Title - 'Color and Passion'
Artist - Blake Aaron
For those unaware, right out of the gate with two #1 Billboard singles and one #1 single on the Radiowave / Groove Jazz charts for the entire year 2019, the soon-to-be released Color and Passion (September 18th, 2020, via Innervision Records) is already feeling like a greatest hits CD for Blake Aaron.
While many fans know him from his years of hosting the popular syndicated The Blake Aaron Radio Show with Tina Anderson, since the early 2000s, he’s also become one of the genre’s most inventive, adventurous and stylistically eclectic guitarist and artists.
Now a Billboard #1 producer himself as well as artist with his self-produced, silky-smooth Fall for You, Aaron also teams up with hit producers Darren Rahn with the #1 Billboard single, 'Groovers and Shakers', the #1 for all of 2019 Radiowave single, 'Drive', and with Adam Hawley for the upcoming single, 'Sunday Strut'.
1. 'Fall for You'
2. 'Groovers and Shakers' (feat. Darren Rahn)
3. 'Sunday Strut' (Feat. Najee)
6. 'Color and Passion'
8. 'Riviera Nights'
9. 'Godfather Brown'
10. 'Weekend in Paradise'
11. 'Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing' (feat. Kim Scott)
Heading full-throttle into his second decade as a recording artist, the multifaceted guitarist, composer, producer and media personality opens up this brand new album with the summer driving, windows down, sun shining catchiness of 'Fall for You' and then backs that up seamlessly with the free-flowing magnificence of 'Groovers and Shakers' (featuring Darren Rahn, although you would swear George Benson was in the mix too), and the funky, brass-enhanced 'Sunday Strut' (featuring Najee).
Next up is the light and breezy 'Drive' and the infectious, foot-tappin' vibe of 'Vivid,' which are in turn followed by the beautiful balladry (enhanced by his nylon string guitar) of the title track, 'Color and Passion' and the delightfully playful, Soca-inspired 'Daylight.'
My own personal favorite here on this quite vibrantly orchestrated new album is up next in the form of the feisty Latin hipsway of 'Riviera Nights,' which is backed by a downright funky tribute to the great JB on 'Godfather Brown,' with this soulful fusion of sounds and styles rounding out with the reggae-tinged appeal of 'Weekend in Paradise,' closing on a barnstorming take of Stevie Wonder’s 1973 hit 'Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing' (feat. Kim Scott).
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Title - 'Sweet Little Truths: EMI Years 1992-1996'
Artist - Tasmin Archer
Cherry Pop UK are about to release a brand new 53 track, 3CD collection of her '90s recordings from the great Tasmin Archer.
Sweet Little Truths: The EMI Years 1992-1996 offers up expanded editions of both Archer's EMI albums, remastered for the first time since their original release, and adds a whole array of bonus mixes, B-sides, and live tracks to a third rarities disc.
Tasmin Archer blazed onto the charts in 1992 with the unforgettable #1 single ‘Sleeping Satellite’. The record went on to become a significant hit worldwide, including the U.S.A, and was quickly followed by a top 10 Gold-certified album, Great Expectations.
Further top 40 hits followed, and a critically acclaimed second album, Bloom, produced by the legendary Mitchell Froom, in 1996.
Disc One - Great Expectations: Expanded Edition (1992):
1. 'Sleeping Satellite'
3. 'Lords of the New Church'
4. 'When It Comes Down To It'
6. 'The Higher You Climb'
7. 'In Your Care'
8. 'Somebody's Daughter'
10. 'Ripper Inside'
11. 'Halfway To Heaven'
12. 'Man At The Window' (Acoustic Version)
13. 'Sea of Rest'
14. 'Strings of Desire'
15. 'Real Oh So Real'
16. 'Sleeping Satellite' (Acoustic Version)
17. 'In Your Care' (U.S. Radio Edit)
18. 'Lords of the New Church' (Radio Edit)
19. 'Arienne' (Radio Edit)
20. 'Somebody's Daughter' (Radio Edit)
By the '90s, music had started to die (in my humble opinion) and whilst the '80s greats could be relied on in 1992 (Kim Wilde, Sandra Cretu, Cathy Dennis and Annie Lennox, et al), out of nowhere, in a year of trite, monotonous dance-dirges and by-the-numbers trash-guitar indie rockers, Tasmin Archer rose like the eagle she namechecks with the beautiful, utterly captivating and magical 'Sleeping Satellite.'
A song that rose spectacularly from a low lying chart placing to make #1 in a month, it's actually amazing how, sometimes even in dire times, the realization of a grand, creative and good idea can be rewarded.Grand Expectations in 1992.
'Sleeping Satelite' is a staple of radio stations, and remains gorgeous, but no one should dismiss the album, for each of the remaining 10 tracks are concrete strong.
Aching, heart-rending ballads, with a delicious minimalist approach ('Ripped Inside', 'In Your Care', 'When It Comes Down To It') puts her winsome, aching vocals forefront.
Subjects here range from disregarding the world for space-exploration (the big hit), financially decimated townships, bogus religious leaders on the enticing swoop of intriguingly chosen third single 'Lords of the New Church', to the impoverished and the build-'em-up-to-knock-em-down regime of the business the lady now finds herself in; since her long-awaited but disappointing sophomore album consigned her to the scrapheap!
Disc Two - Bloom (Expanded Edition) (1996):
1. 'Sweet Little Truth'
2. 'After Hell'
3. 'One More Good Night With The Boys'
4. 'Rain Falling'
5. 'I Like It So'
6. 'Breaking My Back'
7. 'I Would Love To Be Right'
8. 'You Made a Fool of Me'
10. 'Give In With Grace'
11. 'In Your Garden'
13.' Itchycoo Park'
14. 'Tumbling Tumbleweeds'
15. 'Obeah Wedding' (Live)
17. 'Deep Dark Truthful Mirror'
18. 'All Grown Up'
19. 'New Amsterdam'
As aforementioned, and since her long-awaited, but disappointing sophomore album ('Bloom') consigned her to the scrapheap, personally, I don't see why it was so torn apart by the press / media at the time.
Tasmin still featured songs that were multi-pronged, intelligently approached and featured pure good-old fashioned instrument playing, alongside a select choice of well-constructed melody and winning choruses, but listening to it again today (with fresh ears, so to speak), sure, it's massively lacking in the hook-filled memorable winners arena, but it's just not that bad, truly.
That all said, you can listen to many good songs on Bloom, like 'Sweet Little Truth', 'One More Good Night with the Boys', 'I Would Love to Be Right', 'You Made a Fool of Me', 'Give in with Grace' and even the magical 'In Your Garden.
On a couple of the songs, cellist Caroline Lavelle is one of the musicians, while Mitchell Froom is the producer and one of the musicians too.
Oh, and this expanded edition now also contains her cover of Elvis Costello's brilliant 'Shipbuilding,' which she actually had released in 1994 as a stand alone EP (that itself featured a wonderful 8 tracks), along with her very rare version of ‘Itchycoo Park.’
As for why it "failed," well, it's an age old business story, I'm afraid. EMI Records were not supportive of the material that Tasmin had recorded, deeming it too uncommercial and too removed from the sound of her debut album.
Indeed, Tasmin and her songwriting partner John Hughes had to fight for almost a year with EMI executives to get the album released in the form they wanted it to be. Sadly, that didn't help their cause as it only reached #95 on the UK Albums Chart that year of release.
Disc Three - One More
1. 'Sleeping Satellite' (Extended Version)
2. 'Lords of the New Church' (Remix)
3. 'Ripped Inside' (12” Version)
4. 'The Higher You Climb' (Remix)
5. 'When It Comes Down To It' (12” Version)
6. 'Ripped Inside' (Ben Chapman Mix)
7. 'Sleeping Satellite' (Fitz Mix)
8. 'In You Care' (Live)
9. 'Lords of the New Church' (Live)
10. 'Steeltown' (Live)
11. 'Man At The Window' (Live)
12. 'After Hell' (Live)
13. 'Rain Falling' (Live)
14. 'Sleeping Satellite' (Rock Version)
The third and final disc is entitled One More and is a collection of 14 fully remastered alternative and extended mixes of her singles, but moreover features nearly all the aforementioned Shipbuilding EP live collection of songs (which include covers of songs written by Elvis Costello).
Given that, and perhaps unsurprisingly, Tasmin parted ways with her major label back in the day after her sophomore slump, she actually didn't make another album for 10 years, and then brought out 2006’s On.
So, and with not much having been heard of her since, and her only other release that comes close to this expanded feel being EMI’s 2009 The Best of Tasmin Archer - which also includes remixes, 12″ extended versions, et al - this new Cherry Red UK 3CD release 'Sweet Little Truths: EMI Years 1992-1996 is the dawn of yet another joyous deep dive back into an era of music seemingly long since forgotten, and yet resounding still has a heartbeat much stronger than most all music being force fed us today!
This 3CD Box-Set also adds detailed liner notes, photos and a complete discography to the package.
Title - 'Tales of the Soul'
Artist - Devin B. Thompson
For those not in the know, soul music is a deep well, and the mercury-voiced Devin B. Thompson plumbs the form to its depths in Tales of the Soul, the Chicago-based singer-songwriter’s striking Severn Records bow, which arrives October 30th, 2020.
Co-produced by Thompson, Severn founder David Earl, and pianist-musical director Kevin Anker, the 11-track release was recorded at the label’s Annapolis, Maryland, studio.
The collection features the company’s ace house band: Anker, guitarist Johnny Moeller, organist Benjie Porecki, bassist Steve Gomes, and drummer Robb Stupka.
The group’s earthy yet silken sound is augmented by a four-piece horn section, a hip-pocket chorus of background vocalists, and storied guitarist Robben Ford, who guests on two tracks.
1. 'Love To See You Smile'
2. 'I'm Gonna Cry A River'
3. 'Something You Can Do Today'
4. 'Back Together'
5. 'I Ain't No Good'
6. 'Get Home Tonight'
7. 'Can't Get Over You'
9. 'Read Your Mind'
10. 'Time After Time'
11. 'Tell Me'
Opening with the euphoric Gospel sounds of 'Love To See You Smile' that's backed by the mid-tempo, horn and organ-imbued flow of 'I'm Gonna Cry A River,' the gentle, Choir -like hipsway of 'Something You Can Do Today,' and then both the soulful R&B of 'Back Together' and the funky 'I Ain't No Good.'
Next up is the harmonious, one-two soul rhythm of 'Get Home Tonight,' which is followed by the slow roll of 'Can't Get Over You,' the lush 'Deeper,' the guitar-led pop funk of 'Read Your Mind,' rounding out on the Gospel-inspired 'Time After Time,' closing on the uptown, upbeat, foot-tappin' melodies of 'Tell Me.'
Tales of the Soul is the culmination of a musical career that began in Thompson’s early teens in the city of Joliet, just southwest of the Windy City.
He was the product of a musical family, and, like many a soul great, he has a church background: His father was a choir singer whose voice attracted the attention of the famed producer Thom Bell, and his sister also led a choir.
"I was playing trumpet and singing background in my older brother’s band,” Thompson recalls. “We started getting paid to play in variety shows when I was 14 or 15 years old, in Joliet. We’d play at places like the Ebony Terrace, the Sheraton Hotel, lounges.”
He increasingly segued into singing as the group played shows around the Midwest. “Because I was a horn player,” he says, “at first I didn’t really look to vocalists as any kind of inspiration."
"I was looking at instrumentalists — Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Guitar Watson. Those were the people I gravitated towards. Later on it was Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, the Staples, Donny Hathaway."
"Then I was introduced to the music of Joe Williams, the jazz singer, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett. I didn’t become interested in songwriting until I heard Prince, who became my favorite artist.”
Ultimately, the performer who would have the greatest impact on Thompson’s style and career was someone he knew personally.
“Willie Newsome was a huge influence,” he says. “I knew this man all my life. It’s a funny thing. I had a record player in my room, and I would go through all my dad’s old 45s."
"I threw one on and went, ‘Man, this is great. Who is this, Dad?’ The label said Frankie Newsome, and I didn’t know anybody named Frankie Newsome. He said, ‘Man, that’s Willie!’"
"He had a lot of records under different monikers — Little Willie Parker, Willie Parker, and Frankie Newsome.”
Thompson and Newsome eventually worked together in a Chicago-based society band, the Georgia Francis Orchestra. In 2015, some of Newsome’s highly prized singles for small Windy City labels attracted the attention of an English promoter, who featured him on a major Northern Soul festival in Manchester.
In closing, and although it was created half a continent away from his Midwestern stomping grounds, Devin B. Thompson’s Severn debut Tales of the Soul proved to be a surprising, and yet highly rewarding experience for the musician; as it will for listeners too.
Amazon Purchase Link
Title - 'Muscle Memory'
Artist - Kevin Godley
For those not in the know, the brand new album from Kevin Godley (known as the singer and drummer of the art rock band 10cc, and later as part of collaboration duo Godley & Creme -with Lol Creme - and is one of the pioneers of the pop music video; having worked with Blur, U2, The Charlatans, Phil Collins, Paul McCartney, Bryan Adams, and more), Muscle Memory, is his first ever solo album, and was actually originally due out in 2018.
However, due to an unforeseen circumstances, and a massive conspiracy theory that brought the crowd funding website Pledge Music to its knees, with the sit that launched the new album campaign now gone into administration, Godley had to take a step back.
And so whilst looking to give the project a new home, he luckily discovered a really interesting, independent UK label more than willing to help him relaunch the album: The state51 Conspiracy (December 17th, 2020).
The theory behind the project, for it isn't exactly a straightforward recording exercise, as Godley never met the people he worked with here (some not even "professional" musicians), was a coming together of all souls on his wavelength for a remote collaboration.
Furthermore, he tapped into the wellspring of musical talent coming out of bedrooms, campuses and computers all over the world by asking people to submit instrumental tracks that he turn into songs.
Indeed, he was sent over 285 tracks over a period of time and thus had to spend another long period of time whittling them down to the most stimulating eleven, adding lyrics and a top line to them all.
1. 'Expecting a Message'
2. 'The Ghosts of the Living'
3. 'Hit the Street'
4. 'The Bang Bang Theory'
5. '5 Minutes Alone'
6. 'Cut to the Cat'
7. 'One Day'
8. 'All Bones are White'
10. 'Song of Hate'
11. 'Bulletholes in the Sky'
The album marks Kevin’s first time fronting a project. His lyricism is cutting, political and provides a mood similar to film dialogue over classic pop lyricism.
Gun control, societal unrest, racism and questions regarding political correctness make for some of the most striking lyrical content likely heard on an alternative pop record.
Ergo, Muscle Memory is a dark record from someone not known for dark themes, but that doesn't mean each track is a depressing, dread-filled endeavor.
Far from it, as it opens on the jaunty pop of 'Expecting a Message' before free flowing into the translucent ambiance of 'The Ghosts of the Living,' which is itself backed by the gentle, lo-fi piano appeal of 'Hit the Street,' the percussion-led brilliance of 'The Bang Bang Theory,' and then the lush, at times ambient orchestrations of the magnificent '5 Minutes Alone.'
Next up is the one-two bass throb of 'Cut to the Cat' which is followed by the delightfully aromatic 'One Day,' the gently pulsating 'All Bones are White,' the melodic 'Periscope,' rounding out with the mid-tempo pop bounce of 'Song of Hate' (a collaboration with Australian singer/songwriter Gotye), closing on the balladeering, wood wind-imbued majesty of 'Bulletholes in the Sky.'
The composers’ identities have been concealed, in order to show no favoritism to well-known names, and to put all on a level playing field. The focus is on Godley and his lyrics, as he covers such topics as gun control, societal unrest, racism and questions regarding political correctness.
'Expecting a Message' (Official Video)
Amazon Purchase Link
The state51 Conspiracy @ Facebook
Title - 'DarWin II: A Frozen War'
Artist - DarWin
For those not in the know, following the release of his critically acclaimed debut album, Origin Of Species in early 2019, DarWin will release his follow up album, Darwin 2: A Frozen War on November 6th, 2020 via his own record label.
Once more DarWin has assembled a stunning ensemble of musicians, which means that DarWin II: A Frozen War continues the core collaboration with: Simon Phillips (drums, Toto/The Who/Jeff Beck), Matt Bissonette (Elton John, David Lee Roth, Ringo Starr) and DarWin. Joining them are powerhouse players Billy Sheehan (bass, Mr Big/ Steve Vai/Winery Dogs), Guthrie Govan (guitar, Aristocrats/Asia/Hans Zimmer/Steven Wilson), Greg Howe (guitar, Michael Jackson/Justin Timberlake), Derek Sherinian (keyboards, Dream Theater/Alice Cooper/Black Country Communion), and more!
This second album builds on the themes of Origin Of Species, with the first single 'Nightmare Of My Dreams' featured a stunning video centered around the theme of the recent wildfires; having also been filmed in areas of Australia directly affected.
The other tracks build on DarWin’s sound – drawing the best elements of progressive rock with a depth of vocal soundscapes and songwriting.
Indeed, there is a generous amount of guitar shred and heavy grooves on display for the rock faithful who demand athletic performances, but at the same time there are ethereal, pop and prog moments too, that combine perfectly to embody and gel the project.
1. 'Nightmare Of My Dreams' (7:07)
2. 'Future History' (5:39)
3. 'Eternal Life' (5:32)
4. 'A Frozen War' (7:31)
5. 'Another Year' (5:10)
Opening with the stirring, operatic, cultured orchestral prog mayhem of sound that resides in the melodic 'Nightmare Of My Dreams,' that's backed by the gentler, soothsaying AOR tale 'Future History.'
Next up - from the man singlehandedly opening our eyes, hearts and ears to the future of humanity and the challenging world around us - is my own personal favorite, the harmonious, pop rock of 'Eternal Life,' which is followed by a countdown into the thunderous, at times, passive and spoken word warnings, of 'A Frozen War,' coming to a close on the acoustic guitar-led, yet upbeat and poppy duet 'Another Year.'
The album is also be available in spectacular Double-Colored Eco-Vinyl Gatefold LP with a 30cm x 20cm poster included!
The first LP will be the standard album track listing, as above, whereas the second LP features new interpretations of various songs from the first two albums.
Highlighting the orchestral or unplugged performances of the earlier tracks, they were all mixed and rearranged by mastermind Simon Phillips, and show a more delicate and emotional side to the DarWin recordings.
The full track listing for the second LP of this magnificent Double-Colored Eco-Vinyl Gatefold LP is:
1. 'Escape the Maze' (Orchestral)
2. 'Nightmare of My Dreams' (Orchestral)
3. 'Slowly Melting' (Unplugged)
4. 'Forever' (Orchestral)
1. 'One Horizon' (Unplugged)
2. 'Rise' (Orchestral)
3. 'Last Chance' (Orchestral)
4. 'Another Year' (Acapella)
DarWin says. “We completed this album under extraordinary circumstances. The writing for the album continued as we wrapped Origin of Species in 2018, and our worlds were turned upside down by wildfires and viral pandemics."
"We’re grateful to the amazing group of musicians, artists and professionals who participated in this project. Almost no aspect of the creative process was “typical,” with team members spread out around the world, and often under lock down."
"We had our instruments, our technologies, and a passion for musical creativity. We hope that the emotion and resilience of this time period will come through these recordings.”
DarWin @ Facebook
DarWin @ YouTube
DarWin @ Spotify
Title - 'At That Hour'
Artist - Henry Dehlinger
If you are not in the know, San Francisco-native Henry Dehlinger, a prodigiously talented pianist and singer, turned his hand to full-time composition in 2015.
The skill and splendor of his music belies the relatively brief number of years he has committed pen to paper to create a considerable oeuvre of orchestral, chamber and choral music.At That Hour is a superlative showcase for Henrys craftmanship as well as his close collaborators, husband-and-wife team soprano Danielle Talamantes and bass-baritone Kerry Wilkerson.
Ten Poems of James Joyce
1. 'At That Hour When All Things Have Repose' (3.47)
2. 'Bahnhofstrasse' (4.22)
3. 'On the Beach at Fontana' (3.36)
4. 'Simples' (2.21)
5. 'Alone' (3.18)
6. 'Flood' (2.13)
7. 'Strings in the Earth and Air' (3.25)
8. 'Night Piece' (2.49)
9. 'Tutto è sciolto' (2.04)
10. 'A Memory of the Player in the Mirror at Midnight' (3.09)
11. 'Questa fiamma' (T.S. Eliot) (3.01)
12. 'Amore e ‘l cor gentil sono una cosa' (Dante) (3.51)
13. 'A Dream' (Edgar Allen Poe) (2.10)
14. 'The Mount' (Mark Riddles) (5.53)
15. 'Fragrance' (Mark Riddles) (5.37)
16. 'Shir Hashirim' (Biblical Hebrew) (8.15)
17. 'Requiescat' (Oscar Wilde) (3.26)
All of the songs on this original album of Henrys art songs were written expressly for Danielle's and Kerry's impassioned voices with the formers empoweringly sung, emotively ornate title track opening Henry's 10-part song cycle set to texts by James Joyce.
'Bahnhofstrasse' brings forth Kerry's bass-baritone, with Danielle back for the gently frenetic 'On the Beach at Fontana,' the wholehearted 'Simples' (Kerry), the stoically reaching 'Alone' (Danielle), and then we get the completely uproarious 'Flood' (Kerry).
The vocal trade off now stops as Danielle takes lead on both the flutteringly vibrant 'Strings in the Air and Earth' and the erstwhile 'Night Piece,' with Kerry coming back in for the throaty pairing of 'Tutto è sciolto' and 'A Memory of the Players in a Mirror at Midnight.'
Although adapted from the poem by T.S. Eliot, Dante Alighieri's 'Questa fiamma' is brought to life by Danielle, with Kerry adding his bass undertone to the duet 'Amore e ‘l cor gentil sono una cosa' thereafter, and that's backed by Edgar Allan Poe's 'A Dream' (Kerry), and a pairing from Danielle of Mark Riddles' hardened keys of 'The Mount,' followed by the soaringly ethereal 'Fragrance.'
The Hebrew writings of Song Of Songs is next brought forth by Kerry in the near-nine minute 'Shir Hashirim,' with the euphoric musical and vocal majesty of 'Requiescat' from Kerry bringing the album to a magnificent close.
In closing, and as much as inspiration for these songs obviously comes from poetry and texts by T.S. Eliot, Dante, Edgar Allen Poe, Oscar Wilde, and the others mentioned, throughout, Henry's modern yet tonal compositional voice shines through as he renders a diverse palette of musical styles to amplify the words he sets to music.
Official CD Purchase Link
AVIE Records @ Facebook
AVIE Records @ Twitter
Title - 'Slower'
Artist - Jules Shear
For those unaware, Slower (out November 13th, 2020 via Funzalo Records) is Jules Shear unfettered, transparent and raw, forging ahead as only he can, with lyrics that engage the mind and melodies that touch the heart, which he’s been doing since his very first solo album, 1983’s Watch Dog (produced by Todd Rundgren, and the first time Jules remembers being in Woodstock, now his permanent residence).
Indeed, that record included both Jules’ original versions of 'All Through the Night' and 'Whispering Your Name,' which became hits for Cyndi Lauper and Alison Moyet, respectively.
With no worries about radio airplay, streams, sales or even being cool — though he is, effortlessly — Shear has been creatively liberated to pursue his very idiosyncratic muse on Slower, which may describe his current lifestyle, but certainly not his prolific writing pace.
1. 'Me, Myself and I'
2. 'Why Is She Still Here'
3. 'She's Dancing'
5. 'Abandoned Chapel'
7. 'Nothing New Under The Sun'
8. 'The Other Day'
9. 'She Smiles'
Opening with the impassioned, lonesome ballad touting the joys of eating 'Sugar All Day' (which also features a delicious harmonica solo from guest, and fellow Woodstock denizen John Sebastian), Slower continues on with Shear trying to enjoy the present moments between past and future, yesterday and tomorrow, living and dying, all within the slow foot-tapper 'Between Hell and Hello.'
That's followed by the philosophical, tongue-in-cheek first single, 'Smart,' set for digital release on October 16th, 2020, which in turn is backed by Shear, revealing his rich vocal tapestry, singing the praises of companionship within 'It Came Down From Heaven,' the extolled melancholy of 'It's Love,' and then we get his ponderings on the onset of Autumn within the soft, beautiful ballad 'Feels Like Fall.'
Next up is the jazzy piano imbued new standard 'Today Like Tomorrow,' which in turn is backed by the ornate piano bed storytelling of 'One Pretty Please,' with his most personal work to date rounding out with the quietly organic build of 'Until Now,' closing on the elegantly delicate 'Call It Love.'
Much in the vein of his previous effort, One More Crooked Dance, Slower is yet another homegrown effort, again recorded at producer Lee Danziger’s home studio in Woodstock, a
10-minute ride from Shear’s home.
The end result works as a whole, a throwback to the Great American Songbook and Tin Pan Alley, late-night Sinatra torch ballads for swinging lovers, as well as Leonard Cohen/Dylan-esque folk dirges, laced with a none-too-self-serious gravitas and a whiff of imminent mortality.
“These songs all started with words, no music, and then I try to figure out what kind of song they sound like,” says Shear about making the new album. “I’ll take it from there and start messing with it, filling in the gaps with melody.”
These days, Shear’s songwriting process is similar to a jigsaw puzzle, juggling lyrics until they click into place, then creating music to “fill in the gaps.”
An old-school auteur in an age of multi-writer songs, Jules has tried to collaborate with others, but finds “I don’t think it ever turns out too good.”
'I hope people discover these new songs and cover them,” says Jules. “That’s a really nice way to make a living.”
Amazon CD Purchase Link
Jules Shear @ Facebook
Jules Shear @ Twitter
Title - Chicago-Buenos Aires Connections: 2
Artist - Carla Campopiano
If you are not in the know, the novelties in this wondrous brand new compilation result from a rupture with expectations.
Approaching music with a lens that dissociates the different elements of universal music, Carla Campopiano and company seek to bring them together in a fresh new way that resonates with our path and current perspective.
Ergo, Chicago-Buenos Aires Connections Vol. 2 features compositions by multiple celebrated Latin American composers who are rearranged and approached through the worlds of jazz and improvisation.
This is the result of an internal journey in which Carla and company have dedicatedly strived to expand their sound palette and expressiveness therein.
1. 'El Porteñito' (feat. Gustavo Cortinas & Kit Lylles)
2. 'Zamba Soltera' (feat. Gustavo Cortinas & Gabriel Datcu)
3. 'Vieja Viola' (feat. Gustavo Cortinas, Alba Guerra & Gabriel Datcu)
4. 'Nocturna' (feat. Gustavo Cortinas & Kit Lylles)
5. 'Lluvia' (feat. Gustavo Cortinas)
6. 'La Pomeña' (feat. Gustavo Cortinas, Alba Guerra & Gabriel Datcu)
7. 'Payadora (Live)' [feat. Gustavo Cortinas & Zac Selissen]
8. 'Lo Que Vendrá (Live)' [feat. Gustavo Cortinas & Zac Selissen]
Opening with the free-spirited, woodland, woodwind romp 'El Porteñito' (feat. Gustavo Cortinas and Kit Lylles), Carla backs that up seamlessly with the quieter paced 'Zamba Soltera' (feat. Gustavo Cortinas and Gabriel Datcu), the vocalized, sultry stylized 'Vieja Viola' (feat. Gustavo Cortinas, Alba Guerra & Gabriel Datcu), and the delightfully perky, whilst at all times handsomely restrained 'Nocturna' (feat. Gustavo Cortinas and Kit Lylles).
Next up is the hand and foot-tapping exuberance of 'Lluvia' (feat. Gustavo Cortinas), which is backed by the lush, lullaby endearing qualities of 'La Pomeña' (feat. Gustavo Cortinas, Alba Guerra and Gabriel Datcu), the euphoric, and live recording of 'Payadora [feat. Gustavo Cortinas and Zac Selissen], with the album coming to a close on another live track, the carefully orchestrated magnificence of 'Lo Que Vendrá' [feat. Gustavo Cortinas and Zac Selissen].
Amazon Digital Purchase Link
Carla Campopiano @ Facebook
Title - 'New York Strong: Latin Jazz!'
Artist - Noah Bless
If you are not in the know, a 30-year veteran of New York's rich Latin jazz scene, trombonist-composer Noah Bless has immersed himself in Afro-Cuban music, soaking up mambo and rhumba while getting the clave ingrained into his DNA.
A graduate of internationally renowned Cincinnati Conservatory, with a master's degree in jazz from the Manhattan School of Music, Bless didn't intend on pursuing this Latin jazz path when he arrived in the Big Apple in 1990.
Indeed, the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra was more in his personal wheelhouse. But as all working musicians know, especially those fresh arrivals to the city looking for a means to pay their rent, you go where the gigs are.
"There were a ton of clubs in New York at that time, and if you were a brass player and you could read music, you could do Latin gigs," Bless explains.
