracks are going to not only be personal, but unrelentingly powerful too.

1. 'Tonight (Radio Edit)'
2. 'Story Of A Broken Heart'
3. 'Trouble'
4. 'Hard For Me'
5. 'Breaking Up'
6. 'Tonight'

Consisting of 6 tracks, albeit the first and last one are the same one (the former being a Radio Edit), Troublemaker is the kind of music that grabs your attention from the off and never lets it go - whether you like it or not. Truly, it is a sound that, sure, we've heard generated before within the industry over the years, but the way Stephanie K orchestrates her vocals around the lyrics for this EP is very impressive, and rarely done in such a determined fashion.

The opening (and closing) track is 'Tonight', a Hi-NRG cut that immediately craves your attention. The electronic bass lines and throbbing beats meld sweetly with the lyrics written by Trend Def (aka Mike Gonsolin and Nick Nittoli).

And whereas Trend Def also produced this EP, Stephanie K herself wrote the remaining 4 tracks with four-time Grammy winner Michael J. Powell, a man who has had tremendous success in the past with such acts as Anita Baker, Aretha Franklin, and Gladys Knight.

On the next track, 'Story Of A Broken Heart', Stephanie K quite literally story tells her way through the track, the underlying emotions that of apologizing for breaking the heart of her lover. Drum beats and horns come to the fore next on the rough and tumble exploits of 'Trouble', before guitar work takes us by the scruff of the neck into the synth-laden world of 'Hard For Me'.

Those synth beats then become amalgamated with the rock/pop world that we all know and love on the best song on the album, for my money, the tell-it-like-it-is 'Breaking Up'. A track where wearing your heart on your sleeve can leave you dangerously close to a full emotional breakdown, the EP then rounds out with the aforementioned second version of 'Tonight' - which by then, if you're anything like me, you'll just hit play again on the whole thing anyway.

Stephanie K - 'Troublemaker' EP CD Purchase Link


Stephanie K @ Twitter

Stephanie K @ Facebook

Title - The Bottom Line Archive Series: In Their Own Words
Artist - Lou Reed & Kris Krisofferson

The Bottom Line Archive Series presents its next release: the once-in-a-lifetime live performance by Lou Reed and Kris Kristofferson at the height of their craft entitled Lou Reed & Kris Kristofferson - In Their Own Words with Vin Scelsa.

Released this past September 15th, 2017, this incredible once-in-a-lifetime pairing of two songwriting legends was recorded at the legendary Bottom Line club in Greenwich Village on February 2nd, 1994.

Indeed, the album presents an evening of music, songwriting and storytelling quite like I've never heard either speak so openly, so honestly about their tracks. Aided in their vocal direction by introductions from Vin Scelsa, listening to this now makes you wish you had been there on that most majestic of nights.

Disc 1:
1. Introduction
2. Vin Scelsa Introduces Lou Reed
3. 'Betrayed'
4. VS Introduces Kris Kristofferson
5. 'Shipwrecked'
6. LR on Songwriting
7. 'Legendary Hearts'
8. KK on His Childhood & Songwriting
9. 'Sunday Morning Coming Down/The Pilgrim'
10. LR on New York
11. 'Strawman'
12. KK talks about 'Strawman'
13. 'Sam’s Song'
14. LR on Writing for Wim Wenders
15. 'Why Can’t I Be Good'
16. LR on Autobiographical Songs

Disc 2:
1. KK on Nashville
2. 'Help Me Make It Through The Night'
3. LR on Velvet Underground & Warhol
4. 'Sweet Jane'
5. KK on Writing
6. T'o Beat The Devil'
7. LR on Writing Prose
8. 'Romeo Had Juliet'
9. 'Burden of Freedom'
10. KK on 'Me and Bobby McGee'
11. 'Me and Bobby McGee'
12. KK on 'Bird On A Wire'
13. 'Bird On A Wire'
14. 'Tracks of My Tears'

In this highly intimate setting, The Bottom Line Archive brings us a 2CD set containing 30 tracks between the two of them of acoustic musical wonderment. An historic event to have not only record, but to have been at that sight, The Bottom Line Archive label is distributed via BFD/Red; BFD is a division of Bob Frank Entertainment.

As you can well imagine, this is a real treat to hear both these guys together! Some really rare gems on here and very interestingly not only do they sing, but both Lou and Kris talk back and forth throughout also.

They discuss little moments of songwriting trivia, where they were in life when certain songs were being written, about their lives and albums, in general, and at the same time put on one incredible live show.

The audio is very clear and up to current day standards which means back over 20 years ago when it was originally recorded that they must have had a very, very sound board. One capable of recording high quality and crystal clear even then. No DVD included of the event, which is a same as it would have made for the ultimate package of this moment caught in time, but this will do for now.

Lou Reed & Kris Kristofferon - 'The Bottom Line Archive Series: In Their Own Words' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Carnival III: The Fall and Rise of a Refugee'
Artist - Wyclef Jean

The Carnival was the debut album released by American hip hop musician Wyclef Jean back in 1997.

The album was a critical and commercial success, reaching #16 on the US Billboard 200 chart whilst receiving two Grammy Award nominations.

Likewise, 2007's release, Carnival II: Memoirs of an Immigrant was also a hit album. His sixth studio album by then, The Fugees' Wyclef Jean had everybody hooked and was not about to let them go.

Carnival III: The Rise and Fall of a Refugee is the 3rd installment in the Carnival series and features contributions from Emeli Sandé, Supah Mario, The Knocks, and Lunch Money Lewis. Released September 13th, 2017 via Sony/Legacy Recordings, the man known for his wealth of musical influences from jazz to classic rock to reggae has brought forth yet another incredible musical reveal.

1. 'Slums'
2. 'Turn Me Good'
3. 'Borrowed time'
4. 'Fela Kutt'
5. 'Warrior'
6. 'Shotta Boys'
7. 'Double Duthc'
8. 'What Happened To Love'
9. 'Carry On'
10. 'Concrete Rose'
11. 'Trapicabana'
12. 'Thank God For The Culture'

'Slums' (featuring Jazzy Amra, H1DaHook and Marx Solvila) soft raps a story that tells what we assume to be Wyclef's youth growing up, and that bleeds into the mid-tempo reggae of 'Turn Me Good' ("We're gonna make love all night, like a Marvin Gaye song"), and then that's backed by both the freeflowing soul of 'Borrowed Time' and the upbeat Prince-esque funk 'Fela Kuti'.

The forthrightness horns of 'Warrior' (featuring T-Baby) make this one of the stand out tracks on this new album and he backs that up with the duo of the reggae dub track 'Shotta Boys' (featuring STIX) and the harder rap of 'Double Dutch' (featuring D.L. Hughley and Eric Nimmer). The Usher dancefloor vibe of 'What Happened To Love' (featuring Lunch Money Lewis and The Knocks) is next and that's followed by the lush 'Carry On' featuring Emeli Sandé.

Next up is the slow rap of 'Concrete Rose' ("Now my name on fire, everywhere like hot wings"). Featuring Hannah Eggen and Izolan, Wyclef then bleeds that seamlessly into the vibrantly brilliant Latin-flavored 'Trapicabana' (featuring Riley), before the album rounds out in style with smokey jazz/blues bar piano styling of 'Thank God For The Culture' (featuring Marx Solvila, J'Mika, and Leon Lacey).

As you can tell, this brand new album embraces many musical genres, including hip hop, reggae, folk, disco, soul, Son Cubano and Haitian music and from start to finish it is, quite easily, one of the best albums of 2017.

Wyclef Jean - 'Carnival III' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Inspirational'
Artist - Celtic Thunder

For those not quite in the know, Celtic Thunder is a well-renowned Irish singing group and stage show known for its eclectic, theatrical style show.

The group is also backed by the Celtic Thunder Band on their concert tours, and their live shows are known for the use of dramatic set pieces (often invoking symbols of ancient Celtic mythology), visual effects, and highly choreographed staging.

Indeed, since the original group's formation in 2007, Celtic Thunder has released twelve albums as well as ten live performances on DVD, three of which were split into two releases.

Celtic Thunder's brand new album is entitled Inspirational and it is a wonderous mix of Christian and Inspirational songs that we all know and love.

1. 'From The Ground Up'
2. 'If I Can Dream'
3. 'Feels Like Home'
4. 'Down To The River To Pray'
5. 'Kindred Spirits'
6. 'May The Road Rise To Meet You'
7. 'Unanswered Prayers'
8. 'Be Still, My Soul'
9. 'The Voyage'
10. 'Amazing Grace'
11. 'In The Garden'
12. 'Hallelujah'
13. 'You Light Up My Life'
14. 'Crying In The Chapel'
15. 'The Preacher & The Stranger'
16. 'How Great Thou Art'
17. 'To Where You Are'
18. 'You Raise Me Up'
19. 'Comfort Ye'
20. 'Danny Boy' (2017)
21. 'You'll Never Walk Alone'

As the band themselves have since said, "The songs were chosen because they inspire us and make us thankful for our wonderful audience who give us the chance to do what we love."

Songs such as the powerful opener 'From the Ground Up', a stunning version of Elvis Presley's 'If I Can Dream', a stellar retelling of Alan Jackson's 'In The Garden', 'Down To The River To Pray' (Alison Krauss), 'Unanswered Prayers' (Garth Brooks), and amongst others their brilliant rendition of 'The Preacher & the Stranger' (Joey & Rory) is enough to hopefully make this new album a part of your upcoming Holiday season.

Also inclusive of Gospel standards such as 'Amazing Grace', 'Hallelujah', and 'You Raise Me Up', they close out the 21-track album with an incredibly stirring take on 'You'll Never Walk Alone' by Gerry & the Pacemakers.

Trust me when I say that all these songs performed by Celtic Thunder are yet another fine example of what this group can do within this genre of the business that, to my mind, can become very "samey" after a while. That can never be said about anything that Celtic Thunder musically bring to the table, and God Bless them for that.

Celtic Thunder - 'Inspirational' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'To The Moon and Back: 20 Years and Beyond ...'
Artist - Blackmore's Night

For those not quite in the know, Blackmore's Night is a British/American traditional folk rock duo formed in 1997, consisting of Ritchie Blackmore (acoustic and electric guitar) and Candice Night (lead vocals, lyricist and multi-instrumentalist).

Having released ten studio albums, their last being the much lauded All Our Yesterdays (2015), they have now brought forth an incredible showcasing of their talents on the wondrous new 2CD release entitled To The Moon and Back: 20 Years and Beyond ....

CD 1:
1. 'Shadow of the Moon'
2. 'Spirit of the Sea'

3. 'Renaissance Faire'
4. 'Play Minstrel Play'
5. 'Under a Violet Moon'
6. 'Spanish Nights'
7. 'Fires at Midnight'
8. 'Ghost of a Rose' 10. 'Village Lanterne'
11. 'The Circle'
12. '25 Years'
13. 'Dandelion Wine'
14. 'Home Again (Live)'

CD 2:
1. 'I Surrender' (Bonus Track)
2. 'Moonlight Shadow' (2017 Version)
3. 'Somewhere Over the Sea' (2017 Version)
4. 'Writing on the Wall' (2017 Version)
5. 'Coming Home' (2017 Version)
6. 'Ghost of John' (Bonus Track)
7. 'Minstrel Hall'
8. 'Possum Goes to Prague'
9. 'Durch Den Wald Zum Bach Haus'
10. 'Nur Eine Minute'
11. 'Village Dance'
12. 'Land of Hope and Glory' (2017 Single Version)
+ Bonus Video

Out now via Minstrel Hall Music, with their debut album Shadow Of the Moon having been released some 20 years ago (1997), it was obviously now time to take stock of their catalogue and give their fans a very, very nice gems-all-in-the-same-place treat.

Chock full of a symbiosis of medieval melodies, mystical lyrics and modern musical arrangements, Blackmore and his muse, his wife Candice, have steadfastly stood behind their idea of fusing classical elements and Renaissance music from day one.

Indeed, their many gold awards coupled with a worldwide fan base underline their status as the premiere act in their chosen genre. With this new 2CD set, fans and novices alike can celebrate 20 years of Blackmore's Night.

The first CD contains 13 of the best tracks from their successful albums plus an exciting nine-minute live version of the fan favorite 'Home Again'. Whilst the second CD gives us five never-before-released new versions, two further bonus tracks, five of their favorite instrumental tracks, as well as the current single by Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, 'Land Of Hope And Glory' PLUS a bonus video!

Aside from the known tracks on the first CD, the second CD is where it's going to garner the most attention, one feels. Those aforementioned five never-before-released new versions include 'Moonlight Shadow', 'Somewhere Over The Sea', 'Writing On The Wall', 'Coming Home' and 'Land Of Hope And Glory', with the bonus tracks of both 'I Surrender' and 'Ghost Of John' just adding to the magic of this release for their fans.

Blackmore's Night - 'To The Moon and Back: 20 Years and Beyond ...' 2CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Home: Works for Solo Harp'
Artist - Elizabeth Hainen

For those not quite in the know, Elizabeth Hainen has earned an international reputation as one of classical music’s great harp ambassadors.

Hailed by the Washington Post for her “unusual presence with silky transparency” and by the New York Times for her “earthy solidarity,” Hainen has thrilled audiences throughout the world with programs showcasing the diversity—and virtuosity—of her modern-day instrument.

As Solo Harpist with The Philadelphia Orchestra for over 20 years, she has presented numerous featured performances to captivated audiences and has been praised by the Philadelphia Inquirer for “her ability to blend and color the musical line,” and “to find transparency in an almost timeless atmosphere.”

Out now via Avie Records, this uber talented young lady now brings forth a varied and innovative portrait of private moments in her ode to the pleasures of home. Therein simply entitled Home: Works for Solo Harp, the 16 compositions included feature favorite pieces from those enjoyable hours spent playing her instrument alone or in partnership with her percussionist husband.

1. Organ Concerto in B-Flat Major, HWV 294: III. Allegro moderato (Arr. for Harp)
2. Nouvelles suites de pièces de clavecin, RCT 6, Suite in G Major: XVI. L'Égyptienne (Arr. for Harp)
3. Second livre de pièces de clavecin: V. Les Baricades Mistérieuses (Arr. for Harp)
4. Troisième livre de pièces de clavecin: VI. Le Tic-Toc-Choc ou les Maillotins (Arr. for Harp)
5. Prelude and Fugue in C Minor, BWV 847: Prelude (Arr. for Harp)
6. Prelude and Fugue in C Major, BWV 846: Prelude (Arr. for Harp)
7. Metamorphosis 2 (Arr. for Harp)
8. Klavierbüchlein für Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: IV. Prelude in D Minor, BWV 926 (Arr. for Harp)
9. Violin Sonata No. 5 in F Minor, BWV 1018: I. Largo (Arr. for Harp) [Arr. Camille Saint-Saëns]
10. Cycling Along with You (Arr. Eleanor Fell)
11. Préludes Book I, L.117: No. 8, The Maid with the Flaxen Hair (Arr. for Harp)
12. Partita No. 5 in G Major, BWV 829: I. Praeambulum (Arr. for Harp) [Arr. Henriette Renié]
13. St. Agnes and the Burning Train (Arr. for Harp) [Arr. David DePeters]
14. The Colorado Trail, Op. 28 "Fantaisie for Harp"
15. Amid Flowers, Beside the River, Under a Spring Moon (Arr. Zhe-Zhi Xie)
16. Suite bergamasque, L.75: III. Clair de lune (Arr. for Harp) [Arr. David DePeters]

A collection of cherished gems alongside new creations, Hainen opens with Allegro Moderato from Handel's Concerto in B flat. Moving on to Bach and Glenn Gould, two of the selections on the CD are the Prelude in C minor BWV 847 and the Prelude in C major BWV 846, as each composition plays out you find yourself never wanting them to end.

Also including a world-premiere arrangement of Sting’s ‘St. Agnes and the Burning Train’, Hainen once again takes a chance and succeeds on all levels. Oh, and if you're wondering who the vibraphone player is that appears on three of the tracks, that would be David DePeters, Elizabeth's percussionist husband.

Elizabeth Hainen - 'Home: Works for Solo Harp' CD Purchase Link

Elizabeth Hainen @ Facebook

Title - 'Ben-Hur' [World Premiere Digital Recording]
Artist - Miklós Rózsa

For those not in the know, Miklós Rózsa was a Hungarian-American composer trained in Germany (1925–1931), and active in France (1931–1935), England (1935–1940), and the United States (1940–1995), with extensive sojourns in Italy from 1953.

Best known for his nearly one hundred film scores, he nevertheless maintained a steadfast allegiance to absolute concert music throughout what he called his "double life."

Rózsa achieved early success in Europe with his orchestral Theme, Variations, and Finale (Op. 13) of 1933 and became prominent in the film industry from such early scores as The Four Feathers (1939) and The Thief of Bagdad (1940).

The latter project brought him to America when production was transferred from wartime Britain, and Rózsa remained in the United States, becoming an American citizen in 1946.

His notable Hollywood career earned him considerable fame, including Academy Awards for Spellbound (1945), A Double Life (1947), and Ben-Hur (1959), while his concert works were championed by such major artists as Jascha Heifetz, Gregor Piatigorsky, and János Starker.

And talking abut 1959's 'Ben-Hur', a special Collector’s Edition 2-CD set featuring one of the greatest film scores of all time is now available through Tadlow Music.

CD 1:

CD 2:

Under the supervision of producer James Fitzpatrick, this new 'Ben-Hur' CD has been created by the outstanding City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus under the superb baton of Nic Raine.

Now touted as the World Premiere Digital Recording of the Complete Score to 'Ben-Hur', as you progress through the two discs you'll not realize it, but you will actually be hearing many full versions of the film cues along with some that were never recorded before.

An incredible sound from start to finish, the underscores and music of the great film are incredible and always extremely epic. This is, without a shadow of a doubt, an epic masterpiece that strode hand in hand with the cinematic version. Rózsa won the Academy-Award (his third) for Best Music score for 'Ben-Hur' and as much as it was truly deserved back then, just listening to it all over again now, spread over these two discs, it's as richly deserved now as it obviously was back then.

Now recorded in a rich, lush, velvet-like at times digital 21st Century sound, using brand new technology, with James Fitzpatrick at the helm, and Tadlow Music open to re-recorded it, this is the ultimate soundtrack to 'Ben-Hur' that finally provides all its sound in all their majestic glory.

Title - 'Popeye - Music From The Motion Picture' [2CD]
Artist - Harry Nilsson & Thomas Pierson

For those not in the know, Harry Nilsson, usually credited as simply Nilsson, was an American singer-songwriter who achieved the peak of his commercial success in the early 1970s.

His work is characterized by pioneering overdub experiments, returns to the Great American Songbook, and fusions of Caribbean sounds. A tenor with a three-and-a-half octave range, Nilsson was one of the few major pop-rock recording artists of his era to achieve significant commercial success without ever performing major public concerts or undertaking regular tours.

Featuring the work of Harry Nilsson, and for the first time the previously unreleased score from composer Thomas Pierson, 'Popeye - Music From The Motion Picture' [2CD] was released this past September 29th, 2017 via Varese Sarabande records.

CD 1:
1. Sweethaven (The Citizens of Sweethaven) (2:53) 2. Blow Me Down (Robin Williams) (4:09) 3. Everything Is Food (Paul Dooley, Allan F. Nichols, The Toughs, Barbershop and The Steinettes) (3:08) 4. Rough House Fight (:43) 5. He's Large (Shelley Duvall) (4:20) 6. I'm Mean (Paul L. Smith) (2:35) 7. Sailin' (Shelley Duvall and Robin Williams) (2:47) 8. March Through Town (:48) 9. I Yam What I Yam (Robin Williams) (2:16) 10. The Grand Finale (1:34) 11. He Needs Me (Shelley Duvall) (3:33) 12. Swee'Pea's Lullaby (Robin Williams) (2:04) 13. Din' We (Robert Fortier) (3:05) 14. It's Not Easy Being Me (Ray Walston and Paul L. Smith) (2:18) 15. Kids (Ray Walston) (4:27) 16. Skeleton Cave (:40) 17. Now Listen Kid / To The Rescue / Mr. Eye Is Trapped / Back Into Action (5:04) 18. Saved / Still At It / The Treasure / What? More Fighting / Pap's Boy / Olive & The Octopus / What's Up Pop / Popeye Triumphant (3:09) 19. I'm Popeye The Sailor Man (Robin Williams) (1:22) 20. End Title Medley (3:34)

CD 2:
1. Sweethaven (The Harry Nilsson Demos) (3:03) 2. I'm Mean (The Harry Nilsson Demos) (3:21) 3. Swee'Pea's Lullaby (The Harry Nilsson Demos) (2:50) 4. Blow Me Down (The Harry Nilsson Demos) (3:02) 5. Everything Is Food (The Harry Nilsson Demos) (3:43) 6. He Needs Me (The Harry Nilsson Demos) (3:09) 7. Everybody's Got to Eat (The Harry Nilsson Demos) (3:24) 8. Sail With Me (The Harry Nilsson Demos) (2:53) 9. I Yam What I Yam (The Harry Nilsson Demos) (3:08) 10. It's Not Easy Being Me (The Harry Nilsson Demos) (2:24) 11. Kids (The Harry Nilsson Demos) (3:52) 12. I'm Popeye The Sailor Man (The Harry Nilsson Demos) (2:58) 13. I'm Mean (Harry Nilsson with Paul L. Smith) (2:59) 14. He Needs Me (Shelley Duvall audition with Harry Nilsson) (9:29) 15. Everybody's Got to Eat (Paul Dooley) (2:05) 16. Din' We (Home Demo) (3:02) 17. Sailin' (Home Demo) (4:52) 18. I'd Rather Be Me (Home Demo) (6:30)

Originally created for the 1980 'Popeye' movie that starred both Robin Williams (as Popeye) and Shelley Duvall (Olive Oyl), this first disc of this stunning new 2CD set features the original music from the film. The second disc features the previously unreleased score composed by Thomas Pierson.

Harry Nilsson's songs are fun and funny and Robin Williams does a great job with 'Blow Me Down' and 'I Yam What I Yam.' Oh, and you may well recognize Shelley Duvall's performance of 'He Needs Me' from the Adam Sandler movie Punch Drunk Love.

As an added bonus, the last four tracks on the second disc features previously unreleased soundtrack demos by Nilsson, including two songs written for the film but never used. Those would be 'Everybody's Got To Eat,' and 'I'd Rather Be Me.' Another track, 'He Needs Me' has Nilsson teaching Shelly Duvall how to sing the song, which is a quite lovely gem to have now finally unearthed.

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'American Assassin' (Soundtrack)
Artist - Steven Price

For those not in the know, Steven Price is a British film composer, best known for scoring Gravity, which won him the Academy Award for Best Original Score.

Before making his debut as a composer with Attack the Block, he worked on the music department for various notable films, such as The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Batman Begins, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Fury, and amongst others, Suicide Squad.

Now the highly acclaimed Oscar-winning composer Steven Price returns with an orchestral score to 'American Assassin.' A much anticipated first film adaptation of the New York Times Best Selling series of novels by Vince Flynn, it stars both Dylan O'Brien and Michael Keaton.

Mitch Rapp (Dylan O'Brien, Maze Runner) is reeling from the death of his fiancée in a terrorist attack when he is assigned to shadowy CIA figure Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton) to receive special training in tracking terrorists.

1. 'The Proposal' (4:00)
2. 'Mitch Rapp' (4:14)
3. 'Under Surveillance' (2:29)
4. 'Hurley' (2:22)
5. 'Plutonium' (1:45)
6. 'AR Training' (2:19)
7. 'Mission Aborted' (3:21)
8. 'The Dogs' (3:16)
9. 'Annika's Identity' (2:07)
10. 'I Trusted You' (4:13)
11. 'I Knew Your Family' (3:28)
12. 'Animal Spirits' (9:45)
13. 'Brace For Impact' (3:44)
14. 'Katrina' (4:33)

For my money, Steven Price has certainly been working his way up through the ranks over the years. While he has only a few exclusive scores under his belt, he has had some wonderful opportunities to train and learn from the best in the business.

As noted above, he has worked with Howard Shore as a music editor for 'Lord of the Rings' and has also successfully collaborated with the likes of Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard.

Indeed, he really gained attention as a film composer in his own right with his phenomenal score for 'Gravity' (2013) which he would follow it up with an equally amazing score for the film 'Fury' (2014). Both scores are highly recommended, as is this brand new one here for 'American Assassin', of course.

Released this past September 15th via Varese Sarabande, Price's 14 track compositions for this score are spot on throughout. Whether it be the beautiful, sweeping opening scenes of 'The Proposal', the building tension required within both 'Plutonium' or 'AR Training', the multiple musical complexities within the near ten minute long 'Animal Spirits', or the hyper intense 'Brace For Impact', there is not a musical foot out of place here.

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'SpongeBob SquarePants: The New Musical'
Artist - Original Cast Recording

A legendary roster of Grammy Award winners together with a visionary director and Tony Award®-winning design team brings us one of the world's most beloved and unforgettable characters.

Turn them all loose on Broadway and what do you get? Well, you get 'SpongeBob SquarePants: The New Musical', of course!

'SpongeBob SquarePants' is a one-of-a-kind Broadway musical with original songs written by Yolanda Adams, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Sara Bareilles, Jonathan Coulton, Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Flaming Lips, Lady Antebellum, Cyndi Lauper, John Legend, Panic! At the Disco, Plain White T's, They Might Be Giants, T. I., and songs by David Bowie, Tom Kenny & Andy Paley, with additional lyrics by Jonathan Coulton and additional music by Tom Kitt.

1. 'Prologue'
2. 'Bikini Bottom Day' – by Jonathan Coulton
3. 'No Control' – by David Bowie
4. 'BFF' – by Plain White T’s
5. 'When the Going Gets Tough' – by T.I.
6. '(Just a) Simple Sponge' – by Panic! At the Disco
7. 'Daddy Knows Best' – by Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
8. 'Hero is My Middle Name' – by Cyndi Lauper
9. 'Super Sea Star Savior' – by Yolanda Adams
10. 'Tomorrow Is' – by The Flaming Lips
11. 'Poor Pirates' – by Sara Bareilles
12. 'Bikini Bottom Boogie' – by Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith
13. 'Chop to the Top' – by Lady Antebellum
14. '(I Guess I) Miss You' – by John Legend
15. 'I’m Not a Loser' – by They Might Be Giants
16. 'Best Day Ever' – by Tom Kenny & Andy Paley
17. 'Finale: Bikini Bottom Day Reprise'
18. 'SpongeBob SquarePants Theme'

Phew! Now that's impressive, as I think you will all agree, but what makes this brand new Original Cast Recording even more special is that as much as this was always going to be seen as a very unusual choice for a Musical (I never expected it to be a big hit on Broadway, sorry), once you learn more about the whole case, you quickly realize that this is one of the BEST cast album's EVER!

Stakes are higher than ever before as SpongeBob and all of Bikini Bottom face the total annihilation of their undersea world. Chaos erupts. Lives hang in the balance. And just when all hope seem lost, a most unexpected hero rises up and takes center stage.

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Places'
Artist - Mark Vickness

For those not in the know, Mark Vickness began his studies in classical piano at age just six and quickly soon thereafter broadened his musical horizons as much as possible.

A multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and composer with a huge musical range developed over years of study, recording and performance, Mark now also has a master’s degree in composition.

Indeed, Mark has written scores from simple pieces for piano and voice to large jazz ensembles to a concerto for North Indian Tabla, from large-scale ballets to documentary film scores.

Also one half of the acoustic fusion duo, Glass House (with singer/songwriter/vocal percussionist, David Worm), Mark's first solo modern finger style album, Places, was released this past September 15th, 2017 via his own label. Two years in the making it contains nine stunning compositions that will transport you anywhere you wish them to take you.

1. 'A Thousand Island'
2. 'Wind River'
3. 'Prince William Sound'
4. 'New York City'
5. 'Flight of the Rays'
6. 'Bishop Pass'
7. 'NYC 2.0'
8. 'Wander Lake Suite'
I. Prelude
II. Wander Lake
III. Coda
9. 'I Must Tell Jesus'

With each track at around five minutes in length, save for the Suite which clocks in at just under nine minutes itself, every composition on Places is strummed to absolute, infinite perfection.

"The music on this CD is inspired by places I have been," Mark reveals, "but the personal journey was more about the process of delving into modern finger style guitar in writing and recording these pieces."

"Along the way, I enlisted the talents of my wife, Jennifer and my two children, Lucy and Will to make this a more family-inclusive project. Both Jennifer and Will contribute photos. Lucy offers one of her poems to accompany the arrangement of the gospel song, I Must Tell Jesus, that closes the CD."

Feeding his classical creativity here, Mark's work my be construed to naive passerby's as as simple sounding, so to speak, but if you listen intently enough you can hear all the love, all the passion, all his pure, unadulterated dedication to his musical cause free flowing within each and every chord.

Mark Vickness @ Facebook

Title - 'CousteauX'
Artist - CousteauX

For those not in the know, Cousteau are a London-based band who enjoyed considerable international success, particularly in Italy and the U.S. from 1999 to 2005.

Indeed, the band's sound has been compared to Burt Bacharach, Scott Walker, Elvis Costello, and David Bowie with an updated contemporary edge.

Their best known song remains the single "The Last Good Day of the Year", from their eponymous debut album. It has featured in advertisements (such as those for Nissan in the United States and Borsci in Italy), and films such as 'Happily Ever After'.

However, in 2016 it was announced that Liam McKahey and Davey Ray Moor were returning as CousteauX and were back in the recording studio preparing new music.

The reason they renamed the band and added an 'X' to the end of it was to honor the new era of the band. The new CousteauX began with a sold-out debut at The Blue Note in Milan in May 2016 and now have brought out a simply stunning new self-titled album via Silent X Records.

1. 'Memory Is A Weapon'
2, 'This Might Be Love'
3. 'BURMA'
4. 'The Innermost Light'
5. 'Maybe You'
6. 'Portobello Serenade'
7. 'Thin Red Line'
8. 'Shelter'
9. 'Season Of You'
10. 'F**king In Joy And Sorrow'

The English pop noir band have most certainly managed to keep their music credibility sky high here on CosuteauX for each of the 10 tracks are as pumped, as heartfelt, and as freeflowingly brilliant as the next.

The album opens with 'Memory Is A Weapon,' a song which perfectly displays the majesty of their sculptured sound. A sultry, late night, smokey underground jazz/blues cafe piano and horn cut, it's an incredible way to start musical proceedings. That's backed up seamlessly with both 'This Might Be Love' and then the horn-led ballad 'BURMA.'

Aided in its creation by a Pledge Music funding campaign, next up is a song co-written by, and featuring Carl Barat of The libertines, the moody and mysterious 'The Innermost Light.' The piano once again takes center stage on the calming ballad 'Maybe You,' and then that's followed by the guitar-lite balladry of 'Portobello Serenade.'

'Thin Red Lines' showcases lead singer Liam McKahey's Bowie-esque vocal tones to perfection, and that's backed by the almost-acapella approach to 'Shelter.' The CD then rounds out with the mid-tempo 'Seasons Of You', before ending with the soulful horns of 'F**king In Joy And Sorrow.'

If you've never heard Cousteau, let alone CousteauX, do yourself a favor and buy anything they've ever put out! For Liam McKahey's distinctive baritone vocals will grab you by your inner core, meld into you as one, and whilst your eyes are closed, a huge smile on your face, you will have been willingly transported back to a musical era you have never felt more comfortable within.

CousteauX @ Facebook

Title - 'Angels And One-Armed Jugglers'
Artist - Chris Barron

For those not in the know, Chris Barron (actually born Christopher Gross) is an American singer and songwriter, best known as the lead singer of Spin Doctors.

A powerful story teller, at once hilarious and thought provoking, Chris sets up his songs with anecdotes from a life on the road, from opening for and encountering legends like the Rolling Stones to Polar expeditions.

And now the great singer-songwriter is back with a crackin' new solo album colorfully entitled Angels And One-Armed Jugglers. Aiming to be released October 20th, 2017 via Chrysanthemum Records, this diverse solo album was actually given to the fans to help create via a Kickstarter campaign and with items on offer for their monetary pledges such as signed vinyl LPs, Personalized Moleskine Notebook, and even a Skype session with Barron, their love rolled in.

1. 'Angels And One-Armed Jugglers'
2. 'April And May'
3. 'Darken My Door'
4. 'Gonna (Need Someone)'
5. 'In A Cold Kind Of Way'
6. 'Raining Again'
7. 'Saving Grace'
8. 'Still A Beautiful World'
9. 'The World Accordion To Garp'
10. 'Till The Cows Come Home'
11. 'Too Young To Fade'

Indeed, as Barron himself has stated, "I’m making this record from a clear vision of a bitingly beautiful, sweet, tough, loose but tight album with crisp, rich production using the best musicians and personnel in the world."

"We’ve set out to frame melodic, lyrical songs with artistic, masterful accompaniment that draws the ear to the words and the singing. The song selection is a balance of delicate, sung poems with acoustic guitar, contrasted by more rhythmic, rocking pieces."

Inclusive of sweeping orchestrations to some of the songs, most all arranged by the brilliant help of Henry Hey’s arranging genius, instruments here on Barron's musical culmination of a lifetime’s craft, are inclusive of the violin, viola, cello, brass and reeds; and all come to life quite like never before.

The other musicians on the record are: Sean Pelton (drums), Jesse Murphy (bass), Rob Clores (keyboards), Andrew Carillo (guitar), and it's all produced by Roman Klun.

But wait, there's more, for even the great Johnny Dinklage, first violin at "Hamilton", is included on this inspired album. He heads up the strings alongside slide trumpet master, Steven Bernstein, who takes lead control on the horns.

Chris Barron @ Facebook

Title - 'Greenleaf: Season 2' (Soundtrack)
Artist - Various

For those not in the know, 'Greenleaf' is an American television drama series, created by Craig Wright, and executive produced by Oprah Winfrey and Lionsgate Television.

It stars Keith David, Lynn Whitfield, and Merle Dandridge. 'Greenleaf' premiered on the Oprah Winfrey Network on June 21, 2016.

'Greenleaf' follows the unscrupulous world of the Greenleaf family with scandalous secrets and lies, and their sprawling Memphis megachurch with predominantly African-American members.

The series' lead characters are Bishop James Greenleaf (David) and Lady Mae Greenleaf (Whitfield), who are the patriarch and matriarch of the Greenleaf family, and Grace Greenleaf (Dandridge), their estranged daughter who has returned home after 20 years following the mysterious death of her sister, Faith.

With music from the first season released last year, on September 8th, 2017 via RCA Inspiration and Lionsgate, this second season's worth of music is just as powerful, just as emotional and just as deserved of its place here as the first season's collective were.

1. 'The Judgement' - Kayce Grogan-Wallace
2. 'Hold Me Close' - Jekalyn Carr
3. '123 Victory' - Kirk Franklin
4. 'Well Done' - Roshon Fegan
5. 'Been Saved' - Deborah Joy Winans & Lawrence Flowers
6. 'Heaven' - Mary Mary
7. 'Shine The Light' - Deborah Joy Winans
8. 'Rise Up' - Roshon Fegan
9. 'Won't He Do It' (feat. Roshon Fegan) - Koryn Hawthorne feat. Roshon Fegan
10. 'How I Got Over' - Joshua Nelson & Asia'h Epperson
11. 'Better Days' - Le'Andria Johnson
12. 'The Root - Main Title (Remix)' - Mavis Staples

This second volume of music from the 'Greenleaf' soundtrack is still very uplifting and even has enough spirit within each song to remind you that we are not battling against flesh and blood, but against Satan, the Dark One, in our everyday lives.

Not always as darkly-tinged as that though, amongst the 12 tracks you will also find some finely inspiring, uplifting gospel songs can encourage us to rise and be the best we can be day to day. Stand out tracks include Kirk Franklin's emphatic '123 Victory', Roshon Fegan's inspiring 'Rise Up', and Le'Andria Johnson's stunning 'Better Days'.

'Greenleaf: Season 2' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'I Believe In You'
Artist - Dolly Parton

For those not in the know, although I would seriously imagine those to be in the smallest of numbers, Dolly Parton is an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, actress, author, businesswoman, and philanthropist, known primarily for her work in country music.

After achieving success as a songwriter for others, Dolly Parton made her album debut in 1967, with her album Hello, I'm Dolly. With steady success during the remainder of the 1960s (both as a solo artist and with a series of duet albums with Porter Wagoner), her sales and chart peak came during the 1970s and continuing into the 1980s; Parton's subsequent albums in the later part of the 1990s were lower in sales.

However, in the new millennium, Parton achieved commercial success again and has released albums on independent labels since 2000, including albums on her own label, Dolly Records.

And now she's back again, this time showcasing her love for the children of this world on I Believe In You. Releasing October 13th, 2017 via Dolly Records / RCA Nashville, I Believe In You is the first children’s album from Dolly Parton with all 14 tracks having been written and performed by Dolly. Indeed, the final track is a special reading by Dolly of her famed “Coat of Many Colors,” which makes this a very special album.

1. 'I Believe In You'
2. 'Coat Of Many Colors' (New Recording)
3. 'Together Forever'
4. 'I Am a Rainbow'
5. 'I’m Here'
6. 'A Friend Like You'
7. 'Imagination'
8. 'You Can Do It'
9. 'Responsibility'
10. 'You Gotta Be'
11. 'Makin’ Fun Ain’t Funny'
12. 'Chemo Hero'
13. 'Brave Little Soldier'
14. 'Coat of Many Colors' (Book read by Dolly Parton)

Having also worked with Pledge Music via one of their campaigns to get the word out about this new album, enticing fans to not only buy and pledge support for the new music, but have the opportunity to buy some stand out items such as a signed hand-written lyric sheet, custom out-going voice mail message from Dolly, and even a signed Recording King Guitar, it seems the message has been on point; for this is one of Dolly's most eagerly awaited albums in a long time.

Just listening to the bouncy, fun train-orientated title track and opening song and you'll immediately get a feel for what this album is going to bring to the table. Trust me when I say this is not your usual Dolly country album. No siree bob! Sure that first track is all about staying on track, being safe in the knowledge that you are loved, believe in no matter what you do, but it also features lots of Woo-Woo-Woo's and Clickity-Clickity-Clack's as the train metaphor takes a hold.

“My first album was released 50 years ago and it's been an amazing 50 years since then,” Parton has since remarked. "I am very excited that now I'm coming out with my first children's album in all of those 50 years. I'm proudest of all that all of the proceeds from this CD will go to the Imagination Library.”

With other inspirational, and at times brave topics musically tackled, such as on 'Chemo Hero' and 'Brave Little Soldier', I think that a lot of people will buy this album for the 'Coat Of Many Colors' track. Over the years it's been a hit song, a successful TV movie and soon it will also be a children’s book, which is why it was a wonderful thing for Dolly to do here to include both the song and her very own book reading of that material.

In closing, please know that Dolly will donate a portion of her proceeds from I Believe In You to benefit the Imagination Library, a book gifting organization established in 1996 that has since distributed 100 million books to more than 1 million children in 4 countries.

Books are sent to children from birth to 5 years of age. The Imagination Library was established by Dolly to honor her father who never learned to read or write.

Dolly Parton @ Facebook

Title - 'Heat Wave'
Artist - Lou DiBello

For those not in the know, Lou DiBello is an honors graduate from Musician’s Institute in Hollywood, California and has been a veteran of the Central Illinois music scene since the late ‘80s.

Additionally, he has played over 2,500 paid performances, 600 in last 5 years alone, plus countless opening slots for acts like .38 Special, Slaughter, LA Guns, Molly Hatchet, Foghat, Quiet Riot, Survivor, Black Crowes, Blue Oyster Cult, and more.

Having released three solo albums before, he is now back again on his 4th album, Heat Wave. Featuring rock out instrumentals alongside fantastic new vocal tracks, DiBello is joined by vocalist Carsten "Lizard" Schulz, with guest appearances by bassist Mike LePond (Symphony X, Ross The Boss) and legendary guitarist Ross "The Boss" Friedman!

1. 'Heat Wave'
2. 'Let Me Hear You Scream: Rock & Roll!'
3. 'Blood On The Cross'
4. 'The Meeting'
5. 'Full Throttle'
6. 'Drop Deadly'
7. 'When All Is Lost'
8. 'Into The Arena'

Kicking off with the full steam ahead title track, it's the next track 'Let Me Hear You Scream: Rock & Roll!' that immediately flashes you back to those heady days of '80s hair rock. It is one of the best tracks on the album, for my money and is backed by 'Blood On The Cross' (featuring Mike LePond's bass lines), before the art of six-stringer shredding is brought to the fore on the brilliant 'The Meeting.'

Another track in the same vein is 'Full Throttle', which in turn is followed seamlessly by 'Drop Deadly'. The '80s hipsway of the longest track on the new album at just over five minutes, 'When All Is Lost' is yet another stand out track, and then the album wraps with 'Into The Arena', which once again features LePond's bass, and allows him and DiBello to bring us majestically home.

As Lou himself has said before, “I love playing guitar! I am blessed to continue to pursue my passion and I am looking forward to further successes in this ongoing journey.” And that's exactly why he can be very proud of this brand new recording, Heat Wave for it is, to my mind, his best solo work to date.

Lou DiBello @ Facebook

Title - 'Savage (Songs from a Broken World)'
Artist - Gary Numan

For those not in the know, although I would seriously imagine those to be in the smallest of numbers, Gary Numan is an English singer, songwriter, composer, musician and record producer. With number-one singles "Are "Friends" Electric?" and "Cars", Numan achieved his peak of mainstream popularity in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but maintains a cult following.

His signature sound consists of heavy synthesizer hooks fed through guitar effects pedals, and he is considered a pioneer of commercial electronic music. Numan is also known for his distinctive voice and androgynous "android" persona and was the winner of the 2017 T3 tech legends award.

And now Gary Numan is back in 2017 with the release of his stunning brand new album, Savage (Songs from a Broken World). Created wholly via a massive Pledge Music campaign, Numan really brought the album making experience to the fans, as once they had pledged their money to the project, he posted in depth updates galore.

1. 'Ghost Nation'
2. 'Bed of Thorns'
3. 'My Name Is Ruin'
4. 'The End of Things'
5. 'And It All Began with You'
6. 'When the World Comes Apart'
7. 'Mercy'
8. 'What God Intended'
9. 'If I Said'
10. 'Pray for the Pain You Serve'
11. 'Broken'
12. 'Cold'

"Making an album is often a long and tortuous process," Numan told his fans, in his heartfelt intro to his aforementioned Pledge page. "As a fan you usually just get the finished product, an album slickly packaged, professional and shrink wrapped for your pleasure. But you miss entirely the journey it took to get that finished product to you."

"I would like to change that. With my new album, the 21st album of my career, I would like to involve you from the very beginning. I want you to be a witness to the entire process, from the very first note played, through every up and down as the days unfold, as each song comes together, as each lyric takes shape and as the first glimmer of art design comes into my head."

Well, any of you that pledged and followed along know that Numan encountered a lot of speed bumps - both professionally and personally - along the way, which subsequently derailed the creative side to his new album for month at a time. But he soldiered through them all and has brought out an album that is truly classic Numan and as fantastic as anything that has come before it from him.

Knowing beforehand that Savage (Songs from a Broken World) is a concept album centered around the blending of Western and Eastern cultures in a post-apocalyptic world that has become desertified as a result of global warming, is a superb way to then begin to listen to the songs.

For within each track you can shut your eyes and just imagine these affected people in some harsh and terrifying environment, all in a desperate need to survive. The consequences of what they do, the awful things they endure in order to do so, and what obviously haunts them thereafter is a running theme.

He kicks things off with "Ghost Nation", a track that instantly lays the musical and cinematic landscape for what's to come, and backs that up with both the Far East-flavored "Bed Of Thorn" and the thunderous lead single, "My Name Is Ruin". With the majority of these new songs as steeped in banks upon banks of synthesizers, this song in particular stands out a mile.

Featuring his 11-year-old daughter Persia, not only is it the best track here, in my humble opinion, but it is quite easily one of his most indelible tracks in many a year. Sure his sound hasn't lost anything from the old days, but the songs that came of his last album, 2013's Splinter (Songs From a Broken Mind), were sometimes lacking in heart, in belief, that's all.

"The End Of Things" allows Numan's raw vocals to come through, and he sounds so, so good, "And It All Began With You" is a windswept electronic ballad of pure, unadulterated industrial gloom. Which, please believe me, is Numan's sand pit and nothing to steer clear of that his forte is most definitely still spot on.

The heavy hitting "When The World Comes Apart" is next, and that's followed by the slow, thoughtful, grinding ballad "Mercy". That slower vibe is continued on "What God Intended", but then the electronic drums come to the fore massively on the orchestral building giant "If I Said" (vinyl extra track).

The pace is picked up for "Pray For The Pain You Serve", then come the orchestral percussion pulses and synth purring found within the beautiful "Broken". The album then wraps with the vinyl/Deluxe Edition only) bonus of the stirring, Eastern-tinged "Cold", a track that exudes everything that this album was meant to convey.

While Savage (Songs from a Broken World) will be available on all standard formats, as mentioned above, vinyl versions will include the additional tracks “If I Said” and “Cold”, while the deluxe CD will also have “If I Said”.

Gary Numan @ Twitter

Title - 'Life In Space'
Artist - Nik Turner

For those not completely in the know, the uber talented Nik Turner is an English musician, best known as a former member of space rock pioneers Hawkwind.

Turner plays saxophones, flute, sings and is a composer and whilst with with Hawkwind, was known for his experimental free jazz stylisations. Oh, and his outrageous stage presence, which often meant donning full makeup and Ancient Egypt-inspired costumes!

Here on his brand new album, Life In Space, out now via Purple Pyramid / Cleopatra Records, Turner brings forth the return of the Thunder Rider!

To do this, Turner teleports back to Earth for this album featuring guest appearances by Hawkwind alumni that truly make this an album to behold for all his fans.

1. "End Of The World"
2. "Why Are You?"
3. "Back To Erath"
4. "Secrets Of The Galaxy"
5. "Universal Mind"
6. "Approaching The Unknown"
7. "As You Were"
8. "Master Of The Universe"

Opening with the highly emotive cosmic space rock "End Of The World" (which features the aforementioned Rudolph), the track is bonded tighter by the lush dancing flute from Turner himself. That's backed by the longest track at just over seven minutes, the hard space rock of "Why Are You?" which in turn is followed by both the lazy hazy "Back On Earth" and the '60s psychedelic flashback of "Secrets Of The Galaxy".

The shortest track on the new album, "Universal Mind" is then backed by the deeply trippy, highly thought provoking "Approaching The Unknown". We all know that whilst with Hawkwind, Turner was known for his experimental music and here on this brilliant album, his mind is most definitely as free, and as wandering through the galaxies as ever. Indeed, showcasing just that vibe, the album rounds out with both the laid back magical feel of "As You Were" and then the interstellar ecstasy laid bare within "Master Of The Universe".

[FYI: The vinyl LP comes as a Limited Edition colored vinyl experience! You can purchase either White or Blue, it's your choice, but only 500 of each will be made so make your choice soon!]

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Today: Remastered'
Artist - The Dudley Moore Trio

For those not in the know, although it must be only a select few, Dudley Moore was an English actor, comedian, musician and composer.

Moore first came to prominence in the UK as one of the four writer-performers in the comedy revue Beyond the Fringe from 1960, and with one member of that team, Peter Cook, collaborated on the television series Not Only... But Also. The double act worked on other projects until the mid-1970s, by which time Moore had settled in Los Angeles to concentrate on his film acting.

His solo career as a comedy film actor was heightened by the success of hit Hollywood films, particularly Foul Play (1978), 10 (1979) and Arthur (1981). For the latter film, Moore was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor and won a Golden Globe Award. He received a second Golden Globe for his performance in Micki & Maude (1984).

But, and aside from all that, his other passion was music, and in particular his love of jazz. In each weekly episode of Not Only ... But Also, Pete and Dud’s improvised sketches were complimented by scintillating jazz from the Dudley Moore Trio. This program was like nothing that had ever been attempted before and stands imperious as a cultural high-point for both British comedy and broadcasting.

