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Title - 'Don't Take Away The Music: The Remix Project'
Artist - Tavares

For those not in the know, Tavares (also now known as The Tavares Brothers) are an American R&B, funk, and soul music group, composed of five Cape Verdean-American brothers. Born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island, they would later move to New Bedford, Massachusetts. They were inducted into the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame in 2014.

In truth, 1975 turned out to be their most successful year chartwise, with a Top 40 Pop album (In the City), the #25 hit "Remember What I Told You to Forget", and their biggest hit, the Top 10 Pop/#1 R&B smash "It Only Takes a Minute", which was later successfully covered by both Jonathan King and Take That, and sampled by Jennifer Lopez. They parlayed this success into a spot as an opening act for The Jackson 5. KC and The Sunshine Band was also on this tour.

"Minute" was followed by a string of hits: "Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel" (1976), "Don't Take Away the Music" (1976), and "Whodunit" (1977, another #1 R&B hit). In 1977 they also recorded "I Wanna See You Soon", a duet with Capitol labelmate Freda Payne which received airplay on BBC Radio 1 but failed to chart.

SoulMusic Records is now proud to present a specially-compiled CD of remixes of five (5) of the major hits by this beloved international hitmakers. Compiled and created by top European remix producer Ben Liebrand, this incredible 11 track CD features four of their biggest hits; inclusive of a US disco version of "It Only Takes A Minute", making its CD debut along with the Liebrand-penned instrumental "One Minute".

Personally, I'm a HUGE fan of Tavares and so this CD arriving for review was always going to get right of way into my CD player! I have to also admit though that 11 tracks, but with only four songs (and two of those are just one song each) does seem to be stretching it out a wee bit thin, but I loaded the CD and let the music take me away!

First up was the title track, "Don't Take Away The Music (Remix)", but at just under four minutes, it was, basically, just the radio/single version. Great to hear again, sure, but that's about it. Then came "It Only Takes A Minute (Remix)", which again falls into the four minute radio/single version. The remainder rise above that four minute mark, some just, so please don't think that this is some form of 12" remix music show, for (save for a couple) it is not.

Up next are two more versions of "It Only Takes A Minute", the first a Disco Version (making its CD debut), the next an Extended Remix that nearly hits the eight minute mark. Now that's when my jam came out and I fell back in love with the band, their music. "Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel" is up next, as both a Remix version and an Irresistible Angel Mix - which, with regard the later, is a rather splendid, nearly nine minute long slice of Heaven.

"More Than A Woman" is up next via two versions. The first is a simple Remix, the second an Extended Remix, clocking in at just under seven minutes. The song is just so uplifting, such a joy to still listen to today. Then comes the aforementioned instrumental "One Minute", which is followed by "Whodunnit (Extended Remix)", but Liebrand rounds out this CD in style, and comes full musical circle, with an eight minute long "Don't Take Away The Music (Hands Off The Music Mix)".

Remastered by Donald Cleveland, this 2016 release follows the label’s reissue of seven Capitol albums by the group – “Love Storm” (SMCR-5127), “Hard Core Poetry” (SMCR-5097), “Love Uprising” (SMCR-5065), “Madam Butterfly” (SMCR-5064), “Supercharged” (SMCR–5045), “Sky-High!” (SMCR-5023) and “In The City” (SMCR-5022). Stellar notes by renowned U.S. writer Kevin Goins include quotes from members of the group.

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Title - 'Save The Children: Expanded Edition'
Artist - The Intruders

For those not in the know, The Intruders were an American soul music group most popular in the 1960s and 1970s. As one of the first groups to have hit songs under the direction of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, they had a major influence on the development of Philadelphia soul. The Intruders are also noted for having 24 R&B chart hits, including 6 R&B Top Tens, and 14 chart hits in the Billboard Hot 100, including their signature song, the million-selling Top 10 smash, "Cowboys to Girls".

Big Break Records is proud to present Save The Children, adding to the list of classic PIR titles released by the label. Featuring two extended Tom Moulton mixes and liner notes by Christian John Wikane, Save The Children is an essential addition to any Philly Soul, R&B and Disco fans collection.

In truth, by the time The Intruders had released their highly acclaimed album Save The Children in 1973, they were already established as one of the leading R&B groups of their era. Having amassed 20 hit R&B singles and three albums the classic line-up of Sam 'Little Sonny' Brown, Eugene 'Bird' Daughtry, Robert 'Big Sonny" Edwards and Phil Terry came back together to record their fourth of five albums for Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff's associated enterprises.

1. "Save the Children"
2. "Mother and Child Reunion"
3. "I Wanna Know Your Name"
4. "To Be Happy Is the Real Thing"
5. "I'll Always Love Mama"
6. "Memories Are Here to Stay"
7. "Teardrops"
8. "Hang on in There"
9. "(Win, Place or Show) She's a Winner"
10. "Travelling Home"
11. "I'll Always Love My Mama (A Tom Moulton Mix)"
12. "(Win, Place or Show) She's a Winner (A Tom Moulton Mix)"

We kick things off with the title track, the ultra smooth R&B of "Save The Children", a song that just oozes itself all over and out of your speakers. An anthemic track if ever there was, and running at just over seven minutes, it's followed by one of my own personal Intruders favorites, the free flowing "Mother and Child Reunion". Man, just listen to this track in your car, windows down, on a hot summers day and all your troubles will simply fly away!

Next up is the slow paced balled, "I Wanna Know Your Name", which in turn is backed by the piano-led, mid tempo, "To Be Happy Is The Real Thing", and then the uptempo, horn-a-plenty beauty "I'll Always Love My Mama". "Memories Are Here To Stay" is next, and that's backed by the last song on the original album, the powerfully sung, rigid even, "Teardrops".

The bonus tracks begin with the racetrack-inspired "(Win, Place or Show) She's A Winner", "Travelling Home", a nearly ten minute long "I'll Always Love My Mama (A Tom Moulton Mix)", and then bringing this expanded edition CD to a close we get "(Win, Place or Show) She's A Winner (A Tom Moulton Mix)". Beginning completely differently to the race track announcer that began the original single, it now brings a warm, fuzzy orchestrated feeling to the song.

A grand expanded edition of this original 1973 album from Cherry Red Records, for sure, and although I still have no idea as to what, or why the back photograph is on this release, or why The Intruders felt like never wearing any shirts when they did photo calls, all in all, Save The Children: Expanded Edition is one of the stand out highlights of the aforementioned record label's releases this year.

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Title - 'I'm Ready: Expanded Edition'
Artist - Natalie Cole

For those not in the know, the late Natalie Cole was an American singer-songwriter, and actress. The daughter of Nat King Cole, she rose to musical success in the mid-1970s as an R&B artist with the hits "This Will Be," "Inseparable," and "Our Love." After a period of failing sales and performances due to a heavy drug addiction, Cole re-emerged as a pop artist with the 1987 album Everlasting and her cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Pink Cadillac".

In the 1990s, she re-recorded standards by her father, resulting in her biggest success, Unforgettable... with Love, which sold over seven million copies and also won Cole numerous Grammy Awards. She sold over 30 million records worldwide.

Sadly, on December 31, 2015, Cole died at the age of 65 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, due to congestive heart failure.

SoulMusic Records is proud to present an expanded edition of I’m Ready, the sole album recorded by the legendary Natalie Cole for Epic Records. The original eight-track 1983 album is supplemented by four cuts produced by famed musician Stanley Clarke which remained in the vaults until they were included in a ‘90s U.S. reissue of the original LP.

1. "Too Much Mister"
2. "I Won't Deny You"
3. "I'm Ready"
4. "Keep It on the Outside"
5. "Time (Heals All Wounds)"
6. "(I'm Coming) Straight from the Heart"
7. "Where's Your Angel"
8. "I'm Your Mirror"
9. "Winner (Takes All)"
10. "Azz Iz"
11. "Movin' on"
12. "How Can You Stop?"

I'm Ready is a rather lovely album, all told. Originally just 8 tracks long, you can especially feel the Stanley Clarke influence on the four bonus tracks, that's for sure. It begins with "Too Much Mister", a cut that begins and ends with gentle high hats, and showcases her "Pink Cadillac vocal R&B stylings" that would come to the fore five years later. The snappy, happy, guitar peaked "I Won't Deny You" is yet another precious diamond on this album, and is backed by the title track, the piano-led, R&B guitar steered, and dusky-sung "I'm Ready".

The storytelling of "Keep It On The Outside" is next and is followed by the 80's pop (quite literally) sounds of "Time (Heals All Wounds)" and then that bleeds perfectly into the keyboard-led ballad, "(I'm Coming) Straight From The Heart". The synth is loud and proud here on the funky "Where's Your Angel", which also happens to be one of my personal favs, and then the original album comes to a close with the stirring, string undercurrent of the ballad "I'm Your Mirror".

The four bonus tracks begin with "Winner (Take All)", a rather wonderful, and deeply funk driven track that has absolutely nothing to do with ABBA, sorry! Another synth-driven underlay is to then be found on the brilliant "Azz Iz", a cut that lives up to its crazy title. A foot tapper all the way through, you can just hear Whitney Houston singing this, that's for sure. Then comes the incredibly funky "Moving' On", complete with a beat that just begs you for a dancefloor, before the album comes to a close with the cool R&B grooves of "How Can You Stop".

The original album reached peak positions of number 182 on the Billboard 200 and number 54 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart, but deserved much higher on this listening. I think you will also agree once you give this a spin, believe me on that.

Remastered by Nick Robbins, this 2016 SoulMusic Records reissue follows the label’s release of two other Cole classics, “Natalie…Live!” (SMCR-5009) and “Thankful,” an expanded edition (SMCR-5028) and includes insightful notes by renowned U.S. writer Justin Kantor and a personal tribute to Natalie by founder David Nathan, who began interviewing her in 1975.

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Title - 'TRANE 90' [4-CD]
Artist - John Coltrane

For those not in the know, John Coltrane, also known as "Trane" was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Working in the bebop and hard bop idioms early in his career, Coltrane helped pioneer the use of modes in jazz and was later at the forefront of free jazz. He led at least fifty recording sessions during his career, and appeared as a sideman on many albums by other musicians, including trumpeter Miles Davis and pianist Thelonious Monk.

As his career progressed, Coltrane and his music took on an increasingly spiritual dimension. Coltrane influenced innumerable musicians, and remains one of the most significant saxophonists in music history. He received many posthumous awards and recognitions, including canonization by the African Orthodox Church as Saint John William Coltrane and a special Pulitzer Prize in 2007.[ His second wife was pianist Alice Coltrane and their son Ravi Coltrane is also a saxophonist.

His death, aged just 41 in 1967, left an aching chasm at the heart of an art form and nearly fifty years after his passing his legacy continues to inform much of what is thought of as innovative within contemporary jazz. Even more unbelievably, a staggering nine decades have passed since the birth of this still controversial figure, a man whose music continues to generate passionate debate both for and against.

Trane 90 presents a four-disc anthology charting his journey from sideman to star, covering his seminal work with leaders including the aforementioned Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, through his horn for hire phase as one of New York's hottest new jazz talents, in which he recorded with everyone from fellow tenor Sonny Rollins to avant-garde gurus Cecil Taylor and George Russell, onto the formation of his own quartet, a unit that was to change both the pace and the face of jazz.

Classic Coltrane performances such as "Moment's Notice", "Giant Steps", "Naima" and "Chasin' The Trane" are included, as are his scene stealing solos on tracks with Miles Davis ("So What") and Thelonious Monk ("Trinkle Tinkle"). Also included in this glorious package is a major new essay on Coltrane by saxophonist and author Simon Spillett. Complete with period photographs and a bonus CD of live material (tracing Coltrane's career back to his early work with Dizzy Gillespie and Johnny Hodges), it provides the ultimate opportunity to witness Coltrane building his own legend, step by step.

Disc 1: 1. Stablemates 2. Trane's Blues 3. Dear Old Stockholm 4. Well, You Needn't 5. Monk's Mood 6. Trinkle Tinkle 7. Straight, No Chaser 8. So What 9. On Green Dolphin Street (Live)

Disc 2: 1. Straight Street 2. Moment's Notice 3. Good Bait 4. Giant Steps 5. Naima 6. Blues To Bechet 7. Africa 8. Chasin' The Trane

Disc 3: 1. Tenor Madness 2. Bob's Boys 3. Soultrane 4. Two Bass Hit 5. Pristine 6. West 42nd Street 7. Manhattan 8. Just Friends 9. Bags & Trane 10. Grand Central

Disc 4: 1. Birks' Works 2. Don't Blame Me 3. Max Is Making Wax 4. Tune Up 5. Bye Bye Blackbird 6. My Favourite Things 7. Impressions 8. Body And Soul

Simply put, TRANE 90 is, for all intents and purposes, the complete John Coltrane collection. Chronicling his career from start to finish, his history is laid out bare for everyone to delve into here. When he died in 1967 it left a gaping hole in the music industry, but this fills it back up - even if it is just a temporary listening experience.

That said, it's just what you need on a day when you have nothing to do, when the weather isn't cooperating, and you are indoors, milling around. You slip one of these CDs in (man, I wish they had made this as a vinyl LP set too!), maybe even slip your headphones on, and allow yourself to be guided into the world of Trane.

Title - 'Songs of Faith'
Artist - Dee Dee Sharp

For those not in the know, Dee Dee Sharp is an American R&B singer, who began her career recording as a backing vocalist in 1961. In 1962 she began a string of successful Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 hits: "Slow Twistin'" (with Chubby Checker) (#3) for which she was uncredited on the label, "Mashed Potato Time" (#2), "Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes)" (#9), "Ride" (#5) and "Do the Bird" (#10).

Both "Mashed Potato Time" and "Ride" each sold over one million copies, and were awarded gold discs. "Do the Bird" provided her only entry in the UK Singles Chart, where it peaked at #46 in April 1963. In 1967, she married record producer and Philadelphia International co-founder Kenny Gamble (and subsequently began recording under the name Dee Dee Sharp-Gamble) although the couple later divorced in 1980.

Now she is back via ABKCO Music & Records, Inc. with a newly-rereleased Songs of Faith album. Having now listened to this CD twice through, and not knowing about Ms. Sharp beforehand, I can honestly say that Dee Dee Sharp is one fine singer who deserves to have album's like this see the light of day once again. Especially given that it's now been 54 years since she released Songs of Faith!

Brilliant orchestrations surround a voice that defies description straight from the off with this collection of twelve tracks composed of early gospel hymns, spiritual blessings, and even rumblings of country, the stirring 'Peace In The Valley' (Thomas A. Dorsey) is up first. That's followed by the slower 'He', the known-throughout bounce of 'He's Got The Whole World In His Hands', the Choir-backed 'I Believe', and then both the gentle sway of 'Vaya Con Dios', and then the anthemic, and also now uber well known 'You'll Never Walk Alone'.

The gospel-inspired 'It Is No Secret (What God Can Do)' is next, and is backed by the 'We'll Walk Together', a track that allows Sharp's voice to truly soar. The more grounded ballad 'Heavenly Father' is next, and is followed by the fast, countrified ditty 'Up Hill'.

Sharp even gets to sing a Broadway song, in the shape of the immense 'Climb Every Mountain' from The Sound of Music. And she does it with style to spare, for Sharp's rich, lush, and on some occasions even powerful voice moves through each selection here with confidence and grace. Add the lush orchestration that backs her at every turn, inclusive of the last track, 'I'll Make You Mine' and this CD is a must have for all fans of female singers who, simply put, need to be heard more of today.

To bring you up to date on the lady her, Dee Dee Sharp still attends Philadelphia’s Third Eternal Baptist Church where Eubie Gilbert, her grandfather, served as pastor when she was a child and vividly recollects the Songs of Faith sessions. “Most of these were done in one or just a few takes. I love singing with live orchestras and I’d been singing most of these songs for my whole life so it was easy.”

She continued, “Singing gospel has always been my heart’s desire and while this album isn’t ‘gut gospel,’ I love these songs. I sang ‘Climb Every Mountain’ at my Junior High School graduation from Thomas Fitzsimons Junior High and my grandfather was there. I remember him in the audience just beaming."

Also, this new edition of Songs of Faith includes insightful liner notes by Gayle Wald, Professor of English and American Studies at George Washington University and author of Shout, Sister, Shout!: The Untold Story of Rock–and-Roll Trailblazer Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

The album had been out of print and is now be available once again as ABKCO Records has released this reissue on October 21st, 2016 on CD and in digital formats.

Title - 'The Intimate Keely Smith: Expanded Edition'
Artist - Keely Smith

You may well not have known of Dorothy Jacqueline Keely within the music business, indeed, you may not have either known of the artist she chose to become, Keely Smith, but in the 1950s you most certainly knew of her husband - Louis Prima.

Keely is an American jazz and popular music singer who enjoyed popularity in the 1950s and 1960s and who not only collaborated with her husband, but among others Frank Sinatra.

But well before all of that, Keely first showed a natural aptitude for singing at aged just 14. The Portsmouth, Virginia native started singing with a naval air station band led by Saxie Dowell and at 15, she got her first paying job with the Earl Bennett band.

Keely made her professional debut with Prima in 1949, where on stage she often played the "straight guy" in the duo to Prima's wild antics. Of course, they also recorded many duets, including Johnny Mercer's and Harold Arlen's "That Ol' Black Magic", which was a Top 20 hit in the US in 1958.

In 1959, Keely and Prima were awarded the first-ever Grammy Award for Best Performance by a Vocal Group or Chorus for "That Ol' Black Magic" and the duo followed that up with the minor successes "I've Got You Under My Skin" and "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen"; a revival of the 1937 Andrews Sisters hit.

Keely and Prima's act was a mainstay of the Las Vegas lounge scene for much of the 1950s. Though her actual voice was not used, she was caricatured as "Squealy Smith" in Bob Clampett's 1960 Beany and Cecil episode "So What and the Seven Whatnots," a Snow White spoof in a Vegas setting.

Amazingly, between her debut album I Wish You Love (1957) on Capitol Records and her last album, Vegas '58 - Today (2005) on Concord, she has recorded 21 albums. In 1965, Keely recorded The Intimate Keely Smith on Reprise Records and now via Real Gone Records, and released this past October 14th, 2016, we are lucky enough to have it re-released, and this time in a glorious Expanded Edition.

This concept album itself is, without a shadow of a doubt, something that you are either going to love, adore even, or want to turn off three songs in. That would be a mistake, but understandable if stoic, yet heart-rendering, haunting, yet bass line melodic piano ballads are not your cup o' tea.

With Keely's voice up front and personal, crystal clear and alone, bare and surprisingly forceful, a solitary piano and light drum and high hat for company, from the moment 'Somebody Loves Me' is brought forth, and is backed by both 'As Long As He Needs Me' and 'Blame It One My Youth', you know how the remainder of the album will pan out.

Keely, in her day, was one of the world's most popular entertainers, I was also taken aback to learn that she retained the rights to the five albums she made for Reprise Records. That never really happens in this day and age, so for this The Intimate Keely Smith to finally come out on CD, it seems the people at Real Gone Music have struck gold. For, and in conjunction with Keely and her family, they are also now going to release all of those Reprise Records albums on CD for the first time; and all as Expanded Editions.

Produced by Keely’s husband-to-be & Reprise hitmaker Jimmy Bowen, The Intimate Keely Smith continues on in the same aforementioned musical vein with 'He Needs Me', 'Sinner or Saint', 'It Had To Be You', a rendition of Frank Sinatra's 'Time After Time', 'Nancy / You Are My Sunshine', her take on Billie Holiday's infamous 'God Bless the Child', 'You'll Never Know', and then 'The Whippoorwill'.

The two bonus tracks that make this an Expanded Edition are 'Twin Soliloquies (Wonder How It Feels)', a duet with Frank Sinatra (a track from the The Reprise Musical Repertory Theatre Presents South Pacific album), and the one and only upbeat, complete with orchestra track, 'No One Ever Tells You'. Rare in and unto itself, it is a non-LP single of the King-Goffin-Spector track arranged by Jack Nitszche and also produced by Bowen.

Title - 'Live at Kramus Deluxe Studio' (EP)
Artist - Grit

So, for those not in the know, Grit are a French music ensemble who have just released a 3-track EP entitled Live at Kramus Deluxe Studio via Greasy Records.

The Parisian four-piece (Marcus Linon, Guitar & Vocals; Matthieu Vial-Collet, Guitar & Vocals; Quentin Rochas, Bass & Vocals; and Florian Gouëllo, Drums & Vocals) have been gaining a lot of media and fan attention in the past few months and having worked hard to be where they are, now find themselves on the brink of something big, bold and very, very exciting.

The first track on the new EP, 'G.F.Y' (which pleasantly stands for Go F**k Yourself) is full on sound! Blaring out, attacking every sense your body contains, it's a musical assault that once the vocals kick in, suddenly remind you of the "softer side" of the Grunge era circa late '90s.

The guitar fest that holds 'Ready or Not' together is, for me, the best of the three tracks. It's just got a little bit of everything and removes them from the aforementioned Grunge and into an early Green Day period. The third track, 'Sister' keeps them in that late '90s/early '00s vibe. The lightest music on the EP, combined with the other two, it shows a fluid continuity, but at the same time showcases their musical diversity.

Sure the EP is just a tad over ten minutes, but the catured levels of raw, unadulterated energy make you desperate to keep the EP on rotation. And therein lies their biggest secret, for the more you play this music, the better each song becomes! A rarity in this business, but yeah, these three songs grow on you, do get better with each listen, and actually become more cohesive, mature even the more you listen. I cannot wait to hear a full-length album from them, and once you've listened to this EP, you'll think the same way too, trust me.

Title - 'Horse'
Artist - Slaves on Dope

For those not in the know, Slaves on Dope is a Canadian nu metal band based in Montreal, Canada. The band was formed in 1993 by Jason Rockman, Kevin Jardine and Avrum Nadigel, in the midst of the "grunge" explosion. They were highly influenced by this particular sound early on in the live shows and recordings, although at that time the Canadian music scene had yet to even embrace nu/alternative metal music.

Of course, all that changed and over the years nu metal has been more than welcomed into the musical fold by the masses. Releasing their debut album One Good Turn Deserves Another in 1998, then following that up with Inches From The Mainline (2000), Metafour (2003), and Over The Influence (2012), Slaves On Dope returns with their fifth full-length album Horse via the ILS Group.

Their most powerful album to date, recorded at Uplift Studios in Montreal, the album is dedicated 'to all the alcoholics and addicts suffering in the world' as a theme of hope and recovery winds through each song. Also, and interestingly enough, the cover art is an original painting created especially for the release by Marvel Comics artist Marco Rudy.

The pounding, guitar fest of 'Electric Kool Aid' is up first, and backed by the soaring 'Health Food And Heroin', the "lighter" fare of both 'Freebasing' and 'K-Hole', and then both 'Script Writer' (featuring Darryl "DMC" McDaniels, a founding member of, of course, the hip hop group Run–D.M.C.), and the brilliant guitar slinging of my own personal favorite on the album, 'Interplanatery Mission' (featuring Bill Kelliher, the rhythm guitarist of heavy metal band Mastodon).

'Liquid Sunshine' (featuring Bad Brains frontman HR) brings more of their nu metal to the fore, albeit with a slightly pop substance to it, and that's backed by 'Codependency' featuring Lee-La Baum of The Damn Truth. The album then rounds out with the drum-tastic 'P&P' and the perfect cherry on the musical cake, 'Disco Biscuit'.

Title - 'Reminiscence'
Artist - Tyler Reese

You may not know his name, as I admittedly didn't, but once you've heard his new album, Reminiscence (out November 4th, 2016) you'll want to know all about this most talented guitarist, trust me.

His name is Tyler Reese and he is, quite easily, one of the most talented musicians that I have ever had the pleasure to be asked to review in the past decade. His new album, the aforementioned Reminiscence is an eleven song show-and-tell for Reese, on which he showcases his ambitious guitar prowess through a vast jazz soundscape.

Beginning with the delicate, precise acoustic plucking tour de force 'Moving On', that's followed by the vibrant electricity of 'Breaking Point' and then both the frenetic jazz bounce of 'Out of Orbit' and the piano-led 'Reflections'. One of my own personal favs is 'Astrotermination', which is like a speeding train rounding corners, leaning into curves, bending the known logic for both safety and control.

'2Funk' is, as you would imagine, a funky R&B experience that Prince's NPG would have been proud to call their own, and that's backed by the jazz pop flow of 'Escapade'. Next up is the haunting guitar work of the title track, 'Reminiscence', a cut that seems to stretch out, to meld with your soul before your very ears, and that's followed by the back-in-the-day Charlestonesque 'Headed Out.'

The beautiful, stunningly gorgeous 'Emancipation' is brought forth next and is a pure delight to behold. Yet another of my favorites from the album, it rounds out the 10 track CD just perfectly. There is, however, a bonus track on this CD entitled 'Moving On - Radio Version', which actually brings the album full circle very nicely.

Simply put, Tyler Reese's new album Reminiscence features a solid collection of some of the most original, heartwarming, and thoroughly addictive guitar playing that the genre has ever witnessed. Whether he be gracefully strumming, rocking out, or flashing back to a golden era, Reese's fretwork is both captivating and engaging at all times.

Title - 'Ampersand, Vol. 2'
Artist - IZZ

For those not in the know, IZZ is a New York based progressive rock band. Its music is inspired by such classic progressive groups as Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and Renaissance and is often infused with pop hooks ŕ la The Beatles. The band's name comes from the nickname of baseball relief pitcher Jason Isringhausen, who was once on the New York Mets, a team favored by bass guitarist John Galgano.

Over the years, IZZ (Tom Galgano - keyboards, vocals; John Galgano - bass, guitar, vocals, keyboards; Paul Bremner - guitars; Greg DiMiceli - acoustic drums, percussion; Brian Coralian - acoustic and electronic drums, percussion; Anmarie Byrnes - vocals; and Laura Meade - vocals) has performed at American progressive rock festivals RoSfest, NEARfest, The Rogue Independent Music Festival,CalProg, and ProgDay.

IZZ has just released their ninth new album, Ampersand, Volume 2, this past October 11th, 2016. Following on from Volume 1's release back in 2004 (Doone Records), it is comprised of 12 brand new studio tracks. Chock full of both long and short tracks, it's true to say that Ampersand, Volume 2 contains songs that highlight the band’s passion for songwriting, melody and diversity of styles and sounds.

The first track is 'Penelope', a song that allows Galgano and Byrnes to join musical vocal forces alongside the backdrop of his brother's keyboards. A beautiful, hauntingly so song, it is followed by the upbeat 'Fine', a cut that travels along nicely atop an acoustic guitar path. Next up is the Galgano sung 'Burn (If You Let It)', a track that he commands from start to finish, once again with a keyboard/piano back drop. That's followed by the all coming together, plugged in, '70s flashback styling of 'Take Me By The Hand', 'The Telephone', the lovely, ethereal 'Forever' from Meade, and then the frenetic guitar plucking of 'Hail Double Knob, Children of Mars.'

Galgano takes the vocals again on the delicate 'Again and Again', before a sturdy, controlling keyboard piano comes to the fore on '84th and Amsterdam.' The upbeat, frenzied seeding train piano back drop accompanies Galgano on 'Ascension in Time', which is backed by some stupendous guitar playing on my own personal favorite song on the album, the brilliant 'Spellbound in the Vortex.' The album is then rounded out by the longest track, the psychedelic trip known as 'Ready To Go.'

Complete with tight vocal male and female harmonies, expert acoustic and electric guitar playing, with songs that start slow and then evolve into stand alone prog tracks, and wonderful keyboard solo's by Tom Galgano, Ampersand, Volume 2 is one of IZZ's strongest albums to date. Simply put, their follow up to Volume 1 does not disappoint.

"Fine" - Lyric Video

Title - 'Jazz Loves Disney' (Compilation)
Artist - Various

I mean, come on now, who doesn't love Disney? And, for that matter, who doesn't like Jazz? Combine the two passions from their own worlds and you get an album quite like no other from Verve Records. Out November 18th, 2016, Jazz Loves Disney is already now one of my favorite Disney albums covered by some of the best Jazz greats known to the business.

There’s something very special about Disney songs and the music from the magic kingdom’s films and cartoons. It’s music that remind us of a special time, a time when we young and such is the magical feeling that they conjure up that they unleash our inner child. Walt Disney was a fan of jazz, so they say, so this new album seems like the perfect partner to accompany some of his finest musical works.

We kick off in style with Jamie Cullum's version of "Ev'rybody Wants To Be A Cat", and that's backed by a ultra lush, smokey vocalized "He's A Tramp" from Melody Gardot. Then comes one of my own personal favs on this incredible album, the bossa nova spin of "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo (French Version)" from Grammy-nominated American jazz singer Stacey Kent. Next up is a stirring performance (does he ever do any other kind) of "When You Wish Upon A Star" from Gregory Porter, and that's followed by "Why Don't You Do Right?" from French singer China Moses.

Raphael Gualazzi is up next with his rendition of the beloved by kids (and adults still) "I Wan'na Be Like You (The Monkey Song)". The Italian singer and pianist really puts a delightful spin on the song and ensures it will go down, in my mind, as one of the most played tracks on this entire album. Not to say that any are fillers, because there just isn't, for next we get the wonderful instrumental "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes" (The Rob Mounsey Orchestra), and then a stunning "You've Got A Friend In Me" from Hugh Coltman.

The now infamous "Let It Go" from Frozen is this time performed, and more than adequately, by French national Anne Sila, and then along comes everybody's go-to Disney sing-along favorites, "The Bare Necessities", performed here by both Melody Gardot and Raphael Gualazzi. My goodness, what an incredible take on the song they collectively bring, and yes, it is an obvious stand out highlight.

British band Laika next bring us "Once Upon A Dream" and that's followed by "Un jour mon prince veindra" from Nikki Yanofsky. This exquisite, truly unique album is then brought to a close with New York-based ensemble The Hot Sardines giving us a fantastic rendition of "I Wanna Be Like You" that would give any other band who tried the same a severe run for their money, trust me.

Man, that trumpet playing is just out of control and together with everyone in the ensemble coming together as one, this is, without a shadow of a doubt, my own personal favorite (and I think, once you have played this CD, you will wholeheartedly agree with me also).

1. Jamie Cullum – “Everybody Wants To Be A Cat” – from The Aristocrats

2. Melody Gardot – “He’s A Tramp” – from Lady And The Tramp

3. Stacey Kent – “Bibbidi Bobbodo Boo” (French version) – from Cinderella

4. Gregory Porter – “When You Wish Upon A Star” – from Pinocchio

5. China Moses – “Why Don’t You Do Right” – from Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

6. Raphaël Gualazzi – “I Wanna Be Like You” – from The Jungle Book

7. The Rob Mounsey Orchestra – “A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes” – from Cinderella

8. Hugh Coltman – “You’ve Got A Friend In Me” – from Toy Story

9. Anne Sila – “Let It Go” – from Frozen

10. Melody Gardot & Raphaël Gualazzi – “The Bare Necessities” – from The Jungle Book

11. Laika – “Once Upon A Dream” – from Sleeping Beauty

12. Nikki Yanofsky -“Someday My Prince Will Come” – from Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs

13. The Hot Sardines – I Wanna Be Like You (French version) – from The Jungle Book

Title - 'Freedom, Now!'
Artist - Free Human Zoo

For those not in the know, Free Human Zoo (Laurent Skoczek, Samy Thiébault, Nico Feuger, Emmanuel Guerrero, and Matthieu Rosso et Gilles Le Rest) are a French ensemble whose music combines the elements of Jazz, Rock, Jazz-Rock, Pop, Prog, Folk, and so much more.

Their new album is entitled Freedom, Now! is a 4-track collection of songs that are both emotional and sensitive, whilst at the same time both void of grounding and chock full of immense free spirit.

The fun, upbeat "Borokoni" is up first, and wow, they immediately grab you, wanting you up on your feet. I mean, if the chords had arms they would be swinging you in jazz / prog moves around the room! The more precise, thoughtful "Amour moteur, Matrice" is next and showcases exactly what this highly talented ensemble can do.

"Aspettando la Primavera" turns the heat down somewhat, and ebbs and flows in a most beautiful, delicate even style. The last track is "Maniacus", a cut that seems to follow the traits of how improvisational jam sessions come to be. With dynamic peaks and troughs throughout, it's yet another highlight of this incredible album from Free Human Zoo.

Official Free Human Zoo Website

Title - 'Jaguar Jesus' [Explicit]
Artist - J French

If you have not thus far heard of musician J French, once this album comes out, the songs hit the radio, you're gonna want to know a whole lot more about him, trust me.

The son of Grammy-winning reggae percussionist and vocalist Brother Num (Burning Spear), Jamal French aka J French is an accomplished rapper, multi-instrumentalist and producer based in Oklahoma City.

Having been a rapper since he was 12 years old, over the subsequent years J French has been quietly composing his rhymes and creating his lyrics to bring forth to an adoring public. For those that know him love him, and those that don't know of hm (myself included) find a core within his music that we can all too easily relate to.

J French, who also plays cornet, piano and drums, has worked with several rappers in the Oklahoma-Texas scene over the years, but it was his childhood time, split between his Harlem-based father and his mother's home in Edmond, OK, where he really began soaking up the musical spoils that both the East Coast and the Midwest had to offer.

He has just released a new EP entitled Too A.M. this past April 2016 and now come December 9th, 2016 via IV League Entertainment, his will be bringing out his high anticipated debut album, Jaguar Jesus.

1. X-Ray Vision (03:29) 2. Electric Paris (03:34) 3. Unsatisfied II (03:49) 4. Ultra Bass (03:16) 5. White Chocolate Droppa Interlude (00:20) 6. Check (02:53) 7. Reign (03:49) 8. Dallas (02:44) 9. Sure (03:20) 10. Up There (02:35) 11. Such an Art (03:20) 12. Clouds (03:39)

The album is smooth, it's structured, it's chock full of hipsway and technique. The lead single 'Dallas' is a gem all unto itself, the storytelling within it, well, you just know it's obviously something that J French experienced himself. J French knows this music, raps perfectly to every rhyme and rhythm like it's a second language to him.

He may well have been in trouble for a while back in the day, but nothing from his negative past ever makes it through to his lyrics, to his music. J French knows where he need to go from here. He's always trying to climb, to make the next best move for him. This album, for now, is that move.

"Dallas" - Official Music Video

Title - 'My Little Pony: It's a Pony Kind of Christmas'
Artist - Various

For those not in the kiddie-land / parenting know, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - It's a Pony Kind of Christmas is a brand new holiday album containing original holiday-themed songs and new versions of traditional public domain Christmas songs, along with an extended version of The Heart Carol.

It also features performances by the cast of My Little Pony Friendship is Magic (so, no stand in's simply brought on board just to knock the songs out and leave!) along with the Phoenix Chamber Choir of Vancouver on several tracks, including the opening title track, 'It's a Pony Kind Of Christmas'. Re-released on CD on October 7th, 2016 and on on-demand streaming and digital media on November 6th, 2015, this delightful 15-track album also contains five brand-new tracks from "A Hearth's Warming Tail," the 2016 holiday episode of Discovery Family's popular My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic animated television series.

So, after the euphoric title track, which also puts the whole MLP gang up front and center vocally, next up is the fast paced 'Jingle Bells' from Rainbow Dash, the ballad 'Deck the Halls' from Rarity & Phoenix Chamber Choir (PCC), the anthemic 'We Wish You a Merry Christmas' (Twilight Sparkle & PCC), the stirring 'Silent Night' (Fluttershy & PCC), and then both the fun 'Twelve Days of Christmas' from Pinkie Pie (what's a cherry chugger?!), and Pop Fly with 'Last Year I Got Coal for Christmas.'

'Jolly ol' St. Nick' from Spike is next, with the triumphant 'Days Gone By (Auld Lang Syne)' by Apple Jack, Appleblom & Granny Smith, and that's backed by 'The Heart Carol' (PCC), 'Hearth's Warming Eve Is Here Once Again' from Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie & Fluttershy. The swashbuckling 'Say Goodbye to the Holiday' from Starlight Glimmer is my personal favorite on here, and that's followed by Applejack & Starlight Glimmer on 'The Seeds of the Past.' The CD then rounds out with Pinkie Pie on the upbeat dance fest 'Pinkie's Present', and then the soaring 'Luna's Future' by Princess Luna.'

A wonderful treat for all My Little Pony fans, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - It's a Pony Kind of Christmas is most definitely, without a shadow of a doubt, the best stocking stuffer they could ever hope to open come Christmas Day. This re-released expanded version, due to those aforementioned new five songs from A Hearth's Warming Tail, also comes with a very colorful booklet and a collectible poster!

Title - 'Mike Watt - ring spiel tour ’95'
Artist - Mike Watt

Listening to this 2LP vinyl music experience the first thing that comes to mind is, Wow! That's quickly followed by "Where has this been hiding for the past 21 years?! Well, luckily for all us audiophiles and true blue lovers of great music, Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, will release – as an aforementioned 2LP vinyl, CD and digital album – Mike Watt’s “ring spiel” tour ’95 live concert recording, on Friday, November 11th, 2016.

Personally, I'm listening to the 150g standard 2LP vinyl offering of this incredible “ring spiel” tour ’95, but, and fellow audiophiles please take note now, for there will also be made available a limited edition 2LP vinyl 12″ orange colored set!!

Available for the first time commercially in any format, “ring spiel” tour ’95 is a thrilling audio document of ‘the man in the van with a bass in his hands’ trailblazing 1995 solo tour, recorded on May 6th at the legendary Metro club in Chicago, featuring an all-star backing band.

Ok, even though it was 1995, vinyl was still being actively made, so there is no reason that this same-year show, recorded at the Metro in Chicago, couldn't have been released right after the tour had ended that year. At least that way, even as CDs were running rampant within the recording industry also, we could have at least been enjoying this live performance for two decades now!

Anyway, and for those of you who are not in the know, Mike Watt is the influential punk rock bassist/musician whose bands MINUTEMEN and fIREHOSE helped define the sound and direction of rock. In February 1995, Columbia Records released ball-hog or tugboat?, the first solo release by Watt. Also known as ‘The Wrestling Album,’ ball-hog or tugboat? featured the punk pioneer’s collaborations with artistic peers and descendants, such as Henry Rollins, Flea, Thurston Moore, J Mascis, Adam Horovitz, Mike Diamond, Frank Black, Dave Pirner, Evan Dando, Nels Cline, Pat Smear, Dave Grohl and Eddie Vedder, among many other friends, ‘getting into the ring’ with Watt.

In March 1995, Columbia Records announced that Watt would be hitting the road for the first time as a solo artist. Members of opening bands Hovercraft and Foo Fighters – Vedder, Grohl, Smear and drummer William Goldsmith – subsequently joined headliner Watt on-stage as eager participants of the jaw-dropping back-up band heard on the “ring spiel” tour ’95 album.

The first track, a Daniel Johnson cover, 'Walking The Cow' introduces us to Watt's low, gruff singing tone instantly, and from then on it you kinda get a feel for what you're in for. Next up is 'Big Train' (a Chip & Tony Kinman cover), the faster-paced, and punk-assured 'Formal Introduction', the speeding train, and Vedder-backed 'Against the 70's', and then both the slow pacing of 'Drove Up from Pedro' and the blistering Vedder-led composition, 'Habit'.

The guitar fest 'Makin' the Freeway' is up next and is backed by the thoughtful guitar work and lyrics of 'Chinese Firedrill'. The pace is stepped up once again on 'Piss-Bottle Man', the out of control, yet paced guitar work of 'Forever ... One Reporter's Opinion', and then both the Williams-inspired drum fest behind my personal fav on the album, the funky pop bounce of 'E-ticket Ride', and then the rant of 'Political Song for Michael Jackson to Sing'.

Next up is 'Coincidence is Either Hit or Miss', a track that once again, albeit for longer, allows Williams to conduct the track's flow from his drum kit, and that's followed by a Blue Öyster Cult cover, 'The Red and the Black' from Vedder and company. The album then comes to a close with just Watt's bass and Goldsmith's drums for the methodical, beat poetry music styling of his take on 'Secret Garden' (a Madonna cover, believe it or not), and then the jangly guitar work of 'Powerful Hankerin'.

It was Watt's first solo tour and if he might not be the world's greatest vocalist, his singing is honest and fits this collection of tunes from the Minutemen, fIREHOSE, and his then-brief solo career with a few covers thrown in. Occasionally the guitarists are given room to shine but mostly it's up to Watt's always-inventive bass playing to make each track resonate. Which he does, each and every time, track after track.

Mike Watt @ Twitter!

Title - 'Lovesick' (EP)
Artist - Jordan Hurwitz

For those not in the know, at least for right now, Jordan Hurwitz is a singer/songwriter. At age 16, she came out with her first album on iTunes called Infinity. At the age of 17, she released her second album on iTunes called The New Me. At the age of 18, she released her third album called Here I'll Stand, produced by Narada Michael Walden (Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand, et al) at his very own Tarpan Studios.

Now aged 19, and Jordan is preparing to release a new 6-track album, again with Narada. Entitled Lovesick, it will be released via Tarpen Studios on December 9th, 2016.

Each song here in this set of six focuses on emotions and experiences that Hurwitz has herself enduring this past year. Never one to shy away from how real life can twist and turn your emotions like their on one crazy rollercoaster of a ride, her level of lyrical depth is both commendable and exciting.

Whether it be a story of heartbreak within 'Obilterate My Heart' (a duet with Tarpan artist Cornell "C.C." Carter), or the stunning title track, 'Lovesick', each song begins with a statement, flirts with optimism, and breaks through with boundless resolution.

In truth, no matter if it's the tongue in cheek pop song 'I Love Your Abs', the poignant ballad 'Power', the stoic Blues-feel of 'Riverbank' or even 'Hurricane', this new album is as good as anything Narada has been involved with, in my opinion. I mean, just 'Lovesick' alone, with its Latin beats, engaging hipsway rhythm might just be as close to a genuine Top 10 radio hit as Hurwitz has ever been - and deservedly so, trust me.

Jordan @ Twitter!

Title - 'Heart - Live at The Royal Albert Hall'
Artist - Heart

In June 2016 Heart made their first ever live appearance at London's famous Royal Albert Hall. To make the sold-out night even more special the band were accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra who added further depth and an epic scale to Heart's songs.

Well, let me begin by fully admitting that I have loved Heart ever since, well, hang on, I'm not that old, so since their mid-80's resurgence, I guess. I then floated back into their deep, oh so deep musical past and fell in love all over again - with voices that just don't seem to have changed at all over the years.

For Heart's first ever live appearance at London's famous Royal Albert Hall in 2016 (released on multiple formats Dec. 2nd, 2016 via Eagle Rock), and for the first time ever also, backed by the spectacular Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, this sold-out night must have gone down in the band's history as one of their go-to memories for great things they accomplished as a musical unit.

With the RPO adding a depth, a splendid resonance, and an epic scale to Heart's songs, listening from the very off you can see how polished the two units are: Heart strong and steadfast, the RPO on note and on fire behind them at every musical turn. The set includes all the hits, all the fan favorites, of course, all the radio play must-hear's, along with some new and reinterpreted tracks from their most recent, and 16th studio album, Beautiful Broken.

The chemistry between band and orchestra is simply magical watching them come together. I mean, from the opening song, which this CD just roars into, "Magic Man", the power behind Ann Wilson's vocals is out of control still. That and the fact that the vibrancy, the crisp urgency, the full-ahead tempo is obvious from the start. "Thank you very much and welcome," announces Ann. "We're Heart and we're very honored to be here tonight. I'd like to now introduce you to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra," she adds, before they lead her into a mystical "Heaven".

"We're going to be playing songs from all parts of out long career," Ann tells the audience, "and we're going to start at the beginning," she adds, as the band roll into the beautiful "Dreamboat Annie". A simply unbelievably powerful "What About Love" is the first time we really get to hear the stonking string power of the RPO, as it, quite literally, lifts the song, and Ann's vocals clear up and nearly out of the Royal Albert Hall. Applauded like their hands would drop off, the audience knew it was something special to behold also.

The acoustic guitar-led rocker "Jump" is next (no, not the Van Halen one, settle down!), and that's backed by the orchestral delights of the playful "Sweet Darlin" from their fifth studio album, Bébé le Strange in 1980. After thanking the audience, the tone is brought down for the new piano ballad "Two", which is followed by my favorite Heart duo back-to-back: "These Dreams" and the Nancy-sung "Alone". Now, and in full disclosure, the former was lacking the thrust it normally would hold, and the latter sounded as if it was being sung/performed at half speed!

"Thank you", Ann says. "That's the Angel singing there," she adds, with a nod to her sisters vocals, as they then turn the tempo back up on the thunderous title track from their new album, "Beautiful Broken". "Mashallah!" is up next from their Fanatic album of 2012, and the always-brilliant-to-hear, acoustic guitar-fed "Silver Wheels" backs it just perfectly. That leads into a rousing "Crazy On You" before Ann says goodnight, on behalf of her and the band. Thanking the audience for joining them on this special night, the gently strummed "Sand" is next brought forth.

The hauntingly stunning "No Quarter" is next, and after the deserved applause has died down, the evening is brought to a close with a mesmerizingly brilliant "Barracuda" and then, after Ann once again thanks the crowd, finally, the blood pumpin' oldie "Kick It Out".

Heart - Ann Wilson (Vocals); Nancy Wilson (Guitar & Vocals) Benjamin Smith (Drums); Daniel Rothchild (Bass); Craig Bartock (Guitar); Christopher Joyner (Keyboards) - just couldn't have sounded, or played any better here, and with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Nick Davies, he held them tight, orchestrated (!) and align to everything that the rockers threw at them.

1. Magic Man 2. Heaven 3. Dreamboat Annie 4. What About Love 5. I Jump 6. Sweet Darlin' 7. Two 8. These Dreams 9. Alone 10. Beautiful Broken 11. Mashallah! 12. Silver Wheels / Crazy On You 13. Sand 14. No Quarter 15. Barracuda 16. Kick It Out

Title - 'The Official Bootleg: Archive-Vol. 1' (6CD)
Artist - John Wetton

The Official Bootleg: Archive-Vol 1 is an astounding six CD live archive release from the rock icon, John Wetton. Showcasing Asia and King Crimson lead vocalist Wetton at his musical and lyrical finest, he covers over 50 tracks, across six incredible live CDs, and across the world also. Inclusive of some of his most favored, critically beloved tracks down through the years, this new collection (and only, seemingly the first volume at that) is both expansive and comprehensive.

Indeed, this Official Bootleg Archive collects together three of Wetton's previously released Official Bootlegs - which have been out of print for nearly 10 years! The audio has been given a 2016 remastering with the new artwork having been given the full approval by Wetton himself.

All done with his highly distinctive voice at the helm, this double album of live material collects together a pair of of Wetton's acoustic solo concerts for radio broadcasts from back in the day. The 2001 XM radio broadcast was an official website only title over 10 years ago and has never had a commercial release. The 1998 Swedish radio broadcast (previously unreleased) was thought lost in a fire, until a duplicate of the master tapes was found; thanks to a long and tireless search by Wetton's fans!

As a singer, bassist and songwriter, Wetton initially rose to fame as the lead singer of King Crimson and thereafter Wetton formed UK with Eddie Jobson and later he was the lead singer for the supergroup Asia, his biggest commercial success. On The Official Bootleg, Wetton takes his love for his work, his own orchestrations, and brings them to life; one sumptuous live flashback chord at a time.

The first two CDs represent Live In Argentina 1996 (October 19th) at the Broadway Theatre, Buenos Aires. The first CD brings us 10 tracks, the second 7 tracks and it's a musical feast for all ASIA lovers, trust me. In truth though, all the CDs are just that, in their own ways, at their own levels.

Disc: 1
1. In the Dead of Night 2. Sole Survivor 3. Only Time Will Tell 4. Voice of America 5. Book of Saturday 6. The Smile Has Left Your Eyes 7. Thirty Years 8. Hold Me Now 9. Quilmes 10. Rendezvous 6:02

Disc: 2
1. Thomas Lang's Drum Solo 2. Caught in the Crossfire 3. Easy Money 4. Battle Lines 5. Heat of the Moment 6. Starless 7. Don't Cry

[John Wetton - Lead Vocals, Bass and Acoustic Guitars; Thomas Lang - Drums; Billy Liesegang - Guitar; Martin Orford - Keyboards and Vocals].

Next up is Live in Osaka 1997 (October 2nd) at Club Quattoro, Osaka, Japan, and boy, this is my personal favorite of the triple live set. Chock full of as many ASIA tracks as one can cram into a live show, Wetton is on his finest vocal form here also, in my humble opinion.

Disc: 3 - 1. Intro 2. The Last Thing on My Mind 3. Sole Survivor 4. I Can't Lie Anymore 5. Battlelines 6. John Young's Solo 7. Arkangel 8. Emma 9. The Smile Has Left Your Eyes 10. The Night Watch 11. Hold Me Now 12. Only Time Will Tell Disc: 4 - 1. Rendezvous 6:02 2. Thomas Lang's Drum Solo 3. Easy Money 4. In the Dead of the Night 5. After All 6. Heat of the Moment 7. Starless 8. Don't Cry

[John Wetton - Lead Vocals, Bass and Acoustic Guitars; Thomas Lang - Drums; Billy Liesegang - Guitar; John Young - Keyboards and Vocals].

The third live show is Live at the Sun Plaza Tokyo 1999 (August 5th) at the Sun Plaza, Tokyo, Japan and is just the most perfect wrap to this trio of live Wetton shows. A bit less ASIA and a bit more solo, Prog work, this Sun Plaza show is yet another stunning showcase of what Wetton does live.

Disc: 5 - 1. The Circle of St. Giles 2. The Last Thing on My Mind 3. Sole Survivor 4. Battle Lines 5. Book of Saturday 6. Martin Orford's Solo 7. Emma 8. The Smile Has Left Your Eyes 9. Hold Me Now 10. The Night Watch 11. Only Time Will Tell 12. In the Dead of the Night

Disc: 6 - 1. Easy Money 2. After All 3. Rendezvous 6:02 4. Time Again 5. Starless 6. Heat of the Moment 7. Don't Cry

[John Wetton - Lead Vocals, Bass and Acoustic Guitars; Steve Christey - Drums and Percussion; Dave Kilminster - Guitar and Vocals; Martin Orford - Keyboards and Vocals].

Admittedly, and as you can see with your own eyes, indeed once you make this purchase, with your own ears, there is a lot of repetitiveness here track wise. ASIA songs are aplenty, and they don't differ from one another that much show to show, so you have to be accepting of that going in.

Also, we seem to be rather inundated with live John Wetton gigs on CD recently. Having put out a live album recorded back in 2013, the decidedly varying degrees of success entity, New York Minute (albeit recorded with The Les Paul Trio at the infamous Iridium in New York), his Live Via Satellite 2CD brought forth 1998 and 2002 live recordings also.

Regardless, Wetton still harbor those legendary vocals that we all know and love and so hearing these tracks, one after another is nothing more than a real pleasure. Buy this amazing 6CD box-set collection today and immerse yourself into the wondrous musical world of John Wetton - and all he can do for your current state of mind.

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Memories In Rock, Live In Germany' [3LP]
Artist - Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow

"Toto. I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore" opens up, as always, a Rainbow gig, and as the Oz music winds its mysterious notes around the applauding crowd, Side A of the first vinyl of three brings us "Medley: Over The Rainbow" which leads straight into a Ritchie Blackmore short guitar moment, before bleeding into "Highway Star". The rampant "Spotlight Kid" (complete with wicked Jens Johanssen keyboard highlight) is next, and, as vocalist Ronnie Romero incites the crowd to get loud, is backed by a feature-length version of "Mistreated".

Side B opens with Romero asking the crowd to sing with him, and wave their hands in the air, and then we're into the brilliant flashback track "16th Century Greensleeves". Next up is my all-time favorite Rainbow track, "Since You Been Gone", which here opens a little different to the rock version I've ever known. But that changes as soon as we get to the chorus, but Romero is now Graham Bonnet and so it's a pale imitation let down for me, sorry. The mega "Man On The Silver Mountain" is up next and during the lengthy track, Romero even has time to acknowledge the original lead singer, the one, the only Ronnie James Dio.

The reason we have this in our hands to review is that in June of 2016, legendary guitarist Ritchie Blackmore made many long held dreams come true for his fans as Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow played three concerts in Europe; two in Germany and one in England. The two German shows at Loreley and Bietigheim were caught on camera to produce Memories In Rock – Live In Germany, which will be released via Eagle Rock Entertainment on Blu-ray+2CD (as well as on DVD+2CD). A Deluxe version (DVD, Blu-ray & 2CD in a 48 page hardback photobook), along with a 3LP version (180gm vinyl, and of which we are reviewing for you here today), will be available as an import on December 2nd, 2016.

Side A of the second vinyl brings forth the infamous ballad "Catch The Rainbow" before the rarely heard live instrumental "Difficult To Cure (Beethoven's Ninth)" is next upon us. Yet another of my later-era Rainbow cuts, the guitar work from Blackmore is out of this world spectacular and is also inclusive of a drum solo from David Keith that's instantly backed by solo turns from each of the band members.

Side B opens with Deep Purple's "Perfect Strangers" and Romero reveals that the next song is his favorite, "Stargazer". Yet another fantastic, pounding song in the Rainbow arsenal, by now I'm getting tired of hearing Romero's in-between songs quips! Sure he sings well enough, definitely in the RJD mode, for sure, but not speaking English as well as he thinks he does, it just gets annoying after a while, sorry!

Anyway, Side A of the third vinyl begins in fighting form with "Long Live Rock 'N' Roll", and yet again Romero asking for the fans to raise their hands in the air to the music. Another deep cut favorite of mine, it's definitely one of the better tracks here, although you can hear Romero us running out of vocal gas. FYI: You will know this for yourself every time a lead singer offers the front row the chance to sing the boisterous chorus lines! Up next is "Child In Time / Woman From Tokyo" and is a winding, diving, musical work of art.

Side B from the third vinyl brings us the guitar fest "Black Night" and then ends perfectly with the Deep Purple monster, "Smoke On The Water". Sure we've heard this song so many times, and sung by so many different lead singers, but with his RJD vocal edge, and Blackmore on fire, Romero chooses the last song on this incredible 3LP vinyl set to showcase his best set of vocals, in my humble opinion.

So, come the end of this comprehensive Rainbow anthology of a musical ride, it has to be said that there's too much Deep Purple for my liking and I would have rather preferred to have some "Street Of Dreams" or the always-brilliant-to-hear "I Surrender". perhaps? And so, Romero might well not be Bonnet or RJD, but he takes control of the vocals here very aptly - if not memorably.

The band line-up for this incredible show featured Ritchie Blackmore (Guitar); Ronnie Romero (Vocals); David Keith (Drums); Bob Nouveau (Bass); Jens Johanssen (Keyboards); Candice Night (Backing Vocals); and Lady Lynn (Backing Vocals) ... although to say I ever really heard the lovely ladies over the guitars and drums would be a fib, sorry!

Title - Curved Air - 'Curved Space & Infinity'
Artist - Curved Air

A slight recap for those wishing to know more, is that the brilliant, uber talented Curved Air are a pioneering British progressive rock group formed in 1970 by musicians from mixed artistic backgrounds, including classical, folk, and electronic sound.

The resulting sound of the band was a mixture of progressive rock, folk rock, and fusion with classical elements. However, did you know that along with High Tide and East of Eden, Curved Air were one of the first rock bands after It's a Beautiful Day and The United States of America to feature a violin.

Indeed, Curved Air released eight studio albums (the first three of which broke the UK Top 20) and had a hit single with 'Back Street Luv' (1971) which reached #4 in the UK Singles Chart.

Over the following years the band broke up several times, they were even sued by their British label Chrysalis (1974), and with jail time hovering over them due to a HUGE tax bill owed, they just managed to pay that off also.

Curved Air, as a group were largely inactive for the next three decades but in 2008 founding members Sonja Kristina, Florian Pilkington-Miksa, Daryl Way and (briefly) Francis Monkman decided to get back together after a hiatus of 32 years. Over the next few years, the band went through a few personnel changes with signer Kristina and original drummer Pilkington-Miksa being the only original members left.

This revitalized the band, and in 2012 they released a brand new live album, Live Atmosphere. The new musicians that stepped in - guitarist Kit Morgan, bassist Chris Harris, keyboard player Robert Morton, and violinist Paul Sax - each now managed to put their very own signature styles on the CA music experience and for that they enhanced the band no end.

Whereas Live Atmosphere included potent new versions of many of the band's classic early 1970's repertoire, in 2016 they followed that up with The Curved Air Rarities Series Vol 1: Tapestry of Propositions. An hour long version of Propositions recorded live at fourteen different locations during 2013/2014, it is now itself followed up by Curved Space / Infinity, the second volume of the Cured Air Rarities Series. Indeed, as you can well imagine, both these albums, packaged together are a must-have for fans of the band and instrumental improvisational music.

Disc: 1 - 1. Towards Tomorrow 2. Sea of Tranquillity 3. Baghdad Cafe / Return to Calvary / Towards Infinity 4. Sol y Sombra 5. Harp Riff 6. Free Tibet 7. Blue Yonder Blues 8. Playing Away 9. Rose

Disc: 2 - 1. Elevation 2. Labyrinth 3. Expansions 4. Aphelion 5. Megalith 6. Celestial Dance

Released this past November 11th, 2016 via Cherry Red Records (UK), Curved Space & Infinity - The Curved Air Rarities Series, Volume 2 (to give it it's correct title) is yet another symphony of perfection from Curved Air. I mean, in truth, knowing this band, their music over the years, how could it possibly be anything other than greatness personified?

That said, we should mention that this instrumental double CD set is the only Curved Air release not to feature lead singer Sonja Kristina, but has been released with her full support and blessing. Indeed, the line-up on Curved Space, which was released before as Francis Monkman’s “Jam” but now features two previously unreleased bonus tracks, includes: Francis Monkman (guitar); Florian Pilkington-Miksa (drums); and Rob Martin (bass).

The line-up on Infinity, which are all-new 2016 studio recordings includes: Florian Pilkington-Miksa (drums); Kirby Gregory (guitar); and Robert Norton (keys).

Chock full of compositions that were created entirely in the moment and were genuinely inspired by what was around the artists at the time, with regard the name Infinity, it encapsulates the spirit of freedom with which the three artists approached the making of the album and the limitless possibilities of creating music in the moment. So, come one now, doesn't that just want to me you go run and buy this incredible 2CD work of musical art?

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Title - 'Too Late To Hate'
Artist - Lucifer's Friend

Lucifer's Friend, for my money, were one of the first true metal bands of the 70's. Their debut self-titled album is pure metal. Not thrash, not hate, not BS attitude, and not stupidly simple three-chord progressions. The album contained MUSIC, real music, in the style of the 1970s that was (and still is) called "heavy metal".

Which is why I was very excited to learn that Lucifer's Friend had reformed in 2015, some 20+ years after they last played together! With that aforementioned self-titled debut having made them famous among connoisseurs of 70's metal / hard rock, they most definitely pioneered the prog rock genre.

Although, one interesting thing to remember is the band produced 11 albums, and every single one of them was done in a different style! Which means that their first album was their only heavy metal album, even though a few tracks on the others albums might qualify as "metal".

After original lead singer John Lawton left them for a gig with Uriah Heep in 1976, the band continued releasing albums, but finally broke up in 1982. Briefly reforming in 1994 for their ninth album (Sumo Grip), by fan request (quite literally), German hard rock band Lucifer's Friend came back together in 2015 - and recorded it!

And so Live @ Sweden Rock 2015 was born, and was quickly followed by a brand new Best Of compilation, entitled Awakening. Now here in 2016, and via their very own Lucifer's Records, once again, this past November 18th Lucifer's Friend released their first true new studio album since 1981, Too Late To Hate. With a line-up of John Lawton (Vocals); Peter Hesslein (Guitar); Dieter Horns (Bass); Stephan Eggert (Drums); and Jogi Wichmann (Keyboards), these guys couldn't have made a better album at this time. It's just that good.

Tracklisting: - 1 Demolition Man 2 Jokers & Fools 3 When Children Cry 4 Straight For The Heart 5 Tell Me Why 6 Don’t Talk To Strangers 7 I Will Be There 8 This Time 9 Tears 10 Sea Of Promises 11 Brothers Without A Name 12 When You’re Gone (Live)

Inclusive of a bonus live version of "When You're Gone" brand new songs such as "Demolition Man," "I Will Be There," "Sea of Promises," "Tears" and, amongst others, the brilliant "Don't Talk To Strangers" make this a 12-track work of musical art.

Title - 'Takeaway'
Artist - Richard Palmer-James

For those not in the know, much like me (and yet I love this band, weirdly enough), Richard Palmer-James is an English musician, best known for having written lyrics for several songs by the progressive rock group King Crimson in the early 1970s.

In fact, Palmer-James got his start in the music business playing in various Bournemouth bands: The Corvettes, The Palmer-James Group (formed with Alec James), Tetrad, and Ginger Man, all of which included John Wetton on bass and vocals. Palmer-James was a founding member of Supertramp, playing guitar and singing vocals, as well as writing the lyrics for their self-titled debut album under the name Richard Palmer. He also co-wrote the lyrics of "Goldrush", a song written during his days in the band but not recorded until their 2002 album Slow Motion.

Palmer wrote lyrics for three of King Crimson's albums: Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Starless and Bible Black, and Red. He did not participate in any of King Crimson's recordings, but worked with John Wetton and David Cross after Robert Fripp disbanded the group in 1974.

And now Palmer-Richards brings us Takeaway, amazingly his very first solo album. Something of a surprise release, it's clear from listening to the man himself that he felt that enough was enough, and that having written for hordes of other musicians, and sat back and witnessed their success at his own hands, that the spotlight had to be readjusted: "Having spent the last few decades writing words for other people to sing, and thus being obliged to comply with the ambitions and sensibilities of others, I wanted to present a collection of songs that are uncompromisingly my own."

"I've been trying them out in club and pub appearances as a singer/songwriter, and they seem to work, but I'm very curious to see what sort of reaction this album production, which was realized with the indispensable help of a few talented colleagues from the Munich music scene, might elicit."

"The recordings differ stylistically from most of the stuff I worked on as a hired hand - probably because I enjoy playing acoustic instruments and writing pieces which involve storytelling.”

The first cut here is the tambourine-inspired "Aerodrome" and that's backed by both the upbeat, foot tapper' "A Very Bad Girl" and then the laid back approach to love, "Baker's Dozen". Containing one of the best pieces of advice I think I have ever heard, "Don't look back at bridges burned. Let the rivers flow", that's followed by the Tom Pettyesque "Chances Passing", the upbeat Deliverance guitar twanging of "Dance for Me", the slow poke "Halfremembered Summer", and then the gentle pop bounce of "Honest Jim".

The storytelling of "Highway Code" is a delight, and makes you think that there are some personal Palmer-James growing up memories embedded here along the way. Next is "Doing Time" which is followed by the easy-flow of the piano-driven"Guano Blues" and the beautiful "Saving You from Drowning". The album then comes to a close with both the most upbeat track on the album "So We Meet Again", and then rounds out with the title track ballad, "Takeaway".

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Title - 'No Spare Planet'
Artist - Esquire III

In case you were wondering, Esquire is a London based rock band formed by Nikki Squire, the ex-wife of Chris Squire from Yes, and debuted on the Geffen label. The band then followed up with a second album in 1997 called Coming Home and this brand new album, No Spare Planet finally completes the Esquire trilogy.

The band (and, let's be honest, that's a rather brilliant name for a band thereafter from the ex Squire!) has championed a unique and sophisticated sound and they straddled traditional music boundaries and essentially unleashed an innovative style of progressive rock that was varied, accessible and modern.

An Esquire album is an event, a rare occasion when fans receive new music and this, Esquire III comes two decades after the last album and brings the band right up to date.

Having now listened to both the first two albums, you can tell from the lyrics that Squire was definitely soul-searching, as she is here again on the end-of-trilogy album No Spare Planet. From what I can garner through the years, she wanted to write and sing her own songs, but didn't, at the time, know how that could happen. She needed other players to work with, but with all the people she knew already more than established, that meant their work schedules were booked.

Listening to this third album, it seems Squire is more happier in her own skin, not replying on others that might have been able to help her, should their schedules open up. The first track is the transcendent "Ministry of Life" and that's backed by the more pop-like "She Said", the Annie Lennoxesque "Human Rhythm", the smooth vibe of "Tonight" and the gentle Peter Gabrielesque "Friends & Enemies".

In truth, listening to this new album there is still something magical and mysterious about Esquire. However, given that this third studio album is a collection of the last songs that Squire wrote with her long term collaborator, co-writer, bass player and best friend Nigel McLaren (who sadly passed away on Sunday 7th June 2015), the spiritual undercurrent might just be what is propelling it also.

The soaring "It's Over" is next, and that's backed by the eclectic "Where Is the Love", before the album wraps up with the beautiful "Stay Low", and then finally the stunning, and best track on the album, "Heaven Blessed".

In conclusion, No Spare Planet is just as good as you had hoped it would be. Combining a unique and sophisticated sound, straddling traditional music boundaries and essentially unleashing an innovative style of modern day prog rock, Esquire are as good today as your memory deems to remind you back when they released their self-titled album in 1987.

Title - 'Legacy Live' [2CD]
Artist - The Outlaws

For those not in the know, The Outlaws are a Southern rock/country rock band best known for their 1975 hit "There Goes Another Love Song", as well as the song "Green Grass and High Tides", from the same album, plus their 1980 cover of the Stan Jones classic "(Ghost) Riders in the Sky".

For more than 40 years, the southern rock band has brought out solid, reliable music, celebrated triumphs, endured tragedies and survived legal nightmares to remain one of the most beloved bands within their genre. And now this band of six brothers come together to bring us Legacy Live, a brand-new live 2CD that was released this past November 11th, 2016 on Steamhammer/SPV.

Along with founding members Paul and Yoho, the band features now several of Southern Rock's most respected veterans. Lead guitarist and longtime Outlaw Chris Anderson is well known for his collaborations with artists that include Dickey Betts, Lucinda Williams, Hank Williams Jr., and Skynyrd. Co lead guitarist Steve Grisham who joined the band in mid 2013 following the medical leave of guitarist Billy Crain is a former member of the Soldiers of Fortune era Outlaws, a noted songwriter whose tracks include The Henry Paul Band's Top 40 hit Keepin Our Love Alive, and a co founder of the Southern Rock all stars, Brothers of the Southland.

Keyboardist/vocalist Dave Robbins is a co founding member of Blackhawk and has written hit songs for artists that include Restless Heart, Kenny Rogers and Eric Clapton. Bassist/vocalist Randy Threet has performed with Pam Tillis, Trisha Yearwood and Blackhawk, and is familiar to TV audiences from USA Network's Nashville Star.

Disc: 1 - 1. There Goes Another Love Song 2. Hurry Sundown 3. Hidin Out In Tennessee 4. Freeborn Ma 5. Born To Be Bad 6. Song In The Breeze 7. Girl From Ohio 8. Holiday 9. Gunsmoke 10. Grey Ghost

Disc: 2 - 1. South Carolina 2. So Long 3. Prisoner 4. Cold Harbor 5. Trail Of Tears 6. It's About Pride 7. Waterhole 8. Knoxville Girl 9. Green Grass & High Tides Forever 10. Ghost Riders

In my humble opinion, The Outlaws had some of the best harmonies ever displayed by a rock and roll band. And their guitar playing was second to none. Hughie Thomasson and Billy Jones could easily compete with the Allmans, Skynyrd and any other Guitar tandem. The song "Green Grass and High Tides" is one of the greatest songs ever, and both "Hurry Sundown" and "Ghost Riders" come a close second.

Thus, this double album of all their hits live is as good as it gets within the genre with these folk, of that have no doubt. The Outlaws brought forth their "Guitar Army" into the limelight with many famous cuts featuring some of the most amazingly blistering fast lead guitar solos ever recorded. Sure they may not be as "heated" a-fret nowadays, but the song remains the same, if y'all know what I mean.

Title - 'Standing Right Here: The Anthology'
Artist - Melba Moore

As we are most assurdly all aware at this juncture of the music scene, Melba Moore (born Beatrice Melba Hill) is an American singer, actress and entertainer. Moore, the daughter of saxophonist Teddy Hill and R&B singer Bonnie Davis, was always someone I had a lot of time for when it came to her brand of music. Topping that list was always me gal, Donna Summer, but Melba came in just behind her, that's for sure.

In 1975 Moore signed with Buddah Records and released the critically successful R&B album, Peach Melba, which included the minor hit, "I Am His Lady". The following year she scored her first significant hit with the Van McCoy-penned "This Is It", which reached the Billboard Hot 100, the top-20 position on the R&B chart, and top-10 in the UK, becoming her biggest success in that country. 'This is It' also became the number 1 disco track in the UK for that year.

In 1976 she scored her third Grammy nomination with the R&B ballad "Lean on Me", which had been recorded originally by Vivian Reed and later by Moore's idol Aretha Franklin who recorded the song as a B-side to her 1971 hit "Spanish Harlem". The song is most notable for Moore's extended long note at the end. In 1983 she re-recorded the song as a tribute to McCoy, who had died four years earlier.

Throughout the rest of the 1970s, Moore struggled to match the success of "This Is It" with minor R&B/dance hits, gaining another hit with 1979's "You Stepped Into My Life", which was released on Epic Records and hit the top 20 on the R&B charts.

This brand new 2CD release from SoulMusic Records aka Cherry Red Records (UK) 'Standing Right Here: The Anthology, The Buddah & Epic Years encompasses rather perfectly both those noted record label eras, barely leaving anything out. Indeed, the first of the two discs draws from Melba’s four Buddah albums, including her work with producers Van McCoy and Eugene McDaniels.

Disc 1: Lean On Me, The Buddah Years (1975-1977) - 1. I Am His Lady 2. If I Lose 3. Must Be Dues 4. Natural Part of Everything 5. This Is It (US 12"ť Single) 6. Stay Awhile 7. Lean on Me 8. One Less Morning 9. Good Love Makes Everything Alright (US 12"ť Single) 10. The Way You Make Me Feel 11. So Many Mountains 12. The Long and Winding Road 13. Ain't No Love Lost 14. The Greatest Feeling 15. My Sensitive, Passionate Man 16. Standing Right Here 17. Living Free 18. I Don't Know No One Else to Turn to 19. Just Another Link

The second disc covers the Epic Records years and as it turns out, is much more of a collectors item. Chock full of US 12" Single Mixes and UK Special Disco Remixes and such, the disc is a pure joy to behold musically. Indeed, this second CD focuses on tracks from her three Epic albums, produced by the Philly team of McFadden & Whitehead and Pete Bellotte amongst others.

Disc 2: You Stepped Into My Life, The Epic Years (1978-1980) - 1. You Stepped Into My Life 2. There's No Other Like You 3. Pick Me Up, I'll Dance (US 12" Mix) 4. Where Did You Ever Go 5. Miss Thing (US 12Â" Single) 6. Need Love 7. Night People (US 12" Single) 8. Hot and Tasty 9. Burn (UK Special Disco Remix) 10. Everything's So Good About You (US 12"ť Single) 11. Next to You 12. Rest Inside My Love 13. Something on Your Mind 14. You Stepped Into My Life (US Special Disco Version)

This stellar quality CD package – which includes superb mastering by Nick Robbins and notes with renowned UK writer Charles Waring - also features extensive quotes from Melba herself specifically for this anthology.

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Title - 'Thrust ' / 'Man-Child' / 'Secrets'
Artist - Herbie Hancock

Herbert Jeffrey "Herbie" Hancock, more better known as simply Herbie Hancock is a highly regarded American pianist, keyboardist, bandleader, composer and actor. Starting his career with Donald Byrd, he shortly thereafter joined the Miles Davis Quintet where Hancock helped to redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section and was one of the primary architects of the post-bop sound.

He was also one of the first jazz musicians to embrace synthesizers and funk music. Hancock's music is often melodic and accessible; he has had many songs "cross over" and achieved success among pop audiences.

To date, Hancock's best-known compositions include "Cantaloupe Island", "Watermelon Man" (later performed by dozens of musicians, including bandleader Mongo Santamaría), "Maiden Voyage", "Chameleon", and the singles "I Thought It Was You" and pop edgy "Rockit". His 2007 tribute album River: The Joni Letters won the 2008 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, only the second jazz album ever to win the award, after Getz/Gilberto in 1965.

So, as you can tell, Herbie Hancock has always been at the cutting edge of popular music and so having already released in a previous 2CD set this year both his albums Sunlight (1977) and Feets Don’t Fail Me Now (1979), Robinsongs has once again rounded up more of his best into yet another 2CD package - but this time they've gone one better and made it a threesome!

Included in this brand new package are three of Herbie Hancock’s greatest Jazz Funk albums to date: Thrust (1974), Manchild (1975) and Secrets (1976). Released via Cherry Red Records (UK) this past November 18th, 2016, combining these three albums in one complete package, has again allowed all fans of both jazz and Hancock himself to invest their time in these two CDs worth of some of his best work quite like never before.

But, and here's the thing for me, they have strangely decided to spread Man-Child out over both the discs! So you get the first two thirds of the album on CD1, the latter third beginning CD2 before Secrets kicks in. It's all very weird to me and, in truth, I have never seen anything like this happen before. Although I'm sure it has, but not on my watch!

Anyway, and regardless, this digitally remastered 2CD set begins with Thrust. Released in 1974 it was the follow up to the platinum selling album Headhunters and reached #13 on the Billboard album chart; exactly the same chart position as Headhunters. The album featured only four tracks, but this brand new Robinsongs' version gives you the single edits of the four tracks as bonus tracks.

This jazz-funk creation was Hancock's thirteenth album overall and as much as it may well only have four tracks, had a running time of over 40 minutes regardless. It begins with the near-11 minute long "Palm Grease" (my favorite of the quartet), runs into "Actual Proof", dives in and through "Butterfly", before surfacing with "Spank-a-Lee". Interestingly enough, "Actual Proof" was originally written for the film The Spook Who Sat By the Door.

Manchild (1975) is probably Herbie's funkiest album and features the single "Hang Up Your Hang Ups" which featured great guitar licks by Wah Wah Watson. The album also featured Louis Johnson (Brothers Johnson), Stevie Wonder and Harvey Mason to name but a few. Again the album fared really well making #21 on the Top 200 albums chart. This reissue includes the 7" versions of "Hang Up Your Hang Ups" and "Sun Touch" as bonus tracks.

Herbie's seventeenth studio album, it most definitely represents his further departure from the "spacey, higher atmosphere jazz," as he referred to it, of his earlier career. Indeed, Hancock uses more funk based rhythms around the hi-hat, and snare drum. The tracks are characterized by short, repeated riffs by both the rhythm section, horns accompaniment, and bass lines.

It also had less improvisation from the whole band and more concentrated grooves with brief solos from the horns and Hancock himself on synthesizer and Fender Rhodes piano on top of the repeated riffs. Interestingly enough, this album features the addition of electric guitar to his new sound, which he started only five years prior to this album with Fat Albert Rotunda.

Secrets (1976) kicks off with the jazz funk classic "Doin' It" which featured both Wah Wah Watson and Ray Parker Jr on guitar, it doesn't get funkier than that. And once again there are the single edits of "Doin' It" and "People Music" included as bonus tracks.

The album clearly followed from its predecessor Man-Child. As ever, Paul Jackson's basslines were critical, and the other regular member Bennie Maupin continued to provide most of the solos alongside Hancock. Man-Child had seen the addition of electric guitar to Hancock's sound, and Secrets saw the guitar's place in the arrangements rise to crucial importance throughout.

Although summery and mellow, the album was far from lounge music, with some extremely abstract and intense sections, particular in the latter half; it is also entirely instrumental beside the "Jus' keep on doin' it" chants of the opening track. Subsequent Hancock albums saw the addition of more vocoded lead vocals and disco influences.

This brand new Thrust / Man-Child / Secrets 2CD package includes liner notes from MOJO’s Lois Wilson, and aside from that weird-ass splitting of the Man-Child album over the two CDs, is as complete a serving of these three albums there has ever been (I'd dare to say).

Disc: 1 - 1. Palm Grease 2. Actual Proof 3. Butterfly 4. Spank-A-Lee 5. Palm Grease (7" Single Version) 6. Actual Proof (7" Single Version) 7. Butterfly (7" Single Version) 8. Spank-A-Lee (7" Single Version) 9. Hang Up Your Hang Ups (7" Single Version) 10. Sun Touch (7" Single Version) 11. Man-Child 12. Hang Up Your Hang Ups 13. Sun Touch 14. The Traitor

Disc: 2 - 1. Bubbles 2. Steppin' in It 3. Heartbeat 4. Doin' It 5. People Music 6. Cantelope Island 7. Spider 8. Gentle Thoughts 9. Swamp Rat 10. Sansho Shima 11. Doin' It (7" Single Version) 12. People Music (7" Single Version)

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Title - 'Orange Sunshine' - Music from the Motion Picture
Artist - Matt Costa

'Orange Sunshine' was one of the most anticipated films at the SXSW festival this year. The film is the never-before-told story of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love - a spiritual group of surfers and hippies in California, which became the largest supplier of LSD during the 60s and 70s.

Indeed, furthermore, 'Orange Sunshine' is a true story, and now a documentary from Orange County about how a little art gallery and spiritual commune in Laguna Beach ran by friends became the biggest drug distribution network in the world!

The stunning, laid back soundtrack features music in the style of the era, composed by singer-songwriter Matt Costa. Costa, for those not in the know, is a singer-songwriter from Huntington Beach, California. He has released seven self-recorded EPs, and five full-length CDs, to date, the last of which was his EP Anchor & the Albatross in 2016.

Costa, of Portuguese descent, has crafted a decidedly perfect 70's musical accompaniment to the film. One minute we feel the spirit of the Doors, the next some early Rolling Stones, but when it comes to the score moments, well, set alone, they either jingle-jangle or methodically crawl their way through a winding, eclectic musical undercurrent here for the lush 'Orange Sunshine'.

1. Brotherhood Theme 2. Orange Take Over 3. Oran Jazz Syd 4. Born In My Mind 5. Call My Name 6. Mike and Carol 7. Feds Follow 8. Soul Full of Orange 9. Orange Guru 10. Elucidation 11. The Fuzz 12. Modjeska 13. Twelve Oranges 14. Sit With Timothy 15. Smug Smugglers 16. Melt Orange 17. A Separate Peace

A Doors moment can definitely be heard in tracks such as "Oran Jazz Syd", the Stones in "Soul Full Of Orange", even the Mamas & Papas in "Born In My Mind", and then you get something as acoustic guitar lush as "Mike And Carol" to weave it all together. Trippy hippy even comes to the fore on "Orange Guru", but one of my own personal favorites has to be the jazz fusion melodies on the simply brilliant "The Fuzz".

Title - 'Trolling for Dreams'
Artist - John McCutcheon

For those not in the know, John McCutcheon is an American folk music singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has produced 38 albums since the 1970s. He is regarded as a master of the hammered dulcimer, and is also proficient on many other instruments including guitar, banjo, autoharp, mountain dulcimer, fiddle, and jawharp.

McCutcheon's music has, since the 1990s, increasingly evolved into heartland rock-influenced ballads, while he still occasionally performs purer folk music, particularly when playing the dulcimer. Indeed, McCutcheon is one of those rare folk musician/song writers who can actually make a living from folk music.

His brand of peaceful, yet invigorating music that can be enjoyed as background music or for concentrated listening is always welcomed, which means when he releases this brand new album in early February, 2017, everyone in love with the genre will race to buy it.

Entitled Trolling for Dreams, is a tour-de-force of his writing abilities. Complete with an incredible 14 new songs, McCutcheon sings of love, loss, aging, the passing of his father, songwriting, and even has time to lay down a tribute to storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham ("She Is").

1. Gone 2. Y’all Means All 3. The Dance 4. Sharecropper’s Song 5. Between Good and Gone 6. The Reason I’m Here 7. She Is 8. Three Chords and the Truth 9. The Bible 10. New Man Now 11. Waltz ‘Round the Kitchen 12. This Is Not a Song 13. This Ain’t Me 14. Longing

Together with a band that backs him perfectly at every musical turn, Trolling for Dreams showcases a musician still writing, still playing, still singing at the highest of levels. We begin with the beautiful, storied tale of "Gone", which bleeds gently into the gentle "Y'all Means All", a lyrically tale about his youth, about family. Another favorite of mine is "Between Good and Gone", a story of traveling on the hard roads of life, whilst the slight mid-tempo beat to "The Reason I'm Here" is another stand out.

Indeed, these mentioned along with the others on this brand new album are some of the most thought provoking songs of his career, if I might stick my neck out and say. So if you love folk music, and you love McCutcheon, then you have no excuse not to have this fine album in your record collections come February 3rd, 2017!

'Trolling for Dreams' CD Purchase Link

John McCutcheon @ Twitter!

Title - 'Devil On An Indian'
Artist - The Raptor Trail

The Raptor Trail have been slowly plotting their course over the last 25 plus years. Founding members John Meyer and Matthew Mayes had been kicking around the idea of recording something together for decades. Finally in 2014, the planets aligned and the idea actually transcended into a studio recording project which later came to be called The Raptor Trail.

"The Raptor Trail" was actually the first song that Meyer and Mayes wrote together for the project, and it snowballed from there, with “Gravity x Ten” following, and then ten more songs over the course of the next year.

Their self titled album which was released in May 2015 received a warm reception from diehard Jupiter Coyote fans, as well as many publications from the Progressive rock side of the scale. Then in 2016 they released their sophomore album, New World, which found the band stretching it's musical wings with particular attention to vocal harmonies and acoustic based themes.

Now, and veritably hot on the heels of that critically-acclaimed second album, melodic prog trio The Raptor Trail have just released their brand new third album, Devil On An Indian.

The Raptor Trail comprises of: Gene H. Bass - Drums, Percussion; Matthew B. Mayes - Vocals, Guijo, Acoustic Guitars, Acoustic Banjo; and John M. Meyer - Lead, Slide, Fretless & Acoustic Guitars, G-Strings, Bass, Weird Noises, Background Vocals, and all come together quite like never before on this massively constructed concept album.

You see, Devil On An Indian deals with the internal spiritual warfare that stems from a young man coming to grips with his Native American Indian heritage after being raised in 21st century white Christian morality. A near life ending motorcycle accident in the desert continues a mystical, poetic, and spiritual journey of self awareness and understanding, concluding that the heart of man is inherently evil.

Set to 10 songs in three movements that seamlessly segue from one song to another, ending with the apocalyptic demise of the world (!), we ease in with the storytelling of "Ten Bears" before "How the West Was Won" and the guitar fest of "Quaker Pets" come forth.

The thought provoking, evocative slap hands-on-drums "Dream Catcher" is easily one of my own personal favorites here, and that's backed by the beautiful "Wolf Medicine", the soaring "Doorstep", and both the interestingly titled "Froth Squelch" and distant memories of "Without a Trace". This terrific album then wraps up with a powerful duo in both "The Vanishing Point" and then the full tilt ride of "Red Giant".

Title - 'Dĺrskapens Monotoni'
Artist - Kaipa Da Capo

Right then, and for those not in the know (and definitely count me in that group), in 2014, original KAIPA members Roine STOLT, Ingemar Bergman (drums) and Tomas ERIKSSON (Bass) re-grouped under the name KAIPA DA CAPO to play the old music from the first three albums as well as brand new music.

To complete the team they called Mikael STOLT (vocals, guitar), brother of Roine, and Max LORENTZ (keyboards). After a series of concerts in 2015 the group started the recording of a new album in June 2016, and the fruits from that recording session were released on September 30th, 2016 as Dĺrskapens Monotoni (Folly Monotony, in a literal translation, if that helps any).

The new album is comprised of seven song all performed in the traditional KAIPA sound with songs sung in Swedish. These 70's vintage progsters (as they like to be called) combine swirling symphonic soundscapes together with folk fusion moments, laying them all down on a bed of epic cinematic movements.

So, for everyone that knows of KAIPA, and have always been in love with that "classic KAIPA sound", you're most definitely in business here. For, and having now listened to some of their older stuff, I can say that this new album contains versions of their old musical selves along with new melodic twists that will please you greatly. Produced by Roine himself Dĺrskapens Monotoni, and released under his own label Foxtrot Records, the highly imaginative art work is from Rick Jacobi.

Kaipa Da Capo @ Facebook!

Kaipa Da Capo @ Twitter!

Title - 'BandZilla Rises!!!'
Artist - Richard Niles' BandZilla

For those not in the know, but soon will be after reading this review, acclaimed jazz composer/arranger Richard Niles used his background in jazz and pop to create BandZilla , a modern big band at the cutting edge of contemporary technology in 1987. Niles formed the band after performing on Grace Jones' Slave To The Rhythm and Swing Out Sister's Breakout albums.

Indeed, they soon became the featured house band on the British Channel 4 series “Don’t Miss Wax”, a vehicle for popular American comedienne Ruby Wax. The band performed and recorded with many contemporary stars including Paul McCartney, Ray Charles, Pet Shop Boys, Grace Jones, Swing Out Sister, Meat Loaf, Pee Wee Herman and Denice Williams.

Their only studio album (at the time) BandZilla - Blue Movies (1989) featured the cream of London’s young jazz and studio players including trumpeters Guy Barker and John Thirkell, R&B singer Clive Griffin and keyboard master Peter John Vetesse.

But now evolution has become them, and come the moment, come the band, for Richard Niles BandZilla have just released (November 18th, 2016) a brand new album, aptly entitled BandZilla Rises!!!. This 20+ piece jazz-fusion orchestra playing furious funk, sleazy soul, punk jazz and heartfelt ballads have got back together, for the most part, and brought their fans a wonderful 14 track jog back down memory lane of what they can do.

From the moment the spoken word intro to the title track "BandZilla Rises!!!" bleeds seamlessly into "Live As One", you know you're in for a funky jazz experience of a lifetime. Knowing that Niles, who isn't known as a musician, also gets to play guitar on the album just adds some fun spice to the mix, in my opinion. He's invested, and so must we be. Better known as a songwriter, these lyrics are some of his best, again in my humble opinion, and range from the comic-political (Randy Brecker singing “You Can’t Get There From Here”) to involved story songs such as “Tip For A Toreador” and the sultry, smoky basement jazz club sway of “The Alligator From West 15th.”

Produced by Niles and trumpet star John Thirkell (Uptown Funk) features jazz icon Randy Brecker, popstar Leo Sayer, Daisy Chute (All Angels), vocal virtuoso Kim Chandler, Brazilian singer Clarice Assad, Polish chanteuse Julia Zuzanna, soul man Lamont Dozier Jr. and some of the greatest players on earth, BandZilla Rises!!! is one of the most adventurous-sounding albums that I think I have ever heard - and yet everything works to a tee. Well played, Richard Niles. Well played, Sir.

Title - 'Left Of Center'
Artist - Bob Beland

For those not in the know, Bob Beland is a 64 year-old renowned LA singer/songwriter southpaw who is releasing his new album, his fourth now Left Of Center on his own independent label Wrong Way Works!

Having performed in bands such as Southpaw, Bates Motel, The Fury and more, and having written and recorded original music from 1973 to the present, and having chosen not to remain in the band (Bates Motel) when they were chosen to open for Sparks, he got his first solo record deal in 1980, and so continued his diverse musical career some four decades on.

We kick off with some drums (from the late David Beebe), and then atop a gentle undercurrent of African-influenced back beats (and lyrical answer backs), Beland brings forth "It's Alright With Me, Mr. Bob". An original analog recording from 1983, it's backed with the upbeat, and freeflowing pop bounce of "Off The Handle." The 70's hipsway guitar vibe of "The Lost Highway", for me one of the best tracks on this new album, ensure that you are by now, even just three songs in, highly invested in the album; interested to see where it goes. Possibly an inside joke to his 1993 album Amnesia Lane, regardless, the song is devilishly good.

The guitar flop-bounce of "Some Friends Of Mine" ("Loose change underneath the seat, is always a special kind of treat") quickly turns into a power track. Soaring in all directions, slides incorporated for good measure, even including a fake fade out, it's another highlight that showcases Beland's grounded lyrical sensibilities. That's followed by the hop-skip of "It'll Take Overtime", a track where, for perhaps the first time on the album, Beland's vocals are more naked than before.

The storytelling honky tonk of "Sloppy Joe" (a salute to Leiber & Stoller) is up next and features a backwater appeal to it that's hard to stop yourself from foot-tappin' to midway through, and that's followed by the slow-poke "Ain't Goin' Back To That", and then the thought-provoking observations of "Cold". Complete with harmony vocals from singer/songwriter Dan Navarro, it flows beautifully.

Another highlight is the lovely ballad "Who'll Save The World?", a poignant look at today's society and how we seem to say a lot of things, without actually moving forward, and then the album is rounded out by the short, Kurtzweil piano ballad 'One Bright Burning'.

Finally, within the liner notes, Beland pays special thanks and appreciation to Marty Korth, Dale Mitchell, Willie McEachern, The Legendary Fontenelle DuClaw, Bobby Pickett and Dan Navarro for their time and talents, to Daniel Simon for going the extra mile(s) and to Len Horowitz for the hospitality and entertainment.

'Left Of Center' Digital Download Purchase Link

Title - 'Reloaded'
Artist - Al Atkins

For those not in the know, Al Atkins is a British heavy metal vocalist, best known for his association with a very early incarnation of Judas Priest. Indeed, it was actually a whole other named band that had formed in the West Midlands area in 1969 fronted by Atkins, that bassist Bruno Stapenhill renamed Judas Priest. The band played their first gig on 25 November 1969 and disbanded in April of 1970. The band was subsequently reinvented, but without Atkins and company.

As of 2012, Atkins has fronted the band Atkins/May Project, which also features guitarist Paul May. Atkins has also contributed session vocals for the heavy metal opera project, Lyraka and in 2013, and now Atkins brings forth a brand new solo album entitled Reloaded. A 10 track collection of his favorite songs written between his days in Judas Priest to the Holy Rage days (2010), Reloaded is coming out via Gonzo Multimedia.

Featuring special guest appearances by Ian Hill of Judas Priest (who actually performed on the original recordings of some of these classics), John McCoy (ex-Gillan), Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear) - who duets with Al on "Victim Of Changes" - a solo from Roy "Z" Ramirez of Halford, Japanese guitarist Tsuyoshi Ikedo from Unveil Raze, Australia's Stu "Hammer" Marshall of Death Dealer, Chris Johnson from Holy Rage, Rob Allen on drums, and longtime friend and collaborator, guitarist and producer of many of Al's albums, Paul May.

1. Winter
2. Mind Conception
3. A Void To Avoid
4. Coming Thick And Fast
5. Heavy Thoughts
6. Never Satisfied
7. Money Talks
8. Cradle To The Grave
9. Love At War
10. Victim Of Changes
11. Mind Conception (Demo Extract) [Bonus Track]

Phew! So, with all these tracks having appeared in various forms on many albums over the past forty years, what Reloaded does is bring to the fore the Al Atkins of today to re-embody the spirit that they had originally been created with. To reinvigorate them. To re-birth them for a whole new generation.

As for the album itself musically, every song is what you would expect to hear from Atkins. He still has his vocals, he still has that Judas Priest lyrical and musical vibe about him, and Tsuyoshi Ikedo's guitar work is simply stunning. Rob Allen's drumming it tight throughout, and I also loved the solo from Roy "Z" Ramirez on the last track "Victims Of Changes".

In fact, Reloaded also features a bonus track that is an excerpt of a guitar solo from the very first Judas Priest demo, "Mind Conception" featuring Hill on bass and K.K. Downing on guitar. Now that's a gem of a never-heard treat for all Judas Priest fanatics if ever I heard one!

Also, and for a limited time only, Aktins has teamed up with to offer his fans some very special Reloaded packages. Aside from just ordering a digital download of the album upon its release, you can order signed Reloaded CDs, tshirts, hoodies, signed posters, and even a hand-written lyric sheet from Atkins!

Pledge Music Campaign - 'Reloaded' Purchase Link

Title - 'The Roadmap In Your Head'
Artist - Spirits Burning & Clearlight

For those not in the know, and taking them one at a time, Spirits Burning is a musical collective that has released a combination of ambient, jazz and full-on space rock with input from many of the genre's luminaries; most notably Gong's Daevid Allen (who sadly passed away in 2015) and members of Hawkwind.

Overseen by American composer/producer Don Falcone, both he and Cyrille "Clearlight" Verdeaux of Clearlight have collaborated in Spirits Burning (under the name Spirits Burning & Clearlight). Which leads me perfectly into Clearlight, an instrumental stoner rock band from New Orleans, Louisiana. They are also known as The Mystick Krewe of Clearlight due to other bands using the same original name.

The Roadmap In Your Head is the 13th studio album from the Spirits Burning space rock collective, and the second to feature the aforementioned keyboardist Cyrille "Clearlight" Verdeaux. Roadmap also has a very strong Gong presence, as it includes performances by four musicians from Gong's Radio Gnome Invisible Trilogy (Daevid Allen, Steve Hillage, Mike Howlett, Didier Malherbe), and four members of the current Gong (Ian East, Fabio Golfetti, Dave Sturt, Kavus Torabi).

The Roadmap In Your Head is a 14 step musical journey that from start to finish ensues once you undertake its musical journey, you will never come out the other side quite feeling the same as when you went in. Released this past November 4th, 2016 on Gonzo Multimedia, the album, as you would indeed fully expect, is a labyrinth of ambient, jazz and full-on space-rock with input from many of the genre's luminaries.

1. The Roadmap In Your Head (3:56)
2. Sun Sculptor & The Electrobilities (3:50)
3. The Birth Of Belief (8:38)
4. Coffee For Coltrane (6:58)
5. Isolation In 10 80 (2:55)
6. Mrs. Noonness (4:12)
7. The Old College Sky Is Where We Left It (1:28)
8. Fuel For The Gods (13:05)
9. Early Evening Rain (3:31)
10. Black Squirrel At The Root Of The Staircase (7:34)
11. Outsiders Parachute In (5:48)
12. Déjŕ Vu (2:25)
13. La Rue Inconnue (4:48)
14. Roadmaps (The Other Way) (5:59)

This truly wonderful, expertly created, beautifully sculptured new album begins with a sense of the Middle East as we open upon the title track of the album. It's not much later that we're knee deep into the second longest track, "The Birth Of Belief", a work of art that wafts you along on an electric jazz journey. Guitar solos are aplenty here also, especially within both "Coffee For Coltrane" and "Mrs. Noonness", but for me, personally, it's the expertly crafted depths of the 13 minute long "Fuel For The Gods" that is the real cherry on the fusion cake here.

Tracks like "Isolation In 10 80", "The Old College Sky Is Where We Left It" and "Déjŕ Vu" are quick instrumental stepping stones to the meatier recordings, made to sooth your soul as you pass through the album. The album comes to a close with the nearly 8 minutes long jazz fusion beauty "Black Squirrel At The Root Of The Staircase", the intuitive "La Rue Inconnue", and closes with "Roadmaps (The Other Way)"; a song written and sung by the late Gong legend, Daevid Allen.

Here on Roadmap, putting the sonic avenues together there are no less that thirty-five amazing musicians and that's inclusive of not only the beloved members of the Gong global family, but some very special newbies also. Paul Booth (Steve Winwood), Theo Travis (David Gilmour), Judy Dyble, and Jonathan Segel from Camper Van Beethoven. Returning are Hawkwind family members Steve Bemand, Nik Turner, and Bridget Wishart, plus Albert Bouchard (BÖC).

Title - 'Fingers Crossed'
Artist - Ian Hunter

For those not in the know, Ian Hunter is an English singer-songwriter who is best known as the lead singer of the English rock band Mott the Hoople, from its inception in 1969 to its dissolution in 1974, and at the time of its 2009 reunion.

Indeed, Hunter was a musician and songwriter before joining Mott the Hoople, and continued in this vein after he left the band. He embarked on a solo career despite ill health and disillusionment with commercial success, and often worked in collaboration with Mick Ronson, David Bowie's sideman and arranger from the Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars period.

Ian Hunter's latest studio album, Fingers Crossed unveils ten new, self-penned songs including his much-anticipated homage to David Bowie "Dandy". Recorded at HOBO Studios in New Jersey, and co-produced by Hunter and Andy York, the record features his magnificent Rant Band and is the follow-up to 2012's acclaimed When I'm President.

