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Ghost Canyon

Title - 'Christina Aguilera: 20th Ann.' (Picture Disc)
Artist - Christina Aguilera

Legacy Recordings celebrates the 20th Anniversary of Christina Aguilera's self-titled debut album Christina Aguilera with some rather special releases!

The Christina Aguilera: 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Digital album is available now through DSPs.

The Digital album features the original album's songs along with rare versions, remixes and a cappella tracks that were previously unavailable for streaming.

There are also 1,000 Limited Edition Collector's Bundles with Christina's Autograph still available on Christina's D2C (Direct-To-Consumer) Store.

These include a special Collector's Edition 20th Anniversary Christina Aguilera bundle which features a Picture Disc Vinyl edition of the album (which we are luckily reviewing here today) which comes with an AUTOGRAPHED and numbered Certificate of Authenticity, a collectible Christina Aguilera cassette, the Christina Aguilera: Deluxe Edition Digital Download, and a selection of 20th Anniversary retro-themed merch!

Click Here For Christina Aguilera’s D2C Store

Oh, and if all that wasn't enough there is also an EXCLUSIVE Christina Aguilera: 20th Anniversary Colored Limited Edition LP (pressed on "Genie Fiery Orange Vinyl"!) ONLY being sold at Urban Outfitters!

That's right, boys and girls, Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, invites music fans to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Christina Aguilera, the self-titled debut album that launched the superstar’s career, with a range of special commemorative releases that broke online August 23rd, 2019.

Christina herself announced the news on August 13th, 2019, tweeting: "This month marks 20 years since my debut album, Christina Aguilera, was released!"

"In its honor, I’m releasing xxtra special versions digitally at my store … and more surprises to come!"

She also urged fans to share their memories of the record using the #XXtina hashtag.

Christina Aguilera debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 in 1999, went eight times platinum and earned the singer her first Grammy for best new artist.

The album birthed classic singles like 'Genie in a Bottle,' 'What a Girl Wants,' 'I Turn to You' and 'Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You).'

For a 20 year-old teen pop record, Christina's debut has aged pretty well. Some cheesy spots here and there, but surprisingly mature in places and catchy as ever.

Watching the picture disc go round and round on the turntable, I quickly recalled how she was so fresh on the scene, so spunky, so willing to take on the other girl singers of the day.

Blessed with Whitney's power, Mariah's airy high notes, and a wide range all of her own, "The little girl with the big voice" quickly blew fellow poppers Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, and Mandy Moore out of the water! 'Genie In A Bottle' was an obvious choice for a summer single with it's breezy synth and laidback approach. The lyrics are sexy, but tasteful.

'What A Girl Wants' is also very catchy and one where you simply cannot get the chorus out of your head for days afterward! The saucy 'Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)' gives Christina a chance to throw down and go crazy with the runs and melisma, but not in an annoyingly, over the top fashion.

The lyrics are racier with Christina teasingly persuading her man to get it on with her, but nothing too explicit and I also love the spoken bit: "Don't ya wanna be the one tonight?/We can do exactly what you like/Don't ya wanna be just you and me?/We can do what comes naturally/I got a thing for you/Got my mind made up/And I'm serious/Never been more, baby/Don't show it but its real/And it's right here!"

The Mulan single 'Reflection' is a soaring self-esteem anthem and 'I Turn To You' is a sentimental power ballad penned by Diane Warren. Both are pretty schmaltzy, but Christina kills them with her chops and that makes them less syrupy.

The sensual 'So Emotional' is R&B with a taste of jazz track about a guy who makes Christina feel like she's on an emotional rollercoaster: "You take me high or low, you know/I'm never sure which way you're gonna go/You're such a mystery to me/But baby, hot or cold, you got a hold/Of my imagination/I think you know what I mean."

The fluid 'Love For All Seasons' is addictive with lyrics promising to be the "Rain in your Summer" and "The chill in your Fall", "The fire in your Winter" and "The sun in your Spring" to a guy she's crushing on.

'Somebody's Somebody' isn't a song that I would purposely seek out, but I'll listen to it when it comes on (and just did). Neither the production or the lyrics are that interesting, but Christina's voice makes it palatable.

'When You Put Your Hands on Me' is pretty, but nothing more than a filler. Not the best I've heard from her, but far from the worst either! The "talk box" is unnecessary and borderline annoying though, in truth.

'Love Will Find a Way' is too Radio Disney for my taste, but 'Blessed' is a well sung ballad that could be dedicated to God or loved ones or both: "I know I'm truly... Blessed for everything you've given me/Blessed for all the tenderness you show/Do my best with every breath that's in me/Blessed to make sure you never go."

To my mind though, Christina's shining performance comes in the form of the closer 'Obvious' - "Can you hear it in my voice?/Was it something I let slip?/Does the whole world know?/Isn't it obvious?/I'm the one who's in control/Now I'm acting like a fool/Do my feelings show?/Is my face aglow?/Isn't it obvious?/That I don't know what I'm doing anymore?/I'm feeling like a little girl/Caught up in emotions/I'm out of control/Isn't it obvious?"

Her voice carries so much confusion and sorrow that it also previews the aura around her next record, the harder-edged Stripped.

In closing, the best thing about her debut is Christina's vocals are restrained. She still hits her fair share of notes and belts and runs, but it's pleasing to the ear.

Like the old adage says, less is more. Stripped, for my money, let everybody know Christina was here to stay, but she wasn't too shabby on the record that put her foot in the door either!

Throughout her career, Christina has won six GRAMMY Awards and sold more than 43 million records worldwide. She has achieved five No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart making her the fourth female artist to top the chart over three consecutive decades (1990s, 2000s, and 2010s).

She has received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and holds the prestigious honor of being the only artist under the age of 30 included in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest singers of all time.

In 2011 she entered the world of television as a coach on NBC’s Emmy Award nominated show The Voice.

Aguilera has served as global spokesperson for Yum! Brands’ World Hunger Relief effort since 2009 and has helped raise over $150 million for the World Food Program and other hunger relief agencies.

In May 2019 she began her residency, The Xperience, at the Zappos Theatre at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas and is also touring Europe on The X Tour throughout 2019.

Click Here To Purchase the Picture Disc Vinyl Album

Click Here For Christina Aguilera’s D2C Store

Title - 'Mel & Kim: The Singles Box-Set' [7CD]
Artist - Mel & Kim

Mel & Kim debuted with 'Showing Out' in September 1986, and in March 1987, 'Respectable' became the first Stock Aitken Waterman composition to top the charts.

Combining a streetwise pop sensibility with cutting-edge house grooves, Mel & Kim (Appleby) became a global sensation. But at the height of their fame, Mel was diagnosed with cancer.

Tragically, her health deteriorated and she passed away in January 1990, aged just 23.

In late 1990, Kim made her solo debut with the #2 smash 'Don't Worry', from a self-titled album that she had mainly co-written with her sister, and a further string of hits followed.

Written in honor of Mel, 'Don't Worry' was nominated for Best Contemporary Song at the annual Ivor Novello Awards and as result, Kim chaired the judging panel for this award at the Ivors for 11 years.

2018 found Kim making her long-awaited return to the stage for Let's Rock and Rewind festivals, where she delighted fans by revisiting Mel & Kim hits in her live set for the very first time.

Featuring no less than 76 remastered tracks and many rare and unreleased mixes, this collection Mel & Kim: The Singles Box-Set serves to highlight the pioneering pop/house crossover sound created especially for Mel & Kim by songwriting and production powerhouse Stock Aitken Waterman and the PWL studio team.

Not only was 'Showing Out' arguably the first ever British house record, but also the very first house track to crack the Billboard Hot 100 in the US.

Likewise, 'I'm The One Who Really Loves You' was one of the very first tracks to be remixed by the legendary Clivillés & Cole.

Compiled with the blessing and involvement of Kim Appleby, this Mel & Kim: The Singles Box Set also boasts a 24-page booklet featuring lyrics, discography, new sleeve notes and many classic and rare images.

CD 1 - Showing Out (Get Fresh at the Weekend)
1. 'Showing Out'
2. 'System (House Mix)'
3. 'Showing Out (Extended Version)'
4. 'Showing Out (The Mortgage Mix)'
5. 'Showing Out (The Freehold Mix)'
6. 'Showing Out (Edit)'
7. 'System (Garage Vocal)'
8. 'System (12" House Mix)'
9. 'System (Alternative Mix)'
10. 'System (Original 12" Mix)'
11. 'System (U.S. Album Edit)'
12. 'System (Dub)'
13. 'System (Instrumental)'

As powerful a dance hit as anything that ever dared to come out after it, 'Showing Out (Get Fresh at the Weekend)' was a monster way to introduce yourselves to the chart world of 1986.

Funnily enough, the single's B-side, 'System', was originally intended to be the duo's debut release, but after getting to know the sisters, Pete Waterman felt that the song was too soft for their personalities, and halted the single's pressing!

Mike Stock then wrote 'Showing Out (Get Fresh at the Weekend)' for the duo, influenced by the Chicago garage house sound.

The single peaked at #3 in the UK in November 1986 (but reached #1 in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Belgium), and was certified silver by the British Phonographic Industry for sales exceeding 250,000 copies.

CD 2 - Respectable
1. 'Respectable'
2. 'Respectable (Extended Version)'
3. 'Respectable (Extra Beats Vocal)'
4. 'Respectable (The Tabloid Mix)'
5. 'Respectable (Shop Mix)'
6. 'Respectable (Full Album Version)'
7. 'Respectable (Alternative 12" Mix)'
8. 'Respectable (Pete Hammond Mix)'
9. 'Respectable (Mega Remix)'
10. 'Respectable (Extra Beats Version)'
11. 'Respectable (Instrumental)'
12. 'Respectable (12" Instrumental)'

Next came my favorite song from them, and I think 90% of all their fans, the highly infectious hip-hop pop dance groove of 'Respectable.' Sadly though there are no remixes if the B-side, 'From A Whisper To A Scream.'

As always, written and produced by Stock/Aitken/Waterman it quickly became a UK #1 single for one week in March 1987.

Interestingly enough, and which I personally didn't know before I did research into SAW, it was also the second UK #1 single produced by Stock/Aitken/Waterman, following Dead or Alive's 'You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)' in 1985; and the first UK #1 single that Stock/Aitken/Waterman had written themselves.

The single also topped the charts in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Australia and New Zealand in 1987.

CD 3 - F.L.M.
1. 'F.L.M'
2. 'F.L.M. (Extended Version)'
3. 'F.L.M. (Club Mix)'
4. 'F.L.M. (Sonic Remix)'
5. 'F.L.M. (Auto Mix)'
6. 'F.L.M. (Two Grooves Under One Nation Remix)'
7. 'F.L.M. (Two Grooves Dub)'
8. 'F.L.M. (Two Grooves Under One Nation 7" Mix)'
9. 'F.L.M. (Phil Harding Mix)'
10. 'F.L.M. (Beat Boys Mix)'
11. 'F.L.M. (Beat Boys Dub)'
12. 'Showing Out / Respectable (Mega Mix)'

Another corking dancefloor track came next in the shape of 'F.L.M.' (aka 'Fun, Love & Money)'. The 1987 hit song (written and produced by SAW) sadly, and undeservedly only peaked at #7 on the UK Singles Chart and was also the title track to their debut album.

Accordingly to all press sources at the time, the song title aka 'Fun, Love & Money' was actually a play on the sisters' frequent use of the expression "f**king lovely mate" during the recording sessions for the album!

However, due to Mel being diagnosed with a recurrence of cancer in June 1987, the duo did not appear in the promotional music video for the song. Instead, a clip was compiled using footage of the sisters' live performance of 'F.L.M.', the music videos for 'Showing Out (Get Fresh at the Weekend)' and 'Respectable' (where a male actor played the role of a detective, and string puppets resembling the duo!)

Sadly, 'F.L.M.' would be the second-last single released by the duo.

CD 4 - I'm the One Who Really Loves You
1. 'I'm the One Who Really Loves You (Pop Radio 7" Mix)'
2. 'I'm the One Who Really Loves You (Hip Hop Radio Mix)'
3. 'I'm the One Who Really Loves You (Stardom Groove Club Mix)'
4. 'I'm the One Who Really Loves You (Kick 'N Live Mix'
) 5. 'I'm the One Who Really Loves You (Groove Dub)'
6. 'I'm the One Who Really Loves You (Done Properly Dub)'
7. 'I'm the One Who Really Loves You (Pop Radio Mix)'
8. 'I'm the One Who Really Loves You (Chicago Club Mix)'
9. 'I'm the One Who Really Loves You (Chicago Dubstrumental)'
10. 'I'm the One Who Really Loves You (Yoyo's 12" Mix)'
11. 'I'm the One Who Really Loves You (Original Mix)'
12. 'I'm the One Who Really Loves You (Instrumental)'

Now, as much as this track is so very, very strong and could have been a single on its own merit, 'I'm the One Who Really Loves You' was only ever a track from the F.L.M. album.

Furthermore, although never released internationally as a single, after being subjected to a handful of remixes by Clivillés & Cole and a limited North American release, it reached #11 on the Hot Dance Club chart.

It was originally recorded and released by British singer Austin Howard in 1986 with both versions having been written and produced by Stock Aitken Waterman.

CD 5 - That's the Way It Is
1. 'That's the Way It Is'
2. 'You Changed My Life'
3. 'That's the Way It Is (Extended Version)'
4. 'That's the Way It Is (House Remix)'
5. 'That's the Way It Is (Acid House Remix)'
6. 'That's the Way It Is (Acid Dub)'
7. 'That's the Way It Is (Acid Pop Mix)'
8. 'That's the Way It Is (Original 12" Mix)'
9. 'That's the Way It Is (Original Dub)'
10. 'That's the Way It Is (Instrumental)'
11. 'That's the Way It Is (Acid Pop Instrumental)'
12. 'You Changed My Life (Instrumental)'
13. 'That's the Way It Is (Radio Jingles)'

'That's the Way It Is" (yet another hit single for the personable duo) was actually featured on the soundtrack album of Coming to America, starring Eddie Murphy.

The song was, of course, written and produced by SAW and peaked at #10 in the UK, becoming their fourth consecutive top 10 hit.

Sadly by the time of the single's release, Melanie Appleby's cancer had gotten the bets of her and she had officially withdrawn from the public eye in mid-1987.

That said, Appleby discharged herself from hospital to record the vocals for the track. The sisters made Mel's illness public at the time of the release of this single, and memorably both appeared on TV-am in April 1988 (interviewed by Anne Diamond) while Mel was still undergoing treatment, as part of European Cancer Week.

Click Here to Watch the TV-am Interview from 1988

The B-side of the single was a new song, 'You Changed My Life', another bouncy dancefloor cut that was also the first song on which the sisters had a co-writer credit.

Weirdly, 'That's the Way It Is' was not included on the group's debut album, F.L.M. but has since been included on later compilation albums of the duo, along with 'You Changed My Life' (with both tracks appearing on the 2010 deluxe edition re-issue of F.L.M.)

Yet again, and all due to Mel's illness, the sisters did not appear in the promotional video for the song. Instead, it featured a team of dancers in a studio, much like the video clip of their previous single.

A second music video for the song was also released. combining footage of the dancers from the first video for the song with footage from the sisters' earlier music videos and a live performance of 'F.L.M.'

As we know now, sadly it would also be the last release as a duo, as they disappeared from the public eye again while Mel Appleby continued her cancer treatment.

She succumbed to pneumonia in January 1990, her immune system weakened by chemotherapy. Some of the songs she co-wrote with Kim Appleby during the last 2 years of her life were later released on Kim's self-titled solo album released in late 1990.

CD 6 - More Than Words Can Say
1. 'More Than Words Can Say'
2. 'You Changed My Life (Alternative Mix)'
3. 'More Than Words Can Say (Extended Version)'
4. 'More Than Words Can Say (Instrumental)'

A great song with beautiful lyrics, 'More Than Words Can Say' was a mid-tempo ballad that was a Scandinavia only single from Something Special, a Scandinavia-only remix album (1989).

CD 7 - Megamix: Ninety!
1. 'The Mel & Kim 1990 Mega-Mix'
2. 'Showing Out (The Italo House Remix)'
3. 'The Mel & Kim 1990 Mega-Mix (Extended Version)'
4. 'The Mel & Kim 1990 Mega-Mix (Alternative Version)'
5. 'The Mel & Kim 1990 Mega-Mix (Techno Version)'
6. 'Showing Out (The Italo House 12" Remix)'

A Continental Europe only release, 'Megamix: Ninety!' was as wondrous a compilation of their hits as you could imagine. Another non-album single (like 'That's the Way It Is').

Released just after Mel had passed away, the video was once again a compilation of live shows and music videos from the songs included and watching it again today (as I have just done) it just breaks my heart that Mel was taken from us so early in her young life.

FYI: A never-heard-before demo called 'Where Is Love' from the sisters' very first demo tape – which helped them secure a record deal with Supreme, and brought them under the wing of '80S super producers Stock Aitken Waterman – was recently unearthed by fans in 2018 (who crowdfunded to give the song a full release) and so became the duo's first new single in 30 years!

In closing, I actually met both sisters at a signing session at Tower Records in London back on April 14th, 1987 around the release of the album F.L.M. (I know this for a fact as I wrote it on the back of the photographs!)

They were so much fun to chat with, never rushed you along the line, signed the vinyl album cover with love and messages (although I recall one of them spelled my name "Rusle"!), and even allowed all the fans, one by one, to have photographs taken with them (much to the dismay of the salaried "security" behind them both!

And as much as this wonderful Box-Set of all their singles is, at 76 tracks definitely mass overkill (trust me, as much as a fan as you might consider yourself to be, hearing the same song over and over, just in slightly different peaks and troughs will quickly have you begging for another song to appear), their legacy is perfectly preserved here.

Official 7CD Box-Set Purchase Link

Title - 'Words Fail Me' [3CD]
Artist - Nick Beggs

For those not in the know, Nick Beggs is an English musician best known for playing the bass guitar in '80s band Kajagoogoo, the offspring from them Kaja, and more recently in his own band The Mute Gods.

Formerly also a part of Iona and Ellis, Beggs, & Howard, Beggs now plays in the band of Steven Wilson and has added the upright Chapman Stick to his playing repertoire.

Esoteric Antenna is delighted to announce the release of the new solo album by acclaimed musician Nick Beggs, Words Fail Me as a wondrous 3CD digipak.

Noted for his virtuosity as both a bass guitarist and player of the Chapman Stick instrument, Nick reveals all facets of this unique instrument on his new album.

Describing his new work, Nick says, "There have been many composers I’ve admired over the years, so I chose to represent some of their works as instrumental Stick versions."

"Here you will find a cross section of diverse studies chosen to show off the versatility of the Chapman Stick and the beauty of the compositions”.

Accompanying Words Fail Me in this set are two reissues of Nick’s earlier work on the Chapman Stick. Stick Insect was originally released as a mail order only album in 2002 and has been out of print for some years, whilst The Maverick Helmsman was issued in 2004 along the same lines.

Simply put, Words Fail Me is a wonderful collection of music and is a simply mesmerizing listening experience by a supremely talented and creative musician.

Words Fail Me (2019):
1. 'Blue Eyes'
2. 'Portrait Of Tracy'
3. 'Midnight Cowboy'
4. 'Katerina'
5. 'Night Porter'
6. 'Tarantella'
7. 'Sheep May Safely Graze'
8. 'The Rainbow Connection'

Well, I have to say that I didn't expect what happened right from the off on this quite remarkable, simply musically breathtaking new album from Nick Beggs!

Seeing the opening song was named 'Blue Eyes' my mind immediately started to reflect back, and sing, the 1982 Elton John single of the same name. But then, and quite beautifully, once Beggs' song began playing you could have knocked me down with a feather as it was that very same Elton John track after all!

A version played by Beggs that you have to hear to believe, it then crossed my mind that there might well be more covers of the same ilk to be found here on the humorously entitled, yet spot on Words Fail Me.

And I was right for next up was Jaco Pastorius' achingly elegant 'Portrait Of Tracy' from 1976 and that is backed by the poignant plucking of John Barry's theme to 'Midnight Cowboy,' and then the sterner, more disciplined 'Katerina.'

I won't pretend to know if all the 8 tracks are covers, but as with the inching beauty of 'Night Porter,' the upbeat traditional Italian playful hipsway of 'Tarantella,' and both the soprano aria by Johann Sebastian Bach of 'Sheep May Safely Graze,' and then the engagingly darling 'The Rainbow Connection,' I think it's a safe bet to assume so.

Often his melody lines drift high into the sweet bluesy territory evocative of Stanley Jordan's art and style and that's perfectly fine. For just listening to this refreshingly enchanting new album proves, and without a shadow of a doubt, that you have a recording here that showcases the integral entity of an artist who loves what he does so much he simply cannot hide his devotion within his God-given artistry.

The Maverick Helmsman (2004):
1. 'All The Things You Are'
2. 'My Joy'
3. 'So Far Away'
4. 'Willow'
5. 'The Maverick Helmsman'
6. 'The Vigil'
7. 'Your Letter'
8. 'The Meaning Of Everything'
9. 'When First We Met'
10. 'Highland Saunter'
11. 'The Darkness In Men's Hearts'
12. 'After The Wave'

On this second solo Chapman Stick album we quickly discover that Begg's consistent musical style and his approach to the instruments he plays combine perfectly to bring forth an album that beggars belief at just how accomplished, how fresh, how utterly mesmerizing all 12 tracks come to be as a whole.

Whether it be in live solo, or sometimes overdubbed within creative windows, or often backed by The Stick's MIDI triggered voices (including piano, orchestral strings, looped tabla, arpeggiated harp, and rolling surf soundscapes), this album contains totally original moods and inventive rhythms with humor, passion and general gusto.

Another all instrumental album, all 10 tracks were recorded completely live in the studio with minimal overdubs.

Stick Insect (2002):
1. 'Science Fiction'
2. 'The Reggae Man's Hair Do'
3. 'Tonto's Return'
4. 'Tava'
5. 'Look At Us'
6. 'Down Stream'
7. 'Glass Slippers'
8. 'Lula'
9. 'Celtic Yardies'
10. 'The Last Bitch In Hellville'
11. 'Pothead'
12. 'Kumara'
13. 'Death In Cleavage'
14. 'For All That's Lost'
15. 'In Memory Of You'

Opening with the pure ethereal majesty of 'Science Fiction,' this multifaceted album showcases Beggs' all encompassing love for the Chapman Stick perhaps the best.

The 15 tracks here on his debut Chapman Stick outing are embraced with such a sense of spacious wonder, complete with multiple twists and turns around most corners, giving the album a transcendent appeal for all the categories and genres it lovingly plies its trade within.

In what has been noted as being a "dedicated Stick album", written, arranged, engineered, performed and produced by Nick himself (with a polished final mastering by Greg Howard), in what is obviously a very elaborate production, it contains three prominent elements: It is ethereal in nature. It has some mighty rock and roll orchestration (via synth and electronic percussion). And it obviously contains Nick's very own personal and biographical inspirations.

Official 3CD Purchase Link

Nick Beggs @ Facebook

Nick Beggs @ Instagram

Title - 'Royal Soldier'
Artist - Jah Cure

For those not in the know, Jah Cure (born Siccature Alcock) is a Jamaican reggae musician, who was raised in Kingston. In fact, he was given the name Jah Cure by Capleton whom he met while growing up in Kingston.

Jah Cure is also known as the King of Lovers Rock and Roots Reggae and his presence and influence among Caribbean fans has reverberated around the globe, earning him top status among reggae artists internationally.

Furthermore, Jah Cure is a musical adventurer, exploring rhythms, moods and meaning with his latest album Royal Soldier, his first since The Cure in 2015.

Featuring guest appearances from Melanie Fiona, Mya, Phyllisia Ross, Popcaan, Damien ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley, Tory Lanez, and others, Royal Soldier (out August 30th, 2019 via VP Records) is, once again, Jah Cure at the top of his game.

1. 'On The Move'
2. 'Brighter Day'
3. 'Marijuana' (feat. Damian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley)
4. 'Telephone Love'
5. 'Magic' (feat. Tory Lanez)
6. 'Risk It All' (feat. Phyllisia Ross)
7. 'Pretty Face'
8. 'Work It Out' (feat. Melanie Fiona)
9. 'Eyes On Your Body' (feat. Dru, Sketch Carey & Alx)
10. 'Only You' (feat. Mya)
11. 'Don’t Walk Away'
12. 'Royal Soldier'
13. 'Life Is Real' (feat. Popcaan)
14. 'Street Kings' (feat. Yami Bolo, Junior Reid & Capleton)

The album kicks off with the reverberated beauty 'On The Move' and backs that up with the slow roll of both 'Brighter Day' and 'Marijuana' (feat. Damian 'Jr. Gong' Marley), the deep growl of 'Telephone Line,' and then both the almost hypnotic 'Magic' (feat. Tory Lanez) and the mid-tempo hipsway of 'Risk It All' (feat. Phyllisia Ross).

Jah Cure writes songs about love and consciousness and reality. His music moves between classic roots and smooth R&B and often challenges the boundaries of the reggae genre. All that and so much more is showcased perfectly here on the new album, especially as we run into both 'Pretty Face' and 'Work It Out' (feat. Melanie Fiona).

The sultry lo-fi of 'Eyes On Your Body' (feat. Dru, Sketch Carey & Alx) is backed by the first real pop bounce flow track, 'Only You' (feat. Mya) which is followed by Lover's Rock of 'Don't Walk Away.'