Now released as a Remastered edition (via Cherry Red Records), Today was recorded in 1971, during a hugely successful three-week tour of Australia; involving concerts in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra.

Dudley was accompanied by stalwart drummer Chris Karan and his new permanent bass player Peter Morgan. It is the point at which the Trio found full expression, the sessions spawning a deliciously swinging ‘Waterloo’, the elegant ‘Staircase’, a seductive interpretation of Burt Bacharach’s ‘The Look of Love’ and a Top 10 single, the irresistible scat-style ‘Song for Suzy’, dedicated to Dudley’s first wife, the actress Suzy Kendall.

1. 'The More I See You'
2. 'Waterloo'
3. 'Before Love Went Out of Style'
4. 'Look of Love'
5. 'Song for Suzy'
6. 'Two for the Road'
7. 'Robin's Blues'
8. 'Staircase'

This delightful flashback to a time less stressful, of music written and sung for fun, combining upbeat melodies and smiles galore, begins in fine Dudley Moore style with 'The More I See You'. It's an eight minute long piano bonanza and showcases what Moore could do when sober, and putting his mind to what was at hand.

The way his fingers skip across the keys is mesmerizing and the whole trio really come together here. Not that they don't on all the eight tracks, but man, this one out the gate is simply, truly hypnotic. The swingin' late night vibe of 'Waterloo' is next and at only around three minutes has you begging for more (check out the You Tube link for a live TV performance of it at the base of this review).

Next up is 'Before Love Went Out of Style' where the highly accomplished jazz pianist and composer slows things down for five minutes. Bringing forth a very late night, early morning smokey underground jazz club vibe, that's backed by a delightful cover of Burt Bacharach’s ‘The Look of Love’.

Then comes one of my all-time DMT performances, 'Song For Suzy' (which again, there is a YouTube TV link to view below). Dedicated to his first wife, actress Suzy Kendall, Moore skit-scat's his way throughout the entire two and a half minute song and makes it a wondrous, vibrant musical composition from start to finish.

Both 'Two for the Road' and 'Robin's Blues' are as gorgeous as you would imagine from the maestro at the keys, and then the album rounds out with the near nine minute long elegance of 'Staircase'. A track I could listen to all day long on repeat, it simply just not get old or boring. This entire album, and their self-titled sophomore release from 1969 (another favorite of mine), are world class, and thus are highly recommended.

Dudley Moore Trio - 'Waterloo' - YouTube Clip

Dudley Moore Trio - 'Song For Suzy' - YouTube Clip

'Today: Remastered Edition' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Crimes of Passion: Expanded Edition'
Artist - Rick Wakeman

For those not in the know, although it must be only a select few, Rick Wakeman is an English keyboardist, songwriter, television and radio presenter, and author.

He is best known for being in the progressive rock band Yes across five tenures between 1971 and 2004 and for his solo albums released in the 1970s. He is a current member of Yes Featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin and Rick Wakeman.

In 1984, Wakeman wrote, composed and recorded all music for the brand new movie 'Crimes of Passion' from director Ken Russell. 'Crimes of Passion' is a 1984 erotic thriller film starring Kathleen Turner, Anthony Perkins, John Laughlin and Annie Potts. The film explores themes of human relationships and mental illness. A mix of sex and suspense, the movie opened to controversy over its content and to negative reviews.

Wakeman's synthesizer-heavy score, the majority of which is made up of melodies directly lifted from Czech composer Antonín Dvořák's "New World Symphony" proved to be a hit with his fans and all lovers of synthesizer music, but the movie still to this day has that misunderstood and frowned upon viewpoint attached to it. [FYI: Wakeman has an uncredited role in the film as a wedding photographer.]

Using a Pledge Music campaign to garner support, and monetary donations to enable him to bring out a wondrous 'Crimes of Passion' Limited Edition Signed & Numbered Box Set, amongst other things, the event was a success.

Spawning this brilliant 'Crimes of Passion: Remastered and Expanded' CD, released this past September 29th, 2017 via Gonzo MultiMedia, we all get a chance to once again enjoy what was always, to my mind, one of the best soundtracks ever recorded for a film of this genre and ilk.

1. 'It’s A Lovely Life' (Vocals – Maggie Bell)
2. 'Eastern Shadows'
3. 'Joanna'
4. 'The Stretch'
5. 'Policeman’s Ball'
6. 'Stax'
7. 'Taken In Hand'
8. 'Paradise Lost'
9. 'The Box'
10. 'Web Of Love'
11. 'Dangerous Woman' (Vocals – Maggie Bell) - Bonus Track

By adapting Dvorak's "New World Symphony" into this wicked and erotic soundtrack consisting of saxophone and synthesizer, Wakeman gives the movie the perfect touch to both the satire of the American dream and of the world of prostitution.

Showing both the strangeness and scary atmosphere in this kind of business, although I loved all these tracks, I have to say that my three favorites are, and always have been: the album opener 'It's A Lovely Life' with lead vocals from the brilliant Maggie Bell (man, the composition is just nuts crazy; the romantic 'Stax' (with its excellent saxophone and erotic vocals); and lastly 'The Box' - a very violent instrumental track which involves a very controversial, but crucial scene that was only shown in the unrated DVD release of this movie.

Although I truly wish Wakeman could have put more tracks on this newly Remastered and Expanded CD - such as the funny song that Anthony Perkins' character sings to Joanne Crane in her apartment, or the erotic track played while Bobby sees China Blue in her waitress outfit - I was still very pleased by this CD. And I know you will be too.

'Crimes of Passion: Expanded Edition' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Before The Lights Go Out'
Artist - Steve Hunter

For those not in the know, Steve Hunter is an American guitarist, primarily a session player best known for his collaborations with Lou Reed and Alice Cooper.

Often called "The Deacon", Hunter first played with Mitch Ryder's Detroit, beginning a long association with record producer Bob Ezrin; who has said Steve Hunter has contributed so much to rock music in general that he truly deserves the designation of "Guitar Hero".

Steve Hunter has played some of the greatest riffs in rock history - that first slamming solo that rings in Aerosmith's "Train Kept A Rollin'", the acoustic intro on Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill" and he wrote the legendary intro interlude that made Lou Reed's live version of "Sweet Jane" a first gold record (the Rock 'N' Roll Animal live set).

Now living in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife, Cornish singer/songwriter, Karen Ann Hunter, Hunter suffers from pigmentary glaucoma, which has rendered him legally blind.

Hence the title of his brand new album, Before The Lights Go Out, out on CD and digital this September 25th, 2017 via Deacon Songs.

1. 'On The Edge Of Uncertainty'
2. 'Mojo Man'
3. 'Summer's Eve'
4. 'Cinderblock'
5. 'Softtail Deuce'
6. 'Tienes Mi Corazón (You Have My Heart)'
7. 'Ice Storm'
8. 'Under The Bodhi Tree'
9. 'The Other Side Of The Coin'
10. 'Happy Trails'

Beginning with the guitar twangin' genius of 'On The Edge Of Uncertainty', the track welcomes the drum back beat and as it progresses, the two become one massively addictive orchestration. 'Mojo Man' continues that vibe, especially with both Joe Satriani and Erik Scott (an Alice Cooper alumni) involved, but then 'Summer's Eve' brings the pace down a few notches allowing some luscious guitar tones and melodies to come forth.

'Cinderblock' puts a different guitar into Hunter's hands and he proceeds to bring us a Southern-tipped, sitting on the porch cut, that's backed by a more raucous Southern band jam in 'Softtail Deuce.' The most incredible, stand out track here on this album has to be 'Tienes Mi Corazón' where Hunter has included his very own heartbeat as a swishing accompaniment to the beautiful track.

The stirring, clinical 'Ice Storm' is up next and that's followed by the Indian feel and sounds of 'Under The Bodhi Tree'. A song that also features bassist Andy Stoller, a spiritual vibe is evident throughout. 'Other Side Of The Coin' is a brilliant, down and dirty blues slog, and then the album wraps up with 'Happy Trails'. With vocals from his wife Karen Hunter, it's just the most perfect way to end the album; and, possibly, his musical career.

Title - 'The Channel One Set' + 'The Lost Tapes'
Artist - Buddy Rich

For those not in the know, Buddy Rich was an American jazz drummer and bandleader.

Widely considered one of the most influential drummers of all time and known for his virtuoso technique, power, and speed, Rich was billed as "the world's greatest drummer" during his career.

He performed with many bandleaders, most notably Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, Count Basie, and led his own big band.

Lightyear Entertainment and Lobitos Creek Ranch, in association with Scabeba Entertainment and the Buddy Rich Estate, have announced the release of two new live albums featuring Buddy Rich and his Big Band.

Both recorded in 1985 on two nights at the King Street Studios in San Francisco, the digital albums are being released on September 15th, 2017, as part of the Buddy Rich Centennial Celebration.

The albums are the soundtracks from two concert films, The Channel One Suite and The Lost Tapes, which have been available from Lightyear on DVD since 2003 and 2005, respectively.

The sound recordings from these concerts have never before been available as audio albums or as digital films for rental, sale, or streaming.

In April of 1985, two of Buddy Rich’s historic sets: The Channel One Suite (now retitled 'The Channel One Set'), and West Side Story (now retitled 'The Lost Tapes') were recorded at One Pass Production’s King Street Studio in San Francisco. The tapes were among the first ever recorded with a Digital Surround track and had never been released in their original form with surround sound. But in 1990 the worst occurred – a fire broke out and all was thought to be lost as most of the studio was destroyed.

The Channel One Set:
1. 'Machine'
2. 'Best Coast'
3. 'One O'Clock Jump'
4. 'Sophisticated Lady'
5. 'Norwegian Wood'
6. 'Love For Sale'
7. 'No Exit'
8. 'Channel One Suite'

Originally, on film, entitled 'The Channel One Suite' set stands as the last recorded production of the legendary drummer. Original producer Gary Reber (Reber Productions) ensured that this would be a concert to remember and enlisted the support of many of the sound industries major players.

The production was recorded with an experimental SQ/Tate digital surround method, a revolutionary technique at the time. Scott Ross was the Director of the original concert.

The Lost Tapes:
1. 'Mexicali Nose'
2. 'Willowcrest'
3. 'Round Midnight'
4. 'Cotton Tail'
5. 'New Blues'
6. 'Tee Bag'
7. 'The Red Snapper'
8. 'West Side Story'

The title 'The Lost Tapes' refers to the fact that these recordings were lost for a decade, presumed damaged in a fire, and then digitally restored. Another collection of 8 live tracks brought together that one very special night, there's simply no denying that Buddy Rich was a master at his chosen profession.

“These recordings are some of the best quality recordings ever made of the legendary drummer and his band,” said Arnie Holland, CEO of Lightyear. “And we are grateful to Executive Producer Steve Michelson and the inimitable Cathy Rich for 14 years of working together with us to make sure that Buddy's legacy is complete and widely available.”

A vinyl LP of 'The Lost Tapes' will be released as well, tentatively scheduled for January.

'The Channel One Set' Trailer

'The Lost Tapes' Trailer

'Mexicali Nose' - audio from 'The Lost Tapes'

Title - 'American Patriot'
Artist - Sam Moore

For those not in the know, Sam Moore is an American vocalist who was a member of the soul and R&B group Sam & Dave from 1961 to 1981.

He is also a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Grammy Hall of Fame (for "Soul Man"), and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

Now on October 6th, 2017 via Bullseye Productions, the legendary Soul Man™ Sam Moore will release is brand new album, American Patriot.

1. "America the Beautiful"
2. "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"
3. "Show For You" (2017 Warrior Games Anthem Long Version)
4. "God Bless the U.S.A."
5. "The Star-Spangled Banner"
6. "Imagine"
7. "Peace Please"
8. "God Bless America"
9. "Land of the Free"
10. "What’s Going On"
11. "Lift Every Voice"

Moore begins his ode to America with, of course, "America the Beautiful", a song that he recently performed during the 'Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration' on January 19th to celebrate the newly elected President of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump.

Indeed, listening to all the interviews about the album, it's also mighty clear that the entire album was wholly inspired by Moore’s performance of that very same song on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, where his friend and inspiration Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had stood 53 years earlier delivering his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

For every song on this incredibly poignant album is one bursting to the seams with pride, courage and steadfastness. The album moves beautifully, and dutifully along with such heartfelt tracks as "The Battle Hymn of the Republic", brand new track "Show For You" (2017 Warrior Games Anthem Long Version), Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A.", and a rousing rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner".

Moore has stated throughout the years that he believes that music is the universal language that knows no boundary or color. That it was always the best way for him to take a stand and make an impact in helping to bring the country he loves back together. Thus this album was born, and especially with what we are experiencing both here and abroad, it seems primed to be timed perfectly to evoke the unwavering spirit of the American people.

Enlisting the skills of renowned producer Rudy Perez, a Cuban refugee, together with Moore they have sculptured an album of sheer patriotic brilliance. The tracks that come next are as steadfast in their messages as the ones that went before: "John Lennon's Imagine", another brand new track "Peace Please", "God Bless America", the third of the new tracks "Land of the Free", and both Marvin Gaye's "What’s Going On," and then "Lift Every Voice".

What Moore has done here with American Patriot is try to bring a country together through the medium he knows better than anyone. A musical outlet that enables stirring songs, message-laden sentiments of hope and determination, to come forth to embody those American's currently in need of a top up of patriotic spirit.

His recordings of these iconic American anthems alongside the three new tracks, all sung and performed in Moore’s recognizably unique style, is his way of spreading the hope of rekindling the love of a country, and of each other, throughout this great land of his; of all ours.

Sam Moore An American Patriot @ Facebook

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Unrest' (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Artist - Bear McCreary

Well, if you didn't know anything about this movie, much as I didn't either, here is the quick synopsis: When Harvard Ph.D. student Jennifer Brea is struck down by a fever that leaves her bedridden, she sets out on a virtual journey to document her story as she fights a disease that medicine forgot.

Starring (and directed by) Jennifer Brea, Omar Wasow, Jessica l e Taylor, Stig Gerdes, Samuel Bearman, Per Fink, and Linda Tannenbaum, this intense, yet heartfelt soundtrack score has been composed by the brilliant Bear McCreary.

1. 'Jennifer And Omar'
2. 'The White Board'
3. 'Magnetic Resonance Imaging'
4. 'Jessica'
5. 'Lee-Ray'
6. 'Mysterious Green Stuff'
7. 'No Thoughts No Words'
8. 'Conversation Disorder'
9. 'Joyful Tears'
10. 'So Many Lost'
11. 'Karina'
12. 'Whitney'
13. 'Patience' - Ren Gill
14. 'I Am Still Here'
15. 'And After All' - McKian (Bonus Track)

Bear begins his musical storytelling journey with 'Jennifer And Omar', a theme that whenever heard throughout the film represents the lead couple. Introduced by a pizzicato string ensemble, the theme has a playful quality, matching the jubilant imagery of Jennifer’s young life.

As Bear himself has said, "This was the first time I’ve scored a film where a major story arc was still unfolding in real time as the film was in post-production. When I scored her final scene in the movie, I still hoped I would have the opportunity to compose a more upbeat version of her theme. As the film came to completion, Jennifer was able to get updated footage for Karina, and we crafted fitting music for it."

"The bulk of my score is written for a traditional chamber orchestra. Striving to stay behind the dialog and narration, I wrote for small string ensemble and delicate woodwinds, merging them with light acoustic guitars and bells."

The stirring, yet wistful 'The White Board' follows the opening theme and is backed by such notable tracks as the dulcet piano of 'Jessica', the jangling, stoic guitar of 'Lee-Ray', the strings and wood work of 'Conversation Disorder', and folk strings of 'Patience' (Bear McCreary and Ren Gill).

The cold, windswept feel to 'Karina' is next and then the score ends with the gently assertive, yet always calm 'I Am Still Here.' The CD gives us the playful, upbeat bonus track of 'And After All', composed by Bear McCreary and sung by McKian, but it didn't need to. We had all we needed without that inclusion.

Title - 'Rebel In The Rye' (Original Motion Picture Score)
Artist - Bear McCreary

Well, if you didn't know anything about this movie, much as I didn't either, here is the quick synopsis: 'Rebel in the Rye' is a 2017 American biographical drama film directed and written by Danny Strong.

It is based on the book J. D. Salinger: A Life by Kenneth Slawenski, about the life of, well, a young writer J. D. Salinger during World War II.

The film stars Nicholas Hoult, Zoey Deutch, Kevin Spacey, Sarah Paulson, Brian d'Arcy James, Victor Garber, Hope Davis, and Lucy Boynton.

And adding to his hugely impressive list of soundtrack scores, this wonderfully captured, heartfelt soundtrack score has been composed by the brilliant Bear McCreary.

1. 'Innocence (Theme from Rebel in the Rye)'
2. 'Early Writing'
3. 'Giving the Time'
4. 'Sowing Your Wild Oats' (feat. Jeffrey Hoeppner)
5. 'A True Writer'
6. 'Oonlight Serenade'
7. 'Impending War'
8. 'Celebration at the Stork Club'
9. 'Typewriter Drums'
10. 'Simply Grand'
11. 'Inspiration at War'
12. 'Wartime Anxiety'
13. 'Bananafish'
14. 'Writing Catcher'
15. 'Coming Through the Rye' (feat. Raya Yarbrough)
16. 'City Without the City'
17. 'A Request from Whit'
18. 'He Was Writing'
19. 'Rebel in the Rye End Credits'

Bear wrote this 19 track soundtrack score in such a manner that he actually took steps to ensure that the great Elmer Bernstein would have been proud to have listened to it. Opening with the quiet, yet beautiful piano-led 'Innocence (Theme of Rebel In The Rye)', we move seamlessly on to the emphatic strings of 'Early Writing', before the swing club vibes of 'Giving The Time' and 'Sowing Your Wild Oats' (feat. Jeffrey Hoeppner) are brought forth.

The stirring 'A True Writer' is one of my own personal favorites here as it truly transports you to a place where, if you yourself are stuck within your mind, wafts you away; frees you of any worries, open yours eyes to possibilities ahead. Indeed, a lot of the tracks feature moments such as those, and throughout this album its clearly evident that a great sense of time and devotion has gone into its creation from Bear.

Indeed, as Bear himself has said, "Over the first fifteen years of my professional career, I have worked frequently in various fantastical genres, but I have never scored a historical period drama (at least not one that did not involve time travel). Rebel in the Rye presented an opportunity to apply dramatic lessons I had learned from observing Elmer so many years ago, and to explore a different side of my musical voice."

Progressing onward with more jazz club fever on the .44 second 'Celebration at the Stork Club', and moving through the genius combination of typewriter keys and drums on the appropriately titled 'Typewriter Drums', the soundtrack just gets better and better as it heats up. Another stand out is 'Bananafish', which is backed by the free flowing piano styling of 'Writing Catcher.'

The simply gorgeous 'Coming Through The Rye' featuring the vocals of Raya Yarbrough is yet another two thumbs up, and the score comes to a close on profoundly grounded notes within 'A Request From Whit', 'He Was Writing', and then rounds out with revisited musical themes previously explored here in 'Rebel In The Rye End Credits'.

Title - 'Live in Detroit 1985: Deluxe Reissue'
Artist - Thor

For those not in the know, Jon Mikl Thor is a bodybuilding champion, actor, songwriter, screenwriter, historian, vocalist and musician.

Indeed, as a bodybuilder, he was the first Canadian to win both the Mr. Canada and Mr. USA titles. During his bodybuilding career, he has achieved over 40 titles around the world.

As a musician, he is the front man for the heavy metal band Thor, billing himself as "The Legendary Rock Warrior". He has also has had career in acting appearing in such films as Recruits, Zombie Nightmare, Fubar, and Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare.

Indeed, the veteran metal outfit together with their very own Metal Thunder God aimed to reclaim the classic metal throne with their brand new studio album. Released earlier this year, Beyond The Pain Barrier (out via Deadline Music, proved to be a massive hit with their fans, and newcomers both.

But those in search of old school, classic Thor have to look no further either, for released this past July (also via Deadline Music) is this incredible 2CD+DVD Thor - Live In Detroit 1985: Deluxe Reissue.

Recorded live in Motor City USA May 1985 at the crest of the band’s meteoric rise in the metal scene, this dynamite concert album includes all of Thor’s best loved songs, such as “Let The Blood Run Red,” “Rock The City,” “Anger,” “Keep The Dogs Away” and more!

The bonus CD features 15 tracks recorded from all around the Americas of Thor's hits and favorites, whilst the DVD (cleverly entitled An-Thor-Logy 1978-1985 is a collection of concept videos plus rare live material and even rarely seen TV commercials.

CD 1: Live In Detroit 1985
1. "Thunder On The Tundra"
2. "Let The Blood Run Red"
3. "Knock ‘Em Down"
4. "Rock The City"
5. "Lightning Strikes"
6. "Anger"
7. "Keep The Dogs Away"
8. "Hot Flames"
9. "Now Comes The Storm"
10. "When Gods Collide"

DVD: An-Thor-Logy: 1976-1985
1. Opening/News Clips 1979
2. "Action" – Live on Merv Griffin 1976
3. "Sleeping Giant" – Video 1977
4. "Keep The Dogs Away" – Video 1977
5. "Catch A Tiger" – Video 1977
6. "Keep The Dogs Away" – Live 1979
7. "Rosie" – Live 1979
8. Thor-u-mentary
9. "Rag-Na-Rock" – Live 1981
10. "Special Flight" – Live 1981
11. "Phantom Of My Nightmare" – Live 1981
12. Uncle Floyd Show – 1982
13. "Gladiator Stomp" – Live 1982
14. Channel 72 TV Appearance
15. "Thunder On The Tundra" – Channel 72
16. "Anger" – Channel 72
17. "Only the Strong" / "When Gods Collide" – Live 1984/1985
18. Chevy TV Commercial – 1985
19. Kromer TV Commercial – 1985
20. U68 Power Hour Promos – 1985
21. "Knock ‘Em Down" – Video 1985
22. End Credits

CD 2: Chariots Across The Americas Live
1. "Intro/Coming Of Thor" – Los Angeles, CA
2. "I Am Thunderhawk" – Detroit, MI
3. "Gladiator Romp" – Toronto, Ont
4. "Union Of Power" – Portland, OR
5. "Release The Beast" – Seattle, WA
6. "Shapes Of Things" – Toronto, Ont
7. "Tell Me Lies" – Toronto, Ont 9. "Keep The Dogs Away" – New York, NY
10. "Thunder" – New York, NY
11. "Let The Blood Run Red" – Calgary, Alberta
12. "Out of Control" – Los Angeles, CA
13. "Metal Avenger" – Los Angeles, CA
14. "Taste Of Victory" – Los Angeles, CA
15. "Back For More" – Vancouver, BC

Perfect for all those metal heads out there still searching for that collection of thunderous metal anthems in their chosen music, but begging to relive those heady live days of yore, Thor - Live In Detroit kicks off in thunderous style with, of course "Thunder On The Tundra". From then on in all ten of the captured-live cuts are a testament to band and their infamous leader.

And talking of that band in 1985, aside from Thor on lead vocals, there was also Steve Price on Guitars, Keith Zazzi on Bass and Backing Vocals, Mike Favata on Drums, and a smokin' Pantera on Backing Vocals also. A classic line-up for what has gone down in history as a classic, you-had-to-be-there live performance for the ages.

As much as the same can be said of the second CD included, where we get 15 tracks recorded live around the Americas, it's actually the DVD portion of this new Deluxe Reissue that will, once again, bring those rabid Thor fans to their worshiping knees!

Chock full of live TV show appearances, old TV commercials they did from back in the day, along with News Clips and more, this highly impressive visual collection makes this new 2CD+DVD release true value for money, trust me!

'Thor - Live In Detroit 1985: Deluxe Reissue' Purchase Link

Title - 'Contact'
Artist - Security Project

The timeless music of Peter Gabriel once again lovingly finds new life with the Security Project. Members of King Crimson, Shriekback, Gabriel's original band and now with the addition of singer Happy Rhodes, take another live shot at Gabriel's classics and give them a new lease of life here on Contact.

Featuring Trey Gunn (Warr Guitar, Backing Vocals), Jerry Marotta (Drums & Percussion, Backing Vocals), Michael Cozzi (Guitars, Backing Vocals), David Jameson (Keyboards, Eigenharp), and with Happy Rhodes on Lead Vocals, this fourth release is available to own on November 17th, 2017 via 7d Media.

Having previously released Live 1 and Live 2 with the voice of Brian Cummins as lead singer, their proposed third recording, Five (which is now superseded by this album) along with this brand new live collection brings to the fore the aforementioned female singer/songwriter, Happy Rhodes.

With Peter Gabriel now a double-inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (both with Genesis as well as his solo career), the Security Project expertly re-envisions his groundbreaking early output. Creating a completely immersive musical (and visual, if you happen to catch the live) experience, Contact is the band at their very best.

1. 'Lead A Normal Life'
2. 'I Don't Remember'
3. 'San Jacinto'
4. 'Intruder'
5. 'Rhythm Of The Heat'
6. 'Mother Stands For Comfort'
7. 'No Self Control'
8. 'Family Snapshot'
9. 'I Have The Touch'
10. 'Games Without Frontiers / Of These, Hope'
11. 'Lay Your Hands On Me'

Contact begins with 'Lead A Normal Life', a track from the self-titled Peter Gabriel album of 1980. A cut that builds, creates as it unfolds, there's not too much lyrically for Rhodes to sink her teeth into. That changes for one of my all-time favorite PG songs, 'I Don't Remember'. A cut also from that very same third solo album, now with Rhodes at the vocal helm, it takes on a whole new life.

Whether that be good or bad is definitely left down to the listener to decide, for if PG's version is all you will ever accept, then Rhodes' lighter female approach will never sit well with you. Personally, some days I'm ok with it, some days I'm not. Rhodes' vocal styling works on most of these tracks, sure, but there's still a few that have question marks hanging over them.

Up next is a track for PG's also-self-titled fourth album from 1982, 'San Jacinto'. A much slower, thoughtful track, the lyrics detail the San Jacinto mountains that sit near the wealthy resort town of Palm Springs, CA. An impoverished tribe of Native Americans live right near the area, and the contrast between these two communities was lyrically written by PG. Here, in my humble opinion, is a prime example of where Rhodes fails to match the original empathy that emanated from PG.

Another of my all-time favorites is 'Intruder' (once again from PG's third album), and with Rhodes doing her best to grasp everything that it originally stood for, it also sadly fails to pass muster. That always-there defined hard edge has gone, and Rhodes' 4-octave range aside, has been replaced with a more playful lighter vibe. The first song to ever use the "gated drum" sound created by Hugh Padgham and Phil Collins (which Collins actually performed on the original), that's backed by yet another cut from that third album, 'Rhythm Of The Heat.'

A song that tells about Carl Jung's visit to Africa, during which he joined a group of tribal drummers and dancers and became overwhelmed by the fear of losing control of himself, it's always been one of the best album tracks that I've ever heard. Rhodes, known for her work re-envisioning the works of Kate Bush, does a great job here, and then backs that up with a Bush album track, 'Mother Stands For Comfort.'

Now in her true musical element, the track from her brilliant 1985 album Hounds Of Love showcases Rhodes' vocal majesty. Her overall cadence is simply perfect, her pitch delivery stunning. For all intents and purposes, Rhodes is Bush, Bush is Rhodes. The jaunty, jangly 'No Self Control' is next, and is perhaps Rhodes' best vocal effort on this live album. A foot-tapper to begin with, her vocal delivery is of a lower tone and works well, before it gives way to another good moment for Rhodes, 'Family Snapshot.'

Personally, I heard both Live 1 and Live 2 featuring original lead singer Brian Cummins and with him being such a Gabriel-precise vocalist, nuances and ticks lovingly in place at every turn of a noted lyric, Rhodes as his replacement shocked me. That said, I understand the philosophy of re-envisioning PG's supposedly genre-less work and that it doesn't matter who takes the lead (male or female), but when you're used to Cummins (let alone PG), well, Rhodes vocal styling does take some getting used to.

As the album comes to a close, a song that I think could also be a bridge too far for her, 'I Have The Touch' pleasantly surprises me as Rhodes not only takes it be the scruff of the neck, but knocks it clear out of the park. From PG's fourth album, it's the best song on this new live album by far and is a pleasure to listen to over and over.

The album then rounds out with the immense 'Games Without Frontiers' which is here blended with PG's composition for the Passion: The Last Temptation of Christ film, 'Of These, Hope,' and then the theme of healing through trust, partly spoken word 'Lay Your Hands On Me' (from his 1982 album) brings this thoroughly entertaining live chapter to a close.

Title - 'The Way Life Goes: Deluxe Edition'
Artist - Tom Keifer

For those not completely in the know, Tom Keifer is an American vocalist and guitarist for the band Cinderella.

Keifer grew up in a musical family and began playing guitar at a young age. Keifer soon fell in love with the blues and was heavily influenced by this kind of music.

Cinderella was discovered initially by Gene Simmons of KISS who attempted to get the band signed to no avail. It was then Jon Bon Jovi in 1985, at the Empire Rock Club in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that convinced his Mercury A&R manager Derek Schulman to sign the band.

Keifer and company experienced much success with their albums, Night Songs, Long Cold Winter, and Heartbreak Station. Keifer enjoyed the reputation of being a prolific songwriter with hits such as "Shake Me", '"Nobody's Fool", "Gypsy Road", "Don't Know What You Got", "Coming Home", "Shelter Me", and "Heartbreak Station".

And now Tom Keifer is readying for release an already critically-acclaimed new solo album, The Way Life Goes: Deluxe Edition (CD+DVD) via Cleopatra Records this upcoming October 20th, 2017.

The new solo album features two new studio tracks recorded by 3-time Grammy Award-winner Vance Powell (Jack White, Chris Stapleton), inclusive of the long-awaited studio recording of the Beatles' "With A Little Help From My Friends" and the spectacular duet recording of "Nobody's Fool" with Lzzy Hale of Halestorm.

Disc 1: CD
01. "Solid Ground"
02. "A Different Light"
03. "It’s Not Enough"
04. "Cold Day In Hell"
05. "Thick And Thin"
06. "Ask Me Yesterday"
07. "Fool’s Paradise"
08. "The Flower Song"
09. "Mood Elevator"
10. "Welcome To My Mind"
11. "You Showed Me"
12. "Ain’t That A Bitch"
13. "The Way Life Goes"
14. "Babylon"
Bonus Tracks
15. "Nobody’s Fool" (feat. Lzzy Hale)
16. "With A Little Help From My Friends"
17. "Nobody’s Fool (Piano Version)"

For my money, Tom Keifer is a hugely under-rated singer. Obviously being involved, hairspray can-deep in all those '80s hair band days, singing lead for Cinderella meant being pigeon holed. But now this solo album allows Keifer to break free (somewhat) from those shackles and bring forth some good, strong, sturdy, melodic rock, rhythm and blues - which he does in some fine style, trust me.

Believe me when I say that the 14 new solo tracks are all great songs, showcasing his vocals that, sure, might not be what they once were, but have now adapted nicely to the older, maturer singer that Keifer now finds himself.

Joining Keifer are his band mates Tony Higbee, Billy Mercer, Paul Simmons, Paul Taylor, Savannah Keifer and Kendra Chantelle, and from "Solid Ground" on through to "Mood Elevator" (a great stand out track), this solo album is chock full of music that will make you hit Play over and over.

There are balls-out rockers, mid-tempo moments, and, of course, ballads, which is where Keifer's vocals shine these days, in my humble opinion. His song writing skills are spot on, his lyrics immediate and present, and his guitar playing is as classy as it ever was. Simply put, it you loved anything or everything that Cinderella put out, this album of songs that speak from the heart about life's ups and downs will appeal to you instantly. Obviously capturing his own moments in life in melody, Keifer speaks to us all throughout the album. I mean, if his words don't resonate with you on some level of what you yourself might well have been through, well, you've either not lived or your suppressing your memories!

This album is real life music, storytelling at its finest, and is highly recommended to lovers of Cinderella, of Tom Keifer, and of good bluesy, roots rock 'n roll.

But wait, for that's not all, as this CD+DVD Deluxe Edition also houses a wonderful bonus DVD with "The Way Life's Goin'," a 30-minute documentary on the making of the bonus tracks as well as videos, live footage and more!

Disc 2: DVD
Chapter 1) The Way Life’s Goin’ (Documentary)
Chapter 2) Solid Ground (Music Video)
Chapter 3) The Flower Song (Music Video)
Chapter 4) It’s Not Enough (Music Video)
Chapter 5) It’s Not Enough (Lyric Video)
Chapter 6) Album Promo
Chapter 7) Cathouse Live
Chapter 8) Count Vamp’d Las Vegas
Chapter 9) Farm Rock Chicago

The Way Life Goes: Deluxe Edition will be wrapped in an all new six-panel digipak designed by artist David Calcano (creator of the Fantoons comic strip series) with 20 pages of one-of-a-kind unique illustrations depicting each song.

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Argus: Through The Looking Glass'
Artist - Martin Turner

As I'm sure you already know, the great legend that is Martin Turner is the founding member of Wishbone Ash, who in turn were a British rock band who achieved success in the early and mid-1970s.

But did you also know that they are considered to be one of the major innovators of the harmony twin lead guitar format. Their contributions helped Andy Powell and Ted Turner to be voted "Two of the Ten Most Important Guitarists in Rock History."

Having released Garden Party: A Celebration of Wishbone Ash Music, a recording of a very private session from co-founder Turner and his various friends, he followed that with Written in the Stars, a long-awaited studio collection of new compositions, then came a brand new live album, Life Begins.

Turner then brought out a stunning new 2CD live album, New Live Dates: The Complete Set (a highly impressive reissue of both volumes of those live dates in question), and now has reissued and expanded his 1972 divine musical opus, Argus: Through The Looking Glass.

1. 'Time Was'
2. 'Sometime World'
3. 'The King Will Come'
4. 'Leaf And Stream'
5. 'Warrior'
6. 'Throw Down The Sword'
7. 'Blowin' Free'
8. 'Throw Down The Sword (Alternative Mix)' - Bonus Track
9. 'Time Was' (Live at the Cambridge Rock Festival 2008)
10. 'Sometime World (Live at the Cambridge Rock Festival 2008)'
11. 'Throw Down The Sword (Live at the Cambridge Rock Festival 2008'

Released November 10th, 2017 via Martin Turner Music, Argus: Through The Looking Glass is a full album re-record of the original album, but now features four (4) previously unreleased Bonus Tracks along with brand new artwork.

Featuring Turner, Ray Hatfield, Rob Hawkins, Danny Williams, Keith Buck, it also includes guest appearances by both Prog Gods Geoff Downes and the late John Wetton.

To my mind, Argus was, and still is Wishbone Ash's ultimate statement. Part progressive rock, part blues / boogie rock and a bit of folk rock thrown in, this album really put all of the band's strengths together to form one of the classic guitar albums of the early 70's.

The band actually had a hit single from this one with what is in my opinion the weakest track 'Blowin Free'. Even though it is my least favorite it is still a good song. The move towards more progressive material with 'Warrior' and 'Throw Down The Sword' was a great move and both tracks provide some of the best twin harmony guitar jams of the 70's.

Tracks like 'Time Was' and 'Leaf And Stream' retain a folk consciousness and 'The King Will' come remains a cool mini-epic song. If you have never explored Wishbone Ash this is the album to start with. Especially now that on this expanded re-release you get three live tracks from 2008, along with an Alternative Mix of 'Throw Down The Sword'. Sure some of their other albums are very good too, but this one is the band at their high water mark.

Title - 'Rock St. Trop'
Artist - Philippe Debarge with The Pretty Things

As I'm sure you already know, The Pretty Things are an English rock band, formed in 1963 in London. Indeed, they took their name from Willie Dixon's 1955 song "Pretty Thing".

A pure rhythm and blues band in their early years, with several singles charting in the United Kingdom, they later embraced other genres such as psychedelic rock in the late 1960s (with 1968 S.F. Sorrow being one of the first rock operas), hard rock in the early 1970s and new wave in the early 1980s.

Despite this, they never managed to recapture the same level of commercial success of their very first releases.

Now those pioneering rockers - Phil May and Wally Waller, of The Pretty Things - present the highest quality release to date of their collaboration with French playboy Philippe DeBarge.

Released September 1st, 2017 by Madfish Records, the album is now remastered and reworked and features bonus tracks and rare photos!

1. 'Hello, How Do You Do'
2. 'You Might Even Say'
3. 'Alexander'
4. 'Send You With Loving'
5. 'You're Running You And Me'
6. 'Peace'
7. 'Eagle's Son'
8. 'Graves Of Grey'
9. 'New Day'
10. 'It'll Never Be Me'
11. 'I'm Checking Out'
12. 'All Gone Now'
13. 'Monsieur Rock (Ballad Of Philippe)' - Bonus Track
14. 'Lover' - Bonus Track
15. 'Silver Stars' - Bonus Track

To clue you in to the history of how this all came together in the first place, it was late August in 1969 when Phil May and Wally Waller were flown to St. Tropez by Philippe Debarge (a French wealthy playboy), and taken to the DeBarge family estate.

A magnet for the rich and famous of the era, from politicians to film and rock stars, Debarge had serious money and wanted to make a serious album, with him as the front man. He'd done his research. He knew exactly who he wanted to make that album with. They were The Pretty Things.

At this time, songwriters May and Waller were at their most prolific but they were between albums, between tours. When Debarge came calling, it was hard to come up with a good reason why not to go. So they went, did the deal and soon penned and recorded Philippe's project back in London at Nova Studios.

And when S.F. Sorrow album sales picked up, EMI wanted a new album and Parachute took over. The Philippe DeBarge project was dropped and didn't see commercial release until 2009.

Now restored and reworked with rare photos and new liner notes by Wally Waller, this is the finest release of the Philippe Debarge sessions to date. Released as a CD presented in a digi-pack packaging with a 16-page booklet, from the opening hippy flashback jingle jangle musical tones of ' 'Hello, How Do You Do' on through to the trippy 'Silver Stars', Rock St. Trop is an album for the ages - still.

Title - 'Acting Natural EP'
Artist - Acting Natural

I case you weren't aware, Acting Natural, fueled by a mutual interest in bringing back the authenticity of raw Rock & Roll music, lead singer & guitarist Eric Carnevale, bass guitarist/vocalist James David Maney, and drummer/vocalist Jesse Leonard have aligned their unwavering dedication to creating quality music with a signature sound.

Their inspirations range from legendary artists of the past and present, including Red Hot Chili Peppers, Led Zeppelin, and The Beatles, just to name a few. Acting Natural’s unique sound is focused on passion and solid musicianship.

Acting Natural released their first single "Pairadice" and the response was incredible, reaching #1 on the Top 5 Most Added and reached #9 on the FMQB A/C Chart. This young trio, originally from Tampa, Florida, relocated to New York and have now brought out their wonderful self-titled Acting Natural EP.

1. 'The One'
2. 'Nicole'
3. 'Pairadice'
4. 'Bloom'
5. 'Early Morning'
6. 'Missed the Train'

Kicking off with some '60s rock and pop throwback sounds on 'The One', they back that up with the more modern sounding 'Nicole'. Then comes their first single, 'Pairadice' a fun, jaunty track, that's packed by the harmonious ballad 'Bloom'. The staggered gem 'Early Morning' is one of the best tracks on the EP, for my money, and then the album comes full circle with that distinctive '60s sound combined with early '90s indie guitars on 'Missed the Train'.

Title - 'Vevey'
Artist - The Warlocks

In case you weren't aware, The Warlocks are an American rock band formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1998 by guitarist/singer Bobby Hecksher.

The band's music has ranged from psychedelic rock to drone music. There have been many changes in personnel since their formation, with Hecksher the only constant member.

Now The Warlocks have released their first-ever live album, culled straight from the energy of L.A.'s neo-psych rock scene. Recorded live last year in Vevey, Switzerland on the band's massive European tour in support of their release Songs From The Pale Eclipse, the track list is a career covering greatest hits collection.

1. 'Red Camera'
2. 'Isolation'
3. 'The Midnight Sun'
4. 'Dead Generation'
5. 'Chameleon'
6. 'Come Save Us'
7. 'Only You'
8. 'Shake the Dope Out'
9. 'The Dope Feels Good'
10. 'It's Just Like Surgery'
11. 'Baby Blue'
12. 'Lonesome Bulldog'
13. 'Hurricane Heart Attack'
14. 'Caveman Rocks'
15. 'Angry Demons'
16. 'Zombie Like Lovers'

Trust me when I say that every song on this new release will pump you up, and have you quickly screaming lyrics at the top of your voice! From 'Red Camera' through to 'Zombie Like Lovers', the live set is simply boombastic!

This Los Angeles band play melody-driven, hypnotic psychedelic drone-pop powered by the sound of four guitars. Bobby Hecksher’s vocals are captivating; whisper-dunked and emotionally compelling.

The songs have a medium-tempo, warm and druggy pop feel with mesmerizing melodies that glide along on the vibrating resonance of all those guitars. These are the sort of hazy, addictive tunes you can sink into and not come out for days.

In closing, Vevey is a 16 live track work of musical art, and while the band provides effective guitar fuzz and descending 12-string melodies, and with Hecksher’s voice conveying more emotion and desperation live than, quite possibly, ever before, all this music is profoundly genuine.

Notably looser than their studio stuff, often veering away from pop music and into kraut/post-rock territory, buy this today and if you haven't already, open your heads and hearts to The Warlocks!

Title - 'By Design'
Artist - Wiccid

In case you weren't aware, Wiccid is an electro-industrial synth-pop/Futurepop project from Erie Loch.

Known for his songwriting, video, remix and studio work with bands (and members of bands) like Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Rob Zombie, Scum of the Earth, Prong, Pig, PWEI, Faith No More, Skinny Puppy, Front Line Assembly, NIN, Marilyn Manson, Lords Of Acid, Primitive Race, Bells Into Machines, Tweaker, Velvet Acid Christ, Gary Numan, Peter Murphy, Mission UK and more, his new project, By Design was released on September 29th, 2017 via Cleopatra Records.

1. 'Ash'
2. 'Torn'
3. 'Inhuman Nature'
4. 'Tomorrow Without Fear'
5. 'Break'
6. 'Fire in Your Veins'
7. 'Lights'
8. 'The Reconstructing Gods'
9. 'Prey Predator'
10. 'Anxiety'
11. 'The Grand Comedian'

The album features 11 hook-drenched, dark future pop dancefloor anthems that Gary Numan, om his heyday would have been proud to call his own. Believe me when I say that this debut album from Wiccid is a massive home run of an album.

Featuring the aforementioned Erie Loch on Synths, lead vocals, and programming, alongside Crash MF on Live synths and backing vocals, each track is unique, is electronically sculptured to relate it's lyrical story.

Indeed, as you work your way through the track listing, you'll soon find yourself hoping that each song you've just heard isn't the last to come. It's just that damn good.

Wiccid @ Facebook

Title - 'Still Got Soul'
Artist - Michael Tracy

In case you weren't aware, it was early 2011 when Michael Tracy began his journey as a singer/songwriter, stepping on stage at a local open mic in Charlotte, NC, to nervously perform some songs he had just written.

He had spent his early 20’s in the Navy, stationed on both coasts and traveling to countries throughout the Mediterranean during his time in the military.

The open mic performance awakened something in Tracy and he continued honing his chops that first year, jumping on stages all over Charlotte and jamming with local musicians. Indeed, he went into the studio and recorded his first album, Enough Small Talk, which he released in November 2011.

Over the next two years, Michael put a band together and impressed audiences with his high-energy and soulful performances. Michael then returned to the studio and produced his next album Gonna Smile, which was signed by the indie label Spectra Records and released in February 2015.

After a falling out with his label, Tracy traveled to LA and recorded three songs with Los Angeles producers Bob Marlette (Lynyrd Skynyrd, Alice Cooper) and Sahaj Ticotin (Ra) that would find themselves on his early-2016 release Love And Worries; a short collection of previously unreleased material.

Michael and Sahaj then got together in late 2016 (co-writing an original Holiday tune that Michael had been working on called “Poinsettia Red”) and at the turn of 2017, and having been inspired to start his own independent record label, Tracy's next full-length album Still Got Soul was born.

1. "Laughter"
2. "My Lisa"
3. "Still Got Soul"
4. "Call Me Wild"
5. "No More Waiting"
6. "Sweet Smile"
7. "Savannah Nights"
8. "Shake It"
9. "Hopeful"
10. "Raven"
11. "Poinsettia Red" - Bonus Track

The album features 11 tracks, inclusive of the aforementioned "Poinsettia Red" and will be released this upcoming November 17th, 2017 via Tracy's very own label, the TW Music Group.

Listening to it today and wow, it's like all roads traveled by Tracy, good, bad and ugly, led him to the storytelling section of his life just perfectly. Like a well worn troubadour, his work is of the highest, finest, rawest quality, not one lyric too much, not one sentiment not having been felt by us all at some stage.

His unique sound is rooted in gospel, rhythm & blues, rock, soul, and country, and that all comes through on Still Got Soul. From rockers such as "Laughter", "Call Me Wild", and the brilliantly perky "Shake It", through the Southern nature of "Savannah Nights" and the heartfelt soul of "Still Got Soul", on into the captivated yearns of "Hopeful", the album is simply chock full of gems.

Michael Tracy @ Facebook

Title - 'Black Ark Showcase 1977'
Artist - Native Meets Lee Scratch Perry

For those not in the know, Lee "Scratch" Perry is a Jamaican music producer and inventor noted for his innovative studio techniques and production style.

In fact, Perry was a pioneer in the 1970s development of dub music with his early adoption of remixing and studio effects to create new instrumental or vocal versions of existing reggae tracks.

He has worked with and produced for a wide variety of artists, including Bob Marley and the Wailers, Junior Murvin, the Congos, Max Romeo, Adrian Sherwood, the Beastie Boys, Ari Up, and many others.

Released on September 22nd, 201y via Cleopatra Records, Native Meets Lee Scratch Perry brings us a massive trip back in time with Black Ark Showcase 1977.

This is the first ever release of the complete Lee Perry produced sessions and the first ever release on vinyl for these recordings. Produced by Lee "Scratch" Perry at his world famous Black Ark studio, it is beautifully remastered audio, with hypnotic dub versions, and packaged in an attractive reverse board mini-LP sleeve for CD and full size jacket for vinyl.

1. 'In A Strange Land'
2. 'Late September In May'
3. 'In the Land Of Make Believe'
4. 'Meet Mr. Nobody'
5. 'Rockstone'
6. 'In A Strange Land Version'
7. 'Late September In May Version'
8. 'In The Land Of Make Believe Version'
9. 'Meet Mr. Nobody Version'
10. 'Rockstone Version'

Trust me when I say that this new album is a must-have for all Lee "Scratch" Perry and reggae lovers alike! You can quite understand why back home he is called "The Upsetter"! His sound upset the entire reggae industry at the time, because it was so psychotic and dread and successful. He tried to take the crown from King Tubby, but as we all know, that never really happened.

Combining 10 tracks that were all built on a combination of new music technology and traditional instruments to produce music across a variety of genres, Black Ark Showcase 1977 is quite easily one of my top albums of the year.

Often combining genres in an effort to adapt 1970s’ Jamaican sound system culture and dub studio techniques to current music genres and forms of live performance, forty-odd years after Lee "Scratch" Perry defined dub music with his seminal 1976 Super Ape album, via this iconic recording he is back in our ears and hearts once more.

Native Meets Lee Scratch Perry - 'Black Ark Showcase 1977' Vinyl Purchase Link

Native Meets Lee Scratch Perry - 'Black Ark Showcase 1977' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'The West Wing' (Original TV Soundtrack)
Artist - W.G. Snuffy Walden

To catch everyone up, 'The West Wing' was an American serial political drama television series created by Aaron Sorkin that was originally broadcast on NBC from September 22, 1999, to May 14, 2006.

The series is set primarily in the West Wing of the White House, where the Oval Office and offices of presidential senior staff are located, during the fictitious Democratic administration of Josiah Bartlet (played by Martin Sheen).