1. "That's When Trouble Starts"
2. "Dandy"
3. "Ghosts"
4. "Fingers Crossed"
5. "White House"
6. "Bow Street Runners"
7. "Morpheus"
8. "Stranded in Reality"
9. "You Can't Live in the Past"
10. "Long Time"

Opening with the blues-rocker "That's When The Trouble Starts", that's backed by the 60's feel to the hipsway of "Dandy", a track that not only showcases Hunter's British vocal tone to the max, but is also his personal farewell ode to his friend, David Bowie.

The mid-tempo gentle rock of "Ghosts" is next, and that's followed by both the title track ballad and the 70's flourish of "White House".

The storytelling of "Bow Street Runners" really lyrically takes you back to a time when the thieves were less easier to catch, and that's backed by the piano ballad "Morpheus." Another chance for Hunter to bring forth his British accent is "Stranded in Reality," and then the album comes to a close with the slow poke soul of "You Can't Live in the Past", and then the all-hands-on-deck, musical fun of "Long Time".

In closing, and along with his Rant Band, Hunter and company are, without a shadow of a doubt, on form here. Extremely strong at every musical turn, The Rant Band creating his backbeat impressively at each songs turn, Fingers Crossed sounds like an album that Hunter might well have written and recorded back in the 70's.

A nicely balanced release of ten tracks together with Hunter's voice sounding as great as ever, as always it's his permanent requirement to include irony-laced, sarcastic and even sardonic lyrics that will propel this recording into the homes of all his fans.

'Fingers Crossed' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Allied' (Music from the Motion Picture)
Artist - Alan Silvestri

'Allied' is a 2016 World War II romantic thriller film directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Steven Knight. It stars Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard as an intelligence officer and resistance fighter, respectively, who fall in love during a mission to kill a German official.

Alan Silvestri is an American composer and conductor who works primarily in film and television. Indeed, he is best known for his frequent collaboration with friend and film legend Robert Zemeckis, including composing major hit films such as the Back to the Future trilogy, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and Forrest Gump, as well as the superhero films Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers, and the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War.

Here on his latest work, 'Allied' (10 tracks @ 42 minutes), Silvestri right from the off, he embeds us in the midst of the terror from the period. The sweeping, soaring even "Essaouira Desert/Main Title" accompanies the scene where lead Brad Pitt's character of Max Vatan parachutes into the Moroccan desert. A swirling work of musical art it could even be the best track on here, in my humble opinion.

Vented throughout by some superb, and yet subtle flute work, that bleeds into the tension-fueled piece, "German Embassy", which itself is backed by tracks such as the beautiful "Trust", "Confession/ Escape", and the "The Letter/ End Credit", before a number of jazz/big band renditions bring forth the feel of that era. Starting with "The Sheik of Araby", next up is the ageless "You are My Lucky Star", the instrumental darling "J'Attendrai", Benny Goodman's "Sing Sing Sing', and then finally, Flying Home".

1. Essaouira Desert/ Main Title
2. German Embassy
3. Trust
4. Confession/ Escape
5. The Letter/ End Credit
6. The Sheik of Araby
7. You are My Lucky Star
8. J'Attendrai
9. Sing Sing Sing
10. Flying Home

'Allied' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Oxygčne 3'
Artist - Jean-Michel Jarre

For those not in the know, Jean-Michel Jarre is a French composer, performer, and record producer. He is a pioneer in the electronic, ambient, and new-age genres, and known as an organizer of outdoor spectacles of his music featuring lights, laser displays, and fireworks.

His first mainstream success was the 1976 album Oxygčne. Recorded in a makeshift studio at his home, the album sold an estimated 12 million copies. Oxygčne was followed in 1978 by Équinoxe, and in 1979 Jarre performed to a record-breaking audience of more than a million people at the Place de la Concorde, a record he has since broken three times.

More albums were to follow (inclusive of Oxygčne 7–13 - otherwise known as Oxygčne 2 - in 1997), but his concert that same year served as a blueprint for his future performances around the world. Several of his albums have been released to coincide with large-scale outdoor events, and he is now perhaps as well known as a performer as he is as a musician.

And now, the pioneer in his field has just released the finale piece to his trilogy for its 40th anniversary, Oxygčne 3. The new album is released as a CD, an LP on 180g vinyl, or as a Digital version. But wait, there's more, for the Oxygčne Trilogy is also available to buy as a 3CD digipack or a Digital version also. And yes, you've guessed it, also being released is an Oxygčne Trilogy Box-Set, comprising of the 3CD, a 3LP Vinyl and a Coffee Table Book!

For my money, Jean Michel Jarre pulled of an incredible move when he released Oxygčne in 1976. He made the world of electronic music safe for composers. While a small, select few folk were making music with the earlier synthesizers of the day, most of them either concentrated on making novel reinterpretations of classical, cold, mechanical drones, or music that was intentionally robotic (ala Kraftwerk).

Now, whilst I love just about all of the aforementioned artists, Oxygčne was the first album that made me think of synthesizers as instruments as opposed to toys. Indeed, Oxygčne was created on an 8 track tape recorder with very few instruments, so gave Jarre no other choice than being a musical minimalist. Here on Oxygčne 3 he has notably tried to keep this minimalist approach going with some piqued sonic moments built around one or two elements only; ala the first volume.

Jarre has done this here in the third volume by making the songs play out like a classical composition. Each movement has distinct and original melodies and each sounds like it could hold its own as a song unto itself. The themes also sound like they could be as organic and enveloping as the album title suggests; this was earthy music long before the term "new age" got slapped on everything that was vaguely atmospheric and meditative.

Also, a couple of the movements are mostly brooding and synth heavy, with the occasional computerized rhythm - a definite and distinct throwback to his earlier days working on the original (where there, within the liner notes, he referred to the sound as a "Rhythmin' computer".

As for the wickedly brilliant, and poignant art work for Oxygčne 3, once more Jarre re-visits Michel Granger’s original work, simply shifting from another angle; which was exactly aligned with the approach he obviously had to create this new chapter in his music. It's been said that he kindly asked Michel Granger’s permission to perform a 3D model of his creation in order to change the angle of the visual, which he amicably accepted, of course.

In closing, Oxygčne 3 is a wonderment of synth notes combined with delicate piano lines that creep willingly between the cracks of his work. Warm, sensual at times undertones adorn his work, providing both flashback and forward-thinking moments to occur en masse. Indeed, all his known soundscapes still remain here after 40 years, most as anthemic as ever, but now they have been rewired for today's listener.

'Oxygene 3' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Karyn White: Deluxe Edition'
Artist - Karyn White

For those not in the know, the lovely Karyn White is an American singer who was popular during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Indeed, the woman whose hits always seemed to accompany my romantic exploits around that time, is still best known today for her R&B singles; "Superwoman" (1989), "Secret Rendezvous" (1989), "The Way You Love Me" (1988), and the Billboard Hot 100 number one single "Romantic" (1991).

White's self-titled debut album Karyn White was released in 1988. It was produced by L.A. Reid and Babyface and achieved platinum status. From that album came the hit singles "The Way You Love Me", "Secret Rendezvous" (#6 in the U.S.), "Superwoman" and "Love Saw It" a duet with Babyface. White was also nominated in the Best R&B/Urban Contemporary New Artist category for the 1989 Soul Train Music Awards along with being nominated for two Grammy Awards. In actual fact, White became the first female artist to have their first three solo releases hit #1 on the R&B charts.

This brand new Karyn White: Deluxe Edition 2CD, just released via BBR (Big Break Records) through Cherry Red Records marks the 30th anniversary of White’s first hit and features bonus songs and remixes galore. And I mean GALORE, for not only is the original album of nine (9) tracks on the first disc, but seven more songs also, with another 12 on the second disc. So, if you're counting along at home, that means you get an incredible 19 bonus tracks (which include some very rare promotional remixes).

Disc: 1: 1. The Way You Love Me 2. Secret Rendezvous 3. Slow Down 4. Superwoman 5. Family Man 6. Love Saw It (Duet with Babyface) 7. Don't Mess with Me 8. Tell Me Tomorrow 9. One Wish 10. Love on the Line 11. Language of Love 12. Facts of Love - Jeff Lorber Featuring Karyn White 13. True Confessions - Jeff Lorber Featuring Karyn White 14. Back in Love - Jeff Lorber Featuring Michael Jeffries & Karyn White 15. Not Thru Being with You - Michael Jeffries with Karyn White 16. The Way You Love Me (Hype Mix)

I have to admit that re-listening to this album is like flashing back to a warm, fuzzy era of my life that I am so sorry to have left behind. Songs have a way to do that, I understand, but a whole album? I mean, there just isn't a "filler" out of the nine original album tracks. Not one. The opening cut is the New Jack Swing of her first single, "The Way You Love Me", and that's backed by the mid-tempo, and yet upbeat ballad "Secret Rendezvous."

Another track in the same vein, although less peppy is "Slow Down" and that's followed by her second single, the even slower, smooth and sultry ballad, "Superwoman". The R&B funk of "Family Man" is next (and no, it's not the Hall & Oates pop track), and that's backed by the beautiful, poetic third single "Love Saw It" With six out of the nine tracks written by Babyface, L.A. Reid, and Daryl Simmons, the original album comes to a close with the Janet Jacksonesque "Don't Mess With Me", the tender ballad "Tell Me Tomorrow", and then the mid-tempo R&B "One Wish".

This album came out and radio went wild for it, but let's not forget that as much as a lot of the grunt work was done by both L.A. Reid and Babyface, it's really Karyn's major hits that helped them Babyface become the successful producer and songwriter he is today. The other tracks included on this Deluxe Edition, some also produced by Jeff Lorber, are just as solid, but those hits, man, those hits!

We kick off the expanded hits parade here on the first disc with the brilliant Janet Jacksonesque duo of "Love On The Line" (which showcases her vocal range as perfectly as any other White song I've ever known) and the funk of "Language Of Love". A trio of Jeff Lorber accompanied tracks are up next, and they begin with the guitar funk vibe of "Facts Of Love" (which is such a solid, so very solid cut), and that's backed by the soul flow of "True Confessions".

"Back In Love" is next, but it's actually a Lorber song that features both Karyn White and Mike Jeffries. The first disc is then rounded out with the BEST song of the expanded tracklisting (on either side, for my liking), the hyper R&B funk of the Jimmy Jam-inspired "Not Thru Being With You", once again featuring Jeffries on co-vocals. The last track is a Hype Mix of "The Way You Love Me" and that allows the first disc to come full circle very nicely.

Disc: 2: 1. Facts of Love (Actuality Mix) - Jeff Lorber Featuring Karyn White 2. True Confessions (The Left Bank Mix) - Jeff Lorber Featuring Karyn White 3. The Way You Love Me (Club Mix) 4. Secret Rendezvous (Extended Remix) 5. Superwoman (Long Version) 6. Not Thru Being with You (The Club Fire Mix) - Michael Jeffries with Karyn White 7. Facts of Love (Passion Mix) - Jeff Lorber Featuring Karyn White 8. The Way You Love Me (Paul Simpson Remix) 9. Secret Rendezvous (White House Remix) 10. Facts of Love (Fact #1) -Jeff Lorber Featuring Karyn White 11. The Way You Love Me (New York Groove Edit) 12. Secret Rendezvous (Secret Drive Time Radio Edit)

The second disc features those aforementioned rare and promotional remixes and, for the most part, are as deserved a place on this incredible 2CD set as anything that has gone before it. Of course, we get songs that due to their expanded nature, just seemingly go on a wee bit too long, but then that's exactly what you paid your money for when it came to these kinds of 12" Vinyl Singles back then. "Facts of Love (Actuality Mix)" is up first, and is backed nicely by "True Confessions (The Left Bank Mix)".

One of my favorite two 12" recordings here come one after the other, as we next get "The Way You Love Me (Club Mix)" and "Secret Rendezvous (Extended Remix)", and they are backed by "Superwoman (Long Version)", the pulsating "Not Thru Being With You (The Club Fire Mix)" and "Facts of Love (Passion Mix)". With regard "Not Thru Being With You", from what I can recall, if you check out their black and white music video for the song, it is so infectious it will have you up and dancin' before the second chorus comes-a-knockin'!

"The Way You Love Me (Paul Simpson Remix)" and "Secret Rendezvous (White House Remix)" are up next, followed by a really well done "Facts of Love (Fact #1)", and a smooth "The Way You Love Me (New York Groove Edit)". The second disc is then rounded out by "Secret Rendezvous (Secret Drive Time Radio Edit)" and as that song fades out, if you're a fan like me, you'll simply go back to the first disc (the better of the two, for me) and start the listening process all over again!

This Karyn White: Deluxe Edition 2CD color booklet also includes exclusive interviews with Karyn White, Daryl Simmons and Jeff Lorber, and is presented in a super jewel case complete with a 20-page booklet and detailed liner notes.

'Karyn White: Deluxe Edition' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Black Butterfly: The Essential Niecy'
Artist - Deniece Williams

For those not in the know, the uber talented Deniece Williams is an American singer–songwriter and record producer. Best known for hits such as "Free" (1976), "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late" (1978), "Silly" (1981), "It's Gonna Take a Miracle" (1982), "Let's Hear It for the Boy" (1984), and for her duets with Johnny Mathis, the lady known simply as Niecy now has her complete career retrospective Black Butterfly album released as a wonderful 40th Anniversary 2CD Collection.

This wondrous, and first ever 2CD complete career retrospective of Deniece Williams is chock full of all her chart hit singles from 1976-1989, and is just the most perfect introduction or indeed late night flashback to one of the genre's most beloved singers.

Disc: 1: 1. Free 2. Baby Baby My Love's All for You (Single Version) 3. What Two Can Do 4. I Found Love 5. It's Gonna Take a Miracle 6. Too Much, Too Little, Too Late (Duet with Johnny Mathis) 7. Waiting By the Hotline 8. It's Your Conscience (Single Version) 9. Waiting (Single Version) 10. Silly 11. If You Don't Believe 12. God Is Amazing 13. You're All I Need to Get By (Duet with Johnny Mathis) 14. That's What Friends Are For 15. The Boy I Left Behind 16. I've Got the Next Dance (12" Version) 17. 'Cause You Love Me Baby 18. When Love Comes Calling

We first get the beautifully-sung (but then again, weren't they all) "Free", which is a great way to hear the crystal clear vocal tones of Niecy. The slight pop bounce of "Baby Baby My Love's All for You (Single Version)" is next, and that's backed by "What Two Can Do", a track that upped the stakes in the music that backed her. This time we get horns, keys and even some contorted funk beats, all which back Neicy's vocals perfectly. The brilliant disco pop of "I Found Love" is next, and is followed by both the smooth R&B of "It's Gonna Take A Miracle" and then the brilliant duet with Johnny Mathis, "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late".

Up next is the jagged R&B soul of "Waiting By the Hotline", a track that shows how open Neicy was to trying something a little different with her sound. It actually reached #29 on the R&B chart in 1982 and was well received everywhere it was heard. Then comes the flowing "It's Your Conscience (Single Version)", a song that brings forth Niecy's heavenly soprano perfectly. Under the guidance of producer Thom Bell, she had someone at the helm who always got the best out of her.

Next up is "Waiting (Single Version)", as lush a ballad as you'll ever hear, and that's followed by the soulfulness of "Silly", the stillness of "If You Don't Believe", the uplifting Gospel side of her on "God Is Amazing", and then the glorious, worldwide hit duet with Johnny Mathis, "You're All I Need To Get By". Just look at the cover of that single and see the love for their song beaming directly from their eyes alone. I love that front cover of the 7" Single, I honestly do. Always have done, always will do. Next up is "That's What Friends Are For", a cut that oozes her soul on every word, and wow, just listen to the instrumental run at the end. Wonderful.

The R&B funky horns and delicate keys of "The Boy I Left Behind" is next, and that's followed by an incredible "I've Got the Next Dance (12" Version)" which just pumps up the disco dancefloor amps on this first disc to the max. At over six minutes in length, it's a massive highlight of the entire collection, trust me! The disc then rounds out with both the mid-tempo ballad "Cause You Love Me" and the sped-up dance moves of "When Love Comes Calling".

Disc: 2: 1. Let's Hear It for the Boy (12" Version) 2. Do What You Feel (Single Version) 3. Without Us - Theme from "Family Ties" (Duet with Johnny Mathis) 4. I Can't Wait (Single Version) 5. I'm So Proud 6. Black Butterfly 7. Next Love 8. Never Say Never (12" Version) 9. Wiser and Weaker 10. I Confess (Single Version) 11. All I Need 12. Healing 13. Every Moment (Single Remix) 14. This Is As Good As It Gets 15. You're All That Matters 16. Love Won't Let Me Wait (Duet with Johnny Mathis) 17. Why Can't We Fall in Love

The second disc, which is veritably bursting at the seams with musical greatness, kicks off in FINE style with her massive '80s hits, "Let's Hear It for the Boy (12" Version)" - and, in truth, if ever you wanted to hear the song again, it had to be the 12 Single Version, we all know that - and that's backed by both the poppy "Do What You Feel (Single Version)" and yet another duet with Johnny Mathis, her slow jam for the Theme from 'Family Ties', "Without Us". Then comes the upbeat, Katrina & The Wavesesque "I Can't Wait (Single Version)", which is in turn backed by the slow ballad "I'm So Proud".

The collection album title, "Black Butterfly" is stunning, and showcases Niecy's vocal range, once more, and that's followed by the slow-building-to-funky "Next Love". The gentle pop bounce of "Never Say Never (12" Version)" is next and another of the top quality highlights on this new set, and that's backed by both the electro dance pop of "Wiser and Weaker" and then the saxophone-led "I Confess (Single Version)". The smooth R&B of "All I Need" is backed by a lovely song of faith and worship, "Healing", and that is followed by the static guitar-led pop of "Every Moment (Single Remix)" and then the piano ballad "This Is As Good As It Gets".

This quite insanely exquisite 2CD collection comes to a close with the quietly expansive, beautiful "You're All That Matters" which in turn is followed by both her last duet with Johnny Mathis, "Love Won't Let Me Wait", and then closes with the stunning, simply stunning softy sung ballad "Why Can't We Fall in Love".

This wondrous, and first ever 2CD complete career retrospective of Deniece Williams, which includes all of her chart hit singles from 1976-1989, is newly-remastered with rare single mixes and presented in a deluxe digipak complete with a 24-page booklet and detailed liner notes.

'Black Butterfly: The Essential Niecy' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Let's Groove: Archie Bell & The Drells Story'
Artist - Archie Bell and the Drells

For those not in the know, the fabulously talented Archie Bell and the Drells was an American R&B vocal group from Houston, Texas, and one of the main acts on Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff's Philadelphia International Records.

The band's hits include "Tighten Up", "I Can't Stop Dancing" (both 1968), "There's Gonna Be A Showdown", "Girl You're Too Young" (1969), "Here I Go Again" (also a UK hit in 1972), "Soul City Walk" (1975), "Let's Groove", "Everybody Have A Good Time" (1977), and "Don't Let Love Get You Down" (1976).

Many of their Atlantic hits were produced by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, including the minor 1969 hit "Here I Go Again" which became such a massive hit on the Northern Soul scene that it prompted a UK reissue which made #11 in 1972, just after the group had parted ways with Atlantic. Continuing with producer Prince Philllip Mitchell, the group signed to Henry Stones Glades Records in 1973 and released a few singles including the hit "Dancing To Your Music" (R&B #11/Pop #61).

Big Break Records (via Cherry Red Records) has just released Let's Groove: Archie Bell & The Drells Story, the 50th Anniversary Collection and trust me when I say it's a doozy, ladies and gentlemen! Complete with all of the group’s chart hit singles and dance classics from 1967-1979, there are also some 12" Single mixes on here too!

Disc: 1: 1. Tighten Up (Part 1) 2. Dog Eat Dog 3. A Thousand Wonders 4. A Soldier's Prayer, 1967 5. I Can't Stop Dancing 6. Do the Choo Choo 7. Love Will Rain on You 8. (There's Gonna Be a) Showdown 9. Go for What You Know 10. I Love My Baby 11. Just a Little Closer 12. Girl You're Too Young 13. My Balloon's Going Up 14. Here I Go Again 15. A World Without Music 16. Don't Let the Music Slip Away 17. Get It from the Bottom 18. I Wish 19. Wrap It Up 20. Deal with Him 21. I Just Want to Fall in Love 22. Love at First Sight 23. Archie's in Love 24. I Can't Face You Baby 25. Dancing to Your Music 26. Ain't Nothing for a Man in Love 27. You Never Know What's on a Woman's Mind 28. Girls Grow Faster Than Boys

Now, being that there are an INCREDIBLE 44 songs on this 2CD collection, I won't be going into each and every one of them, as usual. But, I will highlight the, well, highlights, in my humble opinion. Such as the first track out the gate, "Tighten Up (Part 1)" which is a drummers haven from the off. Like a jam session coming together, the track is a flashback to an era when coaxing instruments to come and jam, one by one, was seen as a joyous method of establishing the band to their audience.

The next track is another favorite of mine, "Dog Eat Dog", and no, not just because it has the same title as my all-time favorite band, Adam & The Ants. It's a seamless R&B soulful moment of chart pop and flows perfectly, as do both "I Can't Stop Dancing" and "Do the Choo Choo". The foot-tappin' continues ever onward with tracks such as the soul sway of "Girl You're Too Young", "My Balloon's Going Up" and their hit "Here I Go Again".

Other lovely, heartwarming tracks on the first disc include the upbeat, and infectious groove on "Get It From The Bottom", the Hammond organ-inspired "Love at First Sight", the chitty-chatty fun of "Archie's in Love", and both "I Can't Face You Baby" and groovy ("Never had the nerve before, to get up on the floor") "Dancing to Your Music".

Disc: 2: 1. I Could Dance All Night 2. Let's Groove 3. The Soul City Walk 4. Dance Your Troubles Away 5. Nothing Comes Easy 6. Don't Let Love Get You Down 7. Where Will You Go When the Party's Over 8. Everybody Have a Good Time 9. Glad You Could Make It (12" Disco Version) 10. It's Hard Not to Like You 11. I've Been Missing You 12. On the Radio 13. Old People 14. Strategy 15. Show Me How to Dance 16. We Got 'Um Dancin' (12" Disco Version)

The upbeat flow of "I Could Dance All Night" kicks off the second disc of 16 tracks, and in some fine style. The true sound of Philadelphia track is a Soul Train classic, and is backed by the introductory (quite literally) soul sounds of "Let's Groove" and then the groove line under "The Soul City Walk". Another fine song, and one that showcases a softer, more methodical side to the band is "Where Will You Go When the Party's Over', and then the vocals gymnastics of "Everybody Have a Good Time".

The second disc is then brought to a close with tracks such as "Glad You Could Make It (12" Disco Version)", a funky, funky song to extend at the best of times, the gentle balladry flow of "I've Been Missing You", and the funky grooving of "On the Radio". The last two tracks are gems also, with "Show Me How to Dance" ("I've got to dance like I've got ants in my pants") and the 12" Disco Version of "We Got 'Um Dancin'" bringing a close to an outstanding collection from Archie Bell and the Drells to, hopefully, a whole new generation of listeners.

Newly remastered with rare single mixes and presented in a super jewel case complete with a 20-page booklet and detailed liner notes, Let's Groove: Archie Bell & The Drells Story, the 50th Anniversary Collection is a must for all Soul, Pop, Funk and Disco fans everywhere!

'Let's Groove: Archie Bell & The Drells Story' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'The Sweetest Illusion: 3CD Deluxe Edition'
Artist - Basia

For those not in the know, Barbara Trzetrzelewska, known simply as Basia is a Polish singer-songwriter and record producer. She established a successful international recording career featuring characteristically Latin-flavoured jazz-pop crossover songs during the late 1980s and early 1990s and the late 2000s and 2010s, particularly in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Japan.

Indeed, she is actually noted for possessing a wide vocal range, approximately three octaves that span from contralto to soprano tessituras, as well as her singular jazz-influenced styling and multi-layered harmonies.

Her third studio album, The Sweetest Illusion, was released in 1994 and was a moderate success in the U.S. market selling over half-million copies, but globally it became another million-seller. Mixed by the then-highly sought after David Bascombe (who had contributed to Oleta Adams' debut effort) the project marked the end of a ten-year working relationship with mixmaster Phil Harding and a step into more sophisticated territory.

The Sweetest Illusion included a number-one hit on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart, "Drunk on Love", but if you listen to it again today (especially if you have it on vinyl, like I do), you'll still not understand how at least three other tracks didn't make it onto the high radio airplay lists of the time.

But now, and for the first time ever, The Sweetest Illusion: 3CD Deluxe Edition, the third solo album from Basia, has been digitally remastered and expanded and released via Cherry Red Records.

Following the success of both Time And Tide and London Warsaw New York, Basia's debut and sophomore albums, respectively, this third album was her final major-label release of the 1990s, though a live album and a greatest hits collection followed. The album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America on December 14, 1994 for sales in excess of 500,000 units within the U.S., and earned Basia her first (and so far only) chart-topper on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart with "Drunk on Love".

Disc: 1: 1. Drunk on Love 2. Third Time Lucky 3. Yearning 4. She Deserves It/Rachel's Wedding 5. An Olive Tree 6. The Sweetest Illusion 7. Perfect Mother 8. More Fire Than Flame 9. Simple Pleasures 10. My Cruel Ways 11. The Prayer of a Happy Housewife 12. Drunk on Love (Radio Edit) 13. Third Time Lucky (Radio Edit) 14. Yearning (Edit)

Indeed, it's that very same track that begins our incredible, and comprehensive journey into the world of Basia, for "Drunk In Love" opens this wondrous album. The freeflowing, jazzy pop of the song is infectious from the start, and is backed by the softer mid-tempo "Third Time Lucky", then the delicate "Yearning", the storytelling of "She Deserves It / Rachel's Wedding" and then the Latin flow of "An Olive Tree".

Next up is the album title song, the trippy bounce of "The Sweetest Illusion" and it is one of the finest songs to showcase just how great her vocal range truly is. The highs and lows encountered by Basia here give the track an ebb and flow that transcends a lot of her previous work. "Perfect Mother" slows things down and sounds like a song from the heart here from Basia, and that's backed by the lush "My Fire Than Flame". "Simple Pleasures" is just a pure delight to behold, and then both "My Cruel Ways" and the brilliant "The Prayer Of A Happy Housewife" round out the original album. Included on this first disc also are the Bonus Track Single Versions of "Drunk On Love (Radio Edit)", "Third Time Lucky (Radio Edit)" and then finally "Yearning (edit)".

Disc: 2: 1. Half a Minute (Remix) 2. Angels Blush 3. Waters of March 4. Clear Horizon 5. Go for You 6. Drunk on Love (Instrumental) 7. Third Time Lucky (Instrumental) 8. Yearning (Instrumental) 9. She Deserves It (Instrumental) 10. An Olive Tree (Instrumental) 11. The Sweetest Illusion (Instrumental) 12. Perfect Mother (Instrumental) 13. More Fire Than Flame (Instrumental) 14. Simple Pleasures (Instrumental) 15. My Cruel Ways (Instrumental) 16. The Prayer of a Happy Housewife (Instrumental) 17. Angels Blush (Instrumental) 18. Go for You (Instrumental)

The second disc brings us a slew of Instrumentals, which tend to, after about the halfway mark, quietly blend into one another. But that's ok, for as much as it's Basia's unique vocals that guide us through each song she brings us, when these same tracks come at us unaccompanied by her, well, they transform into some very delightful background music to whatever you are doing in your life at that time.

That said, the second disc actually kicks off with several Bonus Track Additional Recordings, such as "Half A Minute", a freeflowing jazz ensemble mood swing that is beyond fantastic to hear. If you are not familiar with the song, well, allow me to enlighten you to one of the best songs released in the mid'80s. Basia was part of a jazz-pop trio (who originally performed as Bronze) Matt Bianco and sang on their debut album Whose Side Are You On? Released in 1984 the album was a BIG hit across Europe, selling more than 1.5 million copies and brought forth two top 30 hits on the UK Singles Chart: "Get Out of Your Lazy Bed" and "Half a Minute".

Moving on and we next get "Angels Blush", a stunningly beautiful Christmas track and that is followed by the lyrically fast and poetic "Waters Of March", the stoic "Clear Horizon", and then the delicate styling of "Go For You". Then comes the blast of Instrumentals, which has been detailed above, and begin with "Drunk On Love" and end with "Go For You".

Disc: 3: 1. Drunk on Love (Extended Dance Mix) 2. Third Time Lucky (New Version) 3. Drunk on Love (Downtown Radio Edit) 4. Drunk on Love (Roger's Ultimate Anthem Mix) 5. Drunk on Love (Downtown Club Mix) 6. Drunk on Love (40 Oz of Love Dub) 7. Drunk on Love (Hands in the Air Dub) 8. Third Time Lucky (Vokal Mix) 9. Third Time Lucky (Bad Luck Mix) 10. Third Time Lucky (Instrumental Mix)

Deluxe editions of both her previous two titles were released on the Cherry Pop label and continue to be strong sellers and it's now shock as to why. They are not only GREAT albums, but in these wonderful deluxe and expanded editions they showcase so much more depth to each track, and the remixes and B-sides that accompanied them at the time, that you know you're getting as much of Basia as they can possibly squeeze!

That said, and here on the third disc, we only get two (2) songs, but they are two of the stand out tracks, at that. You will need patience and belief in where the extended and remixes tracks are headed sometimes, but each version of both "Drunk On Love" and "Third Time Lucky" are solid, enjoyable and importantly, relevant to what Basia was sounding like, and recording like at the time the album came out in 1994.

Chock full of Bonus Tracks revealing both Remixes and Alternative Versions of both song, I mean, wow, who knew she had recorded so many versions of each song back then in the first place? I'm a BIG fan and even I didn't know. I even went upstairs, went through all my Basia 12" Singles (yes, that's vinyl to you kids!) and could only find a couple of these on the singles she released from The sweetest Illusion. No worries though, for they are all here and more on this third disc (tracklisting noted above), and it wraps up a stunning 3CD collection that, for my money, slightly outshines the previous two in her Cherry Red Records Deluxe Edition arsenal.

This 3 disc set comes with a beautifully designed, carefully researched, and spectaculary detailed 24-page full color booklet that contains brand new liner notes, lyrics, photos, an illustrated discography, comprehensive credits, and written contributions from producer Dave Bascombe, plus track annotations from Basia and Danny White.

'The Sweetest Illusion: 3CD Deluxe Edition' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Stranded In Reality' [30CD Box-Set]
Artist - Ian Hunter

For those not in the know, Ian Hunter is an English singer-songwriter who is best known as the lead singer of the English rock band Mott the Hoople, from its inception in 1969 to its dissolution in 1974, and at the time of its 2009 reunion.

Indeed, Hunter was a musician and songwriter before joining Mott the Hoople, and continued in this vein after he left the band. He embarked on a solo career despite ill health and disillusionment with commercial success, and often worked in collaboration with Mick Ronson, David Bowie's sideman and arranger from the Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars period.

Ian Hunter's last studio album, Fingers Crossed (2016) unveiled ten new, self-penned songs including his much-anticipated homage to David Bowie "Dandy". Recorded at HOBO Studios in New Jersey, and co-produced by Hunter and Andy York, the record features his magnificent Rant Band and was the follow-up to 2012's acclaimed When I'm President.

But never one to sit around and let time pass him by, Hunter is readying to unleash an incredible 30CD Box-Set upon the world! Stranded In Reality is a strictly Limited Edition Box Set for sale to worldwide customers exclusively through only.

The career of the British rock great and Mott the Hoople icon Ian Hunter is celebrated with this 30-disc Anthology box set, Stranded in Reality, containing a swathe of rare and previously unreleased recordings and film. Compiled and curated by Ian and recognised Hunter-Mott biographer Campbell Devine, the project is the ultimate celebration of the artist's hugely influential and sparkling solo work. Covering the years 1975 to 2015, Stranded in Reality comprises 17 original albums on 19 CDs, 9 "new" discs of intriguing rare and unreleased tracks plus 2DVDs.

All of Ian's classic solo albums are contained in the box set including expanded Anniversary Editions of Ian Hunter, All-American Alien Boy, You're Never Alone with a Schizophrenic and Welcome to the Club, plus special unique bonus track discs of Short Back n' Sides, All of The Good Ones Are Taken, The Artful Dodger, Strings Attached, Shrunken Heads and When I'm President.

The new albums are titled Tilting the Mirror (Rarities 2CD), If You Wait Long Enough for Anything, You Can Get it on Sale (Live 1979-81 2CD), Bag of Tricks (Live Volumes 1, 2 and 3), Acoustic Shadows and Experiments. The box presents many unheard and "lost" songs from Ian's archive including 'San Diego Freeway', 'Nobody's Perfect' and 'Salvation' as well as rarely performed live versions of 'Wild East', 'While You Were Looking At Me', 'The Outsider' and a 2008 acoustic concert.

A visual 2 disc set, It Never Happened, features promo, live and archive material, and most of the footage has not been issued commercially on DVD until now. The project includes a complete 1979 Hunter Ronson concert from London's Hammersmith Odeon and a TV film from the same tour, live in Toronto. Collectively, the albums and DVD's offer music fans a rock 'n' roll jackpot of over 400 tracks!

Lavishly presented in an LP-size deluxe box with custom Escher-style cover (which alone I think sells it!), the collection also contains an 88-page hardback book with comprehensive essay, rare memorabilia and Ian Hunter "Track by Track" for every song, a stunning facsimile Shades newspaper featuring classic historic press features, an Alien Boy lithograph personally signed by Ian and original and brand new album artwork in replica card sleeves.

Phew! Am I right!! Well, as much as a) it hasn't been released yet, and b) it's too damn expensive to be sent one for review, the company we work with were kind enough to send us a lovely 7-track EP, amusingly entitled Sampling In Reality!

1. "A Little Rock 'n' Roll (Pre-Rant outtake)" (05:20)
2. "Your Eyes" (from Shrunken Heads EP) (03:48)
3. "Waterlow" (Trio Studio Version) (03:11)
4. "Sons 'n' Lovers" (Live Acoustic 2008) (05:01)
5. "When I'm President" (Live Acoustic 2013) (05:47)
6. "American Music" (Early Version) (03:48)
7. "Sweet Jane" - Ian Hunter and Tribes (04:39)

The tracks are a lovely taster for what is going to come, with the opening mid-tempo rocker "A Little Rock 'n' Roll (Pre-Rant outtake)" setting the tone very nicely. The mellow, acoustic vibe of "Your Eyes' shows Hunter's versatility, and the two live tracks taken from Hunter's acoustic tours are always a nice gem to come across.

So, save up your pennies, as this 30-CD Box-Set is gonna set you back at least $250 or more, me lil' Hunter and gathers!

'Stranded In Reality' CD Box-Set Purchase Link

Title - 'Capture the Sun'
Artist - Hollywood Monsters

For those not in the know, Hollywood Monsters is an American hard rock supergroup formed in 2014. The band members are: Steph Honde (vocals, guitars), Don Airey (keyboards) (Deep Purple, previously played in Whitesnake, Gary Moore, Ozzy Osbourne, Michael Schenker Group and others), Vinny Appice (drums) (previously played in DIO, Black Sabbath, Heaven & Hell, Kill Devil Hill and others), Tim Bogert (bass) (previously played in Vanilla Fudge, Cactus, and Beck, Bogert & Appice).

Their brand new album Capture The Sun ups the ante of the band's 2014 debut album with special guest performances by Tim Bogert (Vanilla Fudge), Tracy G (ex-Dio), Neil Murray (Whitesnake), Danko Jones, and many others.

The opener, "Mysteries Of Life" is a mish-mash of TV-spoken white noise for just 48 seconds, before the death-metal vibe of "Evilution" is upon us. The speed it rocks it's amazing it stays on track, but that it does, and is backed perfectly by the mid-tempo (for them) rocker "Always Crashing the Same Car", the fast pop of "It's A Lie", and both the guitar ballad "Waiting" and the piano-led "Don't Let It Happen".

"Another Day in Grey, Pt. 2" picks up the pace again and keeps it up with "Everything Is Going to Be Alright", before we head into the searing, soaring guitar work of the ballad "Dreams". One of the best tracks on the album for me, that's followed by another ballad in the form of "King For A Day", which in turn is backed by the accelerated title track, "Capture The Sun."

This devilishly good album is then brought to a flourish of a close with "Sweet Thing / Candidate / Sweet Thing (Reprise)", with the final track, a Whitesnake cover of "Fool for Your Loving" as a Bonus Track. Not quite having the power to match DC's original vocals, it is, without a shadow of a doubt, the closest I've heard any band get even close to the original.

Hollywood Monsters @ Facebook!

'Capture The Sun' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'The Sessions'
Artist - Joe Lynn Turner

As I'm sure you all know by now, Joe Lynn Turner is an American singer known for his works with hard rock band Rainbow. During his career, Turner fronted pop rock band Fandango, had the short-lived collaboration for neoclassical metal guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen and Deep Purple.

From the mid 1990s, he worked with various musical groups (progressive rock band Mother's Army, funk rock duo Hughes Turner Project, AOR side project Sunstorm, etc.), while pursuing a solo career. He is currently the vocalist for Rated X, based on Mother's Army. Their album was released in 2014.

Personally, I have always been a massive Rainbow fan, although the early years with Ritchie Blackmore were a wee bit OTT for me, the JLT years were good, but the Graham Bonnet years were fantastic! Anyway, moving on, and as we also were lucky enough to get a live album from JLT this year, Street Of Dreams - Boston 1985, as the year comes to a close we are also given the early Christmas gift of The Sessions from Deadline Music / Cleopatra Records.

Here on this quite brilliant new CD, the man STILL best known for fronting Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, presents this excellent collection of his studio work recording supercharged versions of rock classics! Featuring guest appearances by Michael Schenker (UFO), Steve Lukather (Toto), Steve Morse, Phil Collen (Def Leppard), Brad Gillis (Night Ranger), and more, trust me when I say if you area fan of that era of music, or Rainbow in general, The Sessions is gonna make make your Christmas Day rock!

1. "Stone Cold" (with Vivian Campbell)
2. "Lunatic Fringe"
3. "Let the Music Do the Talking" (with Al Pitrelli, Carmine Rojas & Pat Torpey)
4. "Mirror Mirror" (with Icarus Witch)
5. "Hellraiser" (with Steve Lukather, Billy Sherwood, Jay Schellen & Paul Taylor)
6. "14 Years"
7. "Dance The Night Away" (with Reb Beach)
8. "Back in Black" (with Phil Collen)
9. "All Shook Up" (with Michael Schenker
10. "Babe I’m Gonna Leave You" (with Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Tony Franklin & Doane Perry)
11. "All Day and All of the Night" (with Brad Gillis, Rudy Sarzo & Simon Wright)
12. "Bloody Well Right" (with Dave Kerzner)
13. "The Seeker" (with Leslie West)
14. "Jungle Love" (with Steve Morse)
15. "Two Minutes To Midnight" (with Richie Kotzen)
16. "Fat Bottomed Girls" (with Reb Beach)
17. "Riders On The Storm" (with Tony Kaye & Steve Cropper)

We kick off a "Stone Cold" lite featuring guitar wizard, and ex-Whitesnake guitarist Vivian Campbell alongside him, and that's backed by a trippy, yet spot on "Lunatic Fringe", a searing, soaring guitar fest within "Let the Music Do the Talking" (with Al Pitrelli, Carmine Rojas & Pat Torpey), and then both "Mirror Mirror" (with Icarus Witch), and ye another pulsating guitar fest on "Hellraiser" featuring Steve Lukather, Billy Sherwood, Jay Schellen & Paul Taylor.

The rock pop of "14 Years" is next, and that's followed by the lite pop bounce of "Dance The Night Away" featuring current Whitesnake guitarist Reb Beach along for the ride. Man, it has to be said that Turner bends, twists and contorts his vocal chords into the vein of whoever sang the covers included here, for in that last one he sounds just like DLR, and here on "Back In Black" (featuring Phil Collen of Def Leppard) he actually, truly comes across as Brian Johnson.

"All Shook Up" with Michael Schenker is yet another prime example of how Turner makes a song his own, when the needs must, and that's backed by both the beautiful acoustic guitar balled "Babe I’m Gonna Leave You" with Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Tony Franklin & Doane Perry. The raucous "All Day and All of the Night" with Brad Gillis, Rudy Sarzo & Simon Wright is a powerhaus of a Kinks rendition, and could well be my own personal favorite here amongst the 17 tracks, and that's followed by a playful "Bloody Well Right" with Dave Kerzner. Kerzner has worked with artists and bands such as Alan Parsons, Genesis, Francis Dunnery, Neil Peart, and Keith Emerson, to namea few, so you know this song is another stand out highlight.

A massive-sounding, and possible the loudest Turner gets to sing on this new album "The Seeker" with Leslie West is next, but the Steve Miller Band take on the pop-lite "Jungle Love" with Steve Morse doesn't fit in here, sorry. Iron Maiden's rampaging "Two Minutes To Midnight", here with Richie Kotzen for company, puts Turner back to his best, and then the album is brought to a close with both "Fat Bottomed Girls" (again with Reb Beach), and a stonking "Riders On The Storm" with Tony Kaye & Steve Cropper.

Joe Lynn Turner @ Twitter

'The Sessions' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'It's Christmas Time with Gary Wilson'
Artist - Gary Wilson

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

And active is what he truly is once again for following hot on the footsteps of his album, Alone With Gary Wilson (2015), which was in turn followed by his last album earlier this very year, It's Friday Night with Gary Wilson, we now get welcomed into his Christmas world with It's Christmas Time with Gary Wilson, released via Cleopatra Records this past October 28th, 2016.

1. "Lonely Holiday (Intro)"
2. "A Christmas Tree For Two"
3. "I Saw Santa Dancing In The Dark"
4. "A Sled Ride Tonight"
5. "The Snow"
6. "Holiday"
7. "Cindy Wants To Cry"
8. "Wintertime In Johnson City"
9. "It’s Snowing In Endicott"
10. "Lost In The Snow"
11. "She Danced Near The Frozen Lake"
12. "A Date For New Year’s Eve"
13. "Santa Claus Is Coming To My Lonely Town"
14. "Lonely Holiday (Exit)"

Kicking off with the trippy one minute electro mish-mash of "Lonely Holiday (Intro)", we soon get on with the real show with the hippy-trippy "A Christmas Tree For Two" ("I don't want to cut down a tree, it makes me sad when it starts to bleed"), the sing-along, should be a classic Holiday track "I Saw Santa Dancing In The Dark", and both "A Sled Ride" and the frenetic white noise of "The Snow".

Another fun, hippy-drippy chant is to be lovingly found within "Holiday" which is followed by "Cindy Wants To Cry" and the arcade game soundtrack vibe to "Wintertime In Johnson City". In much the same la-la vein, we next get "It’s Snowing In Endicott", and I think this happens to also be my own personal favorite on this collection of 14 new tracks.

"Lost In The Snow" is up next. A partner piece to "It's Snowing In Endicott", it's a fun storytelling adventure, and that's backed by the beautiful (honestly - ok, well, as beautiful as Wilson can get in these moments, I guess!) "She Danced Near The Frozen Lake". Up next is the keyboard funk pop of "A Date For New Year’s Eve" and then the album rounds out with the closest we're gonna get to a traditional Christmas song, "Santa Claus Is Coming To My Lonely Town", and then the album book ends with another electro mish-mash of white noise in the one minute long "Lonely Holiday (Exit)".

Gary Wilson on Facebook

'It's Christmas Time with Gary Wilson' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Shoot The Moon'
Artist - Roger Street Freidman

For those not in the know, Brooklyn born and Long Island based Roger Street Friedman was born into a creative household. His father was an artist, his mother was a writer, and his two older brothers were budding guitarists. Everyone was passionate about music. At 18, Friedman left home to join the rock band The Walk as their bassist, recruited by veteran producer and engineer Michael Wright (who previously had worked with megastars Foreigner).

That didn't work out as planned, so he took off to Colorado and ended up skiing for a few years. He then spent the next twenty-eight years in a fulfilling career, but wandering aimlessly in and out of musical pursuits until the loss of his parents, and an unexpected blessing, awoke the music within.

Shoot The Moon (out January 13th, 2017) is Roger Street Friedman's reflection of life as an unpredictable and wondrous journey. The 13-song collection reveals an artist who has come into his own and created a boldly adventurous and masterful album.

Brought together via a Pledge Music campaign, before we take a listen to it, I'll let Roger explain more about its creation himself: "I am very excited to be releasing my second album Shoot The Moon. My band and I, along with a number of incredible guests, have been in the studio since last July and are getting ready to release the album in January. This PledgeMusic campaign is a way to share exclusive content with you in exchange for your support of the project at whatever level you choose."

"I am also donating a percentage of the proceeds of the campaign to Human Rights Watch, which does amazing work with refugees all over the world. So I hope you'll check out the video and then check out this link to join the campaign!! Thank You!! Roger."

1. "Puffs of Smoke"
2. "Everyday"
3. "No Safe Place"
4. "Hideaway"
5. "Tidal Wave"
6. "Tomorrow"
7. "Pour Me Another"
8. "Where Are You Tonight"
9. "Paradise"
10. "Shoot The Moon"
11. "Love of a Mother"
12. "Nothin's Worth Nothin'"
13. "Wonder (For Jonathan)"

Opening with the blues-rocker "Puffs of Smoke" ("Lovers come and lovers go, just like puffs of smoke. Dreams my come, dreams may go. Just like puffs of smoke. Friends may come, and friends may go. Just like puffs of smoke. Life it comes and life it goes. Just like puffs of smoke"), we move swiftly into the harmonized acoustic vibe (at first) of "Everyday" and then the gentle countrified handling of "No Safe Place".

The guitar strumming pace is picked up in the stunning "Hideaway", a track that might just well be my personal favorite among the 13. That's followed by the Gospel-inspired "Tidal Wave", which in turn is backed by the upbeat "Tomorrow". A slight lean into a Mariachi backbeat is brought forth next on "Pour Me Another", where the storytelling of toasting parents, inclusive of both a Texas and Western Mexico ambiance is lyrically, and musically entrancing.

The guitar twanging of "Where Are You Tonight" is a reflective track, in more than one way, whilst the thought provoking question of mortality within "Paradise" is one for the ages. The fun blues pop of the title track "Shoot The Moon" is as joyous as Friedman gets, and yet with it being a true stand out here, one has to wonder why he didn't raise the tempo a little more often.

A track dedicated to his mother, and all mothers, come to think of that, is the beautiful "Love of a Mother", and that's backed by yet another soul searching, deeply emotive "Nothin's Worth Nothin'". This truly incredible, breathtakingly heartfelt album is then brought to a close with "Wonder (For Jonathan)", which compliments, and bows down to Creation for having enabled him to have such as good a son as Jonathan.

A nicely balanced release of 13 tracks together with Friedman's voice sounding as great as ever, means that Shoot The Moon is one of those albums that quickly becomes addictive listening. More than that, you'll beg for it to be on vinyl, for this album fully deserves to be an LP - just to hear it on a turntable, man, now that's what I want for Christmas!

Roger Street Freidman @ Facebook!

'Shoot The Moon' CD Purchase Link

Title - '3 Minutes To Midnight'
Artist - Lawson Rollins

Lawson Rollins, is an award-winning American guitarist and composer from North Carolina noted for his virtuoso fingerstyle technique and melodic compositional skills featured in his recordings.

His music spans is generally classed as Latin jazz and world music, with elements of samba, bossa nova, Middle Eastern music, classical guitar, flamenco, and shred guitar. He often employs fast minor scales and diminished scale solo runs to his compositions which are executed in the flamenco picado style.

Here on his seventh solo album 3 Minutes To Midnight (releasing January 20th, 2017), guitarist and composer Lawson Rollins once again takes the listener on a magical musical journey. Characterized, as always, by an eclectic mix of Middle Eastern, Brazilian, and Arabic music fused with Spanish guitar, once the album begins, just that one opening burst of high energy sets the tone for the entire listening experience.

1. "3 Minutes to Midnight"
2. "Light the Way"
3. "Island Time"
4. "Sway"
5. "Driving Force"
6. "Southbound"
7. "Stringdance"
8. "Time Shift"
9. "Reveal"
10. "Split Second"
11. "Eternal"
12. "Mary's Rock"

Opening with the playfully upbeat title track, "3 Minutes to Midnight", listening to Rollins' fingers burn up and down his guitar makes you just marvel more at the man's creative musicianship. The tempo is brought down a little next on "Light the Way", but Rollins' delightful, entrancing guitar styling is none the less intoxicating, of that be sure. "Island Time" is next and is followed by the aptly-titled "Sway" - a track that will have you doing just that as you make your (s)way around your office, home, or even right there in your car seat!

In truth, to an extent, the same can be said of the hypnotic "Driving Force" (which is very apt if you are listening to the track whilst driving), and that's followed by the gentle Latin funk of "Southbound" and then the hipsway, finger-snappin' freeflow melodies of "Stringdance" is upon us. "Timeshift" and "Reveal" are up next, but it's "Split Second" that takes me away here on this album. You only have to close your eyes and you are in bathed in all the Eastern flavors that only a truly gifted musician can conjure up. It is a simply stunning track. The album is then rounding out with both "Eternal" and then the beautiful balladeering of "Mary's Rock".

A nicely balanced release of 12 tracks together with Rollins' exquisite guitar work as great as ever, means that 3 Minutes to Midnight is one of those albums that quickly becomes addictive listening. More than that, you'll beg for it to be on vinyl, for this album fully deserves to be an LP - just to hear it on a turntable, man, now that's what I want for Christmas!

'3 Minutes To Midnight' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Mozart in the Jungle, Season 3'
Artist - Various

For those not in the know, the two-time Golden Globe® and Emmy Award® winning series, 'Mozart in the Jungle', is all about sex, drugs-and classical music - and shows that what happens behind the curtains at the symphony can be just as captivating as what happens on stage.

The half-hour comedic drama series is written by Oscar®-nominated writer and director Roman Coppola, actor and musician Jason Schwartzman, and Tony®-nominated writer and director Alex Timbers and is based on the critically acclaimed memoir 'Mozart in the Jungle' by Blair Tindall.

Season three opens in the midst of a grand Italian adventure with Rodrigo (Gael Garcia Bernal, who won the Best Actor Golden Globe® for his performance) taking on a brand new artistic challenge. Hailey (Lola Kirke) travels across Europe with the Andrew Walsh Ensemble, finding it s not everything that she'd hoped.

Thus, to compose a musical background big enough, strong enough to hold this season high among the watching masses, Sony Masterworks turned to, well, their masters! The soundtrack for Mozart in the Jungle, Season 3 features both standard classical repertoire from Mozart and Beethoven as well as music written especially for the series by contemporary composers Nico Muhly and Missy Mazzoli.

1. Les Filles des Cadix - Ana María Martínez
2. Pa-Pa-Pa-Papagena! - James Levine
3. No. 2 in E minor (Allegretto grazioso) - George Szell
4. Impromptu (Thomas's piece) - Joshua Bell
5. Don Giovanni, K.527: "Lŕ ci darem la mano" - Plácido Domingo
6. Die junge Nonne, D.828 - Ana María Martínez
7. Fidelio, Op. 72: March from Act I - Sir Colin Davis
8. Allegro aperto - François Leleux
9. A lenda do caboclo - Yo-Yo Ma
10. Amy Fisher - Ana María Martínez
11. Carmen: Chanson bohčme - Ana María Martínez
12. Allegro Molto - Adrian Leaper

Indeed, the rather delightful, breathtaking at times soundtrack also includes Joshua Bell, who made an appearance in the second season, plus performances by Yo-Yo Ma, Nikolaus Harnoncourt and other superstars from the classical music world.

The CD comes with an 8-page booklet which contains full page color photos on the pages along with track listing, composer and performer credits.

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Title - 'Penny Dreadful Seasons 2 & 3'
Artist - Abel Korzeniowski

‘Penny Dreadful’ was a highly-inventive series on Showtime that features some of literature’s most terrifying character, including Dr. Frankenstein, Dorian Gray, and other iconic figures from the novel Dracula that are lurking in the darkest corners of Victorian London. A psychological thriller at its heart, composer Abel Korzeniowski (born in Krakow, Poland) has written an incredible work of art to back their every move.

The series premiered on Showtime on May 11th, 2014, the first in an eight-episode season. However, after the third season finale on June 19th, 2016, series creator John Logan announced that Penny Dreadful had ended as the main story had reached its conclusion.

Here on the brilliant 2CD set of Penny Dreadful - Seasons 2 and 3 we get no less that 48 more original scores. Compositions that allow ‘Penny Dreadful’ (starring Timothy Dalton, Eva Green, Josh Harnett, etc.) to weave together the aforementioned classic horror origin stories into something that stands proudly alongside; and within the shadows when required.

Disc: 1 - 1. The Unquiet Grave (1:25) 2. Memento Mori (3:53) 3. Verbis Diablo (1:50) 4. Poison (5:51) 5. We Are Dangerous (2:19) 6. Vanessa's Dream (2:46) 7. Ethan's Waltz (1:26) 8. Until The Storm's Past (1:57) 9. The Cutwife of Ballentree Moor (3:41) 10. Joan Clayton (4:00) 11. Killing Sir Geoffrey Hawkes (2:59) 12. Dolls Have Hearts (4:44) 13. Melting Waltz (3:23) 14. Little Deceptions (:58) 15. Gossamer Tennis (1:18) 16. House Of Wax (1:58) 17. Weapon. Ritual. Superstition. (2:11) 18. Ghost Waltz (2:51) 19. Breaking The Spell (1:18) 20. Wallpapers (4:47) 21. Entering The Castle (2:26) 22. Coffins (2:25) 23. Know Your Master (6:04) 24. Little Scorpion (1:17) 25. Be True (3:57)

Disc: 2 - 1. The Master (2:44) 2. New Mexico (4:25) 3. Las Cruces (2:27) 4. Dr. Jekyll (2:26) 5. Madness (2:53) 6. Nocturnal Danger (2:10) 7. False Mirrors (2:14) 8. Guardian Angels (3:16) 9. Common Red Fox (3:03) 10. We Butcher Them (2:01) 11. Us And Our Kin (1:46) 12. Rejection (2:34) 13. Ethan Kills (3:33) 14. White Room (2:57) 15. One Day Soon (1:11) 16. Revelation (6:04) 17. House Of The Night Creatures (4:17) 18. Such Is Our Power, Such Is Our Kingdom (2:41) 19. All Light Will End (2:50) 20. Werewolves (2:14) 21. Let It End (6:43) 22. Boat to Africa (4:41) 23. Explorer's Club (Season One Bonus Track) (2:54)

As composer Abel Korzeniowski (‘W.E’, ‘A Single Man’) has himself said, “The themes of Penny Dreadful represent both different characters and abstract ideas,” and that is a brilliant way to sum up this lush work of musical art.

From the off, and the main title of season 2, ‘The Unquiet Grave,’ it’s obvious that the theme of ‘Penny Dreadful’ is one of a meaningful study of Victorian London. A study of dark beauty, something that can be terrifying and mesmerizing at the same time, such tracks as ‘The Cutwife of Ballentree Moore,’ ‘Melting Waltz,’ ‘Little Deceptions,’ and from the third season, opening composition ‘The Master’, 'We Butcher Them', 'Such Is Our Power', and both 'Werewolves' and the haunting 'Let It End', immediately pull you into the world where these characters exist.

One of the most unusual Gothic horror stories to hit TV since ‘American Horror Story,’ Korzeniowski’s soundtrack lingers long on the mind; long after you have stopped it playing!

Title - 'Outlander: Season 2' (Original TV Soundtrack)
Artist - Bear McCreary

'Outlander' is a British-American television drama series based on the historical time travel Outlander series of novels by Diana Gabaldon. Developed by Ronald D. Moore and produced by Sony Pictures Television and Left Bank Pictures for Starz, the show premiered on August 9th, 2014.

It stars Caitriona Balfe as Claire Randall, a married World War II nurse who in 1945 finds herself transported back to the Scotland of 1743, where she encounters the dashing Highland warrior Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) and becomes embroiled in the Jacobite risings.

Here on the excellent follow up to Season One's score, which Bear also did, of course, I honestly think that he has exceeded all my expectations! In truth, and in my own humble opinion, I believe this one is even better than Season One. Then again, I love the show and I love the music Bear brings alive so I might be slightly biased, I guess.

These incredible 22 compositions gives the listener nearly 90 minutes worth of quality music to lose themselves within (so, perhaps don't be driving when you listen to this CD!) Bear’s due diligence in extensively researching music from both 1740’s France and of the Jacobite era is apparent in each and every note, which has been perfectly placed and played.

Also included with this CD is a photo-booklet where Bear has written a beautiful explanation of how composing the scores for 'Outlander' affected him both personally and professionally, making him a better musician. Again, and maybe I've actually overstated this by now (sorry), but I now own both Season One and Season Two scores, but there’s something magical, nay mystical about this one.

Title - 'Hairspray LIVE! Original NBC Soundtrack'
Artist - Various

If this passed you by (and shame on you if it did!), on December 7th, 2016 NBC embarked on its latest musical holiday tradition: Hairspray LIVE! A 3-hour live event production based on the Grammy Award® and Tony Award®-winning Best Musical broadway show (2002) and the Golden Globe® nominated movie musical (2007).

Hairspray LIVE! takes place in 1962 Baltimore. Plump teenager Tracy Turnblad's dream is to dance on "The Corny Collins Show," a local TV program. When against all odds Tracy wins a role on the show, she becomes a celebrity overnight and meets a colorful array of characters, including the resident dreamboat, Link; the ambitious mean girl, Amber; an African American boy she meets in detention, Seaweed; and his mother, Motormouth Maybelle, the owner of a local record store. Tracy's mother is the indomitable Edna, and she eventually encourages Tracy on her campaign to integrate the all-white "Corny Collins Show."

Hairspray LIVE! stars exciting newcomer Maddie Baillio, Dove Cameron, Kristin Chenoweth, Garrett Clayton, Harvey Fierstein (recreating his Tony Award®-winning performance), Ariana Grande, Derek Hough, Jennifer Hudson, Martin Short, Ephraim Sykes and Shahadi Wright Joseph, with special appearances by Billy Eichner, Sean Hayes, Andrea Martin and Rosie O'Donnell.

The cast is phenomenal. Newcomer Maddie Baillio has a nice voice and performs well as the show's lead. From the original Broadway cast, Harvey Fierstein reprises his tony-award winning role as Edna Turnblad and he's just as enjoyable and fun to listen to as he was back in 2002. Kristin Chenoweth is right combination of nasty and over-the-top as Velma Von Tussle.

Having only known him for his dancing, I was pleasantly surprised by Derek Hough's abilities as a singer. I'm not a fan of Arianna Grande (nothing wrong with her, her music just isn't for me), but I couldn't help but feel she was a perfect fit for the role of Penny. And, above everyone else, Jennifer Hudson shines as Motormouth Maybelle. Her powerhouse voice makes her the highlight of this WONDERFUL, and colorful soundtrack.

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Title - 'A Man And His Guitar, Live From The Franklin'
Artist - Travis Tritt

For those not in the know, James Travis Tritt is an American country music singer, songwriter, and actor. He signed to Warner Bros. Records in 1989, releasing seven studio albums and a greatest hits package for the label between then and 1999. In the 2000s, he released two albums on Columbia Records and one for the defunct Category 5 Records.

Indeed, seven of his albums (and yes, that is counting the Greatest Hits) are certified platinum or higher by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA); the highest-certified is 1991's It's All About to Change, which is certified triple-platinum.

Tritt has also charted more than 40 times on the Hot Country Songs charts, including five number ones — "Help Me Hold On," "Anymore," "Can I Trust You with My Heart," "Foolish Pride", and "Best of Intentions" — and 15 additional top ten singles.

The man who has received two Grammy Awards, both for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals: in 1992 for "The Whiskey Ain't Workin'," a duet with Marty Stuart, and again in 1998 for "Same Old Train", a collaboration with Stuart and nine other artists, and who has received four awards from the Country Music Association, and has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1992, may have always had his musical style defined by mainstream country and Southern rock influences, but wow, what a career - and what a man, in general (as anyone who's ever met him).

Having released The Calm After... (2013), here in 2016 we now get a really wonderful double act of music and visual Tritt entertainment (although sold separately) on A Man And His Guitar, Live From The Franklin Theatre. Sold as a 2-CD set or a lovely DVD, the new musical performance package showcases one of the worlds greatest country stars, alone, perched on a stool, solo with his guitar, and still at his best.

Disc 1: 1. “It’s All About the Money” (Donny Kees, Jody Harris) 2. “Where Corn Don’t Grow” (Mark Alan Springer, Roger Murrah) 3. “The Pressure Is On” (Hank Williams, Jr.) 4. “I’m Gonna Be Somebody” (Jill Colucci, Stewart Harris) 5. “Lord Have Mercy on the Working Man” [with James Otto] (Kostas) 6. “Country Club” (Catesby Jones, Dennis Lord) 7. “Country Ain’t Country” (Carson Chamberlain, Casey Beatherd, Teresa Boaz) 8. “500 Miles Away From Home” (Bobby Bare, Charles Williams, Hedy West) 9. “Here’s a Quarter” (Travis Tritt) 10. “Best of Intentions” (Travis Tritt) 11. “Drift Off to Dream” (Travis Tritt, Stewart Harris) 12. “Help Me Hold On” (Travis Tritt, Pat Terry)

Disc 2: 1. “Whiskey Ain’t Workin’” [with Marty Stuart] (Ronny Scaife, Marty Stuart) 2. “Pickin’ at It” [with Marty Stuart] (Travis Tritt) 3. “Come and Go Blues” (Gregg Allman) 4. “Anymore” (Travis Tritt, Jill Colucci) 5. “I Walk the Line” (Johnny Cash) 6. “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way” (Waylon Jennings) 7. “A Long Time Ago” (Waylon Jennings, Shel Silverstein) 8. “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” (Patsy Bruce, Ed Bruce) 9. “Lone Wolf” (Hank Williams, Jr.) 10. “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive” (Darrell Scott) 11. “T-R-O-U-B-L-E” (Jerry Chestnut) 12. “Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde” (Walt Aldridge, James LeBlanc)

"Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome, Travis Tritt" are the words that open the recording, and after a subtle, quietly acknowledged "Thank you" back from Tritt, he settles onto his stool and eases into "It's All About The Money", which he backs up with both "Where Corn Don't Grow" and "The Pressure Is On".

As the album title reveals, the shows was recorded at the Franklin Theatre in Franklin, Tenn., during an unplugged solo concert for all his fans. A Man and His Guitar brings forth more hits and favorite album tracks, such as "I'm Gonna Be Somebody", "300 Miles away From Home", "Help Me Hold On", and even some brilliant covers such as "I Walk The Line" and a stunning Waylon Tribute Medley.

Also including personal stories from Tritt about his life and influences, and what he has learned during his long and successful career in the country music world, we get to listen to Marty Stuart joining Tritt on the second CD. Joining him on such songs as “Pickin’ at It” as well as for “Whiskey Ain’t Workin’,” James Otto also helps out on “Lord Have Mercy on the Working Man.”

A nicely balanced release of 24 tracks together with Tritt's still remarkable voice sounding as great as ever, means that A Man And His Guitar, Live At The Franklin Theatre is one of those albums that quickly becomes addictive listening. More than that, you'll beg for it to be on vinyl, for this album fully deserves to be an LP - just to hear it on a turntable, man, now that's what I want for Christmas!

Travis Tritt @ Twitter!

Travis Tritt @ Facebook!

Title - 'Unplugged - Live at Muhle Hunziken' [CD/DVD]
Artist - Philipp Fankhauser & Margie Evans

For those not in the know, Philipp Manuel Fankhauser is a Swiss blues musician and songwriter. Indeed, several of his albums have charted in the top ten of the Swiss hit parade, such as Love Man Riding, which peaked at No. 7, Home, which peaked at No. 2, Try My Love, which peaked at No. 3, and even this brand new collaborative live album with Margie Evans, which peaked at No. 4.

Released in February 2016, this incredible album Unplugged - Live at Mühle Hunziken is a joyful reunion between two musical souls who have grown up in awe of each other. Indeed, Evans even agreed to be a guest star on his first album, the self-titled Philipp Fankhauser.

This CD (and DVD) set was recorded over three sold-out nights at the famed Mühle Hunziken in Rubigen, Switzerland and showcases two immense musical talents at the top of their collective games.

1. "If You Ain't Been to Houston" (Live) - Philipp Fankhauser
2. "Going to Dallas" (Live) - Philipp Fankhauser
3. "Too Little Too Late" (Live) - Philipp Fankhauser
4. "Try My Love" (Live) - Philipp Fankhauser
5. "Home Town (Thun)" [Live] - Philipp Fankhauser
6. "I Got a Love" (Live) - Philipp Fankhauser
7. "Love Man Riding" (Live) - Philipp Fankhauser
8. "God Bless the Child" (Live) - Margie Evans
9. "Drowning in the Sea of Love" (Live) - Margie Evans
10. "I'll Be Around" (Live) - Margie Evans
11. "Stop & Forgive" (Live) - Margie Evans
12. "Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You" (Live) - Philipp Fankhauser
13. "Everyday I Have the Blues" (Live) - Philipp Fankhauser
14. "Time for Christ" (Live) - Margie Evans
15. "Members Only" (Live) - Philipp Fankhauser

The performance(s)-to-have-been-at concert begins with Fankhauser on "If You Ain't Been to Houston", which he blends smoothly into both ""Going to Dallas" and the soul-searching, heart wrenching "Too Little Too Late". "Try My Love" is then followed by the upbeat, slow blues funk of "Home Town (Thun)", and next come both "I Got a Love" and "Love Man Riding".

A stunning performance of "God Bless the Child" is backed by "Drowning in the Sea of Love", which has its very own old school Motown feel to it; which I found to be delightful. A stand out track here on an album chock full of gems, that's backed by the slow Gospel ballad "I'll Be Around". Complete with soul searching lyrics, that's followed by "Stop & Forgive", before the fun these two have back and forth on "Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You" comes to the fore. One of my own personal favorites here, in truth, their playful tit-for-tat's of adoration and love for one another are perfect.

That's backed by the uptempo, finger-snappin' smokey jazz club feel of "Everyday I Have the Blues", which in turn is followed by the piano-led Evans solo, "Time for Christ". Fankhauser then brings the musical roadshow to a close with an exquisite "Members Only" ("Don't being your check book, bring your broken heart. It's members only tonight"), which rounds this album off perfectly.

The DVD has all those aforementioned tracks on it and also lovingly adds three bonus tracks: The throaty, deep down torment of "Trouble Trouble" is breathtaking, as is the duet with Fankhauser on the Evans-led "Let's Straighten It Out". The other track, and indeed the actual show closer on the DVD is "Nature Song (Life's Rainbow)" and the DVD even has a Special Feature with regard a Behind the Scenes look at both artists and the show.

A nicely balanced release of 15 album tracks (with regard the CD), together with both Fankhauser and Evans' vocals sounding as great as ever, means that Unplugged - Live at Muhle Hunziken is one of those albums that quickly becomes addictive listening. More than that, you'll beg for it to be on vinyl, for this album fully deserves to be an LP - just to hear it on a turntable, man, now that's what I want for Christmas!

Margie Evans, vocals - Philipp Fankhauser, vocals and acoustic guitar - Marco Jencarelli, acoustic guitar - Hendrix Ackle, acoustic piano and Wurlitzer - Angus Thomas, acoustic bass - Richard Spooner, drums - Lukas Thoeni, trumpet and flugelhorn - Thomi Geiger, tenor saxophone.

'Unplugged' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'The First Of A Million Kisses: Expanded Edition'
Artist - Fairground Attraction

For those not in the know, Fairground Attraction were a British folk and soft rock band. They are best known for their hit song 'Perfect' and the subsequent single 'Find My Love', and for helping to launch the career of lead vocalist Eddi Reader.

Based around the brilliant songwriting of founder Mark Nevin and the remarkable voice of Reader, Fairground Attraction established themselves overnight as one of the UK's most popular bands of the late 1980s with the release of the classic single 'Perfect' and it's parent (and only) album The First Of A Million Kisses - 1989's Brit Awards Album Of The Year.

The First Of A Million Kisses is now reissued and expanded (oh boy, is it ever expanded) this January 16th, 2017 via Cherry Red Records (UK). Including nine (9) previously unreleased recordings - four previously unreleased songs and five demos - and eight (8) other non-album tracks only previously issued on long out of print Live In Japan release, this 2-CD set is a must-have for all fans of the band.

Compiled with songwriter and bandleader Mark Nevin the sleeve notes include interviews with both Mark Nevin and singer Eddi Reader. Inclusive also of a bunch of rarely-heard 7" single B-sides (remember them!), this immense, and highly warranted 2-CD collection begins gently with the soothing sway of 'A Smile In A Whisper' and backs it with the aforementioned number one hit single, 'Perfect'. The finger-snappin' song that reached number one on the UK Singles Chart in 1988, even today when listened back to is as fresh-sounding, as joyous, as vibrant, as hopeful as it was back all those years ago.

The lovely, Irish storytelling behind 'Moon On The Rain' is next and is followed by both subtle mid-tempo 'Find My Love' and then the song from whence their name originated, 'Fairground Attraction'. The vocal range of Reader is brought to the fore on the beautiful 'The Wind Knows My Name', which is backed by the upbeat, New Orleans jazz flow of 'Clare', the laid back memories of 'Comedy Waltz', and then both another finger-snappin' track in 'The Moon Is Mine' and the slow burn of 'Station Street'. Next up, and rounding out the original album, are the love story pairing of both 'Whispers' and 'Allelujah'.

Bringing together a unique blend of folk, jazz, country, and cajun elements, and inclusive of ten songs intended for its follow-up (for, and sadly, this was the only album released by the band before their break-up in 1990), the bonus tracks on the first disc continue the Fairground Attraction vibe just perfectly. First we get 'Falling Backwards', then comes the beautiful 'Mythology', before the family struggles brought forth within 'Trying Times'. One of my own personal favorites is the upbeat, Latinesque vibe of 'Winter Rose' where the instruments are given the floor, Reader's vocals acting much like backing vocals.

For 'Ay Fond Kiss' we get back to the ethereal vocal performance stance from Reader, before heading into 'You Send Me', the guitar-flirty 'Watching the Party'. The first disc is this incredible double album then comes to a close with the haunting medieval lyrical flirtation of 'Jock O' Hazeldean' and then the slow blues and snare drum appeal of 'The Game of Love'.

The second disc opens with the under-two-minutes long, almost solo acoustic 'Mystery Train', before heading into a stunning Beatles cover, 'Do You Want to Know a Secret?' Wow, what a delightfully beautiful, just perfect rendition it is and not one I'd ever heard from them before now. Next up is a live snapshot of the band from their Japan dates ('The Waltz Continues', 'Don't Be a Stranger', 'Dangerous', 'I Know Why the Willow Weeps', 'Home to Heartache', 'Fear Is the Enemy of Love', 'Broken By a Breeze', 'Goodbye to Songtown' - before a select run of Demo's are loving remastered for our listening pleasure.

With their collective instrumentation mainly acoustic, but in part inclusive of a double bass and basic, non-intrusive rhythmic percussion, all overlaid by Nevin's tight, clean and distinctive guitar solos, those kick off with 'I May Never Be Queen', 'Prayer To St Valentine', 'Swing Trumpet' and then ebb seamlessly into 'Red Ribbon', 'Find My Love', 'Mythology' and 'Station Street'. This 19 track second disc then comes to a close with both 'The Moon Is Mine' and a stunning cover of American country music artist Patsy Cline's recorded 'Walking After Midnight (Version)'.

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Title - 'Naked Radio'
Artist - Pink Fairies

For those not in the know, the Pink Fairies are an English rock band initially active in the London (Ladbroke Grove) underground and psychedelic scene of the early 1970s. They promoted free music, drug taking and anarchy and often performed impromptu gigs and other agitprop stunts, such as playing for free outside the gates at the Bath and Isle of Wight pop festivals in 1970, as well as appearing at Phun City, the first Glastonbury and many other free festivals including Windsor and Trentishoe.

Well, the wait for something new from the legendary Pink Fairies is now over, because they are releasing their brand new album - the first in over three decades - this January. Entitled Naked Radio and released via Gonzo Multimedia, it is the first studio recording by the majority of this line-up of the band since Kill Em and Eat Em in 1987.

Fronted by Andy Colquhoun, who shared guitar duties with Larry Wallis on this album and was also the legendary late Mick Farren’s long-time MD and collaborator in The Deviants, the band reformed in 2013. Joining Andy on guitar and echoing their original twin drummer line-up, is George Butler from the “Previously Unreleased” EP replacing the long-departed John Alder. Also featured is Brighton chanteuse and percussionist Jaki Windmill.

Indeed, the Pink Fairies also played a selected number of UK shows through 2014 and 2015 and now much to the excitement of Pink Fairies fans worldwide, the new album Naked Radio - which was brought together via a Pledge Music campaign - is now available to order.

1. Golden Bud
2. The Hills Are Burnin'
3. Runnin' Outa Road
4. When the Movie's All Thru
5. I Walk Away
6. You Lied to Me
7. Midnite Crisis
8. Stopped at the Border
9. Spellbound
10. Down to the Wire
11. Skeleton Army
12. Mick
13. Naked Radio
14. Deal Deal

In truth, this brand new album (their fifth studio album) from the Pink Fairies could also be simply construed as one mighty acid drop flashback to an era of music long gone, but it is so much more than that. For it is also a must-have for all true lovers of music. It is heartfelt, it is raw, and it is, for the most part, a musical showcase that defies time.

Having played a lot of these tracks live back in 2015 and 2016, the band have also fully admitted that out of all 14 of the tracks they like the title track 'Naked Radio' the best. And, to be quite fair, it does stand out as being one of the more fully rounded from the quintet.

Inclusive of three songs culled from the late Mick Farren-written lyrics - 'Naked Radio', 'Skeleton Army' and ' When the Movie's All Thru' (sung by Andy Colquhoun) - it's been 45 years since their very first studio album, nearly 30 years since their last album, and, well, it's as if they never left the recording studio. Sure their sound might not be as hectic as it once was, especially in the drumming department, but the Pink Fairies still know how to recreate a musical moment in time here on Naked Radio.

Drummer Russell Hunter has also admitted he doesn't think there will ever be another Pink Fairies album after this one so my advice would be to buy this new album, hopefully on its pink vinyl 2LP set via Pledge Music, put the needle down, and just let the wondrous spirit of upbeat, good-time rock and roll-fused psychedelia '70s sounds all sink (back) in.

'Naked Radio' - Official Video

Pledge Music Campaign Link

Title - 'NOW That's What I Call Music! Vol. 61'
Artist - Various

As expected as both snow and sun (well, at least here in Michigan) on a yearly basis, the world's best-selling, multi-artist series NOW That's What I Call Music! is back with its 61st edition. Although, if truth be told, the idea was stolen / borrowed from the UK, as they are on about their 90th version of the series, it just means they are now older than the US, that's all! [Which, in general, we all already knew!]

All that malarkey aside, 'NOW That's What I Call Music! 61' is yet another jam-packed 16 track party animal, including chart dance floor and ballad hits from THE biggest stars to hit our radios most recently. That and the fact that, as seems to be their own growing custom, Sony Music Entertainment have included as an added bonus six (6) new tracks from what they claim to be "hot up and coming artists!"

We kick-off with the BRILLIANT '24k Magic' from Bruno Mars, before heading into Maroon 5 featuring Kendrick Lamar's 'Don't Wanna Know', a cut that always gets me groovin' here in the office. Next up is 'Scars to Your Beautiful' from Alessia Cara, and that's backed by both 'Side To Side' from Arianna Grande featuring Nicki Minaj and DJ Snake featuring Justin Bieber on the highly addictive 'Let Me Love You'.

The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk with 'Starboy' is one of the true highlights here, and that's followed by 'Black Beatles' (Rae Sremmurd featuring Gucci Mane), 'Broccoli' (D.R.A.M. featuring Lil Yachty), and both 'Juju on that Beat' from Zay Hilfigerrr & Zayion McCall, and then the always-great-to-listen-to 'That's My Girl' from Fifth Harmony.

'All Time Low' from Jon Bellion is next, and that's backed by both 'In The Name Of Love' from Martin Garrix & Bebe Rexha and Hey Violet's fun rampage 'Guys My Age'. The massive hit single of the year 'Treat You Better' from the massive breakout artist of the year, Shawn Mendes is next, and then the hit parade comes to a close with both 'This Town' from Niall Horan and gnash featuring Olivia O'Brien on 'I Hate U, I Love U'.

The six (6) songs that now make up the end of this compilation, tracks that Sony Music Entertainment hope will be "tomorrow's biggest hits" are: Citizen Four with 'Testify', Dagny featuring BŘRNS on 'Fool's Gold', Jojo featuring Wiz Khalifa with the brilliant 'No Apologies', then come 'Burn Break Crash' (Aanysa X Snakehips), 'Alaska (Maggie Rogers), and the rather impressive 'Old School' from Urban Cone.

Title - 'NOW That's What I Call 90s Pop'
Artist - Various

This brand new CD collection of 'NOW That's What I Call 90s Pop' (not to be confused with the previously-released 'NOW That's What I Call The 90s' compilation from 2010, is a collection of what Sony believe to have been the best, brightest, longstanding with regard the chart test of life tracks by various artists.

Containing a superb mix of various well known, and oft times beloved pop songs from the 1990’s, this 18 song set is streamlined, sure, but at the same time just perfect to slip into your car CD player and let loose on - your roof top off, or simply all windows down.

We kick-off with one of the 90s all-time musical dancefloor champions, 'Gettin' Jiggy Wit It' from Will Smith, and that's backed by both '... Baby One More Time' from Britney Spears and then the stunning 'Genie In A Bottle' from Christina Aguilera.

Next up is Brandy & Monica's 'The Boy Is Mine' (more R&B flavored, but ok), and that is followed by 'Waterfalls' from TLC, 'Whatta Man' (from Salt-N-Pepa featuring En Vogue), 'Motownphilly' from Boyz II Men, and then both 'Posion' from Bell Bov Defoe and (a new one on me!) 'Rumpshaker' from Wreckx-N-Effect.

As you can see, this middle section of the release has definitely mined the R&B, Soul and Rap sections of the hit parade throughout that decade, and I can think of a whole bunch of other deserved, and real pop songs in said decade that could have replaced them, but Sony is stretching its wings far and wide over genres here to appease everyone - which I can understand, sure.

Next up is Bobby Brown's funky 'Humpin' Around' and that's backe dby one of the stand out tracks of that decade, let alone music in general, C+C Music Factory's mighty fine 'Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)'. Featuring Freedom Williams on vocals, it is still a massive song on the dance floor today.

Then comes 'This Is How We Do It' from Montell Jordan, before we leave that mid section of R&B, Soul and Rap for the more poppier side of the 90s, as Everything But The Girl's 'Missing (Todd Terry Remix) and Sheryl Crow's 'All I Wanna Do' (love the video for this track, due to her new hair style at that time) come forth.

The CD is then rounded out by the always-highly-fun, but quickly annoying 'MMMBop' from Hanson, Ricky Martin's brilliant Latin-flavored 'Livin' La Vida Loca', the New Kids On The Block with 'Step By Step', and then finally, bringing it all home just perfectly, the Backstreet Boys with 'I Want It That Way'.

Title - 'The Classics' [Sony Classical]
Artist - Hans Zimmer

For those not in the know, Hans Zimmer is a German composer and record producer. Since the 1980s, he has composed music for over 150 films. His works include The Lion King, for which he won Academy Award for Best Original Score in 1994, the Pirates of the Caribbean series, The Thin Red Line, Gladiator, The Last Samurai, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception, and Interstellar.

Indeed, Zimmer spent the early part of his career in the United Kingdom before moving to the United States. He is the head of the film music division at DreamWorks studios and works with other composers through the company that he founded, Remote Control Productions.

For his brand new release, aptly entitled 'The Classics', Zimmer along with his label, Sony Classical chose some well-known artists from their roster and had them join the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra for 12 “cues” – four minute or so pieces that formed themes in films like “Gladiator”, “The Dark Night”, “Man of Steel” (the Superman-related film without a John Williams score), “The Lion King” (the “This Land” theme, not the songs you hum), “Inception”, and “Interstellar”.

A daring, yet enterprising endeavor, whilst much of the music among the 12 tracks has a slow, classical rhythm, the excerpt from the “Interstellar” score builds and builds and then ... well, it abruptly ends! Being that it's actually also the last track on the album, it's much like the sound a recording would make if it ran out of tape!

A 58 minute journey into the mind, and soul of Hans Zimmer, 'The Classics' is an hours worth of pure, unadulterated, wordless music that - if you allow it to - will transport you through time and space. Also, it should be noted that the CD has an 8-page booklet, with three of the pages filled with brief notes on each track. Lovely.

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Rockeando El Pavimento'
Artist - Lujuria

Lujuria are one of the hardest working bands from Spain! Hitting the road once more with a full slate of shows starting in early 2017, Lujuria will be bringing their brand new and specialized brand of erotically charged metal to the stage to play live also.

Indeed, the espańol band Lujuria (translated “Lust”) who formed in 1993 last brought out a full-length album in 2012 entitled Sexurrección, so this new one Rockeando El Pavimento (out now on Cleopatra Records) has been long awaited, of that have no doubt.

The album kicks off in high flying guitar style with 'Autopista', which for me is quite easily one of my favorite tracks on the album. The pace, the energy is amazing and even though they sing in Spanish, you kinda know what they are trying to lyrically say regardless. The English-sung 'Feel So High' could have been recorded in the heyday of metal, it's just that good too, and that's backed by both 'Bar Whisky Bar' and the dark 'Cabaret 11 AM'

Next up is the funky 'Caceria' which is followed by '24', the ballad 'Down', and then both the early NY punk sounds of 'Dr. Brujo' and the fast-paced speeding train of 'Desertor'. Containing a touch of G N' R, next up is the playful hipsway of 'Intravenus', which is backed by the guitar-lickin' 'Ira'. This rich album is then rounded out by the pop rock of 'Ritual', the thunderous rock of 'Viernes Oscuro' and then finally the scream and shout of 'Voltios'.

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Burston'
Artist - Segregates

OK, for those not in the know, Segregates are a power trio (Smell - Bass; Dr. J. Horn - Guitar; and Filthy Deviant Bilo - Drum) out of the UK (York, if you would like to be more precise) whose debut album is a perfect fit for fans of Motörhead, punk, and chaos! Indeed, the band have already shared the stage with longtime Motörhead guitarist Phil Campbell!

This incredible, and I don't use that word lightly here, Motörhead-inspired band/debut album kicks off with the ferocious 'Segreates', which is followed by the rock-pop metal sound of 'Rock 'N' Roll' and then the bass-led pairing of both 'Living Nightmare' and 'Miss 'B' Havin'.

The thunderous, and guitar-heavy 'Let Battle Commence' is one of my own personal favorites out of the eleven, but then it backs it up with another brilliant, enthusiastic track in 'Traitor Collaborator'. With a vibrating depth of bass line and some controlled speed drumming we next get 'Sweet Vengeance' and with none of the tracks being that long, 'Stay Awake' and 'Step Aside' are quickly up next.

The power chords never stop, the Motörhead vibe as strong, as honorable as it was at the start, and so it's no surprise to learn that 'No Regrets' sounds like its straight out of the Lemmy songbook from back in the day. Truly, no word of a lie. Just listen to it yourselves. Then both 'Turn It Loose' and the album closer, an actual Motörhead cover of 'Riding With The Driver' featuring Tim Atkinson on bass round out the musical adventure.

Trust me, once this album has finished, especially that last track, if you don't reach for your Motörhead vinyl LPs and throw them on, inspired by Segregates' incredible likeness, well, Lemmy will judge you thereafter, sorry!

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Before I Forget: Expanded Edition'
Artist - Jon Lord

For those not in the know, and shame on you if you fall into that category, Jon Lord was an English composer, pianist, and Hammond organ player known for his pioneering work in fusing rock with classical or baroque forms, especially with Deep Purple, as well as Whitesnake, Paice Ashton Lord, The Artwoods, and The Flower Pot Men.

In 1968, Lord co-founded Deep Purple, a hard rock band of which he was regarded as the leader until 1970. Together with the other members, he collaborated on most of his band's most popular songs. He and drummer Ian Paice were the only continuous presence in the band during the period from 1968 to 1976, and also from when it was reestablished in 1984 until Lord's retirement from Deep Purple in 2002.

Following Deep Purple's split in 1976, Lord joined Whitesnake for their 1978 debut Trouble. Personally, Lord's time, along with drummer Cozy Powell has always been my favorite era of Whitesnake. I saw them live twice back in the UK with both Lord and Powell and Neil Murray and Bernie Marsden all combining to ensure that Coverdale's vocals were backed by an undercurrent of blues rock. It was an incredible time for the band, for the artists, and well before all that MTV pop-video song nonsense!

Anyway, I digress for Before I Forget was originally released on Harvest Records in June 1982, at around the very same time that Lord was moonlighting from said gig with Whitesnake. Featuring a highly impressive cast of supporting musicians, including Whitesnake's aforementioned Bernie Marsden and Neil Murray on guitar and bass respectively, drumming legends Ian Paice (Deep Purple and Whitesnake), the aforementioned drum God Cozy Powell (Jeff Beck, Rainbow, Whitesnake, MSG & Black Sabbath) and Simon Philips (Judas Priest, Jeff Beck, MSG, Mike Oldfield and Toto), Before I Forget has now been digitally remastered and turned into an Expanded Edition via Cherry Red Records in the UK.

1. 'Chance on a Feeling'
2. 'Tender Babes'
3. 'Hollywood Rock and Roll'
4. 'Bach Onto This'
5. 'Before I Forget'
6. 'Say It's All Right'
7. 'Burntwood'
8. 'Where Are You?'
9. 'Going Home (7" B-Side)'
10. 'Ravel's Pavane (Outtake)'
11. 'Bach Onto This (7" Single Edit)'
12. 'Lady'
13. 'For a Friend'

Before I Forget is an incredible album, featuring a largely conventional eight-song line-up, no orchestra, no huff no puff. In truth, the bulk of the songs are either mainstream rock tracks or, specifically on the vinyl flip side, a series of very English classical piano ballads (sung by mother and daughter duo, Vicki Brown and Sam Brown - wife and daughter of entertainer Joe Brown) along with vocalist Elmer Gantry.

The album starts with the free flowing Hammond Organ delight 'Chance On A Feeling' that showcases all that Lord was musically good at in one easy-going moment. The atmospheric 'Tender Babes' (especially at the start) is a cross between Christchurch at Dawn and a day out at a Renaissance Festival, and that's backed by the oh-so funky 'Hollywood Rock and Roll'. One of my own personal favorites here, the track is just a delight to hear and replay over and over.

'Bach Onto This' is the most orchestrated of any of the tracks, his Hammond organ playing taking him, and us to whole new levels of appreciation and wonderment. The longest track also, at a staggering eight minutes, it is backed by the title track itself, 'Before I Forget'. More gentle, forlorn piano work than electronic Hammond, Lord's soul is opened up on this cut, of that have no doubt. As aforementioned, this vinyl flip side tones down all that Hammond key play, especially here on 'Say It's All Right', his duet with Vicky Brown.

'Burntwood' is not like the others, as they say, for it is a stirring, sea swept encounter with Earth as could only ever be musically visualized through the eyes of Lord himself. From the very first key stroke to it's illuminating end, the track is one of the ages. The original album then comes to a close with 'Where Are You?' which features, in a renowned way also, not just my humble opinion, one of the best piano ballads ever. Containing a truly beautiful melody along with guest vocalist Elmer Gantry, it's a stunning way to bring the album to a close.

This Expanded Edition of Before I Forget continues onward with 'Going Home' (7" B-Side), a rather upbeat, soaring, and at times funky cut that shows us just how good B-Sides really were back in the day (FYI: It was the B-Side to 'Bach Onto This'). Myself, I loved B-Sides, for not many people ever flipped over their prized 7" single more than once to hear what else said artist might have had to say. Next up is the a beautiful, oh my God so beautiful 'Ravel's Pavane' (Outtake) which is as breathtakingly mesmerizing to listen to today as I'm sure it was back then.

Next up is 'Bach Onto This' (7" Single Edit), the delightfully playful 'Lady', and then this wonderful Before I Forget: Expanded Edition comes to a close with the near seven minute long piano ballad 'For A Friend.' Haunting as much as it is beautiful, the track is a true gem in and unto itself and fully deserves to be the culminating track here on this Expanded Edition.

FYI: The full color booklet contains contemporary photos from the release of the album and liner notes from bassist Neil Murray.

'Before I Forget: Expanded Edition' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Midnight Highway'
Artist - Quinn Sullivan

For those not in the know, and shame on you if you fall into that category, Quinn Sullivan is a 17 year-old American singer and guitarist from New Bedford, Massachusetts. He began taking guitar lessons at age three and went on to study his chosen profession with Brian Cass of The Overclock Orchestra and the Toe Jam Puppet Band as well as Stan Belmarce.

Indeed, the first original song he wrote with Chris Waters was titled "Sing, Dance, Clap Your Hands" which gave him the platform to garner his very first national media attention at age six when he appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Things just got better and better for him as next he was asked by Buddy Guy to come up on stage and play during a performance at the Zeiterion Theater in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 2007.

His incredible ride didn't end there for Quinn then made a guest appearance on Buddy Guy's Grammy-nominated album Skin Deep. Released in 2008, his solo can be heard on the track “Who's Gonna Fill Those Shoes."

Along with having performed on stage with Buddy Guy as well, in July of 2009 he performed alongside B.B. King and in July of that same year he appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show. He was also featured on NBC's The Today Show. Later that same year he opened for Buddy Guy on his East Coast tour, played his own set at the summer music festival Lollapalooza, and even had a slot on the Austin City Limits Festival that October.

His single, 'Summer of Love,' was released in 2009 with his debut album, Cyclone having come out in February 2011. He went on tour in the summer of that year with Buddy Guy to promote it. Going on to play such venues as both Austin City Limits Music Festival and BB King's Blues Club in New York City in 2011, he released his sophomore album Getting There in 2013, and now has brought out his third album, Midnight Highway via Provogue Records here in 2017.

Having listened to the previous two albums, it's easy to note that Quinn's songwriting and vocal delivery have both cultivated themselves, for the opening track 'Something For Me' is as raw, as down and dirty (vibe wise) as anything he's brought forth. The pop sense of 'Tell Me I'm Not Dreaming' runs in the opposite direction to that lead track, and that's backed by the dreamy mid-tempo guitar, title track ballad 'Midnight Highway.'

Some uptempo fun comes to the fore next in 'Crazy Into You', which actually manages to stand out here very nicely amongst a 13 track album of various lyrical strengths. The gentle guitar playing of 'Eyes For You' is an album filler, and 'Lifting Off' sounds like a '90s track from an up and coming British band. Another slow ballad is next in the form of 'She Gets Me', which is itself followed by the much better uptempo guitar fest 'Rocks', before we're back into ballad territory with 'Going.'

As you might well be able to distinguish for yourselves right around this point, Quinn seems to love his ballad abilities, and that's just fine, truly, but they are just storming the castle here - too many at too frequent a-times. For my money, and also from the words spoken to me by others that tuned into this CD listening experience here in the office, Quinn finds his musical mark on the blues rock sounds - both vocally and guitar wise. He is just so much more notably at home on those upbeat tracks, much more so than the contrived balladeer work.

Next up, and to prove my point, the brilliantly funky 'Graveyard Stone' picks the album off the floor and breathes life back into it, but that doesn't last for long as the piano-led 'Big Sky' instantly quietens things right back down again. A lovely track, sure, no question, but sandwiched between the rock of 'Graveyard Stone' and a (vocally stunning) cover of George Harrison's 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps', it's just an odd placement choice. The album then rounds out with some stand alone showcasing guitar work on 'Buffalo Nickel'.

Produced by multiple Grammy winner Tom Hambridge, who also does double duty as Quinn's studio and road drummer, this third album will stand the test of time, sure, but when Buddy Guy tells you to "go for it", well, I'm guessing he means take the genre by the tail and swing it as hard and as fast as possible to see what spills out! Quinn has still yet to do that here on Midnight Highway, but the signs are good that if he can follow through on Guy's words, that his future recordings will be taken very seriously.

'Midnight Highway' CD / LP / MP3 Purchase Links

Title - 'Womack Style'
Artist - Binky Womack

For those not in the know, and shame on you if you fall into that category, Womack Style is the latest album project from Binky Womack, a member of one of the most iconic music families of all time.

Binky has his own studio in Burbank, California (The Ear Hole Recording Studio) and acts as a producer to many top line artists. He also has a publishing company, Bindelari Music, which is represented by World Domination Music for the world excluding North America. Bindelari is also the vehicle for new acts such as Jae, as well as Binky's own material.

The majority of the songs found here on the eclectic Womack Style are originals by Binky. And so, with all instruments being played by him and overall production in his hands, this is truly “Womack Style” music.

First up is the hard funk groove of 'Sunday Morning', and that's followed by both the smooth R&B flow of 'Just Enough' and the methodical, staggered vocal harmonies of 'Nobody Loves Me Like You'. The rock edge of 'Me and My Guitar', a track that allows Binky to slip easily into other genres of music other than his comfort zone is next.

'Malibu Nights' recounts romantic nights with the sand beneath their feet, whilst the R&B, finger-clicking late night soul of 'Love Addict' shows yet another side to Binky. That's followed by both 'Must Be Nice' and then the hipsway sing-along 'When You're Wrong'.

Another superb showcase for Binky's voice, that's backed by my own personal favorite track on this album, the stunning, simply stunning 'Gravity'. The soulful R&B ballad 'I'm In Love' is next, and then the album comes to a close with a raucous pair of guitar-led, and uber pumped tracks: 'Love Is' and then, backed by some pulsating guitar work, 'Put Something Down on It'.

'Womack Style' CD Purchase Link

Binky Womack @ Twitter!

Title - 'Three Worlds: Music From Woolf Works'
Artist - Max Richter

For those not in the classical know, Max Richter is a German-born, British composer who has spearheaded a renewed interest in neo-classical composition and the convergence of contemporary classical and alternative popular musical styles since the early 2000s.

Richter is classically trained, having graduated in composition from the Royal Academy of Music and studied with Luciano Berio in Italy, but he is influenced equally by punk and popular forms of electronic music.

One of my favorite Richter albums was The Blue Notebooks, which was his second solo album (2004), and where that lay somewhere between minimal music, movie soundtracks, ambient and trip-hop, two years back the acclaimed British composer then brought forth a new landmark recording: Sleep. If you recall, the entire album is eight hours long (ie: the equivalent of a nights rest) and is genuinely intended to send the listener to sleep. "It's an eight-hour lullaby," said its composer, Richter.

Now the uber talented Richter brings us yet another incredible musical outing with Three Worlds: Music From Woolf Works via Deutsche Grammophon. His eighth solo album, Three Worlds presents the sort of compositions we've come to expect: a perfect blend of neo-classical and ambient, with electronics scattered throughout. But this time around, the album structure feels more coherent, more ordered than past efforts.

Perhaps this is because the music was written for a ballet that is centered around three of Virginia Woolf's novels. Regardless, Three Worlds is the sort of album that requires a listen-through from beginning to end. It passes through classical pieces of yearning to apprehensive electronics and concludes in the titanic closing track, which clocks in around 20 minutes too short (in my own humble opinion, of course).

In closing, Three Worlds: Music From Woolf Works has been found to be rather excellent for relaxing around my home and even calming the atmosphere in my office at work. Richter's music is very mellow, soft, and easy to just drift off to. Consisting mostly of piano and strings, the music has a calming effect within it's simplicity. Others here in the aforementioned office have made comparisons to Michael Nyman and I would most certainly agree.

Title - 'Philip Glass: Piano Works'
Artist - Víkingur Ólafsson

For those not in the classical know, Philip Glass is an American composer and is considered one of the most influential music makers of the late 20th century.

Glass's compositions have been described as minimal music, similar to other "minimalist" composers including La Monte Young, Steve Reich and Terry Riley. However, Glass has described himself instead as a composer of "music with repetitive structures", which he has helped evolve stylistically.