The mid tempo Roots Reggae smooth R&B bounce of the title track 'Royal Soldier' is then backed by the storytelling of 'Life Is Real' (feat. Popcaan & Padrino), with the magnificent album rounding out with the Wailersesque 'Street Kings' (feat. Yami Bolo, Junior Reid & Capleton).

Official CD Purchase Link

Jah Cure @ Facebook

Jah Cure @ Twitter

Title - 'Smoky Nights' [EP]
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 debut holiday-themed album Merry Christmas, You Are Loved was released in 2015 to many great reviews. Shortly thereafter her 2016 follow-up album Walk With Me, both of which were produced and co-written by the legendary producer Narada Michael Walden (Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin, Sting), were released through Walden’s Tarpan Records label.

In 2016, Saran teamed up with the South African Grammy-winning male choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo (along with the Grammy and Emmy-winning producer Walden), to create Wake Up (which was released in the Summer of 2017).

Basically put, in just four years, singer-songwriter Jennifer Saran has gone from best-kept-secret status to being hailed as one of the freshest new voices in alt-pop/adult contemporary music.

And now, come September 20th, 2019, her fans are in for yet another musical treat, for the Hong Kong-based singer releases her brand new five-song Jazz EP Smoky Nights.

1. 'Smoky Nights'
2. 'The Love Is Now Gone'
3. 'Let the Waves Wash Over Me'
4. 'Don't Forget My Name'
5. 'Get Over Yourself'

As always, produced by Narada Michael Walden for his very own Tarpan Records, it finds Saran fully embracing the moody and melancholy genre of Jazz that she's loved her entire life.

“I’m so excited to be writing and singing jazz,” Saran enthuses. "I’ve always been a fan of Billie Holiday, Rosemary Clooney, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. And, of course, there’s Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett."

"The songs that Narada and I are writing together follow in their traditions, the way they could blend darkness with the gentle side of things.” She laughs, then adds, “Maybe I was born too late, but I believe there’s a timelessness to this style of music."

"It’s dramatic and elegant. I’m finding that this material feels very natural to me.”

Having touched on smooth jazz with the aching ballad 'Last Kiss' from her Walk With Me album, here on Smoky Nights Saran puts both feet in the Jazz waters and fully immerses herself.

This quite stunningly authentic to the times EP opens with the sultry smoothness of the title track, 'Smoky Nights' before sliding effortlessly into the stoically melodic 'Don’t Forget My Name.'

Next up is the lush mid tempo, gentle hipsway of 'Let the Waves Wash Over Me' which is backed by the late night / early morning, underground Jazz club appeal of 'Don't Forget My Name,' with the funky sax-enhanced, finger-snappin' beauty 'Get Over Yourself.'

As for that title track cut, well, as Saran herself reveals, "It’s about a feeling you have with another person. You want to be there and you want it to work, but you know it won’t. It’s about that hesitation. You see it before you, but you can’t go there.”

Saran is especially delighted at Walden’s production work on the new EP, stating that “he’s pushing me harder than he ever has before, but in a good way."

"I was used to singing in a lower register, but on the first four albums he urged me to use the whole range of my voice, so I was singing higher, but in a softer, gentler way than you might expect."

"Now, he’s taking me back to where I was always comfortable. He really brings out the best in me. I’m really excited to have people hear what we come up with.”

Walden himself says, “It’s my honor to work with Jenn on this new EP and I can’t wait for everyone to hear her jazzy touch on ‘Smoky Nights.’ I know it’s a musical style that’s been living in her heart and soul for some time now. I call it, ‘something for the tender in you!’”

Amazon Digital Purchase Link

Jennifer Saran @ Facebook

Jennifer Saran @ Twitter

Title - 'You Don't Know Me: Classic Country'
Artist - Crystal Gayle

For those not in the know, Crystal Gayle is an American country music artist who began her career in the 1960s performing in the background of her sibling's bands, most notably Loretta Lynn.

Indeed, it was actually Lynn who helped her sister sign a recording contract with Decca Records in 1970 where she enjoyed minor success.

Encouraged by Lynn to develop her own musical identity, Gayle signed a new recording contract with United Artists Records in 1974. A collaboration with producer Allen Reynolds brought forth major success by shifting her music towards a country pop style.

In 1975, 'Wrong Road Again' became Gayle's first major hit. However, it was in 1977 when Gayle achieved her biggest success with the single 'Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue'.

The song topped the Billboard country chart, crossed over to the top five of the Billboard Hot 100, and became a major international hit.

The rest, as they say, is history, for You Don't Know Me: Classic Country is the twenty sixth studio album by American country artist Crystal Gayle.

The album was released on September 6th, 2019 via Southpaw Musical Productions and contains cover versions of classic country songs whilst also featuring collaborations with other artists.

1. 'Ribbon of darkness'
2. 'You Win Again'
3. 'Please Help Me, I'm Falling'
4. 'Am I That Easy To Forget?'
5) 'Hello Walls'
6) 'You Never Were Mine'
7) 'Just One More'
8) 'There Goes My Everything'
9) 'That's the Way Love Goes'
10) 'Crying Time'
11) 'I've Seen That Look on Me a Thousand Times'
12) 'Walking After Midnight'
13) 'You Don't Know Me'
14) 'Put It Off Until Tomorrow'
15) 'I Cried the Blue' (Right Out of My eyes)' - Bonus Track

On an album that marks Gayle's first studio release in sixteen years, she begins in familiar territory on the gentle foot-tappin' bounce of 'Ribbon of Darkness' (a song written by Gordon Lightfoot that was released in 1965 as a single by Marty Robbins) and backs that up with Hank Williams' 1952 beauty 'You Win Again.'

The lush 'Please Help Me, I'm Falling' (first recorded by Hank Locklin in 1960) is followed by the aching 'Am I That Easy to Forget' (first published back in 1958, and subsequent hits for both Gene Vincent and George Jones), the buoyant 'Hello Walls' (a song first recorded by Faron Young in 1961), and then 'You Were Never Mine' written by her brother, Jay Lee Webb.

The lo--fi country twang of 'Just One More' (a 1956 hit for George Jones) is then followed by 'There Goes My Everything' (a 1966 song best known for being made a hit by Jack Green), and then one of my own personal favorites, the Johnny Rodriguez song from 1973, 'That's the Way Love Goes.'

Buck Owens' 1964 hit 'Crying Time' is another beauty to hear and that's backed seamlessly by both 'I've Seen That Look on Me a Thousand Times' (covered more recently by George Strait), and the double bass passive thwang of 'Walking After Midnight' (Patsy Cline).

This quite magnificent return to form for Gayle then rounds out with the lush 1955 Eddy Arnold track 'You Don't Know Me,' the Dolly Partan and Bill Owens mid-'60s co-write 'Put It Off Until Tomorrow' (now a sibling trio featuring Loretta Lynn and Peggy Sue), and then the flashback gem of a bonus track - a demo written by Loretta Lynn and recorded by Gayle back circa 1969 - entitled 'I've Cried the Blue (Right Out of My Eyes).'

Official Purchase Links

Crystal Gayle @ Facebook

Crystal Gayle @ Twitter

Title - 'The Bell Years: 1972-1974 [4CD Box-Set]
Artist - David Cassidy

For those not in the know, David Cassidy (April 12, 1950 – November 21, 2017) was an American actor, singer, songwriter, and guitarist.

He was best known for his role as Keith Partridge, the son of Shirley Partridge (played by his stepmother, Shirley Jones), in the 1970s musical-sitcom The Partridge Family.

Indeed, this role catapulted Cassidy to teen idol status as a superstar pop singer of the 1970s where between 1972-74 he was one of the world’s best-selling artists; both solo and as a member of The Partridge Family.

This brand new 4CD, 50 track clam shell Box-Set (released October 4th, 2019 via 7T's Records / Cherry Red Records UK), covers all of his solo recordings for Bell Records during that aforementioned most commercially successful years.

Disc One is his debut album Cherish which hit #15 in the USA and #2 in the UK. It includes the #2 UK hit single ‘Could It Be Forever’ and the #3 ‘I Am A Clown,’ both of which were also major hits across most of Europe.

CD 1 - Cherish (1972)
1. 'Being Together'
2. 'I Just Wanna Make You Happy'
3. 'Could It Be Forever'
4. 'Blind Hope'
5. 'I Lost My Chance'
6. 'My First Night Alone Without You'
7. 'We Could Never Be Friends ('Cause We've Been Lovers Too Long)'
8. 'Where Is the Morning'
9. 'I Am a Clown'
10. 'Cherish'
11. 'Ricky's Tune'
12. 'All I Wanna Do Is Touch You' - Bonus Track

Cassidy's Cherish was a huge break out solo attempt by the artist best known for his portrayal of Keith Partridge; the perennial teenage eldest son on the hugely popular 'Partridge Family' series on ABC.

Indeed, it was David's continuous urge to expand his audience to a rock status that gave birth to this first solo project. Yet, as it is told, he was still under strict restrains at the time by producer Wes Farrell; who also produced the Partridge's musical numbers.

It was said that Farrell made Cassidy follow guide lines to not overstep the purity of his Partridge status - much to Cassidy's dismay - but Cassidy was so enthusiastic to break the mold he gave in.

Thus his first foray into a solo career sounds very similar to his Partridge tunes that Arista had already included many of Cassidy's previous songs of on the Partridge compilations beforehand.

Ergo, it's also difficult for a novice Partridge fan to really hear any difference in any of these tunes that could have easily transcended into the TV Show; which was Farrell's intention, of course.

The second disc is 1973’s UK #2 LP Rock Me Baby which also reached #41 in America. The title track was a UK #11 hit and #38 in the USA whilst ‘How Can I Be Sure’ gave David his first British #1 single.

CD 2 - Rock Me Baby (1972)
1. 'Rock Me Baby'
2. 'Lonely Too Long'
3. 'Two Time Loser'
4. 'Warm My Soul'
5. 'Some Kind of a Summer'
6. '(Oh No) No Way'
7. 'Song for a Rainy Day'
8. 'Soft As a Summer Shower'
9. 'Go Now'
10. 'How Can I Be Sure'
11. 'Song of Love'

On his sophomore album, Rock Me Baby it's evident right off that Cassidy finally seemed to have gotten his way with his insistence that he go towards a more blatant rock sound.

However, that may have worked better if the rock songs were more tuneful, or as good as anything on the rock/pop charts in 1971-1972, of course. I mean, we all know 'Smoke On The Water' is an incredible song, but the tracks on Rock Me Baby were just nowhere close, sorry.

That said, 'How Can I Be Sure' (which actually is a great song, it has to be said) charted, but it seems to divide the album into schizophrenia (for it's another cover, many of which Cassidy nearly always performed well).

Equally there's the Wrecking Crew performing with their usual distinction and adeptness on all the tracks leaving the stand out tracks for me being 'Some Kind Of Summer' and 'Soft As A Summer Shower' - which are tracks both performed, and produced, beautifully.

Disc Three is Dreams Are Nuthin’ More Than Wishes, a UK Chart topper in November ’73. It includes the double A-side #1 ‘The Puppy Song’ / ‘Daydreamer’ and now has the bonus of both sides of the #9 smash ‘If I Didn’t Care’.

CD 3 - Dreams Are Nuthin’ More Than Wishes (1973)
1. 'Opening Theme'
2. 'Daydream'
3. 'Sing Me'
4. 'Bali Ha'i'
5. 'Mae Time'
6. 'Fever Time'
7. 'Summer Days'
8. 'The Puppy Song'
9. 'Daydreamer'
10. 'Some Old Woman (There Is A Woman)'
11. 'Can't Go Home Again'
12) 'It's Preying On My Mind'
13) 'Hold On Me'
14) 'If I Didn't Care' - Bonus Track
15) 'Frozen Noses' - Bonus Track

With Dreams Are Nuthin' it was very obvious that Cassidy was leaving Keith Partridge as far behind in his rear view mirror as possible!. Songs such as 'Daydreamer,' 'Can't Go Home Again' and 'It's Preying on My Mind' are the great stand outs here for me personally; on and album that managed to keep the world's ongoing love affair with him alive and burning bright!

The final disc in the box set is the In Concert Cassidy Live! ’74 which hit #9 in the UK and contains the Top 20 hit single ‘Please Please Me’.

CD 4 - Cassidy Live! ’74 (1974)
1. 'It's Preying on My Mind'
2. 'Some Kind Of Summer'
3. 'Breaking Up Is Hard To Do'
4. 'Bali Ha'i / Mae Time'
5. 'I Am a Clown'
6. 'Delta Lady'
7. 'Please Please Me'
8. 'Daydreamer'
9. 'How Can I Be Sure'
10. 'For What It's Worth'
11. 'CC Rider Blues / Jenny Jenny'
12. 'Rock Medley'

Listening to this live CD, and one I've never personally heard before, it's so very obvious that Cassidy just loves entertaining his fans.

Shining brightly on every single song, each lyric loving brought forth, he gives every vocal indication that he loves being up there, under the solo spotlight, in front of his adoring sell-out audience.

Simply put, the 1974 song selection even today brings back all those memories of teenage years spent dreaming about him (female and male, one assumes), as he sings just for you, live on stage.

So if you weren't a fan, don't buy this 4CD Box-Set. But if you were, then this will bring it all back lovingly to you in leaps and bounds!

Each album is housed in a cardboard wallet with original front cover artwork and a back sympathetic to the original album design.

The booklet contains lots of memorabilia and picture sleeves from the era as well as extensive liner notes.

Official 4CD Box-Set Purchase Link

Title - 'Save the Universe' [EP]
Artist - Uncle Roy and the Band from Another Planet

Uncle Roy and the Band from Another Planet's brand new Save the Universe 5-track EP is the very first release from the prog rock artist and was released on September 1st, 2019.

Chock full of wide open, and delicious spacious goodness, the five alternative rock-pop rock vocal tunes range from sweet and ethereal, to a heavy blend of rock, alternative rock, classical rock, progressive rock, power pop rock and modern, pop rock music.

1. 'Cosmic Happiness' (5:21)
2. 'The Isle of Riff on the World of Tone' (4:10)
3. 'A World of Miracles' (4:13)
4. 'Father Time' (5:42)
5. 'It Doesn't Really Matter' (4:38)

Kicking things off nicely with the atmospheric fun '70s-esque rocker 'Cosmic Happiness,' we're soon into the echo chambered dark rock hole of 'The Isle of Riff on the World of Tone,' with the ethereal, and highly philosophical 'A World of Miracles' along next.

Containing a wondrous collection of stories within the thoughtful lyrics, all the abovementioned musical influences come to the fore throughout this quite magnificent new EP.

We next get the immersive trance-pop power of a song dedicated to the importance of time, 'Father Time,' with the EP rounding out with the thumping, driving, preachin', talk-singin' chorus-baked cut, 'It Doesn't Really Matter.'

Uncle Roy says, “For 'Save The Universe' I wanted to create a set of tunes that were not one style of rock or just heavy or just light. I wanted to have some of the musical ingredients, from several rock stylings, within the scope of the music."

"I wanted the recipe for this project to be more universal, with a mix of rock genres. Therefore, each tune has its own musical and lyrical difference and character from the others. There is soft guitar and screaming guitar."

"There are dreamy, orchestral keyboards to, thick, and rockin' keyboards. The drums may lightly and tightly groove for a section of a tune and then, be pounding. The bass will be subtle at times and then, sometimes big and fat."

"Vocally, you will find the voices of the songs going from the mellow and grand to heavy rock to a little, talk-singin' and preachin'. For every letter of the alphabet, there is a musical influence that has manipulated my musical, genetic makeup, over a few light years."

"The world's music is broad, cultural, always evolving and it is what influences me musically, as well, all the time.”

Included with the physical CD is a beautiful 8-page booklet filled with fun, sci-fi stories and thoughts, pictures, song descriptions and lyrics written by Uncle Roy.

There is also a cool, inventive and “top secret” alien photo file attached to the CD of Alien Uncle Roy!

CD Baby Purchase Link

Uncle Roy's Alien Music @ Facebook

Title - 'How Do We Get to Earth?' [EP]
Artist - Uncle Roys Spaceship

Uncle Roy's Spaceship's How Do We Get to Earth? is a 5-track EP and the very first instrumental release for the band, released on September 2nd, 2019.

The music is a progressive, instrumental recipe of several genres of rock music, blending time signatures and tempos, within instrumental rock, progressive rock, fusion, classical rock, space rock, jazz rock and other cosmic sounds; at this moment in space and time.

Furthermore, there is a galaxy of musical influences from many light years of playing, that you can hear within the sounds.

1. 'Space Noodlein' (3:26)
2. 'Moonbeams and the Cosmic Bang' (6:31)
3. 'There Is Nothing More Bright Than the Stars at Night' (4:04)
4. 'It's a Beautiful Day in the Milky Way' (4:10)
5. 'Flight of the Ancient Alien' (3:51)

Sometimes the soundscapes will be light and breezy and dreamy. And sometimes the soundscapes will be heavy, thick and creamy! Indeed, some tunes may have a bit of both, with a sprinkling or splashing of other musical textures and moods from soft to intense.

Uncle Roy kicks things into gear here immediately on the effervescent, speeding train dangerously close to derailing six string jammin' rocker 'Space Noodlelin' and backs that up seamlessly with the longest track of the five, the near seven minute harmonious, thoughtful, and ultimately progressive metal rock cut 'Moonbeams and the Cosmic Bang.'

Next up is the searing fusion guitar instrumental 'There Is Nothing More Bright Than the Stars at Night,' with rhythmic, soft guitar notes of 'It's a Beautiful Day in the Milky Way' backing it, before the EP rounds out with the pacey, energetic, anthemic prog rock of 'Flight of the Ancient Alien.'

Uncle Roy says, “I love instrumental music! From soloists to small groups to orchestral instrumentals, through a variety of music, the dynamic sensitivities within instrumental music makes me feel a rollercoaster of sensations and emotions!!!"

"So, I thought that creating a project of some tunes with the ingredients of a few instrumental rock music genres together, would be fun!"

"Instrumental rock, progressive rock, fusion, spacey rock, classical rock and jazz rock are all a part of the music in, 'How Do We Get To Earth?'"

"There are moments of soft, sweetness and moments of roaring and throbbing sounds. There are cruising, floating rhythms that groove and heavier, driving rhythms that rock. The dreamy and bright soundscape moments will make you drift."

"Each tune has a different mood, feeling, atmosphere and style from the others.”

CD Baby Purchase Link

Uncle Roy's Alien Music @ Facebook

Title - 'National Wrecking Company'
Artist - National Wrecking Company

The National Wrecking Company, featuring members of The Lizards, Cactus, Humble Pie and The Plasmatics, and have just released their eagerly awaited self-titled debut album (available on Hyperspace Records).

This quite magnificent new release features one of the final recordings by guitar legend Bernie Tormé, best known for his work with the Ian Gillan Band and Ozzy Osbourne, who sadly passed away this year.

Indeed, the song is a bonus preview track from the upcoming National Wrecking Company II release Overture/Mechanized Confusion.

1. 'Supersonic'
2. 'King of All I See'
3. 'Beast'
4. 'Molotov'
5. 'Holy Creatures'
6. 'Blood Moon Rising'
7. 'Return To Jesus'
8. 'Praise Yourself'
9. 'Whirlpool World'
10. 'End of Days'

Opening with the melodic rocker 'Supersonic,' and backing that up with both more of the same in 'King of All I See' and the prowling 'Beast,' right from the off lead singer Jimmy Kunes's (Cactus, Savoy Brown) thunderous vocal depth and range is brought to the fore on all the tracks.

Backed at every turn by bassist Randy Pratt (Cactus, The Lizards), tracks such as the drum-led (Neil Cicione of Rickity and T.C. Tolliver of The Plasmatics) 'Molotov' and the '80s-esque power rock of the searing 'Holy Creatures' makes this album truly as good as it gets within this business.

The powerfully menacing 'Blood Moon Rising' is then backed by the cultured funky hipsway of my own personal favorite cut, 'Return To Jesus' which in turn is backed by the guitar prowess of shred master Jesse Berlin on 'Praise Yourself.'

Complete with electric finger stylist Phil Bader and Scott “The Doctor” Treibitz on keyboards, the album then rounds out with two of the hardest cuts on the album in both 'Whirlpool World' and the crunchingly wary 'End of Days.'

Adding on the aforementioned preview track of 'Overture / Mechanized Confusion' featuring the late Bernie Tormé, the album (that also features the polished touch of Emmy winning engineer/producer, JZ Barrell) has fast become one of my Top 10 of the year - and I'm sure you will feel the same way once you yourselves have purchased it!

National Wrecking Company @ Facebook

Hyperspace Records @ Facebook

Title - 'Chernobyl' (Music From The HBO Mini-Series)
Artist - Hildur Guðnadóttir

For those not in the know, although I'm pretty sure you have most all heard her music on TV and in film at one time or another, Hildur Guðnadóttir is an Icelandic musician and composer.

A classically trained cellist, she has played and recorded with the bands Pan Sonic, Throbbing Gristle, Múm and Stórsveit Nix Noltes, and has also toured with Animal Collective and Sunn O))).

In 2006, she released a solo album under the name Lost In Hildurness, Mount A, on which she attempted to "... involve other people as little as I could."

It was recorded in New York City and Hólar in the north of Iceland and 2009 saw the release of her second solo album, Without Sinking, on the UK-based audio-visual label, Touch.

As well as the cello, Hildur also sings and arranges choral music, once arranging a choir for performances by Throbbing Gristle in Austria and London.

As a composer she has written a score for the play Sumardagur ("Summer Day") performed at Iceland's National Theatre. She has also written the score for the Danish film Kapringen (2012), Garth Davis' 2018 film Mary Magdalene (in collaboration with Jóhann Jóhannsson), Stefano Sollima's Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018), and the 2019 Chernobyl mini-series.

And it is there that we touch today as Chernobyl (Music From The HBO Mini-Series) has just been released on CD via Deutsche Grammophon this past August 23rd, 2019.

1. 'The Door' (2:43)
2. 'Bridge Of Death' (4:44)
3. 'Turbine Hall' (2:36)
4. 'Vichnaya Pamyat' (Homin Lviv Municipal Choir) (4:07)
5. 'Pump Room' (3:43)
6. 'Clean Up' (1:41)
7. 'Dealing With Destruction' (1:54)
8. 'Waiting For The Engineer' (1:31)
9. 'Gallery' (2:23)
10. '12 Hours Before' (2:31)
11. 'Corridors' (3:13)
12. 'Líður (Chernobyl Version)' (2:48)
13. 'Evacuation' (4:44)

This near 40 minute musical accompaniment to the heavily-lauded HBO show - which brings to us a story set in April 1986, where an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics becomes one of the world's worst man-made catastrophes - begins with 'The Door,' a building, throbbing work that bleeds seamlessly into the caustic 'Bridge of Death.'

Haunting tracks such as 'Turbine Hall,' and the ethereal 'Vichnaya Pamyat' (Homin Lviv Municipal Choir), and both the intense trio of 'Pump Room,' 'Clean Up' and 'Dealing With Destruction' are beautifully sculptured, and are backed by the frenetic pairing of 'Waiting for the Engineer' and 'Gallery.'

The calmer '12 Hours Before' is a work of ambient art, and is followed by the reverberating essence of 'Corridors,' with the soundtrack coming to a close with the stoic 'Líður (Chernobyl Version),' and then finally the building heartbeat found within 'Evacuation.'

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Wei Luo'
Artist - Wei Lou

For those not in the know, born in Shenzhen, southern part of China, the recipient of 2018 Gilmore Young Artist, Wei Luo showed interest in music and began piano lessons at age five.

She gave her debut recital in Hong Kong at age six. Winner of numerous competitions in China, Wei also claimed first prize in the 11th Chopin International Competition for Young Pianists in Poland and the 2nd Rachmaninov International Piano Competition for Young Pianists in Frankfurt, both in 2010.

Wei is also the 2016 winner and recipient of the “Salon de Virtuosi” Career Grant in New York. She made her orchestra debut at age ten with the Shanghai Philharmonic where, along with artistic director Muhai Tang, they opened the 2011 season by performing Prokofiev Concerto No. 3 at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center.

In past seasons Wei made her recital debut in Herbst Hall presented by San Francisco Performances. She performed at Festival Napa Valley, Mostly Mozart Festival, and continued her love of chamber music at the Santa Fe Chamber Music.

Wei performed Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3 with Kansas City Symphony under the baton of Maestro Michael Stern, and Mendelssohn’s Concerto in G minor with the Denver Philharmonic.

In December 2017 she was featured soloist with the Albany Symphony conducted by David Allen Miller performing Mozart’s Concerto No. 24, K.491.

In the 2018-19 season, Wei makes her recital debut at NY Steinway Hall. She also performs Rachmaninoff Concerto No. 3 with Quad City symphony.

Furthermore, she will tour in Michigan for Gilmore International Keyboard Festival in a series of solo recitals and performs Rachmaninoff Paganini Rhapsody with Battle Creek Symphony.

Currently in school at the Curtis Institute and studying with Gary Graffman (teacher of Lang Lang and Yuja Wang), pianist Wei Luo has just released (Via Decca Gold this past August 30th, 2019, her self-titled debut album featuring works by Prokofiev, Shchedrin, and Shostakovich.

Opening with a compelling, near 12 minute take on Ravel’s solo piano version of 'La Valse,' Luo then transfers effortlessly into the duo of 'Shostakovich: 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87 - Prelude and Fugue No. 5 in D Major' and 'No. 24 in D Minor,' before bringing us a playful, yet extensively thoughtful Haydn Suite: 'Piano Sonata in E-Flat Major, Hob.XVI: 52 - I. Allegro,' 'II. Adagio' and 'III. Finale: Presto.'