Now Varese Sarabande have released the 6th installment in their “We Hear You” Series - W.G. ‘Snuffy’ Walden’s score to the popular NBC series, 'The West Wing'.

CD One - 1. We Begin 00:11 2. The Aftermath 2:22 3. Leo Has To Go 2:18 4. One Down In Gaza 3:44 5. Faith Based Initiative 3:37 6. Leo’s Lament 3:17 7. Two Cathedrals 2:25 8. Ways and Means 2:05 9. The Truth Comes Out 2:17 10. The Dog of War 3:03 11. The Defector 3:14 12. The Benign Prerogative 2:32 13. No Exit 2:02 14. Gaza Strip 1:32 15. Donna and the Delegation 2:54 16. Debate Camp 1:30 17. The 14th Amendment 1:54 18. Mr. Willis of Ohio 2:38 19. Halls of The White House 2:24 20. Walking The West Wing 3:54 21. The First Commandment 1:19 22. The Oval Office to Main Title 3:52

CD Two - 1. Retaliatory Strikes 3:20 2. Recovery 1:35 3. Do We Have The Votes 1:44 4. Camp David 1:41 5. Proportional Response 3:50 6. Morality and Mortality 2:37 7. 24 Hr Deadline 2:38 8. Charlie in The Oval Office 1:30 9. The Two Bartlets 2:12 10. Mrs. Landingham 2:05 11. One of Three 3:08 12. Hanging In The Balance 2:35 13. Presidential Proclamation 2:18 14. Questions 2:36 15. Jefferson Lives 2:04 16. Strike Immediately 1:59 17. Three Presidents 1:17 18. What’s Next 5:44 19. Super Tuesday 2:27 20. Alternate Options 1:50 21. 90 Miles Away 1:30 22. The Nomination 1:51

It's been said that Aaron Sorkin got the idea for 'The West Wing' in 1985 while filming his script for The American President. At the end of the first season in 2000, 'The West Wing' tied The Sopranos with 18 Emmy Award nominations each, winning nine, including Best Drama Series, and setting a record for a prime time series.

As for composer W.G. ‘Snuffy’ Walden himself, well, he won the Emmy for Outstanding Original Main Title - Theme Music; and listening to this music again today, deservedly so.

He describes it as “a simple little gospel melody that’s orchestrated more like Copland with the horns,” but it was not written to be the main title.

Indeed, for seven years, Walden's theme for 'The West Wing' was as presidential as "Hail to the Chief." The theme became "a piece of music that everybody identified with," Walden continues. "It was magical how people felt proud to be an American when they hear that music. I don't know how else to say it. I've just been told over and over and over again through the years by people who've been so moved by that."

Fans have been asking Snuffy and Varese Sarabande for years to release a collection of music from 'The West Wing' and so now with this impressive, luxurious 2CD set making the rounds, all fans of 'The West Wing' can sleep easy tonight.

This wonderful collection of music, out now as an aforementioned 2CD set of 'The West Wing' - Original Television Soundtrack is limited to just 2,000 units - so get yours while you can.

'The West Wing' 2CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Jean-Michel Bernard Plays Lalo Schifrin'
Artist - Jean-Michel Bernard

Just to ensure that everyone is on the same page here, composer, conductor, pianist, and jazz musician Lalo Schifrin is a legend. There's just no two ways about it and this new compilation of his work by Jean-Michel Bernard proves it without a shadow of a doubt.

Schifrin has written over 100 film scores, including Mission: Impossible, Bullitt, Dirty Harry and Enter The Dragon, earning five Grammys and six Academy Award nominations.

So, for Schifrin's 85th birthday, the French composer and pianist Jean-Michel Bernard assembled an amazing band in Paris and went on a musical adventure through Schifrin's catalog of classics.

1. 'Mannix' (3:44)
2. 'Bullitt' (4:05)
3. 'Cool Hand Luke' (4:20)
4. 'Dirty Harry Suite' (6:43)
5. 'Lalo's Bossa Nova' (3:20)
6. 'Mission: Impossible' (4:04)
7. 'That Night' (4:42)
8. 'Tango Del Atardecer' (3:27)
9. 'The Cat' (3:18)
10. 'Les Felins' (3:28)
11. 'The Cincinnati Kid' (3:28)
12. 'Introduction To The Plot' (4:24)
13. 'The Plot' (1:03)
14. 'Cheketeers Suite' (5:17)
15. 'Manteca' (4:50)
16. 'Chano' (2:55)
17. 'Mannix Ballad' (2:48)

With Lalo Schifrin himself sitting in on piano for three pieces, 'Jean-Michel Bernard Plays Lalo Schifrin' - out now via Varese Sarabande Records - is chock full of all your favorite mainstay movie action cinematic compositions.

This incredible testament to Schifrin's soundtrack work from 1964-1971 is just pure musical wonderment. From the opening scores to both 'Mannix' and 'Bullitt', through 'Cool Hand Luke' and the 'Dirty Harry Suite', on through to both 'The Cincinnati Kid' and 'Chano', once they begin to play you are instantly transported back to the movie; to that particular memorable scene.

'Jean-Michel Bernard Plays Lalo Schifrin' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Still Snotty: Young, Loud & Snotty At 40'
Artist - Dead Boys

Just to ensure that everyone is on the same page here, the Dead Boys are an American punk rock band from Cleveland, Ohio.

The band was among the first wave of early punk bands, and was known as one of the rowdiest and most violent punk groups of the era.

The Dead Boys were initially active from 1976 to 1979, briefly reuniting in 1986, and then later again in 2004 and 2005 for the first time without their front man Stiv Bators, who had died in 1990.

In September 2017, founding members Cheetah Chrome and Johnny Blitz reunited the band with a new line-up for a 40th anniversary tour along with a new album, Still Snotty: Young, Loud and Snotty at 40, a re-recording of their debut album.

1. 'Sonic Reducer'
2. 'All This And More'
3. 'What Love Is'
4. 'Not Anymore'
5. 'Ain't Nothing To Do'
6. 'Caught With The Meat In Your Mouth'
7. 'I Need Lunch'
8. 'High Tension Wire'
9. 'Down In Flames'

Originally recorded and released in 1977 on Sire Records, and produced by Genya Ravan, Young Loud and Snotty may have featured a different line-up, but the raw appeal to it still lives on here 40 years later, that's for damn sure.

Now produced by Plowboy Records head Shannon Pollard and cut in just three days of sessions in Nashville's historic Creative Workshop Studios, Still Snotty: Young, Loud & Snotty at 40 was always going to be an exciting chance to revisit a classic album.

As Cheetah Chrome has since said about the original album, "It was actually a demo. None of us had been in a studio before, and we figured we would go back in and do it right, but the label said no."

"It has stood up, but 40 years later we can do a What if? What would it have sounded like if we could have gone back in? So that's what this is about. It's not better. It's just different."

Truer words have never been spoken, for Still Snotty: Young, Loud and Snotty at 40 is obviously as close to the original vibe as any redo could be, yet still manages to exude it's own, fresher approach, so to speak.

That said, if it ain't broke, don't fix it does come to mind, and I'm not overly sure that this was a necessary recording. That said, it is a worthy stab at honoring the past and bringing it kicking and screaming into the here and now.

'Still Snotty: Young, Loud & Snotty At 40' CD Purchase Link

Dead Boys @ Facebook

Title - 'Clean Getaway'
Artist - Ricky Byrd

This month, Rock and Roll Hall Of Famer Ricky Byrd – founder of the non-profit Clean Getaway 501(c)(3) – will soon release Clean Getaway, a collection of 12 songs evoking the intricacies and emotions behind addiction and recovery.

The incredible album will soon be available via CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon, and all other online stores, with a portion of the sales going to the Clean Getaway non-profit 501(c)(3).

I mean, come on now, could there be a better reason to dip into your pockets for some great new rock music?

1. 'Kicks'
2. 'Better Days'
3. 'Kid (A Cautionary Tale)'
4. 'Clean Getaway'
5. 'I Prefer Wakin' Up ... To Comin' To'
6. 'Lighthouse'
7. 'High Wire'
8. 'Paranoid'
9. 'Sweet Surrender'
10. 'Addicts Prayer'
11. 'I'm Done'
12. 'Broken Is a Place'

Produced by Ricky Byrd and Bob Stander, this 12 song collection, one that consists of self-penned songs, as well as a rocking cover of 'Kicks', let alone material in which Byrd collaborated with songwriting luminaries Richie Supa and Mark Hudson, is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best rock albums of the past few years.

A master musical director and guitar virtuoso, Byrd is joined by several stellar musicians on Clean Getaway: Bobby Whitlock (keyboards, Derek and The Dominos), Steve Holley (drums - Wings), Bob Stander (bass), Andy Burton (keyboards, Little Steven and The Disciples Of Soul), Jeff Kazee (keyboards, Southside Johnny), John Isley and Chris Anderson of the Asbury Jukes (horns), Christine Ohlman (SNL band), Marge Raymond, Mark Hudson, and Sara Devine on vocals.

Every song is heartfelt, raw, meaningful, and the storytelling from Ricky is heart on the sleeve with each and every sung lyric. The foot-tappin' 'Kicks' is a brilliant way to, well, kick things off, and that's backed by the mid-tempo, '60s Stonesesque 'Better Days', the rocker 'Kid (A Cautionary Tale)', the slow poke title track, and then both the blues rock of 'I Prefer Wakin' Up ... To Comin' To' and the ballad 'Lighthouse.'

Another track that stands out is the lo-fi man and his acoustic guitar cut, 'High Wire' which is followed by the non-Sabbath rock cut 'Paranoid' and then the beautiful 'Sweet Surrender', with co-vocals from Sara Devine. Alone with his guitar once more on 'Addict's Prayer', the album then comes to a close with 'I'm Done', and then the gentle, openhearted letter to one of his lowest points in life, 'Broken Is a Place.'

Ricky Byrd has devoted himself to spreading the message of hope and possibilities through Rock and Roll. The mission of the Clean Getaway non-profit is to bring awareness, education, prevention and addiction resources to those suffering from drug and alcohol addiction through the healing power of music. It does this through Concert Events, Music Outreach Sessions and Early Education and Prevention programs.

For the past five years, Byrd has led recovery music groups in various treatment and detox facilities across the country. At the end of each session, the patients would ask where they could get the songs he played.

That inspired him to raise the money via an online music campaign to record Clean Getaway, which will also be given away to patients.

'Clean Getaway' CD Purchase Link

Ricky Byrd @ Facebook

Title - 'Winter Carols (2017 Edition)'
Artist - Blackmore's Night

For those not quite in the know, Blackmore's Night is a British/American traditional folk rock duo formed in 1997, consisting of Ritchie Blackmore (acoustic and electric guitar) and Candice Night (lead vocals, lyricist and multi-instrumentalist).

Having released ten studio albums, their last two being the much lauded All Our Yesterdays (2015), and the just-released incredible showcasing of their talents on the wondrous 2CD release entitled To The Moon and Back: 20 Years and Beyond ..., they have now re-released this delightful festive musical delight.

CD 1:
1. 'Deck the Halls'
2. 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen'
3. 'Oh Christmas Tree"
4. 'Hark the Herald Angels Sing / Come All Ye Faithful'
5. 'I Saw Three Ships'
6. 'Winter (Basse Dance)'
7. 'Ding Dong Merrily on High'
8. 'Ma-O-Tzur'
9. 'Good King Wenceslas'
10. 'Lord of the Dance / Simple Gifts'
11. 'We Three Kings'
12. 'Wish You Were Here' (song from Shadow of the Moon)
13. 'Emmanuel'
14. 'Christmas Eve'
15. 'We Wish You a Merry Christmas'

CD 2:
1. 'Hark the Herald Angels Sing / Come All Ye Faithful - Live from Minstal Hall 2013'
2. 'Emmanuel - Live from Minstal Hall 2013'
3. 'We Three Kings - Live from Minstal Hall 2013'
4. 'Ma-O-Tzur - Live from Minstal Hall 2013'
5. 'Good King Wenceslas - Live from Minstal Hall 2013'
6. "Christmas Eve - 2013 Version'
7. "Christmas Eve - German Radio Edit'
8. "Christmas Eve - English & German Radio Edit'
9. "Christmas Eve - English Radio Edit'

With guitar rock hero Ritchie Blackmore - guitars, mandolin, domra, hurdy-gurdy - alongside his beautiful wife Candice Night - vocals, chanter, cornamuse, shawm, rauschpfeife, tambourine - this newly digitally remastered 2CD, now complete with three brand new bonus tracks is, for my money, the most perfect of musical accompaniments for your Christmas season.

The festive season is a particularly special time for Ritchie Blackmore and Candice Night, not least because many traditional Christmas songs (Carols, if you will) originate from medieval times, which are so dear to them.

On this album, Ritchie and Candice share with their fans some of their favorite Christmas songs of the last 400 years. The song 'Wish You Were Here' is a wonderful cover version of the Rednex song, beautifully interpreted by Candice and embellished by Ritchie's distinctive guitar-playing.

The album also contains 'Christmas Eve', Blackmore's Night's previous Christmas single (from 2013) in different versions. Finally, this 2017 remastered edition contains three brand new bonus tracks: 'Deck The Halls', 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen' and 'Oh Christmas Tree'.

In truth, Blackmore's Night know what they're doing, no matter what they record, and here they once more prove the excellency, and the diversity of their work. The selection of old Carols and newly-created (2013) festive cuts, all superbly performed as only Blackmore's Night know how.

Candice's voice is simply beautiful and blends in so well with the musical arrangements played by the band. Personally, and given that there are 24 tracks here, my favorite has to be 'Hark The Herald Angels Sing / Oh Come All Ye Faithful.'

I just love the drums and horns that start this off and reappear on occasion throughout the piece. It gives a majestic regal feel to the piece. The soft guitar work and strings weave wonderfully into Candice's warm and blissful voice.

Ritchie puts a nice bit of electric guitar into this "medley" that mixes with quick drums for a rollicking feel in the second piece. The backing chorals are beautiful also. I find it puzzling that Christ is not mentioned by name in either tune, as "Christ is born in Bethlehem" is now replaced with "Peace has come to Bethlehem" in 'Hark' and in 'Faithful' "Christ the Lord" is now "He is the Lord".

Still the instrumentation and splendid singing make for an arresting piece and aside from that so-called lyric alteration (and there may be more throughout that i just didn't pick up on), this digitally-remastered 2017 2CD of Winter Carols has to be purchased and played in your homes this holiday season.

With a second disc of Carols recorded live from their Minstal Hall show in 2013, plus four (4) versions of 'Christmas Eve', this album is as complete a festive recording as they come. Buy it. Try it. Love it. You won't regret it, you have my word. 'Winter Carols (2017)' 2CD Purchase Link

Blackmore's Night @ Facebook

Title - 'It's Christmas Time Again'
Artist - Charles Billingsley

For those not in the know, Charles Billingsley is a Christian singer, worship leader, songwriter, speaker and author.

Also the worship leader at Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, CA, Billingsley began his solo career the day after he graduated from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama in 1992.

After two years, he joined the Christian Contemporary Music group NewSong. In 1994, they released People Get Ready featuring "Arise My Love." That album had four number one hits. After two years with NewSong, Charles left to pursue a solo career, averaging 200 concerts a year.

In truth, it's no secret Charles Billingsley is one of Christian music's most captivating Inspirational voices, but for this singer, worship leader, husband, father and teacher to name but a few of his leading roles, it's what's behind the music that has truly made the man.

Now Charles Billingsley brings these sentiments to light on his new album It’s Christmas Time Again, out October 6th, 2017 via Crest Music. Released on CD, vinyl, and all digital platforms, the album has already debuted at #3 on the iTunes Top 5 Holiday Albums, and currently sits at the #5 position - alongside Frank Sinatra, Gwen Stefani, Blake Shelton, and Fantasia.

1. "The Man With The Bag"
2. "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town"
3. "It’s Christmas Time Again"
4. "I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day"
5. O" Holy Night"
6. "December"
7. "Silver Bells"
8. "Dig That Crazy Santa Claus"
9. "White Christmas"
10. "Silent Night"
11. "Panis Angelicus"
12. "Welcome To Our World"
13. "Goodnight"

As we all well know, there’s always something timeless about Christmas carols. That's why these 13 tracks from Billingsley set the soul at ease, and bring about that familiar feeling of peace, good will, family, and the holiday spirit.

The music Billingsley produces never disappoints and this Christmas album is as awesome as anything that has gone before. He has such a way of presenting "the message" that it's more than what you might expect.

His passion for our God and spreading the Word is overwhelming and here, wrapped up in these festive carols, he has embodied the spirit of Christmas quite like no other festive album I've heard in the past decade. It's a real Blessing. You can't go wrong if you buy it. So just go buy it!

'It's Christmas Time Again' CD Purchase Link

Charles Billingsley @ Facebook

Title - 'Matt Bianco: Deluxe Edition'
Artist - Matt Bianco

For those not in the know, Matt Bianco are a British band that was formed in 1983. They are mainly known for their success in the mid-1980s and their jazz, Latin-flavored music.

Very popular during the mid-1980s in continental Europe, the name suggests that Matt Bianco is a person, often assumed to be an alias for the main constant member and front man, Mark Reilly. But, word has had it over the past few decades, Matt Bianco is, in fact, "a made up spy, a secret agent".

Matt Bianco was initially formed in 1982 by Mark Reilly (vocals), Danny White (keyboards), and Kito Poncioni (bass), all of whom had just left art pop group, Blue Rondo A La Turk. Also on board from the beginning was then-unknown Polish vocalist Basia Trzetrzelewska. Initially, the band was known as "Bronze", before settling on the name Matt Bianco in 1983.

The group was pictured as a quartet for their first single ("Get Out Of Your Lazy Bed"/"Big Rosie"), although Poncioni only played on the non-album B-side "Big Rosie". Poncioni then dropped out of the group before the recording of Matt Bianco's first album, 1984's Whose Side Are You On?

For the album, the group was officially a trio of Reilly, White and Trzetrzelewska. Although he does not appear on the album in any capacity, Poncioni did receive a co-writing credit on the track "Half A Minute".

Whose Side Are You On? spawned several UK and European hits, including "Get Out of Your Lazy Bed", "More Than I Can Bear", "Half a Minute" and "Sneaking Out The Back Door". As well, the title track, while not a hit in the UK, was a minor hit in Canada and Australia.

Basia and Danny White, who subsequently formed a romantic relationship, left the group soon after the first album to pursue a very successful international solo career for Basia with Sony on the Epic label.

Reilly found two new musical partners: Jenni Evans became the new female singer for Matt Bianco, contributing mainly backing vocals, and lead vocals on two album tracks, and ex-Wham and Second Image keyboarder and session musician Mark Fisher became White's successor as songwriter and producer, and the band's keyboard player.

This line-up recorded the (self-titled) Matt Bianco album, which was released in 1986 and contained the hit "Yeh Yeh".

Digitally remastered and expanded into a deluxe 2CD edition, originally released in 1986, Matt Bianco: Deluxe Edition will be released on November 3rd, 2017 via Cherry Red Records (UK).

Disc: 1
1. 'Yeh Yeh' (12" Dance Mix)
2. 'Dancing in the Street'
3. 'Undercover'
4. 'Fly By Night'
5. 'Smooth'
6. 'I Wonder'
7. 'Just Can't Stand It'
8. 'Summer Song'
9. 'Sweetest Love Affair'
10. 'Up Front'
Bonus Tracks - Single Versions & B-Sides
11. 'Yeh Yeh' (Single Version)
12. 'Up Front (Single Version)
13. 'More Than I Can Bear' (Re-Recorded Version)
14. 'Undercover' (7" Version)
Bonus Tracks - Remixes & Alternate Versions
15. 'Smooth' (Extra Smooth)
16. 'Just Can't Stand It' (Maximum K Mix)
17. 'Dancing in the Street' (Dance Mix)

Disc: 2
1. 'Undercover' (12" Version)
2. 'It's Getting Late' (Extended Version)
3. 'Dancing in the Street' (Dub)
4. 'Dancing in the Street' (Instrumental)
5. 'Dancing in the Street' (Medley Megamix)
Bonus Tracks - Live Recordings
6. 'Just Can't Stand It' (Live)
7. 'Get Out of Your Lazy Bed' (Live)
8. 'I Need It' (Live)
9. 'Up Front' (Live)
Bonus Tracks - Additional Recordings
Mark Fisher featuring Dotty Green
10. 'Love Situation' (7" Version)
11. 'Love Situation' (Broadway Mix - Tooting)
12. 'Love Situation' (Dub)
13. 'Love Situation' (Remix)
14. 'Love Situation' (Instrumental)

Having originally reached #26 in the UK and achieved platinum and gold sales status throughout the UK and Europe, their second album was more successful than the group's debut release. As aforementioned, the sound had changed from their debut somewhat, due to Jenni Evans and Mark Fisher being brought in after the departure of Basia and keyboard player White.

This superb Deluxe Edition features 31 tracks, including the original 10-song album alongside 21 bonus recordings. Indeed, 13 mark their appearance on CD for the first time, four of which are previously unreleased.

The bonus material on this set collects all of the singles, b-sides, remixes, and alternate versions that were released during the promotion of the original album alongside remixes of 'Love Situation' (UK #59), the Brit Funk single released by Matt Bianco member, Mark Fisher featuring vocals by Dotty Green.

The original album kicks off in fine Latin funk sway style with 'Hey Hey' (12" Dance Mix) and has always been an upbeat, feelgood favorite of mine down the years. 'Dancing in the Street' is up next (and not the Martha & The Vandellas track, if you were wondering) and that's backed by the free flowing, finger-clickin' 'Undercover'.

The hard Latin salsa vibe of 'Fly By Night' is a joy to behold, and that's followed by one of my all-time favorites from Matt Bianco, the underground jazz club sway of 'Smooth'. That late nite club feel is continued on the finger-snappin' 'I Wonder' and that's then backed by the perky upbeat keyboards on 'Just Can't Stand It' ("Help me lose, this losing streak, I'm running round, like a dog on heat").

The beautifully smooth 'Summer Song' is yet another joy to behold, and that's backed by the brilliantly lush 'Sweetest Love Affair', before the original album come to a close with the upbeat sounds of 'Up Front'. The first disc then adds Single Versions & B-Sides along with Remixes & Alternate Versions of three of the hits.

The second disc is a little overloaded with the same two songs - we get three versions of 'Dancing in the Street' and five versions of 'Love Situation'. That single was Mark Fisher's solo recording under his own name. Released in 1985, the same year he joined Matt Bianco. Four live recordings are rather nice to hear after all this time though, so that's where the gold lies for me in this Deluxe Edition set.

The 20-page, full color CD booklet contains lyrics, photos, an illustrated discography, comprehensive credits and brand new liner notes, plus written contributions from band member Mark Reilly and producer Phil Harding.

Renowned painter Haydn Cottam also recounts the history of his original painting that adorns the front of the album and discusses the details and influences behind it's creation.

Matt Bianco: Deluxe Edition [2CD] is being re-released by Cherry Red Records on November 3rd, 2017.

'Matt Bianco: Deluxe Edition' (2CD) Purchase Link

Matt Bianco @ Facebook

Title - 'Hard To Kill: Deluxe Edition'
Artist - Heaven & Earth

For those not in the know, Heaven & Earth specialize in melodic, classic hard rock in the vein of Deep Purple, Rainbow, and Bad Company.

Named after British-born, Los Angeles-based blues-rock guitar virtuoso Stuart Smith's 1999 solo outing of the same moniker, the band has undergone line-up changes since debuting in 2001 with Windows to the World.

Indeed, past members include Joe Lynn Turner [Rainbow], Carmine Appice [Vanilla Fudge], Richie Sambora [Bon Jovi], Glenn Hughes [Deep Purple], Kelly Hansen [Foreigner], and Kelly Keeling [King Kobra].

Smith was subsequently joined by vocalist Joe Retta, bass player Chuck Wright, drummer Richie Onori, and keyboard player Arlan Schierbaum (along with special guests David Paich [Toto], Howard Leese [Heart], and the aforementioned Sambora) for 2013's Dave Jenkins-produced Dig.

Released on October 6th, 2017 via Quarto Valley Records, Heaven & Hell's stunning fourth album Hard To Kill: Deluxe Edition immediately grabbed attention and adulation from both the industry and the music press alike.

Featuring Joe Retta on vocals, Stuart Smith on guitar, Lynn Sorensen on bass, Kenny Aronoff on drums and Ty Bailie on keyboards, Hard To Kill was produced by Dave Jenkins, mixed by Chris Lord Alge and mastered by Gavin Lurssen.

Comprising a full-length 11 track CD plus a bonus DVD of music videos for all 11 of those songs, plus a Digital Download Card, it's like Christmas come early for their fans!

1. 'Hard To Kill'
2. 'Walk Away'
3. 'Till It's Over'
4. 'Bleed me Dry'
5. 'The Game Has Changed'
6. 'Anthem'
7. 'Monster'
8. 'L.A. Blues'
9. 'Hellfire'
10. 'Beautiful Monsters'
11. 'Bad Man'

The CD opens with the powerhaus title track, and then runs seamlessly into both 'Walk Away' and 'Till It's Over', before finally reining things in for a hot mid-tempo second on 'Bleed Me Dry.' The funk blues of 'The Game Has Changed' is then backed by the caged, pacing animal 'Anthem', which in turn is followed by the guitar fest of 'Monster.'

One of my favorite tracks is the slowed down, paced soul of 'L.A. Blues' which is followed by the frenetic train-hugging-the-rails-at-every-turn beauty 'Hellfire.' The album then comes to a close with the mid-tempo rocker 'Beautiful Monsters' and then the thoughtful chords of 'Bad Man.'

Heaven & Earth @ Facebook

Title - Certified Classics Announces Inaugural Releases
Artist - Various

Certified Classics announced today eight (8) new vinyl pressings available in stores everywhere on October 20th, 2017.

These titles represent some of the greatest hip-hop and R&B of the '80s, '90s and '00s. Several titles are presented as brand-new color variants, and three (3) titles make their debut on vinyl.

Certified's inaugural general retail release follows the successful launch of their official web store in August, which offers additional classic albums on wax, including exclusive pressings of albums by Aaliyah, Nas, Ghostface Killah and more.

The new wave of available titles includes:

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, He's The DJ, I'm The Rapper (2LP)
E-40, In A Major Way (2LP White Vinyl)
Ginuwine, Ginuwine…The Bachelor (2LP Red Vinyl)
Mystikal, Unpredictable (2LP Green Smoke Vinyl)
DJ Quik, Quik Is The Name ("Tiger's Eye" Translucent Vinyl)
TLC, Ooooooohhh…On The TLC Tip
Cypress Hill, Greatest Hits From The Bong (2LP "Clear Smoke" Translucent Vinyl)
Mystikal, Prince Of The South…The Hits (2LP "Hardwood" Opaque Vinyl)
Run DMC, Ultimate Run DMC (2LP "Salt 'N' Peppa" Translucent Vinyl)

Also, fans who purchase these titles at participating independent record retailers will also receive a free custom compilation LP: Certified Classics Vol. 1.

This promotional-only item is a handpicked collection of a dozen hip-hop and R&B classics by A Tribe Called Quest, Aaliyah, Wu-Tang Clan, Destiny's Child, OutKast and more!

Having been kindly sent three (3) of these great titles for review, here are our thoughts and any other pertinent information with regard them.

Run DMC, Ultimate Run DMC (2LP "Salt 'N' Peppa" Translucent Vinyl). This 2003 compilation features the legendary Queens rap group's best-known tracks, including "Walk This Way," "It's Tricky" and "King Of Rock," plus the worldwide No. 1 remix of "It's Like That" by Jason Nevins.

Side A:
1. "Rock Box"
2. "Run's House"
3. "Walk This Way"
4. "Together Forever (Krush-Groove 4)" (Live at Hollis Park '84)

Side B:
1. "King of Rock"
2. "Jam-Master Jay"
3. "Hit It Run"
4. "It's Tricky"
5. "Peter Piper"

Side C:
1. "It's Like That"
2. "Raising Hell"
3. "My Adidas"
4. "Sucker M.C.'s (Krush-Groove 1)"

Side D:
1. "Mary, Mary"
2. "Here We Go" (Live at The Funhouse)
3. "Beats To The Rhyme"
4. "Down With The King"
5. "It's Like That" (Run DMC Vs. Jason Nevins)

Run DMC, recognized as one of the pioneers of hip-hop/rap, gives us a treat with this album's release. Most of their top hits are loaded in this album, and many of the songs will take you back to the years when hip-hop was original and free of sample-heavy copycats as it is today.

The album kicks off with "Rock Box", which is a rather underexposed hit, but true DMC fans will remember the song a few seconds into it. It's followed up by "Run's House", which is a decent song. But, the third track, "Walk This Way", is recognized as one of the most popular songs ever.

The combination of rap and rock (Aerosmith lends their skills in this track) in this track became a signature song for Run DMC, as the song went on to hit multiple charts and was played regularly on several radio stations. "King Of Rock" is another popular hit that is included on this album, and the song is an original that became popular during the break-dance craze era of the early '80's.

"It's Tricky" is a slightly different song compared to the others, hinting at a dance-beat rhythm as opposed to a more street-beat rhythm that most of their other tracks offer. "It's Like That" and "Raising Hell" provides listeners with the more street-beat sound, as "My Adidas" provides the more contemporary/radio sound that younger listeners enjoyed back then.

"Sucker MC's" was one of their initial hits that made radio waves and "Mary Mary" definitely stuck on listeners' minds when it was popular in 1988. There are multiple hits on this album, and if you've ever had the heart for Run DMC, this collection is definitely a treasure.

DJ Quik, Quik Is The Name ("Tiger's Eye" Translucent Vinyl). Born and raised in Compton, California, DJ Quik turned heads with his debut album, released on Profile Records in 1991 after a lengthy bidding war for the promising young rapper-producer.

Quik Is The Name was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America and was cited as one of the 100 greatest rap albums of all time by The Source.

Side A:
1. "Sweet Black Pussy"
2. "Tonite"
3. "Born And Raised In Compton"
4. "Deep"
5. "Tha Bombudd"
6. "Dedication"

Side B:
1. "Quik Is The Name"
2. "Loked Out Hood"
3. "8 Ball"
4. "Quik's Groove"
5. "Tear It Off"
6. "I Got That Feelin'"
7. "Skanless"

What more can be said about one of the most inspirational albums that propelled the West Coast into hip-hop stardom. DJ Quik is the reason why we have a sound so different from the East Coast, this man and this album laid the foundation for what became a movement in hip-hop history.

This man is not only one of the best and most creative rappers in the game but also one of the best producers to ever lay down a track.

If you don't know about it, learn about it and buy it, period. People like Kanye claim their genius, but Quik is genius. A modest man that has never relied on tabloids or outrageous antics to make a name for himself or to get people to buy his albums, his work speaks for itself.

Classics on this album include two songs that explain life in the city of Compton, "Born and Raised In Compton" and "Loked Out Hood." Also featured on this album was his first biggest hit of his career, which took west coast rap fans by storm with a different sound, in "Tonite."

If you must buy any classic west coast albums get this along with Way too Fonky, Safe & Sound, Rhyth-al-ism and Balance & Options and you'll see/hear why DJ Quik is one of the godfathers of the West.

When you get done with So. Cal classics, move on over to the Bay and pick up E-40's early works for another history lesson with the Hall of Game and In a Major Way because nothing will ever come close to what these artists of have done.

TLC, Ooooooohhh…On The TLC Tip. This special 25th anniversary pressing celebrates one of the landmark debut albums of the '90s!

Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins, Lisa "Left-Eye" Lopes and Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas combined funk, rap and new-jack swing to deliver instantly catchy songs of female empowerment—including the consecutive Top 10 hits "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg," "Baby-Baby-Baby" and "What About Your Friends."

Side A:
1. "Intro"
2. "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg"
3. "Shock Da Monkey"
4. "Intermission I" 6. "Das Da Way We Like 'Em"
7. "What About Your Friends"
8. "His Story"

Side B:
1. "Intermission II"
2. "Bad By Myself"
3. "Somethin' You Wanna Know"
4. "Baby-Baby-Baby"
5. "This Is How It Should Be Done"
6. "Depend On Myself"
7. "Conclusion"

Imagine the early '90s R&B group Bell Biv Devoe as a girl group - and TLC is what you get. Little did we know we had legends in the making! They had a unique look and style, and they weren't like anyone else out there - and this is why people are still talking about this group.

We will never forget the almost cartoonish Day-Glo clothes that were baggy as all get out, and condoms worn as the "must-have" fashion accessory.

Although CRAZYSEXYCOOL is probably TLC's best selling and most popular album of theirs, TLC, Ooooooohhh…On The TLC Tip, the Atlanta group's debut, is my favorite by the trio. Primarily produced by Dallas Austin, Jermaine Dupri, L.A. Reid and Babyface, this is one of the few albums that features samples throughout it that I, personally, really love.

While all the ladies contribute their now trademark sounds, it is the late Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes who dominates the material here. I still listen to it at least once everyday, and now that this delightful re-release vinyl is here, well, you better believe it was opened in haste and played with a broad smile attached.

First track "Ain't Too Proud To Beg", also TLC's first single, pulls the listener in straight away. Although it's the second-longest track on the album, it never gets boring, and the energy comes off this song in waves.

This is one of the first TLC tracks I listened to and I loved it from the start. Hell, every single track on this record is amazing, but this is one of my favorites, alongside "Bad By Myself", "Depend On Myself", "Hat 2 Da Back" and "Shock Dat Monkey". The old-skool Hip-Hop beats, slammin' lyrics and various important themes covered made these instant classics - and deservedly so.

Certified Classics is Legacy Recordings' home for the celebration of Sony Music's Hip-Hop and R&B catalog. With artists like The Fugees, Maxwell, Nas, A Tribe Quest, Xscape, Aaliyah and many more, Certified aims to pay homage to the legendary innovators of Hip-Hop and R&B by preserving, curating and reissuing repertoire from the 1980s through the early 2000s.

Title - 'Psychotic Symphony: Deluxe Edition'
Artist - Sons Of Apollo

For those not in the know, Sons of Apollo is an American progressive metal supergroup formed in 2017 and composed of Mike Portnoy, Billy Sheehan, Derek Sherinian, Jeff Scott Soto and Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal.

Portnoy, Sheehan and Sherinian had already worked together at a short-lived, live instrumental project with Tony MacAlpine. Around that time, Sherinian had asked Portnoy to be a drummer in a different band full-time, which Portnoy finally agreed to when he had time.

Their debut album, Psychotic Symphony: Deluxe Edition was released October 20th, 2017 via Inside Out Music/Sony Music. Produced by Portnoy and Sherinian (as "The Del Fuvio Brothers"), it is already garnering some high praise from both the industry and the music press alike.

1. 'God Of The Sun'
2. 'Coming Home'
3. 'Signs Of The Time'
4. 'Labyrinth'
5. 'Alive'
6. 'Lost In Oblivion'
7. 'Figaro's Whore'
8. 'Divine Addiction'
9. 'Opus Maximus'

Not here to present any ground-breaking, or overly original material, Sons Of Apollo are a band that just want to play their brand of progressive rock metal for themselves, hoping that along the way they can entice fans across the world to join their revolution.

Chock full of massive amounts of guitar and drum indulgences, I've never rated Jeff Scott Soto as a vocalist (especially during his time as the stand in lead singer of Journey), but here on their debut album he does step up to the plate. Sounding like I had hoped he would have done years ago, it's obvious that time spend in the industry, in the studio, along with maturity has created a more cultured edge to his vocals now.

With the backing of Dream Theater's Mike Portnoy on drums and Derek Sherinian on keyboards, it's their roots within this kind of music that enables SOA to infiltrate each track with a very, albeit heavy at times, Dream Theateresque sound. Mr. Big's Billy Sheehan brings us fabulous bass guitar work moments, as one would fully expect from the legend, and Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal adds lead ferociously to that also, as only he can.

The album opens up with the near 12 minute long guitar searing Middle East-themed, prog rock opus, 'God Of The Sun', before launching into both rockers 'Coming Home' and 'Signs Of The Time'. Complete with Sherinian’s synths stamped all over it, the thought-provoking storytelling of 'Labyrinth' is up next and that's backed by the mid-tempo ballad 'Alive'; which is also (in my humble opinion) a stand out track here.

The thunderous 'Lost In Oblivion' is next, and is followed by the minute long 'Figaro's Whore', before 'Divine Addiction' makes way for the final track on this monster of an album, the near 11 minute long, prog rock, drum-tastic explosion, 'Opus Maximus'. The deluxe side of this new CD is that the second disc comes complete with Instrumental Mixes, which is actually way cooler than it sounds once you let the disc work its musical magic!

Sons Of Apollo @ Facebook

'Psychotic Symphony: Deluxe Edition' 2CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Blue Soul'
Artist - Justin Young

For those not quite in the know yet, extraordinary saxophone talent Justin Young was born in 1980 in Warren, MI, just a few minutes outside Detroit.

Indeed, Young grew up in a musical household as his father, Jim Young, led a band called Kaleidoscope and would often rehearse the group in the family room.

“I was seeing and hearing drummers and keyboardists and vocalists, and hearing how all the sounds meshed together," Young has admitted. "It was always in the back of my mind," he adds.

That fertile environment, both at home and all around him in Detroit, gave Young a world-class musical education. He picked up drums in elementary school and started hearing the music that would inform his life and work: saxophonists Maceo Parker, Lenny Pickett and Gerald Albright, along with superstar pop, funk and jazz acts like Earth, Wind and Fire, Boney James, The Gap Band, Herbie Hancock, the Commodores, and more.

Digging deep into those aforementioned Detroit roots, Young’s fourth album, due November 17th, 2017 via JustinTime Records, features a dozen new songs recorded live in the studio with premier musicians, producers and songwriting collaborators.

1. 'Always There'
2. 'Nothin' But Love'
3. 'Razzamajazz'
4. 'Jazz Along The 101'
5. 'Paradise Found'
6. 'New Life'
7. 'Blue Soul'
8. 'Sorrento'
9. 'Sweet Release'
10. 'India'
11. 'Song For A Better Tomorrow'
12. 'High Definition'

This album, which has already become one of my top 3 albums of this year, begins in beautiful, truly stunning style with the delightful 'Always There' and backs that up with the uptown funk of 'Nothin' But Love' and then the mid tempo bluesy sax work of 'Razzmajazz.'

A late night jazz piano bar feel comes to mind on 'Jazz Along The 101', and that's followed by the mystical approach to 'Paradise Found' and the obvious non-lyrical storytelling behind 'New Life.'

The finger-snappin' vibe of the title track is along next and is backed seamlessly by the mellow 'Sorrento', and then the fun time notes come weaved in and around one of my personal favorites on the album, 'Sweet Release.'

The profoundly captivating blend of sounds heard within 'India' makes it yet another highlight on the new album, and then Young rounds this project out with both the stirring 'Song For A Better Tomorrow,' and then some gentle guitar funk joins Young's sax for a wondrous finale on 'High Definition' (a track that Young penned with fellow sax great Jackiem Joyner and keyboardist Matt Godina).

Official Justin Young @ Facebook

Title - 'Halloween Garage Blues'
Artist - Various

'Halloween Garage Blues' is a rather wonderful, and very unique collection of haunting blues and spooky garage rock to make this Halloween season both frightening and fun!

Including exclusive tracks from guitar ghoul Eric Gales, demonic NY Doll Sylvain Sylvain, killer Kenny Neal and a newly reanimated Paul Rudolph-led Pink Fairies plus The MC5, Iggy Pop, Junior Wells, Shuggie Otis, The Litter, The Fuzztones and others, 'Halloween Garage Blues' (out now via Cleopatra Records) is a must for your Halloween parties!

1. Eric Gales & Geno - "She Cast a Spell on Me"
2. Johnny & Shuggie Otis - "Bad Luck Shadow"
3. MC5 - "Poison"
4. Kenny Neal - "Swamp Creature"
5. Dr. John - "Zu Zu Man"
6. Harvey Mandel - "Hank the Ripper"
7. Arthur Brown - "Fire"
8. Iggy Pop - "I Wanna Be Your Dog"
9. Junior Wells - "Hoodoo Man Blues"
10. The Fuzztones - "Bad News Travels Fast"
11. Sylvain Sylvain - "Rocket Into Outer Space"
12. Reverend KM Williams - "Highway 666"
13. Pat Travers - "Death Letter"
14. The Coffin Daggers - "Kreepy Krawl"
15. Mike Pinera - "Wolfman Vs. Aztec Mummy"
16. Pink Fairies - "Lone Wolf"
17. Tom Killner - "Dr. Frankenstein"
18. Johnny Winter - "Black Cat Bone (Live)"
19. The Litter - "The Mummy"
20. Leo Bud Welch - "Don't Let the Devil Ride"
21. Blues Image - "Wild Thing"

The collection kicks off with American blues-rock guitarist Eric Gales and Geno on a very old school vocal styling of "She Cast a Spell on Me", and that's backed by multi-instrumentalist Shuggie Otis and his father Johnny on the piano blues of "Bad Luck Shadow." Next up is "Poison" from the brilliant MC5 and that's followed by blues guitar player/singer Kenny Neal's version of "Swamp Creature", and then Dr. John's "Zu Zu Man."

A simply stunning blues guitar rendition from Harvey Mandel of "Hank the Ripper" is to die for (pun intended), and that's backed by the well recognized "Fire" from Arthur Brown. A frenetic Iggy Pop on "I Wanna Be Your Dog" is next (although what that has to do with Halloween is beyond me), and that is backed by both Junior Wells' "Hoodoo Man Blues" and the timeless cut "Bad News Travels Fast" from The Fuzztones.

Sylvain Sylvain from the New York Dolls brings is a stellar "Rocket Into Outer Space", which is then followed seamlessly by Reverend KM Williams' "Highway 666", Canadian rock guitarist/singer Pat Travers' "Death Letter", and a fun "Kreepy Krawl" from The Coffin Daggers. Blues Image's Mike Pinera brings us a lovely tale of "Wolfman Vs. Aztec Mummy", and then the always-brilliant Pink Fairies launch into "Lone Wolf".

Tom Killner delves deep into his best Elvis Presley impression for "Dr. Frankenstein", with the late Johnny Winter launching a full on guitar assault on "Black Cat Bone (Live)." The album then comes to a close with The Litter on the guitar jangling "The Mummy", blues legend Leo Bud Welch on "Don't Let the Devil Ride", and then Blues Image doe their version of The Troggs' worldwide hit "Wild Thing."

Title - 'Walk The Earth: Special Edition'
Artist - Europe

For those not quite in the know, even after all these years, Europe are a Swedish rock band formed in Upplands Väsby, by guitarist John Norum, vocalist Joey Tempest, bass guitarist Peter Olsson, and drummer Tony Reno.

They got a major breakthrough in Sweden in 1982 by winning the televised competition "Rock-SM" (Swedish Rock Championships). Interestingly enough, it was also the very first time this competition was held, and Europe became a larger success than the competition itself. The competition continued for some years longer, but never reached any other heights.

Europe rose to international fame in the 1980s with their third album, 1986's The Final Countdown, which has sold over 3 million copies in the United States and 15 million copies worldwide (including album and single).

Europe have since sold over 25 million records worldwide and achieved two top 20 albums on the Billboard 200 chart (The Final Countdown and Out of This World). They have also had two top 10 hit singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart ("The Final Countdown" and "Carrie").

Having released their last album, War Of Kings in 2015, Europe are back once more with a simply stunning new album, Walk The Earth. Out now as a CD+DVD Special Edition, Walk The Earth (released via Hell & Back Recordings / Silver Lining Music) is the band reflecting back on their beginnings, as opposed to the pop tracks of Final Countdown or the heavier tracks on War Of Kings.

1. "Walk The Earth"
2. "The Siege"
3. "Kingdom United"
4. "Pictures"
5. "Election Day"
6. "Wolves"
7. "GTO"
8. "Haze"
9. "Whenever You're Ready"
10. "Turn To Dust"

1. Europe At Abbey Road

This album, which has already become one of my top 5 albums of this year, begins with the mid-tempo rock, fist raised, anthemic title track, and then backs then up with the faster paced "The Siege" and the guitar fest found on "Kingdom United." The ballad "Pictures" is some of the finest storytelling I've heard within music for many a year, and that's followed by the rocker, and my own personal favorite on the album, "Election Day".

Everywhere you turn on this musical journey, John Norums guitar playing is top notch and driving the album to where it needs to be. Joey Tempest's vocals are still up their with the greats of yesteryear, let alone today, and as much as you won't find anything like "Final Countdown", "Rock The Night", "Carrie", or even "Cherokee" on this album, that's ok - as evolution is always welcomed in this business.

The heavier mid-tempo sound of "Wolves" is a reflection of their vibe on the aforementioned War Of Kings, and that's backed by the ferocious "GTO", with the classic-sounding Europe of their first two albums coming to the fore on "Haze". The album then rounds out with both the pop rock of "Whenever You're Ready" and then the remorseful "Turn To Dust".

Recorded at the famed Abbey Road Studios in London with Grammy winning producer Dave Cobb (Rival Sons, Shooter Jennings, Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton), this Special Edition also contains a 30 minute DVD that features individual band members discussing their time and their recording experience at Abbey Road.

The entire 30 minutes is very relaxed, very one-on-one with the audience and reveals a lot about each member of the band and how they contributed to the making of this album. Filmed in black and white, Joey Tempest even admits that recording at Abbey Road Studios is " ... a special time in Europe's history".

It also showcases also all the old consoles and such still held tightly with love there at the studio that the band - let alone Pink Floyd and the Beatles - have all now used. It is a truly amazing visual look at not only the recording of the album, but of Europe also.

"Walk The Earth" - Official Video

Official Europe @ Facebook

Title - 'Snow - Live' [2CD+2DVD]
Artist - Spock's Beard

For those not in the know, Spock's Beard is an American progressive rock band formed in Los Angeles.

The band was formed in 1992 by brothers Neal (lead vocals, keyboards) and Alan Morse (vocals, guitars), John Ballard (bass) and Nick D'Virgilio (drums). Ballard was replaced by Dave Meros before the release of their debut album, The Light (1995), and Ryo Okumoto (keyboards) joined soon after.

Neal Morse left the band following the release of their sixth album, Snow (2002), and D'Virgilio took over as the band's front man. In 2011, D'Virgilio also left and was replaced by Jimmy Keegan (drums) and Ted Leonard (lead vocals) from Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep (2013) onward.

However, in 2017, D'Virgilio returned to the drum set with Leonard remaining the band's vocalist. To date, the band have released twelve studio albums, and numerous live releases and now they have lovingly added yet another incredible live release to their name. Snow - Live, out November 10th, 2017 via Metal Blade Records is a wondrous 2CD+2DVD live set of the material from their sixth album, Snow (2002).

CD 1:
1. 'Made Alive'
2. 'Overture'
3. 'Stranger In A Strange Land'
4. 'Long Time Suffering'
5. 'Welcome To NYC'
6. 'Love Beyond Words'
7. 'The 39th Street Blues (I'm Sick)'
8. 'Devil's Got My Throat'
9. 'Open Wide the Flood Gates'
10. 'Open The Gates Part 2'
11. 'Solitary Soul'
12. 'Wind at My Back'
13. 'Second Overture'
14. '4th of July'
15. 'I'm The Guy'
16. 'Reflection'
17. 'Carie'

CD 2:
1. 'Looking for Answers'
2' 'Freak Boy'
3. 'All Is Vanity'
4. 'I'm Dying'
5. 'Freak Boy Part 2'
6. 'Devil's Got My Throat Reprise'
7. 'Snow's Night Out'
8. "Ladies and Gentlemen, Mister Ryo Okumoto on the Keyboards"
9. 'I Will Go'
10. 'Made Alive Again'
11. 'Wind at My Back'
12. 'June'
13. 'Falling for Forever'

DVD 1:
1. 'Snow Part One' and 'Part Two'

DVD 2: Encores
1. 'June'
2. 'Falling for Forever'
3. Behind the Scenes Feature - The Making of Snow Live

This band, particularly the Neal Morse line-up, are considered to be at the forefront of modern progressive rock music, and here on Snow - Live you can see, and hear why.