Víkingur Ólafsson is much sought-after by international conductors, orchestras and artists as both a chamber and concert musician. Now 32, he graduated in 2008 from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Robert McDonald, and has since released three albums on Dirrindí, the label he set up in 2009.

Last year he contributed two solo piano pieces and the Valse des fleurs for piano four hands to Deutsche Grammophon’s 30-CD Stravinsky Complete Edition. Ólafsson is also Artistic Director of the annual Reykjavík Midsummer Music festival, which he founded in 2012, and last year took over from Martin Fröst as curator of Sweden’s Vinterfest.

Now out via Deutsche Grammophon is an incredible set of works from Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson, Philip Glass: Piano Works. Having signed an exclusive agreement with Ólafsson, Deutsche Grammophon had already announced they were looking to aid him in bringing out a wide "range of innovative recording projects" and this one most definitely falls squarely within that statement.

Phillip Glass: Piano Works is book-ended by two pieces from the Glassworks suite. As one listens to the opening track entitled "Openings", it is immediately clear that this is not your ordinary classical piano solo material. Instead it feels more abstract, definitely modern. Can classical music be modern? Absolutely. The album's closing track is confusingly also titled "Openings", and in fact is a reworked version of the same piece, this time featuring the Siggi String Quartet.

The 11 remaining tracks are from various "Etudes", and all but one is just Ólafsson. That one other track is "Etude No. 2" (track 3) and is, again a reworked version (by Christian Badzura) that also features the Siggi String Quartet. Complete with 13 tracks and a running time of @ 79 minutes, Philip Glass: Piano Works is a pure delight from start to finish. Well harnessed and restrained at just the right moments, this album of Philip Glass piano solos by one of the rising stars in the classical music world is a must have for any discerning collector of such musical ilks.

Title - 'Renée Fleming: Distant Light'
Artist - Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra & S. Oramo

For those not in the classical know, the uber talented Renée Fleming is an American opera singer and soprano whose repertoire encompasses Richard Strauss, Mozart, Handel, bel canto, lieder, French opera and chansons, jazz and indie rock.

Fleming has a full lyric soprano voice and has performed coloratura, lyric, and lighter spinto soprano operatic roles in Italian, German, French, Czech, and Russian, aside from her native English. She also speaks fluent German and French, along with limited Italian.

Her signature roles include Countess Almaviva in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, Desdemona in Verdi's Otello, Violetta in Verdi's La traviata, the title role in Dvořák's Rusalka, the title role in Massenet's Manon, the title role in Massenet's Thaďs, the title role in Richard Strauss's Arabella, the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier, and the Countess in Capriccio.

This delightful, vibrant new release Distant Light finds her drive early on by placing her mark on Samuel Barber's "Knoxville: Summer of 1915, op 24" (which at just over 15 minutes, was actually composed for another soprano in the mid 1950s), then flows beautifully into several compositions that truly sound composed specifically for her.

These are Anders Hillborg's "The Strand Setting" (20 minutes) and they truly allow Fleming to showcase her incredible musical attributes. Her voice is so professionally supported by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and Sakamo Oramo. Indeed, and at this stage of her career, why not, but she seems so comfortable with herself and this improves the richness of her voice.

This stunningly-crafted album then rounds out with some classical arrangements of contemporary works from, of all unexpected artists, Björk. Taking on three of the Icelandic singer, songwriter, producer, DJ, and actress's works, she begins with "Virus", then comes "Jóga" (a stunning track in its own right, and the first single from her 1997 album Homogenic), and ends with "All Is Full of Love".

Fleming's artistic freedom to explore so much on one recording is stand up and applaud fantastic and the fact that Decca continually allows her (or commissions her even) is tantamount to creative genius - on both their parts.

Title - 'J. S. Bach: The Six Keyboard Partitas'
Artist - Charles Owen

For those not in the classical know, The Six Keyboard Partitas, BWV 825–830, are a set of six harpsichord suites written by Johann Sebastian Bach, published from 1726 to 1730 as Clavier-Übung I, and the first of his works to be published under his direction. They were, however, among the last of his keyboard suites to be composed, the others being the six English Suites, BWV 806-811 and the six French Suites, BWV 812-817.

In keeping with a nineteenth-century naming tradition that labelled Bach's first set of Suites English and the second French, the Partitas are sometimes referred to as the German Suites. This title, however, is a publishing convenience; there is nothing particularly German about the Partitas.

In comparison with the two earlier sets of suites, the Partitas are by far the most free-ranging in terms of structure. Unlike the English Suites, for example, wherein each opens with a strict prelude, the Partitas feature a number of different opening styles including an ornamental Overture and a Toccata.

OK, history lesson now over, here on J. S. Bach: The Six Keyboard Partitas (a 2CD set, out now thru AVIE Records), Pianist Charles Owen takes it upon himself to breathe new life into these Partitas' - and, it has to be said, the man recognized as one of the finest British pianists of his generation undertakes a task that he also shines throughout on.

With an extensive series of performances and recordings to his name, Owen is one of those rare pianists who plays all he undertakes in a manner that denotes his passion to his craft in stunning gravitas. “I have only once in my life listened to all six Partitas played on a single evening, [and] the sense of a journey, of being on a pilgrimage, was extraordinary.” So says pianist Charles Owen regarding this set of compositions by J. S. Bach that are amongst the greatest literature for the keyboard.

CD 1 (70.02)
Partita No. 1 in B-Flat Major, BWV 825 (18.42)
1. I. Praeludium (1.57)
2. II. Allemande (3.17)
3. III. Corrente (2.55)
4. IV. Sarabande (5.26)
5. V. Menuets I & II (2.55)
6. VI. Gigue (2.14)

Partita No. 2 in C Minor, BWV 826 (19.48)
7. I. Sinfonia (4.34)
8. II. Allemande (4.22)
9. III. Courante (2.21)
10. IV. Sarabande (3.22)
11. V. Rondeaux (1.33)
12. VI. Capriccio (3.36)

Partita No. 4 in D Major, BWV 828 (30.51)
13. I. Ouverture (5.44)
14. II. Allemande (8.36)
15. III. Courante (3.14)
16. IV. Aria (2.11)
17. V. Sarabande (5.35)
18. VI. Menuet (1.33)
19. VII. Gigue (3.58)

CD 2 (72.58)
Partita No. 3 in A Minor, BWV 827 (19.47)
1. I. Fantasia (1.57)
2. II. Allemande (3.35)
3. III. Corrente (2.57)
4. IV. Sarabande (4.12)
5. V. Burlesca (2.26)
6. VI. Scherzo (1.15)
7. VII. Gigue (3.25)

Partita No. 5 in G major, BWV 829 (20.13)
8. I. Praeambulum (2.22)
9. II. Allemande (4.05)
10. III. Corrente (1.39)
11. IV. Sarabande (4.24)
12. V. Tempo di Minuetto (1.53)
13. VI. Passepied (1.43)
14. VII. Gigue (4.07)

Partita No. 6 in E Minor, BWV 830 (32.53)
15. I. Toccata (7.39)
16. II. Allemande (3.41)
17. III. Corrente (4.39)
18. IV. Air (1.21)
19. V. Sarabande (7.11)
20. VI. Tempo di Gavotta (2.13)
21. VII. Gigue (6.09)

Title - 'Rhapsodie: 20th-Century Clarinet Classics'
Artist - Todd Levy & Jeannie Yu

Grammy Award-winning clarinetist Todd Levy, who holds the principal chairs with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Santa Fe Opera, presents Rhapsodie: 20th-Century Clarinet Classics, an astonishing array of classic 20th century works for his instrument.

The rich palette of colors and immense versatility of the clarinet is on full display in impressionistic Debussy and Ravel, Cubanisto-style Bernstein, pastoral Finzi, the folk idioms of Bartok, klezmer inspiration by Bela Kovacs, blues-infected Libby Larsen and genre-bending Paquito DRivera.

Joined by Jeannie Yu, herself an uber talented soloist and collaborative artist who has performed on WQXR in New York, WOI in Des Moines, IPR in Interlochen, WFMT in Chicago, and numerous chamber music series such as the Northwestern University Winter Chamber Music Series, the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, Chamber Music North, Three Bridges Chamber Music Festival, Frankly Music Series, Chamber Music Milwaukee, MidSummers Music, and the Rembrandt Chamber Players Series in Chicago of which she is a member, and both Rene Izquierdo (guitar) and Elena Abend (piano), Rhapsodie: 20th-Century Clarinet Classics is an incredible album of music that all fans of such musical ilk need to rush out to buy, trust me.

Principal clarinetist Todd Levy's fluid tone and expressive phrasing is paramount, front and center throughout here and deservedly so. For on this brand new CD from AVIE Records, the classical music world gets yet another compelling amount of musical evidence that there is still life to be found in the old works - more so, if you have the right people to hand to bring it forth.

Title - 'Works by Franck, Kurtág, Previn, Schumann'
Artist - Augustin Hadelich and Joyce Yang

For those not in the classical know, Grammy Award-winner Augustin Hadelich has established himself as one of the great violinists of his generation. He has performed with every major orchestra in the U.S., many on numerous occasions, as well as an ever-growing number of major orchestras in the UK, Europe, and the Far East. He is consistently cited for his phenomenal technique, poetic sensitivity, and gorgeous tone.

Joyce Yang is a classical pianist who first gained international renown during the 2005 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, in which she was awarded the silver medal. Just 19 years old, Yang was the competition's youngest participant at the time and during the same competition, Joyce was also awarded both the Steven De Groote Memorial Award for Best Performance of Chamber Music, as well as the Beverley Taylor Smith Award for the Best Performance of a New Work.

Here on the just-released Works by Franck, Kurtág, Previn, Schumann both the Grammy Award-winning violinist Augustin Hadelich and superb Pianist Joyce Yang come together to produce a plethora of pyrotechnics and an abundance of musical imagination.

This unique recital program pairs two 19th-century repertory staples – Sonatas by Franck and Schumann – with 20th-century fare by Kurtág and Previn, a combination Augustin and Joyce have performed to widespread acclaim in their frequent joint performances.

André Previn (b.1929)
Tango Song and Dance
1. I. Tango: Passionately (5:20)
2. II. Song: Simply (4:41)
3. III. Dance: Jazz feeling (5:39)

Robert Schumann (1810–1856)
Sonata No.1 in A minor, Op.105
4. I. Mit leidenschaftlichem Ausdruck (7:35)
5. II. Allegretto (3:47)
6. III. Lebhaft (5:30)

György Kurtág (b.1926)
Tre Pezzi, Op.14e
7. Öd und traurig (3:13)
8. Vivo (1:16)
9. Aus der Ferne (2:29)

César Franck (1822–1890)
Sonata in A major
10. I. Allegretto ben moderato (6:01)
11. II. Allegro (8:16)
12. III. Ben moderato: Recitative-Fantasia (7:31)
13. IV. Allegretto poco mosso (6:02)

With a total running time of 67:27, Works by Franck, Kurtág, Previn, Schumann by Augustin Hadelich and Joyce Yang is one of those albums that, if you are in love with the musical ilk, will have you hitting replay every time the music climaxes. This album of classical revisions is just that good, trust me.

Title - 'Brahms: String Sextets, Live'
Artist - Cypress String Quartet

For those not in the classical know, the Cypress String Quartet are a professional classical chamber music ensemble founded in San Francisco, California in 1996.

Sadly though, the quartet - Cecily Ward, violin; Tom Stone, violin; Ethan Filner, viola; and Jennifer Kloetzel, cello - announced early in 2016 that they would be disbanding in the summer of that same year after 20 fulfilling years of performing together. Indeed, a Farewell Concert was presented by the Cypress at the Green Room of the War Memorial Building on June 26th, 2016.

As a culmination of the group’s work together, the Cypress’s recording of the complete Beethoven String Quartets was released on AVIE Records in May 2016, but now - and heralding the Cypress's 20th anniversary as well as the group's valedictory season (2016), AVIE Records has brought out Brahms: String Sextets, Live Recording that couples the Cypress along with both Barry Shiffman (viola) and Zuill Bailey (cello).

With this final album, the Cypress completes its remarkable legacy in an innovative flourish, recording the two Brahms Sextets in both high-resolution digital and analogue formats, live before a studio audience at Skywalker Sound, where they shared the Scoring Stage with the aforementioned long-time friends and collaborators Barry Shiffman (viola) and Zuill Bailey (cello).

For me, it's Ms. Jennifer Kloetzel that stand out here, for not only being noted for her elegant playing throughout her career, it's the way she digs deep, exploring each and every musical curve as if it were to be her last chance to. Cellist Kloetzel has concertized throughout the United States, Europe and Asia and being a founding member of the Cypress String Quartet, she, along with her band of merry men, bring forth on 'Brahms: String Sextets, Live Recording a stunning take on Johannes Brahms's "String Quartet No. 1 in B Flat Op. 18" and "String Quartet No. 2 in G Op. 36".

[For fans that want to go deeper into this recording, the CD booklet includes original Program Notes by Jan Swafford.]

Title - 'The St. James' Recital'
Artist - Stephen Tharp

For those not in the classical know, Stephen Tharp is an American organist, and has been notged as being "one of the most brilliant concert organists around these days."

Additionally, he has given masterclasses at Yale University, Westminster Choir College, Cleveland Institute of Music, and other venues, as well as served on jurys for competitions at Juilliard and Northwestern University. Tharp has recorded numerous CDs, including the complete organ works of Jeanne Demessieux, which won him the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik.

From 1995 to 1997, he was the organist at St. Patrick's Cathedral. From 1998 to 2002, he was Associate Organist at St. Bartholomew's. During the 2013/2014 season, he was Artist-in-Residence at the Grace Church in Manhattan.

In 2008, Tharp was appointed as the official organist for the New York visit of Pope Benedict XVI. Tharp is listed in the Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the World. He was also featured in a number of full programs on American Public Media's Pipedreams. In addition, he was awarded the 2011 International Performer of the Year by the New York City chapter of the American Guild of Organists.

In addition to being a composer and transcriber in his own right, Tharp is a frequent performer of modern works, having premiered works by Philip Moore, Anthony Newman, Thierry Escaich, and others.

Phew! Well, enough about the talented Mr. Tharp and let's get into his new recording now out via Acis Records, The St. James' Recital. An incredible recital that showcases the artist and his instrument (the magnificent Schoenstein organs at St James, Madison Avenue, New York City), along with Schoenstein & Co. Organs, the recording is simply magnificent.

1. Suite pour orgue, Op. 5: No. 3, Toccata (7:32)
2. Prelude on 'Iam Sol Recedit Igneus' (11:56)
3. Toccata and Fuga Sinfonica on B.A.C.H.: No. 1, Toccata (2:45)
4. Toccata and Fuga Sinfonica on B.A.C.H.: No. 2, Fuga (5:28)
5. Die Walkure, WWV 86B: "Wotan's Farewell" / "Magic Fire Music" (Arr. for Organ) (14:02)
6. Danse Diabolique (5:26)
7. Scherzo in G Minor, Op. 49: No. 2, Allegro (5:51)
8. La valse, M. 72 (11:39)

Being also that this is a World Premiere Live Recording, listening to The St. James' Recital takes on a whole new level of interest. From Marice Durufle's work of "Toccata", on to Richard Wagner's "Wotan's Farewell", through to both George Baker's "Danse Diabolique" and Maurice Ravel's album closing "La Valse", Tharp's musical magic is woven majestically throughout.

Title - 'Aida'
Artist - Aida Garifullina and Cornelius Meister and RSO

For those not in the classical know, Aida Garifullina is a Russian operatic soprano of Tatar origin. She was the winner of the 2013 Operalia competition and has featured in a number of productions staged at the Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg and the Wiener Staatsoper.

Indeed, Garifullina's career received a significant boost when she won first prize in the aforementioned Operalia 2013. At the contest, there were arias of Nanetta ("Falstaff"), Snow Maiden (the “Snow Maiden”), Susanna ("Le nozze di Figaro"), and Juliet ("Montagues and Capulets" Bellini). In October of that same year she was awarded the title "Honored Artist of the Republic of Tatarstan" and a Commendation Certificate of the President of the Republic of Tatarstan.

During 2013 and 2014 she was featured in a number of prominent performances, alongside the likes of Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo and Dmitry Hvorostovsky. In 2014 she performed at the Rosenblatt Recitals held at the Wigmore Hall, London and in 2015 she signed a recording contract with Decca Records.

Indeed, since the beginning of the 2014/2015 season, she has been an ensemble member of the Vienna State Opera. Her debut album of music, the self-titled Aida is a simply stunning work of musical art and showcases Aida's soaring vocals with tremendous clarity and smooth transition of notes. Simply put, this is an extraordinary album and deserves to be heard by lovers of classical music, of her, and of music in general.

Aida was just released on Feb 3rd, 2017 via Decca Records and includes music by Gonoud, Delibes, and from Russian composers Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov. With a running time of 58:51 it also includes music from anonymous composers and has Cornelius Meister as conductor along with the RSO-Wien symphonieorchester.

Personally, I first got introduced to Aida via her work on the 'Florence Foster Jenkins' soundtrack, where she performs a stunningly beautiful version of "Delibes: The Bell Song". [She ALSO portrayed the French-American soprano star Lily Pons in the film, for those playing along at home]. Oh, and for the record, actors Meryl Streep and Simon Helberg follow it up with their own version on that track-listing, but nothing beats Aida's version - sorry, Meryl.

In closing, it has to be noted that Aida Garifullina's vocals, looks, attitude are all top notch and here work here on Aida will make the hairs stand up on your arms. She is as equally talented as she is beautiful and commands that as much truth and verve are embroiled evenly within every note she brings forth, each and every time.

Title - 'Complete Recordings On Deutsche Grammophon'
Artist - Mstislav Rostropovich

For those not in the classical know, Mstislav Leopoldovich "Slava" Rostropovich was a Soviet and Russian cellist and conductor and considered to be one of the greatest cellists of the 20th century. In addition to his interpretations and technique, he was well known for both inspiring and commissioning new works, which enlarged the cello repertoire more than any cellist before or since.

Indeed, he inspired and premiered over 100 pieces, forming long-standing friendships and artistic partnerships with composers including Dmitri Shostakovich, Sergei Prokofiev, Henri Dutilleux, Witold Lutosławski, Olivier Messiaen, Luciano Berio, Krzysztof Penderecki, Alfred Schnittke, Norbert Moret, Andreas Makris and Benjamin Britten.

Rostropovich was internationally recognized as a staunch advocate of human rights, and was awarded the 1974 Award of the International League of Human Rights. He was married to the soprano Galina Vishnevskaya and had two daughters, Olga and Elena Rostropovich.

In March 2017, Mstislav Rostropovich would have turned 90. To celebrate this anniversary of one of the greatest cellists of all time, Deutsche Grammophon presents this truly encyclopaedic box-set which, for the first time, brings together Slavas complete recordings for Decca, Philips, and the Yellow Label (as cellist, pianist & conductor).

Entitled Rostropovich - Complete Recordings On Deutsche Grammophon, this incredible 37CD set is as good as it gets, truly. With the collective highlights including the legendary 1968 Dvorak Cello Concerto with Herbert von Karajan, no less than three versions of the Schubert String Quintet (with Taneyev, Emerson & Melos) and famed recordings he made with Martha Argerich, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Benjamin Britten, Sviatoslav Richter and Rudolf Serkin, also included is perhaps what was his most fulfilled musical partnership, that with his wife, the great Russian soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, whom he accompanied as both conductor (Tosca, Pique Dame) and pianist.

As a cellist, Rostropovich played a vast repertory that included works written for him by some of the 20th century’s greatest composers. Indeed, here on the Complete Recordings On Deutsche Grammophon, Rostropovich showcases how he was able to make his cello sing in an extraordinary range of musical accents. In the big Romantic showpieces, he dazzles listeners with both his richly personalized interpretations and a majestic warmth of tone. His graceful accounts of, for example, the Bach Suites for Unaccompanied Cello illuminated the works’ structural logic as well as their inner spirituality.

But for my money, he was at his most eloquent, and also his most freewheeling, in Russian music, particularly in the symphonies of Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Shostakovich. Man, just listening to them today makes the hair still stand up on my arms and neck. Funnily enough, and whilst listening to the beautiful, stirring music within this stunning box-set, I also just learned that Rostropovich became famous beyond musical circles as a symbol of artistic conscience and his defiance of the Soviet regime. A man of many talents, many means, and many beliefs, for sure.

Aside from the fact that Warner has a competing box of Rostropovich's EMI and Warner recordings (40 CDs, 3 DVDs) entitled Mstislav Rostropovich - Cellist of the Century - The Complete Warner Recordings, the virtue of these recordings here on Complete Recordings On Deutsche Grammophon by Rostropovich have been extolled for decades. So, for my money, this is the definitive best of Rostropovich in one place. What a deal! Buy it now. You won't regret it.

In this box-set you will find thirty (3) CDs (all stereo) recorded between 1960 and 2002: Deutsche Grammophon (23), Decca (4) and Philips (3) with Rostropovich the cellist on seventeen of the CDs. Rostropovich the conductor is on eleven CDs (including two complete operas) and you even get two (2) CDs of Rostropovich the pianist, accompanying his wife, soprano Galina Vishnevskaya in Russian songs.

They are all housed in slim cardboard jackets that all come with modified "original jacket" formats (ie: LP artwork on the front, but no program notes on the back, just track-listings). Also included are seven (7) CDs of Soviet Melodiya recordings (six mono, one stereo) originally licensed to Westminster Records and a 74 page booklet with index.

CD1 SCHUMANN: Cello Concerto in A minor, op.129 TCHAIKOVSKY: Rococo Variations Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra/Gennadi Rozhdestvensky

CD2 DVORAK: Cello Concerto in B minor, op.104 TCHAIKOVSKY: Rococo Variations Berliner Philharmoniker/Herbert von Karajan

CD3 GLAZUNOV: Chant du ménéstrel, op.71 SHOSTAKOVICH: Cello Concerto no.2, op.126 Boston Symphony Orchestra/Seiji Ozawa

CD4 BOCCHERINI: Cello Concerto No. 2 in D major G 479 VIVALDI: Cello Concerto in C major, RV 398 TARTINI: Cello Concerto in A major VIVALDI: Cello Concerto in G major, RV 413 Collegium Musicum Zürich/Paul Sacher

CD5 SCHUBERT: String Quintet in C major, D 956 Melos Quartet/Rostropovich (2nd cello)

CD6 CHOPIN: Cello Sonata op.65 SCHUMANN: Adagio & Allegro in A flat, op.70 CHOPIN: Introduction & Polonaise brillante in C major, op.3 Martha Argerich

CD7 BRAHMS: Cello Sonatas No.1 op. 38 & No.2 op.99 Rudolf Serkin

CD8 BEETHOVEN: String Trios op.3, 8 & 9/1-3 Anne-Sophie Mutter/Bruno Giuranna

CD9 BEETHOVEN: String Trios op.3, 8 & 9/1-3 Anne-Sophie Mutter/Bruno Giuranna

CD10 SCHUBERT: String Quintet in C major, D 956 Emerson String Quartet/Rostropovich (2nd cello)

CD11 MESSIAEN: Concert ŕ quatre Catherine Cantin/Heinz Holliger/Yvonne Loriod /Orchestre de l’Opéra Bastille/ Myung-Whun Chung BERNSTEIN: 3 Meditations from “Mass” Israel Philharmonic Orchestra/Leonard Bernstein

CD12-13 BEETHOVEN: Cello Sonatas 1-5 Sviatoslav Richter

CD14 BRITTEN: Cello Sonata in C major, op.65 SCHUMANN: 5 Stücke im Volkston DEBUSSY: Cello Sonata Benjamin Britten

CD15 BRITTEN: Cello Symphony op.68 HAYDN: Cello Concerto in C major (Cadenzas: Britten) English Chamber Orchestra/Benjamin Britten

CD16 BRITTEN: Cello Suites No.1 op.72 & No.2 op.80 Benjamin Britten

CD17 SCHUBERT: Arpeggione Sonata in A minor, D 821 BRIDGE: Cello Sonata Benjamin Britten

CD18 RACHMANINOV: Cello Sonata in G minor, op.19 CHOPIN: Introduction and Polonaise brillante for Cello and Piano in C major, op.3 RACHMANINOV: Vocalise op.34/14 (version for cello and piano) SCHUBERT: Impromptu in G flat major D 899/3 (transcribed for cello and piano by Jascha Heifetz & Mstislav Rostropovich) SCHUMANN: Kinderszenen op.15: Nr. 7 Träumerei (version for cello and piano) Alexander Dedyukhin

CD19-20 HAYDN: Piano Trio in G minor, Hob. XV: 19 BEETHOVEN: Piano Trio in E flat major, WoO38 SCHUMANN: Piano Trio no. 1 in D minor, op.63 HAYDN: Piano Trio in D major, Hob. XV: 16 BEETHOVEN: Piano Trio in B flat major, op.97 “Archduke” Emil Gilels/Leonid Kogan

CD21 FAURÉ: Piano Quartet No.1 in C minor, op.15 Emil Gilels/Leonid Kogan/Rudolf Barshai

CD22 SCHUBERT: String Quintet in C major, D 956 Taneyev Quartet/Rostropovich (2nd cello)

CD23 SAINT-SAËNS: Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor, op. 33 Symphony Orchestra of the All-Union Radio/Gregory Stolyarov SCHUMANN: Cello Concerto in A minor, op.129 Moscow Symphony Orchestra/Samuil Samosud GLAZUNOV: Chant du Ménestrel op.71 Moscow Youth Symphony Orchestra/Kyril Kondrashin

CD24 CHOPIN: Introduction & Polonaise brillante in C major, op.3 GRANADOS: Goyescas: Intermezzo Alexander Dedyukhin BORODIN: Prince Igor: Dance of the Polovtsian Maidens Naum Walter PROKOFIEV: Cinderella: Adagio POPPER: Elfentanz, op.39 Alexander Dedyukhin R. STRAUSS: Stimmungsbilder, op.9: No.2 An einsamer Stelle SCHUMANN: Stücke im Volkston, op.102: 4, 1, 3 Vladimir Yampolsky HANDEL: „Dettingen“ Te Deum in D, HWV 283: Vouchsafe, O Lord Naum Walter PAGANINI: Moto perpetuo, op.11 Vladimir Yampolsky

CD25 SCHUMANN: Piano Concerto in A minor, op.54 CHOPIN: Piano Concerto No.2 in F minor, op.21 Martha Argerich/National Symphony Orchestra of Washington

CD26 TCHAIKOVSKY: “Sleeping Beauty” and “Swan Lake” Suites Berliner Philharmoniker

CD27 TCHAIKOVSKY: “Nutcracker” Suite, Andante cantabile op.11, Capriccio Italien op.45 Berliner Philharmoniker

CD28 SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony No. 5 in D minor, op.47 National Symphony Orchestra of Washington

CD29 PROKOFIEV: Romeo & Juliet Suites nos. 1 & 2, op.64 National Symphony Orchestra of Washington

CD30 RACHMANINOV: Piano Concerto No.3 in D minor, op.30 PROKOFIEV: Piano Concerto No.3 in C major, op.26 Mikhail Pletnev/Russian National Orchestra

CD31-32 PUCINI: Tosca Galina Vishnevskaya/Franco Bonisolli/Matteo Manuguerra/Orchestre National de France

CD33-35 TCHAIKOVSKY: Pique Dame Gougaloff/Vishnevskaya/Resnik/Weikl/Iordachescu/Schwarz/Popp/Choeur Tchaikovsky/Maîtrise de Radio France/Orchestre National de France

CD36 RACHMANINOV: Songs op.26/12, 4/4, 34/8, 14/11, 34/14 GLINKA: Somnenie, Ja pomnju cudnoe mgnoven’e, Kak sladko s toboju mne byt, K nej, Tol’ko uznal ja tebja, Venecianskaja noc, Zavoronok, Barkarola Galina Vishnevskaya

CD37 MUSSORGSKY: Songs & Dances of Death TCHAIKOVSKY: Songs, op.6/6, 2, 1 PROKOFIEV: 5 Songs to Poems of Akhmatova, op.27 Galina Vishnevskaya

Title - 'Emmet Cahill's Ireland'
Artist - Emmet Cahill

For those not in the know, over the past four years, Emmet Cahill’s life has been transformed from a young man pursuing a career in classical music to being plunged into the world of touring across cities and performing to thousands of fans with world renowned Irish music show Celtic Thunder.

After three years of phenomenal success, including three albums shooting to number 1 on the world billboard charts, in 2015 Emmet decided to carve out his own unique identity as a solo artist. Now here in 2017 and he has just released the simply stunning, heartfelt 11 track musical wonderment Emmet Cahill's Ireland via Legacy Recordings.

Emmet Cahill's Ireland is a collection of Irish classics that have been passed down from generation to generation from celebrated Irish tenor and member of Celtic Thunder Emmet Cahill. Indeed, the album offers the very best of the traditional Irish repertoire with song selections including: "I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen," "An Irish Lullaby," "My Cavan Girl," "Macushla," and more.

"Some songs people will recognize", Cahill himself admits, "but there will definitely be a few unexpected numbers in there. I’m in a creative process at the moment of finding the sound that really represents me well and will suit me best going forward."

With a running time of just 39 minutes, the album isn't going to take up too much of your time but trust me when I say that once you have heard it in full, you will be replaying it quite a few times thereafter. Tracks that stand out for me personally are both "Sweet Sixteen" and "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling", but another incredible retelling is the age-old "Danny Boy". Wow, does Cahill reinvent the soul, the depth, the heart behind this one track or what.

For here in Emmet Cahill's Ireland the former lead singer for the iconic Irish band Celtic Thunder has nailed each and every song as if he had simply set out to record new tracks from scratch. Each one is poignant to the point that his vocal manner showcases his talent in such a crisp, clean way you could swear he wrote the damn songs!

1. "I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen" 2. "An Irish Lullaby" 3. My Cavan Girl" 4. "Macushia" 5. Sweet Sixteen" 6. Danny Boy" 7. "Oft in the Stilly Night" 8. "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" 9. "Wild Mountain Thyme" 10. The West's Awake" 11. "The Parting Glass".

Emmet Cahill @ Facebook!

Emmet Cahill @ Twitter!

Title - 'Harry Belafonte: When Colors Come Together'
Artist - Harry Belafonte

For those not in the know, Harry Belafonte is an American singer, songwriter, actor, and social activist. One of the most successful African-American pop stars in history, he was dubbed the "King of Calypso" for popularizing the Caribbean musical style with an international audience in the 1950s.

His breakthrough album Calypso (1956) is the first million selling LP by a single artist. Indeed, Belafonte is perhaps best known for singing "The Banana Boat Song", with its signature lyric "Day-O". He has recorded in many genres, including blues, folk, gospel, show tunes, and American standards. He has also starred in several films, most notably in Otto Preminger's hit musical Carmen Jones (1954), Island in the Sun (1957) and Robert Wise's Odds Against Tomorrow (1959).

The Legacy Of Harry Belafonte: When Colors Come Together is an essential single-disc anthology of Harry Belafonte's biggest hits and timeless classics. Just released via Legacy Recordings, it also includes a new re-recording of one of the great pop standards in the Belafonte catalog, "Island In The Sun" entitled "When Colors Come Together (Our Island In The Sun)," performed by a children's choir.

With each track handpicked by Harry Belafonte, When Colors Come Together provides a complete overview of his musical career, bringing together his biggest hits and most socially conscious performances alongside songs that are simply near and dear to his heart.

1. "When Colors Come Together (Our Island in the Sun)"
2. "Jump in the Line"
3. "Banana Boat (Day-O)"
4. "All My Trials"
5. "Empty Chairs"
6. "Matilda"
7. "Angelina"
8. "Turn the World Around"
9. "Scarlet Ribbons (For Her Hair)"
10. "Abraham, Martin and John"
11. "On Top of Old Smokey
12. "Jamaica Farewell"
13. "Brown Skin Girl"
14. "Island in the Sun"
15. "Those Three Are on My Mind"
16. "Try to Remember"
17. "Mary's Boy Child"
18. "Look Over Yonder / Be My Woman, Gal (Live)"
19. "Pastures of Plenty (Live)"

Released in advance of Harry Belafonte’s 90th birthday on March 1st, 2017, and with the singer's son, David Belafonte, as the executive producer of the anthology, The Legacy Of Harry Belafonte: When Colors Come Together is a truly stunning work of musical art.

Sure you all probably know the songs by now, but just the new version of the title track "When Colors Come Together (Our Island in the Sun)” is enough to make this new collection something special. Co-written by Belafonte and Irving Burgie, you might recall that the original served as the title song from the controversial 1957 film Island in the Sun.

Reflecting on his song choices over the course of his career, Belafonte himself says, “I often looked for songs that were easy to sing and melodies that were easy to hum because I felt those songs endured longer with audiences who heard them. Sure enough, that idea had value because a lot of times people remember the songs, sing the lyrics, refer to them."

"I found that the more diverse my songs were and the more I sang the songs closely related to the cultures from which these songs came, the more that culture, that community, that place in the world gravitated towards what it was that I did.”

Harry Belafonte @ Facebook!

Harry Belafonte @ Twitter!

Title - 'Tanna (Original Score)'
Artist - Antony Partos

'Tanna' is a 2015 Australian-Vanuatuan film set on the island of Tanna in the South Pacific, depicting the true story of a couple who decided to marry for love, rather than obey their parents' wishes. In some ways similar to Romeo and Juliet, the movie is based on an actual marriage dispute.

The film won the Audience Award Pietro Barzisa at the 72nd Venice International Film Festival. It was also selected as the Australian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards, and was nominated for the award in January 2017.

Composed by Antony Michael Partos, an Australian film and TV composer who specializes in creating scores that blend both acoustic and electronic elements with a mix of world musical instruments, the soundtrack is now available for all to own via Lightyear Entertainment.

With Partos's other feature film credits including Animal Kingdom (AFI Award for Best Feature Score), The Rover, Disgrace, The Home Song Stories (AFI Award for best feature score) and Unfinished Sky (AFI Award for best feature score), this quite delightful, heartfelt and poignant album of sweeping music begins with the floating "First Love" and quickly steps up the tension within the pipe-laden "Hidden Enemy". Next comes the lush ambiance of "The Secret", the stirring "Enemy Territory", the emphatic "The Volcano", and then both "The Spirit Awakens" and vast wasteland's vibe of "Taboo".

With a running time of 25:29, 'Tanna' may not be the longest album of original score work, but it is one of the most spacial aware, if that have no doubt. For the way in which composer Antony Partos creates his cinematic soundscapes are, one by one, both alluring and masterful. 'Tanna' continues on with "Abscond", the haunting "Reunion", and then rounds out with both the eerie "Hostile Land" and "Death Beckons".

1. 'First Love' (1:14)
2. 'Hidden Enemy' (0:22)
3. 'The Secret' (0:42)
4. 'Enemy Territory' (1:32)
5. 'The Volcano' (4:56)
6. 'The Spirit Awakens' (2:09)
7. 'Taboo' (3:26)
8. 'Abscond' (1:27)
9. 'Reunion' (2:54)
10. 'Hostile Land' (1:53)
11. 'Death Beckons' (4:54)

'Tanna' @ Facebook!

'Tanna' Movie Trailer

Title - 'Planets + Persona'
Artist - Richard Barbieri

For those not in the know, Richard Barbieri is an English synthesizer player, keyboardist and composer. Originally coming to prominence in the late-1970s and early-1980s as a member of new wave pioneers Japan (and their brief 1989–1990 reincarnation as Rain Tree Crow), more recently he is known as the keyboard player in the progressive rock band Porcupine Tree, of which he has been a member since 1993.

Personally, I am a HUGE fan of EVERYTHING that Japan EVER did! There, got that out into the open now. As aforementioned, Barbieri started his musical career with the group Japan in 1974. Within a year the band was signed to the Hansa/Ariola label and began work on a debut album.

Although initially perceived as a "hyped" band, Japan went on to record five studio albums culminating in the groundbreaking Tin Drum which stayed in the UK Albums Chart for a year. They were one of the most successful chart bands in Europe and Asia in 1982 despite the increasingly experimental nature of their music.

Now Barbieri is about to unleash a brand new, and highly anticipated album, Planets + Persona via Kscope Records on March 17th, 2017. Having now listened to it twice through, these seven (7) stellar tracks are as expansive, as indepth, as heartfelt as anything Barbieri has orchestrated into his work in a long time.

Planets + Persona is the third Barbieri solo album, but the first to feature such an incredible wide ranging scope of instrumentation. Vintage analogue synthesizers combine with acoustic performances and jazz elements and add in some contorted vocals (though they are never anything one can truly discern ie: language), and Barbieri's skillful compositions are bound to entice you to hit replay.

1. "Solar Sea" (7:30)
2. "New Found Land" (7:17)
3. "Night Of The Hunter" (10:44)
4. "Interstellar Medium" (5:38)
5. "Unholy" (8:58)
6. "Shafts Of Light" (6:39)
7. "Solar Storm" (6:22)

Planets + Persona uses Barbieri's unique take on synthesized sounds and gels them smoothly with organic instrumentation to create vivid, colorful and all-encompassing soundscapes for the listener on each of the seven enterprisingly tactile tracks.

Recorded in London, Italy and Sweden, this is truly Barbieri’s most ambitious solo work to date with a central theme of duality that runs through the album. The title itself, Planets and Persona alludes to this, and the dialectic theme is a constant throughout the contrasting and shape-shifting sounds of the album.

Richard Barbieri @ Facebook!

'Planets + Persona' Purchase Page

Title - 'Passion'
Artist - Buzz Cason

For those not in the know, Buzz Cason is an American rock singer, songwriter, producer and author and was a founding members of The Casuals, Nashville's first rock and roll band. Together with Richard Williams and Hugh Jarrett of The Jordanaires he recorded as The Statues for Liberty and in 1960, Cason started a solo career under the pseudonym Garry Miles, and had a number 16 hit in 1960 with "Look For A Star".

So, and as much as you still may not know who Buzz Cason is you've definitely heard his songs down the years, of that be sure. They have appeared in versions by The Beatles ("Soldier of Love"), Pearl Jam, U2, Gloria Estefan and Arthur Alexander and a whole lot more!

He's been both a Chipmunk and a Cricket. And he is a man of Passion. Ergo, and showing such on his sleeve now for all to see, Passion (out now via ArenA Recordings) is his ninth album of this millennium - which says a lot about the output of a man whose career started in the 50s.

From his home in Nashville, Buzz has been one of the earliest Roots/Rock/Americana/Country proponents and this brand new album shows just that with eleven new songs he wrote or co-wrote. We begin the journey with the title song itself, "Passion", a track that encapsulates everything that Buzz still feels about life and the industry just perfectly. Next up are the perfectly paired "Bread" and "Will You Love Me", and they are backed by both "Walkin'" and "That The Way It Is".

After decades in the music business you would think that Buzz would be just going through the "paycheck motions" here, but this new album is as fine as most anything he has musically conjured up beforehand. "Like A Dog" is a storytelling work of art, and that's backed by both "Just As Gone" and, for my money, the best track on the album, "The Ballad Of Berry Hill."

Following the success of Troubadour Heart (2014), and Record Machine (2015), Passion's passion is worn, as aforementioned, on Buzz's musical sleeve here, because each and every one of these 11 new tracks continues to shine a light on his undying love of music. Recorded at the Cason family studio Creative Workshop in Berry Hill, Nashville, it rounds out perfectly with "Escape", "Fear" and "We Soldiered On", which is yet another stand out track to listen to.

“This record is intensely special for me," Buzz himself says, "since we molded elements from various genres musically from my career and attempted to make a recording that will satisfy the taste of the diverse listener". Mission accomplished, Buzz. Mission well and truly accomplished.

1. "Passion"
2. "Bread"
3. "Will You Love Me?"
4. "Walkin'"
5. "That's The Way It Is"
6. "Like A Dog"
7. "Just As Gone"
8. "The Ballad Of Berry Hill"
9. "Escape"
10. "Fear"
11. "We Soldiered On"

Buzz Cason @ Facebook!

2/5 - Nashville, TN - ACME Feed & Seed
2/11 - Nashville, TN - In-Store Record Release Party at Grimey's
2/14 - Lafayette, LA - The Grouse Room
2/15 - Houston, TX - Cactus Music Store (in-store)
2/16 - Snyder, TX - The Horny Toad Pub & Grub
2/17 - Spicewood, TX - Poodies Hilltop Road House
2/18 - Boerne, TX - Random Beer Garden
2/19 - Fort Worth, TX - Magnolia Motor Lodge
3/5 - Nashville, TN - ACME Feed & Seed
3/22 - Sheridan, WY - BlackTooth Brewery
3/23 - Fort Collins, CO - Avogadro's Number
3/25 - Denver, CO - Swallow Hill

Title - 'Ape Shifter'
Artist - Ape Shifter

For those not in the know, German progressive rock ensemble APE SHIFTER have just released their debut self-titled album, Ape Shifter via Maximum Booking Records. Complete with an outrageous in-your-face album cover, combined with their quite brilliant band name, Ape Shifter the album is an 11 track celebration of how prog rock sounds today.

Chock full of all instrumental tracks, it brings together those rockin' 70's riffs, but here plays them off against a punk rock ferocity, adds in swirls of arching metal grooves, and presents an eclectic prog rock album quite like none I've encountered in the past decade. Simply put, and by the band themselves, Ape Shifter is an "Intense Simian Instrumental Rock from the nasty pits of the Hellabrunn Zoo".

01 "Uhluhtc" 03:33)
02 "Revolution Summer" (03:10)
03 "Desert Rock" (03:27)
04 "Dopamatic" (04:27)
05 "Hot Rod" (02:34)
06 "Verdammt" (03:54)
07 "Dead Tuna Boogie" (02:58)
08 "Ratchet Attack" (05:08)
09 "Sakrotani" (03:13)
10 "Brain-O-Mat" (03:47)
11 "Superhero Helden" (02:30)

Recorded in July of 2016 by Jürgen Schlachter at 36music in Leipheim, Germany, Ape Shifter (Jeff Aug: guitar; Florian Walter: bass; Kurty Münch: drums) have brought all their knowledge of the prog world, thrown it into the wunderworld and unleashed a guitar and drum ferocity of sounds that I dare you not to be nothing more than highly impressed with.

[FYI: Jeff Aug is also a Guinness™ world record holder setting the world record for the “most concerts performed in different countries in 24 hours” twice (2009, 2012)!]

Ape Shifter @ Facebook!

27.01.2017 DE-Leipzig, Naumanns im Felsenkeller (with Shotgun Valium)
28.01.2017 DE-Dessau, Cadillac (with Jeff Aug solo performance)
03.03.2017 DE-Weikersheim, Club W71
04.03.2017 DE-Immenstadt, Rainbow (official album release concert!)
09.03.2017 DE-Karlsruhe, KoHi
10.03.2017 NL-Tilburg, Little Devil*
11.03.2017 NL-Landgraaf, Oefenbunker*
12.03.2016 DE-Düsseldorf, Pitcher*
17.03.2017 DE-Reutlingen, Franz.K (as support for WHO KILLED BRUCE LEE!)
27.04.2017 DE-Burgkunstadt, TECnet
28.04.2017 DE-Schwerin, Speicher
29.04.2017 DE-Erfurt, Museumskeller HsD (w/ Shotgun Valium)
30.04.2017 DE-Berlin, Supamolly (special guest: JUD)
*with special guest Chris Haskett's Amplified Ambition (Rollins Band guitarist!)

Title - 'Demon'
Artist - Le Seul Elément

For those not in the know, French experimental noise wave artist Le Seul Elément have just released their debut album entitled Demon. Featured in the horror film 'Devil's Domain' starring Michael Madsen (Kill Bill, Reservoir Dogs) the album also includes a guest appearance by darkwave darlings Bestial Mouths.

Combining elements of piano, noise and darkwave, weaving textures and melodies with incredible skill, from start to finish this debut album is something truly astonishing to behold. Creating, building sonic soundscapes that ebb and flow like liquid, Demon is an album whose Gothic undertones are as much an insight into the music as the actual tones set forth by Le Seul Elément.

Indeed, Demon is a rare solo project from a French artist who has mainly been involved in collaborative projects, but nonetheless one that showcases an extraordinary depth to the artist, that's for sure. Seemingly able to collaborate and work singularly, Le Seul Elément creates a unique sonic world for the creation Demon; one that abounds with a passion, a love, a devotion for their haunting artistic explorations.

1. "C. abyssal" (05:32)
2. "Mersey mad beat" (07:31)
3. "Rien n'est beau comme on l'imagine" (08:34)
4. "24D" (04:30)
5. "Demone" (05:10)
6. "U.V.E.R." (04:44)
7. "Decrepitude love" (02:08)
8. "Bestial Mouths - Her eyes (feat. Lynette | Bestial Mouths)" (04:30)
9. "Run" (05:29)
10. "Soho (feat. thisquietarmy)" (10:38)

Le Seul Elément @ Facebook!

Title - 'Return of Judge Roughneck'
Artist - Neville Staple

For those not in the know, Neville Staple is a Jamaican born English singer for the two-tone ska band, The Specials as well as his own combo, The Neville Staple Band, and who also sang with Ranking Roger in Special Beat.

Staple was born in Manchester, Jamaica. Neville left Jamaica to live in the English town of Rugby, Warwickshire at the age of five but later moved to Coventry. He was initially active in the sound system scene, forming his own crew called "Jah Baddis". Neville was a regular fixture at the Locarno ballroom in Coventry where he met the resident DJ there, Pete Waterman.

The rest, as they say, is now history, for having high profile turns in The Specials, Fun Boy Three, and Special Beat, Staple then worked for many years in the US with various bands. One of those was The Hitmen, which included providing a soundtrack for the movie, 'Vampires Anonymous' along with some extensive touring.

Return of Judge Roughneck is the brand new studio album from ska's reigning Rude Boy, Judge Roughneck himself, Neville Staple. Here on one highly addictive listening of an album, Staple continues his critically acclaimed solo career with an album of new material plus several bonus dub mixes.

1. "Return Of Judge Roughneck"
2. "Bangarang"
3. "Down My Street"
4. "Lunatics"
5. "Crime Don’t Pay"
6. "Gang Fever"
7. "Politician Man"
8. "Maga Dog"
9. "Run"
10. "Be Happy"
11. "Sweet Sensation"
12. "Enjoy Yourself - Ragtime Lounge Mix" (Feat. Jessy Greene)

Dub Specials:
13. "Maga Dub"
14. "Crime Dub"
15. "Roadblock - Slam Door Dub Mix" (by Ed Rome)
16. "Dub Fever"
17. "Jah Baddis Dubplate"
18. "Dub Street"
19. "Bang Bang"
20. "Dub Crazy" (Feat. Jessy Greene)
21. "Legal Dub"

The album opens up with the Judge himself issuing a case of GBH against the plantiff, before the musical vibe lightens for a more poppy appeal takes over on both "Bangarang" and "Down My Street". The latter is my own personal favorite on the album, but others that run it close are tracks such as "Crime Don't Pay" (ad it's trumpet backbone), "Maga Dog", and both a redo of Jimmy Soul's "Be Happy" and a joyous "Enjoy Yourself (Ragtime Lounge Mix)".

Trust me when I tell you that if you loved The Special, adored Fun Boy Three and still stand in front of that mirror in the bathroom for the English Beat, than the Return of Judge Roughneck is just what your musical doctor ordered!

Featuring guest appearances by former Geraldine Fibbers and The Jayhawks violinist Jessy Greene as well as producer Ed Rome, Staple keeps the ska alive with his renditions and new material here on his welcome return to the music scene.

Neville Staple Band @ Facebook!

Title - 'Robby Krieger: In Session'
Artist - Robby Krieger

For those not in the know, Robert Alan "Robby" Krieger is an American guitarist and singer-songwriter best known as the guitarist of the rock band the Doors, and as such has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Krieger wrote or co-wrote many of the Doors' songs, including the hits "Light My Fire", "Love Me Two Times", "Touch Me", and "Love Her Madly". After the Doors disbanded, Krieger continued his performing and recording career with other musicians including former Doors band mates John Densmore and Ray Manzarek.

He is also listed multiple times by Rolling Stone as one of the greatest guitarists of all time.

Robby Krieger: In Session is a brand new collection containing rare studio sessions from one of the boldest rock guitarists of all-time, that's for damn sure. Featuring an incredible roster of guest appearances including Jackson Browne, Hawkwind's Nik Turner, Asia's sadly-now-departed John Wetton, Styx's Tommy Shaw, Star Trek's William Shatner and others, along with these exclusive new mixes the album also includes a bonus live track that has never been released on CD before!

1. Across the Universe Feat. Jackson Browne 2. Hypernova Feat. Nik Turner 3. Empty Spaces Feat. Billy Sherwood 4. Where We Belong (Remix) Feat. Tony Kaye 5. Don't Leave Me Now Feat. Tommy Shaw 6. Brain Damage Feat. Geoff Downes 7. School Feat. Rod Argent 8. Deep Down Feat. William Shatner 9. Little Drummer Boy 10. All You Need Is Love Feat. John Wetton 11. Bonus Track 12. Back Door Man (Live)"

For those of you that not only know of Krieger, but of the music he has spent so much of his life embroiled within, this track-listing should come as no surprise to you. Ir kicks off in fine guitar-laden style with a cover of the Beatles’ “Across the Universe” featuring Jackson Browne and culminates with their “All You Need is Love,” a track featuring the late ASIA great, John Wetton.

Inbetween we get some musical delicacies in the form of Pink Floyd’s “Brain Damage” (featuring Yes/ASIA keyboard wizard Geoff Downes), Supertramp’s always brilliant “School” (featuring Rod Argent), and amongst others this wonderful new collection features two exclusive, never-before-released mixes of "Hypernova (Inner Space Mix)" (featuring Nik Turner) and "Where We Belong (Prism Mix)" (featuring Tony Kaye). [The less said about William Shatner on "Deep Down" is for the best in my book, sorry].

The Bonus Track is a never-before-heard live recording of the Doors’ “Back Door Man”, as aforementioned, available on CD for the first time here on In Session.

Don't miss this incredible collection available everywhere February 17th, 2017 from Purple Pyramid Records / Cleopatra Records.

Robby Krieger @ Facebook!

Title - 'Can I Have My Money Back: Remastered & Expanded'
Artist - Gerry Rafferty

For those not in the know, Gerald "Gerry" Rafferty was a Scottish singer-songwriter best known for his solo hits "Baker Street", "Right Down the Line" and "Night Owl", as well as "Stuck in the Middle with You" recorded with the band Stealers Wheel.

Now Digitally Remastered and made into an Expanded Edition (albeit by just the one track only), Can I Have My Money Back? was the first solo album by Gerry Rafferty in 1971. The album was well received, but performed poorly in charts and sales, in part because Rafferty had just left a well known band, The Humblebums. The album also saw Joe Egan come on board, and the pair formed Stealers Wheel shortly afterwards.

1. "New Street Blues"
2. "Didn't I?"
3. "Mr Universe"
4. "Mary Skeffington"
5. "The Long Way Round"
6. "Can I Have My Money Back?"
7. "Sign on the Dotted Line"
8. "Make You, Break You"
9. "To Each and Everyone"
10. "One Drink Down"
11. "Don't Count Me Out"
12. "Half a Chance"
13. "Where I Belong"
14. "So Bad Thinking" (Bonus Track)"

This critically acclaimed well produced fusion of folk and rock influences may not have set the world alight back in the day, but here now, Digitally Remastered tracks such as opener "New Street Blues" simply sound crisper, have an added depth to them. It's just so jazzy, so bluesy, so upbeat and freeflowing. Simply put, just this one track is enough to sell this album to me!

The softer, gentler guitar work of "Didn't I?" is next and is backed by "Mr. Universe", a track that showcases the guitar work Zed Jenkins perfectly. Chock full of short songs, none so elaborate as his longer creations, this means that there is more room for mood changes, twists and turns within all the melodies. Next up is the beautiful Ukulele-played ballad "Mary Skeffington" and that's backed by the Beatles-sounding piano ballad "The Long Way Round".

The musical pop "rap" that opens the title track, the honky tonk "Can I Have My Money Back?" is one of the stand out highlights of this album and showcases Rafferty's musical talents wonderfully. The gentle piano work that gradually builds of "Sign On The Dotted Line" is up next, and that's followed by the upbeat joy of "Make You, Break You", the Renaissance feel of "To Each and Everyone", "One Drink Down" (complete with a nod to Rafferty's Bar), and then "Don't Count Me Out".

The stunning "Half a Chance" and original closing track "Where I Belong" are the perfect pair to do just that, bringing an album to an end that, for the most part, should have been given more of a chance to breathe within the public forum back in the day. Here with the freeflowing Bonus Track of "So Bad Thinking" (originally released as the B-side of the 7" single of the album title track), the new booklet features a new essay and fully restores the original album artwork.

In truth, there´s always something good in the universe to make us feel happy and thus, I am happy that I personally found a special one in this delightful album from Gerry Rafferty. I hope you take my word and buy this now Digitally Remastered and Expanded Edition CD from Cherry Red Records (UK).

Also, it should be mentioned that the aforementioned distinctive cover design was by John Patrick Byrne and was the start of a long working relationship between Rafferty and the playwright.

'Can I Have My Money Back: Remastered & Expanded' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'All the Colours of The Spectrum: 1964-1970'
Artist - The Spectrum

For those not in the know, Spectrum is an Australian progressive rock band which formed in April 1969 and broke up in April 1973. The original line-up was Mark Kennedy on drums, Lee Neale on organ (ex-Nineteen87), Bill Putt on bass guitar (ex-Lost Souls), and Mike Rudd on guitar and lead vocals (ex-Chants R&B, The Party Machine).

In August 1970 Kennedy was replaced by Ray Arnott on drums. These members also performed under the alter ego, Indelible Murtceps, from 1971 to 1973. Spectrum had a number-one hit, "I'll Be Gone" (January 1971), on the Go-Set National Top 60 singles chart.

After Spectrum and Indelible Murtceps disbanded, Putt and Rudd formed Ariel. In 1999 the pair formed Spectrum Plays the Blues, which later trimmed their name back to Spectrum. Sadly though, on 7th August 2013 Bill Putt died, after a heart attack.

Now we can all enjoy this incredible 2CD set All The Colours Of The Spectrum: Complete Recordings 1964-1970, which has just been released via Cherry Red Records (UK). Indeed, this first-ever official anthology of The Spectrum's career features all of their singles, the 1970 UK LP The Light Is Dark Enough, their contribution to the soundtrack of the little-known 1968 film The Bliss Of Mrs Blossom, their unissued-at-the-time theme tune for Captain Scarlet and, perhaps most notably of all, recordings that have only previously been released on their insanely rare and largely-unknown 1969 Venezuelan-only album.

Disc: 1
1. Samantha's Mine 2. Saturday's Child 3. Portobello Road 4. Comes the Dawn 5. Headin' for a Heatwave 6. I Wanna Be (Happy) with You 7. London Bridge Is Coming Down 8. Tables and Chairs 9. Let's Live for Love 10. Little Red Boat By the River 11. Forget Me Not 12. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da 13. Music Soothes the Savage Breast 14. Just What I Was Looking for Today 15. It Doesn't Seem to Matter 16. Cool Water 17. Free 18. The Tale of Wally Toft 19. Glory 20. Nodnol 21. Captain Scarlet (Closing Theme)

Disc: 2
1. Mr Jenkins' Brand New Boots 2. The Walrus and the Horse 3. Mandy 4. Jacqueline 5. The Light Is Dark Enough 6. Little Girl 7. Asking You 8. Roll Over Beethoven 9. Bye Bye Birdie 10. Please Mr Postman 11. You Really Got a Hold on Me 12. What's That? 13. Sweet Little Sixteen 14. Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' on 15. Hide and Seek 16. My Babe 17. Dancing in the Streets 18. Shoppin' Around

Phew, I know, right! So let's delve right into his incredible collection and as the lead lyrics of Disc 1 opener "Samantha's Mine" are sung, "I feel so good, I feel so fine" that's exactly how I feel when listening to this wonderful, truly delightful flashback album of musical goodness. That's followed by the flip side of "Samantha's Mine", "Saturday's Child", a nice cover of the song written by David Gates and popularized by The Monkees. The lush "Portobello Road" is a showcase for that very same London street and market, and that's backed by the jingly-jangly "Comes The Dawn", the orchestratedly-stunning "Headin' For A Heatwave", and then both the upbeat, frenetic even "London Bridge Is Coming Down" and the fun sing-along "Tables And Chairs".

Next up is another sing-along in for the form of "Let's Live For Love" which is backed by "Little Red Boat By The River", "Forget Me Not", a bouncy cover of the Beatles' "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" and then that singles' B-side, the euphoric "Music Soothes The Savage Breast". "Just What I Was Looking For Today" is then followed by "It Doesn't Seem To Matter", the delightfully trippy "Cool Water", and then both the stand-up-and-be-heard "Free" and the stand out track on this first side (for me), the bluesy guitar and organ work of "The Tale of Wally Toft".

The first side then rounds out with the hand clappin' appeal of "Glory", which is backed by both the country twangin' "Nodnol" and then their now infamous "Captain Scarlet (Closing Theme)". In truth, the band really benefited from a connection to Gerry Anderson's TV series of the same name, because the Captain's fictional organization was coincidentally called "SPECTRUM"!

Disc 2 kicks off in fine style with the upbeat "Mr. Jenkins' Brand New Boots" and follows that same vibe with both "The Walrus And The Horse" and the mid-tempo ballad, "Mandy". "Jacqueline" keeps that mood flowing nicely, before the simply brilliant piano track, "The Light Is Dark Enough". For me, this one is the stand out track on this second disc of their music. Next up is "Little Girl", a track that brings Motown soul to the bands repertoire. The B-side "Asking You" is next, and that is backed by their cover of the Chuck Berry-written "Roll Over Beethoven".

Another cover comes along next and, as a fan of the blues, I can tell you they nail this one perfectly. Tackling Sonny Boy Williamson's "Bye Bye Bird", the band are on top form back here, undertaking it as if it was the most natural musical side step undertaken. Another Beatles cover comes in the form of "Please Mr. Postman" and that's backed by a really heartfelt cover of Smokey Robinson & The Miracles' "You Really Got A Hold On Me". The trippy pop of "What's That?" is next and is followed by both anther Chuck Berry cover, "Sweet Little Sixteen" and then a cover of Jerry Lee Lewis' musical monster "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On".

The smooth ballad "Baby What You Want Me To Do" is next, and then comes "My Baby", before the album rounds out perfectly with the power trio of "Dance In The Street", a cover of Elvis Presley's "Shoppin Around", and finally a magnificent cover of Clyde McPhatter's 1962 hit "Lover Please".

With the addition of their obscure 1965 debut single for EMI and a 1964 album that they cut (as Group Five) for the French market, All The Colours Of The Spectrum is the definitive document of a fascinating but hitherto little-documented band. It features a 16 page booklet with some priceless period photos and memorabilia as well as the Spectrum story from the cradle to the grave, with reminiscences from founder member Tony Atkins.

2CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Songs From The Swinger & Other Swingin' Songs'
Artist - Ann-Margret

For those not in the know, Ann-Margret is a Swedish-American actress, singer, and dancer. As an actress, she is best known for her roles in Bye Bye Birdie (1963), Viva Las Vegas (1964), The Cincinnati Kid (1965), Carnal Knowledge (1971), Tommy (1975), Grumpy Old Men (1993), and Grumpier Old Men (1995).

She has won five Golden Globe Awards and been nominated for two Academy Awards, two Grammy Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and six Emmy Awards. In 2010, she won her first Emmy Award for her guest appearance on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Indeed, her singing and acting careers span five decades, starting in 1961; initially, she was billed as a female version of Elvis Presley. She had a minor hit in 1961 and a charting album in 1964, and scored a disco hit in 1979. In 2001, she recorded a critically acclaimed gospel album, and an album of Christmas songs from 2004 continues to be available.

Just released via Cherry Red Records (UK), we now have the luxury of listening to Songs from The Swinger and Other Swingin' Songs and taking in, once more, those warm singing tones of the wonderful Ann-Margret. 'The Swinger' and 'The Pleasure Seekers', films featuring the charismatic Swedish actress Ann-Margret are quintessential 1960s Hollywood pop cinema; light and frothy, flawed, but full of period bric-a-brac and stylish music.

Indeed, the title song of 'The Swinger' was written by André and Dory Previn and the score composed by Marty Paich with additional arrangements by Johnny Williams and Quincy Jones. The score of 'The Pleasure Seekers' was created by Lionel Newman and Alexander Courage (the latter destined to compose Star Trek's iconic music) and features four selections written by the Sammy Cahn - Jimmy Van Heusen song-writing team, each performed by Ann-Margret.

1. The Swinger 2. By Myself 3. I Just Want to Make Love to You 4. Swinger's Holiday 5. More 6. Cute 7. You Came a Long Way from St. Louis 8. The Good Life 9. After the Lights Go Down Low 10. I Wanna Be Loved 11. Kelly's Dance 12. That Old Black Magic 13. Madrid / the Pleasure Seekers 14. Blue Moon Cha-Cha 15. Next Time 16. Romantic Bossa Nova 17. Tender Moment 18. The Pleasure Seekers Bossa Nova 19. Zig-a-Dig-a-Ding-Boom-Bah 20. Adiocita 21. Something to Think About 22. The Terrace 23. Costa Del Sol 24. Everything Makes Music When You're in Love 25. Prado Museum 26. End Title (the Pleasure Seekers)

We kick off in fine Ann-Margret swingin' style with "The Swinger (From the Paramount Picture "The Swinger")", a track that should have you up and movin' your hips in seconds of the needle hittin' the wax. Ok, well, in this case the laser hitting the CD, I guess. Anyhoo, you get the point and so next up is the mid-tempo ballad Ann-Margret "By Myself" and that's backed by her raunchy take on "I Just Want to Make Love to You". The frenetic "Swinger's Holiday (From the Paramount Picture "The Swinger") by Marty Paich is next and that's backed by Ann-Margret back on the sultry "More (Theme from "Mondo Cane")".

Next up she brings us what turns out to be one of my own personal favorites on this collection, "Pure" and she then backs that with the guitar and trumpet roller coaster vibe of "You Came a Long Way from St. Louis". She puts her vocals to fine use on the beautiful "The Good Life (From the Paramount Movie "The Swinger"), before the fun "After the Lights Go Down Low" comes forth.

Next up is the low down and sultry smooth plea sung within "I Wanna Be Loved (Sung in the Paramount Picture "The Swinger")", before the new collection rounds out with the frenetic Latin-inspired "Kelly's Dance (From the Paramount Picture "The Swinger")" and then finally Ann-Margret's (to my mind) mumbled-at-times, but yet still mesmerizing) "That Old Black Magic (Sung in the Paramount Picture "The Swinger")".

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'World Clique: Expanded Edition'
Artist - Deee-Lite

For those not in the know, Deee-Lite (Lady Miss Kier, DJ Dmitry and Towa Tei) is an American house and club/dance music group, formed in New York City. The group's best-known single is "Groove Is in the Heart", which was released from their 1990 debut album, World Clique, and was a Top 10 hit in multiple countries.

Released in 1990, their debut album World Clique garnered initial success in the UK, where it peaked at #14 on the UK Albums Chart in September 1990. Simultaneously, the album entered the Billboard 200 at #180 for the week of September 15 in the US. Fueled by the success of "Groove Is in the Heart", World Clique continued to climb the chart for several weeks, peaking at #20 for the week of November 24. Indeed, in December 2016, Billboard magazine ranked them as the 55th most successful dance artists of all-time.

Remixes formed a huge part of Deee-Lite's clubland culture, and Cherry Red Records (UK) have just released this incredible, and totally deee-litful (sorry!) 2CD World Clique: Expanded Edition for our listening pleasures. It includes fourteen choice, varied takes on both singles and album tracks inclusive of extended radio versions to deep funky house breaks.

As a bonus, the jam-packed second disc provides a fabulous snapshot of global nightlife in the early 1990s through the eyes, and sounds of Lady Miss Kier and co.

Disc 1:
1. Deee-Lite Theme 2. Good Beat 3. Power of Love 4. Try Me on... I'm Very You 5. Smile on 6. What Is Love? 7. World Clique 8. E.S.P 9. Groove Is in the Heart 10. Who Was That? 11. Deep Ending 12. Build the Bridge

Disc 2:
13. Groove Is in the Heart (Peanut Butter Radio Mix) 14. Good Beat (Turn Up the Radio Mix) 15. Power of Love (Turn Up the Radio Mix) 16. Riding on Through! 17. Groove Is in the Heart (Meeting of the Minds Mix) 18. How Do You Say... Love (A Delicious Joey Pal Dub) 19. E.S.P. (Ouijee Extended Mix) 20. What Is Love? (Rainbow Beard Mix) 21. Good Beat (Extend the Beat Mix) 22. Power of Love (Sampladelic Remix) 23. Build the Bridge (Holographic House Groove Mix) 24. What Is Love? (Holographic Goatee Mix) 25. Good Beat (Pal Joey's Shake Your Body to the Beat Mix) 26. Groove Is in the Heart (Jelly Jam Beats)

I actually met Lady Miss Kier after a show they performed here in Detroit some 20 years ago. I was meant to meet her before the show, but they arrived very late to the venue, played a delayed show to it longest moments allowed, then she spent some solo time alone backstage before @ 3am I was ushered back to meet her! Anyway, as we had a lovely chat, and as the original album opens with the funky, jazzy trumpet and bass beat sounds of "Deee-Lite Theme" (as did the live show that night, that moment in time comes flooding back to me instantly.

Next up is the dance floor smash "Good Beat" which is backed by the house hit "Power Of Love" and then the Bootsy-driven "Try Me On ... I'm Very You". The slow trumpet groove of "Smile On" (which, for my money was ahead of its time) is next and that's followed by "What Is Love?", a cut that proves that Deee-Lite were no one hit wonders. Oh, and for those still wondering, the spoken words are from Mark Twain and are the opening lines on 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' by Tom Clay (1971).

Next up is the funky title track itself, "World Clique" and that's backed by the psychic power melodic pop rock of "E.S.P.". Again, a massive track well ahead of its time and that's backed by their massive worldwide mega hit, the highly infectious "Groove Is In The Heart" ("How do you say Deee-Groovy? How do you say Deee-Gorgeous? How do you say Deee-Lite, Deee-Lite, Deee-Lite, Deee-Lite ...").

Introduced to us by a trumpet reveille, "Who Was That?" is another gem here on World Clique and with the dynamic pairing of both "Deep Ending" and the sedate, yet still trippy "Build The Bridge" bringing the original album (disc 1) to a close, I am already relishing the chance to listen to this first side through again!

But, onward we must as their is a musical treasure trove of wonderment now to be found here on the second disc. Starting with "Groove Is in the Heart (Peanut Butter Radio Mix)" and 14 tracks later culminating with "Groove Is in the Heart (Jelly Jam Beats)", it seems someone assigned to the creation of this 2CD set got a wee bit carried away with the mixing board. For we get three versions of "Groove", three versions of "Good Beat", two of both "Power Of Love" and "What Is Love?", and one each of "Riding On Through!", "E.S.P.", "Build A Bridge" and "How Do You Say ... Love".

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Title - 'Say It Again: Deluxe Edition'
Artist - Jermaine Stewart

For those not in the know, Jermaine Stewart was an American R&B singer best known for his 1986 hit single "We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off", which reached number 2 in both the UK and Canada. It also reached number 5 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

In truth, and usually I'm better than this, but I had no idea that Jermaine had passed away back in 1997. I'm still taken aback having discovered this fact in writing this intro. Anyway, having released his debut album The Word Is Out in 1984 and followed it up with Frantic Romantic in 1986, his third album Say It Again was released in 1988.

Now released as a special expanded 2CD edition via Cherry Red Records (UK), Say It Again: Deluxe Edition includes the 12 original album tracks plus 20 related bonus tracks - including many A-sides / B-sides and Extended Versions.

Disc: 1
1. Don't Talk Dirty to Me 2. Say It Again 3. Get Lucky 4. Got to Be Love 5. Dress It Up 6. Don't Have Sex With Your Ex 7. Is It Really Love? 8. Call It a Miracle 9. Eyes 10. My House 11. She's a Teaser 12. My Body 13. Say It Again (Single Version) 14. You Promise 15. Get Lucky (Single Version) 16. Imagine 17. Don't Talk Dirty to Me (Single Version) 18. Is It Really Love? (Single Version)

Disc: 2
1. Say It Again (Extended John Robie Remix) 2. Get Lucky (Extended Remix) 3. Don't Talk Dirty to Me (Extended Remix) 4. Is It Really Love? (Extended Mix) 5. Say It Again (Extended Remix) 6. Don't Talk Dirty to Me (Remix Edit) 7. Places 8. Search 9. Say It Again (the Jingle Mix) 10. Get Lucky (New York Mix) 11. Don't Talk Dirty to Me (Radio Edit) 12. Get Lucky (Dub) 13. Don't Talk Dirty to Me (Dub) 14. Is It Really Love? (Dub)

We kick off this pop funk dance extravaganza with the brilliant pop dance floor flow of "Don't Talk Dirty to Me" which he backs up perfectly with the title track itself, "Say It Again". That smooth pop goodness is then followed up with what has to be my own personal favorite off the original album, the quite stunning, pop perfect bounce of "Get Lucky". The Janet Jacksonesque "Got To Be Love" is next and is backed by both the pop attitude of "Dress It Up" and the song that we should all pay heed to, "Don't Have Sex With Your Ex".

"Is It Really Love?" hardens up the beats once more, whilst the electro funk of "Call It a Miracle" and the dance floor glide of "Eyes" is yet another showcase of emotion that Jermaine could portray via song. "My House' brings the beat back up again, and that's backed by the fun and lite, easy and breezy "She's a Teaser". The hip-hop vibes of "My Body" round out the original album, but this expanded edition now adds to the party.

"Say It Again (Single Version)", "You Promise" (the B-side to his "Say It Again" 7" single) and then "Get Lucky (Single Version)" are up first, with the first disc rounding out with "Imagine (We're In Love)" (the B-side of his "Get Lucky" 7" single), and then both "Don't Talk Dirty to Me (Single Version)" and "Is It Really Love? (Single Version)".

Easily one of the best '80s artists of this ilk that there was, inclusive of acts such as Janet Jackson, 5Star, Taylor Dayne, Debarge and so, this second disc of gems that begins with "Say It Again (Extended John Robie Remix)" and culminates 14 tracks later with "Is It Really Love? (Dub)" is most definitely one of the BEST second disc's of remixes and extended versions I've come across for an artist in a long, long time.

On an album that featured vocal contributions from artists such as Jody Watley, Deniece Williams, James Ingram, Josie James, and Wanda & Pam Hutchinson from The Emotions, this new 2CD collection disc 2 includes remixes by the respected producer/mixer Phil Harding ("Say It Again" – Extended Remix / The Jingle Mix / "Get Lucky" – Extended Remix / New York Mix / Dub, with other Phil Harding remixes included (jointly credited with his long-term creative partner Ian Curnow) being: "Don’t Talk Dirty To Me" – Extended Remix / Dub / "Is It Really Love?" – Single Version / Extended Remix / Dub.

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Title - 'Well I Ask You: The Complete 60s Recordings'
Artist - Eden Kane

For those not in the know, Eden Kane is an English pop singer best known as a former teen idol in the 1960s. He has also recorded under his birth name (Richard Graham Sarstedt) and with his backing group the Downbeats. Indeed, he is the older brother of musicians Peter Sarstedt and Clive Sarstedt, whom he has collaborated with on numerous Sarstedt Brothers albums.

He had success in the early 1960s as a pop star appealing to a teenage audience with hits including "Well I Ask You" which was a UK No.1 hit in 1961, before moving to the United States, where he began an acting career.

In addition to all of Eden’s Pye, Decca and Fontana recordings, this new 2-CD set entitled Well I Ask You: The Complete 60s Recordings also boasts his rarest offerings which followed, from three elusive singles only available in Australia/New Zealand to an obscure Bell 45 from 1970. Thereafter, Eden reverted to his real name, but reactivated the Eden Kane moniker for a one-off single in 1980.

Disc: 1
1. You Make Love So Well 2. Hot Chocolate Crazy 3. Well I Ask You 4. Before I Lose My Mind 5. Get Lost 6. I'm Telling You 7. Forget Me Not 8. A New Kind of Lovin' 9. I Don't Know Why 10. Music for Strings 11. House to Let 12. I Told You 13. Sounds Funny to Me 14. Someone Wants to Know 15. Kiss Me Quick 16. My Little Sue 17. Romance 18. Something Tells Me 19. Another Spring 20. My Time of Evening 21. Ten Out of Ten 22. That's for Me 23. Tomorrow Night 24. I Won't Believe Them 25. Like I Love You 26. Come Back 27. Boys Cry

Disc: 2
1. Don't Come Crying to Me 2. Rain, Rain, Go Away 3. Guess Who It Is? 4. Hangin' Around 5. Gonna Do Something About You 6. If You Want This Love 7. Have I Done Something Wrong? 8. Gonna Send You Back to Georgia 9. I Know a Man 10. Sticks and Stones 11. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes 12. Shoppin' Around 13. I (Who Have Nothing) 14. On Broadway 15. I Should Care 16. Charade 17. The Last Leaf 18. Magic Town 19. The Whole World Was Crying (With the Dambeats) 20. Gotta Get Through to You 21. A Million Ants 22. My Whole World Is Tumbling Down 23. In the Day of My Youth 24. Time, Love, Hope, Life 25. It Doesn't Matter Anymore 26. Reason to Believe 27. I Played It Like a Fool 28. I Think I Died and Went to Heaven 29. Pulling Me Thru the Bad Times

Wow! Now this has got to be one of the most jam packed-with-gems albums that has ever come out on double disc. Stacked to the gills with no less than 56 songs, if you didn't know about Eden Kane beforehand (like me, admittedly), or if you did but wanted to have all his recordings in one, crystal clear CD spot, then Well I Ask You: The Complete 60s Recordings is the release for you all!

As there are just too many songs to tackle to review completion here, I'll simple review a few that stood out to me. Not that the remainder didn't, but there are always going to be some that have a little more to say for themselves on any album. Point in case is the opener, "You Make Love So Well" which is as perky, as fluid as that era could provide. "Hot Chocolate Crazy" is not only a great title, but inclusive of what I could have sworn was the precursor to the Benny Hill theme, it's just a brilliant pop song. It's title song "Well I Ask You" is, as expected, a track with a hook that deserved to be a #1 hit for Eden in 1961.

Other tracks off the first side that held my ear include the upbeat, Presley-sounding "A New Kind Of Lovin'" and the rockier sounds of "Boy's Cry", with the second disc providing the fun pop sway of "Hangin' Around", "Charade", "A Million Ants", and both "Magic Town" and the collection closer, the surprisingly disco-esque "Pulling Me Thru The Bad Times" with The Downbeats.

Compiled and curated with the full cooperation of Eden Kane, Well I Ask You: The Complete 60s Recordings pays due respect to an artist who still tours to this day.

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Johann Sebastian Bach'
Artist - Rafał Blechacz

For those not in the classical know, Rafał Blechacz is a Polish classical pianist. Blechacz began piano lessons at the age of five, and enrolled in the National Arthur Rubinstein Music School in Bydgoszcz three years later. In May 2007, he graduated from the Feliks Nowowiejski Music Academy in Bydgoszcz with professor Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń.

He won second prize at the Artur Rubinstein in Memoriam Piano Competition in Bydgoszcz in 2002, second prize at the 4th Hamamatsu International Piano Competition in 2003 (no first prize was awarded), and first prize at the International Piano Competition in Morocco in 2004.

On October 21, 2005, he became the sole recipient of all five first prizes at the 15th International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, taking First Prize and the polonaise, mazurka, sonata, and concerto prizes. No other pianist has achieved this feat.

The now 31-year-old winner of that very same aforementioned 2005 International Chopin Piano Competition, has been immersed in Bach since his childhood and has cultivated a strikingly natural eloquence in his mature interpretations of the composer's keyboard works.

Here on his brand new album, the aptly and simply entitled Johann Sebastian Bach Blechacz adds yet another stunning bow to the Deutsche Grammophon repertoire.

1. Italian Concerto in F major
2. Partita No.1 in B flat major
3. Four Duets
4. Fantasia and Fugue in A minor
5. Partita No.3 in A minor
6. Jesus bleibet meine Freude

The album includes some really big pieces, such as the Italian Concerto, one of Blechacz's signature pieces along with Partita No. 1 and the album closing Jesus bleibet meine Freude.

Blechacz’s set of Johann Sebastian Bach's work here is an exciting, alive recording, one in which the performer’s tremendous technique married to a sense of drama and a palpable enjoyment in presentation culminates in a recording of true, pristine excellence.

Indeed, even if one feels his work exceeds somewhat the just of the movement at times, Blechacz gives no quarter in his headlong enthusiasm to make these pieces thrilling. So, and for that fact alone his work should be not only highly recommended, bit seen live to be fully appreciated.

Title - 'New Era'
Artist - Andreas Ottensamer

For those not in the classical know, Andreas Ottensamer is an Austrian clarinetist and is the principal clarinetist of the Berlin Philharmonic. Ottensamer commenced his musical studies in 1999 on piano in his hometown and then at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna, on violoncello with Wolfgang Herzer and then from 2003 clarinet with Johann Hindler.

Ottensamer is also enrolled as a student at Harvard University in the United States. Ottensamer first gained his orchestral experience as substitute clarinet in the Vienna State Opera and the Vienna Philharmonic and is a former member of the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra.

In October 2009, he was a fellow of the Orchestra Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic. From July 2010 to February 2011, he was solo clarinetist of the German Symphony Orchestra, Berlin and since March 2011 he fills the position of solo clarinet with the Berlin Philharmonic.

The first prize winner of several competitions with the instruments of clarinet, piano and cello, Ottensamer has performed as soloist and chamber musician worldwide with partners such as the Vienna Virtuosi (members of the Vienna Philharmonic), the Vienna Chamber Orchestra and performers including Leif Ove Andsnes, Angelika Kirchschlager, Julian Rachlin and Yo-Yo Ma.

Now, brilliant Clarinetist Andreas Ottensamer presents a dazzling selection of the clarinet's early repertoire from 18th Century Mannheim on the aptly entitled New Era. Inclusive of works by J. and C.P. Stamitz, Mozart and Danzi the dazzling new album also features duets with Albrecht Mayer and Emmanuel Pahud, two of the great wind soloists of our time; and Ottensamer's friends and colleagues at the Berliner Philharmoniker.

1-3. J. STAMITZ Clarinet Concerto in B flat major
4-6. DANZI Concertino for Clarinet, Bassoon and Orchestra in B flat major op. 47
7. MOZART "Se viver non degg'io"
8. DANZI Fantasy on "La ci darem la mano"
9. MOZART "Batti, batti, o bel Masetto"
10-12. C. STAMITZ Clarinet Concerto No. 7 in E flat major

Ottensamer is joined by the Kammerakademie Potsdam for this recording and along side each other the recording is as strong as anything this young man has ever done, in my humble opinion. Beautiful sweet clarinet sound and projection combine to bring forth an impeccable clarinet technique here on New Era.

Ottenshamer's performance is smooth as silk, his control of micro-dynamics is truly remarkable. From start to finish, I found this album a highly enjoyable listening experience and I know you will also. Ergo, I recommend New Era to all lovers of classical clarinet work the world over for this is as good as it gets. Of that, have no doubt.

Title - 'Black & White Night 30'
Artist - Roy Orbison & Friends

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

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

The rest, as they say, is history, but reliving his wonderful Black & White Night 30 (now out in a stunning new CD/DVD or CD/Blu-ray set), it's clear to me that this was Roy Orbison at his best. I mean, rarely will you find a performance of this caliber out there today. An All-Star line-up is the icing on the cake as this incredible show includes some outstanding harmonies from Jennifer Warnes, Bonnie Raitt and K.D.lang.

Adding a new dimension to Roy's already classic style each time I listen to this timeless music I can expect no less than the requisite chills. Or as his Wilbury brother, George Harrison once said, "I get chicken skin, goose bumps from hearing him". No small compliment there. Lost to the ages too soon, this is a great way to remember a wonderful artist, and a time well worth re-living over and over again. Sit back and enjoy, my friends for if you've not heard or seen this live recording before, well, you're about to have your minds blown!

Backed by Elvis Presley’s TCB Band of Ron Tutt (drums), Jerry Scheff (bass), Glen D. Hardin (piano) and James Burton (electric guitar), augmented by Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen, Alex Acuna, Tom Waits and T Bone Burnett, with that aforementioned backing chorus of K.D. Lang, Jennifer Warnes, Bonnie Raitt, and inclusive also of J.D. Souther, Steven Soles and Jackson Browne, add to that a quartet of violins and violas and you've got a show, my friends. You've got the show to have been at.

Recorded at the Cocoanut Grove in Hollywood’s Ambassador Hotel, the program was cablecast on Cinemax and released as a live album. It’s subsequently been reissued on VHS, DVD, Blu-ray, CD, SACD and was turned into a PBS fundraising perennial. And now, and as aforementioned, Black & White Night 30 is a re-imagined, re-edited, remastered and expanded version of the original television special, available both as a CD/DVD set and as a CD/Blu-ray set on February 24th, 2017.

We begin with a lush 'Only The Lonely' (a song that has always made me love music the way it should be made), the gentle love song 'Leah', the poignant 'In Dreams', the iconic 'Crying', the upbeat 'Uptown', and then both 'The Comedians' and a song that showcases Roy's vocal range stunningly, 'Blue Angel'. A beautifully orchestrated, and highly resonating 'It's Over' is next and that's followed by 'Running Scared', a finger-snappin' 'Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)', the old school rock 'n' roll vibe of 'Mean Woman Blues' (which also features some brilliant guitar work), and then the Doo-Wop of 'Candy Man', the guitar fest of 'Ooby Dooby', and 'Blue Bayou'.

One of my favorite tracks 'Go! Go! Go! (Down The Line)' is next and is backed by the upbeat '(All I Can Do Is) Dream You)', which in turn is followed by the guitar-laden fun of 'Claudette', before the album comes to a close with two versions of 'Oh, Pretty Woman' (one being an Alternative Version). Man, it has to be said that when he makes that growling sound, it's as skin tingling to hear today as it was back then, or even when it was first unleashed.

With the video portion of this package featuring the bonus of an Intro, it's actually also been re-edited by Roy's youngest son Alex Orbison. Indeed, the entire program has been restored to reflect the correct set order as the audience who attended the show saw it. Liner notes written by son Roy Orbison Jr. are included in the packaging as well as a treasure trove of bonus content.

Indeed, and with that in mind, Black & White Night 30 includes a previously unseen alternate version of 'Oh, Pretty Woman', a previously unseen performance of 'Blue Angel' and, oh, wait for it ... even a secret concert performed by the band after the audience had left of five songs featuring alternate takes of: 'Dream You', 'Comedians', 'Candyman', 'Claudette', and 'Uptown'. [The audio for the concert is available on CD with buyers of Black & White Night 30 receiving a download code for access to the audio records of the aforementioned secret concert.]

Additionally included is a brand new 33-minute mini-documentary consisting of rehearsal footage and pre and post show interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello and more. Also included is a photo montage consisting of twenty still photos from the show and new photos of show memorabilia, mostly unused and unseen in any context.

Listening to all these tracks live, one after the other, can begin to feel like you've entered unto something that there is no going back on, that's for sure. His voice, his unmistakable vocal tone is timeless, which makes every single one of these tracks an experience all of its own. It's also, even if you are not a fan, an experience that should be undertaken by all lovers of when music was real. Nothing is over dubbed, nothing is highly accentuated; everything is as real, as honest as it was when he stepped into that recording booth each time, for each track, over each passing year.

Roy Orbison 'Black & White Night 30' Purchase Link

Title - 'The Man From Snowy River And Other Themes'
Artist - Bruce Rowland

For those of you not in the know, Bruce Rowland is a well-known Australian composer. He composed the soundtrack for the 1982 movie 'The Man from Snowy River', as well as the soundtrack for its 1988 sequel 'The Man from Snowy River II' (which has the United States title of 'Return to Snowy River', and the United Kingdom title of 'The Untamed').

Both films were based on Banjo Paterson's poem The Man from Snowy River. His other film scores include Now and Forever (1983), Phar Lap (1983), Bushfire Moon (1987), Cheetah (1989), Weekend with Kate (1990), Gross Misconduct (1993), Andre (1994), Lightning Jack (1994), Zeus and Roxanne (1997) and the TV movie Tidal Wave: No Escape (1997).

He composed a special Olympics version of the main theme of 'The Man from Snowy River Suite', as well as conducting the orchestra, for the Opening Ceremony of the 2000 Summer Olympics which were held in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

With the soundtrack from the wonderful family film 'The Man From Snowy River' already now being established as one of the most memorable movie soundtracks ever composed, Varese Sarabande have just released The Man From Snowy River And Other Themes for Piano. Complete with 12 tracks that explore his work, and showcase it perfectly at the very same time, this music from Bruce Rowland fills the soul with it's powerful orchestration over and over.

1. Jessica’s Theme (from The Man From Snowy River) (3:30)
2. All the Rivers Run (Theme from the MiniSeries) (5:43)
3. Sea Ballet (from Andre) (2:36)
4. Taming Paint (from Ponderosa) (2:55)
5. Gunsmoke — The Last Apache (2:11)
6. Choices (from Backstage) (2:08)
7. Main Theme (from The Cup) (2:52)
8. We’ll Be Thinking of You (from Adventure Island) (3:10)
9. Love Theme (from Anzacs) (2:18)
10. Pharlap (2:47)
11. By The Fireside (from The Man From Snowy River 2) (2:16)
12. Suite from The Man From Snowy River (7:52)

Every time I listen to his works I am swept away, my mind encapsulated by the stirring, at times magical music that comes forth from Rowland's fingertips. I mean, and in all honesty, if you close your eyes and allow yourself to be taken away by this CD, you can almost visualize each scene from the segments of movies they are lovingly taken from as it plays.

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Title - 'Wheeler (Music From The Motion Picture)'
Artist - Wheeler Bryson

For those of you not in the know, 'Wheeler' is a new movie that follows an aspiring country singer-songwriter who moves to Nashville looking for a break. The film eavesdrops documentary-style on confessional songs that may have viewers seeking out more of the music and story of Wheeler Bryson.

Directed by Ryan Ross and shot with only a minimal script in fly-on-the-wall documentary style, the film stars Dorff (who also wrote and produced the film and music, and who is also from a Country music family) as the aforementioned Wheeler Bryson, a troubled Texas musician who takes a late-in-life journey to Nashville to share his introspective songs while coming to terms with an unbearable loss.

1. Wheeler (:59)
2. Pour Me Out Of This Town (4:07)
3. Fever (3:40)
4. Wind * (4:48)
5. Ryman (:19)
6. She’s Only 20 (4:34)
7. Tribe (3:36)
8. Rainbow Slide* (4:54)
9. Showed Me The Way * (4:24)
10. Move On (3:57)
11. Runner * (4:34)
12. Perfect Disaster (4:00)
13. Eulogy (1:01)
14. New Mister Me - Performed by Kris Kristofferson (3:12)

With the help of key allies on the ground, 'Wheeler' converses with real people in real locations, with every musical number performed live. The line between reality and fiction blurs as Wheeler chases his dream in this touching tribute to old school country legends.

Tracks like the harmonica driven title opener 'Wheeler' are stirring, and really capture the tone of the movie in just it's oh-too-short less-than-a-minute length. The brilliant 'Pour Me Out Of This Town' is a fun night out of a song, whereas both 'Fever' and 'Wind' are low-tempo Country storytelling grinds. The heartfelt ballad 'Ryman' is next and is backed by the gritty 'She's Only 20', the piano ballad 'Tribe', the slow poke 'Rainbow Slide' and then the piano-driven 'Showed Me The Way'.

The beautiful black and white feel of 'Move On' is next and that's followed by the energetic 'Runner', the hard country soul of 'Perfect Disaster', before another harmonic-driven cut in 'Eulogy' is brought forth. A perfect musical bookend to Wheeler's story, the Bonus Track on this quite stunning new album is 'New Mister Me', written and performed by Kris Kristofferson.

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Title - 'Gastank' + 'The Phantom of the Opera'
Artist - Rick Wakeman

For those not in the know, prog legend Rick Wakeman is an English keyboardist, songwriter, television and radio presenter, and author. He is best known for being in the progressive rock band Yes across five tenures between 1971 and 2004 and for his solo albums released in the 1970s.

Wakeman also pursued solo projects throughout the 1980s that varied in levels of success; his most successful album was 1984, released in 1981, which was followed by his minor pop hit single, "Glory Boys", from Silent Nights (1985). He hosted the television show Gastank, and produced the first of many New-age and ambient albums.

In 1988, he co-formed Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe which led to his third Yes stint until 1992. He returned twice more between 1995 and 2004, during which he completed several more solo projects and tours, including venturing into Christian music. Wakeman continues to perform concerts worldwide in various capacities.

Wakeman's discography includes over 90 solo albums that range from several musical styles. He has made many television and radio appearances; in recent years he became known for his contributions to the BBC comedy series Grumpy Old Men and his radio show on Planet Rock that aired from 2005 to 2010. Wakeman has written three books; an autobiography and two memoirs. Wakeman will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Yes in 2017.

As aforementioned above, Gastank was an English television show that aired between 1982–1983 on Channel 4. Hosted by Rick Wakeman and Tony Ashton the show featured a mix of interviews with 1970s musicians and impromptu performances where the guest artist would join Rick and his house band in playing re-arranged versions of their classic songs, or entirely new pieces created for the show.

The format was very informal with the setting likened to a bar where Wakeman would interview the guest over a drink or two followed by their performance in front of a small studio audience sitting in groups at tables. Wakeman would frequently cite the show as an opportunity for musicians from different bands to get the opportunity to work together.

During its run, the show featured guests as diverse as: Rick Parfitt, Ian Paice, Steve Hackett, Maggie Bell, Roy Wood, Andy Fairweather Low, John Entwistle, Godley and Creme, Suzy Quatro, Donovan, The Strawbs, Eric Burdon, Chris Farlowe, Frankie Millar, Phil Lynott, Alvin Lee, and many others.

“For many years, many of you have been asking us to release this material from the show I presented with Tony Ashton back in the early '80s", Rick Wakeman himself explains. "Gastank was an opportunity for iconic musicians from different bands to get the opportunity to perform live together."

"I can now happily announce that much of Gastank is now available. I hope it brings back memories and for those not around when the programmes went out, enjoy some unique performances.”

Indeed, now out for the first time on DVD, all the episodes of Gastank along with a CD of these now seminal music performances of Rick and his guests is available for all to purchase. Created exclusively on late last year, you could also opt to purchase the incredible Special Limited Edition Box-Set, of which there will only be 750 of in circulation:

Double DVD – Nearly 6 hours of footage, every second of the shows shown back in the day
Triple CD – of all the musical performances
Double CD – of all the interviews
Replica AAA pass
“The Gas Tank Interviews – by Rick Wakeman” book
Signed (by Rick Wakeman) and numbered certificate

The other newly-released gem is the legendary 1925 Lon Chaney film 'The Phantom of the Opera' which is brought to life with a specially commissioned Rick Wakeman soundtrack. This is the first time this version of the film has been issued on DVD, as such the images have been fully restored and the soundtrack remastered.

The DVD also has several bonus features; a Rick Wakeman commentary, a Christopher Lee introduction, a Rick and the Phantom featurette, and an Original Trailer also. The soundtrack double CD is the original Rick Wakeman unedited soundtrack and contains the original mixes of the songs. All different to what eventually appeared on his album Phantom Power, this quite stunning edition contains a single DVD and double CD.

Disc: 1
1. The Phantom of the Opera, Part One

Disc: 2
1. The Phantom of the Opera, Part Two

Disc: 3
1. The Phantom of the Opera with Introduction By Christopher Lee

Indeed, now out for the first time on DVD, the Lon Chaney silent movie 'Phantom of the Opera' together with Rick Wakeman’s soundtrack comes together in a Limited Edition Box-Set also. Complete with a signed and numbered certificate, and once again created exclusively on late last year, you could also opt to purchase this incredible Limited Edition Box-Set:

Single DVD
Double CD
Signed by Rick Wakeman and numbered certificate
2 x Reproduction Lon Chaney 10˝ x 8˝ photos
4 x A4 Reproduction “Lobby Cards Taken from the original artwork

As aforementioned, Phantom Power was a 1990 album by Rick Wakeman, written as a modern day soundtrack for a re-release of the 1925 silent film 'The Phantom of the Opera.' Although the tracks have been remodeled here for this stunning new release, their collective verve remains the same. Essentially, they present the musical highlights to the score Wakeman provided Universal in 1989 when they decided to update the 1925 adaptation.

If the purists weren’t already offended by the color tinting added to the ensuing drama, the wholly un-traditional score would have had them in fits of apoplexy. Not only do we get Wakeman's contemporary keyboard motifs, but actual songs in both the rock genre and more operatic entries in between. These in turn are brought to life by long-time stalwarts of the Wakeman sound such as Ashley Holt, Chrissie Hammond and opera tenor Ramon Ramedios; with their respective talent really broadening the scope of the production.

Rick Wakeman @ Twitter

'Gastank' CD/DVD Purchase Link

'Phantom of the Opera' CD/DVD Purchase Link

Title - 'Preghiera - Rachmaninov Piano Trios'
Artist - Gidon Kremer-Daniil Trifonov-Giedr Dirvanauskait

For those not in the classical know, Gidon Kremer is celebrating his 70th birthday on (February 27th, 2017) here with a special chamber music program together with outstanding young pianist Daniil Trifonov and renowned cellist Giedr Dirvanauskait; both of whom he personally chose for this recording.

Gidon Kremer, the Latvian classical violinist, artistic director and founder of Kremerata Baltica is in fine form here alongside his two chosen musical counterparts. Both Giedr Dirvanauskait and Daniil Trifonov are without a shadow of a doubt, connected by deep bonds of friendship and an intensive partnership on the concert stage throughout these works of musical art.

1. Preghiera - Arrangement after the Adagio sostenuto from Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2
2. Moderato - Allegro vivace
3. Quasi variazione
4. Allegro risoluto - Moderato
5. Trio élégiaque No. 1 in G minor

Here on Preghiera - Rachmaninov Piano Trios, both works bear the subtitle Elegiaque (elegiac), wherein both are dark, passionate works, composed under the influence of Tchaikovsky; the first is a short, one-movement piece rich in typically Slavic sentimentality, the second was written as a personal memorial to Tchaikovsky himself, alternately celebrating the life and grieving the loss of the great Russian composer of whom Rachmaninov said Of all the people and artists whom I have had occasion to meet, Tchaikovsky was the most enchanting. His delicacy of spirit was unique.

In truth, you have to experience Kremer's plushness of tone to truly believe his status as one of the greatest violinists of he contemporary age. This new recording provides more evidence than necessary for this claim, and the breadth of styles covered between the trio is highly impressive. Indeed, Kremer's occasional use of rubato lends a Romantic quality to all of this andante results are unique and memorable. Transforming such a familiar piece into an unfamiliar masterpiece is nothing short of brilliant. I could go on, but I will exit with an enthusiastic recommendation for this delightful new recording.

Also included as a special bonus is Preghiera (Prayer), Fritz Kreisler's touching transcription for violin and piano of the famous theme from Rachmaninov's 2nd Piano Concerto.

Title - 'Sonic Cinema'
Artist - Zero Times Everything

For those not in the prog know, Zero Times Everything (Richard Sylvarnes – Kaoss Pads, Loops, Synths, Rhythms, Guitars, Vocal), Pietro Russino – Guitars, Loops, Violin, and Tony Geballe – Guitars, Synths, Loops) first met at Robert Fripp's Guitar Craft Seminars at Claymont Court, then formed a group to provide live music for Richard Sylvarnes' epic film “The Last Words of Dutch Schultz”.

ZXE continued playing live to Richard's works, developing a rich vocabulary of music and exploration far beyond their original intention. Once they made their debut with “Dutch Schultz”, ZXE was asked to play at the inaugural NY Festival of Light in 2013, and then to perform at the opening ceremony of the 2014 NYFOL. The band haven't looked back ever since.