The powerful, arcing Prokofiev Suite is up next in the form of: 'Piano Sonata No. 7 in B-Flat Major, Op. 83 - I. Allegro inquieto,' 'II. Andante caloroso,' and the vibrant, key heavy 'III. Precipitato.' With the melodies and the earthy qualities obviously speaking volumes to Lou, this is also one of my own personal favorites.

This quite exquisite new album from Luo then rounds out with 'Shchedrin: Two Polyphonic Pieces - No. 1: Two-part Invention' and 'No. 2: Basso Ostinato,' which is rather perfect given its collective flighty forcefulness.

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Across the Stars'
Artist - Anne-Sophie Mutter/John Williams

Grammy-winning violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter has just released her brand new collaborative album (via Deutsche Grammophon) with legendary film composer John Williams, Across the Stars.

Furthermore, Williams has adapted his beloved scores from films such as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Star Wars, Schindler's List, and more specifically for Mutter and this quite wondrous album.

Recorded at Sony Pictures Studios with The Recording Arts Orchestra of Los Angeles, conducted by John Williams himself, Across the Stars is a stunning 12 track album of known and yet elegantly reworked classics from the great man himself.

1. 'Rey's Theme' (from 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens')
2. 'Yoda's Theme' (from Stars Wars: The Empire Strikes Back')
3. 'Hedwig's Theme' (from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone')
4. 'Across the Stars (Love Theme)' (from Star Wars: Attack of the Clones')
5. 'Donnybrook Fair' (from 'Far and Away')
6. 'Sayuri's Theme' (from Memoirs of a Geisha')
7. 'Night Journeys' (from Dracula')
8. 'Theme' (from 'Sabrina')
9. 'The Duel' (from 'The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn')
10. 'Luke And Leia' (from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi')
11. 'Nice To Be Around' (from 'Cinderella Liberty')
12. 'Theme' (from 'Schindler's List')

Here within Across the Stars we find the obvious staples - the 'Star Wars' trilogy and 'Harry Potter' series, of course - but there are also some lovely renditions from such diverse films as 'Sabrina', 'Far and Away' and 'Memoirs of a Geisha'.

In fact, I'd be hard-pressed to choose what's more impressive: Williams' original takes on his own works or Mutter's extraordinarily expressive violin skills.

Each of the pieces in the collection are rearranged for violin and orchestra (the sole exception being the 'Theme from Schindler's List', which was originally for violin and orchestra).

That said, all the music here is more than simply arranged for new instrumentation for listening to them, one by one, you get a sense of new love, of heartfelt devotion to these tracks by both artists involved.

Official CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Live With The Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony' [3CD+]
Artist - Sons of Apollo

Sons of Apollo - former Dream Theater members Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian, Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal (ex-Guns N' Roses), Billy Sheehan (The Winery Dogs, Mr. Big, David Lee Roth), and Jeff Scott Soto (ex-Journey, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force) - have just released their highly impressive juggernaut of a live show, entitled Live With The Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony this past August 30th, 2019.

Live With The Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony documents the band's remarkable one-off performance at the Ancient Roman Theatre in Plovdiv, Bulgaria alongside a full orchestra and choir.

Playing tracks from their debut album Psychotic Symphony as well as a selection of tracks by other legendary bands (that they may or may not have had associations with down the years), it has been made available to their fans as a wondrous Limited Edition Deluxe 3CD + DVD + Blu-Ray Artbook, a Special Edition 3CD + DVD Digipak, and a standalone Blu-Ray & Digital Album.

CD 1:
1. 'God of the Sun'
2. 'Signs of the Time'
3. 'Divine Addiction'
4. 'That Metal Show Theme'
5. 'Just Let Me Breathe'
6. 'Billy Sheehan Bass Solo'
7. 'Lost in Oblivion'
8. 'JSS Solo Spot: The Prophet's Song/Save Me'
9. 'Alive'
10. 'The Pink Panther Theme'
11. 'Opus Maximus'

CD 2:
1. 'Kashmir'
2. 'Gates of Babylon'
3. 'Labyrinth'
4. 'Dream On'
5. 'Diary of a Madman'
6. 'Comfortably Numb'
7. 'The Show Must Go On'
8. 'Hell's Kitchen'
9. 'Derek Sherinian Keyboard Solo'
10. 'Lines in the Sand'

CD 3:
1. 'Bumblefoot Guitar Spot'
2. 'And the Cradle Will Rock'
3. 'Coming Home'

1. 'God of the Sun'
2. 'Signs of the Time'
3. 'Divine Addiction'
4. 'That Metal Show Theme'
5. 'Just Let Me Breathe'
6. 'Billy Sheehan Bass Solo'
7. 'Lost in Oblivion'
8. 'JSS Solo Spot: The Prophet's Song/Save Me'
9. 'Alive'
10. 'The Pink Panther Theme'
11. 'Opus Maximus'
12. 'Kashmir'
13. 'Gates of Babylon'
14. 'Labyrinth'
15. 'Diary of a Madman'
16. 'The Show Must Go On'
17. 'Hell's Kitchen'
18. 'Derek Sherinian Keyboard Solo'
19. 'Lines in the Sand'
20. 'Bumblefoot Guitar Spot'
21. 'And the Cradle Will Rock'
22. 'Coming Home'

1. 'God of the Sun'
2. 'Signs of the Time'
3. 'Divine Addiction'
4. 'That Metal Show Theme'
5. 'Just Let Me Breathe'
6. 'Billy Sheehan Bass Solo'
7. 'Lost in Oblivion'
8. 'JSS Solo Spot: The Prophet's Song/Save Me'
9. 'Alive'
10. 'The Pink Panther Theme'
11. 'Opus Maximus'
12. 'Kashmir'
13. 'Gates of Babylon'
14. 'Labyrinth'
15. 'Diary of a Madman'
16. 'The Show Must Go On'
17. 'Hell's Kitchen'
18. 'Derek Sherinian Keyboard Solo'
19. 'Lines in the Sand'
20. 'Bumblefoot Guitar Spot'
21. 'And the Cradle Will Rock'
22. 'Coming Home'
23. 'Documentary'
24. 'The "Slavi Show" feature'
25. 'Coming Home'
26. 'Lost in Oblivion'
27. 'Alive'
28. 'Tengo Vida'
29. 'Signs of the Time'
30. 'SOA - Introduction Part I'
31. 'SOA - Introduction Part II'
32. 'God of the Sun'
33. 'Coming Home'
34. 'Signs of the Time'
35. 'Labyrinth'
36. 'Alive'
37. 'Lost in Oblivion'
38. 'Figaro's Whore'
39. 'Divine Addiction'
40. 'Opus Maximus'
41. 'Behind the Scenes Outtakes Part I'
42. 'Behind the Scenes Outtakes Part II'

What I like personally about this stunning new 3CD / DVD / Blu-ray box-set is the fact that on the visual recordings of the live show, and after the introduction shots via some beautifully crafted overhead shots of the amphitheater itself, we get 360 degree multiple camera angles that draws you instantly into the totally immersive experience.

The band sure know what they are collectively, and individually doing and so the set is torn through in the most precisely animalistic musical manner.

Indeed, that joyous, abounding enthusiasm showcases itself in all their faces throughout this monster of a love show, and lit by some truly well envisioned stage lighting, everyone looks incredible doing it!

The sound is fabulous also, so too the final editing for it doesn't jerk rapidly from one band member to another (don't you just hate that when you see it!). No, here the camera lingers on the band and especially during the solos, puts the viewer right up there alongside them.

Mike Portnoy comments: "I've released several dozen live albums through the years with about a dozen different bands, but I have to say that this live release from Sons Of Apollo may indeed be the most special one of them all!!"

"Everything was aligned that evening: an absolutely beautiful Roman amphitheatre and a perfectly gorgeous summer evening, one set of SOA material and one set of specially chosen cover songs, and to top it all off being joined by a symphony orchestra and choir!"

"It was a magical evening for everybody in attendance and now we can share it with the rest of the world immortalized in this incredible live package."

"This package will serve as a nice souvenir to capture the band¡¯s first year on tour and should tide over all of our fans while we complete work on our sophomore studio release that will coming in Jan 2020."

Amazon Purchase Link

Sons of Apollo @ Facebook

Sons of Apollo @ Twitter

Title - 'Seems Like Tears Ago'
Artist - Jason James

When Jason James walks onstage, he declares his love of classic country before he even sings a note. His choice of attire — embroidered suits or pearl-snap shirts and sharply creased slacks — offers a visual tribute to his musical heroes and the traditions they established.

But it’s not his looks or style that provide the most convincing evidence of his kinship with other giants of the genre. It’s his sound: the pure, honest voice of a singer who rediscovered his soul when he reawakened his early love of well-crooned waltzes and hook-filled honky-tonkers.

On his sophomore album Seems Like Tears Ago - releasing worldwide October 4th, 2019 via his own Melodyville Records (Smith Music) - James follows his self-titled 2015 debut with ten original odes that recall the work of his influences without resorting to mimicry.

1. 'Seems Like Tears Ago'
2. 'I Miss You After All'
3. 'Move A Little Closer'
4. 'We’re Gonna Honky Tonk Tonight'
5. 'Achin’ Takin’ Place'
6. 'Simply Divine'
7. 'Coldest Day Of The Year'
8. 'Cry On The Bayou'
9. 'Foolish Heart'
10. 'Ole Used To Be'

Reconvening with his first producer, John Evans (Hayes Carll, Corb Lund), James tracked it in just three days at Signal Hill Recordings in Dripping Springs, outside of Austin, with Patrick Herzfeld engineering.

Evans rounded up top talents for the sessions: Geoff Queen on electric and steel guitars; Reckless Kelly’s Cody Braun on fiddle; Rick Richards on drums; T Jarrod Bonta on piano; and Chris C Cook on rubboard.

Opening with the lo-fi title track, James ups the beat a wee bit for the twangy 'I Miss You After All,' which is itself backed by both the foot-tappin, barn-stormin' beauty 'Move A Little Closer' and the lovers intentions within 'We’re Gonna Honky Tonk Tonight.'

A lonesome, pining guitar provides the back bone for both 'Achin’ Takin’ Place' and 'Simply Divine,' and they are seamlessly backed by the pop-lite vibe of 'Coldest Day Of The Year.'

The upbeat, hipsway fun of 'Cry On The Bayou' is one of my own personal favorites here, and that's backed by the beautiful 'Foolish Heart,' with the album rounding out with the classic-sounding 'Ole Used To Be.'

"It was fun to make this record,” James says. “It’s crazy seeing these guys come in and completely get it. I mean some of these songs were two takes. It was like, ‘Oh my god, that’s how you make a record.’”

In fact, he says, “I went through a little bit of a postpartum because I was like, ‘That’s it?’ It was such an easy birth.”

The writing came easily, too, particularly after James moved “back to the vortex” — of Texas City, on the Gulf Coast near Houston. Turns out there are fewer distractions in a town with a less active music scene. "They roll the carpets up here pretty early,” James says.

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Sunshine In My Rainy Day Mind – The Lost LP'
Artist - Polly Niles

For those not in the know, Polly Niles, who later appeared in the film 'Super Fly' (1972), was a singer/songwriter from New York married to folk revival star, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott.

She signed with the London-based Ember label in 1969 and recorded an album that blended her songwriting with cuts by Stephen Stills, Goffin/King, John Barry and Bob Dylan.

Producers of Polly’s album included Beau Ray Fleming, whose CV included work for Dean Courtney, Jon Lucien and Mandrill. Arrangements and conducting were by the legendary Bert DeCoteaux, later a key figure in soul/funk/disco, working with Sister Sledge, Peter Nero, Zulema, Linda Lewis and Martha Reeves.

Amazingly, only one track from Polly’s album was ever released at the time – the gently psychedelic ‘Sunshine In My Rainy Day Mind’ on an Ember sampler release, Future Star Explosion – New Faces Of The '70s, in 1970.

However, the song was also recorded by fellow Ember artist Milly Scott and covered in 2012 by indie band The Primitives. Indeed, over the last decade, six tracks from Polly’s Ember sessions have emerged on various compilations.

In 1970, two Polly Niles singles made it to acetate stage before being cancelled: ‘Since I Lost You Baby’/‘The Milk Of The Tree’ and ‘Sunshine In My Rainy Day Mind’/‘Get High On Jesus’. Another, ‘If I Let You’/‘East Virginia’, was cancelled prior to any manufacturing.

Ergo, the 1970 Ember Records album by actress/model/singer/songwriter Polly Niles, was for many years the stuff of internet rumor and legend, said to exist only in test pressing form.

Now, it is finally released via Cherry Red Records (UK) as a newly remastered 2CD so that all her album can finally be heard, as originally intended.

This delightful 2CD set entitled Sunshine In My Rainy Day Mind – The Lost Album consists of twelve titles, but has been expanded to over twice its original length. Also included are cancelled mono singles, alternative mixes, works in progress, and some new 2019 mixes made from the original multi-tracks.

CD 1:
1. 'I Am a Child'
2. 'East Virginia'
3. 'Bang Bang'
4. 'I Shall Be Released'
5. 'If I Let You'
6. 'I Walk the Line'
7. 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow'
8. 'Since I Lost You Baby'
9. 'The Milk of the Tree'
10. 'For What It's Worth'
11. 'Sunshine in My Rainy Day Mind'
12. 'Get High on Jesus'
13. 'Since I Lost You Baby' (Mono Unreleased Single)
14. 'The Milk of the Tree' (Mono Unreleased Single)
15. 'If I Let You' (Mono Mix)
16. 'East Virginia' (Mono Mix)
17. 'I Am a Child' (Mono Mix)
18. 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow' (Mono Mix)

The newly-discovered and remastered album kicks off in fine style with the delicious tambourine-led 'I Am a Child' and backs that up seamlessly with the guitar twangin', finger-snappin' funk of 'East Virginia,' the lo-fi, way drifting of 'Bang Bang' (later a hit for Cher), the mid-tempo pop sensibility of 'I Shall Be Released,' and then both the upbeat R&B of 'If I Let You' and the '70s violin fun of Johnny Cash's 'I Walk the Line.'

A cover of The Shirelles' 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow' rings true to Motown here, and that's backed by the heartbreak storytelling of 'Since I Lost You Baby' (which sounds like Poly's vocals have been sped up, in truth), and then both the laid back 'The Milk of the Tree' and a stirring cover of Buffalo Springfield's 'For What It's Worth.'
The magnificently sunny title track, 'Sunshine in My Rainy Day Mind' is up next and is followed by the final track on the original album, the hands to the sky 'Get High on Jesus.'

This first disc then rounds out with a batch of Mono tracks and mixes, such as the Mono Unreleased Singles 'Since I Lost You Baby' and 'The Milk of the Tree,' alongside Mono Mixes of 'If I Let You,' 'East Virginia,' 'I Am a Child,' and 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow.'

CD 2:
1. 'Sunshine in My Rainy Day Mind' (First Version)
2. 'East Virginia' (First Version)
3. 'If I Let You' (Final Mix from 16-Track)
4. 'Sunshine in My Rainy Day Mind' (4-Track Vocal Experiment from Unmixed Rhythm Track)
5. 'East Virginia' (Final Mix from 8-Track)
6. 'I Am a Child' (Final Mix from 8-Track)
7. 'Sunshine in My Rainy Day Mind' (Final Mix from 8-Track)
8. 'Get High on Jesus' (Final Mix from 8-Track)
9. 'Since I Lost You Baby' (2019 Mix)
10. 'The Milk of the Tree' (2019 Mix)
11. 'For What It's Worth' (2019 Mix)
12. 'I Walk the Line' (2019 Mix)
13. 'I Shall Be Released' (2019 Mix)
14. 'Bang Bang' (2019 Mix)
15. 'For What It's Worth' (Mono Mix)
16. 'I Walk the Line' (Mono Mix)
17. 'I Shall Be Released' (Mono Mix)
18. 'Bang Bang' (Mono Mix)

What we get with this second disc, that might well be construed as overkill to an album that we have now since enjoyed to its fullest on the first disc, is a bunch different Mixes and Versions.

Noticeably out the gate is a stereo speaker, back and forth vocal sound to opening track 'Sunshine in My Rainy Day Mind' (First Version) and a slightly longer instrumental introduction to 'East Virginia' (First Version).

In truth, tracks such as 'Sunshine in My Rainy Day Mind' (4-Track Vocal Experiment from Unmixed Rhythm Track), and the Final Mix from 8-Track cuts such as both 'East Virginia' and 'I Am a Child,' etc. all sound much like their original counterparts.

That said, the slew of 2019 Mixes sound fresh and uplifted and have definitely benefited from their new studio remastered enhancements.

This is an artist-approved release, with Polly on board as a consultant. And for the first time, Polly’s story is told in a 3000-word liner essay by journalist, Charles Donovan.

Sunshine In My Rainy Day Mind has been assembled with luxurious, period-appropriate design work, with top flight remastering. The album is illustrated by Ember-era photographs from Polly’s own archives.

It follows a limited edition vinyl reissue of the original, unreleased Polly Niles album on Record Collector magazine’s label.

Official 2CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Annie In Wonderland: Remastered'
Artist - Annie Haslam

For those not in the know, Annie Haslam is an English vocalist, songwriter, and painter who is best known as the lead singer of progressive rock band Renaissance since 1971; and for her long and diverse solo singing career.

Indeed, she has a five-octave vocal range and from 2002, Haslam has developed a parallel career as a visual artist, producing paintings on canvas, painted musical instruments, and giclées.

Esoteric Recordings have just released (October 4th, 2019) the release of a newly re-mastered edition of the 1977 debut solo album by the celebrated vocalist, Annie Haslam.

Recorded in London whilst Renaissance were taking a break from recording and touring, the album was produced by legendary musician and songwriter Roy Wood (who also wrote three songs and played a staggering variety of instruments on the recordings).

The album also featured two compositions by Jon Camp of Renaissance and three cover versions, including a stunning rendition of the spiritual ‘Going Home’.

1. 'Introlise (If I Were Made of Music)'
2. 'I Never Believed in Love'
3. 'If I Loved You'
4. 'Hunioco'
5. 'Rockalise'
6. 'Nature Boy'
7. 'Inside My Life'
8. 'Going Home'

Now featuring some rather crystalline pure digital remastering efforts, which mean you will (as a devoted fan) most certainly pick up on sounds you had never heard before within each song, Annie Haslam's wondrous (albeit not chart exciting) Annie In Wonderland is, from start to finish a right royal beauty, if you ask me!

Whimsical, fanciful, and verging on precious, tracks such as 'If I Loved You' and the adventurous 'Nature Boy' ensure that Haslam gets right to the heart of these beautifully, soulful songs.

Furthermore, Roy Wood, who as mentioned, also wrote some of the material, arranged all the songs, played nearly all of the instruments and such actually is an uncredited lead vocal on 'I Never Believed in Love'.

Oh, and he also illustrated the cover!

The album features a range of musical styles enabling Haslam to experiment with vocal styles outside the ethos of Renaissance. The range for which Haslam is well-known is still apparent, however, especially in the showcase number 'Rockalise'.

Sadly though, as aforementioned, the album peaked at a low #167 on the Billboard pop albums chart of the time, which meant it died a death, to be quite honest.

Which is why I'm happy as a clam that Esoteric Recordings have remastered it and brought it out once again for a whole new generation to enjoy. I mean, come on now, the London Welsh Male Voice Chorus on the album closer 'Going Home' is worth the price of admission alone!

Official CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Friday'
Artist - Monkey House

For those not in the know, Monkey House is the name of a musical group founded by Don Breithaupt, a Canadian-born pianist, singer/songwriter, composer, arranger, producer and author.

Indeed, the group got its name from a 1970 book by Kurt Vonnegut.

Sophisticated musicianship, imaginative lyrics, and a flair for melody are signatures of the Monkey House sound - a sound that has earned the group serious critical acclaim, peer respect, and a steadily expanding international following.

Those characteristics are again evident on their fifth full-length album, the quite brilliant Friday (out now via Alma Records / Universal) - and album that has rocketed to my #1 Top Pick of 2019!

1. '10,000 Hours'
2. 'Nine O'clock Friday'
3. 'Shotgun'
4. 'Welcome To the Rest Of The World'
5. 'Book Of Liars'
6. 'The Jazz Life'
7. 'I'll Drive, You Chill'
8. 'Say It For The Last Time'
9. 'When The Mud Men Come'
10. 'Because You'
11. 'Brainyard'
12. 'Island Off The Coast Of America'

Having just celebrated the notable milestone of 25 years of playing together - which has also meant that their musical core members have remained solid too re: singer/songwriter/keyboardist Don Breithaupt, drummer Mark Kelso, bassist Pat Kilbride, and guitarist Justin Abedin - the new album also features some notable guests.

Guitarist Drew Zingg (Boz Scaggs) and trumpeter Michael Leonhart (Steely Dan) have guested on previous albums and make joyous contributions here, as does François D'Amours (Gino Vannelli), and Snarky Puppy guitarist Mark Lettieri.

Ground Up artist Lucy Woodward (Rod Stewart) adds background vocals throughout, while famed vocal quartet The Manhattan Transfer add their magic to the choruses of 'The Jazz Life.'

Beginning with the bright and brisk '10,000 Hours' they back that up with both the lo-fi dream state beauty 'Nine O'clock Friday' and then the funky, finger-snappin' 'Shotgun.'

Next up is the free flowing sax work of 'Welcome To the Rest Of The World' which is followed by the slo' roll of 'Book Of Liars,' the aforementioned 'The Jazz Life' featuring the unmistakable harmonies of Manhattan Transfer, and then comes the mid-tempo duo of 'I'll Drive, You Chill' and 'Say It For The Last Time.'

'When The Mud Men Come' showcases nice vocal touches from Breithaupt and that's backed by the late night jazz club feel of 'Because You,' with the album rounding out harmonized 'Brainyard' and the expectedly laid back 'Island Off The Coast Of America.'

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Monkey House @ Facebook

Title - 'Sutherland Brothers & Quiver: The Albums' (8CD)
Artist - Sutherland Brothers & Quiver

For those not in the know, the Sutherland Brothers (Gavin and Iain Sutherland) are a British duo, born in Scotland who originally performed folk and rock music in the early 1970s, and then from 1973 to 1978 joined with rock band Quiver to record and tour as Sutherland Brothers & Quiver.

Under this combined moniker, the group recorded several albums and had a significant international hit single with the song 'Arms of Mary' in 1976.

In North America they are primarily known for their 1973 debut single '(I Don't Want to Love You But) You Got Me Anyway', which was not a hit in the UK.

This 8 CD, 103 track brand new Box-Set Sutherland Brothers & Quiver: The Albums (out this October 4th, 2019 via Lemon Records / Cherry Red Records UK) covers all of the releases by Sutherland Brothers & Quiver during the period 1971-79 for both Island and CBS Records.

Disc One is the self-titled Sutherland Brothers album, produced by Muff Winwood and featuring the single ‘The Pie’ - which was later covered by (of all people) the Bay City Rollers on their Strangers In The Wind album.

CD 1 - Sutherland Brothers (1972)
1. 'The Pie'
2. 'Sleeping Dog'
3. 'Hallelujah'
4. 'I Was in Chains'
5. 'Medium Wave'
6. 'Big Brother'
7. 'Wars of the Roses'
8. 'Midnight Avenue'
9. 'Sunny Street, W14'
10. 'Where in the World'
11. 'Long Long Day'
12. 'The Pie' (7" Version)

When I first heard 'The Pie' on the radio in the early '70s it sounded so fresh and different so I bought the album and its been one of my favorites ever since!

Outsanding tracks for me are the bittersweet love song, the aforementioned 'The Pie', the atmospheric, although ultimately doomed 'Midnight Avenue', and the enigmatic lonely heart of 'Medium Wave' - all with exquisite, magical lyrics, although this is a strong album throughout.

There is a simple purity to the album that is there still today. Furthermore, and for my money, Ian and Gavin Sutherland have some of their best work displayed here on their debut outing.

The second disc features 1972’s Lifeboat album which now adds seven bonus tracks, four taken from the USA version of the album.

Also added is the single ‘Sailing’ which though not a hit for the band, gave Rod Stewart an international chart topper.

The single ‘You Got Me Anyway’, however, did reach #48 in the USA, #25 in Canada and #34 in Australia.

CD 2 - Lifeboat (1972)
1. 'Lady Like You'
2. 'Lifeboat'
3. 'Where Do We Go Wrong'
4. 'Ireland'
5. 'All I Got Is You'
6. 'Space Hymn'
7. 'Change the Wind'
8. 'Sorrow'
9. 'Love Is My Religion'
10. 'Real Love'
11. 'Have You Had a Vision'
12. 'Rock and Roll Show'
13. '(I Don't Want to Love You But) You Got Me Anyway'
14. 'Not Fade Away'
15. 'Sailing'
16. 'Who's Crying Now'
17. 'Annie' (7" Version)

Not only does this album feature 'Sailing' (which a lot of smarter folks than me liked enough to cover), but the final track on the original album, 'Real Love; includes some of Stevie Winwood's best keyboard playing to date!

And that's just a couple of the highlights. I won't bore you with how much I truly, and wholly appreciate this magical sophomore album, but if you take a chance on any of the Sutherland Brothers albums, their debut and this one will allow you to hear some of the greatest, and richly melodic rock to date.

Disc Three is 1973’s Dream Kid album which now adds a previously non-album cut as a bonus.