Featuring Morse and all members, past and present, Snow - Live came together at last year’s annual Morsefest in Nashville, TN. Performing the critically acclaimed double-disc original concept album in its entirety, Spock’s Beard features Neal Morse (lead vocals, piano, synths, electric and acoustic guitar), Alan Morse (electric guitars, vocals), Ted Leonard (electric and acoustic guitar, vocals), Jimmy Keegan (drums, percussion, vocals), Nick D'Virgilio (drums, percussion, vocals, acoustic guitars), Ryo Okumoto (keyboards - hammond organ, mellotron, jupiter 8, minimoog, vocoder), and Dave Meros (bass, vocals).

As Neal Morse himself has said about this live recording, "Since we never played it live and I quit the band right after the album was finished, we never got to experience what it meant to others. We never got to see how it lived out in the world."

"Until now. I think we always knew that we were going to get together and play it at some point. It just needed to happen. But, as you can imagine, there was a lot of pain associated with this album."

As Morse concludes, “Obviously, the stars aligned and many prayers were answered as we gathered to play the SNOW album in its entirety for the first time at Morsefest 2016. Some brilliant person had the idea to enlist the extreme talents of both Jimmy (Keegan) and Ted (Leonard) which brought a dazzle and musicality that is off the chart."

So to the music and the actual concept of Snow may well have some similarities to both Tommy and Powder, but whatever those similarities may be, there are stark differences also.

Tommy was a victim of circumstances and his parents. He did not select his path, nor could he be aware of what was happening, giving that he was "...deaf, blind and dumb." Powder had the potential to be Snow, but the story there was more about prejudice and understanding (or the lack thereof), than Snow's story.

Snow exits the world at an early age (mentally), refusing to deal with the torment to which he is subjected. Eventually he wakes up and leaves home, going to New York City. There he witnesses the downside of life, the homeless, prostitutes, and drug addicts.

Snow senses these people need something or someone to help them, and believes he can help them. Apparently Snow is able to provide people help, and though perhaps not quite messianic, he does get a big head.

However, a girl pops his balloon and he realizes that it was his vanity that has made him believe he was any different than that boy he once was being tormented by other children. The only difference now is that people were impressed by what he could do for them, and not by whom he really was.

Snow then begins "dying", though that death is the death of ego and not a physical death. Though others have said that Snow then seeks redemption, in truth he does not. Snow merely comes to realize that the answers he sought were not in the artificial reality he had created. He realized he had to go back home and face himself and find the truths within.

While the construction of the album is such that it is not at first accessible, from a different angle Snow's story is the story of us all. We each want to believe that we can change the world. We each want to be admired by others. We each want that special girl (or guy) to fall for us.

If our dreams are realistic, if we have chosen a path that mirrors the essential us, then we have chosen well and we will be comfortable with ourselves throughout our lives. However, many others will continually seek and never find, never realizing that the answer was always within. This is the story of Snow and as it progresses, the musical genius within all these musicians most certainly comes to the fore.

Releasing November 10th, 2017, Snow - Live will be available in four formats: 2 DVD/2CD Digipack, 3 LP Vinyl (Special "Snow White" vinyl), 2 Disc Blu-ray, and Limited Edition Artbook Bundle!

The Artbook Bundle contains 2 DVD/2 CD/2 Blu-ray, 50-page color Artbook, poster and postcards. Each is itemized for authenticity and the first 200 Artbook Bundles ordered will be autographed by Neal Morse!

Spock's Beard @ Facebook

Title - 'Battle of the Sexes' (Original Soundtrack)
Artist - Nicholas Britell

With an original score by Academy Award®-nominee composer Nicholas Britell, and featuring the original song, “If I Dare”, performed by Sara Bareilles, Sony Classical has just released 'Battle Of The Sexes' (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack).

In the wake of the sexual revolution and the rise of the women’s movement, the 1973 tennis match between women’s world champion Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and ex-men’s-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) was billed as the “Battle of the Sexes” and became one of the most watched televised sports events of all time, reaching 90 million viewers around the world.

'Battle Of The Sexes' is directed by Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris (LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE) from a screenplay by Simon Beaufoy (SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE), and features a cast including Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Andrea Riseborough, Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, Alan Cumming, Elisabeth Shue, Austin Stowell, and Natalie Morales.

For those not in the know, Nicholas Britell is an Academy Award®-nominee American composer, pianist, and film producer based in New York City. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Score and Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score for the film Moonlight (2016).

Track Listing:
1. "20th Century Fox Fanfare" - Alfred Newman
2. "Billie Jean King"
3. "Bobby Riggs"
4. "Manhattan Sunset"
5. "Nighthawks"
6. "Dog Tennis"
7. "Lavender Oil"
8. "One Dollar - Press Conference"
9. "Radio Interview (Anthem)"
10. "First Kiss"
11. "Crimson and Clover" - Tommy James And The Shondells
12. "Marilyn Joins the Tour"
13. "Rocket Man (I Think It's Going To Be A Long Long Time)" - Elton John
14. "The Bra/ Court Loss"
15. "Bobby vs. Margaret"
16. "The Winner"
17. "Priscilla Leaves"
18. "What is Life" - George Harrison
19. "Prelude to Battle of the Sexes"
20. "Battle of the Sexes - March"
21. "The Battle of the Sexes - Match Part 1"
22. "The Battle of the Sexes - Match Part 2"
23. "Victory"
24. "Finale"
25. "Postlude"
26. "If I Dare" - Sara Bareilles

In what turns out to be a very nice twist here, Britell’s score for 'Battle Of The Sexes' actually sounds like it was written and recorded back around the time this all happened in the '70s. Not like it had been writen here in 2017, but back 40 plus years ago when technology was raw, but heart and soul went into every single note.

A terrific sonic journey through one of the times history will always remember, it begins in fine form with the age old "20th Century Fox Fanfare" by Alfred Newman and then introduces us to both main characters with their signature tunes.

With no track longer than two minutes, if that sometimes, the delightful jazzy number "Nighthawks" is the first to push over the three minute mark. Interspersed with classics from that era from Elton John, Tommy James And The Shondells, and George Harrison, for my money it's the stirring piano work done on the nine minute "Prelude to Battle of the Sexes" that proves to be the showstopper here.

Wrapped up beautifully with "If I Dare" from Sara Bareilles, 'Battle of The Sexes' not only tells an historic tale, but this new soundtrack now does also.

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Dubb Everlasting' / 'Dub Expresson'
Artist - Errol Brown

Mixed by renowned sound engineer, Errol Brown (not to be confused with the late Jamaican lead singer of Hot Chocolate) at Treasure Isle studio in Kingston, the albums that comprise this crucial collection have long since been widely regarded as being among the finest dub sets to see issue during the mid-to-late seventies.

Originally released in strictly limited numbers on Sonia Pottinger’s celebrated High Note label, at a time when dub was reaching its creative peak, Dubb Everlasting and Dub Expression feature the cream of Jamaica’s session players, including future Riddim Twins, Sly & Robbie.

Dubb Everlasting:
1. 'Babylon Dubbing'
2. 'Escape Affair'
3. 'Biblical Dub'
4. 'Easy Locks'
5. 'Living Strings'
6. 'Eva A Dub'
7. 'Marigunna Affair'
8. 'Dub Due'
9. 'Winning Dub'
10. '37 Orange Street'
11. 'Spinning Dub'

Dub Expressions:
1. 'The Gun Court Dub'
2. 'Ital Stew'
3. 'Super Tracks'
4. 'Dread at the Controls'
5. 'Ghetto Dub'
6. 'Ranking Marshall'
7. 'Down Town Thing'
8. 'Bond Street Rock'
9. 'Melodious Dub'
10. 'Mark Dis Yah Dub'
Making sure there's a proper shout out to those that should also be recognized, over some of Jamaican reggae record producer Sonia Pottinger's finer rhythms, Errol Brown lets rhythmically loose and produces one of the finest dub albums every created.

Bravely introducing the harmonica to his sound, something that up until that point had rarely been done, Brown knew what he was doing would divide his followers, but did it any way. Shoot, if you think hearing a harmonica is unexpected then just listen to 'Marigunna Affair', where the electric guitar comes forth chock full of distortion.

Indeed, both Dubb Everlasting and Dub Expressions are wondrous albums of their age. With the Lion obviously smiling broadly upon their creations, they are true prime roots dub, from the top to the very last drop. Majestically created sounds throughout, for my money, Errol Brown is really an unsung hero of dub.

With both albums on this essential celebration of dub unavailable in any format since their original release, long deprived fans can now at last enjoy some of the hardest and heaviest sounds ever to see issue, at a price that won’t burn a hole in their pockets.

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Emerson Plays Emerson'
Artist - Keith Emerson

For those not in the know, Keith Emerson was an English musician and composer who played keyboards in a number of bands before finding his first commercial success with the Nice in the late 1960s.

He became internationally famous for his work with the Nice, which included writing rock arrangements of classical music. After leaving the Nice in 1970, he was a founding member of Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP), one of the early progressive rock supergroups.

Emerson, Lake & Palmer were commercially successful through much of the 1970s, becoming one of the best-known progressive rock groups of the era. Emerson wrote and arranged much of ELP's music on albums such as Tarkus (1971) and Brain Salad Surgery (1973), combining his own original compositions with classical or traditional pieces adapted into a rock format.

1. "Vagrant" (2:32)
2. "Creole Dance" (3:04)
3. "Solitudinous' (2:18)
4. "Broken Bough" (4:00)
5. "A Cajun Alley" (4:11)
6. "Prelude To Candice" (From Murderock} (1:47)
7. "A Blade Of Grass" (2:07)
8. "Outgoing Tide" (1:44)
9. "Summertime" (3:42)
10. "Interlude" (1:36)
11. "Roll'n Jelly" (1:14)
12. "B&W Blues" (5:22)
13. "For Kevin" (1:55)
14. "The Dreamer (From Best Revenge}" (2:42)
15. "Hammer It Out" (2:37)
16. "Ballad For A Common Man" (3:19)
17. "Barrelhouse Shakedown" (3:45)
18. "Nilu's Dream" (2:07)
19. "Soulscapes" (2:34)
20. "Close To Home" (3:40)
21. "Honky Tonk Train Blues" - Oscar Peterson, Big Band, Keith Emerson (3:58)
22. "Medley: Nicola/Silver Shoes/I'll See You In My Dreams" (2:08)

Released back in 2002, and having been out of print for many years, Emerson Plays Emerson has been sought after by his strong core fan base ever since. But this brand new re-release uses a fresh transfer of the master tapes by ABBEY ROAD with a 2017 remaster. Released via Cherry Red Records (UK), it should also be known that this release has full approval from the estate of Keith Emerson.

Primarily encompassing, embracing his love for piano solos, Emerson had often been critically slammed for his overbearing, ultra-fast, and garish synthesizer and Hammond Organ solos with Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. So this CD should, once again, quieten those voices of disharmony.

Indeed, his wonderful piano playing has often been featured in a band context ("Take a Pebble", "Karn Evil 9 - 2nd Impression", etc.), but rarely in a solo context. But here on Emerson Plays Emerson he made up for lost time, that's for sure.

His big technique adapts itself effortlessly to lush, cinematic themes such as "Outgoing Tide" and "The Dreamer", the tricky time-changes of "Hammer It Out" as well as more introspective pieces like "Vagrant", "Solitudinous" and "Nilu's Dream", which are romantic, one and all. No aimless noodling here; most of the tunes are only two or three minutes long and none of them outstay their welcome.

Featuring an incredible 22 pieces, all played and composed in that simply unmistakable Emerson style, some of them have been released in one form or another ("Honky Tonk Train Blues", "The Dreamer", "Hammer It Out", etc.) and others are familiar from his concerts with ELP (For Kevin, Creole Dance, Close to Home), but, for the most part, especially here in 2017, there's a great feeling that a whole new audience will rediscover the maestro.

CD Purchase Link

Title - '$@Y'
Artist - Cairo

For those not in the know, Cairo is the brainchild of Touchstone founder, songwriter, singer and keys man Rob Cottingham. The new UK-based band is have just released their debut self-titled album this past October 3rd, 2017 via The Right Honourable Record Company Ltd and Cherry Red Records (UK).

Cairo is an hour long and includes a prog epic in the form of “Nothing To Prove” and a right royal title track rocker in “Say”. Also including a special voice over from Nick Yarris, an innocent man who spent twenty-two years on death row in Pennsylvania, this album is truly something to behold.

1. 'CAIRO' (2.42)
3. 'SHADOW’S RETURN' (2.33)
4. 'WIPED OUT' (3.09)
5. 'SAY' (3.40)
6. 'NOTHING TO PROVE' (9.30)
8. 'KATRINA' (5.11)
9. 'SEARCHING' (4.47)
13. 'KATRINA (BREATHE MIX)' (9.01)

The band comprises Rachel Hill on vocals; James Hards on guitars; Paul Stocker on bass, Graham Brown on drums and Cottingham on vocals and keys. As Cottingham himself says, "I was after a new sound with the same sensibilities as in my previous writing but with heavier passages, as well as more ambient, electronic soundscapes – plus more time spent on crafting the blend of male and female vocals within the overall production of the music."

Mission accomplished, as every track on this album is stunningly orchestrated and beautifully arranged. Unlike Touchstone, a harder-edged prog band, Cottingham has now created a new group that pushes that prog sound into a new era.

With a much noted higher prog keyboard presence throughout, though many of the other classic elements are present, Cairo is much more than just the lead man, of course. Featuring some truly fabulous guitar work from James Hards, a grounded, workhorse of a bassist in Paul Stocker, and solid drums from Graham Brown, it's all woven together by the stellar lead vocals of Rachel Hill.

Personally, my favorites here are 'Katrina' - which comes in two version; the regular version and then a nine minute long version that, along with assorted effects, also includes a provocative moment of silence - and a lush track in 'Back from the Wilderness'. A simply beautiful lullaby of unique majesty, in and unto itself.

Digital Purchase Link

Title - 'Anthology [2CD]
Artist - Sonja Kristina

For those not in the know, Sonja Kristina is an English songwriter, musician and actress, best known for starring in the seminal 1960s musical, Hair, and for being the lead vocalist of the 1970s progressive rock band, Curved Air.

Indeed, Sonja is also an experienced voice coach. She was the Rock, Jazz and Musical Theatre tutor for Performing Arts Students at Middlesex University from 1991 to 1999.

Amazingly, given her history, this is the very first collection of her solo works and draws on recordings from her varied solo albums, along with rare and newly-recorded, and exclusive tracks.

CD 1:
10. 'ANGEL'
11. 'C’EST LA VIE'

CD 2:
2. 'ANNA'

This magnificent 2CD collection of Kristina's solo works is something to behold, that's for sure, whether you're a fan of her solo work or Curved Air's many recordings down through the years.

Kristina is, by far, one of the most enigmatic, sensual and soulful performers I have ever had the pleasure to audibly behold. A performer who surrounds herself with original and inspiring musicians and produces albums that are as dazzling in their simplicity as they are in their heartfelt depth, Anthology is one of the finest new collections of this year - if not the past decade.

Anthology has a great range of songs from medium to fast, with a couple of slower tunes as well. 'Street Run' is an energetic song whereas 'Man He Colour' has a lovely cool vibe to it. The album opener 'Frank Mills' is a beautiful ballad and 'St. Tropez' is a fun and lively song, written about that most special of tourist towns.

This 21 track 2CD anthology has been personally compiled by Sonja Kristina, and now comes with new custom cover art and her personal liner notes included inside.

CD Purchase Link

Title - Akustika: Live in Amerika / Akustika II: Return
Artist - John Wetton

As a singer, bassist and songwriter, one of my all-time favorite musicians John Wetton initially rose to fame as the lead singer of King Crimson.

Thereafter, Wetton formed U.K. with Eddie Jobson and later he was the lead singer for the supergroup Asia, his biggest commercial success. Sadly passing away too soon a year ago, Wetton then made sure to leave us an extensive solo catalogue of fantastic material.

This 2 CD set (out now via Cherry Red Records) includes a 2017 remaster of the 1996 acoustic album Akustika: Live in Amerika and a previously unreleased acoustic show Akustika: Return to Amerika from 2005.

Live in Amerika:
5. '30 YEARS'
8. 'DON’T CRY'

Return to Amerika:
5. 'EMMA'
9. 'RENDEZVOUS 6:02'
12. 'WOMAN'

Now, as much as I have already noted my devotion to Wetton and his vocals, especially on his work with Asia, in his latter years his voice had definitely been waning, that's for sure. But here on these earlier tracks, live or not, both he and they sound lush, deep and powerful.

Sure the whole live approach does indeed temper them slightly, I'll give you that, and there are moments on both recordings (especially the earlier one) where as he runs through highlights from his solo work; as well as selections from his years with U.K. and Asia, that there doesn't seem to be a joyous spark to the show. But, nonetheless, the choice of material is first-rate and the band is professional throughout.

Wetton focuses on Asia ('The Smile Has Left Your Eyes', 'Only Time Will Tell', 'Heat of The Moment'), U.K. on 'Rendezvous 602', and, of course, King Crimson on the wondrous 'Book of Saturday'. With each and every song holding up under the lesser-prof approach, for me personally it's the way he reworks both 'Heat of The Moment' and his cover of 'Walking On Air' has to be heard to be believed.

Simply put, both these performances are prog rock stripped down to its core, and as much as that might sound like an oxymoron, for the most part it works well due to Wetton passion for his written songs.

The booklet also features specially written recollections of close friends and fans who attended the 2005 show with previously unseen photographs.

2CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Songwriter' [2CD]
Artist - Alan Simon

For those not in the know, Alan Simon is a French folk-rock musician and composer best known for his rock operas which are performed with collaboration from other noted rock musicians.

Indeed, Simon is associated with Breton Celticism, and his most ambitious works are typically on themes linked to Celtic myth and history. Simon has also branched out into film-making.

Alan Simon, the creator of the legendary EXCALIBUR: THE CELTIC ROCK OPERA, now has his work brought lovingly together in this stunning 2CD collection, Songwriter.

Released this past October 20th, 2017 via Cherry Red Records (UK), the impressive 40 song set herald's the very first time that Simon's work has been collated like this on CD (having only been available on vinyl LP beforehand); something that his fans are understandably grateful for.

CD 1:
1. 'Celtic Ring' (Feat. Alan Parsons)
2. 'Les Cavaliers Du Vent'
3. 'World' (Feat. Brankica Vasic)
4. 'Morholt'
5. 'The Origins PT 1' (Feat. Moya Brennan)
6. 'The Kings'
7. 'Lettre À Yseult' (Feat. Christian Décamps)
8. 'Dihun'
9. 'War'
10. 'Ad Libitum' (Feat. Carlos Nnez)
11. 'Celtic Land'
12. 'Beltaine' (Feat. Fairport Convention)
13. 'Skye' (Feat. Skilda)
14. 'Castle Rock' (Feat. Fairport Convention)
15. 'Dun Aengus' (Feat. Martin Barre)
16. 'The End'
17. 'In the Wind of the Celtic Dream' (Feat. Konan Mevel)
18. 'The Vision' (Feat. John Wetton)
19. 'Adela' (Feat. Jesse Siebenberg)
20. 'I'm Not the Only One' (Feat. Jesse Siebenberg and John Helliwell)

CD 2:
1. 'No Man's Land' (Feat. Midnight Oil)
2. 'Come' (Feat. Jesse Siebenberg)
3. 'The Elements' (Feat. Roger Hodgson & Dan Ar Braz)
4. 'Dancing Heart' (Feat. Roberto Tiranti)
5. 'Circle of Life' (Feat. Jon Anderson)
6. 'Fame and Glory' (Feat. Fairport Convention)
7. 'Peace on Earth' (Feat. Heather Small & Billy Preston)
8. 'Angel's Tears' (Feat. Jeremy Spencer)
9. 'Where Is the Way' (Feat. Billy Preston)
10. 'On the Road' (Feat. Justin Hayward)
11. 'Jangadero' (Feat. Cesaria Evora)
12. 'Evil Day' (Feat. Roberto Tiranti)
13. 'Secret Garden' (Feat. Maddy Prior)
14. 'World' (Feat. Zucchero & Anggun)
15. 'Motherland' (Feat. Jimmy O Neill)
16. 'Saman' (Feat. Les Holroyd & Mick Fleetwood)
17. 'Marie la Cordelière' (Feat. James Wood & Fairport Convention)
18. 'Lugh' (Feat. John Wetton & Martin Barre)
19. 'Desire' (Feat. Les Holroyd)
20. 'A Prayer for My Lover' (Feat. Siobhan Owen)

Featuring a cross-section of Alan Simon’s work from his various projects and rock operas, Songwriter also features songs with guest appearances by: Members of Supertramp, Midnight Oil, Alan Parsons, Jon Anderson, Fairport Convention, Moya Brennan, the late John Wetton, Justin Hayward, Maddy Prior, the late Billy Preston, Roberto Tiranti, Martin Barre, Les Holroyd, Mick Fleetwood, and also Zucchero.

It should also be known that on November 3rd, 2017 Alan Simon's EXCALIBUR IV the widely anticipated fourth new studio album in Alan Simon's Celtic Rock Opera series will be released.

Following on from the Gold and Platinum-selling original trilogy, EXCALIBUR IV was played live in its entirety to 12 arenas in Germany in December 2016 and will be touring again in 2018.

2CD Purchase Link

Title - 'The Focus Family Album' [2CD]
Artist - Focus

For those not in the know, Focus are a Dutch rock band formed in Amsterdam in 1969 by keyboardist, vocalist, and flautist Thijs van Leer.

The band have undergone numerous formations in its history; since December 2016 it has comprised van Leer, drummer Pierre van der Linden, guitarist Menno Gootjes, and bassist Udo Pannekeet.

Other important members include guitarist Jan Akkerman and bassist Bert Ruiter. They have sold one million RIAA-certified albums in the United States.

Known around the world for its iconic albums, including the hits HOCUS POCUS, SYLVIA and HOUSE OF THE KING, this brand new 2CD collection The Focus Family Album, out now via In And Out Of Focus Records / Cherry Red Records, includes both band tracks and two solo tracks by each current member.

CD 1:
1. 'Nature Is Our Friend' - Thijs Van Leer
2. 'Song for Eva' - Focus
3. 'Riverdance' - Pierre Van Der Linden
4. 'Victoria' - Focus
5. 'Two-Part Intervention' - Menno Gootjes
6. 'Mosh Blues' - Focus
7. 'Raga Reverence 1' - Swung
8. 'The Fifth Man' - Focus
9. 'Song for Yaminah' - Udo Pannekeet
10. 'Claire Obscure' - Focus

CD 2:
1. 'Let Us Wander?' - Thijs Van Leer
2. 'Birds Come Fly Over (Le Tango)' - Focus
3. 'Spiritual Swung' - Pierre Van Der Linden
4. 'Santa Teresa' - Focus
5. 'Hazel' - Menno Gootjes
6. 'Fine Without You' - Focus
7. 'Raga Reverence 5' - Swung
8. 'Five Fourth' - Focus
9. 'Anaya' - Udo Pannekeet
10. 'Winnie' - Focus

Inclusive of a total of 15 previously-unreleased tracks or alternate versions, The Focus Family Album is just the most perfect musical gift for all fans of their music. The 20 track set gives fans new insight into the band and yet still allows for that well-known, and alluring sound of theirs to lull you into the most perfect of comfortable mind palaces.

There's just something about the band that makes all their music so lushly inviting. Focus - Thijs Van Leer / Hammond organ, flute, vocoder, vocals; Pierre Van der Linden / drums, bass drum, percussion; Menno Gootjes / guitars; Swung; AND new bass player Udo Pannekeet - are a group that ooze talent throughout their ranks and so that makes their solo contributions to this album as gorgeous as the classics.

The Focus Family Album features artwork by Roger Dean and is being released to coincide with the band's South American and European tour dates. Readying themselves for that tour, they will go out in support of this release and the forthcoming new studio album, Focus 11.

2CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Raging Through the Silence: 20th Anniversary'
Artist - Uriah Heep

For those not in the know, Uriah Heep is a fictional character created by Charles Dickens in his novel David Copperfield.

Ok, ok, keep yer hats on ... Uriah Heep is obviously also an English rock band formed in London in 1969. Indeed, twelve of the band's albums have made it to the UK Albums Chart, while of the fifteen Billboard 200 Uriah Heep albums Demons and Wizards was the most successful (#23, 1972).

In the late 1970s the band had massive success in Germany, where the "Lady in Black" single was a big hit. Along with Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, Uriah Heep had become one of the top rock bands in the early 1970s.

Up until now, Raging Through the Silence has only ever been available on VHS which means that this is it's first 2CD+DVD release ever! The live concert was the band's 20th Anniversary Show and 15 tracks are all as vibrant, as warranted a sound, as boombastic as they ever were.

CD 1:
1. "Bad Bad Man"
2. "Cry Freedom"
3. "Stealin'"
4. "Too Scared to Run"
5. "The Other Side of Midnight"
6. "More Fool You"
7. "Blood Red Roses"
8. "Mr. Majestic"
9. "The Wizard"
10. "July Morning"

CD 2:
1. Gypsy"
2. Easy Livin'"
3. That's the Way That It Is"
4. Look at Yourself"
5. Bonus Audio Track - The Uriah Heep Story Interview with Chris Tetley

1. "Bad Bad Man"
2. "Cry Freedom"
3. "Stealin'"
4. "Too Scared to Run"
5. "The Other Side of Midnight"
6. "More Fool You"
7. "Blood Red Roses"
8. "Mr. Majestic"
9. "The Wizard"
10. "July Morning"
11. "Gypsy"
12. "Easy Livin'"
13. "That's the Way That It Is"
14. "Look at Yourself"

Featuring the band's longest running line-up of Mick Box, Lee Kerslake, Phil Lanzon, Bernie Shaw and the late Trevor Bolder, Raging Through the Silence: 20th Anniversary [2CD+DVD] is one that will delight their fans to no end.

To give you a wee bit more history on this iconic album, Raging Silence was the 17th album by British progressive rock group Uriah Heep. Released in 1979, it marked the studio debut of Canadian vocalist Bernie Shaw. Produced by Richard Dodd, the title is an allusion to the Manfred Mann's Earth Band album The Roaring Silence.

Whereas the original album opened up with the old Argent hit "Hold Your Head Up", mysteriously that track has been complete overlooked here and now they open with the love show of this recording with "Bad Bad Moon." However, from then on in, they play that album track for track, some of the highlights being a quite stunning couple of guitar turns in both their second single released "Blood Red Roses" (written by the band's erstwhile vocalist Pete Goalby), and "Easy Livin'".

Recorded live At The London Astoria 18th May 1989, this release is part of a drive by Uriah Heep to make sure as much of their distinguished back catalogue is available to their fans in modern day formats and digitally.

Included in the release is a bonus audio interview recorded on the day of the concert, which was previously only available on picture disc LP and CD for a very limited amount of time.

Raging Through the Silence: 20th Anniversary is housed in a stunning six panel digi-pack with new custom artwork. Also, this release is the third on the band's own Uriah Heep Records and will be supported by a full worldwide marketing campaign.

2CD+DVD Purchase Link

Title - 'Memories, Memoirs & Miles: Songs of a Lifetime'
Artist - Charlie Daniels

For those not quite in the know, although I'd think that would be a very low figure these days, Charlie Daniels is an American multi-instrumentalist, lyricist, and singer, known for his contributions to country, bluegrass, and Southern rock music. Indeed, he is perhaps best known for his number-one country hit "The Devil Went Down to Georgia".

Daniels has been active as a singer and musician since the 1950s. He was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on January 24, 2008 and the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in 2009. Daniels was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016.

He is also known for portraying himself in movies and TV shows such as Urban Cowboy, Yakety Yak, Take it Back, Trash Talk, The Fall Guy and King of the Hill, as well as appearances in The Lone Star Kid, 18 Wheels of Justice and Murder, She Wrote playing other characters.

Charlie Daniels' brand new album, Memories, Memoirs and Miles – Songs of a Lifetime, is a collection of his life, told through music, and one fine set of musical memories to behold for us all, that's for sure.

The 12 tracks included here are all near and dear to Daniels' heart, and what gives this CD a more personal touch is the fact that it also features two bonus tracks, 'Long Haired Country Boy' and 'Still In Saigon' - both dedicated to the man and friend who taught him his first guitar chord, Russell Palmer.

1. 'Keep On The Sunny Side'
2. 'Jaguar'
3. 'A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall'
4. 'Uneasy Rider'
5. 'The South’s Gonna Do it (Again)'
6. 'Saddle Tramp'
7. 'The Devil Went Down to Georgia'
8. 'In America'
9. 'The Legend of Wooley Swamp'
10. 'Drinkin’ My Baby Goodbye'
11. 'Simple Man'
12. 'Let ‘Em Win or Bring ‘Em Home'
13. 'Long Haired Country Boy' - Bonus Track
14. 'Still In Saigon' - Bonus Track

This album, which has already become one of my top 3 albums of this year, begins in some joyous style with 'Keep On The Sunny Side' from his 2005 album, Songs from the Longleaf pines. Flirting back to the very beginning with his first band, Charlie Daniels & The Jaguars on 'Jaguar', the song once referred to as "low-rent 1959 sleaze" is a right royal beauty to listen to here today on this recording.

A cover of Bob Dylan's brilliant 'A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall' is yet another highlight of this new album, and that's backed by both 'Uneasy Rider' and from his 1974 album Fire on the Mountain, 'The South’s Gonna Do it (Again)'. Marty Robbins' heartfelt 'Saddle Tramp' comes next and after a shot at his well-worn classic 'The Devil Went Down to Georgia', a true contender for the stand out track here is the stalwart 'In America.'

Released in August 1980 as the second single from the album Full Moon, 'The Legend of Wooley Swamp' is another delightful flashback to an era gone by, and that's backed by both 1986's 'Drinkin’ My Baby Goodbye' and a cut from Lynyrd Skynyrd's very own debut album, 'Simple Man.' The poignant war prayer 'Let ‘Em Win or Bring ‘Em Home' {"Say a prayer for Bobby, He's somewhere south of Kandahar tonight, Ask the Lord to be with him, Have His angels to protect him in the fight"} is next, and then the album rounds out with those two bonus tracks, 'Long Haired Country Boy' and 'Still In Saigon'.

Released on October 20th, 2017, Memories, Memoirs and Miles – Songs of a Lifetime is available exclusively at Walmart. The album is the musical companion to his forthcoming memoir ‘Never Look At The Empty Seats’ which will be available everywhere books are sold on October 24th, 2017.

Official Charlie Daniels @ Twitter

Title - 'Thank You For Your Service' [OST]
Artist - Thomas Newman

For those not in the know about this highly talented musical genius, Thomas Newman is an American composer best known for his many film scores.

Indeed, Newman has been nominated for fourteen Academy Awards and three Golden Globes, and has won two BAFTAs, six Grammys and an Emmy Award. Some of his most notable work includes scoring for Erin Brockovich, The Lost Boys, Scent of a Woman, The Green Mile, and even Finding Nemo.

Newman was honored with the Richard Kirk award at the 2000 BMI Film and TV Awards. The award is given annually to a composer who has made significant contributions to film and television music.

Releasing on CD on October 20th, 2017, Newman's latest project is the haunting compositions he created for the new Universal Pictures movie, 'Thank You for Your Service.

Written and directed by Jason Hall, it stars Miles Teller, Haley Bennett, Joe Cole, Amy Schumer, Beulah Koale, Scott Haze, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Brad Beyer, Omar J. Dorsey and Jayson Warner Smith.

The movie follows a group of U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq who struggle to integrate back into family and civilian life.

1. "Kansas River"
2. "Jax"
3. "Robbed Blind"
4. "11 Months 19 Days"
5. "Gunmetal Clatter"
6. "April 28"
7. "Good Soldier"
8. "I Can Still Taste His Blood"
9. "Water Bird"
10. "Come to Bed"
11. "Doster Screams"
12. "Dog Fight Molly"
13. "You Have to Go Away"
14. "Rain Little Solo"
15. "1135 Troost"
16. "Take What Comes"
17. "Dead Girl Road"
18. "None of This Would Have Happened"
19. "Dog Tag (Ending)"

Trust me when I say that Newman tapped into all that merciless tension and angst and personal love and loss so perfectly, that whilst playing it here in the office one of our interns actually began tearing up.

Sure, as much as 'Thank You For Your Service' might not be the joyous listening experience that you are likely to hear when you think of soundtracks, it's just not meant to be, remember that. It's subject matter is harsh reality, handled by both the actors on screen and the composer looking and working from the dailies in harmonious tandem.

Between them both and the aforementioned subject matter to hand, Newman captures everything that these heroes must most assuredly go through. Along with their families, we also get to feel that: whether it be through the cinematic visions of screen, or via the composed works of a very talented composer.

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Strictly The Best - Vols. 56 & 57'
Artist - Various

For those not in the know, this wonderful series Strictly The Best brings together the best of the current dancehall reggae, the best roots, lover's rock scenes and more with big hits and emerging artists.

Who knew that way back in late 2005, when the very first volume of Strictly The Best was released, that some 12 years later it would still be going stronger. In fact, growing stronger with every release, as this brand new double act of Vols. 56 & 57 are jam packed with reggae, roots, and lover's rock from start to finish.

First up for the annual release is Vol. 56, where a healthy compilation of some of the best new reggae songs from Jamaica and abroad and brought lovingly together.

Featuring lover’s rock and roots reggae from top names and emerging stars in the genre, these are all brand new and exclusive tracks to the series.

Volume 56:
1. "Better Than The Stars" - Christopher Martin
2. "Trouble" - Romain Virgo
3. "Let Me Ease Your Pain" - Shuga (feat. Gentleman)
4. "Smile" - Jah-Lil
5. "All That I'm Asking" - Queen Ifrica
6. "Would You Love Me (Remix)" - Raging Fyah (feat. Cidade Negra)
7. "This Is Love" - Gentleman
8. "Have You Seen The Rain" - Droop Lion
9. "Troubles Away" - Ginjah
10. "Changes" - Iba Mahn
11. "California" - Richie Spice
12. "Time Has Come" - Spiritual
13. "No Soul, No Heart, No Love" - Junior Kelly
14. "Hustling" - Simpkin Project

For me, stand out tracks here include Christopher Martin's opener, the slow reggae pop of "Better Than The Stars" and the beautifully warm, rich, lush "Jah-Lil sung "Smile." The fun "All That I'm Asking" from Queen Ifrica is another one that deserves airplay, as does the keyboard synth return of "Would You Love Me (Remix)" from Raging Fyah (featuring Cidade Negra).

The dancehall duo of both "Have You Seen The Rain" (Droop Lion) and "Troubles Away" (Ginjah) are backed by one of the more complex of tracks, the lyrically twisting "Changes" from Iba Mahr. The anthemic "Time Has Come" from Spiritual continues the vibe for a culture change, and then the brilliant flow of "Hustling" from Simpkin Project wraps the new CD up perfectly.

Next up for these magnificent, and always vibrant annual releases of Strictly The Best is Vol. 57, which compiles new and exclusive dancehall reggae tunes, once again, from top names and emerging stars in the genre.

Volume 57:
1. "Pretty Girl Team" - Alkaline
2. "Movie" (ft. Vybz Kartel) [DJ Septic Remix to “Loodi”] - Shenseea
3. "Live Blanket (Remix)" - Mavado
4. "Easy To Love You" - Culan
5. "Money Man" – Alkaline
6. "Fling (Yuh Shoulda)" - Ding Dong
7. "Skank & Rave" - Beenie Man, Voicemail, Ding Dong
8. "25 Bouncing" - RDX
9. "Time Up" – Shenseea
10. "Fire" - Aidonia
11. "21" - Dexta Daps
12. "Roll Clean" - Masicka
13. "My Name" - Stonebwoy
14. "Hot Gal" - DJ Spooky

Yet another stunning collection of 14 tracks, this one kicks off with the dancefloor vibe of "Pretty Girl Team" from Alkaline and then backs it up seamlessly with the synth backdrop of "Movie ('Loodi' - DJ Septik Remix)" from Shenseea featuring Vybz Kartel. Alkaline feature again with "Money Man", but my own personal favorite here is the pounding energy of "Skank & Rave" from Beenie Man, Voicemail and Ding Dong.

With a drum beat backing, the original dancehall vibe of "25 Bouncing" by RDX is most certainly going to have the floor packed with, well, plenty of backside twerking, and that's backed by a complete change of pace with the mid-tempo ballad "Time Up" from Shenseea. "Roll Clean" from Masicka is another anthemic track, and then the album rounds out with the reggae pop clique of "My Name" (Stonebwoy), before the hard edged techno sounds of "Hot Gal" from DJ Spooky bring us home.

'Strictly The Best - Vol. 56' Purchase Link

'Strictly The Best - Vol. 57' Purchase Link

Title - 'Decade Of The Eagle 1979-1988'
Artist - Saxon

Well, if you're looking for the epitome of a true heavy metal band that could melodically rock, look no further than Saxon!

An English heavy metal band formed in 1977, in South Yorkshire, as one of the leaders of the new wave of British heavy metal, they had eight UK Top 40 albums in the 1980s including four UK Top 10 albums and two Top 5 albums.

The band also had numerous singles in the UK Singles Chart and chart success all over Europe and Japan, as well as success in the US. During the 1980s Saxon established themselves as one of Europe's biggest metal acts.

The band still tours regularly and have sold more than 15 million albums worldwide. Indeed, they are considered one of the classic metal acts and have influenced many bands such as Metallica, Mötley Crüe, Pantera, etc.

Now, BMG are set to release a great Deluxe Edition anthology that looks back at the years which built the Saxon legend. Spanning their first nine albums Decade Of The Eagle is the very best of the first decade of their astonishing career.

Representing the sweep and scope of what Saxon have achieved, this stunning anthology showcases in definitive style that driven desire of theirs to continuously set the highest standards and meet them head on. Indeed, Saxon’s work on those nine studio albums still resonates resoundingly today for all heavy metal enthusiasts.

Releasing November 17th, 2017, and having also been part of a campaign, Decade Of The Eagle 1979-1988 will be released as both a brilliant 10-track single disc CD and also a massive two-disc CD with 34 tracks; all newly compiled, remastered and restored tracks along with some live material also.

Single CD:
1. 'Backs To The Wall'
2. 'Wheels Of Steel'
3. '747 (Strangers In The Night)'
4. 'Strong Arm Of The Law'
5. 'Denim And Leather'
6. 'Power & The Glory'
7. 'Sailing To America'
8. 'Rock N’ Roll Gypsy'
9. 'Waiting For The Night'
10. 'Ride Like The Wind'

Double CD:
1. 'Stallions Of The Highway'
2. 'Big Teaser'
3. 'Backs To The Wall'
4. 'Militia Guard'
5. 'Wheels Of Steel'
6. '747 (Strangers In The Night)'
7. 'Suzie Hold On'
8. 'Motorcycle Man (live)'
9. 'Strong Arm Of The Law'
10. 'Heavy Metal Thunder'
11. '20,000ft (live)'
12. 'Dallas 1PM'
13. 'And The Bands Played On'
14. 'Never Surrender'
15. 'Denim And Leather'
16. 'Fire In the Sky (live)'
17. 'Princess Of The Night'
18. 'Power & The Glory'
19. 'This Town Rocks'
20. 'The Eagle Has Landed'
21. 'Midas Touch'
22. 'Sailing To America'
23. 'Crusader'
24. 'Devil Rides Out'
25. 'Back On The Streets'
26. 'Rockin’ Again'
27. 'Rock N’ Roll Gypsy'
28. 'Broken Heroes'
29. 'Waiting For The Night'
30. 'Rock The Nations'
31. 'Northern Lady'
32. 'Battle Cry'
33. 'Ride Like The Wind'
34. 'Red Alert'

Saxon's Decade Of The Eagle will also be released on a Deluxe Edition 4x180g Gatefold Vinyl LP set, with the 2CD Deluxe Edition case within a bound book also. Both will feature new liner notes documenting the decade by front man Biff Byford, accompanied by rarely seen and classic photos from the era.

Oh, and every pre-order via the campaign will receive an exclusive bonus “Decade Of The Eagle” embroidered, sew on patch!

'Decade Of The Eagle 1979-1988' Pledge Music Campaign

Saxon @ Facebook

Saxon @ Twitter

'Decade Of The Eagle 1979-1988' (Single Disc) Purchase Link

'Decade Of The Eagle 1979-1988: Deluxe 2CD Edition Purchase Link

'Decade Of The Eagle 1979-1988: Deluxe 4LP Edition' Purchase Link

Title - 'The Ferryman's Curse'
Artist - Strawbs

For those not in the know, the Strawbs are an English rock band founded in 1964. Although the band started out as a bluegrass group they eventually moved on to other styles such as folk rock, progressive rock, and (briefly) glam rock.

They are best known for their hit, "Part of the Union", which reached number two in the UK charts in February 1973, as well as for "Lay Down" a popular Progressive Rock hit from the same LP.

The Strawbs also toured with Supertramp in their "Crime of the Century" tour, doing their own Hero and Heroine tour, which drew musical similarities and themes.

Released now via Esoteric Antenna (Cherry Red Records UK), The Ferryman's Curse is the first Strawbs album of new material in eight long years. Produced by the legendary Chris Tsangarides, whose studio is littered with diamond, platinum, and gold discs by the likes of Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest and guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen, this new album highlights what's still great about these beloved older bands in modern day music.

1. "In The Beginning"
2. "The Nails From The Hands Of Christ"
3. "The Song of Infinite sadness"
4. "The Familiarity of Old Lovers"
5. "When The Spirit Moves"
6. "The Ten Commandments"
7. "The Reckoning"
8. "The Ferryman's Curse"
9. "Bats and Swallows"
10. "We Have The Power"

The current Strawbs line-up comprises David Cousins, lead guitarist Dave Lambert, bass player Chas Cronk, and drummer Tony Fernandez, who recorded and toured together in the 1970s. They are joined by keyboard and guitar virtuoso Dave Bainbridge of Iona – a band who created a mystical blend of rock, folk, Celtic and ambient music – a perfect match for Strawbs.

We begin with the two minute instrumental "In The Beginning," a beautiful, soaring piano piece that encapsulates perfectly what is to follow. The six minute "The Nails From The Hands Of Christ" is one of the my favorites here, as it's storytelling is both old and modern re: cell phones and the playing of vinyl records, and that's backed by the stoic balladry of "The Song of Infinite Sadness."

"The Familiarity of Old Lovers" reads as a ghost story to long lost emotions and memories, and that's followed by both the near seven minute long, stunning ethereal "When The Spirit Moves" and the mid-tempo blues funk guitar of "The Ten Commandments."

The under two minute piano instrumental "The Reckoning" is next, and that's backed by the longest track on the album, the title track itself. Indeed, "The Ferryman’s Curse" is the epic sequel to "The Vision Of The Lady Of The Lake", from the Strawbs album Dragonfly. Rated by producer Tony Visconti as one of his Top six productions alongside albums by David Bowie and T Rex, just listening to this sequel and it's hard not to want to get that old vinyl copy of Dragonfly out of retirement for yet another spin.

"Bats And Swallows" is a delightful lyrically visual summer jaunt across fields and meadows, hills and streams, where cypress trees once grew, dragonflies and butterflies in every shade of blue, before rounding out with the upbeat, euphoric "We Have The Power."

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Title - 'My Dream My Fantasy'
Artist - Mike Shannon & Big Bus Dream

For those not in the know, Mike Shannon is not only the founder of 4th Ward (2000) and Big Bus Dream (2006), but a product of CBGB's post-punk scene.

Indeed, 4th Ward's self-titled release debuted at #20 on CMJ's Top 200 National Charts whilst Big Bus Dream's debut album (2006), and The Jesters of Xmas Town (2008) both topped several European music charts, and were even featured in MTV's Pimp My Ride.

Now 4th Ward announces Mike Shannon's debut solo effort, My Dream My Fantasy. Encompassing his 18 years as founder and primary writer with 4th Ward and Big Bus Dream, it blends both his acoustic roots, as well as a more powerful electric arrangement.

Someone we here at Exclusive Magazine have worked with for a decade or so now, Shannon is one of those rare breeds of musician within the business: He knows and understands lyrics, their aspect of storytelling, creating visuals in the listener's minds, and so creates songs that tell tales whilst dutifully lingering within us thereafter.

And that's just what is laid bare here in front of us now with My Dream My Fantasy for Shannon's stories include subjects from drug addiction, Alzheimer's Disease, aging and gun violence, to name but a few.

Produced by Shannon, along with Eddie Z, Jamie Hoover and Ray Henderson, My Dream My Fantasy includes new tunes, along with hand-picked prior tunes re-tracked and re-mastered.

As Shannon himself has said, "All of my time, heart and energy over the last 18 years has led to this new release...because, in the end that's really what it's passion and my dream. Though often felt more like a fantasy".

1. 'Just A Tear'
2. 'Really Tired'
3. 'See It In Her Eyes'
4. 'Jones Is In The House'
5. 'Smoking Guns and Jesus'
6. 'Maybe This Time'
7. 'Already Gone'
8. 'Private Ghetto'
9. 'Sweet Kisses'
10. 'Lies'
11. 'Feel The Pain'
12. 'Growing Old With Me'
13. 'No Valentine For You'
14. 'Real Love'

We begin with the upbeat, finger-snappin', toe-tappin' 'Just A Tear', which he backs up seamlessly with both 'Really Tired' and one of my own personal favorites on this debut solo album, 'See It In Her Eyes.' The psychedelic vibe to 'Jones Is In The House' makes for a fantastic flashback to an era where no music of that ilk was ever seemingly unjust, and that's followed by the pop country-stacked-entities within jangling guitar work of 'Smoking Guns And Jesus'.

The piano ballad 'Maybe This Time' is yet another stand out, heartfelt track that will definitely resonate with all of us that have loved and lost (whether it was our fault or not), and that's followed by 'Already Gone' and the Dylanesque raw warmth of 'Private Ghetto.' The upbeat, flowery 'Sweet Kisses' is delightful in its simplicity, 'Lies' is a pretty song every which way, and the gentle drum and guitar funk of 'Feel The Pain' is a nice turn of pace.

Another stirring piano ballad comes in the form of 'Growing Old With Me', before the album rounds out with the ragtag, old school semi-punk roustabout of 'No Valentine For You,' and then 'Real Love.' A track that bookends this album perfectly, give that it also features the same finger-snappin', foot-tappin' vibe and melody as the opener, My Dream My Fantasy is, quite easily, one of my top 3 albums of 2017. Buy it today as I'm sure, once listened to, that you will all wholeheartedly agree.

Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk

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Title - 'Blues & Beyond'
Artist - Gary Moore

Well, if you're not in the know about this incredible guitarist / singer songwriter, allow me to bring you up to date. The sadly taken-too-soon Gary Moore was a Northern Irish musician, most widely recognized as a singer, songwriter, and virtuoso rock and blues guitarist.

In a career dating back to the 1960s, Moore played with musicians including Phil Lynott and Brian Downey during his teenage years, leading him to memberships of the Irish bands Skid Row and Thin Lizzy, and British band Colosseum II.

Moore shared the stage with such blues and rock musicians as B.B. King, Albert King, John Mayall, Jack Bruce, Albert Collins, George Harrison, and Greg Lake, as well as having a successful solo career. He guested on a number of albums recorded by high-profile musicians.

However, and with all that said, Moore will always be best known for his evocative solo hits, such as 'Parisienne Walkways' and 'Still Got the Blues' (live versions that both feature in this set). A solo career that comprises over twenty albums.

On the December 8th, 2017, BMG will proudly release Gary Moore’s Blues and Beyond, a remarkable collection of his powerful and emotive blues studio recordings.