About to release their debut album, Sonic Cinema on April 21st, 2017 via 7D Media, Zero Times Everything (ZXE) is a progressive rock trio (or as they themselves term their music, "avant garde ambient glitchcore and pan-ethnic post-industrial pre-cambrian serial noise proto-punk neocortex") that needs to be heard on a wider scale, that's for sure. This ten track album is, to my mind, as good as it gets in this genre.

1. And Now This....
2. Events In A Field
3. LED
4. Accident
5. Natron 40
6. Ghost
7. Kapital
8. Vox Populi
9. Schizoid
10. (The Cathedral Of All Saints)

Complimenting flowing, and in some cases ever decreasing circles of musical differences in sound, these some might say experimental tones (such as on 'Ghost') are as stirring, as poignant a look into the minds of these guys than anything else on the album. Kicking off with the steadily growing, static-heavy 'And Now This ...', they back that with the stunning ambiance of 'Events In A Field' and then the stirring funk of 'LED'.

The mid-tempo throbbing, and at times fuzzy intensity of 'Accident' is next with the more technology-created stuttering of the short track 'Natron' up next. The spacial elements contained within 'Ghost' are brought forth next, with the raucous beats of 'Kapital' combining eloquently with the spoken word thereafter.

Culminating in what turns out to be a new fourteen minute political opus ('Vox Populi'), then comes 'Schizoid', before the truly soul provoking tones of '(The Cathedral Of All Saints)' bring the album to a close. So, and in my humble opinion, Sonic Cinema is, from start to finish, one of the surefire contenders for Best Album of The Year. Believe me and buy this album yourself. Or don't believe me and miss out on an incredible audio experience.

Zero Times Everything @ Facebook

Title - 'Miked Up' (feat. Michael Pennick)
Artist - E-Life 7

For those not in the know, Three 2 Go Music introduces E-Life 7(EL7) featuring Michael Pennick with his debut CD Miked Up. EL7 unites some of Western NY’s finest musicians including; keyboardists Rodney Spears and Charlie Crymes Jr., guitarist Ron Walker, drummer and percussionist Tim Webb and bassist Mike Pennick.

There's also a special appearance by Ken Whitman (tenor sax), with Walter Kemp III, Van Taylor (keyboards), Joey Diggs and Dee Osbourne (vocals) also featured heavily on Miked Up.

EL7 is the brain child of Ron Walker and Mike Pennick long time members of Buffalo Music Hall of Fame R&B recording artists The Exoutics. Indeed, it should also be known that EL7 fully acknowledges the musical and spiritual influence of past and present members of The Exoutics and you can feel their influence here on this 14 track CD.

1. 'Sunday Night' (03:21)
2. 'Chaos' (02:37)
3. 'Second Level' (04:19)
4. 'Smooth Ride' (04:30)
5. 'Inner Beauty' (04:56)
6. 'That Girl' (04:58)
7. 'Tony Rome' (05:22)
8. 'Sunrise' (04:22)
9. 'Feelin' You' (06:26)
10. 'Before The Storm' (05:50)
11. 'Miked Up' (04:40)
12. 'Beautiful Day' (04:06)
13. 'Tony Rome (Radio Edit)' (04:42)
14. 'Feelin' You (Radio Edit)' (04:31)

We begin with the upbeat and joyous funk of 'Sunday Night' and move beautifully into both the frenetic drumming of 'Chaos' (as well a titled track if ever there were one) and the flowing 'Second Level'. The jazz sax flow of 'Smooth Ride' is next and that's followed by the laid back bass strumming of 'Inner Beauty', and upbeat remake of Stevie Wonder’s 'That Girl', the late night groove of 'Tony Rome' and then both 'Sunrise' and the all out funk groove of 'Feelin' You'.

With Rodney’s unique keyboard skills accenting, complimenting perfectly the keyboard foundations laid by Charlie, Tim’s intricate drum touch reinforces rhythmic, melodic bass lines and spicy guitar licks throughout. When blended together, this unique sound has come together just perfectly here on Miked Up.

The more laid back late night sway of 'Before The Storm' is next and that's followed by the title track, 'Miked Up', the jazz lite 'Beautiful Day' and then rounding the album out both 'Tony Rome (Radio Edit)' and 'Feelin' You (Radio Edit)'.

So, as the band themselves have overly stressed, life is short so enjoy it! And that means go out and buy this fantastic CD today. Oh, and what does EL7 stand for? Enjoy Life 7 days a week, my friends. It's just as simple as that.

Title - 'Day Dream'n'
Artist - Omeri

For those not in the know, Three 2 Go Music is proud to introduce singer/songwriter Omeri and his debut album Day Dream'n, set to be released in stores and online worldwide on March 24th, 2017. This musically diverse album features catchy hooks, colorful, hypnotic melodies, and will have listeners nodding their heads and tapping their feet as they enjoy the lyrics.

Omeri prides himself on being open to different genres and styles of music and has already stated that "I'm always looking for new challenges and ways to express myself" And here on his quite stunning debut Day Dream'n, he has most assuredly accomplished those musical ways.

1. 'Day Dream'n'
2. 'Guess I'll Be Waiting'
3. 'Read Your Mind'
4. 'Don't Look For Me'
5. 'Genuine Love'
6. 'One Night'
7. 'Day Dream'n (Extended)'
8. 'One Night (Reprise)'

Growing up in the inner city of Buffalo, New York, his turbulent teen years brought about new experiences and forced him to decide very quickly which path in life he wanted to follow. Raised by his godmother, Omeri's early years were far from "normal." His mother was a troubled professional dancer, while his father chose the fast street life; Omeri used music as his escape.

The album opens up with the title track itself, 'Day Dream'n', a very upbeat and melodic track if ever there was. The funky guitar funk of 'Guess I'll Be Waiting' is next and that's backed by both 'Read Your Mind' and the lush ballad 'Don't Look For Me.'

The mid-tempo flow of 'Genuine Love' is up next and that's backed by one of the best tracks on this album, in my humble opinion, the heartfelt love song 'One Night.' the album is then rounded out by a couple of redo's in the shape of 'Day Dream'n (Extended)' and then, and at just over a minute in length, 'One Night (Reprise)'.

Title - 'All for Nothin'
Artist - J-Bella

For those not in the know, Three 2 Go Music is proud to introduce singer/songwriter J-Bella to the public. Someone who has made singing not only a passion, but something that has influenced every facet of her life, her debut album All For Nothin is out March 24th, 2017.

Growing up listening to artists like Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, J-Bella doesn’t sing just to be heard, but has even gone so far as to put her personal diary into lyrics from this aforementioned new album, All For Nothin.

Ensuring that every word is sung from the heart, additional musical influences include Alicia Keys and Jennifer Hudson. “I love how they tell stories with their songs while they simultaneously blow audiences away with the beauty of their sound,” says J-Bella, as she helps promote the album that, in truth, once listened to needs no promotion to become a top selling album - it's just that good.

1. 'Shine (Remix)'
2. 'I Choose You'
3. 'All For Nothin'
4. 'Game'
5. 'Haters'
6. 'Up Down'
7. 'Shine'
8. 'Shine (Bonus Mix)'

The album opens up with the upbeat R&B finger-snappin' sway of 'Shine (Remix)' and backs it up with both the piano ballad 'I Choose You' and the hand on heart title track, 'All For Nothin'. 'Game' is next and is followed by the brilliant, and genuinely heartfelt ballad 'Haters'. The R&B old school funk of 'Up Down' is also my favorite track from this great album, and that's backed by the radio edit single 'Shine', with the album coming to a close with 'Shine (Bonus Mix)'.

Following in the historic footsteps of the greats that have preceded her, J-Bella is poised to blaze a whole new trail with All For Nothin; and deservedly so. Listen to this album online then (come March 24th) go and physically buy it for it will be something that you simply cannot stop playing, of that you have my word.

Title - 'Walking In Twos' [EP]
Artist - Amanda Abizaid

For those not in the know, singer/songwriter Amanda Abizaid is releasing a new EP in support of, a non-profit organization that helps children get the best education possible through the betterment of existing schools, working “from the inside out.”

Amanda Abizaid was born in Beirut, Lebanon, to an American mother and a Mexican/Lebanese father. She traveled the Middle East and Europe with her family before the age of ten, when she moved with her mother and brother to the United States. Along with her four sisters, she formed a band and developed a talent for harmonies.

Walking In Twos, the aforementioned new EP features the legendary Stephen Stills, and is a 7-track CD that also includes two diverse mixes of the titular song, which was inspired by Amanda’s experiences with the Aeta Filipino children. The EP also features other original songs and will release worldwide on all digital platforms March 3rd, 2017, along with a limited physical release.

Simply put, the project’s goal is to create a self-sufficient revenue stream using proceeds from the song's downloads and streams to buy school supplies for the Aeta children of the Philippines.

1. 'Walking In Twos' (featuring Stephen Stills)
2. 'Lion's Den'
3. 'Set It Up'
4. 'Release Me'
5. 'One Love'
6. 'Promises Of Love'
7. 'Walking In Twos (Electronica Remix)'

Along with the stand out titular track, in both its forms, the other tracks are equally as memorable, especially the brilliantly cool, and original acoustic reggae-rock track 'One Love'. But, in truth it's the opening track, which showcases not only Abizaid's delicate vocals, but the beautiful choir-like harmonies behind her. Complete with children singing a whole chorus unto themselves, the aforementioned 'One Love' is a pure joy to behold.

Seriously, and together with its message, it's as good a reggae tune as I've heard in the past few years. In this day and age, it's a rare sight, a woman attempting reggae, but here Abizaid embraces the genre turning the musical outlet into a masterstroke of a song. Another track that pleases the soul is the bi-lingual 'Promises Of Love', a track that not only speaks to us (quite literally) in different ways, but incorporates a transforming trip-hop back beat (featuring Egyptian oud player Ahmed Kamal).

And the trip-hop is also prevalent, and courses beautifully through an earlier track, 'Set It Up', a song that also features World flute melodies, with 'Lion’s Den' being a simpler, acoustic rock melded with subtle moments of electronica musical delight. 'Release Me' is an ambient electronic track, another bi-lingual musical moment also, and one co-produced with Mixman Shawn.

Amanda Abizaid @ Twitter

Amanda Abizaid @ Facebook

Title - 'The Man In The High Castle Seasons 1 & 2'
Artist - Henry Jackman & Dominic Lewis

For those of you not in the know, The Man in the High Castle is an American dystopian alternative history television series produced by Amazon Studios, Scott Free, Headline Pictures, Electric Shepherd Productions and Big Light Productions.

Taking place in 1962—in an alternate history of the world in which the Axis powers won World War II and subdivided the world, splitting the United States into two powers, the Greater Nazi Reich and the Japanese Pacific States—the series follows characters from both sides whose destinies intertwine after coming into contact with a series of propaganda films that show a vastly different history from that of their own.

Loosely based on the 1962 novel of the same name by American science fiction author Philip K. Dick, the just-released soundtrack to The Man in the High Castle contains the first two seasons of the highly acclaimed TV series over two discs.

Disc: 1 - 1. Edelweiss (1:23) 2. Alternate Outcome (3:21) 3. Chapter 12 Verse 5 (3:44) 4. Neuland (1:33) 5. The Crown Prince's Speech (3:07) 6. Attentater (2:32) 7. The Grasshopper Lies Heavy (3:34) 8. A Grave Situation (4:47) 9. Unofficial Treaties (1:47) 10. Too Good For This World (1:42) 11. Fate Is Fluid (4:20) 12. Vorsatz (4:11) 13. The Necklace (1:21)

Disc: 2 - 1. Kintsugi (1:33) 2. Juliana's Letter (4:00) 3. Cherry Blossoms (3:42) 4. Lebensborn (3:12) 5. Dinner and a Funeral (2:09) 6. Donning The Suit (3:04) 7. Leaving Work Early (1:20) 8. Kotimichi (2:20) 9. Plague To The Pharaohs (3:58) 10. Fulfilled Prophecy (1:27) 11. Skyrockets in Flight (1:34) 12. Verrater (2:42) 13. Hitler Youth (2:42) 14. Hawthorne Abendsen (3:08) 15. Tomorrow Belongs To Me (2:37)

Indeed, Season 1 is composed by both Henry Jackman and Dominic Lewis, whilst Season 2 is Lewis alone. To my mind, Composer Lewis has helped create an overall score that mixes the familiar and the foreign into a sound that includes recurring themes for specific characters and orchestration links the actions of characters heard throughout the series.

Lewis attached certain sounds and instruments to the main characters: a cello highlights Juliana Crain (Alexa Davalos), while notes from a French horn accompany scenes with Joe Blake (Luke Kleintank). The composer then created a fast-paced piano theme that links the characters through the course of the series. Using classical orchestration as the basis of the score, he morphs tones and notes, manufacturing a soundscape that’s vaguely familiar yet completely foreign.

“I wanted to use Western orchestration as the tent pole, then twist it with sound design created from organic things,” Lewis himself has said about his work.

Though known by some for his producing, programming, and writing work in the pop and electronic realms, Henry Jackman is best known as a film composer for action and animated features such as X-Men: First Class, Big Hero 6, and Captain America: Civil War. Born in Hillingdon of suburban London, England, his work here on The Man in the High Castle is just as warranted as Lewis', and just as thought provoking, of that you can be assured.

What Jackman brings to the table here is a common theme running through many of the tracks also, sure, but when the theme is as powerful and electric as it can get, it's his tried and tested depth of experimentation that brings a startling climax to most of them. Unlike many soundtracks, most of his tracks continue to build as the scene progresses and then when it hits the aforementioned climax, it stays there. Content within itself without being overly abusive to the listener. The two composers together on Season 1 bring, for me, the best out of the soundtrack to both seasons, but buy it for yourself and you can make your own minds up.

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'The Founder - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack'
Artist - Carter Burwell

For those of you not in the know, The Founder stars Michael Keaton as Ray Kroc in the little known story behind the biggest food retailer in the world – McDonalds.

Indeed, and as a stand alone movie, the story of Ray Kroc, a salesman who turned two brothers' innovative fast food eatery, McDonald's, into one of the biggest restaurant businesses in the world with a combination of ambition, persistence, and ruthlessness is one of true passion, true inspirational meaning to us all.

So, to add an underlying score to such a euphoric story was always going to be the hardest part. For, you know the story, the success before the movie even starts, so the last thing you want is to be distracted by a "bouncy" score and such.

So Carter Burwell, coming off his highly acclaimed and Oscar nominated score for Carol, was the most perfect of choices. Delivering yet another top notch composition, Carter (also known for having scored nearly all the Coen Brothers’ films) coupled together a handful of 50's and 60's favorites (from Doris Day and Norman Greenbaum, to the Penguin Café Orchestra and The DixieAires (amongst others) and brings to us a memorable, and yet not overpowering back beat to this sensational film.

1. San Bernardino (1:37)
2. Multimixer Man (2:45)
3. Mister Tap Toe (Performed by Doris Day
with Paul Weston & His Orchestra and The Norman Luboff Choir) (2:15)
4. Persistence (1:23)
5. I’m Not Like I Used To Be (Performed by The DixieAires) (2:16)
6. First Taste (1:59)
7. The Creation Of The Burger (1:43)
8. Sh! Baby's Asleep (Performed by Orin Tucker and His Orchestra with Bonnie Baker & The Bodyguards) (2:59)
9. The Arches (2:30)
10. Overnight Sensation (1:40)
11. Tennis Court (2:06)
12. Music For A Found Harmonium (Performed by Penguin Café Orchestra) (3:39)
13. Flags And Steeples (2:06)
14. Franchise For America (:58)
15. Be Right One Time (1:29)
16. Slow Down Baby (Performed by Bob Gaddy and His Alley Cats) (2:44)
17. Crass Commercialism (3:27)
18. Fifty-Fifty Love (Performed by The Ramblers) (2:46)
19. A Team (2:32)
20. Ray Rallies Troops (2:34)
21. Minneapolis (1:02)
22. Pennies From Heaven (Performed by Michael Keaton and Linda Cardellini)(1:36)
23. A Wolf In The Henhouse (1:17)
24. Ray Confronted (1:21)
25. Surprise Inspection (1:02)
26. Franchise Realty Road Show (1:52)
27. Fortune Favors The Bold (1:57)
28. Blank Check (1:20)
29. Divorce (1:58)
30. Let’s Make A Deal (1:35)
31. Secret To Success (2:54)
32. Number One (:58)

CD Purchase Link

Title - ' xXx: Return Of Xander Cage'
Artist - Brian Tyler and Robert Lydecker

For those of you not in the know, xXx: Return of Xander Cage is a brand new American action film directed by D. J. Caruso and written by F. Scott Frazier. It stars Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone, Kris Wu, Ruby Rose, Tony Jaa, Nina Dobrev, Toni Collette and Samuel L. Jackson and is the third installment in the 'xXx' franchise; and a sequel to both 'xXx' (2002) and 'xXx: State of the Union' (2005).

The original 'xXx' film grossed 277 million at the box office and Vin Diesel’s global profile has never been higher as a result of the Fast and Furious chain. In this latest adventure, Xander Cage is left for dead after an incident, though he secretly returns to action for a new, tough assignment with his handler Augustus Gibbons.

Composer Brian Tyler, who was the primary composer for the Fast and Furious soundtracks, including last year’s 'Furious 7' was just the most perfect choice ever to take control of the musical helm here. Alongside Emmy-nominated composer Robert Lydecker (TVs 'Sleepy Hollow'), the duo have created 21 tracks that both power on through and at just the right time, slow the roll to a mid tempo fluctuating pulse; as if their own lives depended on it also.

Tyler, who in the past year has also helmed blockbusters such as 'The Avengers: Age of Ultron', 'Now You See Me 2', 'Truth', 'Criminal' and 'The Disappointments Room' tackles each cinematic moment solidly and together with Lydecker, their ensure that this soundtrack score resonates with each scene that plays out.

For, and as you would fully expect, Tyler brings all the electronic tricks and gizmos that makes the whole Fast & Furious series what it is. With plenty of upbeat rhythms and techno that pulses throughout, be aware though that Tyler sure can spin a soulful and heartfelt melody out of them too.

1. xXx The Return of Xander Cage (4:05)
2. Xander Cage ... Live and In Concert (1:55)
3. I Live for This $#!% (4:15)
4. Windfall (2:22)
5. Carte Blanche (3:01)
6. Launched (4:08)
7. The Last Great Adventure (5:38)
8. Pandora’s Box (2:58)
9. Rock, Paper, Scissors, Grenade Launcher (2:19)
10. A New Ride (2:42)
11. Tattoos and Triangulation (3:34)
12. Evolution (5:42)
13. Wave Riders (3:45)
14. Twenty Two and a Half (3:05)
15. Battle of the X’s (5:33)
16. Not So Special Forces (2:42)
17. Read Between the Lines (3:51)
18. Besting the Best of the Best (2:28)
19. xXx Incorporated (2:40)
20. Xero Gravity (2:38)
21. Brotherhood (1:35)

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Emerger'
Artist - Carptree

For those of you not in the know, Carptree is progressive, symphonic rock music from Sweden. Formed in 1997 in Stockholm, Sweden, by songwriters Niclas Flinck (vocals) and Carl Westholm (keyboards and production), from 2001-2010 they released five albums and have performanced live all over the world.

Now, come April 7th, 2017, Carptree will release their brand new album, the quite stunning Emerger. With a physical vinyl LP out on May 5th, 2017 via Reingold Records, Carptree's latest musical venture is, to my mind at the very least, their best yet.

A true work of prog rock art, and a heartfelt one at that, Emerger couldn't have been any better titled for this new album has had some of its songs, in various manners, cluttering their collective minds for years now. "This album was a really slow starter," admits the band themselves. "We started already in 2014 with some of the songs, the first two song was 'Fleeting Deep' and 'Ultimately Lifeless' which both have taken a lot of different shapes along the process."

"'Between Extremes' is also a song that has been around in different shapes for many years. First we recorded it in 2009, but was not happy and cut it down to a short version which ended up on Nymf 'Between Extremes, Prelude', then rewrote it and planned to release it as a single in 2012, but was not happy with the result."

"So again we rewrote it and when we recorded it with Jesper Skarin on the drums and Carl rerecorded everything with just his Fender Rhodes and organ and we were finally happy with it. That's why we wanted to release that song already in May 2016 as a Maxi single to give that special song a chance to stand on it's own.”

I mean, just listening to the immense opening track, the eight minute long opus 'The Fleeting Deep' should kick off your day on a high, positive note. The frenetic building, soaring styling coupled with Niclas Flinck's unmistaken, and haunting at times vocals never lets go of your senses thereafter or throughout.

The steady pace of 'Between Extremes' (yet another eight minute track of wonderment) is perhaps my own personal favorite here. With a hint of the original Marillion running throughout it, its back beat, more rock than prog aspects are a joy to behold; as are each and every track here on Emerger.

1. The Fleeting Deep
2. Between Extremes
3. The River
4. Ultimately Lifeless
5. Never To Return And Never Ever Leave
6. Porous
7. Immersive Attention
8. Dwindle Into Greatness (Bonus Track, New Mix)

Inclusive of a remixed version of their 'Dwindle Into Greatness' track, which was originally the B-side of the Maxi single released in May 2016), the aforementioned vinyl LP will also feature the other 7 tracks; and will be released as two versions: Black and Transparent Marine Blue) via FOSFOR Creation label.

Carptree @ Facebook

Title - 'The Failure of Words'
Artist - Yang

For those of you not in the know, Yang's first album A Complex Nature came out in 2004 on Cuneiform Records. They had some fantastic reviews for the record from all over the world and so started to play concerts all over Europe. Living in Nice at that time, but with guitarist Frédéric having moved to Paris, it became more and more difficult to get together for Yang.

However, they managed to release a sophomore album Machines, which they also put out themselves, but sadly, and like most self-productions was not a big success due to a lack of marketing and serious promotion.

But now, and after six years away from the music world, Yang (which in the Tao De Jing means the force of opening and making a statement to the world) are back with a third album opus on The Failure of Words. Having brought it together through a very public crowdfunding project via, Yang (Federic L'Epee / guitars, keyboards; Laurent James / guitars; Nico Gomez / bass; and Volodia Brice / drums) are now ready to reclaim their Swedish prog rock crown.

1. El Diablo (7:18)
2. Six Four Five (5:21)
3. Iago (4:12)
4. 9/8 Variations (8:03)
5. Babel Inside (6:02)
6. Slow Flow (Flux Lent) (5:29)
7. Indecision (5:40)
8. Decroissance (Degrowth) (5:28)
9. Healing (Guerison) (6:09)

Recorded at Le Cri de la Tarente studio, La Ciotat, France and with all songs composed by Frederic L'Eppe (except "Iago": Gomez-L'Eppe), this new album was well worth the wait, trust me. From the off, the jangling guitar and drum jam of 'El Diablo' leads you down a rhythmic prog rock path that never once takes its foot off the pedal. Never losing its way, the melodic, softer if you will 'Six Four Five' is a sheer delight to behold, with the bass-led, but drum held 'Iago' yet another perfect track to behold.

Although all great in their own right, another couple of stand out cuts for me are both 'Slow Flow (Flux Lent)' (perfectly titled for what comes forth) and the massive sounding, energy-filled 'Décroissance (Degrowth)'. Bringing it all to a close with the stirring, the haunting at times 'Healing (Guérison)', The Failure of Words showcases a band back to their very best.

Yang @ PledgeMusic

Title - 'D-I-V-O-R-C-E / Stand By Your Man' [Import]
Artist - Tammy Wynette

For those not in the know, although quite how is beyond me, Tammy Wynette was an American country music singer-songwriter and one of country music's best-known artists and biggest-selling female singers.

Indeed, Wynette was called the "First Lady of Country Music", and her best-known song, "Stand by Your Man", is one of the best-selling hit singles by a woman in the history of country music. Many of her hits dealt with classic themes of loneliness, divorce, and the difficulties of life and relationships.

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Wynette charted 20 No. 1 songs and along with Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton, she is credited with having defined the role of women in country music during the 1970s.

This brand new CD contains classic country music, the real McCoy featuring a truly one voice-of-a-kind singing timeless country songs. Here together on the same one disc CD are two albums headed up by ground-breaking classics, ‘D-I-V-O-R-C-E’ and ‘Stand By Your Man’, songs that assured the future of a rising star back in the late 1960s.

1. 'Gentle on My Mind'
2. 'Honey (I Miss You)'
3. 'The Legend of Bonnie & Clyde'
4. 'All Night Long'
5. 'Sweet Dreams'
6. 'Yesterday'
7. 'D-I-V-O-R-C-E'
8. 'Come on Home'
9. 'When There's Fire in Your Heart'
10. 'Kiss Away'
11. 'Lonely Street'

Known as the singer with a sob in her voice who frequently lived the heartache and heartbreak heard in the lyric of many of her songs, Wynette's D.I.V.O.R.C.E. was her third studio album. Released in 1968 it unpredictably reached number 1 on the Billboard Country Albums chart; given that her first two failed to. The album opener is the fast guitar twanging of 'Gentle On My Mind', and boy, what a way to open any album, at any time, in any era. The paced 'Honey (I Miss You)' is yet another delight ("... slipped and almost fell and you laughed until you nearly cried"), and that's backed by both backwoods vibrant storytelling of 'The Legend of Bonnie & Clyde' and then the mid-tempo seduction of 'All Night Long'.

The lush 'Sweet Dreams' is next and in addition to the new material that was featured here, the album contained covers of songs that had been recent hits for Glen Campbell, Ronnie Dove, Bobby Goldsboro, The Beatles, Kitty Wells, and Patsy Cline. And that's what we get next, a haunting cover of The Beatles' 'Yesterday', before both the title track single 'D-I-V-O-R-C-E'(which reached number 1 on the Country Singles chart) and the piano ballad 'Come on Home'. This first album of the two then rounds out with the upbeat fun of 'When There's Fire in Your Heart', the slow guitar twang remorse of of 'Kiss Away', and then the heartfelt 'Lonely Street.'

12. 'Stand By Your Man'
13. 'It's My Way'
14. 'Forever Yours'
15. 'I Stayed Long Enough'
16. 'It Keeps Slipping My Mind'
17. 'My Arms Stay Open Late'
18. 'I've Learned'
19. 'Cry, Cry Again'
20. 'Joey'
21. 'If I Were a Little Girl'
22. 'Don't Make Me Go to School'

Released in 1969, Wynette's massive Stand By Your Man album reached No. 2 on the Billboard Albums chart, and rightfully so. Kicking off with the titular song, the now worldwide hit 'Stand by Your Man', the track was co-written by Wynette and Billy Sherrill. Originally recorded by Wynette and released as a single in the United States in September 1968 it proved to be the most successful record of Wynette's career, and is one of the most recorded songs in the history of country music. Furthermore, the song was placed at number one on CMT's list of the Top 100 Country Music Songs.

Following that was always going to be a hard act, but both the tender pairing of the romantic 'It's My Way' and 'Forever Yours' do just that admirably. The feisty telling-it-like-it-is 'I Stayed Long Enough' is next and is followed by both the flowing 'It Keeps Slipping My Mind' and the lush orchestrations behind 'My Arms Stay Open Late.'

One of my favorite Wynette tracks on this second album is the countrified R&B of 'I've Learned' and that's followed by the Latin sway of 'Cry, Cry Again' and then a track that really showcases her superb vocals, 'Joey.' This second album of the one disc set then comes to a close with the piano-led 'If I Were a Little Girl', and then heartbreaking daughter to mother plea, 'Don't Make Me Go To School.'

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Title - 'The Sea Of Love: Expanded Edition'
Artist - The Adventures

For those not in the know, The Adventures were a Northern Irish rock band, formed in Belfast in 1984. The band later moved to London where they signed to Chrysalis Records and released their first single in 1984.

Following their debut album released a year later the group moved to Elektra Records and scored their biggest hit, 'Broken Land'. The song was written by guitarist Pat Gribben and reached number 20 in the UK Singles Chart, and was also the most played song on BBC Radio 1 in 1988.

The band were actively recording and touring from 1984 up until 1993, but despite the backing of Simon Fuller, the Adventures never achieved a significant commercial breakthrough. In recent years, the band have reformed to play low key live gigs and festivals in Belfast, although no further studio recordings have been made.

This brand new The Sea Of Love: Expanded Edition reissue is the first time that alnum has been revisited on CD in nearly 30 years. The eight bonus tracks are culled from the various singles plucked from the album – ‘Broken Land’, ‘One Step From Heaven’ and ‘Drowning In The Sea Of Love’.

1. 'Drowning in the Sea of Love'
2. 'Broken Land'
3. 'You Don't Have to Cry Anymore'
4. 'The Trip to Bountiful (When the Rain Comes Down)'
5. 'Heaven Knows Which Way'
6. 'Hold Me Now'
7. 'The Sound of Summer'
8. 'When Your Heart Was Young'
9. 'One Step from Heaven'
10. 'Broken Land (Acoustic Version)'
11. 'Don't Stand on Me'
12. 'Stay Away'
13. 'The Curragh of Kildare'
14. 'Drowning in the Sea of Love (Single Version)'
15. 'One Step from Heaven (Extended Remix)'
16. 'Instant Karma'
17. 'Broken Land (Single Version)'

The first track (which was also their second single released from the album) is the brilliant, poetic 'Drowning In the Sea Of Love', a track that resonates now as much as did when it was first written/recorded back some 30 years ago. The stunning, oh my God, hands down effortlessly brilliant first single from the album 'Broken Land' still sits with me today as a radio memory from my youth (and yes, I also have both the 7" and 12" vinyl's of it). Next up is flowingly free opus 'You Don't Have To Cry Anymore', and that's backed by both 'The Trip To Bountiful (When The Rain Comes)' and the upbeat synth pop of 'Heaven Knows Which Way.'

'Hold Me Know' sees the band doing their best Simple Minds impression (go on then, I dare you to listen to it and not hear a young Simple Minds vine there in the mix), the lovely jubbly days of our youth in 'The Sound Of Summer', and then the original album comes to a close with the euphoric 'When Your Heart Was Young' and the third single, the beautiful mid-tempo 'One Step From Heaven.'

All contained on the one disc, next up is 'Broken Land (Acoustic Version)', which having not heard for the past 30 years, still proved to be an uplifting experience for me today. The immense piano and guitar work behind the original version is now replaced with a gentle set of piano work, and along with the removal of electric guitars and with lead singer Terry Sharpe's haunting vocals tempered, well, it was a really lovely musical experience. [FYI - It is the bonus track on the 12" vinyl and the CD Single of the original 'Broken Land single, released in 1988].

The B-Side to their 'Broken Land' 7" Single, 'Don't Stand On Me' is up next and is a rip-roaring cut, that's for sure. Indeed, it always makes me question why it was relegated to a B-Side in the place, for, to be quite honest, it's a great track. Moving on and 'Stay Away' is then followed up by the deep, thoughtful storytelling of 'The Curragh of Kildare'. Also known as 'The Winter it is Past', it's a folk song particularly associated with the Irish tradition and here The Adventures do it sweet justice.

'Drowning in the Sea of Love (Single Version)' sounds just like the album track, 'One Step from Heaven (Extended Remix)' is much the same as the original too, save for some stretched out instrumental moments, but the end of this Expanded Edition of The Sea Of Love is saved nicely by a stunning cover of John Lennon's 'Instant Karma'. Originally the B-Side of 'One Step From Heaven', the album is then rounded out 'Broken Land (Single Version)'.

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Remixes & Rarities' [Import]
Artist - A Flock Of Seagulls

For those not in the know, A Flock of Seagulls are an English new wave and synthpop band originally formed in 1980 in Liverpool by Michael "Mike" Score (keyboards, vocals) and his brother Alister "Ali" James Score (drums); with their most famous line-up consisting of the Score brothers along with Francis Lee "Frank" Maudsley (bass) and Paul Reynolds (guitar).

The group had a string of international hit singles including "I Ran (So Far Away)" (1982), "Space Age Love Song" (1982), "Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)" (1982), and "The More You Live, the More You Love" (1984). They became notable in the 1980s for their video for "I Ran (So Far Away)" and even won a Grammy Award for the album track, "D.N.A." (from A Flock of Seagulls) in 1983 for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.

Come March 31st, 2017 and a very unique 2CD collection sourced from A Flock Of Seagulls’ 7″ and 12″ singles and featuring rare mixes, remixes and b-sides (many appearing on CD for the first time in the UK) will be released entitled Remixes & Rarities.

Sourced from the material from the original production master tapes, Remixes & Rarities the CD booklet features a brand new design as front cover, along with a full UK discography with many of the band’s front covers and lyrics of the band’s singles.

Disc: 1
1. I Ran (So Far Away) (U.S. 7" Version) 2. Space Age Love Song (7" Version) 3. Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You) (7" Version) 4. Nightmares (7" Version) 5. Rosenmontag (Shorter Version) 6. Transfer Affection (7" Version) 7. I Ran (Live) 8. It's Not Me Talking (7" Version) 9. Never Again (7" Version) 10. Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You) (Long Version) 11. Nightmares (12" Version) 12. Committed (Short Version) 13. The Traveller (Live) 14. The More You Live the More You Love (Full Moon Mix)

Disc: 2
1. I Ran (Longer Version) 2. Never Again (The Dancer) (12" Version) 3. Heartbeat Like a Drum (Full Length Version) 4. Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You) (U.S. Edit 12" Promo Version) 5. The Flight of Yuri Gagarin (Full Length Version) 6. Rosenmontag (Long Version) 7. Nightmares (U.S. 12" Promo Version) 8. I Ran (So Far Away) (Edited Version) 9. Never Again (The Dancer) (Re-Mix) 10. Space Age Love Song (Live) 11. Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You) (Short Version) 12. Who's That Girl (She's Got It) (Instrumental) 13. Single Medley

Stepping through the tulips of the tracks that stand out amongst this diamond plethora of fantastic AFOS history, all the 7" Versions are everything that you've heard before, so when we get something on the first disc such as live versions of both 'I Ran (So Far Away) (Live)' and 'The Traveller' it catches your attention. Those and a 12" Version of 'Nightmares' alongside a rather interesting 'The More You Live The More You Love (Full Moon Mix)' are craftily snuck away amongst all those aforementioned 7" Versions and, weirdly, Short Versions of hits and such.

The second disc is much more of a treasure trove of musical goodies for us fans, for a great 'I Ran (So Far Away) (Longer Version)' kicks it all off in style. That's backed by a stunning, and lesser heard 'Never Again (The Dancer) (12" Version), which itself is followed by 'Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You) (U.S. Edit 12" Promo Version)' and, to my mind, an unearthed gold nugget in the form of 'The Last Flight Of Yuri Gagarin (Full Length Version)' that clocks in at just over seven glorious minutes.

Another lesser heard track is 'Rosenmontag (Long Version)' which is a joy to hear in this longer form, and that's coupled with a great Re-Mix of 'Never Again (The Dancer)' and live version of 'Space Age Love Song'. Again adding in between the cracks more Promo versions (that don't differ all that much from what we're used to having heard over the past 30 years), and some Short Versions and even an Instrumental ('Who's That Girl (She's Got It)'), the second disc rounds out with a hit 'Single Medley'. Not a bad track, but, again, all stuff we've heard before on the radio, just quickly cobbled together.

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Title - 'Live At George’s Club 20'
Artist - Curtis Knight [featuring Jimi Hendrix]

Known for his connection to Jimi Hendrix, Mont Curtis McNear aka Curtis Knight, was an American musician who sadly passed away in 1999. Originally being backed by a group of musicians he coined as Don Covay's Goodtimers, that all changed when he renamed them The Squires.

Now, as much as the recently released You Can't Use My Name The RSVP PPX Sessions (2015) from Curtis Knight & The Squires also came with the sales-inspiring tagline "feat. Jimi Hendrix," and as much as it was also released as an Authorized Hendrix Family Edition CD (through the Experience Handrix label), Dagger Records has now followed that up with another Curtis Knight [featuring Jimi Hendrix] album of cuts, Live At George’s Club 20 - December 1965 & January 1966.

Initially released on CD, but to be followed by a spectacular double vinyl LP version for Record Store Day on April 21st, 2017, this latest Hendrix-involved album has never officially been released in the U.S. before. So, that alone might well bring more eyes to the prize, so to speak, but that aside, these recordings showcase Hendrix's explosive guitar work and lead vocal performances that we all subsequently fell in love with.

Indeed, it was that very same on stage, live action passion for his chosen art that Animals bassist Chas Chandler witnessed less than a year before becoming his manager and moving him to England to form the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

Then known as Jimmy James, the 23 year-old Hendrix was brought into his pre-Squires band the Lovelights by Curtis Knight and told to do what he does best. Listening to each one of these 15 tracks (given that the first is simply the grainy introduction and the last is a band outro), sure the tracks are raw, overly loud in places, distorted even, but the passion Hendrix was asked to bring is thread throughout like snake poison.

1) Introduction
2) Killing Floor
3) Last Night
4) Get Out Of My Life Woman
5) Ain’t That Peculiar
6) Mercy, Mercy
7) I’m A Man
8) Driving South
9) Baby What You Want Me To Do
10) I’ll Be Doggone
11) Sweet Little Angel
12) Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go
13) Travelin’ To California
14) What I Say
15) Land Of 1000 Dances
16) Come On (Let The Good Times Roll)
17) Band Outtro
Already somewhat of a veteran, having already toured and recorded with, among others, the Isley Brothers and Little Richard, Hendrix controlled everything there was to on stage over these live recorded gigs in late 1965, early 1966. Indeed, these recordings, all made at George’s Club 20 in Hackensack, NJ serve today as a musical flashback to a time when live music meant not just lined up starring at the band playing, whilst only your feet moved. For, and as can be witnessed on the back cover art of this incredible release, the band played on whilst the audience danced their hearts out, not one person stood still watching Hendrix and the guys performing.

A testament to the band and the danceability of their music, if you look closely enough at that aforementioned back cover art, you'll also see Hendrix is "playing" his guitar with his teeth! I kid you not. I mean, had you have known who this 23 year-old was going to turn out to be, you would have stood gazing, awestruck at just that musical feat alone. But no, he was just a brought-into-the-mix guitar man, a slinger for hire at the time, and he did his job to a tee for Knight and his guys.

As for "his guys", for these performances the Lovelights were bassist Ace Hall, drummer Ditto Edwards and saxophonist Lonnie Youngblood, who all blended perfectly with Hendrix to bring the crowd en mass of hip shakin' rock and roll, soul and blues songs of the day.

After the aforementioned introduction we get a blistering cover of Howlin’ Wolf’s 'Killing Floor' which is then backed by both 'Last Night' and a down and dirty 'Get Out Of My Life Woman.' 'Ain't That Peculiar' is a brilliant guitar fest of a song, and that in turn is followed by Don Covay's 'Mercy, Mercy,', 'I'm A Man', 'Driving South' (Albert Collins), and then 'Baby What You Want Me To Do' and a stunning rendition of the Marvin Gaye hit 'I'll Be Doggone.'

The delightful 'Sweet Little Angel' is up next and is a pure joy to behold and then comes the unadulterated rock 'n' roll beats of 'Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go', with 'Travelin' To California', Ray Charles' 'What I Say' and Chris Kenner’s 'Land of 1000 Dances' up next. The frenetic 'Come On (Let The Good Times Roll)' is the last cut of these live recordings, before the band outro is played for the rapturous applause that can be heard for them that night.

With all the 17 tracks newly mixed by Eddie Kramer, the new CD has had its audio lovingly restored by removing all overdubs and effects, so fans can now hear what Chas Chandler did in that nightclub over a half century ago. It should also be known that Bernie Grundman mastered Live At George’s Club 20 1965 & 1966 for optimum audio fidelity.

This is an incredible, nostalgic and delightfully rock 'n' roll blues album that, I for one, am so happy has at long last been allowed to come to the fore of our music attentions. Furthermore, it is a rich reminder to the new generation that real music was being made a long time before all this modern day, regurgitated sh*t was, sadly, marketed as being the songs of this decade!

Title - 'Game On!'
Artist - Tina Guo

For those not in the know, Tina Guo is a Chinese cellist and erhuist from Shanghai. Indeed, she has developed an international multi-faceted performance and recording career as a cellist, electric cellist, erhuist, and composer known for her distinctive sound, videos that showcase her talent against theatrical backdrops and elaborate costumes, mastery in a wide range of genres, and improvisatory style in major motion picture, television, and game scores.

At age five, she moved to the United States and has since gone on to appear as a soloist with the San Diego Symphony, the State of Mexico National Symphony, the Thessaloniki State Symphony in Greece, the Petrobras Symphony in Brazil, and the Vancouver Island Symphony in British Columbia.

Guo recorded her first solo CD, Autumn Winds in 2011. A classical/new-age album her other album releases include Journey (2011), Ray of Light (2014), Eternity (2014), Cello Metal (2015, and which for my money featured one of the best album covers that I've seen in a long, long time), Peter Katar & Tina Guo on Inner Passion (2016), Tina Guo & Composers for Charity, A Cello Christmas, and many stand alone singles.

And so now, the evolution of internationally acclaimed cellist, Tina Guo has sprung forth once more as her wondrous, vibrant debut album for Sony Masterworks, Game On! is out now. This highly dynamic and dramatic album showcases some of the most popular and well-known video game music with epic orchestral arrangements led by Tina Guo's high-octane solos on electric and acoustic cello.

1. The Legend of Zelda
2. Final Fantasy VII
3. Chrono Trigger
4. World of Warcraft
5. Skyrim
6. Uncharted: Nate's Theme
7. Super Mario Bros.
8. Pokémon
9. Journey
10. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
11. Halo
12. Metal Gear Solid
13. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2: Main Titles
14. Tetris

Included on this album of truly blockbuster video game music highlights are such top selling chart hits as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Halo, alongside such all-time classics such as Mario, Zelda and Final Fantasy. Add to that some critically acclaimed titles revered for their music such as Journey, Chrono Trigger and Metal Gear Solid, and Game On! (which is also such a great title) is ready to be adored - and rightly so.

Tina has performed to millions of people across the globe in sold-out venues from Carnegie Hall to Wembley Arena. She has shared the stage with some of music's biggest names including The Foo Fighters, Stevie Wonder, Justin Bieber, Al Di Meola, Carlos Santana, Far East Movement, Ariana Grande, Skrillex and many more.

So, and with all that said, check out this new CD and once you fall in love with it, which you will, please know that Tina Guo will be touring extensively in the U.S. with Hans Zimmer and orchestra throughout 2017.

Title - 'Patriots and Poets'
Artist - Dailey & Vincent

For those not in the know, Dailey & Vincent is an American bluegrass and country music group composed of Jamie Dailey (guitar, bass, vocals), Darrin Vincent (mandolin, guitar, bass, vocals), Jeff Parker (mandolin, guitar, vocals), Patrick McAvinue (fiddle), Jessie Baker (banjo, guitar) , Aaron "Tex" McCune (guitar, bass vocals), and Shaun Richardson (guitar, mandolin, vocals).

Indeed, the multi-GRAMMY® nominees and three-time International Bluegrass Music Association Entertainers of the Year were formally inducted into the Grand Ole Opry March 11th, 2017 by Opry members Old Crow Medicine Show and Jeannie Seely. Furthermore, the duo had been invited to join the Opry by Marty Stuart during their 100th Opry appearance in December, which was an honor unto itself.

Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent, backed by one of the best bands on tour today, are some of the most reputable and elite entertainers in American music; bluegrass, traditional country and gospel music. The concoction of the fantastically instinctive vocal blends of Dailey’s tenor and Vincent’s reedy harmonies has gained them well-deserved praise for their own distinctive style and worldwide recognition as American Music gold.

Shit, the boys have also garnered world-wide attention with their first national, top-rated television series, “The Dailey & Vincent Show,” on RFD TV and over 500 airings of their PBS special “Dailey & Vincent ALIVE - In Concert.” Their most recent CD, Dailey & Vincent ALIVE, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Bluegrass charts and remained at the top position for over 15 weeks.

1. 'Gimme All the Love You Got'
2. 'Beautiful Scars'
3. 'Baton Rouge'
4. 'Until We're Gone' (featuring Taranda Greene)
5. 'Bill and Ole Elijah'
6. 'Unsung Heroes'
7. 'Spring Hill'
8. 'God's Love' (featuring Doyle Lawson)
9. 'California' (featuring Steve Martin)
10. 'Here Comes the Flood' (featuring Dave Rawlings)
11. 'That Feel Good Music'
12. 'He's Been So Good to Me'
13. 'No Place Love Won't Go' (featuring Bela Fleck)
14. 'That's What We're Put Here To Do'
15. 'America, We Love You'

Now they have brought out one of their best albums to date, in my humble opinion, the highly emotional, highly impressive Patriots and Poets via BFD (distributed via RED). What makes this all-original, genre-crossing album one of their best is the way the boys still continue to have a solid backbone mix of traditional bluegrass and gospel music, but for this eighth album have wrung a few beat changes with more upbeat songs combined lovingly with some just perfect slow sing-along anthems.

The harmonies on these 15 tracks are simply stunning, truly. For my money, Jamie Dailey has one of the purest (and highest) high tenor voices in the business and Darrin Vincent's vocals offer the perfect blend needed to create some memorable vocals combined. Among the album's strongest cuts (although they really are all great) are 'Beautiful Scars', 'Unsung Heroes', 'God's Love' (featuring Doyle Larson), 'California' (which features a very special verse by comedic and bluegrass enthusiast, and actor Steve Martin!), 'He's Been Good To Me', and the album closer 'America We Love You'.

Title - 'Songs Our Dads Wrote'
Artist - Wilson Fairchild

For those not in the know, Wilson Fairchildis a country music duo made up of Wil and Langdon Reid from the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. These two men, referred to as “the Reid boys,” are highly acclaimed songwriters who have been writing, performing and playing music together their whole lives.

They both have been writing songs since their teenage years in between baseball and football games and girls, of course. Along with recording their own music, such artists as the Statler Brothers, Ricky Skaggs and Dailey & Vincent have also recorded their songs.

So yes, that means their songwriting gamut spans through the country, bluegrass and gospel fields. Indeed, and to spread their musical word a little farther now, Wilson Fairchild have just released a brand new album, Songs Our Dads Wrote, which hit stores this past February 7th, 2017 via Sony Red / BFD.

1. 'Left Handed Woman'
2. 'I'll Even Love You (Better Than I Did Then)'
3. 'How Are Things in Clay, Kentucky?'
4. 'She's Too Good'
5. 'Second Thoughts'
6. 'Some I Wrote'
7. 'Guilty'
8. 'A Letter From Shirley Miller'
9. 'He Went to the Cross Loving You'
10. 'The Statler Brothers Song'

This brand new, and highly stylized album features nine tracks originally co-written by their fathers, Harold and Don Reid, along with a special Wilson Fairchild penned tribute track, 'The Statler Brothers Song'. The album kicks off with 'Left Handed Woman', a track that virtually hums along on a brilliant harmonica back beat, with the more toned down tale of 'I'll Even Love You Better Than I Did Then', the lonesome harmonica driven 'How Are Things in Clay, Kentucky?', and then both 'She's Too Good' and the countrified 'Second Thoughts'.

'Some I Wrote' is a delightful storytelling yarn, and one you just know is as true as the day is long, and that's backed by the upbeat, train-a-comin' roll of 'Guilty', an old Statler Brothers hit originally released in 1983. With original Statler Brothers member Jimmy Fortune joining in on the vocals, it's a pure delight to sit back and close your eyes to.

The ballad 'A Letter from Shirley Miller' is next with the album rounding out with the Gospel flow of 'He Went to the Cross Loving You', and that aforementioned new track, 'The Statler Brothers Song'.

Wilson Fairchild @ Facebook

Title - 'I'm Just Dead, I'm Not Gone: Lazarus Edition'
Artist - James Luther Dickinson

For those not in the know, James Luther Dickinson was an American record producer, pianist, and singer who fronted, among others, the Memphis, Tennessee-based band Mud Boy and the Neutrons.

Dickinson was born in Little Rock, Arkansas and subsequently raised in Chicago and Memphis. He attended Baylor University as a drama major and eventually graduated from the University of Memphis, where he became acquainted with pioneering music journalist Stanley Booth.

Following graduation, he played on recording sessions for Bill Justis and recorded at Chips Moman's American Studios. Dickinson recorded what has been described as the last great single released by Sun Records — "Cadillac Man" b/w "My Babe" by The Jesters (1966) — playing piano and singing lead on both sides despite not being an actual member of the group.

Sadly, and after an illustrious career, the Memphis musician and record producer who worked with the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and Primal Scream died aged 67 of heart failure in August of 2009.

Amongst a plethora of musical endeavors throughout his star-studded career, in 1996 it was actually Dickinson's sons, Luther and Cody, who formed the group the North Mississippi Allstars. They also began playing on their father's sessions – Willy DeVille's 1999 album Horse of a Different Color, produced by Dickinson, is an excellent example of the family at work – and on Dickinson's several solo albums recorded over the past decade, which mixed blues, rock and beat poetics. In the 1990s the Dickinson's set up Zebra Ranch recording complex in Hernando, Mississippi.

I'm Just Dead, I'm Not Gone: Lazarus Edition is Jim's 5th album released on Memphis International Records. The Lazarus Edition is the second album culled from his Friday, June 2nd, 2006 concert on the stage of the New Daisy Theater on Beale Street. He is backed by the North Mississippi All Stars, which as you now know was inclusive of his sons Luther on guitar and vocals and Cody on bass and vocals along with de facto/honorary son Chris Chew on bass plus session jack-of-all-tracks Jimmy Davis on guitar and vocals.

This brand new Lazarus Edition album, to be released by Memphis International Records on vinyl April 4th, and on CD April 7th (and will also include a free MP3 download of the album) includes unreleased tracks from that live recording along with two historical live tracks featuring legendary Sun Records rhythm section band members including Roland Janes, Stan Kessler, Cowboy Jack Clement, Billy Lee Riley and J.M. Van Eaton.

1) 'Redneck, Blue Collar (unedited)'*
2) 'Lazarus'*
3) 'All Out of Blue'*
4) 'Hadacol Boogie'*

5) 'Fraulein'*
6) 'Band Intro'*
7) 'Somewhere Down the Road'*
8) 'Midnight River'*
9) 'Ubangi Stomp'+
10) 'I Forgot to Remember to Forget'+

*Recorded June 2, 2006 at the New Daisy Theater
+Recorded 1983 at Beale Street Music Festival

So, and for the record (no pun intended), I’m Just Dead, I’m Not Gone: Lazarus Edition is a retelling, in part, consisting of eight tracks recorded on June 2nd, 2006 at the New Daisy Theater on Beale Street in Memphis, together with both 'Ubangi Stomp' and 'I Forgot to Remember to Forget', which are both culled from a Dickinson performance at the Beale Street Music Festival in 1983. On that occasion he was backed by renowned Sun Records rhythm section band members Roland James, Stan Kessler, Cowboy Jack Clement, Billy Lee Riley and J.M. Van Eaton.

I'm Just Dead, I'm Not Gone is a reflection of Dickinson's lifelong affinity for songs that have style, substance and, are at the same time, truthful. The blues roots of his art is present in songs from the Furry Lewis and Sleepy John Estes catalogs along with tracks emblematic of Jim's career-long relationship with folk and soul music, all which he seamlessly transformed into sanctified rock 'n' roll in the barrel house tradition.

Indeed, and as anyone that knows of him will testify, Dickinson is very much alive on these incendiary tracks reaffirming the prescient contention that gives this remarkable set its title. That said, and yet still highly appropriately, the recording is also quite rough and unpolished. But that's not at all a problem though for Jim's gravelly voice suits the songs perfectly.

Backed by the North Mississippi All-Stars, in my humble opinion, tracks such as 'Red Neck, Blue Collar' (which appears here now as an unedited version for the first time), 'Never Make Your Move Too Soon,' and both 'Truck Drivin' Man' and the newly added 'I Forgot To Remember To Forget' are all stand out tracks. But that said, and as much as the entire album is a musical gem to behold, my actual stand out favorite is the deep down, dirt road crawling lyrics of 'Lazarus.' My God, the over five minutes long track encapsulates everything great about Dickinson right there in the one song.

In fact, I'm Just Dead, I'm Not Gone still feels to this day as if it's the one Dickinson would have wanted to go out on. It's how he would have wanted to be remembered. Surrounded by his favorite band. I'm listening right now to the new vinyl album and it's a stunningly beautiful album. Whether it be the original copy or this new Lazarus Edition, there is no doubt in my mind music like this still deserves to be heard.

It should also be known that 'I'm Just Dead, I'm Not Gone' is also to be released that very same day as a book; a memoir of sorts by the late Memphis musical legend. In the book, the man known simply as Jim Dickinson (1941-2009) proves he was not only rightly revered by such luminaries as Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, the Replacements, and Alex Chilton; patriarch of the North Mississippi Allstars, but that he was also a world-class storyteller. Read it and learn. That's all I can say.

Title - 'Eterniverse Déjŕ Vu'
Artist - Light Freedom Revival

For those not in the know, Canadian singer-songwriter John Vehadija has assembled a stellar cast for the project Light Freedom Revival, and their new album Eterniverse Déjŕ Vu was just released on March 7th, 2017.

Accompanying him are Billy Sherwood (Drums, Bass, Guitar, Keyboards), Oliver Wakeman (Lead Keyboards), Eric Gillette (Lead Guitar) and Marisa Frantz (Harmony Vocals) as a like minded group of spiritual individuals who have joined together on this 13 track LP to lend their own skilled touches to help create a bigger sound in order to explore the concept of how consciousness and positive energy shape all our future destinies.

Here on Eterniverse Déjŕ Vu, John Vehadija has taken his artistic and imaginative background from a poet early on and used it as fuel to pursue his true calling as a professional musician, extending to the universe his gift of unique songwriting for all to enjoy.

01. 'New Lightspace Age'
02. 'An Idea of Freedom'
03. 'Where Words Fail'
04. 'Dream Again'
05. 'Form Hope'
06. 'Eterniverse Déjŕ Vu'
07. 'They Fit You In'
08. 'Go Amplify The Feeling'
09. 'Starting Over'
10. 'Place Of Power'
11. 'Stay Strong With Me'
12. 'Positive Light Code'
13. Enjoy The Now

Mastered by Maor Applebaum and with the vividly colorful and highly artful cover artwork done by Ed Unitsky, this wonderful progressive rock ensemble album begins with 'New Lightspace Age', a light, breezy, flowing track that was not anything I actually expected. Prog rock to me has always seemed heavier, more thoughtful in its bass lines, but here the Light Freedom Revival actually take heed from their name and play it out so too.

With that said, 'An Idea of Freedom' could be part two of the opening track, they are just so perfectly placed together here, and they are both followed by the storytelling and guitar work of 'Where Words Fail', the quieter pairing of 'Dream Again' and 'Form Hope', and then the fun gentle bounce of the title track, 'Eterniverse Déjŕ Vu'.

'They Fit You In' is more like the prog rock I've known before. Still grounded in the lighter spectrum of the genre, searing guitar work abounds, but for my money, it's one of my personal favorites on this brilliant new album. A slight reggae tip can be found freeflowing through 'Go Amplify The Feeling' and that's backed by 'Starting Over' and then the more stoic 'Place of Power'.

The pop bounce is back for 'Stay Strong With Me' and that is followed by the freneticly sung and played 'Positive Light Code' (a track that sounds like it's RPM's have simply been sped ever-so-slightly up!) and then the album is rounded out by the soft cushion chords of 'Enjoy the Now'.

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Non-Stop: Mexico to Jamaica'
Artist - Ozomatli

For those not in the know, Ozomatli is a six-piece band playing primarily Latin, hip hop, and rock music, formed in 1995 in Los Angeles. Indeed, they are known both for their vocal activist viewpoints and their wide array of musical styles - including salsa, jazz, funk, reggae, rap, and others.

The highly acclaimed multi-Grammy winning Latin-fusion group formed in 1995 and has since released seven studio albums - their eighth, Non-Stop: Mexico to Jamaica out May 5th, 2017. The group, also known for advocating for farm-workers' rights and immigration reform return on the aforementioned new album with an homage to their roots reinterpreting traditional and contemporary Mexican songs using signature Jamaican riddims!

The album features a bevy of superstar guest appearances including Juanes, Regulo Caro, Gaby Moreno, and Kyle McDonald (of Slightly Stoopid) plus additional production by famed Jamaican producers Sly & Robbie!

1. Eres
2. Como la Flor
3. Oye Mi Amor
4. Bésame Mucho Feat. Herb Alpert
5. Noa Noa Feat. Juanes
6. La Bamba Feat. Kyl McDonald of Slightly Stoopid
7. Solamente Una Vez Feat. Gaby Moreno
8. Andar Conmigo Feat. Regula Caro
9. De Paisano a Paisano
10. Evil Ways
11. Tragos Amargos
12. Volver Volver Feat. Mariachi Divas
13. Land of 1000 Dances Feat. G-Love & Chali 2Na
14. Come and Get Your Love

The opening track, 'Eres' is a pure, hipsway of culture, romance and sweat, as the longest track on the album is, for my money, also one of the true stand out highlights. The reggae bounce of 'Como la Flor' not only elevates your spirits, but showcases the vocal ranges brought forth by the band. The musical pace is picked up on the harder edged 'Oye Mi Amor', with the slo-mo slip-slide of 'Bésame Mucho' (featuring Herb Alpert) yet another highlight.

'Noa Noa' (featuring Juanes) is next and is backed by a Caribbean flow rendition of 'La Bamba' (featuring Kyle McDonald of Slightly Stoopid), before the pace is brought acoustically down for 'Solamente Una Vez', featuring the delightful voice of Gaby Moreno.

'Andar Conmigo' (featuring Regula Caro) keeps the reggae party going, and that's followed by the highly spirited and upbeat trumpet playing of 'De Paisano a Paisano' and the techno, slight EDM-vibes of 'Evil Ways.' A cover of the 1969 song from Santana, it's sung in English and is yet another stand out track on this album chock full of greatness.

All aboard the Caribbean train for Ramon Ayala's 'Tragos Amargos', before the subtle, paced, balladeer work of 'Volver Volver' (featuring Mariachi Divas) comes forth. For those not up on the scene, The Mariachi Divas with Cindy Shea is an all-female mariachi band based in Los Angeles, CA. Formed in 1999, Shea and her crew make this some something a little special, it has to be said.

This rich, vibrant, and colorful album then comes to a close with a stunning English-sung cover of Wilson Pickett's 'Land of 1000 Dances' (featuring G-Love & Chali 2Na), and then 'Come and Get Your Love'. Another English-sung track, this one a cover of Redbone's massive 1974 hit, it is a terrific firework of a song that makes you want to hear so much more from Ozomatli.

Timed to enable you all to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with them, Ozomatli are at their free flowing best here on Non-Stop: Mexico to Jamaica. To my mind, over the years Ozomatli has moved away from the fusion style of music they pioneered on their earlier albums, and toward a more radio-friendly pop-centric sound. While their music was still fun and catchy, this fall back to their comfort zone of heritage suits them perfectly.

Ozomatli @ Twitter

Title - 'Brit Eyed Soul'
Artist - Billy Valentine

One of the most renowned and influential voices of our time, not to mention the soulful voice heard in Sons Of Anarchy as well as the theme song of Boston Legal, now brings forth this superb tribute to Britain's most celebrated songwriters.

From The Stones to The Beatles, The Clash to Elvis Costello - you've never heard these songs sound as good as when Billy Valentine reinterprets them with a dramatically soulful twist.

For those not in the know, Billy Valentine was one half of The Valentine Brothers, an American recording act in the late 1970s and 1980s. Comprising himself and his brother John, they didn't set the charts alight, but one of their biggest hits, as singers and songwriters, was 'Money's Too Tight (To Mention)' - which reached #41 in the R&B chart in 1982 and was later recorded with greater worldwide success by Simply Red.

1. 'Beast of Burden'
2. 'Do You Really Want to Hurt Me'
3. 'How Long'
4. 'More Than a Woman'
5. 'Holding Back the Years'
6. 'Watching the Wheels'
7. 'Here, There and Everywhere'
8. 'First Cut Is the Deepest'
9. 'Train in Vain'
10. '(I Guess That's Why) They Call It the Blues'
11. 'Roll with It'
12. '(What's So Funny Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding'

Now, in all truth, whether the fact I'm British has something to do with my adoration for this new album from Billy or not, it has to be said that I have now played it four (4) times, completely through each time. Oh, and people in the office are asking to take it so they can listen to it on their journey home!

Having come to life via Indiegogo, a website where entrepreneurial projects come to life, amplified by a community of backers who believe the world benefits when every idea gets a crowdfunding service as backing, it raised $11,740 USD via 70 backers. Having now come to life as a CD, for my money Brit Eyed Soul is, simply put, one of the best albums of 2017.

So, the man who was born two days after Valentine's Day on the 16th February, and who has always stated that his music has always been about the love, kicks off this richly beautiful album with The Rolling Stones cut, 'Beast Of Burden' A soulful, gentle blues sway of a cover, it's just perfect musical fodder to get your appetites wet for more. The next two songs he makes his own, in a way that I never expected to hear before. His soulful blues vocals wrap themselves lovingly around the Culture Club hit 'Do You Really Want To Hurt Me' and that's backed by one of my own personal favorites on this album, 'How Long'. Originally a 1974 hit by Ace, Billy tackles both this and the former as if they were his own originals.

Next up is a beautiful Bee Gees cover of 'More Than A Woman' and that's followed by one of his own hits from 1966, made famous by Simply Red in 2009, 'Holding Back The Years.' Having fully admitted that he and his studio musicians went through 60 or 70 songs to get the right fit for this album, one I'm personally glad this next one made the grade. John Lennon's 'Watching The Wheels' is a pure, unadulterated pleasure to listen to at any time, but now Billy twists and turns it a little and wow, these new soulful layers make this track something fresh.

The mid tempo ballad 'Here, There and Everywhere' is a sweet rendition of the Beatles' classic, and he continues his British take on Blue Eyed Soul with his version of Rod Stewart's classics 'First Cut Is The Deepest.' An ambitious cover of punk rock band The Clash's 'Train In Vain' is the most adventurous of all of them, but Billy wins out - just.

Now, I've never heard this next song from Elton John done anywhere, any time, any place before now, but Billy sure does nail it. '(I Guess That's Why) They Call It The Blues' is covered with perfection here and never having heard it done so before, I have to applaud Billy for making the choice to attempt it. The self-proclaimed "messenger" then brings us this album to a close with the sweeping blues of 'Roll With It' (Steve Winwood), and then a simply devastatingly brilliant cover of Elvis Costello's '(What's So Funny Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding'.

Title - 'The Ghost of Hope'
Artist - The Residents

For those not in the know, The Residents are an American art collective best known for avant-garde music and multimedia works. Since their first official release, Meet the Residents (1974), the group has released over sixty albums, numerous music videos and short films, three CD-ROM projects, and ten DVDs.

They have undertaken seven major world tours and scored multiple films. Pioneers in exploring the potential of CD-ROM and similar technologies, the Residents have won several awards for their multimedia projects. Indeed, Ralph Records, a record label focusing on avant-garde music, was started by the band.

Throughout the group's existence, the individual members have ostensibly attempted to operate under anonymity, preferring instead to have attention focused on their art output. Much outside speculation and rumor has focused on this aspect of the group. In public, the group appears silent and costumed, often wearing eyeball helmets, top hats and tails—a long-lasting costume now recognized as its signature iconography.

And so, and following their aforementioned long tradition of projects based on narrative themes, The Residents are pleased to announce the release of The Ghost of Hope, an historically accurate album based on ... train wrecks!

Pursuing this theme in both a literal and metaphorical sense, the group discovered a series of vintage news articles highlighting the dangers of train travel in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Inspired by the era's elegant language, the group then contrasted that eloquence against the sheer horror of these devastating events, resulting in an album that sounds both startlingly new and curiously nostalgic.

Using the familiar elements of music, spoken voice, sound effects and audio textures, The Residents have constructed a highly original series of tone poems quite unlike the music of anyone else - except, of course, The Residents. The Ghost of Hope also features guest collaborator Eric Drew Feldman - who has worked with everybody cool, so he's a perfect fit here - and will be released March 24th, 201 via MVD Audio.

1. 'Horrors Of The Night' (7:20)
2. 'The Crash At Crush' (6:47)
3. 'Death Harvest' (7:21)
4. 'Shroud Of Flames' (5:44)
5. 'The Great Circus Train Wreck Of 1918' (6:59)
6. 'Train Vs. Elephant' (4:05)
7. 'Killed At A Crossing' (9:02)

Musically, The Ghost of Hope is a sonic train ride (sorry) all of its own, for the musically terrain it travels and covers therein is sure going to be familiar to their legion of fans. For, to my mind, this new seven track album is a mighty fine sonic flashback to their Eskimo album (1979). Back then they were exploring soundscapes that they themselves didn't even know could/would fit together.

Here on The Ghost of Hope that philosophy seems to be back in full swing, as their musical exploration continues, working the idea of narrative into the music, allowing their musings to flow seamlessly throughout at all times. A totally new concept, as always (and as much as it's morbid, it sure seems to have stoked their collective fires), this album is as vibrant, as adventurous, as left of center as anything I have heard in the past decade.

With the plan being to release several videos for the albums tracks as time progresses, and with the digi-pak booklet accompanying The Ghost of Hope a spectacular accompaniment companion to the train tales being told (ie: it features details about the stories behind each of the songs as well as photographs), if you are a fan of The Residents, then this is the new soundtrack to your lives going forth, trust me.

The Residents @ Facebook!

Title - 'Gaeseki Dream Machine'
Artist - Dazed Marrow

For those not in the know, and as per the substantially acute words written within their own biography, somewhere between sinister, foreboding nightmares and sublime and celestial dreams, you will find Dazed Marrow.

An electronic musician currently based in South Korea, he refuses to be defined or directed. Indeed, Dazed Marrow manipulates electronic signals to produce music that reflects emotions, colors and his own personal thoughts.

Also, like any true artist of their chosen genre, he never considers a song finished, but views it as an ongoing organic process of creation and revision.

1. Intro
2. Venturing Into Etherea
3. Insomnia Euphoria
4. In Your Heart
5. Feel Better My Friend
6. Outside-In (Lucid Dream)
7. A Short One
8. Synergy
9. Binary Brain
10. The Universe
11. RQN Piano
12. Glass Jar
13. The Wait
14. Daeseki Gream Machine
15. Codex Gigas
16. Outro (Remix of JackCote†)

The new album, Gaeseki Dream Machine is a vibrantly alive work of sonic art and is something that one would fully expect to "see" take over the prestigious Art Galleries of today. Released this past March 3rd, 2017 via Cleopatra Records, Dazed Marrow produces some of the most sonically haunting soundscapes I've heard recorded in a long, long time.

With each track a stand alone, musically and thematically, and yet each textured and veritably haunting at the same time, shutting your eyes you could forgive yourself for allowing your mind to believe that you were at the Planetarium, or some other such Space-inspired venue.

Transcendent soundscapes such as 'Insomnia Euphoria' and 'Outside-In (Lucid Dream)' are, without a shadow of a doubt, audible works of art, and yet something like the crashing, audio tearing of 'Synergy' reminds you, much like life, not all tracks were created equally. The joyfully flowing, sped up key work of 'Rqn Piano' is another peculiar delight, as too is the rain-inspired 'Feel Better My Friend', along with my own personal favorite on the album, the melancholic mood melody of 'In Your Heart'.

The new album features all new material and rounds out with an exclusive remix of music by Washington-based witchhouse artist JackCote† (aptly entitled 'Outro').

Dazed Marrow @ Facebook!

Title - 'Red Reign' [EP]
Artist - Red Reign

For those not in the know quite yet, Red Reign were originally formed in summer of 2013 in Richmond. Singer/guitarist Carlton “Bubba” McMichael and drummer Sam "Sammy Lee" Bendhiem started the group, after leaving a cover band to pursue all original music and a month after putting the plan together, bassist Larry Moore was added to the band. Guitarist Stevie Shred was then added in early fall of 2015 to complete the band.

After releasing their debut full-length album Chasing Shadows in 2015, the group have now released their follow-up, a self-titled EP of five tracks that will blow your collective minds; it's just that feckin' good.

Overseen by Grammy-nominated producer, David Ivory (Halestorm, Roots, Silvertide), drummer Lee explained how they came to work with Ivory in the first place. "After signing with Chipster PR, we were directed to David Ivory, to help with the rewriting and rearrangement of songs for our upcoming CD. David made the songs flow better rhythmically and brought in fresh ideas, to build on the original foundation of the songs. He also brought a different vision of how the songs were played, to put the band in more of a mainstream direction.”

Well, whatever Ivory did has worked a treat for Red Reign's new EP, for each track is a well orchestrated, powerfully tuneful, and highly emotive collection of musical rock wonderment.

The opening track, 'Not That Way' is a true rock out gem, 'Toxic' a more frenetic venture, 'Chains' puts Red Reign back on track, with the heavier 'Red Reign' and the more melodic 'What Is Love For' rounding out the EP. Personally, I like the band more when they are rockin' the vibes of the '80s/'90s, but I understand they want to vary their scope here on the new material.

Red Reign @ Facebook

Digital EP Purchase Link

Title - 'From Two Balconies'
Artist - EchoTest

For those not in the know, and having met through the Three of a Perfect Pair Music Camp in 2011, bassists Julie Slick and Marco Machera started collaborating in April 2014 to play a short run of shows in Tuscany, after Julie's European tour with The Crimson ProjeKCt.

Very spontaneously, some brand-new songs were written during a couple of days rehearsals and played to very appreciative Italian audiences. The impromptu ‘bass duets’ ended up being so satisfying and well-received that Julie and Marco eventually decided to write more material together and record an album.

Nearly one month later, Fourth Dementia (2014) was completed. It wasn't quite what one would expect from a couple of traditionally low end instruments for the recording reinvents the role of solo electric bass and brilliantly displays the songwriting abilities of the duo. Nonetheless, it's a captivating combination of loop music, ambient soundscapes and interlocking bass patterns, always melodic yet aggressive and edgy at times.

The duo, now subsequently known as EchoTest then completed the recording and production of their second effort, Le Fil Rouge (2015), also with the help of their fan base, contributing to a fundraiser on Kickstarter. And now, here in 2017, Echotest's third, and to my mind, most wholly impressive album of ten tracks is brought forth - and what an incredibly well-rounded album it truly is.

This modern prog rock band with a classic vibe that incorporates two bassists playing more than 4 strings, combined with Machera's harmonious and pitch perfect vocals; lest we forget new member Alessandro Inolti on drums, Zach Lopresti on guitar and vocals, and Jenny Founds on vocals and keyboard, have come together to bring us From Two Balconies - a release that should be in everyone's Top 10 of best albums of 2017.

Featuring guest work from Pat Mastelotto, Tim Motzer, Ali Wadsworth, Ian Gray, Greg Rosen, and Sarah Anderson, From Two Balconies is most certainly a rather distinct departure from the heavily instrumental and bass-dominated aforementioned albums of theirs, but that's not to say they have strayed too far from their successful musical path.

For here on their third album they have managed to escalate their sound, cull it even, in such a way that nothing is wasted; nothing slips through the cracks; everything sounds a lot tighter, less methodically wayward, so to speak.

Indeed, and as Slick herself as pointed out, the ten tracks chronicle a contemporary tragedy, the resulting resonance of characters trapped in a tempestuous tormented limbo. It features lead vocals on 7 out of 10 tracks where Mashera takes control of a few songs, the others run by both Mike Visser (Imaginary Tricks) and Claire Wadsworth.

It should also be made known that the incredible artwork was done by the legendary Derek Riggs and the actual package is a rather lovely, very colorful DigiPak which contains an 8 page booklet. Indeed, if you purchase this CD from their Bandcamp link (see below) there's also a mighty fine chance that both Slick and Mashera will have also signed it. Oh, and your purchase also includes unlimited streaming of the new album via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more!

EchoTest @ Bandcamp

Echotest @ Facebook

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'The Black Room' - Motion Picture Soundtrack
Artist - Savant

For those not in the know, Aleksander Vinter, better known by his alias Savant (let alone Blanco, formerly Vinter in Hollywood, Vinter in Vegas and a few others), is a Norwegian musician.

In 2009, he released his debut album, Outbreak, billed as Vinter in Hollywood. Outbreak was nominated in the electronic music category for the 2009 Norwegian Grammy Awards. Vinter signed with SectionZ Records in 2010 and put out a second album, Mamachine, this time billed as Vinter in Vegas. In 2011, he released his third album Ninür under the moniker Savant.

Having released an incredible 12 albums since 2012 (!), now electronic superstar Savant proudly presents his first ever film score. Featuring powerful symphonic movements mixed with dark and immersive ambient soundscapes, it also includes additional music by Arthur "The God Of Hellfire" Brown, country legend Lynn Anderson, Brainticket and more!

'The Black Room' is a sexy and thrilling horror film that stars Natasha Henstridge (Species), scream queen Lin Shaye (A Nightmare On Elm Street, Insidious) and Dominique Swain (Lolita). Paul and Jennifer Hemdale have just moved into their dream house. But their happy marriage is about to be put to the test as they slowly discover the secret behind the black room in the cellar. Something else is already living in their new home and it is growing stronger every day!

1. Tarkus - the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (Title Sequence) 2. The Black Room 3. Rose Garden - Lynn Anderson 4. Shut the Fuck Up 5. Dawn 6. Two Years Later 7. The Basement 8. Mr. Fix-It 9. Bathtime 10. Seduction 11. Morning After 12. Washing Machine 13. Paul's Possession 14. Lebanese I 15. Flashback 16. Fire - Arthur Brown 17. Black Sand - Brainticket 18. Lebanese II 19. Wall of Pleasure 20. Elephant Man 21. There's Nobody Out There 22. The Library 23. The Confrontation 24. Prepare Her 25. You're Starting to Scare Me 26. The Black Womb 27. Let's Make a Baby 28. End Credits

Just so you know how good this OST really is, and how distinctive a sound he has created, Savant has already been nominated for a Grammy Award in his home country of Norway, has had both singles and albums scale the iTunes and Billboard charts, and has been called by none other than deadmau5 "the change that electronic dance music needs."

Ergo, the EDM superstar has expanded his talented range into movie soundtracks in such a manner that nobody within the business dare overlook him as a choice for future films of this ilk that's for damn sure. I mean, just the title track 'The Black Room' is like a minute's wondrous flashback to an era when horror movies creeped you out by just the music alone!

Then, and completely out of the blue (unless you are watching the film, of course) Lynn Anderson's country-lite pop hit 'Rose Garden' is upon us and that's backed by the chilling, spine-tingling violin work found on 'Shut the F**k Up.'

After a mid-section inclusive of both Arthur Brown's 'Fire' and Brainticket's 'Black Sand', the film soundtrack, as expected, takes a turn for the more mysterious. 'There's Nobody Out There', 'You're Starting To Scare Me', 'The Black Womb' and 'Back to the Drawingboard, Bitch' are all created in such flowing, orchestral manners (especially the latter one), that come the finale 'End Credits' (or even the Extended Version found on the below-mentioned digital download), your breath has been taken by Savant; of that have no doubt.

Also, this superb, chilling, soundtrack was released on CD March 1, 2017 and can be found as a special digital download that includes three (3) bonus tracks!

Savant @ Bandcamp

The Black Room Movie @ Facebook

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'The Great Un-American Songbook: Vols I & II'
Artist - The Ed Palermo Big Band

For those not in the know, which included me, The Ed Palermo Big Band is a big band that has been active for over thirty years, playing the compositions and arrangements of their leader, saxophonist Ed Palermo. In fact, the band is well known for Palermo's arrangements of the music of Frank Zappa, amongst others of that ilk.

Ed Palermo started playing the alto saxophone and the guitar in high school because, unlike most all of us, he already knew he wanted to be a musician. Early influences that pushed him in that direction were the Beatles and the Mothers of Invention, but Palermo first discovered a love for the music of Edgar Winter while in high school.

This inspired him to emulate musicians such as Cannonball Adderley, Phil Woods, and Charlie Parker. In college he switched from alto saxophone to tenor saxophone due to influences from John Coltrane, Michael Brecker, and David Liebman. After graduating college, Palermo moved to New York in order to become a jazz tenor saxophonist.

At this point, an album called Impact by Charles Tolliver inspired him to try his hand at arranging. Palermo looked to his friend Dave LaLama, already an arranger, for advice and he began to compose and arrange music. Soon he began playing with Tito Puente, and during this time, assembled a group which later expanded into the big band bearing his name.

After Frank Zappa's death in 1993, Palermo decided to play a show of all Frank Zappa music. Before the show, Palermo posted a notice on an internet bulletin board. The turnout to the show was the largest that the Ed Palermo Big Band had had to date.

Following on from that, and recording their first Zappa album, and playing shows at The Iridium in New York City (for 10 years), this 18-piece big band steer away from Zappa for once and bring forth some tracks that will appease the jazz heads and Brit rock lovers in the world alike.

Inspired big-band arrangements of the Beatles' 'Eleanor Rigby,' '21st Century Schizoid Man,' 'The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys,' the Crazy World of Arthur Brown's 'Fire,' the Beatles' 'Don't Bother Me,' Radiohead's 'The Tourist,' Miles Davis's 'Nardis', and so much more (from Jethro Tull to Green Day), released via Cuneiform Records, The Great Un-American Songbook, Volumes I & II [Explicit] is one extraordinary compilation of music.

This highly prolific 2CD set opens with the Beatles' 'Good Morning, Good Morning' (which opens with someone shooting a bleating goat!) and never lets up the stream of quality renditions, all orchestrated perfectly, one after the other. The fun ragtime bounce of The Move's 'Open Up Said the World at the Door' (written by ELO's Jeff Lynne) is next and that's backed by the Rolling Stones' piano beauty 'We Love You', a simply stunning 'Eleanor Rigby' (which, done in their own way, doesn't even sound like the original, trust me) and then Jeff Beck's 'Definitely Maybe.'

The delicate chimes of Cream's 'As You Said' is next, and that's backed by the prog rock orchestrated, Zapperish dips and swerves of King Crimson's powerful ballad 'Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 2.' Carrying on the Crimson tide of music, their frenetic '21st Century Schizoid Man' is tackled next, with a saxophone taking center stage here just delightfully. A deeper sax is the back beat to Blodwyn Pig's infamous 'Send Your Son to Die', before the first disc rounds out with the tremendously lush and yet vibrant 'Edward, the Mad Shirt Grinder' from Nicky Hopkins w/ Quicksilver Messenger Service. At over ten minutes long it is easily the longest of the 21 tracks contained on this epic double CD set.

The second disc begins with 'America/American Idiot' (a nice combination of The Nice first followed by a seamless transition into Green Day's massive chart hit. Most all of these tracks don't have vocals, but Jethro Tull's 'Beggar's Farm' does and wow, what a treat it is to hear the song sung in this new manner. 'Bitches Crystal' from Emerson, Lake and Palmer is next, but it's the brilliant 'Wreck of the Hesperus' (Procol Harum) that takes the musical biscuit for me here. It's one of the best tracks, vocal, and as tuneful now as it ever was. A sheer delight to hear like this from this band.

Next up is the sedate 'Diamond Dust' (Jeff Beck) and that's backed by the gentle pacing of 'The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys' from Traffic. Yet another quite brilliant rendition, The Ed Palermo Big Band make it truly their own here. 'Fire' from Arthur Brown is done well enough, but doesn't stray too far from the original, save for some swirly Zappa-like piano/organ playing, before an amazing cover of the Radiohead track, 'The Tourist.'

Seemingly not done with the song, 'Don't Bother Me/Nardis/Don't Bother Me (Reprise)' are all brought together (the Beatles/Miles Davis) for seven minutes, before this second CD is brought to a close with a pair of Beatles tracks: the danceable fun jig of 'I Wanna Be Your Man' and then the quietly peaceful, slumber-like ode 'Good Night.'

Title - 'J. S. Bach: St. John Passion'
Artist - Apollo's Fire/Baroque Orchestra/Jeannette Sorrell

For those not in the classical know, one of the various contributors to this wondrous J. S. Bach: St. John Passion CD isApollo's Fire. Named for the classical God of music and the sun, Apollo’s Fire was founded in 1992 by the award-winning young harpsichordist and conductor Jeannette Sorrell.

Sorrell envisioned an ensemble dedicated to the baroque ideal that music should evoke the various Affekts or passions in the listeners. Thus, Apollo’s Fire is a collection of creative artists who share Sorrell’s passion for drama and rhetoric.

Indeed, Sorrell is recognized internationally as a leading creative voice among early-music conductors. She has been credited by the U.K.’s BBC Music Magazine for forging “a vibrant, life-affirming approach to the re-making of early music… a seductive vision of musical authenticity.”

Also hailed as “one of the world’s finest Baroque specialists” (St. Louis Dispatch), Sorrell was one of the youngest students ever accepted to the prestigious conducting courses of the Aspen and the Tanglewood music festivals.

Sorrell’s vision for the production of 'J. S. Bach: St. John Passion' sought to bring immediacy and clarity to Bach’s dramatic structure through several means. The “action” (storytelling) scenes take place on a specially lit platform in the center of the orchestra. All of the characters – Jesus, Pilate, Peter, etc. – perform their roles from memory, physically confronting each other on the platform.

The “reflective” arias, in which Bach takes us outside of the story to contemplate what just transpired, are performed at the front of the stage, away from the drama platform. In the extended “mob” scene of the Trial Before Pilate and up through the climactic Condemnation of Jesus, half of the chorus is placed amongst the audience, shouting at Pilate from the aisles.

Ergo, this audio recording from the dramatic production presented in Cleveland and New York, March 2016, brings to life all those sounds, all those emotions as they were originally laid out. Even more enticing is that this very same new 2CD release also includes a deluxe booklet that features extensive photos and an URL link to the video of the live action show.

Title - 'The Italian Job'
Artist - Various Artists

For those not in the classical know, Adrian Chandler and his period-instrument ensemble La Serenissima present The Italian Job: Baroque Instrumental Music from the Italian States (to give it its full name), a feast of instrumental colour featuring oboes, bassoons, trumpets, trombone, timpani, strings and continuo, by some of the finest composers of the Italian baroque.

The music on this recording comes from four cities with a rich musical heritage: Venice (Albinoni, Caldara, Vivaldi), Bologna (Torelli), Padua (Tartini) and Rome (Corelli).


Antonio Caldara (c. 1671 – 1736)
Sinfonia for 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, 2 trumpets, timpani, violin, strings & continuo in C (15.00)
1. Allegro (5.31)
2. Andante, piano [e] staccato (4.47)
3. Allegro (4.42)

Arcangelo Corelli (1653 – 1713)
Sinfonia to Santa Beatrice d’Este for strings & continuo in D minor (10.11)
4. Grave (2.35)
5. Allegro (1.41)
6. Adagio (0.44)
7. Largo assai (2.57)
8. Vivace (2.13)

Giuseppe Tartini (1692 – 1770)
Concerto for violin, strings & continuo in E, D 51 (16.49)
9. Allegro (6.39)
10. Grave “Tortorella bacie…” (5.29)
11. Allegro assai (4.41)

Antonio Vivaldi (1678 – 1741)
Concerto ‘alla rustica’ for 2 oboes, strings & continuo in G, RV 151 (4.16)
12. Presto (1.10)
13. Adagio (1.07)
14. Allegro (1.58)

Concerto for bassoon, strings & continuo in C, RV 467 (11.11)
15. Allegro (4.08)
16. Adagio (2.54)
17. Allegro (4.08)

Tomaso Albinoni (1671 – 1751)
Concerto for 2 oboes, strings & continuo in F, Op 9/3 (11.07)
18. Allegro (4.37)
19. Adagio (2.32)
20. Allegro (3.58)

Giuseppe Torelli (1658 – 1709)
Sinfonia for 4 trumpets, timpani, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, 2 violins, 2 cellos, strings & continuo in C, G 33 (7.45)
21. Allegro (3.49)
22. Adagio (0.25)
23. Allegro (3.30)

Total Running Time: 76.23

Recorded between August 23rd and 26th, 2016, in St John’s, Smith Square, London, England, and produced, engineered and edited by Simon Fox-Gál, The Italian Job: Baroque Instrumental Music from the Italian States is a lushly orchestrated, concise and unwavering look at Italian life through a time piece. True, yes, I first imagined it to be the soundtrack to the Michael Caine movie (1969) of the same name, but still, wow, what a wondrous work of musical art this soundtrack to Italian life truly is.

Title - 'Score'
Artist - 2Cellos

For those not in the know, not unlike myself, 2Cellos is a cello duo, consisting of classically trained Luka Šulić and Stjepan Hauser. Signed to Sony Masterworks since 2011, they have released four albums and play instrumental arrangements of well-known pop and rock songs as well as classical and film music.

Indeed, the duo perform internationally and have been featured on several US TV shows including Glee and even TV's big hit show, The Bachelor.

Their aforementioned fourth album is entitled Score and Šulić and Hauser released it this past March 17, 2017. Recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra it includes a wide array of television and film music, all performed in their own personal, and highly creative ways.

To mark the album's release, 2Cellos released their official YouTube video for their Game of Thrones Medley, which garnered over 1 million views in just two days!

1. Game of Thrones Medley
2. May it Be
3. For the Love of a Princess
4. Love Story
5. Cinema Paradiso
6. Moon River
7. Love Theme from The Godfather
8. My Heart Will Go On
9. Rain Man Theme
10. Cavatina
11. Malena
12. Schindler's List Main Theme
13. Titles from Chariots of Fire
14. Now We are Free

As you can well have already guessed from its title, Score contains a variety of themes that have driven some of the biggest blockbusters in film and television history. Here though 2Cellos provide each of them with a fresh new treatment, inclusive of that aforementioned new arrangement of Ramin Djawadi's melodies that score Game of Thrones.

Also includes are Oscar-winning themes from James Horner's Titanic ("My Heart Will Go On"), John Williams' Schindler's List and Vangelis's Chariots of Fire, as well as "For the Love of a Princess" from Braveheart (also by Horner); "May It Be" from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (introduced in the film by Enya); and the inspiring "Now We Are Free" from Gladiator, by the film's composer Hans Zimmer, Lisa Gerrard and Klaus Badelt.

Without a shadow of a doubt, Score is an album full of beautiful music and one that you will never regret having added to your collections. That said, in truth, the whole Game of Thrones medley is the most energetic performance of the album; the rest simply beautiful, orchestrated to perfection background works to my mind.

2Cellos have truly established themselves as an innovative classical-pop/rock duo who take their classical instruments into the contemporary repertoire, leaving nothing behind. Meaning, however they recreate these hit tracks, they do it full on, never going at them halfhearted. These guys know that they have something special in their hands, in their heads, in their hearts and use it to ultimate perfection here on the stunning Score.

Title - 'Month Of Sundays' [EP]
Artist - Mark Duda

For those not in the know, not unlike myself, Mark Duda is an artist from New York City’s East Village who sings, plays guitar, and writes great original rock and punk songs. Over his storied career, he has worked with a who’s who of New York rock and roll royalty, and helped to carry the torch for bands and artists such as the New York Dolls, Dead Boys, and Johnny Thunders, into the 21st Century.

1. Month Of Sundays
2. Murder On Delancey
3. Standoff Love
4. Worse For Wear
5. Connection
6. Subway Song

His thunderous, raucous new six-track EP (out on April 14, 2017 via True Rock) kicks off with the Axel Rose-esque vocals (at times) of the title track, 'Month Of Sundays', and backs that up with both 'Murder On Delancey' and 'Standoff Love.' The guitar work from Cheetah Chrome (from The Dead Boys) along with the drums from Bobby Rondinelli (from The Handful) make 'Murder On Delancey' rock out even more, but in truth, the guitar work throughout all these tracks is top notch.

Personally, I love the old school E-Street feel to the saxophone opening of 'Standoff Love' also. Indeed, each and every one of the six cuts provides us with real rock music to listen to - not that prefabricated radio top 10 pop fluff we always seem to get.

The album, which is as much a tribute to the music and club scenes of '70s and '80s Lower Manhattan as it is a representation of some of the very current sounds and energy that can be found in the Big Apple, includes musician workmanship from Handful band mate Jimi K. Bones (who also co-wrote half the songs) on guitar, percussion and backing vocals; Thommy Price (from Joan Jett And The Blackhearts, Scandal) on drums; and Kenny Aaronson (from Stories) on bass.

Month Of Sundays continues ever onward with 'Worse For Wear', a track that slows the pace just enough to still make us aware its a rock song of sorts, then the cowbell-infused '70s feel of the quite brilliant 'Connection', with the EP coming to an all-too-soon close with the folk rocker 'Subway Song.'

Having written, or at least co-written all the songs on this brand new EP, Mark Duda is in top form on Month of Sundays. Performing songs that seamlessly blend traditional rock with elements of punk and doo wop, Duda's vocals are raw, real, and edgy, but at no times does he over do it. He's in control throughout and this EP is the most perfect example of a man still in love with his chosen profession.

Title - 'Timeless'
Artist - Blues Image (featuring Mike Pinera)

For those not in the know, Blues Image was an American rock band. Their most successful song was "Ride Captain Ride" in the last half of 1970, which reached No. 4 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Canadian RPM magazine charts.

Blues Image was formed in Tampa, Florida in 1966 by singer-guitarist Mike Pinera, singer-drummer Manuel "Manny" Bertematti, singer-percussionist Joe Lala, keyboardist Emilio Garcia, and bassist Malcolm Jones. They were later joined by keyboardist Frank "Skip" Konte when Emilio Garcia left the band to become a pilot.

Pinera left the band to join Iron Butterfly in the fall of 1969, during the recording of Open, and was replaced by singer Denny Correll and guitarist Kent Henry. The band later broke up after the release of their third album, Red White & Blues Image, in May 1970. The various members of Blues Image went on to become parts of other rock bands.

Here on the just-released Timeless, Blues Image featuring Mike Pinera return with this superb collection of recently recorded favorites and new songs. Indeed, Pinera showcases both his past accomplishments with a fantastic new renditions of the blockbuster single "Ride Captain Ride" and Iron Butterfly's "In A Gadda Da Vida" (of which he was vocalist for the band back in 1970).

He also show boats his present day skills as a songwriter on such tunes as "Love Is The Answer," "Pay My Dues" and many more. Timeless also includes guest performances by blues rock legend Pat Travers and Journey's Jonathan Cain.

1. 'Ride Captain Ride'
2. 'In a Gadda Da Vida'
3. 'Fantasy of Love'
4. 'Come Back'
5. 'Love Is the Answer'
6. 'Touch My Heart'
7. 'Pay My Dues'
8. 'In the Garden of Eden'
9. 'Leaving My Troubles Behind'
10. 'Butterfly Bleu'
11. 'Isla'
12. 'Something to Say'

We begin in fine style with some delightful, airy and flowing orchestral moments that seamlessly then bleed into the seventies classic rock of that aforementioned most successful song, "Ride Captain Ride." Still as breathtaking to hear today as it was back then, it's also a track that showcases what's to come perfectly. Next up is Iron Butterfly's massive deep throat hit "In A Gadda Da Vida", complete with a jazzy uptown funkesque drum moment, and that's backed by the Latin-pop of "Fantasy Of Love," the soft rock flow of "Come Back", and then the upbeat, guitar heavy "Love Is The Answer" (featuring Jonathan Cain).

The mid-tempo ballad of "Touch My Heart" is next, and a real beauty it is. Just right for those romantic night with your lady, when words escape you, but yet you feel you need to express your love for her. The full on guitar rock of "Pay My Dues" is escalated by the work of featured guitarist Pat Travers, let alone some wonderful hammond work midway through. The pop-rock lite feel of "In The Garden Of Eden" is a lovely track and is backed by the on-the-road blues "Leaving My Troubles Behind".

The brilliant slow poke blues of "Butterfly Bleu", once again featuring Pat Travers is up next, and then a true highlight of the album is the stunning, deep down rock blues guitar work of 'Isla'; an anthemic track that sounds as fresh today as it ever did. The album is then brought to a close with the hipsway blues and sax fest of 'Something To Say' featuring Jonathan Cain.

Mike Pinera and Blues Image @ Facebook

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Title - '317'
Artist - Michael Tyler

For those not in the know, not unlike myself, Hot country newcomer Michael Tyler has just released his quite brilliant debut album 317 (Reviver Records/distributed by BDG/RED).

Already a No. 1 songwriter, it’s no coincidence that the 23-year-old’s debut album is titled 317 - the number on his odometer after he arrived in Nashville from his hometown in Thayer, Mo. MT’s current single is 'They Can’t See' and has already racked up more than 625,000 views which just goes to show that Tyler continues to connect and meet all expectations with his fans and the country music industry alike.

1. Here's to the Nights
2. Crazy Last Night
3. Long Drive Home
4. They Can't See
5. Love Myself
6. Songs About Missouri
7. Hey Mama
8. Secret
9. Good at Being Young
10. Play That Party Song
11. Interstate

We kick off this wonderful, timeless debut album with the slow hand clap intro to 'Here's To The Nights', a fun flashback bout of musical storytelling at its finest. Next up is the boisterous sing-along 'Crazy Last Night', before the country lite guitar work of 'Long Drive Home' is upon us. The sugary ballad, and his current radio airplay single 'They Can't See' is next, with 'Love Myself' following. It's a track that, save for the fast back beat, you could actually hear Justin Bieber singing!

Another slow song is up next in the shape of 'Songs About Missouri.' Not a title that I've ever come across before, and as much as it's got a familiar lyrical line to it, personally the mid-section guitar solo and what follows thereafter makes this song one of my favorites. 'Hey Mama' is a fun tale of a mother concerned for all her son's bad girlfriend choices, whereas the Bryan Adamsesque 'Secret' ("Be my Marilyn, I'll be your JFK") is yet another fast paced country delight.

The fist-pumpin', boys rock anthem of 'Good At Being Young' is yet another well written, fun and buoyant track that helps make this album tick from start to finish. Talking of which, 'Play That Party Song' follows along in much that same upbeat tempo, before the album comes to a close with the slow, gritty drawl of the thought provoking 'Interstate.'

Michael Tyler Official Website

CD Purchase Link

Michael Tyler @ Facebook

Title - 'Anthology 1968-1979'
Artist - Omega

For those not in the know, and simply put, Omega is one of the most successful Hungarian rock bands of all time. Formed in Budapest, Hungary in September 1962, Omega is one of world's oldest existing bands!

Formed by core members such as keyboardist/flutist/trumpeter/vocalist László Benkő and vocalist János Kóbor; along with trombonist Győző Bánkúti, drummer/percussionist Tamás Künsztler, saxophonist Péter Láng, guitarist Ferenc Tornóczky, and bassist István Varsányi, sure the band's initial line-up did not last long, but that's nothing new given bands of this age.

But, at that time, and with co-founders Bánkúti and Tornóczky opting to leave within a couple of months of the band's formation; the latter being replaced by András Kovacsics whilst the former was not replaced, more changes ensued over the following couple of years; and have done ever since.

With the current band members being: László Benkő – keyboards, flute, trumpet, lead & backing vocals (1962–1987, 1994–present); János Kóbor – lead & backing vocals (1962–1987, 1994–present); Tamás Mihály – bass, cello, lead & backing vocals (1967–1987, 1994–present); György Molnár – guitars (1967–1987, 1994–present); and Ferenc Debreczeni – drums, percussion (1971–1987, 1994–present), Cleopatra Records have just released a two CD anthology of early works from Omega

Chock full of big, bombastic choruses, shimmering keyboard melodies and soaring vocals, all of which have made Omega a hugely successful band selling over 50 million albums worldwide. Anthology 1968-1979 includes the 1969 hit 'Pearls In Her Hair', which has been covered by Scorpions and sampled by Kanye West for his song 'New Slaves', along with 'Petroleum Lantern', 'The Jester's Daily Bread' and both 'Remembering' and '20th Century Town Dweller.'

1. 'Petroleum Lantern'
2. 'Spanish Guitar Legend'
3. 'Stormy Fire'
4. 'The Jester’s Daily Bread'
5. 'Ten Thousand Paces'
6. 'Remembering'
7. 'After A Hard Year'
8. 'Everytime She Steps In'
9. 'Nur Ein Wort' 11. '20th Century Town Dweller'
12. 'Go On The Spree'
13. '200 Years After The Last War'
14. 'Live As Long As'
15. 'Just A Bloom'
16. 'Pearls In Her Hair'
17. 'Schreib Es Mir In Den Sand'

1. 'House Of Cards I'
2. 'Timerobber'
3. 'House Of Cards II'
4. 'Invitation'
5. 'Don’t Keep On Me Waiting'
6. 'Late Night Show'
7. 'Skyrover'
8. 'The Lost Prophet'
9. 'High On The Starway'
10. 'Purple Lady'
11. 'Gammapolis I'
12. 'Lady Of The Summer Night'
13. 'Silver Rain'
14. 'Gammapolis II'

Chock full of 31 incredible, powerful bursts of Psychedelic rock, hard rock, Progressive rock, and even what they term Space rock, this 2CD best of and more collection is truly something to musically behold.