CD 3 - Dream Kid (1973)
1. 'You and Me'
2. 'I Hear Thunder'
3. 'Flying Down to Rio'
4. 'Seagull / Lonely Love'
5. 'Champion the Underdog'
6. 'Bluesy World'
7. 'Bad Loser'
8. 'Dream Kid'
9. 'Maker'
10. 'Rollin' Away / Rocky Road / Saved By the Angel'
11. 'Don't Mess Up'

An artists conception of the Dream Kid looking out into a blue universe, standing in a clear cube with clouds and seagulls in his line of sight, is a colorful and good visual equivalent to the music inside this team-up of two musical forces.

Songwriters Ian and Gavin recruited three members of the Warner Bros. group Quiver - drummer Willie Wilson, guitarist Tim Renwick, and bassist Bruce Thomas - and came up with a smooth and very satisfying product.

Gone is Quiver songwriter vocalist Cal Batchelor, and it is a unique transition concept., of that you can be assured.

1974’s Beat Of The Street is on Disc Four and features two previously non-album cuts as a bonus.

CD 4 - Beat Of The Street (1974)
1. 'World in Action'
2. 'Saviour in the Rain'
3. 'Devil, Are You Satisfied'
4. 'Bone Dry'
5. 'Beat of the Street'
6. 'Laid Back in Anger'
7. 'Hi Life Music'
8. 'Living in Love'
9. 'Annie'
10. 'Last Boy Over the Moon'
11. 'Saviour in the Rain' (7" Version)
12. 'Silver Sister'

This is the one Sutherland Brothers & Quiver album that seems to be completely overlooked, yet it is their definitive album, that's for darn sure!

Their next album would be graced with 'Arms Of Mary' yet devoid of keyboards completely. I mean, compare Reach For The Sky with this album and the difference is immediately recognizable.

My personal favorite song is 'Devil, Are You Satisfied'. Tim Renwick performs the most inspired guitar on this album and it's so obvious why he became so in-demand as a session player on other albums.

Disc Five is 1975’s Reach For The Sky album which reached #26 in the UK charts. It features the hit single ‘Arms Of Mary’ which hit #5 in the UK, #17 in Germany and the top spot in both Holland and Ireland.

Again, two non LP tracks have been added as a bonus. Making a guest appearance is Pink Floyd’s Dave Gilmour.

CD 5 - Reach For The Sky (1975)
1. 'When The Train Comes'
2. 'Dirty City'
3. 'Arms Of Mary'
4. 'Something Special'
5. 'Love On The Moon'
6. 'Ain't Too Proud'
7. 'Dr. Dancer'
8. 'Reach For The Sky'
9. 'Moonlight Lady'
10. 'Mad Trial'
11. 'We All Get Along'
12. 'When The Train Comes' (7" Version)

This is probably their best overall album and includes their only US charter, 'Arms Of Mary'. This album is stripped down to the four primary members and Tim Renwick's excellent lead guitar work is featured fully here; which makes the album for me, personally.

The opening track, 'When the Train Comes', starts with an inviting drum riff and barreled along like an express at full steam, with train-whistle effects and a couple of great guitar solos!

I was hooked. The rest of the album is filled with really well-crafted pop songs: singable tunes ('Something Special'), chugging basslines ('Dr. Dancer'), neat harmonies ('Ain’t Too Proud'), and rocking guitar solos ('Mad Trail', 'Love on the Moon').

The sixth disc is 1976’s Slipstream album which includes the UK #35 hit single ‘Secrets’. The album itself reached #49 in the UK charts.

CD 6 - Slipstream (1976)
1. 'Slipstream'
2. 'Wild Love' 3. 'Saturday Night' 4. 'If I Could Have Your Loving' 5. 'Love On The Side'
6. 'Secrets'
7. 'Dark Powers'
8. 'Something's Burning'
9. 'Sweet Cousin'
10. 'Midnight Rendezvous'
11. 'The Prisoner'
12. 'High Nights'

Although the Sutherland Brothers & Quiver had already delivered what ended up being their best albums and songs, Slipstream is still worth owning.

Unfortunately, a few of the songs attempted to duplicate the evolving new "disco" sound instead of sticking with their own. The best songs on this album are the ones where they stuck with their successful sound and delivery.

Six previously non LP bonus tracks have been added to the Down To Earth album including rare cuts from the USA version of the album. All produced by The Shadows’ Bruce Welch.

CD 7 - Down To Earth (1977)
1. 'Ice In The Fire'
2. 'Dark Ship'
3. 'Harbour Light'
4. 'Somebody's Fool'
5. 'Fun Of The Farm'
6. 'Every Tear I Cry'
7. 'Situations'
8. 'Oh Woman'
9. 'Rock 'N' Roll People'
10. Where Lies Your Soul'
11. 'Ice In The Fire' (7" Version)
12. 'Every Tear I Cry' (7" Version)
13. 'Somebody's Fool' (7" Version)
14. 'One More Night With You'
15. 'Sunbird'
16. 'When I Say I Love You (The Pie)'

Although they were reaching the end of the line as a band, Sutherland Brothers & Quiver maintained their high level of song craft and performance on Down to Earth.

It's still a mystery to me why these guys weren't huge. I mean, they had a great drummer in Willie Wilson, a stunning guitarist in Tim Renwick (who plays parts that are integral to the arrangements, not just solos), and chorus hooks that won't quit from the two Sutherlands!

Maybe it's the fact that their lyrics frequently avoid the usual clichés of subject matter and venture into darker, more philosophical areas ('Dark Ship', for instance).

Anyhow, for anyone who liked previous SBQ records like the aforementioned Reach For The Sky or Slipstream, I don't think you'll be disappointed with this one either.

The final disc is 1979’s When The Night Comes Down opus which features the #50 UK hit single ‘Easy Come Easy Go’.

CD 8 - When The Night Comes Down (1979)
1. 'Natural Thing'
2. 'Have You Ever Been Hurt?'
3. 'First Love'
4. 'Easy Come, Easy Go'
5. 'As Long As I've Got You'
6. 'I'm Going Home'
7. 'When The Night Comes Down'
8. 'Dreams Of You'
9. 'Crusin’
10. 'On The Rocks'
11. 'Crazy Town'

As we all know by now, this was to be the Sutherland Brothers' last album, and they just kept getting better and better.

Sadly, their long time lead guitarist, Tim Renwick, is replaced by some fine LA session men including some wicked lead work by Rick Vito.

Filled with catchy pop and rock songs it also contains some beautiful songs and rather harmonious singing to go with it: 'Sunbird', 'When The Night Comes Down', 'On The Rocks', 'One More Night With You', 'Easy Come, Easy Go', and 'First Love,' automatically spring to mind.

The detailed booklet includes an in-depth new interview with the main band members by webmaster Brian Mathieson.

Official 8CD Box-Set Purchase Link

Title - 'Vice Squad – The Albums: 1981-84' [5 CD]
Artist - Vice Squad

For those not in the know, Vice Squad are an English punk rock band formed in 1979 in Bristol, England.

In fact, the band was formed from two other local punk bands, The Contingent and TV Brakes.

The songwriter and vocalist Beki Bondage (born Rebecca Bond) was a founding member of the band and although there was a period of time when the band had a different vocalist, she reformed the band in 1997.

Inbetween, Vice Squad pressed on following Bondage's departure to form Ligotage, but never with the same level of British success.

Releasing November 1st, 2019 via Captain Oi! / Cherry Red Records (UK), Vice Squad: The Albums 1981-84 is a wondrous 5CD Box-Set that rounds up of all of the Punk legends' recordings between 1981-84.

Disc One is their debut album No Cause For Concern which reached #32 in the UK Album Charts back in 1981.

CD 1 - No Cause For Concern (1981)
1. 'Young Blood'
2. 'Coward'
3. 'Nothing'
4. 'Summer Fashion'
5. '1981'
6. 'Saturday Night Special' 7. 'Offering'
8. 'The Times They Are a Changing'
9. 'Evil'
10. 'Angry Youth'
11. 'It's a Sell-Out'
12. 'Still Dying'
13. 'Last Rockers'

Featuring Bondage on vocals along with Dave Bateman (guitar), Mark Hambly (bass) and Shane Baldwin on drums, their debut is an instant classic. Songs like ‘Last Rockers’, ‘Latex Love’ and ‘Summer Fashion’ are just a few of the now-classic gems to be discovered on this quite vibrant album.

Containing all the raw punk angst of the early '80s combined with brilliant melodies and harmonies, together with great guitar riffs and drum beats that form the back bone perfectly, add to that the vocal style of the Bondage and, well, this is surely one of the best punk albums ever made.

The second disc contains the #47 charting Stand Strong Stand Proud album which features the single of the same name and now something of an anthem for the whole UK/82 Punk movement.

CD 2 - Stand Strong Stand Proud (1982)
1. 'Stand Strong Stand Proud'
2. 'Humane'
3. 'Cheap'
4. 'Gutterchild'
5. 'Rock 'N' Roll Massacre'
6. 'Fistful of Dollars'
7. 'Freedom Begins at Home'
8. 'Out of Reach'
9. 'Saviour Machine'
10. 'No Right of Reply'
11. 'Deathwish'
12. 'Propaganda'

Although not a strong sophomore album, Bondage still brings the band into the spotlight with her singing, but sadly the casual listener will quickly become bored with it all.

For here on Stand Strong Stand Proud, Bondage sings and the band play an album of a dozen songs that soon become one.< p> Basically utilizing new patterns of three power chords for each song, and with the added distortion they then seemed to want to mess with too, many of the songs are catchy, sure, but the album overall is just not as trailblazing as their tremendous debut.

The band’s third album Shot Away is on Disc Three and is the only one they did with vocalist Lia and contains the classic single ‘You’ll Never Know’.

CD 3 - Shot Away (1984)
1. 'New Blood'
2. 'Take It or Leave It'
3. 'Out in the Cold'
4. 'Nowhere to Hide'
5. 'You'll Never Know'
6. 'Rebels and Kings'
7. 'Playground'
8. 'The Rest of Your Life'
9. 'What's Going On?'
10. 'Killing Time'
11. 'Teenage Rampage'

Known as being the only album recorded by Vice Squad without singer Beki Bondage, as well as also being the last album to feature aforementioned founding members Dave Bateman (guitar), Mark Hambly (bass) and Shane Baldwin (drums), Shot Away is still a pretty decent album.

That said, the band were, in my humble opinion, much better with Bondage at the mic, because new-girl Lia might well have had the glam stage persona that the record label had always been begging for, but the vocal chops of Bondage she did not.

Ergo, the general public must have thought so too as their third album was released, but did miserable sales and so Vice Squad rapidly faded from view soon thereafter.

That said, their cover of 'Teenage Rampage' by Sweet is actually one of the stand out highlights here. Co-written by an Australian record producer and songwriter called Michael Chapman, who was a major force in the British pop music industry in the 1970s, he also created a string of hit singles for artists including The Sweet, Suzi Quatro, Smokie, Mud and Racey with business partner Nicky Chinn.

Disc Four, titled Odds N Squads rounds up 25 non LP tracks from the era. Includes the Indie Chart hits ‘Last Rockers’ (#7), ‘Resurrection’ (#4), ‘Black Sheep’ (#13) and ‘Teenage Rampage’ (#44) as well as #68 National Chart hit ‘Out Of Reach’.

CD 4 - Odds N Squads (1984)
1. 'Nothing' (Avon Calling Version)
2. 'Living on Dreams'
3. 'Latex Love'
4. 'Last Rockers' (Single Version)
5. 'Resurrection'
6. 'Young Blood' (Single Version)
7. 'Humane' (Single Version)
8. 'Coward'
9. 'It's a Sell Out'
10. '(So) What for the 80'?' (Demo)
11. 'Sterile' (Demo)
12. 'Out of Reach' (Demo)
13. '(So) What for the 80's?'
14. 'Sterile'
15. 'Out of Reach' (Single Version)
16. 'Tomorrow's Soldier'
17. 'Darkest Hour'
18. 'Citizen'
19. 'Scarred for Life'
20. 'Faceless Men'
21. 'Black Sheep'
22. 'New Blood' (Plus Version)
23. 'The Pledge'
24. 'The Times They Are A-Changin' (New Version)
25. 'High Spirits'

Just like it says on the tin, Odds N Squads is an expansive rounding up of 25 of Vice Squad's non-LP tracks from the era.

A stand out collection that has never been featured anywhere else quite like this, it's a right royal treasure trove of musical goodies for all Vice Squad fans, that's for sure!

The fifth and final disc is a 12 track In Concert, Live And Loud!! and was recorded in 1982 on their successful debut tour of America.

CD 5 - Live And Loud!! (1982)
1. 'Coward'
2. 'Rock N Roll Massacre'
3. 'Angry Youth'
4. 'Evil'
5. 'Living on Dreams'
6. 'Stand Strong Stand Proud'
7. 'Humane'
8. 'Latex Love'
9. 'Last Rockers'
10. 'Out of Reach'
11. 'E.M.I'
12. 'Upright Citizen'

Starting slowly and building quickly with the two minute 'Coward,' the introduction from a young Bondage is an immediate flashback to a time when the girls wanted to be in the punk spotlight as much as their male counterparts.

Chock full of overflowing energy and drums that seem to never stop, the live performance is a massively brilliant testament to a band that knew who they were, knew they could be something big, but just self-imploded all too soon behind the scenes.

Vocalist Beki Bondage still leads a version of the band to this day and is a regular and popular addition to the main Punk Festivals across the globe such as REBELLION in Blackpool where they played on August 4th, 2019.

The clamshell box contains a 16 page booklet featuring liner notes, pictures of all the relevant records and lots of clippings and memorabilia from the era.

Official 5CD Box-Set Purchase Link

Title - 'Carnage Bargain'
Artist - The Paranoyds

For those not in the know, Los Angeles punk quartet The Paranoyds channel equal amounts of revelry and revulsion when it comes to their debut album, the quite stunning Carnage Bargain (out now via Suicide Squeeze Records).

Inclusive of a rather raucous blend of garage rock grit, new wave swagger, horror film soundtrack campiness, and a myriad of other influences, The Paranoyds' beginnings can be traced back to a friendship forged between Staz Lindes and Laila Hashemi in their teens.

With the additions of Lexi Funston and David Ruiz, the band found the personnel for their sonic balance of jubilant energy and foreboding undercurrents.

1. 'Face First'
2. 'Carnage Bargain'
3. 'Girlfriend Degree'
4. 'Egg Salad'
5. 'Bear'
6. 'Hungry Man'
7. 'Courtney'
8. 'Laundry'
9. 'Heather Doubtfire'
10. 'Ratboy'

Opening with the prolonged guitar whine that brings us 'Face First' that then bleeds seamlessly into both the bass-laden undercurrent of the title track 'Carnage Bargain' (itself chock full of scathing lyrical observations, delivered on the back of some stand out drum and guitar work) and the lead single 'Girlfriend Degree' (which the band calls an ode to “being a badass woman who’s taking time to make sure she’s doing things for herself".

Next up is the drum-led frenetic punk rawness of 'Egg Salad' which is followed by the catchy hook lines found with the indie rocker 'Bear' (my own personal favorite here).

'Hungry Sam' may well borrow from Elvis Costello's melodic chorus line for 'Pump It Up,' but they soon make it all their own and that's backed by the funky Ian Dury and the Blockheads vibe to 'Courtney' ("Courtney's got cash and she don't care ...").

As we head into the final third of what has now quickly become one of my Top 10 albums of 2019, the frenzied, yet lovingly controlled, one minute guitar bash 'Laundry' is backed by the harmoniously genre-lurching 'Heather Doubtfire, with the late '60s swirls-lost-in-time vibe of 'Ratboy' rounding things out.

Official CD / Color Vinyl Purchase Link

The Paranoyds @ Instagram

Title - 'Over The Rainbow'
Artist - Herb Alpert

For those not in the know, Herb Alpert is an American jazz musician most associated with the group variously known as Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass, or TJB.

Interestingly enough, Alpert is also a recording industry executive, the "A" of A&M Records, a recording label he and business partner Jerry Moss founded and eventually sold to PolyGram.

Alpert also has created abstract expressionist paintings and sculpture over two decades, which are publicly displayed on occasion. Alpert and his wife, Lani Hall, are substantial philanthropists through the operation of the Herb Alpert Foundation.

Alpert's musical accomplishments include five No. 1 albums and 28 albums total on the Billboard Album chart, nine Grammy Awards, fourteen platinum albums, and fifteen gold albums. Alpert has sold 72 million records worldwide.

Alpert is the only recording artist to hit No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 pop chart as both a vocalist ('This Guy's in Love with You', 1968) and an instrumentalist ('Rise', 1979).

On his latest album, Over The Rainbow (out September 20th, 2019 via Herb Alpert Presents, Inc.), Herb Alpert began the same way he has done for all of his albums over the years: searching for great melodies.

That search has resulted in the prolific trumpeter’s latest offering, a collection of 11 classics and one brand new, original track.

1. 'Skinny Dip'
2. 'Ain't No Sunshine'
3. 'All Love'
4. 'Fantasy'
5. 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow'
6. 'Copacabana'
7. 'With You I'm Born Again'
8. 'You are So Beautiful'
9. 'Nature Boy'
10. 'Always On My Mind'
11. 'South Of The Border'
12. 'What A Wonderful World'

Indeed, it's that one brand new, original song, and first single 'Skinny Dip that opens this quite wondrous album in some fine flare style. Complete with a rather quirky and playful vibe, from there Alpert moves into more known territory with some songs taken from the great American songbook.

Next up is 'Ain't No Sunshine,' the iconic recording by Bill Withers and which here Alpert puts his own spin on it, and even brings in Hussain Jiffry singing along with his wife, Lani Hall. 'All Love,' which was written by Babik Reinhart, is a stunningly beautiful tribute to his incredibly talented Gypsy jazz guitarist father, Django Reinhardt, and that's backed by the second single, Earth, Wind & Fire's beloved 'Fantasy.'

Then comes a real trio of beauties for my money with the title track leading the way. Owned by the iconic Judy Garland, Alpert's version begins with Michael Shapiro singing part of the opening refrain and then bleeds seamlessly into the most beautiful orchestration by Eduardo del Barrio.

Then comes a mesmerizingly Tijuana shuffle version of Barry Manilow's always-fun-to-hear 'Copacabana,' which is followed by a simply lush and glorious 'With You I'm Born Again' (Billy Preston and Syreeta Wright), with Alpert's cover of 'You Are So Beautiful' (Joe Cocker) yet another magnificent rendition.

The song 'Nature Boy' (arranged by Jochem Van der Saagen) ables Alpert to relax his chops a wee it, traveling instead down a more relaxed, free flowing set of arrangement, and is made all the more personal as having known and spent some interesting times with the composer, Eden Abez, Alpert always knew him as someone who lived his life as the real nature boy!

This beautiful album then rounds out with 'Always on my Mind,' a track that sees Alpert taking a chance on turning a familiar country song into an instrumental (and yet it works, of course), the multi-recorded 'South Of The Border,' and then brings everything to a close on a tribute to the great Louis Armstrong, 'Wonderful World.'

"My intention was not to cover his record, but to show how it had an international impact and to highlight the power of music as a tool to help us understand each other and bring more light into the world," Alpert explains, "so that peace will have a much better chance to survive."

Recorded at both Alpert's studio and at famed Grammy winning and multi-nominated engineer, arranger and mixer Jochem van der Saag's studio, Over The Rainbow was recorded in eight months and boasts a roster of pop, classic and international hits that are familiar to all ages.

"This project started like all of the other albums that I have recorded throughout the years, including the Tijuana Brass projects," Alpert explains. "I am always looking for good melodies to play and if it is a familiar song that I am working on, I'll try to do it in a way that it's never been heard before."

"When choosing songs, I look for something that makes you feel good, I have learned to become an audience to my own music and listen to what creates feelings that stop and call you."

Herb Alpert @ Facebook

Herb Alpert @ Twitter

Title - 'Risen'
Artist - Angel

For those not in the know, Angel is an American rock band from Washington, D.C., United States, formed in the mid-1970s by Punky Meadows and Mickie Jones.

They were signed to Casablanca Records and in a move that worked wonders for them, had the stage image of dressing in white.

Angel was discovered by Kiss bass player Gene Simmons performing at a nightclub and was eventually signed to the same label as Kiss, Casablanca.

Angel's image of dressing in all white was a deliberate contrast to Kiss, which wore black. Angel sported an androgynous image and elaborate stage sets.

Sadly, Angel never achieved mass commercial success but acquired a following as a cult band.

Their first album was the self-titled Angel (1975) and consisted of guitarist Punky Meadows, bassist Mickie Jones, vocalist Frank DiMino, keyboardist Gregg Giuffria, and drummer Barry Brandt.

This lineup would hold for the following two albums, Helluva Band (1976) and On Earth as It Is in Heaven (1977), after which Jones would be replaced by Felix Robinson. =

They made an appearance in the film Foxes (1980) and Frank DiMino sang 'Seduce Me Tonight' on the Flashdance (1983) soundtrack.

DiMino and Meadows departed the band in 1981, and the remaining members brought in vocalist Fergie Frederiksen (later of Toto) and guitarist Ricky Phillips (later of The Babys, then Bad English, then Styx), but this lineup dissolved shortly thereafter.

Now Angel consisting of lead guitarist Punky Meadows, lead vocalist Frank DiMino, rhythm guitarist Danny Farrow, bassist Steve Ojane, drummer Bill Orrico and keyboardist Charlie Calv will be releasing a new studio album, aptly entitled Risen via Cleopatra Records on October 4th, 2019.

1. 'Angel Theme (Prelude)'
2. 'Under The Gun'
3. 'Shot of Your Love'
4. 'Slow Down'
5. 'Over My Head'
6. '1975'
7. 'We Were The Wild'
8. 'I.O.U.'
9. '(Punky’s Couch Blues) Locked Cocked Ready To Rock'
10. 'Turn Around'
11. 'Desire'
12. 'Our Revolution'
13. 'Tell Me Why'
14. 'Don’t Want You To Go'
15. 'Stand Up'
16. 'My Sanctuary'
17. 'Tower' (2019 Bonus Track)

Here on their seventh studio album, containing 16 brand new songs as well as a remake of 'Tower,' this hugely impressive heavy, yet melodic rock album kicks off with their 'Angel Theme (Prelude)' before powering into the rock hard trio of 'Under The Gun,' 'Shot of Your Love,' and one of my own personal favorites off this new album, 'Slow Down.'

The guitar work from Meadows combined with the brilliant drumming backbone from Orrico, all steered by the vocal expertise of DiMino means that this albums sounds as fresh, as vibrant and as alive as you could have ever hoped for.

With a magnificent mid-section that includes the flashback gem '1975,' the mid-tempo rocker 'I.O.U.' and yet another stunning example of just how good Meadows still is on guitar '(Punky’s Couch Blues) Locked Cocked Ready To Rock,' this new album is bursting at the seams to take you lovingly back to an era that has long since been left by the musical wayside.

Simply put, having come together for the first time in over 30 years back in 2017 to mull over this very same project, Meadows and DiMino have brought forth an album of genuine quality here.

Rounding out with cuts such as the AOR vibe of both 'Tell Me Why' and 'Don’t Want You To Go,' the anthemic 'Stand Up,' and then finally both 'My Sanctuary' and a re-recording of their classic epic 'Tower,' if you are anything like me - a lover of genuine rock from days gone by - then you will simply re-hit Play and allow yourself to be taken back to better times, my friends.

Says Meadows: "I am very proud of this album and ANGEL fans will LOVE it! It really kicks ass and is very diverse with songs that will satisfy every ANGEL fan and take you on a musical journey!"

"The band played their asses off! Play it from top to bottom, you will not want to miss a beat."

Adds Dimino: "This is an album that will take you on a journey to many different roads, all exciting. Enjoy it and play it loud!!!"

Angel is available on both CD and in a very special gatefold 2LP set on, what else, WHITE vinyl!

Official CD Purchase Link

Official White Vinyl Purchase Link

Angel @ Facebook!

Title - 'Open Your Eyes'
Artist - David Hasselhoff

For those not in the know, Platinum selling recording artist and star of the sand and screen, David Hasselhoff, celebrates a truly historical moment with his monumental new studio album!

Marking the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany, Hasselhoff bridges several musical cultures including the UK, Germany, and the US!

Packaged in a deluxe 6-panel wallet, Open Your Eyes features an incredible cast of diverse supporting acts including Todd Rundgren, The Stooges' James Williamson, country legend Charlie Daniels, industrial pioneers Ministry, The Cars' Elliot Easton and more!

1. 'Open Your Eyes' (feat. James Williamson)
2. 'Head On' (feat. Elliot Easton)
3. 'I Melt With You' (feat. Steve Stevens)
4. 'Lips Like Sugar' (feat. A Flock of Seagulls)
5. 'Heroes' (feat. Tyler Bates)
6. 'Here I Go Again' (feat. Tracii Guns)
7. 'Jump In My Car' (feat. Todd Rundgren)
8. 'Rhinestone Cowboy' (feat. Charlie Daniels)
9. 'If You Could Read My Mind' (feat. Ava Cherry)
10. 'Sugar, Sugar' (feat. Steve Cropper)
11. 'Mit 66 Jahren' (feat. Patrick Moraz)
12. 'Sweet Caroline' (feat. Ministry)
13. 'That's Life'
14. 'Looking For Freedom (Clinton Sparks Remix)' - Bonus Track

Showing a severe discomfort to all of todays politically misdirected, and increasingly harmful to our current generation, media-saturated onscreen and online messages, The Hoff has taken it upon himself to join forces with a truly diverse array of artists to bring out a quite brilliant new album.