Bless found himself playing for dancers at the fabled Club Broadway on 96th & Broadway. "At that time, I was living on the Upper West Side and I used to walk to that gig," he recalls.
He persisted on the salsa scene and by 1992 was touring the world with Afro-Cuban jazz pioneer Mario Bauza. He subsequently put in time with salsa stars Celia Cruz, Oscar D'Leon and La India, Latin jazz innovator Eddie Palmieri, arranger-conductor Ray Santos, the Spanish Harlem Orchestra and Arturo O'Farrill's Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra.
On his ZOHO debut, New York Strong: Latin Jazz!, New York trombonist Noah Strong presents his Latin Jazz quintet within 6 Latin standards and 2 originals.
1. 'Chasing Normal' (Noah Bless) (5:36)
2. 'Ganga' (Rudy Calzado) (4:32)
3. 'Canto De Ossanha' (Baden Powel) (5:42)
4. '49th Street' (Bill Mobley) (4:15)
5. 'Ligia' (Antonio Carlos Jobim) (4:12)
6. 'The Key' (Noah Bless) (5:36)
7. 'Fire and Rain' (James Taylor) (5:04)
8. 'Sunny Ray' (Ray Santos) (5:01)
Opening with the dulcet, yet melodically orchestrated, and Bless original 'Chasing Normal,' that's backed by Kozlov’s tumbao groove carrying, free-flowing 'Ganga' (Rudy Calzado), then comes Baden Powell’s beguiling Afro-samba number 'Canto de Ossanha,' and then we get treated to the beguiling, intricate majesty of '49th Street' (Bill Mobley).
Laid upon a bed of softly soothing trombone, we next get the relaxed, soulful readings of the beautiful Carlos Jobim ballad 'Ligia,' which in turn is followed by the other Bless original here, the upbeat 'The Key,' with the album rounding out with James Taylor’s mellow folk rock anthem, 'Fire And Rain,' coming to a close on Ray Santos' mambo big band vibe (although noticeably done here in 7/4) 'Sunny Ray.'
“This was something I was planning to do in my 30s or 40s,” Bless reveals about his new album, "but I honestly think that it probably couldn’t have been made until now.”
Musicians: Noah Bless – trombone; Mike Eckroth – keyboards; Boris Koslov – bass; Pablo Bencid – drums; Luisito Quintero – percussion; with guest Alejandro Aviles – flute.
Amazon Digital Purchase Link
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Title - 'The Archaeology Project: 2005-2020'
Artist - Tim Morse
For those not in the know, The Archaeology Project is a compilation of prog music artist Tim Morse’s music from 2005-2020.
There’s no real concept for this release, given that it is a compilation album, however the title and the artwork ties the music of different eras together.
Morse began his instrument instruction at a young age and started composing immediately upon picking up the guitar. He later moved onto the piano and studied as a music composition major, writing extended pieces such as a string quartet and two piano sonatas.
During this time Tim performed with various rock and fusion bands and played on many recording sessions. Tim’s first album of original music was entitled Transformation and was released in 2005, his sophomore album Faithscience came out seven years later in 2012, with his last solo album, III coming out in 2018.
For the record, Morse has also been a member of The Mangoes, The Jerry Jennings Band and Parallels (Yes tribute).
1. 'Guitar Etude 1'
2. 'Apocalyptic Visions'
8. '200 Yards'
9. 'My Ally'
11. 'The Mary Celeste'
12. 'The Marquis'
14. 'The Corners'
This magnificent fourteen song retrospective of Morse's music from 2005-2020 opens with the new track 'Guitar Etude 1,' a short, contemplative 28 second introduction (which also uses a melody that comes from the very first song he ever wrote), and then we get the 15 minute (and longest track Morse has recorded to date) 'Apocalyptic Visions.'
Easily classified as a "big piece of music," it is primarily composed of three separate sections: I. The Endless Page, which is the opening, harmonic minor melody, II. Realization, the verse chorus; and III. The Vision, the trance mid-section.
The once-guitar instrumental 'Adrift' now has newly-written lyrics to it, and that's backed by the soaring 'Rome' (a song that was born out of Morse's concern that we are all simply poor stewards of the world), the euphonious 'Voyager' (another three-part song, this one inspired by the Berg book on Lindbergh and his historic flight), and then we get both the ornate, cricket-backed 'Window' (an instrumental born out of "noodling" on his guitar close to bedtime), and the lush goodbye song 'Afterword.'
Next up is the tongue-in-cheek '200 Yards,' which was also the first collaboration between himself and Bret Bingham for the first Mangoes CD, and then we get 'My Ally' (a true story about meeting his best friend in fifth grade), the atmospheric improvisation of 'Inertia,' and then comes one of my own personal favorites, 'The Mary Celeste' (a song about loss and how sudden loss can be the most difficult to process).
The jaunty, tongue-in-cheek, Andrew Gold-esque track dedicated to all of his inner critics, 'My Marquis' is up next and is followed by his Pink Floyd cover of 'Dogs' ("I've always been a fan of this song by Pink Floyd," Morse says. "It was great fun to do a cover of 'Dogs' and put my own stamp on it."), with the album closing on the ethereal 'The Corners' (a song inspired by the ending of the play 'Our Town' and dedicated to Farah Mirza).
“It seemed like a good time to reflect on the last fifteen years of being a recording artist," Morse explains. "It was fun revisiting these songs and choosing what I consider to be the best examples of my songwriting to feature on this collection."
"I’ve remastered the older songs with Craig Long and I have to say the music has never sounded better. I was so pleased with the work that I ended up remastering more music than could fit on one CD and so I’m offering five extra songs as a download for no additional charge."
"There is also a new solo guitar instrumental, a remix/new vocal for the Mangoes song ‘200 Yards’ and my cover version of the classic Pink Floyd song ‘Dogs’ on The Archaeology Project."
"I especially like the imagery that Jay Leek came up with for the project – it has a nice Hipgnosis feel to it.”
Order the Album By CLICKING HERE!
Tim Morse @ Facebook
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Title - 'Re Imaginos'
Artist - Albert Bouchard
For those not in the know, Albert Bouchard is best known as a founding member of Blue Öyster Cult with that original line-up selling millions of albums for Columbia Records and bringing us such classics as '(Don’t Fear) The Reaper' and the #1 hit on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart 'Burning For You'.
Contributing to songwriting, drums, and lead vocals on some of their greatest songs, such as 'Cites on Flame with Rock and Roll,' Albert is set to release Re Imaginos on November 6th, 2020 through he and his brother’s (Joe Bouchard) new imprint label, RockHeart Records / Deko Entertainment (ADA/Warner Music Group).
The album is Albert’s reimagining of the 1988 Blue Öyster Cult release, Imaginos, which was originally intended as Albert’s solo album.
As Albert explains, “Most BOC fans know at this point that Imaginos was supposed to be my solo album. Some people think it’s the best BOC album, others think it’s not a "true" BOC album."
"In either case, they’re right. I made this new album for them so that they can hear a more properly realized version of the tale."
1. 'I Am The One You Warned Me Of'
2. 'Del Rio Song'
3. 'In The Presence Of Another World'
4. 'Siege And Investiture Of Baron Von Frankenstein’s Castle At Weisseria'
5. 'Girl That Love Made Blind'
8. 'Gil Blanco County'
9. 'Blue Oyster Cult'
10. 'Black Telescope'
11. 'Magna of Illusion'
12. 'Les Invisibles'
As an extra insight into what to expect from this album, it weaves scripts and poems by the late Sandy Pearlman, a concept album about an alien conspiracy that is brought to fruition during the late 19th and early 20th century through the actions of Imaginos, an agent of evil.
Opening with the foot-tappin', rockin' blues of 'I Am The One You Warned Me Of,' Bouchard backs that up nicely with the mid-tempo flow of 'Del Rio Song,' the atmopsheric 'In The Presence Of Another World,' and then we get the wondrous pairing of the gently funky 'Siege And Investiture Of Baron Von Frankenstein’s Castle At Weisseria' and the wistful renderings of 'Girl That Love Made Blind.'
Up next is the rhythmic hand-clapping ambiance of 'Astronomy' which is backed by the mid-tempo rock of both 'Imaginos' and 'Gil Blanco County,' and then the always-brilliant to hear, but new rendition here of the powerful, drum-led 'Blue Oyster Cult.'
The Celtic-flow of 'Black Telescope,' the first single and video from the new album, tells the story of an undead creature that takes the form of a fish and now uses alchemy to rule the solar system, and that's followed by the beautiful hipsway of 'Magna of Illusion,' with this highly imaginative new rendering of a classic album closing on the gently frenetic rocker 'Les Invisibles.'
FYI: Also, to celebrate the launch of RockHeart Records and the release of Re Imaginos, the Bouchard brothers are offering a limited amount of the official RockHeart Records Cowbell autographed personally by both Joe and Albert!!
Albert’s infamous cowbell part in '(Don’t Fear) The Reaper' was the basis of the classic Will Ferrell skit on SNL, which also starred Christopher Walken.
With 'The Reaper,' an all-time classic on YouTube and every other digital platform, with zillions of views, the Bouchard brothers are forever cemented in pop culture.
There are limited edition “Cowbell” bundles (while supplies last), which can be ordered via: https://tinyurl.com/yyazk3os
Order the Album By CLICKING HERE!
Albert Bouchard - 'Black Telescope' (OFFICIAL VIDEO)
Title - 'On the Ending Earth... '
Artist - ANYONE
For those not in the know, ANYONE was formed by Riz Story, along with Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters) and Jon Davison (Yes) in the mid '90s in Laguna Beach, California.
Hawkins and Davison left and were replaced by the time the band signed with RoadRunner Records in 2000 and their self-titled debut album received much critical acclaim (including a 5-star rating from Rolling Stone).
In October of 2016 the single 'Fly Away' was featured in Story’s debut feature film A Winter Rose and became the most listened to rock song in the nation on digital formats, hitting #1 on the DRT National Airplay Rock Chart.
Other musicians of note that have been members of ANYONE include David Silveria (Korn) and guitarist Gretchen Menn.
TogethermenT Records has just-released the third full-length studio album by the critically acclaimed rock band ANYONE. Entitled On The Ending Earth ..., the album is available in download, streaming and CD on over 200 digital distributors including iTunes, Spotify and Amazon.
1. 'It’s Already Too Late'
2. 'Mother Superior'
3. 'Sip The Pleasure of Days'
4. 'All That Lives is Born to Die'
5. 'Thought I Was'
6. 'A Brief Sparkle in the Nothingness'
8. 'Sister Wrongway'
11. 'A Love Letter to Humanity'
12. 'Die With Me'
13. 'Fade To Black'
Opening on the drum-led, operatic rock 'It’s Already Too Late,' next up is the low '90s grunge crawl of 'Mother Superior,' the gently frenetic, yet always orchestrated 'Sip The Pleasure of Days,' the atmospheric, and ten minute long 'All That Lives is Born to Die,' and then the acoustic rock rendering of 'Thought I Was' is along next.
Then we get the wailing guitar and pulpy synth ambiance of 'A Brief Sparkle in the Nothingness' which is followed by the reaching ballad 'Lament,' the mid-tempo rocker 'Sister Wrongway,' the pop rock of 'Want,' and then comes one of my own personal favorites, the late '80s, hair band vibe of 'Sip.'
The album then rounds out with the dread rock of 'A Love Letter to Humanity,' the impassioned yearning of 'Die With Me,' closing on the tuneful slow death dance of 'Fade To Black.'
Says Riz, “On The Ending Earth... deals with the themes of the collapse and extinction. Lyrically it is filled with references to the annihilation of nature and the senseless destruction and suffering mankind brings upon itself."
"Songs like ‘It’s Already Too Late’ and ‘Lament’ express the mourning of vanishing species and consider that humanity is dooming itself to the same fate."
"‘Mother Superior’ is a meditation on how mankind has so greatly damaged ‘Mother’ earth. These themes run throughout the entire album and clearly reflect the troubling times we live in, in which everything from civic order to the planet's biosystems seem to be in full collapse."
"The album’s longer tracks, ‘All That Lives is Born to Die’ and ‘A Brief Sparkle in the Nothingness’ both explore the human reaction to living in such dystopian times."
"And the final track, ‘Fade To Black’ is an apocalyptic ode to humanity with its recurring lyric, 'Fade away, because you’re only a stain on the time.'”
ANYONE @ Facebook
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Title - 'Solitude'
Artist - Frank Kohl
For those not in the know, Frank Kohl has had a lifetime refining the art of jazz guitar. Born and raised in New York, Kohl began playing guitar at age eight.
Initially drawn to the pop music of the day like the Beatles and then playing and learning from the rock and blues musicians of that period.
It was time for a change, and at age sixteen, Kohl discovered the music of Wes Montgomery and began his path into jazz guitar. Fortunately, Kohl’s high school had one of the nation’s top Jazz Big Bands, and he began playing and learning with them.
From 72’ - 76’ Kohl attended and graduated from Berklee College Of Music. At this time, Frank was exposed to fellow students like Pat Metheny and John Scofield and teachers like Gary Burton.
After graduation, Frank headed back to NY and began performing regularly. In the mid-’80s, Kohl recorded his first album Reform with The Frank Kohl Quartet. The LP featured NY bassist Michael Moore. At the time, Michael was with pianist Bill Evans.
Kohl then packed up and headed west to California’s Bay Area. Always playing and staying musically active, Kohl landed a spot with Don McCaslin Senior’s band Warmth.
He was with Don for seven years, and at the time, Don’s son Donny McCaslin, a young tenor player who was also on the bandstand.
To date, Kohl has six CDs as a leader to his credit. Three of his CDs include NY bassist Steve LaSpina, who has played and recorded with Jim Hall, Pat Martino, Marian McPartland, and countless others.
Kohl’s last CD, The Crossing, featured LaSpina and guitarist John Stowell, an internationally recognized guitarist, clinician, and jazz innovator and his brand new, and seventh album, Solitude is out now.
1. 'Dreams in Color' (4:07) (Frank Kohl)
2. 'I Got It Bad' (4:15) (Duke Ellington)
3. 'Imagine This' (3:16) (Frank Kohl)
4. 'Solitude' (3:30) (Frank Kohl)
5. 'Alone Together' (5:09) (Jerome Kern)
6. 'A Call For Peace' (4:34) (Frank Kohl)
7. 'Fly Way' (4:08) (Frank Kohl)
8. 'Still Missing You' (3:24) (Frank Kohl)
9. 'City Lights '(2:51) (Oscar Peterson)
10. 'In Your Arms' (3:48) (Frank Kohl)
11. 'My Shining Hour' (4:00) (Harold Arlen)
12. 'Wide Open '(3:23) (Frank Kohl)
13. 'Once I Loved' (4:06) (AC Jobim)
Kohl’s latest offering, the aforementioned Solitude, is a lifelong goal of recording a solo guitar CD.
Absorbing the solo guitar approaches of greats like Joe Pass, Martin Taylor, John Stowell, among others. Kohl has found his own voice in this challenging medium and pays reverence to the solo guitar idiom so cherished in the jazz canon.
On an album where if you just push play on the CD and sit back in your comfy chair, closing you eyes to allow yourself to drift off with Kohl's musical background, his tapestry here of 13 tracks, all coming together to sound like one long evenings breeze is as calming, as ornately sculptured, and as reassuringly mellow and gorgeous as any music you would have ever wished to accompany your trip into slumber.
Frank Kohl @ Facebook
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Title - 'Christmas in 3D'
Artist - 3D Jazz Trio
For those not in the know, in the spirit of swingin’ holiday classics like A Charlie Brown Christmas (Vince Guaraldi Trio) and Ella Wishes You a Swingin’ Christmas (Ella Fitzgerald), the 3D Jazz Trio is thrilled to share their inspired arrangements of ten holiday favorites.
Selecting, arranging, performing, and recording these 10 songs was a heartfelt, joyful musical adventure, fueled by the warmth and magic of the season and the musicians’ happy holiday memories.
Indeed, the trio was so committed to capturing the holiday spirit that they wore their Christmas pajamas to the recording studio!
The 3D Jazz Trio’s motto is “Fiercely swinging on purpose, with purpose,” and while they uphold their motto with unbridled enthusiasm throughout the recording, listeners will also be treated to moments of calypso, samba, salsa, gospel, and even a little bit of country, all creating sounds of the season for everyone to enjoy year after year!
1. Winter Wonderland 6:01
2. Up on the Housetop 3:03
3. Greensleeves 5:12
4. O Christmas Tree 4:41
5. Please Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas) 3:50
6. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen 3:52
7. I Wonder As I Wander 5:32
8. White Christmas 3:52
9. Silent Night 5:38
10. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas 7:08)
Opening on the piano tinkling brilliance of 'Winter Wonderland,' they back that up seamlessly with the frantic, yet cultured and drum-led 'Up on the Housetop,' the foot-tappin' 'Greensleeves,' the joyful Charlie Brown themed 'O Christmas Tree,' and then we get the fervent hoedown appeal, and a uniquely different approach to 'Please Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas).
The stand up bass of 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen' is brought forth next, and that's followed by the lighter, twinkling ambiance of 'I Wonder As I Wander,' the jingle bell enhanced 'White Christmas,' coming to a close on a bluesy 'Silent Night,' and then the finger-snappin', slow hipsway of 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.'
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Title - 'Glitter & Grits'
Artist - Deborah Silver
For those not in the know, when a legend and icon like Quincy Jones raves about an artist by saying, “... her strong and sultry vocals are seductive and soul-soothing. Her talent and beauty are equally extraordinary. One listen and you know she is the real deal,” you can be sure music fans everywhere will take notice and wonder just who that artist is!
In this case, that would be Mississippi-born Deborah Silver, back to follow up her chart-topping album, The Gold Standards. Produced by Steve Tyrell with arrangements by Alan Broadbent, it reached #1 on Billboard’s Traditional Jazz Albums chart while also landing at #1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Albums chart; and in the #2 spot on the Jazz Albums chart.
And so, here on the just-released Glitter & Grits, her new album produced by industry legend Ray Benson, it also features musicians from his 10x GRAMMY award-winning band, Asleep at the Wheel.
1. 'I Got Rhythm' (3:26) (G. Gershwin - I. Gershwin)
2. 'That Old Black Magic' (3:28) (H. Arlen - J. Mercer)
3. 'I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself A Letter' (4:40) (F. Ahlert - J. Young)
4. 'After You’ve Gone' (3:44) (T. Layton - H. Creamer)
5. 'Ballin’ The Jack' (3:07) (feat. Ray Benson) (Smith - J. Burris)
6. 'Almost Like Being In Love 2:35 (Loewe - A.J. Lerner)
7. 'Get Happy' (3:20) (H. Arlen - T. Koehler)
8. 'Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive' (2:57) (H. Arlen - J. Mercer)
9. 'Embraceable You' (3:45) (G. Gershwin - I. Gershwin)
10. 'Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home 3:19 (H. Cannon)
11. 'Don’t Get Around Much Anymore' (feat. Mickey Raphael on Harmonica) (2:44) (D. Ellington - B. Russell)
12. 'Fly Me To The Moon' (3:17) (B. Howard)
13. 'Deep In The Heart Of Texas' (feat Mickey Raphael on Harmonica) (3:01) (D. Swander - J. Hershey)
Opening with Gershwin's high tempo jazz standard 'I Got Rhythm,' she follows that neatly with an upbeat 'That Old Black Magic' (which was originally written for the 1942 film Star Spangled Rhythm), the popular 1935 song 'I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself A Letter,' and then we get the lush lullaby 'After You’ve Gone' and the simply magnificent 1913 song (done here as a duet) that introduced a popular dance of the same name, 'Ballin’ The Jack' (feat. Ray Benson).
Next up is the delightful and airy 'Almost Like Being In Love' (written for the score of the 1947 musical, Brigadoon), the joyous melodies of a track that echoes themes of a Christian evangelical revivalist meeting, 'Get Happy,' with the 1944 gem 'Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive' along next, which is itself backed by another Gershwin track, 'Embraceable You' (which was actually written in 1928 for an unpublished operetta named East Is West).
Rounding out this divine new album, we first get a well-known standard with Dixieland and traditional jazz bands, the upbeat 'Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home,' which is followed by Duke Ellington's free flowing ballad 'Don’t Get Around Much Anymore' (feat. Mickey Raphael on Harmonica), and then the album comes to a close on the gentle finger-snap rhythm of 'Fly Me To The Moon,' and the train track bounce, whistle sounding ambiance of 'Deep In The Heart Of Texas' (once again, feat. Mickey Raphael on Harmonica).
In closing, Glitter & Grits reinforces Silver’s immense versatility, as she takes us on a journey through genres ranging from jazz to country and Americana while also exposing a new audience to an array of Great American Songbook classics and more.
The unique Western swing style brings these songs to life in a dynamic and uplifting way.
Players & Instruments
TFloyd Domino – Piano
David Sanger – Drums
Josh Hoag – Bass
Dennis Ludiker – Fiddle
Eddie Rivers – Steel Guitar
Deborah Silver @ Twitter
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Deborah Silber @ YouTube
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Title - 'Honoring Louis Armstrong'
Artist - John Redmon & The Thomas J. Dawson, Jr. iOrchestra
For those not in the know, Honoring Louis Armstrong is a fantastic, 10-track musical tribute album featuring Louis Armstrong impressionist John Redmon and The Thomas J. Dawson, Jr. iOrchestra.
Redmon and Dawson have combined forces to pay homage to jazz legend and Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame Inductee Louis Armstrong, a man of inescapable influence.
With Redmon sounding as close to Armstrong as anyone I have had the pleasure to musically behold before today, guest artists also include Linda Purl, Charles Buie, Committed, Phil & Brenda Nicholas and the Fresh Start Baptist Church Male Chorus of Fountain, Colorado.
2. 'Blessed Assurance' (feat. Committed)
3. 'Just a Closer Walk with Thee (Medley)' (feat. Fresh Start Baptist Church Male Chorus)
4. 'Summertime' (feat. Linda Purl and Thomas J. Dawson, Jr.)
5. 'When the Saints (Medley)' (feat. Fresh Start Baptist Church Male Chorus)
6. 'O Danny Boy' (feat. Fresh Start Baptist Church Male Chorus)
7. 'Smile' (feat. Charles Buie)
8. 'Precious Lord (feat. Fresh Start Baptist Church Male Chorus, Phil & Brenda Nicholas)
9. 'What a Wonderful World'
Opening on the Martin Luther King-imbued 'Overture,' they back that up with the an immaculate “Satchmo” interpretation of 'Blessed Assurance' (feat. Committed), the trumpet-inspired 'Just a Closer Walk with Thee (Medley)' (feat. Fresh Start Baptist Church Male Chorus), and then we get the dulcetly beautiful 'Summertime' (feat. Linda Purl and Thomas J. Dawson, Jr.), and the spiritual magnificence of 'When the Saints (Medley)' (feat. Fresh Start Baptist Church Male Chorus).
Next up we get the near spoken word ambiance of 'O Danny Boy' (feat. Fresh Start Baptist Church Male Chorus), which is followed by 'Smile' (feat. Charles Buie), which was Armstrong's attempt at the style of Guy Lombardo, and then we get the uplifting Gospel delicacy 'Precious Lord' (feat. Fresh Start Baptist Church Male Chorus, Phil & Brenda Nicholas), and then the album rounds out with the awesome orchestrations of 'What a Wonderful World,' closing on John Lennon's, here spoken/sung classic, 'Imagine.'
John Redmon @ Twitter
John Redmon @ Twitter
Reaching Records @ Twitter
'Imagine' Video (World Premiere) - John Redmon & The Thomas J. Dawson, Jr. iOrchestra
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Title - 'Fab Fan Memories: The Beatles Bond'
Artist - Louise Harrison
For those not in the know, hosted by Louise Harrison (sister of George Harrison), Fab Fan Memories: The Beatles Bond is a unique spoken word recording featuring the personal stories of true Beatles fans!
Heartwarming, funny, and totally fab, it is truly an album by the fans for the fans and is as wonderous to hear now as I'm sure it was to record back then.
For most people back then, the Beatles were the world's greatest band (although, in truth, it was the Rolling Stones, sorry), and this delightful collection brings those early days of the Beatles' heyday in 1964 lovingly to the vocal fore once again.
As we listen along, we are regaled with stories of the Beatles' meteoric arrival in America on February 7th, 1964 (otherwise know since as Beatles' Day), we get to hear views and stories about their celebrated televised performance on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9th, 1964 and oh-so much more!
Narrated by George's only sister, Louise narrates with a tone of adoration and honest desire to bring all she can back to the many recollections of those days here on this wondrous new album.
Just listening to it through twice now, I still remain "trapped" there in 1964, the words and music coming from this CD now embedded within my head.
The vocalized memories of Beatlemania that came to be along with the numerous fan memories, background music, and the narrative/memories by Louise simply make this a must-have for all self-respecting Beatles fans!
Title - Jerry's Smilin': Guitar Tribute To Grateful Dead
Artist - Damià Timoner
For those not in the know, Damià Timoner has done something remarkable here.
An acclaimed and virtuosic Mallorca, Spain-based guitarist, arranger, and conceptual thinker - he has rendered an elegant and entertaining musical portrait of one of the world's most legendary rock bands.
A self-described "Deadhead," Timoner initially learned about The Grateful Dead by reading about them in the newspaper. He picked up a few of their LPs including What a Long Strange Trip It's Been (1977) and Live / Dead (1969).
And that was it. He listened to their music in earnest and became a lifelong fan. "The Grateful Dead changed my view of music and life," he explains.
Sometimes you come across a production that makes you fundamentally rethink an artist or band. That's what Timoner has done with his brand new album, Jerry's Smilin': A Guitar Tribute To The Grateful Dead.
1. 'Brown-Eyed Women'
2. 'Ramble On Rose'
4. 'Built To Last'
5. 'Lady With A Fan / Terrapin Station'
6. 'Blow Away'
9. 'Dark Star'
10. 'Touch of Grey'
Having created a Latin jazz window for new audiences and generations to discover The Grateful Dead's music, Timoner opens on the one-two pop bounce of 'Brown-Eyed Women' (which was first performed by the Grateful Dead in August 1971 and was then a regular part of the repertoire being absent in only 1975), and backs that up with the low slung 'Ramble On Rose,' the perfect-for-nylon-string guitar vibe of 'Cassidy.'
Next we get the lo-fi, smooth groove of 'Built To Last' and the gently funky, hazy-swazy ambiance of 'Lady With A Fan / Terrapin Station' (and which are also the first two songs of a 7-movement suite named 'Terrapin', forming all of side two of the LP Terrapin Station, released by the Grateful Dead in 1977).
Timoner's Latin guitar take on the AOR of 'Blow Away' has to be heard to be believed, and is backed beautifully by the slow, melancholic crawl Americana of 'Loser,' then we get an immaculate rendition of the jaunty, feelgood blues of 'Operator,' with this highly imaginative album coming to a close on the original psychedelic guitar and keys sound trip 'Dark Star,' closing on the can-do optimism and self-improvement pop rock message within 'Touch of Grey.'
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Title - 'The Drones: The Albums' [4CD]
Artist - The Drones
For those unware, The Drones are an English punk rock band from Manchester, England who for a period of time, were in their early days produced and managed by Paul Morley.
One critic wrote: "Bonafide DIY three-chord wonders, the Drones were there at punk’s inception," and if you know anything of their music, that about sums them up.
Indeed, The Drones were reformed at the beginning of 2016 by original members Gus & Wispa, but Gus subsequently retired due to ill health, and the current line-up is Wispa on bass and vocals, Brian (Mad Muffet) Grantham on drums, and Al Crosby on lead guitar.
The just-released The Drones: The Albums (via Captain Oi and Cherry Red Records, UK) is a 59 track, 4CD round up of everything released between 1977-1999 by these Manchester punk legends, The Drones.
Disc One - Further Temptations (1977):
1. 'Persecution Complex'
2. 'Bone Tool'
4. 'Be My Baby
5. 'Corgi Crap'
6. 'Sad So Sad'
7. 'The Change'
9. 'The Underdog'
10. 'No More Time'
11. 'City Drones'
12. 'Just Want To Be Myself'
13. 'Lift Off The Bans'
Disc One is their debut 13 track album Further Temptations, and album that was voted by Q Magazine into their 100 Most Important Punk Albums Of All Time in 2002.
The Drones had a hard-charging and somewhat more professional sound than the other Brit-punk bands of '77. They also show a good range. Tracks like 'Persecution Complex' and 'Movement' are full-bore rockers, while 'City Drones' is more melodic, and 'Sad So Sad' features the kind of football-chant chorus that became emblematic of British punk.
The album also includes two re-recorded tracks in both 'Corgi Crap' and 'Lookalikes,' which originate from their vibrantly brilliant debut 7" Single, "Temptations of a White Collar Worker."