That said, and if you want to narrow the genre down a tad, I'd say their music is a combination of Eastern European prog with a bit of symphonic and a bit of psyche prog thrown in for good measure. The result is a dark orchestrated sound combined with extended improvisation and whereas a lot of foreign bands sing/record in just their native language, Omega can boast that they have recorded several albums that were released in Hungarian as well as English.

In closing, if you have never heard of Omega and yet are even the slightest bit interested to now that you've read this review, I urge you to go out and buy this crackin' double CD of their collective works. It will not only turn you onto a good thing, and one that's been brewin' for the past 50 years, but it will also have anyone who listens along to it with you begging you to borrow it - so be careful you remember who you loan it to!

Omega @ Facebook

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Title - 'John Wick: Chapter 2' (Original Motion Picture)
Artist - Tyler Bates & Joel J. Richard

The incredible soundtrack to the original 'John Wick' movie sold 40K copies worldwide thanks to a killer score from Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard, ('Guardians of the Galaxy'), and a handful of original tracks.

Bates and Richard return for the sequel which once again includes a handful of original songs from Alice In Chains' Jerry Cantrell, ('A Job To Do', with both Tyler Bates and Gil Sharone), Nostalghia ('Fool', with Bates) and Le Castle Vania with 'John Wick Mode'.

In truth, and for my money, a movie like this does not become sleek and sexy by sheer quality acting and cinematography alone, it's often the soundtrack which gives a film its character, its heartbeat, its rhythm. Here we have a excellent example of film and score as one. Sharp, tight and focused, this is one soundtrack that will simply not disappoint (as the first did not either), all wrapped around a great film of style and energy.

Ergo, and aside from those aforementioned original songs, 'John Wick: Chapter 2' hums along magnificently on a sonic bed of a blend of techno, pop, and a dash of jazz thrown in for good measure. All 23 tracks are seamless for the action they portray, and yet even not having seen the movie, just listening to this album in your car will have you believing anything is possible.

Basically put, this is Keanu Reeves doing what he does best here in 'John Wick: Chapter 2'! Love Keanu. One of the best talents who's gone magnificently unappreciated. He's a great actor and I always want to see him do more of these types of movies. And this CD is a perfect complement to the movie! Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable hour of great music from Tyler Bates & Joel J. Richard and, much like the first OST CD, well worth the price you pay for it.

Title - 'Gold' (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Artist - Various

'Gold' is the story of Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey), a prospector desperate for a lucky break, who teams up with a similarly eager geologist and sets off on an amazing journey to find gold in the uncharted jungle of Indonesia. Getting the gold was hard but keeping it is even more difficult, sparking an adventure through the most powerful boardrooms of Wall Street.

Featuring, 'Gold,' the Golden Globe nominated original song from Iggy Pop, (which was produced by DangerMouse) the remainder of the ten (10) tracks admittedly are all previously released popular songs from the era that 'Gold' is set in, but it is nonetheless a wonderful, throwback album of music, that's for damn sure.

1. 'Gold' - Iggy Pop
2. 'Ron Klaus Wrecked His House' - The Big Dipper
3. 'This Must Be The Place (Naďve Melody)' - Kishi Bashi
4. 'Spill The Wine' - The Isley Brothers
5. 'I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight' - Richard & Linda Thompson
6. 'Rip It Up' - Orange Juice
7. 'Temptation' - New Order
8. 'Hey' - Pixies
9. 'Atmosphere' - Joy Division
10. '1880 Or So' (Television)

We kick off with the aforementioned Iggy Pop new track 'Gold' (where Pop does his best crooning Leonard Cohen-style vocals), and that's backed by the thunderous 'Ron Klaus Wrecked His House' from The Big Dipper, Indie-artist Kishi Bashi brings us a nice cover of Talking Heads' 'This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)', and then the always-great-to-hear 'Spill The Wine' from The Isley Brothers (1971).

Richard and Linda Thompson's 'I Want to See Bright Lights Tonight' is another track that just gets better with age, and that's backed by one of my all time favorite songs growing up - the quite seminal, quite brilliant 'Rip It Up' from Scottish band Orange Juice. Next up is New Order's 'Temptation' (1982), an awesome to hear again is 'Hey' from the Pixies, and then this brilliant soundtrack rounds out with both Joy Division's 'Atmosphere', and then Television's delightful rare gem '1880 Or So'.

Title - 'Live at the Iridium' [CD/DVD]
Artist - Leo Bud Welch

For those not in the know, much like me, Leo "Bud" Welch is an American gospel blues musician and guitarist. He started his music career, in 2014, with the release of Sabougla Voices (on Big Legal Mess Records) and his sophomore studio album, I Don't Prefer No Blues, was released in 2015.

Now, here on his third album, the Deluxe CD/DVD edition Live At The Iridium, eighty-five year old gospel blues phenom Leo Bud Welch puts on an old fashioned musical revival on this incredible live set. Recorded at NY's prestigious club, when Welch plays we all get to take a remarkable journey alongside him through six decades of blues music as he performs a mix of traditional songs, standards, and his own compositions.

1. 'Praise His Name'
2. 'Still a Fool'
3. 'Got My Mojo Working'
4. 'Five Long Years'
5. 'No More Doggin'
6. 'Woke Up This Morning'
7. 'My Babe'
8. 'Sweet Little Angel'
9. 'Cadillac Baby'
10. 'Po' Boy'
11. 'You Don't Have to Go'
12. 'Pepticon'
13. 'Don't Let the Devil Ride'
14. 'Rollin' & Tumblin'
15. 'Good Morning, Little School Girl'
16. 'Walkin' the Floor Over You'
17. 'Me and My Lord'

With a sound that I can only describe as unpolished and raw, when Welch sings and plays the blues here on this live CD/DVD you get the feeling that he's recalling times gone by from his own upbringing. His gruff way of singing ensures that each and every one of the 17 tracks on display here are brought forth in such a way that you feel like you've heard them before - and yet, for the most part, you actually haven't.

After releasing his gospel-infused debut, Sabougla Voices and expanding into more secular themes and more straight forward electric blues on his sophomore album I Don't Prefer No Blues (which to this day still has one of the best album cove photos that I've ever seen), Welch's live work here dips into those, but also lovingly embraces some rockin' blues classics too.

Combining some gritty, rough even guitar work alongside this unique vocalization of his - which at times sounds like it could cut through virtually anything in it's path - Welch may have come to the party late, be he's sure making up for lost time with albums chock full of quality music.

Highlighted by 'Praise His Name,' 'Got My Mojo Working,' 'Don't Let The Devil Ride,' 'Good Morning, Little School Girl' and so many more, the pro-shot DVD was directed by Wes Orshoski (known for his documentaries on UK punk legends The Damned and the late great Lemmy of Motörhead) and it actually also includes a bonus interview/video biography of Welch himself.

Title - 'Ooo La La La: The Epic Anthology'
Artist - Teena Marie

For those not in the know, Mary Christine Brockert, better known by her stage name Teena Marie (no, I never knew that either), was an American singer–songwriter, and producer who sadly passed away on December 26th, 2010 aged just 54).

Indeed, and just to expand on that a little bit, she was known by her childhood nickname Tina (due to her middle name Christine, one assumes) before taking the stage name Teena Marie. She later acquired the nickname Lady Tee (sometimes spelled Lady T), given to her by her collaborator and friend, Rick James.

So, and no matter which name she fell under, Marie was known for her distinctive soulful vocals, which caused many listeners to believe she was African American from the onset of her radio career (much like Rick Astley, if you didn't already know that). Her success in R&B and soul music, and loyalty to these genres would earn her the title Ivory Queen of Soul.

In fact, she was more than just a great voice because she also played rhythm guitar, keyboards, and congas, and wrote, produced, sang, and arranged virtually all of her songs since her 1980 release, Irons in the Fire; which she later said was her favorite album.

In fact, Marie gained prominence at Motown working with the aforementioned funk king Rick James, scoring her first major R&B hit in 1979 with 'I'm A Sucker For Your Love' followed by the global chart maker, 'I Need Your Lovin' in 1980.

And now, SoulMusic Records is exceptionally proud to now present Ooo La La La: The Epic Anthology, a superb two CD set by the late, and yet always great Teena Marie. Covering almost a decade (1983-1991), the 25 tracks include all of Teena's charted hits for Epic Records.

Disc 1:
1. 'Lovergirl (Special 12" Dance Mix)'
2. 'Jammin' (Dance Mix - Long Version)'
3. 'Lips to Find You (Extended Version)'
4. '14K (Extended Version-Dance Mix)'
5. 'Fix It (12" Version)'
6. 'Surrealistic Pillow (Sexy Pillow Re-Mix)'
7. 'Playboy (12" Remix)'
8. 'Starchild'
9. 'Midnight Magnet'
10. 'Work It (Extended LP Mix)'
11. 'Here's Looking at You (12" Club)'
12. 'Bad Boy (The House Arrest Mix)'

Disc 2:
1. 'Ooo la la la (12" Version)'
2. 'Since Day One (Jazzie's Radio Version)'
3. 'Just Us Two (The Garage Mix)'
4. 'Soulmates' (Q.T. Hush with Teena Marie)
5. 'Dear Lover'
6. 'Cassanova Brown'
7. 'Out on a Limb (Special Version)'
8. 'Love Me Down Easy (Us 12" Single Version)'
9. 'If I Were a Bell (Extended Version)'
10. 'Miracles Need Wings to Fly'
11. 'My Dear Mr. Gaye'
12. 'Batucada Suite'
13. 'The Once and Future Dream' (Teena Marie Featuring Rick James)

This fun, upbeat and quite delightful flashback to an era of music that I've always personally adored kicks off (under many Remix and Extended Version guises and subtitled “Work It”) in fine R&B dance style with her 1984 pop breakthrough hit 'Lovergirl'; a track that Marie always played guitar on. Yep, if you only thought that Marie was a singer stood alone behind a microphone whilst her backing band did all the work, think again! 'Jammin' is yet another fantastic showcase for her pop vocal expertise and that's backed by the funky 'Lips to Find You', one of my favorites a completely rockin' '14K (Extended Version-Dance Mix)', and then the slap bass and Prince-esque guitar work of 'Fix It'.

The Hi-NRG of 'Surrealistic Pillow' is next and brings us one of the first examples of uptempo disco, and that's backed by the pure R&B trumpet soul vibe of 'Playboy', the captivatingly sung 'Starchild', and then both the mid-tempo slow funk roll of 'Midnight Magnet' and then the Janet Jacksonesque 'Work It'. The first CD then rounds out with the totally brilliant upbeat R&B funk of 'Here's Looking at You' (watch the video for it - you're welcome!), and the her 1988 deep funk hit 'Bad Boy'.

The second CD [“The Once And Future Dream”] is more focused on some of Marie’s most beloved ballads. As a slow jam musical queen, Teena’s mastery is exemplified by the first track, and her 1988 #1 R&B hit, ‘Ooo La La La’, and that's followed by the Chaka Khanesque 'Since Day One', the mid tempo ballad 'Just Us Two', and then both the duet 'Soulmates' (which was recorded with R&B artists Q.T. Hush), and then the soaring, vocally stunning ballad 'Dear Lover'.

Amongst all these second disc gems you will next experience a track that will blow your mind. 'Cassanova Brown' is a stirring ballad of the highest order and one that backed by her studio orchestra, proves this sadly underrated artist could still so easily top the charts today. 'Out on a Limb' is up next and that's backed by both the slightly more upbeat 'Love Me Down Easy', and then the liquid gold of the stunning Gospel ballad 'If I Were a Bell.'

The beautiful 'Miracles Need Wings to Fly' ballad is yet another track that would, without a shadow of a doubt, top the charts today, and that's followed by her own salute to a Motown legend, the dreamy 'My Dear Mr. Gaye'. This second CD then rounds out with the late nite hipsway sax appeal of the 'Batucada Suite' and then her dynamic duet with the one, the only Rick James, 'The Once and Future Dream'.

Lovingly produced by Donald Cleveland (who provided excellent remastering) and David Nathan (who frequently interviewed Teena and contributes a personal tribute to the notes), this 2-CD set showcases distinct elements of the California-born singer/songwriter, musician and producer’s distinctive artistry.

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Two Hearts'
Artist - Jackie Evancho

For those not in the know, Jackie Evancho is an American classical crossover singer who gained wide recognition at an early age and, since 2009, has issued an EP and seven albums - including a platinum and gold album and three Billboard 200 top 10 debuts. Oh, and she has also released three solo Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) concert specials.

Furthermore, Billboard ranked Evancho the No. 1 Classical Albums Artist of 2011, as she released three of the top four albums on the Billboard 2011 year-end Classical Albums chart.

Fresh from her spotlight performance of the National Anthem at the Presidential Inauguration, platinum-selling vocal sensation Evancho has just released her brand new, and eighth album, Two Hearts via Sony Music Masterworks.

The album features a wide variety of classic and popular songs including Lucio Dalla's immortal "Caruso," the intermezzo from Cavalleria rusticana, "Attessa," Enya's "May It Be" from 'Lord of the Rings', Celine Dion's "Have You Ever Been in Love", and even Taylor Swift's "Safe and Sound"; all sung in Evancho's angelic style.

Disc 1:
1. "Caruso"
2. "Attesa"
3. "How Great Thou Art"
4. "Mama"
5. "May It Be"
6. "The Way We Were"
7. "Have You Ever Been in Love"
8. "Safe and Sound"
9. "Writing's on the Wall"
10. "A Thousand Years (Live)"

Disc 2:
1. "Sane"
2. "Pedestal"
3. "The Haunting"
4. "Wonderland"
5. "Apocalypse"

In truth, I have a deep passion for this kind of angelically sung music, and Evancho just has one of those voices that soars when required, and yet a split second later can drift as a beautiful lazy undercurrent around your ears.

Ergo, Two Hearts truly demonstrates Evancho's extraordinary versatility with each song showcasing her interpretive skills as an artist and musical, dare I say it, genius. From the deeply operatic "Attesa" to the pop sensibilities of "Safe And Sound", on through to the second disc of five tracks that she herself has written, Evancho nails them all with her amazing vocal abilities.

And with regard that second disc EP, each track is masterfully performed, as you would fully expect. Indeed, it is her first real venture into pop music and she takes the bull by both horns, trust me. Unveils her writing talents with an unexpected crafting of ageless quality, such tracks as both "Sane" and "The Haunting" mean that Evancho's first major endeavor at this genre of music is most definitely a success.

For my money, Two Hearts is her best album to date and a must have for everyone who appreciates excellent music. But, why don't you spend your money and buy this CD and find this all out for yourselves. You won't regret it, of that you can be rest assured.

Jackie Evancho @ Twitter

Title - 'Cold Blooded' [Vinyl]
Artist - Strange Karma

For those not in the know, and yes, that included me, Australian rockers Strange Karma are one of the rare few bands that successfully manage to combine the powerhouse rock elements of Led Zeppelin with the flair and pomposity reminiscent of Queen.

Sure they've had their ups and downs over the years, but what successful rock band hasn't. Featuring Martin Strange (lead vocals, piano, guitar), Paul Strange (lead guitar, backing vocals), and Jason McDonald (drums), and having already brought out the album America (formerly known as Volume 1), they have just released a brand new VINYL-ONLY album of pure, unadulterated rock, Cold Blooded.

Comprised of 10 tracks, each of them as melodically powerhaus as the next, it's amazing to think that such a band as Strange Karma need any promotion these days. Their music is rock perfection, each tracks individual lyrical content as centered, as furtively mischievous as one would hope, and with Martin Strange and his gang sounding as much like The Cult as I've ever heard any other band come unintentionally close, it seems Cold Blooded could well open the eyes of those not aware in this business.

Side A:
1. Freedom
2. Devil From the Moon
3. Crying For Your Love
4. Realize
5. I Believe (London Town)

Side B:
6. Heart Beat
7. Should’ve Seen It Coming
8. Cold Blooded
9. Hey Man
10. Dreams

Again, this is an incredible risk to take for a band trying to be heard, to release their brand new full length album as a VINYL-ONLY product, but this band is all about taking risks, pushing boundaries. Inclusive of the lead single to radio, 'Devil From The Moon', Australia’s best kept secret is now on the brink of becoming the definitive next movement in rock and roll.

I'm now on board, my eyes and (more importantly) ears more attune to Strange Karma than ever before. I hope yours will be too after buying this album, giving it a spin, and telling others about it thereafter - which you will, trust me!

'Cold Blooded' Vinyl-Only Purchase Link

Strange Karma @ Facebook

Title - 'Once Upon A Time In South America'
Artist - ELP

For those not in the know, although that would shock me Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP) were an English progressive rock supergroup formed in London in 1970. The band consisted of keyboardist Keith Emerson, singer, bassist, and producer Greg Lake, and drummer and percussionist Carl Palmer.

With nine RIAA-certified gold record albums in the US, and an estimated 48 million records sold worldwide, they were one of the most popular and commercially successful progressive rock bands in the 1970s. With a musical sound including adaptations of classical music with jazz and symphonic rock elements, dominated by Emerson's flamboyant use of the Hammond organ, Moog synthesizer, and piano (although Lake wrote several acoustic songs for the group), they recorded hit after hit for the radio listeners.

Culled from concerts in Chile, Brazil and Argentina in 1993 and 1997, the just released ELP - Once Upon A Time In South America 4-CD digi-pak is truly an essential collection to the catalog of this progressive rock supergroup. Featuring versions of their hits from their forty five year career, including 'Lucky Man', 'From The Beginning', 'Hoedown', 'Knife Edge' and 'Pictures at an Exhibition', the musical history garnered by the listener over the course of these four discs is immeasurable.

CD1: April 1st, 1993 (71:33)
1. 'Introduction Fanfare' (0:46)
2. 'Tarkus' (9:10)
3. 'Knife Edge' (5:32)
4. 'Paper Blood' (4:42)
5. 'Black Moon' (6:33)
6. 'Close To Home' (3:36)
7. 'Creole Dance' (5:15)
8. 'Still You Turn Me On' (3:52)
9. 'C'Est La Vie' (5:04)
10. 'Lucky Man' (5:33)
11. 'Honky Tonk Woman' (4:02)
12. 'Touch And Go' (3:10)
13. 'Pirates' (14:18)

CD2: April 1st, 1993 / April 5th, 1993 (76:30)
1. 'Hoedown' (3:07)
2. 'Pictures At An Exhibition' (23:32)
3. 'Fanfare For The Common Man / America / Rondo' (17:56)
4. 'Introductory Fanfare' (0:24)
5. 'Tarkus' (9:20)
6. 'Knife Edge' (5:36)
7. 'Paper Blood' (4:15)
8. 'Black Moon' (6:57)
9. 'Emerson Piano Solo' (5:23)

CD3: April 5th, 1993 (70:46)
1. 'Creole Dance' (6:34)
2. 'From The Beginning' (3:03)
3. 'C'Est La Vie' (5:29)
4. 'Lucky Man' (5:06)
5. 'Honky Tonk Train Blues' (4:28)
6. 'Touch And Go' (3:19)
7. 'Pirates' (14:35)
8. 'Hoedown' (3:09)
9. 'Pictures At An Exhibition' (1:52)
10. 'Instrumental Jam' (23:11)

CD4: April 5th, 1993 / August 15th, 1997 (67:00)
1. 'Fanfare For The Common Man / America / Rondo' (16:19)
2. 'Karn Evil 9: First Impression (Part Two)' (5:00)
3. 'Hoedown' (4:36)
4. 'Touch And Go' (3:58)
5. 'From The Beginning' (4:02)
6. 'Knife Edge' (6:19)
7. 'Lucky Man' (4:38)
8. 'Tarkus' (8:27)
9. 'Pictures At An Exhibition' (10:37)
10. '21st Century Schizoid Man' (1:45)
11. 'America' (1:19)

With a running time of an incredible 285:49, ELP - Once Upon A Time In South America is chock full of prog rock goodness that we've all grown (up on) to love and cherish. From the stirring opening 'Introduction Fanfare' (at just 46 seconds) that leads seamlessly into the near-ten minutes long opus 'Tarkus', this is something to behold from the off.

The first disc is caught live from their show on April 1st, 1993, and that holds for the first two songs into the second disc. Then it becomes another nights live experience, this one from April 5th, 1993, which itself runs through the remainder of that disc, for the entire third disc, and for the first song on the fourth disc. From then on the fourth disc is actually live from April 15th, 1997, so a big jump there - although, in truth, not that musically noticeable.

As you would expect from such an undertaking of a collection, there are a slew of repeats with regard their hits of the time, but that's no big deal to any of us fans. Indeed, for my money, this is an awesome collection of live shows from South America, ones I had never heard before, and so for that alone I could listen to this set over and over.

I should add that simply calling it prog(ressive) rock suggests that it's more rock than prog, but over the course of these four discs it really isn't one genre such as that. The music is classified as rock, but it's closer to classical or jazz for many of their songs. The only way to label it correctly is to call it fusion, in my book. Oh, and as for drummer Carl Palmer, well, he would be ranked in the Top 5 of the greatest trap set players to ever walk the Earth, in my book!

'Once Upon A Time In South America' 4CD Purchase Link

ELP @ Facebook

Title - 'Live At Ebbett's Field 1973'
Artist - Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen

For those not in the know, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen is an American country rock band founded in 1967. The group's founder was founder George Frayne IV (alias Commander Cody) on keyboards and vocals.

The band's style mixed country, rock 'n' roll, western swing, rockabilly, and jump blues together on a foundation of boogie-woogie piano. Indeed, they were among first country-rock bands to take its cues less from folk-rock and bluegrass and more from the rowdy barroom country of the Ernest Tubb and Ray Price style. Over the years the band even became known for their marathon long live shows.

Lest we forget that Frayne (aka Commander Cody) not only ran the whole Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen musical shebang, but also had a #1 Pop hit in the '70s and several albums that hit Billboard Magazines Top 40. He's also a renowned fine artist in painting, sculpture, and multimedia whose work has been exhibited in museums from Austin to Tokyo, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and a permanent display in New York's Museum of Modern Art.

His recently released Live At Ebbett's Field, August 11th, 1973 album is a musical flashback to the very beginning of the bands long journey. Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen were celebrating 1973 with a hit record - 'Hot Rod Lincoln' and album, a new bus to tour in (a 1956 Chevy Greyhound, if you really need that fact!), and a new world class steel player in Bobby Black.

On his first Commander Cody tour, Bobby was on the bus when the band hit Denver to play a club called Ebbetts Field, which was set up on the inside like a ballpark with seating up the walls, which were packed. A radio team was sent in to broadcast locally and record for posterity. This is that concert, released publicly (and legally) for the first time here today via Rock Beat. [A year later Billboard Magazine voted this band to be the best live band in the world and you can tell here by just listening that they were on their way.]

1. 'Instrumental Intro'
2. 'Good Rockin' Tonight'
3. 'What's the Matter Now?'
4. 'Truck Driving Man'
5. '4 or 5 Times'
6. 'Down and Out'
7. 'Mama Hated Diesels'
8. 'Sally Walker'
9. 'Ain't Nothin' Shakin'
10. 'All I Have To Offer You'
11. 'Diggy Liggy'
12. 'Smoke That Cigarette'
13. 'Rave On'
14. 'Rock That Boogie'
15. 'Jailhouse Rock'
16. 'Truckin' and F**kin'
17. 'Wine Do Yer Stuff'
18. 'Mama Tried'
19. 'Daddy's Drinkin' Up Our Christmas'
20. 'Lawdy Miss Clawdy'
21. 'Sunset On The Sage'

Live At Ebbett's Field, August 11th, 1973 features Commander Cody - Piano, Vocals; Bobby Black - Pedal Steel Guitar, Vocals; Bruce Barlow - Bass, Vocals; Lance Dickerson - Drums, Vocals; Billy C. Farlow - Harmonica, Vocals; Bill Kirchen - Lead Guitar, Vocals; Andy Stein - Violin, Saxophone; and John Tichy - Guitar, and is a powerhaus musical reminder of just how good this band really were.

Showcasing a delightful, if not unique honky tonk style the band were taking at that time, the audio quality for this FM recording is actually still rather good in its transference. Complete with en mass of their signature tunes of the day, this captured live performance will make an excellent companion set to their Rotterdam live show (if you have that in your collections, of course.)

'Live At Ebbett's Field 1973' CD Purchase Link

Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen @ Facebook

Title - 'New York 1970'
Artist - Paul Butterfield

For those not in the know, Paul Butterfield was an American blues harmonica player and singer. After early training as a classical flautist, he developed an interest in blues harmonica. He explored the blues scene in his native Chicago, where he met Muddy Waters and other blues greats, who provided encouragement and opportunities for him to join in jam sessions.

He soon began performing with fellow blues enthusiasts Nick Gravenites and Elvin Bishop and in 1963 he formed the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, which recorded several successful albums and was popular on the late-1960s concert and festival circuit; with performances at the Fillmore West, in San Francisco; the Fillmore East, in New York City; the Monterey Pop Festival; and Woodstock.

The band was known for combining electric Chicago blues with a rock urgency and for their pioneering jazz fusion performances and recordings. After the breakup of the group in 1971, Butterfield continued to tour and record with the band Paul Butterfield's Better Days, with his mentor Muddy Waters, and with members of the roots-rock group the Band. Sadly though, whilst still recording and performing, Butterfield died in 1987 at age 44 of a heroin overdose.

This newly released 2-CD set entitled New York 1970 was recorded in December of that year and radio broadcast from A&R Studios in New York City in front of a live audience. The line-up is mostly the same as the one that recorded the Elektra label live album the previous March at the Troubadour in Los Angeles with Paul Butterfield on vocals and harmonica, David Sanborn on alto sax, Gene Dinwiddie on soprano sax, Trevor Lawrence on baritone sax, Steve Madaio on trumpet, Ralph Wash on guitar, Rod Hicks on bass guitar, and Dennis Whitted on drums.

While there is little doubt that the Butterfield Blues Band took a hit when Mike Bloomfield left, the group compensated by shifting musical direction, adding a horn section. Every new album represented a progression in the blues idiom, synthesizing and rearranging elements of blues, soul, rock, and jazz into something new and exciting.

CD 1:
1. 'Born Under A Bad Sign'
2. 'Play On'
3. 'Driftin' Blues'

CD 2:
4. 'The Boxer'
5. 'Everything's Gonna Be Alright'
6. 'Stuck In The Countryside'
7. 'Love March'
8. 'Back Together Again'
9. Stage Announcer
10. 'So Far So Good'

The first disc of this incredible 2-CD set kicks off with the tremendous, and over 12 minutes long cover of Albert King's 'Born Under A Bad Sign', which Butterfield and company follow up seamlessly with both the jazzy horn funk of 'Play On' and then the stunning slow Blues roll of 'Driftin' Blues' rounding out the disc in fine style.

An upbeat cover of Simon and Gar ... wait, no it's not! It's a Hi-NRG jazz funk explosion entitled 'The Boxer' that's up next and quite easily one of my personal favorites on this delightful live album. The harmonica driven, ten minute long 'Everything's Gonna Be Alright' is yet another stand out track, and that's followed by another slow-the-pace-down, dirty, deep down funk of 'Stuck In The Countryside'.

One of the shortest tracks on the album is the drum regime incorporated into 'Love March', an interesting cut if ever there were, and that's backed by the sing-along, clap-along 'Back Together Again'. Then, after the Stage Announcer has said his piece (egging the crowd on to ask the band to perform one more song) we get the final song of the live set / album, the breathtaking uptown funk of 'So Far So Good.'

New York 1970 is, simply put, a stunning and sublime, upbeat jazz and classic Blues explosion that has to be heard all the way through to be really appreciated. This is a band with an impeccable sound and a great representation of what this band could do live. It's also wonderful news to re-report that the Paul Butterfield Blues Band (finally) got their induction into the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!

'New York 1970' CD Purchase Link

Paul Butterfield @ Facebook

Title - 'Live In San Francisco 1971'
Artist - Flamin' Groovies

For those not in the know, the Flamin' Groovies is an American rock music band whose peak was in the 1960s and 1970s. They began in San Francisco in 1965, founded by Cyril Jordan and Roy Loney and the group that have been called one of the forerunners of punk rock are back with a new album; well, kinda.

Having also had a major influence on the power pop genre, the Flamin' Groovies have been through band break ups and reunions aplenty, and sadly original keyboardist Mark Dunwoody died of a heart attack on June 12th, 2013, but now we get to hear them in their prime on this brand new and just released live album, Live In San Francisco 1973.

1. 'Bill Graham Introduction'
2. 'I Can’t Explain'
3. 'Sweet Little Rock ’N’ Roller'
4. 'Have You Seen My Baby'
5. 'Road House'
6. 'Doctor Boogie'
7. 'Slow Death'
8. 'Shakin' All Over'
9. 'Teenage Head'
10. 'Louie Louie'
11. 'Walkin' The Dog'

In their day, and between 1969 and 1993, they released eight studio albums, eight live albums, six EPs, and 17 singles. Featuring Loney, Jordan, George Alexander, Danny Mihm and James Ferrell, after the 'Bill Graham Introduction' we roll straight into the frenetic cover of The Who's 'I Can’t Explain', which is as great as the original even today. Chuck Berry's hit 'Sweet Little Rock ’N’ Roller' is up next and wow, yet another fine cover from this CA-born and bred band. With James Ferrell on guitar, it's one of the stand out tracks here live, in my personal opinion.

The rockin' Blues of 'Have You Seen My Baby' is up next and that's backed by both the insane back beat drumming of Mihm on 'Road House' and the slow poke, mowing of the lawn Louisiana pace of 'Doctor Boogie.' The proto-punk band - contemporaries of the Velvets, the MC5, the Stooges, and the Ramones - next serve up a song that sounds as much like an old school Stones song if ever I heard one, 'Slow Death.' The 1972 anti-drug song is yet another gem here and that's backed by a cover of Johnny Kidd & the Pirates' 'Shakin' All Over.'

More throbbin' guitar work from Jordan leads us into 'Teenage Head', which is followed by 'Louie Louie' by The Kingsmen. One of the best ever versions I've ever heard of this song, the live album is then brought to a close with a Rufus Thomas cover in 'Walkin' The Dog.' If you are not aware of this band I urge you to look up their ENTIRE collection and immerse yourself accordingly. It will not be a wasted journey, trust me.

'Live In San Francisco 1971' CD Purchase Link

Flamin' Groovies @ Facebook

Flamin' Groovies @ Twitter

Title - 'Crowin' The Blues'
Artist - Professor Louie and The Crowmatix

For those not in the know, the Professor Louie and The Crowmatix is a Woodstock, New York based Americana/roots musical group led by Aaron Louis Hurwitz, who collaborated with The Band for over fifteen years. He is a musician and producer, nicknamed "Professor Louie" by Rick Danko.

Professor Louie and The Crowmatix' music is a blend of blues, rock, R&B, gospel, and folk with harmonic vocals and the current members all hail from New York state. Alongside Professor Louie we get Miss Marie (vocals, percussion, piano, whistling); Gary Burke (drums); Frank Campbell (bass, BKG, vocals); John Platania (electric & acoustic guitar); Josh Colow (electric guitar - Track #4); and special guest Michael Falzarano (Rhythm Guitar - Track #4).

Having just released a brand new album, Crowin' The Blues, Professor Louie and The Crowmatix dig down into the origin of many great Blues songs from the Texas Rhythm & Blues style. Indeed, we kick off in fine Blues/Americana style with the foot-tappin' 'I'm Gonna Play The Honky Tonks' (Marie Adams) which slides seamlessly into the faster paced duo of both 'Prisoner Of Your Sound' and then 'High Heel Sneakers'. The ballad 'Love Is Killing Me' happens to be one of my personal favorites on this wonderful new album, and that's followed by the whistling upbeat affair of 'Blues & Good News.'

The down and out Blues jam of 'Fine Little Mama' is another gem in this 13 song collection and that's followed by Jimmy McCracklin's hit 'I Finally Got You', Big Bill Broonzy's 'Why Did You Do That To Me' and then the free flowing 'Confessin' The Blues.' The mid-tempo ballad 'Bright Light, Big City' is next, the beautiful Blues slow jam of 'That's Alright' is next, and then the album rounds out with 'I'm On My Way' and the accordion-driven nod to Buckwheat Zydeco, 'Blues For Buckwheat.'

'Crowin' The Blues' CD Purchase Link

Professor Louie and The Crowmatix @ Facebook

Title - 'Overgalaxy' [Explicit]
Artist - Damned Pilots

For those not in the know, the Damned Pilots were formed in Trieste (Italy) in 2013 and released their debut EP 'Spaced Out’ that very same year. In 2015 the band went into the studio and recorded their second full-length album, the brilliant 'One More Mission' and in June 2016 they; and after touring for the first time across USA to promote that very same album, came together to record this third full-length album, Overgalaxy via Sliptrick Records.

Now having just released their brand new CD Overgalaxy this past December 15th, 2016, they are back to bring their unique musical perspectives to their adoring fan base - and beyond. As observed by the band themselves, Overgalaxy is a steam punk concept album. Indeed, as drummer/founder Don Nutz says, "It's built on the story of four cartoon characters: Don Nutz, Sgt. Ote, Willer Hertz and Erik Space ... aka The Damned Pilots. They travel through space in the year 2500 A.C. on a 1970's hippy van customized to fight against their archenemy Gorguss and his evil empire".

The lyrics, written by Sgt. Ote, are about love and hate, war and peace, past and future, rebellions against failed systems, all imbued with the sensibilities and humor of classic Sci-Fi b-movies. Comprising of mid-tempo groovy metal tracks to doom metal, inclusive of some bursts of psychedelic ballads, all strung together by catchy melodies, Overgalaxy is where the future of music is headed.

The album kicks off with a 'Intro', where a series of conversations about launching into space are discussed between a controller and the subject in question, before the music really begins with both 'Damned Pilots' and Seasons Of The Endings.' In a series of tracks over five minutes in length, we next get the balladesque pray chant of 'Desert Europa', the cinematic scope of true ballad 'Just Another Day,' and then the throaty 'Gorguss.'

The blistering guitar work of 'Hell Is Cold' is up next and that's followed by the stoic, Gothic-laden ballad brilliance of 'People Don't Die.' Featuring some stunning acoustic guitar work, it's quite easily my own personal favorite. The album then comes to a close with the thrashingly fun 'Sylvanic' and then the longest song on the album; at over six minutes, the instrumental opus 'Mos.'

'Overgalaxy' CD Purchase Link

Damned Pilots @ Facebook

Title - 'Novum'
Artist - Procal Harum

For those not in the know, although I can't believe there's too many, Procol Harum are an English rock band formed in 1967. Indeed, they contributed to the development of symphonic rock, and by extension, progressive rock.

Their best-known recording is their 1967 hit single "A Whiter Shade of Pale", which is considered a classic of popular music and is one of the few singles to have sold over 10 million copies. Although noted for its baroque and classical influence, Procol Harum's music also embraces the blues, R&B, and soul, which over the release of now-13 full-length albums has served them, and their fans very well.

Novum (out April 21st, 2017 via Eagle Records) is Procol Harum's aforementioned thirteenth studio album, their first since The Well's On Fire in 2003, and is released in the band's fiftieth anniversary year. Having embraced all those musical genres noted above throughout their career, whilst always embracing their roots in blues and soul, Novum sees a new lyrical direction for Procol Harum.

With the songs all featuring words by Pete Brown, most famous for his song writing collaboration with the members of Cream, this has now given a rather different feel to the songs. Retaining the thought-provoking content for which the band has always been known, but with a different slant and elements of humor, Novum still incorporates the music and musicianship within the band at the most highest of levels.

1. 'I Told On You'
2. 'Last Chance Motel'
3. 'Image Of The Beast'
4. 'Soldier'
5. 'Don't Get Caught'
6. 'Neighbour'
7. 'Sunday Morning'
8. 'Businessman'
9. 'Can't Say That'
10. 'The Only One'
11. 'Somewhen'

This long-awaited collection of brand new songs from Procol Harum - Gary Brooker (vocals, piano); Geoff Dunn (drums); Matt Pegg (bass); Josh Phillips (organ); Geoff Whitehorn (guitar) - kicks off with some delicate piano work before the gentle rock sensibilities of 'I Told On You' are brought forth. What begins like a mid-tempo ballad 'Last Chance Motel' soon takes an upbeat stance and that's backed by the guitar rocker 'Image Of The Beast' and then the at-first reggae-tipped, but what turns into a standard Procol Harum melodic rock track, 'Soldier'.

The uptempo ballad 'Don't Get Caught' is one of the highlights of this quite splendid new album, and that's backed by the gentle guitar strumming and accordion playing of 'Neighbour.' The most jovial song of the bunch, much in the vein of The Kinks when they got going, chock full of laughs, carnival sounds and lyrics about being jealous of a man in a detached next door, it's not the longest, but it's definitely the most fun. That's backed by the piano ballad 'Sunday Morning' which is yet another stand out track here of the eleven, in my humble opinion.

Complete with cowbell, the rocker 'Businessman' is up next and is followed by the Blues rock of 'Can't Say That', which in turn is backed by yet another wonderful ballad, 'The Only One.' Bringing together piano, acoustic guitar, and a gentle, but assertive electric guitar as its backbone, Brooker's vocals are showcased stunningly to the max here. And that can also be said of the final track, the beautiful piano ballad 'Somewhen', a cut that surprises in that I would have imagined them going out on a rockier note, but delights in the way any Procol Harum song only ever can.

[FYI: The cover artwork of Novum (by Julia Brown) references elements of the sleeve of their 1967 self-titled debut.]

Title - 'Maybe If I Try' [EP]
Artist - John Haesemeyer

For those not in the know, John Haesemeyer is a San Francisco based performing artist who fuses folk and pop genres, emphasizing intimate vocals, acoustic guitar, orchestral instruments, and the rhythm section of a rock band.

Haesemeyer released his first studio record in January 2013 (Come Along Quickly) and quickly followed that up in September 2014 with his sophomore album, Three Mirrors. His brand new third release is a highly-impressive 5-Track EP entitled Maybe If I Try and was released this past February 27th, 2017.

The fun and upbeat 'Big Balloon' is up first and a lovely way to introduce us to the vocal workings of Haesemeyer and that's backed by the edgier country rock of the title track, 'Maybe If I Try.' Complete with an electric guitar break, and some mighty fine backing harmonies, it is, without a doubt; if not for me alone, the stand out track here on this brand new five-track EP.

Recorded in Argentina at Estudio Kenovia (Buenos Aires) and Home Town Estudio (Mar del Plata), Maybe If I Try continues onward and upward with the mid-tempo pop flow of 'Room for Two', which in turn is backed by the delightfully fluid 'There's Still Time'. This wonderful EP, embedded with heartfelt lyrics and engaging musical varieties, then comes to a close with the gentle acoustic guitar love ballad, 'Theory' - but if you hit play once again, you'll fall in love with the songs all over again, trust me.

'Maybe If I Try' [EP] - Digital Purchase Link

Title - 'Ma De Re Sha'
Artist - Rahul Mukerji

For those not in the know, Rahul Mukerji is a musician based in Maryland. Born in India, he has been performing live for over fifteen years. He has had a varied performing career with multiple bands such as Iritis and Kekashaan or as a solo artist, with gigs in Chicago, Boston, Maryland, Virginia, Washington D.C. and India.

Recently though he had the chance to journey across multiple countries and interact with some captivating people. Some of them deeply influenced him so much that it propelled him to write some new music.

In what he decided would be a rather fitting tribute to all those he had come in contact with, and who had influenced his music thereafter, Mukerji compiled all these new pieces and has just released them as a full-length album.

1. 'Exit 13'
2. 'Sita'
3. 'Fingerprints'
4. 'Children of I-2'
5. 'A Path Less Travelled'
6. 'Zidd'
7. 'Ma De RFe Sha'
8. 'Train Ride from Siliguri'
9. 'Baisakhi'
10. 'Hope Anew'
11. 'Event Horizon'
12. 'Sinner'

A culmination of five years of work, coordinated across multiple countries, Ma De Re Sha is one of those albums that, once played, you keep in rotation for days to come. Encompassing world rock guitar, even metal at times, jazz, ambient grooves, middle eastern percussion, and bringing together flavors of Indian music, Ma De Re Sha is a fusion album of the highest quality of musical excellence.

Deciding to use the fund raising, crowd sourcing website to help create the album and help pay off what is to come from its release thereafter, Mukerji himself further explains his reasons. "The goal of this campaign is to raise $17,500 to complete and release this album. This will help cover the mixing and mastering of the record, the hiring of a bass player, PR Firm fees, as well as the pressing of physical copies, shipping costs, streaming/download hosting, and offering various rewards to thank all my supporters."

His campaign to raise the funds for his debut solo album Ma De Re Sha has most certainly taken off on the right foot for at this juncture he has raised $3,550 from 46 eager backers. Knowing he needs more to break even, let alone make any more from his five years in the making pet solo project, you can still donate to Mukerji's pledge page: Pledge Page for 'Ma De Re Sha'

The name of the album, and the title song therein, is derived from a word that Mukerji's best friend’s daughter used at every occasion she could find. No one quite knows what it means, Mukerji fully admits, "but she made it up herself and she just loved saying it with conviction and glee anytime and every time!"

As Mukerji says, "It would mean the world to me to be able to bring this project to fruition with your support." And now listening to this incredible album, all I can honestly say is that if you pledge and help Rahul Mukerji make this album the success it deserves to be, you'll not only have an album for the ages in your hands, but one very, very thankful artist also.

Rahul Mukerji @ Facebook Pledge Page for 'Ma De Re Sha'

Title - 'Rendezvous'
Artist - Clint Holmes

For those not in the know, Clint Holmes is a singer-songwriter and Las Vegas entertainer. He was born in Bournemouth, England, the son of an African-American jazz musician and an English opera singer, but was raised in Farnham, New York; a small village southwest of Buffalo, as a child.

Indeed, Holmes has been a Las Vegas show attraction since the early 1970s. In 2006, he closed his headlining show at Harrah's Las Vegas Casino, which renamed its main showroom for him. From 1990 to 1995, he hosted Honda Campus All-Star Challenge on the BET network, and, after the event became non-broadcast, continued to host the final matches through 2008. Most of Holmes' Vegas band members also appear in a locally popular R&B/jazz group, Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns.

Having spent more than 20 years performing, Holmes has also served as Joan Rivers’ sidekick and announcer on “The Late Show”, as the musical feature and event correspondent for “Entertainment Tonight”, and as the host of his own Emmy award-winning talk/variety show.

With jazz timing and phrasing informing his velvety tenor croon on eleven cuts, including three new songs that he co-wrote, Clint Holmes' brand new album Rendezvous is a pure, unadulterated musical delight from start to finish.

1. 'Stop This Train'
2. 'At the Rendezvous' (featuring (Joey DeFrancesco)
3. 'I Loves You Porgy' / 'There's a Boat That's Leavin' Soon for New York' (featuring Dee Dee Bridgewater & the Count Basie Orchestra)
4. 'Every Time We Say Goodbye' (featuring Jane Monheit)
5. 'All of Me'
6. 'Say Something' (featuring Ledisi)
7. 'Maria'
8. 'A Perfect Trance'
9. 'Marie'
10. 'My Way'
11. 'What You Leave Behind' (featuring Dave Koz)

Produced by eight-time Grammy winner Gregg Field, Rendezvous brings together a rather diverse playlist that reinterprets modern day and classic pop hits, soulful R&B, theatrical tunes and numbers culled from the Great American Songbook.

With Holmes’ dulcet vocals front and center amongst the live instrumentation, sweeping strings and orchestra accompaniment, the album comes across as a late night, underground bar session; VIP guests only, of course.

'Stop This Train' is up first and that is backed by both the uptempo gentle scat swing of 'At the Rendezvous' (featuring Joey DeFrancesco), and then comes my own personal favorite - 'I Loves You Porgy' / 'There's a Boat That's Leavin' Soon for New York' (featuring Dee Dee Bridgewater & the Count Basie Orchestra). Wow, what an incredible big band sound, a real flashback to the days of Sinatra and company.

A quietly beautiful cover of Ella Fitzgerald's hit 'Every Time We Say Goodbye' (featuring Jane Monheit) is yet another pure delight here, and that's followed by the ballad 'All of Me.' The mid-tempo, Gospelesque piano work of 'Say Something' (featuring Ledisi) is up next. The first single shipped to radio stations for airplay, this stirring duet between Holmes and multi-time Grammy nominee Ledisi also features Grammy winner Patti Austin. She sang, conducted and arranged the background vocals on the track that will also be remixed for dance floors and serviced to club DJs.

West Side Story's sensual, soul baring tale of 'Maria' is a highlight here also as it showcases Holmes' vocal abilities to perfection, and that's followed by the Latina flow of 'A Perfect Trance' and then comes the flowing 'Marie.' A quietly cultured cover of Frank Sinatra's 'My Way' is next and then this incredible, heartfelt album is brought to a close with a soul yearning 'What You Leave Behind' (featuring Dave Koz).

'Rendezvous' - CD Purchase Link

Title - 'The Language of Love'
Artist - Julia Fordham

For those not in the know here in the States, Julia Fordham is a British singer-songwriter whose professional career started in the early 1980s. For under the name "Jules Fordham" she was a backing singer for Mari Wilson and Kim Wilde, before signing a recording contract of her own later that decade.

In 1988, Julia released her debut album on Circa Records. Self-titled Julia Fordham, it reached #20 in the UK and eventually earned a platinum disc. It contained the Top 40 single 'Happy Ever After' (which peaked at No. 27 in August 1988). She then released her sophomore album, Porcelain, in 1989, charting higher than her debut (#13), it was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry. [It was also Fordham's only album to chart on the US Top 100, reaching No. 74.]

In late 1991, Fordham released her third album, Swept. The album reached #33 in the UK and contained the Top 40 hit '(Love Moves In) Mysterious Ways', which peaked at #19 in early 1992 and was also featured in the 1991 film The Butcher's Wife.

Fordham's fourth album, Falling Forward, was released in 1994 and peaked at #21 in the UK. A single, 'Different Time, Different Place', narrowly missed the UK Top 40. In 1997, Fordham released her fifth album, East West and in 1988 The Julia Fordham Collection recapped the best-known songs from these five albums (whilst also included new versions of recordings, including 'Where Does The Time Go' which featured the vocals of Curtis Stigers.)

Since then Fordham has released Concrete Love (2002), That's Life (2004), That's Live (2005), Baby Love EP (2007), Songbook (2007), China Blue (2008), Unusual Suspects (2010), re-releases as Deluxe Versions of Porcelain (2013), Swept (2013) and Julia Fordham (2016), Under the Rainbow in 2013), and then Live & Untouched in 2016.

Back with a brand new album, The Language of Love, out now via Red River Entertainment, Julia Fordham [who also will have a re-release in Deluxe Edition of Falling Forward upcoming this month via Cherry Red Records] is now bringing out a whole new set of her favorite songs. Ella Fitzgerald may well have already covered every traditional jazz song to perfection, but Fordham finds new artistic direction on some of her most beloved tracks from down the latter years.

1. 'Call Me'
2. 'Who's That Girl'
3. 'Happy Ever After' (2017)
4. 'I'm Not In Love'
5. 'Alone Again (Naturally)'
6. 'Fragile'
7. 'Like You Used To Do'
8. 'Eleanor Rigby'
9. 'The Morning After (The Night With You)'
10. 'At Seventeen'
11. 'Sir Duke'
12. 'Moon River'
13. 'You Make Me Feel Like Dancing' [Digital Only]
14. 'Moon River (Strings Version)' [Digital Only]

The album opens smoothly with a version of Blondie's upbeat hit 'Call Me', done in such a fashion as to make it sound like no other version of it that I have ever heard before in my life. In truth, one can say that about all the 12 tracks here, save for perhaps the cover of Fordham's very own 'Happy Ever After', of course. A stunning 'Who's That Girl' (Eurythmics) is up next and wow, what an incredible, simply awesome arrangement she brings to the fore.

The aforementioned 'Happy Ever After' is next and it is, as always, such a delight to hear. Now inclusive of a completely new mid-section (one that reflects on the current humanitarian crises and suffering affecting people in northern Africa and Syria), along with Vocal Beatbox from Herman Matthews, her hit debut single is still as breathtakingly heartfelt as it was back nearly 30 years ago.

Harry Kim's jazz trumpet on 10CC's 'I'm Not In Love' is the real backbone of the track, Fordham's breathy vocals getting lost sometimes under it, but she more than makes up for that on 'Alone Again (Naturally).' Containing the same piano vibe as Gilbert O'Sullivan's original, Fordham gets Grant Mitchell to quieten the keys whilst adding a little more smokey jazz club blues to the mix.

A cover of Sting's wondrous 'Fragile' is yet another highlight on this album chock full of them, but it's the Latin Jazz guitarist extraordinaire Ramon Stagnaro playing the signature theme that raises the track even more. That's followed by both the beautiful brand new track 'Like You Used To Do' and an absolutely out-of-nowhere, laid starkly bare recounting of the Beatles' 'Eleanor Rigby.' Ramon Yslas, who has played with Santana amongst others, brings his percussion talents to the album on the second of the brand new tracks, 'The Morning After (The Night With You).' A song that oozes everything that is just so hauntingly irresistible about Fordham's delivery magnificently, it's followed by Janis Ian's 'At Seventeen.' For those who have never heard of Ian (shame on you), this was her most successful recording. As for the song, those oh so poignant lyrics, even today, are a commentary on society's beauty standards, adolescent cruelty, the illusion of popularity, and teenage angst, as reflected upon from the maturity of adulthood.

On an album like this, it's all about being in the right place at the right time; and surrounding yourself with the right people at the right time. Ergo, when you want to record something as adventurous as Stevie Wonder's 'Sir Duke' it makes great sense to include in your musical ranks a phenomenal trumpet player; such as the aforementioned Harry Kim. For not only is he, well, phenomenal, but he was also in the original live band that toured the Songs In The Key of Life album with Stevie Wonder.

The physical album closer is the Henry Mancini-composed musical wonderment of 'Moon River.' Featuring both guitarist Colin Ryan and Grant Mitchell's beautiful, dulcet piano playing, it just oozes a timeless seductiveness from the moment it begins. Also, if you purchase and download the Digital version of this album, you can listen to two (2) more tracks that do not appear anywhere else.

The first of two Digital-only download tracks is Leo Sayer's boisterous disco mega hit 'You Make Me Feel Like Dancing', which Fordham brings her trademark sultry slow roll to, and then another, albeit stirring, rendition of 'Moon River (Strings Version)'. Simply put, owning just the CD and not getting these two extra digital tracks would be a crime against music.

In closing, ever since releasing her debut self-titled album, each of Fordham's albums have been taut, heartfelt, real, honest and contained beautiful tracks with relatable lyrics. But there is just something here that makes The Language of Love stand out a mile from that pack. Perhaps it's as simple as how the album showcases Fordham's confidence in her voice and how it can be laid bare for maximum effect.

Whatever it is, this album - so named because, funnily enough, both the opening songs quote the very same line - brings a fresh and wondrous twist to these 12 tracks. Allowing them to be now be heard through different ears, through different minds, The Language of Love is not only highly enthralling, but is an out-front favorite for Album of the Year. Of that, have no doubt.

'The Language of Love' CD Purchase Link


Given that The Language of Love was first released back in 2014 via JVC Japan, I'm wondering why it has taken three long years for Europe and the US to finally release it? "These things can and do take FOREVER! I don’t own or have control of the record so the pace is set by the label. Frankly, in the current climate where there seems to be a shift towards streaming only, it is nothing short of miraculous that JVC funded this project in the first place and committed to a gorgeous lush album package, and I am very grateful to them for that."

"I think they felt strongly about having it initially as a Japanese release. Once the life force for that idea had played out, JVC licensed the record to Red River Entertainment. As an incentive for those that bought the digital record already, 2 bonus tracks were made available."

Once again produced and arranged by your long-time collaborator and pianist Grant Mitchell, “The Language of Love” is, quite easily, one of the best albums of its genre I've heard in the past decade (or more). So what initially prompted you to write again and subsequently cull together this new album of lovely renditions back in 2014? "Thank you. I think Grant Mitchell really did a stellar job here in creating a fresh twist on a traditional genre. I am always writing. I have never stopped. I happened to have two songs that we felt would sit and fit well with the other classics and that would respond well to a jazz treatment."

The 12 chosen tracks are a delight, and in some cases you have masterly made them sound new, fresh, your own. In particular, 'Eleanor Rigby' stands out a mile for such a reason and so also seems the most challenging to have covered. Am I right, or was their another track that proved to be even more of a genre-changing challenge to you? "All praise be and credit to Grant Mitchell for that. I can tell you the pre-production for “The Language of Love” album was very involved. Grant and I sat for weeks and weeks going through the songs and trying different angles and approaches. We tried to get a balance of swing, traditional trio and something new and unique. I think on “Eleanor Rigby” in particular, Grant really did weave together some serious original jazzy magic."

"Although we did capture that sizzle and fusion on the day, the pre-amble and thought that went into setting up the space for that spontaneity with the band was quite intense. I sat with Grant on the piano at my house and I would try different ways of singing each track. We knew we were going to be recording in a true jazz style, as in LIVE. Our goal, as we had a limited budget, was to record 3 songs a day in the studio, which is what we did. Grant and I were very well versed in how we were planning to approach the tracks."

"Grant had pre-recorded his arrangement ideas as a reference for the musicians, then we had a first class ensemble around us that we had taken great care to mix and match and we were truly thrilled with the results. The atmosphere for the week of recording was so charged and focused. We truly had the most incredible time working with these outstanding LA jazz cats. We felt so blessed to have them sharing their gifts and genius."

Being that these are 12 of your favorite songs, in general, one assumes you either tried to record, or indeed did record others that didn't make the final cut? "The criteria for the song selection from JVC was that the songs we recorded for the album were huge hits in Japan or much loved by the Japanese people. There were no extra tracks recorded, we had prepared so well for the actual recording in the studio, and it was already agreed what the songs were going to be."

"We had limited time and funds. For this re-release now though, I have recorded another new track with Grant, the Leo Sayer classic, "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing." Also, Grant had made an alternative version of “Moon River” with lush and lovely strings that we were saving for something special, and this seemed like the perfect moment."

Listening to the album, it's truly as if your vocal tone, its range and such hasn't changed since you came onto the scene with your self-titled debut album in 1988. But, if and when you listen back to songs of yours as you go through life, are there stand out changes that you yourself are noticing in your vocal delivery, perhaps? "I work very hard to keep my voice in shape and in tip top form. So I do my scales regularly. I watch what I eat and drink and as live shows approach I run daily sets during the weeks building up to the tour so that my voice will hold up for all of the gigs."

"When we were recording "The Language of Love", I would do my warm up exercises on the way to the studio and had already rehearsed the songs over and over at home, hence how, when we came to record them in the studio I was able to immediately just throw myself into the energized renditions that our inspired musicians were pouring into Grant’s glorious arrangements."

For The Language of Love you included a remake of your own song, 'Happy Ever After' where you purposely created a new mid-section verse. To reflect on the current humanitarian crises and suffering affecting people in northern Africa and Syria, what else can you tell us today about your dedicated will to make such things as this more public knowledge? "“Happy Ever After” really has carried me around the world. It was a big hit in Japan and therefore an obvious contender for the album. I felt it was important to keep the message in the song fresh. After all, the original was 30 years old! It did not make sense to be giving the tune a jazz face lift and then to leave the old lyric about South Africa and apartheid in place. Events in Syria and North Africa were escalating and a re-write of the middle section mentioning them felt like an authentic reflection of current affairs."

The lone track taken from the Great American Songbook era is 'Moon River' (Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer). With all the other tracks "newer" in their creation, why was this song, first written in 1960 the one that you reached for? "This song is very popular in Japan. It also happens to be the song that reminds me of my Dad. He absolutely loved it. He used to sing it on a loop in the morning while he was shaving. He only knew the opening 4 lines apparently. Luckily, he had a terrific voice - a really amazing tone! I made him laugh telling him I had recorded the whole song for him so he could sing along and finally learn the rest, which he did! We played this version from "The Language of Love" at his funeral."

On 'Sir Duke', you managed to get legendary trumpeter Harry Kim, someone who was in the original live Stevie Wonder band that toured the Songs In The Key of Life album. How did that come about - or was it honestly just right place, right time? "We had asked the musicians with whom we recorded “The Language of Love" to recommend a trumpeter. They all suggested Harry Kim saying he was "THE GUY." They were right - he was and is. We had no idea about his Stevie Wonder connection, therefore making it somewhat hilarious that we played him our version of that track and then asked him how he felt about the signature horn line and although it was in a different key, we hoped he would be comfortable with it."

"He then asked us to come into his booth and told us the extraordinary story of how he auditioned for the great man himself with this actual part and this actual song! Of course we were stunned and enthralled and laughed about the synchronicity of it all. He was outstanding on every track he played on. No wonder Stevie took him on the road in his live band for years!"

Having written those two aforementioned brand new songs for The Language of Love - 'Like You Used To Do' and 'The Morning After (The Night With You)' - what was it like getting back into the writing of these songs after a few years off at that time? "I never have time off from songwriting or making albums. I never sit down to make myself write songs; they just come to me or they don’t. I just don’t have the energy to try and raise funds to make an album, hence why I haven't released anything since “The Language of Love.” I am sitting on some really strong songs though."

Finally, and with regard you writing new songs, have you already begun writing for a brand new album, perhaps? "I am feeling my next album might be called “Folky Smoky.” Acoustic guitar led and based. I have enough songs already. I have also started working with a wonderful singer-songwriter, an extremely talented British guy named Simon Petty. So I will go from my jazz project, "The Language of Love," back to my other roots. I had one foot in the local folk club as a teenager, singing my own songs there, and the other at the National Youth Jazz Orchestra. Here I am, all these years later, still doing the same dance and straddling both genres!"

Title - 'Falling Forward: Deluxe Edition'
Artist - Julia Fordham

For those not in the know here in the States, Julia Fordham is a British singer-songwriter whose professional career started in the early 1980s. For under the name "Jules Fordham" she was a backing singer for Mari Wilson and Kim Wilde, before signing a recording contract of her own later that decade.

In 1988, Julia released her debut album on Circa Records. Self-titled Julia Fordham, it reached #20 in the UK and eventually earned a platinum disc. It contained the Top 40 single 'Happy Ever After' (which peaked at No. 27 in August 1988). She then released her sophomore album, Porcelain, in 1989, charting higher than her debut (#13), it was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry. [It was also Fordham's only album to chart on the US Top 100, reaching No. 74.]

In late 1991, Fordham released her third album, Swept. The album reached #33 in the UK and contained the Top 40 hit '(Love Moves In) Mysterious Ways', which peaked at #19 in early 1992 and was also featured in the 1991 film The Butcher's Wife.

Fordham's fourth album, Falling Forward, was released in 1994 and peaked at #21 in the UK. A single, 'Different Time, Different Place', narrowly missed the UK Top 40. In 1997, Fordham released her fifth album, East West and in 1988 The Julia Fordham Collection recapped the best-known songs from these five albums (whilst also included new versions of recordings, including 'Where Does The Time Go' which featured the vocals of Curtis Stigers.)

Since then Fordham has released Concrete Love (2002), That's Life (2004), That's Live (2005), Baby Love EP (2007), Songbook (2007), China Blue (2008), Unusual Suspects (2010), re-releases as Deluxe Versions of Porcelain (2013), Swept (2013) and Julia Fordham (2016), Under the Rainbow in 2013), and then Live & Untouched in 2016.

Back with a brand new album The Language of Love out now via Red River Entertainment, Julia Fordham has also re-released her aforementioned fourth album, Falling Forward: Deluxe Edition via Cherry Red Records. Digitally remastered and expanded, this new Deluxe Edition follows the success of Julia Fordham, Porcelain and Swept, Julia’s first three albums, all of which are available as Deluxe Editions from Cherry Pop [Cherry Red Records).

This rather delightful, and chock full of goodness 2CD set contains 27 tracks including the original 11-song album alongside 16 bonus tracks. The bonus material on this collection features all of the single versions, B-sides, remixes, and alternate versions that were released during the promotion of the original album.

Disc: 1
1. 'I Can't Help Myself'
2. 'Caged Bird'
3. 'Falling Forward'
4. 'River'
5. 'Blue Sky'
6. 'Different Time, Different Place'
7. 'Threadbare'
8. 'Love & Forgiveness'
9. 'Honeymoon'
10. 'Hope, Prayer & Time'
11. 'Safe'
12. 'I Can't Help Myself (Stent Edit)'
13. 'Please Forgive Me'
14. 'Promises Promises'
15. 'Only Human'
16. 'Chaos'
17. 'Pocket Days'

Disc: 2
1. 'Different Time, Different Place (Alternative Version)'
2. 'Safe (Alternative Version)'
3. 'Honeymoon (Alternative Version)'
4. 'I Can't Help Myself (Original Edit)'
5. 'I Can't Help Myself (Stent 12" Mix)'
6. 'I Can't Help Myself (Stent Alternative Mix)'
7. 'I Can't Help Myself (Smith and Mighty Slow Mix)'
8. 'Falling Forward (Live)'
9. 'Threadbare (Live)'
10. 'Girlfriend (Live)'

The first disc of this truly wondrous Deluxe Edition of Falling Forward begins with the quiet growth of 'I Can't Help Myself', a cut that oozes such warmth, such honesty that you immediately get lost within it. 'Caged Bird' is next and is backed by the beautiful title track, 'Falling Forward.' A track that showcases Julia's unique vocal range is up next in the shape of 'River', and that's followed by both the acoustic guitar-driven break up song 'Blue Sky', and then the upbeat mid-tempo of 'Different Time, Different Place.'

Julia's breathy vocals embrace the love gone awry lyrics of 'Threadbare' quite like no other song on this album, and that is backed by one of my own personal favorites on this album, the brilliant flow of 'Love & Forgiveness.' Her song of a relationship breakdown is recounted on the stirring 'Honeymoon' (just listen to her hit those "I'm here" notes), and that is followed by the most upbeat of tracks (that she might ever have done), the Gospel-inspired 'Hope, Prayer & Time.' That original album track-listing is then brought to a close with the Spanish guitar work of the ethereal 'Safe.'

This first disc continues on with 'I Can't Help Myself (Stent Edit)', which at over seven minutes long is most definitely for hardcore Julia Fordham fans, and that's followed by 'Please Forgive Me', the lovely 'Promises Promises', 'Only Human', and then both 'Chaos' and 'Pocket Days.'

The second disc is more for the true Julia Fordham connoisseur for it brings forth not only some delightful versions of the known songs that many may never have heard, but four versions of the same song: 'I Can't Help Myself.' We begin with 'Different Time, Different Place (Alternative Version)' before moving seamlessly into both 'Safe (Alternative Version)' and 'Honeymoon (Alternative Version)', before all four different versions of 'I Can't Help Myself' are on deck.

In truth, it's way to much of the same song, especially back-to-back, but once through them the disc culminates with three really delightful live recordings: 'Falling Forward (Live)', 'Threadbare (Live)', and incorporating Julia's trademark sultry slow roll, 'Girlfriend (Live).'

Lastly, the 20-page full color CD booklet contains photos, illustrated discography, lyrics, comprehensive credits, brand new liner notes, foreword and track annotations by Julia, plus written contributions from producer Larry Klein, as well as songwriters Simon Climie and Gary Clark.

'Falling Forward: Deluxe Edition' CD Purchase Link


With Cherry Red Records (UK) digitally remastering and repackaging all your albums as Deluxe Editions, the just-released Falling Forward is truly yet another musical gem to behold. Released in 1994, it reached #21 on the UK Albums Chart, but what's the first thing that comes to your mind about the making of this album back then? "The first thing that comes to mind is WOW, I recorded the album at Joni Mitchell’s house. It is impossible to convey in words how much of a mind warp this concepts was and still is to me. The first time I heard a Joni song was at the Black Dog in Havant, the local folk club. I was 14. The guest singer for the night did a beautiful cover of “Case of You.” What was this perfection I was hearing?!? What a curious and impossible path from the south coast of England to Southern California. I am choked up right now at how this impossible journey came to pass."

You worked on this album with so many other wondrously talented artists, such as Simon Clime, Brenda Russell, Vonda Shepard, Gary Clark, Dominc Miller, even film score veteran Mark Isham, amongst so many others. At the time, you must have been so happy with it, so taking a look at the original 11 tracks from it, which ones do you still reflect on more lovingly than the others - and for what reason? "The title track, "Falling Forward,” is special to me for many reasons. Firstly, it is a co-write with one of my oldest and dearest friends, a splendid and brilliant man, John Watkin. We met at Radio Victory, an independent station on the south coast of England, when I was 18. John wrote commercials / jingles and I would say / sing them. John is a very creative and passionate fellow and literally leapt up and down upon hearing my songs and voice. He is still often the first to hear my new songs and continues to give me the best feedback and support."

"John came to visit me at my house in London years later and played me the chord sequence that is the foundation of the song. I wrote the song over it. Then, to have the extraordinary guitarist Dominic Miller play the parts so exquisitely, blending his style and expertise with the killer track that Larry Klein had put together - talk about a musical dream come true. Larry’s bass line on the middle section continues to incapacitate me to this day. I literally can’t hear it without swooning. Klein, as he is known to his pals, is an absolute master, an incredible musician and producer. I love him and his playing and what he did on this album."

Knowing that it was your last album to chart, the three singles not cracking the UK Top 40 Chart, in reflection (and once all this was knowledge to you also at the time), did you purposely take a step back and reassess things (given that East West was released three years later), perhaps? "There was no time to sit back or reflect; I just kept going. The thing is, it takes time to write, demo and then record an album. It is usually at least a 2-year cycle for most artists. The 3-year delay was due to the record company melting, merging and holding back the release and initially wanting to release it in the USA first, which is what they did."

"I was based in LA at that time, having stayed on after recording and touring “Falling Forward.” Then the Virgin / EMI label took another merge and my East West album got lost in the mix and was never released in the UK and Europe. So yes, “Falling Forward” was my last international major label release. It has been an uphill struggle ever since to survive and be heard. But on I forge. I made two studio albums and a live record for an independent label “Vanguard.” After that and my subsequent projects, I released them on my own little label."

This stunning Falling Forward: Deluxe Edition 2CD contains 27 tracks (including the aforementioned 11-song original album), which means the bonus material for your fans are b-sides, remixes and alternate versions of your hits. A real treasure trove for those fans, but have you yourself had time to listen to any of the bonus material, perhaps? "Thank you as it is important to me that the fans might think this is indeed a treasure trove as I worry about them having to spend more money on something they already have, but just in a different package."

"This is why I agree to do the interviews that go with the Cherry Red re-releases. They have all been handled with the utmost care and devotion by music aficionado Vinny Vero. I don’t own any of the albums so the label is free to do with them as they wish. They could just release the deluxe editions with or without my consent. I am grateful to have the opportunity to have some input though, thanks to the good grace of Vinny."

With regard that input, and aside from the brand new liner notes interviews you give, do you have any actual musical say in any of these Deluxe Editions of your albums? Like, maybe you had some of the tracks laying around on tape that they have subsequently asked to use? "I had already given the label all the "extra tracks" at the time. I had a home studio in my London house in Barnes and although the “Falling Forward” album was recorded in LA, I came back and made homespun versions of some songs that were still floating around my head."

"The record company was always looking for songs they could utilize so I gave them everything I had. At that time, CD singles were in vogue with other songs on them that were not on the album. All that I had from that period had been handed over as it were, and once you do that, they can be used as the label wants and sees fit at anytime."

Looking at the actual album cover and instead of the usual close up shot, eyes most times closed imagery, we this time get a very happy, very fun Julia running at the camera! What can you tell us about where it was shot, how many times you had to do that run, and if there is a behind the scenes secret about said same photo shoot / album cover, please do tell that also! "That shot was captured right at the end of the shoot. Kate Garner, the gorgeous and gifted photographer, was saying to me to "Stop doing that! You are never going to use it!" I was messing about, dancing and pointing. I did know intuitively though, having a lot of experience by that time, that you never know what will end up being the actual cover and to just keep going, shaking it up and trying different moves and poses."

"That night after a long and productive day at the Paradise Cove / Zuma beach area in Malibu, we drove back to our hotel in Hollywood and then a BIG earthquake hit, making it a very memorable day indeed! The windows of the hotel blew out, car sirens were wailing, my bed really did move and the chandelier was swinging. I remember vividly how the TV was literally charging towards me as the floor was rolling like a fairground ride. The bathroom mirror shattered the bedside lamp crashed to the ground."

"It turns out I am very calm in the face of disaster and while the other guests were running around screaming “It’s a bomb,” I calmly got up, found my passport and walked out the door. Intuitively knowing it was an earthquake, I calmed down the other hysterical folks in the corridor and walked us all down the stairwell in the pitch black."

Lastly, and in relation to your social media exposure, I found a Facebook page for you, but any avenues explored in regards to a Twitter account for you all lead to other same-named people, but not you! Do you have one and if so, what is your "handle" for it - and do you yourself update them both regularly? "I don’t tweet. I know I probably should. I just can’t bring myself to clog up the intergalatical airwaves anymore than they are already are. Also, it’s not really in my nature to feel compelled to make comment or pass opinions or be heard in that way. It seems such a forced misuse of energy."

"That said, I have so many friends nagging me to get more plugged in and to promote myself more, but I still struggle with my innate non-desire in the social media department. It’s the same with Instagram. I do have an account, but I never feel the urge to genuinely share something about where I am or what I am doing. It is difficult for me to comprehend that anyone would care what I have to say or snap or share other than what I sing via my songs."

"So yes, I do have a musician/band Facebook page" -

"I had to Google myself to remember what my Instagram is!" - @juliafordham

Title - 'Off The Shelf: Remastered Edition' [Import]
Artist - Keith Emerson

For those not in the know, Keith Emerson was an English musician and composer who played keyboards in a number of bands before he found his first commercial success with the Nice; formerly P. P. Arnold's backing band, in the late 1960s.

Indeed, he became internationally famous for his work with the Nice, which included writing rock arrangements of classical music. After leaving the Nice in 1970, he became a founding member of Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP), one of the early progressive rock supergroups.

Emerson, Lake & Palmer were commercially successful through much of the 1970s, becoming one of the best-known progressive rock groups of the era. Emerson wrote and arranged much of ELP's music on albums such as Tarkus (1971) and Brain Salad Surgery (1973), combining his own original compositions with classical or traditional pieces adapted into a rock format.

Following ELP's break-up at the end of the 1970s, Emerson pursued a solo career, composed several film soundtracks, and formed the bands Emerson, Lake & Powell and 3 to carry on in the style of ELP. In the early 1990s, Emerson rejoined ELP, which reunited for two more albums and several tours before breaking up again in the late 1990s. Emerson also reunited the Nice in 2002 for a tour.

Sadly, Emerson reportedly suffered from depression, and in his later years developed nerve damage that hampered his playing, making him anxious about upcoming performances. He committed suicide on 11 March 2016 at his home in Santa Monica, California.

Jump forward to today and Esoteric Recordings (via Cherry Red Records) will be releasing on May 5th, 2017 a wonderful re-release of the archive collection Off the Shelf by Keith Emerson. Originally issued in 2006 and long deleted, this collection (compiled by Keith Emerson) is a marvelous anthology of various recordings in Emerson's archives.

Off the Shelf was Keith Emerson's means of revealing a collection of recorded works for various projects dating as far back as 1968 with the Nice, some of which were consigned to the archives for a variety of reasons and destined to remain unreleased until Off the Shelf was first issued.

They feature recordings with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Jazz Orchestra and legendary musicians including Levon Helm & Garth Hudson (of The Band), Aynsley Dunbar, Pat Travers, Cozy Powell and many more.

1. 'Abaddon's Bolero Orchestral' (8:02)
2. 'Pictures At An Exhibit' (5:00)
3. 'And Then January' (5:44)
4. 'Rio' (3:50)
5. 'Straight Between The Eyes' (2:34)
6. 'Don't Be Cruel' (4:15)
7. 'Au Privave' (5:23)
8. 'Walter L' (5:32)
9. 'Rhythm-A-Ning' (5:54)
10. 'Asian Pear' (6:40)
11. 'Motor Bikin' (2:39)
12. 'America' (5:18)
13. 'Lumpy Gravy' (2:09)
14. 'Up The Elephant & Round The Castle' (2:26)
15. 'Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll' (3:31)

In truth, and for my money, the Nice's piece is one of the true gems here on this re-released and remastered album. A flashback live radio recording of them covering Frank Zappa's 'Lumpy Gravy' is a real joy to behold. 'America' is also another stand out cut. Featuring Pat Travers, it is surely one of the most raucous versions ever laid down. 'Rio' is yet another one, and an interesting one at that, for I personally always assumed the lyrics were in Japanese; but according to the liner notes they are actually Portuguese! [Word has it that even the natives can't understand them!]

Both 'And Then January' and 'Asian Pear' are inspired by romances Emeron had endured through his time, with their collective emotional depth something to lyrically truly behold. Tracks like 'Straight Between the Eyes' and 'Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll' are balls out rock 'n' roll works of musical art, whereas A good balance of the ELP prog rock of yore and Keith's love of Jazz, Classical, Romantic and Rock and Roll to his fun side ensures a something for everyone package. 'Up the Elephant and Round the Castle' and the aforementioned 'Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll' bring the album to a fine close, but whether this re-release was actually necessary to add to the pantheon of his work is still questionable.

Regardless, Off The Shelf (which has fully restored artwork and liner notes) is a great balance of the ELP prog rock of yore and Emerson's love of Jazz, Classical, Romantic and Rock 'N' Roll and so most definitely, at the very least, ensures a little something for everyone.

Additional musicians include: the Nice, Cozy Powell, Ian Wallace, John Hiseman, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, Simon Phillips, Aynsley Dunbar, Barbara Thompson, and Ron Aspery.

CD Purchase Link

Title - Ready To Strike + Thrill Of A Lifetime [Reissues]
Artist - King Kobra

For those not in the know, King Kobra is a hard rock band founded by drummer Carmine Appice after his tenure with Ozzy Osbourne from 1983 to 1984. During the time of their first two albums, the band included four relatively unknown musicians that included vocalist Mark Free, guitarist David Michael-Philips, guitarist Mick Sweda, and bassist Johnny Rod.

After two albums on Capitol records — Ready to Strike (November 9, 1985) and Thrill of a Lifetime (1986) — and an independent release entitled King Kobra III in 1988, Appice decided to dissolve the band and join guitarist John Sykes on his Blue Murder project in 1989.

In 2010, a new King Kobra emerged, with Carmine Appice on drums, Paul Shortino taking over vocal duties, Mick Sweda on guitar, David Henzerling (a.k.a. David Michael-Philips) on guitar, and Johnny Rod on bass. This line-up released an eponymous album, King Kobra, in 2011 on Frontiers Records, and another album in 2013 entitled King Kobra II.

The band went on hiatus following the release of their 2013 album, largely due to the other commitments of the individual band members.

But now King Kobra has just re-released this past February 10th, 2017 (via Rock Candy Records) fantastic reissues of their debut and sophomore albums, Ready To Strike and Thrill Of A Lifetime. Both of the reissues have been fully remasters and come packaged with enhanced 16-page booklets including rare photos and new interviews, as well as a 4,000 word essay penned by legendary music journalist Malcolm Dome.

01 - 'Ready To Strike'
02 - 'Hunger'
03 - 'Shadow Rider'
04 - 'Shake Up'
05 - 'Attention'
06 - 'Breakin' Out'
07 - 'Tough Guys'
08 - 'Dancing With Desire'
09 - 'Second Thoughts'
10 - 'Piece Of The Rock'

Embracing the era of glam metal, inclusive of a make-up and fried platinum blonde hair visual look that even Poison might well have stepped back from, King Kobra's debut album Ready To Strike (1985) was chock full of fun metal goodness. From the opening twin guitar intro of the soaring title track 'Ready to Strike' to the single 'Hunger' (which was actually written by members of the Canadian metal band Kick Axe and subsequently released by them in 1986 on 'The Transformers: The Movie' soundtrack album; under the made-up name of Spectre General), the album opens on fire and never dampens.

The mid-tempo rock ballad of 'Shadow Rider' is up next and backed by both 'Shake Up' and the frenetic 'Attention.' Embracing powerful riffs over melodic metal guitars, the Journeyesque 'Breakin' Out' is next and followed by the power ballad 'Touch Guys.' With lead singer Mark Free's vocals encapsulating an era perfectly, the keyboard ballad 'Dancing With Desire' is backed with the all-out rock/pop of 'Second Thoughts,' and then finally the thunderous 'Piece Of The Rock'.

Mark Free - lead and backing vocals
David Michael-Philips - guitars, backing vocals, synths
Mick Sweda - guitars, backing vocals, synths
Johnny Rod - bass, backing vocals
Carmine Appice - drums, backing vocals, percussion

01 - 'Second Time Around'
02 - 'Dream On'
03 - 'Feel The Heat'
04 - 'Thrill Of A Lifetime'
05 - 'Only The Strong Will Survive'
06 - 'Iron Eagle (Never Say Die)'
07 - 'Home Street Home'
08 - 'Overnight Sensation'
09 - 'Raise Your Hands To Rock'
10 - 'Party Animal'
BONUS TRACK: 11 - 'Home Street Home (Street Mix)' (Previously Unreleased on CD)

King Kobra's sophomore album Thrill Of A Lifetime (1986) was decidedly more AOR then heavy metal, for the most part and with it's upbeat guitar rock pop tunes, was also the last to feature Mark Free on vocals. The melodic rock of 'Second Time Around' (which could have so easily been the name of the album, if you think about it) is out of the gates first, and that's backed by the John Parresque 'Dream On' and the Loverboyesque 'Feel The Heat'.

The title track 'Thrill Of A Lifetime' is up next and King Kobra continue doing their best Survivor and Journey, et al impressions with the slow-rock ballad 'Only The Strong Will Survive', and then the fist pumpin' 'Iron Eagle (Never Say Die)'; the theme song of the 1986 film Iron Eagle. The heavy breathing of 'Home Street Home' is an odd bird, to say the least, for it's the bands attempt at a rap song - and it just plain doesn't work. Admittedly, all the metal bands of that time were attempting it, incorporating it into their set-lists and such, but here, well, it's just embarrassing, sorry.

The balls-out rocker 'Overnight Sensation' happens to be my own personal favorite on this album and that's backed by the speeding train rounding the tight bend on the tracks Bon Joviesque 'Raise Your Hands To Rock'. The album then rounds out with both the drum overload of 'Party Animal' and the bonus track of 'Home Street Home (Street Mix)' (which is, as you cna well imagine, completely unwarranted, sorry).

Mark Free - lead vocals
David Michael-Philips - guitar, backing vocals
Mick Sweda - guitar, backing vocals
Johnny Rod - bass, backing vocals
Carmine Appice - drums, backing vocals
Duane Hitchings - keyboards, synths

'Ready To Strike: Reissue' CD Purchase Link

'Thrill Of A Lifetime: Reissue' CD Purchase Link

King Kobra @ Twitter

Title - 'White Horses' [Import]
Artist - Jackie Lee

For those not in the know, Jackie Lee is an Irish popular music singer, who has actually recorded under various names. Lee was a musical child prodigy. She won a scholarship and trained as a soprano for four years. Upon finishing her studies she became a vocalist with the top show bands playing prestigious Irish venues.

Lee experienced similar success when she moved to London and joined the popular dance band; The Squadronaires. In 1955 her first solo record was released, followed by a further two the next year. From 1959 to 1964, Lee was a member of The Raindrops, a successful quartet who made countless appearances on British TV and variety shows, had a BBC Radio show and released a string of records, the majority of which had Lee as lead vocalist.

In 1962, she entered the UK heats of the Eurovision Song Contest as a solo act with 'There's No-one in the Whole Wide World' and performed it at the British national finals for BBC TV. This number was later covered and performed by The Beatles in concerts during this period.

Lee decided to become a solo artist in 1965 and recorded 'beat' records until 1967. One of these releases, "Just Like a Man", reached the NME chart. The B-side; "I Gotta Be With You", were in the Northern soul idiom. Lee recorded this single under the name of 'Emma Reade' for EMI. Lee also had an alternative career as a respected session singer, through her groups The Jackie Lee Singers and Tears of Joy. She provided the backing vocals for such global number ones as 'Green Green Grass of Home' by Tom Jones and 'Release Me' by Englebert Humperdink. She demonstrated her unique vocal range, ability and versatility on such diverse recordings as 'Hey Joe' by Jimi Hendrix; and much of the James Last catalogue at the time.

In 1968, as 'Jacky', she had a UK Top Ten hit single with 'White Horses', the theme from a Children's TV programme. In 2003, her definitive version was voted the best TV theme tune of all time by The Penguin Television Companion. Her jazz-styled album of the same name was also released in 1968, which included contributions from Dudley Moore as pianist.

By 1970, 'Jacky' reverted to 'Jackie Lee' and had another hit record; "Rupert" from the TV show based on the famous cartoon character, Rupert Bear. It was shortly after this that she prematurely retired owing to vocal complications and throat trouble, yet she remained a respected vocalist and, it has been said, that her work has "firmly embedded itself in the subconscious of a generation.

Released via Gonzo MultiMedia on November 4th, 2016, White Horses: Expanded Edition has already put a lot of smiles on a lot of her fans' faces. Bringing together the original ten (10) tracks along with two (2) what-are-known-as "Favourites", and then under "Extra Favourites" six (6) more tracks, this romantically pop beautiful album from 1968 now flows freely amongst us once more.

1. 'White Horses' (Stereo)
2. 'I Can Sing A Rainbow'
3. 'Things I Don't Mean'
4. 'Well, That's Loving You'
5. 'We're Off And Running'
6. 'I Think I Like You'
7. 'Scarlet Ribbons'
8. 'Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf?'
9. 'Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind'
10. 'Too Many Chiefs And Not Enough Indians'

11. 'I Cry Alone'
12. 'The Busker'

Extra Favourites:
13. 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow'
14. 'There Goes The Lucky One'
15. 'Here I Go Again'
16. 'Down Our Street'
17. 'The Locomotion'
18. 'The End Of The World'

We begin with the gentle pop bounce of the title track, 'White Horses', a song that still ebbs and flows as gracefully now as it did back then. Indeed, Jackie herself has since said about the track, "I am quite astounded that my recording of the White Horses theme song is still remembered so fondly and played on the radio so regularly." That it is, Jackie. That it is. Moving on and next up is the beautiful color-counting 'I can Sing a Rainbow', which is backed by a trio of delights: 'Things I Don't Mean' (performed with Dudley Moore on piano), 'Well, That's Loving You', and 'We're Off And Running.'

The epicly soaring, orchestrally stunning, trumpet perfect 'I Think I Like You' is up next and that's backed by the gentle guitar work of 'Scarlet Ribbons', and then the Peggy Lee classic 'Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf?' The original album then rounds out with 'Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind' and then the cute cowboy pop trot of 'Too Many Chiefs And Not Enough Indians.'

In her "Favourites" section, the taken-from-vinyl cut 'I Cry Alone' is another string soaring, heartfelt beauty and that's followed by 'The Busker'. An interesting one this, for the track has never been released before and was actually part of an album that Lee created with Christopher Gunning called Calendar. 'The Busker' is about April showers, the album was never released and to date and track is the only song known to have survived.

In the last section named "Extra Favourites", and bringing together five tracks from her days with The Raindrops, we begin with 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow', a song everyone knows, and that's backed by 'There Goes The Lucky One', a track that showcases Lee's vocal range as best as any song she's ever performed on, in my humble opinion. 'Here I go Again' is then followed by the scratchy-sounding 'Down Our Street', and then the entire Expanded Edition album comes to a close with the infamous Little Eva hit 'The Locomotion', and then finally her solo alongside the delicate harp plucking of the Skeeter Davis hit, 'The End Of The World.'

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Swallow'
Artist - Burnt Out Wreck

For those of you not in the know, the debut album from ex Heavy Pettin's Gary Moat & Burnt Out Wreck has just released their eagerly awaited debut album, Swallow. Released on 10th February 2017 via Cherry Red Records in the UK, the album, as you would expect from one of Scotland's original rock 'n' rollers, is a massive slice of full on, punchy classic hard rock with guitar riffs galore!

Co-produced by Gary Moat and Steve Rispin (Asia, Inglorious) at his Liscombe Park Studio, and mastered by Pete Maher (U2, The Killers, Jack White, Rolling Stones, etc), having listened to Swallow through completely twice now I am happy to report that this album is as good as you could have only ever wished for, trust me.

1. 'Burnt Out Wreck'
2. 'Swallow'
3. 'She’s The One'
4. 'Pullin' It Out'
5. 'Talk About Love'
6. 'Medusa'
7. 'Flames'
8. 'She’s A Dirty Love'
9. 'Your Love (Is All I Need)'
10. 'Rocking Man'
11. 'Best Of Your Life'

Kicking off with the track 'Burnt Out Wreck', a song that resonates everything that Heavy Pettin' once brought to the table, the first single 'Swallow' sounds like a classic outtake from the early days of AC/DC (as do a few others, in truth). The pounding 'She's The One' is a great song, albeit a little Thunderesque, and that's backed by both the suggestive 'Pullin' It Out' and the bounce rock of 'Talk About Love.'

The foot-tappin' 'Medusa' is up next and that's followed by the blistering guitar work on 'Flames', the '90s rock nod to all-things great on 'She's A Dirty Love', and then the mid-tempo rock flow of 'Your Love (Is All I Need).' The album then rounds out with the pop guitar rock of 'Rocking Man' and then the throat-rippin' vocals of 'Best Of Your Life.'

Gary Moat - vocals, rhythm guitar
Alex Carmichael - bass, backing vocals
Adrian Dunn - guitar, backing vocals
Paul Carnevale - drums

Burnt Out Wreck @ Facebook

Burnt Out Wreck @ Twitter

'Swallow' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Ephemeral'
Artist - The Anix

For those of you not in the know, LA-based electronic band The Anix is a group founded by former touring guitarist for Apoptygma Berzerk, Brandon Smith.

Releasing their second album for Cleopatra Records on March 31st, 2017, Ephemeral, The Anix are actually veering closer to a fully electronic EDM sound than ever before, whilst still writing powerful, melodic, traditionally structured songs.

1. 'Again'
2. 'Nevermind'
3. 'Sideways'
4. 'Celestica'
5. 'Mask'
6. 'Remnants Of Us'
7. 'Sleep'
8. 'Without You'
9. 'Stay'
10. 'Vanished'
11. 'Wait'
12. 'Hollow'
13. 'Sideways (Several Definitions Day Remix)'
14. 'Sideways (Several Definitions Night Remix)'

The band’s previous album, Sleepwalker proved to be a major hit among the video game community, even landing one of their songs in a major publicity campaign for the DC Universe MMORPG. Here on their sophomore release, we begin with the translucent 'Again', and just so happens to be one of my personal favorites here on this quite brilliant 14 track album.

'Nevermind' has an early to mid-Depeche Mode pop vibe to it and that's backed by both the more fluid 'Sideways' and the New Order feel of 'Celestica.' 'Mask' (which deals with messages of resistance to social conformity) is a hard edged synth, soaring masterpiece and that's followed by 'Remnants Of Us.'

The hauntingly stoic 'Sleep' is next and is backed by the pop-synth, early '80s sensibility of 'Without You.' 'Stay' is yet another great song, before the fast-pop-synth feel to 'Vanished' is upon us. The metallic, Gary Numanesque ballad 'Wait' is then followed by a free flowing delight in 'Hollow.'

The album then comes to a close with two different versions of their song 'Sideways', but if you are anything like me, you'll simply hit Play again and experience another intake of something so fresh in this business that it makes you wonder why the band aren't dominating our radios and TVs!

The Anix @ Facebook

'Ephemeral' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'The Singer: Expanded Edition' [Import]
Artist - Liza Minnelli

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

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

In 1965 she made her Broadway debut in the musical Flora the Red Menace and was awarded the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical, becoming the youngest ever recipient of the award. Critically lauded for her Academy Award nominated dramatic performance in the film The Sterile Cuckoo (1969), she rose to international stardom with the Emmy Award-winning TV special Liza with a Z (1972) and her performance as Sally Bowles in Cabaret (1972), which won her the Academy Award for Best Actress. Her other film roles have included Golden Globe Award nominated performances in Lucky Lady (1975), New York, New York (1977) and Arthur (1981).

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

From 1968 to the 1970s, she also recorded her albums Liza Minnelli (1968), Come Saturday Morning and New Feelin' (both 1970) for A&M Records. She then released The Singer (1973) and Tropical Nights (1977) on Columbia Records.

Now released as a Remastered & Expanded Edition (via Cherry Red Records), her aforementioned 1973 album The Singer was Liza Minnelli’s 7th studio album. The album is also considered a milestone in Minnelli’s recording career as it is her only studio album to reach the Top 40 on the US Billboard 200 Chart. The album also peaked at number 45 on the UK Album Chart.

1. 'I Believe in Music'
2. 'Use Me'
3. 'I'd Love You to Want Me'
4. 'Oh, Babe, What Would You Say?'
5. 'You're So Vain'
6. 'Where Is the Love?'
7. 'The Singer'
8. 'Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight'
9. 'Dancing in the Moonlight'
10. 'You Are the Sunshine of My Life'
11. 'Baby, Don't Get Hooked on Me'
12. 'Mr. Emery Won't Be Home'
13. 'All That Jazz' (from "Chicago")
14. 'My Own Best Friend' (from "Chicago")
15. 'Me and My Baby' (from "Chicago")

This delightful flashback to a time less stressful, of music written and sung for fun, combining upbeat melodies and smiles galore, begins in fine flash, bang wallop Cabaret style with the sing-along 'I Believe In Music' and back it with both a smooth take on Bill Withers' 'Use Me' and then the delicate harp of 'I'd Love You to Want Me.'

The upbeat 'Oh, Babe, What Would You Say?' is yet another stand out delight to hear again on this album and that's followed by an excitable cover of Carly Simon's worldwide hit 'You're So Vein.' People have always been divided over Liza's version of the song, but I love it. Truly love the way she made it her own. 'Where Is the Love?', made famous by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway, is another breath of fresh air, and is followed by the harmonica-driven title track, 'The Singer.'

A cover of James Taylor's 'Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight' is backed by the massively upbeat and highly musically contagious King Harvest hit 'Dancing in the Moonlight.' Then comes the light and breezy 'You Are the Sunshine of My Life' (by Stevie Wonder), with the original album coming to a close with the rueful Mac Davis ballad, 'Baby, Don't Get Hooked on Me.'

'Mr. Emery Won't Be Home' begins the high quality four extra tracks, and then come three songs from her time spent on stage in the Broadway music "Chicago". The Queen of Broadway first brings us an iconic 'All That Jazz' ("Where the gin is cold, and the piano is hot") and backs it up with both 'My Own Best Friend', and the fun 'Me and My Baby.'

This Remastered & Expanded Edition comes with a fully illustrated booklet containing period portraits by celebrated photographer Terry O’Neill as well as an introductory essay and four bonus tracks. And, as detailed above, three of these tracks compile Liza’s recordings of songs from Kander & Ebb’s stage musical "Chicago"; their follow-up to the wildly successful “Cabaret”.

'The Singer: Expanded Edition' CD Purchase Link

Liza Minnelli @ Facebook

Title - 'Tropical Nights: Expanded Edition' [Import]
Artist - Liza Minnelli

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

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

In 1965 she made her Broadway debut in the musical Flora the Red Menace and was awarded the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical, becoming the youngest ever recipient of the award. Critically lauded for her Academy Award nominated dramatic performance in the film The Sterile Cuckoo (1969), she rose to international stardom with the Emmy Award-winning TV special Liza with a Z (1972) and her performance as Sally Bowles in Cabaret (1972), which won her the Academy Award for Best Actress. Her other film roles have included Golden Globe Award nominated performances in Lucky Lady (1975), New York, New York (1977) and Arthur (1981).

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

From 1968 to the 1970s, she also recorded her albums Liza Minnelli (1968), Come Saturday Morning and New Feelin' (both 1970) for A&M Records. She then released The Singer (1973) and Tropical Nights (1977) on Columbia Records.

Now released as a Remastered & Expanded Edition (via Cherry Red Records), her aforementioned 1977 album Tropical Nights was Liza's 8th studio album, and to this day remains the disco-orientated curio of her entire discography.

On Tropical Nights, which marked her first studio album in over three years at that time, Liza does what we expect from Liza; she's still the greatest interpreter of standards and classics there is, but, she understands how to go other places. In short, here on Tropical Nights she made some very new material from the time hers and hers alone.

1. 'Jimi Jimi'
2. 'When It Comes Down to It'
3. 'I Love Every Little Thing About You'
4. 'Easy'
5. 'I'm Your New Best Friend'
6. 'Tropical Nights / Bali Ha'I'
7. 'Take Me Through / I Could Come to Love You'
8. 'Come Home Babe'
9. 'A Beautiful Thing'
10. 'More Than I Like You'
11. 'Harbour'
12. 'The Day After That'
13. 'The Day After That - Spanish Version'
14. 'The Day After That - French Version'

In what is quite easily one of my most favorite Liza album, we kick off with the vibrant 'Jimi Jimi' (something that you could so very easily hear Donna Summer singing), and then she backs that up with both the laid back and uber smooth 'When It Comes Down to It' and the mid-tempo, bass-lined, trumpet-backed 'I Love Every Little Thing About You.'

The beautiful ballad 'Easy' is up next and that's backed by the funky 'I'm Your New Best Friend' and then the longest track on the album, and at over six minutes in length 'Tropical Nights / Bali Haâl.' Wow, what a delight from start to finish. Inclusive of all kinds of genres of music, including Disco, jazz, cabaret and such, it might well be the most free flowing track on the album, in my humble opinion.

Another series of ballads are next with the gorgeous 'Take Me Through / I Could Come to Love You' up first. In what is just another example of the vocal range of this superstar, that's followed by 'Come Home Babe', and then the original album comes to a close with the orchestra-backed 'A Beautiful Thing.'

This Expanded & Remastered Edition then brings forth five bonus tracks. The first is ‘More Than I Like You’, a fun hipsway of a track that takes us right back to the Golden Age of music of this genre. Its flip side ‘Harbour’ is next, and both are the two tracks from a 1974 non-album single. This Expanded album then comes with a close with three (3) different language versions of Liza’s final single for Columbia, 1993’s ‘The Day After That’. [This song reunited Liza with the showtune legends Kander and Ebb who had previously written the musicals “Cabaret”, “Chicago”, et al].

This Remastered & Expanded Edition comes with a fully illustrated booklet containing period portraits by celebrated photographer Terry O’Neill as well as an introductory essay.

'Tropical Nights: Expanded Edition' CD Purchase Link

Liza Minnelli @ Facebook

Title - 'The Bottom Line Archive'
Artist - Ralph Stanley

For those of you not in the know, Ralph Stanley (February 25, 1927 – June 23, 2016), also known as Dr. Ralph Stanley, was an American bluegrass artist, known for his distinctive singing and banjo playing.

Indeed, Stanley began playing music in 1946, originally with his brother Carter as part of The Stanley Brothers, and most often as the leader of his band, The Clinch Mountain Boys.

He was part of the first generation of bluegrass musicians and was inducted into both the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor and the Grand Ole Opry.

But it was with the release of the film 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' where Stanley really cemented his place as an American music legend. His iconic voice became the voice of the mountains, and the last fifteen years of his life and career proved to be a celebration of this, with Grammy Awards, all-star collaborations, and the aforementioned induction into the Grand Ole Opry.

In a unique piece of musical history, the legacy of Ralph Stanley can be witnessed for posterity’s sake with the release of Ralph Stanley: Live At The Bottom Line, available now at all physical and digital retailers and distributed exclusively by BFD through RED distribution.