Coinciding with the 30th anniversary fall of the Berlin Wall, The Hoff opens the album with the anthemic forcefulness of the title track, 'Open Your Eyes.'

Featuring guitarist, songwriter, record producer and electronics engineer James Williamson from The Stooges, the track embraces not only The Hoff's passion on the subject, but showcases just how comfortable he is knowing his own vocal range.

Covering a wide range of hit songs from such bands as The Lords Of The New Church, David Bowie, Glen Campbell, Echo & The Bunneymen, to Modern English, Whitesnake and even both Neil Diamond and The Archies, it has to be said that The Hoff does all he can do with each track; and does it superbly well.

That said, have obviously worked here with some renowned musicians to not only reconstruct the songs to better suit his range, I have to honestly say that The Hoff has never sounded better.

Also inclusive of a CD bonus track in the form a remix by Clinton Sparks (an award-winning producer whose credits include Lady Gaga, Notorious B.I.G., Pitbull and more), his 1989 chart topping single ‘Looking For Freedom’ (the aforementioned musical rallying cry for a reunited Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall) deftly showcases an older Hoff whose range has deepened as the years have gone by.

Available on both CD and limited edition RED vinyl, Open Your Eyes not only brings forth a mature singing Hoff, but throws into the mix an Al Jourgensen electro take of Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline'! Trust me when I tell you that you have to hear it to truly believe it can work!

The Hoff will launch a massive tour in early October covering Germany, Austria and Switzerland!

Official CD Purchase Link

Official Red Vinyl Purchase Link

David Hasselhoff @ Facebook!

Title - 'Rocking Live Around The Fire Station'
Artist - LenneBrothers Band

The LenneBrothers Band was founded by the brothers Stefan "Teddy" Koch and Michael "Ele" Koch. The two brothers have played rock 'n' roll music for 35 years at nearly 3,000 concerts in 22 different countries.

They even made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for playing the highest rock 'n' roll concert of all time in 2003 (on a 757-300).

Well, for those not in the know, rock 'n' roll fans everywhere have something to look forward to this fall with the release of a new live album from Germany's LenneBrothers Band.

Entitled Rocking Live Around The Fire Station (relasing September 27th, 2019 via AGR Music), it showcases the LenneBrothers Band playing a benefit concert at the Feuerwache (fire station) in Hagen-Hohenlimburg for Reh-Henkhausen’s volunteer fire brigade (earlier this year, February 16th, 2019).

Also joining them were the Bobcats from Britain, and the Sinners from Hamburg, which means that this final 20-track product is one of the most vibrant, fun, and upbeat live albums that I have had the privilege to review in many a year.

1. 'Oakie Boogie'
2. 'Been There, Done That'
3. 'Lenne Brothers Stroll'
4. 'Wild West Rockabilly Special'
5. 'Old Black Joe'
6. 'Choo Choo Billy Train'
7. 'Rocking and Trucking'
8. 'Some Like It Hot'
9. 'Rock Around the Fire Station'
10. 'Picking Berrys'
11. 'She's a Whiskey Girl'
12. 'Matchbox'
13. 'Call Me the Breeze'
14. 'Boogie Woogie Queen'
15. 'Guitar Slinger'
16. 'No More One More Time'
17. 'High Class Lady'
18. 'Folsom Prison Blues' (Bonus Track)
19. 'Rockin' My Life Away' (Bonus Track)
20. 'Tear It Up' (Bonus Track)

Being a band that I had previously known nothing of, and thus having gotten to know more about them online before making this review, the LenneBrothers Band played The Lenne Rockers' greatest hits (their original incarnation), such as 'High Class Lady' and 'Boogie-Woogie Queen,' as well as many of their own songs, including 'Rocking and Trucking' and 'Picking Berrys.'

Featuring Michael "Ele" Koch (Piano, Banjo, Lead Vocals), Stefan "Teddy" Koch (Guitar, Piano, Vocals), Claus Coxx (Slap Bass, Vocals) and Andreas "Andy" Kässens on Drums and Washboard, Rocking Live Around The Fire Station showcases many styles of music - a mix of Rock ’n’ Roll, Country, Blues, Roots, and even Americana - but never sway too far from their own musical home.

Inclusive of the aforementioned hitlist from their set, the band also include some delightful rockin' cover songs from some legends of the day on this quite pulsating new album.

Furthermore, the track 'Rock Around the Fire Station' was actually written especially for the concert. So, with a total of 17 songs from the concert being included on this new live CD, plus three other live recordings appearing as bonus tracks (that were recorded eight days before at the Country Music Meeting in Berlin), Rocking Live Around The Fire Station is the most complete, uplifting and joyous musical package that you could ever have hoped it to be!

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Lenne Brothers Band @ Facebook!

Title - 'Vinyl Tap'
Artist - Spyro Gyra

Well, for those not in the know, Spyro Gyra is an American jazz fusion band that was formed in Buffalo, New York in 1974.

The band's music combines jazz, R&B, funk, and pop music and got its name from Spirogyra; a genus of green algae which founder Jay Beckenstein had learned about in college.

Over the years the band has released over 30 albums and sold over 10 million copies in the process.

Now the seminal contemporary jazz band mines a collection of vinyl classics for their first album in six years on the quite delicious-to-the-ears Vinyl Tap.

So the story goes, the five members of Spyro Gyra were laughing and having fun in the recording studio where creativity flowed as the band revisited the songs that inspired them from their youth; when they were themselves listening to music on vinyl.

Ergo, that artistic fount was spun into Vinyl Tap, the bands brand new album of inventive jazz covers from pop favorites from the vinyl era, that comes out October 11th, 2019 via Amherst Records.

1. 'Secret Agent Mash'
2. 'Sunshine Of Your Love'
3. 'Can’t Find My Way Home'
4. 'What A Fool Believes'
5. 'The Cisco Kid'
6. 'You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away'
7. 'Tempted'
8. 'Stolen Moments'
9. 'Carry On'

Featuring Jay Beckenstein (saxophone), Tom Schuman (keyboards), Scott Ambush (bass), Julio Fernández (guitars), and Lionel Cordew (drums), with a distinctive wide range of ages and musical upbringings coming to the fore, luckily for us it all came harmoniously together to bring us this album of diverse, yet cultured new material.

“My hope is that our music has the same effect on the audience that it does on me,” says group leader Jay Beckenstein. “I’ve always felt that music, and particularly instrumental music, has this non-literal quality that lets people travel to a place where there are no words."

"Whether it’s touching their emotions or connecting them to something that reminds them of something much bigger than themselves, there’s this beauty in music that’s not connected to sentences."

"It’s very transportive. I would hope that when people hear our music or come to see us, they’re able to share that with us."

The album (which is not only brilliantly named, but features great cover art) opens with the upbeat drums and sax of 'Secret Agent Mash,' which Beckenstein himself selected to do so. A foot-tappin' mashup of Johnny Rivers' 'Secret Agent Man' and 'Alfie’s Theme,' that's backed by the funky slap bass of a virtually unrecognizable 'Sunshine Of Your Love' (Cream), and the first single going to radio, a westernized Blind Faith's 'Can’t Find My Way Home.'

A simmering take on 'What A Fool Believes' (complete with mid-set swing vibe) is up next and is backed effortlessly by both the finger-snappin' deep soul funk of War's 'The Cisco Kid' and then a lo-fi take on the Beatles' 'You've Got To Hide Your Love Away.'

This quite masterful album then rounds out with my own personal favorite, a take on Squeeze's always-brilliant-to-hear 'Tempted' (which here is brought in by Schuman's key work), Oliver Nelson's on fire cut 'Stolen Moments,' and then a buoyantly sanguine rendition of 'Carry On.'

“This is the first record we’ve done where we have allowed ourselves to do other people’s material full throttle,” continues Beckenstein. “That is not to say in any way that we tried to copy what other people did, but it was really great to reach outside of our writing capabilities for inspiration for us to take off on."

"And that’s what this album is about,” he adds, with a sly, yet knowingly cheeky smile.

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Title - 'The Edge of Silence'
Artist - Susan Narucki

Well, for those not in the know, American soprano and Latin Grammy-nominee Susan Narucki, one of todays most committed advocates of the music of our time, has a deep and lasting working relationship with Hungarian composer György Kurtaìg which dates back to 1986.

Thus, Susan's luminous tone and distinctive artistry and Kurtaìg's idiosyncratic fusion of poetry and music come together in this quintessential recorded collection of some of the composers most iconoclastic vocal works, entitled The Edge of Silence (August 2nd, 2019 via AVIE Records).

György Kurtaìg (b. 1926)
1. Scenes from a Novel, Op. 19 (19.32)
15 songs to poems by Rimma Dalos for soprano, violin, double bass & cimbalom
2. Three Old Inscriptions, Op. 25 (6.01)
3. S.K. Remembrance Noise, Op. 12 (6.36)
7 songs to poems by Dezső Tandori for soprano & violin
4. Attila Joìzsef Fragments, Op. 20 (12.28)
5. Seven Songs, Op. 22 (9.15)
to poems by Amy Kaìrolyi and a haiku by Kobayashi Issa
6. Requiem for the Beloved, Op. 26 (5.09)
Rimma Dalos
7. A Twilight in Winter Recollected, Op. 8 (6.00)
Paìl Gulyaìs

Total time: 65.00

Featuring along with Susan Narucki, Donald Berman (piano), Curtis Macomber (violin), Nicholas Tolle (cimbalom), and Kathryn Schulmeister on double bass, this quite magnificent recording took place between February 22–24 and June 28-29, 2018, at the Conrad Prebys Concert Hall, University of California in San Diego.

This quite breathtaking recording from Narucki may well indeed represent her lifelong dedication to the performance of Kurtaìg's extraordinary music, but with her heart and soul on obvious display here, well, it might well just be the most emotively stimulative recording ever done of his work.

In Susan's own words, "I have spent much of my life immersed in this repertoire, and it has become essential to the way I understand music; it is the heart of my practice as a musician."

Equally appreciative, Kurtag acknowledges Susan, "… who sang so warmly, purely, so integer these songs", with thanks and love.

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Title - … nobody move … : Commissions and Premieres, et al
Artist - Sarah Bob

Well, for those not in the know, pianist Sarah Bob is a passionate and trailblazing advocate of the music of our time who has introduced the music of dozens of living composers to the world.

Ergo, the just released … nobody move … (September 6th, 2019 via AVIE Records) is a collection of works by six award-winning composers whom Sarah commissioned for the Boston-based New Gallery Concert Series; of which she founded 20 years ago.

Randall Woolf (b. 1959)
1. …nobody move… for solo piano (1997) (6:02)

Jonathan Bailey Holland (b. 1974)
2. The Intimacy of Harmony (2013) (8:06) *

David Rakowski (b. 1958)
3. Mind the Gap #18 from Préludes Book II (2012) (3:16) * 4. Wayo #51 from Préludes Book VI (2015) (3:28) * 5. Ghepardo #48 from Préludes Book V (2015) (3:09) *

Curtis K. Hughes (b. 1974)
Suite No. 1 from “Vestibulations for Solo Piano” (2016) (10:10) *
6. slacken
7. crestfall [downer] (2004/2016)
8. perturb [paean to a fly trapped in the vestibule]
9. Mitigate
10. fluster (2015)

Curtis K. Hughes (b. 1974)
11. Avoidance Tactics #1 for piano and electronics (1999/2001) (11:50) *

Lee Hyla (1952 – 2014)
12. Solo Cadenzas from My Life on the Plains (2010) / arranged by Sarah Bob (2012) (5:05) *

Shaw Pong Liu (b. 1979)
13. Never Has Been Yet for vocalizing pianist (2017) (13:18) * Words by Langston Hughes

Audience participation in Never Has Been Yet represented by Carrie Cheron, Lauren A. Cook, Will Cordes, Naomi Gurt Lind, Bryan Hayslett, Carolyn Shadid Lewis, Shaw Pong Liu, Sarah Bob.

Total time: 60:04

* world-premiere recordings

Sarah Bob's sheer, and unadulterated exuberance and exactitude are common threads here throughout as she ties together the albums diverse musical dialects quite seamlessly.

From Jonathan Bailey Holland's evocative chord clusters in The Intimacy of Harmony to Curtis K. Hughes' electro-acoustic Avoidance Tactics #1 and his varied suite of miniatures, vestibulations, and inclusive of the late Lee Hylas' energetic Solo Cadenzas from his large-scale orchestral work My Life on the Plains, here lovingly arranged by Bob, everything she puts her magical musical touch to has expertly paid off.

Furthermore proof of this can be found in David Rakowskis' cheeky Mind the Gap #18, encompassing a rather tender Wayo and edgy Ghepardo, and within Shaw Pong Lius' powerful Never Has Been Yet, which sets Langston Hughes poem Let America Be America Again to Randall Woolfs fearlessly virtuosic title track.

Ergo, ... nobody move … (which also happens to be one of my favorite titles for an album within the past decade) is a striking collection of works that ranges from sincere and forthright to contemplative moods to sanguine textures aplenty; whilst all entertaining the ears of contemporary music lovers and novices alike.

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Title - 'Edvard Grieg: Lyric Music'
Artist - Claire Booth & Christopher Glynn

Well, for those not in the know, following their acclaimed collaboration in Percy Graingers Folk Music, soprano Claire Booth and pianist Christopher Glynn turn to the Lyric Music of Edvard Grieg; an apt sequel as the elder composer befriended Grainger - who idolized the Norwegians folkloric idiom - immediately on their first encounter in London in 1906.

Interspersing intimate vocal miniatures with lyrical solo piano pieces, Claire and Christopher mirror many of the programs that Grieg and his wife Nina performed on their many recital tours together (much like Potton Hall, Suffolk, where the excellent acoustics of this recording were produced).

So, sure, Edvard Grieg's songs and short piano pieces have been played from time to time, but this newly cultured AVIE release may be the first in which they have been given what might be called an historically informed performance, so to speak.

Edvard Grieg (1843–1907)
1. Den hvide, røde Rose EG137 (The White and Red Roses) (1.45)
2. Norwegisch from Lyric Pieces, Book I Op.12 (1.02)
3. Volkweise from Lyric Pieces, Book I Op.12 (1.28)
4. Mens jeg venter (On the Water) from Digte Op.60 (2.05)
5. Sylphe from Lyric Pieces, Book VII Op.62 1.34 (1.34)
6. Med en Vandlilje (With a Waterlily) Ibsensangene Op.25 (1.54)
7. Sommerfugl (Butterfly) from Lyric Pieces, Book III Op.43 (1.41)
8. Melodi from Lyric Pieces, Book IV Op.47 (3.11)
9. Prinsessen EG133 (The Princess) (2.31)
10. Dulgt Kjærlighed (Hidden Love) from Romancer Op.39 (2.06)
11. Hjemad from Lyric Pieces, Book VII Op.62 (3.10)

Haugtussa Op.67
12. I. Det Syng · The Enticement (3.20)
13. II. Veslemøy · The Young Girl (2.13)
14. III. Blåbaer-Li · Blueberry Slopes (2.52)
15. IV. Møte · The Tryst (3.41)
16. V. Elsk · Love (2.22)
17. VI. Killingdans · Little Goat’s Dance (1.47)
18. VII. Vond Dag · Hurtful Day (2.19)
19. VIII. Ved Gjætle-Bekken · At the Brook (6.04)

20. Drömmesyn (Phantom) from Lyric Pieces, Book VII Op.62 (2.33)
21. Jeg elsker Dig (I Love Only You) from Hjertets melodier Op.5 (1.18)
22. Når jeg vil dø (Autumn Farewell) from Elegiske Digte Op.59 (1.29)
23. Den Ærgjerrige (Ambition) from Fem Digte Op.26 (1.17)
24. Svundne dage (Vanished Days) from Lyric Pieces, Book VI Op.57 (6.35)
25. Ved en ung Hustrus Båre (At the Grave of a Young Wife) from Romancer Op.39 (4.17)
26. Klokkeklang (Bell Ringing) from Lyric Pieces, Book VI Op.54 (4.18)
27. Stambogsrim (Album Lines) from Ibsensangene Op.25 (1.46)
28. Arietta from Lyric Pieces, Book I Op.12 (1.17)

Total time: 71.59

Sung in the original Norwegian, something I personally had never heard done before, Claire's and Christopher's performances are as evocative as Norway's varied landscape.

Interspersing vocal miniatures with solo piano pieces that range in mood from bright, youthful innocence to shades of autumnal twilight, each of the works on Lyric Music tell a story that, come the end, has culminated in a most enjoyable, and highly comforting manner.

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Title - 'Anak Ko' [Orange & Pink Splatter Vinyl LP]
Artist - Jay Som

After the breakout success of Jay Som’s 2017 debut album, Everybody Works, the band’s songwriter, producer, and creative force Melina Duterte spent the next few years taking advantage of all the opportunities her unexpected success suddenly offered her.

She took Jay Som on the road, performing with the likes of Mitski, Japanese Breakfast, Paramore, Alvvays and more across multiple US and European tours.

She made appearances at various high-profile festivals, including Primavera Sound, Bonnaroo, Sasquatch, and many more. She even found time to sneak in a collaborate EP, Nothing’s Changed, with like-minded solo artist Justus Proffit.

When it was time to make Jay Som’s second album, Duterte relocated from her hometown roots in California’s Bay Area to Los Angeles and started writing.

The result, Anak Ko, is some of Duterte’s strongest work to date. Translating to “my child” in English (it's actually written in Tagalog, one of the native dialects in the Philippine), Anak Ko features sweeping, shoegazey guitars ('Superbike'), delicate string AND pedal steel arrangements ('Nighttime Drive,' 'Get Well'), and incredible production that showcases Duterte’s evolving skills in the studio ('Anak Ko').

In short, Anak Ko presents an exciting glimpse into Duterte’s creative process and solidifies her undeniable progression as one of 2019's strongest and gifted songwriters.

1. 'If You Want It'
2. 'Superbike'
3. 'Peace Out'
4. 'Devotion'
5. 'Nighttime Drive'
6. 'Tenderness'
7. 'Anak Ko'
8. 'Crown'
9. 'Get Well'

Opening with the free flowing beauty of 'If You Want It,' that's backed seamlessly by the pacier 'Superbike,' and then the lo-fi, dusky appeal of 'Peace Out.'

The electro pop bounce of 'Devotion' makes this one of my own personal favorites here, and that's followed by the soulful acoustic/electric guitar-led 'Nighttime Drive.'

The sunny day, driving with the top down, lush California vibe of 'Tenderness' (a song that Duterte actually calls “a feel-good, funky, kind of sexy song” in part about “the curse of social media and how it complicates relationships") is then backed by the sterner, more methodically paced, sternly darker notes of the title track.

This quite incredible, vibrantly electric, yet ambiently eclectic album then rounds out with the highflying, and at times symphonic electro flows attached to 'Crown,' before coming to a close with the gently Western-themed 'Get Well.'

“In order to change, you’ve got to make so many mistakes,” Duterte says, reflecting on her recent growth as an artist with a zen-like calm. "What’s helped me is forcing myself to be even more peaceful and kind with myself and others."

"You can get so caught up in attention, and the monetary value of being a musician, that you can forget to be humble. You can learn more from humility than the flashy stuff. I want kindness in my life."

"Kindness is the most important thing for this job, and empathy.”

Official CD / Digital / Color Vinyl / Clothing and More Purchase Link

Title - 'Peace To The Planet'
Artist - Rainforest Band

For those not in the know, Rainforest Band is a collaboration between guitarist Vernon 'Ice' Black, bassist Tony Saunders and keyboardist Sylvester Burks.

The inspiration for the group came from the original Rainforest Band formed by Merl Saunders (Tony's dad), featuring Jerry Garcia.

The 1990 project Blues From the Rainforest - a Musical Suite was created out of Merl and Jerry's need to spread the word about the beauty of the rainforest, as well as the message of preservation.

With influences of world music, new age and traditional blues, Saunders and company crafted tunes that took the listener on a spiritual and musical journey that was close to their hearts.

On this quite incredible new album, Peace To The Planet, Black, Saunders and Burks have created 12 original compositions in the Smooth Jazz genre that evoke a relaxed, romantic and funky vibe.

1. 'SIZ'
2. 'Consequences'
3. 'Caribbean Sunset'
4. 'My Mellow Ways'
5. 'One More Time'
6. 'Gumbo Groove'
7. 'God's Nature'
8. 'Annisa'
9. 'Just Before Sunrise'
10. 'Reflections'
11. 'Windows Of Time'
12. 'Verano Dias'

Continuing to spread the message of preservation for one of the world’s most delicate and endangered regions through music, Rainforest Band kick things off with the low down and funky sax work of 'SIZ' (featuring Billboard #1 charting artist Jeff Ryan) and that's backed up by both a smooth, late night jazz approach on 'Consequences,' and the magnificent 'Caribbean Sunset.'

More achingly smooth jazz is next in the form of 'My Mellow Ways' which is followed by the effortless sleek 'One More Time,' the flavorful bounce of 'Gumbo Groove,' and then both the dreamy sax work of 'God's Nature' and then the piano-led 'Annisa.'

The gently free flowing 'Just Before Sunrise' is also one of my own personal favorites, with the dulcet beauty of 'Reflections' yet another highlight here. The album then rounds out with 'Windows of Time' and the Latin hipsway of 'Verano Dias.'

Aside from the aforementioned Jeff Ryan on saxophone, other special guests include Gail Jhonson (from The Norman Brown Band) on keyboards and percussionist Marquinho Brazil.

Today, in the spirit of what Merl and Jerry created, Rainforest Band's Peace to the Planet takes the mission to a new level through Contemporary Jazz.

With the same goal of spreading the message of preservation for one of the world's most delicate and endangered regions, Rainforest Band is back with a new sound for a new generation.

The time is now, but the message is the same - we all need to do our part to save the planet.

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Soul Shifter'
Artist - Vinnie Moore

For those not in the know, the follow-up to Vinnie Moore's critically acclaimed 2015 Aerial Visions album will be released on October 9th, 2019 via his very own label, Mind's Eye Music.

Entitled Soul Shifter", Vinnie's ninth solo album not only comprises 10 brand new tracks, but also features a whole host of guest appearances: such as legendary artists Rudy Sarzo (Ozzy Osbourne) and Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), with Richie Monica on drums, Michael Bean (bassist from Vinnie's Time Odyssey album), John Cassidy (keyboards), and John Pessoni (drums).

Worldly considered one of the originators of shred guitar, it's also interesting to know that Vinnie has himself progressed from his shredder days to a more blues-orientated sound.

1. 'Funk Bone Jam' (05:01)
2. 'Same Sun Shines' (04:45)
3. 'Kung Fu Grip' (04:49)
4. 'Mystified' (03:37)
5. 'Brother Carlos' (04:31)
6. 'Gainesville Station' (04:26)
7. 'Soul Rider' (04:00)
8. 'Mirage' (04:13)
9. 'Heard You Were Gone' (04:54)
10. 'Across the Ages' (05:10)

Paying homage to his influences on this new album, songs such as the blues/rock hipsway of 'Brother Carlos' came to be because, as Vinnie himself admits, "I wrote that as a tribute to Carlos Santana.”

Furthermore, on an album of all hits and no fillers, 'Heard You Were Gone' was written about the late CEO of Dean Guitars Elliott Rubinson, who was also a member of Vinnie’s touring band.

Simply put, this new album is Vinnie effortlessly fusing classical structure and melody with the energy of metal. It's as if Bach, Mozart, or Beethoven were composing metal music today!

Highly technical, but always melodic, intelligent, and memorable, this album's positive energy is contagious and inspiring. Even the rhythm guitar tracks are noteworthy and all come together to showcase the fact that Vinnie's genius is clearly evident; and has yet to be duplicated.

“Solo records are a great vehicle because the canvas is totally open and I can paint whatever and wherever I want," Vinnie adds. "There’s total freedom in not having boundaries."

"All of my influences are on the canvas, from Rock to Blues to Be-Bop to Funk, even R&B and beyond. I have always felt music deeply even before I played guitar."

"After I began playing, it became my vehicle to express and release what I feel inside. I love channeling my soul into melodies and songs.”

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Vinnie Moore @ Facebook

Title - 'Push Thru'
Artist - Crystal Beth

For those not in the know, Crystal Beth unleashes her first full-length studio record, Push Thru this October 18th, 2019 via 7D Media.

A solo incarnation using wailing vocals, amplified clarinet, beat-boxing and electronics to weave a sonic universe all her own, she has been described as both “world music from an imaginary planet" and "quite compelling and magical" (Seattle Times).

Known for crafting aural rituals that encompass industrial chants, alien disco breaks, heart gushings, and robot love songs, Crystal Beth redefines the possibilities of the voice and clarinet in tight experimental pop songs and undulating, cathartic noise cries.

Crafting moments that ricochet between meditation and a full body purge, she is an electric, adrenaline inducing performer voted Seattle’s Best Classical Musician and nominated for NW Vocalist of the Year.

1. 'Push Thru' (06:40)
2. 'Our Piece' (05:53)
3. 'Shrill' (0:243)
4. 'Dolphy' (04:54)
5. 'Go Fast' (04:42)
6. 'Invocation' (02:54)
7. 'Kali Out' (04:11)
8. 'So Much Hurts' (08:57)

Just sitting back and listening to the opening, and title track 'Push Thru' made me quickly sit up and take notice of a sound, a vibe, an incredible musical passion and presence that has been missing from the industry for decades now.

A tribal fusion of sounds and vocals that allow her to actually sing in her own syllabic language, Crystal Beth performs her solo work using loop pedals and delays, and a five-piece rock outfit (the Boom Boom Band) to craft and explore her idiosyncratic and distinctive original music.