Disc Two - Rarities:
1. 'Search and Destroy' (1977 Demo) (Temptations EP)
3. 'Corgi Crap'
4. 'Hard On Me'
5. 'You'll Lose' (Single)
6. 'Just Want To Be Myself'
7. 'Bone Idol' (John Peel Session)
8. 'Be My Baby'
9. 'The Change'
12. 'Persecution Complex' (Live)
13. 'She's OK' (June 1978 Demo)
14. 'Clique' (June 1978 Demo)
15. 'Johnny Go Home' (September 1978 Demo)
16. 'Then I Kissed Her' (September 1978 Demo)
17. 'Fooled' (May 1979 Demo)
18. 'You Never Notice' (1978 Demo) 9Single)
19. 'Can't See'
20. 'Fooled Today'
Disc Two is a 20 track round up of non-LP singles, B-sides and demos plus a previously unreleased four track session for John Peel.
A quite outstanding collection of true The Drones rarities, the stand outs here are, in my humble opinion, the propulsive 'Search and Destroy' (a 1977 Demo from their Temptations EP), 'Bone Idol' (from the always-brilliant to listen to John Peel Sessions), the stunning live cut 'Persecution Complex, and the raw excellence of 'You Never Notice' (a 1978 Demo Single.
Disc Three - Sorted (1999)
2. 'Johnny Go Home' (Re-Mix)
3. 'Dirty Bastards'
5. 'Psychotic Woman'
6. 'American Pie'
7. 'The Phone'
8. 'Good Girl'
9. 'I’ll Get Back To You'
10. 'I Don't Care'
11. 'Jon The Postman'
12. 'I Heard It Through The Grapevine'
The third disc is the band’s 1999 studio ‘comeback’ album Sorted, which was actually originally released as Dirty Bastards).
Released some 22 years after its predecessor, Further Temptations, Sorted (now with only singer Mike Howells and guitarist Gus Callender remaining from the original '70s line-up ... but seeing as they were the band's creative core all along, the use of a different rhythm section doesn't harm anything), was hurt by the generally lackluster songwriting; which rarely ventures out of a comfort zone of three-minute midtempo guitar rock tunes that remind the historically knowledgeable listener that prior to their 1977 punk epiphany.
The problem is that the few originals that most closely resemble vintage punk, most notably the sneering 'Dirty Bastards,' sound terribly forced.
The pair of covers, the Motown classic 'I Heard It Through the Grapevine' (already forever connected to the Slits when it comes to U.K. punk covers) and a drastically shortened take on Don McLean's 'American Pie,' are, well, simply put, subpar at best, sorry.
Disc Four - Take Shelter (Live in Japan)
2. 'Just Want To Be Myself'
3. 'Sad So Sad'
4. 'The Change'
5. 'City Drones'
6. 'Be My Baby'
7. 'You'll Lose'
8. 'Corgi Crap'
9. 'Bone Idol'
11. 'No More Time'
13. 'Lift Off The Bans'
14. 'Persecution Complex'
The final disc is a 14 track In Concert album recorded in Japan in 1998 and features all their go-to favorites, along with a few deep cuts too.
In truth, it's wonderful to still hear their old stuff live even today, and this late '90s show has a power-packed atmosphere to it, as you would well imagine.
The detailed CD liner notes have been overseen by the band’s long time manager Dave Bentley and the booklet contains pictures of all relevant record sleeves plus clippings from the era.
Original bassist Whispa still fronts a version of The Drones to this day so if you get the chance, go check them out.
Title - 'Psychosis: Homage to Bernard Herrmann'
Artist - Carla Marciano Quartet
If you are not in the know, Italian Saxophonist and composer Carla Marciano is considered by specialized critics among the best talents of European jazz and one of today's strongest female saxophonists.
Graduating in clarinet from the Conservatory of her hometown, Salerno, she is an alto-saxophone specialist, appreciated for her great passion and energy, her strong expressiveness, her advanced technique as well as her distinctive performing and compositional streak.
She is also one of the leading experts of the rarely-used and hard-to-master sopranino saxophone.
As leader of her stable quartet - made up of some of the best musicians on the Italian scene, namely Alessandro La Corte, Aldo Vigorite and Gaetano Fasano - she has four CDs under her belt, three of which were produced by the historic label Black Saint.
The fifth CD, Psychosis: Homage to Bernard Herrmann (out now via Challenge Records) marks her debut with the prestigious Dutch Label.
1. 'Theme from “Taxi Driver” (Betsy’s Theme)' (9:18)
2. 'Theme from “Marnie” (Prelude)' (11:31)
3. 'From “Marnie” to “Twisted Nerve”' (5:05)
4. 'Theme from “Twisted Nerve” (Theme & Variations)' (8:37)
5. 'Theme from “Psycho” (Prelude)' (9:18)
6. 'Theme from “Vertigo' (Prelude)' (5:23)
7. 'Theme from “Vertigo' (Scene d'Amour)' (10:06)
8. 'Theme from “Harry Potter” (Hedwig’s Theme)' (9:46)
The Italian-born saxophonist opens with the atmospheric, reaching 'Theme from “Taxi Driver” (Betsy’s Theme)' and backs that up seamlessly with the orchestrally psychedelic-imbued 'Theme from “Marnie” (Prelude),' the Quartet's harmonic variants truly coming to the fore on 'From “Marnie” to “Twisted Nerve”,' and then we get one of my favorite cuts on this wonderful new album, the melodically reassembled 'Theme from “Twisted Nerve” (Theme & Variations).'
Up next is the well-known 'Theme from “Psycho” (Prelude),' here eerily set to poignant and statically charged piano work that relentlessly builds until its obvious conclusion, then we get the more contemporary sounds of the paired 'Theme from “Vertigo' (Prelude)' and 'Theme from “Vertigo' (Scene d'Amour),' before we get an additional track; an homage to the great composing genius himself, John Williams, 'Theme from “Harry Potter” (Hedwig’s Theme)' and which was arranged by Alessandro La Corte.
"This album is my heartfelt homage to one of the greatest geniuses of film score, the composer and conductor Bernard Herrmann, whose music has dazzled me since I was a child<" Marciano explains.
"It has been very interesting to arrange, revise and adapt, for a jazz quartet, some of the best known themes from outstanding soundtracks Herrmann write for equally outstanding films - all psychological thrillers - by brilliant directors, including Marnie, Psycho and Vertigo by Alfred Hitchcock, Taxi Driver by Martin Scorsese and Twisted Nerve by Roy Boulting."
"Bearing a classic feel and originally conceived for orchestras, the tracks in this album were arranged in full respect of the originals, leaving intact, for example, the beauty of the melodies, while at the same time creating new improvisational spaces that would allow our quartet to maintain its own identity."
"This also gave us the opportunity to progress in a musical journey we embarked on starting with the first album, and me, personally, to hold the course of my visceral, improvisational language, always instinctive and open to risk, an expression of my emotional, spiritual and existential self, baring my soul in absolute freedom through no compromise whatsoever, but rather driven by a strong desire for research and experimentation."
"I consider the emotions and stimulations generated in me by Herrmanns music, together with the films in which its featured, a wonderful gift," Marciano concludes. "I hope I have been able to thank him through our heartfelt work."
Amazon Purchase Link
Title - 'Ariel Views'
Artist - Todd Mosby
If you are not in the know, the brand new album from Todd Mosby, Aerial Views has to do with a view from above, seeing the big picture while encompassing a sense freedom.
It has to do with the aether in which we live and the worlds which it envelops. Indeed, early childhood experiences flying his fathers plane developed sovereignty and independence for Mosby and all that and so much more shines through here on this quite soothing vibrant album.
2. 'Across America'
4. 'Earth & Sky'
5. 'Into Starlight'
7. 'Between the Clouds'
8. 'Blue Horizons'
9. 'To the Sky'
10. 'Ariel Views'
11. 'Solo Flight'
12. 'Shining Lights'
Aerial Views is the third in a series of concept albums which highlight the natural elements (this set of recordings embraces air) and it opens with the free flowing majesty of 'Gliding' and backs that up seamlessly with the more deliberately paced 'Across America,' and then the sumptuous ballad 'Aether.'
Next up is the Eastern-imbued 'Earth & Sky,' and then we get the stoic, yet cultivated 'Into Starlight,' the beautiful ballad 'Sylphs,' the ornate 'Between the Clouds,' the lush one-two rhythmic hipsway of 'Blue Horizon,' and then the gorgeous guitar orchestrations of 'To the Sky.'
One of my own personal favorites is up next in the form of the twinkling title track, 'Ariel Views,' and then the album rounds out with another Eastern-imbued ambiance, this time to 'Solo Flight,' closing on the upbeat, and foot-snappin' 'Shining Lights' (with vocals from Lola Kristine).
Musicians: Todd Mosby: acoustic & electric guitars, Imrat guitars; Charlie Bisharat: violin; Tony Levin: bass; Jerry Marotta: drums; Michael Manring: bass; Jeff Haynes: percussion; Premik R Tubbs: sax, lap steel, wind synth; Lola Kristine: rhodes, piano, vocals; Tom Eaton: rhodes, piano, synth pads; Sean Harkness: bass; and Kristin Hoffmann: backing vocals.
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Title - 'Christmas'
Artist - Simone Kopmajer
If you are not in the know, it's about that time to get into the holiday spirit with Simone Kopmajer´s brand new album Christmas (out November 20th, 2020), a collection of 16 seasonal favorites along with songs from her homeland Austria, beautifully performed by Grammy nominee John di Martino and his band.
The songs have been recorded in several studios in the USA and Austria presenting Christmas classics from all over the world and for the very first time, some of these have been arranged featuring both a jazz band and traditional folk music instruments.
Simone Kopmajer also captures the very spirit of Christmas in duets with Allan Harris, Ina Regen, Viktor Gernot and many more here on this beautiful and sumptuous new holiday album.
1. 'Santa Baby'
2. 'Jingle Bells'
3. 'Leise Rieselt Der Schnee' (feat. The Schick Sisters)
4. 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' (feat. Victor Gernot)
5. 'Christmas Time is Here'
6. 'The Most Wonderful Time' (feat. Anna Catharina)
7. 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas'
8. 'Es Wird Scho Glei Dumpa' (feat. Ina Regen)
9. 'Driving Home for Christmas'
10. 'The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)' (feat. Allan Harris)
11. 'Feliz Navidad'
12. 'My Grown-Up Christmas List'
13. 'White Christmas'
14. 'Oh Heiland, Reiss Die Himmel Auf' (feat. Willi Resetaritis)
15. 'Is finsta draußt'
15. 'Silent Night / Stille Nacht'
This magical Christmas album opens with the soft and sultry 'Santa Baby,' which is followed by the upbeat and breezy 'Jingle Bells,' the gentle whisperings of 'Leise Rieselt Der Schnee' (feat. The Schick Sisters), and then comes the fun duet 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' (feat. Victor Gernot) and the lush 'Christmas Time is Here.'
Next up is the buoyant and joyous pop of 'The Most Wonderful Time' (feat. Anna Catharina), which is backed perfectly by the laid back, traditionally vocalized 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,' the simply breathtaking 'Es Wird Scho Glei Dumpa' (feat. Ina Regen), and then the ornate beauty of Chris Rea's always-fantastic-to-hear 'Driving Home for Christmas,' and then we get the inner warmth of 'The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)' (feat. Allan Harris).
Up next is one of my own personal favorites, Kopmajer's mid-tempo rendering of 'Feliz Navidad,' which is backed by the storytelling of 'My Grown-Up Christmas List,' a breathy undertaking of 'White Christmas,' with the album rounding out on the stern, yet magical 'Oh Heiland, Reiss Die Himmel Auf' (feat. Willi Resetaritis), the gentleness of 'Is finsta draußt,' closing on the beautifully chilling 'Silent Night / Stille Nacht.'
Amazon Purchase Link
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Title - Love You Madly: Live At Bubba's [2CD Edition]
Artist - Monty Alexander
For those not in the know, the award-winning independent jazz label Resonance Records has just unearthed yet another hitherto unheard gem with the release of the two-LP recording by master pianist and GRAMMY® Award-nominee Monty Alexander, Love You Madly: Live at Bubba’s.
Drawn from Alexander’s personal collection, the vigorous, imaginative performances on Love You Madly were recorded at the titular Fort Lauderdale, FL, nightclub on August 6th, 1982.
The recording engineer was the late Mack Emerman, legendary founder of Miami’s Criteria Recording Studios, the state-of-the-art facility where the Bee Gees, Eric Clapton, the Allman Brothers Band, and Aretha Franklin, among many others, had cut some of their biggest pop hits.
1. 'Arthur's Theme' (7:42)
2. 'Love You Madly' (8:08)
3. 'Samba De Orfeu' (6:26)
4. 'Sweet Lady' (5:57)
5. 'Eleuthra' (9:34)
6. 'Reggae Later' (7:49)
This 13-track, 92-minute release makes its first CD appearance as a two-disc package, available everywhere now, and opens on the stupendous, and totally captivating 'Arthur's Theme,' which itself sets the listener up very nicely for what's to come.
And that would be the title track, the lushly divine orchestrations of 'Love You Madly' which are backed by the upbeat, gently frenetic, yet always controlled percussion work of 'Samba De Orfeu,' the ornately stunning 'Sweet Lady,' and then both the lo-fi funky smoothness of 'Eleuthra,' and the melodic, Caribbean-imbued 'Reggae Later' bringing the first disc to a close.
1. 'Blues For Edith' (6:46)
2. 'Fungii Mama' (10:08)
3. 'Consider' (6:08)
4. 'Montevideo' (7:06)
5. 'Body and Soul' (7:20)
6. 'Swamp Fire' (3:53)
7. 'SKJ' (4:55)
The second disc opens on the snazzy, jazzy blues of 'Blues For Edith' which is followed by the furtively upbeat and joyous 'Fungii Mama,' the delicate, fragile 'Consider,' the deliriously obsessive 'Montevideo,' and then we get the sweepingly elegant 'Body and Soul,' with the second disc rounding out on the frenetic wonderment of 'Swamp Fire,' closing on the playful jaunt of 'SKJ.'
In his overview essay, jazz historian Willard Jenkins says of the resultant recording, “For this date at Bubba’s, Monty Alexander drew up neatly balanced set lists that touched upon several facets of his expansive bag, including standards, ballads, blues, island perspectives and southern exposures ranging as far south as Brazil."
"[Love You Madly] provides a wonderful survey of the leader's gifts and his enormous rhythmic palette on the wings of his consummate piano artistry.”
Booklets for both the LP and CD editions include fresh interviews, newly commissioned essays, and photos by Jan Persson, Raymond Ross, Brian McMillen and Brigitte Charvolin. Accompanying Alexander on this spirited live date are bassist Paul Berner (Lionel Hampton Orchestra), drummer Duffy Jackson (Milt Jackson, Benny Carter), and percussionist Robert Thomas, Jr. (Weather Report, Jaco Pastorius, Carlos Santana).
FYI: The limited-edition vinyl package is mastered by Bernie Grundman and pressed at 33-1/3 rpm by RTI.
Official Purchase Link
Title - 'Straight To You: Live' (CD+DVD)
Artist - Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band
If you are not in the know, The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band have just released their first ever live CD/DVD this November 27th, 2020 via Provogue.
Entitled Straight To You: Live, aside from this CD/DVD version it will also be released on CD/Blu-ray, 2LP RED transparent vinyl and digitally.
"The calls have been coming for a long time," explains Shepherd. "People have been asking us to do a live DVD forever, for decades. We've been working so much focusing on studio recordings, but I've been hearing the call from the fans for many years now."
And so with live music at a complete standstill currently, the band wanted to give the fans a taste once again of that experience, and believe me when I say that this blistering set shows them in full force.
Indeed, their only other live output, the Live! In Chicago album was released a decade ago and got itself a Grammy-nomination along the way, but this time around for 2020, you get to watch the band in its full glory as well as listen here on this incredible CD/DVD set.
In the last 10 years the multi-platinum selling Shepherd has gone from strength to strength, winning countless awards, releasing four studio albums and touring the world over several times - from Brazil to Europe, India to Canada and US to Australia and beyond.
The Traveler was released in May last year, giving the band their 8th US Billboard Blues #1 album, when they hit the road. But, sadly, The Traveler World Tour was interrupted when the Covid-19 pandemic broke, and the world came to a standstill.
Straight To You: Live is a show that took place at the famous Leverkusen Jazzstage for the iconic German TV show, Rockpalast on November 25th, 2019.
1. 'Woman Like You'
2. 'Long Time Running'
3. 'I Want You'
4. 'Diamonds & Gold'
6. 'Talk To Me Baby'
7. 'Heat Of The Sun'
8. 'Down For Love'
9. 'Shame, Shame, Shame'
10. 'Turn To Stone'
11. 'Blue On Black'
12. 'I'm A King Bee'
13. 'Voodoo Child (Slight Return)'
This boisterous, and highly energetic live show opens with the foot-tappin' monster, and also their most-recent hit-single 'Woman Like You,' and backs that up with the frenetic, yet magnificently controlled, throaty blues (courtesy of the powerhouse vocals of Noah Hunt) of 'Long Time Running,' the simply magnificent slide blues guitar work found on the blues jam 'I Want You,' and then the upbeat rock bounce of the Shepherd-sung 'Diamonds & Gold' and the honky tonk revelry of the Elmore James cut, 'Talk To Me Baby.'
The seven-piece band then settle in, one and all, to being us the 11-minute opus 'Heat Of The Sun' which is followed by the flat out rocker 'Down For Love,' the slow blues crawl of 'Shame, Shame, Shame,' one of my own personal favorites, the ferocious 'Turn To Stone,' a stunning 'Blue On Black' (from their 1997 second studio album, Trouble Is ...), and then the album rounds out with the perky, percussion-enhanced 'I'm A King Bee,' closing on an immaculate rendition of the Jimi Hendrix Experience's infamous 'Voodoo Child (Slight Return).'
Whether it be the CD/2LP for an audio delight as you motor down the road or listen to at home, or the DVD/Blu-ray for a visual escape, Straight To You: Live is an incredible, powerfully fresh blues/rock romp that touches upon every sensation with your body.
"We were really fired up," Shepherd reveals. "We had expanded the band and brought in the horn section, it was their first time over to Europe with us. So we were glad to have the full ensemble there."
"It's always exciting when we're incorporating a new album into the live performance. Remembering the show, there were several stand out moments."
"The song off the new record 'I Want You', is a really extended version, and every soloist gets an opportunity to really shine, and everybody brought it 150%."
'Woman Like You' (Live) Video
Kenny Wayne 'Diamonds & Gold' (Live) Video
Amazon Purchase Link
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Title - 'Grover Live' (RSD, 2LP Opaque Gold Vinyl)
Artist - Grover Washington, Jr.
For those not in the know, this quite magnificent commemorative Black Friday RSD Double Opaque Gold Vinyl edition of Grover Live also marks 20 years since the passing of Grover Washington, Jr., the immensely popular artist largely responsible for creating a bridge between jazz and R&B.
Grover was well loved by his fans, but also by the many musicians who worked with him over the years. He was a contemporary jazz artist whose music topped the Smooth Jazz charts, but his sound was funky, and his music was respected in all jazz and R&B circles.
His live performances and worldwide success prove that he was a timeless gem of an artist who entertained his audiences with a powerhouse band of some of the best players in the business.
Cut in June 1997 at the Paramount Center for the Arts in Peekskill, New York, without a shadow of a doubt, Grover Live captures the essence of Grover’s greatness.
With a coterie of ‘A’ class musicians in support, Grover Live demonstrates why he was not only a leader in his field, but a pioneer who blended the subtleties of jazz with the funk and sweat of soul.
In addition to Grover himself on tenor, soprano, alto, and baritone sax, the album features Donald Robinson on keyboards, Gerald Veasley on bass, Richard Lee Steacker on guitars, Steven Wolf on drums, and Pablo Batista on congas and percussion.
And, for the record (all pun intended), it was produced by Grammy winner Jason Miles, and Executive Produced by Christine Washington, Jason Miles and Tim Ryan.
1. 'Winelight with Intro' (7:36)
2. 'Take Five (Take Another Five)' (10:56)
3. 'Soulful Strut' (4:01)
4. 'Grover Talks' (1:20)
5. 'Mystical Force' (5:57)
6. 'Uptown' (6:00)
7. 'Sassy Stew' (6:03)
8. 'Grover Talks Again - Medley' (0:49)
9. 'Black Frost' (1:13)
10. 'Inner City Blues' (0:52)
11. 'Strawberry Moon' (1:10)
12. 'Inside Moves' (1:11)
13. 'Jamaica' (1:23)
14. 'East River Drive' (2:29)
15. 'Just The Two Of Us' (1:45)
16. 'Sausalito' (6:00)
17. 'Let It Flow (For "Dr. J")' (11:43)
18. 'Mr. Magic' (9:08)
Simply put, Grover plays with such splendid intensity, deep soul, funk and groove, and passion that you instantly fall in love with his melodies and jazz orchestrations.
Indeed, he was a true genius at melody and improvisation and this brand new, Opaque Gold 180-gram 2LP, especially released for Black Friday RSD '20 (November 29th) by Lightyear Entertainment, has some remarkably cultured, warm, deeply felt, and yet always vibrant audio quality now resonating from it.
A genuine, generous, and veritable feast of his best and greatest hits are brought forth here live, along with pockets of spoken word introductions and such from Grover.
Just to hear the genuine warmth of love for both what he is doing along with the audience that had come to view him, makes this one of those albums that you just put on in your home one Sunday afternoon, sit back, close your eyes to, allowing it to waft over and through you, transporting you to wondrous places unknown.
Much like many musicians, then and now, there's only one way to truly enjoy the music of Grover Washington, Jr., and that's in a live setting like this.
I only have two of his albums, and they're both live records: Live At The Bijou and this one right here. The level of musicianship on both of these albums is, to my humble mind, simply unparalleled. Just listen to this sumptuous record just the once and you'll be instantly hooked, you have my word!
As one of the originators of the "smooth jazz" genre, Grover is often overlooked as a saxophonist (especially when compared to other jazz giants like Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane).
I've never listened to any of the man's studio recordings, and I'm honestly okay with that for the level of energy Grover and his band exude live will raise goosebumps all over your body, let alone cause the hairs at the base of your neck to stand up!
“We released a CD of these recordings in 2010, which has sold well for 10 years,” said Lightyear President Arnie Holland. “But when Grover’s family suggested we do a vinyl, we were thrilled to do it."
"The album was lovingly remastered for vinyl by Peter Humphreys at Masterwork, and lacquers cut by Joe Nino-Hernes at Sterling Sound. The result sounds amazing and feels like you are at the show.”
The Double Vinyl with download card is in a gatefold jacket with satin coating and metallic gold highlights. The vinyl itself is 180 Grams audiophile quality and the gold metallic, opaque colored vinyl was utilized to match the gold on the cover of the album.
The album will be released on November 27th, 2020 to Record Store Day retailers on an exclusive basis for 90 days, after which it will be available generally.
To order direct from a participating store, here are three suggestions:
To find a participating Record Store Day store near you CLICK HERE
Title - 'Weekend in London'
Artist - George Benson
If you are not in the know, on November 13th, 2020, GRAMMY-winning jazz icon George Benson will release Weekend in London, an electrifying new live album capturing his 2019 performance at London’s intimate 250-seat Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club.
Only a handful of lucky fans were present as the lights went down that magical night in 2019. But now, Kevin Shirley’s dynamic production is your invitation to slide onto Ronnie Scott’s red velvet banquette and catch the sparks as Benson’s honeyed vocal and fluid licks drive the finest live outfit in modern jazz.
1. 'Give Me The Night'
2. 'Turn Your Love Around'
3. 'Love X Love'
4. 'In Your Eyes'
5. 'I Hear You Knocking'
6. 'Nothing's Gonna Change My Love For You'
7. 'Feel Like Makin' Love'
8. 'Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight'
9. 'The Ghetto"
10. 'Moody's Mood'
11. 'Love Ballad'
12. 'Never Give Up On A Good Thing'
14. 'Cruise Control'
The 2019 show that became Weekend in London was another fabled night to go down in the club’s folklore. This hard-bitten jazzman might prefer spontaneity to setlists, but this latest live album nods to many of his countless career peaks.
After a short intro, George opens his first new live recording in 30 years on the always magnificent to hear, and always a loving flashback ambiance of his 1980’s US #4 smash hit 'Give Me The Night,' and backs that up seamlessly with the the song that won a Best R&B Song Grammy Award at the 25th Grammy Awards in 1983, 'Turn Your Love Around.'
The super smooth 'Love X Love' (a song written by Heatwave's keyboard player Rod Temperton) is up next is is followed by the dulcet ballad 'In Your Eyes,' and then we get the slow-blues flow of the classic Dave Bartholomew track 'I Hear You Knocking.'
George then tells us that this was a very special man (Gerry Goffin) who wrote this song that he was going to next perform, and with that we get the majestically-performed 'Nothing's Gonna Change My Love For You' which he backs up with the sultry 'Feel Like Makin' Love' (originally written for, and sung by Roberta Flack), the easy Sunday roll of 'Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight' (a song written and sung by James Taylor), and then we get one of the stand outs here, a cover of Donny Hathaway’s 'The Ghetto.'
Next up is a genuine, first class, deep cut classic in the form of a 1952 song by Eddie Jefferson, 'Moody's Mood,' whose melody is derived from an improvised solo by jazz saxophonist James Moody on a 1949 recording of the 1935 song 'I'm in the Mood for Love,' and that's followed by George's up-tempo rendition of 'Love Ballad' (a song by R&B/Funk band L.T.D. that featured Jeffrey Osborne on vocals).
We then get treated to the early '80s R&B pop of 'Never Give Up On A Good Thing,' with this nostalgically delightful album rounding out on a composition by José Feliciano, written in 1975, 'Affirmation,' and then closing on the drum-led, free-flowing wonderment of George at his guitar expressionist finest, an electrifying take of 'Cruise Control.'
'Cruise Control' (Live) Video
"'Cruise Control' is one of my favorite instrumentals because it was completely off the cuff," says Benson. "I kept getting ideas as we got into the song and one of the ideas was to inject vocal inserts at different places during the improvisational part of the performance."
"We don’t plan the show out in advance,” explains Benson. "But we know there’s things we gotta play, and if you leave too many out, you’re in for a troubled night. We know what people have come to hear. So I’ve got half the battle won.”
“We captured a lot of the atmosphere on Weekend In London,” says Shirley. “It was very crowded, like it always is at Ronnie Scott’s, no matter who’s there. We were almost touching as we were playing, people all up on the bandstand."
"But I’m always happy to be in those surroundings. A lot of big Benson fans were there – and some of the screaming ladies. It was a fantastic night.”
'Turn Your Love Around' (Live) Video
Official Purchase Link
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Title - 'Cryptology'
Artist - Rosetta Stone
For those not in the know, Gothic mastermind, Porl King, returns with an excellent new Rosetta Stone album that will take fans back to goth's heyday!
The band, named after the Rosetta Stone, an Egyptian historical artifact, honed their style early on and their first album reflected the jangly-guitar sounds of 1980s gothic rock accordingly.
Their first big break came after live gigs supporting the then already well-established band The Mission. The band then moved to a more electronic sound before disbanding in 1998.
King's songwriting has only grown stronger since his debut in the early '90s and these 10 original tracks here on the just-released (by Cleopatra Records) Cryptology demonstrate it fully!
2. 'Valiant Try'
3. 'With This [I’m Done]'
4. 'In Black'
6. 'Remember (Don’t)'
7. 'I Put it to You'
8. 'Doesn’t Bode Well'
9. 'Smoke & Mirrors'
10. 'Always Always'
This quite brilliant flashback to an era run by bands such as Sisters Of Mercy, Bauhaus and Fields of the Nephilim, opens with the mid-tempo 'Shock' and backs that up with the electronic hipsway of 'Valiant Try,' the melodic 'With This [I’m Done],' the Cure-esque 'In Black,' and then the gently frenetic 'Soon.'
The twisting effervescence of 'Remember (Don’t)' is a stand out for me and is followed by the subtle Goth rocker 'I Put it to You,' the low key, mid-tempo 'Doesn’t Bode Well,' rounding out with the reliable Goth pop synth beats of both 'Smoke & Mirrors' and 'Always Always.'
Available on both CD as well as vinyl in your choice of PURPLE or classic BLACK (only 250 copies!).
Official Purple Vinyl Purchase Link
Official CD Purchase Link
Title - 'NYC'
Artist - The Fuzztones
For those unaware, Garage rock revivalists The Fuzztones have just put together an awe-inspiring homage to their home city, covering some of the best bands to come out of NY’s vaunted music scene!
Including Rudi Protrudi & Co.’s special twist on classics by The Ramones, The Cramps, Dead Boys, The Heartbreakers, The Fugs, Mink DeVille, Patti Smith, NY Dolls and, of course, Sinatra’s 'New York, New York,' the album, simply titled NYC is out now via Cleopatra Records.