1. 'O Death'
2. 'Band Introductions'
3. 'Girl from the Greenbriar Shore'
4. 'False-Hearted'
5. 'Henry Lee'
6. 'I'll Remember You Love, In My Prayers'
7. 'Lift Him Up'
8. 'Wild Bill Jones'
9. 'Hemlocks & Primroses'
10. 'Look on and Cry'
11. 'Calling You'
12. 'Pretty Polly'
13. 'Great High Mountains'
14. 'Man of Constant Sorrow'
15. 'Amazing Grace'

Recorded live at the legendary New York City nightspot Bottom Line on June 12th, 2002, these 15 tracks (with a running time of just under an hour) begin with the delightful signature song 'O Death' and then after the quick Band Introductions, begin to work seamlessly onward thereafter. One of my favorites from this album is the upbeat banjo playing of 'Girl from the Greenbriar Shore', the storytelling of 'False-Hearted' ("When my earthly stay is over, take my dead body in the sea"), and then 'Henry Lee.'

On an evening that marked the only time that Stanley ever played the venue, the bountiful songs of greatness continue with the poetic 'I'll Remember You Love, In My Prayers', the beautiful, spiritual 'Lift Him Up', the upbeat banjo hipsway of 'Wild Bill Jones' and then one of the songs that allows us to hear the full range of vocals form Stanley, 'Hemlocks & Primroses.'

The cruelly tender mid-tempo 'Love On And Cry' is next and that's backed by the spiritual 'Calling You,' before another of his signature songs, 'Pretty Polly' (which also highlights Stanley's frenetic banjo picking), and 'Great High Mountain.' Another known cut from the great man is up next as 'Man of Constant Sorrow' and then this fine, so delightful album comes to a close with a soaring 'Amazing Grace.'

For such a prestigious performance, Stanley carried nothing but the best line-up of musicians with him, with Stuart Duncan (violin), Mike Compton (mandolin), James Shelton (guitar), Dennis Crouch (bass) all lending their award-winning talents to the night’s performance.

Ralph Stanley @ Facebook

'The Bottom Line Archive' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Visuals'
Artist - Mew

For those of you not in the know, Mew are a Danish alternative rock band, consisting of Jonas Bjerre (lead vocals), Johan Wohlert (bass) and Silas Utke Graae Jřrgensen (drums).

Johan Wohlert left the band in 2006 before the birth of his first child, but made a return in 2013 while the band were in the studio, before making his first live appearances since his departure in 2014.

Also, guitarist Bo Madsen left the band in June 2015, a fact that was confirmed in a statement on the band's official website on July 1st of that very same year.

Formed in 1995 in Hellerup, an upper-class suburb of Copenhagen, they had a profound impact on the Danish indie scene, emerging alongside the likes of Carpark North, Swan Lee and Saybia, amongst others, in 2003.

They released their debut album A Triumph for Man in April 1997 and its follow-up Half the World is Watching Me in 2000. At the 2003 Danish Music Critics Award Show, Mew won the awards for "Album of the Year" and "Band of the Year".

Since they they have released Frengers (2003), And the Glass Handed Kites (2005), No More Stories... (2009), + - (2015) and upcoming on April 28th, 2017 they will bring out their seventh studio album, Visuals.

1. "Nothingness and No Regrets" (4:28)
2. "The Wake of Your Life" (4:41)
3. "Candy Pieces All Smeared Out" (3:37)
4. "In a Better Place" (4:40)
5. "Ay Ay Ay" (3:41)
6. "Learn Our Crystals" (5:21)
7. "Twist Quest" (3:19)
8. "Shoulders" (2:53)
9. "85 Videos" (4:37)
10. "Zanzibar" (2:04)
11. "Carry Me to Safety" (4:27)

Recorded and self-produced in Copenhagen, Visuals opens with "Nothingness and No Regrets", a track that slowly builds into a euphoric, glorious musical set of moments, before giving way to what I can only describe as an '80s pop-centric track in the shape of "The Wake of Your Life". Personally, this is one of my favorites on this new album. It just flows so well, the synths and drums at one with each other in harmonious motion. The brilliantly titled "Candy Pieces All Smeared Out" opens bass heavy and remains so throughout and is followed by both the dutiful beauty of "In a Better Place" and then the deep melodies of "Ay Ay Ay".

"Learn Our Crystals" is a pleasant enough pop lite track and that's followed by "Twist Quest" and then the expansive "Shoulders." Capturing the youth and vibrancy of their debut album, in my humble opinion, "85 Videos" is up next. With additional guitar work from Mads Wegner, the first single from the album is yet another fine example of what this band can do when they put their minds to the task at hand. That's backed by the short, but nevertheless sweeping "Zanzibar", with the album (sadly) coming to a close with the stunningly beautiful, epic even "Carry Me To Safety." Orchestral in its creation, it is the only way an album such as this should come to a close.

Mew @ Facebook

Mew @ Twitter

Title - 'Telescope'
Artist - Kelley Ryan

For those not in the know, for more than 20 years, the effervescent singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and inveterate studio rat Kelley Ryan has been making distinctive, infectious and wholly original music.

Initially recording under the moniker of astroPuppees and subsequently working under her own name, Ryan has released eight highly accomplished albums that combine sterling melodic song craft with sharp, grown-up lyrical insight.

On her brand new release Telescope, an album that reflects the world through Ryan's eyes (hence the album cover art), we begin with the stoic death ballad 'The Darkest Stars" ('I'd be better off if I were dead"), the lone jazz trumpet scoring elevating the track to something more than just a sombre incantation. That's then backed by both the more upbeat, yet decidedly still below mid-tempo 'Cigarette' and then the emotional revenue within 'Save Me.'

'Flake White Heart' is a lovely song, once again with lyrics that could mean more than what one first assumes ("Lay me like a rag doll, on the ground. Golden boy of ecstasy, burn me down"), and that's followed by a chance for Ryan to elevate her vocal range beautifully on 'Secret Life.' A more delicate feel to it, fragile even, the beautiful ballad 'The Broken News' is next and is, for my money, one of the best tracks on this album.

The upbeat 'Pulling For Romeo' is next, and along with the last track, is one of the most vibrant, mid-tempo tracks on the album, and that is followed by the finger-snappin' vibe of 'Passing Through' (co-written with Marshall Crenshaw). This melodically, yet still decidedly eclectic album then comes to a close with the gentle guitar ballad 'Crack In The Sky' before rounding out with the pleasing 'Real Gone Girl.'

As for why she named the album Telescope Ryan herself states: “The dictionary describes a telescope as ‘an optical instrument designed to make distant objects appear nearer, containing an arrangement of lenses or curved mirrors, by which rays of light are collected and focused and the resulting image magnified.’ I think that’s a pretty good metaphor for writing songs. Also, I just like the way the word sounds.”

'Telescope' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Vagabonds'
Artist - Nu-Blu

For those not in the know, through the years, Nu-Blu has worked hard to develop a group that would give the listener a diverse experience. By mixing their original songs along with traditional material, and even incorporating songs from other genres, the group has certainly created a unique and driving blend of music that keeps audiences coming back for more.

Nu-Blu was founded by husband and wife team, Carolyn and Daniel Routh. Carolyn, on bass, provides her trademark lead vocals with impressive clarity and vocal range and Daniel, on guitar, brings his songwriting and vocal talents to the group. The two young guns, Levi Austin (banjo and vocals) and Austin Koener (mandolin) fill out the ranks providing the band with a solid and talented backbone.

And now these Bluegrass/Americana breakout stars are gearing up for the release of their upcoming project, Vagabonds. The album will be released via Voxhall Records and made available on iTunes, Amazon and wherever music is sold. It is the award-winning band's sixth studio album, and is set for release on April 28th, 2017.

1. 'The Bridges That You’ve Burned'
2. 'A Lot More Love'
3. 'Still Small Voice' (featuring Jimmy Fortune & Ben Isaacs)
4. '640 Battlefield Drive'
5. 'How Many Rivers'
6. 'Troublemaker'
7. 'Gypsies on Parade'
8. 'A Fool and Her Heart'
9. 'Surround Me With Love'
10. 'Good Hearted Woman'
11. 'Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door'

The album begins with 'The Bridges That You’ve Burned', a fast paced, banjo-pickin' gem of a song if ever there were, and they back that up with both the beautiful ballad 'A Lot More Love' ("We could all use a little less hate, and a lot more love”) and the mid-tempo real life visions of 'Still Small Voice.' Featuring Jimmy Fortune, who also co-wrote the song alongside Tony Lopacinski and Devin Belle, accompanying lead singer Carolyn Routh and Fortune on harmonies is Dove Award winning singer Ben Isaacs.

The delicate '640 Battlefield Drive' is a storytelling struggle at its finest, and that's followed by the upbeat 'How Many Rivers,' the quite brilliant (to my humble ear and mind) 'Troublemaker', and then the ballad 'Gypsies On Parade.' The inspiration behind the album title, the track is about a band, such as theirs, on the road and how they are perceived by the public in diners and such ("Gypsies on parade, vagabonds that got it made.")

The barn dancin' fiddle tempo is raised on 'A Fool And Her Heart' before they slow it down again for the heartfelt ballad 'Surround Me With Love.' The album then rounds out with two cover songs. First up is 'Good Hearted Woman,' a record made famous by country music icons Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, and then the rock anthem 'Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door' - here remade and expertly restructured in a bluegrass style.

'Vagabonds' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Black Track'
Artist - Soil & 'Pimp' Sessions

For those of you not in the know, Soil & "Pimp" Sessions is a Japanese club jazz sextet who formed in Tokyo, Japan, in 2001. They are known for their energetic live performances, having coined the term "death jazz" to describe their music.

The band was born out of Tokyo's club scene, when Shacho and Tabu Zombie started including live jam sessions in DJ sets. Gradually the other members were invited, the band's line-up was finalized and the DJ sets dropped.

The band's live sets started to create a buzz on the Tokyo live scene, and in 2003 they became the first unsigned band to perform at Japan's Fuji Rock Festival. JVC Victor then won the battle to sign them and summer 2004 saw the release of the mini-album Pimpin' in 2004.

The album was a critical hit and, for a jazz release, commercial success, and this together with constant touring paved the way for the release of their first full album, Pimp Master in early 2005.

Summer 2005 was a busy time for the band, with the release of their second mini-album, Summer Goddess, and their first live dates outside Japan. A second full album, Pimp of the Year, was released in spring 2006, showcasing innovations that showed a development of their sound, as well as one or two tracks that marked a new departure.

In March 2006 they released their second full-length album, Pimp of the Year and one year later in March 2007 they brought out what is still today their highest grossing album, Pimpoint on the Victor Entertainment label. May 2008 saw the release of Planet Pimp, with their aptly-named sixth release (albeit their fifth full-length) 6 dropping in September 2009.

In December 2010 the busy band then released their sixth album, Stoned Pirates Radio, which they followed up in October 2011 with Magnetic Soil. Then in August 2013 they released their eighth album, Circles. Featuring collaborations with Japanese artists from various genres, including Miyavi, Rhymester and Ringo Sheena, it is still today regarded as one of their finest works of musical artistry.

Brothers & Sisters came out in September 2014 and now this past April 2016, Soil & "Pimp" Sessions have released their impressive tenth full-length album, Black Track via the Red River Entertainment imprint with distribution via BFD/Sony RED.

1. "Introduction" (2:03)
2. "By Your Side" (featuring Bambu & Nia Andrews) (4:39)
3. "BLACK MILK" (6:56)
4. "Connected" (featuring Nagaoka Ryosuke) (3:45)
5. "Cantaloupe Island" (6:54)
6. "Papaya Pai Pai" (3:38)
7. "88 9th Avenue" (4:03)
8. "In2 My Soul" (featuring Xavier Boyer from TAHITI 80) (4:21)
9. "One For Carmen" (5:50)
10. "SOILOGIC" (3:08)
11. "Simoom" (4:55)
12. "Mellow Black" (5:02)
13. "SEKAI" (2:37)

This album sounds quite like nothing I've ever heard - and I mean ever! Not knowing anything about the band beforehand, and so diving straight into it live, so to speak, here at work, at the office, as soon as the jazz funk horns of the "Introduction" are over and we are into "By Your Side", suddenly all (I kid you not) the heads turned to where this sound was emanating from! Featuring Bambu and Nia Andrews along for the musical ride, the drum-laden track showcases from the off what this band can do, and quite distinctly who they are.

The Japanese sextet simply thunders through the 12 tracks here on Black Track and at no time do they add fillers into the mix, of that you have my word. Having now done my musical homework on them, I can reveal that as much as this album isn't as chock full of breakneck chords and intense solos ala their previous albums, they are still sounding as good, if not better than ever. The maturity into this new, fully figured out, thought through territory is a delight to behold, and the addition of some very spiritual and soulful moments just enhances the work greatly.

Still including the ebb and flow of musical genres such as spiraling jazz sensibilities, massive hip-hop beats, even some old school punk rock themes, the retro neo soul grooves here blend and play fair with their need to randomly scream and nearly careen off the tracks vocal accompaniments. The frenetic jazz of "BLACK MILK", with its hard piano back beat, is also one of my favorites here now, with a cover of Herbie Hancock's brilliant "Cantaloupe Island" yet another gem. The slowed down pace, combined with a severe jazz undercurrent gives the song a new feel to it, that's for sure.

Other stand out cuts are the stupendous horns of "88 9th Avenue", the acid jazz, electronica mix of "In2 My Soul" (featuring Xavier Boyer from TAHITI 80), and a track that embodies all that their trademark sound continues to be, "SOILOGIC." Closing down with the frenetic punk rock of "SEKAI", Soil & "Pimp" Sessions have brought forth a work of musical wonderment in Black Track - yet again.

Soil & "Pimp" Sessions @ Facebook

'Black Track' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'The Last Real Rock N' Roll'
Artist - Rhino Bucket

For those not in the know (and you can count me in that mass also), Rhino Bucket is a hard rock band from Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California. Formed in February 1988 by Georg Dolivo (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Reeve Downes (bass guitar, backing vocals) and Greg Fields (lead guitar, backing vocals) the line-up played the Los Angeles rock scene for a year with contemporaries such as Junkyard and The Four Horsemen

Warner Brothers signed the band in 1989 and they released their self-titled debut album in 1990 with Liam Jason from Warrior on drums. Their second album, 1992's Get Used To It contained "Ride With Yourself" which was featured in the hit movie and multi platinum soundtrack Wayne's World.

In 1993, drummer Simon Wright (AC/DC, Dio) joined the band and appeared on the 1994 album Pain. The band continued extensive touring, but by 1996 the band went on what turned out to be an extended hiatus. However, Rhino Bucket reformed in 2001 with Brian "Damage" Forsythe from Kix joining the original lineup of Dolivo, Downes and Enx on lead guitar replacing the departing Fields (aka Fidelman) who had gone on to a successful producing and engineering career.

In April 2006 Rhino Bucket released And Then It Got Ugly and then the next year released two new CDs, Pain & Suffering (EP) and No Song Left Behind (Unreleased and Live Songs). In July of the same year Simon Wright reunited with the band at the Rocklahoma festival and come 2009 the band released The Hardest Town with Wright behind the kit.

Rhino Bucket released their sixth studio album Who's Got Mine? in January 2011, a live album entitled Sunrise on Sunset in 2013, and have now just released a brand new studio album entitled The Last Real Rock N' Roll this April 21st, 2017 (via Acetate Records).

01. "Hello Citizens"
02. "Everything You Do"
03. "Last Call"
04. "I'm Your Doctor"
05. "So Long"
06. "It's A Sin"
07. "Forgiveness"
08. "Bang My Drum"
09. "Swing And A Miss"
10. "Falling Down The Stairs"
11. "Misery"
12. "The Devil You Know"

Featuring founding members Dolivo, Downes; renowned guitarist "Damage" Forsythe; and drummer, Dave DuCey, the quartet's years of recording and touring shines brightly here on The Last Real Rock N' Roll. On an album of 12 new tracks, produced by Eddie Spaghetti, the spirit of the old band still remains strong.

For whilst Dolivo writes a majority of the lyrics, three of the songs were co-written with original guitarist and co-founder Greg Fields. As Dolivo himself explains, "It was nice to combine the beginning spirit of the band with where we are now."

Rhino Bucket has a sound all their own, of that make no mistake, but if you had to categorize it I think it would probably be closest to the Bon Scott era of AC/DC. Given the title, The Last Real Rock N' Roll album is chock full of solid rock 'n' roll tracks, meaning that if you are heavily into hard, yet ultimately melodic guitar rock that has both rhythm and power, then these are the guys for you, and this is the album for you.

Title - 'High Water'
Artist - Junkyard

For those not in the know (and you can count me in that mass also), Junkyard is a hard rock band formed in 1987 in Los Angeles, CA, with members formerly in Minor Threat, The Big Boys, Decry and Dag Nasty. The band has often drawn comparisons with Guns N' Roses (which, like Junkyard, signed with Geffen Records) and to date have released eight albums.

Their eighth being the brand new High Water, their first album for Acetate Records, and the first full-length Junkyard album in over 26 years, on April 21st, 2017. Yet another album chock full of 11 tracks that take no prisoners through their raw punk rock blues sound, upon its release U.S. and European tour dates will follow.

01. "Walk Away"
02. "Faded"
03. "Cut From The Same Cloth"
04. "Styrofoam Cup"
05. "Hellbound"
06. "W.F.L.W.F."
07. "Don't Give a Damn"
08. "Hell or High Water"
09. "Wallet"
10. "'Til The Wheels Fall Off"
11. "Kindness to the Dead"

Simply put, High Water is Junkyard (David Roach - Vocals; Tim Mosher - Guitar; Todd Muscat - Bass; Patrick Muzingo - Drums; Jimmy James - Guitar) at their best. That aforementioned underlying raw punk blends seamlessly with their hard rock 'n' roll sound which means listening to them today is as much an experience as it was back then.

For me the stand out cut is "Cut From The Same Cloth", a song that not only includes their predestined hard rock / punk attributes, but rides along a speeding train track of melodic lyrics and guitar work just perfectly.

As Roache himself explains about their music and an upcoming tour, "I don't think we dated ourselves too badly in the beginning so a lot of our songs still have some relevance. Also, we were in hibernation a while, we weren't playing while a lot of our contemporaries were. It's not so much longevity as it was people who missed us 20 years ago finally have a chance to see us."

Title - 'Sings the Classics'
Artist - Jimmy Fortune

For those not in the know, Jimmy Fortune is an American country music singer from Staunton, Virginia. Fortune sang tenor for the Statler Brothers for 21 years, joining them as a replacement for the ailing and original tenor Lew DeWitt in 1982. He joined the group permanently when DeWitt was unable to return to the stage.

Indeed, Fortune wrote several number one songs that were recorded by the Statler Brothers, including "Elizabeth" (which was also recently a top bluegrass release for Dailey & Vincent), "Too Much on My Heart", and "My Only Love". "More Than a Name on a Wall" was also a well received top ten country hit at the time.

Fortune spent 21 years touring, singing, and performing with them until Don, Harold and Phil, the other three members of the group, retired in 2002. Since then he has continued an extensive performance schedule in the U.S. and Canada. Indeed, Fortune has continued as a songwriter and has recorded a number of projects in Nashville, with the release of his brand new album Sings the Classics out April 21st, 2017 via Gaither Music.

Now a member of both the Country Music Hall of Fame and Gospel Music Hall of Fame, CMA Award winner Jimmy Fortune is singing the classics with these all-new renditions of some of the most popular songs of our time. Joined by longtime friends Ricky Skaggs, The Isaacs, and the Voices of Lee, Fortune showcases the unmistakable tenor voice that has made him a household name among music lovers.

1. "Make The World Go Away"
2. "Take Me Home, Country Roads"
3. "Danny’s Song"
4. "Wake Up Little Susie" (Feat. Ricky Skaggs)
5. "Unchained Melody"
6. "Take It To The Limit" (Feat. The Isaacs)
7. "Crazy Arms"
8. "Flowers On The Wall"
9. "If"
10. "Wildfire"
11. "Annie’s Song"
12. "Yesterday"
13. "Southern Nights"
14. "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" (Feat. Voices Of Lee)

Personally, I loved the Statler Brothers for years so when they retired I was sad, but at the time time highly appreciative of their many years of service to the country music world. Now that Jimmy Fortune is on his own, he's taken the Statler Brothers memory a little farther. Whether he is covering their songs himself, or writing new ones, or even covering other great songs of our time, Fortune brings his own glorious Statler Brothers vibe, essence if you will, to each and every track.

For me every song on this expansive 14 track album is absolutely wonderful. Every song is done in a way only Jimmy Fortune can do it, which means the depths of vocal harmonies coupled with the original songs musical intent and direction combine perfectly to bring forth track after track of culture-embraced glory.

Jimmy's vocal performance on these songs is impeccable, as usual, and as you would expect. He is such a terrific entertainer and has a tremendous stage presence live also, so I recommend you run out and buy this CD (produced by Ben Isaacs) and then take a look at his website (link below) to see if he is playing at a venue near you sometime soon.

Jimmy Fortune @ Facebook

CLICK HERE to watch an exclusive video of Jimmy Fortune talking about a song on his brand new album!

Title - 'Percy Grainger: Folk Music'
Artist - Claire Booth & Christopher Glynn

For those not in the know, Percy Grainger was an Australian-born composer, arranger and pianist. In the course of a long and innovative career he played a prominent role in the revival of interest in British folk music in the early years of the 20th century.

He also made many adaptations of other composers' works. Although much of his work was experimental and unusual, the piece with which he is most generally associated is his piano arrangement of the folk-dance tune "Country Gardens".

Released this past April 7th, 2017 via AVIE Records, Percy Grainger: Folk Music brings together Soprano Claire Booth and pianist Christopher Glynn to lovingly explore the fascinating and multifaceted folk song output of the original and inventive composer, Percy Grainger.

1. "Bold William Taylor"
2. "Six Dukes Went a-Fishin'"
3. "Knight & Shepherd's Daughter"
4. "Lord Maxwell's Goodnight"
5. "My Robin Is to the Greenwood Gone"
6. "The Pretty Maid milkin' her Cow"
7. "The Sprig of Thyme"
8. "The Sussex Mummers' Christmas Carol"
9. "The Twa Corbies"
10. "Irish Tune from County Derry 'Danny Boy'"
11. "Died for Love"
12. "The Power of Love"
13. "Walking Tune"
14. "Willow Willow"
15. "Early One Morning"
16. "One More Day, My John"
17. "Hard-Hearted Barb'ra (H)Ellen"
18. "Country Gardens"

With this release, soprano Claire Booth and pianist Christopher Glynn, who have spent decades delving into Grainger's folk music output, document their fascination with the multifaceted firebrand, and bring his alluring music to a wider audience.

Capturing perfectly, to my mind, the most enduring musical endeavors that Grainger would himself bring forth, it is very fitting that the album concludes with Grainger's most celebrated piece, the rousing, flowing "English Country Gardens"; in which Claire makes a cameo appearance on piano, joining Christopher in a rousing duet.

Indeed it is Grainger's own exploration and dissemination of folk music that was the core of his work and proves also to be for this highly talented duo. Percy Grainger: Folk Music is a musical journey of joyous exploration from start to finish and one that transports you back to a time when life was simpler and when folk music was first born.

Title - 'Jungle Jezebel: Deluxe Edition'
Artist - Divine

For those not in the know, Divine (born Harris Glenn Milstead) was an American actor, singer and drag queen. Closely associated with the independent filmmaker John Waters, Divine was a character actor, usually performing female roles in cinematic and theatrical appearances, and adopted a female drag persona for his music career.

Almost 30 years on from his untimely death, Divine undoubtedly contributed to the LGBT narrative contained within pop culture in that time. Indeed, Divine’s first charting single ‘Native Love (Step By Step)’ remains one of his most frenetic hits and it's follow up single of his debut album, the just re-released Jungle Jezebel: Deluxe Edition ‘Shoot Your Shot’ is New York performer/producer Bobby O’s brassy brand of club music mock-sexualized at full tilt.

Released on April 28th, 2017 via Cherry Pop / Cherry Red Records (UK), that very same debut album (1982) is now coming out for the first time ever as a gorgeous Deluxe Edition containing 24 tracks recorded and associated with the album around that time.

Disc 1:
1. 'Shoot Your Shot'
2. 'Jungle Jezebel'
3. 'Native Love (Step By Step)'
4. 'Kick Your Butt'
5. 'Alphabet Rap'
6. 'Native Love (Step By Step) (Instrumental Version)'
7. 'Shake It Up'
8. 'Love Reaction'
9. 'T-Shirts & Tight Blue Jeans'
10. 'Psychedelic Shack'
11. 'Native Love 84'
12. 'Shoot Your Shot (Alternative 12" Mix)'
13. 'Shake It Up (Alternative Mix)'
14. 'T-Shirts & Tight Blue Jeans (Instrumental Version)'

Disc 2:
1. 'Native Love (Step By Step) (Suite)'
2. 'Divine Madness'
3. 'Shoot Your Shot (Jon of the Pleased Wimmin Remix)'
4. 'Love Reaction (Jon of the Pleased Wimmin Remix)'
5. 'Native Love (Jon of the Pleased Wimmin Remix)'
6. 'Shake It Up (Aquarius Remix)'
7. 'Alphabet Rap (Hyper Go Go Remix)'
8. 'T-Shirts & Tight Blue Jeans (Checkpoint Charlie Remix)'
9. 'Native Love (Mark Moore Remix)'
10. 'Shout It Out'

Digitally remastered this Deluxe Edition, which also contains liner notes by Discussions Magazine's Stephen SPAZ Schnee, kicks off in fine Divine style on Disc 1 with the double entendre 'Shoot Your Shot' and backs that up with the electro pop of 'Jungle Jezebel', the Hi-NRG dancefloor beats of 'Native Love (Step By Step)' and then both the jaunting 'Kick Your Butt' and the electro synth pop of 'Alphabet Rap.'

'Native Love (Step By Step) (Instrumental Version)' rounds out the first part of Disc 1, with the Bonus Tracks section beginning with the high pace NRG pulsing 'Shake It Up', and then the New Order influenced 'Love Reaction.' At what would turn out to be his most raw and subversive musical period, Divine's brilliant album continues onward with the slowly methodical hipsway of 'T-Shirts & Tight Blue Jeans' and then the frenetic musical mash of 'Psychedelic Shack.'

Disc 1 then rounds out with a quartet of remixes and instrumentals, the first being 'Native Love 84', another 'Shoot Your Shot,' another 'Shake It Up (Alternative Mix),' and then finally 'T-Shirts & Tight Blue Jeans (Instrumental Version).'

Remember, all these songs were recorded in the 1980s, in the aforementioned Hi-NRG style of the disco day, made more popular in gay dance clubs at the time. They are all entertaining, all unapologetically upbeat, and combined with Divine tending to spout some of the most ridiculous lyrics, they made him one of the gay scenes disco era icons for sure.

With the expert production by Bobby O(rlando) and Mark Bauman lending the music a very accessible edge, this brand new expanded collection of Divine's songs continues onward on Disc 2 with The Remixes. Here we find a set of 10 tracks all making use of the extended format to ensure that this second disc is as powerful as the first.

'Native Love (Step By Step) (Suite)' leads the way in fine style and that's backed by the screamingly, adamant scratch version of 'Divine Madness.' If you've never heard his track before, take a listen to it now and immerse yourself into a world that was Divine's and Divine's alone.

A trio of Wimmin Remixes is up next in the form of 'Shoot Your Shot (Jon of the Pleased Wimmin Remix),' 'Love Reaction (Jon of the Pleased Wimmin Remix),' and then anothe 'Native Love (Jon of the Pleased Wimmin Remix),' but the still-great-to-listen-to 'Shake It Up (Aquarius Remix)' also happens to be my favorite track on this new double album.

'Alphabet Rap (Hyper Go Go Remix)' is then followed by 'T-Shirts & Tight Blue Jeans (Checkpoint Charlie Remix),' another 'Native Love (Mark Moore Remix),' before rounding the whole new release out with the Hi-NRG, synth drum smashing 'Shout It Out.' To my mind, and whilst the songs are catchy and often humorous, unlike today's electro and even techno, Divine's songs always had a lot of personality, heart and soul; all whilst a driving electro beat made them enduring dance floor winners.

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'God's Problem Child'
Artist - Willie Nelson

In truth, Willie Nelson did not make any real impact as a singer until the mid-seventies (and it was the eighties before Britain took him seriously), but (as we all now know), the man has become a living legend within the industry.

Willie’s new album, God’s Problem Child is out now via Legacy Recordings, but it actually began life on as an item to pledge money to and receive back a limited number of autographed CDs (or Vinyl) and other such deluxe offers available only at Pledge Music.

Featuring new songs co-written by Nelson and producer Buddy Cannon, they used their frequent method of Cannon and Nelson writing the songs, exchanging the lyrics in text messages, while Nelson later recorded his vocals in the studio.

1. 'Little House on the Hill'
2. 'Old Timer'
3. 'True Love'
4. 'Delete and Fast Forward'
5. 'A Woman's Love'
6. 'Your Memory Has a Mind Of Its Own'
7. 'Butterfly'
8. 'Still Not Dead'
9. 'God's Problem Child'
10. 'It Gets Easier'
11. 'Lady Luck'
12. 'I Made a Mistake'
13 'He Won't Ever Be Gone'

In my humble opinion, this is one of Willie's best albums to date. It's just that good. The title track was written by Jamey Johnson and Tony Joe White, and features vocals by Leon Russell in one of his last recordings. The poking-fun-at-himself "Still Not Dead" refers to the recurrent hoaxes announcing Nelson's death whereas "Delete and Fast-Forward" is a track that vocal describes Willie's view on the 2016 United States elections.

This magnificent Baker's Dozen of tracks also contains a most precious musical gem in the shape of a song written by Cannon's very own mother. She is 85 years-old, plays the harmonica and is still writing songs, so the story goes, but neither Cannon nor Willie will reveal which song she wrote; mysteriously.

The stunning "He Won't Ever Be Gone" is Willie's dynamic tribute to Merle Haggard. Written by Gary Nicholson it is a stand out track on this new collection, one that also gives room for Willie to address his mortality in a more serious manner, in the new song "Old Timer." Written by Donnie Fritz and Lenny LeBlanc, the lyrics really do speak for themselves: "You think you're still a young bull rider / until you look in the mirror and see an old timer."

Title - 'Austin Texas the Rock Opera'
Artist - Franky and the Band

For those not in the know, Franky and the Band is actually novelist, songwriter, composer, arranger, producer, and engineer by day Fehmi Nuhoglu. Austin, TX-based Nuhoglu aka Franky has just released a new concept album title Austin Texas The Rock Opera and chock full of superb singing and rich in both sound and musical genres, boy, is this album truly a rich gem to behold in this business.

This album, together with the book "A Love Like Texas Weather", is a tribute to Austin, TX, which deeply inspired Nuhoglu with its diversity in music, unique lifestyle and tranquility. To all of the most incredible musicians, soulful singers, engineers, artists and everyone involved with Franky And the Band, he has given much thanks, as we, the listener must also do. For it is obvious that all of them associated with this body of work give their all for this tremendously poignant, and heart felt Austin City tribute.

We begin with the delightful acoustic guitar ballad 'Austin I'm Flying', before we head into the upbeat country twang of 'Austin Rodeo', the fist-pumpin' soft metal rock of 'Live Music Capitol', and then both 'the blues funk of 'Texas Weather (Shadow Queen)', and then one of my own personal favorites, the pure emotional elegance of the ballad 'Magic In The Air.'

The mid-tempo country vibe of 'Rancho Austinado' is a fun ride, and that's backed by the fast guitar-pickin' of 'Dance With Me Mom', the uptempo ballad, 'Austin Holds A Place' (which, at moments, is also very rhythmically similar to 'Save The Last Dance For Me'), and then we're back to soft guitar rock with 'Austin Save My Love (Losing You).'

The OTT hipsway Latino roll of 'Amor Amor Amor' is a fun moment, and that's backed by the down and dirty blues of 'Austin Prison Blues,' the triumphant and insistent 'Austin Marching', beofre the album comes to a close with the New Orleans swing blues vibe of 'Austin Where I Long To Be.'

'Austin Texas the Rock Opera' CD Purchase Link

'A Love Like Texas Weather' Book Purchase Link

Title - 'Heart's Desire' [EP]
Artist - The Loft Club

For those not in the know, British indie band The Loft Club deal in stomping, colorful, heart felt, sixties-tinged tunes. Comparisons have ranged from Buffalo Springfield, Fleetwood Mac and The Byrds through to more modern artists such as Ryan Adams and Noel Gallagher, complete with soaring three part harmonies and instant sing-along choruses.

The Exeter-based quintet, consisting of Daniel Schamroth (Vocals/guitar), Jamie Whyte( Bass/vocals), Kieran Chalmers (Drums), Amy O'Loughlin (Vocals) and Dan Wright (Guitar), had steadily built a local following playing shows and festivals and thus quickly came to the attention of American label Lightyear Entertainment. A deal was signed with this brand new The Heart's Desire (EP) released on October 14th, 2016 via Lightyear/Caroline/Universal Music.

This fabulous 4-track EP kicks off in fine style with the pop rock '70s vibe of the title track 'Heart's Desire' and seamlessly backs that up with the freeflowing folk pop of 'Flicker.' With both containing upbeat melodies, harmonies and beats as infectious as anything that has come forth from the radio in a decade, if you are not listening to this EP at home or in the car, you're simply not attune to what's great about music these days.

However, and for my money, the brilliant '60s-tinged, tambourine enhanced 'I'm Just A Man' is quite possibly one of the only tracks created in the '00s that actually sounds like it was born in the aforementioned Sixties! Man, Schamroth's vocals alongside some great psychedelic rock guitar work from Wright is a flashback of the highest order. They then wrap the EP with the delightful '70s-inspired rollercoaster of a track, 'Sticks & Stones'. [Although my promotional EP came with a Niklas Ibach remix of the track 'Heart's Desire' - and wow, talk about something being translucently stunning!]

Having exceeded 200,000 spins on Spotify, and with over 70,000 monthly listeners, The Loft Club have since been added to a number of significant playlists and is gaining a growing number of listeners and followers here in the United States. So buy this new EP today and get on board, my friends.

The Loft Club @ Facebook

'Heart's Desire' [EP] Purchase Link

Title - 'Graham Bonnet Anthology'
Artist - Graham Bonnet

Graham Bonnet is quite rightly best known for fronting the melodic hard rock of Rainbow, MSG and Alcatrazz, with a career going back to the 1960s. However, his initial breakthrough as part of The Marbles was in 1968, where his style and tastes were originally geared more towards pop and R&B orientated music.

Recording a number of obscure, but now highly collectable 45's in the early 1970s, before releasing his solo albums, Bonnet is still as much revered today as he was in his heyday.

Having recently had a slew of his old work released via Cherry Red Records (UK), including the brilliant double pack of Graham Bonnet / No Bad Habits: Expanded Deluxe Edition and his work with Alcatrazz, this time Cherry Red bring all his work together in a wondrous 2CD + DVD box-set entitled Graham Bonnet Anthology.

This quite superb, especially if you are a fan of Bonnet's (and, in this genre, who the hell isn't) is the first all-encompassing, career-spanning retrospective from the highly respected singer and song writer. Inclusive of his first hits of the late '60s, right up to his new material with the Graham Bonnet Band in 2017, everything and more Bonnet is here for your listening, and viewing pleasures.

Disc 1:
1. 'Only One Woman' - Graham Bonnet
2. 'It's All Over Now Baby Blue' - Graham Bonnet
3. 'Warm Ride' - Graham Bonnet
4. 'Bad Girl' - Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow
5. 'Night Games' - Graham Bonnet
6. 'S.O.S.' - Graham Bonnet
7. 'Girl from Uptown' - Michael Schenker Group
8. 'Island in the Sun' - Alcatrazz (Featuring Yngwie J. Malmsteen)
9. 'Hiroshima Mon Amour' - Alcatrazz (Featuring Yngwie J. Malmsteen)
10. 'Since You Been Gone (Live)' - Alcatrazz (Featuring Yngwie J. Malmsteen)
11. 'God Blessed Video' - Alcatrazz (Featuring Steve Vai)
12. 'Will You Be Home Tonight' - Alcatrazz (Featuring Steve Vai)
13. 'Skyfire' - Alcatrazz (Featuring Steve Vai)
14. 'Blue Boar' - Alcatrazz
15. 'Stand in Line' - Impellitteri
16. 'Tonight I Fly' - Impellitteri
17. 'Midnight Crossing (1989 Demo)' - Graham Bonnet
18. 'Hit and Run' - Forcefield
19. 'Let the Wild Run Free' - Forcefield
20. 'All Night Long (2015 Version)' - Graham Bonnet Band

Few front men can claim to have had such a lengthy and far-reaching career. His aforementioned time as part of The Marbles duo is marked here by the opening track, "Only One Woman" (1968), which was actually a Bee Gees song at the time. We then rage through his early solo career across the '70s, again enjoying further success with a Bee Gees track, the disco flavored 'Warm Ride'.

And it's heard within the framework of all his early solo stuff his obvious devotion to Motown, the Blues, Doo-Wop, and other sounds of an era gone by. 'It's All Over Now Baby Blue' incorporates all of those sounds, but then all too soon we jump into 'Bad Girl' from his Rainbow days, and then fast forward straight into his successful '80s solo hits of both 'Night Games' and 'S.O.S.'

Sadly, that's all there is from his successful career fronting Rainbow, who at the time were the world's biggest rock band. Indeed, when he replaced Ronnie James Dio in 1979 for their album Down To Earth, it was the more well-known, and worldwide hits such as both 'All Night Long' and Russ Ballard's 'Since You Been Gone' that shook the industry, but here they are only "recaptured" versions: the first a live cut by Alcatrazz, the later by his new group, the Graham Bonnet Band.

After a track from his time spent as lead singer of MSG (Michael Schenker Group) 'Girl From Uptown', next we get a block of Alcatrazz cuts, such as 'Island In The Sun', 'Hiroshima Mon Amour', 'God Blessed Video', 'Will You Be Home Tonight' and both 'Skyfire' and 'Blue Boar', before two tracks from his days with Impellitteri, 'Stand In Line' and 'Tonight I Fly.' Taken from the very first studio album by guitarist and bandleader Chris Impellitteri's band, the short period of time spent with Bonnet on lead was also their most successful.

With Bonnet's incredible, highly distinctive vocals wrapping themselves around each and every song that is offered on this brilliant new collection, after a really raw 1989 demo of 'Midnight Crossing' we end the first CD with two from his time in Forcefield - 'Hit And Run' and 'Let the Wild Run Free' - rounding out with the aforementioned, and previously-unreleased GBB version of 'All Night Long.'

Disc 2:
1. 'Look Don't Touch' - Graham Bonnet
2. 'Afterlife' - Blackthorne
3. 'We Won't Be Forgotten' - Blackthorne
4. 'Don't Kill the Thrill' - Blackthorne
5. 'Breakaway' - Graham Bonnet
6. 'Killer' - Graham Bonnet
7. 'Hunting Time' - Anthem
8. 'Hungry Soul' - Anthem
9. 'Love in Vain' - Anthem
10. 'Perfect Crime' - Impellitteri
11. 'Fighters Fist' - Taz Taylor
12. 'Radio Luxembourg' - Taz Taylor
13. 'You Are Your Money (Demo)' - Elektric Zoo
14. 'Lost in Hollywood' - Graham Bonnet
15. 'My Kingdom Come' - Graham Bonnet Band
16. 'Mirror Lies' - Graham Bonnet Band

The second disc kicks off in fine style with the crazy good rock sounds of 'Look Don't Touch' and then back that up with a trio of songs from his Blackthorne days. A hard rock project that featured Bonnet alongside the great Bob Kulick (guitar), Frankie Banali (drums), Jimmy Waldo (keyboards), and Chuck Wright on bass, 'Afterlife', 'We Won't Be Forgotten' and 'Don't Kill The Thrill' are all as good, as hard rock genius as you would fully expect them to be.

More solo work in the shape of both 'Breakaway' and 'Killer' are up next, and they are followed by a trio of tracks from Anthem, a Japanese heavy metal band that was formed during the early 1980s in Tokyo. Man, does this guy vocally get around, right! Anyway, a touch to screamy for my personal liking, 'Hunting Time', 'Hungry Soul' and 'Love In Vain' are at the very least prime examples of how passionate Bonnet was to still make music - even if it meant leaving the country!

Another Impellitteri track 'Perfect Crime' is up next and is followed by a duo of tracks from his time spent in 2006 as a member of the Taz Taylor Band. Both 'Fighters Fist' and 'Radio Luxembourg' are then backed by 'You Are Your Money' (Demo), a previously-unreleased cut which he recorded with guitar virtuoso Dario Mollo whilst a part of Elektric Zoo. A solo version of Rainbow's infamous 'Lost In Hollywood' is next, and then the second disc is rounded out by two tracks (first time on CD) from his Graham Bonnet Band, 'My Kingdom Come' and 'Mirror Lies'.

The DVD that comes with this box-set is showcases many rare video clips taken from across Bonnet's career and also includes some track-by-track intros from the man himself; filmed especially for this collection.

1. 'It's All Over Now Baby Blue' - Graham Bonnet
2. 'Danny' - Graham Bonnet
3. 'Only You Can Lift Me' - Graham Bonnet
4. 'Warm Ride' - Graham Bonnet
5. 'Can't Complain' - Graham Bonnet
6. 'I'm a Lover' - Graham Bonnet
7. 'The Way That It Is' - Graham Bonnet
8. 'Anthony Boy' - Graham Bonnet
9. 'Night Games' - Graham Bonnet
10. 'Island in the Sun' - Alcatrazz (Featuring Yngwie J. Malmsteen)
11. 'Hiroshima Mon Amour' - Alcatrazz (Featuring Yngwie J. Malmsteen)
12. 'God Blessed Video' - Alcatrazz (Featuring Steve Vai)
13. 'Stand in Line' - Impellitteri
14. 'Stand in Line (Alt. Version)' - Impellitteri
15. 'The Mirror Lies' - Graham Bonnet Band
16. 'Stand in Line' - Impellitteri
17. 'Tonight I Fly' - Impellitteri
18. 'Leviathan' - Impellitteri
19. 'All Night Long' - Impellitteri
20. 'Secret Lover' - Impellitteri
21. 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' - Impellitteri
22. 'Goodnight and Goodbye' - Impellitteri
23. 'Since You Been Gone' - Impellitteri

'Graham Bonnet Anthology' 2CD/DVD Purchase Link

Title - 'Techromancy'
Artist - Chrome

For those not in the know, Chrome is an American rock band founded in San Francisco, California in 1975.

The sound of the group is often coarse and features heavy elements of feedback and distortion. Their experiments in mixing synthesized noise with rock instrumentation, marking them as part of the post-punk movement, have been cited as a forerunner of industrial rock music.

Word actually had it that during the 1970s, Chrome's music did not fit into any particular music scene in America, and so people found it hard to know how to book the band or promoting and distribute their music.

But now the post-punk visionaries, Chrome, led by longtime guitarist/vocalist Helios Creed are back again with a brand new album. Techromancy (out now via Cleopatra Records) brings back, kicking and screaming, the driving rhythms and metallic riffs of their more rocking early '80s Red Exposure period.

This brand new album has already earnt raves from Consequence Of Sound who said, "Chrome demonstrate that even after nearly 40 years and countless lineup changes, their hunger and curiosity remain just as savage as when the project first began."

1. 'Administer The Treatment'
2. 'Black Diamond'
3. 'Sex Pocket Meister'
4. 'Death Is A Pusher'
5. 'Tears In Space'
6. 'Time Slider'
7. 'Pyramid Of Planets'
8. 'The Mandela Effect Pedal'
9. 'Execution'
10. 'The Other Side'
11. 'Devils Flight'
12. 'Just For You'

Having now listened to it twice through I couldn't have put it better myself, because Techromancy is as amazingly fresh, subperbly vibrant, and as musically and lyrically motivated as anything they have put out down the years. Their maturer sounds kicks off in fine style with 'Administer the Treatment', before heading into both the jangled edges of 'Black Diamond' and the reverse lyrics of the space rock epic 'Sex Pocket Meister.' The Sisters Of Mercyesque 'Death Is A Pusher' is my own personal favorite track on the album and that's followed by the ultra trippy 'Tears In Space.'

'Time Slider' is backed by the gently melodic 'Pyramid of Planets' and that's followed by the space rock-out of 'The Mandela Effect Pedal.' The muffled, distorted vocals of 'Execution' is next (not my favorite track as it goes), and that's backed by the sing-along of 'The Other Side.' The album that rides the vibe of bands such as Stereolab, Nine Inch Nails and everything lovingly caught in between at times, then comes to a close with the translucent 'Devils Flight', and then the melodic soft guitar rock of 'Just For You.'

'Techromancy' CD Purchase Link

Chrome @ Facebook

Title - 'We're Not in Kansas Anymore'
Artist - Bobby Kimball

For those not in the know, Bobby Kimball is an American singer, best known as the original and longtime frontman of the rock band Toto.

In 1974, Kimball moved to Los Angeles where he joined three members of Three Dog Night to form a new band called S.S. Fools. They released one album on CBS Records, but the band split up within a year and a half. About six months later, Kimball was asked by David Paich and Jeff Porcaro to join the five session musicians to form Toto.

He submitted a self-penned audition song for the band, 'You Are the Flower', which was included on their debut album. Kimball performed on the first four studio albums by Toto, but was released from the band in 1984 during the sessions for the Isolation LP.

After splitting from Toto in 1984,[3] Bobby Kimball relocated to Germany for a solo career under producer Frank Farian of the Far Corporation. In 1998, Kimball rejoined Toto. The band then returned to the studio to record Mindfields. Toto toured in support of Mindfields throughout 1999 and 2000, but all came to an end once again when it was announced in June 2008 that the band members had gone separate ways.

But now the voice of Toto returns with a very special new studio album! Reteaming with producer John Zaika, We're Not in Kansas Anymore (out now via Cleopatra Records) features stellar performances by drummer Joel Taylor, keyboardist Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater), Mitchel Forman and more!

1. 'Too Far Behind'
2. 'On My Feet'
3. 'Hey It’s Me'
4. 'One Day'
5. 'Flatline'
6. 'Met Her For'
7. 'Hold On'
8. 'Scam'
9. 'You’ll Be With Me'
10. 'Some They Do'
11. 'You're' Not Alone'

Chock full of AOR and funky bass lines, free flowing melodic guitar breaks and exquisite arrangements ala Toto, the quite stunning We're Not in Kansas Anymore kicks off with the joyous hipsway of 'Too Far Behind' and backs that up with the funky horns of 'On My Feet', the guitar rock of 'Hey It's Me', and then the ballad 'One Day.' The upbeat old school soft rock of 'Flatline' is next and that's followed by both 'Met Her For' and the Gospel-sounding ballad 'Hold On.'

With Kimball's vocals as incredible as always, no sound of the tests of time having taken their toll on him, the exhilarating rock sounds of 'Scam' are upon us next, the piano ballad 'You’ll Be With Me' backing it nicely. This well-balanced, expertly produced, and more often than not soul-influenced album then comes to a close with the light funk of 'Some They Do', and then the mid-tempo piano ballad, 'You're' Not Alone.'

'We're Not in Kansas Anymore' CD Purchase Link

Bobby Kimball @ Facebook

Title - 'On Golden Pond: Music And Original Dialog'
Artist - Dave Grusin

The delightfully moving 'On Golden Pond' was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including best picture, and won Oscars for Henry Fonda and co-star Katharine Hepburn. Directed by Mark Rydell, the screenplay by Ernest Thompson was adapted from his 1979 play of the same name.

Norman (Henry Fonda) is a curmudgeon with an estranged relationship with his daughter Chelsea (Jane Fonda). At Golden Pond, he and his wife (Katharine Hepburn) nevertheless agree to care for Billy (Doug McKeon), the son of Chelsea's new boyfriend, and a most unexpected relationship blooms.

Dave Grusin's memorable score also received a well-deserved nomination. It is unquestionably one of Grusin's most effective and beautiful scores and now that beautiful soundtrack; along with some original dialog from the film, is available for the first time on CD.

1. On Golden Pond (Main Theme) (3:52)
2. First Call (Norman) (2:08)
3. Career Opportunities / Back Porch Confessional (Norman & Ethel) (6:08)
4. Illicit Sex Question (Norman & Bill Ray) (5:07)
5. New Hampshire Hornpipe (2:28)
6. Lake-Song (3:40)
7. Early Bird (Ethel & Chelsea) (2:47)
8. Purgatory Cove (Norman & Billy) (4:46)
9. Father-Daughter Relationship (Chelsea & Norman) (3:58)
10. Season's End (Ethel & Norman) (3:38)
11. On Golden Pond (Epilogue) (2:48)

The music is, as expected (especially if you are a fan of the movie) delightfully brilliant throughout. All 11 of the tracks are full, rich, invitingly mesmeric and, at times, hypnotic. Now inclusive here on CD with real dialog included, as the music plays gently beneath their spoken words, I beg you to close your eyes, sit back and let is all flow over you (unless you're driving at the time, of course!)

CD Purchase Link

Title - Power Rangers (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Artist - Brian Tyler

Yup, you read it right! The 'Power Rangers' gets a big budget reboot and super composer Brian Tyler is along for the ride.

In this brand new update of the '80s favorite TV show, brings forth a group of high-school students, who are infused with unique superpowers, who harness their abilities in order to save the world.

Tyler, the primary composer for the Fast and Furious soundtracks, including the forthcoming eighth installment, has also helmed The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Now You See Me 2, xXx: Return of Xander Cage and so many others.

1. 'Power Rangers Theme'
2. 'Seek Those Who Are Worthy'
3. 'Zordon Awakes'
4. 'It's Morphing Time!'
5. 'Destiny'
6. 'Confessions'
7. 'Megazord'
8. 'United'
9. 'Birth of a Legend'
10. 'Metamorphosis'
11. 'Goldar'
12. 'The Morphing Grid'
13. 'The Zords'
14. 'Let's Ride'
15. 'You Were Born for This'
16. 'Reflection'
17. 'The Lost Ship'
18. 'Be Who You Want to Be'
19. 'Hold the Line'
20. 'This Is What Matters'
21. 'Trespassing'
22. 'Rita'
23. 'Square One'
24. 'Power On'
25. 'Together We Stand'
26. 'The Final Stand'
27. 'Go Go Power Rangers - End Titles'
28. 'Give it All'

In my humble opinion, Brian Tyler did such an amazing job composing for this film. It was never going to be easy creating new sounds, new musical avenues to explore for this kind of movie; one that has its fingers in many other movies-of-the-same-ilk pies, so to speak.

At all times a solid, but yet never really explosively fantastic; or totally new, this 'Power Rangers' is upbeat, soaring even, but for the most part at all times it genuinely sounds like every recent superhero movie soundtrack.

But, and playing devil's advocate here, if you watched the original TV series and the subsequent movies that followed, and enjoyed the music from them all, then this is a fun soundtrack to listen to; of that have no doubt. Sure it tries to be something new, but there's just too much out there that sounds/looks like this for there ever to be anything wholly new; if that makes sense.

CD Purchase Link

Title - Their Finest (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Artist - Rachel Portman

'Their Finest' documents the film industry during WW2 era London and the emergence of women in the workplace in this highly reviewed film. A former secretary, newly appointed as a scriptwriter for propaganda films, joins the cast and crew of a major production while the Blitz rages around them.

Composer Rachel Portman is a master of period dramas, most notably The Cider House Rules, The Duchess and Chocolat. This wonderful soundtrack also includes a brand new song from actor Bill Nighy, so that's rather exciting, isn't it.

1. 'Catrin Goes To The Ministry' (:57)
2. 'I’d Miss You' (2:03)
3. 'Catrin Grieves' (1:48)
4. 'Writing Uncle Frank' (2:04)
5. 'Kiss' (2:04)
6. 'Nancy Starling Part 1' (2:29)
7. 'Nancy Starling Part 2' (2:46)
8. 'Catrin Rewrites The Ending' (1:01)
9. 'Heavy Rescue' (1:20)
10. 'On The Dunes' (1:21)
11. 'Ambrose is Cast' (:55)
12. 'They Can’t Black Out The Moon' - Stephanie Hyam & Claudia Jessie; Rachel Portman, piano (1:29)
13. 'Mortuary' (1:28)
14. 'Buckley Talks About His Dad' (1:39)
15. 'Tower Falls' (2:29)
16. 'Boarding House' (1:40)
17. 'Make It A Happy One' (2:30)
18. 'Red Sails In The Sunset' - Charlie Kunz, His Piano & The Casani Club Orchestra' (3:11)
19. 'Will You Go, Lassie, Go' - Bill Nighy; Rachel Portman, piano (2:08)

This rather lovely soundtrack from Rachel Portman, a massive talent in her own composer right, contains 19 tracks but only runs for @ 35 minutes. Opening with the quick introductory musical entity 'Catrin Goes to the Ministry', the underlying musical beat continues throughout the soundtrack whenever our lead character appears.

For me, one of the best suites is 'The Nancy Starling' (Parts 1 and 2), because it's flowing and never ceases to amaze me how beautiful it truly is. The collection also includes two short performances that we see in the movie: first we get 'They Can't Black Out The Moon' by Stephanie Hyam and Claudia Jessie and then the whole set/soundtrack rounds out with a lovely musical performance from actor Bill Nighy on 'Will You Go, Lassie, Go'.

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Title - 'Returning: Limited Edition' [Vinyl LP]
Artist - Will Ackerman

For those not in the know, producer, guitarist, and founder of Windham Hill Records Will Ackerman may well not have intentionally set out to be a celebrated musician, but we are all so very thankful that's where God's plan directed him.

Having been playing guitar since the age of 12, when he dropped out of college it was to become a carpenter; his first company was called Windham Hill Builders. But ever since he first composed guitar music for Stanford University theater productions, together with the encouragement of friends, he found his true passion; which ultimately led him to record his debut album, In Search of the Turtle's Navel (1976).

Since then, Ackerman has continued to record his own albums, to produce Windham Hill albums for such other artists as George Winston, Alex de Grassi, and Liz Story, and to serve in various capacities in the record company.

Returning: Pieces for Guitar 1970-2004 is Will Ackerman's 2005 Grammy award-winning recording. Now re-released on 180+ gram vinyl for the first time ever, the man universally recognized as the preeminent pioneer in the new age music movement, is once more introducing a new audience to his wondrous recordings.

Side 1:
1. Bricklayer's Beautiful Daughter
2. Anne's Song
3. The Impending Death of the Virgin Spirit
4. Pictures
5. Hawk Circle

Side 2:
1. Barbara's Song
2. Unconditional
3. Visiting
4. Processional
5. In a Region of Clouds
6. Last Day at the Beach

In 2004, after years of growth and introspection, Ackerman re-recorded an album of his best-known songs. A greatest hits collection of all new performances. Will's goal was to take a series of 11 favorite songs and record them for posterity in a way that reflects the emotional nuances, precision, and maturing beauty they've picked up along the road.

Side 1 of this Limited Edition vinyl LP begins with the delicate storytelling of 'The Bricklayer's Beautiful Daughter', before heading into the melancholic 'Anne's Song', the personal elegy 'The Impending Death of the Virgin Spirit', and then both an early cut 'Pictures' and the soaring, majestic 'Hawk Circle.'

Flipping the album over (I just love saying that and actually physically doing that) and we reconnect with Will on one of his earlier cuts, 'Barbara's Song.' With his guitar in his hands, his mind reflecting back to days gone by whilst at the same time updating and redefining his works already adored by fans and critics alike, Will brings his incredibly deep, and yet always delicate rendition of 'Unconditional' to the fore next.

'Visiting' is next and that's followed by one of my personal favorites here on this new "pure virgin vinyl" release, the paced, yet emotionally charged 'Processional.' Never steering away from its chosen musical path, it remains at all times stirring and powerful throughout. 'In a Region of Clouds' is another pure delight also and if one track could highlight a man at the top of his game right now, this would be the one.

Indeed, together with a sense of maturity and depth, it showcases Will's playing abilities perfectly, and together with the stirring; if not ethereal album closer, 'Last Day at the Beach,' Returning: Pieces for Guitar 1970-2004 brings us 11 intricate snapshots of a vastly influential musical career that Will inventively rediscovers all over again.

A little older and more reflective now, Returning: Pieces for Guitar 1970-2004 reinterprets Will's favorite solo guitar compositions without the youthful stress he exhibited recording them 30-40 years ago in the studio as a new musician. The pieces are majestic, entirely enchanting and will transport you back to the days where music such as this was as deeply satisfying to the soul as much as it was to the ears.

'Returning' Limited Edition 180+ Gram Pure Virgin Vinyl LP Purchase Link

Title - 'Bel Canto Paganini'
Artist - Rachel Barton Pine

For those not in the know, Rachel Barton Pine is an American violinist who debuted with the Chicago Symphony at age 10, and was the first American and youngest ever gold medal winner of the International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition.

In both art and life, violinist Pine has an extraordinary ability to connect with people. Celebrated as a leading interpreter of great classical works, she plays with passion and conviction across an extensive repertoire. Audiences are thrilled by her dazzling technique, lustrous tone, and infectious joy in music-making.

On her latest release, the quite stunning (I've now listened to both discs twice through, so I should know) Bel Canto Paganini, Billboard chart-topping violinist Pine traverses Paganini’s ground breaking set of 24 Caprices with virtuosic flair and, in equal measure, reverence for the bel canto – or “beautiful singing” – style of the composer’s generation.

CD 1:
1. Introduction and Variations on “Nel cor piů non mi sento” from Paisiello’s La molinara [12:57]
24 Caprices for solo violin, op. 1
2. Caprice in E Major, Op. 1, No. 1 (Andante) [1:52]
3. Caprice in B Minor, Op. 1, No. 2 (Moderato) [4:14]
4. Caprice in E Minor, Op. 1, No. 3 (Sostenuto – Presto – Sostenuto) [3:19]
5. Caprice in C Minor, Op. 1, No. 4 (Maestoso) [10:43]
6. Caprice in A Minor, Op. 1, No. 5 (Agitato) [3:02]
7. Caprice in G Minor, Op. 1, No. 6 (Lento) [8:07]
8. Caprice in A Minor, Op. 1, No. 7 (Posato) [7:54]
9. Caprice in E-flat Major, Op. 1, No. 8 (Maestoso) [5:43]
10. Caprice in E Major, Op. 1, No. 9 (Allegretto) [3:13]
11. Caprice in G Minor, Op. 1, No. 10 (Vivace) [2:56]
12. Caprice in C Major, Op. 1, No. 11 (Andante – Presto – Andante) [4:27]
13.Caprice in A-flat Major, Op. 1, No. 12 (Allegro) [4:55]

CD 2:
1. Caprice in B-flat Major, Op. 1, No. 13 (Allegro) [2:44]
2. Caprice in E-flat Major, Op. 1, No. 14 (Moderato) [2:04]
3. Caprice in E Minor, Op. 1, No. 15 (Posato) [2:58]
4. Caprice in G Minor, Op. 1, No. 16 (Presto) [1:28]
5. Caprice in E-flat Major, Op. 1, No. 17 (Sostenuto – Andante) [3:47]
6. Caprice in C Major, Op. 1, No. 18 (Corrente – Allegro) [2:31]
7. Caprice in E-flat Major, Op. 1, No. 19 (Lento – Allegro assai) [3:10]
8. Caprice in D Major, Op. 1, No. 20 (Allegretto) [3:09]
9. Caprice in A Major, Op. 1, No. 21 (Amoroso – Presto) [3:27]
10. Caprice in F Major, Op. 1, No. 22 (Marcato) [3:03]
11. Caprice in E-flat Major, Op. 1, No. 23 (Posato) [5:44]
12. Caprice in A Minor, Op. 1, No. 24 (Quasi Presto) [4:25]
13. Duet for One (Adagio – Allegro molto) [2:45]
14. Caprice d’Adieu (Allegro moderato) [3:08]

Playing on the ‘ex-Bazzini, ex-Soldat’ Guarneri del Gesů violin from 1742 – made by the same Cremona-based maker in the same year as Paganini’s own violin – Rachel channels the composer’s own technical wizardry as well as his love for beautiful melodies.

For my money, Pine is simply a wonder. Sure, ok, playing Devil's Advocate, she may not be the absolutely greatest violinist ever, but is certainly the most versatile; playing everything from early 17th century to heavy metal - and doing it all so well.

In closing, Rachel Barton Pine, who actually led me to this new Paganini performance via her astonishing Bach violin cycle is mesmerizing. What a remarkable musician. Her playing is technically flawless and possessed of profound depth of feeling. Complete with skillful, attentive and sensitive moments cast within, Pine freely expresses the human tenderness as if it were second nature to her. Divine. Simply divine.

'Bel Canto Paganini' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'In The Dead Of Night'
Artist - Dahmers

For those not in the know, The Dahmers (not to be confused with Dahmedrs, who were a grindcore band formed in Quebec City, Canada in 1995) are actually a Garage rock band formed in 2011 in the quiet town of Bromölla, Sweden.

As dusk settles in and night time approaches, The Dahmers rise from their coffins once more to bring forth their brand new album, In The Dead Of Night via Lovely Records.

Like bloodthirsty creatures of rock 'n' roll they will burst out into the moonlight leaving solitude behind on a rampage for terror. These Halloween-perfect 13 nerve breaking, gut wrenching songs are all dedicated to the darkest of hours that will cut you down ruthlessly.

A mutation of garage punk, energetic rock and '60s pop makes In The Dead Of Night a Frankenstein's monster of music, of that have no doubt. We begin with the sounds of an old VHS tape being loaded into a VCR, then the sounds of an old school '80s horror movie opening are upon us in 'Dawn'. The tape is slightly warped from prior usage, but seems to flow more freely as the track crawls forth.

The whole vibe is then cranked up via some pulse pounding garage rock in 'Cut Me Down', before the '60s pop sound of 'It's Too Late', the garage guitar work of 'Ratboy', and then the flat out screamfest 'The Night Has Just Begun' and the melodic 'I Wake Up Dead.'

"I don't belong in the world. That's what it is. Something separates me from other people. They're everywhere" is softly spoken by actress Candace Hilligoss (taken from 'Carnival of Souls', a 1962 American independent horror film), before the tempo is cranked up into 'To The Night', and that's followed by the fuzzy guitar blend of 'Beyond The Grave' and the dark rainy night vibe of 'Beyond The Grave.'

The frenetic, yet strangely still composed 'Deep Red' is one of my own personal favorites on this really quite brilliant new album from The Dahmers, and that's backed by two power pop cuts: 'Deep Red' and 'Bloodsucker.' The album then comes to a close with the creaking door and female screaming intro to 'Nightcrawler', and then the old school end credit VHS sounds of 'Dawn.'

'In The Dead Of Night' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Max's Kansas City: 1976 & Beyond'
Artist - Various

For those not in the know, Max's Kansas City is the legendary New York City nightclub that became the focal point for the city's hip artistic community from the late '60s until the early '80s.

In its initial period, it was famously often populated by Andy Warhol's Factory crowd, and played host to new artists such as the Velvet Underground, New York Dolls, the Stooges, Bruce Springsteen and countless others.

Indeed, it became a base for jet-setters, glam rockers and celebs, until the scene faded and it shut its doors at the end of 1974.

Reopened in 1975 under new management, Peter Crowley was hired as music director. The new young bands he booked helped spawn, in tandem with CBGBs, the New York City punk scene. In 1976 Peter compiled a studio album of acts associated with the club, Max's Kansas City 1976, to help promote the club.

It featured the first released recordings of Suicide, The Fast and Warhol-era veteran Wayne County, whose title-track gave a roll-call of many of the famous acts who'd regularly performed there.

Now the original album is reissued as Max's Kansas City 1976 & Beyond, greatly extended to 40 tracks on a double-CD and a selection of 25 tracks on a double-LP. (FYI - A limited edition Record Store Day 2LP in red vinyl in gatefold sleeve will be soon issued).

As well as the aforementioned Suicide, Fast and Wayne County, the new extended album features the New York Dolls, the Stillettos, the Offs, the Senders, Philip Rambow, VON LMO, Iggy Pop, Knots, Roland Alphonso, Cherry Vanilla, Nico, Joy Ryder, Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers and Sid Vicious amongst many others.

CD 1: WAYNE COUNTY & THE BACK STREET BOYS ‘Max’s Kansas City 1976’; THE FAST ‘Boys Will Be Boys’; HARRY TOLEDO ‘Knots’; CHERRY VANILLA & HER STATEN ISLAND BAND ‘Shake Your Ashes’; WAYNE COUNTY & THE BACK STREET BOYS ‘Cream In My Jeans’; THE FAST ‘Wow Pow Bash Crash’; WAYNE COUNTY & THE BACK STREET BOYS ‘Flip Your Wig’; THE JOHN COLLINS BAND ‘The Man In Me’; SUICIDE ‘Rocket USA’; THE FAST ‘Kids Just Wanna Dance’; PHILIP RAMBOW ‘Night Out’; SUICIDE ‘Ghost Rider’; NEW YORK DOLLS ‘Bad Girl’; THE STILLETTOS ‘Pink Stilettos’; THE KNOTS ‘Heartbreaker’; THE SENDERS ‘6th Street’; JIMI LALUMIA & THE PSYCHOTIC FROGS ‘Death To Disco’; THE BRATS ‘First Rock Star On The Moon’; THE OFFS ‘You Fascinate Me’; TERRORISTS ‘Riis Park’; ROLAND ALPHONSO & THE TERRORISTS ‘Sax Skandal’*. [21 tracks; 76 minutes]

CD 2: VON LMO ‘This Is Pop Rock’; FAST FLOYD & THE FAMOUS FIREBIRDS 'Frogs Legs'; CELLMATES 'Everybody Wants'*; SCIENCE 'Twistco'*; BMTs 'Clothes & Alchohol'; KEIRAN LISCOE & THE ATTITUDE 'Hello St. Vincents'; JAYNE COUNTY 'Max's Kansas City'; FREDDY FROGS 'Days On Earth'; JOY RYDER 'Johnny Was A Fireman'; SEA MONSTER 'Halloween In Detroit'*; RUBY & THE REDNECKS 'Ruby From The Wrong Side of Town'; JOEY KELLY ALLSTARS 'Amanda'*; PHIL MARCADE 'All Quite Wasted'*; JAYNE COUNTY 'Max's Kansas City (reprise)'; IGGY POP 'Rock Action' (live); NICO 'Saeta' (live); GANG WAR 'These Boots Are Made For Walking' (live); JOHNNY THUNDERS & THE HEARTBREAKERS 'MIA' (live)*; SID VICIOUS & THE IDOLS 'Take A Chance' (live)* (* = previously unreleased). [19 tracks; 75 minutes]

An epochal compilation that exposed adventurous listeners to radical new artists, Max's Kansas City 1976 & Beyond is, simply put, to die for. It is en masse of incredible talent, raw music, and sounds that ooze blood, sweat and tears for their chosen musical course.

Furthermore, as you listen to them, this fantastic double album of tracks makes you wish you had actually been there the nights they recorded them all. Whether you were a punk rocker, a mod, a blues hound, or a guru of twang, this captured era of live music was most definitely one to have visually captured with your own eyes and ears. But, as most of us didn't, Max's Kansas City 1976 & Beyond now becomes our musical mecca of memories.

As you can now see, Max's Kansas City 1976 & Beyond includes many previously unreleased tracks and rarities. Compiled by Peter Crowley, who also contributes notes detailing the history of the album. Writer, musician and Max's scenester Jimi LaLumia provides historical overview sleeve-notes along with biographies of the artists in a truly incredible 20-page booklet.

[FYI - The club was recently recreated by Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger when filming their 'Vinyl' HBO series, set in the mid-70's New York City rock scene!].

'Max's Kansas City: 1976 & Beyond' 2CD Purchase Link

'Max's Kansas City: 1976 & Beyond' Double Vinyl Purchase Link

Title - 'Leon Russell' [Translucent Blue 180g Vinyl]
Artist - Leon Russell

For those not in the know, the late Leon Russell (who in 2011 was inducted into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!) was an American musician and songwriter who was involved with numerous bestselling pop music records over the course of his 60-year career. His genres included pop, rock, blues, country, bluegrass, standards, gospel and surf records. He was awarded six gold records.

As a pianist, he played in his early years on albums by the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean. On his first album, Leon Russell, in 1970, the musicians included Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr and George Harrison. One of his biggest early fans, Elton John said Russell was a "mentor" and "inspiration" and they went on to prove that when they recorded their album The Union in 2010; which earned them a Grammy nomination.

That very same debut album, the self-titled Leon Russell is now being loving released on Translucent Blue 180g Vinyl via Audio Fidelity this April 28th, 2017. This quite brilliant, fluid and at all times heartfelt debut solo album by the singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Russell, followed his debut with the Midnight String Quartet; and a production by Russell and Marc Benno billed as the Asylum Choir.

Side 1:
1. 'A Song For You'
2. 'Dixie Lullaby'
3. 'I Put A Spell On You'
4. 'Shoot Out On The Plantation'
5. 'Hummingbird'

Side 2:
1. 'Delta Lady'
2. 'Prince Of Peace'
3. 'Give Peace A Chance'
4. 'Hurtsome Body'
5. 'Pisces Apple Lady'
6. 'Roll Away The Stone'

Side 1 of this Limited Edition vinyl LP begins with the Elton Johnesque gentle piano beauty, and his standard-to-be 'A Song For You' and that's backed up by the upbeat, Louisiana flow of 'Dixie Lullaby' ("That Louisiana man's gonna get you yet with his Dixie lullaby") and the guitar vs. piano battle of 'I Put A Spell on You'. 'Shoot Out On The Plantation' is as close to anything Elton John ever composed, and then the first side of this luxurious vinyl comes to a close with the gently flowing, and subsequently much-covered delight, 'Hummingbird.'

Flipping the album over (I just love saying that and actually physically doing that) and Side 2 begins with one of my own personal favorites, 'Delta Lady'. Recorded and popularized by a generation by Joe Cocker, the song in its original form here relaxes the core gusto somewhat and focuses more on Russell's sublime vocals. 'Prince Of Peace' is along next and that's backed by the spiritual Gospel church sounds of 'Give Peace A Chance.'

Next up is the heart on his sleeve, pleading piano wonderment of 'Hurtsome Body', which he expertly follows up with the jangly, fun, London Town expose of 'Pisces Apple Lady.' The album then comes to a close with the piano-boogie of 'Roll Away The Stone.' An incredible album from start to finish, and what a way to introduce yourself to the music scene. If you want bluesy rock 'n' roll at its finest, this is THE defining album of the era.

'Leon Russell' [Translucent Blue 180g Vinyl] LP Purchase Link

Title - 'Vindicated Soul'
Artist - Cornell Carter

For those not in the know, C.C. aka Cornell Carter has just released his fourth full-length album, Vindicated Soul this past May 19th, 2017. A quite superb collection of 8 new tracks, the collection is a tribute to the classic Soul and R&B music he grew up with.

Known for his phenomenal stage presence, his high-powered audience engagement, and his extraordinary and dynamic vocal skills, his strong love for music ensures that once purchased Vindicated Soul will quickly become an album that you have to have in your collection of quality music.

1. 'Intro'
2. 'All the Way Around'
3. 'Watching You'
4. 'I Choose You'
5. 'Next to You'
6. 'Where Do We Go'
7. 'Brother's Gonna Work It Out'
8. 'Look What You've Done for Me'

C.C.'s beautiful, absolutely spot on perfect vocal delivery on all 8 tracks showcase, without fault, his impressive vocal range. Sometimes smooth, sometimes funky, yet always engaging and infectious, the man knows his way around a mic, that's for sure.

With his smooth soul vocal styling coming across on each track, its high praise that you cannot stop yourself from reflecting back to the days of Luther, Teddy, Ronald Isley, and for sure Al Green. Cornell's ode to the power of Soul music, Vindicated Soul and how each song reminds us of love, respect, admiration and, most of all getting together and having a good time is, simply put, one of the best albums of 2017.

'Vindicated Soul' CD Purchase Link

Cornell Carter @ Facebook

Title - 'Dog Eats Rabbit'
Artist - Blackburner vs. DMX

For those not in the know, Blackburner is an American electronic music duo. It consists of Skyla Talon. Influenced by the Skyla's background as a guitarist and vocalist, Blackburner combines elements of dubstep, metal, and electronica. Talon created buzz for Blackburner by remixing tracks and releasing original compositions through Cleopatra Records, initially placing Blackburner alongside dubstep artists such as Rusko, Nero and Dubba Jonny.

Earl Simmons, professionally known as DMX, is an American rapper, record producer, and actor. In 1999, DMX released his best-selling album ... And Then There Was X and since then he has been featured in films such as Belly, Romeo Must Die, Exit Wounds, and Cradle 2 the Grave.

Now the two musical forces have come together to create a quite brilliant and historic collaboration. Chock full of head bobbing beats, devastating drops, and viciously spit lyrics, Dog Eats Rabbit (out now via Cleopatra Records) showcases hip hop legend DMX's vocal skills alongside the dubstep/trap work of renowned duo Blackburner.

1. 'We Gonna Tear Shit Up'
2. 'Shut Em Down'
3. 'Game'
4. 'How We Roll'
5. 'Dog Fight'
6. 'Let It Go'
7. 'Sin'
8. 'Dog Madness'
9. 'Get Back on My Feet'
10. 'Dog Eats Rabbit'
11. 'The Fight'
12. 'Motherfuckas Want'
13. 'Chains in Your Brain'
14. 'Fuck With (RR Anthem)'
15. 'Assassins'
16. 'Hurting'
17. 'Something Goin' Tonight'
18. 'WTF Bitch'
19. 'Don't Get It Twisted'
20. 'Preach'
21. 'Meet Me Outside'

Trust me when I say that this album is not for the faint-hearted music listeners out there! From moment number one, the beats pound and DMX launches himself lyrically into the ocean of dubstep vibes that Blackburner willingly provide.

Opening track 'We Gonna Tear Shit Up' builds like a speeding train until it speeds around the rails of the thunderous back beats as if it could derail at any given moment. Whereas the first track was more about the introduction of Blackburner, 'Shut Em Down' is DMX's track. As too is 'Game,' a cut that, at times, turns very Industrial Goth in its creation. 'How We Roll' is one of the more melodic tracks and that's backed by the Industrial Steel of 'Dog Fight' and then the Gary Numanesque 'Let It Go'. A reposing of his 2003 hit 'X Gon' Give It to Ya'', it's definitely another stand out track here.

The Neo Dubstep Trance of 'Sin' is next and that's followed by the guitar led 'Dog Madness', 'Get Back On My Feet', and then the title track, the free flowing beauty 'Dog Eats Rabbit.' The trippy flip flop dub of 'The Fight' is paced to feel like you're in the ring with DMX and that's backed by the hometown life storytelling of 'Motherfuckas Want.' The roar of 'Chains In Your Brain' is next, but is eclipsed by the endless drop beats of 'Fuck With (RR Anthem)' and then the soaringly epic 'Assassins.'

'Hurting' is along next and allows Blackburner to incorporate more melodic, techno pop sounds to the back beats, and they back that up with most adventurous track on the album, 'Something Goin' Tonight.' 'WTF Bitch' allows DMX to whip up a ranting storm, which he also drags kicking and screaming into 'Don't Get It Twisted.' The album then comes to a close - after one of the most exhaustive musical listening journeys I have ever had - with 'Preach,' and then the musical amalgamation of sounds on 'Meet Me Outside.'

'Dog Eats Rabbit' CD Purchase Link

DMX @ Facebook

Blackburner @ Facebook

Title - 'Dreamgirls (Original London Cast Recording)'
Artist - Various

For those not in the know, 'DREAMGIRLS' transports you to a revolutionary time in American music history and charts the tumultuous journey of a young female singing trio from Chicago, Illinois called ‘The Dreams’. They learn the hard lesson that show business is as tough as it is fabulous.

Thirty-five years after the groundbreaking original Broadway production, this UK and West End premiere of the sensational Tony Award® and Olivier Award-winning musical 'DREAMGIRLS' is now playing to sold out houses and standing ovations every night at the Savoy Theatre, London.

'DREAMGIRLS' features the classic songs ‘And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going’, ‘I Am Changing’, ‘Listen’ and ‘One Night Only’. This incredibly, spectacular even new production is directed and choreographed by the hugely successful, Tony® and Olivier award-winning Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon, Aladdin, Something Rotten!) and Amber Riley (Glee) plays Effie White.

Masterworks Broadway proudly announces the release of the highly anticipated Original London Cast Recording of Dreamgirls. Recorded live in its entirety at the aforementioned Savoy Theatre in London's West End, the album captures the on-stage exhilaration of the original cast, the 14-piece band and audience.

Disc 1:
1. 'I'm Looking for Something, Baby' - Nicholas Bailey
2. 'Goin' Downtown' - Original London Cast of Dreamgirls Ensemble
3. 'Takin' the Long Way Home' - Gabriel Mokake
4. 'Move' - Liisi LaFontaine
5. 'Fake Your Way to the Top' - Liisi LaFontaine
6. 'Cadillac Car' - Tyrone Huntley
7. 'Steppin' to the Bad Side' - Tyrone Huntley
8. 'Party, Party' - Tyrone Huntley
9. 'I Want You, Baby' - Liisi LaFontaine
10. 'Family' - Tyrone Huntley
11. 'Dreamgirls' - Liisi LaFontaine
12. 'Press Conference' - Liisi LaFontaine
13. 'Heavy' - Liisi LaFontaine
14. 'It's All Over' - Tyrone Huntley
15. 'And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going' - Amber Riley

Disc 2:
1. 'Love, Love You Baby' - Tyrone Huntley
2. 'When I First Saw You' - Liisi LaFontaine
3. 'I Am Changing' - Amber Riley
4. 'Ain't No Party' - Ibinabo Jack
5. 'I Meant You No Harm' - Adam J Bernard
6. 'The Rap' - Rohan Richards
7. 'I Miss You, Old Friend' - Tyrone Huntley
8. 'One Night Only' - Rohan Richards
9. 'I'm Somebody' - Tyrone Huntley
10. 'Listen' - Liisi LaFontaine
11. 'Effie White's Gonna Win/ You Are My Dream (Reprise)' - Tyrone Huntley
12. 'Hard To Say Goodbye' - Lily Frazer
13. 'Dreamgirls (Reprise)' - Lily Frazer

This delightful, perky, soulful story-driven score from 'DREAMGIRLS' showcases an incredible depth in vocal talent. Sure, Liisi LaFontaine and, for the most part, Tyrone Huntley get their tonsils wrapped around more than their fair share of the 28 tracks, but that's ok - and deserved.

Overall, the entire 'Dreamgirls' legendary recording is highly satisfactory and even via just the music alone, you can follow the story line along nicely. A well played-through drama with sung dialogue that's crisp and balanced, never over projected or under achieved, this new double disc collection is one chock full of hits.

This vibrant 2CD cast recording features Amber Riley as Effie White, Liisi LaFontaine as Deena Jones and Ibinabo Jack as Lorrell Robinson - making up the soulful singing trio 'The Dreams'; JoeAaron Reid as Curtis Taylor Jr, Adam J. Bernard as Jimmy Early, Tyrone Huntley as C.C. White, Nicholas Bailey as Marty and Lily Frazer as Michelle Morris.

The ensemble includes Michael Afemare, Jocasta Almgill, Callum Aylott, Hugo Batista, Samara Casteallo, Chloe Chambers, Carly Mercedes Dyer, Joelle Dyson, Kimmy Edwards, Candace Furbert, Nathan Graham, Ashley Luke Lloyd, Gabriel Mokake, Sian Nathaniel-James, Sean Parkins, Kirk Patterson, Ryan Reid, Rohan Richards, Noel Samuels, Durone Stokes and Tosh Wanogho-Maud.

Title - 'Groundhog Day The Musical (Orig. Broadway Cast)'
Artist - Various

For those not in the know, 'Groundhog Day' is a musical comedy with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, and a book by Danny Rubin. Based on the 1993 film of the same name written by Rubin and Harold Ramis, the musical made its world premiere try-out at The Old Vic in London in summer 2016 and opened at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway on 17 April 2017.

The plot centers around Phil Connors, an arrogant Pittsburgh TV weatherman who, during an assignment covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, finds himself in a time loop, repeating the same day again and again.

Masterworks Broadway, in partnership with Broadway Records, is proud to announce the release of the Original Broadway Cast Recording of 'Groundhog Day'. Starring two-time Tony Award nominee Andy Karl, 'Groundhog Day' is the new musical comedy about, well, you know, living life to the fullest one day at a time.

1. 'Overture'
2. 'There Will Be Sun'
3. 'Day One'
4. 'Day Two'
5. 'Day Three'
6. 'Stuck'
7. 'Nobody Cares'
8. 'Philandering'
9. 'One Day'
10. 'Entr'acte'
11. 'Playing Nancy'
12. 'Hope'
13. 'Everything About You'
14. 'If I Had My Time Again'
15. 'Everything About You (Reprise)'
16. 'Night Will Come'
17. 'Philanthropy'
18. 'Punxsutawney Rock'
19. 'Seeing You'

With a show that has won the Olivier award for best musical in the UK and had very positive reviews upon it opening on Broadway, and a composer who did very well indeed with the music and lyrics of 'Matilda,' I was really looking forward to giving this a spin.

In truth, and being a lover of the actual TV show (God Bless, Bill Murray), the album started well enough with a lively 'Overture' and a great opening chorus within 'There Will Be Sun.' One problem with the repetition of the story is that it lent itself to repetition within the music. The second act of the CD was much better than the first, a comment that I would apply to the 'Matilda' CD also, funnily enough.

Here the romantic relationship that develops between Rita and Phil results in some very nice songs and sequences. Indeed, having listened to this CD twice now, back to back, the second act gives very prominent solos to Nancy (the pneumatic blonde with whom Phil has a one-night stand), and Ned Ryerson, the irritating insurance salesman played so memorably by Stephen Tobolowsky in the 1993 film.

All in all though, there were many lines in almost every one of these songs that made me smile or laugh. Although I would like to point out that some of the quieter tracks, such as 'Night Will Come', Phil’s sweetly fragile 'Everything About You', and the finale; the delightfully lovely 'Seeing You' are all well worth the musical price of admission.

Title - 'Initial Success: Expanded Edition'
Artist - BA Robertson

For those not in the know, Brian Alexander "B. A." Robertson is a Scottish musician, actor, composer and songwriter. He had a string of hits in the late '70s and early '80s, characterized by catchy pop tunes and jaunty, humorous lyrics, most notably 'Bang Bang', a tongue-in-cheek commentary on famous historical and fictional couples.

He also wrote with Mike Rutherford the Grammy-nominated and Ivor Novello Award-winning 'The Living Years which became a #1 hit in the USA, Canada, Australia and Ireland; reaching #2 in his native UK.

BA Robertson enjoyed his most commercially successful period while signed to Asylum Records in those aforementioned late '70s and early '80s. Indeed, during that period, BA was rarely out of the charts with hit singles.

Amazingly, BA's Asylum Records recordings have never officially been reissued on CD - until now! Compiled by BA himself with remastered sound, new sleeve-notes by Eddie Harrison and each reissue boasting numerous bonus tracks, BA's Asylum Records albums have finally been treated to the reissue program they deserve.

OK, before we begin I have to fully admit that I loved everything that BA put out back in the late '70s and '80s. Adored this debut album so much that it was quite easily my go-to-vinyl album to play whenever I wanted to hear some good music. The beats, the lyrics, the whole musical deal made this debut of his a magical one, that's for sure.

So, with that said, first issued in 1980, Initial Success was promoted by the hit singles 'Bang Bang' (No. 2), 'Knocked It Off' (No. 8), 'To Be Or Not To Be' (No. 9) and 'Kool In The Kaftan' (No. 17), all of which helped propel the album to #32 on the UK charts.

Among the wealth of bonus tracks here on this fantastic Expanded Edition are three non-LP B-Sides, a unique interpretation of 'Bang Bang' by the Portsmouth Sinfonia and three recordings captured at a rare live performance by BA at Edinburgh Festival in 2004.

1. 'Gonzo for My Girlfriend'
2. 'Man or a Mouse?'
3. 'Goosebumps'
4. 'Fallin in Luv'
5. 'Kool in the Kaftan'
6. 'Bang Bang'
7. 'Eat Your Heart Out Sandy Nelson'
8. 'The B Side'
9. 'To Be or Not to Be'
10. 'She's a Beezer'
11. 'England's Green & Pheasant Land'
12. 'Walking Rover'
13. 'Knocked It Off'
14. 'Here I Sit'
15. '2(B) B Side the C Side' (B-Side)
16. 'Sci Fi' (B-Side)
17. 'Baby I'm a Bat' (B-Side)
18. 'Goosebumps (Single Version)'
19. 'Bang Bang' (By the Portsmouth Sinfonia)
20. 'Language of Love/Hot Shot (Live at the Venue, London, 11/4/80)'
21. 'Bang Bang (Live at Edinburgh Festival 2004)'
22. 'To Be or Not to Be (Live at Edinburgh Festival 2004)'
23. 'Kool in the Kaftan (Live at Edinburgh Festival 2004)'

OK, one more truth here is that as much as this CD was ready to play, the entire original album obviously coming before the bonus tracks, I actually unleashed the old vinyl copy of this album to listen back to instead. Man, it felt SO good to listen to these songs again, every one of them a true BA gem to behold. Flashed me straight back to my youth and to times I never thought would ever change.

Anyway, first up is 'Gonzo for My Girlfriend', a track that opens with a choir-like introduction before heading into a song chock full of complete and utter nonsense ("She swings from the rafters in black bra and garters. I'm in high heels and stockings, hey I hear you mocking me. But my girl says when at home, relax in ladies clothes.") Anyway, next up is the frenetic Costello-esque anthemic 'Man Or Mouse?' and that's backed by the methodical soft rock of 'Goosebumps,' and then the Motown R&B feel of 'Fallin' In Love.'

Next up is the first of the four hit singles, the brilliant Eastern-flavored 'Kool In The Kaftan' (as for what it's about, try and listen to the "announcer" as the song plays out) and that's followed by another one in 'Bang Bang.' A humorous commentary on the pitfalls of love, it also includes, weirdly, a reference to John Fruin, who was head of Warner Music Group at the time!

Man, just these two songs alone flash me right back to when I first purchased this album. It's still one of the best albums that I own and if you don't own it, either on vinyl or cassette, I urge you to buy this splendid new Expanded Edition CD.

Moving on and next up is the very clever, very addictive 'Eat Your Heart Out Sandy Nelson,' a tribute of sorts to one of the best-known American rock drummers of the early 1960s, and that's backed by an alarm clock awakening, combined with an announcement about that latter songs chart place, before we get BA doing his best Elvis impression on the buoyant 'The B Side.'

A chance to be at one with the Bard, 'To Be or Not to Be' is another of his hits, and a lovely, still wonderful to hear freeflowing jaunt of a bubbly song. That's backed by the upbeat, raucous even 'She's a Beezer', and that's followed by the quiet, low brow sermon-like, 'England's Green & Pheasant Land'. The original album then rounds out with low pop bounce of 'Walking Rover', the big chart hit 'Knocked It Off', and then the short 'Here I Sit.'

Into the bonus tracks we fall and we get three B-Sides in a row, beginning with the upbeat rockabilly of '2(B) B Side the C Side', a pop blast of fun in 'Sci Fi', and then the slow roll of 'Baby I'm a Bat.' A Single Version of 'Goosebumps' sounds just like the album version to me and then comes a genuine curiosity for me, 'Bang Bang' (By the Portsmouth Sinfonia). In truth, I seriously wanted to love it, like it even, but it's just a horrible mess of a track! Seriously, it sounds like everyone is off key, not on the same musical page, and half the Sinfonia never even showed up! Not unsurprisingly, and since having performed this track, the Portsmouth Sinfonia has remained dormant for the past 36 years!

Moving steadily on and the quite brilliant 'Language of Love/Hot Shot (Live at the Venue, London, 11/4/80)' is along next. As I never got to see BA perform live, this is a real gem for me to now behold and it's followed by three acoustic piano hits performed at the Edinburgh Festival 2004: 'Bang Bang,' 'To Be or Not to Be,' and then this Expanded Edition album rounds out with 'Kool in the Kaftan.'

Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk

'Initial Success: Expanded Edition' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Hello, Dolly! (New Broadway Cast Recording)'
Artist - Bette Midler

For those not in the know, 'Hello, Dolly!' (2017) brings a new incarnation of Dolly Levi to the fore. That's right, the matchmaker and lady-about-town in New York City near the turn of the 20th century is now undertaken by the only woman that has never had the role that, well, should always have done. Bette Midler shines as Dolly in this new revival – directed by Jerry Zaks and just nominated for 10 Tony Awards.

Her co-star is David Hyde Pierce, who plays her potential love interest, Horace Vandergelder, and boy, is he the business too! I mean, David aside, there have been many Dolly's that have come and gone - Carol Channing, Pearl Bailey, Ginger Rogers, Ethel Merman, Mary Martin, and, in the film, Barbra Streisand - but, wow, Bette is just the best thing in this role since sliced bread.

1. 'Overture'
2. 'Call on Dolly'
3. 'I Put My Hand In'
4. 'It Takes a Woman'
5. 'Put on Your Sunday Clothes'
6. 'Ribbons Down My Back'
7. 'Motherhood'
8. 'Dancing'
9. 'Before the Parade Passes By'
10. 'Penny in My Pocket'
11. 'Elegance'
12. 'The Waiters' Gallop'
13. 'Hello, Dolly!'
14. 'It Only Takes a Moment'
15. 'So Long Dearie'
16. 'Finale'

This 'Hello, Dolly!' is the first new production of this classic musical (based on Thornton Wilder’s The Matchmaker) to appear on Broadway since it opened more than fifty years ago. It pays tribute to the original work of legendary director/choreographer Gower Champion, which has been hailed both then and now as one of the greatest stagings in musical theater history.

Indeed, Larry Hochman's orchestrations are spot on perfect with regard paying tribute to the traditional feel of the original. Interspersed within the fine vocal moments we get some banjo, a string-band jazz feel, and other such elements to ground us in the specific time and place.

Title - Julie's Greenroom: Music From The Netflix Original
Artist - Various

For those not in the know, Julie’s Greenroom is an American educational pre-school television series that was released on Netflix in March 17th, 2017.

The show stars Julie Andrews (best known as the star of The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins) who is joined by her assistant Gus (Giullian Yao Gioiello) and “Greenies,” a cast of original puppets built by The Jim Henson Company.

With guest stars such as Alec Baldwin, Carol Burnett, Ellie Kemper and David Hyde Pierce each performing original songs whilst at the same time (sometimes) also engaging with the puppets in a specific area of performing arts, 'Julie's Greenroom' is yet another Netflix original TV show hit.

1. 'Mash-Up (Theme Song)' - Performed by Giullian Yao Gioiello
2. 'Anything Can Happen In the Theater' - Performed by Julie Andrews and Giullian Yao Gioiello
3. 'Hugo' - Performed by Ryan Shore
4. 'Shakespeare Shakes' - Performed by Giullian Yao Gioiello, John Tartaglia, Jennifer Barnhart, Frankie Cordero, Stephanie D'Abruzzo, Dorien Davies, and Tyler Bunch
5. 'Spike’s Despair' - Performed by Ryan Shore
6. 'Let Your Voice Be Heard' - Performed by Giullian Yao Gioiello, John Tartaglia, Jennifer Barnhart, Frankie Cordero, Stephanie D'Abruzzo, Dorien Davies
7. 'Cheering' - Performed by Ryan Shore
8. 'When You Act' - Performed by Julie Andrews and Alec Baldwin
9. 'Fizz Breaks Joshua’s Violin' - Performed by Ryan Shore
10. 'Julie & Gus' - Performed by Ryan Shore
11. 'Yes And' - Performed by Ellie Kemper, Giullian Yao Gioiello, John Tartaglia, Jennifer Barnhart, Frankie Cordero, Stephanie D'Abruzzo, Dorien Davies
12. 'Circus Day' - Performed by Ryan Shore
13. 'You Gotta Bring the Wow' - Performed by Giullian Yao Gioiello, John Tartaglia, Jennifer Barnhart, Frankie Cordero, Stephanie D'Abruzzo, Dorien Davies
14. 'Sticky Handshake' - Performed by Ryan Shore
15. 'Juggling & Handstands' - Performed by Ryan Shore
16. 'Cique du Soleil' - Performed by Ryan Shore
17. 'Snap It' - Performed by Giullian Yao Gioiello, John Tartaglia, Jennifer Barnhart, Frankie Cordero, Stephanie D'Abruzzo, Dorien Davies
18. 'Runaway Cart' - Performed by Ryan Shore
19. 'Costume Workshop' - Performed by Ryan Shore
20. 'Someone Else’s Shoes' - Performed by Tituss Burgess, Giullian Yao Gioiello, John Tartaglia, Jennifer Barnhart, Frankie Cordero, Stephanie D’Abruzzo, Dorien Davies
21. 'A Scarftacular Day' - Performed by Ryan Shore
22. 'Wheelchair Steed' - Performed by Ryan Shore
23. 'Circle Up Greenies' - Performed by Ryan Shore
24. 'Take A Leap' - Performed by David Hyde Pierce, Julie Andrews, John Tartaglia, Jennifer Barnhart, Frankie Cordero, Stephanie D’Abruzzo, Dorien Davies
25. 'Mash-Up The Musical' - Performed by Ryan Shore
26. 'Anything Can Happen in the Theater, Part 2' - Performed by Julie Andrews, Carol Burnett, Giullian Yao Gioiello, John Tartaglia, Jennifer Barnhart, Frankie Cordero, Stephanie D’Abruzzo, Dorien Davies, Tyler Bunch
27. 'Mash-Up (Reprise Finale)' - Performed by John Tartaglia, Jennifer Barnhart, Frankie Cordero, Stephanie D’Abruzzo, Dorien Davies, Tyler Bunch

The score to 'Julie's Greenroom: Music From The Netflix Original Series' is composed by Ryan Shore. A composer and songwriter for film, television, records, games, and theater, he is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music and also the nephew of legendary composer Howard Shore.

So, what does Ryan Shore bring to the composing table here? Well, yes, there are an amazing 27 tracks here, but steady your beating heart as their total running time is actually just less than 40 minutes in total!

That aside, 15 of the tracks are instrumental which means that over half of the track listing is comprised of short instrumental tracks that generally go nowhere. As for the songs themselves, they are very good, to be quite honest. The two opening tracks, 'Mash-Up (Theme Song)' and 'Anything Can Happen In the Theater' are fun, upbeat, bouncy and both also feature as reprises at the end of the soundtrack.

But, sadly, as I really wanted to love this new compositional album from Shore, the other tracks are very repetitive, overly simplistic in their foundations, and may well only appeal to small children. That all said, I did still like the album and it is going to please a lot of parents on road trips when their kids keep requesting it from the back seats, trust me!

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Title - 'Bosch (Music From The Amazon Original Series)'
Artist - Jesse Voccia

For those not in the know, 'Bosch' is an American police procedural web television series produced by Amazon Studios and Fabrik Entertainment. It stars Titus Welliver as Los Angeles Police detective Harry Bosch.

The show was developed for Amazon by Eric Overmyer and the first season takes its inspiration from three of Michael Connelly’s novels: City of Bones, Echo Park, and The Concrete Blonde.

Varčse Sarabande have now just released Bosch – Amazon Original Soundtrack digitally (April 21st) and on CD (April 28th, 2017) and boy, is it a gripping collection of compositions. Indeed, the album features the series theme song 'Can't Let Go' performed by Caught A Ghost and the original music from Seasons 1, 2, and 3; all composed by Jesse Voccia (The Big C, A Haunted House 2).