From that explosive, thunderously impassioned opening we weave a distinctive story through the eight tracks, that even take a midway pit stop within 'Dolphy.'

A cut that suddenly evokes a late night, smoky jazz club vibe, complete with dusty, raw vocalizations, it is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best tracks on this quite brilliant album.

The album rounds out with the aching melodies and soaring soundscapes captured within the longest track on the album at nearly nine minutes, 'So Much Hurts.'

Showcasing her aptitude for both the amplified clarinet and bass clarinet, Crystal Beth has most definitely crafted herself one aurally ethereal lo-fi sonic masterpiece.

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Crystal Beth @ Facebook

Title - 'Mozart: Piano Concertos 17 & 24'
Artist - Benjamin Hochman

Well, for those not in the know, internationally acclaimed pianist Benjamin Hochman brings his new conductorial skills to the impeccable release of two Mozart concertos, the joyful and lithe No. 17 in G major, and the dark and explosive No. 24 in C minor.

Directing from the keyboard, Benjamin leads the finest Mozartian orchestra in the world, the English Chamber Orchestra and trust me when I say that classical music doesn't get any better than this!

Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 17 in G major, K453 (29:06)
I. Allegro (11:49)
II. Andante (9:36)
III. Allegro - Presto (7:41)

Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K491 (30:10)
I. Allegro (13:56)
II. Larghetto (7:18)
III. Allegretto (8:56)

Backed by the best Mozartian orchestra in the world, together with the English Chamber Orchestra, Benjamin Hochman's quite exquisite Mozart: Piano Concertos 17 & 24 (released this past October 4th, 2019 via AVIE Records) is a luscious joy to behold from start to finish.

Opening with Piano Concerto No. 17 in G major, K453 - a work that is said to have been premiered by Mozart's student Barbara Ployer on June 13th, 1784, at a concert to which Mozart had invited Giovanni Paisiello to hear both her and his new compositions; including also his recently written Quintet in E flat for Piano and Winds - Hochman's dulcet, flirtatious key work is simply breathtaking to behold.

Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K491 continues to allow Hochman's expertise to breathe and shine accordingly. A concerto composed for the keyboard (back then, usually a piano or fortepiano) and orchestra, Mozart composed the concerto in the winter of 1785–1786, finishing it on March 24th, 1786, three weeks after completing his Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major.

As we all know by now, as he intended to perform the work himself, Mozart did not write out the soloist's part in full, but here Hochman with the seamlessly superb backing of the ECO veritably hop, skips and jumps his way through all that the great man had laid before him.

"I chose to record these two concertos because to me they are mirror images of each other." Hochman himself has said. "The G major is full of sunshine and joy, but it also has these moments of darkness that show complexity, whereas the C minor is essentially tragic, full of fury and storm, yet it also has moments of calm and resignation; including much of the slow movement."

"Also, the last movements of the two concertos are both in variation form- the only two final movements of Mozart Piano Concertos that are variations."

"For these reasons, the two concertos really complement each other very well."

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Title - 'Captain Lockheed And The Starfighters Live!'
Artist - Alan Davey's Psychedelic Warlords

For those not in the know, Alan Davey is an English musician, best known as the former bassist with Hawkwind. Furthermore, he is the original bass player in Gunslinger which started in 1979 and is still the bass player and vocalist for them!

Davey has also played and recorded with Meads of Asphodel, Dumpys Rusty Nuts, Spirits Burning, Bedouin (1998-2003) and more over the years.

He formed with the newly re-imagined Hawklords in 2008 with Nik Turner till 2012 and since then formed The Psychedelic Warlords in 2013 till 2015.

Thus, Alan Davey’s Hawkwind inspired project, Psychedelic Warlords, perform the entirety of Robert Calvert’s 1974 masterpiece concept album, Captain Lockeed And The Starfighters Live! on the just-released new album from Purple Pyramid / Cleopatra Records.

Recorded in 2014 at The Underworld in Camden, London, this epic performance will appeal to fans of classic British art rock and the large contingent of Hawkwind super fans!

The album is available on both CD in a limited edition digipak as well as a very special yellow vinyl edition hand-signed by Davey himself, 1. 'Franz Josef Strauss, Defence Minister, Reviews the Luftwaffe in 1958 Finding It Somewhat Lacking in Image Potential'
2. 'The Aerospaceage Inferno'
3. 'Aircraft Salesmen (A Door in the Foot)'
4. 'The Widow Maker'
5. 'Two Test Pilots Discuss'
6. 'The Right Stuff'
7. 'The Song of the Gremlin (Part 1)'
8. 'Hero with a Wing'
9. 'Ground Control to Pilot'
10. 'Ejection'
11. 'I Resign'
12. 'The Song of the Gremlin (Part 2)'
13. 'Bier Garten'
14. 'Catch a Falling Starfighter'

Chock full of ambience, electronica, drone, soundtrack music, classical and even post rock motifs, this album is way more than just its creatively inventive, all be they sometimes mouthfuls, of intricately titled tracks!

Opening with a slight spoken-word introduction, they soon plant their flag firmly down on the sequence of tracks that follow.

Incorporating a lot of the aforementioned spoken word moments - none more so than my own personal favorites 'Aircraft Salesmen (A Door in the Foot)' and 'Two Test Pilots Discuss' - doing what they do best, cuts such as the thunderous 'The Widow Maker' and the trippy free flowing duo of 'The Song of the Gremlin (Parts 1 and 2' ensure that anyone who listens to it is going to be exposed to a quite incredible audible experience.

Official Limited Edition 300 Yellow Vinyl – Signed by Alan Davey Purchase Link

Title - 'Hall Of The Mountain Grill Live (London 2014)'
Artist - Alan Davey's Psychedelic Warlords

For those not in the know, Alan Davey is an English musician, best known as the former bassist with Hawkwind. Furthermore, he is the original bass player in Gunslinger which started in 1979 and is still the bass player and vocalist for them!

Davey has also played and recorded with Meads of Asphodel, Dumpys Rusty Nuts, Spirits Burning, Bedouin (1998-2003) and more over the years.

He formed with the newly re-imagined Hawklords in 2008 with Nik Turner till 2012 and since then formed The Psychedelic Warlords in 2013 till 2015.

Thus, Alan Davey’s Hawkwind inspired project, Psychedelic Warlords, came back together for an acid trip down memory lane on this spectacular live recording!

Recorded live at the Underworld in Camden, this concert finds the band - including front man Craig High, keyboardist Zoie Green and guitarist Simon Wilkins - performing Hawkwind's classic 1974 behemoth Hall Of The Mountain Grill in it's entirety plus additional fan favorites on the just-released new album from Purple Pyramid / Cleopatra Records.

Recorded live at the Underworld in Camden, this concert finds the band performing Hawkwind’s classic 1974 behemoth Hall Of The Mountain Grill in its entirety plus additional fan favorites!

The album is available on both CD in a limited edition digipak as well as a very special orange vinyl edition hand-signed by Davey himself.

1. 'The Psychedelic Warlords (Disappear In Smoke)'
2. 'Wind Of Change'
3. 'D-Rider'
4. 'Web Weaver'
5. 'You’d Better Believe It'
6. 'Hall Of The Mountain Grill'
7. 'Lost Johnny'
8. 'Paradox'
9. 'It’s So Easy'
10. 'Motörhead'

Chock full of ambience, electronica, drone, soundtrack music, classical and even post rock motifs, this album is truly a free flowing work of musical art.

In fact, Mountain Grill would prove to be the band's highest charting album in the U.S. coming after the now legendary live album Space Ritual that propelled Hawkwind from a cult band into the charts.

The original album also features one of the coolest album covers of the '70s, in my humble opinion and track-to-track is a great example of top notch space/psyche/stoner rock.

'The Psychedelic Warlords (Disappear In Smoke)' sets the stage for the rest of the album perfectly as an opener, together with its terrific lead guitar, fantastic bassline, sound effects, and even a wailing sax.

Although all good, other tracks of note here on this live version include the five minute instrumental genius that is 'Wind of Change' - which builds from a single keyboard to the whole band, making it very beautiful and very relaxing of a cut - and the straight ahead rocker 'Lost Johnny' (once, of course, a track sung by Lemmy Kilminster himself).

Official Limited Edition 300 Orange Vinyl – Signed by Alan Davey Purchase Link

Title - 'Unknown and Other Hits from Outer Space'
Artist - The Supertones

For those not in the know, The Supertones are a surf band from NYC formed in 1988. The original members - Tim Sullivan (guitars), Ted Lawrence (guitars), Marc Lipscher (bass), and Mike Arcidiacono (drums) - built a solid musical foundation and even though they are currently in their fourth incarnation as a band, original band leader Sullivan has never let the Surf-Rock spirit leave him.

Every year The Supertones release a new album, which is not only a cause for celebration for all their long time fans from their hometown of NYC, but also for fans worldwide of instrumental Surf Rock.

Of course, Sullivan is at the helm once again on the vivacious new album, Unknown And Other Hits From Outer Space which features 15 newly-recorded Supertones tracks of instrumental Surf-Rock gold!

1. 'Unknown'
2. 'Antaris'
3. 'Balazar'
4. 'Saturn Express'
5. 'Starman'
6. 'Torque Wrench'
7. 'For A Few Dollars More'
8. 'Shanghai Surf'
9. 'Speed Trap'
10. 'Space Oddity'
11. 'Down The Rabbit Hole'
12. 'Back Pedaling' 13. 'Don't Look Up'
14. 'Hijinx'
15. 'Queso Grande'
16. 'The Gorgon' [Bonus Track]

From the very first opening chords of the frenetic 'Unknown' to the closing bars of 'Queso Grande,' it's clear that The Supertones differentiate themselves from the legions of other bands in the thriving Surf-Rock instrumental underworld by writing excellent original songs.

Highlighting the cohesiveness of the 2019 line up of the band - Sullivan (lead guitars), Seth Lipscher (rhythm guitars), Simon Chardiet (bass guitars), and Tommy Mattioli on drums - the new album not only features those aforementioned reworkings of their own songs, but two classics penned by the late, great rock legend himself, David Bowie ('Starman' and 'Space Oddity').

Another covered track is actually one of the stand out highlights here for me of the album, their take on the 1965 track 'For A Few Dollars More', originally penned by Ennio Morricone. In true Supertones Surf-Rock style, they truly make it their own and bring it back to life in a way that can only be heard to be believed.

With the vibe of the album having been partly inspired by Sullivan's recent solo instrumental guitar performances at the Hayden Planetarium near Central Park in Uptown Manhattan, Unknown follows the critical acclaim of the band's other recent studio albums, Mysto Incognito (2013), Going To A Rock & Roll Dance Party' (2015), and most recently, The Sweet Ride' (2017).

Complete with the bonus "hidden" track 'The Gorgon,' The Supertones' 19th album Unknown and Other Hits from Outer Space - which was recorded at Brooklyn's famed Cowboy Technical Services studio - is the band at their very passionate best; and if this new album doesn't propel their music to the furthest reaches of outer Space (for all "beings" to enjoy), well, then nothing will!

CD Baby Purchase Link

The Supertones @ Facebook

Title - 'PETRA'
Artist - The Building

For those not in the know, PETRA was written, produced, and performed by acclaimed multi-instrumentalist/ songwriter Anthony LaMarca; also known for his role as guitarist in The War On Drugs.

Like so many Midwestern musicians before him, LaMarca left his beloved hometown of Youngstown, OH for Brooklyn, but returned in 2014 and began work as The Building, often joined by his brother Angelo (guitar) and wife Megan (cello) on a series of EPs and albums – including 2017’s acclaimed Reconciliation – released via Peppermint Records.

1. 'Transformed'
2. 'All Things New'
3. 'Purifier'
4. 'Warning'
5. 'Life Half Lived'
6. 'When I Think Of You'
7. 'Never Understand'
8. 'Never Was Alone'
9. 'Peace's Eternal Truth Renews All'

PETRA – which shares its name with the LaMarcas’ beloved German Shepherd – is a bare-boned, often brutally blunt, new work from a gifted musician-songwriter forced by fate to confront life’s hardest truths and consequences.

On an album that encapsulates beautifully the way LaMarca creates music that is, at all times, inwardly driven and yet openly, and undeniably both relevant and understood by all that listen, the nine tracks free flow effortlessly through your speakers and into your soul.

Furthermore, LaMarca had just begun recording at Youngstown’s Peppermint Productions – a vintage studio facility best known for producing everything from polka superstar Frank Yankovic to the Judge Judy theme song – when a spell of intense back pain led to his being diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma.

Originally, LaMarca was diagnosed in the middle of making Reconciliation whereupon he immediately started treatment, which brought the disease into complete remission.

His disease relapsed last year while in the middle of making PETRA, but instead of making him take a back seat, maybe even back burn the new project, the experience inspired a second meaning to the album’s title; the acronym P-E-T-R-A, or “Peace’s Eternal Truth Renews All.”

Moreover, LaMarca’s physical struggle has resulted in the most powerful work of The Building’s still-growing canon, a vivid series of deeply personal songs - such as the lush, ethereal musings of the opener 'Transformed,' the lo-fi Americana of 'Purifer,' and the heartfelt stoic beauty of the closer 'Peace's Eternal Truth Renews All.'

CD Purchase Link

The Building @ Facebook

Title - 'Parts Of The Puzzle'
Artist - Busy Signal

For those not in the know, Busy Signal is one of the hottest names in reggae and dancehall and is a proven hit-maker with a long and growing list of street anthems to his name.

Beginning mid-2018, Busy and long-time Director Dameon Gayle have been heating up the market with a consistently strong and diverse offering of singles via YouTube and now has come the time to release his brand new album, the quite brilliant Parts Of The puzzle (VP Records).

1. 'Stay So'
2. 'One Way'
3. 'Real Born Gallis'
4. 'Got To Tell You'
5. 'Balloon'
6. 'Everywhere We Go'
7. 'Search No More'
8. 'Therapy'
9. 'Girl Like You'
10. 'Bring Back The Vibes' (feat. Josey Wales)
11. 'Fat Under'
12. 'Dolla Van'
13. '100%' (feat. Afro B)
14. 'Nuh Weh Nuh Safe' (feat. Bounty Killer)
15. 'Star Buxx'
16. 'Jah Know Dawg'
17. 'Smiling Face'

As I'm sure you have guessed by now, Busy Signal is one of Jamaica’s most versatile artists, stretching the limits of reggae and dancehall throughout his career, with unbeatable vocal flow, quick witted lyrics and a gift for melody.

Here on Parts Of The Puzzle he delivers more cultured dancehall, roots and one-drop reggae tracks as genre-bending standouts, such as the album openers 'Stay So,' 'One Way' and the full on magnificence of the free-flowing 'Real Born Gallis.'

Back with his first full-length album since Reggae Music Again from 2012, the 17 songs on this long-awaited follow up truly highlight the creative range and hit-making ability of this multi-talented recording artist.

Chock full of clever and highly original tracks, from the fun of 'Balloon,' the heartbreak of a break up in 'Therapy,' the genuine hipsway of 'Bring Back The Vibes' (featuring Josey Wales), and the hardcore reggae of 'Starr Buxx,' this new album has now become on of my Top 10 of 2019 (and, once you buy it and listen to it yourselves, I'm sure you will all agree).

Official CD Purchase Link

Busy Signal @ Facebook

Title - 'The Carter Family Across Generations'
Artist - The Carter Family

For those not in the know, the generation of the Carter Family credited with the “big bang” that started the genre that would come to be known as country music with four successive generations of Carter kin, including “Carter Girls” Helen, June and Anita as well as Carlene Carter and John Carter Cash can now all be heard on The Carter Family – Across Generations (Reviver Legacy).

Between 1927, and their disbanding in 1943, the Original Carter Family recorded over three hundred songs and A.P. Carter, his wife Sara Carter, and Sara's first cousin Maybelle Carter were the first country band to be inducted as Members of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Anita, June and Helen toured and recorded with Maybelle during those years, ultimately becoming part of The Johnny Cash Show. Cash would marry June in 1968 and had already made the Carter Family an integral part of his in-concert presentation.

His inclusion of the Carters enabled many to witness, both in concert and on TV, and to be influenced by “the Carter Scratch,” Mother Maybelle’s innovative guitar technique.

Carlene, June’s daughter by country great Carl Smith, was part of the group as was as Lorrie Carter Bennet, Anita’s daughter, who is also heard on the album.

Carlene, of course, went on to country stardom in her own right while John Carter Cash, sole offspring of the marriage from Johnny Cash and June Carter, became a noted Nashville-based producer and recording artist.

Now, with Across Generations, things have come full circle with original recordings on which original Carter Family members are heard with contributions from later generations.

These are recently discovered recordings between Sara and Maybelle from the '60s to which producer John Carter Cash has added 4 more generations of the Carter family to these quite breathtakingly raw and evoking recordings.

With that in mind, you’ll hear vocals from Carlene Carter (third generation Carter, granddaughter of Maybelle Carter and daughter of June Carter Cash), Adrianna Cross (fifth generation Carter Family member, great-great-granddaughter of Sara and A.P. Carter), Ana Cristina Cash (wife of album producer John Carter Cash who is third generation Carter, grandson of Maybelle Carter and son of June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash, David Carter Jones (third generation Carter Family member, son of Helen Carter, grandson of Maybelle Carte) and Jack Ezra Cash (fourth generation Carter Family member, son of John Carter Cash, grandson of June Carter and Johnny Cash, great-grandson of Maybelle Carter).

Phew! Right! But wait, there's so much more as there are easily about another 30 Carter-related artists on this quite wondrous new album, which has to make it one of the most expansive, family-corralled albums of music that has EVER been brought forth!

1. 'Farther On (Traditional)'
2. 'My Clinch Mountain Home'
3. 'Gold Watch And Chain'
4. 'Worried Man Blues'
5. 'Winding Stream'
6. 'I Never Will Marry'
7. 'Amber Tresses',br> 8. 'Maybelle'
9. 'Diamonds In The Rough'
10. 'Don't Forget This Song'
11. 'Foggy Mountain Top'
12. 'Will The Circle Be Unbroken'
13. 'Maybelle's New Tune'

The album begins in lo-fi style with the lead track, 'Farther On' (a traditional song also known as 'Is Better Farther On'), a song that incorporates the vocal and guitar of Sara Carter (first generation Carter Family, wife of A.P. Carter) and vocals by Adrianna Cross; who is Sara and A.P.’s great-great granddaughter (fifth generation) and vocals and autoharp by Dale Jett, A.P. and Sara’s grandson (third generation).

Furthermore, John Carter Cash plays acoustic guitar on the track and he’s the grandson of Maybelle Carter and son of June Carter and Johnny Cash (third generation) and Carlene Carter is heard on guitar.

For the record, she’s the granddaughter of Maybelle Carter and daughter of June Carter and Carl Smith (third generation). Oh, and the whistling you hear on the track is by Coy Bayes who was Sara Carter’s second husband and a cousin of A.P.

OK, sure, I could go on listing the Carter/Cash musical descendants on each and every track, but I would be here all day, so just know that on all the 13 tracks there are, at the very least, upwards of five or more of the clan giving their all for what must have been an immense passion project for the family.

Members of the fifth generation are heard with their great-great grandparents in a melodic version of time travel where song selections range from Carter Family standards 'Worried Man Blues,' 'Will The Circle Be Unbroken' to 'Maybelle', a composition by Danny and David Carter, written in 1978 upon the passing of their grandmother; to the stunning ambient, and newly discovered original autoharp recording, simply titled 'Maybelle’s New Tune.'

Carlene Carter noted, “It’s a wonderful blessing to be able to have the technology today to have so many people who have passed and to be able to sing with them. As a child, I was told ‘when we’re all passed away, you have to carry this on and that’s what we’ve done.’”

John Carter Cash, her brother adds, “We were charged with this,” suggesting, “It’s not just about fame and power, it’s about the music” with his sister chiming in, “And the love.”

Reflecting on his family’s role in music history, John Carter Cash suggests, “You show me ten songs and I’ll show you nine that have direct influence from The Carter Family. The Carter Family touched many people,” he notes and the album, in a very tangible way, keeps that tradition moving forward.

After hearing the finished album, Carlene commented, “It’s very authentic, it’s just who they are and when I hear it, I get very emotional because all I wanted to do was protect that legacy and you truly hear that ‘Carter thing.’”

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Live at The Terminal Café'
Artist - Michael Moorcock & The Deep Fix

For those not in the know, Sci-Fi/fantasy author and enigmatic British musician Michael Moorcock - who has collaborated with Hawkwind, Robert Calvert, Blue Öyster Cult and many others - mow proudly presents this brand new studio album, Live at The Terminal Café (Purple Pyramid / Cleopatra Records).

Indeed, this is the third album (packaged with full lyrics in a gorgeously designed booklet) by Moorcock's Deep Fix, the band named after a fictional group from one of Moorcock's most famous characters, Jerry Cornelius, and it is, in my humble opinion, their best yet.

1. 'The Effects Of Entropy'
2. 'Terminal Café'
3. 'The Dream Of Eden'
4. 'Sam Oakenhurst’s Story'
5. 'St. James Infirmary'
6. 'The Heat Of The New Orleans Night'
7. 'Lou'
8. 'A Man Like Me'
9. 'Mississippi Turn Round'
10. 'Blood'
11. 'Eden Revisited'

Along with Michael Moorcock playing lead and backing vocals as well as harmonica, he is joined on this album with the late Martin Stone on electric and acoustic guitars and lap steel, Denis Baudrillart on drums, Brad Scott on bass, Sean Orr on fiddle, Don Falcone on keyboards, Jonathan Segal on violins and Catherine Foreman on vocals.

This eleven-track album is rather an astounding mix of country, prog rock, blues and even Americana at times, with the stand out tracks for me being the guitar-twangin' fun of 'Terminal Café,' the heartfelt 'The Dream Of Eden, the brilliant storytelling of 'Sam Oakenhurst's Story,' and both the blues rock of 'A Man Like Me' and the harmonica driven 'Blood.'

Official CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Hang Your Head In Hope - The Acoustic Sessions'
Artist - The Ataris

For those not in the know, The Ataris are an American power punk band from Anderson, Indiana who formed in 1996 and have released (now) seven studio albums; with So Long, Astoria (2003) certified gold.

Weirdly, in 2009, an album was announced to be entitled The Graveyard of the Atlantic although the album's status has been on indefinite ambiguity, with just two EPs released in 2010 and 2012 both with the same title as the awaited album.

Regardless, The Ataris’ front man and main songwriter Kristopher Roe now takes a reflective trip through the band’s 20+ year career, transforming 17 of his power punk highlights into acoustic masterpieces!

Recorded and mixed by Bob Hoag at Flying Blanket Studio, this never-before-released collection includes acoustic renditions of several tracks from the band’s landmark 2003 album (the aforementioned So Long, Astoria), including 'In This Diary,' 'Unopened Letter To The World,' 'Eight Of Nine,' 'The Hero Dies In This One,' and many more.

1. '12.15.10'
2. 'Can’t Hardly Wait'
3. 'My Hotel Year'
4. 'How I Spent My Summer Vacation'
5. 'The Graveyard Of The Atlantic'
6. 'Your Boyfriend Sucks'
7. 'Eight Of Nine'
8. 'Broken Promise Ring'
9. 'The Hero Dies In This One'
10. 'All Souls’ Day'
11. 'In This Diary'
12. 'Skulls'
13. 'Unopened Letter To The World'
14. 'San Dimas'
15. 'Oh, Kansas City' [CD ONLY]
16. 'Soul And Fire' [CD ONLY]
17. 'From A Tower' [CD ONLY]

Ergo, Hang Your Head in Hope – The Acoustic Sessions (out now via Kung Fu Records / Cleopatra Records) is a highly imaginative expose of Roe’s songwriting skills now stripped bare and on offer to their legion of fans.

For with a band actually best known for their hit cover song, originally recorded by Don Henley, 'The Boys of Summer,' these 17 re-recordings of stripped down, laid bare songs showcase their true lyrical essence whilst at the same time offering up a whole new listening experience.

Featuring a collection of what could easily be for most all of us, the structure of some fascinating musical nostalgia from younger, simpler days, this intimate album - that actually sounds like a live private front room recording - is, quite easily, one of the most honestly emotive recordings I've heard in the past decade (or more).

Official CD Purchase Link

The Ataris @ Facebook

Title - ‘~’ (’tilde’)
Artist - Marinho

For those not in the know, Portuguese alternative folk-rock artist, Marinho, has just released her debut album, ‘~’ ('tilde’) via Street Mission Records this October 18th, 2019.

Born in Lisbon and raised in front of the TV, Filipa Marinho had plenty of early exposure to American cartoons and mid-'90s movies, as well as an intimacy with Hollywood's views on love, relationships, and overall human nature.

Growing up in an emotionally abusive household, Marinho experienced and witnessed a lot that she should never have been exposed to, causing here to live in fear of not being loved and accepted herself.

Ergo, here on this quite stunning, real, arterial album of heartfelt emotions and ponderings, sadness and an abandonment phobia are themes that Marinho tackles head on; in addition to her sexuality and feminism, of course.

1. 'Intro'
2. 'I Give Up and It's Ok' (03:25)
3. 'Ghost Notes' (04:16)
4. 'Not You' (feat. Monday)
5. 'Window Pain' (04:15)
6. 'Joni'
7. 'Freckles' (04:53)
8. 'Outro'

But, please don't for one second think this is an angst-ridden, self-pitying tirade of lyrically roared darkness from Marinho, for it is anything but.