Released on double CD, 4 LP and as a box set, which includes unreleased live recordings and the official Gary Moore biography I Can’t Wait Until Tomorrow written by Harry Shapiro, it has also been highly publicized on

CD 1:
1. 'Enough of the Blues'
2. 'Tell Me Woman'
3. 'Stormy Monday'
4. 'That's Why I Play the Blues'
5. 'Power of the Blues'
6. 'Ball and Chain'
7. 'Looking Back'
8. 'Surrender'
9. 'Cold Black Night'
10. 'There's a Hole'
12. 'We Want Love'
13. 'Memory Pain'
14. 'The Prophet'

CD 2:
1. 'You Upset Me Baby'
2. 'Bring My Baby Back'
3. 'I Can't Quit You Baby'
4. 'World of Confusion'
5. 'Picture of the Moon'
6. 'Can't Find My Baby'
7. 'Drowning In Tears'
8. 'Evil'
9. 'My Baby (She's So Good to Me)'
10. 'I Ain't Got You'
11. 'Just Can't Let You Go'
12. 'How Many Lies'
13. 'Torn Inside'
14. 'Parisienne Walkways (Live)'

CD3 [Box-Set only]
Blues And Beyond Live: (Previously Unreleased)
1. 'Walking By Myself'
2. 'Oh Pretty Woman'
3. 'Need Your Love So Bad'
4. 'Since I Met You Baby'
5. 'Surrender'
6. 'Cold Black Night'
7. 'All Your Love'
8. 'Still Got The Blues'

CD4 [Box-Set only]
Blues And Beyond Live: (Previously Unreleased)
1. 'Too Tired'
2. 'The Sky Is Crying'
3. 'Further On Up The Road'
4. 'Fire'
5. 'The Blues Is Alright'
6. 'Enough Of The Blues (Alternative)'
7. 'The Prophet'

Everything I've bought (or received for review) lately has been adding to my expansive Gary Moore collection. This was no disappointment! Something so special in his style and ability to genre hop they way only he can do that.

Sometimes in a single song, he does that! So appealing to true music lovers. Live, he was probably the very best at "fixing" anything he does as he goes. If he misses at all you hardly notice. He fills it in and you think that it belonged there somehow.

Always a stunning live performance whatever age he was and a solid studio recording artist, these songs resonate today as much as they did when I first started hearing them on vinyl.

It is just so easy to see why he appeared with so many artists that may of had more acclaim than he did. Although I don't know why that was. He has always deserved more than he got, especially in the US, but with this chock-full-of-musical goodness double CD (let alone both the gorgeous 4xLP or that stunning Box-Set), we are all brought loving up to date with his genius.

The Blues and Beyond formats:

2 x CD: Bringing together the cream of Gary Moore’s blues studio recordings, this digipack format is the perfect Gary Moore blues collection.

The 4 x LP counterpart format is housed in an awesome double gatefold “AxeWax” vinyl and features a number of Gary Moore’s blues studio recordings, most of which have never appeared on vinyl.

The Box-Set comprises the blues studio recordings on 2 CDs plus a further 2 CDs of newly mixed and mastered live concert recordings, with two previously unheard song versions. This is the first time that this concert has been available, anywhere.

Also included, is the brand new book I Can’t Wait Until Tomorrow, which offers a unique insight into the world of Gary Moore. This full length Gary Moore-authorized biography is new, unreleased and all you need to know about the man behind the guitar.

For the true collector, included are a number of reproductions of ultra-rare memorabilia items including a concert ticket, album launch event invite, VIP wrist band and AAA pass. This box is the ultimate collection of Gary Moore’s blues output and documents the evolution of a legend.

'Blues and Beyond' Pledge Music Campaign

'Blues and Beyond' 2CD Edition Purchase Link

'Blues and Beyond' Deluxe 4LP Edition Purchase Link

Title - 'Live In Chicago 2017' [2CD]
Artist - King Crimson

For those not in the know, King Crimson are an English rock band formed in London in 1968. The band has undergone numerous formations throughout its history of which 21 musicians have been members; since October 2017 it has consisted of Robert Fripp, Jakko Jakszyk, Tony Levin, Mel Collins, Pat Mastelotto, Gavin Harrison, Jeremy Stacey and Chris Gibson. Fripp is the only consistent member of the group and is considered the band's leader and driving force.

Developed from the unsuccessful trio Giles, Giles and Fripp, the band were a seminal part of the early progressive rock genre, which is characterized by extended instrumental sections and complex song structures. King Crimson's debut album, In the Court of the Crimson King (1969), remains their most successful and influential release, with its elements of jazz, classical, and experimental music.

Released October 27th, 2017)T via Inner Knot, Live In Chicago 2017 is a stunning live recording captured during the band's most recent 2017 tour and features many iconic King Crimson pieces such as 'Islands', 'The Lizard Suite', 'The Errors', 'Fallen Angel', 'Cirkus' and more; some for the first time ever.

CD 1:
1. 'Intro: Scape Bells'
2. 'Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part One'
3. 'Neuoritica'
4. 'The Errrors'
5. 'Cirkus'
6. 'The Lizard Suite a) Dawn Song B) Last Skirmish C) Prince Rupert's Lament'
7. 'Fallen Angel'
8. 'Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part Two'
9. 'Islands'
10. 'Pictures of a City'
CD 2:
1. 'Indiscipline'
2. 'The Construkction of Light'
3. 'Easy Money'
4. 'The Letters'
5. 'Interlude'
6. 'Meltdown'
7. 'Radical Action II'
8. 'Level Five'
9. 'Starless'
10. 'Heroes'
11. '21st Century Schizoid Man'

Officially known as the Official Bootleg: Live in Chicago, June 28th, 2017, this hefty 2CD of live soundboard recordings is as good as it gets for captured King Crimson live material, trust me.

Crimson's now-eight member line-up of extraordinarily talented musicians is one of the most precise, well orchestrated, tight ensembles I've ever come across in this live field, and every single track here is brought forth in such a professional manner, it's hard to imagine there ever being a better example of them live (although their 2016 release of Live In Toronto: Queen Elizabeth Theatre, November 20, 2015 was also highly impressive, of course).

For me, the highlights of these 21 tracks has to include the brilliant 'Cirkus,' a track that once the piano and mellotron's come together to change its musical point of origin, still sends shivers down my spine. It's also here where lead vocalist, Jakko M. Jakszyk's voice is at its best, for he not only delivers the vocals with power, but supersedes those of original songster Gordon Haskell.

Next would be the first-ever live performance by any King Crimson line-up of 'The Lizard Suite.' As you fans will well know already, a track that hogged nearly all the limelight on Side 2 of the original vinyl release, the suite moment is simply stunning.

Another stand out highlight is a freshly-invigorating take on 'Islands', yet another rarely performed song by the original album's line-up. The title track of their fourth studio album in 1971, the song's pastoral, mellow, and quiet feeling (the lyrics talk of a peaceful island) distinguish it from most everything else in their Prog catalogue.

The last track I'll pay personal mention to is a cover of David Bowie's 'Heroes.' Bowie had passed in early 2016, and so the man who has the most Crimson authenticity still amongst the current line-up, Fripp, reorchestrated the track to allow for some soaring guitar work to roam free within their homage. Oh, I guess I can also add that the band's reading of the show closer '21st Century Schizoid Man' is like musical fine wine to bring into your system and absorb.

King Crimson @ Facebook

King Crimson @ Twitter

2CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Protocol 4'
Artist - Simon Phillips

For those not in the know, Simon Phillips is an English jazz, pop and rock drummer and producer, best known for his studio and session work with seminal English rock acts throughout the 1970s and 1980s and for being the drummer for Toto from 1992 to 2014.

Phillips first started to play professionally at the age of twelve in his father’s Dixieland band for four years. Phillips was the drummer on the 1976 LP 801 Live with Phil Manzanera and Brian Eno.

He is also a prolific session drummer, having played for Jeff Beck, The Who, Judas Priest, Tears for Fears, Mike Oldfield and Gary Moore, among others. Indeed, he was The Who’s drummer in their 1989 American reunion tour.

He has released four of his own solo albums. Phillips joined Toto in 1992 after Jeff Porcaro died during rehearsals for an upcoming tour. On January 26, 2014 Phillips left Toto to focus on his own career.

Now the drummer and producer extraordinaire has upped the ante with his newest instrumental recording, Protocol 4. Building on his past Protocol projects, Simon has again enlisted the highly talented bassist Ernest Tibbs along with Protocol newcomers, the superb veteran guitar shredder Greg Howe and keyboard virtuoso Dennis Hamm.

1. 'Nimbus'
2. 'Pentangle'
3. 'Passage to Agra'
4. 'Solitaire'
5. 'Interlude'
6. 'Celtic Run'
7. 'All Things Considered'
8. 'Phantom Voyage'
9. 'Azores'

The original Protocol was released in 1988, and was commented on by Phillips himself as being "a record of experimental observations". Well, not much has changed some near 30 years on, for Protocol 4 is as stunning a work of musical art as anything that has gone before it in previous chapters.

All the nine (9) compositions were written by Phillips whilst on tour and featuring that tight new touring band – Greg Howe (guitar), Dennis Hamm (keys) and Ernest Tibbs (bass) - has obviously paid off dividends here with regard their seamless work together. "It was the first time I’ve really been able to concentrate on writing material on the road,” says Phillips, adding “Lots of creativity on airplanes and in hotel and backstage dressing rooms.”

As for the album itself, the tracks are as innovative and as vibrantly exhaustive as you could ever wish for. Stand out tracks, to my old ear, include the deeply funky overtones on both 'Pentangle' and 'Solitaire, with the insanely addictive exotic rhythms of 'Passage to Agra' sandwiched lovingly between them.

Another is 'Celtic Run' where Phillips' love for fusing elements of rock, jazz, funk, classical and even world music come to the fore perfectly. In equal measures throughout, all be they not ever front and center stealing the limelight, combining a Celtic rhythm throughout, it's spine of searing guitars and lithe synthesizer enables the glue of Phillips' signature drumming to really embrace it and hold it steady.

This intoxicating album then comes to a close with the Hi-NRG cut, 'Azorez', which brings together the entire group as one. Sure they all get their moments to shine on the tracks beforehand, but this one track is their Holy Grail of combined musicianship. Indeed, 'Azorez' is worth the price of admission to this fourth sonic quest alone.

Official Simon Phillips @ Facebook

CD Purchase Link

Phillips’ Protocol band, with Otmaro Ruiz on keyboards, are currently touring Europe and then hit the US beginning December, 2017:

November 2, 2017 Waidhofen an der Ybbs, AT, Plenkersaal
November 3, 2017 Katovice, PL, NOP SR
November 4, 2017 Krakow, PL, Club TBA
November 6, 2017 Vienna AT, Porgy & Bess
November 8, 2017 Buhl, DE, Jazztival
November 9, 2017 Ravensburg, DE, Trans4Jazz
November 10, 2017 Reichenburg, DE, Bergkeller
November 11, 2017 Munster, DE, Jovel
November 13, 2017 Hobro, DK, Bil Forretningen
November 14, 2017 Kolding, DK, Godset
November 15, 2017 Copenhagen, DK, Amager Bio
November 16, 2017 Oslo, NO, Cosmopolite
November 17, 2017 Larvik, NO, Bolgen Kulturhus
November 18, 2017 Gothenburg, SE, Nefertiti
November 19, 2017 Stockholm, SE, Fasching
November 20, 2017 London, UK, Ronnie Scott’s
November 21, 2017 London, UK, Ronnie Scott’s
November 23, 2017 Hasbergen, DE, Masterclass
November 24, 2017 Hasbergen, DE, Gaste Garage
November 25, 2017 Hasbergen, DE, Gaste Garage
November 26, 2017 Zoetermeer, NL, De Boerderij
November 27, 2017 Hengelo, NL, Metropol
November 28, 2017 Verviers, BE, Spirit Of 66
November 29, 2017 Aschaffenburg, DE, Colos-Saal
November 30, 2017 Tallinn, EE, Russian Cultural Cnt
December 1, 2017 Rorschach, CH, Jazzclub Rorschach
December 2, 2017 Lichtenstein, LI, Little Big Beat Studios
December 4, 2017 New York City, Iridium
December 5, 2017 New York City, Iridium
December 6, 2017 New Hope, PA, Havana
December 8, 2017 Chicago, Reggie’s
December 9, 2017 Chicago, Reggie’s
December 10, 2017 Detroit, Jazz Café @ Music Hall
December 12, 2017 Hollywood, CA, Catalina’s Bar & Grill
December 13, 2017 Hollywood, CA, Catalina’s Bar & Grill
December 14, 2017 Santa Cruz, CA, Kuumbwa Jazz Center
December 18, 2017 Oakland, CA, Yoshi’s

Title - 'Cover Plus: Expanded Edition'
Artist - Hazel O'Connor

For those not in the know, Hazel O'Connor is a British singer-songwriter and actress who became famous in the early 1980's with hit singles "Eighth Day", "D-Days" and "Will You", as well as starring in the film Breaking Glass.

This expanded and celebratory re-issue of her 1981 album Cover Plus comes with a 20-page illustrated lyric booklet, including a new and exclusive introduction written by Hazel herself.

Indeed, it's re-release unsurprisingly coincides with a national concert tour across the UK in which Hazel will specifically feature many of the songs from the fan-beloved album.

1. '(Cover Plus) We're All Grown Up'
2. 'Hanging Around'
3. 'Ee-I-Addio'
4. 'Not for You'
5. 'Hold on'
6. 'So You're Born'
7. 'Dawn Chorus'
8. 'Animal Farm (We Will Be Happy?)'
9. 'Runaway'
10. 'Do What You Gotta Do'
11. 'Men of Good Fortune'
13. '(Cover Plus) We're All Grown Up (7" Edit)'
14. 'Ee-I-Addio (Original 1979 Single Version)'
15. 'Time Is Free'
16. 'White Room'
17. 'Dawn Chorus (French Version)'
18. 'That's Life (French Version)'
19. 'Not for You (German Version)'

Having originally reached #32 in the UK, this sophomore release to her debut solo album Sons and Lovers (which featured the UK Top 10 hit single "D Days") is chock full of musical goodness.

Kicking things off with the synth extravaganza title track, '(Cover Plus) We're All Grown Up' ("Let's all play mum's and dads, where do babies come from?"), ingrained with Hazel's own heartfelt, often autobiographical original songs throughout, a fantastic reimagining of the Stranglers' 'Hanging Around' is next, and that's backed by a Tony Visconti reworking of Hazel's pre-Breaking Glass 1979 debut single, 'Ee-I-Addio'.

Hazel's crossover styling between post-punk and new wave aesthetics comes to the fore in the "ballad" 'Not For You,' a lyrical delve into the psyche of Hazel, a woman with a steadfast refusal to make or take promises in the context of personal relationships that could interfere with her own ideals of freedom, it's backed seamlessly by one of mt own personal favorites, 'Hold On.'

The brilliant synth-heavy duo of 'So Your Born' and 'Dawn Chorus' are up next, and they're followed by the anthemic song of willed hope 'Animal Farm (We Will Be Happy?). One of the most autobiographical tracks on the album, is the European-tinged electronics of 'Runaway'. Recalling her very own experience of running away to Amsterdam at the age of just 16, that's backed by a touching gender switch re-reading of Jim Webb's 'Do What You Gotta Do.'

The original album then rounds out with a faithful rendering of Lou Reed's 'Men Of Good Fortune', and then the beautiful lullaby to second chances, 'That's Life.' Now expanded with an additional seven tracks, we get the 7" Edit of her title track, a raw 1979 Single Version of her debut single 'Ee-I-Addio', and then it's original B-side 'Time Is Free'. A jittery, high-voiced, punk-inspired gem in this early form, it was later re-recorded for the B-side of Hazel's hit single 'D-Days'.

Next up is the brilliant piano synth that leads into infectious drums of the triumphantly upbeat and perky 'White Room', with this newly expanded album coming to a final close with French versions of both 'Dawn Chorus' and 'That's Life', and then a German version of 'Not For You.'

Cover Plus: Expanded Edition CD is being re-released by SFE/Cherry Red Records on November 24th, 2017.

'Cover Plus: Expanded Edition' CD Purchase Link

Official Hazel O'Connor@ Facebook


With the re-release of your third album Cover Plus (1981) now out in an Expanded Edition via Cherry Red Records, what do you remember most about a) the writing of the album, and b) the recording of the album? "I wanted to record with Tony Visconti again after our successful pairing making Breaking Glass. I really wanted him as he "got" me. He also has the same birth sign of Taurus as me. The writing for Cover Plus was just a collection of thoughts, since my universe shifted after fame hit."

Inclusive of a re-recorded version of your musical debut, 'Ee-I-Adio', when you originally recorded that track in 1979, had the girl who written/recorded that changed in any way to the one who brought us Cover Plus? "I was a changed girl from pre-fame to post-fame also, in how I was recorded pre and post. My first record producer never let me play piano on my own tracks, whereas Tony Visconti thought this very important, as did I, for feel of song."

As mentioned, produced, once again, by long-time David Bowie producer Tony Visconti, what would be a stand out memory of your time working together on Cover Plus? "It was heavenly to be back with the guy who understood me and my music and back home in his Good Earth studios in Soho, London."

The Stranglers cover of 'Hanging Around', at the time for me, was nothing I put two and two together about. I always assumed, up until I started working in the business many years later, that it had been an original by you. Now re-listening to it, wow, your version still blows my mind today and flashes me right back to 1981. Why did you choose that song to not only be one of the three covers, but as the album's second single? "I had played support gigs for the Stranglers and then sang 'Hanging Around' with them at their Rainbow Theatre concert when Hugh was in prison. So many fab singers sang lead for couple of songs each. Mine were 'Hanging Around' and 'Get A Grip On Yourself' with a young, unmade up Robert Smith on guitar. I got attached to the song then and wanted to do my homage to it on Cover Plus and it became a single as it felt like it was cooking."

As you've toured with him since, has Hugh Cornwell ever spoken to you about your version of his song? "Never discussed my version, but sang his version along with his band and Clare Hirst and Sarah Fisher when we toured with him and his band as his final encore of the night."

The other two covers are one by Jimmy Webb and one by Lou Reed. Much like the Stranglers question, why choose these two for the album and what other covers were oh-so close to being included, but never made it (and why not)? "I choose 'Men Of Good Fortune' 'cos I love Lou Reed and this song fitted great with 'Ain't It Funny', my anti-war theme about young men fighting wars for old fat capitalist environment polluting shit bags!"

"I chose the Jim Webb song as I first heard it sung by Nina Simone on the B-side of 'I Got Life'. It was the first single I ever bought. I only chose those three songs to cover as the lyric in all three covered what I wanted to say, but better than me."

It's been said down the years that Cover Plus was a lyrical collective of your very own personal experiences ('Runaway', in particular). Good, bad and ugly, each written track held something that was a part of who you were, what you had experienced up until that time. Is that correct and if so, why was it this album that you decided to create tracks around your personal life? "All albums are about personal experiences, this one a little more so, as my new life perceptions and memories came from my post fame brain and emotion."

Looking back, is there one track in particular that still today stands out as being your finest writing/recording work from Cover Plus? "Finest writing is 'That's Life'. I wanted to write a song like Édith Piaf's 'No Regrets'. Being a fan of Edith and Billie Holliday, I wanted to touch that place of great pathos and great bravery at same time."

Being that there are three covers on the album, is that the sole reason that it was called Cover Plus? Indeed, were there other titles being considered around the time also, perhaps? "The album was called Cover Plus as it had covers plus covered subjects in my life. I wished to cover like being found with our pants down at the age of 3 at the bottom of a neighbors garden and told we were dirty, mucky, disgusting creatures. We were only innocently playing doctors and nurses and in my mind the only dirty mind there was the stupid woman who shouted at us! But that was my basis for the 'Cover Plus' song and album title. To much hypocrisy in this world."

Cover Plus reached #32 on the UK Albums Chart upon its release, with the two singles released ('Cover Plus' and 'Hanging Around') both stopping short of the Top 40. Looking back, how big a disappointment was that for you ... and given it wasn't until 3 years later that Smile was released, did you deliberately take time off and away from the music scene? "Disappointed, yes, but my record company was not able to market me the way the film and soundtrack people had. I had lost interest in my label at this time and we became entrenched in a very lengthy court battle. I went in to tell them face to face it was over between us, and as if they were deaf they asked "What about 'That's Life' for the next single?" Grrr!!"

This newly Expanded Edition now adds three foreign language versions to the mix. So, as it's obvious you speak both French and German fluently, what other languages do you speak well enough that you could also record one of your songs in it? "I learnt German at school and French as a cabaret dancer in Beirut - however my French has improved so much now that I live half the year in France! I love singing in French and having in between chats at my French concerts, 'cos it forces me to improve all the time. I could sing some stuff in Japanese and Arabic and Spanish or, at least, I would try, as I get to learn more when doing that."

Now coming complete with a lush 20-page color booklet, it features a new introduction written by you especially for it. For those looking to buy this CD, aside from that booklet, what can you tell them about any and all other involvement in the collecting together of music for this Expanded Edition? "All credit must go to Barnaby Ashton of Strike Force / Cherry Red Records, as he is a super duper archivist / artist / musician and bringer of people like myself to the public eye."

"He has released all the albums I've made with Clare Hirst and Sarah Fisher. I'll give you my sunshine and here she comes anyway. Barnaby knows more about my work than I do, so he must take all credit for the lush booklet."

Assuming you've either been sent a copy of this Expanded Edition CD or have at least seen it online or in the store, are you one who listens to your own music back from the day (especially these rarer tracks)? "I don't listen to past music unless I need to know how the song goes for playing them live again. This tour I've just done in the UK, I listened to 'Dawn Chorus' again to relearn it and really enjoyed the experience."

Is there anything about this Expanded Edition CD that you wish had been done differently, or had included something else from that time period, perhaps? "No, there is nothing from the past I wished could have been included."

My favorite non-single track of yours has always been - given that I was collecting vinyl 7" singles, 12" single and such since I was a knee-high to a puddle duck - the brilliant B-side (to 'Time'), 'Ain't It Funny'. What can you tell me about the writing/recording of that song? "'Ain't It Funny' is my anti-war song inspired by a book called Johnny Got His Gun. It was about a guy in World War One who had his arms and legs blown off, had no sight, hearing or speech, but he still lived! It was a very moving book."

My favorite TOTP moment of yours has always been one for 'D-Days' (see link below), where you came on wearing a long coat, wig, hat, glasses, looking confused, before revealing (in more ways than one) that it was you! Watching this again now, what memories do you have of the whole dress up thing and how the performance went that day of taping? "As I wrote 'D-Days' in a Steve Strange nightclub, boys paraded around in skimpy swimwear to be judged Legend of 1980! So, as the genus of the song started from people stripping off, I thought it was interesting to strip off down to my bikini top and mini skirt ... and it caused an OMG reaction, a bra on TOTP!! Of course, now it's old hat!"

'D-Days' - TOTP Performance

Still in that way back machine, best known for the prolific chart hits 'Eighth Day' and 'Will You', in a paragraph, what were the true origins behind both songs:

'Eighth Day' (1980) - "This was written the night before recording. I took inspiration from Genesis in the bible, thinking man was so arrogant that this world is his / her creation. That man seems to be, in reality, the biggest blight to this planet!!"

'Will You' (1981) - "I wrote this when a bomb went off in Berkeley Square in London and a poor guy who'd gone to take his lunch break and eat his sandwiches in the square was blown up. So the song related this and then spoke about how, at the same time, a baby can be being made people are trying to get together, etc. But once the song was asked for use in the Breaking Glass film, the bomb part of the song was put on the shelf and it became solely a love song and not an irony song."

You are out touring every year, playing shows all over the shop, so what are the main differences (for you) in playing live and traveling from show to show now, as opposed to back in the '80s and '90s? "My covert and recording life are both very different now. It all changed radically when I went to the Edinburgh Fringe festival with an Irish harp player, Cormac de Barra. I had an autobiographical story to tell and Breaking Glass songs, and others, to sing so 'Beyond Breaking Glass' was born."

"I learned from other artists there that you don't need a record company to sell your wares you can do it yourself. So instead of the record company taking most of the profit and throwing the artist a few pennies, we sold direct to the public. Therefore, making enough money to pay to record the next album, and the next, and so on. It was the same with gigs I wanted to play like Glastonbury. I had heard there was a theatre tent and wanted to put 'Beyond Breaking Glass' on in it. So I phoned Micheal Eavis's daughter, who was big part of the Glastonbury festival and she put me in touch with the theatre tent. That was the first time I ever played the Glastonbury festival some twenty years after my "glory days"."

"And so through my own efforts, which is far more fulfilling, of course, I have a great agent now and I do business with Cherry Red Records, because they are a caring company. But I don't accept the bullshit any more 'cos I have been a longtime outlaw to the music industry system and am happy exactly where I am. Sure, a bit of marketing income would be great, but I never want to be lost in mindless fame again."

"There is being a musician and there is being a star. I always wanted my music to be my thing and after all this time it finally is. Breaking Glass is a very great part of my life, but not the defining point. That's what came since, the amount of self-owned albums."

Will there be an album of new material from you in 2018, perhaps? "I recorded a new album with Cormac de Barra last November and released it this year called I'll See You Again. Later next year I shall record mine, Sarah Fisher and Clare Hirst's fourth album, probably after the summer festivals."

Lastly, and as we ask everyone this very same question, do you like Penguins? Not the hockey team or the chocky biscuit, but the real life jobbies. "My mum loved penguins so I loved them also. I've never met a penguin, but enjoyed the Emperor penguins performance in 'March Of The Penguins'!!!"

Title - 'Oliver Stone's The Putin Interviews'
Artist - Jeff Beal

To catch everyone up, in 'Oliver Stone's The Putin Interviews' the Oscar-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone sets his sights on Russia in this documentary series for which he was granted unprecedented access to Vladimir Putin.

Stone conducted more than a dozen interviews with the Russian president over a two-year period, with no topic off-limits. The four-part series features highlights of the talks, providing viewers with intimate insights into Putin's personal and professional lives.

The world leader discusses everything from his childhood living under communism to his rise to power, dealing with multiple U.S. presidents during his reign, and his thoughts on the current state of American-Russian relations.

Now Varese Sarabande have released this intrepid and highly candid documentary on a new platform. Indeed, Jeff Beal’s gripping and powerful score 'Oliver Stone's The Putin Interviews', which was previously only available digitally, is now available as a special 78-minute Limited Edition Of 1000 only CD.

1. 'The Putin Interviews, Main Title Theme'
2. 'No Rules'
3. 'Poverty Line to President'
4. 'The Live of Others'
5. 'Second Chechen War'
6. 'Seeds of Al-Queda'
7. 'Supporting Russians in Chechnya'
8. 'Expanding NATO'
9. 'Oceania'
10. 'Process and Painting'
11. 'The Reagan Method'
12. 'Victory Day'
13. 'Treaties'
14. 'ABM Missiles'
15. 'Always Hope'
16. 'Hungry for War'
17. 'Targeted Intelligence'
18. 'Snowden Arrives in Moscow'
19. 'Lucky Man'
20. 'Maidan Massacre'
21. 'Special Forces Attack'
22. 'Crimean Referendum'
23. 'Welcome to the Kremlin'
24. 'Updates Around the Globe'
25. 'Syrian Air Strikes'
26. 'How Big Is ISIS'
27. 'Setting Up the Shot'
28. 'Hackers from Russia'
29. 'Living in the Old World'
30. 'Banking Cyber Attack'
31. 'Sending a Message'
32. 'Greater Wealth'
33. 'They Admired Him'
34. 'It's Time, Finale'

As for Jeff Beal, he is an American composer of music for film, television, recordings, and the concert hall. Highly regarded as a jazz instrumentalist and versatile composer, Beal's music often incorporates a synthesis of improvisatory and composed elements.

With his film scores including 'Pollock', 'The Situation', Appaloosa', and now both 'Blackfish' and 'An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,' Beal most certainly knows what he's doing when it comes to documentary scores such as these.

From the triumphant, stoically Russian-sounding 'The Putin Interviews, Main Title Theme' and the light synth pinks of 'No Rules', through to the playful 'The Reagan Method' and the longest track at over five minutes, the stirring, poignant 'Always Hope', on through to the gently furtive 'Syrian Air Strikes', the creeping 'Banking Cyber Attack', and soundtrack closers 'They Admired Him' and ''It's Time, Finale', Oliver Stone's The Putin Interviews is one of the best soundtrack scores from this year.

'Oliver Stone's The Putin Interviews' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Gypsy (Music From The Netflix Original Series)'
Artist - Jeff Beal

To catch everyone up, Academy Award-nominee Naomi Watts starred (as it was cancelled way too soon) in this Netflix-original psychological thriller as Jean, a therapist in New York with a successful practice and a life that seems picturesque.

As Jean starts to develop intimate and illicit relationships with the people in her patients' lives, the borders of her professional life and personal fantasies become blurred.

Jean descends into a world where reality and the forces of her desires are disastrously at odds, which impacts her life and the lives of those around her.

Now Varese Sarabande have released Jeff Beal’s alluring and psychological score that draws you into Jean’s world. Now available digitally and as a special 2-CD Limited Edition to 1000 set, Gypsy (Music From The Netflix Original Series) is 34 track collection of some of Beal's best work to date.

CD 1:
1. 'Into The Rabbit Hole' (2:18)
2. 'Back Of The Closet' (2:54)
3. 'Train To NYC' (1:29)
4. 'Outdoor Indoor Movies' (2:51)
5. 'High Anxiety' (2:02)
6. 'The Contract' (3:49)
7. 'Need To See You' (3:05)
8. 'Draw The Line' (3:12)
9. 'If You Only Had More Secrets' (3:10)
10. 'Tough Judgement Calls' (1:27)
11. 'He's Coming Here Right Now' (1:16)
12. 'Down In A Second' (0:54)
13. 'Fake Journal' (4:08)
14. 'Good Pain, Poor Sam' (3:53)
15. 'The Commune' (1:49)
16. 'Like I Belong' (2:21)
17. 'The Kiss' (3:07)
18. 'Don't Touch' (1:33)
19. 'On It Tonight' (1:47)
20. 'Passcode' (1:11)
21. 'Where Were You?' (1:49)

CD 2:
1. 'Deleting Sam' (1:26)
2. 'I Feel Dizzy' (3:42)
3. 'Mirror Image' (4:05)
4. 'Where's Alison' (3:59)
5. 'Burning Pages' (4:03)
6. 'Jean's Childhood' (5:47)
7. 'Done With You' (3:04)
8. 'More Transparent' (1:32)
9. 'Get A Message To Sam' (1:06)
10. 'Missed You Too' (3:52)
11. 'Hugging Mom' (1:09)
12. 'Their True Selves' (2:47)
13. 'Staring At The Sun' (2:38)

As for Jeff Beal, he is an American composer of music for film, television, recordings, and the concert hall. Highly regarded as a jazz instrumentalist and versatile composer, Beal's music often incorporates a synthesis of improvisatory and composed elements.

With his film scores including 'Pollock', 'The Situation', Appaloosa', and now both 'Blackfish' and 'An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,' Beal most certainly knows what he's doing when it comes to flush, sweeping movies scores such as these.

From the placid, delicate opening track 'Into The Rabbit Hole' onward, there is an overall surreal quality most of the tracks. Like music trapped within strands of light, their motion slowed mid stream, the film's narrative is underscored to perfection here by Beal's work.

On tracks such as both 'High Anxiety' and 'Fake Journal' more then most, you can sense Beal's improvisation skills come to the fore. Again on the second disc, where the longest tracks 'Burning Pages' and 'Jean's Childhood' are to be found, his crystallized piano work is both haunting and yet, evocative of our world around us.

'Gypsy' 2-CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Open 28 Hours'
Artist - Fischer's Flicker

To catch everyone up, Fischer's Flicker is a Chicago-based act that has gone under many names in the past, but now hails as Fischer's Flicker.

Scott Fischer’s brain is like a vast musical amusement park and he wants to take us all on a thrilling ride. Fischer’s Flicker is the latest brainchild of Fischer and marks the next step in a musical evolution that began over 15 years ago.

While Fischer’s Flicker’s debut album, Katmandon’t is certainly more “mature” sounding than Fischer’s previous efforts, containing none of his trademark humorous rock tunes, it stays true to the core of Fischer’s music with big melodies and ambitious composition.

As do the effervescent Pro-Rock sounds to be found on their brand new seventh album, Open 28 Hours, out now via Lavender Katydid Records.

1. 'The In-Betweener'
2. 'You & Everybody'
3. 'No More Looking Back'
4. '3 6 9'
5. 'Spiders'
6. 'Sensi-Mental'
7. 'Smoke Signals
8. 'Farther To The Sun'
9. 'Mother Of A Ship'
10. 'Zen'

Featuring Scott Fischer, Ricky Lyons, Turan Yon, Andy Sviatko, Tim Gavin, and Patrick Gunderson, this quite brilliant album kicks off in fine foot-tappin' style with one the of best tracks on the album, the straight out blues and soul rock of 'The In-Betweener'. A rhythmic light Prog vibe kicks in with 'You & Everybody', and takes more of a hold on a cover of the lesser-known Kinks song 'No More Looking Back', and then the guitar heavy '3 6 9.'

The mid-tempo Prog journey undertaken on 'Spiders' is them at their collective best, whilst 'Sensi-Mental' and the autobiographical 'Smoke Signals' are perfect examples of what Fischer's Flicker bring to the table. 'Farther To The Sun' is an interesting, Frank Zappa-esque approach to music, as is the longest track on the album, the near-ten minute 'Mother Of A Ship.'

On what has thus far played out as a diverse mix tape from an alternate '80s scene back on another planet, the whole musical experience is then wrapped up in ballad style with the beautifully serene, dulcet tones of 'Zen.'

Fischer's Flicker @ Facebook

'Open 28 Hours' Digital Album Purchase Link

Title - 'Wake To Dream' [EP]
Artist - Lindsay Bellows

To catch everyone up, Lindsay Bellows weaves together light-hearted folk/pop with fierce R&B vocals to create music that ignites the spirit and soothes the soul.

Influenced by singers as diverse as Etta James, Stevie Nicks, Jill Scott, Lauryn Hill, Ani DiFranco, Zap Mama, and Adele, Lindsay Bellows crafts authentic and sincere compositions that showcase an artist wise beyond her years.

As we close out 2017, Lindsay Bellows has released her debut EP Wake to Dream. Based on Lindsay’s compositions and her one-woman/loop pedal powered performances, the EP started as an all-acapella project, but during the recording process at Cedarsong Sound in Northern CA, Lindsay and Grammy Award-winning engineer/producer Spencer Williams agreed that without the excitement of building a song from scratch in a live setting, the recordings needed something more.

As a result, the artists invited collaborators to add instrumentation like drums, keys, guitar, bass, and other percussion to the original vocal loops, finally creating the perfect groove.

1. 'Slow Steady'
2. 'Wake Up'
3. 'Part Life'
4. 'Wild and Free'
5. 'Simple Gifts'

Featuring five all-original songs, each as melodic, as soulful, and as meaningful as the next, all are beautifully driven by Bellows' raw, impassioned vocals. Riding upon a wave of dynamic instrumentation, that blends playful percussion with melodic keyboards and guitar, together her vocals and this backing produce some of the most heartfelt, raw, genuine music I've listened to in the past few years.

'Slow Steady' is a melodic, hypnotic-even track that features the faint back drop of an old school Laurie Anderson vibe, and that's backed by the gentle finger-snappin' 'Wake Up'. One of my favorite tracks is the mid-tempo, updated gentle soul rap of 'Part Life', and that's backed by the liberating storytelling of 'Wild And Free', before the EP comes to a close with the multiple layers of vocals and percussion crafted within 'Simple Gifts'.

Lindsay Bellows @ Facebook

'Wake To Dream' [EP] Purchase Link

Title - 'Live At Rockpalast' [3CD+2DVD]
Artist - Richard Thompson

For those not in the know, Richard Thompson OBE is an English singer, songwriter, and guitarist.

He made his debut as a recording artist as a member of Fairport Convention in September 1967. He continues to write and record new material regularly and frequently performs live at venues throughout the world.

Thompson was awarded the Orville H. Gibson Award for best acoustic guitar player in 1991. Similarly, his songwriting has earned him an Ivor Novello Award and, in 2006, a lifetime achievement award from BBC Radio. Many and varied musicians have recorded Thompson's compositions.

Thompson was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2011 New Year Honors for services to music. On 5 July 2011, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Aberdeen.

Known for this trademark playing style, Thompson makes use of the "pick and fingers" technique (sometimes referred to as "hybrid picking") where he plays bass notes and rhythm with a pick between his first finger and thumb, and adds melody and punctuation by plucking the treble strings with his fingers.

In 1983, Thompson went on tour to promote his current album Hand Of Kindness. For the show on December 12th, 1983, at the Hamburg Markthalle, the WDR also put up their cameras to record the event for the Rockpalast.

The studio crew from the recording sessions of Hand Of Kindness was also present live. Among them three musicians who stood on stage with Thompson with Fairport Convention more than ten years before: Simon Nicol, Dave Pegg and Dave Mattacks.

Nearly seven weeks later, on January 26th, 1984 Richard Thompson & Band gave another concert in the French luxury resort Cannes on occasion of MIDEM being recorded by the WDR as well.

Gerry Conway, today the drummer with the still active folk rock institution Fairport Convention, replaced Dave Mattacks, Rory McFarlane (bass) came for Dave Pegg who had to go into the studio to record a new album with his band Jethro Tull.

In both concerts it is to be heard how well the musicians know each other and how they have been harmonizing for years. They are building an integrated whole with Richard Thompson. They carry the music of their boss and give him the lightness and the leeway to fully unfold his potential.

Both concerts are an absolute must for every Thompson fan, and now you can also listen to and witness both these concerts in their full glory via an incredible 3CD+2DVD release, Live At Rockpalast.

Released on November 3rd, 2017 via Made in Germany Music, this brand new box-set is the most perfect collection of live music from Richard Thompson that I think has ever been culled together.

CD 1:
1. 'The Wrong Heartbeat'
2. 'A Poisoned Heart And A Twisted Memory'
3. 'Tear Stained Letter'
4. 'Night Comes In'
5. 'Amarylus'
6. 'Shoot Out The Lights'
7. 'Don't Renege On Our Love'
8. 'Hand Of Kindness'
9. 'Alberta'
10. 'Wall Of Death'
11. 'Pennsylvania 6-5000'
12. 'How I Wanted To'

CD 2:
1. 'Man In Need'
2. 'Two Left Feet'
3. 'Back Street Slide'
4. 'Both Ends Burning'
5. 'Danny Boy'
6. 'Can't Sit Down'
7. 'Great Balls Of Fire'
8. 'Highschool Hop'

CD 3:
1. 'The Wrong Heartbeat'
2. 'A Poisoned Heart And A Twisted Memory'
3. 'Tear Stained Letter'
4. 'Night Comes In'
5. 'Amarylus'
6. 'Shoot Out The Lights'
7. 'Don't Renege On Our Love'
8. 'Hand Of Kindness'
9. 'Alberta'
10. 'Wall Of Death'
11. 'Pennsylvania 65000'
12. 'How I Wanted To'
13. 'Man In Need'
14. 'Two Left Feet'

DVD 1:
1. 'The Wrong Heartbeat'
2. 'A Poisoned Heart And A Twisted Memory'
3. 'Tear Stained Letter'
4. 'Night Comes In'
5. 'Amarylus'
6. 'Shoot Out The Lights'
7. 'Don't Renege On Our Love'
8. 'Hand Of Kindness'
9. 'Alberta'
10. 'Wall Of Death'
11. 'Pennsylvania 6-5000'
12. 'How I Wanted To'
13. 'Man In Need'
14. 'Two Left Feet'
15. 'Back Street Slide'
16. 'Both Ends Burning'
17. 'Danny Boy'
18. 'Can't Sit Down'
19. 'Great Balls Of Fire'
20. 'Highschool Hop'

DVD 2:
1. 'The Wrong Heartbeat'
2. 'A Poisoned Heart And A Twisted Memory'
3. 'Tear Stained Letter'
4. 'Night Comes In'
5. 'Amarylus'
6. 'Shoot Out The Lights'
7. 'Don't Renege On Our Love'
8. 'Hand Of Kind'ness'
9. 'Alberta'
10. 'Wall Of Death'
11. 'Pennsylvania 65000'
12. 'How I Wanted To'
13. 'Man In Need'
14. 'Two Left Feet'

Musically, you get exactly what you would expect to hear from Thompson. I mean, sire, it generally tends to be a pointless exercise to say who is the best living guitarist, given that there are so many styles (let alone electric vs. acoustic, six string vs. twelve string), but as a guitarist, i would pick Thompson as the/my best all-around guitarist.

He is marvelous on both acoustic and electric, and is a first rate song writer. His dark voice, and edgy lyrics, however, insure that he will never be vastly popular, but that hasn't affected his career one jot.

With the audio for the shows transferred over to these three audio CDs within this lush box-set, complete with raw, audible fuzz, the listening experience is never under threat from the flashback shows.

Chock full of delicious scoops of Richard and Linda Thompson tracks, solo tracks and Fairport Convention material, from start to finish 'Live At Rockpalast' is a delight. And, it should be noted that this DVD set also includes a 3 minute interview with Thompson backstage after the Hamburg concert (which was recorded for and broadcast on German TV) by the hosts of the Rockpalast series.

Visually, well, as it was filmed on VHS tape back 34 plus years ago, you get what you would expect here as well. Grainy, but well remastered, to be fair, the films are a delight to behold, but just not what we're used to now re: crystal clear Bly-ray HD and such.

But that just adds to the whole mystic of these shows, in my humble opinion. Complete with some analog imperfections, shall we call them, it's a joy to behold nonetheless.

The two concerts are obviously spread over two DVDs with the run time for the first 116 minutes and the second a lesser 73 minutes. The image is an acceptable 4:3 (or 1.33:1, if you will) and the Audio is well represented PCM stereo. Oh, and as stated on the front cover of the release, all five of the discs are set as 0 Region watchability.

In closing, there is also a delightful 12-page booklet enclosed. It includes a three-page essay (dated August 2017) printed in both German and English which puts the concert in perspective as to where it fell in Thompson’s long career. [For the record, this was shortly after his separation from wife – and often co-writer – Linda Thompson.]

'Live At Rockpalast' [3CD+2DVD] Purchase Link

Title - 'The Gate of Glory'
Artist - The Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford

For those not in the classical know, the Christ Church Cathedral Choir is 500 years old and is justly famous for the youthfulness of its sound and its daring and adventurous musical programming.

Unique in the world as both Cathedral and College choir, the intimate acoustic of its musical home, Oxford’s twelfth-century Cathedral, has given it a relationship with early sacred music and the rhythm and vigor of contemporary idioms which is second to none.

Throughout its history, the choir has attracted many distinguished composers and organists, from its first director, John Taverner, appointed by Cardinal Wolsey in 1526, to William Walton in the twentieth century. In recent years, the choir has commissioned and recorded works by composers such as John Tavener, William Mathias, Robert Saxton and Howard Goodall.

There are twelve men and sixteen boys in the choir, and three organists. The boys are selected for their musical ability and attend Christ Church Cathedral School. Of the men, six are professionals and six are undergraduates. The Cathedral is renowned for training many of the country’s leading organists.

Here on The Gate of Glory, the men and boys of The Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford and director Stephen Darlington continue their exploration of the Eton Choirbook, the extraordinarily vast and diverse collection of English sacred music from the early Renaissance, with the fifth volume in their critically acclaimed series.

Hugo Kellyk (fl. late 15th century)
1.Gaude flore virginali a 7 (SATTTBarB) (19.10)

John Browne (fl. c. 1490 – 1500)
2. O regina mundi clara a 6 (TTTBarBarB) (15.58)

Robert Fayrfax (1464 – 1521)
3. Magnificat ‘Regali’ a 5 (SATBarB) (18.30)

Walter Lambe (?1450/1 – after Michaelmas 1504)
4. Gaude flore virginali a 4 (TTBarB) (11.20) *

Robert Hacomplaynt (1455/6 – 1528) (14.26)
5. Salve regina a 5 (SATTB)

* world-premiere recording

Released on November 17th, 2017 via AVIE Records, and with a run time of nearly 80 minutes, The Gate of Glory, in mu humble opinion, is one of their collective best recorded works.

Recorded on July 4th to 6th, 2017 at the Chapel of Merton College, Oxford, produced by Jeremy Summerly with balance engineer and editing by Simon Fox-Gál, The Gate of Glory, as with previous volumes, includes a world premiere recording - Walter Lambe's Gaude flore virginali - alongside works by Hugo Kellyk, Robert Fayrfax, Robert Hacomplaynt and John Browne, the preëminent composer of the Eton Choirbook.

As you can well imagine, the diversity of styles on this album is particularly striking, ranging from the astonishing balance of harmony and counterpoint in Browne's O regina mundi, to the elegance and simplicity of Fayrfax's setting of the Magnificat.

'The Gate of Glory' CD Purchase Link

Title - For Those Who Like to Groove: Essential Ray Parker
Artist - Ray Parker Jr. and Raydio

For those not in the know, Ray Parker Jr. is an American guitarist, singer-songwriter, record producer, and actor, best known for writing and performing the theme song to the movie Ghostbusters, for his solo music, and for performing with his band, Raydio, and with Barry White.

Raydio scored their first big hit, "Jack and Jill", from their self-titled album in 1978 with Arista Records. The song reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, earning a gold single and gold album in the process. Their follow-up song, "You Can't Change That", was released in 1979 from the Rock On album. The song was another Top 10 hit, peaking at #9 on the Billboard chart during the summer and also selling a million copies.

In 1980, the group became known as Ray Parker Jr. and Raydio. The group released two more albums, Two Places at the Same Time in 1980 and A Woman Needs Love in 1981 both gold albums. In 1981, he produced the hard funk single "Sweat (till you get wet)" by Brick.

During the 1980s, Ray Parker Jr. and Raydio had two Top 40 hits ("Two Places at the Same Time" - #30 in 1980 and "That Old Song" - #21 in 1981) and their last and biggest hit, "A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do)", released in 1981, went to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts and to #1 on the R&B Charts for two weeks in 1981.

Raydio broke up in 1981. Parker continued with his solo career, scoring six Top 40 hits, including the hit single "The Other Woman" (Pop #4) in 1982 and "Ghostbusters" in 1984. "Ghostbusters" was at #1 for three weeks on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, and at #1 for two weeks on its Black Singles chart. The song was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1984 but lost to Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called to Say I Love You" from The Woman in Red. Parker's song secured him a 1984 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.[5] Other hits from this period included "I Still Can't Get Over Loving You" (Pop #12) and "Jamie" (Pop #14).

He continued with Arista Records until he signed with Geffen in 1986. He rounded out his Arista tenure with a couple of final hits for the label in the form of 'Jamie' (R&B #12/Pop #14) and 'Girls Are More Fun' (R&B #21/Pop #34/UK #46).

At Geffen he hit with 'I Don't Think That Man Should Sleep Alone' (R&B #5/Pop #68/UK #13) and his Burt Bacharach/Carole Bayer-Sager produced duet with Natalie Cole; 'Over You' (R&B #10/UK #65).

Celebrating his 40 year recording career, Ray Parker, Jr. revisits his legacy on this first 2-CD hits collection, For Those Who Like to Groove: Essential Ray Parker Jr. and Raydio.

Released on November 10th, 2017 via Big Break Records (BBR) through Cherry Red Records (UK), For Those Who Like To Groove: The Essential Ray Parker, Jr And Raydio features 35 classic tracks and an in-depth interview with Ray Parker, Jr, as well as a foreword written by Clive Davis.