“New York has always been at the core of the Fuzztones entity so what better way to celebrate 40 years of fuzz than a tribute to the music that drew us there?” – Rudi Protrudi.
1. 'New York, New York'
2. 'Flip Your Wig'
3. 'New Kind Of Rock'
4. '53rd & 3rd'
6. 'Skin Flowers'
7. 'High Tension Wire'
9. 'Transmaniacon MC'
10. 'The Man In Me'
11. 'Let Me Dream'
13. 'Not Anymore'
14. 'You Gotta Lose'
15. 'Dancing Barefoot'
Opening with their personal rendition of Sinatra's 'New York, New York' (a version, I guarantee, that you have never come close to ever hearing before!), they back that up with the foot-stompin' brilliance of 'Flip Your Wig,' the groovy ambiance of 'New Kind Of Rock,' the mid-tempo garage rock of '53rd & 3rd,' and then both the laid back hipsway of 'Psilocybe' and the melodic, harmonica-driven, one-two punch of 'Skin Flowers.'
'High Tension Wire' is a cultivated track of pure reworked genius and is followed by the cautiously frenetic 'Babylon,' the quieter psych trip of 'Transmaniacon MC,' the storytelling of 'The Man In Me,' and then the upbeat, harmonica-imbued 'Let Me Dream.'
The foot-tapper 'Microdot' is up next and is backed by the early garage punk melodies of 'Not Anymore,' with the album rounding out on the gutsy and raw 'You Gotta Lose,' closing on the brilliant Patti Smith cover, although done here with a Doors-esque hue, 'Dancing Barefoot.'
NYC is available on both digipak CD and limited edition White and/or Pink colored vinyl!
Official White / Pink Vinyl Purchase Link
Official CD Purchase Link
Title - 'Russian Spider Dump'
Artist - Adolescents
If you are not in the know, the brand new studio album from SoCal hardcore punk icons, Adolescents has just been released via Cleopatra Records!
Entitled Russian Spider Dump, the album pays tribute to the band’s influences and peers with cover versions of Germs, Redd Kross, The Dickies, Spirit, and many more obscure gems!
Furthermore, this is the first Adolescents album released since the passing of founding member and bassist Steve Soto who was memorialized by Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, Offspring, Rancid and others.
1. 'Fuck You'
2. 'Lion’s Share'
3. 'Just Say Yes'
4. 'Class War'
5. 'Crayon World'
6. 'Dirty Bomb'
7. 'Pink Piece Of Peace'
8. 'Fast, Fucked & Furious'
9. 'God Bless America'
10. 'Home Is Where'
11. 'I Like Drugs'
12. 'I Got A Line On You'
13. 'Not Going Back Home'
14. 'Not With You'
15. 'Back Door'
This pulsating new album opens on the frenetic, drum-led 'Fuck You' and follows that up with the cranked 'Lion’s Share,' the melodic one-two punch of 'Just Say Yes,' the grunge rock of 'Class War,' and then both 'Crayon World' and the thunderous 'Dirty Bomb.'
The guitar frenzy of 'Pink Piece Of Peace' is up next and is backed by the frantic 'Fast, Fucked & Furious,' the angst-ridden 'God Bless America,' the cultured rock of 'Home Is Where,' and then we get their tongue-in-cheek gratitude (!) found on 'I Like Drugs.'
Their powerhaus version of American rock band Spirit's 'I Got A Line On You' is less scream, more '90s garage punk and is followed by the free for all approach of 'Not Going Back Home, with the album rounding out on the rambunctious 'Not With You,' closing on the drum-led, guitar fest 'Back Door.'
Russian Spider Dump is available on both CD and Green colored vinyl!
Official Green Vinyl Purchase Link
Official CD Purchase Link
Title - 'Real Me'
Artist - Brit Taylor
If you are not in the know, Real Me, Brit Taylor's debut album (just released Cut a Shine Records), is very aptly titled, for the self-reflective, 10-song LP tells of her journey to self-awareness.
Taylor burst onto the scene in the summer with critical acclaim from outlets such as Rolling Stone, American Songwriter, Music Row and industry support from the likes of The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, Grammy-winning producer Dave Brainard and countless others.
Capturing life and pain with poetic ease and plain honesty is what the emerging Americana sensation does well. Simply put, Taylor writes and sings about what she lives, what she knows.
The Dave Brainard-produced album is mindfully crafted to capture Taylor's pure authenticity and her Eastern Kentucky roots. By blending twangy guitars, crying steels, emotional lyrics and sultry vocals, Real Me redefines traditional country music.
1. 'Back In The Fire'
2. 'Real Me'
4. 'Waking Up Ain't Easy'
5. 'Love Me Back'
6. 'Broken Heart Breaks'
7. 'Married Again'
8. 'Leave Me Tomorrow'
9. 'Raggedy Heart'
10. 'Go Down Swingin'
Opening with the gentle, Southern-fried alto storytelling of 'Back In The Fire,' Taylor backs that up seamlessly with the autobiographical, lush ballad 'Real Me,' the anthemic foot stomp of 'Wagon,' the vulnerable, yet ultimately strong essence within 'Waking Up Ain’t Easy,' and then we get Taylor's beautifully smooth, plaintive plea for acceptance on 'Love Me Back.'
Brit Taylor - 'Wagon' Live from Southern Ground
The country waltz of 'Broken Heart Breaks' is up next and is followed by 'Married Again,' which with its free flowing guitar twang giving background homage to ‘Here Comes the Bride,' Taylor’s cheery, high-spirited lyrics and foot-tapping delivery is at its honky tonk-imbued finest here.
Taylor's plea, prayer and a denial of reality comes to the fore in the luxuriant 'Leave Me Tomorrow,' a track that touches both your heart and soul in equal measures, and the album then rounds out with the ornate ballad, and ode to a heart tragically breaking again (and again), 'Raggedy Heart,' closing on the perky and vibrant, traditional Western swing song coupled with an uptown country beat, 'Go Down Swingin.'
Grammy-nominee producer Brainard brought his vision to the album, while musicians like Mickey Raphael and hit songwriter-rock star Dan Auerbach, who co-penned half of the record with Brit, joined in.
The power of Taylor’s music is that it is refreshingly simple yet surprisingly complex. Always true to herself, she continues to tells stories which manage – whether they are dramatic, humorous or heartfelt – to be downright honest.
Indeed, Taylor knows you can’t fake authenticity. Real Me reflects Taylor’s story and, in some way, it is everyone’s story. "It took me 30 years to figure out who the real me is,” Taylor admits. “I’m glad I found her.”
Official Purchase Link
Brit Taylor @ Facebook
Brit Taylor @ Twitter
Brit Taylor @ YouTube
Title - 'Supergroove'
Artist - Andy Watts
For those not in the know, in his home country of Israel, Andy Watts is widely considered to be Israel’s Ambassador of the Blues.
His live shows in his home country, along with the UK and Europe, both as a solo act and with his kick-ass band, Blues on Fire, has earned him a well-deserved reputation as a fiery, passionate blues guitarist and singer.
Indeed, Andy has performed with many of the modern blues greats including Joe Louis Walker, Kenny Neal, Lucky Peterson, Johnny Winter, Rick Estrin, Bernard Alison and Eliza Neals, amongst others.
Andy developed such tight musical chemistry with Kenny Neal that Kenny not only co-produced Andy’s new album, Supergroove (out now), but he also released it on his label, Booga Music in conjunction with the Vizztone label group.
Supergroove is a highly charged album of ten electrifying blues tracks - dusted with a bit of rock, funk and R&B - featuring Andy’s sometimes gritty, sometimes slinky guitar and his soulful vocals along with his great band – including bass, drums, keyboards, trumpet, trombone, saxophones and occasional guest harmonica.
Simply put, on this brand new album, the groove is king and guest vocalists on the album include Joe Louis Walker and Eliza Neals, plus explosive soul singer Roy Young, along with Danny Shoshan and Gadi Altman.
2. 'Living Hand To Mouth'
3. 'Straight Shooting Woman'
4. 'Burning Deep' (feat. Joe Louis Walker)
5. 'Pack It Up'
6. 'Blues Of The Month Club' (feat. Eliza Neals)
7. 'Don't Take My Blues Away'
8. 'Don't You Let Me Down'
With half the songs on Supergroove being Watts originals, whilst the others his versions of classics by Freddie King, Joe Louis Walker, Rick Estrin, and his biggest musical influence, the one-and-only Peter Green, this hella vibrant 10-track album opens with the free-flowing, Hammond-driven, title track jam 'Supergroove,' which he backs up with the harmonica-imbued, blues soul of 'Living Hand To Mouth,' the melodic rock of 'Straight Shooting Woman,' the smooth blues guitar soul of 'Burning Deep' (feat. Joe Louis Walker), and then the funky 'Pack It Up.'
The foot-tappin' 'Blues Of The Month Club' (feat. the velvety growl of Eliza Neals) is a right, royal doozy of an upbeat track, and then we get the lowdown and gritty drawl of 'Don't Take My Blues Away,' which is followed by the lighter rock fare of 'Don't You Let Me Down,' with the album rounding out on the AOR of 'Raw,' closing on 'Supernatural,' an instrumental written by Peter Green for John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers.
Official Andy Watts 'SuperGroove' Video
Amazon Purchase Link
Andy Watts @ Facebook
Andy Watts @ YouTube
Title - 'Slippin' & Slidin' [EP]
Artist - The Immediate Family
For those not in the know, Quarto Valley Records recording artists The Immediate Family, a rock & roll band composed of longtime friends and legendary musicians Danny Kortchmar (guitar and vocals), Waddy Wachtel (guitar and vocals), Leland Sklar (bass), Russ Kunkel (drums) and Steve Postell (guitar and vocals), have released their new EP and first U.S. release, Slippin’ And Slidin’, available today.
Their names are familiar to anyone who grew up on SoCal rock. In various combinations they have contributed to countless albums by James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, Carole King, and Don Henley, among many others.
What they've never done before is make a record on their own, but after nearly 50 years of playing together, these veterans have finally done just that!
Slippin’ and Slidin’ features some of the group’s most well-known songs, including 'New York Minute' and a live version of 'Werewolves of London,' both of which were co-written by members of the group.
The EP’s title track, 'Slippin’ And Slidin’,' was released as a single in September, and its music video premiered online soon thereafter, and the first single released from the EP, 'Cruel Twist,' was released in June.
1. 'Slippin' & Slidin'
2. 'New York Minute'
3. 'Top Of The Rock'
4. 'Werewolves of London' (live)
5. 'Cruel Twist'
Opening with the forceful blues of 'Slippin' & Slidin',' they back that up with a song written by Don Henley, Danny Kortchmar, and Jai Winding, the always-heartfelt, 'New York Minute.'
Next up we get one of my own personal favorites here on this new EP, the foot-tappin' AOR of 'Top Of The Rock,' which is followed by the track known all around the world, composed by Warren Zevon, LeRoy Marinell and Waddy Wachtel, it's 'Werewolves Of London,' with the EP coming to a close on the barroom blues of 'Cruel Twist.'
The Immediate Family, which was formed approximately two years ago, has been performing live and has released new music in Japan, Asia and the U.S. QVR signed The Immediate Family to a multi-album deal, with more music coming in early 2021.
A Denny Tedesco documentary about their iconic careers is also in the queue for release in 2021.
Amazon Purchase Link
The Immediate Family @ Facebook
The Immediate Family @ Twitter
The Immediate Family @ Instagram
The Immediate Family Documentary Facebook Page
Title - 'Get Born: Deluxe Expanded Edition' [2CD+1DVD]
Artist - Jet
For those not in the know, packaged in a deluxe digipak with a 16 page booklet containing a brand new annotation and appreciation of the band by Alice Clark of Planet Rock, Cherry Red Records (UK) have just announced the 2CD+DVD Expanded Deluxe re-issue of the debut studio album Get Born by Australian rock band Jet.
The band line-up consisting of brothers Nic Cester and Chris Cester, Cameron Muncey and Mark Wilson was formed in 2002. Later that year, the band released the ‘Dirty Sweet’ EP, whose initial 1000 copies quickly sold out.
Subsequent to this, Elektra Records offered the band a recording contract and the following year on September 14th, 2003, Get Born was released.
The album has gone on to sell over 4 million copies worldwide including platinum status in USA, UK and Australia. The album spawned five Top 40 hit singles in the UK including ‘Rollover DJ’, ‘Cold Hard Bitch’, ‘Look What You’ve Done’ and the track that was the lead single from the album, ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl’.
The album was critically acclaimed by the media including GQ calling it, “an irresistible mix of young punk vinegar and classic-rock baking soda…” Alternative Press gave it a rave review and found Jet’s songs “catchy” and their appeal “diverse”. Q magazine said that the album’s raw immediacy “belies its dated influences…”.
The band split up in 2012 but reformed in 2016 and since then have played a number of live shows including in 2018 a 15th anniversary Australian national tour for the album Get Born.
This carefully curated deluxe expanded 2CD+DVD re-issue brings together many rare and hard to find B-sides, edits and promo versions as well as a DVD containing promo videos and live performances.
1. 'Last Chance'
2. 'Are You Gonna Be My Girl'
3. 'Rollover DJ'
4. 'Look What You've Done'
5. 'Get What You Need'
6. 'Move On'
7. 'Radio Song'
8. 'Get Me Outta Here'
9. 'Cold Hard Bitch'
10. 'Come Around Again'
11. 'Take It Or Leave It'
12. 'Lazy Gun'
14. 'Sgt. Major'
15. 'Are You Gonna Be My Girl' (Acoustic Version)
16. 'Bruises' (Demo)
17. 'Move On' (Live at Sirius Radio)
18. 'Cold Hard Bitch' (Edit with Intro)
While certainly nothing groundbreaking in originality, Get Born was a refreshing, fun, fine collection of rock/pop tunes. For me personally, the live, raw, recording style was a nice change from the overproduced, multi-track layered digital recordings of the modern technology era.
You can actually hear the hum of those tube amplifiers - and that's a good thing. Rock albums should not always be about perfection.
Yeah, you'll hear licks and melody lines you know you've heard before, from the Stones, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Who, et al, but quite like no other band has ever borrowed/ripped off before, trust me!
I mean, come on now, there's truly only so much you can do with an A, E, and D chord! But Jet injects enough personality and effort into the performances to make Get Born more than just a clone album, that's for damn sure.
Indeed, what surprised me the most was the diversity of this album. The two main singles, 'Are You Gonna Be My Girl' and 'Cold Hard Bitch' (with it's incredible riff) had me expecting a CD full of the same, but as we all know now, that was not to be the case.
The first ballad, 'Look What You've Done,' has Lennon/McCartney all over it whilst other tracks remind me of Matthew Sweet and even Fastball.
Again though, a refreshing variety lacking in many albums these days where artists look to be defined and fit into a certain niche; and to be marketed as such, of course.
Overall, Jet was/is a highly under-rated band that played some straight up, hard driving, rock 'n' roll. No frills here and that is just what I like about the band and their sound (especially here on this quite brilliant album).
1. 'Are You Gonna Be My Girl' (Alternative Version)
2. 'Sweet Young Thing'
3. 'Cold Hard Bitch' (Edit)
4. 'You Don't Look The Same' (Demo)
5. 'Lazy Gun' (Demo)
6. 'Ain't That A Lotta Love'
7. 'Back Door Santa'
8. 'Cold Hard Bitch' (Edit #2)
9. 'Are You Gonna Be My Girl' (Live from Sessions @ AOL)
10. 'Everlovin' Man'
11. 'Hey Kids'
12. 'Move On' (featuring The Stands) (Live at Brixton Academy)
13. 'Cigarettes & Cola' (Demo)
14. 'That's Alright Mama' (Live at the Sirius Studios in New York, May 29th, 2003)
15. 'Are You Gonna Be My Girl' (Live from XFM)
16. 'Cold Hard Bitch' (Live 08/07/2003)
17. 'Take It Or Leave It' (Live in Hamburg)
This second disc features the aforementioned rare and hard to find B-sides, edits and promo versions, with stand outs being the brilliantly poppy 'Back Door Santa,' the thunderous Zeppelin-esque 'Ain't That A Lotta Love,' the Hammond-imbued, psych-flow of 'Hey Kids,' the tremendous 'Move On' (featuring The Stands) recorded live at the Brixton Academy, and then the low key, gentle hum of 'Cigarettes & Cola.'
1. 'Take It Or Leave It' (Promo Video)
2. 'Are You Gonna Be My Girl' (Promo Video)
3. 'Rollover DJ' (Promo Video)
4. 'Rollover DJ' (Live from Pentonville Prison Officers Club) (Video)
5. 'Cold Hard Bitch' (Promo Video)
6. 'Rollover DJ' (Promo Video International Version)
7. 'Look What You've Done' (Promo Video)
8. 'Get What You Need' (Live from the Astoria Theatre, London) (Video)
9. Behind-The-Scenes Footage (Video)
Official 2CD+DVD DigiPak Purchase Link
Title - 'No Business: The PPX Sessions, Volume 2'
Artist - Curtis Knight & The Squires
If you are unaware, No Business: The PPX Sessions, Volume 2 by Curtis Knight & The Squires is the follow-up to Experience Hendrix/Legacy Recordings’ 2015 collection You Can’t Use My Name.
This brand new release (out October 23rd, 2020) includes October 1965 demo recordings made by the then-unknown Jimi Hendrix, as well as 1967 studio recordings with Hendrix when he was in the midst of his meteoric ascent to stardom.
The story goes that Jimi Hendrix was based in Harlem in 1965, working intermittently as an itinerant sideman when he met Curtis Knight in a hotel lobby.
Knight invited Hendrix to record with him, booking time at Studio 76, a Manhattan facility run by producer Ed Chalpin. Hendrix joined Knight to record nine demos (tracks 11-19) on or about October 15, 1965.
These demos provide a window into the formation of Hendrix’s creative evolution. 'Two Little Birds' and 'Suddenly' presage his playing on future classics, such as 'Little Wing' and 'Castles Made of Sand,' while 'Working All Day' and 'Taking Care Of No Business,' hold the distinction of being the first known recorded Jimi Hendrix compositions.
After the conclusion of this initial demo session, Hendrix was approached by Chalpin to sign what the guitarist thought was a release for his participation. What Chalpin actually had Hendrix unknowingly sign was a contract with his own PPX Enterprises Inc. for $1 and a 1% royalty rate.
Chalpin filed away the agreement and Hendrix continued to lend his guitar to sessions on Knight’s behalf in 1965 and the first half of 1966.
As Hendrix prepared for his return to the US via the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967, Chalpin initiated legal proceedings based upon his one page, October 1965 agreement.
Worse still, now that Hendrix was a known commercial commodity, Chalpin was releasing material Hendrix had recorded with Curtis Knight and passing it off as solo material by Jimi.
In a failed attempt to placate Chalpin, Hendrix returned to Studio 76 in July and August of 1967 and recorded more music with Curtis Knight with the hopes of being released from his onerous contract.
From a business perspective, his plan backfired, but more unique music was created as a result.
In addition to 1966 studio recordings such as 'Hornet’s Nest' and 'UFO,' No Business also features highlights from the July and August 1967 sessions.
Hendrix’s wah-wah guitar can be heard on 'Hush Now' and 'Love, Love' while also adding a Hagstrom 8-string bass part on an updated version of 'Taking Care Of No Business' and 'My Best Friend.'
Dagger was founded by Experience Hendrix, L.L.C. over two decades ago as an official ‘bootleg’ label to provide Hendrix fans throughout the world with additional live performances, home demos and studio recordings.
The Studio Sessions
2. 'No Business'
3. 'Hush Now'
4. 'Gloomy Monday' (Alternate)
5. 'How Would You Feel' (Alternate)
6. 'Love, Love'
7. 'My Best Friend' (Takes 3/4/5)
8. 'Hornet's Nest' (Alternate)
9. 'I Need You Every Day (Sick & Tired)
The Demo Recordings:
11. 'Taking Care Of No Business'
12. 'Working All Day'
13. 'Two Little Birds'
16. 'Better Times Ahead'
17. 'Everybody Knew But Me'
18. 'If You Gonna Make A Fool Of Somebody'
19. 'My Best Friend'
The Studio Sessions opens with the gentle funk swing of 'UFO,' that's backed seamlessly by the low slung blues of the title track, 'No Business,' which itself id backed by the seven minute guitar extravaganza from Hendrix 'Hush Now,' the foot-tappin', tambourine-enhanced 'Gloomy Monday' (Alternate), and then their psych-pop flow comes to the fore within 'How Would You feel' (Alternate).
The funky, nine minute long guitar fest 'Love, Love' showcases Hendrix’s wah-wah guitar to perfection, and that's followed by the storytelling of 'My Best Friend' (Takes 3/4/5), the frenetic 'Hornet’s Nest' (Alternate), the perky pop of 'I Need You Every Day (Sick & Tired),' closing on the low key 'Suey.'
The Demo Recordings continues onward with a lot of, simply put, raw and lofi tracks, but nonetheless, tracks that are as historically chock full of wonderment today as I'm sure they were at the time in the studio.
'Taking Care Of No Business' is backed by the "working on the chain gang" vocal back bone vibe of 'Working All Day,' which in turn is followed by luscious ambiance of 'Two Little Birds,' the quietly beautiful 'Suddenly' and then another fervent 'UFO.'
One of my personal favorites here, albeit cliché-ridden, 'Better Times Ahead,' which is followed by the short guitar rock-hop of 'Everybody Knew But Me,' the (now) reverberated guitar found on 'If You Gonna Make A Fool Of Somebody,' closing on the song dedicated to Knight's very own best friend, Jimi, 'My Best Friend.'
Since acquiring the rights to all Jimi Hendrix recordings from Chalpin in 2014, Experience Hendrix has made it a mission to release these Curtis Knight & The Squires sessions tastefully, providing proper historic context, free of misleading packaging and without posthumous overdubs.
No Business: The PPX Sessions, Volume 2 accomplishes this while helping map out the evolution of Jimi Hendrix as a musician and songwriter.
Official Purchase Link
Title - 'Live in Maui' [2CD+BR]
Artist - Jimi Hendrix Experience
For those not in the know, Experience Hendrix announces a brand new collection that couples the brand new feature length documentary 'Music, Money, Madness ... Jimi Hendrix In Maui' with the accompanying live performances on both audio and video.
“Jimi loved adventure and there was certainly no shortage of it during his time in Hawaii, a place he also loved,” said Janie Hendrix.
"The back story of Rainbow Bridge and these recordings paint a picture of Jimi’s uncanny ability to turn the bizarre into something amazing! We’re excited about this release because it gives the world a closer look at Jimi’s genius.”
Spread across 2CDs (although there is also a 3LP vinyl set too), newly restored and mixed by longtime Jimi Hendrix engineer Eddie Kramer, and mastered by Bernie Grundman, the two Live in Maui sets are the 1st and 2nd show that day, where The Experience - Hendrix, Billy Cox on bass, Mitch Mitchell on drums - were at the height of its powers playing flawlessly against a stunning natural backdrop.
CD 1: 1st Show
1. Chuck Wein Introduction
2. 'Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)'
3. 'In From The Storm'
4. 'Foxey Lady'
5. 'Hear My Train A-Comin''
6. 'Voodoo Child (Slight Return)'
8. 'Purple Haze'
9. 'Spanish Castle Magic'
10. 'Lover Man'
11. 'Message to Love'
Opening with a couple of tracks to work their way in, so to speak, suddenly Jimi veritably rips through a stunning 'Foxey Lady' (although it kinda appears like Hendrix forgets some of his own lyrics at one point), backing that up with the lowdown, pulsating blues of 'Hear My Train A-Comin',' before lifting off into sheer player power on some breathtaking renditions of crowd favorites such as 'Voodoo Child (Slight Return),' a mind blowing 'Fire,' and then a simply blistering 'Purple Haze.'
CD 2: 2nd Show
1. 'Dolly Dagger'
2. 'Villanova Junction'
3. 'Ezy Ryder'
4. 'Red House'
6. 'Jam Back at the House'
7. 'Straight Ahead'
8. 'Hey Baby (New Rising Sun) / Midnight Lightning'
9. 'Stone Free'
For the second show that day, Hendrix is still on fire, his guitar playing simply impeccable, and integrated with his signature tricks, such as playing his guitar with this teeth and such, but it's the opening track, the then-unreleased 'Dolly Dagger' (and even 'Freedom') that not only showcased the new direction Hendrix was moving toward at that time, but delivers us alive memory of them here that we rarely get to see.
Also included in the package is a film that chronicles the Jimi Hendrix Experience's storied visit to Maui, their performance on the dormant lower crater of Haleakala volcano on the island and how the band became ensnared with the ill-fated Rainbow Bridge movie produced by their controversial manager Michael Jeffery.
Directed by John McDermott and produced by Janie Hendrix, George Scott and McDermott, the documentary incorporates never before released original footage and new interviews with firsthand participants and key players such as Billy Cox, Eddie Kramer, Warner Bros. executives and several Rainbow Bridge cast members, as well as its director Chuck Wein.
The Blu-ray also includes the full documentary as well as the 16mm color film shot of the two afternoon performances captured on July 30th, 1970 mixed in both stereo and 5.1 surround sound.
'Music, Money, Madness ... Jimi Hendrix In Maui' (Film Trailer)
Title - 'Águas Brasileiras'
Artist - The Brazilian Trio
If you are unaware, The Brazilian Trio are back! And they've put together something remarkable, which is both virtuosic and vividly imagined.
No doubt, this is what we've come to expect from this incredible group of talented artists who perform together as an integrated and dynamic creative force.
The trio is composed of Helio Alves (piano), Nilson Matta (bass), and Duduka Da Fonseca (drums). Alves was born in São Paulo, Brazil and moved to New York City in 1993 and he has performed with a veritable list of all-stars, from Yo-Yo Ma to Gato Barbieri.
Matta is one of the most celebrated bass players the world over. While living in Brazil, he performed with luminaries such as João Gilberto and Hermeto Pascoal. Since arriving New York in 1985, he has become the go-to bassist for Latin-inspired jazz.
Da Fonseca is from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and grew up during the golden age of bossa nova. He formed his first samba band at age thirteen and hasn't looked back ever since.
He has performed with just about everyone in the Brazilian canon, from Haroldo Mauro Jr. to the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra. After moving to New York, he collaborated with the likes of Bob Mintzer and Randy Brecker, among others.
1. 'Maucha Na Praia'
2. 'Sampa 67'
3. 'Black Orpheus Trilogy'
4. 'Boogie Stop Shuffle'
7. 'Asa Branca / Baião'
8. 'Águas Brasileiras'
9. 'Manhattan Style'
10. 'Vila Madalena'
The just-released Águas Brasileiras (out now via Zoho Music) is their second ZOHO release, following their debut Forests (2008), which earned them a LATIN GRAMMY nomination for Best Latin Jazz album.
This production is a stirring and seminal work, in which each member of the trio draws upon their own crafts and, at the same time, supports each other with thoughtful accompaniments.
The result is exquisite, as one would well imagine, and opens here with the upbeat and perky 'Maucha Na Praia' which they back seamlessly with the free flowing majesty of 'Sampa 67,' the atmospherically orchestrated, near ten minute brilliance of 'Black Orpheus Trilogy,' and then comes the gently fervent 'Boogie Stop Shuffle' and the exuberantly lush whispers of 'Aninha.'
The sterner tasking of 'Baden' is next and is followed by my own personal favorite here on this new album, the dimensional ebbs and flows of 'Asa Branca / Baião,' which is itself backed by the midnight lounge appeal of the title track 'Águas Brasileiras,' with the album rounding out on the strength of 'Manhattan Style,' closing on the ornate percussion work of 'Vila Madalena.'
Amazon Purchase Links
The Brazilian Trio
Title - '415 Records: Still Disturbing The Peace'
Artist - Various Artists
If you were unaware, 415 Records was a force in the '70s/early '80s, offering punk, new wave, synthpop/electrorock music from its based in SF, CA.
The label primarily featured music from SF bands although as the label grew, they signed bands from other cities as well. Indeed, the label name 415 is a reference both to the telephone area code for the San Francisco area and to the police code for disturbing the peace.
415 was founded in 1978 by rock promoter Howie Klein and record store owner Chris Knab. Together with friend and collector Butch Bridges, they built a powerhouse indie label focusing on young new wave bands such as SVT, The Uptones, and Pop-O-Pies.
And now those hallowed vaults of San Francisco indie label 415 Records have opened as another new label – Liberation Hall – is revisiting 415’s pre-Columbia catalogue.
Released on October 9th, 2020, Liberation Hall launched its 415 Records reissue series with an expanded edition of the original 1978 Disturbing the Peace compilation on CD and digital platforms.
This set, newly-entitled Still Disturbing the Peace: The Past Is the Present, features tracks by Mutants, The Nuns, The Offs, Monkey Rhythm, Baby Buddha, and many other bands reflecting the diversity of the Bay Area scene in the late 1970s.