On this album she tries to come to terms with what lies between overly romanticized expectations and real life, whilst at the same time enriching them lovingly within the dulcet resolutions found within alternative Americana-rock.

The lead, and debut single, '​Ghost Notes,' is a quite wondrous, and humble lyrical reminisce of her own emotionally intense take on modern day romances, where as my own personal favorite, 'Window Pain’ reveals a reflective Marinho, caught in daydreams about her own childhood.

"It’s about how when you’re a kid, you can fall and hurt yourself but all that stays is the fun memory of running around,” she admits.

“In fact, the writing of 'Ghost Notes' and album coincided with my growing feminist side as I felt inspired by a lot of women that pick up their guitars to do the same," she further explains.

"Representation is very important to me and played a key role in my willingness to make music, so releasing ‘Ghost Notes’ on Women’s Day just resulted in a cosmic coincidence that really made sense to me.”

Official Digital Purchase Link

Title - 'MLC'
Artist - Modern Love Child

For those not in the know, Modern Love Child (the pseudonym of Jonny Shane) will release his debut "self-titled" album, MLC, on October 25th, 2019, via Believe (UK).

Since 2012, Shane has been engrossed in his own flavor of Venice, CA living: “Surf when you want to, work a sh*tty job when you have to, make music all night.”

His first band, Blue Blazer, became a local favorite up and down the Sunset Strip before disbanding in 2015. As Shane began exploring a more direct, autobiographical way of writing, Modern Love Child was born.

The following year, he headed to London and inked his first record deal with Believe.

Having sereditiously run into fellow musician Ben Kweller a couple of times both sides of the pond, Shane was on a plane to Texas to join Kweller at his ranch outside of Austin.

The two artists worked non-stop for days on demos that would become this quite wondrous new album, MLC. Once the album was written and ready to be recorded, Shane enlisted acclaimed producer/mixer, Charlie Russell (Alt-J, Passenger, OK Go) to record the final product.

Also featuring musical contributions from Cameron Knight (Alt-J), and Jacob M Berry (Two Door Cinema Club), in addition to Kweller, I have now sat and listened to the album three times through and have to say it is, and without a shadow of a doubt, firmly now in my Top 10 of 2019.

1. 'West'
2. 'In A City'
3. 'Just for Kids'
4. 'Golden Brown'
5. 'Greenwich Girl'
6. 'Sweet Like Me'
7. 'Pictures Of The Moon'
8. 'Party For Two'
9. 'Ali'
10. 'Stay Young'

With a vocal stance that, at first, had me second guessing the speed that the CD was playing at, from the off the lyrical brilliance of Shane is front and center.

The aboundingly, pulsating anthemic 'West' is a quite brilliant way to kick things off and that's backed by the Strip ambiance of 'In A City,' the lo-fi electronica wandering of 'Just For Kids,' and then both the more upbeat 'Golden Brown' (no, not the Stranglers version), and the gentle hipsway of 'Greenwich Girl.'

Talking about 'In A City,' an exuberant new anthem for those struggling to fit in, Shane explains: “The song was inspired by a trip I had to NYC to see my family and friends. At that time in my life, I felt really lost."

"Everyone else’s life seemed perfect and I felt left out, hence the line, ‘I don’t fit the mold.’ Essentially, it seemed like everyone had it all figured out and I was still just this ‘dreamer in the streets, in a city that never sleeps'."

"The song also represents some internal struggle, there is the line, ‘Maybe I should move to the suburbs, find a significant other, because a white picket fence is the best defense against the world outside'."

"That’s basically thinking to myself, ‘Maybe I should just settle down and live a normal life. I’m certain most people can relate as we all tend feel a bit left out sometimes.”

The drum-led 'Sweet Like Me' is also one of my own personal favorites here and that's backed seamlessly by both the emotive 'Pictures Of The Moon,' and the ebullition found within 'Party For Two.'

Rounding out with the poignancy of 'Ali' and then the alt-fuzz early '90s CA guitar rocker 'Stay Young,' the recording brings to a close an expansive, and obviously heartfelt album for the ages.

Title - 'High Water II' [2LP Vinyl]
Artist - The Magpie Salute

For those not in the know, The Magpie Salute is an American rock band formed in 2016 by former Black Crowes guitarist Rich Robinson.

The band also includes former Black Crowes members Marc Ford and Sven Pipien as well as Rich Robinson band members Matt Slocum and Joe Magistro.

When 'High Water I' was released in August 2018, it was the sound of old friends coming together in a union of rock 'n' roll, psychedelic blues, rasping Americana and late-night storytelling.

The band was pulled together by guitarist Rich Robinson and allowed him to continue a storyline he began in the Black Crowes with aforementioned guitarist Marc Ford and bassist Sven Pipien.

Meanwhile, vocalist John Hogg shared Hookah Brown with Robinson as keyboardist Matt Slocum and drummer Joe Magistro both joined him for solo records and tours over the years.

The just-released follow up, aptly entitled High Water II (Eagle Rock Entertainment) picks up where the band's studio debut left off with much of the album actually having been written during those early recordings at Dark Horse Studios in Nashville; which is why the album feels like a perfect continuation of its predecessor.

Side A:
1. 'Sooner Or Later'
2. 'Gimme Something'
3. 'Leave It All Behind'

Side B:
1. 'In Here'
2. 'You And I'
3. 'Mother Storm'

Side C:
1. 'A Mirror'
2. 'Lost Boy'
3. 'Turn It Around'

Side D:
1. 'Life Is A Landslide'
2. 'Doesn’t Really Matter'
3. 'Where Is This Place'

In truth, High Water II is a rather solid, if not stand alone studio album that melds various influences into a rocking set of tunes cut from the same cloth of those infamous former Crowes.

Furthermore, you instantly feel an updated dynamic of that on most all of the songs presented here, for me, at least, spread gloriously across two lovely vinyl albums (the only way to listen to music, my friends).

Having listened to it twice through now this afternoon, I can honestly say that the entire album has a lush, deeply rooted, and heartfelt Americana-blues-country flow to it that I personally adore.

A record that might well be a follow-up to the first one, this record still sounds so fresh, so exciting, and like an instant classic all at the same time.

As for the sounds and vocals brought forth, well, of course the overall versatility of this band goes without saying. Incorporating some full-throttle harmonies ('Leave It All Behind'), the tracks are all layered with some outstanding, cultured acoustic piano from Matt Slocum and the articulate, and never overly forceful drum work of Joe Magistr.

Lead singer, John Hogg has already fully distinguished himself with the band before this album came out, but here the ex-pat Brit really gets tot eh core of each lyric, of each verse, of every chorus ('Mother Storm') as if his life depended on it.

They also enlist Alison Krauss on fiddle and background vocals, on one of the album's stand out tracks, the lush 'Lost Boy,' whilst Matt Holland supplies the horn on 'In Here.'

With all this and more embraced by within the loving, and all-knowing electric guitars of Robinson and Marc Ford, that render most all tracks they lean into readily "identifiable," add in the earnest while Sven Pipien's bass, and the musical casserole of American roots rock 'n' roll is ready to be served.

The Magpie Salute @ Facebook

Title - 'Celestial'
Artist - Rob Halford with Family & Friends

For those not in the know, Celestial actually marks Rob Halford's second album of Christmas music (the first was Halford III: Winter Songs), re-made in a Heavy Metal style.

In making the album which includes interpretations of traditional festive songs 'Away in a Manger', 'The First Noel', 'Good King Wenceslas' and many more - Rob has been joined by a number of associates, friends and family.

As well as the traditional Christmas songs, Celestial (out October 18th, 2019 via Legacy Recordings/Sony) also includes four brand new original songs recorded specially for the project.

1. 'Celestial'
2. 'Donner and Blitzen'
3. 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen'
4. 'Away In a Manger'
5. 'Morning Star'
6. 'Deck the Halls'
7. 'Joy to the World'
8. 'O Little Town of Bethlehem'
9. 'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing'
10. 'The First Noel'
11. 'Good King Wenceslas'
12. 'Protected by the Light'

Better known for his longstanding work with Judas Priest (with solo stuff abounding also within Fight, Two, and Halford), Halford is joined here by a comforting inner circle of family and friends (unlike that aforementioned Christmas album, where hard rockers such as both “Metal” Mike Chlasciak (guitar) and Bobby Jarzombek (drums) helped turn up the noise, so to speak.

This brand new album is chock full of twelve songs - four originals and eight classic favorites - with the opening title track immediately placing you outside on a cold snowy day, as a choir backed lovingly by a delicate organ play for you.

They then give way to galloping hooves and harmonious church bells, before the age-old "voice" of Santa Claus comes front and center. Things go a wee bit heavier for 'Donner and Blitzen,' which is why you'll quickly be able to spot the JP vibe!

Next up is a fabulous rendition of 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,' albeit not the one that your parents ever introduced you to, with the '80s musicality of 'Away In a Manger' along next.

'Morning Star' and 'Deck the Halls's are as massive a rock sound as you could ever hope them to be, fronted by dual guitars and with Halford on vocals. Then comes a shorter 'Joy to the World' which is backed nicely by a beautiful, almost perfect blend of both genres within 'O Little Town of Bethlehem.'

Basically a bit of extended time for Halford to showcase his more somber, yet always tuneful side, it's not long before those aforementioned dualing guitars come a'knockin'!

'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing' is one of the warmest tracks on this album, given the production values of a metal undertone, with 'The First Noel' taking the path of a more subtle guitar and keyboard moment.

The album then rounds out with much the same vibe for 'Good King Wenceslas,' with the last, but never least track warm organ glow of 'Protected By The Light' bringing things to a cozy close.

Rob Halford @ Facebook

Title - 'Especially For You: Revisited / Classics & More'
Artist - Cilla Black

For those not in the know, Cilla Black was an much beloved English singer, television presenter, actress and author.

Championed by her friends the Beatles, she began her career as a singer in 1963, and her singles 'Anyone Who Had a Heart' and 'You're My World' both reached number one in the UK in 1964. Black had eleven Top Ten hits on the British charts between then and 1971; and an additional 8 hits that made the top 40.

In May 2010, new research published by BBC Radio 2 showed that her version of 'Anyone Who Had a Heart' was the UK's biggest-selling single by a female artist in the 1960s. 'You're My World' was also a modest hit in the US, peaking at No. 26 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Along with a successful recording career in the 1960s and early 1970s, Black hosted her own variety show, Cilla, for the BBC between 1968 and 1976. After a brief time as a comedy actress in the mid-1970s, she became a prominent television presenter in the 1980s and 1990s, hosting hit entertainment shows such as Blind Date (1985–2003), The Moment of Truth (1998–2001) and Surprise Surprise (1984–2001).

In 2013, Black celebrated her 50 years in show business. British television network ITV honored this milestone with a one-off entertainment special which aired on 16 October 2013. The show, called The One & Only Cilla Black, featured Black herself and was hosted by Paul O'Grady.

Sadly, Cilla Black died on August 1st, 2015 after a fall in her villa in Estepona, Spain. The day after her funeral, the compilation album The Very Best of Cilla Black went to number one on the UK Albums Chart and the New Zealand Albums Chart; it was her first number one album.

This deluxe double CD set is the fifth release in a brand new series which re-issues the legendary Cilla Black’s original albums.

In this package, the first disc is the all-new 2019 edition of Cilla’s best-selling Especially For You album from 1980. This Revisited edition debuts stunning new mixes of all of the album’s songs following the discovery of the original multi-track session masters.

The second disc is a new collection, Classics & Collectibles, that collates fans’ favorites alongside other musical treats and rarities as recorded between 1976 and 1993.

Both albums contain a wealth of bonus tracks with an incredible 21 bonus tracks in total across the package!

CD 1 - Especially For You: Revisited
1. 'Baby Don't Change Your Mind' [Ted Carfrae Mix]
2. 'Sometimes When We Touch' [Ted Carfrae Mix]
3. 'Just the Way You Are' [Ted Carfrae Mix]
4. 'Talking in Your Sleep' [Ted Carfrae Mix]
5. 'You Don't Bring Me Flowers' [Ted Carfrae Mix]
6. 'How Deep Is Your Love' [Ted Carfrae Mix]
7. 'Bright Eyes' [Ted Carfrae Mix]
8. 'Don't Cry for Me Argentina' [Ted Carfrae Mix]
9. 'When Will I See You Again' [Ted Carfrae Mix]
10. 'You Needed Me' [Ted Carfrae Mix]
11. 'If You Leave Me Now' [Ted Carfrae Mix]
12. 'When I Need You' [Ted Carfrae Mix]
13. 'Knowing Me, Knowing You' [Ted Carfrae Mix]
14. 'Still' [Ted Carfrae Mix]
15. 'When a Child Is Born' [Ted Carfrae Mix]
16. 'Do That to Me One More Time' [Ted Carfrae Mix]
17. 'Sometimes When We Touch' [Stripped Down Ted Carfrae Mix] - Bonus Track
18. Interview with Cilla - Bonus Track

This first disc, Especially For You: Revisited, which engineer Ted Carfrae has revisited the original studio multi-track sessions (as initially produced by Bruce Welch of The Shadows) in order to create brand new updated mixes of each song, is a real gem of a musical entity to behold for all us Cilla fans, trust me.

Chock full of rich Cilla vocal tone goodness, she makes every cut her own from start to finish. Indeed, these new versions now offer listeners a fresh and contemporary take on this classic album.

I mean, I think we call know Cilla could, and did knock your socks off with big band arrangements, but here we also get some wondrous Mersey Sound's too.

Mixed in sweetly too are some moments for her to show off her superb balladry and bring for the emotional chanteuse and her soul for all to witness.

Originally recorded in 1980, these are more pop standards and easy listening tracks, as a whole, but each and every one of them comes alive not only with Cilla's now remastered vocals, but Carfrae's production skills too.

Also of interest here is a previously-unaired interview with her by former BBC DJ Peter Powell that was recorded in 1980 to promote the album on its first release.

There are also special extended versions of ‘When I Need You’ and ‘Do That To Me One More Time,’ which both feature previously unheard extra vocals by Cilla.

CD 2 - Classics & Collectibles
1. 'The Fool on the Hill'
2. 'Keep Young and Beautiful' [Mono]
3. 'You're My World' [Live in Concert - Mono]
4. 'Anyone Who Had a Heart' [Live in Concert - Mono]
5. 'Alfie' [Live in Concert - Mono]
6. 'Surprise! Surprise!'
7. 'There's a Need in Me'
8. 'I Know Him So Well'
9. 'The Feelings Just Get Stronger (Through the Years)'
10. 'Heart & Soul' - Duet with Dusty Springfield
11. 'That's What Friends Are For' - Duet with Cliff Richard
12. 'You'll Never Walk Alone' - Duet with Barry Manilow
13. 'When Will I See You Again' [Bronski Beat V. Qubiq Remix]
14. 'Knowing Me, Knowing You' [Klubkidz Remix - Radio Edit]
15. 'Baby Don't Change Your Mind' [Club Junkies Disco Mix]
16. 'If You Leave Me Now' [Jerry Stevenson Mix] - Bonus Track
17. 'When I Need You' [Jerry Stevenson Mix] - Bonus Track
18. 'Still' [Jerry Stevenson Mix] - Bonus Track

The second disc is Classics & Collectibles, a new original album of musical treats and rarities for Cilla’s loyal fan base.

The album contains various recordings from Cilla’s Estate which were discovered after her sad passing. These include, for the very first time on a Cilla Black album, live concert recordings of her hit single ‘Alfie’ and her two #1 singles ‘Anyone Who Had A Heart’ and ‘You’re My World’.

Also featured are all of Cilla’s A-side singles that she released during the '80s and '90s. These include the catchy theme tune to her hit ITV series Surprise, Surprise, as featured on her 1985 album Surprisingly Cilla.

Other highlights include the title song to her 1993 album Through The Years (as used in the closing sequence of Cilla – The Musical) and unforgettable duets with Dusty Springfield, Barry Manilow and her dear friend Cliff Richard.

Alongside all these delights are two stage songs from Cilla’s sell-out 1976 revue Cilla at the Palace and three all new and specially commissioned celebratory club remixes from Bronski Beat v Qubiq, Klubkidz and Club Junkies, all with a pleasingly upbeat electro-pop vibe.

This release, along with all the others in this Cilla Original Album Series is endorsed by its Executive Producer, Cilla’s son Robert Willis and comes with 20 page color booklet richly illustrated with period photos.

Cilla Black @ Facebook!

Official 2CD Purchase Link

Title - 'None but the Lonely Heart'
Artist - Daniel Lozakovich

After his triumphantly received debut album for Deutsche Grammophon devoted to J. S. Bach’s violin concertos, the young Swedish violinist Daniel Lozakovich now delves into the Russian Romantic repertoire.

Released October 18th, 2019 via Deutsche Grammophon, None but the Lonely Heart is yet another shining example of what this immensely gifted emerging artist can bring to the table.

Presenting the famous Violin Concerto and other orchestral and solo masterpieces by the great composer Tchaikovsky, Lozakovich is joined by the Russian National Philharmonic under the baton of Vladimir Spivakov.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840 - 1893)
1-3 Concerto For Violin and Orchestra, OP. 35 in D Major
4 Lensky's Aria
5 None But The Lonely Heart
6 Mélodie
7 Valse Sentimentale
8 Méditation
9 Valse-Scherzo

Opening with the stirring, free flowing and airy trio of Allegro moderato, Canzonetta. Andante and Finale. Allegro vivacissimo, Lozakovich's perfect mastery for this work is immediately evident.

Indeed, as we head into the yearning duo of both 'Lensky's Aria and the title track itself, well, if you've not already settled in for the day alongside this musical work of art, you soon will have.

The truly gifted, and exceptionally talented Lozakovich continues onward throughout this masterful showcasing of two magnificent talents combining to bring a fresh, vibrate, new take on known works.

In closing, and now having come "face to face" once more with the evidence of not only Lozakovich's confidence, intensity, expertise and depth of musical maturity far beyond his years, but his willingness to explore and be taught as he progresses, it's very obvious to all that his understanding of exquisite musicality; along with a perfect and absolute knowledge of the pieces he plays, will hold him in good stead for decades to come.

Official CD Purchase Link

Daniel Lozakovich Website

Title - '16 Bars' (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Artist - Various

In the spring of 2017, Atlanta-based Grammy-winner Speech Thomas, from the hip-hop crew Arrested Development, traveled to Virginia with the goal of recording an album behind bars.

Speech was invited to the Richmond Jail by Sheriff C.T. Woody Jr., who was implementing a rehabilitation program that included job training, substance abuse treatment, group therapy, and a makeshift recording studio.

In a small concrete room on the jail’s 6th floor, Speech met with four men in the REAL program—Teddy, Anthony, De’vonte and Garland—listened to their stories and collaborated with them on original compositions and lyrics.

The process, captured by Brooklyn-based filmmakers at Resonant Pictures, became the documentary film 16 Bars.

Releasing on November 8th, 2019 via Lightyear/Caroline/UMG digitally and on Vinyl LP, 16 Bars: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) is an incredible 14-track musical experience that shines a light on those incarcerated that still have a voice to be heard.

1. Speech's Intro
2. 'Inspire' - Teddy Kane [feat. Positive Impact Choir]
3. 'Lost One' - Teddy Kane
4. 'Where My Daddy At?' - Teddy Kane
5. Speech's Interlude #1
6. 'Recidivism' - Anthony Johnston [feat. Speech]
7. 'Broken Chains' - Devonte James [feat. Speech]
8. Speech's Interlude #2
9. 'Lay My Burden Down' - Garland Carr [feat. The REAL Program Chorus]
10. 'Freedom Wind' - Garland Carr
11. 'Steam Train Salvation' - Garland Carr
12. 'Two Stamps' - Garland Carr
13. Speech's Outro
14. 'Trauma' - Arrested Development [feat. Daunta] (Bonus Track)

Two-time Grammy-winner Speech Thomas is widely considered one of the godfathers of conscious hip-hop. His band Arrested Development’s 1993 debut album 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life of… went quadruple platinum and achieved what few thought was possible at the time, establishing an Afrocentric alternative to gangster rap that was commercially viable.

25 years later, Speech continues to tour the world with his band and seek out opportunities to use music to address issues of social and racial justice.

The film, and this album, documents his journey to the Richmond City Jail, where he conducted music workshops with inmates. His goal was to shed light on the complex issues in our criminal justice system by bringing the voices and stories of incarcerated people to a larger audience.

Listening to this music now twice through I can honestly say he not only brought forth their musical prowess, but has shone a wonderful light on what was always to be one of the darkest places to ever peer into.

The four featured artists are: Teddy Kane, Garland Carr, Anthony Johnston, and Devonte James. All the basic tracks, rapping and singing were recorded in the Richmond City Jail.

The album is somewhat eclectic. There is music here that will appeal to Hip-Hop, Blues, Outlaw Country, Gospel, and Americana. The rap music here is personal and conscious, in the vein of stars such as Kendrick Lamar and 2Pac. Garland Carr, on the other hand, may remind you of a young Johnny Cash.

Indeed, 'Inspire' was sweetened by a children’s choir (who Speech recorded in his home studio, at the artist’s request) and 'Lay My Burden Down' features a gospel choir comprised of fellow inmates and was recorded in the facility’s cafeteria.

Speech contributes a number of spoken word interludes, and there is a Bonus Track to be found in the form of Arrested Development’s 'Trauma' (f. Daunta).

Amazon Purchase Links

Title - 'All This Will Be Yours'
Artist - Bruce Soord

Bruce Soord, the multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and front man for internationally renowned experimental rock outfit The Pineapple Thief, will be releasing his sophomore solo album this coming November 3rd, 2019 via KSCOPE Music.

Taking elements from the recent musical developments with The Pineapple Thief, as well as an ambition to experiment with his own sound, All This Will Be Yours is an album of acoustic and personal vision from Soord.

Described by Soord as an observational record, it is inspired by the joy felt by the birth of his third child juxtaposed by the local deprivation in his hometown.

“Emotionally it was a pretty unique and eventful time," Soord explains. "My wife was due to have our third child at any time, but she managed to come to see the final date of the TPT tour at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire."

"After the show that night we returned home to Yeovil and the next day our baby girl arrived. So, we had this new life in our lives and it introduced a very different perspective on the world around me. I was totally inspired and started writing almost immediately.”

1. 'The Secrets I Know'
2. 'Our Gravest Threat Apart'
3. 'The Solitary Path of a Convicted Man'
4. 'All This Will Be Yours'
5. 'Time Does Not Exist'
6. 'One Misstep'
7. 'You Hear The Voices'
8. 'Cut The Flowers'
9. 'One Day I Will Leave You'

The sound of All This Will Be Yours features modern production elements, as well as acoustic guitars delicately layered with samples.

Ever present are Soord's familiar vocals, which deliver an emotive and accessible view into his contrasting feelings when writing about austerity whilst his newborn dozed in the studio.

In truth, the whole affair is, as one would fully expect, a more low key, emotional and dampened experience than a Pineapple Thief album, but lest we blur over the fact that this new collection of songs are, without a shadow of a doubt, wickedly engaging, well developed, and well performed tracks in their own right.

Less intense and less dramatic than what fans of Pineapple Thief might be accustomed to, but elegant creations with a melancholic, emotional feel to them that should still come across as familiar; especially given Soord's vocal pitch.

Furthermore, the audio has been recorded as two continuous linear pieces to replicate the pleasure of listening to an album on vinyl and was mastered by fellow The Pineapple Thief member Steve Kitch.

All This Will Be Yours will be released on CD, LP, digitally and as a deluxe hardback book 3 disc edition featuring the album on CD, with an extra CD of acoustic re-workings and bonus studio tracks plus a DVD with All This Will Be Yours as a Hi-res 24/88 WAV stereo album, Hi res 24/88 WAV acoustic album and Hi res 24/88 WAV bonus studio tracks, all of which will also be available in 24/88 DTS 5.1 surround.

Official Vinyl LP Purchase Link

Title - 'Skywriter/Devils Door' [EP]
Artist - Nektar

For those not in the know, Nektar (German for Nectar) is an English progressive rock band originally based in Germany.

The band formed in Hamburg, Germany in 1969. The founding members were Englishmen Roye Albrighton on guitars and lead vocals, Allan "Taff" Freeman on keyboards, Derek "Mo" Moore on bass, Ron Howden on drums and artists Mick Brockett and Keith Walters on lights and "special effects".

Though the concept of non-performing bandmembers was not unprecedented (i.e. lyricist Keith Reid in Procol Harum), it was considered unusual that a third of Nektar's lineup had no role in performing or writing their music.

Throughout their early existence the band's songwriting was credited to all six members on the album sleeves, but BMI records show that the music was written by the four performing members (Albrighton, Freeman, Moore and Howden).

Mick Brockett did however co-write the lyrics with "Mo" Moore, and invented or contributed to the original album titles.

All that aside, and we now have a brand new single from Nektar to enjoy! A 3-track CD EP featuring songs from the forthcoming new album The Other Side, this lovely new release includes 'Skywriter' and 'Devils Door' - which also features an intro by Roye Albrighton!

1. 'Skywriter' (7:53)
2. 'Devils Door' (8:09)
3. 'Skywriter (Radio Edit)' (5:29)

So, what we have here is that classic 1973 sound of a prog rock masterpiece back in our lives from the unsung heroes of spacey conceptual art rock, Nektar.

With both tracks, as expected, being heavily melodic, engrained with gorgeous harmonies which float through the air like white tufts of billowing fair weather clouds, before coming to rest delicately within your ears, it may well only be a 3-track CD EP, but my oh my, what a stupendous joy it is to hear new music from Nektar.