1. 'Can’t Let Go' - Performed by Caught A Ghost (2:58)
2. 'End of Watch'** (1:33)
3. 'Cabin Fever'** (1:48)
4. 'View from Above'* (1:46)
5. 'Loose Ends'* (2:25)
6. 'Watching the Tapes'** (1:58)
7. 'Finding the Trail'** (1:51)
8. 'To Mom’s House'* (1:18)
9. 'Accessing Records'** (1:24)
10. 'Rodeo'** (3:07)br> 11. 'Los Angeles'* (1:37)
12. 'Mulholland Drive'** (0:56)
13. 'Suspect Captured'* (2:35)
14. 'Tangled In Her Web'** (1:51)
15. 'Searching The Hotel Room'** (1:17)
16. 'Chasing Chilton'** (1:10)
17. 'Victim Routine'** (1:41)
18. 'Cruising'* (3:02)
19. 'The Crime Scene'*** (0:58)
20. 'Kidnapped'** (2:55)
21. 'Drop House Raid'** (1:34)
22. 'Mystery Lady'*** (0:56)
23. 'Goodnight'*** (0:45)
24. 'Goodbye Sharky'*** (1:34)
25. 'Scoping The Crib'*** (1:19)
26. 'Rescue'*** (1:25)
27. 'Keep Him For Me'*** (0:47)
28. 'Finding The Stash'*** (1:03)
29. 'Keisha Calls'** (2:22)
30. 'Off The Books'** (1:19)
31. 'Ocean Of Containers'*** (1:19)
32. 'Walls Closing In'* (1:11)
33. 'Long Drive Home'** (1:41)
34. 'Detective Games'* (0:33)
35. 'Morning In America'** (2:19)
36. 'Wandering Cash'*** (1:22)
37. 'Might Really Be Him'* (1:18)
38. 'Aftermath'* (1:07)
39. 'Bosch End Title' (1:20)

*Season One
**Season Two
***Season Three

Jesse Voccia is a composer, multi-instrumentalist and music producer who has worked on more than 50 feature films from studio blockbusters to independent documentaries. His work here on Bosch – Amazon Original Soundtrack is second to none as he tells the story of all three seasons track by track, lump by lump (if you watch the TV show you'll know Bosch gives and takes his lumps), and twist by turn.

"The first thing I actually scored was the first scene of the first show," said Voccia, in a recent interview. "It is a relatively long foot pursuit through downtown LA. It has almost a "French Connection" feeling to it with several changes of atmosphere, location and intensity. It is the first time we meet Harry Bosch and his partner Jerry Edgar."

It's evident when you listen to this soundtrack that a lot of what you hear on 'Bosch' is played on a Sho-Bud pedal steel guitar. Well, you may not know what the instrument is, per say, but you'll know you've heard the darn thing a lot somewhere else, that's for sure. Indeed, the reason for that is that the instrument is usually associated with country music.

But here on the 'Bosch' soundtrack Voccia has found an interesting way to use it that creates a "noir" atmosphere that perhaps leans ahead in time instead of evoking the past. As Voccia himself says about the instrument and what is can achieve for him, "To paraphrase a line from the film "Chinatown", 'LA is a city next to the ocean, but also built on the edge of a desert.'"

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Title - Devil's Domain[Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]
Artist - Various

For those not in the know, not unlike myself, the film 'Devil's Domain' tells the story of Lisa Pomson, a troubled, social media obsessed teen, conflicted with her sexuality and her parents misunderstanding of her.

When Lisa gets secretly filmed binging, purging, and masterbating the video goes viral and she suffers extreme cyber-bullying. Suicidal, and on the brink of insanity, a beautiful, mysterious stranger (the Devil) strikes up an online relationship with her.

They grow close and meet and the stranger offers to help in exchange for a favor. As part of her helping Lisa, she gets rid of the bullies. But a big twist of events start to happen in Lisa's world and she regrets the agreement she has just made with the Devil.

Disc 1:
1. Vowws Feat. Gary Numan - 'Losing Myself in You'
2. Iggy & the Stooges - 'I'm Sick of You'
3. Big Jay McNeely - 'I've Been Mistreated'
4. Xynn - 'Schooldays'
5. Taco - 'Puttin' on the Ritz'
6. Missing Persons - 'Covert Operation'
7. DMX - 'Y'all Niggaz'
8. The Warlocks - 'You Destroy'
9. Geri X - 'Small Secrets'
10. Onyx - 'Slam (Party Mix)'
11. Brainticket - 'Watchin' You'
12. Sons of Hippies - 'Mirrorball'
13. Blackburner - 'Burn! Burn! Burn!'
14. The Anix - 'Mask'
15. Magic Wands - 'Chariot'
16. Pink Velvet - 'Allez Prenons Un Autre Verre'
17. 3Teeth - 'Degrade'
18. Nektar - 'It's All Over'

Disc 2:
1. Le Seul Élément - 'Mersey Mad Beat (Edit)'
2. Philippe Besombes - 'Géant'
3. Luna 13 - 'Snitches Get Stitches'
4. 'Enter the Chambers'*
5. Pascal Languirand - 'Oiseau de Cristal'
6. Carved Souls - 'Interlude'
7. Burman Feat. Jessica Jean - 'Take Me Away'
8. 'The Devil's Domain I'*
9. Chrome - 'The Clairaudient Syndrome (Excerpt)'
10. Inhalt - 'Noise (Instrumental)'
11. 'Sweet Delight'*
12. 'The Devil's Domain II Feat. Simon House'*
13. Fantome - 'Je Suis a Toi (Steven Severin Remix)'
14. Hedersleben - 'Upgoer, Pt. 2 (Edit)'
15. 'Devil's Lair'*
16. Bestial Mouths - 'Gulls'
17. Radclyffe Hall - 'Omg'

*Original score by Jürgen Engler

Now THIS is some soundtrack, just me! Chock full of known and unknown (well, to me at least) artists all vying to grab your ears and make them bleed accordingly, this hardcore, non-stop 'Devil's Domain' soundtrack is most definitely a musical raging steroid!

It also comes as a 2-CD set, packaged in a deluxe gatefold wallet with special fold-out booklet. I mean, come on now, this whole experience could just not get any better. Well, OK, if a copy of the movie was also inside that would put the cherry on the cake, I've give you that!

Regardless, and moving along, this mega sprawling soundtrack to the cult cyber horror film (starring Michael Madsen, "Kill Bill", "Reservoir Dogs") kicks off in fine style with the Goth Metal of Vowws (featuring new wave legend Gary Numan), which is backed by the godfather of punk Iggy & the Stooges, and then a short jog later and Missing Persons join the party.

I mean, come on now. Add into the mix the music of shoegaze darlings Magic Wands, new-psych band The Warlocks, industrial behemoths 3Teeth, hip hop legends Onyx and DMX, Carved Souls, punk legends Chrome, industrial duo Blackburner, and so many others, and this album becomes a legend unto itself.

Also featuring an original score composed by Jürgen Engler (of German industrial heroes Die Krupps), this 'Devil's Domain [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack' is a mirrorball of devastingly apt tracks that lay the foundation to the movie just perfectly.

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Roots Rock N Universal Love'
Artist - Kwame Binea Shakedown

For those not in the know, not unlike myself, Soul rocker Kwame Binea Shakedown was born in West London with native origins in Ghana and now living in NYC. He is a self-proclaimed rocker to the core, but has peppered his music with a unique brand of "Roots Rock" which embodies his fertile and culturally diverse personal saga.

Delivering his debut album out now via 7D Media, Roots Rock N Universal Love is chock full of such musical goodness, once immersed within it you'll find it hard to remove yourself from its wondrous emotive roots.

1. 'Ain't Your Woman'
2. 'Far Away'
3. 'Setting Sun'
4. 'Love Surreal' (featuring Vernon Reid)
5. 'Mona Lisa'
6. 'In Your Eyes'
7. 'Back To You'
8. 'World On Fire'
9. 'John James Poe'
10. 'Universal Love'

Once the album begins to unfold, it's quickly brought to the fore that Kwame Binea has a charismatic, soulful, and romantic approach to these pop rock infused 10 tracks. Though not a political message artist per se, he does not shy away from questioning modern issues. Ergo, the entire album is one forthright deliverance of how to inspire people while also making them dance.

The heartfelt 'Ain't Your Woman' is a stunning way to kick the whole project off and backed with cuts such as 'Setting Sun' and 'Love Surreal' (featuring Living Color founder Vernon Reid), once invested the listener truly has nowhere to go but onward.

The funk rock guitar work of 'Mona Lisa' make it my own personal favorite here, but others such as both 'Back To You' and the probing 'World On Fire' don't miss the mark either. The album closes with 'Universal Love', a Jimmy Cliff track produced by Vernon Reid. Reworked by both men, the track is a beautiful way to bring the album to a close.

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Title - 'Love Is Calling'
Artist - Aerial School

For those not in the know, not unlike myself, Hollywood hard rockers Aerial School have just released their debut 7-track EP entitled Love Is Calling.

Chock full of big, bold and expansive songs, I know it's been said before about many recordings down the years, but playing this EP turned up to 11 is ensuring that you get the best out of its musical power!

Comprising Thirn St Germain on guitars and bass (on two songs), Dusty Bo, Dan Sugimoto and Casandra Noel on vocals, Jimmy Z on Harmonica, Makoto Izumitani, Dorian Heartsong and Jimmy Hunter on Drums, Chris Roy and Charlie Diaz on Bass, and Alex Howland on Clavinet, this is real rock 'n' roll people!

1. 'Darker Shade of Gray' (03:53)
2. 'Red Hot Flame' (03:59)
3. 'Say What You Will' (03:45)
4. 'All My Life' (04:01)
5. 'Go for a Ride' (03:56)
6. 'Love Is Calling' (03:32)
7. 'Singing a Song' (04:40)

Once the album kicks off with the '80s rock sounds of 'Darker Shade of Gray', you know there's no going back. The upbeat melodic ditty, complete with harmonica break from Jimmy Z, 'Red Hot Flame' is next, before the funky rock guitars of Thorn St. Germain on 'Say What You Will' take the album up a notch.

'All My Life' sets a new, break neck pace to the musical proceedings, and that's backed by 'Go for a Ride', the title track 'Love Is Calling' allows lead singer Dusty Bo to showcase his vocal range, before they take their foot of the gas pedal (slightly) for the EP closer 'Singing a Song'.

Written and produced by the aforementioned guitarist St. Germain, Love Is Calling is an EP that you seriously wish had been released as a full-length album. Indeed, and furthermore, you will wish it had been a double album released on vinyl, it's just that damn good!

Digital EP Purchase Link

Title - 'The Camden Promise'
Artist - Tony Natale

For those not in the know, not unlike myself, born in Camden, New Jersey, Tony Natale is a drummer/songwriter who has also won the Carmine Appice drum competition.

His musical career started on the New York scene where he played along with luminaries like Jaco Pastorius and John Fogerty. Indeed, his Rock drumming style is well defined now and combines Rock, Latin & Jazz Fusion into one incredible blend of musical conscience.

In 1994, Natale hit the European scene and quickly became one of the most transcendental drummers on the London circuit. In 1999 he even started a parallel career as a producer, setting up Drum Track Studios; while co-writing and performing with vocalist Oliver Campana.

Tony also co-wrote and produced nine songs for his new release The Camden Promise, and album he first ran with for funding on the website. His stated mission in life since year 2000 has been to spread peace and love as far and wide as he possibly can and, trust me, with this new album he's well on his way to achieving that goal.

1. 'What If You Did?'
2. 'Nobody'
3. 'Your Love Takes Me Home'
4. 'Promiseman'
5. '3 Days On The Road'
6. 'U Shine'
7. 'Boogie Around'
8. 'Insanity'
9. 'The Way You Walk'

The Camden Promise was composed along with Brian Heaven from London so as much as Nalate is from Camden, NJ, he actually wrote and demo-ed these songs at his flat (apartment) in the heart of Camden Town, London! Not one shy for asking friends to help in his process, the final song 'The Way You Walk' was written and produced along with John Idan, who is currently on tour with The Yardbirds singing and playing guitar.

We begin with the gently free flowing 'What If You Did?', a delightfully melodic track that immediately showcases the quality of what's to come perfectly. With a special group of musicians from all around the world performing on the album, the upbeat, drum-based rocker 'Nobody' is along next, and that's backed by both the all-out funk guitar rock of Dan Beaulaurier on 'Your Love Takes Me Home'. But then the whole momentum of the album changes with 'Promiseman,' a lite jazz piano track, it comes out of nowhere; but is a stunningly smooth change of pace, nonetheless.

The Santana-inspired '3 Days On The Road' is next and that's followed by Natale taking the musical reins via his drumming on 'U Shine.' The gentle rocker, with Natale on bass 'Boogie Around' is one of my personal favorites here on this new nine track album, and that's backed by the thoughtfully-paced 'Insanity.'

With Beaulaurier's guitar work featured on that aforementioned track, the album then rounds out with the Brian Heaven guitar rock of 'The Way You Walk,' a John Idan-sung track inclusive of Murray Goodman on keys, that ensures that once finished, all you feel like doing is hitting Play all over again.

Tony Natale @ Facebook

Title - 'The Sound of the Furys'
Artist - The Furys

For those not in the know, not unlike myself, formed in 1977 by lead singer/songwriter Jeff Wolfe, The Furys now consists of Chris Silagyi on guitar, Kelly Fair on drums and Dave Lewty on bass.

With the band having worked and operated in a slew of other great bands between them - power pop trailblazers 20/20, new wave pioneers Connections and The Jaguars, and The Real Impossibles, amongst many - now the band is back with a comprehensive new compilation appropriately entitled The Sound of the Furys.

1. 'Wicked White'
2. 'The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore'
3. 'Say Goodbye to the Black Sheep'
4. 'We Talk We Dance'
5. 'The Girl is Not at Home'
6. 'Tear It Down'
7. 'Waiting for Surrender'
8. 'Gotta Be'
9. 'What's Done is Done'

As the album kicks off with the drum beats from Fair, Wolfe's low verb vocals take immediate control of the track and suddenly your destiny for the next half and hour is set. The startlingly melodic 'The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore' is a pure delight to behold. A cover of the Walker Brothers' hit song from 1966 (although, just to be factual, it was originally released as a single credited to Frankie Valli as a solo artist in 1965), it is, for me, one of the stand out cuts on this brilliant album.

The jangly upbeat pop anthem 'Say Goodbye to the Black Sheep' is another great track and that's backed by Wolfe's guitar-led 'We Talk We Dance.' The Furys may well have started out as a raw punk band, but their passion for that storytelling angst is most definitely still there on these tracks. Sure they are, one and all, toned down, cushioned even, but that said, they also still manage to encapsulate that wondrous era gone by.

Next up is the power pop vibe of 'The Girl is Not at Home' and that's backed by the harder guitar work on 'Tear It Down,' the bass guitar work from Lewty on 'Waiting for Surrender' and then 'Gotta Be.' This quite brilliant new album then rounds out with the '80s new wave sounds of 'What's Done is Done,' a cut that will have you pounding your foot along to the beats of the chorus first time out, trust me.

The Furys @ Reverbnation

The Furys @ Facebook

Title - 'Things Change'
Artist - Bobby Bare

For those not in the know, not unlike myself, Bobby Bare, Sr. is an American country music singer and songwriter, best known for the songs "Detroit City" and "500 Miles Away from Home". Father of Bobby Bare Jr., also a musician, the Country Music Hall of Fame Member has now brought out his first new album in over five long years via Hypermedia Nashville.

Entitled Things Change, which also features a collaboration with Chris Stapleton on the album-closing track "Detroit City" is a 10 track work of musical wonderment, of that you have my word. With all those tracks written by Bare, Mary Gauthier, Guy Clark and the producer of the project, hit singer/songwriter Max T. Barnes, once you put this album on the only way forward is to give it your full attention.

1. 'Things Change'
2. 'The end'
3. 'Ain't No Sure Thing'
4. 'The Trouble With Angels'
5. 'I Drink'
6. 'Mercy Now'
7. 'Trophy Girl'
8. 'Where Did It Go'
9. 'You Got The Light'
10. 'Detroit City' (featuring Chris Stapleton)

From the opening song, the title track 'Things Change' you know you're in for one incredible, meaningful, heartfelt country album. "Things change, don't blink your eye, 'cause if you do, they'll pass you by" Bare sings, and as profound as that is, you feel like the man is talking about things still left undone in his own life.

The quietly melodic, thought-provoking 'The End' ("We only lasted for a while, then our love went out of style") is next and that's backed by the low-fi guitar work on 'Ain't No Sure Thing,' the amplified guitar vibe of 'The Trouble With Angels', and then the gruff storytelling of 'I Drink' ("Fish swim, birds fly, daddy's yell, momma's cry, old men sit and think ... I drink".

The upbeat country lite pop of 'Mercy Now' is a lovely mid-tempo track and that's followed by the pop country rock of 'Trophy Girl,' and then my own personal favorite on the album, the brilliant reminiscing of 'Where Did It Go' ("Time is disappearing, like jet streams in the sky"). The album then rounds out with the power country gospel of 'You Got The Light', before the aforementioned Chris Stapleton joins Bare on the sing-along track 'Detroit City.'

CD Purchase Link

Bobby Bare @ Facebook

Title - 'Bully for You: Expanded Edition'
Artist - BA Robertson

For those not in the know, Brian Alexander "B. A." Robertson is a Scottish musician, actor, composer and songwriter. He had a string of hits in the late '70s and early '80s, characterized by catchy pop tunes and jaunty, humorous lyrics, most notably 'Bang Bang', a tongue-in-cheek commentary on famous historical and fictional couples.

He also wrote with Mike Rutherford the Grammy-nominated and Ivor Novello Award-winning 'The Living Years which became a #1 hit in the USA, Canada, Australia and Ireland; reaching #2 in his native UK.

BA Robertson enjoyed his most commercially successful period while signed to Asylum Records in those aforementioned late '70s and early '80s. Indeed, during that period, BA was rarely out of the charts with hit singles.

Amazingly, BA's Asylum Records recordings have never officially been reissued on CD - until now! Compiled by BA himself with remastered sound, new sleeve-notes by Eddie Harrison and each reissue boasting numerous bonus tracks, BA's Asylum Records albums have finally been treated to the reissue program they deserve.

OK, before we begin I have to fully admit that I loved everything that BA put out back in the late '70s and '80s. Adored his debut album Initial Success (1980) so much that it was quite easily my go-to-vinyl album to play whenever I wanted to hear some good music. The beats, the lyrics, the whole musical deal made his debut a magical one, that's for sure.

So, with that said, first issued in 1981, and the follow-up to the aforementioned Initial Success, Bully For You was a rockin' good sophomore album for BA. It spawned two singles, 'Flight 19' (inspired by the US airplanes which disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle in 1945) and the opening track 'Saint Saens'.

Among the wealth of bonus tracks is a unique medley issued as a flexidisc, demos for BA's theme tunes to the TV shows 'Maggie' and The Multi-Coloured Swap Shop ('Swap Shop'), various radio versions, B-sides, and even a medley captured at a rare live performance by BA at Edinburgh Festival in 2004.

1. 'Saint Saens'
2. 'Bully for You'
3. 'Maggie'
4. 'Growing Old's Unhealthy'
5. 'Please Miss'
6. 'In the Bar at the Munich Hilton'
7. 'Dart Vader'
8. 'Hey Presto'
9. 'Flight 19'
10. 'Only One'
11. 'Turn the Volume Down'
12. 'Home Sweet Home'
13. 'Bar's on 45 (Medley)'
14. 'Alright on the Night' (B-Side)
15. 'Maggie (TV Theme Version)'
16. 'Swap Shop (Demo)'
17. 'Maggie Thatcher'
18. 'Man or a Mouse' (Live at All Saints College, Middlesex Polytechnic 21/11/80)
19. 'Gonzo for My Girlfriend' (Live at the Venue, London, 11/4/80)
20. 'Saint Saens (Medley)' (Live at Edinburgh Festival 2004)

OK, one more truth here is that as much as this CD was ready to play, the entire original album obviously coming before the bonus tracks, I (once again re: Initial Success) actually unleashed the old vinyl copy of this album to listen back to instead. Man, it felt SO good to listen to these songs again, every one of them a true BA gem to behold. Flashed me straight back to my youth and to times I never thought would ever change.

Anyway, first up is the foot-tappin' urgency of 'Saint-Saens' and that's backed by the finger-snappin' old school soft rock roll of the title track, 'Bully For You.' The gentle pop of 'Maggie' is along next and that's backed by the mid-tempo, medicinal fun of 'Growing Old's Unhealthy' ("Stop your hubby being sick over you, with a little resin and glue"), the new wave sounds of 'Please Miss,' and then the storytelling of 'In the Bar at the Munich Hilton.'

Next up is the Star Wars-themed 'Dart Vader', complete with Lightsaber "buzzes", it's backed by the magical 'Hey Presto' and then the true war legend retelling of 'Flight 19.' The car windshield wipers bat the raindrops side to side as a gentle piano introduces 'Only One' to us, and then the original album is brought to a close with the bouncy 'Turn The Volume Down' and the wedding-themed ditty 'Home Sweet Home.'

The Bonus Tracks begin with 'Bar's On 45 (Medley),' a collection of his biggest and best chart hits, weirdly with the first two thirds having been slightly, but very oh-so-noticeably sped up for the recording, and that's backed by the delightful romp of the B-Side 'Alight On The Night.' The TV Theme Show Version of 'Maggie' is next (which, to be quite honest, doesn't swerve too much from the Single Version), and that's followed by the upbeat and bouncy Demo for the TV Theme Show 'Swap Shop.'

The political gambit of a pun 'Maggie Thatcher' is next. A weird one from start to two minute finish, introduced by a faux Thatcher and continued on throughout in much the same vein, it's nothing more than BA's have-a-go at the lady herself (a track for the times, of course).

The Bonus Tracks then come to and end with a trio of live tracks. First up is the frenetic Costello-esque anthemic 'Man Or Mouse?' (Live at All Saints College, Middlesex Polytechnic 21/11/80) and that's followed by 'Gonzo for My Girlfriend' (Live at the Venue, London, 11/4/80). A song chock full of complete and utter nonsense ("She swings from the rafters in black bra and garters. I'm in high heels and stockings, hey I hear you mocking me. But my girl says when at home, relax in ladies clothes"), the last live cut is an acoustic piano 'Saint Saens (Medley)', live from the Edinburgh Festival 2004. Not much of a "medley", but a nice acoustically different version of the hit single, that's for sure!

Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk

'Bully For You: Expanded Edition' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'R&BA: Expanded Edition'
Artist - BA Robertson

For those not in the know, Brian Alexander "B. A." Robertson is a Scottish musician, actor, composer and songwriter. He had a string of hits in the late '70s and early '80s, characterized by catchy pop tunes and jaunty, humorous lyrics, most notably 'Bang Bang', a tongue-in-cheek commentary on famous historical and fictional couples.

He also wrote with Mike Rutherford the Grammy-nominated and Ivor Novello Award-winning 'The Living Years which became a #1 hit in the USA, Canada, Australia and Ireland; reaching #2 in his native UK.

BA Robertson enjoyed his most commercially successful period while signed to Asylum Records in those aforementioned late '70s and early '80s. Indeed, during that period, BA was rarely out of the charts with hit singles.

Amazingly, BA's Asylum Records recordings have never officially been reissued on CD - until now! Compiled by BA himself with remastered sound, new sleeve-notes by Eddie Harrison and each reissue boasting numerous bonus tracks, BA's Asylum Records albums have finally been treated to the reissue program they deserve.

OK, before we begin I have to fully admit that I loved everything that BA put out back in the late '70s and '80s. Adored his debut album Initial Success (1980) so much that it was quite easily my go-to-vinyl album to play whenever I wanted to hear some good music. The beats, the lyrics, the whole musical deal made his debut a magical one, that's for sure.

So, with that said, first issued in 1982, and the follow-up to both that debut album and his sophomore release Bully For You (1981), R&BA was the third and final BA album for Asylum. It spawned a hit collaboration with fellow Scot Maggie Bell, 'Hold Me', alongside two further singles, 'Dot Dot Dot' and 'Ready Or Not.

Among the wealth of bonus tracks are three non-album B-sides, a demo for BA's theme tune for TV show Saturday Superstore, a demo for the album highlight 'Legislate For Love', a rare German version of BA's first hit 'Bang Bang' and two tracks from a rare live performance by BA at Edinburgh Festival in 2004.

1. 'Dot Dot Dot'
2. 'Ready or Not'
3. 'Moscow Rules'
4. 'Nothing Like a Great Romance'
5. 'Four Minutes to Midnight'
6. 'Hold Me'
7. 'Legislate for Love"
8. 'Son of a Gunn'
9. 'One Plus One'
10. 'Asleep with a Stranger'
11. 'Just Like a Rash'
12. 'Hold Me (Single Version)'
13. 'Spring Greens' (B-Side)
14. 'Les Beans' (B-Side)
15. 'Keep Off the Grass' (B-Side)
16. 'Saturday Superstore (Demo)'
17. 'Legislate for Love' (Piano Vocal Demo with John Jarvis)
18. 'We Have a Dream' (Live at Edinburgh Festival 2004)
19. 'Asleep with a Stranger' (Live at Edinburgh Festival 2004)
20. 'BÄNG BÄNG (German Version)'

OK, one more truth here is that as much as this CD was ready to play, the entire original album obviously coming before the bonus tracks, I (once again re: Initial Success and Bully For You) actually unleashed the old vinyl copy of this album to listen back to instead. Man, it felt SO good to listen to these songs again, every one of them a true BA gem to behold. Flashed me straight back to my youth and to times I never thought would ever change.

Anyway, first up is the single 'Dot Dot Dot', a track that both Showaddywaddy and Darts would have been happy to have written/recorded in their heyday, and that's backed by the second single released, the gentle R&B hipsway of 'Ready Or Not.' 'Moscow Rules' turns up the new wave afterburners, with that followed by both the deep R&B piano soul of 'Nothing Like A Great Romance' and the countdown funk of 'Four Minutes To Midnight.'

But, and by a long shot, the best song on the album is the upbeat, pop-tastic duet with Maggie Bell on 'Hold Me.' Always a pleasure to listen to, always an uplifting song; no matter what mood you're in, the song is a genuine blessing amongst an album of song that are, to be honest, not always some of BA's best. The song, first published way back in 1933, and later popularized by artists such as Peggy Lee, Brenda Lee, Dean Martin, Tina Charles, Frankie Avalon and so many more, also reached #11 in the UK Singles Chart.

The sultry soul of 'Legislate For Love' is next and that's backed by the fast paced 'Son Of A Gunn.' The pop lite soul of 'One Plus One' is next and is followed by the slow roll of 'Asleep With A Stranger', before the original album rounds out with the feisty rock 'n' roll of 'Just Like A Rash.'

The Bonus Tracks kick off with a Single Version of 'Hold Me' (which sounds absolutely no different to the previously heard album version, and the three delicious B-Sides: the quite brilliant 'Spring Greens,' the new wave rock of 'Les Beans,' and the sedate slow groove of 'Keep Off The Grass.' The wonderful instrumental flashback of 'Saturday Superstore (Demo)' is up next and is followed by a really great 'Legislate for Love' (Piano Vocal Demo with John Jarvis).

This Expanded Edition then continues with two live cuts from the Edinburgh Festival 2004, a twisting and turning Scotland World Cup Squad '82's 'We Have a Dream' and 'Asleep with a Stranger,' before rounding out with a quite unbelievably raw, unabashed 'BÄNG BÄNG (German Version).'

Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk

'R&BA: Expanded Edition' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Into The Woods: Deluxe CD Edition'
Artist - Hawkwind

For those not in the know, Hawkwind are an English rock band and one of the earliest space rock groups. Formed in November 1969, Hawkwind have gone through many incarnations and they have incorporated different styles into their music, including hard rock, progressive rock and psychedelic rock. Also regarded as an influential proto-punk band their lyrics mostly favor urban and science fiction themes.

They are best known for the song 'Silver Machine', which became a number three UK hit single in 1972, but they scored further hit singles with 'Urban Guerrilla' (another Top 40 hit) and 'Shot Down in the Night.' Amazingly, twenty-two (22) of their albums charted in the UK from 1971 to 1993.

Cherry Red Records (UK) have just released the brand new album by this legendary band, Into The Woods. It follows the critical acclaim and commercial success of last year’s Top 40 album The Machine Stops.

1. 'Into The Woods'
2. 'Cottage In The Woods'
3. 'The Woodpecker'
4. 'Have You Seen Them'
5. 'Ascent'
6. 'Space Ship Blues'
7. 'The Wind'
8. 'Vegan Lunch'
9. 'Magic Scenes'
10. 'Darkland'
11. 'Wood Nymph'
12. 'Deep Cavern'
13. 'Magic Mushroom'

This devastatingly brilliant album begins with some dulcet piano work before launching into a guitar and drum frenzy for the six minute title track, 'Into The Woods.' A great way to introduce us to what's to come from this opus of a new recording, it's backed by the revealing 'Cottage In The Woods.' The short, but yet highly atmospheric 'The Woodpecker' (.52 seconds) is next and that's backed by the guitar rock out of the seven minute 'Have You Seen Them,' and then 'Ascent' - a laid back message of our time, wrapped in a delicate psych haze ("In this world full of unrest, greed and hate, we must turn the tide and educate.")

“Part of this album is a continuation of the story begun in The Machine Stops,” Hawkwind’s head honcho Dave Brock has said, adding “living above the ground and Into the Woods.” And there's now getting away from the fact that listening to the lyrics, let alone noting the song titles that this new Hawkwind album is most definitely a Grimm storytelling experience.

The seven minute upreaching, spiraling frenetic banjo / fiddle / guitar fest entitled 'Space Ship Blues' is next and wow, what an upbeat, fun vibe it possesses. For my money, the best track on the album, but I'm sure we'll all be able to choose differently, as that's the beauty of Hawkwind's music. That free flowing-within-the-genres-of-music continues onward with the spoken word 'The Wind' and that's followed by both slow punk roll of the day-at-the-seaside 'Vegan Lunch,' and then the Prog rock sounds of 'Magic Scenes.'

As it seems, from the sound of this brand new album that nothing or no one will get in the way of Hawkwind's renaissance and continued progress, they power onward and upward with the breathtaking 'Darkland' (which culminates in a beautiful instrumental few minutes), before bringing us the rockier 'Wood Nymph' "I was led into a cavern deep, where I fell into a golden sleep; she touched my eyes."). The album then rounds out with the spoken word 'Deep Cavern' and then the epic foot-tappin' instrumental Prog rocker 'Magic Mushroom.'

- Dave Brock / guitar, keyboards, synthesizer, vocals
- Jonathan Derbyshire "Mr. Dibs" / bass, vocals
- Niall Hone / bass, keyboards
- Haz Wheaton / bass
- Richard Chadwick / drums, vocals
- Tim Blake / keyboards, virtual guitar

Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk

'Into The Woods: Deluxe CD Edition' Purchase Link

Title - 'Veldisa'
Artist - Echolust

For those not in the know, California-based post-punk shoegaze trio Echolust have just released their quite extraordinary debut album that channels influences from Slowdive to MBV, Jesus And Marry Chain to New Order.

Consisting of veteran musicians Philip Obens, Armond Angeles, and Tony Lee Jackson, the group has earned acclaim from Buzzbands LA, which means that their debut album, Veldisa is already destined to garner a lot of attention in the industry (and deservedly so).

1. '1799'
2. 'Dark Hair Girl'
3. 'Decor Blonde'
4. 'For Least Resistance'
5. 'Cherry Dancer'
6. 'Lotus'
7. 'Electric'
8. 'Zombie Birds'
9. 'Velvet Holiday'
10. 'Doublespeak'
11. 'Veldisa'
12. 'This Blurry Kill'

This refreshingly ambient '80s new wave album begins with guitar-lite frenzy of '1799' before upping the tempo for both 'Dark Hair Girl' and the crushing 'Decor Blonde.' The moodiness of 'For Least Resistance' is then backed by the guitar fuzz dynamite of 'Cherry Dancer' which in turn is followed by my own personal favorite on the album, the poppy 'Lotus.'

The hypnotic synth of ' Electric' is just as good as anything OMD ever created, and that's followed by The Cure-esque vibe of 'Zombie Birds'. Next up on this quite stunning album is the underwater synth swimming of 'Velvet Holiday', the methodical 'Doublespeak', and then the album rounds out with the stoic title track, 'Veldisa' and the upbeat, vivid soundscapes found within the jangly guitar work of 'This Blurry Kill.'

'Veldisa' Purchase Link

Title - 'Live & Louder'
Artist - The Dead Daisies

For those not in the know, The Dead Daisies are an Australian-American rock band and musical collective formed in 2012 in Sydney, Australia by David Lowy.

Musicians that have joined Lowy for his project have included Richard Fortus (Guns N' Roses), Jon Stevens (INXS, Noiseworks), Darryl Jones (The Rolling Stones), Dizzy Reed (Guns N' Roses), Marco Mendoza (Thin Lizzy), Charley Drayton (The Cult, Divinyls, Cold Chisel), John Tempesta (The Cult), Brian Tichy (ex Whitesnake), Frank Ferrer (Guns N' Roses), Alex Carapetis (Nine Inch Nails), Clayton Doley, Jackie Barnes (Jimmy Barnes), John Corabi (The Scream, Mötley Crüe), Alan Mansfield and Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake).

From the moment they dropped their first single ‘Long Way To Go’ ahead of their European Festival Summer in June, the hits just kept on coming. The second single ‘Join Together’ only served to rampe up the release of the third studio album Make Some Noise.

Just released this past May on Spitfire Music / SPV Records, Live And Louder is The Dead Daisies’ highly-anticipated brand new live outing. A CD release made all the more profound to their fans with the inclusion of a bonus DVD (that includes behind-the-scenes footage and more), other very special editions of this release can be found at the base of this review.

1. 'Long Way To Go' (4:47)
2. 'Mexico' (5:15)
3. 'Make Some Noise' (02:59)
4. 'Song And A Prayer' (3:39)
5. 'Fortunate Son' (4:01)
6. 'We All Fall Down' (3:43)
7. 'Lock ‘ N’ Load' (5:12)
8. 'Something I Said' (5:19)
9. 'Last Time I Saw The Sun' (5:13)
10. 'Join Together' (6:30)
11. 'With You And I' (5:06)
12. Band Intros (5:05)
13. 'Mainline' (4:54)
14. 'Helter Skelter' (6:57)
15. 'American Band' (3:27)
16. 'Midnight Moses' (5:31)

+ DVD content with a total playing time @ 85 minutes.

Recorded on a heady high at the end of an unbelievable 2016, this supergroup (there really isn't another term coined that could ever better that one for what this band of merry men have created) open with a thunderous 'Long Way To Go,' before heading into both 'Mexico' ("It's a place that leaves no regrets. Across the border in Mexico") and a quick version of their new single 'Make Some Noise.'

Containing 16 live tracks and with lyrics such as "Everybody on the left everybody on the right. Don't hold back, get crazy all night" it's not hard to see why The Dead Daisies are as welcome in the genre as they are. The Guns N' Roses-esque opening to 'Song And A Prayer' means one of my favorite tracks is next up. The tuneful, melodic pop rock storytelling of the song is as good as it gets and that's backed by their first cover of the set, Creedence Clearwater Revival's 'Fortunate Son.'

Next up is the drum fest of 'We All Fall Down' which is followed by the southern blues of 'Lock ‘ N’ Load', which in turn is followed by both the mid-tempo piano-backed ballad 'Something I Said' and then the all-out rock 'n' roll blaster 'Last Time I Saw The Sun.' A cover of The Who's 'Join Together' is especially well done, and that's backed by the well-received 70’s and early 80’s hard rock sound of 'With You And I.'

After some Band Intros from singer John Corabi, his muscular vocals combined with en masse of bluesy riffs, big choruses, powerful melodies and strong hooks continue seamlessly onward with the towering 'Mainline' and then a quite stunning cover of the Beatles' 'Helter Skelter.' This highly impressive live album then rounds out with a pulsating favorite in 'American Band,' before ending with 'Midnight Moses' ("They call me the Midnight Moses. Everything I touch is coming up roses.")

Lead singer John Corabi adds: “We’re extremely excited and proud of our new album ‘LIVE & LOUDER’!!! A lot of the fans have been writing to us and saying how much they LOVED our records, but were even more blown away by the band live!!!"

Line-Up: Brian Tichy (Ozzy Osbourne, Foreigner) - drums David Lowy (Red Phoenix, Mink) – guitars John Corabi (Mötley Crüe, The Scream) – vocals Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake, Dio) - guitars Marco Mendoza (Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake) - bass.

• DIGIPAK (Contains CD & DVD & massive photo booklet. The DVD features an exclusive “Live & Louder”-Documentary, a massive “Make Some Noise World Tour”-Documentary, all music videos of the “Make Some Noise” album cycle and a picture gallery)

• VINYL (Double 180g Multicolor Vinyl, Gatefold, Printed Inner Sleeves, 4-Page Booklet, CD in Paper-Sleeve)

• LIMITED EDITION BOX-SET (contains Digipak with CD & DVD, Double 180g 12” Vinyl, Exclusive Colored-Vinyl 7” Single, Poster, Sticker, Button, Patch, PhotoCard)


Title - 'Paint & Paint: Deluxe Edition'
Artist - Haircut One Hundred

Haircut One Hundred were a British new wave/jazz-funk group formed in 1980 by Nick Heyward. Indeed, they first sprung into the limelight with the release of their very first single 'Favorite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl)' soon after having signed to Arista Records.

It reached #4 in the UK Singles Chart and was quickly followed by 'Love Plus One' (which peaked at #3), and then 'Fantastic Day' (which peaked at #9). In the blink of an eye the band had caught the attention and affection of the buoyant UK music scene when single sales were soaring.

Originally released in February 1982 their subsequent debut album was released, Pelican West and boy, was it an instant success, Showcasing Haircut One Hundred at their best, it peaked at #2 on the UK Album Charts, #31 on the Billboard 200 (US), and was certified Platinum by the BPI.

Paint and Paint was their sophomore album released in May 1984 and due to internal disruptions, was also their first and only album released after lead singer Nick Heyward's departure from the group in early 1983. Indeed, it features percussionist Marc Fox as lead vocalist, but unlike the band's first album, Paint and Paint was not a commercial success and failed to chart. None of the singles released from it even reached the UK Top 40.

Now Cherry Red Records (UK) have released a Paint & Paint: Deluxe Edition for their fans. This brand new compilation includes all the original album tracks, related bonus tracks, nine development mixes from the band’s own archives, and four BBC David "Kid" Jensen radio session tracks dating from May 1984.

In truth, I've always has a soft spot for Haircut One Hundred. I loved their music from day one, always felt good listening to their debut album (I mean, how could you not), and Nick Heyward was actually my very first British interview over here in the US @ 1994!

So, having been sent their also recently-released Pelican West: Deluxe Edition CD earlier in the year and now this new one for review, well, it was always going to be a massive pleasure and an honor. The trouble is, and telling it like it is, this follow-up album without Nick Heyward's youthful pop vocal bounce and lyric writing is just dour. It just doesn't have the spark their debut does and Fox might well do his best Heyward impression, but never manages to climb to his heights, sorry.

1. 'Fish in a Bowl'
2. 'Immaterial'
3. 'So Tired'
4. 'The Hidden Years'
5. '40-40 Home'
6. 'High Noon'
7. 'Too Up Two Down'
8. 'Benefit of the Doubt'
9. 'Prime Time'
10. 'Where Do You Run to Now?'
11. 'Infatuation'
12. 'Too Up Two Down (7" Remix)'
13. 'Evil Smokestacking Baby'
14. 'After It's All Been Said and Done'
15. 'Prime Time (Late Night Shopping Version)'

Anyway, the album kicks off with by far the best, funkiest track on the album, 'Fish in a Bowl'. Featuring a stunning Les Nemes bass session throughout, the Level 42-esque groove is brilliant and highly contagious, but without Heyward from the off, the damage was done before it's release to the general public. [Weirdly, it was also the B-side to 'So Tired', a much lesser stand out track, in my mind).

The beat slows down somewhat for 'Immaterial', the aforementioned laid back ballad 'So Tired' and then both the all-out Latin jazz funk instrumental of 'The Hidden Years' (which also features some wicked bass workmanship from Nemes) and a track more like the old school Haircut One Hundred we all knew, the infectious '40-40 Home'. More slap bass and funky rhythm guitar leads us into the light and breezy 'High Noon' and then the single follow up to 'Prime Time', the upbeat fun fair ride of 'Too Up Two Down.'

Featuring Steve French (keyboards), Marc Fox (lead vocal and percussion), Graham Jones (guitar), Les Nemes (bass), Blair Cunningham (drums), Phil Smith (sax), Guy Barker (trumpet), and Pete Bechil (trombone), next up is 'Benefit of the Doubt' which is backed by the slow funk pacing of their aforementioned single 'Prime Time', and then the original album rounds out with the piano paced 'Where Do You Run to Now?' and the free flowing, trumpet-backed 'Infatuation.'

The first of the four (4) bonus tracks on the first disc is 'Too Up Two Down (7" Remix)' (which doesn't sound much different, if at all, from the LP track), the transcendent, textured instrumental 'Evil Smokestacking Baby', the rather delightfully summery flow of 'After It's All Been Said and Done,' and then the near seven minute long 'Prime Time (Late Night Shopping Version).' For my money, this 12" Mix is quite brilliant, complete with its helium rap mid-section!

1. 'So Tired (Extended Version - Long Slumber)'
2. 'Fish in a Bowl (Deeper Version)'
3. 'Hidden Years Extra (Development Mix)'*
4. 'Fish in a Bowl (No Vocal-Developmentmix)'*
5. 'High Noon (No Vocal-Development Mix)'*
6. 'Infatuation (No Vocal-Development Mix)'*
7. 'One Word (Development Mix)'*
8. 'Prime Time (No Vocal-Development Mix)'*
9. 'Puppet Man (Development Mix)'*
10. 'Ted and Harry (Development Mix)'*
11. 'Too Up Two Down (Development Mix)'*
12. '40-40 Home' (BBC David Jensen Session)*
14. 'Immaterial' (BBC David Jensen Session)*
15. 'High Noon' (BBC David Jensen Session)*
16. 'The Hidden Years' (BBC David Jensen Session)*

* Denotes Previously Unreleased Track

In truth, Fox has a pleasant, albeit thin voice that blends easily into the band's lightly jazzy pop and funk, and at times he does mimic Heyward's trademark vocals, but he just lacked both the fey wit and easy melodic sway of the aforementioned Heyward, that's all. The second disc of completely nothing more than bonus tracks is a mix and match of so-called 12" Mixes and Archived tracks, that for the most part are nice to hear; if not overly enticing.

As a result, the group fails to produce anything as effortlessly catchy and memorable as 'Love Plus One.' It's no surprise that the group disappeared shortly after the release of Paint and Paint, or that Nick Heyward left the band opting to launch a successful solo career beforehand.

All these tracks have been sourced from the original production master tapes except for the development mixes that were supplied from the band’s own archives.

The 20 page full colour CD booklet features an expanded design of the original artwork. It incorporates memorabilia supplied by the band plus extensive sleeve notes written by band members Les Nemes, Graham Jones, Marc Fox and Phil Smith reflecting on their memories and reflections of the album.

'Paint & Paint: Deluxe Edition' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Slowdown'
Artist - Alex Lopez

For those not in the know, Alex Lopez was born in Cleveland Ohio, the heartland of Rock 'n' Roll. He learnt how to play guitar as a teen developing a style influenced by guitar greats Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Elmore James, Albert Collins, Buddy Guy, BB King, and, of course, Stevie Ray Vaughan.

While playing in local bands, Alex spent his youth recording in studios while polishing his production and songwriting skills. Later moving to Florida to attend college, Alex continued performing in bands having modest success with his songs making their way to local and college radio.

After a break from his music career to raise a family, Alex joined the popular rock band Reminiscion performing at venues through-out the Tampa Bay area before deciding to strike out on his own. As a prolific songwriter Alex has recorded a voluminous amount of original material culminating in his first three albums. With his band The Xpress, Alex is now playing major venues and festivals across the southeastern United States.

Now the blues rock guitarist and his band The Xpress have just released their their eagerly awaited, and aforementioned third album entitled Slowdown on MarEmil Records this past May 19th! A powerful modern blues album that seamlessly fuses rock and blues and combines it with an unstoppable groove, it is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the freshest blues albums I've had the pleasure to review in the past decade.

1. 'Dangerous'
2. 'The Wildlife'
3. 'Slowdown'
4. 'Words of Wisdom'
5. 'Enough of it'
6. 'I don't know'
7. 'Exodus/Long Long Time'
8. 'Stolen'
9. 'Redeem Me'
10. 'I love you blues'
11. 'Alive'
12. 'Slowdown (Reprise)'
13. 'Dance the Night with Me'
14. 'War without a Face'

We begin this beguiling musical experience with the upbeat blues guitar rock of 'Dangerous', which he backs up perfectly with both the addictive fun pop piano bounce of 'The Wildlife' and then the title track, the mid tempo blues funk of 'Slowdown.' The free flowing, gentle Whitesnake-esque 'Words of Wisdom' is next and that's followed by the hipsway of 'Enough Of It' and then the storytelling of 'I Don't Know.'

Lopez's stunning guitar work is truly brought to the fore on 'Exodus / Long Long Time' and showcases just how far this guitarist has come; honing his craft, his art every moment he could along the way. The soaring, Snowy White-esque 'Stolen' is next and that's backed by 'Redeem Me' and the slow, reflective ballad 'I Love You Blues.'

As Lopez himself explains, "Slowdown tells a story about a person who travels down a path that leads to addiction and their struggle to find a way back home. Each song is a chapter in this saga and the album takes you from innocent beginnings to heartbreaking despair and eventually to redemption and salvation."

With half the songs taken from his own back catalogue of previously-written tracks, the rest written especially for the album; and inspired by the concept and the message, the uplifting 'Alive' is next and is easily one of my own personal favorites. It really allows Lopez to test out his vocal lengths and breadths exquisitely and that's followed by the album closer 'Slowdown (Reprise).'

Well, not so much of a closer, but a bridge to the two bonus songs, both the piano ballad 'Dance the Night with Me' and the mid-tempo anti-war song 'War Without a Face' means that this breathtakingly sincere, highly emotive new album comes to the most perfect of musical and lyrical ends.

Alex Lopez @ Facebook!

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Orbit'
Artist - Hedersleben

Featuring, unexpected to my mind after listening to the album fully through once, Nicky Garratt from the UK Subs, this forth album from Krautrock outfit Hedersleben is one incredibly expansive work of musical art.

Hedersleben (Kephera Moon - keyboards/vocals; Bryce Shelten - bass; Kati Knox - guest vocal; Nicky Garratt - guitar and Jason Willer - Drums) all hail from Oakland, CA and came together plying their musical trade live in the clubs therein. Indeed, the band’s name originates from The Komische Musik Zentrum Projekt in Hedersleben, Germany.

Friends and working colleagues with Hawkwind’s Nik Turner - some of Hedersleben even played on Turner’s acclaimed album Space Gypsy - they have garnered serious attention due to multiple successful tours with Turner's band; as well as vociferous support from KCRW DJ and all around musical raconteur Henry Rollins.

And so, today we are lucky enough to welcome into our lives the long awaited 4th album from San Francisco’s neo-prog rock masters, Hedersleben. Released May 19th, 2017 via Purple Pyramid Records (aka Cleopatra Records), Orbit it should also be known that Hedersleben tracks, including a track from this new album Orbit, are featured in the upcoming action/heist movie 'Diamond Cartel' (starring Armand Assante & Bolo Yeung) and dark thriller 'The Devil’s Domain' starring Michael Madsen.

1. 'Judas Star'
2. 'Walk Above The Clouds'
3. 'Distant Sun'
4. 'History Of Light'
5. 'Apogee'
6. 'Hedersleben (Dreamstate)'
7. 'Rarefied Air'
8. 'Be There'
9. 'Perigg'

The first track is the six minute opus, 'Judas Star' and is one heck of a way to get introduced to not only the album, but for those not in the know, the band itself. From low ebb creations to a thrilling, soaring amount of organ work, the song is a real gem on this nine track album. That's backed by the more playful Prog work of 'Walk Above The Clouds', the screechy ballad 'Distant Sun', and then both the upbeat 'History Of Light' and the Church-esque 'Apogee.'

The contemplative acoustic guitar ballad 'Hedersleben (Dreamstate)' is my favorite track here, that's for sure. A builder complete with female-sung lyrics, it's ethereal and stoic all at the same time. Quite stunning. The playfulness returns on the pick-hop guitar work of 'Rarefied Air' and then the album is brought to a close with the rocker 'Be There' and then the chirpy bird garden acoustic guitar delight, 'Perigee.'

Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk

'Orbit' CD Purchase Link

Hedersleben on Facebook

Title - 'Main Street Beats'
Artist - Jackiem Joyner

The release of Main Street Beat (out June 30th via Mack Avenue Records), Jackiem Joyner’s sixth album, coincides with his tenth anniversary as a recording artist. A Billboard chart-topper who plays tenor, alto, soprano and baritone saxophone on the album, Joyner purposely approached crafting the recording with a three-pronged purpose; "To create something upbeat, fun to listen to and something to dance to," he explains.

"Indeed, the album originally started off as a straight funk record that eventually became some of that," he further expands, "but a whole lot more as I allowed the creative process to have its way with me,” he admits.

1. 'Main Street'
2. 'Back To Motown'
3. 'Can't Stop The Feeling'
4. 'Trinity'
5. 'When You Smile'
6. 'Southside Boulevard'
7. 'That Good Thing'
8. 'Treasure'
9. 'Addicted'
10. 'Don’t Make Her Wait'
11. 'Get Down Street'

The album begins in fine style with the eventual wall-of-horns 'Main Street', incorporating all that's known and good about how a great soul-jazz song comes to life before your very eyes, it then gives way to both the gentle hipsway of 'Back To Motown,' and then a high-energy pop/R&B cover of Justin Timberlake’s 'Can't Stop The Feeling' is upon us.

Indeed, Joyner brought the band – drummer Raymond Johnson, bassist Darryl Williams, electric guitarist Kyle Bolden and piano player Carnell Harrell – into the studio to record six tracks old-school style, inclusive of the aforementioned 'Back To Motown.' Next up is 'Trinity,' a track that bobs and weaves gently around you very pleasurably, and being the first single, was also named after his young daughter.

Nick Colionne guests on 'When You Smile', showcasing his cool electric jazz guitar on the infectious mid-tempo R&B cut and that's backed by the musically infectious 'Southside Boulevard', before Joyner shines on soprano sax with 'That Good Thing.' Created by Joyner as "... a pair of urban joints", its musical bookend is 'Don't Make Her Wait.' Sandwiched delightfully in between is a cover of Bruno Mars’ buoyant 'Treasure' - which is one of the stand out highlights on the album for me - and the truly stunning 'Addicted.' A track that comes together so perfectly, so precisely at every noted twist and turn, you should also know that Joyner takes full command on the stormy track; playing every instrument heard!

Also known by the stage name Lil Man Soul, Joyner has crafted one incredible, and dare I say his best album to date. Bringing the album to a close with 'Get Down Street,' the song encapsulates the vibe of the entire album perfectly. A summer soundtrack, top down, country driving, playing lead harmonies on alto reinforced by his exuberant sax section work has culminated in Main Street Beats being one of the best albums of 2017.

Title - 'The Zookeeper's Wife' [Original Soundtrack]
Artist - Harry Gregson-Williams

For those not in the know, 'The Zookeeper's Wife' is a 2017 war drama film directed by Niki Caro and written by Angela Workman, based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Diane Ackerman. Recounting the rescue of Jews from the Nazi invasion the film stars Jessica Chastain, Johan Heldenbergh, Michael McElhatton and Daniel Brühl.

As for the composer, Harry Gregson-Williams, he is an English composer, orchestrator, conductor, and music producer. Gregson-Williams has regularly written for television and films, such as 'The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe', 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine', 'The Martian', and the 'Shrek' franchise, amongst others. He is also the brother of composer Rupert Gregson-Williams ('Hotel Rwanda', 'Bee Movie', and funnily enough, 'Zookeeper'.

'The Zookeeper’s Wife – Original Soundtrack' comprises of 14 tracks that run for about 40 minutes or so and opens with the the second longest track at just over 5 minutes, the stoic, poignant “Warsaw Zoo, 1939”. A reflection of the idyllic life that our central character was experiencing at the time, it soon turns dark (both in the film and here in the music) with the haunting "Bombings". Like the sounds made after a raid has been and gone, “Aftermath” is a reflective track, and is backed by the more upbeat "The Escape".

The piano work of “Pray For Us” is as stoic as they come also, but as it gives way to a beautiful orchestral piece, is also my own personal favorite track. Another paced, delicate track is "Wall Paint', which is followed by the paced "Bring Them Out", the stellar "Burning the Ghetto", the much-in-the-same-vein "Come Back To Us", and then both the thoughtful, yet apprehensiveness of "In Plain Sight" and the stunning orchestral work done for "Heck's Realization".

"Refugees" is a work of musical art from start to finish and is a close runner for top spot on my favorite tracks. Haunting, yet with a touch of Choir that embodies it, lifts it to something that it is trying not to remain (as in that moment of the film itself), it is followed by "Home Again" and then the longest track on the album, the triumphant near-eight minute long 'Jan Returns.'

Harry Gregson-Williams @ Facebook

Title - 'Orlando In Heaven'
Artist - Brian Tarquin & Company

For those not in the know, multi-Emmy award winning producer/composer Brian Tarquin is an American multi-Emmy Award winning guitarist/composer and producer of the Guitar Masters Series featuring Jeff Beck, Steve Vai, Jimmy Page, Santana, BB King and Joe Satriani.

Also known for his work as a smooth jazz artist and a music composer receiving 3 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition for a Drama Series and also received Emmy nominations in 2001, 2002 and 2004. Indeed, Tarquin has sold more than 150,000 albums through his career in the USA.

Now Brian Tarquin brings forth a very special project featuring an incredible cast of musical virtuosos playing their hearts out for the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando FL! [On June 12th, 2016, Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old security guard, killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in a terrorist attack/hate crime inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, United States.]

Tarquin composed and produced each of these 11 tracks and displays his own guitar prowess alongside such world-class players as guitar icon Larry Coryell (his final recordings before his passing earlier this year), Chris Poland of Megadeth, Hal Lindes of Dire Straits, Tony Franklin, Phil Naro and more!

1. 'Orlando in Heaven' (Feat. Phil Naro & Hal Lindes)
2. 'Madame Shanghai' (Feat. Bobby Baldwin)
3. 'Pulse 49' (Feat. Larry Coryell & Phil Naro)
4. 'Hustle & Hassle' (Feat. Chris Poland)
5. 'Metropolis' (Feat. Larry Coryell)
6. 'Kinda Sorta' (Feat. Mike Stern & Denny Jiosa)
7. 'La Noche' (Feat. Will Ray)
8. 'She Used to Be a Lady' (Feat. Bobby Baldwin)
9. 'Tropical Trail' (Feat. Tony Franklin)
10. 'Jacob's Ladder' (Feat. Hal Lindes)
11. 'Orlando in Heaven (Instrumental)' (Feat. Hal Lindes)

As June 12th, 2017 marks the one year anniversary of this tragedy, Tarquin's vision of bringing together a supergroup of musicians to not only create a musical remembrance to those lost, but also at the same time allow their families left behind to know that they are not forgotten by the community is above and beyond the call of duty.

Every track here is poignant, vibrant, upbeat and heartfelt. The musicianship is top notch, as is to be fully expected, and the whole musical project is a true gem of a gift to those aforementioned. More so, in fact, as a portion of the proceeds from this release will go to Catholic Charities; who provide case management and support services for those victims and aforementioned family members.

Title - 'Live In Birmingham 2016' [2CD]
Artist - Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow

For those not in the know, let's quickly get you up to speed on this incredible, fabled band. Known as Rainbow (all-be-they also known as Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, or even Blackmore's Rainbow), they are a British rock band led by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore (from 1975 to 1984 and 1993 to 1997). They split altogether from 1997–2014, but, in a form, came back together as a reunion of sorts in 2015 and continue onward today.

They were originally established with Ronnie James Dio's American rock band Elf, but after the first album, Blackmore fired the backing members and continued with Dio until 1979! Three British musicians joined in 1979, singer Graham Bonnet, keyboardist Don Airey, former Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover, and this line-up gave the band their commercial breakthrough with the single 'Since You Been Gone'.

Over the years, Rainbow went through many line-up changes with no two studio albums featuring the same line-up. Other lead singers Joe Lynn Turner and Doogie White would follow, and the project consisted of numerous backing musicians. The band's early work primarily featured mystical lyrics with a neoclassical metal style, but went in a more streamlined, commercial direction following Dio's departure from the group.

In truth, I'm a HUGE Rainbow fan. HUGE. So I have to tell you, in my humble opinion, that to know that this recording is brand new, and not another one of their found-in-the-archives older live recordings is beyond fantastic! I mean, sure, I was very happy with the "Pot of Found Gold" simply entitled Rainbow, Boston 1981 that came out last year, but this brand new (did I already mention that) live in 2016 outing is beyond a joke overwhelmingly like Christmas in June for me!

CD 1:
1. 'Over The Rainbow' / 'Highway Star'
2. 'Spotlight Kid'
3. 'Mistreated'
4. 'Since You Been Gone'
5. 'Man On The Silver Mountain'
6. 'Soldier Of Fortune'
7. 'Medley: Difficult To Cure (Beethoven's Ninth) / Drum Solo / Bass Solo / Band Jam / Keyboard Solo (inc Toccata & Fugue in Dm) / Difficult To Cure (Beethoven's Ninth)'
8. 'Catch The Rainbow'

CD 2:
1. 'Perfect Strangers'
2. 'Long Live Rock 'N' Roll'
3. 'Child In Time'
4. 'Stargazer'
5. 'Medley: Black Night / Woman From Tokyo / Black Night'
6. 'Burn'
7. 'Smoke On The Water'

And so to the facts: In June 2016, legendary guitarist Ritchie Blackmore made his much-anticipated return to rock music as Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow played three concerts in Europe, two in Germany and one in England. The two German shows at Loreley and Bietigheim were caught on camera to produce the concert film Memories In Rock, which was released by Eagle Vision with the audio released on Eagle Records in November 2016.

However, this new 2CD set captures the full audio from the British show at the Genting Arena at the NEC, Birmingham. The set list for this show, combining classic tracks from both Deep Purple and Rainbow, includes two tracks from the Mark III Deep Purple era, Soldier Of Fortune and Burn that were not included in the German shows.

In truth, and as you would expect from the guitarist's guitarist, Ritchie Blackmore and his new Rainbow band mates were on fantastic form, Ritchie once again proving that he remains one of the finest guitarists of all time. As for the vocals of new Rainbow singer Ronnie Romero, the Chilean singer, songwriter, and musician, does a wonderful job of recreating the passion and urgency behind songs both old and new.

Personally, I am still a HUGE fan of the Graham Bonnet era of Rainbow, so hearing Romero bring forth Bonnet-esque vocal styling on a track such as 'Since You Been Gone' makes me shudder slightly, but not enough not to embrace it as evolution (unlike when Jeff Scott Soto became the lead singer of Journey for a year!) His vocals work better on the old material such as both 'Spotlight Kid' and the thunderous 'Long Live Rock 'n' Roll,' but he's not too shabby on the Purple classics 'Burn' and 'Smoke On The Water' either.

Ritchie's new Rainbow on this tour consisted of himself, of course, on guitar, Ronnie Romero (vocals); David Keith (drums); Bob Nouveau (bass); Jens Johansson (keyboards); his wife Candice Night (backing vocals); and Lady Lynn also on backing vocals.

Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow @ Facebook

Title - 'League Style'
Artist - Anti-Nowhere League

For those not in the know, let's quickly get you up to speed on this powerhaus punk band. Anti-Nowhere League are an English hardcore punk band, formed in 1980 by lead singer Animal (Nick Culmer), guitarist Magoo (Chris Exall), P.J. (Persian John) on drums and Clive Blake on bass.

Their first gig was as a three piece at the 1980 Chaos Show at St Mark's Hall, Royal Tunbridge Wells on 31 March 1980. Later that year, after reportedly bribing drummer Rat Scabies in the toilet of an East End pub, they also opened for The Damned on a short tour round the north of England and Scotland plus a hastily arranged one-off gig at the Lyceum Ballroom where The Damned stepped in for Stiff Little Fingers.

In 1982, ANL took part in the 'So What Tour' alongside groups such as Chelsea, Chron Gen and The Defects. This year also saw the release of their debut album, We Are ... The League. It reached No. 24 in the UK Albums Chart, and spent eleven weeks in the chart. The year finished with the 'Hardcore Storms America' tour with the UK Subs.

In 1984, PJ left the band, and they became musically inactive. 1985 saw Michael Bettell join on drums, followed in 1986 by JB (Jonathan Birch). During this time they signed for GWR Records, and recorded the The Perfect Crime album.

In 1987, Anti-Nowhere League disbanded. However, there was a belated 'farewell' show at the Victoria Hall in Tunbridge Wells, in 1989, which was recorded and can be heard on their live album, Live Animals.

The comeback began in 1992 with Metallica wanting Animal on stage with them to sing/perform 'So What', before Bettell died in September 2003. In 1996, they signed up with Impact Records and recorded their next EP Pig Iron. Beef also joined the band after Mark's departure.

Further personnel changes occurred in 1997 when Winston left the band to be replaced by Jon Jon, and the recording of the album Scum. Winston Blake then left the band and Danny joined on drums in 1998. The album Out of Control was released a year later in 1999. 2002 onward and Jon Jon, Beef and Danny left the band, to be replaced by PJ (original drummer), Jez on guitar and Shady on bass. This line-up released the band's fifth studio album, Kings and Queens in 2005.

In 2006, the band set up their own independent record label, Nowhere Records; with Pig Iron - The Album being the first release in August 2006. The Road To Rampton came out in 2007, drummer Dave 'Nato' Hazlewood left the band, Sam 'Carnage' Carne replaced him and in 2016 The Cage was released.

Now here in 2017 and ANL have released a brand new album, once again via Cleopatra Records, but don't be expecting their usual monster wall of punk rock sound! Entitled League Style, ANL front man and founder Animal is a longtime fan of the Jamaican legends whose songs are covered here including The Slickers, Dandy Livingstone, The Kingstonians, Prince Buster, and more.

1. 'Johnny Too Bad'
2. 'Suzanne, Beware Of The Devil'
3. 'Singer Man'
4. 'Come In To My Parlour (Said The Spider To The Fly)'
5. 'Fat Man'
6. 'Love Of The Common People'
7. 'Long Shot Kick De Bucket'
8. 'Big Five'
9. 'Black Pearl'
10. 'Me And My Life'

We begin with the mid-tempo beats of 'Johnny Too Bad' which is backed up by my own personal favorite track on the quite unexpectedly brilliant new album, 'Suzanne, Beware Of The Devil' ("Did you say you wanted someone new, or did you say you like the color of my shoe?"). 'Singer Man' is then backed by the gentle hipsway of 'Come In To My Parlour (Said The Spider To The Fly),' and then the restrained 'Fat Man.'

In truth, listening to all these Trojan Skinhead-Reggae covered classics, it's hard not to imagine that the guys just want to burst out of their newly-discovered rocksteady comfort zone, and pile head first into some manic, frenetic vocal screams! But they don't, and so we move steadily onward with a sped up 'Love Of The Common People' (made pop famous by Paul Young), and then the fun 'Long Shot Kick De Bucket.'

The guitar-led, and at times fight feisty 'Big Five' is another great track, albeit rather lyrically fruity, and that's followed by the guitar bounce of 'Black Pearl,' before the album rounds out with 'Me And My Life.'

Available on CD and colored vinyl, League Style is most definitely, for my money at the very least, their most left of center musical venture yet. One undertaken with, one assumes, a wee bit of trepidation by the guys themselves, luckily most all the songs work - and some might even soon become requested tour tunes, who knows!

Anti-Nowhere League @ Facebook

Title - 'Guitar For Sale'
Artist - Ray Scott

For those not in the know, Ray Scott is an American country music artist. He started his first band at age 19, and later moved to Atlanta, Georgia, to attend the Music Business Institute.

After receiving an associate's degree, he moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, where he started another band before moving again, this time to Nashville, Tennessee.

While there, Ray began writing songs, and landed two chart hits as a songwriter: 'A Few Questions' by Clay Walker and 'Pray for the Fish' by Randy Travis.

The rest, as they say, is history, for Scott has just released a brand new album, Guitar For Sale this past June 9th, 2017. First made known as a Pledge Music project, it's his sixth studio album and is distributed through The Holland Group/Sony/RED Label.

1. 'Livin’ This Way'
2. 'Put Down The Bottle'
3. 'The Fire'
4. 'Soberin’ Up'
5. 'Pray for The Fish'
6. 'Put Down That Gun'
7. 'Growin’ Old'
8. 'Worth Killin’ For'
9. 'Life Ain’t Long Enough'
10. 'Doin’ Me Wrong'
11. 'Guitar For Sale'

Scott kicks things off with the first single released from the album, 'Livin’ This Way,’ a song he also debuted back in March on the Grand Ole Opry, and follows it up with both 'Put Down The Bottle' and 'The Fire.' With each of the 11 tracks based on or around classic country music themes – a recurring on being pain and heartache - there's still a lot of quality freshness about them lyrically also.

The stoic ballad 'Soberin’ Up' is a stand out cut if ever there were, and that's backed by both his version of 'Pray for The Fish' and the storytelling of 'Put Down That Gun.' It's been noted before that Ray Scott is "a different kind of cowboy with a voice like rolling thunder and songs of plainspoken poetry and emotional directness," and I couldn't have put that better myself.

Continuing onward though songs such as the from the heart 'Growin’ Old,' the poignant 'Worth Killin’ For,' and the truly heartfelt 'Life Ain’t Long Enough,' Scott's songwriting and vocal style is second to none. His knack of creating old style country music combined with today's sound, all sewn together with a vocal that sounds both aged and yet tentatively curious is fabulous.

And so, as the album rounds out with both 'Doin’ Me Wrong' and the title track itself, 'Guitar For Sale,' you should know that Guitar For Sale is honest songwriting sung by a man at the top of his country music game.

Ray Scott Talks About His Song 'The Fire'

Ray Scott @ Facebook

Title - 'With N With Out'
Artist - BangTower

For those not in the know, progressive fusion legends BangTower features Grammy winner Neil Citron, legendary bassist Percy Jones, and LA "Drum Guru" Walter Garces.

Their debut release, Casting Shadows (2010) was produced by Neil Citron (who also engineered, mixed and mastered) and Jon Pomplin (Declassified Records).

The album was released by Declassified Records, who have now also got behind their brand new album, which started life out on Pledge Music, the quite stunning With N With Out.

1. 'Hello I'm Here'
2. 'PCH'
3. 'Chipotle'
4. 'Soul to Sole'
5. 'Roger, Wilco N Out'
6. 'Uncle Floyd'
7. 'Kitty's Real Groove'
8. 'My Fathers Smile'
9. 'McGown's Pass'
10. 'This Is My Town'
11. '6/8 Primate'
12. 'Good Bye N Good Nite'
13. 'I'll Be Home For Christmas' (Bonus CD Track)
[13. 'Hair of the Dog' (Bonus Digital Track Only]

Alongside Percy Jones, Walter Garces, and Grammy winner Neil Citron, Indie musician/producer Jon Pomplin also returns to the project. Featuring guest appearances from drummers Frankie Banali (Quiet Riot), Rodger Carter (John 5), and fretless bassist Robbie “Pag” Pagliari (Ohm), you can also add others such as Joan Fraley (The Rave), Justin Stone, Chris Colovas and Josh Greenbaum to the new creative mix.

The album, which begins in terrific style with the gentle guitar work combined with soft drum beat of 'Hello I'm Here' and backs that up with both the slightly, gently frenetic 'PCH' and then the drum-led 'Chipotle', continues the concept of bringing together friends from different genres, disciplines and physical locations, to create music with a unique personality that challenges each player’s technique and style.

Showcasing that drive, that passion, that energy perfectly, the album continues onward with the soaring 'Soul to Sole,' the longest track on the album at eight minutes, the playful 'Roger, Wilco N Out,' 'Uncle Floyd,' and then both the guitar rock out of 'Kitty's Real Groove' and the delicate finger plucking string work of 'My Fathers Smile.'

Pushing the edge of their musical “comfort zone” while remaining a true joy to play and listen to, Citron's chosen band of merry men come together as one on this new album in a way quite like I've not heard an ensemble within this genre do in a long time. The upbeat, driving, twisty 'McGown's Pass' is next and is backed by the vocal rocker 'This Is My Town, and then the evolutionary '6/8 Primate.'

Rounding the album out is the aptly entitled 'Good Bye N Good Nite,' but as a bonus on this beautiful Digipak with vinyl-look CD, we get 'I'll Be Home For Christmas.' Not available in Digital format, the track was originally recorded in 2013, but never officially released until now.

The original band plus this expanded circle of talent along with new technology have created a unique musical document of exploration. With platinum record sellers, Grammy winners, session players, songwriters and students, With N With Out reflects how great things are achieved when great minds come together.

BangTower @ Facebook

Title - 'Gypsy Dreams'
Artist - Terry Ilous

For those not in the know, Terry Ilous is the lead singer for the band Great White and founder of '80s metal band XYZ, and he has just released his third solo CDs, Gypsy Dreams, this past April 28th, 2017 via FYCO Records.

Ilous relocated to Hollywood, California from Lyon, France in 1986 forming the metal band XYZ along with friend and bassist Pat Fontaine. Ilous quickly became a favorite on Sunset Strip scene in the late 80's before getting signed to Enigma / Capitol Records.

After selling over 1.5 million records worldwide and touring with artists such as Foreigner and Alice Cooper, Ilous has continued to release albums well into the 2000’s along with film, song-writing, and television work.

Gypsy Dreams, the new album by Ilous, recreates classic rock and hard rock favorites with a softer Latin and flamenco edge. Featuring a whole slew of amazing rock 'n' roll L.A.-based musicians - Grammy Nominated Luis Villegas [Guitar], Jose Garcia [Flamenco Guitar], Chris Trujillo [Drums/Percussion], Al Velasquez [Drums/Percussion], Mike Paganini [Bass], Ben Woods [Flamenco Guitar], Mike Bennett [Drums/Percussion], Jesse Stern [Bass], and singer/songwriter Natalie Gelman on Background Vocals - this incredible nine (9) track new album is truly one for the ages.

1. 'Whole Lotta Love' – (Led Zeppelin)
2. 'Boys Of Summer' – (Don Henley)
3. 'In Your Eyes' – (Peter Gabriel)
4. 'Long Train Running' – (The Doobie Brothers)
5. 'Wicked Game' – (Chris Isaak)
6. 'Heaven And Hell' – (Black Sabbath)
7. 'Ride Like The Wind' – (Christopher Cross)
8. 'Love Bites' – (Def Leppard)
9. 'Kill The King' – (Rainbow)

Mastered by Andres Mayo and mixed by Tony Phillips, the album kicks off in brilliant style with the well-renowned Zeppelin classic 'Whole Lotta Love.' Remember, these songs have all now been recreated in Ilous' special blend of Latin and flamenco styling, and so any rough rock edges that were originally there have all now been smoothed over.

We then move seamlessly into the even more sedately paced Henley hit 'Boys Of Summer', before the tempo is brought down even further for the Gabriel ballad 'In Your Eyes.' It's on this track that we truly get to hear Natalie Gelman on background vocals as Ilous allows her to shine here. Next up is the fun, double guitar-led 'Long Train Running' (Doobie Brothers), before one of my own personal favorites (both originally, by Chris Isaak, and here on this new album) 'Wicked Game' is brought forth.

"This album is just the start in a series of different projects I have in mind for the future," Ilous has previously stated. "I decided to start with covers of familiar and rock favorites to introduce the Latin / Flamenco Rock sound to my audience, and I plan to start up a series of intimate club shows reminiscent of close-knit Latin and Gypsy gatherings.”

The album moves on with 'Heaven And Hell' from Black Sabbath, here done in such a way as it subtly disguises the songs true essence, but yet another true stand out gem here is Ilous' version of Christopher Cross' legendary 'Ride Like The Wind.' Recorded with the excellent percussion work from both Chris Trujillo and Alex Velasquez, they both make the song such a new delight to behold.

This must-have album then, for me, as an old rocker, rounds out in some formidable musical style with 'Love Bites' (Def Leppard) and then an awesome cover, and of course reworking of the age-old classic Rainbow track 'Kill The King.' A joy to behold from start to finish, Gypsy Dreams needs to be heard by everyone and I honestly hope that Terry Ilous gets the music business and social media accolades free flowing his way by the dozen once this album finds its way into the mainstream.

Terry Ilous @ Facebook

Terry Ilous @ Twitter

Title - 'Here You Are: The Music of My Life'
Artist - Billy Ocean

For those not in the know, although shame on you if that's truly the case after all these decades in the musical spotlight, Billy Ocean [born Leslie Sebastian Charles] is a Trinidadian-born British recording artist who had a string of R&B international pop hits in the 1970s and 1980s.

In point of fact, he was actually the most popular British R&B singer-songwriter of the early to mid-1980s.

After scoring his first four UK Top 20 successes, seven years passed before he accumulated a series of transatlantic successes, including three US number ones.

In 1985, Ocean won the Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for his worldwide hit, 'Caribbean Queen', and in 1987 was nominated for the Brit Award for Best British Male Artist.

Still touring and recording to this very day, last summer in Europe he released a unique 2CD collection entitled Here You Are: The Best Of. Celebrating his long and illustrious career, which has seen him become a Grammy award winner with worldwide sales of over 30 million, the album included his classic hits along with some newly-recorded ones.

Now being released here in the US on July 21st, 2017 via Legacy Recordings as a special single disc edition, it features 10 brand new Billy Ocean performances along with five classic original hits. This new single disc set features a personally curated selection of tracks covered by the man himself, chosen for their influence on him both musically and in his personal life.

1. 'Here You Are'
2. 'A Simple Game'
3. 'A Change Is Gonna Come'
4. 'No Woman No Cry'
5. 'Cry Me A River'
6. 'Having A Party'
7. 'It Was A Very Good Year'
8. 'These Foolish Things'
9. 'Judge Not'
10. 'Love Train'
11. 'Caribbean Queen (Mo More Love On The Run)'
12. 'Suddenly'
13. 'Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car'
14. 'When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going'
15. 'There'll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry)'

The brand new composition, and title track to the collection 'Here You Are' starts the musical journey for us in fine style. A song that sounds just as classic, just as if he had recorded and released it back in his '80s/'90s heyday, Ocean proves from the off he has lost none of his lush, emotive trademark vocals, that's for sure. The album's first single, 'A Simple Game' (a reworking of the 1972 Four Tops Motown hit) is next and a pure delight it truly is, and that's followed by a cover of Sam Cooke's poignant 'A Change Is Gonna Come.'

Bob Marley's influential 1979 mega hit 'No Woman No Cry' is another masterpiece of musical proportions here, and a song that; amazing, as I'd never heard any one else manage to pull it off, Billy kinda makes it his own here. The classic Arthur Hamilton-written 1953 song 'Cry Me A River' is as stirring, as heartfelt as you would expect, and that's backed by a quite stunning cover of Sam Cooke's ageless 'Having A Party.'

'It Was A Very Good Year' is one of the highlights for me, for Billy takes the vibe, the laid back cool of Frank Sinatra's original and seamlessly incorporates his own Caribbean R&B, before moving on into Billie Holiday's timeless 'These Foolish Things.' Next Billy decides to throw us all a musical curve ball by giving us his rendition of Bob Marley's first recorded single in 1962, 'Judge Not,' before these 10 new tracks round out with a cover of the infectious dance floor song 'Love Train' from The O'Jays.

Also encompassing a short collection of Billy Ocean’s biggest genre-defining tracks, the remaining five songs are all well-known Billy Ocean musical gems. They begin with 'Caribbean Queen (No More Love On The Run)' and the always sweepingly beautiful-to-hear 'Suddenly,' before ending the whole single disc collection with the upbeat fun of 'Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car,' the funky R&B soul groove of 'When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going,' and then the beautiful 'There'll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry).'

In closing, and as much as I truly missed hearing such early classics as both 'Red Light Means Danger' and 'Love Really Hurts Without You,' Here You Are: The Music of My Life is, as the title suggests, Billy Ocean's go-to for songs that tell his story of life within the business. His soulfully distinctive voice is as great as it was back then, and this collection goes a long way to showcasing a man who is still as needed on the charts today as he ever was.

Check out a BRAND NEW & EXCLUSIVE Billy Ocean Interview!

Billy Ocean @ Facebook

Billy Ocean @ Twitter

Title - 'Music of Game of Thrones'
Artist - The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra

For those not in the know, The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra is a classical orchestra, predominantly composed of Czech classical, jazz and guest musicians.

The history of the orchestra goes back to the Film Symphony Orchestra (FISYO), which was founded shortly after World War II, in 1947 as the in-house orchestra for the huge Barrandov Film Studios.

After separating and fully privatized it initially performed under the name Czech Symphony Orchestra, but had problems with unauthorized use of the name by other Czech ensembles for themselves.

Finally in 1992, after the Velvet Revolution, music producer James Fitzpatrick came up with its current name. The orchestra is drawn from musicians of the State Opera and the Czech National Theatre, and most of its concerts take place at the opera house.

In 2011 composer Ramin Djawadi was first asked to score a new TV series called 'Game of Thrones'. In its first season much of the music was written for a small string ensemble, and filled out with synthetic pads and percussion.

Over the course of the next six seasons the music budget got bigger and bigger to match the ever-increasing viewing figures the show was enjoying. This release celebrates the rich tapestry of music over the six series with the full firepower of an 80 piece symphony orchestra and choir.

'Game of Thrones' really is a television phenomenon. HBO’s epic small screen adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s series of fantasy tomes continues to draw in record audiences around the world, and shows no signs of slowing down. Indeed some 8.9m people tuned in to the Season Six finale in the US and with repeats, recordings and on-demand viewings taken into consideration, it is estimated that 'Game of Thrones' enjoys an average of 23m viewers per installment.

With a whopping thirty-eight Emmy Awards (and counting), this series remains the darling of prime-time pay TV. So, trust me when I say that when an exceptional, truly exceptional 80 piece orchestra plays this kind of music, for my money, it knocks all other ensemble works of the genre right out the park.

As aforementioned, this brilliant City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, which brings together uber talented musicians from the city's opera and theater orchestras, draws together the original soundtrack alongside all the best bits of soundscapes from all 6 seasons seamlessly.

All 21 tracks are beautifully arranged and recorded by a big orchestra and it is just so lovely, such a genuine pleasure to not only be a fan of the show, but to sit back, close my eyes, and listen to these works of art; headphones on, just relaxing and recalling the screen moments from each track that goes by.

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Devil In Disguise' [EP]
Artist - Los Kingdom

For those not in the know, Los Kingdom is a new project by singer/songwriters Arielle Verinis and Dave Green (The Filthy Souls).

With Arielle’s East Coast roots and Dave’s British upbringing they adapt historic American songs for today’s Alt-Americana music scene.

And so, some 40 years after the world lost the King of Rock & Roll, Los Kingdom is paying tribute with their new EP Devil In Disguise. Featuring six completely reimagined renditions of Elvis Presley classics, I have to tell you that you've never heard The King's songs sound quite like this ever before - trust me.

1. 'Can't Help Falling in Love'
2. 'Love Me Tender'
3. 'Don't Be Cruel'
4. 'Devil in Disguise'
5. 'Good Luck Charm'
6. 'It's Now or Never'

The opening song, 'I Can't Help Falling In Love' is slowed down so much that at times I fear it might actually lose what steam its self-generating to get to the end, but it makes it and is followed by the best track on the album, for my money, a beautifully sung-by Arielle Verinis 'Love Me Tender.'

The upbeat, Eurovision Song Contest-sounding rendition of 'Don't Be Cruel' is next, and that's backed by the piano-led title track, 'Devil In Disguise.' This rather inventive six-track EP then comes to a close with the hippity-hop flourish of 'Good Luck Charm,' and then rounds out with the dark, Bond theme-esque 'It's Now or Never.'

Title - 'The Exception' (Varese Sarabande)
Artist - Ilan Eshkeri

For those not in the know, 'The Exception' is a 2016 British-American romantic war drama film directed by David Leveaux as his directorial debut and stars Jai Courtney, Lily James, Janet McTeer and Christopher Plummer.

Indeed, it was screened in the Special Presentations section at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. 'The Exception' is now showing on DirectTV.

In the film, German soldier Stefan Brandt (Jai Courtney) goes on a mission to investigate exiled German Monarch Kaiser Wilhelm II. The Kaiser lives in a secluded mansion in the Netherlands, and as Germany is taking over Holland, the country's authorities are concerned that Dutch spies may be watching the Kaiser.

As Brandt begins to infiltrate the Kaiser's life in search of clues, he finds himself drawn into an unexpected and passionate romance with Mieke, one of the Kaiser's maids.

1. 'Waking Up' (4:23)
2. 'Stefan Prepares Himself' (2:35) 4. 'Feeding Ducks' (1:31)
5. 'Stefan’s New Room' (1:15)
6. 'Apology' (1:42)
7. 'Restoration' (1:35)
8. 'Seize The Day' (1:32)
9. 'Himmler Arrives' (1:52)
10. 'Private Conversations' (2:03)
11. 'The Kaiser Sees The Truth' (1:55)
12. 'Mika’s Message' (3:41)
13. 'The Ambulance' (4:04)
14. 'Escape' (1:16)
15. 'Mika’s Promise' (2:10)
16. 'Return To Berlin' (2:42)
17. 'The Kaiser’s Theme' (2:42)
18. 'Last Kiss' (2:12)

In my humble opinion, British neoclassical composer Ilan Eshkeri ('Stardust', 'Kick-Ass', 'The Young Victoria') has composed an outstanding and moving new score here for David Levreaux’s 'The Exception'. On an 18 track work of musical art, Eshkeri’s score features solo writing for violin, cello and piano, all with an incredible, taut orchestra backing.

Again, and in my opinion, the score here for 'The Exception' is truly rather excellent and stands well on it's own. Eshkeri does a great job with these individual, yet solid themes and even works in (if my getting-older-by-the day ears don't deceive me) homages to a few classical pieces. In closing, this is one of those soundtracks that you can enjoy on CD or while watching the movie.

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Passage To Dawn (Varese Sarabande)
Artist - Diego Navarro

For those not in the know, 'Passage To Dawn' Javier (Nicolás Coronado), a young photojournalist decides to travel to Fallujah (Iraq) as war correspondent.

Before leaving he must tell his family and his girlfriend. He will have to do it on Christmas Eve. The news cracks the family foundation. Life and relationships of all will be changed forever.

'Passage to Dawn' is the debut of Andreu Castro, who wrote and directed this rather lovely, very poignant, very heartfelt film.

1. 'Manufacturing Memories' (2:28)
2. 'Dreamcatcher' (1:01)
3. 'Candela' (1:28)
4. 'The Announcement' (1:21)
5. 'Manuela' (2:23)
6. 'A Chance To Choose' (2:11)
7. 'A Long Distance' (2:43)
8. 'Revelation' (1:36)
9. 'The Star Of David' (1:58)
10. 'Alone' (1:43)
11. 'Promise Me, You Will Be Back' (1:58)
12. 'The Mail' (2:18)
13. 'Misha & Mira' (4:58)
14. 'The Three Doors' (1:40)
15. 'Overnight My Lap Belongs To You' (2:38)
16. 'Life Gave Me Another Chance' (3:43)
17. 'Moonlight' - Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy (5:31)
18. 'Lullaby' (4:38)
19. 'To The Core Of The Soul' (5:03)
20. 'Passage To Dawn - Main Theme' (4:48)

The young Spanish film music composer and orchestra conductor; Founder of the Tenerife Film Orchestra & Choir Diego Navarro ('Capture The Flag,' Mimesis') has brought next to us an incredible, passionate, and highly charged, very powerful symphonic score for Andreu Castro’s film 'Passage To Dawn' ('Pasaje al Amanecer').

All 20 tracks come together to tell such a forthright story as this one in such a manner that when you listen to the beautiful and touching writing for piano, cello and symphony orchestra, you can almost feel as close to the characters as the fictional cinematic experience will ever allow you.

A Limited Edition of 1,000 copies on CD only ever to be released, 'Passage To Dawn' is an absolutely stunning lullaby - featuring voice and choir - that serves as yet another wonderful score carved out by the uber talented Diego Navarro.

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Title - '10. Festiwal Muzyki Filmowej W Krakaowie'
Artist - Various

For those not in the know, The Krakow Film Music Festival has just celebrated it's 10th Anniversary. Held this year from Wednesday, May 17th to Tuesday, May 23rd, and chock full of some extraordinary concerts within its program, until today, the official festival CD was only available in Poland.

But Varese Sarabande have thankfully - for all us fans of such an event - brought us this quite stunning compilation of music heard at this year’s event to us on this wonderfully packaged new CD.

Available to film music fans around the world, 10. Festiwal Muzyki Filmowej W Krakaowie (otherwise known as Film Music Festival Krakow - 2017) features 15 tracks by FMF guests including Giorgio Moroder, Howard Shore, Brian Tyler, Jan A.P. Kaczmarek, Abel Korzeniowski, Klaus Doldinger, Sean Callery, Trevor Morris, Jean-Michel Bernard and Sara Andon.

1. 'THE NEVERENDING STORY' - "Never Ending Story" - Giorgio Moroder, Keith Forsey - Performed by Limahl
2. 'THE NEVERENDING STORY' - "Bastian’s Happy Flight" - Klaus Doldinger 3. 'MIDNIGHT EXPRESS' - "Chase" - Giorgio Moroder
4. 'THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT' - "Symphonic Touge" - Brian Tyler
5. '24' – "Theme" - Sean Callery
6. 'FARGO' - "Bemidji, MN" - Jeff Russo - Performed by The Prague FILMharmonic Orchestra, Conducted by Adam Klemens
7. 'EMERALD CITY' - "The Beast Forever Approaches" - Trevor Morris
8. 'PENNY DREADFUL' - "Be True" - Abel Korzeniowski
9. 'ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW' - "The Grand Finale" - Abel Korzeniowski
10. 'LEGENDS OF THE FALL' - James Horner; Sara Andon, flute; Jean-Michel Bernard, piano
11. 'FINDING NEVERLAND' - "Neverland Piano Variation In Blue" - Jan A.P. Kaczmarek; Leszek Możdżer, piano
12. 'THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP' - "Golden The Pony Boy" - Jean-Michel Bernard; Kimiko Ono, vocal
13. 'THE LORD OF THE RINGS' - "One Ring To Rule Them All" - Howard Shore
14. 'STAR WARS - "Star Wars Main Title" - John Williams; Varujan Kojian; Utah Symphony Orchestra
15. 'TITANIC' - "Distant Memories / Southampton / Rose / Take Her To Sea, Mr. Murdoch" - James Horner; John Debney; Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Chorus

Featuring over 75 minutes of music by the composers who were part of this year's concerts, it is an eclectic sample of film music's incredible variety. Personally, I loved the whole medley playing of the fabulous music of James Horner for 'Titanic', whilst movie was screened behind them (just a little something extra there for you to think about when you listen to it). Recorded at the TAURON Arena Kraków with Sinfonietta Cracovia conducted by Ludwig Wicki, it is a definite highlight of this splendid new CD.

Another one was recorded at the ICE Kraków Congress Centre with FMF Youth Choir and FMF Youth Orchestra conducted by Monika Bachowska, playing the music of John Williams’ 'Star Wars' saga. Wow, and I know it's only the "Star Wars Main Title", but come on now, once you listen to it you tell me that the hairs on your arms didn't stand up!

This Deluxe CD packaging includes photos from the festival’s amazing history and a lengthy essay by Robert Townson that recounts the festival’s highlights from past years.

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Title - 'Tom Killner Live'
Artist - Tom Killner

One of the hottest young blues guitarists to emerge from the UK in many a year, Tom Killner released his debut album Hard Road via Cleopatra Records (US) back in late 2015.

Born in Rotherham, England, Killner grew up in a musical world formed not around the swagger of Robert Johnson, the anguish of Ma Rainey, the mystery of Geeshie Wylie, but the conveyor belt pop and talent show slop that permeated everything in early 21st century England.

Instantly deemed a child prodigy of six-string blues, by age nine, Killner had formed his first band. Playing live gigs every year thereafter, The Tom Killner Band formed in February 2012. A tight trio in the classic blues format of guitar (Tom), bass (Oliver Tallent) and drums (Jake Ashton), subsequent endorsements from Fret-King and Vintage Guitar sent the Band’s stock soaring.

Their first EP, Complicated, became a BBC radio favorite, and that was followed by their aforementioned full length debut album Hard Road in 2015. Now here on his sophomore album Live, Killner's raw talent once again comes to the fore.

1. 'Like It This Way'
2. 'King Bee'
3. 'Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked'
4. 'Have You Ever Loved A Woman'
5. 'Higher Ground'
6. 'Cocaine Blues'
7. 'Crosstown Traffic'
8. 'Soulshine'
9. 'Whipping Post'
10. 'The Weight'
11. 'Foxy Lady'
12. 'With A Little Help From My Friends'

Here on Live Killner shows his exquisite taste in music with these twelve superb, bluesy cover versions of songs by Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, The Band, The Allman Brothers and more.

Standing loud and proud here with this truly phenomenal live album packed with blues and rock classics, Killson gets introduced by an announcer that encourages the small club crowd to make as much noise as possible for the live recording and then this thunderous musical journey kicks off with 'I Like It This Way' (Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac) before heading into the Muddy Waters classic 'King Bee.'

As stunning a cover version of that song as I've ever heard, Killner then leaves the classic covers behind and steps into the shoes of Cage the Elephant's 'Ain't No Rest For The Wicked', before following that up with the piano-led beauty 'Have You Ever Loved A Woman' (Derek and the Dominos). A frenetic six minute 'Higher Ground' (Stevie Wonder) is next and then both a courageous slow-poke cover of Johnny Cash's 'Cocaine Blues' followed by Jimi Hendrix's 'Crosstown Traffic.'

Recorded just last year at The Old School House in Barnsley England, this live album is as good as it gets when it comes to raw blues and rock music, trust me. Killner is perfect throughout, no matter what level he sings at, no matter what artist he is covering. The Allman Brothers Band's 'Soulshine' is one of my own personal favorites here, as it just encapsulates everything they felt was good about the song now held safely within Killner's vocals. But the tribute to The Allman Brothers Band doesn't even there as Killner then ratchets it up a few notches with a killer 'Whipping Post.'

A by-the-numbers 'The Weight' (The Band) is next, and after Killner addresses the gathering ("Thank you for all the people that have supported us so far and I'm sure we'll see you all down the road sometime") he backs that up with another Hendrix cover in a seven minute 'Fox Lady.' Killner's soulful blues guitar laid bare on a rock edge, combined with a gravely raw, deeply cultivated vocal resonance means that this live album is as much required listening as my two personal live favorites: Thin Lizzy's Live and Dangerous and Motörhead's No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith. It's just that feckin' good!

Rounding the album out with a Beatles song that he tries to sing in the vein of Joe Cocker ("This one's from a lad from my home town", he says referencing Paul McCartney), 'With A Little Help From My Friends" then proceeds to round the album out. If you see Tom Killner listed as playing in your UK/US town anytime soon, go see him - please - as it will be the best live night out of your lives, of that you have my word.

Tom Killner Band @ Facebook

Title - 'From Zero'
Artist - Indubious

For those not in the know, the story of Indubious (who have adopted, along with their legion of fans, the motto "Live Indubiously" - which means living life without doubt or fear, and with faith in the fact that we are all here for a reason) is not for the faint of heart. Like a Phoenix rising from the flames, Indubious was forged in the fires of pain and destruction.

Indeed, it is through overcoming adversity that Evton and Skip, both brothers and band mates, have emerged as a powerful forces for change, and voices for the future of conscious music.

Having been born with Cystic Fibrosis, the Indubious brothers were given a grim diagnoses at birth with a life expectancy of 18 years. Now 30 and 32, respectively, the brothers have persevered.

Armed with impressive instrumental skill, powerful harmonies, and an electrifying stage presence, Indubious is destined to change the face of music. For me personally, I tend to listen to a new album blind to who the band is or what their story is. So listening to this new full-length album from Indubious, From Zero I found myself enraptured by the dublicious music from the very off.

More than that, From Zero is an INCREDIBLE album and one for the ages. It redefines how music should be made, encouraging genres to blend, to populate safely within their musical embrace. Simply put, Indubious (based out of Southern Oregon) is my favorite album band of 2017, From Zero my favorite album of 2017 - and it truly deserves to be yours too.

1. 'He Who Has Ears'
2. 'Rocketship'
3. 'Golden Ones' (ft. Sizzla Kalonji)
4. 'Free Up'
5. 'Don't Lose Sleep' (ft. Vaughn Benjamin)
6. 'See Sharp'
7. 'If You Follow'
8. 'Sheep of Conformity'
9. 'Wednesday'
10. 'Perfect'
11. 'School Again'
12. 'Root Down' (ft. Zahira)
13. 'We Got Vibes'
14. 'Sky High'

Their previous release, Wake The Lion (2013) achieved great success and reach with rankings and features throughout Beatport, iTunes, Amazon, and numerous media outlets. Produced by the legendary composer/producer Gaudi, Wake The Lion was a textural journey into the world of Rootstronica.

Here, some four years later, From Zero is a new body of work that is offered "as is" with zero expectations and zero preconceptions. Indeed, it is through the meditation of how blessed Indubious are to be able to create music and do what they do, that these songs were wholly generated.

Containing lush synths, deep bass and visionary lyricism, From Zero encompasses all that and more, and even manages to showcase a healthy evolution between the years. Blurring the lines between roots, dub, dancehall and heavy dance psychedelia, Indubious' unique sound is, for my money, brought to the fore best on tracks such as 'Golden Ones' (featuring Sizzla), 'Sheep of Conformity' and 'Root Down' (featuring Zahira).

Gold leaf and Embossed print on the cover, these sleek CD collectors items are a limited edition print (500) and available for a short time. Some have also been autographed on the inside cover by Evton and Skip.

Russell A. Trunk

Indubious @ Facebook

CD Pre-Order Purchase Link

Title - 'Wake Up'
Artist - Jennifer Saran

For those not in the know, Jennifer Saran is a North American alt-pop/adult contemporary artist, songwriter and vocalist based in Hong Kong. Her first full-length album, Merry Christmas, You Are Loved (2015), was a worldwide smash and quickly put Saran on the map; let alone on the radar of some very big names within the business.

Indeed, that debut album was created with legendary producer Narada Michael Walden, and released through his very own uber successful label, Tarpan Records. Luckily for us all, that partnership continued onward with her sophomore album, Walk With Me (2016), and now into her quite stunning new album, Wake Up.

Narada Machael Walden's music and Jennifer's lyrics and vocals combine to create a soulful, heartfelt record that is, yet again, sure to captivate a worldwide audience. Featuring an expansive 15 tracks, Wake Up is a mix of alt-pop and adult contemporary covers and originals that allow Saran's unique vocals styling to emanate perfectly.

1. 'Wake Up' (Feat. Carlos Santana, Ladysmith Black Mambazo)
2. 'Jesus to a Child' (Tribute to George Michael)
3. 'Really' (Feat. Jamil Wallis)
4. 'Me and Mr. Jones' (Tribute to Billy Paul)
5. 'You Are My Star' (Feat. Ladysmith Black Mambazo)
6. 'Too Young to Know'
7. 'Better Than Me' ("To Anjali")
8. 'Look at Me Fly' (Feat. Narada Michael Walden)
9. 'Old Cape Cod' (Tribute to Patti Page)
10. 'Try to Forgive (But I Cannot Forget)'
11. 'Lean on Me' (Feat. Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Tribute to Bill Withers)
12. 'Grace Is the Champion'
13. 'I Will Always Be Your Home'
14. 'My Love and Devotion'
15. 'Aad Guray'

Musically, Wake Up is a beautifully soulful, heartfelt collection of songs that evoke Saran's passion for beautiful melodies throughout. Indeed, Saran creates moving, thought-provoking music track after track here, and with each one drawing from her unique and powerful experiences of life, they all manage to take those personal experiences musically to audible perfection.

Add to all that an album that also features guest appearances by multiple Grammy-winning artist Carlos Santana and South African Grammy-winning male choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and Wake Up (in stores and online worldwide on July 7th, 2017) is an album you simply must have in your collection the day it is released.