1. 'Suicide Child' (The Nuns)
2. 'Insect Lounge' (Mutants)
3. 'Drivin' (Pearl Harbor and The Explosions)
4. 'Always Comes Back' (SVT)
5. 'No Long Good-byes' (VKTMS)
6. 'Everyone's A Bigot' (The Offs)
7. 'Guns of Revolution' (Red Rockers)
8. 'They Walk Among You' (New Math)
9. 'The Catholics Are Attacking' (Pop-O-Pies)
10. 'Stand By Your Man' (Baby Buddha)
11. 'High Pressure Days' (The Units)
12. 'K.U.S.A.' (The Uptones)
13. '415 Music' (The Readymades)
14. 'Savage' (The Nuns)
15. 'Teenage Underground' (Red Rockers)
16. 'Recognition' (Renegades)
17. 'Truckin' (Pop-O-Pies)
18. 'Simple Sabotage' (The Symptoms)
19. 'Don't Get Mad' (The Imposters)
20. 'Warm Moving Bodies' (Units)
21. 'This Must Be The Place' (Monkey Rhythm)
This wickedly vibrant Still Disturbing The Peace compilation is the first to feature releases from 415 that have not been available in 40 years and offers up a familiar revisit for most of music as stylistically varied as stripped-down primal punk, to lushly orchestrated electronica.
Opening with the rawly atmospheric 'Suicide Child' (The Nuns) and following that up with the gently frenetic 'Insect Lounge' (Mutants), next up is the one-two pop-punk bounce of 'Drivin' (Pearl Harbor and The Explosions), and the basement rock of 'Always Comes Back' (SVT) and the Siouxsie-esque VKTMS on 'No Long Good-byes.'
The fervent two-tone of 'Everyone's A Bigot' (The Offs) is then backed by the growled punk angst of 'Guns of Revolution' (Red Rockers), the airy pop psych of 'They Walk Among You' (New Math), the lofi, vocal brilliance of 'The Catholics Are Attacking' (Pop-O-Pies), and then both the Laurie Anderson-esque rendition of 'Stand By Your Man' (Baby Buddha) and the synth-imbued 'High Pressure Days' (The Units).
Next up is the fun pop flow of 'K.U.S.A.' (The Uptones) and the Green Day-esque '415 Music' (The Readymades), which are followed by the female-led, Debbie Harry-esque 'Savage' (The Nuns), the buoyant 'Teenage Underground' (Red Rockers), and then (after a radio intro) the blockbuster cut 'Recognition' from Renegades.
Coming into the final bend, we get the pulsating 'Truckin' (Pop-O-Pies), the gentle, melodic pop punk rock of 'Simple Sabotage' (The Symptoms), the foot-tappin' 'Don't Get Mad' (The Imposters), with the album rounding out on the vibrant synth and drum work of 'Warm Moving Bodies' (Units), closing on the free flowing, early Simple Minds/Talking Heads-esque 'This Must Be The Place' (Monkey Rhythm).
Amazon Purchase Links
Liberation Hall @ Facebook
Title - 'Mars Casino'
Artist - The Vibrators with Chris Spedding
For those not in the know, although I cannot believe there are many of you, British guitar icon Chris Spedding (who first recorded with The Vibrators on the 1976 single 'Pogo Dancing') now joins UK punk legends The Vibrators on the band's newest studio album!
Entitled Mars Casino (released November 20th, 2020 via Cleopatra Records), the album reunites the original line-up of Knox on vocals and guitar, John Ellis on guitar, Pat Collier on bass and Eddie on drums.
1. 'Mars Casino'
2. 'Jesus Stole My Little Dog'
3. 'Garbage Can'
4. 'Turn The Pages'
5. 'Big Black Sea'
6. 'Woman 3.2'
7. 'Follow Your Destiny'
8. 'Love Me Forever'
9. 'Made In Heaven'
10. 'Platinum Dress'
11. 'Passing Of Days'
12. 'Paper Tiger'
13. 'This Is The Way'
With the musical friendship between Spedding and The Vibrators having wildly launched itself kicking and screaming back in the mid-'70s, you just knew going into this new album that it was always going to be a right, royal doozy of a rockin' event!
Opening with the mid-tempo rocker title track 'Mars Casino' they back that up with the anthemic one-two romp 'Jesus Stole My Little Dog,' and then comes the gently frenetic 'Garbage Can,' the melodic rock of 'Turn The Pages,' the early '70s vibe of 'Big Black Sea,' and one of my own personal favorites, the Ramones-esque 'Woman 3.2.'
Next up is the harder rock of 'Follow Your Destiny' which is backed seamlessly by the Americana flow of 'Love Me Forever,' the foot-tapping 'Made In Heaven,' and the late '60s rock edge of 'Platinum Dress,' with the pulsating album rounding out on the low slung guitar work on 'Passing Of Days,' the Lou Reedesque 'Paper Tiger,' closing on the hyper guitar and vocal rock of 'This Is The Way.'
Mars Casino is also available as both a digipak CD and a wickedly delicious, Limited Edition PINK vinyl!
Official CD Purchase Link
Official PINK Vinyl Purchase Link
Title - 'Dreaming Of Your Cars - 1979 Demos Part 2'
Artist - Duran Duran
For those not in the know, fans of British new wave icons Duran Duran got the treat of a lifetime when Andy Wickett, the original vocalist of the group who was eventually replaced by Simon LeBon, released Girls On Film - 1979 Demo, a collection of early recordings of the band that included keyboardist Nick Rhodes, plus the rhythm section of John and Roger Taylor.
And now a second collection of demos has emerged, offering an even deeper look into the early workings of what would become one of rock music’s most prestigious and productive bands from the ‘80s!
Dreaming Of Your Cars - 1979 Demos Part 2 was officially released on October 30th, 2020 courtesy of Cleopatra Records and features four early DD tracks with Wickett on vocals.
1. 'Dreaming Of Your Cars' (4:00)
2. 'Love Story' (3:18)
3. 'X Disco' (2:46)
4. 'To The Shore' (2:26)
This very interesting flashback to a band that were finding their feet, their identity in the music industry, opens with the title track. A gentle synth and drum hip-pop beat with a breezy Caribbean vibe throughout, even then it had the markings of what would soon become the early Simon LeBon era.
We then get the poppy, foot-tapping melodies and beats of 'Love Song,' a more 'Planet Earth' ambiance found winding its way through 'X Disco' is next, with the EP closing on the aching, yearning guitar work of the synth-laden 'To The Shore.'
Wickett explains, “This is the second demo we did at Bob Lamb’s studio in Moseley, Birmingham. I wrote the song ‘Dreaming Of Your Cars’ with T.V. Eye before I joined the Durans. We were the Durans favourite local band."
"Later, when I supported Duran Duran with my band World Service on their UK tour in 1996, Nick Rhodes told me he loved that song and wanted to produce it.”
Dreaming Of Your Cars - 1979 Demos Part 2 will be available on both CD and colored vinyl as well as on all digital music platforms!
Official CD Purchase Link
Official PINK/PURPLE Vinyl Purchase Link
Title - 'Baecation'
Artist - J. Holiday
For those unaware, dim the lights and get ready for one of the sexiest albums R&B icon J. Holiday has made since his blockbuster, multi-platinum selling 2007 album Back Of My ‘Lac (2007).
On his brand new album Baecation (out now via Cleopatra Records), the superstar Holiday offers 12 new studio recordings, that all come complete with his incredibly powerful and emotive voice.
Also included are two (2) bonus tracks of recently-recorded versions of Holiday’s biggest hits, 'Bed' and 'Suffocate'.
1. 'Don’t Wanna Lose'
2. 'On Your Body'
5. 'Why You Came'
6. 'Dem Belly Full'
9. 'Problem' (feat. Popp Culture)
10. 'Whatcha Say'
11. 'Yes We Can'
13. 'Bed' [Bonus Track]
14. 'Suffocate' [Bonus Track]
This electrifying album opens on the finger-snapping Gospel, R&B flow of 'Don’t Wanna Lose' and backs that up with the smooth and silky 'On Your Body,' the transcendent title track, 'Baecation,' the free-flowing majesty of 'Four' and then the gentle R&B funk of 'Why You Came.'
The tempo is turned up for the Caribbean dancefloor hipsway of 'Dem Belly Full' which is followed by one of my own personal favorites on the album, the low riding 'Magic,' which is itself backed by the scratchy ballad 'Drugs,' the one-two hip-hop punch of 'Problem' (feat. Popp Culture) and then we get the R&B sway of 'Whatcha Say.'
The heartfelt outreach of 'Yes We Can' is another great track and is followed by the acoustic guitar-imbued brilliance of 'Hydro' (that also doesn't hide the fact that it contains a reworked version of the chorus from 'Drift Away'), with the album rounding out on the two bonus tracks, redo's of both 'Bed' and 'Suffocate.'
J. Holiday @ Facebook
Official Single Purchase Links
Official Album Purchase Links
Title - 'Live At Rockpalast 1981' [CD+DVD]
Artist - The Outlaws
For those not in the know, this recently released CD/DVD Live At Rockpalast 1981 features The Outlaws above the rocks of the Lorelei in Germany!
It was the summer of 1981, the band were experiencing Germany for the first time, and they brought there brand of Southern Rock with them for the country to see!
This new release is over an hour chock full of the unbridled joy of playing nine tracks, all bursting with power and endurance, the crowd as whipped into a musical frenzy as the band themselves!
The line-up was Freddie Salem (guitar/vocals), Hughie Thomasson (guitar/vocals), Billy Jones (guitar/vocals), David Dix (drums) and Rick Cua (bass) there on the Lorelei on August 29th, 1981.
The Outlaws had released their commercially successful album Ghost Riders one year before, with their track '(Ghost) Riders In The Sky' (original title 'Ghost Riders In The Sky: A Cowboy Legend') having been penned by Stan Jones, having already been covered by Johnny Cash and the Blues Brothers, thus fast becoming the new anthem of Southern Rock fans.
1. 'Devil's Road' (5:49)
2. 'Hurry Sundown' (4:57)
3. 'Holiday' (4:42)
4. 'Long Gone' (4:00)
5. 'Angels Hide' (6:33)
6. 'Waterhole' (2:20)
7. 'There Goes Another Love Song' (3:41)
8. 'Green Grass And High Tides' (20:07)
9. 'Ghost Riders In The Sky' (8:47)
Opening with the thunderous 'Devil's Road,' they quickly back that up with the more mid-tempo flow of 'Hurry Sundown,' the distinctive, melodic Southern vibe of 'Holiday,' and then comes the harder guitar rock of 'Long Gone.'
Up next is the guitar mastery behind the near seven minute extravaganza 'Angels Hide,' which is followed by the frenetic instrumental 'Waterhole,' the beautiful Southern hipsway of 'There Goes Another Love Song,' before the album rounds out with a 20 minute epic in the form of 'Green Grass And High Tides,' closing on the clapped-along-to 'Ghost Riders In The Sky' (with also features a quite breathtaking guitar war between Freddie Salem, Hughie Thomasson and Billy Jones!).
With the audience as pumped up about the band being there as the band themselves, the German crowd waved over-sized Southern States banners here and there.
Guitarist Freddie Salem remembers: "Speaking for the other Outlaws and myself, after playing in thousands of shows for thousands of people, Lorelei Germany and The Rockpalast concert will always remain a wonderful and ongoing memory in our career."
Amazon CD+DVD Purchase Link
Outlaws @ Facebook
Outlaws @ Twitter
Outlaws @ Instagram
Outlaws @ YouTube
Title - 'Beautiful Chaos'
Artist - BrokenRail
Roaring onto the global music scene on a tank full of raw rock energy and fierce metal bravado, BrokenRail are an award-winning hard rock and metal band hailing from Birmingham, Alabama.
Since 2008 they have been bringing their infectious, heavy-hitting anthems to the worldwide stage — growing them a steady following across the globe.
And, for those not in the know, the long awaited new album from that very same exciting young metal act is out now!
Beautiful Chaos (released via Cleopatra Records) showcases both the strengths and diversity of this incredible band with stellar musicianship, powerful vocals, melodic ballads, and of course some of the heaviest, horns-in-the-air metal riffs you're likely to hear all year!
Featuring the singles 'Creatures,' 'Demon In Disguise' and 'California,' the album was produced by Joseph McQueen (As I Lay Dying, Bad Wolves) ad is available on both CD and colored vinyl!
1. 'Beautiful Chaos'
4. 'Demon in Disguise'
6. 'On My Own'
8. 'Never Be the Same'
9. 'The Haunted'
With BrokenRail having already had their songs featured on ESPN, NBC Sports and more, as well as streams in the tens of millions globally, they open this new album - one that is predestined to take them to a whole new level - with the thunderous growl of the title track 'Beautiful Chaos,' and follow that up with the dark, throaty metal of 'Nightmare,' the pulsatingly melodic 'California,' and then we get the one-two death dive into both 'Demon in Disguise' and 'Creatures.'
More melodic overtones come to the fore on both 'On My Own' and 'Patterns,' which are backed by the "ballad" of the album, 'Never Be the Same,' with the album rounding out on the incessant intensity of 'The Haunted,' closing on the lighter rock fare of 'Reignite.'
BrokenRail @ Facebook
Brokenrail @ twitter
Brokenrail @ Instagram
Brokenrail @ YouTube
Beautiful Chaos is also available as both a CD and a wickedly delicious, Limited Edition GOLD or SILVER vinyl!
Official CD Purchase Link
Official GOLD or SILVER Vinyl Purchase Link
Title - 'Flight'
Artist - Tenant From Zero
For those not in the know, Tenant From Zero is singer, composer Paul Darrah from Brooklyn, NY whose songs aim for the romantic, moody, and melancholy sounds of '80s sophistipop.
Darrah sees Tenant From Zero as a continuation of the proud British pop lineage of the artists he has loved since his youth. "I'm drawn to artists with a sense of melancholy, romance, intelligence and style," he says.
"I modeled my voice whether consciously or subconsciously on David Sylvian and Tracey Thorn from Everything But The Girl. After decades of listening, their vices are in mine now."
In late 2018, Darrah began work on Flight, his debut album due out January 22nd, 2021 (available on CD and download via La Bella Figura Records), and the subsequent nine tracks find him transforming his own personal affairs of the heart into elegant songcraft.
2. 'The End Away'
3. 'This Can't Wait Til Later'
4. 'The Bomb You Dropped'
6. 'Properly Wrecked By John'
7. 'Perfect Words'
8. 'Yellow and Blue'
9. 'Still Empty Rooms'
At times a little Richard Darbyshire (Living In A Box), at others Colin Vearncombe (Black), and imbued with a Spandau Ballet lush swagger, the album opens with the stuttered pace, and Japan-esque (David Sylvian) bass chord patterns of 'ZRH' and backs that up seamlessly with the sweepingly orchestral 'The End Away,' which itself is followed by the lush orchestrations of 'This Can't Wait Til Later.'
Next we get the synth-led, Roxy Music-esque 'The Bomb You Dropped' and then, complete with a tempered trumpet solo from Gary Olsen (The Ladybug Transistor), the ornate piano cadence of 'After.'
Next up is one of my own personal favorites, the graceful, Calypso-imbued vibe of 'Properly Wrecked By John' (featuring saxophone from Tornstein Krogedal), which is backed by the programed synth percussion work of 'Perfect Words,' with the album rounding out on the ethereal 'Yellow and Blue,' closing on the subtle acoustic guitar, and earnest vocal expressions of 'Still Empty Rooms.'
As for the album title, Darrah says 'Flight is a bit of a play on words. It's about both the luxury of air travel - specifically the first song 'ZRH' which is the airport code for Zurich International Airport - but also the idea of running away both physically and emotionally."
'This Can't Wait Til Later' (Official Lyric Video)
'The End Away' (Official Lyric Video)
Official Pre-Order Purchase Link
Tenant From Zero @ Facebook
Tenant From Zero @ Twitter
Tenant From Zero @ Soundcloud
Title - 'Southern Child: Expanded Edition'
Artist - Little Richard
For those not in the know, Record Store Day Black Friday is/was scheduled for Friday, November 27th, 2020, the day after Thanksgiving, at a brick-and-mortar record store near you, and so Omnivore Recordings will be making two titles available that day: Little Richard’s Southern Child: Expanded Edition album and Brian Wilson & Van Dyke Parks’ Orange Crate Instrumentals.
Concentrating on the former for now, following 1971’s King of Rock and Roll, Little Richard (aka Richard Penniman) did something no one would have expected — he allowed his up-’til-then unrecognized country-rock leaning to emerge.
Further, unlike the songs on its predecessor, all 14 tracks on Southern Child were written or co-written by Richard. While there is the funk, rock and soul one would expect during this period, Southern Child was a predominantly country-rock affair.
And while Little Richard had proven he could master any genre, the label decided to shelve the album, leaving it unissued until the tracks appeared on a long-out-of-print label retrospective in 2005.
Recorded in the spring of 1972 in Los Angeles, the album was mixed, mastered and handed into the label. It was given a catalog number and cover art was designed, but Reprise opted instead to release The Second Coming in its place.
Both albums were recorded at around the same time, with Bumps Blackwell in the producer chair, but the reasons Southern Child was left behind are lost to time.
Perhaps the label felt Little Richard’s audience wouldn’t follow him into unfamiliar musical territory, but now Southern Child appears for the first time the way Little Richard intended it.
The LP — also soon to be available on YELLOW vinyl — becomes available on November 27th, 2020; and the CD version, augmented by four bonus tracks, is due December 4th, 2020 via Omnivore Recordings.
1. 'California (I’m Comin’)'
2. 'If You Pick Her Too Hard (She Comes Out Of Tune)'
3. 'Burning Up With Love'
4. 'Ain’t No Tellin’
5. 'Last Year’s Race Horse (Can’t Run In This Year’s Race)'
6. 'Southern Child'
7. 'In The Name' (Version 3)
8. 'Over Yonder'
9. 'I Git A Little Lonely'
10. 'Puppy Dog Song'
11. 'In The Name' (Version 4, Take 1, False Start) [Bonus Track]
12. 'In The Name' (Version 4, Take 2) [Bonus Track]
13. 'In The Name' (Version 4, Take 3) [Bonus Track]
14. 'Sneak The Freak'
Opening on the funky country of 'California (I’m Comin’)' that's backed by the low key, harmonized 'If You Pick Her Too Hard (She Comes Out Of Tune),' the acoustic guitar, foot-tappin' 'Burning Up With Love,' the lofi yearning ballad 'Ain’t No Tellin’ and then the gently euphoric embrace found within the Southern twang of 'Last Year’s Race Horse (Can’t Run In This Year’s Race).'
Up next is the Southern storytelling of the title track 'Southern Child' which is followed by the down home stillness of 'In The Name' (Version 3), the rallying cry of 'Over Yonder,' with the original album rounding out with the mid-tempo Southern funk of 'I Git A Little Lonely,' closing on the drum-led, puppy-enhanced, dog breed-describing, slow swamp rock of 'Puppy Dog Song.'
This Expanded Edition contains four tracks, all be it that there are the same, just different takes of 'In The Name (Version 4, Take 1, False Start; Version 4, Take 2; and Version 4, Take 3), with this new edition finally closing on the four minute instrumental, and a track that more reflected Richard's usual frenetic rock 'n' roll style of piano playing, 'Sneak The Freak.'
Omnivore Record Store Day Black Friday 2020 Trailer
Southern Child: Expanded Edition CD - Official Purchase Link
Title - 'Free Angel Express'
Artist - American Tears
For those not in the know, American Tears is an American keyboard trio that released its first record, Branded Bad, on Columbia Records in 1974, it's second, Tear Gas, in 1975, and its final for Columbia, Powerhouse in 1977 before reforming in 2018.
Due to the very well received 2018 release of it's 4th record Hard Core, the band recorded White Flags, released to great critical acclaim in 2019, which kicked it all up a notch.
Formed in the fertile musical environment of Long Island, New York, the band was initially made up of Gary Sonny, on bass, Tommy Gunn on drums and Mark Mangold on keys and vocals.
The band was a power keyboard trio, using keyboards of the day, Hammond organ, synths, mellotron, clavinet, electronic melodica and playing progressive music which showed the bands stellar musicianship.
The band was fortunate to have toured major venues with such bands as Peter Frampton, J. Geils, Alvin Lee, Gentle Giant, Gary Wright, John McLaughlin and many others.
They reached a wide audience and had an impressive show, topped off by Mangold doing handstands on his Hammond while being surrounded by his massive keyboard setup!
Mark Mangold would go on to play and work with Michael Bolton, Cher and Paul Rodgers, penning the hits 'Fools Game,' 'I Found Someone,' and 'For A Little Ride' and many others, as well as forming the bands Touch, Drive She Said, The Sign and others.
Now American Tears have released their brand new album Free Angel Express via Deko Music/12:12 Records, which perfectly showcases the fact that the band has seamlessly continued its journey with keyboard rock here on these 13 pulsating new tracks.
2. 'Set It On Fire'
3. 'Free Angel Express/Resist/Outta Here'
4. 'Not For Nothing'
6. 'Everything You Take'
7. 'Roll The Stone'
8. 'Blue Rondo'
9. 'Can’t Get Satisfied'
11. 'Shadows Aching Karma'
12. 'So Glow'
13. 'Rise To The Light'
'Tusk (Blood on the Ivory)' [DOWNLOAD ONLY]
Featuring a variety of progressive and heartfelt songs that offer anthemic choruses, lush tapestries, scathing soloing and poignant lyrics, Mangold's vocals have been compared to Joe Cocker, David Lee Roth and even Peter Gabriel down the years, but here on the forthright opener, 'Sledgehammered,' he's just being himself.
That's backed by the one-two, stuttered rock of 'Set It On Fire,' the simply magnificent ten minute opus 'Free Angel Express/Resist/Outta Here,' and then we get the synth-pumpin' euphoria of 'Not For Nothing,' the free-flowing, and the mid-tempo ballads 'Glass' and 'Everything You Take.'
Up next is the drum-led beauty 'Roll The Stone' which is followed by the frenetically-controlled, synth-tastic 'Blue Rondo,' the rocker 'Can’t Get Satisfied,' the atmospheric orchestrations of 'Woke,' the tripping the light fantastic ambiance of 'Shadows Aching Karma,' with the album rounding out on the low key ebb and flow of 'So Glow,' closing on the Organ-imbued, Gospel-inspired 'Rise To The Light.'
Mangold states, “If I can convey and express an emotion, create a thought, a "moment", I'm good. It's music, but it's also life. Gotta let the imagination fly. There was no one to confuse me so I just followed instincts and chased the adrenaline.”
Free Angel Express features: Alex Landenburg (Stratovarius, Kamelot, Rhapsody, Cyhra, ) on drums, with guest appearances by Barry Sparks (UFO, Dokken), Doug Howard (Touch, Utopia, Edgar Winter Band), and Charlie Calv (Angel, Shotgun Symphony).
American Tears - 'Free Angel Express' Purchase Link
American Tears @ Facebook
Title - 'Conquered Lands'
Artist - Death Dealer
For those not in the know, Death Dealer has announced their long-awaited return with news of their third full-length, Conquered Lands.
Just released via Steel Cartel and comprised of twelve tracks, Death Dealer also announced a major new addition to the band as bass legend Mike Lepond (SYMPHONY X, ROSS THE BOSS, SILENT ASSASSINS) joined their already loaded line-up!
"We had a great time with Mike Davis and he will always be a brother," says guitarist Ross the Boss about the bass switch. "Due to both of our upcoming schedules we mutually decided another guy might have to come in and handle what we had coming up."
"Mike Davis will be missed, but we are very excited about the addition of another bass superstar, Mike Lepond." Joining Ross and Mike Lepond are Sean Peck (CAGE, THE THREE TREMORS, DENNER/SHERMANN) on vocals, Stu Marshall (NIGHT LEGION, DUNGEON) on guitar, and Steve Bolognese (ROSS THE BOSS BAND, INTO ETERNITY) on drums.
1. 'Sorcerer Supreme'
2. 'Every Nation'
3. 'Beauty and the Blood'
4. 'Running with the Wolves'
5. 'The Heretic Has Returned'
6. 'Conquered Lands'
7. 'Hail to the King'
8. 'Slay or Be Slain'
9. 'Faith Under Fire'
10. '22 Gone'
11. 'Born to Bear the Crown'
Opening with the ferocious, Bruce Dickinson-esque vocals from Sean Peck on 'Sorcerer Supreme,' their powerful vein of metal rock continues on with the melodic 'Every Nation,' the storytelling of the frenetically drum-led 'Beauty and the Blood' and then we get the euphoric pairing of both 'Running with the Wolves' and 'The Heretic Has Returned.'
Next up is the throaty metal rock of the title track, 'Conquered Lands,' then comes the free-flowing triple threat of 'Hail to the King,' 'Slay or Be Slain' and 'Faith Under Fire,' which are themselves backed by the earnest ballad '22 Gone,' with the album coming to a close on the thunderous 'Born to Bear the Crown.'
"We had 'Conquered Lands' 80% done for the last 3 years," admits Sean Peck. "And we finally had the chance to spend some time and get it finished up. We have been spending a lot of quality time online with each other lately and the fires are really burning hot to get DD back out crushing it again."
As always, the album will be supported with live dates (in 2021), including a festival appearance in March in England, at the HARD ROCK HELL FEST.
Understandably, the band is eager to perform the new material on stage, as Sean adds that the material on 'Conquered Lands' is "Definitely 100% pure DEATH DEALER."
Death Dealer - 'Conquered Worlds' Purchase Link
Death Dealer @ Facebook
Title - 'Solo Albums 1974-1992' [6-CD Box-Set]
Artist - Graham Bonnet
Although the Skegness, UK-born Graham Bonnet is probably best known for the melodic hard rock he fronted in the 1980s with Ritchie’s Blackmore Rainbow, The Michael Schenker Group, and his own band, Alcatrazz, his musical odyssey started with the duo The Marbles in 1968.
Despite top ten success, Graham’s undeniable talents languished in relative obscurity until he appeared as front man with the fictitious band Billy Beethoven in the 1975 cinematic romp, Three Of A Kind, co-starring his then wife, Adrienne Posta.
This largely forgotten piece of cinematic history did however lead to Graham recording what was meant to be his debut solo outing for DJM Records, Back Row In The Stalls.
Although this album was thought long lost, thankfully a cassette taken from the master tape was found, and transferred for release by HNE. Subsequently, the original production master was found, allowing a much superior remaster, released here for the very first time.
Although the more pop orientated material may be a surprise to fans of the man that brought us ‘Lost In Hollywood’ and ‘Eyes Of the World’, it certainly paved the way for his debut solo LP proper, 1977’s self-titled Graham Bonnet.
What makes this rare collection an extra treat is the inclusion of seven bonus tracks, six of which are taken from the A and B-Sides of the singles ‘Whisper In The Night’ b/w ‘Rare Specimen’ from 1972, ‘Trying To Say Goodbye’ b/w ‘Castles In The Air’ from 1973 and a very rare 1973 single from Graham’s then wife, the actress Adrienne Posta, ‘Dog Song’ b/w ‘Express Yourself’ from 1973; both featuring Graham.
Back Row In The Stalls (1974) [2020 REMASTER]
1. 'Here Comes The Rain'
2. 'What's This 'Ere Then'
3. 'Private Eye'
4. 'Ghost Writer In My Eye'
5. 'Saturday's Over'
6. 'Back Row In The Stalls'
7. 'She May Be Not Much To Look At (But She Certainly Got A Heart)'
8. 'Ade's Song'
9. 'Mamma Mine'
11. 'She May Be Not Much To Look At (But She's Certainly Got A Heart)' (Version 2)
12. 'Don't Drink The Water'
13. 'Dreams (Out In The forest)'
14. 'We're Free'
15. 'Whisper In The Night' (Single A-Side, 1972) [BONUS TRACK]
16. 'Rare Specimen' (Single B-Side, 1972) [BONUS TRACK]
17. 'Trying To Say Goodbye' (Single A-Side, 1973) [BONUS TRACK}
18. 'Castles In The Air' (Single B-Side, 1973) [BONUS TARCK]
19. 'Dog Song' (Adrienne Posta) [BONUS TRACK]
20. 'Express Yourself' (Adrienne Posta) [BONUS TRACK]
21. 'Message To Trevor' [BONUS TRACK]
The album begins with the young, fresh-faced vocal pitch of ‘Here Comes The Rain,’ and is backed by both the spoken/sung ‘What's This 'Ere Then,’ the swing, fast-paced piano vibe of ‘Private Eye,’ and both ‘Ghost Writer in My Eye’ and ‘Saturday's Over.’
The (show tune) title track, ‘Back Row in the Stalls’ is a true stand out track, and highlights Bonnet’s vocals and musical knowledge of tones and notes.