CD 1:
1. 'Jack and Jill'
2. 'You Can't Change That'
3. 'A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do)'
4. 'Two Places at the Same Time'
5. 'Honey I'm Rich'
6. 'That Old Song'
7. 'More Than One Way to Love a Woman' (Single Version)
8. 'It's Your Night' (Single Version)
9. 'For Those Who Like to Groove'
10. 'Is This a Love Thing' (Single Version)
11. 'Hot Stuff'
12. 'It's Time to Party Now' (12" Remix)
13. 'All in the Way You Get Down' (12" Remix)
14. 'Let's Go All the Way'
15. 'Tonight's the Night'
16. 'Betcha Can't Love Me Just Once'
17. 'Get Down'
18. 'Still in the Groove'

CD 2:
1. 'Ghostbusters' (12" 'Searchin' for the Spirit' Version)
2. 'The Other Woman' (12" Version)
3. 'Bad Boy'
4. 'I Don't Think That Man Should Sleep Alone' (12" Version) 5. 'Let Me Go' (Single Version)
7. 'I Still Can't Get Over Loving You'
8. 'Jamie'
9. 'Girls Are More Fun' (Single Version)
10. 'The People Next Door'
11. 'In The Heat Of The Night'
12. 'It's Our Own Affair'
13. 'Over You' (Duet with Natalie Cole)
14. 'One Sided Love Affair'
15. 'After Midnite'
16. 'Stay The Night'
17. 'Jack and Jill (Back Up the Hill)' (12" Version)

As you can well imagine, every single track on this 2-CD compilation is as fantastic as the next. This set is non-stop funkin' groove sounds, mixed with R&B and soul ballads, served up on a platter of pop and even fun hip-hop.

Kicking things off with the song that uses the names from the popular children's poem "Jack & Jill," about a guy (Jack) who isn't getting enough attention from his wife (Jill), the very first hit for Ray Parker, Jr And Raydio is as vibrant a track to listen to today as it was back then. 'You Can't Change That', 'A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do)' and one of my favorite love jams of theirs, 'Two Places At The Same Time' ("I wanna be two places at the same time, Inside you and inside your mind") are next, and are backed seamlessly by 'Honey I'm Rich', 'That Old Song', 'More Than One Way To Love A Woman' (Single Version), and both 'It's Your Night' (Single Version) and the title track, the disco funk of 'For Those Who Like To Groove.'

'Is This A Love Thing' (Single Version) is then followed by another of my personal favorites, 'Hot Stuff' (and no, it's not the Donna Summer classic), which in turn is backed by the power disco trio of 'It's Time To Party Now' (12" Remix), 'All In The Way You Get Down' (12" Remix)', and 'Let's Go All The Way.' The first disc then rounds out with the smooth soul ballad 'Tonight's The Night', 'Betcha Can't Love Me Just Once', the all-out funk and slap bass guitar work of 'Get Down', and then 'Still In The Groove'.

The second disc opens with the infamous 'Ghostbusters (Searchin' For The Spirit)' 12" Version, and backs that up neatly with the uptempo 'The Other Woman' (12" Version). The mid-tempo funk of 'Bad Boy' is a pure delight to hear once again, and that's followed by both 'I Don't Think That Man Should Sleep Alone' (12" Version), and the pleading, Boyz II Men-esque ballad 'Let Me Go' (Single Version).

The mid-tempo 'I Still Can't Get Over Loving You' is another gem, and is backed by the finger-snappin' 'Jamie', the party atmosphere of the Lionel Ritchie-esque 'Girls Are More Fun' (Single Version), and then the dance floor sway of 'The People Next Door'. The beautiful love song 'In The Heat Of The Night' is then backed by 'It's Our Own Affair', but it's Ray's duet with Natalie Cole on 'Over You' that seals the musical deal here on this brand new 2-CD set. Just listen to the heartbreak, sorrow and hope embedded within every word sung between them. Man, they just don't make songs like this any more.

'One-Sided Love Affair' is then followed by 'After Midnite', before the second disc rounds out in perfect style with the oh-so-lush ballad 'Stay The Night', and then a quite brilliant, and nearly ten minutes long 'Jack and Jill (Back Up The Hill)' (12" Version).

For Those Who Like To Groove: The Essential Ray Parker, Jr And Raydio CD is being released by BBR/Cherry Red Records on November 10th, 2017.

'For Those Who Like To Groove: The Essential Ray Parker, Jr And Raydio' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'One Night Only!' [CD+DVD]
Artist - Donny Osmond

Well, if you're not in the know about this man, which I'm sure puts you in a very small group, Donny Osmond is an American singer, actor, radio personality, and former teen idol.

Osmond has also been a talk and game show host, record producer and author. In the mid-1960s, he and four of his elder brothers gained fame as: "The Osmonds". Osmond went solo in the early 1970s, covering such hits as "Go Away Little Girl" and "Puppy Love".

For over thirty-five years, he and younger sister Marie have gained fame as Donny & Marie, partly due to the success of their 1976–79 self-titled variety series, which aired on ABC. The duo also did a 1998–2000 talk show and have been headlining in Las Vegas since 2008. He relocated to Chicago where Joseph played for sixteen months in 1993-94. The musical then toured North America until 1998 returning to Chicago twice again. Indeed, creator Andrew Lloyd Webber also chose him for the 1999 film version.

In 2017 Donny Osmond toured the UK playing in Arenas in Manchester, Glasgow, Brighton, Bournemouth, Nottingham, Birmingham and two sell out nights at the legendary Hammersmith Apollo, London.

The tour was very special to Donny, he has has described it as, “This tour was definitely my favorite that I’ve ever done”. As such it was decided to film and record the final date of the tour at the NEC Birmingham – One Night Only.

Performing new songs he recorded for his 60th album, whilst flashing back into his extensive repertoire of fifty-four years in show business, Donny performs so many of his classics from so many different genres of music that these collections are truly the best of Donny live.

The opening 'Celebration' medley, that includes snippets of tracks such as 'Start Me Up', 'Dynamite', 'Can't Stop The Feeling' and 'Uptown Funk', is such a brilliant way to get both Donny and his audience warmed up, before he gives us an arena-approved 'Puppy Love.' Sounding so, so good, next up is a delightful cover of Al Green's 'Let's Stay Together'.

Incorporating some mighty fine audience sing-along, Donny flashes back to sing one of his younger brother Jimmy's hit singles, 'Long Haired Lover From Liverpool', before bringing us 'Sacred Emotion', another crowd sing-along for Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat's 'Any Dream Will Do', the beautiful soul of 'Breeze On By', and then a cover of the Beatles' 'Long And Winding Road.' The upbeat 'Could She Be Mine' is next, and the first disc (of both the CD and the DVD) rounds out with the funky slap bass guitar, and Donny playing keytar on 'My Love Is A Fire.'

The second disc begins with the relaxing tones of Steely Dan's 'Peg', before seamlessly flowing into 'Private Affair', the poignant 'I'll Make A Man Out Of You' (from Mulan), and both the regimented 'Soldier Of Love' and then brings the mood down for the mellow 'Moon River.' The mid-tempo R&B of 'Young Love' (sung as if he were Elvis) is next and that's followed by both a cover of Johnny Mathis' '12th Of Never' and Nat King Cole's 'When I Fall In Love.'

A massive hit for The Osmonds, actually written by Johnny Bristol, 'Love Me For A Reason' is a true highlight of this entire set, and that's backed by the low key trio of ballad's 'Whenever You're In Trouble', 'Close Every Door', and 'Survivor.' The heat gets turned up to eleven for the guitar fest of The Osmonds' worldwide hit 'Crazy Horses', before the whole show comes to and end with a ballad from Jekyll & Hyde, 'This Is The Moment.'

As you can well imagine, everything just revealed above about the audio 2-CD set is doubled, tripled even when it comes to the visual 2-DVD set! Chock full of color, high energy from both Donny and his backing band, and flashing lights galore, the live show is a spectacle beyond all spectacles.

Inclusive of his "Purple Card" segment of the show, where he asked the packed, baying audience what they wanted to hear (via said purple cards that were handed out to them beforehand, and which he sat down in a comfy chair on stage for 20 minutes to answer), not ever knowing what they were going to even ask him for, it's things like that where Donny's performing skills are brought magnificently to the fore.

His dance routines with his back up dancers for numbers like Steely Dan's 'Peg' are a pure delight to see (and very Michael Jackson-esque), but when during the frenetic 'Crazy Horses' he nearly throws himself at his CO2 dry ice machines, both of them bellowing out plumes of dry ice smoke directly at him, covering his tshirt underneath his billowing red shirt, well, the man's showmanship knows no boundaries.

But, and with all that said, when Donny sings 'Love Me For A Reason', and he puts up a circle of his brothers' "floating" heads to sing back up for him, that's when the whole live night becomes acknowledged as being one of the finest tours Donny has ever done. Add to that, when he sing's 'Any Dream Will Do' from Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, he actually comes back out on stage wearing that very same Dreamcoat and a long, shaggy wig of hair too!

And so, from that very same live filming and recording, on October 27th, 2017, Gonzo Multi Media now bring us some very special editions.

Originally released in various formats via a PledgeMusic campaign (and now also available from his own website), aside from this 2-CD set and the 2-DVD set, other variations of this incredible live performance included a simply stunning One Night Only Box Set - Signed & Numbered, a One Night Only - Limited Edition Triple DVD, and even a One Night Only Exclusive Poster - Signed and Limited to just 250.

'One Night Only' DVD Box-Set Walk Through by Donny Himself!

'One Night Only!' Pledge Music Campaign

'One Night Only!' 2CD Edition Purchase Link

Title - Livin’ A Life Of Love – The Jive Anthology, 86-91
Artist - Ruby Turner

For those not in the know, Ruby Turner [MBE] is a British Jamaican R&B and soul singer, songwriter, and actress.

In a music career spanning more than 30 years, Turner is best known for her albums and single releases in Europe and North America. She is also known for her work as a session backing vocalist (inclusive of Bryan Ferry, UB40, Steel Pulse, Steve Winwood, Jools Holland, and Mick Jagger), and has written songs that have been covered by artists including Lulu, Yazz and Maxi Priest.

Turner achieved the rare feat, for a British singer, of reaching #1 on the US R&B chart, with "It's Gonna Be Alright" in February 1990. Between 1986 and 1995, eight of her singles appeared in the UK Singles Chart with "I'd Rather Go Blind" being the most successful, reaching #24 in 1987.

Turner also went on to perform at the Birmingham Heart Beat 86 concert, which featured George Harrison; and also sang on BBC Television's Jools' Annual Hootenanny, from 2007 to 2016 inclusive. Turner has also appeared as an actress on stage, film and television.

Come November 17th, 2017, and as part of its much acclaimed anthology series, SoulMusic Records (via Cherry Red Records UK) will release Livin’ A Life Of Love – The Jive Anthology, 1986-1991, a wonderful retrospective covering Turner’s five-year tenure with Jive Records.

Lovingly compiled by renowned US musicologist and writer Justin Kantor (who provided stellar liner notes with extensive 2017 quotes from Ruby herself), this 2-CD set includes six tracks from the soulful singer’s 1988 album The Motown Songbook along with seven tracks from her 1989 set, Paradise; including the US #1 R&B hit, "It’s Gonna Be Alright".

The anthology also features six tracks from Ruby’s final Jive LP, The Other Side with production by Womack & Womack and Hula & K. Fingers.

Some rarities that will please Ruby’s steadfast global following include "Another One Night Stand", previously available as a bonus track on a Japanese version of Paradise; the Brixton Bass Mix of "It’s Gonna Be Alright"; the Da Posse Mix of "The Other Side"; and the New 7” Edit of "It’s A Cryin’ Shame".

1. "If You're Ready (Come Go with Me)" - Duet with Jonathan Butler

2. "I'm in Love"
3. "Bye Baby"
4. "I'd Rather Go Blind" (1987 Single)
5. "In My Life (It's Better to Be in Love)" (Extended Version)
6. "Only Women Bleed"
7. "Hurting Inside"
8. "I'm Livin' a Life of Love"
9. "Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)" (Extended Mix)
10. "Nowhere to Run (Nowhere to Hide)"
11. "Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)" - with the Temptations
12. "Baby I Need Your Lovin'" - with the Four Tops
13. "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" - Featuring Jimmy Ruffin
14. "The Tracks of My Tears"
15. "Still Waters Run Deep"
16. "Step in My Shoes"

1. "It's Gonna Be Alright"
2. "Paradise" (Radio Edit)
3. "It's a Cryin' Shame" (New 7" Edit)
4. "Surrender"
5. "Everytime I Breathe"
6. "See Me"
7. "The Vibe Is Right"
8. "The Other Side" (Da' Posse Mix)
9. "Rumours" (Club Mix)
10. "A Little Bit More"
11. "Merry Go Round"
12. "Provoking (Love Strokin')"
13. "Another One Night Stand"
14. "It's You My Heart Beats For"
15. "It's Gonna Be Alright" (Brixton Bass Mix)
16. "It's a Cryin'" Shame" (UK 7" Remix)

Produced by Billy Ocean, her Staples Singers cover of "If You're Ready (Come Go with Me)", complete with Jonathan Butler, is a brilliant introduction to Ruby Turner. That's backed by the sultry mid-tempo ballad "I'm In Love", the upbeat party song (and one of my own personal favorites of hers) "Bye Baby", and then "I'd Rather Go Blind".

A blues song written by Ellington Jordan and co-credited to Billy Foster, it was first recorded by Etta James in 1967 (although released in 1968), and has subsequently become regarded as a blues and soul classic. Released by Turner at the beginning of 1987, "I'd Rather Go Blind" (one of five singles released from her Women Hold Up Half The Sky album), was the very first CD Single that I ever purchased.

I remember the act of deciding between her 7" Single (vinyl) and this brand new CD format as vividly today as it was back then. In the end, and although I was an avid vinyl collector, I purchased the CD Single and that opened the floodgates to many, oh so many more CD Singles from all manner of bands thereafter.

Moving on and next up is an Extended Version of the synth/drum-lite sounds of "In My Life (It's Better To Be In Love)", which is followed by "Only Women Bleed", "Hurting Inside", and then "I'm Livin' a Life of Love"; the first track here on this first disc that actually wasn't off her aforementioned solo album, Women Hold Up Half the Sky.

Now culling from her Motown Song Book album, next up is an Extended Mix of the vibrant Stevie Wonder classic "Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)", which is backed seamlessly by a cover of Martha and the Vandellas' "Nowhere to Run (Nowhere to Hide)", and then "Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)" sung with the Temptations. "Baby I Need Your Lovin'" is also sung with the originators, in this case the Four Tops, whilst one of my all-time favorite songs "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" lovingly features Jimmy Ruffin.

Both Smokey Robinson & The Miracles' "The Tracks of My Tears" and the Four Tops' "Still Waters Run Deep" round out that particular Motown phase of Turners career, and then the entire first disc finishes off in some beautiful melodic styling with Turner's elegant "Step in My Shoes".

The second disc opens with tracks from her Paradise album, with the blues R&B, slap bass guitar funk of ""It's Gonna Be Alright", and backs that up with a FYC's mixed with NKOTB-esque "Paradise" (Radio Edit). Some opening keyboard/piano styling leads us dutifully into the all-out dance floor funk of "It's a Cryin' Shame" (New 7" Edit), which in turn leads us into the beautiful love pairing of both "Surrender" and "Everytime I Breathe".

"See Me" is the last track taken from that aforementioned album, before we're off into six tracks from Turner's final Jive LP, The Other Side. The first track of which is the dance floor smash vibe of "The Vibe Is Right", which is followed by some new mixes of both "The Other Side" (Da' Posse Mix) and "Rumours" (Club Mix). The gentle Caribbean flow of "A Little Bit More" is a joy to behold even now, and that's backed by the vibrant "Merry Go Round", the mid-tempo ballad "Provoking (Love Strokin')", and the storytelling of "Another One Night Stand".

The second disc of this highly impressive 2-CD collection then comes to a close with the ballad "It's You My Heart Beats For", a new mix of "It's Gonna Be Alright" (Brixton Bass Mix), and then a brand new UK 7" Remix of "It's a Cryin'" Shame".

Still very active as a live performer (often with the famed Jools Holland Orchestra) and as a recording artist with her own label, Ruby remains one of Britain’s most enduring soul singers and this anthology showcases her stellar legacy as such.

Livin’ A Life Of Love – The Jive Anthology, 1986-1991 2-CD is being released by SoulMusic Records/Cherry Red Records on November 17th, 2017.

'Livin’ A Life Of Love – The Jive Anthology, 1986-1991' 2-CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Soulful Christmas'
Artist - Jennifer Saran

For those not in the know, Jennifer Saran is a North American alt-pop/adult contemporary artist, songwriter and vocalist based in Hong Kong. Her first full-length album, Merry Christmas, You Are Loved (2015), was a worldwide smash and quickly put Saran on the map; let alone on the radar of some very big names within the business.

Indeed, that debut album was created with legendary producer Narada Michael Walden, and released through his very own uber successful label, Tarpan Records. Luckily for us all, that partnership continued onward with her sophomore album, Walk With Me (2016) and her quite stunning follow up, Wake Up.

Coming full circle on her newest release, Jennifer's latest album is yet another Christmas collection. Featuring guests The Temptations, and yet again produced by the legendary Narada Michael Walden, Soulful Christmas is out November 24th, 2017 via Tarpan Records.

During the holiday season of 2016, Jennifer released a double-single including the tracks “Merry Christmas To You” and “Soulful Christmas", and now that latter track has spread its wings and blossomed into an incredible, heartwarming new album of holiday tracks.

1. "Christmas Lover" - Featuring The Temptations
2. "Sleigh Ride"
3. "Long Road Home For Christmas"
4. "Swingin' Art Christmas Time"
5. "Some Children See Him"
6. "Coventry Carol"
7. "Soulful Christmas"
8. "Soul Cake"
9. "Where Are U Christmas"
10. "I Have My Own Reindeer"
11. "Hark The Herald Angels Sing"
12. "Come Home For Christmas"
13. "Merry Christmas to You"
14. "One More Christmas Together"
15. "Christmas Delight"
16. "You Are My Christmas Star"
17. "Frosty The Snow Man"

Containing, and kicking off with, the new single "Christmas Lover" featuring The Temptations, as the sax leads us in, it's baritone singer Dr. Otis Williams who verbally introduces the song. The trumpets sound aplenty on "Sleight Ride", before everything is slowed down for a Jennifer Saran original, the harmonica driven "Long Road Home For Christmas".

The finger-snappin' "Swingin' Art Christmas Time" is one of the highlights of this joyous album for me, and that's backed by the lush harp flow of "Some Children See Him", the stirring violins of "Coventry Carol", and then the jingle bells of the title track, "Soulful Christmas".

The funky, banjo-pickin' vibe of "Soul Cake" is new and highly original, and that's backed by the soulful "Where Are U Christmas" ("This is for all the people with blue lights on their Christmas tree. Always know someone is thinking of you"), the beautiful storytelling of "I Have My Own Reindeer", and then the vibrant "Hark The Herald Angels Sing".

Jingle bells sound once more as they introduce us to both the piano-led "Come Home For Christmas" and then the ode to children all over the world, "Merry Christmas to You". The ballad "One More Christmas Together" is a saxophone beauty, and that's followed by the soul funk of "Christmas Delight". The album then rounds out with the unexpected EDM sounds of "You Are My Christmas Star", before the Wintry "Frosty The Snow Man" is upon us.

There are 17 tracks on this holiday album and each one is delightful to hear. Indeed, even where Jennifer covers a classic, she strives to make it her own; and for the most part, does just that. Having incorporated soul, R&B, funk and even EDM into her Christmas spirit, Jennifer's vocals are magnificent on this quite outstanding new seasonal album.

Chock full of some inspired Christmas covers, along with some aforementioned delightfully inspiring originals (which, in this business, to create just one new Christmas song of any worth from scratch is a miracle unto its own), Soulful Christmas is primed and ready to be your musical accompaniment this holiday season.

In closing, each of the 17 tracks are genuine, enduring, and as festively heartwarming as each other and even her originals sound like they've been around as long as the chosen classics. So once you've purchased this CD for your holiday celebrations, I urge you to then journey through her back catalog and take in all Jennifer's other work. Trust me, you won't be disappointed and for that deed alone, I'm sure Santa will add you to his Nice List!

Russell A. Trunk

Check out the music video of Jennifer and Narada doing their original holiday song “Christmas is Really My Thang,” released on her 2015 album Merry Christmas, You Are Loved:

“Christmas is Really My Thang” - Music Video

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'I Wish You Love: More From The Bodyguard'
Artist - Whitney Houston

In honor of the 25th anniversary of the iconic film 'The Bodyguard', Legacy Recordings is celebrating its legacy with the release of a brand new collection of Whitney Houston live and studio recordings entitled I Wish You Love: More From The Bodyguard.

An essential new Whitney Houston collection bringing together a variety of live and studio recordings from monster smash hit film 'The Bodyguard' (many previously unreleased or unavailable), it also lovingly includes an alternate mix of 'I Will Always Love You.'

Featuring a spoken word intro of Whitney as Rachel Marron, an A Capella version of 'Jesus Loves Me,' which has never been heard before and a live recording from The Bodyguard World Tour 1993-1995 of 'Run To You,' which Whitney rarely performed, this album may well have been a wee bit too long in getting to us, but not it's here, embrace it for all its true musical wonderment.

Also included are film and live versions of 'I Will Always Love You,' 'I Have Nothing,' 'Queen of The Night' and more, this 14-track CD will be playing in your home entertainment systems of in your car for a very long time once you start listening to it. Of that you can count on, for every single track will hold you mesmerized to the voice of the late, great Whitney Houston; let alone that brilliant era that surrounded the release of the film back in 1992.

1. 'I Will Always Love You' (Alternate Mix)
2. 'I Have Nothing' (Film Version)
3. 'I'm Every Woman' (Clivilles & Cole House Mix / Edit)
4. 'Run To You' (Film Version)
5. 'Queen Of The Night' (Film Version)
6. 'Jesus Loves Me' (Film Version)
7. 'Jesus Loves Me' (A Cappella Version)
8. 'I Will Always Love You' (Film Version)
9. 'I Have Nothing' (Live)
10. 'Run To You' (Live)
11. 'Jesus Loves Me' / 'He's Got The Whole World In His Hands' (Live)
12. 'Queen Of The Night' (Live)
13. 'I Will Always Love You' (Live)
14. 'I'm Every Woman' (Live)

Reflecting back for a second, Whitney Houston's first soundtrack has a bunch of accolades attached to it: Album of the Year, Song of the Year, best-selling soundtrack of all time, and a whole host of other awards and popularity votes.

Indeed, there's nothing really bad to say about the album, and thankfully there is nothing bad to be said about this 25th Anniversary release of differing and previously unreleased on CD versions of those songs either.

You have your tear-jerker opening with 'I Will Always Love You,' an award-winner and record-breaker on Billboard chart (albeit a remake of a Dolly Parton track), the strongly emotional love song 'I Have Nothing', the remake of Chaka Khan's euphoric 'I'm Every Woman,' and then things slow down with the ballad 'Run to You.'

'Queen of The Night' is an upbeat track that openly flaunts with us throughout, and then two versions of her Gospel cut 'Jesus Loves Me' lead back into a Film Version of the opening track, before the CD rounds out with some stunning live tracks. None more so, in my humble opinion, than the incredible 'Queen Of The Night' - for done live, Whitney's voice soars and the backing band is as loud, proud and tight as any I think I've ever heard.

'I Wish You Love: More From The Bodyguard' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'If You're a Boy or a Girl'
Artist - Elettrodomestico

For those not in the know, Elettrodomestico is a 2 piece band made up of songwriters Jane Wiedlin and Pietro Straccia.

Formed in 2016, Jane Wiedlin is best known as guitarist/songwriter of the eighties all-female band The Go-Go's whilst Pietro Straccia is a multi-instrumentalist/songwriter who grew up in Detroit and Italy.

Their guitar driven elettro/psychedelic/pop sound and layered vocal harmonies has been compared to bands Metric, The Mamas & The Papas, Abba, Garbage, The Flaming Lips, The XX, Phantogram.

With the duo having independently released their debut album, If You're a Boy or a Girl, on October 20th, 2017 via their own Elettrodomestico Label, while many of the lyrics explore alienation and despair, the sound of the duo is markedly upbeat; with layered guitars, intricate harmonies, and four-to-the-floor pop drumbeats.

1. "Rabbit Stew"
2. "Aloha"
3. "Mail Order Bride"
4. "Love Me At A Distance"
5. "Brittle"
6. "Stop, Drop & Swallow"
7. "Bliss"
8. "Nightblind"
9. "Lost At Sea"
10. "The Next Night"

Recorded by Travis Kasperbauer at Lucky Recording Company in Brisbane CA, and by Pietro Straccia at Las Cuatro Palmeras in Oakland CA, Produced by Travis Kasperbauer, Pietro Straccia, and Jane Wiedlin, Mixed by Travis Kasperbauer, and Mastered by Piper Payne at Neato Mastering, If You're a Boy or a Girl is quite easily one of my favorite albums of 2017.

Inclusive of guest musicians such as Joe Gore (Tom Waits, PJ Harvey, Tracy Chapman), playing bass, guitar, piano, slide guitar on many songs, and Gaby LaLa on Sitar, each of the 10 tracks resonate not only with things from our every day lives, but with how we assume the world to be outside of our purview.

Opening with the drum beat and jangly guitars of "Rabbit Stew", the album already is showcasing what's to come, adding both the atmospheric lead single "Aloha" (an expression used in the Hawaiian language that literally means "hello, goodbye, hospitality and love"), and the harmonic "Mail Order Bride" thereafter.

With not one track on this impressive album a let down, let alone a filler, next up is the Indian-twanged "Love Me At A Distance", which might well be my favorite song on the album, and is followed by both the light, breezy and spacey "Brittle," and then "Stop, Drop & Swallow."

The pulsating, Breeders-esque "Bliss" is yet another stand out cut here, and that's backed by "Nightblind," and then the gently trippy "Lost At Sea." A track that allows Wiedlin's vocals to come to the fore in a more natural, raw way, it's a beautiful cut, that's for sure.

The album then rounds out with the vocal and guitar-heavy power of "The Next Night," but trust me when I say that you'll want to start the whole musical process off all over again as the track finally fades out.

Russell A. Trunk

Check out Elettrodomestico's music video for 'Aloha':

'Aloha' - Music Video

Digital Album Purchase Link

Elettrodomestico @ Facebook

Elettrodomestico @ Twitter

Title - American Made (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Artist - Various

For those not in the know, 'American Made' is the story of Barry Seal (Tom Cruise), a TWA pilot, is recruited by the CIA to provide reconnaissance on the burgeoning communist threat in Central America and soon finds himself in charge of one of the biggest covert CIA operations in the history of the United States.

The operation spawns the birth of the Medellin cartel and almost brings down the Reagan White House.

This Tom Cruise thriller features classic songs from the '70s, including hits from Linda Ronstadt and The Allman Brothers, as well as notably disco classics “Fifth of Beethoven” from Walter Murphy and “Hooked on Classics 1&2” from Louis Clark and The Royal Philharmonic.

Furthermore, there are three tracks of original score from 'Frozen's composer Christophe Beck that are featured as well.

'American Made (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)' [CD] was released this past September 29th, 2017 via Varese Sarabande records.

1. "A Fifth of Beethoven" (Performed by Walter Murphy & The Big Apple Band) (3:04)
2. "One Way Out" (Performed by The Allman Brothers Band) (4:57)
3. "Blue Bayou" (Performed by Linda Ronstadt) (3:53)
4. "Seguro Lo Hara Otro" (Performed by John Ever Villa) (3:22)
5. "Black Widow Blues" (Performed by Townes Van Zandt) (2:23)
6. "Hooked On Classics (Part 1 & 2)" (Performed by Louis Clark & The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra) (5:07)
7. "I Don’t Need You" (Performed by The Troyes) (2:08)
8. "Loud n’ Restless" (Performed by Loosely Tight) (4:20)
9. "What Makes A Good Man?" (Performed by The Heavy) (3:48)
10. "What Now?" (Christophe Beck) (2:03)
11. "Sandanistas y Reagan" (Christophe Beck) (1:06)
12. "Heading to the States" (Christophe Beck) (2:44)

If you love(d) the '70s, then this sound track is for you. Indeed, just listening once again to the opening track, Walter Murphy's "A Fifth of Beethoven" makes your day so much brighter. The American instrumentalist, songwriter and arranger rose to cult status with this monster hit instrumental, a disco adaptation of some passages of the first movement of Ludwig van Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, in 1976, and even though disco is far from the height of its popularity now, my goodness it is just so dang infectious even today!

Both "One Way Out" (performed by The Allman Brothers Band) and a searing "Blue Bayou" (performed by Linda Ronstadt) that follow it are as lovely to hear today as they were back then also, and then comes the Latin salsa splash "Seguro Lo Hara Otro" (performed by John Ever Villa). "Black Widow Blues" (performed by Townes Van Zandt) and then the ever-popular "Hooked On Classics (Part 1 & 2)" (performed by Louis Clark & The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra) are delightful, but one of my own personal favorites here is The Troyes on "I Don’t Need You". Sounding like the Animals on speed, the American garage rock band from Battle Creek, MI bring everything they had to the song.

American hard rock band Loosely Tight then bring us the fun AOR of their 1981 hit "Loud N' Restless", before the tremendously deep "What Makes A Good Man?" (performed by British rock band The Heavy) rounds out the known material of this soundtrack. Finishing off in fine style with three composed works from Christoph Beck, my favorite would be "Heading To The States", a track that showcases the overall intensity of the film, and yet makes it enjoyable to listen to at the same time.

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Breathe' (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Artist - Nitin Sawhney

For those not in the know, 'Breathe' stars Andrew Garfield in a true story about a how a man’s struggle with polio leads to the invention of a new kind of wheelchair.

Written by two-time Academy nominated writer, William Nicholson, 'Breathe' has the same Oscar pedigree, and was a hit on the film festival circuit.

The soundtrack is composed by Nitin Sawhney, a well-regarded electronic and world music producer as well as a film score composer. His 11th album, Live at Ronnie Scott's, was released in October of 2017.

'Breathe (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)' [CD] was also released this past October 13th, 2017 via Varese Sarabande records.

1. "Robin’s Drive" (1:08)
2. "Cricket Match" (1:13)
3. "Country Drive And Ballroom" (1:21)
4. "Travelling To Kenya" (1:40)
5. "Getting Ill" (1:27) 7. "Doesn’t Want To See The Baby" (1:50)
8. "Dreaming He Is Fine" (:47)
9. "Buying The House" (1:43)
10. "Moving The Bed" (1:06)
11. "Hospital Escape" (1:19)
12. "Arrival Home" (1:29)
13. "Connecting With Jonathan" (1:40)
14. "Cleaning Ladies Outside" (1:27)
15. "The Last Dream" (1:25)
16. "Garden Party" (1:50)
17. "Travelling To Spain" (2:06)
18. "Picnic By The Road" (:56)
19. "Funding The Chairs" (:31)
20. "Wheelchair Parade" (1:48)
21. "Arriving At The German Hospital" (:57)
22. "Leaving The German Hospital" (:25)
23. "German Convention Speech" (1:51)
24. "After First Bleed" (1:03)
25. "Goodbye-Ee" (:56)
26. "My Love My Life" (1:52)
27. "Telling The Doctor It’s Time" (2:50)
28. "Flashback Montage" (1:41)
29. "Credits" (1:42)

Sawhney’s orchestral score here for 'Breathe' (a film that, having seen, I can tell you will definitely tug on your heart strings), is as good as it gets. The man certainly knows what he's doing and somehow manages to incorporate the level of tension within the real life subject within each orchestral move made.

Drawing on elements of jazz, Sawhney, whose compositions not only embrace Cavendish's struggle and courage, but also the love story between him and Diana, plays piano and flamenco guitar on much of the score. And then, and just as seductively, he introduces sweeping orchestral cues that meld seamlessly with those aforementioned jazz trumpet moments.

You should also know that this biographical drama film, directed by Andy Serkis, from a screenplay by William Nicholson, also features Serkis on tenor sax, which is a nice touch, for sure. From the quietest, most poignant of moments to the big jazz band let-loose scenes, 'Breathe' by Nitin Sawhney is a soundtrack for the ages.

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Title - 'Tooth And Tail' [Varese Sarabande]
Artist - Austin Wintory

For those not in the know, from the creators of the IGF-winning, best-selling game Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine, 'Tooth and Tail' is set in a world of animal revolution.

The Commonfolk, the Civilized, the Longcoats and the KSR are factions at war over who will eat and who will be eaten!

Featuring music by Grammy nominated composer Austin Wintory, the music features themes for each faction, which ranges from fast upbeat tarantellas, organ/violin tangos, Germanic waltz music, through to Eastern European folk dances.

'Tooth And Tail' [CD] was also released this past September 5th, 2017 via Varese Sarabande records.

1. "The Food Of Beasts" (1:34)
2. "Hopper, Flagbearer For The Commonfolk" (2:24)
3. "Bellafide, Firebrand Of The Longcoats" (2:14)
4. "The Quartermaster Of The KSR" (2:14)
5. "Archimedes, Left Hand Of The Civilized" (1:15)
6. "The Old South Distillery" (1:22)
7. "Hollow In The Gut" (3:24)
8. "Hyperduck Soundworks: Who Becomes The Meat?" (3:23)
9. "The Hungry Face A Stiff Wind" (5:53)
10. "Kristin Naigus: Bellafide’s Tarantella" (2:17)
11. "Fuel Of The Firebrand" (3:38)
12. "Snikaree Liberation" (4:22)
13. "John Robert Matz: Waltz Of The KSR" (3:12)
14. "Black Sledge Uprising" (2:06)
15. "Bonepit Exile" (1:50)
16. "The Siege Of Ragfall Road" (5:24)
17. "Eli Bishop: Archimedes’ Tango" (2:43)
18. "The War For Meat" (2:11)
19. "Salome Scheidegger: The Ivories Of Beasts" (3:40)
20. "Swine, Inscribed" (1:29)
21. "To The Ends" (5:00)
22. "Darren Korb: Anthem Of The Commonfolk" (2:32) 23. "Victors Will Feast" (1:21) With music by Austin Wintory, and featuring Sandy Cameron: violin, Tom Strahle: various guitars, and Kristin Naigus: penny whistle, this soundtrack to 'Tooth And Tail' is a delightfully fun, and very colorful romp, that's for dang sure.

Inclusive of some rather delightful orchestral performances by Macedonia Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Oleg Kontradenko, they enhance the tracks they back tremendously. Wintory had said going in that he wanted to make a game about war, but that he wanted to make it fun too. So his main question to the creators was: What were some fun wars in history?

Well, whatever their replies were, 'Tooth And Tail' incorporates a lot of humor notes along with explosive bursts of action sequences. Indeed, there are even moments of tangos and Latin dance music intermingled, as, well, real time strategy is essentially ballroom dancing ... is it not?!

Quietly paced at times, but mostly chock full of bombastic awesomeness, 'Tooth And Tail' is as good as it gets in this genre, and Wintory has shown his masterly touch is something to be reckoned with. Well played, Sir. Well played.

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Title - 'Remixes & Rarities' [2CD]
Artist - Bonnie Tyler

For those not in the know, Bonnie Tyler is a Welsh singer, known for her distinctive husky voice.

Tyler came to prominence with the release of her 1977 album The World Starts Tonight and its singles "Lost in France" and "More Than a Lover". Her 1978 single "It's a Heartache" reached number four on the UK Singles Chart, and number three on the US Billboard Hot 100.

In the 1980s, Tyler ventured into rock music with songwriter and producer Jim Steinman. He wrote Tyler's biggest hit "Total Eclipse of the Heart", the lead single from her 1983 UK chart topping album Faster Than the Speed of Night.

Steinman also wrote Tyler's other major 1980s hit "Holding Out for a Hero". She had success in mainland Europe during the 1990s with Dieter Bohlen, who wrote and produced her hit "Bitterblue". In 2003, Tyler re-recorded "Total Eclipse of the Heart" with singer Kareen Antonn. Their bilingual duet topped the French charts.

Her last album of original material, Rocks and Honey was released in 2013 and featured the single "Believe in Me", which she performed representing the United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest 2013.

Both "It's a Heartache" and "Total Eclipse of the Heart" are among the best-selling singles of all time, with sales in excess of six million each. Indeed, her work has earned her three Grammy Award nominations and three Brit Award nominations, among other accolades.

Remixes & Rarities is a brand new compilation devoted to the hard-to-find tracks scattered across Bonnie’s prolific career. From her earliest recordings for RCA in the late Seventies, to her time with Hansa Records in the early Nineties, including many overlooked non-album tracks and chock full of Extended Versions and Remixes, compiled and annotated by devoted fan Liam Brigg with help from Bonnie’s army of collectors, this is the collection every Bonnie Tyler fan has been begging for, trust me.

Disc 1:
1. "Holding Out for a Hero (Special Extended Remix)"
2. "First Love"
3. "Where Were You (Radio Mix)"
4. "It's a Jungle Out There (Special Jim Steinman Remix)"
5. "Breakout (Long Version)"
6. "Loving You's a Dirty Job (But Somebody's Gotta Do It) (12" Version)" (With Todd Rundgren)
7. "Sem Limites Pra Sonhar (Reaching for the Infinite Heart)" (With Fábio Jr.)
8. "Bitterblue (True Blue Mix)"
9. "I Do It For You"
10. "Rebel Without a Clue (Excerpt from...)"
11. "Band of Gold (Long Version)"
12. "Say Goodbye (Classical Version)"
13. "From the Bottom of My Lonely Heart (Long Version)"
14. "Sola a la Orilla Del Mar (Sitting on the Edge of the Ocean) (Spanish Version)"
15. "Hide Your Heart (A-Side Edit)"
16. "God Gave Love to You (Radio Version)"
17. "Sayonara Tokyo"

Disc 2:
1. "The Desert Is In Your Heart" (With Sofia Arvaniti)
2. "Total Eclipse of the Heart (Extended Version)"
3. "Matter of the Heart"
4. "Take Me Back (Edit)"
5. "Against the Wind (Extended Version)"
6. "If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man) (Extended Version)"
7. "(The World Is Full of) Married Men"
8. "Band of Gold (Dub Version)"
9. "Loving You's a Dirty Job (But Somebody's Gotta Do It) (Radio Edit)" (With Todd Rundgren)
10. "Race to the Fire (Race Mix)"
11. "Save Up All Your Tears (London Mix)"
12. "Stay (Long Version)"
13. "No Way to Treat a Lady (7" Edit)"
14. "Notes from America (A-Side Edit)"
15. "Fools Lullaby (Sweet Lullaby Mix)"
16. "Holding Out for a Hero (Instrumental)"

Personally, I love Bonnie Tyler and her husky vocal styling. Her brilliant '80s and early '90s time period of hits was radio delight for me, and even her early stuff smacks of a female version of another musical hero of mine, Rod Stewart. [Why they never recorded together seems like an opportunity missed to me, but what do I know!]

Anyway, moving on and released with the blessing of Bonnie's management, Remixes & Rarities includes several highly collectable tracks which were only issued in South America or Japan; numerous tracks which have never graced CD before; and others which are long-out-of-print.

Kicking off in fine style with the balls to the wall power dance cut from the 1984 movie 'Footloose', "Holding Out For A Hero (Special Extended Remix)", we then get 'First Love' (which was the B-side to the 7" single 'Straight From The Heart'), the gently fist-clenched 'Where Were You (Radio Mix)' (from her 1991 Hansa Records album Bitterblue), and then from her highly rated fifth album Faster Than the Speed of Night comes the fun roll and bounce of "It's A Jungle Out There (Special Jim Steinman Remix)".

Next up is a funny one to me for a couple of good reasons. Firstly, the song "Breakout" is as close to Bob Seger's "Shakedown" (from 'Beverly Hills Cop II') as anything I've ever heard, and secondly, the video for "Breakout" (done with Bonnie in front of a green screen) is either for some Olympic Winter Games or a comedic movie set in Iceland! Moving on and we next get "Loving You's A Dirty Job (But Someone's Gotta Do It) (12" Version)" featuring Todd Rundgren, with the love song pairing of both "Sem Limites Pra Sonhar (Reaching for the Infinite Heart)" (featuring Fábio Jr.), and then "Bitterblue (True Blue Mix)".

Then we get the lush pop rock mid-tempo ballad "I Do It For You". A song that was actually a B-side to her feisty 7" single "Rebel Without a Clue (Excerpt from...)" (from her vastly underrated 1986 Jim Steinman produced album Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire), that song is along next also. The Motown hit, made famous by Freda Payne "Band Of Gold" is next, and that's backed by a classical version of "Say Goodbye". a long version of "From The Bottom Of My Lonely Heart", and then a delightful Spanish Version of "Sola a la Orilla Del Mar (Sitting on the Edge of the Ocean)".

The first disc then rounds out with the ferociously brilliant "Hide Your Heart (A-Side Edit)" ("Johnny saw her riding on a street car named Desire, his fate was sealed. She could see him coming like a hundred other liars, it was no big deal"), the 1992 ballad (complete with chirping birds) "God Gave Love To You", and then one of the most interesting musical inclusions here, "Sayonara Tokyo". For the song, written and released in 1981 as a standalone single, and the last release from Tyler's RCA Records contract before her signing with CBS Records the following year, was exclusively released in Japan, and up until now, had never been released on CD!

The second disc opens with "The Desert Is in Your Heart" featuring Greek singer Sofia Arvaniti. The bilingual track was released as a single from Arvaniti's third studio album, Parafora (1992), and complete with it's jarring guitars is yet another "new" Bonnie track to me. Her biggest hit comes along next in the form of "Total Eclipse of the Heart (Extended Version)", and is backed by the beautiful ballad "Matter of the Heart" (recorded in 1986 for the soundtrack to the film 'The Wraith'), and then her mid-tempo fist-clenched request "Take Me Back (Edit)".

"Against the Wind (Extended Version)" is yet another prime example of how Bonnie could rule the world with her ballad's, but I have to fully admit here I was more in awe of her mid-'80s rock album phase. So a song that comes along next such as "If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man) (Extended Version)" (unsurprisingly written by prolific songwriter of this musical ilk Desmond Child), means the world to me to hear again. Again, and for the record, her Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire album is so underrated, so do yourselves a favor and check it out today.

The disco-fueled "(The World Is Full of) Married Men" from 1979 showcases Bonnie's younger, less strained vocal approach, and that's backed by another "Band of Gold (Dub Version)", before another "Loving You's a Dirty Job (But Somebody's Gotta Do It) (Radio Edit)" (again featuring Todd Rundgren). From her 1982 album Angel Heart, the mid-tempo pop rock of "Race to the Fire (Race Mix)" is yet another delight to behold, and that's followed by "Save Up All Your Tears (London Mix)" (from her 1988 album Hide Your Heart), and then another lesser known track, the ballad "Stay (Long Version)", from her stunning 1993 album Silhouette in Red.

Another cut from her brilliant (have I mentioned that before?!) Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire album, "No Way to Treat a Lady (7" Edit)" is as pure as pop funk rock gets, and it backed by the opening track from her seventh studio album Hide Your Heart (although it was actually released as Notes from America here in the United States), "Notes from America (A-Side Edit)". From her Angel Heart album comes the Celtic-tinged "Fools Lullaby (Sweet Lullaby Mix)", and then the second disc, and the whole stunning new compilation, comes to a close with and Instrumental Version of "Holding Out for a Hero".

The comprehensive liner notes include recent interviews with collaborators on some of Bonnie’s rarest tracks, including Peter Oxendale, Greek musicians Mihalis Rakintzis and Sofia Arvaniti and producer Nicky Graham. They also provide background info about Bonnie’s most obscure tracks.

While there have been over 150 compilations of Bonnie Tyler, Remixes And Rarities is the most thorough, comprehensive and unique, in terms of the concept, the tracks chosen, the liner notes and the artwork.

Indeed, this latest double-disc set follows previously popular Remixes And Rarities titles on Cherry Pop by Paul Young, the Thompson Twins, Bucks Fizz and A Flock Of Seagulls.

Remixes & Rarities 2-CD is being released by Cherry Red Records (UK) on December 1st, 2017.

Title - 'Ghost Light'
Artist - John McCutcheon

For those not in the know, John McCutcheon is an American folk music singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has now produced 39 albums since the 1970s.

Indeed, he is regarded as a master of the hammered dulcimer, and is also proficient on many other instruments; including guitar, banjo, autoharp, mountain dulcimer, fiddle, and jawharp.

McCutcheon's music has, since the 1990s, increasingly evolved into heartland rock-influenced ballads, while he still occasionally performs purer folk music, particularly when playing the dulcimer.

Luckily for him, McCutcheon is one of those rare folk musician/song writers who can actually make a living from folk music in today's day and age.

His brand of peaceful, yet invigorating music that can be enjoyed as background music or for concentrated listening is always welcomed, which meant that when he released his last album earlier this year (Trolling For Dreams), everyone in love with the genre raced out to buy it.

Well, calling all McCutcheon fans, it's nearly time to get your running shoes back on again, for John has now completed yet another album of new music.

Releasing on February 9th, 2018, entitled Ghost Light, it is yet again a true tour-de-force of his writing abilities. With each of the 13 new songs covering all the bases of our own lives: love, aging, changing times, faith, grand babies dancing, redemption, and more, Ghost Light tells stories packed with real emotive expression.

'A Perfect Day'
'The Road'
'She Just Dances'
'Big Day'
'The Machine'
'Ghost Light'
'Waiting for the Rain'
'Burley Coulter at the Bank'
'Dark Side of This Town'
'Me and Jesus'
'The Story of Abe'
'When My Fight for Life Is Over'

We begin with the upbeat foot-tappin', gentle swing of 'A Perfect Day', a track that you instantly want to hear again come its end, and that's backed by a reminiscing tale of the late forties within 'This Road'.

The delightfully beautiful tale of grand babies lost in their own worlds comes forth within 'She Just Dances' (my own personal favorite on this stunning album), and that's followed by the upbeat pop folk of 'Big Day'. The thought provoking Woody Guthrie-McCutcheon collaboration ballad 'The Machine', written after the violence in Charlottesville, VA this summer, is bound to now stand as a poignant standard for the ages.

Relating to an electric light that is left energized on the stage of a theater when the theater is unoccupied and would otherwise be completely dark, the stirring title track, 'Ghost Light' is up next. Telling tales of an old theater worker relating his show closing down ritual, then comes a farmer's hopes culled within 'Waiting for the Rain'.

Next we get the dulcet piano work on the ballad of another farmer within 'Burley Coulter at the Bank', which is followed by the sprightly mid-tempo 'Unaware' (yet another gem here), a song that regales stories of people passed in our lives that still come back to calm us at various moments thereafter.

“For me, it’s all about the story that you’re telling, and secondarily then it’s the voice your using,”, McCutcheon has revealed. “You think about what idea do you want convey, what the medium of that is by the story and what voice you’re using.”

And that thought process not only echoes throughout this delightful album, but especially on 'Dark Side Of This Town'. A track that showcases the depth that this 65 year-old singer/songwriter can reach, it's so much in the vein of Springsteen's The River album, that you can almost hear the great man from New Jersey harmonizing along with it.

'Me & Jesus' is yet another heartfelt tale, where McCutcheon suggests that he and Jesus could have been buddies had they met back in school ("Jesus would have been my wing man, if we'd grown up the same time. Who wouldn't want a pal, who could change water into wine?"), and then the album comes to a close with the aching beauty of 'Story Of Abe', and then the book-ending, Joe Hill name-checked, top-tappin' mandolin-backed, mid-tempo barn dance jig of 'When My Fight for Life Is Over'.

John McCutcheon @ Twitter

John McCutcheon @ Facebook

'Ghost Light' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Excalibur IV: The Dark Age of the Dragon'
Artist - Alan Simon

For those not in the know, Alan Simon is a French folk-rock musician and composer best known for his rock operas which are performed with collaboration from other noted rock musicians.

Indeed, Simon is associated with Breton Celticism, and his most ambitious works are typically on themes linked to Celtic myth and history; and has also branched out into film-making.

And so now, and right on the heels of his just-released 40 song, 2CD set Songwriter (October 20th, 2017 on Cherry Red Records UK), Simon now brings us Excalibur IV: The Dark Age of the Dragon (November 10th, 2017 via Babaika Productions via Cherry Red Records UK), the widely anticipated fourth studio in the Celtic Rock Opera series.