Personally, it's Saran's covers of some classic, beloved hit songs that resonate the most for me here. Here tributes to George Michael ('Jesus To A Child'), Bill Withers ('Lean on Me'), and both Patti Page ('Old Cape Cod') and 'Me and Mr. Jones' for Billy Paul, add some serious musical distinction to this album.

For a woman who records so frequently now, sings like her shoulders bear none of life's worries, and whose recordings are engaging, uplifting and empowering via her own evolution within the business, Saran (who also has a few other external-to-music businesses she is more than a little involved with) is as beautiful, as talented, and as highly a productive lady as I think I have ever had the pleasure to know (via her music, of course). And once you listen to this new album, and journey through her back catalog yourselves, I think you'll wholeheartedly agree with me.

Russell A. Trunk

CD Pre-Order Purchase Link

Title - 'Cars 3' (Original Score + Various Artists)
Artist - Various + Randy Newman

For those not in the know, 'Cars 3' is a 2017 American 3D computer-animated sports comedy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios for Walt Disney Pictures.

As you can guess from its title, it is the third installment in the 'Cars' film franchise and the immediate sequel to 'Cars 2' (2011).

Directed by Brian Fee it stars Owen Wilson, Bonnie Hunt, Larry the Cable Guy, Tony Shalhoub, Guido Quaroni, John Ratzenberger, Lloyd Sherr, Cheech Marin, Michael Wallis, Paul Dooley, Jenifer Lewis and Katherine Helmond; who all reprise their roles from the first two films.

They are joined now in 'Cars 3' by Cristela Alonzo, Armie Hammer, Chris Cooper, Nathan Fillion, Kerry Washington, and Lea DeLaria who voice the new characters introduced in this movie.

Drivers and racing-related personalities from NASCAR including Kyle Petty, Humpy Wheeler, Ray Evernham, Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, Jeff Gordon, Shannon Spake, Darrell Waltrip, Darrell Wallace Jr. and Daniel Suárez make vocal cameos in the film.

There are two (2) soundtracks released for the film. The original motion picture soundtrack features rock/pop songs featured in the film, while the original score soundtrack features the score composed and conducted by Randy Newman.

Track Listing:
1. 'Run That Race' – Dan Auerbach
2. 'Kings Highway' – James Bay
3. 'Truckaroo' – Brad Paisley
4. 'Thunder Hollow Breakdown' – Brad Paisley
5. 'Glory Days' – Andra Day
6. 'Ride' (feat. Gary Clark Jr.) – ZZ Ward
7. 'Drive My Car' – Jorge Blanco
8. 'Freeway of Love' – Lea DeLaria

Up first is the 'Cars 3 - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack' that features just eight (8) tracks from various artists and sources. The upbeat, soulful rock guitar of 'Run That Race' is an original song written and performed by nine-time Grammy® winner Dan Auerbach (best known as the guitarist and vocalist for the Black Keys); and actually opens the movie.

Then comes a really nice (albeit not one that strays too far from its original timbre source) Tom Petty cover of 'Kings Highway' from James Bay, and that's backed by a Brad Paisley double take - a frenetic pair of instrumentals in both 'Truckaroo' and the speeding train, down south funk of 'Thunder Hollow Breakdown'.

A smokey dive bar rendition of Springsteen's 'Glory Days' by Andra Day is a right royal highlight of this album, for my money, and that's backed by 'Ride' (feat. Gary Clark Jr.). Performed by musician, singer and songwriter extraordinaire ZZ Ward, that is then followed by the Beatles' 'Drive My Car' (Jorge Blanco), and then it all wraps up with a somewhat softer version of the Aretha Franklin classic 'Freeway of Love' from Lea DeLaria.

Track Listing:
1. 'Storm's Winning Streak'
2. 'When All Your Friends Are Gone / Crash'
3. 'Doc's Painful Demise'
4. 'Mater on the Horn'
5. 'Sistine Chapel on Wheels'
6. 'Temple of Rust-eze'
7. 'A Career on a Wall / Electronic Suit'
8. 'Drip Pan'
9. 'McQueen's Wild Ride'
10. 'Biggest Brand in Racing'
11. 'Fireball Beach'
12. 'Pull Over, Now! / Cruz's Racing Dreams'
13. '1.2%'
14. 'If This Track Could Talk'
15. 'Letters About You'
16. 'Smokey Starts Training / A Blaze of Glory'
17. 'Starting Dead Last'
18. 'Flashback & Pit Stop'
19. 'Through the Pack'
20. 'Victory Lane'
21. 'The Fabulous Lightning McQueen'

This Randy Newman-inspired 'Cars 3 - Original Score' is a real beauty also. Yet another fantastic score from Disney/Pixar's go-to composer, Randy Newman, it is solid from track 1 to track 21. Well done and highly entertaining, each track tells the story of 'Cars 3' from the start to the finish line!

Newman, who was behind the Oscar®-winning music in Disney·Pixar's 'Toy Story 3' and 'Monsters, Inc.', also composed the score for the first 'Cars' movie and penned the Oscar®-nominated song "Our Town".

For 'Cars 3', Newman has created a score that reflects the heart and high-octane action of the film, that's for sure. Indeed, these 21 tracks showcase a love for cars, in general, that Newman has, along with a genuine and honest connection to the 'Cars' world.

His ability to capture the feeling of this film, its characters, locations and the Americana theme throughout is extraordinary. The music that he has composed - which he used a 110-piece orchestra to record most all of it with - is so naturally fluid and inspired if you listen to the score with your eyes closed, you'll think you were there at the race track along with Lightning McQueen, his best buddy Tow Mater, and the rest of the gang!

'Cars 3 - Various Artists' - CD Purchase Link

'Cars 3 - Original Score' - CD Purchase Link

Title - 'All-Time Greatest Hits'
Artist - the Judds

For those not in the know, together, Country Music icons Wynonna and Naomi Judd (aka the Judds) made musical history throughout their career receiving eight Gold and eight Platinum records, selling over 20 million albums and scoring twenty Top 10 hits between 1984-1990.

Signed to RCA Records in 1983, the duo released six studio albums between then and 1991. One of the most successful acts in country music history, the Judds won five Grammy Awards for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, and eight Country Music Association awards.

The duo also charted twenty-five singles on the country music charts between 1983 and 2000, fourteen of which went to Number One and six more of which made Top Ten on the same chart. In 1985, the duo appeared on the PBS music program Austin City Limits during Season 10 and also appeared on the PBS children's show Square One TV many times.

After eight successful years as a duo, the Judds ceased performing in 1991 after Naomi was diagnosed with Hepatitis C. Soon after, Wynonna embarked on a highly successful solo career. The two have occasionally reunited for special tours, the most recent of which began in late 2010.

Now, Curb Records is excited to bring fans the ultimate collection of those years together. The Judds' All-Time Greatest Hits will be released on Friday, June 30th and features each of the classic hits that helped to make them a household name on Country Radio in the 1980s and 1990s.

1. 'Mama He's Crazy'
2. 'Why Not Me'
3. 'A Girl's Night Out'
4. 'Love Is Alive'
5. 'Have Mercy'
6. 'Grandpa (Tell Me 'Bout The Good Old Days)'
7. 'Rockin' With The Rhythm Of The Rain'
8. 'Cry Myself To Sleep'
9. 'Don't Be Cruel'
10. 'I Know Where I'm Going'
11. 'Maybe Your Baby's Got The Blues'
12. 'Turn It Loose'
13. 'Give A Little Love'
14. 'Change Of Heart'
15. 'Young Love (Strong Love)'
16. 'Let Me Tell You About Love'
17. 'One Man Woman'
18. 'Born To Be Blue (Single Edit)'
19. 'Love Can Build A Bridge (Radio Edit)'
20. 'One Hundred And Two'
21. 'Flies On The Butter (You Can't Go Home Again)'

This incredible, lo-fi bluegrass collection of twenty-one songs may well feature each of their renowned top ten hits, but as an added bonus it also comes complete with 'You Can’t Go Home Again (Flies On The Butter),' a recording from 2011.

Kicking off with their classic #1 hit 'Mama, He’s Crazy' (1984), the album is pure joy to listen to from start to finish. Continuing onward with 'Why Not Me,' 'Girls Night Out,' and both 'Love Is Alive' and 'Have Mercy,' it's not only those aforementioned Top 10 hits, but storytelling heart string pullers such as 'Grandpa (Tell Me 'Bout The Good Old Days)' that make this collection just so gosh darn loveable.

As the album moves delightfully along with such hits as 'Cry Myself To Sleep,' 'Turn It Loose,' 'Give A Little Love,' and 'Change Of Heart,' it's evident that, even if you're not a long time fan, this duo is something very special. For me, and to my ear/mind, Naomi has a unique style of harmony, pitched below Wynonna's lead vocals. The result has always been so smooth that sometimes it's difficult to hear the two voices separately, because they blend so well.

Of course, being mother and daughter results in that "relative harmony" that is difficult for genetically unrelated singers to attain, but on such tracks as 'Let Me Tell You About Love,' 'One Man Woman,' 'Love Can Build A Bridge' through to 1991’s 'One Hundred and Two,' this genetic trait sure does shine through loud and proud.

The duo have established a career that will stand with one of the top duets in Country Music history. Indeed, the Judds are a timeless duo. I've loved their music for a long, long time and will continue to do so. Sure, there's nothing new on this collection, even though it now rounds out with the aforementioned 'Flies On The Butter (You Can't Go Home Again),' but that's ok. They just don't make music like this anymore - as Naomi herself told me this week!

'All-Time Greatest Hits' CD Purchase Link

CLICK HERE to read a BRAND NEW interview with Naomi Judd!

CLICK HERE for the chance to win a copy of the Judds' All-Time Greatest Hits CD!

the Judds @ Facebook

Title - 'Out of the Dust'
Artist - Out of the Dust

For those not in the know, together, Out of the Dust refers to the fact that God breathed life back into its members, husband and wife Chris and Stephanie Teague.

Indeed, their self-titled CD Out of the Dust (released March 7th, 2017 via Discovery House Records) features songs that are birthed from a difficult time in their lives, yet still shares the hope and healing that Jesus offers.

1. 'All That I'm Made For'
2. 'Lead Me Through'
3. 'Your Will'
4. 'Make Us Whole'
5. 'Safe to Shore'
6. 'You Pursue'
7. 'Radicals'
8. 'How to Love'
9. 'How Deep the Father’s Love'
10. 'Slow Down'
11. 'I’ll Never Hide'

Having now listened to this album three times through, no breaks, their tagline that "You'll be drawn into their unique music a mix of indie, folk, and pop" is as spot on perfect as anything anyone's ever written about, well, anything!

As you listen to the opening track, the breathy, hypnotizing ode to God, 'All That I'm Made For', it's obvious that this melodic pop duo with a bent toward the Holy Spirit have a lot to say. The airy, reaching, Celtic-inspired 'Lead Me Through' is backed by the stoic 'Your Will', and then the gently playful pop beat of 'Make Us Whole.'

The most heart-on-the-sleeve, souls bared track here, for my money, it relates directly to the source: the husband-and-wife duo of Chris and Stephanie Teague. As we listen along, we learn how they experienced God breathing life back into their souls as He healed their marriage. Through their first marriage, divorce, and remarriage, they experienced both the hopelessness that life can bring, but also the power of God to restore.

Not only does this musical couple have a story to tell, but they tell it beautifully. Moving on and next up is the delicately beautiful 'Safe to Shore,' a building track in the shape of 'You Pursue,' the finger-snapping roll of 'Radicals,' and then the haunting 'How to Love.'

Another ballad, this time led by the piano, comes forth in the guise of 'How Deep the Father's Love for Us,' which in turn bleeds seamlessly into the placid acoustic guitar work of 'Slow Down,' before the album is brought to a close with the even slower, lullabyesque 'I'll Never Hide.'

'Out of the Dust' CD Purchase Link

Out of the Dust @ Facebook

Title - 'Heroes - Live In Europe 2016' [EP]
Artist - King Crimson

For those not in the know, and shame on you if that's you of a certain age (sorry), King Crimson are an English rock band formed in London in 1968. The band has undergone numerous formations throughout its history of which 21 musicians have been members; but since January 2017 it has consisted of Robert Fripp, Jakko Jakszyk, Tony Levin, Mel Collins, Pat Mastelotto, Gavin Harrison, Bill Rieflin and Jeremy Stacey.

Fripp is the only consistent member of the group, and is considered the band's leader and driving force. The band has earned a large cult following, as you would expect given their musical output through the ages and were even ranked No. 87 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock.

King Crimson have now released a stupendous new EP entitled Heroes featuring their version of David Bowie's 'Heroes' recorded in Berlin during the band’s 2016 European tour. This five track EP is as crisp, as clear, as vibrant, as relevant as anything the band has ever done, of that have no doubt.

1. 'Heroes'
2. 'Easy Money'
3. 'Starless (edit)'
4. 'The Hell Hounds of Krim'
5. 'Heroes (radio edit)'

The EP kicks off with a note-for-note rendition of the title track 'Heroes' (recorded in Berlin, September 12th 2016), a song that enables Fripp to, once again, showcase (recreate, perhaps) his flawless; and now historic guitar solo. That's backed by the 10 minute fan favorite 'Easy Money' (recorded in Paris, December 3rd 2016) and boy, what an adventure they have made this cut into. Sure 10 minutes might be a wee bit excessive, but if you don't lose yourself within the guitar and key prog work, you're not listening to it correctly.

With all the current band members working well together, seamlessly I'd even go as far as saying, the relatively short 'Starless (edit)' (recorded in Vienna, December 1st 2016) is next. Woven together from mostly keys and a beautiful reed solo, that's followed by 'The Hell Hounds of Krim' (also recorded in Vienna, December 1st 2016). Just listening to those three drummers performing this literal classic of a showpiece is enough, even just audibly (never mind the live visual experience) to send you into a beautiful trance state. The EP then rounds out with a shorter version of 'Heroes (radio edit)' (recorded in Berlin, September 12th 2016), but once it has finished, you'll be hard pushed not to hit Play all over again.

Heroes - Live In Europe, 2016 was released June 2nd 2017 via Inner Knot Records and is a quite extraordinary musical experience; and one I urge you not to miss out on.

King Crimson @ Facebook

EP CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Tonite Let's All Make Love in London'
Artist - Various

For those not in the know, and yes, that included me, so no shame there, 'Tonite Lets All Make Love in London' is a soundtrack album released on LP in 1968, for the 1967 semi-documentary film made by Peter Whitehead about the "swinging London" scene of the sixties.

The film consists of a series of psychedelic performances and interviews and features live performance by Pink Floyd, together with footage of John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Mick Jagger, Vanessa Redgrave, Lee Marvin, Julie Christie, Allen Ginsberg, Eric Burdon, Michael Caine and many others attending one of the band's concerts.

Now re-released on a Limited Edition CD in a gatefold sleeve with an eight page booklet included, this 2017 restored and remastered edition of the soundtrack to Peter Whitehead's first commercial film has not been available in it's complete form since the original LP was released by Immediate Records' Instant imprint in 1968.

1. 'Interstellar Overdrive (Soundtrack Version)' - the Pink Floyd [03:02]
2. 'Interview # 1 - Michael Caine' [00:09]
3. 'The Changing of the Guard (Soundtrack Version)' - the Marquis of Kensington [02:50]
4. 'Night Time Girl (Soundtrack Version)' - Twice As Much [02:44]
5. 'Interview - Genevieve' [00:48]
6. 'Out of Time (Soundtrack Version)' - Chris Farlowe [03:11]
7. 'Interview - Edna O'Brien' [02:22]
8. 'Interstellar Overdrive - Extract 1 (Soundtrack Version)' - the Pink Floyd [00:30]
9. 'Interview # 1 - Andrew Loog Oldham' [00:21]
10. 'Winter Is Blue (Soundtrack Version)' - Vashti [01:27]
11. 'Winter Is Blue (Reprise)' - Vashti [01:22]
12. 'Interview - Mick Jagger' [03:13]
13. 'Interview - Julie Christie' [00:47]
14. 'Interview # 2 - Andrew Loog Oldham' [01:24]
15. 'Interview # 2 - Michael Caine' [01:27]
16. 'Paint It Black (Soundtrack Version)' - Chris Farlowe [02:50]
17. 'Interview - David Hockney' [00:46]
18. 'Paint It Black (Reprise - Soundtrack Version)' - Chris Farlowe
[00:23] 19. 'Interview - David Hockney' [00:08]
20. 'Here Come the Nice (Soundtrack Version)' - Small Faces [02:54]
21. 'Interview - Lee Marvin' [00:44]
22. 'Interstellar Overdrive - Extract #2 (Soundtrack Version)' - the Pink Floyd [01:00]
23. 'Tonite Let's All Make Love in London' - Allen Ginsberg [01:07]

Although it's true that other versions of this soundtrack have also been released down the years, this is the very first time that the recording has been restored and remastered using the most up-to-date technology there is today.

A unique commentary of London during a time when the world said it was the first city, the soundtrack features the Pink Floyd, Small Faces, Chris Farlowe, Vashti, and more, and also includes spoken-word contributions from Mick Jagger, Michael Caine, Andrew Loog Oldham, David Hockney, Allen Ginsberg, and more.

Beginning in fine style with 'Interstellar Overdrive (Soundtrack Version)' by the Pink Floyd, a so-called 'Interview # 1 - Michael Caine' is only a quick, mumbled 9 second sound bite; so don't go getting your hopes up for anything profound to be brought forth by the acting legend. As for the aforementioned the Pink Floyd track, well, this is the edited version of the almost 17 minutes long early take of the song, but is still incredible to hear today (in any format).

Another gem here is Chris Farlowe's version of 'Out of Time' by the Rolling Stones. First released on their 1966 album Aftermath (UK version), Farlowe - an English rock, blues and soul singer, best known for this very same hit single rendition - takes it to the brink and back on his version. A two minute 'Interview - Edna O'Brien' is well worth the price of admission also, for the Irish novelist, memoirist, playwright, poet and short story writer crams a lot into her small time frame.

The various interview sound bites with Andrew Loog Oldham - no matter if they are just 21 seconds long or nearly three minutes in length - are wonderful too. The English record producer, talent manager, impresario and author, he was also the manager and producer of the Rolling Stones from 1963 to 1967. Noted for his flamboyant style, that and so much more comes across in every word he says.

The back-to-back pairing of 'Winter Is Blue (Soundtrack Version)' and 'Winter Is Blue (Reprise)' by Vashti are pleasant to behold also, but the one cut that takes the biscuit for me here is 'Interview - Mick Jagger'; where he rambles on, on and off track for over three minutes about this, that and the other - and you remain transfixed throughout. The same could be said, in a lesser manner, about the oh-to-short 'Interview - Julie Christie', that rounds out at about just 50 seconds.

As Andrew Loog says in the sleeve notes: "the people in the film created the different image for everyone, their contributions are reflected in the attitudes and music contained in this album." None more so than a wonderful 'Paint It Black (Soundtrack Version)' from Chris Farlowe, another longer sound bite from Michael Caine, and both 'Here Come the Nice (Soundtrack Version)' by the Small Faces, and then a 44 second chat with one of Hollywood's most revered actors, 'Interview - Lee Marvin.'

'Tonite Let's All Make Love in London' Restored & Remastered CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Lost & Found: 1972-1973'
Artist - Captain Beyond

For those not in the know, and yes, that included me, so no shame there, Captain Beyond was an American/British rock band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1971.

The original line-up for Captain Beyond were singer Rod Evans (ex-Deep Purple), drummer Bobby Caldwell (ex-Johnny Winter), guitarist Larry "Rhino" Reinhardt (ex-Iron Butterfly), and bassist Lee Dorman (ex-Iron Butterfly), as well as keyboardist Lewie Gold.

Gold left due to personal reasons before the first album was recorded and the remaining line-up recorded the self-titled debut album, released in 1972. A year later, and with many more band changes in effect, a six man line up recorded the group's second album, Sufficiently Breathless. Tension during the recording led to more people leaving and come the end of the year the band had split up all together.

However, the band reformed in 1976 with Willy Daffern on vocals, and Bobby Caldwell, Rhino and Lee Dorman completing the line-up. They recorded the band's third album Dawn Explosion on Warner Bros., but broke up in 1978! Reinhardt and Caldwell reformed Captain Beyond in 1998 with Jimi Interval on vocals, Steve Petrey on guitar, Dan Frye on keyboards, and Jeff Artabasy on bass, but, yep, you guessed it, Captain Beyond once again disbanded in 2003!

Caldwell resurrected the band in 2013, with a line up consisting of Jeff "Boday" Christensen, Don Bonzi, Simon Lind, and Jeff Artabasy and this reformed group began touring in 2015. No break up has been announced since then, so we can only assume they are all working in continual harmony here today.

Now out via Cleopatra Records, Lost & Found: 1972-1973 is a brand new CD (or vinyl LP) release that brings all lovers of the band back together as one. Having been locked away in a vault (or someones basement/attic) for 45 years, these 10 previously never-before-released songs are pure Captain Beyond at their heyday finest.

1. 'Uranus Highway' (previously unreleased)
2. 'I Can’t Feel Nothing (Part 1)'
3. 'As The Moon Speaks (To The Waves of The Sea)'
4. 'Astral Lady'
5. 'As The Moon Speaks (Return)'
6. 'I Can’t Feel Nothing (Part 2)'
7. 'Icarus'
8. 'Raging River of Fear'
9. 'Dancing Madly Backwards (On a Sea of Air)'
10. 'Myopic Void'

Seemingly very overlooked and under appreciated way back in the early '70s, this new set of songs, including one previously unheard track, is everything that devoted fans of Captain Beyond could ever have wanted Santa to bring them and leave under the Christmas tree ... even if it is only June!

The first cut is the previously unreleased gem 'Uranus Highway,' a song that sounds as great as anything they ever put out (now that I've done my homework on the band, I can confidently state that fact), so quite why it was held back is beyond me. That's backed by the first of the remaining nine Demos, 'I Can't Feel Nothing (Part 1)'. All with a certain level of background hiss attached, they are still, nonetheless, unadulterated works of music art.

The jigsaw puzzle that is 'As The Moon Speaks (To The Waves of The Sea)' is my own personal favorite here, as the guitar work is just to precise, so cultured, and that's backed by both the freeflowing, albeit just fifteen seconds long 'Astral Lady' and another dip into the aforementioned, 'As The Moon Speaks (Return).' A guitar heavy minutes worth of 'I Can’t Feel Nothing (Part 2)' is along next, and that's followed by the longest track on the album, the prog space rock of 'Icarus.'

The all-out guitar rock, and cowbells of 'Raging River of Fear' is a thunderous track to behold, and that's backed by the Southern rock opera 'Dancing Madly Backwards (On a Sea of Air).' The album then rounds out with the trippy trance state of 'Myopic Void,' a cut that personifies perfectly everything that this new collection hopes to convey to its loyal followers.

'Lost & Found: 1972-1973' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Bryan Adams - Wembley Live 1996' [2 CD]
Artist - Bryan Adams

For those not in the know, and shame on you if that's you of a certain age, Bryan Adams, OC OBC is a Canadian singer, songwriter, record producer, guitarist, photographer, philanthropist and activist.

Adams rose to fame in North America with his 1983 album Cuts Like a Knife and turned into a global star with his 1984 album Reckless, which produced some of his best known songs, including "Run to You" and "Summer of '69".

In 1991, he released "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You" from the album Waking Up the Neighbours and the song became a worldwide hit which went to number 1 in many countries, including 16 consecutive weeks in the United Kingdom, a new record. Adams also had the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles "Heaven", "All for Love" and "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?"

For his contributions to music, Adams has garnered many awards and nominations, including 20 Juno Awards among 56 nominations, 15 Grammy Award nominations including a win for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television in 1992. He has also won MTV, ASCAP, American Music awards, three Ivor Novello Awards for song composition and has been nominated five times for Golden Globe Awards and three times for Academy Awards for his songwriting for films.

Adams was also awarded the Order of Canada and the Order of British Columbia for contributions to popular music and philanthropic work via his own foundation, which helps improve education for people around the world.

With the DVD of the same name/show already out, now it's the turn of Bryan Adams - Wembley Live 1996 [2 CD] to be released this June 30th 2017 via Eagle Rock Entertainment.

It was July 27th 1996 and a sell-out crowd in excess of 100,000 welcomed Bryan Adams to Wembley Stadium on his 18 Til I Die Tour in support of the multi-platinum album of the same name.

Bryan's soon-to-be-massive 18 Til I Die album had been released a few weeks earlier and hit the No.1 spot on the UK Albums Chart and gone Top 5 right around Europe. Wembley Stadium, in England, the home of the national football team, was packed to the brim. Indeed, with close to 100,000 people packed inside this Stadium - just after Euro 96' - on a hot summer day/night, once the very first chord of 'The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You' is struck, for the next two hours everyone was beholden, entranced by their Canadian rock hero.

The 24 song show continues breathlessly onward after the album's first hit single, with "Do To You," "Kids Wanna Rock," the loud sing-along "Can't Stop This Things We Started", and then both "This Time" and "18 'Til I Die."

From the constant noise made by the audience, it's clear that everyone is having the time of their collective lives here tonight. Adams slows his roll a little with both "Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?" and new album track "Touch The Hand," but cranks all that energy right back up again, closing out the first disc of two with "Cuts Like A Knife," "It's Only Love" (with special guest Melissa Etheridge standing in for Tina Turner), and then both "Somebody" and then the massive tear jerking ballad, "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You."

The second disc opens with a frenetic "Run To You," which Adams backs seamlessly with both the gentle rocker "There Will Never Be Another Tonight" and one of my own personal favorites, the lesser known "Seven Nights To Rock." A fabulous rendition of a classic rockabilly song (written by both Buck Trail and Henry Glover), it's followed by "I Wanna Wear Your Underwear" (a track I've always loved listening to), and that's followed by a cover of Tone Loc's "Wild Thing".

The rousing anthem "It Ain't A Party (If You Can't Come 'Round)", and then both a fun "She's Only Happy When She's Dancin'" and an all-stage-lights-flashing, everyone sweaty and going nuts (I've seen and reviewed the DVD so I know), all 100,000 singing at the top of their voices "Summer Of '69" is one of the OTT highlights of this fantastic live double album.

Once every one, and every thing has calmed down, Bryan slows the proceedings down with "All For Love", and follows that with the beautiful slowburn of "Let's Make A Night To Remember." Coming back on stage after a quick break, we next get a balls-to-the-wall version of The Clash's infamous "I Fought The Law" before he brings the entire over-two-hours-long show to a close with a deliriously-stunning "Heaven".

Simply put, if you weren't there in 1996, you can now buy this 2CD set, and in the comfort of your own home, put it on, close your eyes and be there as if you were the first time around.

Bryan Adams @ Facebook

'Bryan Adams - Wembley Live 1996' [2 CD] Purchase Link

Title - 'The Curse Lives On' [EP]
Artist - Phear

For those not in the know, Phear - comprised of: Patrick Mulock – Lead Vocals; Graham Stirrett – Guitar / Backing Vocals; Tyson Emanuel – Guitar / Backing Vocals; Chris Boshis – Bass Guitar / Backing Vocals; and Chris Lewis – Drums / Percussion / Backing Vocals - was formed in Toronto in 2015.

Mulock, who first found success - albeit in his Toronto area - with local band Rampage, then went on to play with Metal Blade recording artists Eidolon; with Glen and Shawn Drover – formerly of Megadeth – from 2001-2004.

After a semi-retirement from music (2004- 2014), he sat down with the Rampage guys to discuss doing it all again, but not everybody could commit. So, with two new members and three original Rampage band mates on board, Mulock formed the new band Phear.

Now Phear have taken the music scene by storm and have just released a highly impressive five-track EP, The Curse Lives On. Released June 30th, 2017, it follows on the heels of their debut full-length album, Insanitarium.

1. 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner'
2. 'Dirty Work'
3. 'Don’t Scream' (LIVE)
4. 'Heaven' (LIVE)
5. 'Regan’s Dream' (LIVE)

The EP kicks off with a tribute to Iron Maiden, albeit via the longest major poem ever written in history. Composed by the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, written in 1797–98 and published in 1798 in the first edition of Lyrical Ballads, 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' was originally included on Maiden's fifth studio album Powerslave (1984) and has always been one of their massive fan favorites.

Here, Phear don't color to far outside the lines themselves with their own rendition and as much as they don't make it their own, they do manage to pay it some might fine justice. Next up is a track that sounds so much like Alice In Chains I'm blown away knowing that it has no connection to them at all - it's just that good. 'Dirty Work' is, for me, the best track on the EP and that's backed by the guitar frenzy of 'Don't Scream' (Live).

Next up is where the softer side of Phear comes to the fore, as the acoustic guitar ballad 'Heaven' (Live) is brought forth. The EP is rounded out with the longest track, 'Regan's Dream' (Live), a track inclusive of all the usual elements that make up thrash metal at its finest, it is most definitely a showpiece to be proud of.

With news that Phear have begun writing material for their next full-length album, for release early 2018, this EP will be welcomed by their legion of fans; and rightly so.

Phear @ Facebook

Phear @ Twitter

'The Curse Lives On' [EP] Purchase Link

Title - 'S.T.F.U. [Explicit]'
Artist - KillSET

For those not in the know, KillSET is the integration of a professional, well-oiled, finely tuned metal machine and an explosive, supercharged charismatic front man.

The band was created when former ARCM members, James "Jas" Dillon (Drums), Mark Baker (Bass), and Dave Comer (Guitars), combined forces with established singer Luca (Choleric).

Instantly, there was an addictive atmosphere in the writing process. The contributions and writing styles of each member perfectly complemented one another's individual strengths to create a sound that beautifully kills.

KillSET then joined forces with renowned producer, Eddie Wohl (Fuel, Smile Empty Soul, ill Nino, 36 Crazyfists) and completed their debut, full-length album, Know Your Killer, demonstrating their signature sound of pure ferocity and simple beauty.

The overwhelming support of the freshman album led to worldwide radio play and presented KillSET with the opportunities to share the stage with Fear Factory, Otep, Red, Adrenaline Mob, Flaw, Nothing More, and Saliva.

Subsequently, the band chose to embark on another musical journey, again collaborating with producer Eddie Wohl, culminating in a sophomore effort that will certainly impact anyone who dares to listen.

Transcending the current generic norm, the new album (out July 7th, 2017), S.T.F.U., has a unique style and flavor that is simply undeniable. The ten track album is pure adrenaline-cultivated tracks from start to finish and with not one cut being a so-called filler, you know you're getting true, honest to God value for money here.

1. 'Get Up'
2. 'Bully (Explicit)'
3. 'Killers in the Pit (Explicit)'
4. 'Tomorrow (Explicit)'
5. 'Broken Angel'
6. 'Jump'
7. 'How Dare You (Explicit)'
8. 'Animal'
9. 'Not a Love Song'
10. 'Don't Let Me Die'

West Coast nu-metal band KillSET have delivered a right royal message here with their sophomore album, S.T.F.U. Sure they are not reinventing the wheel, but what KillSET do is install a melodic bass line to each and every song, an infectious bounce that takes the could-have-been raw, heavy razor edge off the tracks and enables a more polished sound to come forth.

If nowhere else, lead off single/video 'Killers in the Pit' showcases this perfectly, but trust me when I say that each of the ten tracks have that said same vibe to them - which, I for one, believe is the reason for their success in this now niche market that used to be so dominant.

But, if you want even more proof of KillSET's ability to turn nu-metal into something for all to enjoy, just check out their INCREDIBLE version of the old '90s hit from Kris Kross, 'Jump'! Shit, more than that, go watch the video for it on YouTube and just embrace all that is great about it; whilst you smile broadly, from ear to ear.

As Killset singer Luca himself describes the band's video shoot for the phenomenal cover: "I wrote the script and then we went to thrift stores and bought the biggest jeans they had, Timberland boots, leather woven belts, boomboxes, jerseys, Cross Colours clothes and I had my mom send out my old pager."

'Killers in the Pit' Official Video

KillSET @ Facebook

'S.N.F.U.' Purchase Link

Title - 'Keep It Movin'
Artist - Frank Piombo

For those not in the know, Frank Piombo’s portfolio is an impressive one. Appearing as lead guitarist and vocalist alongside Sidewalk Symphony, The Fantasy Band, Stepping Out, The New Prince Band, US & Co, the original Infernos; and sharing the stage with the likes of The Duprees, The Mello Kings, Vito and the Salutations, and Vito and the Elegants, Frank has proved to be much more than a jazz guitarist.

Indeed, Frank’s CDs (The Night Speaks, Sleepwalk, and Smooth Reminiscence) have led to a large international following, prompting several fan pages on Facebook. And his music is now heard throughout North America, and several other continents, including: Africa, Australia, Europe, and South America.

More so now as his creative and infectious passion and optimism for music has once more come to the fore with the impending release of his fourth album, Keep It Movin', due out August 4th, 2017 via Sound Exchange Publishing.

1. 'Keep It Movin'
2. 'Al dente (Tino's Theme)'
3. 'Sunset Beach'
4. 'Middle of the Night'
5. 'Rush Hour Funk'
6. 'Sogno D'Amore'
7. 'Easin' Up (Remix)'
8. 'Keep It Movin' (Vocal)'

We begin in fine form with the title track, 'Keep It Movin', a cut that instantly reminds me of George Benson's guitar playing, and that's backed by both the free flowing hipsway of 'Al dente (Tino's Theme)' and the more dedicated horns of the steamy 'Sunset Beach.' The dusk to dawn Latin groove feel of 'Middle of the Night' is one of my own personal favorites here. Incorporating some heated trumpet work from Sam Hankins, that's followed by the twanging guitar and alert horn work from saxophonist Tony Exum Jr. on 'Rush Hour Funk.'

The laid back saxophone and string work on 'Sogno D'Amore,' coupled with Piombo's expert guitar playing makes this a very fluid and joyful track, and that's backed by the late night, cigar smoke-filled underground jazz bar feel of 'Easin' Up (Remix).' With the album being rounded out by an impressive 'Keep It Movin' (Vocal)' (sung by Joe Arminio, and which is something I truly wish more artists of this genre would encourage), Keep It Movin' is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of my top picks for Album of the Year 2017.

Frank Piombo @ Facebook

'Keep It Movin' Pre-Order Purchase Link

Title - Before the Flood (Music from the Motion Picture)
Artist - Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross & Gustavo Santaolalla

For those not in the know, of which I also can count myself among, 'Before the Flood' is a 2016 documentary film about climate change directed by Fisher Stevens. The film was produced as a collaboration between Stevens, Leonardo DiCaprio, James Packer, Brett Ratner, Trevor Davidoski, and Jennifer Davisson Killoran; with Martin Scorsese as an executive producer.

The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2016, and was released theatrically on October 21, before airing on the National Geographic Channel on October 30.

As part of National Geographic's commitment to covering climate change, the documentary was made widely available and free of charge on various platforms. 'Before the Flood' is now available for digital streaming, on demand and Blu-Ray/DVD.

Released on April 21st, 2017 via Lakeshore Records, this luscious 3LP vinyl album is simply exquisite from start to finish. This triple gatefold sleeve designed by John Crawford houses the aforementioned 3LPs beautifully, each on 180g Heavy Weight Audiophile Black Vinyl, and inclusive of 18 tracks in all. Inclusive of the previously shared Reznor and Ross collaboration 'A Minute To Breathe,' it features haunting vocals by Reznor himself.

1. 'Before the Flood'
2. 'A Minute to Breathe' (feat. Trent Reznor vocals)
3. 'Between Two Poles'
4. 'Dust Bowl'
5. 'Thin Ice'
6. 'And When the Sky Was Opened'
7. 'Ghost Nets'
8. 'Trembling'
9. 'One More Step'
10. 'Huaynaputina'
11. 'At Dusk'
12. 'Thin Ice Reimagined'
13. 'Disappearing Act'
14. 'The Melting Pot'
15. '8 Billion'
16. 'One Perfect Moment'
17. 'A Minute Later'
18. 'After The Flood'

From the gentle, somewhat playful even strings of the opening title track, 'Before the Flood,' on through via Reznor's vocalized, breathy 'A Minute to Breathe' ("we will all be judged by what we leave behind") and then the terrifyingly haunting, static 'Between Two Poles,' this soundtrack might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it is one that (aside from the good cause and its heightening of social awareness) most assuredly needs to be heard on a much larger scale of radio demographic.

Even the shorter tracks such as 'Dust Bowl,' 'Thin Ice' and the penultimate track, the stirring Celtic girth of 'A Minute Later' have something to day. Stand out favorite cuts to my mind, my ear, include the stoic 'And When the Sky Was Opened,' and fellow contributor Mogwai's 'Ghost Nets' and gentle synth-laden 'Huaynaputina.'

Before the Flood is a 90-minute suite of tense, aquatic moods and plaintive, earthy instrumentals, that come together to bring forth an overall score that is so concisely foreboding and yet so expansively spacious at the same time.

With the latter third of the soundtrack containing the two longest tracks, '8 Billion' and the ten minute opus 'One Perfect Moment,' and with Mogwai wrapping things up neatly with his 'After the Flood' work, this 3LP vinyl soundtrack album is not only the most perfect musical accompaniment to DiCaprio's warning tale of a man-made global warming film, but a soundtrack for the ages also.

This year EARTH DAY fell on RECORD STORE DAY (Saturday April 22nd) and so to celebrate the release of 'Before the Flood' participating indie record stores were given an autographed copy of the glorious 3LP vinyl album.

This very special copy of the 3LP vinyl album, much like the one that was so kindly sent to me for review here today, was signed by Academy Award Winning Composer's Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (NIN) and Gustavo Santaolalla to increase awareness of climate change.

The sixty participating stores all donated the proceeds to an organization that works to offset carbon emissions and create initiatives to promote climate change awareness.

Lakshore Records @ Facebook

'Before the Flood' 3LP Vinyl Purchase Link

Title - 'House Of Cards: Season 5' [2CD]
Artist - Jeff Beal

Having been the winner of the 2015 Emmy for best score re: Season 3, this follow up double-disc package to the highly-rated fourth season (which was also released as a mighty fine 2CD set from composer Jeff Beal) contains an impressive 51 tracks and continues onward seamlessly from where season 4's score concluded.

Indeed, much like the four previous seasons for this hit Netflix program, the score music contained over the two discs is as good, if not better, than all that has gone before. That means, for everyone that loves 'House of Cards' - featuring Kevin Spacey, Michel Gill, Robin Wright, and Kate Mara - not only have you most likely viewed the fifth season extensively via Netflix, but you now have the 2CD set to kick start some memories therein.

For those that have thus far not taken the ride, 'House Of Cards,' featuring Majority House Whip Francis Underwood (Spacey), takes you on a long journey as he exacts his vengeance on those he feels wronged him - that is, his own cabinet members including the President of the United States himself.

Dashing, cunning, methodical and vicious, Frank Underwood along with his equally manipulative yet ambiguous wife, Claire take Washington by storm through climbing the hierarchical ladder to power in this Americanized recreation of the BBC series of the same name.

As for the composer himself, well, Jeff Beal is a fast rising TV composer of the highest order, trust me. With both HBO's The Newsroom and NBC's The Dovekeepers completed in the last year, Beal is already lining up new projects - and deservedly so.

CD 1:
1. Nothing To Be Afraid Of (2:40) 2. How We Met (3:20) 3. House Of Cards Theme (3:27) 4. Dial Up The Terror (4:02) 5. Infamy (1:25) 6. About My Father (1:08) 7. Almost There (2:13) 8. Is The Damper Open? (3:50) 9. Tom Yates (2:01) 10. Simple Truths (2:43) 11. Find A Judge (2:07) 12. Tom, Stop (1:03) 13. Where Are You (:59) 14. Are We Together (:48) 15. He Lived (1:15) 16. Russians In Antarctica (1:06) 17. Election Results (1:40) 18. Artfully Confident (1:33) 19. Then What (2:45) 20. Access To Everything (2:06) 21. New Election Day (:59) 22. The Bunker (3:12) 23. Playing Both Sides (3:53) 24. Dead To Rights (1:30)

CD 2:
1. Elysium Fields (6:11) 2. No Good Deed (2:19) 3. Left For Dead (:57) 4. A Million Years Ago (1:50) 5. Lunch With Petrov (1:53) 6. America I Hear You (:56) 7. Slow Burn (1:09) 8. Your Job (1:38) 9. Let Them Forgive You (:45) 10. Saved My Life (2:18) 11. Do You Like It (1:47) 12. Don’t Go Their Way (1:32) 13. Note From Tom (:45) 14. Before I Take It Back (:36) 15. Who’s The Leak (2:30) 16. Implicate Yourself (1:36) 17. Night Vigil (1:18) 18. Shut It Down (1:28) 19. The One To Watch (2:52) 20. Real Power (2:55) 21. Women In Combat (2:19) 22. Heavy Heart (1:30) 23. Contingencies (1:27) 24. Swallowing Poison (1:13) 25. For Now (1:53) 26. Lee Ann Missing (4:12) 27. Nuclear Codes (2:22)

This Season 5 score has everything that I've enjoyed from previous releases. The jazzy trumpet, light piano, long dark tones, and haunting strings still conjure up images of the street lights reflecting on the wet pavement of a misty and cold Washington D.C. night.

The music, broken down over the aforementioned 51 tracks over the two CDs, is as beautiful as a you would imagine it to be, with Beal managing to balance those moments of composed elegance with just a hint of character deviousness. Bravo, my friend. Bravo!

BTW, if you honestly haven't seen this show yet, Spacey is every bit as good as Ian Richardson (from the original UK version), thus (at the time) Netflix's big gamble fully deserved it's now big pay off.

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'The House' (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Artist - Various

This high powered summer comedy stars Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler and this quite brilliant original motion picture soundtrack from Varese Sarabande features unreleased material from LL Cool J, (a rip-roaringly stunning flashback cut of the never-before-released remix of "Momma Said Knock You Out"), and Charli 2NA of Jurassic 5, among others.

For those not in 'The House' movie know, Scott and Kate Johansen must figure out a way to earn some money after their daughter's scholarship falls through. When all else fails, the desperate couple join forces with their neighbor Frank to start an underground casino in his home. As the cash rolls in and the good times fly, Scott and Kate soon learn that they may have bitten off more than they can chew.

1. "Love My People" (original version) - Performed by Crown and the M.O.B. (3:50)
2. "We Just Came To Party" - Performed by Crown and The M.O.B. featuring André Winn Jr p/k/a Graze (3:14)
3. "Sam Huff's Flying Raging Machine" - Performed by Lettuce (3:23)
4. "Mama Said Knock You Out" (Sam Wilkes Remix) - Performed by LL Cool J (4:24)
5. "Spanking Out Horns" - Performed by Crown and The M.O.B. (3:19)
6. "Kids In The Hood" - Performed by The M.O.B. featuring Charli 2NA (:59)
7. "Kodiac Jam" (Grain Zero Remix) - Performed by Mash & Munkee (David Hanke and Kolja Starkowski) (2:24)
8. "Gz And Hustlas" - Performed by Snoop Doggy Dogg (3:51)
9. "Save My Job" - Score by Andrew Feltenstein and John Nau (:41)
10. "Woke Up This Morning" (The Sopranos Mix) - Performed by Alabama (4:04)
11. "The Moment" - Performed by X5’s (2:50)
12. "Gathering The Players" - Score by Andrew Feltenstein and John Nau (1:32)
13. "Love My People" (Remix) - Performed by Crown and the M.O.B. and DJ Dave Aude (3:23)

Kicking off in style with the upbeat, piano and trumpet-fused, Jay-Z influenced "Love My People" (original version) from Crown and the M.O.B., that's backed perfectly by both "We Just Came To Party" (once again from Crown and The M.O.B. along with André Winn Jr p/k/a Graze), and then "Sam Huff's Flying Raging Machine" performed by Lettuce.

The stand out, sounding-as-good-as-ever gem "Mama Said Knock You Out" (Sam Wilkes Remix) performed by LL Cool J (4:24) is truly the unreleased beauty on this soundtrack album, and sounding as great today as it did back then, "Spanking Out Horns" (once again from Crown and The M.O.B.) follows it neatly. "Kids In The Hood," performed by The M.O.B. featuring Charli 2NA is a short little thing, before we're back in full flow with both "Kodiac Jam" (Grain Zero Remix) performed by Mash & Munkee (David Hanke and Kolja Starkowski) and Snoop Dogg's “Gz And Hustlas” (another previously-unreleased cut).

The composed score cut "Save My Job" by Andrew Feltenstein and John Nau is another short interlude, before yet another previously-unreleased track is upon us in the form of "Woke Up This Morning" (The Sopranos Mix) from Alabama 3. The album is then rounded out by a trio of greatness, with "The Moment" from X5 kicking things off, the brilliant western-flavored score "Gathering The Players" (by Andrew Feltenstein and John Nau), and then finally another version of "Love My People" (Remix) - performed by Crown and the M.O.B. and DJ Dave Aude.

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'The Mambo Kings' [Motion Picture Soundtrack]
Artist - Various

'The Mambo Kings', starring Antonio Banderas and Armand Assante, opened up a new audience to the joy and diversity of Cuban music. This just re-released, and best-selling CD soundtrack features many big names from the world of Latin jazz and Salsa music, including songs by Arturo Sandoval, Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, Mambo All-Stars, Beny More as well as Linda Ronstadt, Antonio Banderas and Los Lobos.

For those not in 'The Mambo Kings' (1992) is the story of Cuban brothers Cesar and Nestor Castillo, who bring their unique sounds to New York in search of fame and fortune. While Cesar revels in the fame and the adoration of the women, Nestor increasingly finds himself mourning his homeland and lost love.

1. "La Dicha Mia" (Celia Cruz) (3:20)
2. "Ran Kankan"(Tito Puente) (3:00)
3. "Cuban Pete" (Tito Puente) (2:25)
4. "Mambo Caliente" (Arturo Sandoval) (3:28)
5. "Quiereme Mucho" (Linda Ronstadt) (3:25)
6. "Sunny Ray" (Mambo All-Stars) (2:37)
7. "MelaoDeCańa (Moolalah)" (Celia Cruz) (2:53)
8. "Beautiful Maria Of My Soul" (Bella Maria De Mi Alma) (Mambo All-Stars featuring Antonio Banderas) (4:12)
9. "Para Los Rumberos" (Tito Puente) (1:51)
10. "Perfidia" (Linda Ronstadt) (3:48)
11. "Guantanamera" (Celia Cruz) (3:05)
12. "Tea for Two" (Mambo All-Stars) (2:33)
13. "Accidental Mambo" (Mambo All-Stars) (1:22)
14. "Como Fue" (Beny More) (2:55)
15. "Tanga. Rumba-Afro-Cubana" (Mambo All-Stars) (3:30)
16. "Beautiful Maria Of My Soul" (Los Lobos) (4:31)

Having now been completely remastered using superior music sources, 'The Mambo Kings - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack' (just re-released by Varese Sarabande this past June 30th, 2017) is a pure delight from start to finish.

I mean, there just isn't a bad song on this entire 16 track album. In particular, probably the best English rendition of "Perfidia" by Linda Ronstadt is one of my own personal favorites, it has to be said. Indeed, I've always thought that her powerful voice made this song the most perfect addition to this most perfect soundtrack.

Here on this now remastered CD, and with Varese Sarabande using superior music sources that - listening to this album now three times on the spin, I have to urge them to continue to do for all their upcoming and future releases - Ronstadt's vocals come across crisper and clearer.

Also enhanced by, well, the remastering job, is "Beautiful Maria Of My Soul (Bella Maria De Mi Alma)," a track cut by the Mambo All-Stars featuring Antonio Banderas. Wow, what a stunning musical work of art this truly is and alongside both "Como Fue" (Beny More) and Los Lobos' very own version of "Beautiful Maria Of My Soul," this remastered soundtrack is one; especially if you have never heard it in full, for your record collections.

CD Purchase Link

Title - John Williams: Themes And Transcriptions For Piano
Artist - John Williams

For those of you not in the know, John Williams is an American composer, conductor, and pianist. With a career spanning over six decades he has composed some of the most popular and recognizable film scores in cinematic history, to many of the highest-grossing films of all time, including Jaws, the Star Wars series, Superman, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, the Indiana Jones series, the first two Jurassic Park films, Schindler's List, and the first three Harry Potter films.

Williams has been associated with director Steven Spielberg since 1974, composing music for all but two of his feature films. Other notable works by Williams include theme music for the Olympic Games, NBC Sunday Night Football, "The Mission" theme used by NBC News, the television series Lost in Space and Land of the Giants, and the incidental music for the first season of Gilligan's Island.

Williams has composed numerous classical concerti and other works for orchestral ensembles and solo instruments; he served as the Boston Pops' principal conductor from 1980 to 1993, and is now the orchestra's laureate conductor.

Williams has won five Academy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, seven British Academy Film Awards, and 23 Grammy Awards. With 50 Academy Award nominations, Williams is the second most-nominated individual, after Walt Disney.

Here on the just-released John Williams: Themes And Transcriptions For Piano, alongside Simone Pedroni - an Italian pianist and conductor born in Novara, Italy - he and the former Van Cliburn Award-Gold Medal winner each transcribed about half of material.

1. The People House (2:43) 2. The American Process (3:55) 3. Getting Out The Vote (2:41) 4. The Blue And Grey (3:22) 5. The Peace Delegation* (2:20) 6. Elegy (2:26) 7. The Meeting With Grant* (2:47) 8. “With Malice Toward None” (1.47)

9. Theme (3:25)

10. Remembering Carolyn (4:48)

11. The Asteroid Field (4:33)

12. Luke & Leia (5:23)

13. The Visitor And The Book Thief (3:13) 14. Max And Liesel (1:11) 15. The Snow Fight* (1:54) 16. Learning To Read* (2:45) 17. Max’s Departure (2:21) 18. The Visitor At Himmel Street (2:11) 19. Finale (2:56)

20. Theme (2:31)

21. Hedwig’s Flight (2:09) 22. Voldemort (2:45) 23. Hogwarts Forever (1:59) 24. Fluffy’s Harp (3:30)

25. Buckbeak’s Flight‡ (2:21) 26. A Window To The Past (4:28) 27. Aunt Marge’s Waltz (2:18)

Premiering Williams' own piano suites from “Lincoln”, and “The Book Thief”, plus Pedroni’s own special transcriptions of music from “Harry Potter”, “Star Wars”, “Schindler’s List” and more, the new album is a stunning and unique presentation of John Williams’ film music; without the usual symphony orchestra.

I know you most likely know all Williams' most famous works, and are currently humming away a few bigger known ones now in your head, but trust me when I say you have never heard them orchestrated in such as way as this brilliant paring have brought forth today via Varese Sarabande.

Including 27 tracks over 80 minutes of music, John Williams: Themes And Transcriptions For Piano not only reveals hidden layers to each musical peice we all thought we knew, but alongside Simone Pedroni, well, the uber-talented Italian really brings out a new, crisp freshness to them all.

CD Purchase Link

Title - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: The New Musical
Artist - Original Broadway Cast

Roald Dahl’s most treasured tale, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, is coming to the land where sweet dreams come true – Broadway!

Starring two-time Tony Award® winner Christian Borle (Something Rotten!) as the magical maestro Willy Wonka himself, and conjuring up the confectionary wonders three-time Tony Award-winning director Jack O’Brien (Hairspray, The Front Page), Charlie is about to discover a whole new scrumptious experience!

For those not in the Broadway know, as I'm pretty sure you all know about the movie itself, Willy Wonka, world famous inventor of the Everlasting Gobstopper, has just made an astonishing announcement. His marvelous—and mysterious—factory is opening its gates ... to a lucky few.

That includes young Charlie Bucket, whose life definitely needs sweetening. He and four other golden ticket winners will embark on a mesmerizing, life-changing journey through Wonka’s world of pure imagination.

Accompanying the new musical is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: The New Musical by the Original Broadway Cast of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and it's just the most perfect musical recipe for a delectable treat such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

1. 'Overture'
2. 'The Candy Man'
3. 'Willy Wonka! Willy Wonka!'
4. 'Charlie, You & I'
5. 'A Letter From Charlie Bucket'
6. 'More Of Him To Love'
7. 'When Veruca Says'
8. 'The Queen Of Pop'
9. 'What Could Possibly Go Wrong?'
10. 'If Your Father Were Here'
11. 'I've Got A Golden Ticket / Grandpa Joe'
12. 'It Must Be Believed To Be Seen'
13. 'Strike That, Reverse It'
14. 'Pure Imagination / Grandpa Joe (Reprise)'
15. 'The Oompa Loompa Song / Auf Wiedersehen Augustus Gloop'
16. 'When Willy Met Oompa'
17. 'Veruca's Nutcracker Sweet'
18. 'Vidiots'
19. 'The View From Here'

This highly engrossing, truly uplifting and fun set features all the beloved songs from the original film, including 'Pure Imagination' and 'The Candy Man,' alongside a brand new score from the Grammy® and Tony-winning songwriters of Hairspray, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman

On a personal note, and from a fan of the original, I enjoyed all of the new songs, the reworked songs from the 1971 film, and most of the reworked songs from the London production. However, and either speaking like a purist or an OCD fanatic, it's a little disappointing that 'Juicy' was taken out. Oh, and if I'm going there (as, for the most part, this New Musical soundtrack version is spot on near-perfect as a listening experience), the re-tooled version of 'Veruca's Nutcracker Sweet' is surprisingly mournful.

Anyhoo, and other than that, as aforementioned, I really enjoyed this soundtrack and think that the wondrous 19 tracks will also enthrall you also also. For more than 50 years, Roald Dahl's story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has captured imaginations around the world, and now for the first time Broadway audiences are invited to experience Willy Wonka's delightful and semi-dark chocolate world first-hand. And this new set is, without a shadow of a doubt, something everlasting to behold (much like Willy Wonka's very own invented Everlasting Gobstopper!

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Cosmology'
Artist - Kotebel

For those not in the know, and simply put, Cosmology is the scientific study of the large scale properties of the universe as a whole.

Indeed, it endeavors to use the scientific method to understand the origin, evolution and ultimate fate of the entire Universe.

Spain's Kotebel is a quintet of musicians that have brought forth here on their brand new album Cosmology an elaborate, yet enjoyably accessible blend of avant-garde symphonic rock; with a wide range of influences from classical to jazz to world music.

1. 'Post Ignem'
2. 'Geocentric Universe'
3. 'Mechanical Universe'
4. 'Entangled Universe'
5. 'Oneness'
6. 'Mishima's Dream'
7. 'A Bao a Qu'
8. 'Canto XXVIII'

As a veritable opus, Cosmology features the “Cosmology Suite”. An ambitious work based on the musical representation of four conceptions of the Cosmos:

- The Geocentric Universe (Earth as center of the universe and God as an anthropomorphic entity)
- The Geocentric Universe (Earth as center of the universe and God as an anthropomorphic entity)
- The Mechanical Universe (the cosmos is a complex machine where parts interact with each other based on physical laws. God does not exist)
- The Entangled Universe (rather than isolated entities, we are actually all “connected”)

A heavy concept to bring on board, sure, but one musically that ebbs and flows with such style, with such grace that it's hard not to want to know more about Cosmology and all that resides within it.

The musicianship here on their seventh album is phenomenal and raises the stakes for their eighth album, that's for sure. Whether it be lightening piano stokes, soaring guitar, frenzied and yet cultured drumming, vibrant; buoyant wind instruments, or en masse of keyboard works that string together seamlessly, Kotebel have created a genuine work of musical art.

Obviously more than a little influenced by bands such as old school Genesis, Yes, ELP, Steve Hackett, King Crimson and even, at times, Chopin himself, here on their seventh album, prog rockers Kotebel - Carlos Guillermo Plaza (keyboards), Adriana Plaza Engelke (keyboards), Jaime Pascual (electric bass), Cesar García Forero (guitars), and Carlos Franco (drums and percussion) - have, to my mind, really outdone themselves here on their first studio album since the release in 2012 of their highly acclaimed Concerto for Piano and Electric Ensemble.

Title - 'Slow Dance: Remastered & Expanded Deluxe Edition'
Artist - Anthony Phillips

For those not in the know, Anthony Phillips is an English musician, songwriter and singer who gained prominence as the founding member and lead guitarist in the English rock band Genesis, which formed in 1967.

After Phillips recorded From Genesis to Revelation and Trespass with the band, he left in July 1970 and learned to play more instruments before he began a very illustrious solo career.

Phillips released his first solo album, The Geese & the Ghost, in 1977, some forty years ago now, and having subsequently released an incredible 31 albums since then (his last being Private Parts and Pieces XI: City of Dreams in 2012), Cherry Red Records (UK) is now proud to announce the release of his 1990 album, Slow Dance.

Released via their parent prog label Esoteric Recordings, this quite incredible Slow Dance: Remastered & Expanded Deluxe Edition is a three disc version (2CD & DVD - NTSC / Region Free) of the classic instrumental album from Phillips.

Disc 1: New 24-Bit Remastered Original Stereo Mix
1. Slow Dance Part One
2. Slow Dance Part Two

Disc 2: Slow Dance Vignettes (Previously-Unreleased)
1. Themes from Slow Dance
2. No Way Out (Alternate Mix)
3. A Slower Dance
4. Guitar Adagio from Slow Dance
5. Touch Me Deeply (Demo)
6. Clarinet Sleigh Ride
7. Slow Dance Single Demo (Alternate Mix)
8. No Way Out (Original Mix with Drums)
9. Lenta Chorum

Disc 3: New 5.1 Surround Mixes & 96khz / 24-Bit Stereo Mix
1. Slow Dance Part One (New 5.1 Surround Mix)
2. Slow Dance Part Two (New 5.1 Surround Mix)

As a musical entity, the original instrumental album Slow Dance was simply breathtaking to behold back then. Released in September 1990 on Virgin Records, it features two parts: "Slow Dance (Part 1)" [at 23:57] and "Slow Dance (Part 2)" [at 26:27] - and they each took over an entire side of the vinyl LP that it was pressed on.

Layered, textured, thunderous, and delicate, this epic opus piece has it all. Expertly produced by Anthony and Simon Heyworth (of Tubular Bells fame) with additional engineering by John Gibbons, Slow Dance showcases that Anthony was the true visionary behind the original Genesis sound; and why they had to eventually part ways.

There are no vocals on this effort, but it is simply some of the most beautiful and complex sequences of music he has ever released. I know I keep saying it, but come on now, one listen to the original Side A is enough to have you hooked on Anthony's works for life.

With both those Side A and Side B sounds now recreated as New 24-Bit Remastered Original Stereo Mixes, they sound so much crispier, so much more alive, in ways that I never thought I could hear this music come across. Chock full of lots of nice guitar work, symphonic movements, and all sorts of neat keyboard works and such, Slow Dance is a well-rounded effort from start to finish.

And therein now the finish means we get nine (9) Slow Dance Vignettes (Previously-Unreleased) on the second disc, with this incredible release rounding out with a Region Free (NSTC) DVD of all-New 5.1 Surround Mixes & 96khz / 24-Bit Stereo Mixes of 'Slow Dance Part One' and 'Part Two' as New 5.1 Surround Mixes. Pure Heaven on a stick for all Anthony Phillips fans, of that you can be well assured.

Originally recorded at Vic's Place from June 1988 to March 1989, with the strings having been recorded at CBS studios in February 1989, this new 3 disc digipak Expanded Deluxe Edition of the album also includes a lavishly illustrated booklet that fully restores the original album artwork and features a new essay by Jon Dann.

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Zero Days'
Artist - Prong

For those not in the know, Prong is an American crossover thrash band formed in 1986. Prong had two independent releases, Primitive Origins and Force Fed, of which both albums attracted the attention of Epic Records, who subsequently signed the trio in 1989.

The group disbanded in 1997 after the Rude Awakening tour, but reformed in 2002. To date, they have released eleven studio albums, one live album, four EPs, one DVD and one remix album.

A pioneer of the urban metal scene, Prong is fronted by Tommy Victor, the band's sole constant member and also currently features both Mike Longworth (Mest) and Art Cruz (Winds of Plague).

After the massive tour with OBITUARY and EXODUS in Europe, Prong went back to the studio for another studio album entitled Zero Days. Just days after mixing was completed, Prong then went on another massive tour with TESTAMENT and SEPULTURA in North America; that's how committed to their music and getting it to their devoted fans they truly are.

1. 'However It May End'
2. 'Zero Days'
3. 'Off the Grid'
4. 'Divide and Conquer'
5. 'Forced Into Tolerance'
6. 'Interbeing'
7. 'Blood Out of Stone'
8. 'Operation of the Moral Law'
9. 'The Whispers'
10. 'Self Righteous Indignation'
11. 'Rulers of the Collective'
12. 'Compulsive Future Projection'
13. 'Wasting of the Dawn'
14. 'Reasons to Be Fearful' [Bonus Track]

This brand new album, Zero Days (out July 28th, 2017 via Steamhammer/SPV) is, as anyone who has had the chance to listen to it, most definitely Prong at their very best. The sheer intensity and ferocity of the tracks will leave the listener's heart rates soaring, pounding, for it's really hard to find a weak spot here amongst the 14 tracks.

Once again produced by Tommy Victor, and this time with trusted collaborator Chris Collier as co-producer and engineer, Zero Days might well be Prong at their aforementioned best, but these 14 tracks showcase a new side to them. One in which they have, without a shadow of a doubt, broadened their sonic musical horizons.

Sure Prong still combines that New York hardcore and thrash influence of the day along with industrial overtones and more, their constant lyrical themes of Life, Hardships, Struggles, Depression, Social issues, and Freedom still abounding in all their Victor-initiated thrash vocalized glory, but now there's more to be discovered.

For, and from the very first powerhaus track ('However It May End') to the last CD bonus track ('Reasons To Be Fearful'), each and every track invokes within you an intense musical journey of your own to be undertaken. Listening to this new album it's hard not to hit Play once more as that last bonus track fades out - it's just that damn compelling of an album!

Prong releases Zero Days on July 28th, 2017 via Steamhammer/SPV as a CD digipak, 2LP vinyl gatefold, digital download and as a stream also.

Prong @ Facebook

'Zero Days' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Enemies of the State'
Artist - Alarm For War

For those not in the know, Buggy is a 13-year-old rapper whose talents came to the forefront unexpectedly at a young age.

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, known as the third coast, Buggy grew up with musical parents and has been around music his entire life.

Influenced by the likes of P.O.D., it was not until a trip to the studio that a seasoned singer was made aware of his undiscovered talents. Buggy began to sing songs just as well as the singer, and was soon found that he could also rap his heart out far beyond his years.

He began to dive into practicing for hours a day to hone in on his talents and gifts when asked to do a “test run” in the studio, not knowing what to expect, he made his way to the studio where he far surpassed everyone’s expectation with his debut album Enemies of the State with his band Alarm For War.

1. 'Enemies of the State'
2. 'Shoulda' Known Betta'
3. 'Day Turned To Night'
4. 'Faith'
5. 'Repent'
6. 'Meetin' Thy Maker'

Alarm For War - featuring vocalist “Buggy”, bass player “Fletcher”, drummer “Smitty” and guitar player “KISA” - may well have just broken the mold of what to expect from this genre of music, for Buggy and his gang have brought forth a monumental new album for the new generation of fans whose brothers grew up on RATM and Alice In Chains.

Released July 28th, 2017 via Novanglus Records Inc.), Enemies of the State has Brian Bart (Logic Recordings) engineering the album, Jr McNeely (Grammy Award winner) editing and mixing the album, and Brad Blackwood doing the mastering. That trio alone is like this genre's dream team, and Buggy and his band of merry men must know they've landed on their feet in the big time now. If not, they will do pretty quickly, of that have no doubt.

From the opening guitars and chiming bell of 'Day Turned To Night', you know the fast rap of human consciousness from Buggy is going to ensure that this one track, amongst the six included on this debut album will be the lead radio favorite. The title track, and album opener 'Enemies of the State' is another ferocious sound, as to is 'Repent,' but for another go-to of sheer excellence in this class of music, album closer 'Meetin' Thy Maker' is also one for the ages.

Alarm For War @ Facebook

'Day Turned To Night' Video

Title - 'Band of Brothers'
Artist - Various

For those not in the know, this quite brilliant new album, Band Of Brothers is from the producer of Guitars For Wounded Warriors - Emmy-award winner Brian Tarquin.

It is a phenomenal collection of ten tracks that feature a host of superstar guitar virtuosos such as Steve Morse, Bumblefoot (Guns N' Roses), Jeff Scott Soto, Gary Hoey, Jeff Watson (Night Ranger) and many others.

As you would expect from this album, all ten tracks are exclusive to this recording and all have been inspired by those military soldiers who have fought for their country. Indeed, and furthermore, all proceeds go to the Fisher House Foundation - an association best known for a network of comfort homes where families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment.

1. 'Eastern Front' feat. Joel Hoekstra
2. 'Pull The Trigger On PTSD' feat. Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal
3. 'War Is Strictly Business' feat. Jeff Watson
4. 'Sands Of Time' feat. Jeff Scott Soto
5. 'To Fight A War I Don’t Understand' feat. Tina Guo
6. 'Night Patrol' feat. Steve Morse
7. 'Lock & Loaded' feat. Gary Hoey
8. 'Clutches Of Vietnam' feat. Brian Tarquin
9. 'Love & War' feat. Tony Franklin
10. 'Alpha Bravo' feat. Trey Gunn

As for the aforementioned Brian Tarquin, the multi-Emmy award winning producer/composer is an American multi-Emmy Award winning guitarist/composer and producer of the Guitar Masters Series featuring Jeff Beck, Steve Vai, Jimmy Page, Santana, BB King and Joe Satriani.

Also known for his work as a smooth jazz artist and a music composer receiving 3 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition for a Drama Series and also received Emmy nominations in 2001, 2002 and 2004. Indeed, Tarquin has sold more than 150,000 albums through his career in the USA.

Now Brian Tarquin brings forth a very special project featuring an incredible cast of musical virtuosos playing their hearts out here on Band Of Brothers. Out now via Cleopatra Records / Purple Pyramid Records, the moment Joel Hoekstra (Whitesnake) launches into 'Eastern Front' you know exactly what you're in for on this dynamite rock album.

Tarquin composed and produced each of these ten tracks and displays his own guitar prowess alongside such world-class players as all the aforementioned, as well as Tony Franklin, Trey Gunn, and the stunningly talented Chinese cellist and erhuist from Shanghai; and also a gorgeous sight for sore eyes, Tina Guo.

Brian Tarquin & band Of Brothers @ Facebook

Cleopatra Records @ Facebook

CD Purchase Link

Title - Spider-Man: Homecoming (Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Artist - Michael Giacchino

Directed, and co-written by Jon Watts (Cop Car), in 'Spider-Man: Homecoming', thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, young Peter Parker (Tom Holland) returns home to live with his Aunt May.

Under the watchful eye of mentor Tony Stark, Parker starts to embrace his newfound identity as Spider-Man.

He also tries to return to his normal daily routine - distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just a friendly neighborhood superhero.

Peter must soon put his powers to the test when the evil Vulture emerges to threaten everything that he holds dear.

Composer Michael Giacchino has credits that feature some of the most popular and acclaimed film projects in recent history, including Inside Out, Jurassic World, The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Incredibles, Ratatouille and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.

Indeed, Giacchino's 2009 score for the Pixar hit Up earned him an Oscar®, a Golden Globe®, the BAFTA, the Broadcast Film Critics' Choice Award and two Grammy® Awards.

1. 'Theme from Spider Man (Original Television Series)'
2. 'The World is Changing'
3. 'Academic Decommitment'
4. 'High Tech Heist'
5. 'On a Ned-To-Know Basis'
6. 'Drag Racing / An Old Van Rundown'
7. 'Webbed Surveillance'
8. 'No Vault of His Own'
9. 'Monumental Meltdown'
10. 'The Baby Monitor Protocol'
11. 'A Boatload of Trouble Part 1'
12. 'A Boatload of Trouble Part 2'
13. 'Ferry Dust Up'
14. 'Stark Raving Mad'
15. 'Pop Vulture'
16. 'Bussed a Move'
17. 'Lift Off'
18. 'Fly-By-Night Operation'
19. 'Vulture Clash'
20. 'A Stark Contrast'
21. 'No Frills Proto COOL!'
22. 'Spider-Man: Homecoming Suite'
23. 'The Queens Community Bank Jingle' (Hidden Track)
24. 'The Real Reason Peter Quit the Band' (Hidden Track)

Here on 'Spider-Man: Homecoming' Giacchino's 22-track score (well, 24-track if you count the two hidden tracks, which I do) is as good as it gets. In fact from start to finish it's a dynamite album which I honestly feel has a little of everything you would now expect from a Spider-Man film score.

Beginning slowly with the introductory trio of 'Theme from Spider Man (Original Television Series)', 'The World is Changing,' and 'Academic Decommitment,' it soon ramps the score vibe up as we head into both 'High Tech Heist' and 'On a Ned-To-Know Basis.'

In fact, all the character's and their themes together with their respective action sequences are spot on perfect, for my money. These pieces are great throughout, adding value to each chapter, knowing (suspecting) that a certain character is imminent on screen due to their theme. In truth, none better than the Vulture's, for his own well-crafted, and rather terrifyingly so theme is one of the stand out highlights of Giacchino's work here.

In closing, 'Spider-Man: Homecoming' is, overall, as spectacular as it is refreshing (both the film and the soundtrack score) and it warrants repeated viewing and listening, that's fro darn sure. Welcome back, Spider-Man. Welcome back, Mr. Giacchino.

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Not Out of Time' [Vinyl EP]
Artist - Birdseed

For those not in the know, Birdseed are an American rock band formed in 2012 that was attracting large numbers of Gen X and Gen Y fans with their classic Fleetwood Mac-meets-Wilco sound.

Consisting of Kerry Landreth (vocals), Jamie Goodyear (vocals, guitar, keyboards, vocoder, bongos), Mason Mortif (guitar), Scott Bell (drums), Brian Herthington (keyboards), Peter Landreth (saxophone) and Lane Murchison (bass), Birdseed have just released a stunning, and limited edition 10" vinyl EP entitled Not Out Of Time.

Also available as a digital release, the five-track vinyl EP (always my most favorite type of music to listen to, still today) is available worldwide online and in stores August 4th, 2017.

Featuring some amazing players and solid, compelling songs, their website states that this quintet of tracks was "obviously the manifestation of many hours of hard work and drive", but I'm here to tell you that they all sound so alive, so vivid, so fun, that they could easily have been recorded after a night at the pub. They are all just that good - the songs and the band.

1. 'Not Out of Time' [3:48]
2. 'Next Trip Around the World' [4:09]
3. 'I Want You to Know' [4:53]
4. 'We Can Do It' [2:56]
5. 'More Than I Needed the Truth' [3:54]

"I've been running for the money, but the money's no good" is the opening line from the title track, 'Not Out of Time', a song as fun, as bouncy, as old school mid-'80s tuneful as I've ever heard since those days.

The other cut on Side A is 'Next Trip Around the Sun', a track that is as melodically infectious as any of the five songs here on this quite brilliant 5-Track Vinyl EP. Replacing the alternative '90s edge of the title track it adds a more soulful, rhythmic backbone. Complete with a saxophone break mid-song, it is easily my favorite track of the EP.

Side B opens with the light jangling guitars of 'I Want You to Know', a breezy track perfectly created for driving top down in the summer, and that's backed by 'We Can Do It'. With the last two songs bringing Kerry Landreth's vocals predominantly to the fore, this first one is just the title sung over and over. As repetitive as it can get, to my mind it's definitely B-side material, but the EP-ending singalong 'More Than I Needed the Truth' is a delightful slice of a '70s-inspired flashback grooves.

Birdseed @ Facebook!

Title - 'Our Favorite Joints'
Artist - The Force M.D.'s

For those not in the know, The Force M.D.'s are an American R&B vocal group that was formed in 1981 in Staten Island, New York.

Although the group has old school hip hop roots, it is perhaps best known for two tunes that are widely considered 1980s quiet storm classics, "Tender Love" and "Love is a House".

Furthermore, The Force M.D.'s are also considered major forerunners of the new jack swing movement.

The band was originally named The L.D.s, and then became the Force MCs, but ultimately preferred the name Force MDs, which stood for Musical Diversity.

Though the group was not quite always as recognizable as other New York R&B acts when it first started, they were among the first R&B vocal groups to intermix doo-wop-affected singing with and sometimes over hip-hop beats. The group was composed of brothers Stevie D., Antoine "T.C.D." Lundy, and Rodney "Khalil" Lundy, along with their uncle Jessie Lee Daniels. (Later, friends "Trisco" Pearson and Charles "Mercury" Nelson from the Mariners Harbor projects in Staten Island, NY joined the group.)

Today these '80s R&B superstars are back with a brand new album entitled Our Favorite Joints. Out July 7th, 2017 via Cleopatra Records, it features their takes on classics from artists such as Boyz II Men, Marvin Gaye, New Edition, Al Green and more.

1. "La La Means I Love You"
2. "People Make The World Go Round"
3. "Whip Appeal"
4. "Can You Stand The Rain"
5. "Let’s Get It On"
6. "End Of The Road"
7. "I Believe In You And Me"
8. "Love And Happiness"
9. "Sparkle"
10. "Mighty Love"
11. "Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now"
12. "Just My Imagination"

With Stevie D still the dynamic thread that connects the group’s history, to the present, The Force M.D.'s open this delightful album with a Delfonics cut, "La La Means I Love You", and back that up with both "People Make The World Go Round" (Stylistics) and a brilliant cover of Babyface's "Whip Appeal".

Next up is New Edition's "Can You Stand The Rain", which they follow with the two stand out highlight tracks, for me at the very least - Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" and Boyz II Men's "End Of The Road". Again, for me, those tracks back to back embody exactly what this album is all about.

Next up is "I Believe In You And Me", a cover of the Whitney Houston gem, and that's backed by "Love And Happiness" (Al Green), a delicious salute to Cameo on "Sparkle", and then a lovely "Mighty Love" (The Spinners). The album then rounds out, all too soon, with a rousing cover of the McFadden & Whitehead dance floor smash "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now", before rounding out with The Temptations' "Just My Imagination".

The Force M.D.'s @ Facebook!

Title - 'Under The Covers'
Artist - Lydia Lunch & Cypress Grove

For those not in the know, Lydia Lunch is an American singer, poet, writer, actress and self-empowerment speaker. Indeed, her career was spawned by the New York new wave scene with her output typically featuring provocative and confrontational noise music delivery.

Having always managed to maintain an anti-commercial ethic, operating independently of major labels and distributors, Lunch's moniker was given to her by Willy DeVille; because she stole food for her friends.

The Boston Phoenix named Lunch one of the ten most influential performers of the 1980s, and I don't know anybody who would argue against that.

Lydia Lunch and Cypress Grove (an English musician, singer, songwriter, composer and producer) previously unsettled the conventionally calm and respectful world of the cover song with a number of fractured productions.

As you might expect, the choice of songs on this brand new collection entitled Under The Covers is a disconcerting array of material ranging from the hugely popular to the wildly obscure. From Jon Bon Jovi to Nashville troubadour Aaron Lee Tasjan, the Doors to Bobbie Gentry, and so forth:

1. 'Ode to Billie Joe'
2. 'Breakdown'
3. 'A Thousand Miles of Bad Road'
4. 'Blaze of Glory'
5. 'Red White and Pink Slip Blues'
6. 'Midnight Rider'
7. 'The Spy'
8. 'I Want You'
9. 'Won't Leave You Alone'
10. 'Do It Again'
11. 'Low'

This highly interesting album, one that never lets you down no matter where you worry one of your favorite songs is mysteriously headed, kicks things off screechingly-slow with Bobbie Gentry’s 1967 classic, 'Ode to Billie Joe', before backing that up with some stirring guitar work from Grove on Tom Petty's infamous 'Breakdown.'

Next up is Aaron Lee Tasjan's brilliant 'A Thousand Miles of Bad Road', a song that I've always personally loved, and that both Lunch and Grove do tremendous work on to make their own, and then both an adventurous guitar and vocal turn on Jon Bon Jovi's 'Blaze Of Glory' and then a fun 'Red White and Pink Slip Blues' tribute to Hank Williams Jr. ("I paid my bills, I paid my dues, I paid my share of taxes too, Now I can't buy my baby shoes, I've got the red, white, pink-slip blues."

From 1970 comes the Allman Brothers Band's infamous 'Midnight Rider', another track that as much as Lunch and Grove may well play down the original's Southern aspects, still keep that original vibe and upbeat meaning alive for this new generation to latch on to and appreciate. That's followed seamlessly by The Doors' underappreciated (to my mind, at least) little gem 'The Spy.'

Next up is a true homage to Elvis Costello on 'I Want You', which they back up with one of her own songs, 'Won't Leave You Alone'. Co-written with James Johnston (Gallon Drunk/ PJ Harvey/ Bad Seeds), the once blues rock tune is now reconstructed into a rather haunting folk lament.

The album then comes to a close with a down and dirty version of Steely Dan's 'Do It Again', which also happens to be another of my personal favorites on this album of inventiveness, and then rounds out with Cracker's not-heard-enough-these-days 'Low.'

Bringing everything she has learned from the 40 years in the industry, Lunch still has the vocal chops to belt out hits at the top of her range, whilst at the same time crawling low through the deeper, more thoughtful of the God-given lyrics. She even incorporates spoken word and moments of poetry in such a way that they are introducing listeners, both old and new, to her current body (of work).

Lydia Lunch & Cypress Grove released Under The Covers on June 23rd, 2017 via Rust Blade Records as a CD, a limited edition mottled blue vinyl LP, and a digital download.

Lydia Lunch @ Facebook

'Zero Days' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'The Dublin Sessions'
Artist - Del Shannon

For those not in the know, Del Shannon (December 30, 1934 – February 8, 1990) was an American rock and roll and country musician, and singer-songwriter who is best known for his infectious 1961 No. 1 Billboard chart hit 'Runaway'.

Today, Rock Beat Records is proud to announce that they have released a new album of Del Shannon's long-lost work.

Entitled The Dublin Sessions, it is a collection of live recordings and studio recordings, of which all have remained previously-unreleased.

1. 'Best Days Of My Life'
2. 'Love Letters'
3. 'Till I Found You'
4. 'Raylene'
5. 'One Track Mind'
6. 'Black Is Black'
7. 'Oh, Pretty Woman'
8. 'Another Lonely Night'
9. 'Amanda'
10. 'Love Don't Come Easy'
11. 'Today I Started Loving You'

Having recorded these previously-unreleased songs in 1977 with his UK touring band Smackee at Ireland's Dublin Sound Studios, it's been told that Del originally mixed and re-mixed the tracks at Cherokee Studios in California thereafter.

But being that he was never satisfied with the results it was shelved, for decades cassette tapes of these recordings have changed hands with Del Shannon fans worldwide. But now Rock Beat have brought it legitimately into the light for all his fans.

We begin with 'Best Days Of My Life', a track that showcases the raw, unadulterated, free flowing Shannon at his finest; in my humble opinion. He backs that up with 'Love Letters,' a cut that may well slow things down a notch or two, but still enables his lyrical passion to emanate.

The mid-tempo ballad 'Till I Found You' is as close to Shannon becoming Roy Orbison as any track I've ever heard Shannon on, and that's backed by 'Raylene', the upbeat, jangly guitar work of 'One Track Mind' and then the fun 'Black Is Black". A song by rock band Los Bravos, released in 1966 as the group's debut single for Decca Records, covered here by Shannon none of their original flair has been tampered with.

His cover of 'Oh, Pretty Woman' has him back in Orbison mode, albeit not as much as one the previously-mentioned 'Till I Found You', and that's followed by the beautiful ballad, 'Another Lonely Night.' The mid-tempo, smooth guitar soul of 'Amanda' is a joy to behold, and then the album is brought to a close with 'Love Don't Come Easy', and then finally we get the echo-chamber vocals of 'Today I Started Loving You.'

Del Shannon released The Dublin Sessions on June 9th, 2017 via Rock Beat Records as a CD, a vinyl LP, and a digital download.

'The Dublin Sessions' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'American Grandstand'
Artist - Rhonda Vincent & Daryle Singletary

Music buyers have taken a stand to show that Traditional Country Music hasn’t gone anywhere. It’s loved, alive, and well, as the incredible new project from Country legends Rhonda Vincent and Daryle Singletary American Grandstand landed its first week on Billboard’s Top Current Country Albums chart at No. 10.

Better than that it is No. 1 on the Billboard Bluegrass Chart, and No.1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Album Chart for the week of July 29, 2017.

For those not in the know, Rhonda Vincent is an American bluegrass singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist who in 2000, The Wall Street Journal proclaimed Vincent "the new Queen of Bluegrass".

Vincent's musical career began when she was a child in her family's band The Sally Mountain Show, and has spanned more than four decades. Vincent first achieved success in the bluegrass genre in the 1970s and '80s, earning the respect of her mostly male peers for her mastery of the progressive chord structures and multi-range, fast-paced vocals intrinsic to bluegrass music.

As for Daryle Singletary, he is an American country music singer who between 1995 and 1998, recorded for Giant Records. For them he released three studio albums: Daryle Singletary (1995), All Because of You (1996), and Ain't It the Truth (1998).

In the same timeframe, Singletary entered the top 40 of the Hot Country Songs charts five times, reaching number two with 'I Let Her Lie' and 'Amen Kind of Love', and number four with 'Too Much Fun'.

Not since George & Tammy and Conway & Loretta has there been a vocal duet performance like Rhonda Vincent & Daryle Singletary, two of the greatest singers in this generation of country music.

Their special ability to turn a note is unmatched, and that magical sound pierces the heart and soul of anyone who loves traditional country music.

1. 'Above and Beyond'
2. 'One'
3. 'After The Fire Is Gone'
4. 'American Grandstand'
5. 'Slowly But Surely'
6. 'As We Kiss Our World Goodbye'
7. 'Can’t Live Life'
8. 'Golden Ring'
9. 'We Must Have Been Out of Our Minds'
10. 'Louisiana Woman Mississippi Man'
11. 'A Picture of Me Without You'
12. 'Up This Hill and Down'

Here on their brand new album, American Grandstand the legends bring us 12 brilliant tracks that will fans of great music, in general, let alone Country devotee's bowing down in deep appreciation. This mix of traditional Country songs, combined with classic duets, along with never-before-heard and all-original music makes this a must-have musical item if ever there was.

In short, American Grandstand is a nostalgic look back at the earlier days of country music. We kick this new batch of great traditional Country, complete with soothing, meaningful vocals, fiddles and piano galore, and backed by some of the best musicians in Nashville, with the splendid trio of 'Above and Beyond', 'One', and Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn's infamous 'After The Fire Is Gone'.

Next up is the title track, 'American Grandstand', a track that perfectly showcases the theme for this new album. They then back that up seamlessly with both 'Slowly But Surely' and one of my own personal favorites on the album, the deeply poignant new original 'As We Kiss Our World Goodbye'. Both 'Can’t Live Life' and the marital jive of George Jones and Tammy Wynette's 'Golden Ring' are up next and they are followed by another of my favorites, the George Jones together with Melba Montgomery musical wonderment, 'We Must Have Been Out of Our Minds'.

Those tracks are then majestically followed by yet another solid track, the highly infectious (in a good way though, of course) Southern Country beauty originated by Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn 'Louisiana Woman Mississippi Man'. George Jones' 'A Picture of Me Without You' is up next and then the album comes to a righteous close with a simply delightful cover of the Osborne Brothers' 'Up This Hill and Down'.

“Obviously we want people to like it and we want it to sell, but we just wanted to make great music,” Daryle Singletary has since said about the recording. "We just love it. We love the music. We love singing together. And that’s the biggest thing."

Rhonda Vincent & Daryle Singletary released American Grandstand on July 7th, 2017 via Upper Management Records as a CD and digital download.

'American Grandstand' CD Purchase Link

Rhonda Vincent On Tour 2017:
Jul 19 - Sheridan, WY – Whitney Center for the Arts
Jul 20 - Livingston, MT – Music Ranch Montana
Jul 22/23 - Darrington, WA – Darrington Bluegrass Festival
Jul 27 - Hiawassee, GA – Georgia Mountain Fair
Aug 03/04 - Thornton, NH – Pemi Valley Festival
Aug 05 - Milan, MI – Milan Bluegrass Festival
Aug 11 - Hebron, CT – Podunk Bluegrass Festival
Aug 17 - Marion, NC – North Carolina Bluegrass Festival
Aug 18 - Gettysburg, PA – Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival
Aug 19 - Salyersville, KY - Magoffin County 14th Annual Community Day
Aug 23 - Rhonda - TV Filming
Aug 25 - Keene, Ontario, Canada – Greenbridge Celtic Folk Festival
Aug 26 - Washington, PA – Wild Things Park
Sep 02 - Fort Fairfield, ME – County Bluegrass
Sep 06 - Prague, Czech Republic
Sep 08/09 - Gstaad, Switzerland – Country Night Gstaad
Sep 14 - Kodak, TN – Dumplin Valley Bluegrass Festival
Sep 15 - Conway, MO – Starvy Creek Bluegrass Festival
Sep 16/17 - Flagstaff, AZ – Pickin’ in the Pines
Sep 23 - Vine Grove, KY – Vine Grove Bluegrass Music Festival
Sep 30 - Hartselle, AL – Hartselle High School Auditorium
Oct 19 - Breman, GA – Milltown Music Hall with Daryle Singletary

Title - 'There Is No Calamity'
Artist - Peter Himmelman

For those not in the know, Peter Himmelman is an American singer-songwriter and film and television composer from Minnesota, who formerly played in the Minneapolis indie rock band Sussman Lawrence before pursuing an extensive solo career.

Indeed, Himmelman is also the founder of Big Muse, a company which helps individuals and organizations unlock their creative potential.

Coming on the heels of his 2014 release The Boat That Carries Us, Himmelman's brand new album is entitled There Is No Calamity. Created via a Kickstarter project, Himmelman also brought along for the musical ride Steve Berlin; the renowned producer and Los Lobos keyboardist.

Add to that Scott Tipping on guitar, Matt Thompson on bass, Chuck Lacy on drums, and Jeff Victor on keyboards, not to mention a few surprise guest artists interspersed along the way, and There Is No Calamity is, in my humble opinion, Himmelman's best work to date.

1. '245th Peace Song'
2. 'Memories In This Heart Of Mine'
3. 'Smoke and Flames'
4. 'Fear Is Our Undoing'
5. 'Ribbon of Highway'
6. 'Rich Men Rule the World'
7. 'Sacrificial'
8. 'Burning Thru the Days'
9. 'Depth Of You'
10. 'I Pity You Spirits'
11. 'Ropes or Wings'

We begin with '245th Peace Song', a track that not only showcases perfectly what to expect from this brilliant new album, but allows Himmelman to delve, albeit gently, into his Elvis Costello impression. My favorite track is up next, the upbeat 'Memories In This Heart Of Mine,' and that's backed by the trio of 'Smoke and Flames,' the mid tempo ballad 'Fear Is Our Undoing,' and the cross country urgency of 'Ribbon of Highway.'

The beautiful piano ballad 'Rich Men Rule the World' is next and that's followed by both the jaunty guitar throb of 'Sacrificial' and the breezy, lush melodies of 'Love Is What Carries Us Away.' 'Burning Thru the Days' is next up and is backed by the gentle Southern organ vibe of 'Depth Of You.' The album then comes to a close with the tender, heartfelt 'I Pity You Spirits', and then rounds out with the storytelling of 'Ropes or Wings'.

Peter Himmelman is an incredible talent. His latest work is a testament to his skills as a songwriter and as a musician. If you know of all his previous works, and maybe have them all to hand as we speak, you know before I even tell you that this has to be added to your collections.

Even if you are new to Peter Himmelman, just one listen to There Is No Calamity will have you emotionally connected to his music and and all his previous work thereafter.

Peter Himmelman released There Is No Calamity on April 21st, 2017 via Himmasongs as a CD and digital download.

'There Is No Calamity' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Down at the Liquor Store'
Artist - Steve Azar & The Kings Men

For those not in the know, in April of 2016, Steve Azar became the first artist to record a full-length studio album at the legendary Mississippi landmark, Club Ebony.

A long time in the making, and his first record in 5 years, Steve cut 13 new original tracks. The club, now belonging to the B.B. King Museum, was turned into a recording studio capturing the rich history and vibe of the room and in turn creating inspirational performances on the record.

The album, Down At The Liquor Store, was made with the participation of The Kings Men, a group of musicians who backed B.B. King, Elvis Presley and other musical Kings. Releasing August 11th, 2017 via Ride Records, because Steve truly wanted to make an authentic Mississippi Delta record, what he subsequently brought forth with The Kings Men is just that and so , so much more.

1. 'Rena Lara'
2. 'Start to Wanderin' My Way'
3. 'Tender and Tough'
4. 'Wake Me from the Dead'
5. 'Down at the Liquor Store'
6. 'She Just Rolls with Me'
7. 'I Don't Mind (Most of the Time)'
8. 'Chance I'll Take'
9. 'Over It All'
10. 'Road Isn't There Anymore'
11. 'These Crossroads'
12. 'Ode to Sonny Boy'
13. 'Greenville'

We begin with a road trip down Highway 1 on 'Rene Lara,' a stunning summertime tale of the highest order, and one that encapsulates the entire album of thirteen new tracks just perfectly. Next up is the mid-tempo, horn-influenced 'Start to Wanderin' My Way' which is backed by one of my own personal favorites, the beautiful 'Tender and Tough.'

Sounding like a low key Bruce would have done with an old school E Street Band back in the day, that's followed by both the gentle guitar funk of 'Wake Me from the Dead,' and then the rhythmically mellow title track, 'Down at the Liquor Store.'

The slight guitar lead in strumming of the ballad 'She Just Rolls with Me' is a subtle, yet wonderful prelude to a delightful little Delta ditty, and that's backed by the foot-tappin' country soul of 'I Don't Mind (Most of the Time).' The country flavor doesn't stop there as it flows freely through the upbeat melodies of 'Chance I'll Take' and that's backed by the mellow late night vibe of 'Over It All.'

Azar's guitar is turned up now for the jangly big band sounds of 'Road Isn't There Anymore,' and after a nod to Eva Jane, the girl next door in 'These Crossroads,' the album comes to a close with the storytelling within 'Ode to Sonny Boy,' before rounding out with the strong piano / lite guitar rock balladry of 'Greenville.'

Steve Azar & The Kings Men will release Down at the Liquor Store on August 11th, 2017 via Ride Records as a CD and digital download. [FYI I am so happy to also reveal that come October 20th, there will be a wonderful vinyl LP of this album released! I mean, come on now, it is the only way to listen to great music like this after all.]

Lastly, there will be a film made about the making of this incredible album coming out soon too (see the Pledge Music link below). Entitled 'Something In The Water,' it is the story of Steve Azar with band members of B.B. King, Elvis Presley & Little Milton, making Down at the Liquor Store at Club Ebony.

'Something In The Water' Film @ Pledge Music

'Down at the Liquor Store' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Greatest Hits'
Artist - Lifehouse

For those not in the know, Lifehouse is an American rock band from Los Angeles comprising Jason Wade (lead vocals, guitar), Bryce Soderberg (bass, vocals) and Rick Woolstenhulme, Jr. (drums, percussion).

The band came to mainstream prominence in 2001 with the hit single "Hanging by a Moment" from their debut studio album, No Name Face. The song was number one for three weeks on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, and the single won a Billboard Music Award for Hot 100 Single of the Year - having spent twenty weeks in the top 10 and more than a year on the charts.

In 2002, Lifehouse released their follow-up album Stanley Climbfall. Since then, they have released five more albums: the eponymous Lifehouse in 2005, Who We Are in 2007, Smoke and Mirrors in 2010, Almería in 2012 and Out of the Wasteland in 2015.

To date, Lifehouse has sold over 15 million records worldwide and that figure is about to rise, because on July 14th, 2017 they released their highly-anticipated, and first-ever Greatest Hits CD via Geffen Records UMe.

1. "Hanging by a Moment"
2. "Sick Cycle Carousel"
3. "Breathing"
4. "Everything"
5. "Spin"
6. "Take Me Away"
7. "You And Me"
8. "Blind"
9. "First Time"
10. "Whatever It Takes"
11. "Broken (Radio Version)"
12. "Halfway Gone"
13. "Falling In"
14. "All In"
15. "From Where You Are"
16. "It Is What It Is"
17. "Between The Raindrops" (featuring Natasha Bedingfield)
18. "Hurricane"

They kick things off with the mega hit "Hanging By A Moment", and then back that up with a trio of musical wonderment in the trippy "Sick Cycle Carousel", the mid-tempo piano ballad "Breathing", and then the gently, bear-acoustic beauty of "Everything". The guitars begin to trash again on "Spin" and that's followed seamlessly by both "Take Me Away" and the more gentle, Goo Goo Doll-esque "You And Me".

"Blind" is up next and that's backed by the frenetic pace of "First Time", and then comes one of my own personal favorites from Lifehouse, the quite brilliant "Whatever It Takes". "Broken (Radio Version)" is next, and that's followed by a fun, bouncy duo in both "Halfway Gone" and "Falling" ("Every time I see your face, my heart takes off on a high speed chase").

"All In" is next and then comes another of my favorites, the quietly melodic guitar ballad "From Where You Are", with the mid-tempo pop ballad "It Is What It Is" along next. "Between The Raindrops" (featuring Natasha Bedingfield) is a real delight to listen to here on this hits collection (it was the lead single from their sixth studio album, 2012’s Almeria), but then (and all too soon) the album comes to a close with "Hurricane".

Multi-platinum award-winning rock band Lifehouse's pedigree within this business means that all these songs will bring back good memories to you, the avid fan/listener. "The songs I’ve written that have connected to the most people have occurred when I’m not worrying about how everyone will react", lead singer Jason Wade has gone on record as saying. "I’m writing from an honest place, alone in my room not thinking about who’s going to hear it, what they’re going to think or how they’re going to interpret it. The lyrics can’t be contrived. They have to hit you right in the heart.”

Lifehouse released their Greatest Hits on July 14th, 2017 via Geffen Records / UMe as a CD and digital download. [Although, in truth, I would love for a vinyl album to be made of this music too! Finger's crossed!]

'Greatest Hits' CD Purchase Link

Lifehouse/Switchfoot Tour Dates:
7/23: Denver, Colo. / Fillmore Auditorium
7/25: Cedar Rapids, Iowa. / McGrath Amphitheater
7/26: Columbus, Ohio / Express Live!
7/29: Huber Heights, Ohio / Rose Music Center at The Heights
7/30: Rochester Hills, Mich. / Meadow Brook
7/31: Grand Rapids, Mich. / Meijer Gardens
8/02: Toronto, Ont. / Rebel
8/04: Hampton Beach, N.H. / Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom
8/05: Portland, Maine / Maine State Pier
8/09: Boston, Mass. / House Of Blues
8/10: Asbury Park, N.J. / Stone Pony Summerstage
8/12: Brooklyn, N.Y. / Coney Island Amphitheater
8/13: Philadelphia, Pa. / The Fillmore
8/15: Baltimore, Md. / Pier 6 Pavilion
8/16: Cincinnati, Ohio / Taft Theatre
8/18: Whites Creek, Tenn. / The Woods Amphitheater at Fontanel
8/19: Williamsburg, Va. / Busch Gardens Williamsburg
8/20: Atlanta, Ga. / Atlanta Botanical Garden
8/22: Greensboro, N.C. / White Oak Amphitheatre at Greensboro Coliseum Complex
8/23: Atlanta, Ga. / TBD
8/25: Miami, Fla. / Bayfront Park Amphitheater
8/26: Orlando, Fla. / Orlando Amphitheater
8/27: Jacksonville, Fla. / Daily’s Place
8/29: Highland Park, Ill. / Ravinia Festival
8/30: Indianapolis, Ind. / Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn
9/01: DuQuoin, Ill. / DuQuoin State Fair
9/03: Springfield, Mo. / Gillioz Theater
9/04: Irving, Texas / The Pavilion at Irving Music Factory
9/05: Houston, Texas / House Of Blues
9/08: Las Vegas, Nev. / Mandalay Bay Beach
9/09: Los Angeles, Calif. / Greek Theatre
9/10: San Francisco, Calif. / Masonic Auditorium

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jackyl @ Facebook!

'25 Years: 1992-2017' CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Life Is Fine'
Artist - Paul Kelly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul Kelly @ Facebook

Vika & Linda Bull @ Facebook

'Life Is Fine' CD Purchase Link