That’s followed by a fun and vibrant ding-a-ling of a track, ‘She May Be Not Much to Look At (But She's Certainly Got a Heart)’, with the ballad Ade's Song,’ the rocker ‘Mamma Mine’, the show tune 'Relaxae,’ and then the powerhaus ’Don't Drink the Water’ all following along thereafter.
The mid-tempo ‘Dreams (Out in the Forest)’ is next, and the original album rounds out with the Doo-Wop vibe of ‘We’re Free.’
As for the Bonus Tracks, the dusky piano ballad ‘Whisper in the Night' leads the way, with the Speakeasy vibe of ‘Rare Specimen,' the pop-rock of ‘Trying to Say Goodbye,' the ballad ‘Castles in the Air,' and then the newly-remastered album rounds out with the childish fun of ‘Dog Song' and 'Express Yourself' (both Adrienne Posta-imbued), and closes on the upbeat fun of 'Message To Trevor.'
Graham’s style was originally geared more towards pop and R&B orientated music, recording a number of obscure, but now highly collectable 45s in the early 1970s, before releasing his eponymous titled debut in 1977 for Ringo Records.
Kicking off with Bob Dylan’s ‘It’s All over Now, Baby Blue’, 1977’s Graham Bonnet certainly draws upon some classic songwriters, with Goffin and King’s ‘Will You Love Me Tomorrow?’, a track briefly resurrected by Rainbow at the 1980 Monsters of Rock, Al Green’s ‘Tired Of Being Alone’ and ‘Goodnight And Good Morning’, originally from Hall & Oates’ Whole Oats LP.
Produced by Pip Williams and engineered by John Eden, both of whom are probably best known for their work with Status Quo, Graham Bonnet is augmented by no less than seven bonus tracks, including ‘Heroes On My Picture Wall’, the B-Side of ‘It’s All over Now, Baby Blue’.
Graham Bonnet (1977)
1. 'It's All Over Now, Baby Blue'
2. 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow?'
3. 'Tired of Being Alone'
4. 'Wino Song'
5. 'It Ain't Easy'
6. 'Goodnight and Goodmorning'
8. 'Sunday 16'
9. 'Rock Island Line'
10. 'Soul Seeker'
11. 'Heroes on My Picture Wall' (Single B-Side, 1977) [BONUS TRACK]
12. 'Goodnight and Goodmorning' (Single Edit) [BONUS TRACK]
13. 'I Who Am I' (Graham Bonnet & Vicky Silva, 1977) [BONUS TRACK]
14. 'The Loving Touch' (Graham Bonnet & Vicky Silva, 1976) [BONUS TACK]
15. 'Do What You Gotta Do' (Demo) [BONUS TRACK]
16. 'It Ain't Easy' (Demo) [BONUS TRACK]
17. 'You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling' (Demo) [BONUS TRACK]
With Bonnet's future as a hard rock singer with Rainbow and Michael Schenker, amongst others, still a little way off, the style here may surprise some.
However the pop/soul/R&B approach certainly suits his voice to a tee and also, at least in places, does reveal some rock oomph. Indeed that latter aspect shows up through the excellent guitar playing of future Whitesnake man Micky Moody, although with the likes of 'Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow' and 'Tired Of Being Alone' (bar one or two songs, the whole album is cover versions, or outside sourced tracks), the guitar does tend to take a back seat.
Unsurprisingly everything feels very much of its time, the waca-waca-waca riffs a nod to disco, while classy string atmospheres tend, along with brass, to take a lot of the limelight.
However with Bonnet at the mic, there really could be only one star and even taking into account that the nearest this album flirted with success was a minor chart hit in Australia (with a good version of Bob Dylan's 'It's All Over Baby Blue', although even this petered out quite quickly) his vocal ability is quite astounding.
Wasting no time at all, his debut was followed up in 1978 by No Bad Habits, again produced by Pip Williams. Featuring the singles ‘Can’t Complain’ and a cover of the Bee Gee’s ‘Warm Ride’, the bonus tracks include ‘10/12 Observation’, the B-Side of ‘Warm Ride’, as well as a “disco” version of the track ‘Warm Ride’.
The following year, Graham would be enlisted to join Ritchie Blackmore, Roger Glover, Don Airey and Cozy Powell in Rainbow, and that band’s commercial breakthrough album, Down To Earth.
Graham Bonnet and No Bad Habits remain fitting testimonials to this singular artist’s progress as a singer and musician.
No Bad Habits (1978)
1. 'I'll Be Your Baby Tonight'
2. 'Won't You Join Me'
3. 'Warm Ride'
4. 'Is There a Way to Sing the Blues'
5. 'Can't Complain'
6. 'Givin' Up My Worryin'
8. 'Only You Can Lift Me'
9. 'Stand Still Stella'
10. 'High School Angel'
11. 'Cold Lady'
12. '10/12 Observation' (Single B-Side of 'Warm Ride') [BONUS TRACK]
13. 'Only You Can Lift Me' (Single Edit) [BONUS TRACK]
14. 'Such a Shame' (Single B-Side of 'Only You Can Lift Me') BONUS TRACK]
15. 'Warm Ride' (12" Long Disco Version) [BONUS TRACK]
16. 'Warm Ride' (12" Long Version) [BONUS TRACK]
In ways it's more of the same here from his self-titled album, the soul/pop/R&B mix of covers given a '70s mainstream sheen, and of course, a serious vocal workout.
This time the album itself would take hold in Australia but as before the UK pretty much ignored an excellent take on future Status Quo cut 'Givin' Up My Worrying,' the jaunty 'Won't You Join Me' and it's very 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight'-like chorus), or the out and out disco of the Gibb/Gibb/Gibb (in other words The Bee Gees) penned 'Warm Ride'.
Thankfully however, one person who didn't ignore Bonnet was Rainbow bassist Roger Glover, who having heard the singer's version of 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow' from the Graham Bonnet album, scurried off with the record to let Rainbow main man Ritchie Blackmore hear it!
The guitarist agreeing to Bonnet was the unexpected choice to replace Ronnie James Dio in their band, but the rest, as they say, is history.
Graham Bonnet enjoyed a solo career throughout the 1970s, but truly made his mark with Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow in 1979. The album Down To Earth was propelled to global success by the hit singles ‘All Night Long’ and ‘Since You Been Gone’, but would be the sole studio record to feature Bonnet, who would make the inaugural Monsters Of Rock festival at Castle Donington in 1980 his final Rainbow show.
Signing to Vertigo Records, the release of Line Up in 1981 was preceded by the Top 10 hit single ‘Night Games’. Produced by John Eden, famed for his work with Status Quo, plus Quo’s Francis Rossi, a band was assembled around Whitesnake’s Jon Lord on keyboards and Mick Moody on guitar, former Rainbow and future Whitesnake drummer Cozy Powell, then drumming with Michael Schenker, as well as guest spots from Quo’s Andy Bown, Rick Partfitt and Francis Rossi, who co-produced two of the album’s tracks.
Although continuing in the melodic hard rock vein of Rainbow, Bonnet still brought his R&B roots to the record, and draws on material from some classic songwriters, such as Russ Ballard (‘S.O.S.’ and ‘Liar’), The Kinks’ Ray Davies (‘Set Me Free’), Chuck Berry (‘Anthony Boy’) and The Ronettes’ ‘Be My Baby’.
Bob Young and Micky Moody also contribute three songs to the set. This disc features four bonus tracks, including two non-album B-sides, making this is the definitive version of this melodic rock classic (of which the album is, and always has been, my second favorite album to Down To Earth!).
1. 'Night Games'
3. 'I’m A Lover'
4. 'Be My Baby'
5. 'That's The Way That It Is'
7. 'Anthony Boy'
8. 'Dirty Hand'
9. 'Out On The Water'
10. 'Don't Stand In The Open'
11. 'Set Me Free'
12. 'Don't Tell Me To Go' (B-side) [BONUS TRACK]
13. 'Bad Days Are Gone' (B-Side) [BONUS TRACK]
14. 'Night Games' (Single Edit) [BONUS TRACK]
15. 'Out On The Water' (Single Edit) [BONUS TRACK]
Anyway, Line-Up kicks off with arguably the best song on the album, 'Night Games.' [Incidentally, the video for this, where he and all his incredible, star-studded band mates are on stage singing, Bonnet's neck straining each lyric, is still embedded in my mind!] Following that single is the more melodic Russ Ballard-penned 'S.O.S.' which in turns gets followed by the mellow 'I'm A Lover.'
A cover of The Ronettes' 'Be My Baby' is next, and as much as it is truly out of place, 'That's The Way It Is' follows and gets us back on track. But it's another huge '80s hit, again penned by Russ Ballard, 'Liar' that truly sends us back in time.
Man, what a crackin' song to have playing at full blast whilst driving, top down on a summer's afternoon! The swingin' rock of Chuck Berry's 'Anthony Boy' is next, before the complete rock out of 'Dirty Hand' is lovingly upon us.
'Out On The Water' provides us another look into the depth of Bonnet's gravel-laced voice, before 'Don't Stand In The Open,' with the bouncy, and Ray Davies-penned 'Set Me Free' rounding the original album out just perfectly.
Now complete with four (4) previously unavailable (on CD) tracks from that recording session, we are also now privy to 'Don't Tell Me To Go' (b-side), 'Bad Days' (b-side), 'Night Games (Single Edit)' and then 'Out On The Water' (Single Edit).
In truth, there's nothing special here among the foursome, as I've got the 7" singles the b-sides came from, and the Single Edits are just a massive they-sound-the-same-as-the-album-tracks cop out.
That all said, Line-Up still stands the musical test of time and if you don't believe me, try it out for yourself one summer's day.
1991’s Here Comes The Night saw Graham move far away from his more rock orientated path to take a more pop flavored approach, including covers of Ray Davies ‘I Go To Sleep’, Denny Laine’s ‘Eyes Of A Child’, Leiber & Stoller’s ‘Don’t’ and James Brown’s ‘I’ll Go Crazy’.
Here Comes The Night (1991)
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'
12. 'What She Says, You Hear It Means'
INSTRUMENTAL DEMOS [BONUS TRACKS]
13. 'Gone In A Minute'
14. 'A Hole In My Soul'
15. 'Please Call Me'
16. 'Greenwich Meantime'
The mastermind behind the whole enterprise is guitarist/producer Ray Fenwick, more known as the guitarist for the first the solo Ian Gillan albums (CHILD IN TIME, CLEAR AIR TURBULENCE and SCARABUS).
For all intents and purposes, this is a crooner album. Inclusive of a lot of horn work, gentle melodies and en masse of slow songs, they all have been expertly produced and interpreted, and, lo and behold, Bonnet's voice fits them perfectly!
Highlights here on this long forgotten gem (to my mind), are cuts such as 'A Change Is Gonna Come', 'I'll Go Crazy' and 'I Go To Sleep,' but even with the inclusion of those instrumental demos, the album is truly only built for the most hardcore Bonnet-collecting fans.
Featuring newly remastered audio, Reel To Real: The Archives 1987-1992 kicks off with three track recorded in Los Angeles in 1987 with Danny Johnson on guitar.
Tracks 4 – 9 were recorded in Australia, April 1989. ‘You Are Your Money’ and ‘Dead Man Walking’ are two demo tracks from EZoo, a collaboration between Graham and Dario Mollo.
Digging even deeper, ‘Glass Mountain’ and ‘Red Rum’ are two tracks recorded with Norwegian metallers Tomorrow’s Outlook. In 2015, Graham formed the Graham Bonnet Band, releasing the My Kingdom Come EP, with a title track courtesy of Russ Ballard and featuring ‘The Mirror Lies’.
This extensive collection finishes off with 'Unleash The Beast’ by Rough Rockers and finally ‘Hippie Heart, Gypsy Soul’ from Wishing Well and as much as it truly rocks, it is yet another album that, to my mind, is truly only built for the most hardcore Bonnet-collecting fans.
Reel To Real: The Archives (1987-1992) [2020 Remaster]
1. 'Tonite I Fly' (1987)
2. 'Reel To Real' (1987)
3. 'The Dancer' (1987)
4. 'Whiplash' (1989)
5. 'Long Time Gne' (1989)
6. 'Summer In the City' (1989)
7. 'River Deep - Mountain High' (1989)
8. 'Midnight Crossing' (1989)
9. 'Rider' (1989)
10. 'Double Cross My Heart' (1992)
11. 'Hearts Under Fire' (1992)
12. 'You Are Your Money'
13. 'Dead Man Walking'
14. 'Glass Mountain'
15. 'Red Rum'
16. 'My Kingdom Come'
17. 'Mirror Lies'
18. 'Unleash The Beaast'
19. 'Hippie Heart, Gypsy Soul'
With no income to pay the bills, Bonnet moved to Australia and set about joining the Zep Boys, who, as their name suggested, were a Led Zeppelin tribute band.
Playing a handful of low key gigs in social clubs and hotels around the area early in 1989, the singer and band started shaping up a set of Alcatrazz, Rainbow and Schenker covers, alongside some other tracks that had previously been hits for Bonnet in Australia.
While two new cover version were also trotted out, Ike & Tina Turner’s 'Mountain Deep, River High' and The Loovin Spoonful’s 'Summer In The City,' Reel To Real shines a light on that time by offering a studio disc bringing together the three Alcatrazz cuts and the six songs he recorded in Australia, along with three other slightly later recordings.
Title - 'Axe Victim: Expanded & Remastered Edition'
Artist - Be-Bop Deluxe
For those not in the know, Be-Bop Deluxe were an English progressive rock band who achieved critical acclaim and moderate commercial success during the mid to late 1970s.
The band's sound emerged as a mixture of glam rock, prog rock and straightforward rock and roll. Indeed, Science fiction imagery was common in the lyrics, along with the more traditional themes of love and the human condition.
Digitally remastered and now an expanded 2CD edition, Esoteric Recordings is proud to announce the release of a new remastered 2CD set of Axe Victim, the legendary 1974 debut album by Be-Bop Deluxe.
Recorded in the Spring of 1974 at several studios in London, Axe Victim was released by EMI’s Harvest label in June 1974 to much critical praise and introduced Be-Bop Deluxe to the record buying public.
The album featured the band’s first line-up of BILL NELSON (vocals, lead guitar, acoustic guitar, piano), IAN PARKIN (rhythm & acoustic guitars, organ), ROB BRYAN (bass guitar, vocals) and NICHOLAS CHATTERTON-DEW (drums).
Axe Victim was a fine debut and was championed by DJ John Peel (who had been an advocate of Bill Nelson’s work since the release of the rudimentary self-released album Northern Dream in 1971) as one of his favorite releases of 1974.
Although Bill Nelson was still finding his creative feet, Axe Victim featured some fine material including the classic Adventures in a Yorkshire Landscape, along with other fine material such as ‘Night Creatures’, ‘Third Floor Heaven’ (which featured Babe Ruth vocalist Jenny Haan guesting), ‘Jets at Dawn’ and the superb ‘Darkness (L’Immoraliste)’.
This expanded reissue has been newly re-mastered from the original master tapes and features an additional 17 bonus tracks drawn from a stunning new stereo mix of the album from the original multi-track tapes by award winning engineer Stephen W. Tayler, along with both sides of the rare Smile Records single ‘Teenage Archangel’ b/w ‘Jets at Dawn’ released by the band in 1973 prior to being signed to EMI. Also included are previously unreleased out-takes from the original album sessions.
Axe Victim [THE ORIGINAL ALBUM REMASTERED]
1. 'Axe Victim'
2. 'Love Is Swift Arrows'
3. 'Jet Silver & The Dolls Of Venus'
4. 'Third Floor Heaven'
5. 'Night Creatures'
6. 'Rocket Cathedrals'
7. 'Adventures In A Yorkshire Landscape''
8. 'Jets At Dawn'
9. 'No Trains To Heaven'
10. 'Darkness (L'Immoraliste)'
11. 'Teenage Archangel' (1973 Single Version) [BONUS TRACK]
12. 'Jets At Dawn' (1973 Single Version) [BONUS TRACK]
13. 'No Trains To Heave' (First Mix) (Previously Unreleased) [BONUS TRACK]
14. 'Axe Victim (Album Version - First Mix) (Previously Unreleased) [BONUS TRACK]
To my mind, Be-Bop Deluxe was one of the best, and certainly one of the most overlooked, of the '70s progressive rock bands.
Its leader, Bill Nelson, is a fascinating lyricist and dynamic guitarist and this first album showcases many of the band's strengths, such as Nelson's appealing melodies and idea-filled lyrics and the guitar work filled with ringing notes and glissandi.
Furthermore, Nelson's style in this time period became extremely influential and is very similar to the most melodic Flame/Sky era of Carlos Santana's guitar style, and a driving sound satisfying to even the most art-rock-resistant fan.
The glam influences on the band are apparent here - 'Jet Silver and the Dolls of Venus' has strong Ziggy overtones, and the music has a more acoustic feel to it than the later eras of the band.
For me, the twin centerpieces of the album are 'Adventures in a Yorkshire Landscape' and 'Jets at Dawn,' both languid, lyrical pieces which showcase both Nelson's way with a lyric and his coursing, redeeming guitar style.
Many other songs also entertain, though, such as 'No Trains to Heaven' has a gutbucket riff combined with a lyric devoted to seeking the kingdom within, whilst 'Love is Swift Arrows' contains the marvelous lyric "Oh Goddess in Heaven, whose number is 17, dressed you in blue jeans this year".
Whether you are a Be-Bop Deluxe fan who never got around to picking up Axe Victim or whether you have simply not discovered this wonderful, neglected band, I urge you to now pick up this wondrous 2CD Expanded Edition (or the even more expansive 3CD/DVD Limited Edition Deluxe Box-Set) of the classic debut album from the totally quintessential Be-Bop Deluxe.
Axe Victim [THE NEW STEREO MIX']
1. 'Axe Victim'
2. 'Love Is Swift Arrows'
3. 'Jet Silver & The Dolls Of Venus'
4. 'Third Floor Heaven'
5. 'Night Creatures'
6. 'Rocket Cathedrals'
7. 'Adventures In A Yorkshire Landscape''
8. 'Jets At Dawn'
9. 'No Trains To Heaven'
10. 'Darkness (L'Immoraliste)'
11. 'Axe Victim' (First Version) (Previously Unreleased) [BONUS TRACK]
12. 'Night Creatures' (Spoken Word Version) (Previously Unreleased [BONUS TRACK]
13. 'Rocket Cathedrals' (First Version) (Previously Unreleased) [BONUS TRACK]
Another highlight of this 2CD set is the illustrated booklet featuring previously unseen photographs and an essay of recollections by Bill Nelson.
This re-mastered, re-mixed and expanded edition of Axe Victim is a fitting celebration of a wonderful debut album and a tribute to the creative vision of Bill Nelson.
Official 2CD Purchase Link
Official 3CD/DVD Purchase Link
Title - 'Song Of Seven: Remastered & Expanded'
Artist - Jon Anderson
For those not in the know, Jon Anderson is an English-American singer and songwriter best known as the former lead singer of the progressive rock band Yes, which he formed in 1968 with bassist Chris Squire.
He was a member of the band across three tenures until 2008 along with also being a member of Yes Featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakeman.
Anderson is also noted for his solo career and collaborations with other artists, including Vangelis as Jon and Vangelis, Roine Stolt as Anderson/Stolt, and Jean-Luc Ponty as AndersonPonty Band. He has also appeared on albums by King Crimson, Tangerine Dream, Iron Butterfly, Battles and Mike Oldfield.
Anderson released his first solo album, Olias of Sunhillow, in 1976, while still a member of Yes, and subsequently released 13 more albums as a solo artist.
Anderson became an American citizen in 2009 and in 2017, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Yes.
Digitally remastered and now an expanded 2CD edition, Esoteric Recordings is proud to announce the release of a new re-mastered and expanded edition of the 1980 solo album by Jon Anderson, Song Of Seven.
The album was recorded during Jon’s first hiatus from YES, with whom he had become an internationally known vocalist and songwriter and followed on from his 1976 solo album, the aforementioned Olias Of Sunhillow.
Working with keyboard player Ronnie Leahy, Anderson created an optimistic album of varying influences and he gathered together a fine ensemble of musicians to assist him such as celebrated bass players Jack Bruce and John Giblin, guitarists Clem Clempson and Ian Bairnson, saxophonist Johnny Dankworth and percussionists Morris Pert and Simon Phillips.
Song Of Seven was a UK top forty hit upon its release by Atlantic Records in November 1980 and spawned a solo tour which established Jon Anderson as a regarded artist in his own right.
This Esoteric Recordings edition has been newly remastered from the original Atlantic Records master tapes and is expanded to include two rare US single edits previously unreleased on CD and restores the original album artwork in a digipak.
1. 'For You, For Me'
2. 'Some Are Born'
3. 'Don't Forget (Nostaligia)'
4. 'Heart Of The Matter'
5. 'Hear It'
6. 'Everybody Loves You'
7. 'Take Your Time'
9. 'Song Of Seven'
10.' Some Are Born' (US Single Promo Edited Version) [BONUS TRACK]
11. 'Heart Of The Matter' (Short Version) [BONUS TRACK]
This was Anderson's second solo album, a sort-of follow-up to the phenomenal Olias of Sunhillow, though considerably less experimental, and ultimately less satisfying, in my humble opinion.
Here we see foreshadows of the 1980s pop era, including Yes's own dramatic shift towards Top-40 radio friendliness, and Anderson's own descent into short, simple, semi-catchy, and ultimately forgettable musical morsels found on almost all of his later solo attempts.
That said, there's definitely some lucidity to be found in this album, especially from the off on the declamatory and joyful opener 'For You, For Me' and even on through to the mellow, hippy-ish 'Take Your Time,' though it seems draped by a thin veil that separates the music from its full potential.
Even the title track, the only Olias-like fantastical prog ballad, 'Song of Seven is, at just over 11 minutes, and which is much longer than the other songs on the album, suffers, for even the sweet spots are restrained into being by the buffer material.
Like, just when you think it's going to crescendo, it stumbles into a significantly less interesting coda.
We all know Anderson has always had a talent for extended compositions and, ok, sure, for the most part, this doesn't wholly disappoint on this track.
It builds from silence until the first chords begin to break over the sounds of children playing. I honestly still don't know what the song is about, but it's got a slightly melancholy feel to it along with a definitive message of hope abounding in there too.
Overall, though, this is a good album and, to my mind, is more successful in its attempt to fuse Jon's progressive roots with his later penchant for catchy pop than any of his later releases.
In fact, 'Don't Forget' (a distinctive throw-back to American pop/rock of the 50's) and 'Everybody Loves You' are quite good songs, despite their relative simplicity. The only song I'm not really fond of is 'Heart of the Matter,' which sticks out like a sore thumb amongst the curated tracks.
Summed up, there are fluff tracks on here, sure, but they remarkably become less so after a second and third spin, but as we progress further into the album, where the music broadens and deepens in complexity and themes.
Indeed, by the end, we've covered rock, R&B, ambient, Celtic, folk-rock, as well as simple pop, culminating in an orchestral suite along the lines of 'Awaken.'
Anyway, for fans of Jon Anderson, this is a must-have disc, as it's an important musical milestone in the singer's career that illustrates a shifting of style and priorities in song crafting that becomes dramatically more pronounced in the next decade or so after its release.
In truth, it's also a good enough album for people who aren't, as well, as it's generally unassuming and easily accessible on most tracks. However, for those still wondering, if you're expecting another Olias of Sunhillow, well, don't!
In closing, as I've played Devil's Advocate here, Jon Anderson just has one of those unique voices that when I heard it again now for this review I was instantly transformed into a teenager again.
His music is like a good meal, not like fast food. Indeed, like a good meal, you enjoy it, remember it and leave the table with a sense of having enjoyed something lasting and substantial.
This is how I remember Song Of Seven from back then and how it has all flown lovingly back to me now from this remastered expanded edition. It obviously isn't a perfect album, but is well worth a listen, and is, without a shadow of a doubt, as good today as 30 years ago; and twice as fulfilling than most all modern chart music!
The booklet also features a new essay with an exclusive interview with Jon Anderson.
Official CD Purchase Link
Title - 'Every Little Everything'
Artist - Anne E. DeChant
For those not in the know, simply put, Anne E. DeChant's new album, Every Little Everything, Greatest Hits Volume I is a pure, unadulterated delight.
For those of us who have been fans since the 1990s, you can go on a tour of every phase of her songwriting over the years and remember how you loved each tune when you first heard it.
Indeed, for those who don't know her music, I don't know if it's possible to come away from this compilation not being a fan and wanting more!
A 2020 Kerrville New Folk Competition Finalist, Anne E DeChant, originally from Avon Lake, Ohio, was named Cleveland’s Singer-Songwriter of the Year five times.
She began as the dynamic lead singer of Cleveland fan favorite, Odd Girl Out, before launching her own career with nine previous studio album releases to her credit.
And as for this terrific collection of older tunes, like any greatest hits album from a terrific artist, you come away thinking that there could have been twice as many songs on it and it still wouldn't cover all her known "great" ones!
1. 'Every Little Everything' (2020) (3:29)
2. 'Train Song' (3:39)
3. 'Scattered' (3:30)
4. 'Girls & Airplanes' (Original Version) (4:09)
5. 'Harris' (4:19)
6. 'Open Doors Open Windows' (2020) (3:19)
7. 'Pop the Star' (2:21)
8. 'Green Hand' (2020 Version) (4:07)
9. 'Go Get Joe' (4:21)
10. 'Dance with your Demons' (3:07)
11. 'Stand' (3:04)
12. 'You Get What You Give' (2020) (4:47)
13. '25' (5:04)
14. 'Running Red Lights' (4:09)
15. 'Swing' (3:57)
16. 'Girls & Airplanes' (2020 Version) (3:46)
This quite delightful, soul-lifting collection opens with the Summer breeze hipsway of the new track 'Every Little Everything' and backs that up seamlessly with the atmospheric travelin' track (no pun intended) 'Train Song,' the forthright, Etheridge-esque 'Scattered,' the uplifting mantra of 'Girls & Airplanes,' and then the lo-fi ballad 'Harris.'
Next up is the hand-clapping, countrified Americana of another new track, 'Open Doors Open Windows' which is followed by the late '70s pop-rock of flow of 'Pop the Star,' and then we get the low slung, working man ambiance of an updated 'Green Hand,' the remembrance ballad 'Go Get Joe,' the beautiful, euphoric ballad 'Dance with your Demons,' and then the mid-tempo foot-tapper 'Stand.'
The last third of the album showcases the fact that at no time does DeChant rest on her laurels when writing/recording songs as these are just as good as anything that has gone before them.
A most deliciously perfect example of that is up next, as DeChant not only covers the 1998 international hit song by the New Radicals, 'You Get What You Give,' but smashes it out the park and clear out of the zip code!
Then we get the one-two, pop-folk-rock bounce of '25' which is backed by the easy-breezy, porch-swinging, dusk melodies of 'Running Red Lights,' with the album rounding out on the heartfelt 'Swing,' closing on a brand new 2020 version of her fan favorite, 'Girls & Airplanes.'
Official Purchase Links
Title - 'Hits Vegas - Live At Planet Hollywood' [3LP]
Artist - Def Leppard
For those not in the know, the soon-to-be released Def Leppard limited edition transparent blue 3LP vinyl set Hits Vegas, Live At Planet Hollywood (December 11th, 2020 via Eagle Rock Entertainment) is a 28-song deep dive into not only their greatest hits, but rarities such as 'Too Late For Love,' 'Billy's Got A Gun,' 'Promises,' and even the criminally under-rated 'Slang.'
Highlighting Def Leppard's versatility, and presenting a livewire stage show with two stages and video walls, punctuated with intimate, acoustic renditions of rarely performed songs 'Let Me Be The One,' 'We Belong,' 'Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad,' and 'Two Steps Behind," trust me when I say that this could quite possibly be the most "ultimate" Def Leppard release EVER!
1. 'Die Hard The Hunter'
5. 'Too Late For Love'
1. 'Billy's Got A Gun'
4. 'Paper Sun'
5. 'Let It Go'
Side A opens with one of their earlier tracks from 1983's Pyromania, the pulsating 'Die Hard The Hunter,' and then they back that up with a throaty 'Animal' (although the audience seems to be singing all the chorus themselves) and the fun jaunt of 'Excitable' (both from Hysteria), and then goes back to their aforementioned third album to round out the first side with the foot-pounding 'Foolin' and the rock ballad 'Too Late For Love.'
Side B continues on with more Pyromania content in the form of the mid-tempo rocker 'Billy's Got A Gun,' and then switches beats to one of their most under-appreciated songs ever, the always-magnificent, rock-pop-rap of 'Slang' from 1996.
Jumping to their next album, Euphoria, we get the rockin' ballad 'Promises' and the low slung ballad 'Paper Sun,' with this side coming to a close on the the opening track from their 1981 album High 'n' Dry, the searing guitar work of 'Let It Go.'