Following on from the gold and platinum selling original trilogy, this quite stunning new album - based on the legendary story of King Arthur - features guest appearances from Alan Stivell, Michael Sadler (Saga), Jess Sibenberg and John Helliwell (Supertramp), Martin Barre (Jethro Tull), Moya Brennan (Clannad), Roberto Tiranti (Labyrinth), Bernie Shaw (Uriah Heep), Siobham Owen, Sonja Kristina (Curved Air), John Kelly (The Kelly Family), and Maite Itoiz (Elfhental).

1. "The Wings of the Dragon"
2. "Alone"
3. "Stonehenge"
4. "I'm Not the Only One"
5. "Calling for You"
6. "Don't Be Afraid"
7. "Silver Moon"
8. "Dreamers"
9. "The Last Lament of a Fairy"
10. "The New Times"
11. "Forget Your Sorrow"
12. "The Fifth Season"
13. "The Passion"
14. "I Will Be Forever"
15. "Behind the Mist"
16. "You Don't Know"
17. "You Are the Sunshine"
18. "There Is Someone"
19. "Dun Aengus II"

The fourth installment of this highly impressive Celtic Rock Opera, begins with the soaring "The Wings of the Dragon", a track that via the instruments played you can close your eyes and visually hear the beasts wings flap above your head. That's followed by the storytelling of "Alone" (with Michael Sadler from SAGA and John Helliwell from Supertramp), the guitar and saxophone fest of "Stonehenge", and then the pace is brought down for both "I'm Not the Only One" and "Calling for You".

The pop synth rock of "Don't Be Afraid" is along next and is backed by the luscious, ethereal "Silver Moon" (sung by Moya Brennan from Clannad), and then the sturdy rocker "Dreamers". Featuring both Bernie Shaw (Uriah Heep and Martin Barre (Jethro Tull), just knowing those two are on this song should clue you in to what to expect.

Siobhan Owen takes the beautiful lead on "The Last Lament of a Fairy", which is followed by the mid-tempo Celtic rocker "The New Times", and then come the mellow Jesse Siebenberg (Supertramp) cut "Forget Your Sorrow". The guitar rock fest of "The Fifth Season" is one of my own personal favorites here, and that's backed by both the stunning Sonja Kristina (Curved Air) lovelorn ballad "The Passion", and the medieval storytelling of "I Will Be Forever".

The joyous flute notes of "Behind the Mist" (John Helliwell and Martin Barre) is yet another stand out cut here, and that's followed by "You Don't Know", the tranquil "You Are the Sunshine", more flute on the etheral "There Is Someone" (Siobhan Owen), before coming to an end with the stirring Maite Itoiz (Elfhental) sung "Dun Aengus II".

Excalibur IV was played live in it's entirety to 12 arenas in Germany in December 2016 and will be touring again in 2018.

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Title - 'Static'
Artist - Dave Kerzner

For those not in the know, Dave Kerzner is an American musician, songwriter, producer, and sound designer as well as founder of the sound sampling development company Sonic Reality Inc.

Along with Simon Collins (the son of Phil), Kerzner is the co-founder of the band Sound of Contact, the co-founder of the band Mantra Vega, and his debut solo album, New World, was released in December 2014.

During his music career, Kerzner has worked with artists and bands such as Alan Parsons, Genesis, Francis Dunnery, Neil Peart, Keith Emerson, Tom Waits, and Smashing Pumpkins.

Just released this past October 1st, 2017 on RecPlay Inc. (via Cherry Red Records UK), Static is Dave Kerzner’s long awaited follow-up solo studio album to his aforementioned, and highly-acclaimed debut, New World.

The album also features: Steve Hackett (Genesis); Fernando Perdomo (Jakob Dylan); Nick D’Virgilio (Big Big Train); Derek Cintron (Brothers of Others), Randy McStine (The Fringe); Matt Dorsey (Sound of Contact); Durga & Lorelei McBroom (Pink Floyd); Alex Cromarty (Mostly Autumn); Stuart Fletcher (Sea Horses); Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree), and more.

1. "Prelude"
2. "Hypocrites"
3. "Static"
4. "Reckless"
5. "Chain Reaction"
6. "Trust"
7. "Quiet Storm"
8. "Dirty Soap Box"
9. "The Truth Behind"
10. "Right Back To The Start"
11. "Statistic"
12. "Millennium Man"
13. "State of Innocence"
14. "The Carnival of Modern Life"

This massive progressive rock opera, about the distractions, chaos and clutter in everyday life and about navigating past this “static interference” in our heads toward clarity and happiness, is one for the ages, truly.

Leading us into his world with a 0:39 second piano piece entitled "Prelude", the static gentle simmering in the background until it overwhelms the keys, that bleeds seamlessly into the all out musical tale telling of "Hypocrites", and the title track itself, "Static". At times coming across as early work from Pink Floyd (which might be down to the inclusion on this track of both Durga & Lorelei McBroom); and which ain't no bad thing anyway, as you all well know, Kerzner still manages to make this immense body of work his; for the most part.

Proof in point, the stunning "Reckless" followed neatly by the melodic "Chain Reaction". The forthright backbone of the piano comes to the fore once again on the beautiful, yet harrowing ballad "Trust", which in turn is backed by a two minute "Quiet Storm" and a magnificent stand alone cut, "Dirty Soap Box".

The second longest track on the album is the forthright piano work of "The Truth Behind", which is followed by the shortest (save for the Prelude), "Right Back To The Start", and then the guitar and synth prog rock journey of "Statistic". The upbeat and funky blues of "Millennium Man" is a doozy of a cut, with the stoic "State of Innocence" along next, before the album rounds out with the near 18 minute long epic, "The Carnival of Modern life".

A concept album with dramatic twists and turns, inclusive of dark moods to uplifting atmospheric pieces, from moments of modern alt rock to rich nostalgic rock sounds, Static is, in my humble opinion, one of the best albums of 2017.

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Title - 'Skyscraper Souls'
Artist - Downes Braide Association

For those not in the know, super-duo Geoff Downes & Chris Braide, known as the Downes Braide Association (DBA), have just released their new album Skyscraper Souls this past November 17th, 2017 through their own label X2X Records (via Cherry Red Records UK).

Both musicians are well known in this prog world, for (as I hope you would already know), Downes is the musical legend who has played keyboards for Yes, Asia, and even The Buggles. Indeed, Downes co-wrote the hits "Heat of the Moment" and "Video Killed the Radio Star".

As for Chris Braide, he is a British singer, songwriter and producer, now based in LA, who has written and produced songs for Beyonce, Lana del Rey, Paloma Faith, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, David Guetta, Sia, Afrojack and Marc Almond, to name but a few.

This is their third collaboration as the Downes Braide Association and follows their critically-acclaimed releases Pictures of You (2012) and Suburban Ghosts (2015).

With new artwork from their go-to, and longstanding artist Roger Dean, this stunning new album also features guest appearances from: Marc Almond, Andy Partridge, Kate Pierson, Matthew Koma, David Longdon and Tim Bowness.

1. "Prelude" (Featuring Andy Partridge)
2. "Skyscraper Souls" (Featuring Kate Pierson)
3. "Glacier Girl" (Featuring Andy Partridge)
4. "Angel On Your Shoulder" (Featuring Matthew Koma)
5. "Tomorrow" (Featuring David Longdon)
6. "Lighthouse" (Featuring Tim Bowness)
7. "Skin Deep" (Featuring Marc Almond)
8. "Darker Times" (Featuring Andy Partridge)
9. "Finale" (Featuring Andy Partridge)

Skyscraper Souls is a more traditional progressive/classic, rock/band album than their previous material, but still manages to become grounded by some very strong pop sensibilities.

The album opens with the stoic piano ballad "Prelude", before the epic title track, "Skyscraper Souls." Running at nearly 18 minutes in length, and featuring the B-52's Kate Pierson in various choice moments, the song is magnificent from start to finish.

The stirring piano ballad "Glacier Girl" is something to behold also, and is backed by the foot-tappin' pop-tastic vibe of "Angel On Your Shoulder." The track is easily one of my personal favorites here and is just so moreish that once finished you want to hit replay; but try and avoid that as next up is another gem in the form of the medieval-influenced "Tomorrow".

The drum-backed "Lighthouse" is followed by the quietly passive, heavily stoic piano ballad "Skin Deep" featuring Soft Cell's Marc Almond. The near 8 minute, and inclusive of spoken-word moments "Darker Times" is a testament to what DBA can bring forth at, one assumes, the drop of a hat, and then the album rounds out with the minute long advisory conclusion, "Finale".

As Chris Braide himself has said about the writing process for this album, "Geoff would send me folders full of stuff, such as the magnificent piano pieces which turned into Glacier Girl and Prelude. As soon as I heard the chords I was writing lyrics like a mad man and before long the album started to materialize."

Geoff Downes adds, "The ideas themselves were in a very rough format, but with the melodies and basic harmonies. Chris started playing around with these, and often, they came back with some radical changes, but Chris was always very conscious to retain my original idea."

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Title - 'Greatest Hits - The Sun Records Years 1955-61'
Artist - Johnny Cash

To be greeted at the office door by the mail man carrying this wondrous, prized, and soon-to-be cherished, brand new and limited edition Johnny Cash Greatest Hits - The Sun Records Years 1955-61 180g heavyweight audiophile vinyl, was, well, soul lifting, that's for sure.

Greatest Hits - The Sun Records Years 1955-61 features 20 classic Johnny Cash hit songs newly remastered from the Original Sun Master tapes, mastered at half-speed for unrivaled sound quality. Released as an aforementioned LP pressed on 180g heavyweight audiophile vinyl complete with Sleeve Notes by Sun Entertainment Corporation President John A. Singleton, this is one JC album that could easily fast become your personal go-to when wanting to listen to the great man.

Side A:
01. "Cry ! Cry ! Cry !"
02. "Folsom Prison Blues"
03. "So Doggone Lonesome"
04. "I Walk The Line"
05. "There You Go"
06. "Train Of Love"
07. "Next In Line"
08. "Home Of The Blues"
09. "Ballad Of A Teenage Queen"
10. "Big River"

Side B:
01. "Guess Things Happen That Way"
02. "Come In Stranger"
03. "The Ways Of A Woman In Love"
04. "You're The Nearest Thing To Heaven"
05. "Thanks A Lot"
06. "Luther Played The Boogie"
07. "Katy, Too"
08. "Straight A's In Love"
09. "I Love You Because"
10. "Oh, Lonesome Me"

So what is included on this The Sun Records Years? Well, as part of the 60th anniversary of the release of Johnny Cash's first LP in 1957, Sun Records and Charly Records have now brought us the very best of the iconic singer's 7" hit singles on Sun.

Chock to the brim with an incredible 20 tracks, and inclusive of now-classic's such as “I Walk The Line,” “Cry! Cry! Cry!,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Ballad Of A Teenage Queen”, “Home Of The Blues”, and many more, trust me when I say that this album is the perfect entry in to The Man in Black’s music from the essential blues and country music label.

To give you a quick little history lesson, Johnny Cash was born during the great depression into a poor family in Arkansas. At a very young age he worked on the family farm and experience many of life's struggles. This is also the time he would develop his love for music, family and the Bible, which followed him closely throughout his long career.

In the early fifties after spending time in the Air Force, he moved to Memphis, became friends with folks like Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley and Jerry lee Lewis, and ultimately cut some sides at Sun Studios.

As we now know, and can now hear, those tracks became the catalyst that would kick-start the beginnings of a soon to be worldwide superstar, troubadour and humanitarian unlike the world has ever known.

As for this brilliant remastered (at half-speed for unrivaled sound quality) 180g heavyweight audiophile vinyl, well, we sadly now live in the age of digital sound. Practically perfect sound reproduction with a full sound spectrum from highs to lows, sure, but for ears raised in vinyl times said same digital sound (especially when it comes to Johnny Cash's music) can sound flat; in my humble opinion.

And so to approach his music with that in mind is to miss the true spirit of Johnny Cash. Johnny Cash was a giant in his days and his legacy is fully captured in this wonderful compilation from his seminal years at Sun Records.

Like all great music, appreciation comes with repeated exposure. Your spirit begins to resonate with the music and the poetry and stories of the lyrics. Some music, that I also love dearly, is best felt via percussive blasts.

This music is for quiet and contemplative moments. Watching the turning leaves of fall on a rainy morning or driving down a county lane at dusk a dust cloud bellowing behind the truck.

This is a great collection for fans and a solid step for those who aspire to become a fan of the Man In Black. I highly endorse (can you guess) this collection of songs via this incredible remastered 180g heavyweight audiophile vinyl and hope you rush out and buy it for yourselves today.

In closing, Johnny Cash's Greatest Hits - The Sun Records Years 1955-61 album is one of the finest hits collections of any recording artist (let alone the actual label's most consistently successful artist) you will ever come across. Buy it for yourselves and prove me wrong.

Vinyl LP Purchase Link

Title - 'Only The Brave' (OST)
Artist - Joseph Trapanese

To catch everyone up, 'Only The Brave' - directed by Joseph Kosinski - stars Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, James Badge Dale, Taylor Kitsch and Jennifer Connelly, in this true harrowing story of a firefighting brigade.

Through hope, determination, sacrifice and the drive to protect families and communities, the Granite Mountain Hotshots become one of the most elite firefighting teams in the country.

While most people run from danger, they run toward it - watching over lives, homes and everything people hold dear, forging a unique brotherhood that comes into focus with one fateful fire in Yarnell, Ariz.

The movie tells the true story of this elite crew of men who battled a wildfire in Prescott, Arizona in June 2013 that claimed the lives of 19 of their members.

Joseph Trapanese is an American composer, arranger, and producer. He works in the production of music for films, television, records, theater and concerts. His previous cinematic works included: 'The Raid' (2011), 'The Divergent Series: Insurgent' (2014), 'Straight Outta Compton' (2015), and after 'Only The Brave' will come 'Shimmer Lake' (2017). Trapanese also helped compose albums with Daft Punk, M83 and Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park before gaining a name for himself as a composer on The Divergent Series.

Now Varese Sarabande have released this deeply heartfelt soundtrack (November 17th, 2017) and the 18 tracks come together as one, storytelling throughout the backdrop to a most gripping and powerful real life band of brothers story.

1. 'Waking Up' (2:25)
2. 'Amanda and Eric' (2:47)
3. 'Training' (2:23)
4. 'Growing' (1:17)
5. 'Chopper Ride' (3:24) 7. 'Fire Dream' (2:05)
8. 'On The Line' (2:06)
9. 'Certification' (1:36)
10. 'Rim Fire' (3:02)
11. 'Juniper Tree' (4:16)
12. 'The Bear' (3:06)
13. 'Yarnell' (3:09)
14. 'Brendan Rescued' (7:08)
15. 'Final Moments' (9:13)
16. 'The Gym' (2:32)
17. 'Tribute' (2:26)
18. 'Hotshots' (2:58)

The album opens with the haunting 'Waking Up' and never looks back. The gently playful 'Amanda And Eric', the subtlety of 'Training', and both the flourishing of 'Growing', and the pensive 'Chopper Ride' all lead you warmly by the hand into this incredible soundtrack score.

Other tracks that stand out for me are 'Fire Dream', the harp-like chords of 'Certification', the swirling confusion of 'Rim Fire', and both the two longest tracks on the album: 'Brendan Rescued' and the near-ten minutes long ethereal 'Final Moments.'

'Only The Brave' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri' (OST)
Artist - Carter Burwell

'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri' tells the story of how months have passed without a culprit in her daughter's murder case, Mildred Hayes makes a bold move.

She paints three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at William Willoughby, the town's revered chief of police.

When his second-in-command, Officer Dixon - an immature mother's boy with a penchant for violence - gets involved, the battle is only exacerbated.

Now Varese Sarabande have released this brilliantly diverse soundtrack (November 17th, 2017), where the songs of Joan Baez, The Four Tops, and amongst others, Renee Fleming and the English Chamber Orchestra come together alongside the new compositions from Burwell.

1. 'Mildred Goes to War' (1:22)
2. 'The Deer' (2:06)
3. 'Buckskin Stallion Blues' (Performed by Townes Van Zandt) (2:59)
4. 'A Cough of Blood, A Dark Drive' (2:37)
5. 'I've Been Arrested' (:38)
6. 'Fruit Loops' (1:29)
7. 'His Master's Voice' (Performed by Monsters Of Folk) (4:49)
8. 'Billboards On Fire' (2:24)
9. 'Slippers' (1:19)
10. 'The Last Rose of Summer' (Performed by Renée Fleming, Jeffrey Tate & The English Chamber Orchestra) (4:51)
11. 'My Dear Anne' (2:35)
12. 'Walk Away Renee' (Performed by The Four Tops) (2:44)
13. 'Billboards Are Back' (1:24)
14. 'Collecting Samples' (1:15)
15. 'Sorry Welby' (1:43)
16. 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down' (Performed by Joan Baez) (3:23)
17. 'Countermove' (1:56)
18. 'Can't Give Up Hope' (:30)
19. 'Buckskin Stallion Blues' (Performed by Amy Annelle) (3:21)

With the films' interpersonal dynamics being so intense, subtle, and constantly shifting that even Burwell has admitted he found it difficult to put his finger on a central concept, regardless, what comes forth on these 19 tracks is musical genius, my friends.

It opens with the relatively quick fire quintet of 'Mildred Goes to War', 'The Deer', a quite brilliant flashback 'Buckskin Stallion Blues' (performed by Townes Van Zandt, a man/musician taken from us way too soon), and then both the darkly twisting 'Cough of Blood, A Dark Drive', and finally the short, but oh so sweet 'I've Been Arrested'.

After the subtle fun of 'Fruit Loops', we next get 'His Master's Voice', performed by Monsters Of Folk ("Mohammed rolling dice with Christ at twilight. And they hear their master's voice, they run to do their chores At master's calling. Their job tonight, re-write the bible. For a whole new generation of non-believers."). Consisting of Jim James from My Morning Jacket, Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis from Bright Eyes, Will Johnson from Centro-matic and M. Ward, solo artist and half of She & Him, the band was formed in 2004 and is now one of the largest (no pun intended) modern day Folk bands on the circuit.

As we next get tracks such as both 'Billboards On Fire' and 'Slippers', then comes a curve ball in the form of Renée Fleming, Jeffrey Tate & The English Chamber Orchestra's classical gem 'The Last Rose of Summer.' 'My Dear Anne' is then backed by the always-great-to-hear 'Walk Away Renee', performed by The Four Tops, and then comes the quick trio of 'Billboards Are Back,' 'Collecting Samples,' and 'Sorry Welby.'

'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down' performed by Joan Baez is as delightful to hear now on this new soundtrack as it once was in theaters when it first came to light in 1971 on 'Joan Baez: How Sweet the Sound'. The album then rounds out with both the pulse set within 'Countermove', the stirring, yet only :30 seconds long 'Can't Give Up Hope', and then a new indie retelling of 'Buckskin Stallion Blues' - this time brought to us by Amy Annelle).

'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Loveless' (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Artist - Evgueni Galperine and Sacha Galperine

'Loveless' is this year’s winner of the prestigious 2017 Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize.

From Oscar nominated director Andrey Zvyaginstev, the story follows a married couple in the midst of obtaining a divorce when their 12-year-old son vanishes. After appeals to the police to help find the boy go nowhere, the couple find volunteers for a search and rescue.

The intensity of the drama is captured perfectly in the prepared piano-based score by up and coming composers, Evgueni Galperine and Sacha Galperine.

Now Varese Sarabande have released this intrepid, cautiously dynamic soundtrack (November 10th, 2017), and although it only features just nine tracks, once heard, this soundtrack score will stay with you for a long time; trust me.

1. 'Drops and Iron Nails' (2:21)
2. '11 Cycles of E' (6:04)
3. 'Trouble' (2:40)
4. 'The Search' (1:48)
5. 'Snowstorm' (4:02)
6. 'The Cry' (1:58)
7. 'Alyosha' (3:29)
8. 'The Song' (3:45)
9. 'The Toy Train' (3:39)

We begin with the exact sounds you would expect to hear from sturdy musical droplets via the stirring, haunting 'Drops and Iron Nails', before the building single key piano work of '11 Cycles of E' comes to the fore. The longest track on the score at nearly seven minutes, it is also one of my own personal favorites.

Next comes the steel-eyed reach of 'Trouble', the purposely cold and mournful violin work of 'The Search' - the shortest track at just under two minutes - and then the magnificent building euphoria of 'Snowstorm'.

The poignant piano work coupled with the dull plucking of violin stings of 'The Cry' is next, with the searching 'Alyosha' following. The score then rounds out with the classically beautiful, heartwarming even 'The Song', before warmer piano work welcomes us into the cinematic memory that is 'The Toy Train.'

'Loveless' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'We're Not in Kansas: Live Bootleg 1993-1998'
Artist - Big Country

For those not in the know, Big Country are a Scottish rock band formed in Dunfermline, Fife, in 1981. They comprised Stuart Adamson (formerly of Skids, vocals/guitar/keyboards), Bruce Watson (guitar/mandolin/sitar/vocals), Tony Butler (bass guitar/vocals) and Mark Brzezicki (drums/percussion/vocals).

The height of the band's popularity was in the early to mid 1980s, although it retained a cult following for many years after. The band's music was most recognizable for the sounds it infused with Scottish folk and martial music styles, as well as for playing and engineering their guitar driven sound to evoke the inspirational spirit of bagpipes, fiddles and other traditional folk instruments.

Their first single was "Harvest Home", recorded and released in 1982. It was a modest success, although it did not reach the official UK Singles Chart. Their next single was 1983's "Fields Of Fire (400 Miles)", which reached the UK's Top Ten and was rapidly followed by the album The Crossing.

The album was a hit in the United States (reaching the Top 20 in the Billboard 200), powered by "In a Big Country", their only US Top 40 hit single.

Their second album Steeltown (1984) was a hit as soon as it was released, entering the UK Albums Chart at No. 1. The album featured three UK top 30 hit singles, and received considerable critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic, but like Wonderland (and, in fact, all subsequent releases) it was a commercial disappointment in the US, peaking at No. 70 on the Billboard album chart.

1986's The Seer, the band's third album, was another big success in the UK, peaking at Number 2. It produced three further Top 30 singles, including the Irish number one hit "Look Away", which would also prove to be the band's biggest hit in the UK, peaking at No. 7.

Their next album, Peace in Our Time (1988), was recorded in Los Angeles. It reached No. 9 in the UK Albums Chart, but sold poorly in the United States. Then came their fifth album, No Place Like Home (1991) (which was not a commercial hit anywhere), 1993's The Buffalo Skinners, before they released Why the Long Face (1995), and then what would ultimately be the bands eighth and final studio album - with Adamson on vocals - Driving to Damascus (1999).

Sadly, and after years of suffering with his personal demons, Adamson was found dead at a Hotel in Honolulu, Hawaii on 16th December, 2001.

In 2007, to celebrate 25 years of Big Country, founding members Bruce Watson, Tony Butler (now lead vocalist for the first time), and Mark Brzezicki reunited to embark on a tour of the UK with dates in Scotland and England and a gig in Cologne (Germany). They also released a new album, Twenty Five Live.

After another brief hiatus, the surviving original members toured again in late December 2010 and January 2011 with Mike Peters of the Alarm and Jamie Watson, Bruce's son, added to the line-up. This line-up began more regular touring as well as writing new material for potential release, in part with the involvement of record producer Steve Lillywhite.

The efforts resulted in the creation of Big Country's first single in 11 years, entitled "Another Country". After some band personal and behind the scenes in's and out's, the brand new album The Journey was released through Cherry Red Records in 2013; becoming the group's first studio record since 1999.

Today, and after the departure of Peters (The Alarm and solo work), Big Country have been joined by English singer Simon Hough on lead vocals; as well as harmonica and additional guitar. Long time member, Bruce Watson confirmed that Hough was now the band's fifth member and he also indicated that the group was working on new material; which would involve Hough, for potential future release.

But, and until then, we have this terrific flashback box-set of five (5) live CDs for your Big Country fix! Personally, I am, and always have been since day one, a MASSIVE Big Country fan and even saw them live once back in their '90s heyday in the UK.

Out now via Cherry Red Records (UK), We're Not In Kansas (The Live Bootleg Box-Set 1993-1998) pays tribute to the tour de force that was Big Country in the '90s. Featuring en masse of bootleg recordings of five live shows, these have now all been released officially for the very first time; and with the full blessing of the band.

Disc 1: Minneapolis - 1st Avenue - 06/11/93
1. "All Go Together"
2. "We're Not in Kansas"
3. "Look Away"
4. "What Are You Working for"
5. "Chester's Farm"
6. "Wonderland"
7. "Pink Marshmallow Moon"
8. "Ships"
9. "Long Way Home"
10. "Alone"
11. "The One I Love"
12. "In a Big Country"

Disc 2: Minneapolis - 1st Avenue - 06/11/93
1. "Chance"
2. "Lost Patrol"
3. "Don't Fear the Reaper"
4. "Hey Hey, My My"

Glasgow - Tower Records - 23/06/95
5. "You Dreamer"
6. "Look Away"
7. "I'm Not Ashamed"
8. "One in a Million"
9. "Send You"
10. "We're Not in Kansas"
11. "Hey Hey, My My"
12. "Rockin' in the Free World"

Disc 3: Stirling - MC Robert Centre - 20/4/94
1. "All Go Together"
2. "Harvest Home"
3. "King of Emotion"
4. "Look Away"
5. "Thirteen Valleys"
6. "One Great Thing"
7. "Winter Sky"
8. "Long Way Home"
9. "Ships"
10. "The Storm"
11. "Everything I Need"
12. "River of Hope"
13. "Just a Shadow"
14. "We're Not in Kansas"
15. "Come Back to Me"

Disc 4: Stirling - MC Robert Centre - 29/4/94
1. "Peace in Our Time"
2. "In a Big Country"
3. "Chance"
4. "Rockin' in the Free World"

5. "Don't Fear the Reaper"

Rotterdam - Rowtown - 28/8/95
6. Introduction By Mark
7. All Go Together #1 8. All Go Together #2 9. You Dreamer 10. Look Away 11. Ships 12. I'm Not Ashamed 13. Just a Shadow 14. Long Way Home 15. The Storm 16. Thirteen Valleys"

Disc 5: Rotterdam - Rowtown - 28/8/95
1. Don't Fear the Reaper 2. We're Not in Kansas 3. In a Big Country 4. Peace in Our Time 5. Found Out About You 6. Rockin' in the Free World 7. Chance 8. Tracks of My Tears"

Dunfermline - Taffie Toories - 24/5/98
9. You Dreamer 10. Look Away 11. Chance 12. "In a Big Country"

Tunbridge Wells - High Rocks - 9/6/95
13. "Daydream Believer"

Inclusive of stunning versions of many of their evergreen hits – "In A Big Country", "Look Away", "Chance", "Wonderland", "Peace In Our Time" and "King Of Emotion", spread across these various live recordings, you will find choice cuts and rarely heard covers too.

The first CD opens with an absolute belter of a anthemic, guitar rousing monster in "All Go Together", a cut from their underrated Buffalo Skinners album, and is backed by another from that very same album, the title of the box-set itself, the drumtastic "We're Not In Kansas".

Taking each track one at a time would make this review way longer than it already will be from this fan boy! So let's just say, for me personally, and I would imagine all BC fans out there, the choice cuts for me heard here live (when they'd only ever been available only on elusive, under-the-counter bootlegs beforehand) are the abovementioned duo, and stalwart blockbusters such as the next track "Look Away", "Wonderland", the stunningly beautiful piano ballad "Ships (Where Were You)", the gentle guitar plucking of "Chance", the raw trio of "Thirteen Valleys", "In A Big Country" and "Harvest Home", and the highly underrated "Just A Shadow."

Indeed, listening to these five CDs one after the other you’ll not only hear a band touring to promote their most recent albums (at the time), such as The Buffalo Skinners and Why The Long Face, but some delightful, and heavily impassioned cover versions of song such as "Don’t Fear The Reaper" (Blue Oyster Cult), "My, My, Hey Hey" and "Rockin’ In The Free World" (both Neil Young), and even "Tracks Of My Tears" from Smokey Robinson & The Miracles.

But here's the beauty of these live recordings, for as much as they are bootlegs and therefore not of the highest soundboard recording quality, they also bring us album tracks from those aforementioned new albums that were only ever sung live at that time. Tracks from Buffalo Skinners such as the trashing "Chester's Farm" (a fan favorite, for sure), the hipsway of "Pink Marshmallow Moon", the Scottish pride of "The One I Love", and then from Why The Long Face both "I'm Not Ashamed", and one of my all-time BC favorites, the Celtic "You Dreamer" ("I need a guide book. Get me a map. Not even Indiana Jones could deal with that.")

In closing, founder members Bruce Watson and Tony Butler have been interviewed for the Q&A sleeve-notes, which document a fascinating and largely undocumented period in the band’s history.

We're Not In Kansas (The Live Bootleg Box-Set 1993-1998) is being released by Cherry Red Records (UK) on December 1st, 2017.

Title - 'Velvet Vault'
Artist - Karen Souza

For those not quite in the know yet, Karen Souza is a jazz singer from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Souza began her career by providing vocals for producers of electronic music. Under the pseudonyms Privé, Pacha Ibiza, and FTV (FashionTV) she sang lounge jazz versions of hits songs from the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, such as "Personal Jesus" by Depeche Mode and "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" by Culture Club.

In 2010, she played several shows at Tokyo's Blue Note Café and was signed for Japan by JVC Victor. She was also extensively touring Latin America, playing gigs in Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Mexico. In 2013, she spent two months touring throughout Mexico.

While she was known for her jazz renditions of 1980s hits, her repertoire includes a number of her own songs, such as "Paris", "Break my Heart" and "Lie to Me".

Having brought us her debut, Essentials (Music Brokers, 2011), which was then backed up by her sophomore album Hotel Souza (Music Brokers, 2012), and then Essentials II (Music Brokers, 2014), now we get her latest collection of covers, Velvet Vault.

Featuring several jazz standards, Velvet Vault (Music Brokers, 2017) is noticeably more mature, more subtle than Souza's previous efforts, and could well be, in my humble opinion, her best album to date.

1. "I Fall In Love Too Easily"
2. "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me"
3. "I'm Beginning To See The Light"
4. "Valerie"
5. "I'm Not In Love"
6. "You Got That Something" (featuring Toku)
7. "In Between Days"
8. "In The Blink Of An Eye"
9. "Walk On the Wild Side"
10. "Angel Eyes"
11. "Kids"

This album, which has already become one of my top 10 albums of this year, begins in beautiful, sultry, truly smoky late night jazz club style with Frank Sinatra's "I Fall In Love Too Easily", before Souza brings us her unique vocal styling interpretation of Elton John's "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me."

Souza's way of singing her lyrics in a hushed, husky at times, whispered way is quite like anything I've ever encountered on record in this business before, but it works sublimely on every track, that's for sure. Next up is Ella Fitzgerald's "I'm Beginning Too See The Light", a version that brings a nice back beat along with it and happens to also be my favorite cut of the eleven.

Saya Karen, "Velvet Vault is really three albums that coexist as one. On the one hand I wanted to record several of the jazz standards that the public love when I sing them live."

"Then, there were those well known jazzy versions of classics of the 80's and 90's, and finally I have my own material as an artist that I wanted to include. So we can say that this is a record that should shine as a great success of those three concepts."

Next up is a finger-snappin' cover of "Valerie", a song written and originally recorded by The Zutons, but ultimately made famous by the late Amy Winehouse. A rather delightful cover of 10CC's "I'm Not In Love" absolutely drips with musical honey, and is backed by a duet with Toku on "You Got That Something."

Inclusive of the aforementioned Toku, the Japanese Frank Sinatra, Robin Banerjee, the guitarist of Amy Winehouse, and Tom "Bones" Malone, the historical multi-instrumentalist of the Blues Brothers and leader of the band of Saturday Night Live are also to be found on this quite stunning new album.

Indeed Souza's version of The Cure's 1985 hit "In Between Days" is simply inspired, and is followed by "In The Blink Of An Eye", which is yet another soft, dusky performance of greatness.

If those last few tracks were lulling you into a cozy, velvet snuggle blanket of quietly personal lushness, then the startling upbeat cover of Lou Reed's "Walk On The Wild Side" will awaken your inner samba spirit, that's for sure.

But, as quick as those vibrant beats have arrived, they are once more quietened, as the album comes to a close with both the lush ballad "Angel Eyes" (Herb Jeffries with Buddy Baker and His Orchestra), and then the softly sung, spoken hush of MGMT's "Kids".

Official Karen Souza @ Facebook

Official Karen Souza @ Twitter

Official Karen Souza @ Instagram

Title - 'The Secret'
Artist - Mabel Greer's Toyshop

For those not non-Prog amongst you not in the know, Mabel Greer's Toyshop are an English progressive rock (initially as psychedelic rock) band formed in London, active from 1966 to 1968 that was the precursor to the rock band Yes.

Their music was marked by a combination of psychedelic, American blues and classically influenced arrangements with poetic lyrics. Their members have included Chris Squire, Peter Banks, Clive Bailey, Robert Hagger and later Jon Anderson.

The band reformed in 2014 with original members, singer and guitarist Clive Bayley and drummer Robert Hagger, along with Hugo Barré, Tony Kaye, and Billy Sherwood.

The album New Way of Life was released in 2015 and included new music as well some songs written back in 1967 and 1968 by Bayley and Squire. That was followed by Images in 2016, and now comes a brand new album, The Secret.

Released on December 8th, 2017 via Hagger Bayley Music Limited, this stunning new Prog delight also features former Yes and Flash guitarist, the late Peter Banks.

1. "Big Brother, Little Brother"
2. "Love's Fire"
3. "Turning To The Light"
4. "Angel Sent"
5. "More And More"
6. "Swan"
7. "Image of Existence"
8. "You"
9. "The Secret" (featuring Peter Banks)

This new album, which is a collection of nine new songs, with Max Hunt on keyboards and Hugo Barre on bass joining Bayley and Hagger, opens with the near-nine minute long epic "Big Brother, Little Brother". A track that recounts broken promises made to the Native American Indians down the years, the guitar work on it (as with the entire album) is formidable.

"Love's Fire" is a track that borrows its lyrics from a poem by Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, who was the Master of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order from 1953 until his death in 2008, whereas the lyrics of "Turning To The Light" find their inspiration from the prolific Russian composer of the romantic period, Pyotr Tchaikovsky.

As Bayley himself has explained, "I was inspired to do this because Peter’s passing in 2013 was the catalyst for meeting Bob Hagger again and coming up with the crazy idea of re-forming Mabel Greer."

“The result is that we have produced two new albums since then, and released re-mastered BBC tapes from 1967 on the EP Images.”

Their next track, "Angel Sent" is one of my personal favorites on the album, and borrows its own inspiration from the great German composer Ludwig Van Beethoven, whereas "More And More" is a stand alone guitar masterclass.

"Swan" also finds its core inspiration from Tchaikovsky and along with Hubert Parry (himself a Romantic composer, who scored a greater contemporary success with the ode Blest Pair of Sirens in 1887), whereas the breathtaking "Image of Existence" once again delves back into the written word of a poem from J. Nurbakhsh.

The album then rounds out with a truly inspired "You", courtesy of Bayley, and then the major reason this album will resonate with all Prog fans, the stand-alone gem of a title track, "The Secret". Culling inspiration from Gustov Holst (himself best known for his orchestral suite The Planets), and featuring the aforementioned late Peter Banks on guitar, the track was actually written by Bayley around already-recorded parts from Banks prior to his passing.

Official Mabel Greer's Toyshop Bandcamp Digital Album Purchase Link

Official Mabel Greer's Toyshop @ Facebook

Official Mabel Greer's Toyshop @ Twitter

Title - 'A Love So Beautiful' [150 gram Vinyl LP]
Artist - Roy Orbison & The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

For those not in the know, and with that said, why on earth wouldn't you already know this, but the late, great Roy Orbison (also known by his nickname The Big O), was an American singer-songwriter and musician, best known for his trademark sunglasses, distinctive, powerful voice, complex compositions, and dark emotional ballads.

Orbison grew up in Texas and began singing in a rockabilly/country and western band in high school until he was signed by Sun Records in Memphis. His greatest success came with Monument Records between 1960 and 1964, when 22 of his songs placed on the Billboard Top 40, including "Only the Lonely", "Crying", and "Oh, Pretty Woman".

The rest, as they say, is history and so as much as its been said his career stagnated from 1965 through the entire 1970s, a spectacular recently-released MGM 13CD box-set most certainly told a different musical story.

Now that story gets expanded on this truly magnificent, well thought out, well devised, and tonally perfect new album A Love So Beautiful. Brought forth by the brilliant Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the album [now released as an exquisite 150 gram Vinyl LP] features soaring Orbison vocals with brand-new Royal Philharmonic orchestral accompaniment, plus additional instrumentation by Roy’s sons and grandson.

Side A:
1. "In Dreams"
2. "Crying"
3. "I’m Hurtin’"
4. "Oh, Pretty Woman"
5. "It’s Over"
6. "Dream Baby"
7. "Blue Angel"
8. "Love Hurts"

Side B:
1. "Uptown"
2. "Mean Woman Blues"
3. "Only the Lonely"
4. "Running Scared"
5. "I Drove All Night"
6. "You Got It"
7. "A Love So Beautiful"
8. "I Drove All Night" - Roy Orbison with Ward Thomas

Released by Sony Music’s Legacy Recordings in partnership with Roy’s Boys LLC, the Nashville-based company founded by the late icon’s sons to administer their father’s catalog and safeguard his legacy, A Love So Beautiful was released on CD and digital formats this past November 3rd, with this stunning 150 gram vinyl LP out December 15th, 2017.

Listening to all the tracks, now brought ever more alive by an on fire Orchestra (who have always been known for their high class works, in truth), this delightfully crisp, stunning, and wholly alive new album infuses Orbison’s best original vocal performances with the aforementioned orchestra in such a way you will swear Roy himself was back from the grave to re-record them himself!

This album is just that good, that different, that required in a genre that has played itself out to death since his passing, I think we can all agree. Consisting of hits and fan favorites such as “Oh, Pretty Woman,” “Crying,” “Only the Lonely,” “Love Hurts,” “Uptown,” up to his comeback in the late '80s before his untimely passing (“You Got It,” “I Drove All Night,” “A Love So Beautiful”), now all backed, embroiled with the world class musicianship of The Royal Philharmonic, London’s most notable orchestra, A Love So Beautiful is an album of the highest quality.

Indeed, in addition, Roy’s sons Wesley (guitar), Roy Jr. (guitar) and Alex (drums) provided instrumental backing on selected tracks, along with ten-month-old grandson Roy III (guitar, tambourine). And whilst the CD only has the 15 tracks, this vinyl edition has the bonus track of "I Drove All Night", featuring Roy Orbison along with the great Ward Thomas.

In closing, you all should know that there will also be released this fall the very first ever estate sanctioned Roy Orbison book, The Authorized Roy Orbison. Filled with hundreds of photographs, many never before seen, gathered from across the globe and uncovered from deep within the Orbison Vault, The Authorized Roy Orbison shows Roy as a young child and follows him all the way through to the peak of his stardom and up to his tragic end.

Written by Wesley, Roy Jr. and Alex Orbison – Roy’s Boys – with the help of Jeff Slate, no stone has been left unturned in order to illustrate the people, places, things and events that forged their father, the man behind those famous sunglasses.

Roy Orbison & The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra 'A Love So Beautiful' 150 gram Vinyl LP Purchase Link

Roy Orbison & The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra 'A Love So Beautiful' CD Purchase Link

Roy Orbison @ Facebook

Roy Orbison @ Twitter

Title - 'I'm On My Way: Expanded Edition'
Artist - Jackie Moore

For those not in the know, Jackie Moore is an American R&B singer. Best known for her gold single 1970 song 'Precious, Precious,' which reached #30 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on March 6th, 1971, the song sold over one million copies, and received a gold disc awarded by the R.I.A.A. in March 1971.

Also noteworthy was her 1979 disco hit 'This Time Baby,' which hit #1 on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart and climbed to #49 in the UK Singles Chart.

The latter would later be sampled for the 2005 dance radio and club hit "Love on My Mind" by the Freemasons featuring Amanda Wilson. Moore also had a pop chart hit (#42) with Bunny Sigler and Phil Hurtt's upbeat "Sweet Charlie Babe" in the fall of 1973, which she recorded with the Philadelphia Strings and Horns.

Working with noted session players like the Dixie Flyers and the Memphis Horns, Moore's earthy pop-soul - most of which was crafted by producer Dave Crawford - resulted in a half-dozen R&B hits for Atlantic Records. Indeed, Moore's debut album came in 1973 with Sweet Charlie Babe, which after leaving Atlantic Records for Kayvette Record, she followed up with 1975's Make Me Feel Like a Woman. Moving labels one last time to Columbia Records, her first album for them was 1979's I'm On My Way.

I'm On My Way: Expanded Edition is a just-released CD via BBR Records / Cherry Red Records (UK) that now also features six bonus remixes of ‘This Time Baby’ and ‘How’s Your Love Life Baby’.

1. 'This Time Baby'
2. 'Joe'
3. 'Can You Tell Me Why'
4. 'Let's Go Somewhere and Make Love'
5. 'I'm on My Way'
6. 'How's Your Love Life Baby'
7. 'Wrapped Up in Your Lovin'
8. 'Do Ya' Got What It Takes'

Bonus Tracks:
9. 'This Time Baby' (12" Mike Maurro Disco Remix)
10. 'How's Your Love Life Baby' (12" John Luongo Disco Mix)
11. 'This Time Baby' (12" Instrumental Version)
12. 'How's Your Love Life Baby' (12" John Luongo Instrumental Version)
14. 'How's Your Love Life Baby' (Single Version)

A must for all soul and disco fans, the very first track will flash you straight back to those heady disco days of the late '70s with Moore's massively successful, finger snappin', toe tappin', cowbell soundin' disco hit 'This Time Baby,' which she backs up with the upbeat hipsway ballad 'Joe' (a track she originally cut, and subsequently canned, at Atlantic Records), and then the frenetic dancefloor sounds of 'Can You Tell Me Why' are laid before us.

Next up is one of my favorite tracks, the perky delight known as 'Let's Go Somewhere and Make Love', which is backed by the exquisitely lush, harp and guitar balanced title track, 'I'm on My Way'. A track that starts slow and grows into a funky disco ballad, it's followed by the slap bass beauty 'How's Your Love Life Baby'. The original album then rounds out with the mid-tempo R&B funk of 'Wrapped Up in Your Lovin', with 'Do Ya' Got What It Takes' bookends the 1979 album perfectly.

Some of the six (6) bonus tracks here on this newly expanded edition are well worth the price of admission, so to speak, but including Instrumentals and so-called Single Versions has always seemed a cheap, easy shot for me, sorry.

That said, and as much as there are three extended versions of both 'This Tim Baby' and 'How's Your Love Life Baby', they are shuffled nicely so that you don't get three versions of the same track back-to-back.

Also inclusive of Mike Maurro’s recently successful vinyl 12” remix of 'This Time Baby', BBR Records / Cherry Red Records (UK) presents this expanded and remastered edition of I'm On My Way in a deluxe super jewel case with extensive liner notes by Malcolm McKenzie.

I'm On My Way: Expanded Edition CD is being released by BBR Records / Cherry Red Records (UK) on December 8th, 2017.

Title - 'Christmas Caravan'
Artist - Sultans of String'

For those not in the know, Sultans of String are an instrumental music group based in Toronto, Ontario, combining elements of Spanish flamenco, Arabic folk, Cuban rhythms, and French Manouche Gypsy-jazz.

Indeed, the group's leader Chris McKhool is a well known producer and Canadian musician who has received numerous awards for his work.

Christmas Caravan is a just-released CD from Sultans of String that features 18 incredible Christmas world music tracks. Their first festive offering, this genre-hopping disc expands the traditional notion of Christmas music, injecting it with new-found energy and non-traditional sounds.

1. 'Turkish Greensleeves'
2. 'Sing for Kwanzaa'
3. 'Jesous Ahalonhia (Huron Carol)'
4. 'The Little Swallow / Al Vuelo'
5. 'Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring'
6. 'Flight of Angels / Hark the Herald'
7. 'Little Drummer Boy'
8. 'Celebrate the Holydays'
9. 'Niel Gow's Lament / Rakes of Mallow / Rouge River Valley'
10. 'Jingle Bells / Auyuittuq Sunrise'
11. 'The Christmas Song'
12. 'A Django Christmas'
13. 'Les Anges Dans Nos Campagnes / Cootes Paradise Reel'
14. 'Happy Xmas (War Is Over)'
15. 'Silent Night'
16. 'Himalayan Sleigh Ride'
17. 'Hallelujah'
18. 'Feliz Navidad / Come on People Sing'

A must for all fans of both the aforementioned musical styling and Christmas music, as a whole, this quite stunning new album begins with the earnest, aching sincerity found within the notes of 'Turkish Greensleeves' (featuring Gudem Yayli Grubu) and moves seamlessly into both the upbeat African-rhythm of 'Sing for Kwanzaa' (featuring Richard Bona and Waleed Abdulhamid), and the stern, but dulcet 'Jesous Ahalonhia (Huron Carol)' (featuring Crystal Shawanda).

Next up is the vibrant 'The Little Swallow / Al Vuelo' which is backed by the ballad 'Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring' (featuring Mary Fahl), the mid-tempo hipsway flow of 'Flight of Angels / Hark the Herald' (featuring Chris McKhol and Rebecca Campbell), and then a quite brilliant 'Little Drummer Boy' (once more featuring Rebecca Campbell).

'Celebrate the Holydays' (featuring Sweet Honey in the Rock) is an upbeat, vibrant, finger-snappin' delight, and is followed by the longest track on the album, the near-six minute long 'Niel Gow's Lament / Rakes of Mallow / Rouge River Valley' medley (featuring Paddy Moloney).

The frenetic fun of 'Jingle Bells / Auyuittuq Sunrise' (featuring Chris McKhool and Rebecca Campbell) is a pure delight to behold also, and is backed by 'The Christmas Song' (featuring Nikki Yanofsky), and then the fiddle-frenzy of 'A Django Christmas'.

The fiddles come to the fore once again on 'Les Anges Dans Nos Campagnes / Cootes Paradise Reel' (featuring Benoit Bourque), and then come two of my personal favorites, both 'Happy Xmas (War Is Over)' (featuring Ruben Blades and Luba Mason) and 'Silent Night' (featuring David Charrier).

This remarkable new Christmas album then rounds out with the fiddle brilliance of 'Himalayan Sleigh Ride' (featuring Anwar Khurshid), the beautiful 'Hallelujah' (featuring Rebecca Campbell), and then a joyous, Caribbean-esque 'Feliz Navidad / Come on people Sing' (featuring Alex Cuba).

The Christmas Caravan CD was released on October 13th, 2017.

Title - 'Flying Not Falling 1991-1999' [3CD Box-Set]
Artist - Graham bonnet

Graham Bonnet is quite rightly best known for fronting the melodic hard rock of Rainbow, MSG and Alcatrazz, with a career going back to the 1960s. However, his initial breakthrough as part of The Marbles was in 1968, where his style and tastes were originally geared more towards pop and R&B orientated music.

Recording a number of obscure, but now highly collectable 45's in the early 1970s, before releasing his solo albums, Bonnet is still as much revered today as he was in his heyday.

Having recently had a slew of his old work released via Cherry Red Records (UK), including the brilliant double pack of Graham Bonnet / No Bad Habits: Expanded Deluxe Edition, the excellent Graham Bonnet Anthology 1968-2017 CD/DVD collection, and his work with Alcatrazz, this time Cherry Red bring us three of his solo albums, all recorded across the 1990s, together in on glorious box-set: Here Comes The Night (1991), Underground (1997), and the self-explanatory, The Day I Went Mad (1999).

As with all his releases, this quite superb (especially if you are a fan of Bonnet's, and, in this genre, who the hell isn't?) this box-set is chock full of both rock greatness and pop sensibilities also.

Disc 1: The Day I Went Mad
1. 'The Day I Went Mad'
2. 'Killer'
3. 'Flying Not Falling'
4. 'Hey That's Me'
5. 'Lolita Crush'
6. 'This Day'
7. 'Model Inc.'
8. 'Spiked!'
9. 'Greenwich Meantime'
10. 'Don't Look Down'
11. 'Oh! Darling'

Live Bonus Tracks:
12. 'I'm Down/Lucille' (Live Easington Rock Garden 22nd November 2001)
13. 'Killer' (Live Coconut Teaser 23rd September 2000)
14. 'Spiked!' (Live Culver City, 12th May 2000)
15. 'Don't Look Down' (Live Culver City, 12th May 2000)
16. 'Since You Been Gone' (Live Culver City, 12th May 2000)
17. 'Oh! Darling' (Live Culver City, 12th May 2000)

Disc 2: Underground
1. 'Underground'
2. 'Whiplash'
3. 'Breakaway'
4. 'Movin' On'
5. 'Sail On'
6. 'Cajun Pink'
7. 'The Strange'
8. 'Winter Skin'
9. 'Lost in Hollywood'
10. 'The Wind Cries Mary'

Bonus Tracks - Live At Culver City, 12th May, 2000:
11. 'Island in the Sun'
12. 'SOS'
13. 'Only One Woman'
14. 'God Blessed Video'
15. 'Will You Be Home'
16. 'Tonight'
17. 'All Night Long'
18. 'Dancer'

Disc 3: Here Comes The Night
1. 'Something About You'
2. 'Here Comes the Night'
3. 'Long Time Gone'
4. 'Only One Woman'
5. 'Please Call Me'
6. 'A Change Is Gonna Come'
7. 'I'll Go Crazy'
8. 'I Go to Sleep'
9. 'Look Don't Touch'
10. 'Eyes of a Child'
11. 'Don't'
12. 'What She Says, You Hear It'

Bonus Tracks - Instrumental Demos:
13. 'Means'
14. 'Gone in a Minute'
15. 'A Hole in My Soul'
16. 'Please Call Me'
17. 'Greenwich Meantime'

Although, as noted, this collection only covers a small part of the Graham Bonnet story, few front men can claim to have had such a lengthy and far-reaching career. Kicking things off in this 3CD box-set is Graham’s last solo album of the decade, and his sixth in total.

Chock full of special guests, joining Graham and his band - Kevin Valentine on drums, Mario Parga on guitars and John Thomas on guitar and keyboards - are former Alcatrazz guitarist, Danny Johnson, Vivian Campbell of DIO, Whitesnake and Def Leppard, Bruce Kulick (KISS and Meat Loaf), plus Slash from Guns N’ Roses and Tim Bogert from Vanilla Fudge.

Tracks that still stand out as glorious to me today are ones such as the near five minute long, title track opener, the guitar licks galore of the Box-Set title 'Flying Not Falling', and both the drumtastic, Purplesque 'Lolita Crush' and the frenetic 'Spiked!'

Now expanded with a number of live curios from his 2000 tour, including The Beatles’ ‘I’m Down/Lucille’ and Rainbow’s ‘Since You Been Gone’, as well as cuts from the actual The Day I Went Mad album, this is, as always, Graham giving his all musically.

Underground, a darker album in places, is next in this set and was Graham’s fifth solo record, and saw him reunited with guitarist Danny Johnson who had previously played together on Alcatrazz’s third and final LP, Dangerous Games. As well as a rocked-up cover of Jimi Hendrix’s ‘The Wind Cries Mary’, and ‘Lost In Hollywood’, a song that Graham had originally sung on Rainbow’s 1979 hit, Down To Earth, the album contains come very solid tracks.

Amongst them are the brilliant, yet dark title track, 'Underground', the upbeat 'Breakaway', the lush acoustic guitar work of 'Sail On', and a fun, down south blues romp in the form of 'Cajun Pink'.

This album is also now augmented by seven songs recorded live at Culver City, 12th May 2000, and includes Alcatrazz’s ‘Island In The Sun’, ‘God Blessed Video’ and ‘Will You Be Home Tonight’, Rainbow’s ‘All Night Long’, MSG’s ‘Dancer’, along with ‘Only One Woman’ and ‘S.O.S.’.

Finally comes 1991’s Here Comes The Night, which saw Graham move far, far away from his hard rock orientated path to take a more pop, R&B flavored approach. Inclusive of covers of Ray Davies ‘I Go To Sleep’, Denny Laine’s ‘Eyes Of A Child’, Leiber & Stoller’s ‘Don’t’, James Brown’s ‘I’ll Go Crazy’, and the Four Tops' 'Something About You', it may well have been a controversial side step for him, but it's one (In my book) that he needed to do to fully embrace his musical roots.

Stand out tracks here are, for sure, the opening track, a sax-tastic and inspired cover of the Four Tops' 'Something About You' which is backed by a cover of Them's 'Here Comes The Night', and then comes both the beautiful ballad 'Only One Woman' and a stirring cover of Sam Cooke's 'A Change Is Gonna Come.'

This albums also now comes with some nice extras, this time in the form of four (4) bonus instrumental demos for, ‘Gone In A Minute’, ‘ A Hole In My Soul’, ‘Please Call Me’ and ‘Greenwich Meantime’.

'Flying Not Falling 1991-1999' [3CD Box-Set] Purchase Link

Check out this BRILLIANT Interview clip with Ritchie Blackmore revealing what he asked Graham to do for their first live gig - and how Graham screwed him over on purpose!

Ritchie on Graham

Now check out this also BRILLIANT Interview clip with Graham talking about Ritchie Blackmore and his love and admiration for his guitar work!

Graham on Ritchie

Title - 'Beyond The Rain'
Artist - WildeStarr

For those not quite in the know yet, WildeStarr is a female fronted American heavy metal band from Alameda California that combines influences from thrash metal, power metal, progressive metal, and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal.

The band - which include former Vicious Rumors bassist Dave Starr on guitars and bass, London Wilde on lead vocals and keyboards, and Josh Foster on drums - have just released a brand new album, Beyond The Rain via Scarlet Records.

1. "Metamorphus"
2. "Beyond The Rain"
3. "Pressing the Wires"
4. "Double Red"
5. "Down Cold"
6. "Rage And Water
7. "Crimson Fifths"
8. "Undersold"
9. "From Shadow"
10. "When The Night Falls"

This album, which has already become one of my top 10 albums of this year, begins in fine, guitar heavy form, with the drums coming up quickly behind them to bring forth the brilliant, albeit short, classical masterpiece 'Metamorphus'. The pounding title track 'Beyond The Rain' ("... music kills my pain") is as good as you could ever hope it to be, and is backed seamlessly by the frenetic speed metal of 'Pressing The Wires'.

The Heart-esque 'Double Red' is along next and slows the pace of what went before down, ever so slightly, getting them mighty close to a ballad before backing out and cranking the dial up again on 'Down Cold.' The pace is then immediately picked back up again for 'Rage And Water', which is followed by the real ballad of the bunch, 'Crimson Fifths.'

The darkly alluring 'Undersold' is up next, is followed by 'From Shadow,' before the entire recording comes to a close with the runaway horse pace of 'When The Night Falls.' One of my personal favorites on this recording, the '80s rock vibe of the track is always a pleasure to hear in new music such as this. And boy, Wilde's vocals are sure put to the max test here, of which she succeeds and some, of course.

Official WildeStarr @ Facebook

Official WildeStarr @ Twitter

Title - 'Invisible Men: Expanded Edition'
Artist - Anthony Phillips

For those not in the know, the Anthony Phillips is a British musician, songwriter and singer who gained prominence as the founder member and lead guitarist in the English rock band Genesis, which formed in 1967.

After Phillips recorded From Genesis to Revelation and Trespass with the band, he left in July 1970 and learned to play more instruments before he began a solo career.

Phillips released his first solo album, The Geese & the Ghost, in 1977 and has continued to release solo albums thereafter. Along with those, he has also tackled television and film music, had collaborations with several artists, and there have been many compilation albums of his recordings. Released now via Esoteric Recordings, this digitally remastered and expanded two CD set of his 1983 album Invisible Men is finally made available to his legion of fans.

CD 1:
1. "Golden Bodies"
2. "The Women Were Watching"
3. "Traces"
4. "Exocet"
5. "Love In A Hot Air Balloon"
6. "Going for Broke"
7. "Falling for Love"
8. "Sally"
9. "I Want Your Heart"
10. "Guru"
11. "It's Not Easy"
12. "My Time Has Come"
13. "Trail of Tears"
14. "The Ballad of Penlee"
15. "Alex (Atmosphere Studios Version)"

CD 2:
1. "Gimme Love"
2. "Falling For Love (Alternate Version)"
3. "My Time Has Come (Instrumental Mix)"
4. "Golden Bodies (Demo)"
5. "Mysterious Constitution of Comets"
6. "She's Gone"
7. "Graciella"
8. "Over and Over Again"
9. "Tonight"
10. "Alien"
11. "Refugee From Love"
12. "Something Blue"
13. "Holding You Again"
14. "Darling"
15. "Shadow In The Desert"
16. "Finale (Atmosphere Studios Version)"

Invisible Men was a song-based album which saw Phillips collaborate with Richard Scott (who co-wrote most of the songs, sang a few of the lead vocals and programmed a drum machine). Released in 1983 in the USA and the following year in the UK, Invisible Men features the lighter side of Anthony Phillips' musical character and some fine, well-crafted songs.

This brand new 2CD Expanded Edition digi-pak of the album features a newly re-mastered original stereo mix of the album and an additional CD of 16 previously unreleased demos and material recorded during the Invisible Men period. It also includes an illustrated booklet that fully restores the original album artwork and features a new essay by Jon Dann.

The album features a political angle due to the 1982 Falklands War between Argentina and the United Kingdom where during the conflict an Exocet missile struck a British warship and killed 20 crew members. Indeed, as it was made very public at the time, one of Phillips's musician friends, Argentine Enrique (Quiqué) Berro Garcia, had to leave the United Kingdom due to this.

So, and as it turned out, this album could actually be labeled as an early 80's synth-pop collection, which was, at the time, somewhat shocking for fans of the Prog master. Sometimes sounding like '80s solo versions of George Harrison or the Moody Blues at their pop best, Invisible Men is still today one of the first albums I would play over and over again.

From the original album, tracks such as the opener, and rather humorous "Golden Bodies" are a delight to get to know again, along with the techno-pop sounds of "Exocet", "Love In A Hot Air Balloon", the sublime, and totally understated "Guru", the heavy-handed, Genesisesque "Going For Broke", and the ghostly aura of "Falling For Love."

Indeed, and with the conflict in mind, and with the whole album showcasing Phillips' anger over the conflict and how it affected his friend, the ending of "Exocet" features a fragment of a Falklands war report. Now, as it turns out, that was actually a recording error, but Philips kept it in!

For the record, "Exocet" was deemed too political to be on the original UK issue of the album, but was on the American issue regardless.

The second disc of 16 tracks, labelled as Out-takes & Demos, are all previously-unreleased and feature some lovely gems amongst them also. My own personal favorites to listen to today are "Golden Bodies (Demo)", "Mysterious Constitution of Comets", "Graciella", and both side closer's, "Shadow in the Desert" and "Finale (Atmosphere Studios Version)".

So, if you like Genesis, from Trespass through to Duke, you will most likely be more than able to appreciate the enormous amount of creativity going on here by Phillips within Invisible Men. Whilst the lyrics walk a fine line between quaint and silly, you will always find each and every track to be overly catchy and most definitely strong enough to still reside within you days after listening to them.

2CD Purchase Link

Title - Chance Encounters in the Garden of Lights: Deluxe
Artist - Bill Nelson

For those not in the know, Bill Nelson is an English singer, guitarist, songwriter, producer, painter, video artist, writer and experimental musician.

He rose to prominence as the chief songwriter, vocalist and guitarist of the rock group Be-Bop Deluxe, which he formed in the 1970s.

Indeed, Nelson has been described as "one of the most underrated guitarists of the seventies art rock movement" and in 2015, he was recognized with the Visionary award at the Progressive Music Awards.

Released now via Esoteric Recordings’ imprint Cocteau Discs, a label dedicated to the work of Bill Nelson, is this impressive remastered and expanded 2CD digi-pack limited edition of the classic collection Chance Encounters in the Garden of Lights.

CD 1: The Angel at The Western Window

CD 2: The Book of Inward Conversation
13. "GNOSIS"

With 21 bonus tracks drawn from the original 1988 CD edition along with a rare, limited edition EP, Chance Encounters in the Garden of Lights is one of the most incredible ambient albums I've now had the pleasure to both review and own thereafter.

For the most part, these two discs cover Nelson's instrumental pieces. So if you're expecting more Drastic Plastic era Be-Bop Deluxe styling, you'll be sorely disappointed. That said, if you know what you like, and want very meditative, soothing, calming background mood to embrace you in your stressful day, than this is most definitely the (double) album for you.

Originally issued on Bill’s Cocteau label in 1987, the double set featured two distinct works; The Angel at the Western Window and The Book of Inward Conversation.

On the first disc, The Angel at the Western Window, you will find 24 tracks of pure, unadulterated bliss, with now an incredible 14 more bonus tracks, unreleased, and not on any album or cassette release until now.

The second disc, The Book of Inward Conversation contains 17 tracks, with an additional 8 taken from the 7" Vinyl EP originally only available with the first Vinyl LP pressing of Chance Encounters in The Garden of Lights.

Early in the '80s, Nelson had become interested in compiling short, impressionistic song sketches and incidental music into a larger, cohesive whole. In 1984, he had released a series of four albums in this style, featuring bits and pieces that fell in between one and two minutes in length, but this was the first time (here on Chance Encounters) that he had released a massive collection as a singular work.

The Angel At The Western Window is much more of an impressionistic piece where only five of its twenty-three songs actually break the two-minute mark. The tracks fade seamlessly into one another, making the listening experience as if you were simply enjoying the longest singular track of your life.

The Book Of Inward Conversation is, for the most part, a more conventional album where all the songs are varied in length. Sure, there are a few short pieces, but for the most part (and unlike the other aforementioned album) these are longer works of musical art.

The addition now of the bonus, previously only 7" Vinyl Single, Ecclesia Gnostica (Music For The Interior Church) makes this whole second disc so very much more appealing to me. At it's heart, it is a sweepingly deep, luxurious, quasi-religious number that embodies cathedral-style orchestrations in such a way, you would swear (eyes closed) that you were actually sitting in Church.

In closing, something I find personally fascinating is that Nelson was hired by British synth pop legend Gary Numan to produce his 1983 album Warriors. Numan claimed, at the time, that Nelson was his "favorite guitar player, bar none", but weirdly, the two musicians failed to maintain a working relationship, and ultimately Nelson chose not to be credited for his production role on the album.

Bill Nelson @ Facebook

Bill Nelson @ Twitter

2CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Son Of Albert: Special Expanded Edition'
Artist - Andrew Ridgeley

For those not in the know, given that his musical partner always got the headlines and, quite literally, the highlights associated to him, Andrew Ridgeley is an English singer, songwriter, and record producer, best known for his work in the 1980's as a member of Wham!

Wham! enjoyed worldwide success from 1982 to 1986, selling more than 28 million records worldwide and made their US debut appearance on Dick Clark's American Bandstand. They soon became the only British act in the 1980s to have three No. 1 singles in both the UK and the US.

In 1986, The Edge of Heaven became Wham!'s fourth and final UK No. 1 single. With Michael keen to move into a more adult market, Wham! broke up after a farewell concert entitled "The Final" in front of 72,000 people at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 28 June 1986.

The first reissue for Andrew Ridgeley’s debut album Son Of Albert originally released in 1990, four years after the break-up of Wham! will soon be released as a Special Expanded Edition via Cherry Red Records (UK).

Remastered using the original production master tapes, this Special Expanded Edition includes the nine original album tracks from the vinyl release plus 7 related bonus tracks. This includes ‘Shake (Hardcore)’ that was featured on the CD version of the album.

1. 'Red Dress'
2. 'Shake'
3. 'The Price of Love'
4. 'Flame'
5. 'Hangin'
6. 'Mexico'
7. 'Big Machine'
8. 'Kiss Me'
9. 'Baby Jane'
10. 'Shake (Hardcore)'
11. 'Red Dress (12" Mix)'
12. 'Shake (Accapella Version)'
13. 'Hangin' (Alternative Extended)'
14. 'Shake (Extended Version)'
15. 'Hangin' (Extended Version)'
16. 'Red Dress (Extended Version)'

Personally, I didn't have any negativity toward Ridgeley and his vocals, although it has to be said that the album did nothing to enhance his third wheel media perspective re: George Michael, Wham! and then came Ridgeley.

To bring full disclosure to this review, Ridgeley's record company, CBS, passed up the option of a second album from him after unsuccessful sales of this debut. In fact, it was universally panned by critics and failed to make the top 75 in the UK.

Worse yet, Son of Albert was one of the worst received albums of 1990, achieving only half a star in a savage Rolling Stone magazine review. Ridgeley himself later said: "It was disappointing and depressing to receive quite such a beating over that album."

Regardless, and again for the record, this album is not as bad as they all made it out to be, the first track is the "biggest" single off the album, the fired up 'Red Dress' (which notably features backing vocals by George Michael), and that's followed by the slow to start, but then fires on all cylinders second single 'Shake'.

Indeed, Son Of Albert is a predominantly guitar and drum driven solo recording from Ridgeley on which his brother Paul, an occasional percussionist for Bananarama, played drums also. The harmonica-driven, and The Everly Brothers cover 'The Price Of Love', is a fun track that still manages to harken back to the '60s, and is backed by both the heavy 'Flame', and then the jaunty, pop-lite, albeit repetitive, keys-enhanced 'Hangin'.

A quick "woo-woo" or two later and we're rolling along nicely with 'Mexico', a track that sure doesn't showcase Ridgeley's vocals at any stretch of the imagination, but does have a rather nice back beat, that's for sure. Then comes some more harmonica on the motorcycle (hog) inspired 'Big Machine', with the original album coming to a close with both the funky 'Kiss Me', and then the slow poke, blues harmonica and piano track, 'Baby Jane.'

Trying to leave his manufactured pop days behind him here, Ridgeley obviously tried to delve neck deep into some kick-ass rock and roll tunes, but all you really focus on are the endless guitar licks spread throughout. That said, he wanted to break away and so should be applauded for having given it a shot, at the very least.

The additional tracks on this Special Expanded Edition are all primarily extended versions, and only serve to either prolong your agony of hearing Ridgeley's vocals, or, in my case, and for the most part, go a long way to spread him out a little thinner, whilst enhancing the musical vibe overall.

Stand out's for me include the near six minute long instrumental 'Shake (Hardcore)' - which includes so many new elements that its like a smorgasbord of what the late '80s and early 90's musically had to offer - and both versions of 'Red Dress (12" Mix and Extended Version)' - which manages to not only serve up more George Michael, but at nearly seven minutes long, also seemingly allows Ridgeley to add some new lines to what was easily his best song.

The 24 page full color booklet features an expanded design of the original artwork, a recent interview with Andrew Ridgeley and Gary Bromham reflecting on the making of the album, album lyrics and a UK Discography.

Son Of Albert: Special Expanded Edition CD is being released by Cherry Red Records (UK) on January 19th, 2018.

'Son Of Albert: Special Expanded Edition' CD Purchase Link

Andrew Ridgeley @ Twitter!

Title - 'First Ever Live Show - Flint 1977'
Artist - Billion Dollar Babies

For those not in the know, the original Alice Cooper Band broke up in 1974 after releasing seven great albums. The lead singer, Vincent Furnier, started his remarkable solo career in 1975 and, as I'm sure we all know, went on to adopt Alice Cooper as his name.

The band played their final show on April 8th, 1974 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. While occasionally performing with one another and Glen Buxton, they would not reunite with Alice until October 23, 1999, at the second Glen Buxton Memorial Weekend for a show at CoopersTown in Phoenix (Buxton having died in 1997).

But, I digress. In 1977, three former members of the Alice Cooper Band formed a band called Billion Dollar Babies - Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway and Neal Smith. All original Cooper band members, they teamed up with guitarist Mike Marconi and keyboardist Bob Dolin; who had already played with Alice Cooper on their 1974 album, Muscle of Love.

So, the band borrowed their new name from the very successful 1973 album from Alice Cooper, but sadly only released one studio album entitled Battle Axe.

That said, now we get a monster brilliant release in the form of the Billion Dollar Babies' First Ever Live Show - Flint 1977 via Gonzo Multimedia. This wondrous, just released on December 15th, 2017 new live recording of their first ever show in Flint, Michigan, is as good as it gets for this era and the men behind the Cooper, trust me.

1. 'I Miss You'
2. 'Rock N Roll Radio'
3. 'Love Is Rather Blind'
4. 'Rock Me Slowly'
5. 'Alice Cooper Medley: No More Mr Nice Guy/Neal Smith Solo/Elected/Eighteen/School's Out'
6. 'Battle Axe Suite: Ego Mania'
7. 'Battle Axe'
8. 'Nights in Cracked Leather/Sudden Death/Winner'
9. 'Too Young'
10. 'Billion Dollar Babies'

Containing a few choice cuts from that aforementioned debut album, which bombed commercially, and was never followed up, the actual Battle Axe album has been out of print since the late 70's, so to hear some of those songs again here live, and raw, well, it just makes it all the more exciting for a Cooper fan, such as I am.

I honestly don't know if this has been a bootleg hanging around for 40 years, but the fact that here and now, the sound quality of this recording is excellent, and pays testament to not only the guys who worked on it now to remaster it, but those sound engineers recording it live that very night.

Regardless, and as much as most fans will fully admit, the Alice Cooper Band (under any name) without Alice Cooper just isn't as good as the Alice Cooper Band fronted by the great man himself. That aside, these live tracks are definitely musically amusing to listen to and there are some nice idea's on it that might have worked out into classics, if it had worked out better for them behind Cooper, of course.

Official Billion Dollar Babies 'First Ever Live Show - Flint 1977' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Bang! The Bert Berns Story' [2LP]
Artist - Bert Berns

For those not in the know, Bert Berns [also known as Bert Russell and, occasionally, Russell Byrd], was an American songwriter and record producer of the 1960s.

A pioneer of 1960s rock and soul, Berns made numerous contributions to popular music, including "Twist and Shout", "Piece of My Heart", "Brown Eyed Girl" (as a producer), "Here Comes the Night", "Hang On Sloopy", "Under the Boardwalk" and "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love".

Berns's early work with Solomon Burke ["Cry to Me"] brought him to the attention of Atlantic label chiefs Ahmet Ertegün and Jerry Wexler. In 1963, Berns replaced Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller as the staff producer at Atlantic, where he wrote and produced hits for Solomon Burke ("Everybody Needs Somebody to Love"), the Drifters ("Under the Boardwalk" and "Saturday Night at the Movies"), Barbara Lewis ("Baby I'm Yours" and "Make Me Your Baby"), Little Esther Phillips ("Hello Walls"), Ben E. King, Wilson Pickett and LaVern Baker.

With many of Berns's songs being recorded by British Invasion bands such as the Beatles ("Twist and Shout"), the Rolling Stones ("Cry to Me") and the Animals ("Baby Let Me Take You Home"), Berns became the first American record producer to travel across the Atlantic to work in London. He went to England three times between 1964 and 1965, where he produced a number of British Decca artists such as Van Morrison's Them ("Here Comes the Night", "Baby Please Don't Go") and Lulu.

In 1965, Berns formed his own record label, BANG Records. BANG Records was founded with his Atlantic Records partners, with the label's name derived from the initials of each of their respective personal names—in order, Bert Berns, Ahmet Ertegün, Nesuhi Ertegün, and Gerald (Jerry) Wexler. BANG was home to such artists as the McCoys ("Hang on Sloopy"), the Strangeloves ("I Want Candy"), Them's ex-lead singer Van Morrison ("Brown Eyed Girl"), and, most notably, Neil Diamond ("Solitary Man" and "Cherry Cherry").

With BANG Records releasing predominantly rock and roll, Berns formed Shout Records in 1966 as an outlet for his greatest passions of R&B and soul music, recording artists such Freddie Scott ("Are You Lonely for Me Baby") and Erma Franklin ("Piece of My Heart"). One of his last songs, "Piece of My Heart," was covered shortly thereafter by Big Brother and the Holding Company, which the then unknown Janis Joplin fronted.

So, as you can well imagine, Bert Berns is regarded as a musical visionary and this delightful 20 track set compiles the best of his studio productions from the soundtrack to the new film 'Bang! The Bert Berns Story'.

Described as Music meets the Mob, the biographical documentary, narrated by Stevie Van Zandt, is about the life and career of hitmaker Bert Berns, the most important songwriter and record producer from the sixties that you never heard of.

Filmmaker Brett Berns brings his late father's story to the screen through interviews with those who knew him best and rare performance footage; including interviews with Ronald Isley, Ben E. King, Solomon Burke, Van Morrison, Keith Richards and Paul McCartney.

Side A:
1. "Piece of My Heart" - Erma Franklin
2. "A Little Bit of Soap" - The Jarmels
3. "Tell Him" - The Exciters
4. "Twist and Shout" - The Isley Brothers
5. "Cry Baby" - Garnet Mimms & The Enchanters
6. "Show Me Your Monkey" - Kenny Hamber

Side B:
1. "Baby, Please Don't Go" - Them feat. Van Morrison
2. "You May Be Holding My Baby" - The Pussycats
3. "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" - Solomon Burke
4. "Here Comes the Night" - Them feat. Van Morrison
5. "I Want Candy" - The Strangeloves

Side C:
1. "Are You Lonely for Me Baby" - Freddie Scott
2. "Mr. Success" - Bobby Harris
3. "Chick-A-Boom" - Van Morrison
4. "Hang on Sloopy" - The McCoys
5. "Cry to Me" - Freddie Scott

Side D:
1. "Brown Eyed Girl" - Van Morrison
2. "Am I Grooving You" - Freddie Scott
3. "Heart Be Still" - Lorraine Ellison
4. "Piece of My Heart" - Big Brother & The Holding Company feat. Janis Joplin

Previously only released as a digital only format soundtrack by Sony Music’s Legacy Recordings, Bang! The Bert Berns Story has now been released as a stunning 150 gram vinyl LP, out December 15th, 2017.

Now famous recordings by the Drifters, Ben E King, Wilson Pickett, LaVern Baker, Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles, Solomon Burke and Tami Lynn may well not feature here (as they represent Berns' time as house producer at Atlantic Records), but what we do get are stand out tracks by the McCoys, The Pussycats, Van Morrison, Freddie Scott, Kenny Hamber and Erma Franklin; all of which stem from his own aforementioned Bang record label.

Listening to all the tracks, one by one they waft over you, causing en masse of memories to be evoked. Bookended by two glorious renditions of 'Piece of My Heart' - Erma Franklin and the throatier Big Brother & The Holding Company Feat. Janis Joplin - what lies in between is pure musical gold.

Though Berns died in the final days of 1967 at just 38 years of age, a year hasn’t gone by since when his songs haven’t been recorded and played. This soundtrack to an incredible era gone by, showcases Bert Berns as a musical genius, and rightly so.

If, as the actual movie suggests, Berns' legacy is somewhat tarnished by an association with mob money (at a time when Goodfellas were prevalent in the music industry), I'd like to think that he is more guilty of writing and producing some of the most captivating music of our pop culture.

'Bang! The Bert Berns Story' [2LP] Purchase Link

'Bang! The Bert Berns Story' Ditital Purchase Link

Bert Berns @ Twitter

Title - 'Parting Is'
Artist - Jon Durant

For those not in the know, guitarist Jon Durant brings a unique sense of texture and melody to his instrument.

His distinctive “cloud guitar” soundscapes and engaging lead work have graced numerous CD recordings and film soundtracks.

As executive producer of Alchemy Records, he also produces recordings for internationally acclaimed artists in his small Massachusetts-based studio.

A deeply emotional and personal record, Durant's brand new album, Parting Is, takes the idea of a solo guitar album and transforms it into a stunning sonic landscape of texture and color.

Many of the sounds on the album bear no relationship with traditional guitar, but there are no synthesizers employed at all. Everything is played by Durant on guitars, plus it also features Durant playing fretless bass on four pieces.

1. 'Clouds In Advance'
2. 'Open Window'
3. 'Travels Within'
4. 'The Room Where She Waits'
5. 'Before The Rain Falls'
6. 'Evolve In Place'
7. 'Ecliptic Shadows'
8. 'Returning To The Departure'
9. 'Willamette Fog'

Containing nine tracks that showcase Durant's ongoing, and dedicated passion for experimentation, as you listen along with him, you get the feeling that there are quite a few times where he was trying to figure out the things in his head; whilst at the same time actually recording his work.

A man and musician who loves his relative isolation within life, his now unique musical voice, per say, means his work always will, always has to sound like himself. What I mean by that is every track is different, every track is enjoyable, and yet every track is unmistakably Jon Durant.

Here on Parting Is, Durant elicits enticing riffs, mysterious melodies, cloud guitar atmospheres, and seductive solos from his PRS guitars. His tones are pure and sweet, only modulated with deft whammy manipulations and other such orchestrations.

If you know Durant's work, you'll love this album - if you don't, buy this album and get to know a musician that will then become part of your life.

'Parting Is' CD Purchase Link

Jon Durant @ Facebook!

Title - 'Orphan Black: The DNA Sampler'
Artist - Various

This brand new release from Varese Sarabande, Orphan Black: The DNA Sampler soundtrack is a wondrous musical backtracking throughout the entire five season run.

Featuring music by The Ettes, The Belle Game, Riff Raff, (International) Noise Conspiracy, Dr. V (featuring Ted Hawkins), as well as exclusive tracks created especially for the show, trust me when I say that this CD, once played, will be very hard to remove from your daily listening schedules.

1. 'Theme from Orphan Black' (Two Fingers) (0:36)
2. 'Bodyline' (Peaches feat. Nick Zinner) (2:34)
3. 'Smash It Up' (The (International) Noise Conspiracy) (3:12)
4. 'Prêt a Porter' (Emilie Mover) (2:50)
5. 'Blame Fiction' (The Belle Game) (3:51)
6. 'I Fought The Law' (Dr. V featuring Ted Hawkins) (1:58)
7. '(Die stiefel sind zum wander) These Boots Are Made For Walking' (Eileen) (2:33)
8. 'Warriors (Arya)' (3:11)
9. 'Farewell (Tavern in the Town)' (Self-Titled Studios featuring Mary Margaret O'Hara) (2:22)
10. 'Tosta Mista' (Hooded Fang) (3:52)
11. 'Go' (Grimes featuring Blood Diamonds) (4:00)
12. 'Calling Me (YDID Mix)' (Stacey) (4:46)
13. 'It Ain't You' (The Ettes) (2:23)
14. 'Old School Punk Rockers' (The Lucky Ones featuring Mike McNeal) (3:38)
15. 'Wouldn't It Be Nice' (Trevor Yuile featuring Stacey Y) (1:44)

From the off, the scene setting orchestral brilliance of 'Theme From Orphan Black' by Two Fingers has you gripped, but in some ways what follows let's you down a wee bit. What I mean by that is the orchestral ambiance of the Two Fingers instrumental cut kinda has you wishing for much more of their work to appear - but it doesn't.

But that's ok as what we do get is a collection of songs heard in the five-year run of this beloved television series. The uptempo, fast-paced 'Bodyline' from Peaches featuring Nick Zinner is next, and that's followed by the rampant 'Smash It Up' (The (International) Noise Conspiracy) and the classic 'Prêt a Porter' from Emilie Mover.

The moody 'Blame Fiction' by The Belle Game is another highlight here, and that's backed by both a laid back, country-evoked 'I Fought The Law' (Dr. V featuring Ted Hawkins), and then '(Die stiefel sind zum wander) These Boots Are Made For Walking from Eileen. The pop R&B of 'Warriors' from Arya is a nice change of musical pace here, and that's followed by the atmospheric flashback of 'Farewell (Tavern in the Town)', performed by Self-Titled Studios featuring Mary Margaret O'Hara.

The '60s vibe of 'Tosta Mista' from the brilliant Hooded Fang is up next and that's backed by the seductive 'Go' (Grimes featuring Blood Diamonds), the ethereal ambiance of 'Calling Me (YDID Mix)' by Stacey, and then the spunky girl punk of 'It Ain't You' from The Ettes. The album soundtrack of best hits then rounds out with the angst of 'Old School Punk Rockers' from The Lucky Ones featuring Mike McNeal, and then the quiet beauty of a cover of the Beach Boys' 'Wouldn't It Be Nice' by Trevor Yuile featuring Stacey Y.

Official CD Purchase Link

Title - 'The Post' (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Artist - John Williams

In 'The Post' (a Steven Spielberg film), Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep) is the first female publisher of a major American newspaper -- The Washington Post. With help from editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), Graham races to catch up with The New York Times to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets that spans three decades and four U.S. presidents.

Together, they must overcome their differences as they risk their careers -- and very freedom -- to help bring long-buried truths to light.

Out now via Sony Classical, The Post (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) is a work of musical art scored by John Williams ('Star Wars').

1. 'The Papers'

2. 'The Presses Roll'
3. 'Nixon's Order'
4. 'The Oak Room, 1971'
5. 'Setting The Type'
6. 'Mother and Daughter'
7. 'Scanning the Papers'
8. 'Two Martini Lunch'
9. 'Deciding to Publish'
10. 'The Court's Decision and End Credits'

The whole delicious, and varied soundtrack begins with the wrought, investigative back bone of 'The Papers' and never really lets up from there. The five minutes long 'The Presses Roll' is a euphoric, at times, roaring track and that's backed by two short orchestral moments within both 'Nixon's Orders' and the beautiful, smooth piano work of 'The Oak Room, 1971'.

The vibrant, pulsating train on the tracks sounds of 'Setting The Type' are next, and that's backed by the lush orchestrations that make up the flowing 'Mother and Daughter.' The building 'Scanning the Papers' is next, whilst more piano is brought forth on 'Two Martini Lunch.'

The soundtrack then comes to a close with both the near six minute long 'Deciding to Publish', and then the mammoth 11 minute long 'The Court's Decision and End Credits'.

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Airwaves: The Greatest Hits'
Artist - Lawson Rollins

For those not quite in the know, Lawson Rollins, is an award-winning American guitarist and composer from North Carolina noted for his virtuoso finger style technique and melodic composition skills featured in his recordings.

His musical span is generally classed as Latin jazz and world music, with elements of samba, bossa nova, Middle Eastern music, classical guitar, flamenco, and shred guitar. Indeed, he often employs fast minor scales and diminished scale solo runs to his compositions which are executed in the flamenco picado style.

Here on his eighth solo album, the collection Airwaves: The Greatest Hits (releasing January 19th, 2018 via Infinita Records), guitarist and composer Lawson Rollins once again takes the listener on a magical musical journey.

Chock full, and characterized, as always, by an eclectic mix of Middle Eastern, Brazilian, and Arabic music fused with Spanish guitar, once this greatest hits album begins, there's no turning back from immersing yourself in a mystical, worldly journey through the ages.

1. "Island Time"
2. "Flight"
3. "Infinita" (Radio Edit)
4. "In Motion" (Radio Edit)
5. "Havana Heat" (Radio Edit)
6. "Berlin Bossa" (Radio Edit)
7. "Sway"
8. "Momentum" (Radio Edit)
9. "Moonlight Samba" (Radio Edit)
10. "Cafe Paris" (Chill Remix)
11. "Infinitia" (Chill Remix)
12. "City Electric" (Radio Edit)
13. "Santa Barbara Song" (Radio Edit)
14. "Return to Rio" (Radio Edit)
15. "Daybreak" (Radio Edit)
16. "Cafe Jobim" (Radio Edit)
17. "Prado" (Bonus Track)
18. "World of Wonder" (featuring 3rd Force) (Bonus Track)

Featuring all of Lawson Rollins' radio chart hits taken from his seven solo albums, including the Billboard Top 30 contemporary jazz radio charting songs "Island Time," "Moonlight Samba," "Infinita," "Flight," and "Daybreak", he has also included two (2) brand new bonus tracks.

Recorded exclusively for this greatest hits collection, the contemporary jazz track "World of Wonder" (featuring the Billboard #1 group 3rd Force), and the classically-inspired, world-music composition "Prado" (featuring 2-time Grammy Award-winning violinist Mads Tolling, round this set of glorious music out just perfectly.

Indeed, other guests found giving their time to Lawson's new project include iconic Brazilian singer Flora Purim, but it's Lawson himself that steals the musicianship show here, that's for sure.

You should also know that 11 of the 18 tracks are never-before-released Radio Edit versions. These specifically created for set run times on the radio, feature different performances and guests artists not heard on the album versions. Such as "In Motion" (Radio Edit) which features an exclusive appearance by Billboard #1 soprano saxophonist Praful, not heard on the original album version.

Opening with the playfully upbeat "Island Time", listening to Rollins' fingers burn up and down his guitar makes you just marvel more at the man's creative musicianship. The tempo is kept soaring on "Flight", which is backed by the Latin hipsway of both "Infinitia" and "In Motion", before the vibe is brought down a wee bit for the seductive "Havana Heat."

Rollins' delightful, entrancing guitar styling is brought to the fore once again on the stand out track, "Berlin Bossa", which leans seamlessly into the funky "Sway", the stern guitar work on "Momentum", and then the lush orchestrations of "Moonlight Samba".

Both the gently intoxicating "Cafe Paris" and "Infinitia" (Chill Remix) are delightful sidesteps away from Rollins' usual musical path, and are backed by the hypnotic tour de force of "City Electric", and then the late night, underground smokey jazz club appeal of "Santa Barbara Song."

The light and breezy, playful fun of "Return to Rio" is a pure, unadulterated joy to behold, and easily one of my own personal favorites here in this wonderful collection. "Daybreak" is another pleasant track, and that's followed by the trumpet-inspired "Cafe Jobim", before the album rounds out with the new tracks: "Prado" (which sounds like an extension of the previous track, in truth), and the freeflowing beauty of "World of Wonder", featuring 3rd Force.

I've said this before about Rollins' work, but as always, his latest album is a nicely balanced release of 18 tracks that, and coupled with Rollins' exquisite guitar work, means we get presented with one of those albums that quickly becomes addictive listening.

More than that, you'll beg for it to be on vinyl, for this album fully deserves to be an LP. Oh man, just to hear these tracks on a turntable, as God had intended, that's what a late Christmas gift request would be for me!

'Airwaves: The Greatest Hits' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Past Present and Into the Future'
Artist - The Vibrators

Taking it from the top, The Vibrators are a British punk rock band that formed in 1976.

They were founded by Ian 'Knox' Carnochan, bassist Pat Collier, guitarist John Ellis, and drummer John 'Eddie' Edwards and first came to public notice at the 100 Club when they backed Chris Spedding in 1976.

Indeed, on Spedding's recommendation, Mickie Most signed them to his label RAK Records and went on to produce their first single, "We Vibrate". The band also backed Spedding on his single, "Pogo Dancing".

The band signed to Epic Records in early 1977. Their debut album, Pure Mania was co-produced with Robin Mayhew, the sound engineer for David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust live shows, and reached the Top 50 of the UK Albums Chart.

Their follow-up album, V2, narrowly missed the UK Top 30. The only single to be taken from that album, "Automatic Lover", was the only Vibrators’ single to reach the UK Top 40 where it reached No. 35.

The Vibrators’ final single on Epic, "Judy Says (Knock You In The Head)", was released in June 1978 and reached No. 70 in the UK singles chart.

A lack of further chart activity, and with only one UK Top 40 single to their credit, sees the Vibrators join the list of one-hit wonders; a list that includes other UK punk and new wave acts such as The Banned, The Flying Lizards, Jilted John, 999, the Radio Stars, and the Rich Kids.

But now this legendary British punk band, The Vibrators, are back! Celebrating their 40+ year career, Past, Present And Into The Future features a unique line-up with contributions from former and current members including founders Knox, drummer Eddie (who remains the only original member to survive the ever-revolving line-up changes for over 40 years), and John Ellis along with V2 era bassist Gary Tibbs (Roxy Music), current bassist/vocalist Pete, guitarist Darrell Bath, and production by original bassist Pat Collier.

1. 'Loose Change'
2. 'Rock N' Roll Rescue'
3. 'A Life Badly Lived'
4. 'Dark Star'
5. 'Strangers Never (Friends Forever)'
6. 'Just Another Day'
7. 'Dirty Games'
8. 'Wild Cheetah'
9. 'Wrapped Cat'
10. 'You're the Prize'
11. 'Hands of Mercy'
12. 'Keep On Telling Me Lies'
13. 'Please Mr. Cancer'
14. 'Sweet Trouble'
15. 'Public Enemy (Perryvale Sessions)'
16. 'Stiff Little Fingers (Perryvale Sessions)'

The Vibrators actually asked their fans worldwide to help them make this album. As always with a PledgeMusic campaign, along with the usual formats, there were rare and exclusive items, new merchandise, and even some very interesting shows featuring all members that fans could be granted access to.

The album kicks off in a slower than expected manner, before it finally ignites, and that's backed by both the frenetic, yet melodic 'Rock N' Roll Rescue' (which shares its title with the name of the Camden shop that Knox co-founded) and the slow poke, country-tinged 'A Life Badly Lived.'

Next up is the thought-provoking 'Dark Star', before last surviving original member, drummer Eddie really comes to the fore on 'Strangers Never (Friends Forever)'. The mid-tempo 'Just Another Day' is up next and that's backed by both the back to basics of 'Dirty Games' and 'Wild Cheetah.'

With the album coming across as a raw, early Boomtown Rats effort (which is not a bad thing, trust me), the bouncy hepcat rockabilly of 'Wrapped Cat' is a great track to behold here and is followed by the melancholic 'You're the Prize'.

Lethargic album fillers 'Hands of Mercy' and 'Keep On Telling Me Lies' are then followed by 'Please Mr. Cancer', before one of my own personal favorites on the album comes up. A track that reverts right back to the glory days of The Vibrators, 'Sweet Trouble', the album then rounds out seamlessly with two old school Vibrator tracks reborn, in both 'Public Enemy (Perryvale Sessions)', and 'Stiff Little Fingers (Perryvale Sessions)'.

The Vibrators @ Facebook!

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'The Gardening Club: Expanded Edition'
Artist - The Gardening Club

Taking it from the top, and simply put, Martin Springett is an extraordinary artist.

He was born in Crayford, Kent, England, in 1947 and studied art for two semesters at the Brassey School of Art in Hastings, Sussex. He then emigrated to the West Coast of Canada in 1965, but returned to the UK in 1973 to pursue music in various bands.

He spent time in Germany, and toured through Europe, and whilst in London, Martin started to illustrate and design record covers for Columbia records.

Upon his return to Vancouver, Martin carried on with music and illustrated various books and magazines. In 1978 he moved to Toronto, maintaining activity in every area where illustration is required.

Indeed, it was around that time that he released his own album, The Gardening Club, in 1983. An absolutely glorious, melodic and original album, Gonzo Multimedia has now brought it back to life, and into the public eye, with this stunning remastered and expanded edition.

1. 'Midnight Road'
2. 'Mole Hole Blues'
3. 'The Traveller'
4. 'Andromeda'
5. 'The Garden'
6. 'Three Days at Brighton'
7. 'Rebirth'
8. 'The Stone That Speaks'
8. 'Endersby's Ride in 3 Parts'
9. 'Nirvana Isn't'
10. 'After the Glow'
11. 'Upside Down Blackbird'
12. 'When You Live This Way'
13. 'New York Moon'

A lost in time gem of an album, containing 12 string guitars and flutes galore alongside the clean sheen of a typical 1980s production and some mighty fine pastoral instrumentals, The Gardening Club: Expanded Edition (which also features the original cover art now with a 24 page illustrated lyric booklet, created especially for this re-release by Springett himself, of course), is as great to listen to today as it was back then.

The melodic 'Midnight Road' kicks things off, before the guitar wizardly of Springett comes to the fore on 'Mole Hole Blues', which is backed beautifully by the flute and drum work of 'The Traveller.' The thought-provoking, spacial 'Andromeda' is next and that's backed by the shortest track on the album, the delicate acoustic guitar work of 'The Garden.'

'Three Days at Brighton' is yet another, fun, jaunty track that seemingly includes all instruments known to Springett, and then comes both the triumphant 'Rebirth', before the longest track, the ethereal 'The Stone That Speaks'.

The beautiful guitar playing of Springett again comes to the fore on the magnificent 'Endersby's Ride in 3 Parts', before thus newly expanded edition concludes with five bonus studio tracks; that all, each and every one of them, showcase just what an incredible talent illustrator Martin Springett truly is: 'Nirvana Isn't, 'After The Glow', 'Upside Down Blackbird', 'When You Live This Way', and 'New York Moon.'

The Gardening Club @ Facebook!

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Re:Psychle'
Artist - Tautologic

Taking it from the top, and Tautologic began in 1997 when Ethan Sellers and Pat Buzby had finished college. Sellers, a vocalist, keyboardist and guitarist, was assembling a new band with friends from his years at the University of Chicago.

Buzby, a drummer, had studied at Oberlin and was planning his next move when he read an ad Sellers placed on a progressive rock discussion group. The band took shape and was gigging and recording by the winter of 1998.

Sellers and Buzby shared a love of 70's progressive rock, but also wanted to bring contemporary and eclectic influences into the music rather than reproducing old sounds.

West Is North, East Is South, the band's debut CD, captured this era. It received critical acclaim in the U.S. and Europe upon its release in 2000. The band's next recording, The Basement Sessions, arrived in 2002 and showed the band experimenting with funk influences, and introducing lead guitar into the mix.

In 2005, the band put on a second theatrical piece, Psychle. Sellers finished producing a recording of these newer songs in 2007, but financial setbacks forced him to archive the CD, Re:Psychle, for a decade. With many of the early members of the group finishing their studies in Chicago and moving on to other states, Sellers and Buzby needed to build new band lineups in the 2000's.

Indeed, bassist Nathan Britsch began working with them in the early part of that decade, saxophonist Chris Greene and violinist/vocalist Emily Albright joined in the mid-00's, and newest member guitarist Jay Montana arrived in 2010.

In the late 2000's, Sellers began a new career as a leader of bands in various styles, including Irish music, Cajun and bluegrass, which is still ongoing. Buzby and other members of Tautologic participate in these groups whenever possible.

Finally, at the end of 2017, the time is right for a release of Re:Psychle, and Tautologic's return to a more active schedule.

This second full-length CD of original music from the Chicago-based prog/art/jam band also features contributions from numerous Grammy winners/nominees (Nick Photinos and Michael Maccaferri from Eighth Blackbird, Rick Barnes, Randy LeRoy).

1. 'Loud Shoes'
2. 'Not If But When'
3. 'The Admiral'
4. 'The Professor'
5. 'On Your Left'
6. 'The Choirboy'
7. 'Coltrane Supermarket'
8. 'The Whistler'
9. 'The Gospel Lady'
10. 'Osaka Garden'

This buoyant album opens with the sea shantyesque 'Loud Shoes', before being followed by the '80s pop funk feel of 'Not If But When'. The austere lullaby 'The Admiral' is next and is backed by both the the buzzing sounds (literally) of 'The Professor', and then the upbeat, party central horns of 'On Your Left.'

The glorious piano work found on 'The Choirboy' is wonderful to behold, and makes this track a true stand out for me. That's followed by the frenetic mish-mash that melds into the more low-fi bounce storytelling of 'Coltrane Supermarket.'

Another sea shantyesque cut is the storytelling of 'The Whistler', and that's backed by the late night jazz appeal of 'The Gospel Lady', before the album rounds out with the hectic sounds of Chicago giving way to the more serene quietness found within 'Osaka Garden' (located in the heart of Jackson Park, IL, Osaka Gardens is a replica of a 17th-century Japanese Stroll Garden).

Mixed by Grammy-nominated producer Rick Barnes at Rax Trax, and mastered by Grammy nominee Randy LeRoy at Airshow Mastering, the Digipak album art also includes full-color paintings by primary songwriter and vocalist Ethan Sellers.

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