1. 'Mirror, Mirror (Look Into My Eyes)'
2. 'Bringin' On The Heartbreak'
3. 'Switch 625'
4. 'Let Me Be The One'
5. 'We Belong'
1. 'Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad'
2. 'Two Steps Behind'
5. 'Let's Get Rocked'
Side C opens with a few more cuts from that album, such as 'Mirror, Mirror (Look Into My Eyes)' (although, weirdly, it sounds nothing like Elliot singing), and then we cruise into the sweeping rock guitar ballad 'Bringin' On The Heartbreak,' with this side rounding out on the full on instrumental 'Switch 625,' jumping up to 2002's X album and then 2015's self-titled, for the acoustic ballads 'Let Me Be The One' and 'We Belong' respectively.
Continuing the acoustic ballad theme, Side D opens with 1992's 'Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad' and the unsung hero from their under-played 1993 Retro Active album, 'Two Steps Behind,' before the rockers get back to doing what they do best for 'Now' and then the magnificently adrenalized pairing of both 'Rocket' and 'Let's Get Rocked' (although the latter sounds like Elliot's vocals are being strained at this point).
2. 'Love Bites'
3. 'Armageddon It'
4. 'Pour Some Sugar On Me'
1. 'Let's Go'
3. 'Rock Of Ages'
With only the big hits coming at us from here on in, Side E opens with the breathtaking 'Hysteria,' a lushly-orchestrated, reverb enhanced 'Love Bites,' another foot-stompin' beauty in 'Armageddon It,' closing on a totally righteous, and massively vibrant, audience participation-enhanced 'Pour Some Sugar On Me.'
The final vinyl, Side F, keeps the party going with the thunderous 'Let's Go' (which was also their first single from their self-titled album), backing that with their cover (on Retro Active) of the old Sweet song, 'Action,' closing out this magnificent live experience (and with Elliot's vocals shredded at this stage) on two cuts from Pyromania, 'Rock Of Ages' and 'Photograph.'
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Title - 'Modern Man' [EP]
Artist - Ben Lang
For those not in the know, Ben Lang is a singer-songwriter from San Rafael, CA.
His debut solo release, Modern Man EP (releasing November 27th, 2020 via Moo Moo Records) offers six finely-crafted alternative-acoustic tracks written and performed entirely by Lang himself, with expressive lyrics and a slight country feel akin to artists as varied as Violent Femmes, Paul Simon, or Willie Nelson.
Together with Paggi (aka Dan Paggi), also a notable Pacific Northwest artist, Lang was a founding member of the San Francisco cult classic band Biv and the Mnemonics (aka Roy G Biv & The Mnemonic Devices), whose albums The Blue Orange (2009) and The Pace (2013) were released to critical acclaim and still resonate today.
1. 'Houston-New Orleans'
2. 'Modern Man'
3. 'Nailin' It'
4. 'Hollow Spaces'
5. 'Tee Off With Your Head'
6. 'Mr. Moon'
Opening on the vibrant, free-flowing across the plains, gentle bounce of 'Houston-New Orleans,' next up is the foot-tappin' vibe of the Americana-imbued 'Modern Man.'
A track that works its way into being, you can hear all Lang's influences coming together as one and that's followed by the lo-fi, organic acoustic guitar ballad 'Nailin' It.'
Up next is the beautiful, mid-tempo ballad 'Hollow Spaces,' which is itself backed by the smoothly fervent, Hee-Haw imbibed 'Tee Off With Your Head,' with this delightful new EP coming to a close on the lonesome vocal outreach to above on 'Mr. Moon.'
Ben Lang's Modern Man EP is available online everywhere music is streamed and sold November 27th, 2020 [Black Friday].
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Title - 'The Stories We Write For Ourselves'
Artist - Kendall Street Company
For those not in the know, Charlottesville, VA quintet Kendall Street Company have just released their highly impressive fourth studio album, The Stories We Write For Ourselves.
The 15-track album (which has now become one of my own personal Top 10 favorites of 2020) was recorded in Virginia Beach and co-produced by Scott Gordon (Ringo Starr, Alanis Morissette, Aerosmith, Baja Men, Hanson, Cher, et al) and on it the band works to explore the human psyche through an impassioned and introspective lens.
All whilst exploring a deep repertoire of sounds: the Folk and Americana story-telling of The Avett Brothers, the experimental compositions of Pink Floyd, the soulfully layered horns of The Rolling Stones, the acoustic charm of The Wood Brothers, and the classic-rock influences of artists such as Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, et al.
"This body of work harkens back to some of our roots” Kendall Street Company tells American Songwriter. The result is a boundary-pushing indie record rife with layered vocal harmonies, intimate songwriting, and acoustic guitar licks that tug on your heartstrings while still moving your feet.
2. 'Go On'
3. 'Lady I Love'
4. 'Waiting on a Train'
5. 'Down the Line (undrowned)'
6. 'Lady in Green'
7. 'Dear White Old Moon'
9. 'The Earth Turns'
10. 'Blend into Thunder'
11. 'In a Little While'
13. 'A King’s Farewell'
14. 'Snowday in The Fan'
Opening with a fun, abstract thirty second 'Prologue,' they move quickly on into the harder-edged 'Go On,' which is itself backed by the lighter fare of 'Lady I Love,' the gentle Americana flow of 'Waiting on a Train,' and then both the atmospherically industrial workmanship of 'Down the Line (undrowned)' and then the harmonious beauty of 'Lady in Green.'
The more prog orchestrated pairing of both 'Dear White Old Moon' and the controlled freneticism of 'Vertigo' are up next and are followed by the free flowing, Summer's breeze majesty of 'The Earth Turns,' an ode to nature's more liquid of proffering's within 'Blend into Thunder' and then the Dylan-esque lyrical ambiance of 'In a Little While.'
The beautiful hipsway of 'Coffee' is then backed by the upbeat musings found within 'A King’s Farewell,' the album rounding out with the feeling of a day long jam coming to a harmonious close on 'Snowday in The Fan,' closing on the verbal sonic discoveries found within on the .47 second 'Epilogue.'
Simply put, The Stories We Write For Ourselves is the culmination of years of songwriting and material written as far back as 2016.
It is a testament to the band’s staunch ambition as it marks their second studio release this year, and comes as a follow up to a summer full of entrepreneurial endeavors curating and self-promoting a number of live-streaming sets online, along with a handful of intimate, crowd-sourced and socially distant shows for fans amidst the ongoing pandemic.
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Title - Evensong (Hymns And Lullabies At The Close Of Day)
Artist - Keith and Kristyn Getty
For those not in the know, award-winning and current GMA Dove award winners, Keith and Kristyn Getty of Getty Music, have just released their latest collection of 13 original hymns and lullabies.
Entitled Evensong (Hymns And Lullabies At The Close Of Day), it features guest appearances from Vince Gill, Heather Headley, Ellie Holcom, Sierra Hull, Deborah Kelmme, and Sandra McCracken.
Released worldwide on August 28th, 2020, on the eve of the historic Sing! Global conference, Evensong is a dream project for Kristyn Getty.
On turning 40, she and Keith decided that this project would be the way she would mark the year. First set in motion early in the year, the global pandemic meant that an album intended to bring comfort to homes at evening time was also recorded during a shelter at home season.
Album producer Ben Shive was able to gather recordings from each musical collaborator and masterfully create a project fusing the Celtic, folk, bluegrass, classical, and Americana sound the Gettys have become known for around the world.
1. 'Hush-a-by (Come unto Me and Rest)'
2. 'Sun of My Soul (Shine)' – featuring Sarah McCracken
3. 'Consider the Stars'
4. 'Softly and Tenderly' / 'Ashokan Farewell (Medley)' – featuring Vince Gill, Ellie Holcomb, Sierra Hull, and Deborah Klemme
5. 'Is He Worthy?'
6. 'Lily of the Valley'
7. 'His Eye Is on the Sparrow' – featuring Heather Headley
8. 'Jesus, Friend of Little Children'
9. 'The Lord Is in His Holy Temple'
10. 'My Heart Is Filled with Thankfulness'
11. 'Keep Letting the Light In'
12. 'Abide with Me'
This quite magnificent, oh-so beautiful album (and, on a personal note, one that has refreshed and nourished my soul just from the very first listen) opens with the almost-ethereal 'Hush-a-by (Come unto Me and Rest)' and backs that up with the free flowing majesty of 'Sun of My Soul (Shine)' (featuring Sarah McCracken), and then we get the thought-provoking stillness of 'Consider the Stars,' the dulcet quietness found within 'Softly and Tenderly' / 'Ashokan Farewell (Medley) (featuring Vince Gill, Ellie Holcomb, Sierra Hull, and Deborah Klemme), and then the pleasing tranquility found within inspiration of 'Is He Worthy?'
Next up is the sweet, late-'50s Paris aroma of 'Lily of the Valley,' which is followed by the piano imbued 'His Eye Is on the Sparrow' (featuring Heather Headley), which is in turn backed by the lonesome quaintness of 'Jesus, Friend of Little Children,' and then the atmospheric 'The Lord Is in His Holy Temple.'
This simply divine new album continues on with the reaching, soaring milieu of 'My Heart Is Filled with Thankfulness,' and then comes the regally fearlessness of 'Keep Letting the Light In,' with the album rounding out on a breathless version of the Christian hymn 'Abide with Me,' closing on the delightful lullaby, 'Evensong.'
Keith Getty OBE says, “Evensong, is a project born out of a family tradition. We close out our days with a time of reflection in thought, song, and prayer."
"This collection of hymns and lullabies features a mixture of many of our daily emotions that help us redirect the mind and the comfort of the heart.”
“These are lullabies and hymns we have sung to and for our own children,” says Kristyn Getty of her four daughters. “Singing God’s truth into both the more tender and vulnerable moments of the day has been a centerpiece of raising our own kids."
"I know I need true words spoken into my heart and mind to help de-clutter all that presses in upon me from day to day. I hope these songs help people dwell on the Lord and His promises; to release a burdened mind, to calm a restless heart and point us towards real peace in Christ.”
The cover art was specially created by internationally renowned Irish artist Ross Wilson.
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Title - 'Italian Postcards'
Artist - Quartetto di Cremona
Since its formation in 2000, the Quartetto di Cremona has established a reputation as one of the most exciting chamber ensembles on the international stage.
Regularly invited to perform in major music festivals in Europe, North and South America, and Far East, they garner universal acclaim for their high level of interpretive artistry.
In 2020 the the multiple award-winning Quartetto di Cremona celebrates its first twenty years of career, an important milestone for an Italian ensemble.
For the occasion, distinguished concerts and recording projects were developed over the year, the last of which this year is their just-released 14th recording, and first on AVIE Records, Italian Postcards.
Mozart penned his first string quartet during his first Italian journey to the town of Lodi. Hugo Wolf’s Italian Serenade takes its inspiration from poetry and ancient Italian melodies.
Extending the quartet repertoire, the Cremona commissioned British-French-Israeli composer Nimrod Borenstein, whose Cieli d’Italia was inspired by the colors of the Italian skies.
The album’s idyllic conclusion is Tchaikovsky’s string sextet, “Souvenir de Florence,” in which the Cremona is joined by violist Ori Kam (Jerusalem Quartet) and cellist Eckart Runge (former founding member of the Artemis Quartet).
Hugo Wolf (1860 – 1903)
1. Italian Serenade in G (6.50)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791)
String Quartet No. 1 in G, K. 80, “Lodi”
2. Adagio (8.02)
3. Allegro (4.08)
4. Menuetto (2.31)
5. Rondeau: Allegro (2.50)
Nimrod Borenstein (b. 1969)
6. Cieli d’Italia, Op. 88 for string quartet (7.20)
world-premiere recording, commissioned by the Cremona Quartet
Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky (1840 – 1893)
String Sextet in D minor, Op. 70, “Souvenir de Florence”
7. I. Allegro con spirito (10.32)
8. II. Adagio cantabile e con moto (10.09)
9. III. Allegretto moderato (6.40)
10. IV. Allegro con brio e vivace (7.13)
Assembling evocations of the Mediterranean country by four non-natives, they open on Wolf's stirringly vibrant, magnificently crisp Italian Serenade in G and back that up with Mozart's melodiously beautiful “Lodi” quartet.
At times fleetingly frenetic, cautiously harmonic, at others simply imbued with a ballroom swirl ebb and flow, it is my own personal favorite moment here on this album.
Next up is Borenstein's ornate lushness found within Cieli d’Italia, Op. 88 for string quartet, brought forth here as a world-premiere recording, commissioned by the Cremona Quartet, with the album closing on the dutifully magnificent, sternly soaring, uplifting and occasionally elusive, and yet at all times pertinent and breathtakingly controlled essences and energy found with Tchaikovsky's 1890 composition “Souvenir de Florence”.
Cristiano Gualco – violin Nicola Amati, Cremona 1640
Paolo Andreoli – violin Paolo Antonio Testore, Milano ca. 1758 (Kulturfonds Peter Eckes, Germany)
Simone Gramaglia – viola Gioachino Torazzi, ca. 1680 (Kulturfonds Peter Eckes, Germany)
Giovanni Scaglione – cello Dom Nicola Amati, Bologna 1712 (Kulturfonds Peter Eckes, Germany)
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Title - 'Mythologies'
Artist - Anna Clyne & The BBC Symphony Orchestra
Simply put, Anna Clyne’s enormous palette of colors and special effects coalesce into an aural three-dimensional experience of striking originality.
Equally there’s a comforting familiarity to her music, as she draws inspiration from historic styles that she transforms into a new musical dialect.
Anna’s background in electro-acoustic music and her fascination for a variety of multi-media – including poetry, visual art and videography – combine to create rich and exhilarating textures of popular appeal.
The five works here on Anna Clyne's new album, Mythologies (out now via AVIE Records) were written over a 10-year period between 2005 and 2015 with the performances on the album featuring the BBC Symphony Orchestra and four internationally-acclaimed conductors.
Anna Clyne (b. 1980)
1. Masquerade * (2013) (4.57)
2. This Midnight Hour (2015) (12.43)
3. The Seamstress (2014) (21.25)
4. Night Ferry (2012) (20.13)
5. rewind (2005) (7.58)
Commissioned by BBC Radio 3 to open the Last Night of the Proms 2013 and conducted by Marin Alsop, the album opens on the simply stunning, deeply euphoric, and divinely free flowing Masquerade.
This Midnight Hour, conducted by the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s Chief Conductor Sakari Oramo, features within its alluringly composed bouts of flux, retreat and evolution, a desire to encapsulate the modernity and decadence of two European poets, Nobel Prize-winning Spaniard Juan Ramón Jiménez and Frenchman Charles Baudelaire.
Oramo also conducts the 20 minute The Seamstress, an achingly intricate, stunningly powerful and yearning embrace of epic cinematic proportions, and single-movement violin concerto in all but name, featuring soloist Jennifer Koh as well as the whispered voice of Irene Buckley reciting the work’s inspiration, a poem by William Butler Yeats.
More poetry by a Nobel laureate, the Irishman Seamus Heaney, inspired Night Ferry. Conducted by Andrew Litton, the 20 minute work conjures crashing waves and weathered seafaring within its spirited ebb and flow orchestrations.
The album wraps with rewind which is conducted by André de Ridder. A vivacious controlling of eclectic orchestrations, it imagines the backwards scroll of a video tape complete with glitches, skips and freezes.
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Title - 'More Than Another Day'
Artist - Lisa Hilton
For those not in the know, More Than Anther Day (out now via Lisa Hilton Music) is the latest instrumental jazz release from composer/pianist/producer, Lisa Hilton.
Hilton and her band mates Rudy Royston on drums, and Luques Curtis on bass, had just finished the first half of their tour for their 2020 album, Chalkboard Destiny, when the corona virus forced a shutdown of the tour, and soon thereafter, lockdown in the U.S.
Grounded and worried for a relative stuck and sick in Italy, Hilton did what she said she's always done: "I have always turned to my creativity in difficult times," she reveals. "I think it is how I process what is happening in our world."
"For artists, creative projects flourish in down times - I think quiet propels creativity."
Lisa Hilton is a distinctive composer of jazz, as well as an acclaimed pianist. Growing up in a small town on California's central coast, she originally taught herself to play piano with a colored keyboard guide, writing her first simple songs around six years, before beginning studies in classical and twentieth century music starting at the age of eight.
In college she switched majors from music and graduated instead with a degree in art. Hilton's art background informs her compositions, for she describes painting compositions using improvisation, and harmony or sculpting with constantly changing rhythmic ideas from different cultures.
Furthermore, Hilton's music draws on classical traditions, and twentieth century modernists as well as classic American jazz greats such as Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, and Horace Silver, as well as blues heroes Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson.
A prolific and passionate composer as well as an accomplished producer, Hilton has recorded about 300 tracks.
1. 'More Than Another Day'
2. 'Retro Road Trip'
3. 'Secret Beach'
4. 'I’ve Got You Under My Skin'
5. 'Blues & Beauty'
6. 'No Sleep Until…'
7. 'Dear Life of Mine'
8. 'Karma Chaos'
9. 'Today I Looked At Love'
10. 'So This Is Love'
This quite compelling new album - one that showcases the creative range of Hilton and her trio as it seamlessly moves through different rhythmic ideas, genres and eras, with Royston and Curtis providing stellar additions to Hilton's nine compositions and one cover tune - opens with the free flowing majesty of the title track, and backs that up with the groovy swing of 'Retro Road Trip,' and then we get the more precise, cultured 'Secret Beach,' which is followed by the only cover tune, an exquisitely fine tuned rendition of Cole Porter's 'I've Got You Under My Skin.'
Capturing the ambiance of a world within itself, the longest track at over six minutes is the tranquil piano work of the hazy 'Blues & Beauty' and that's followed by both the lofi balladry work of both 'No Sleep Until…' and 'Dear Life of Mine,' and then the pace is picked up for the perky 'Karma Chaos.'
The album then rounds out with a couple more ballads in the form of the lush orchestrations of 'Today I Looked At Love' and the ornate magnificence of 'So This Is Love,' which bring to a close an album that not only uplifts the soul and spirit within the listener, but ensures they are also given a breath of fresh air in which to continue forth within.
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Title - 'Sunday at Pilars'
Artist - Chris Rottmayer
For those not in the know, Chris Rottmayer is a jazz pianist and composer living in Madison, WI. Chris grew up and began playing in Columbus, OH, spent 20+ years building a successful career as a musician in Orlando, FL, and moved to Madison in 2018 to complete a doctoral degree in piano performance at UW-Madison.
Rottmayer’s third album Sunday at Pilars, released November 13th, 2020 is comprised mostly of American Popular Songbook standards and jazz tunes, and was produced in collaboration with Pilars Martini and Walt Hubbard, with the album featuring quartet, trio, and solo piano tracks.
The tracks are flavored in a decidedly straight-ahead fashion, with a nod to the shuffle grooves and swing feels of the classic Hammond organ groups, only on piano.
2. 'Weaver of Dreams'
5. 'My Foolish Heart'
7. 'The More I See You'
8. 'Nostalgia In Times Square'
10. 'Waltz For Julia'
12. 'Break Blues for Pilar'
This vibrantly atmospheric album opens with the gently frenetic 'Meteor' which is followed by the laid back and dreamy pairing of 'Weaver of Dreams' and 'Skylark,' with the mid-tempo lushness of 'Mamacita' up next.
The pace slows down again for both the nine minute 'My Foolish Heart' and one of my own personal favorites, the simply heavenly 'Emily, which are in turn backed by the subtly perky 'The More I See You' and the hipsway of 'Nostalgia In Times Square.'
Next up is the orchestrated magnificence of 'Trocadero' which is followed by the quietly passive mood of 'Waltz For Julia,' with the album rounding out on another seven minute cut, this time the swing set of 'Cherokee,' coming to a close on the short, but very sweetly flirtatious melodies found within 'Break Blues for Pilar'
A studio recording, Sunday at Pilars replicates the vibe of their Sunday gigs at Pilars Martini, in Winter Garden, Florida, where this particular band performed there regularly on Sunday afternoons between 2015 and 2018.
Chris Rottmayer- Composer, Piano
Charlie Silva- Acoustic Bass
Walt Hubbard- Drumset
Jack Wilkins- Tenor Sax
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Title - 'The Weather Is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful'
Artist - The Jeff Benedict Big Big Band
For those not in the know, Jeff Benedict has been playing professionally since the age of 14. He received a Bachelor of Music degree in Saxophone Performance and a Master of Arts in Composition from the University of Denver and he played professionally in the Denver area for 10 years and led his own band, Euphoria.
In 1982, he went to the University of Texas at Austin, where he began his pursuit of a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Saxophone Performance with the famous classical saxophonist Harvey Pittel while a regular member of the Jazz Quartet.
From 1984 to 1993, Benedict was the lead alto saxophone in the Aspen Jazz Ensemble and he became an established performer at the Aspen Music Festival, appearing with the Jazz Ensemble, The Festival Orchestra and the Chamber Symphony.
From 1988 to 1993 he was on the faculty of the school, serving as Associate Director of the Aspen Jazz Ensemble. Benedict has performed and taught at other summer music festivals and camps including: the Tanglewood Institute, the Ojai Festival, the Britt Music Festival and the Northern Arizona University Summer Jazz Camp.
Indeed, he has also held teaching positions at Augustana College, Plymouth State College, The University of Denver, The University of Texas, Biola University, Riverside City College, and the California State University, Los Angeles, where he a Professor Emeritus.
He is an accomplished classical musician as well, having performed as an orchestral musician with: the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, the Aspen Festival Orchestra, the Aspen Chamber Symphony, the Denver Symphony, the Lakes Region Symphony Orchestra, the Quad City Symphony, and the Augustana Orchestra.
Phew! Well, now this highly impressive performer is back making well orchestrated noise with his Big Big Band, having just released a brand new album, The Weather Is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful (out now via Groovy Panda Records).
3. 'The Fotomat Song (Someday My Prints Will Come)'
4. 'The Weather Is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful'
5. 'Armadillo Research'
6. 'Ant Dance'
7. 'Cheek to Cheek'
8. 'The Mighty Dollar'
9. 'Tom and Jerry'
10. 'Hikky Burr'
This vibrantly atmospheric album opens with the midday swing vibe of 'Moonscape' and backs that up with the early '70s jazz funk of 'Nardis,' the joyful 'The Fotomat Song (Someday My Prints Will Come),' more of those '70s inspired, foot-tappin' horn-imbued times on 'The Weather Is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful,' and then we get one of my own personal favorites, the nine minute hipsway movements of 'Armadillo Research.'
The antsy orchestrations of 'Ant Dance' are up next and they are followed by another nine minute work of orchestrated wonderment, the simply brilliant 'Cheek to Cheek,' which is itself backed by the finger-snappin' fervency of 'The Mighty Dollar,' with the album rounding out on the light and perky 'Tom and Jerry,' closing on the outstandingly fantastic flashback to those early '70s cop show theme tunes in 'Hikky Burr.'
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Title - 'Electric Fantastic'
Artist - The Moore-McColl Jazz Society
For those not in the know, based out of Atlanta, Georgia, The Moore-McColl Jazz Society is Beth Moore (Vocals/Piano/Rhodes/Organ) and Chance McColl (Electric Guitar, Vocals).
On this quite magnificent debut album, Electric Fantastic (out now), The Moore-McColl Jazz Society deliver a 2020 take on 1970's jazz organ/guitar combos.
Having known each other and collaborated for years, this album actually sees their first start-to-finish project with one or the other of them writing or co-writing eight of the nine tracks on the album.
1. 'Electric Fantastic'
2. 'Like a Symphony'
3. '800 East'
4. 'The Logical Song'
5. 'I Remember Danny Gatton'
6. 'If You Really Loved Me'
7. 'Blues For Lonnie Williams'
On an album that will have your mind lovingly locked inside an old, smoke-imbued club in downtown Memphis on a late Friday night, up first is the funky title track, 'Electric Fantastic' which is backed by the soulful blues roll of 'Like a Symphony,' the gentle guitar jam flow of '800 East,' and then we get both the the finger-snappin', Brazilian-styled percussional groove of 'Beth's Bounce' and then a simply stunning, guttural Bluesy reflection of Supertramp's big chart hit, 'The Logical Song.'
The aching Americana-esque ballad 'I Remember Danny Gatton' is up next and is backed by the old school, deep down in the dirt blues, one-two guitar and Hammond drawl of the Chance-sung 'If You Really Loved Me,' with the album rounding out on the seven minute deep dive into 'Blues for Lonnie Williams,' closing on the shortest track here, the beautiful, floral piano ambiance of the delicate 'Words.'
Personnel – Beth Moore: vocals, piano, Fender Rhodes, Hammond C3 organ and horn arrangements; Chance McColl: electric guitar and vocals; Tim Aucoin: contrabass and electric bass; Joel Morris: drums and percussion; Caleb Lattimore: trumpet; Christopher Alpiar: tenor saxophone; Declan Ward: alto saxophone; Ben Holst: pedal steel guitar ; Scott Rashner: trombone ; Jordan Alyssa: backing vocals ; Devynn Phoenix Robinson: backing vocals .
The Moore-McColl Jazz Society - 'The Logical Song' (Supertramp Cover)
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Title - 'Wide Awake'
Artist - Adam Glaser Trio
For those not in the know, Conductor Adam Glaser is currently Music Director of the professional-caliber Juilliard Pre-College Orchestras and Director of Orchestras at Hofstra University where he serves as an Associate Professor of Music.
Notable engagements include a post as Principal Conductor of the NYU Orchestras, a nine-concert residency with the Symphonia Boca Raton, appearances with the symphonies of Wheeling, Illinois and Victoria (BC), and collaborations with such distinguished artists as Itzhak Perlman, Joyce Yang, Conrad Tao, Vijay Gupta, Timo Andres and Areta Zhulla.
Passionate about opera, ballet and theatre music, Glaser recently made his New York City Opera debut conducting the critically-acclaimed world premiere of Ted Rosenthal’s Dear Erich.
As Resident Principal Conductor at the Usdan Center for the Arts, he led several multidisciplinary theater works, including a collaboration with American Ballet Theater principal dancer Ashley Tuttle, Metropolitan Opera soprano Monica Yunus, and the Usdan Center’s ballet company, chorus and orchestra in selections from Orff’s Carmina Burana.
An established composer, Glaser’s works have been performed by over 30 orchestras throughout the U.S. and Canada, including the orchestras of Philadelphia, St. Louis, Atlanta, Baltimore, Milwaukee, Utah, Vancouver and Toronto.
And now Glasser takes a bold and exciting step to serve up great classical music by Igor Stravinsky and Robert Schumann to a perhaps new audience, jazz lovers, here on the magnificent Wide Awake.
As noted, Glaser enjoys a busy career as an orchestra conductor and music director of ensembles, but as these nine works quickly inform us, he is equally at home with pop, jazz, and cotemporary music.
1. 'If You Don't Mind'
3. 'I Got a Name'
4. 'Day Trip to Cologne' (Inspired by Schumann's Symphony No. 3 in E-Flat Major, Op. 97, Rhenish)
5. 'True to You'
6. 'Before the Dawn'
7. 'Sacrificial Rhumba' (Inspired by the Sacrificial Dance from Stravinsky's the Rite of Spring)
8. 'Lullaby for a Little Boy'
9. 'My Romance'
The trio – Adam Glaser, piano; Pete Coco, bass; and Chris Smith, drums - open with the upbeat and free flowing, Sunday morning elegance of 'If You Don't Mind' and back that up with the laid back, more relaxed 'November,' their tranquil cover of 'I Got a Name' (by Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox) and then comes the, at times sterner, at others magical and transparent in its ebbs and flows, 'Day Trip to Cologne' ((inspired by Schumann’s Symphony No. 3, Rhenish).
The delicate duo of both 'True to You' and 'Before the Dawn' are then followed by the upbeat, statically salsa-imbued rhythms of 'Sacrificial Rhumba' (inspired by Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring), with the album rounding out on the soothingly beautiful 'Lullaby for a Little Boy,' closing on the eight minute, mid-tempo shuffle of the other cover tune, 'My Romance' (by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart).
Official Purchase Link
Title - 'I'd Prefer'
Artist - Alexander McCabe
For those not in the know, Alexander McCabe is a saxophonist and composer. Originally from Boston, he has been performing in and around New York City since the 1980s.
Alexander was a featured soloist with the Ray Charles Orchestra and was an original member, and toured with, the Chico O'Farril Afro-Cuban big band.
Alexander has played with/among others: George Coleman, Danny Aiello, Harold Mabern, Clifford Jordan, George Coleman Jr., Maurio Bauza, the Pointer Sisters and Nancie Banks.
He's toured the UK and Europe, performing at the Edinburg and Cork festivals, the Pori Jazz Festival, the North Sea festival, The Vienne Music Festival and others.
As a member and songwriter for the popular ska band Mephiskapheles, he performed and toured the US and Europe. He has recorded extensively with a variety of artists. He has released three CDs as a leader.
His just-released brand new album is entitled I'd Prefer and is an eight-track recording that also features George Coleman (jazz saxophonist known for his work with Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock in the 1960s) and Anne McCabe.
1. 'You Really Don't Care' (feat. George Coleman)
2. 'A Christmas Song' (feat. George Coleman)
3. 'I'd Prefer'
4. 'Together Again'
5. 'Miss Maritza'
6. 'Your Laugh' (feat. George Coleman)
7. 'New York City'
8. 'Out Front Blues' (feat. George Coleman)
With seven originals by Alexander and a new version of Janet Jackson's 'Together Again' awaiting us, he opens with the chirpy 'You Really Don't Care' and the gentle festive swing of 'A Christmas Song' (both featuring George Coleman), and then we get the gently loose title track 'I'd Prefer,' which is backed his oh-so lush rendition of the aforementioned Janet Jackson track 'Together Again.'
The finger-snappin' elegance of of 'Miss Maritza' is up next and that's followed by the lofi, late night/early morning, smoky underground jazz club, piano aura of 'Your Laugh' (featuring Coleman), then comes their beautiful ode to 'New York City,' with the album closing on the seven minute jam fest, 'Out Front Blues,' once again, featuring Coleman.
Amazon Purchase Link
Alexander McCabe @ Facebook
Alexander McCabe @ Twitter
Title - 'More Than A Song'
Artist - CeCe Gable
For those not in the know, CeCe Gable is a consummate jazz performer who has sung in clubs and venues throughout the US, Europe and Japan, and who has produced four albums to critical acclaim and continues to offer concerts and clinics.
Originally, from Barberton, Ohio she now lives in the Reno Tahoe Area where she has been a featured Guest Artist with the Reno Jazz Orchestra, the Reno Philharmonic, the Reno Pops and the Carson Symphony.
CeCe is a published author, seasoned and passionate collaborative lyricist, composer and publisher. Her repertoire spans genres and generations and she has presented a diverse repertoire from Sondheim and Weil to Monk and Gershwin and is best known for her interpretation of the American Songbook.
Furthermore, when CeCe is not performing for her fans, she directs a very active vocal arts studio and is available for coaching and private lessons.
Influenced by many of the women and men of jazz, CeCe offers her own voice on jazz standards and the American Songbook and, in truth, shines on any stage whether she is accompanied by a solo pianist, a trio or an entire orchestra.
1. 'East Of The Sun'
2. 'As Long As I Live'
3. 'Love Is A Necessary Evil'
4. 'I Thought About You,'
5. 'My Shining Hour'
6. 'What Is This Thing Called Love'
7. 'It’s Alright With Me'
9. 'I Concentrate On You'
10. 'Detour Ahead'
On her fourth album, the just-released More Than A Song, CeCe draws the listener into her captivating world of song with an incredible depth of emotion, breathing new life into nine songs from the Great American Songbook, and one from the great Brazilian songwriter/composer, Antonio Carlos Jobim.
Opening on the lush 'East Of The Sun,' CeCe backs that up seamlessly with the gently irrepressible swing of 'As Long as I Live,' that is itself followed by the early '70s jive of 'Love Is a Necessary Evil,' the quietly dampened 'I Thought About You' and the fervently-controlled melodies of 'My Shining Hour.'
The acoustic-imbued, Ella Fitzgerald evoked, and here a duet with Harvie S on upright bass tune 'What Is This Thing Called Love' is a joy to behold and is backed by the perky 'It's Alright with Me,' the lonesome aura of 'Fotografia,' with the album rounding out on the finger-snapping roll of 'I Concentrate on You,' closing on the melodic jazz ballad 'Detour Ahead.'
The ensemble: CeCe Gable, vocals; Roni Ben-Hur, guitar; Harvie S, bass; Sylvia Cuenca, drums; and Brian Landrus on baritone saxophone and bass clarinet.
Official Purchase Links
CeCe Gable @ Facebook
Title - 'Frozen In Time'
Artist - Nicholas Brust
For those not in the know, heralded as a premiere saxophonist of his generation, Nicholas Brust has established his voice in the world of modern instrumental music.
Indeed, he has most definitely found his niche as a bandleader and composer, taking advantage of the numerous textures and combinations available in small-group improvised music.
While Nicholas has performed with numerous highly acclaimed musicians in NYC, he makes a priority of working with up-and-coming talent that he believes in.
Nicholas is currently on faculty at Elefante School for the Performing Arts and The Hudson School.
Nicholas released an EP of original music entitled Brooklyn Folk Songs in January 2015 and Nicholas has continued to showcase his compositional and improvisational talents in a series of videos that can be found on his Youtube channel.
And now Nicholas has recently recorded his debut full-length album, the quite stellar Frozen in Time, out now via Fresh Sound Records.
1. 'Work Ahead'
2. 'Hearts And Spades'
3. 'Brooklyn Folksong'
4. 'Frozen In Time'
5. 'Hymnal For Those In Need'
7. 'Something Like A Storm'
8. 'Soliloquy in F Minor'
9. 'A Shifting State'
The album features exclusively original material composed by Nicholas and opens on the fervently cultured 'Work Ahead,' and backs that up with the more achingly orchestrated 'Hearts And Spades,' the mid-tempo lushness of 'Brooklyn Folksong,' and then we get the joyful title track, 'Frozen In Time' and the quietly laid back, organic melodies of 'Hymnal For Those In Need.'
Up next is the frenetic magnificence of 'Adversity' which is itself followed by the mid-tempo stream of upbeat consciousness found within the free flowing 'Something Like A Storm,' with the album rounding out on the tranquil seven minute 'Soliloquy in F Minor,' closing on the skilled improvisations found within 'A Shifting State.'
The ensemble: Nicholas Brust, saxophonist; Ben Eunson, guitar; Tuomo Uusitalo, piano; Josh Allen, bass, and Jay Sawyer on drums.
Official Purchase Links
Nicholas Brust @ Facebook
Nicholas Brust @ Instagram
Nicholas Brust @ YouTube
Title - 'Working For A Good Tip' [CD Single]
Artist - Home Cookin' Band
For those not in the know, Chicago’s Home Cookin' Band (who started performing in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago in 2018) have just released their debut single 'Working For A Good Tip' this December 15th, 2020
Inspired by the interaction between a waitress and her customer, Home Cookin’ Band’s single has been bringing audiences in Chicago out on the dance floor since the band started performing the song in live venues last year.
Co-written by lead guitarist, Michael Costelloe, the song has a classic rock feel, his guitar playing crossing genres from blues to rock to pop, jazz and country.
The band’s rhythm section features bassist, Kevin Lahvic and drummer, Jeff Gilbert, both formerly of Matthew Morgan & the Lost Brigade, a band that headlined in the Chicago clubs for nearly a decade.
Lead-singer and co-writer, Anastasiya (who also plays rhythm guitar and piano for the band) sings the part of the waitress and relocated to Chicago from the city of Lviv in Western Ukraine in 2017.
With her vocal style reflecting her thorough knowledge of American Blues and Classic Rock music, along with her love of Ukrainian folk music, the track is a slow-roll blues rock masterpiece.
With her vocals layered with strong European influences, and to my ear, a cross between Delores O'Riordan (Cranberries) and Margo Timmins (Cowboy Junkies), Anastasiya puts her heart and soul into 'Working For A Good Tip,' whilst at the same time allowing the organic nature of the track to breathe freely.
Asked about the song, Anastasiya says, “I know what it can be like for waitresses, but ‘Working For A Good Tip’ is meant to be a fun song that brings out a little truth as part of the story.”
Official 'Working For A Good Tip' Music Video
Official Pre-Save Purchase Link
Home Cookin' Band @ Facebook
Title - Hallucinogenic Treasures from the Convolution ...
Artist - Banging Colours
For those not in the know, 2017 marked the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love and many finds from the London Underground music scene found their way into the public ear again.
After a little delay, perhaps the most important rediscovery from the time of Swingin' London is available: Iapetus presents with this compilation for the first time a comprehensive review of the work of the legendary British band Banging Colours.
During the short period of their existence in London from 1967 to 1969, Banging Colours around keyboarder and singer Manny Wolfe were considered one of the most important and influential bands of their time.
Performances at the U.F.O. Club and in Middle Earth established their reputation as a cult band of British psychedelia fans.
Joint appearances with Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Pretty Things or Tomorrow consolidated this status as well as their innovative light show, which gave the band its name.
Mathias Derer has meticulously searched and rummaged through the archives of record companies, radio stations and film studios, bringing to light some amazing things.
More treasures than ever hoped for could be recovered, in almost all cases in the form of original tapes of the individual tracks and in far better quality than feared.
Markus Reuter has remixed them with great devotion and has given these pearls of the psychedelic era, which were considered lost, new radiance. The result is a fascinating testimony of the probably most creative period of rock music.
1. 'The Love and Fun Brigade (Full Stereo)' (6:27)
2. 'Evaporation of Linearity' (9:04)
3. 'If God‘s a Fly' (10:41)
4. 'Tapestry Puzzle' (4:48)
5. 'Primrose Hill' (5:38)
6. 'Ivica' (5:41)
7. 'Waves' (6:30)
8. 'The Letter' (5:24)
9. 'Toward the Great Oneness' (5:40)
10. 'Magic Theatre' (6:35)
11. 'The Love and Fun Brigade (Mono Single)' (2:54)
The first disc of this quite wondrous compilation brings together studio recordings from almost two and a half years, from the first and only single that not only sings about London's underground scene but also became its secret anthem, to songs from various album projects from 1967 to 1969.
The material was written entirely by the band's head Manny Wolfe and bears his compositional signature. Opening with the foot-tappin' brilliance of 'The Love and Fun Brigade (Full Stereo)' and the banging (sorry, all pun intended!) 'Evaporation of Linearity,' they back those up with the ten minute creeping opus 'If God‘s a Fly,' the bass guitar reverb brilliance of 'Tapestry Puzzle' and then the summery, easy breezy elegance of 'Primrose Hill.'
Next up is the quietly pensive, yet always probing and moody 'Ivica' which is itself followed by the atmospheric duo of the acoustic approach to 'Waves' and then the creepy dark attic after midnight ambiance of 'The Letter,' then we get the all out jam fest of 'Toward the Great Oneness,' with the disc rounding out on the tranquil psych of 'Magic Theatre,' closing on the Mono version of 'The Love and Fun Brigade.'
12. 'Gustav Metzger Improv I' (1:36)
13. 'Gustav Metzger Improv II' (1:28)
14. 'Gustav Metzger Improv III' (3:07)
15. 'Gustav Metzger Improv IV' (1:14)
16. 'Gustav Metzger Improv V' (2:23)
17. 'Radio Session Improv I' (5:01)
18. 'Radio Session Improv II' (04:54)
19. 'Radio Session Improv III' (6:29)
20. 'Fool’s Parsley in Pills' (19:22)
The second disc includes jams and studio live sessions and shows the band from a slightly different side: it impressively documents their impartiality and freedom to improvise freely, leaving the three-minute format suitable for radio light years behind.
But not only the acoustic side of this rediscovery is interesting. In the course of extensive research, Mathias Derer has also succeeded in making the work of one of the most important graphic artists of his time partially accessible again.
Wes H. Bernatt was not only a friend of the band and designer of their record covers, posters and the band logo, but also one of the most creative draftsmen and illustrators in London in the late '60s.
His contribution to psychedelic art and graphic design was unjustly forgotten. Bernhard Wöstheinrich's revision of the album covers for this compilation brings Bernatt's merits back into focus.
In closing, this brand new compilation is a major act and an important contribution to the history of music, which gives an idea of the importance of Banging Colours. A must for all fans of the '60s and lovers of psychedelic music.
Official 2CD / Digital Purchase Link
Title - 'OWARI'
Artist - Stick Men featuring Gary Husband
For those not in the know, in middle of 2019, Leonardo Pavkovic of MoonJune Music was constructing plans for a whirlwind Asian tour in the early part of 2020 of Stick Men.
The band – comprised of the legendary King Crimson veteran battery of Tony Levin (Chapman stick) and Pat Mastelotto (drums, acoustic and electronic percussion), and the budding uber-genius composer and touch guitarist, Markus Reuter – was excited about the prospects, as the tour would include four nights in China, where they had never previously performed.
Little did "Mr. MoonJune" (Leonardo Pavkovic) or any of the band members realize the fate which would soon befall the tour. Firstly, in November 2019, the Hong Kong promoter was forced to postpone the show, due to the growing political unrest which engulfed the city.
Then, in early February 2020, Blue Note China cancelled the scheduled shows in Beijing and Shanghai due to the rapidly spreading Covid-19 pandemic – further complicating matters of both finance and travel logistics.
And a lucrative Asian tour was reduced to a four-night blitzkreig of Japan: Blue Note Nagoya (1 show), Billboard Live Osaka (1 night, 2 shows), and Billboard Live Tokyo (2 nights, 2 shows).
But the challenges weren't over: after flight plans were rerouted, the tour entourage arrived in Nagoya, on February 26th; slated for a day of relax after long flights and a short ‘rehearsal’ and discussion about the music to be performed, but when they arrived at the venue for load-in, rehearsal and soundcheck, the afternoon of the first show, Leonardo received a call from a Billboard Live Osaka representative.
It was with extreme disappointment that he informed the band of the news that that night's show would their only performance: Japan's national government had declared a state of emergency, and all public venues were to be closed indefinitely, commencing the following day (February 29th).
Once again, it was time to reroute flights and majorly adjust. Tony Levin, Pat Mastelotto and Robert Frazza decided to fly back to the USA on March 1st from Tokyo, while Markus Reuter and Gary Husband decided to stay in the Japanese capital for another 3 days – encouraged by Pavkovic, who wished to further document the events and occasion through recording a duo album of the two maestros.
There was a sense among the three that the world as we know it was on the cusp of profound changes – ones which would profoundly alter life, going forward.
On a tour where it seemed "Murphy's Law" had reared its ugly head, both this album and the subsequently recorded 'Music Of Our Times' – an emotional, evocative, magnum opus duet, channeled through messengers Reuter and Husband – were brought to life.
Seeing first release, the Husband/Reuter duet has already received glowing reviews from scores of critics and listeners, alike, across the globe.
Perhaps reflecting the impassioned sentiments of both the cancelled tour and the impending crisis facing humanity, the music reflected the pensive fervor of the moment in a poignant, deeply honest and personal manner.
And so from the ashes, so to speak, and this Stick Men album – the aptly named OWARI (which translates from Japanese to English as "The End") – is in much the same vein as the roads/flights taken and untaken to where they are today re: a timeless document.
Although Stick Men is one of those groups who record each and every live show, the group knew that this lone performance was destined for an album pressing.
Not just because of the volatile, devolving nature of the tour which fell apart; nor, the financial hara-kiri destined to be part of the imploded tour's legacy.
1. 'Hajime (Peace)' (5:19)
2. 'Hide the Trees' (6:44)
3. 'Cusp' (4:52)
4. 'Larks‘ Tongues in Aspic, Part II' (6:22)
5. 'Schattenhaft' (4:28)
6. 'Crack in the Sky' (5:33)
7. 'Owari' (5:36)
8. 'Prog Noir' (6:16)
9. 'Swimming in T' (9:02)
10. 'Level 5' (6:46)
11. 'The End of the Tour' [Bonus Track] (16:06)
From the opening notes of the simply stunning 'Hajime', there is an ethereal majesty which immediately comes to the fore, and that is backed seamlessly by the aural magnificence of 'Hide the Trees,' the flirtatious 'Cusp,' and then the first of their two King Crimson covers, the gently thunderous 'Larks‘ Tongues in Aspic, Part II.'
Back in the day, most all "live" albums were recorded from separate mic's and such on and around the stage, capturing the snap, crackle and pop of said same live performance. But boy, has all that "live" art rendering come a long way today.
For, and with the capability to record a multitrack of the show directly from the soundboard, you simply wouldn't even know this was a "live" performance, given that it is so crisply and ornately performed and captured.
With the album marking the first public performance of Stick Men and Gary Husband working together, and with only a few hours of rehearsal at the soundcheck and some verbal discussion about the music day before the show, Husband sounds more like a veteran group member, rather than a player who sat in with the band for the first time at the day of the show!
Up next is the funky bass lines and drum-led wonderment of my own personal favorite here, 'Schattenhaft' which in turn is backed by the textural 'Crack in the Sky,' the uber melodic title track 'Owari,' and then comes another stand out cut, Husband's cleverly reharmonization/reimaging of 'Prog Noir' (which takes a modern-day prog classic, and one of Stick Men's rare non-instrumentals, down a imaginatively alternative path.
The album then rounds out with the profoundly Renaissance-imbued delights of 'Swimming in T,' their other King Crimson rendition 'Level 5,' and closes on the 16 minute bonus track, 'The End of the Tour.'
In closing, every song on OWARI is its own shimmering gem; its multi-faceted nature exposed and brought center stage through the harmonic depths Husband's keyboard work explores.
This is supreme progressive fare, showing casing four artists at the heights of their respective creative brilliance.
Tony Levin: Chapman Stick, voice
Pat Mastelotto: Acoustic and electronic drums & percussion
Markus Reuter: Touch Guitars® AU8, soundscapes
Gary Husband: Keyboards
Official Purchase Link
Title - 'Abracadabra In Osaka'
Artist - Soft Works
For those not in the know, back in 2000, "Mr. MoonJune" Leonardo Pavkovic had this crazy idea to help his old friend Elton Dean, to kinda/sorta reform the legendary Soft Machine based, in large part, on information he had found on the internet about a "one-off" show of the Soft Ware project (featuring Elton on sax, Keith Tippett on piano, Hugh Hopper on bass guitar and John Marshall on drums).
So he reconnected with Elton on New Year's Day, 2000, and in June of that year they performed in New York City at a jazz festival with drummer Joe Gallivan, bassist Marcio Mattos and saxophonist Evan Parker.
Wishing to take it further, Elton asked Leo to talk to Keith Tippett, John Marshall, and Hugh Hopper, who he already knew from his visits to New York. They were all available and excited, except for Keith, who said he would consider it as a possible, occasional special project but not as a steady gig.
Keith's failure to make a solid commitment got them fantasizing about the fourth member. Mike Ratledge, the legendary Soft Machine keyboardist and one of Leo's all-time personal music heroes, had made it clear that he wasn't interested in being a part of any recording or live performance music since leaving Soft Machine in 1976 so the search went on. (Spoiler: They happily, albeit eventually, landed on the mighty Allan Holdsworth, one of the all-time greatest heroes of Leo's, as it turned out!).
Perhaps if there were a "progressive mantra," it might be embodied by Leo's drive and determination to always keep moving forward and looking ahead, and nothing could embody that more in this day and age than their brand new double album, Abracadabra In Osaka.
1. 'Seven Formerly' (12:58)
2. 'Alphrazallan' (10:11)
3. 'Elsewhere' (7:12)
4. 'Baker's Treat' (8:46)
5. 'Calyx' (6:22)
6. 'Kings & Queens' (8:14)
7. 'Abracadabra' (11:28)
8. 'Madam Vintage Suite' (7:59)
9. 'Has Riff' (9:360
10. 'First Trane' (9:19)
11. 'Facelift' (13:22)
Opening with the softly orchestrated, lo-fi saxophone brilliance of 'Seven Formerly,' that's backed by the straight ahead jazz flow of 'Alphrazallan,' and then comes the reflectively ornate 'Elsewhere,' the mellow 'Baker's Treat' (complete with gorgeous sax solo), with the first disc rounding out on the improv jazz styling of 'Calyx' (featuring Hopper's trademark fuzzy bass), and then the transcendent 'Kings & Queens.'
The second disc opens with a track that is, to me, highly reminiscent of European chamber jazz, the drum-led 'Abracadabra,' of which is backed by (one can only assume without having actually been in the studio), a Holdsworth improv piece, 'Madam Vintage Suite,' which is in turn followed by the free flowing majesty of 'Has Riff,' closing on the powerful arrangement of 'First Trane,' and then the delightful jazz embroidering of the delightful 'Facelift.'
"My magical encounters with Elton Dean, Hugh Hopper and Ken Kubernik led to meeting John Marshall and then, ultimately Allan Holdsworth," Leonardo Pavkovic reminisces.
"Although sadly short lived, the creation of this progressive supergroup fundamentally changed my entire existence. Despite the lone studio album and only a small handful of live performances, the progressive genre is graced by our foresight to have recorded several of these shows."
"Abracadabra In Osaka represents the best of these recordings: serving as a living testimony of true musical icons -- the group which unknowingly became the seed which would sprout, grow and blossom into MoonJune Records and MoonJune Music."
"Thank you, Elton, Hugh, John and Allan and Ken (for) with your help, I have achieved an incredible dream in my own life! I am truly blessed to love what I'm doing, and to be doing what I love."
ELTON DEAN saxello, alto sax, Fender Rhodes
ALLAN HOLDSWORTH guitar
HUGH HOPPER bass guitar
JOHN MARSHALL drums
Official Purchase Link
Title - 'Phoenix'
Artist - Vasko Atanasovski Adrabesa Quartet
For those not in the know, the Adrabesa Quartet consists of four exceptional musicians, brought together by its long-standing founder and leader: composer and saxophonist, Vasko Atanasovski.
Vasko is a well known and established European maestro, having collaborated with renowned musicians such as Hindi Zahra, Vlatko Stefanovski, and Living Color, among a celebrated career.
His masterful, unpretentious approach to his instrument has seen him embrace a host of diverse genres, exhibiting a fluency and grace which compliments any musical setting.
The quartet's musicians are among the leading virtuoso instrumentalists in the world. Simone Zanchini is an Italian accordionist, who has been collaborating with Vasko since the early part of this new millennium. (Indeed, Simone is the only founding member still with Vasko since the Adrabesa Quartet's initial incarnation, back in 2005).
With the two having collaborated on numerous albums and concerts, Zanchini's advanced musical stylings are a superb compliment to Atanasovski's polished melodic sensibilities.
The Adrabesa Quartet's tuba player, Michel Godard, hails from France. Michel has enjoyed a distinguished career: one which has seen him work with many great artists, including Kenny Wheeler, Ray Anderson, Michel Portal, Louis Sclavis, Henry Texier, and many others.
The unit's fourth, and newest member – who plays percussion and Indian tabla drums – is Bodek Janke and he currently resides in Poland.
Compiling a collection of pieces as quirky and unconventional as the quartet's instrumentation (sax, accordion, tuba and percussion), their brand new album Phoenix stands as a shimmering testimony to both their considerable individual talents and corporate inventiveness.
1. 'Meeting' (4:38)
2. 'Green Nymph' (6:36)
3. 'The Partisan Song' (3:58)
4. 'Liberation' (11:18)
5. 'Balet' (3:35)
6. 'Concerto Epico' (7:31)
7. 'Thornica' (6:14)
8. 'Yellow Sky' (3:20)
9. 'Outro' (3:44)
Inspired by some divergent musical roots - combined with a sense of nostalgia and genuine passion for their craft - the aptly titled album signifies the rebirth of a unit with a long-standing reputation for creative excellence across Eastern Europe.
Opening with the gentle coming together of all the players, 'Meeting' suddenly burst into wondrous, colorful life and leads us lovingly by the hand into what is to come.
The restrained, passively ornate beauty of 'Green Nymph' is backed by the upbeat wonderment of spirit found within 'The Partisan Song' which is itself followed by Atanasovski's free flowing flute work on the breathless 'Liberation' and then we get one of my own personal favorites, the deliciously funky 'Balet.'
The high-energy of the quartet is captured perfectly within the frenetic 'Concerto Epico' which is backed by the cultured 'Thornica,' the refined elegance of 'Yellow Sky,' with the album coming to a close on the atmospheric 'Outro.'
VASKO ATANASOVSKI - alto & soprano saxophone, flute (Slovenia)
SIMONE ZANCHINI - accordion (Italy)
MICHEL GODARD - tuba, serpent (France)
BODEK JANKE - drums & tabla (Poland/Germany)
Special Guest: ARIEL VEI ATANASOVSKI - cello (Slovenia)
Official Purchase Link
Title - 'Hari Ketiga'
Artist - Dwiki Dharmawan
For those not in the know, Indonesian musician Dwiki Dharmawan is a distinguished pianist, keyboardist, and composer, one whose name is deservedly becoming more and more popular, thanks in part to his capacity to conjure unique, multicultural musical amalgams.
It was fifty years ago that Man first set foot on the moon. After stepping out of their spacecraft, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin bounced around in this strange gravity vacuum – gathering terrain samples, snapping photos, then planting a momentous flag, as they looked back into space at the place from which they came. Captured within their gaze, Earth appeared no more than thumb sized from so distant a perspective.
A few months earlier – during a manned expedition on Christmas Eve 1968, which orbited but did not land on the Moon – an astronaut took one of the most iconic photos of the last century.
Dubbed “Earthrise,” the infamous picture profiled our planet, half-covered in darkness, the other half gloriously basking in the light cast by our distant sun.
This timeless captured image framed Earth as both a beautiful and fragile place. Perhaps it could be argued that the release of this photo marked the first time that we, as human beings, could properly reflect on ourselves in the universal context of our birthplace and habitation.
It could also be said that seeing the world from such a perspective had the net effect of raising our collective environmental/ecological conscience.
One photo brought us to the realization of the habitat we all share, and our inherent duties to its preservation: in essence, the photo was a depiction of the ecological movement’s claims, and an impetus for positive action on our planet’s behalf.
Fast-forward to the present day: In May of 2017, a ship of mighty musical warriors joined forces for a meeting of kindred spirits. Departing from the La Casa Murada launchpad (adjacent to nearby Barcelona, Spain), they embarked on a freewheeling nomadic adventure across known and unknown borders of the musical universe – and beyond!
In terms of direction, these sonic pioneers relied more on instincts than any cues from a map. The seeds were planted; an air of excitement was already cultivated, in anticipation of something new and supremely unique sprouting forth.
Their corporate voyage carried them through the labyrinths of alien-influenced, unpredictably imaginative musical terrain. Ergo, Hari Ketiga is a 2CD logbook amassed during the exploration: an incredible array of nine tracks that weaves written scores together with full improvisation.
It is an aural document, showcasing four musicians in peak form and fully inspired, singing a glorious tale of our planet Earth to an infinitely vast universe.
1. 'The Earth' (28:21)
2. 'The Man'(34:01)
3. 'The Event Horizon' (13:49)
4. 'The Loneliness Of The Universe' (19:22)
5. 'You'll Never Be Alone' (6:51)
6. 'The Truth - The Fact Is Done' (11:34)
7. 'The Perpetual Motion' (19:18)
8. 'The Deal' (9:36)
9. 'The Memory Of Things' (11:24)
Here on the quite magnificent Hari Ketiga, the logbook’s entries tell of encounters between traditional Indonesian music, ’70s progressive rock, Western classical, free-jazz, ambient soundscapes, fusion, and more, and with mysterious alien telepathic creatures of unknown origin.
Subtitled (The Third Day), and noted as being a musical quantum entanglement in nine arts, the album opens on the contemplative, speculative and soul yearning reach of 'The Earth' before segueing into the electric guitar-imbued 'The Man.'
Next up is the achingly tonal 'The Event Horizon' which is backed seamlessly by the gently thoughtful one minute, frenzied and yet always controlled the next 'The Loneliness Of The Universe,' before we get their unconstrained earnestness through the spirit felt within 'You'll Never Be Alone.'
The rousingly, and at times, multi-layered artistic improvisation of 'The Truth - The Fact Is Done' is up next and is backed by some rather fascinating, and at times seemingly unconventional rhythms found within 'The Perpetual Motion,' and then we get the musical creativity of 'The Deal.'
Finally, and after some two and a half hours, this quite stunning new album comes to a close on the astonishingly unconventional, yet musically breathtaking recanting of times gone by orchestrations found within the magnificent 'The Memory Of Things.'
"Arguably, the most important and the most far reaching album I've ever released on MoonJune Records. Watching two videos of the first two lengthy tunes (28 and 34 minutes each), and reading liner notes by Marcello Nardi is a must, it will give You a full idea about this extraordinary album." - Leonardo Pavkovic.
DWIKI DHARMAWAN - Acoustic Piano, Mini Moog, Fender Rhodes,
Harmonium, Occasional Vocal & Ambient Noises
BORIS SAVOLDELLI - Vocals, Vocal Effects, Live Electronics
MARKUS REUTER - Touch Guitars® AU8, Live Electronics
ASAF SIRKIS - Drums, Cymbals, Occasional Ambient Noise
with: Jeremias Pah - Voice & Sasando (track 6)
Endi Pah - Voice and Tambur (track 6)
Jonas Mooy with Inggu Ndolu Art Group- Voices, Sasando, Gong and Tambu (track 7)
Official Purchase Link