I've listened to this new EP many times just today on repeat and always find it very satisfying. It's just one of those lovely recordings where you notice something new each time you listen to it.

Ergo, I simply am bursting at the seams now for the release of their brand new album, the aforementioned The Other Side 9and you should be too!)

Official Purchase Link

Title - 'Empirical Truth'
Artist - Mark Newman

For those not in the know, Mark Newman has mastered the electric, acoustic, lap steel guitar as well as the mandolin and dobro, and with a voice reminiscent of many rock and blues men before him his new album, Empirical Truth has the familiar power and soul like many of today's rock, soul, folk and R&B icons.

On an album veritably stocked full of Newman's usual penchant for dynamic storytelling and political commentary, his songs lyrically range from the state of gun control in the U.S. to the Dakota Access Pipeline, an innocent man blamed for murder, love and loss and even a few covers from Little Feat, John Oates, and more.

1. 'Scapegoat'
2. 'Life Without You'
3. 'Mississippi Mile'
4. 'When I Aim My Gun'
5. 'Seven Days'
6. 'One More Song About a Highway'
8. 'Sharin' the Blues'
9. 'Pipeline'
10. 'Are You Lonely for Me'
11. 'Everything You Know'
12. 'Roll Um Easy'
13. 'Lycanthropy'

The album kicks off with the rough and tumble of 'Scapegoat' and moves quickly into both the funky blues of 'Life Without You' and the unashamed rocker 'Mississippi Mile.'

Overflowing with a passionate mix of Americana/Blues/Pop, all lovingly embraced and guided by some outstanding slide-guitar work from start to finish, next up is the mid-tempo storytelling of 'When I Aim My Gun,' the upbeat ballad 'Seven Days,' and then one of my own personal favorites, the drum led, free flowing American bounce of 'One More Song About a Highway.'

The low down 'n' dirty 'Sharin' the Blues' is up next and is backed seamlessly by the foot tappin' rocker 'Pipeline,' and then the mid-tempo rocker 'Are You Lonely for Me.'

The album then rounds out with the glorious jam session found within 'Everything You Know,' the acoustic guitar ballad 'Roll Um Easy,' and then the longest track on the album (at nearly six minutes), the excellent 'Lycanthropy.'

On this new album, Newman is joined by drummers Shawn Murray and John Michel, keyboardists Kevin McKendree, James Dower and Mark Bonder, bassist Craig Privett, and vocalists Naomi Margolin, Janet Montalbo, Maag Stanley, Steve Bluth, Jeff Lubin, Jacob Koch, and Norm Madnick.

Amazon Purchase Links

Title - 'Final Reflections'
Artist - Peter Ulrich Collaboration

For those not in the know, The Peter Ulrich Collaboration is a collaboration helmed by Peter Ulrich, former percussionist for the iconic Dead Can Dance, the brilliantly innovative band from the '80s and '90s.

The Collaboration is the brainchild of Ulrich and Trebor 'Big T' Lloyd of City Canyons Productions as producer and a principal collaborator and the Collaboration mixes folk rock, world rock, art rock and psychedelic music with a world view that encompasses alternative history, fictional universes, Steampunk, and Goth; whilst recalling the exquisitely crafted soundscapes of Dead Can Dance.

The group features songwriting by Ulrich, Lloyd, and New York songwriters Anne Husick, Sara Wendt and Kathy Sheppard among others with vocals by David Steele, Wendt, Ulrich, Jen Elliott, Shane Chapman, Stephanie Linn, Timothy Dark, Sharon Hochman-Hawk and other bright American and English talents.

After the release of two albums, The Painted Caravan and Tempus Fugitives, this soon-to-be released (November 15th, 2019) Final Reflections is the third, and final album in the well-received Painted Caravan Trilogy.

1. 'Artificial Man'
2. 'Lessons of Love'
3. 'Severely Blessed'
4. 'Pirate Jane'
5. 'Nightwalker and Love Witch'
6. 'Hawk Dreams'
7. 'Swimming In My Sleep'
8. 'Squaring the Circle'
9. 'Love's Skeleton' (Remixed & Remastered)
10. 'Hanging Man' (Remixed & Remastered)

Like the two albums before it, Final Reflections is chock full of wondrous tales, such as the track that stats things off, the tale of an angry android in a dystopian world, 'Artificial Man,' which is backed by their return to themes of love, such as the splendid tale of a man who falls in love with a woman in a painting, 'Lessons of Love.'

This rather grand mix of folk and world music continues effortlessly onward with the story of a man reluctantly rising from the dead in 'Severely Blessed,' the richly colorful and enjoyable 'Pirate Jane,' and then 'Nightwalker and Love Witch' - the story of a desperate love-hungry man under the spell of an enchantress.

The reflective journeying we all do can be found within 'Hawk Dreams,' which is in turn backed seamlessly by both 'Swimming In My Sleep' and one of the highlights on the album, 'Squaring the Circle.

As was the case with the first two albums, Final Reflections has a dark side as well as a briskly adventurous one, but the meld is perfect, the blend harmonious and enjoyable.

The album then rounds out with both 'Love's Skeleton' and 'Hanging Man', two of the favorites from The Painted Caravan, furthered explored now with remixed and remastered versions.

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Fire in my Mouth'
Artist - Julia Wolfe / New York Philharmonic

For those not in the know, the New York Philharmonic has just-released the live recording of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Julia Wolfe's oratorio Fire in my Mouth, an elegy to the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire conducted by Jaap van Zweden.

Premiered as part of New York Stories: Threads of Our City, the Philharmonic's two-week examination of New York City's roots as a city of immigrants, Fire in my Mouth is a reflection on the New York garment industry at the turn of the 20th century through a focus on the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire; which killed 146 garment workers, most of them young immigrants.

Called a monumental achievement in high musical drama (The Nation), Fire in my Mouth is the latest recording in the New York Philharmonic's partnership with Decca Gold.

Wolfe once again tackles an important historical social situation by oratorio. Her previous Anthracite Fields about coal mining accidents lead to a Pulitzer Prize, and she is a MacArthur Fellow as well.

Here, she portrays The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911, in the era before OSHA and fire department workplace regulations.

That said, Wolfe begins well before the fire, with immigrants crossing the Atlantic Ocean. Drawing fragments of text from an interview with an immigrant of the era, the first movement, Immigration, is pensive and restless, rising to crash like a thunderous wave as the chorus ponders the uncertain future that awaits them in this country.

The second movement, Factory, begins with the slow assembly of a percussive toccata. It’s a sonic depiction of the factory itself, unsettling in its skittering mechanical energy.

A sense of ultimate defiance comes to the fore in Protest, which features the adult chorus furiously chanting a list of desires — “I want to talk like an American/I want to look like an American/I want to dream like an American” — before the youth chorus delivers excerpts from labor activist speeches from 1909.

The immigrant workers had no rights and no protections, but one who fought to gain those rights was Clara Lemlich, a labor organizer.

It is also within this very same section that the orchestra pulses and swirls around a quote from an interview Lemlich gave — referring to her impassioned public speeches — with the chorus in full cry, singing, "Then I had fire in my mouth".

The actual fire starts slowly, almost unnoticeably as we enter the last section of the quartet here, and as much as there are moments of frenzy, the calm that transcends it as eerie as unto itself.

A few months after the fire, New York passed important factory-safety laws. Once again, it took a tragedy to force change, but listening to the words spoken and sung within this masterpiece; recounting a most horrid time in our history, it seems that maybe we still haven't learnt our lessons.

Official Purchase Links

Title - 'Eight Track Christmas'
Artist - Dave Stryker

Fresh off the success of Eight Track III (6 Weeks at #1 on the JazzWeek Radio Chart), Dave Stryker and his Eight Track Band decided to make a Christmas album for all the listeners who have enjoyed and supported the music.

So what we have here on this wonderful new 10-track Christmas album entitled Eight Track Christmas (out November 8th, 2019 via Strikezone Records) is Stryker and the band putting their own stamp on Christmas songs old and new.

1, 'This Christmas'
2. 'What Child Is This?'
3. 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen'
4. 'Happy Xmas (War Is Over)'
5. 'Soulful Frosty'
6. 'Christmas Time Is Here'
7. 'Sleigh Ride'
8. 'Blue Christmas'
9. 'We Three Kings'
10. 'O Tannenbaum'

Ok, sure, it's a little weird to be listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving, but that said, boy, does it make you feel good and fill your soul with joyous, wondrously uplifting thoughts!

Kicking things off with the more recent entry into the festive lyrical season, is a laid back smooth jazz cover of Donny Hathaway's 'This Christmas,' which is in turn backed by new jazz spins taken for 'What Child Is This?' and 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.'

A cover of John Lennon's 'Happy Xmas (War is Over)' had me worried going in (I mean, well, you know), but Stryker's version is a true, and righteous, low key, smooth jazz musical blessing, for sure.

The upbeat and joyful 'Soulful Frosty', Stryker's mash-up of Young-Holt Unlimited's classic 'Soulful Strut' and 'Frosty the Snowman' has to be heard to be believed (and is as inventive as they come within this genre, trust me), and that's followed by another low key take on Vince Guaraldi's infamous 'Christmas Time Is Here.'

A spirited, frenetically jazzed up take on 'Sleigh Ride' will have you snappin' your fingers whilst trying to not spill your egg nog, and then comes a rather soulful take on 'Blue Christmas.'

The album then rounds out with more jazz-imbued takes on holiday classics in the form of both 'We Three Kings' and 'O Tannenbaum' (featuring Eight Track II's Steve Nelson), but then, and as the last beats are heard drifting off, I would suggest hitting Play again and letting the Christmas spirit embrace you for another half an hour!

"It's crazy to be arranging and recording Christmas music in the middle of summer," Dave Stryker admits, "but I think I was able to put my stamp on this batch of holiday favorites and make a pretty hip record along with the always-groovin Stefon Harris, Jared Gold, and McClenty Hunter. We put our Eight Track vibe on these tunes!"

Amazon Purchase Link

Title - 'Down Home Christmas'
Artist - The Oak Ridge Boys

GRAMMY® Award-winning and Country Music Hall of Fame members, The Oak Ridge Boys will once again celebrate the Christmas season with their timeless hits and holiday classics on their 2019 Christmas album, Down Home Christmas.

Produced by Dave Cobb and recorded at Nashville's legendary RCA Studio A, this quite wondrous new Christmas collection includes standards - such as 'Amazing Grace' and 'Silent Night' - alongside new favorites such as 'Don't Go Pullin' On Santa Claus Beard' (written by hit-maker Anderson East) and 'South Alabama Christmas' (written by Jamey Johnson).

In fact, Down Home Christmas (out now via Lightning Rod Records) marks the Oaks' 30th annual Christmas tour, eighth Christmas album, and third album collaboration with producer Dave Cobb; but there's just something fresh, a little crisp, a wee bit more roaring open fire about this one, if you ask me.

1. 'The Family Piano'
2. 'Angels'
3. 'Bring Daddy Home For Christmas'
4. 'Reindeer On The Roof'
5. 'Silent Night'
6. 'Hallelujah Emmanuel'
7. 'Down Home Christmas'
8. 'South Alabama Christmas'
9. 'Don’t Go Pullin’ On Santa Claus’ Beard'
10. 'Amazing Grace'

The boys - Joe Bonsall, Duane Allen, William Lee Golden and Richard Sterban - kick things off with the hearty gathering song 'The Family Piano' which they back up seamlessly with the joyous 'Angels,' the read-aloud pondering missive 'Bring Daddy Home for Christmas,' and both the deep blues vibe of 'Reindeer on the Roof,' and then a quietly stunning 'Silent Night.'

An uplifting 'Hallelujah Emmanuel' is next and that's followed by a rambunctious 'Down Home Christmas,' the lo-fi country of 'South Alabama Christmas,' and then the album rounds out with the fun 'Don't Go Pullin' on Santa Claus' Beard' and (after a quick spoken word intro) an uplifting, stirring rendition of 'Amazing Grace.'

Official CD Purchase Link

Oak Ridge Boys Down Home Christmas Tour 2019:
NOV 13 -The Mansion Theatre / Branson, Mo.
NOV 14 – The Mansion Theatre / Branson, Mo.
NOV 15 – Orpheum Theatre / Sioux City, Iowa
NOV 16 – Deadwood Mountain Grand Hotel / Deadwood, S.D.
NOV 17 – Aberdeen Civic Arena / Aberdeen, S.D.
NOV 18 – Wild Rose Casino & Resort / Jefferson, Iowa
NOV 19 – Hartman Arena / Park City, Kan.
NOV 20 – The Mansion Theatre / Branson, Mo.
NOV 21 – The Mansion Theatre / Branson, Mo.
NOV 22 – Peoria Civic Center Theater / Peoria, Ill.
NOV 23 – The Vern Riffe Center For The Arts / Portsmouth, Ohio
NOV 24 – River City Casino / St. Louis, Mo.
NOV 30 – Memorial Hall / Independence, Kan.
DEC 01 – McCain Auditorium / Manhattan, Kan.
DEC 04 – UMBC Events Center / Baltimore, Md.
DEC 05 – Riviera Theatre / N. Tonawanda, N.Y.
DEC 06 – Palace Theatre / Greensburg, Pa.
DEC 07 – Roland E. Powell Convention Center / Ocean City, Md.
DEC 11 – Paramount Theater / Anderson, Ind.
DEC 14 – Honeywell Center / Wabash, Ind.
DEC 15 – Renfro Valley Entertainment Center / Renfro Valley, Ky.
DEC 18 – Mayo Civic Center Presentation / Rochester, Minn
DEC 19 – Five Flags Center / Dubuque, Iowa
DEC 20 – Shooting Star Casino Hotel / Mahnomen, Minn.
DEC 21 – Crystal Grand Music Theatre / Wisconsin Dells, Wis.
DEC 22 – Rialto Square Theatre / Joliet, Ill.

Title - 'Sin & Redemption'
Artist - David Newbould

Simply put, David Newbould‘s voice embodies a high and lonesome state of being, evoking winds that blow through valleys of fear and over plains of wistful peace.

For those not in the know, born in Toronto, Canada, Newbould set out for the United States toward the end of his teenage years. Following in the footsteps of many of his heroes, he focused his attentions on New York City, landing a spot as a guitar player for indie recording artists The Mercenaries.

He eventually found his own voice as both a writer and performer, self-releasing 2 EP’s (Lab Rat, David Newbould), and developing a loyal fan base through relentless performances and word of mouth – no label support, no major press, no glitz.

His restless nature led him to Austin, TX, where he continued to write and record music, including a third EP (Everyone’s Got Their Own 10), his first full length (Big Red Sun), and produced an ambitious live CD/DVD package (The Long Way Home: David Newbould & Friends – Live From Austin).

In 2009, Newbould relocated to Nashville, TN. Embraced by the musical community there, he released several more solo projects (the full length Tennessee and EP’s The Devil Is His Name and Live At The Building) and began creative collaborations with artists like Dan Baird, Whiskey Wolves of the West and more.

Released this past October 18th, 2019 via Rock Ridge Music, Americana singer-songwriter David Newbould has brought out his latest, and to my mind (and ears) best music to date on the quick stunning Sin & Redemption.

1. 'Sensitive Heart'
2. 'Sin & Redemption'
3. 'Smiling In The Rain'
4. 'Long Road to Barstow'
5. 'Sweet Virginia Morn'
6. 'Diamonds in the Dark'
7. 'Runaround Town'
8. 'Love You Too Much (Henry's Song)'
9. 'L.A. Dreams'
10. 'Oh Katy (Just Gettin' By)'

The album opens with the rambunctious rocker 'Sensitive Heart' before backing that up seamlessly with the title track imbued by family tragedy, 'Sin & Redemption,' before slowing his roll for the mid-tempo 'Smiling In The Rain.'

'Long Road To Barstow' - a track written by Newbould with Leroy Powell - continues that vibe, albeit masking its tragic tale with a lush '70s rock groove before too long, and then we get one of the best songs on this brilliant 10-track album, the free flowing 'Sweet Virginia Morn.'

Recorded at Franklin, Tenn.'s Sound Shelter Studios and co-produced by Chris Tench and Tres Sasser, next up is the drum-led, anthemic and defiantly stood ground of staring down the abyss within 'Diamonds In The Dark,' which Newbould backs perfectly with the autobiographical, Springsteen-esque 'Runaround Town.'

This vibrantly raw, and yet never formulaic album then rounds out with the gentle, feelgood hipsway duo of 'Love You Too Much (Henry's Song)' and 'L.A. Dreams,' before the hard knock-life storytelling of 'Oh Katy (Just Gettin' By)' brings the album to a close.

Amazon Purchase Link

David Newbould @ Facebook

Title - 'Mieczysùaw Weinberg: Chamber Music'
Artist - Kremer/Dirvanauskaite/Avdeeva

For those not in the know, among the world's leading violinists, Gidon Kremer has perhaps pursued the most unconventional career.

He was born on the 27th of February, 1947 in Riga, Latvia, and began studying at the age of four with his father and grandfather, both distinguished string players.

At the age of seven, he enrolled as a student at Riga Music School where he made rapid progress, and at sixteen he was awarded the First Prize of the Latvian Republic.

Two years later he began his studies with David Oistrakh at the Moscow Conservatory.

Gidon Kremer went on to win a series of prestigious awards, including prizes in the 1967 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels and 1969 Montreal International Music Competition and first prize in both the 1969 Paganini and 1970 Tchaikovsky International Competitions.

Following the success of the Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21 with conductor Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla, Deutsche Grammophon now features chamber music by Mieczysùaw Weinberg under the direction of Gidon Kremer.

Releasing November 8th, 2019, Mieczysùaw Weinberg Chamber Music includes, among others, his Three Pieces for Violin and Piano, which Weinberg completed in the winter of 1934/35 when he was only 15 years old and had not yet received any compositional training.

Mieczysùaw Weinberg (1919-1996)
3 Pieces for Violin and Piano
1. 1. Nocturne Moderato
2. 2. Scherzo. Allegro
3. 3. Sen o lalce. Moderato

Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in A Minor op. 24
4. 1. Praludium und Arie. Larghetto
5. 2. Toccata. Allegro marcato
6. 3. Poem. Moderato
7. 4. Finale. Allegro moderato

Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 6 op. 136bis
8. 1. Moderato
9. 2. Adagio
10. 3. Moderato - Adagio

Gidon Kremer (violin) and friends Yulianna Avdeeva (piano), and Giedrë Dirvanauskaitë (cello), perform three pieces of chamber music by the Polish-born Soviet composer, including an simply breathtaking, outstanding account of the Piano Trio.

What connects Weinberg’s works is not only their compositional perfection, but above all their constant commitment to beauty. It is a confession that in Weinberg’s music is above all pain and suffering.

For me, as I'm sure for others out there also connected, by music like this, to the great masters before our time, Weinberg’s Chamber Music (as with his Symphonies) reflect his creativity and the dramatic times in which he lived — the formal lucidity and directness of the First, and the elegiac Third — both derived from string quartets composed in the shadow of the Second World War.

Simply put, everything on this recording is masterfully played and most assuredly performed at the highest of levels. The 3 Pieces for Violin and Piano opener a particular favorite of mine and imbued to perfection here by the outstanding trio.

Mieczysùaw Weinberg Chamber Music has been released in collaboration with the Adam Mickiewicz Institute as part of the Polska Music program and POLSKA 100, the international cultural program celebrating the centenary of Poland regaining independence.

Official CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Black & White Night [30th Anniversary Edition]'
Artist - Roy Orbison

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

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

The rest, as they say, is history and so as much as its been said his career stagnated from 1965 through the entire 1970s, come the mid-1980s, Roy Orbison (who, yes, had been out of the limelight for quite some time), suddenly found that his song, “In Dreams” was being prominently featured in David Lynch’s landmark 1986 film noir 'Blue Velvet.'

As fate would have it, suddenly that hit film along with the chart topper from another era helped reignite interest in the "Big O" and so on September 30th, 1987, Orbison, then 51, staged a remarkable comeback with the help of guest musicians whom he had influenced: Jackson Browne, T Bone Burnett, Elvis Costello, k.d. lang, Bonnie Raitt, J.D. Souther, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits and Jennifer Warnes.

The all-star concert at the Ambassador Hotel’s Cocoanut Grove night club was filmed a television special and broadcast as Roy Orbison & Friends: Black & White Night on Cinemax the following January, sadly, less than a year before the icon’s untimely passing.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of that very same renowned televised comeback concert in Los Angeles, Sony Music’s Legacy Recordings has teamed up with Roy’s Boys LLC, the Nashville-based company founded by the late icon’s sons to administer their father’s catalog and safeguard his legacy for a special commemorative album release.

Ergo, what we have here is a delicious Black & White Night (30th Anniversary Edition) 2LP vinyl set that includes three tracks omitted from the original 1989 live album of the same name.

Released on October 18th, 2019, the film Black & White Night 30 will also be made available in its entirety, and will feature prominently on the Roy Orbison YouTube channel come October 23rd.

This re-imagined, re-edited, remastered and expanded version of the original television special was released as both as a CD/DVD set and as a CD/Blu-ray set in 2017 by Roy’s Boys and Legacy Recordings, but trust me when I say, listening to it now on lush newly-remastered 180-gram vinyl just makes my skin tingle!

Side A:
1. "Only the Lonely"
2. "Leah"
3. "In Dreams"
4. "Crying"
5. "Uptown"

Side B:
1. "The Comedians"
2. "Blue Angel"
3. "It's Over"
4. "Running Scared"
5. "Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)"

Side C:
1. "Mean Woman Blues"
2. "Candy Man"
3. "Ooby Dooby'
4. "Blue Bayou'
5. "Go! Go! Go! (Down the Line)"

Side D:
1. "(All I Can Do Is) Dream You"
2. "Claudette"
3. "Oh, Pretty Woman" (Live, Alternative Version)
4. "Oh, Pretty Woman"

Listening to these tracks, one after the other, flipping the vinyl over at the end of each side-finishing cut, it can begin to feel like you've entered unto something that there is no going back on for the night.

His voice, his unmistakable vocal tone is timeless, let alone those of all his famous guests, which makes every single one of these songs a listening experience all of, and unto itself.

I mean, no one, but no one had the kind of timber, melody, and operatic voice that Roy Orbison possessed. He could sway and slide into the highest notes with the greatest of ease, unleashing one hit song or beloved album track after another.

They just all, quite literally, flowed from his mouth and with no insidious chatter in between, well, we are presented with a pure, beautiful, unadulterated live show of soulful music from this Texan who left us far too soon.

Listening along in the knowledge that Bonnie Raitt, Jennifer Warnes, and K.D. Lang are his back up singers, and that he has alongside him such greats as Bruce Springsteen Tom Waits, a young, unabashed Elvis Costello, Jackson Browne, J.D. Souther and Steven Soles - let alone the fact that his backing band that night was the TCB Band, which accompanied Elvis Presley from 1969 until his death in 1977 - and you already know that this recording (in all its forms) will live on forever in the annals of music/film history.

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 up to the mic in 1987 with his friends.

In 2017, Roy’s youngest son Alex Orbison and his co-editor Luke Chalk went back and re-edited the television special, using previously unseen shots from the hundreds of hours of footage that existed from the seven-camera shoot.

They also restored the program to reflect the correct set order, so that viewers could see Roy, brilliantly backed by Elvis Presley’s TCB Band (James Burton, Glen D. Hardin, Jerry Scheff, Ron Tutt), blast through massive Orbison hits such as “Only the Lonely, “In Dreams” and “Crying” just as the star-studded live audience witnessed them on that very night.

Black & White Night 30 was born.

In 1989, the audio from the original television special was posthumously released on CD, LP and cassette as A Black And White Night Live by Roy Orbison And Friends.

This single disc album excluded the song “Claudette,” and it also left off “Blue Angel,” which was recorded that night, but didn’t air as part of the original television special.

Hence, this new 2LP vinyl collection of Black & White Night (30th Anniversary Edition) includes those tracks, as well as an alternate version of Roy’s smash hit “Oh, Pretty Woman,” in addition to the original version originally aired, now in the order in which they were performed.

Housed in a deluxe and beautiful gatefold jacket, Black & White Night (30th Anniversary Edition) also comes with a download card for all 19 tracks.

Official 2LP Vinyl Purchase Link

Official Roy Orbison Store

Official Roy Orbison YouTube Channel

Title - 'Big Little Lies [Music From Season 2]' (2LP)
Artist - Various

For those not in the know, ABKCO Music & Records actually released its second 'Big Little Lies' soundtrack digitally on July 19th, just ahead of the July 21st season finale of the multiple Emmy® and Golden Globe®-winning series.

That was immediately followed with the CD on September 6th, and a quite wondrous 2LP vinyl in gatefold sleeve on September 27th, 2019.

Big Little Lies: Music from Season 2 of the HBO® Limited Series includes music by Willie Nelson, Charles Bradley and the Spinners and is highlighted by previously unreleased exclusive tracks by Leon Bridges and Jim James.

Side A:
1. 'I'll Be Around' - The Spinners (Episode 1)
2. 'Good Thing Gone' - Elle King (Episode 2)
3. 'Harvest Moon' - Cassandra Wilson (Episode 1)

Side B:
4. 'Until You Came Into My Life' - Ann Peebles (Episode 6)
5. 'The Fade Out Line' - Phoebe Killdeer and The Short Straws (Episode 1)
6. 'Great Big Bundle of Love' - Brenton Wood (Episode 2)
7. 'Let Love Stand A Chance' - Charles Bradley (feat. Menahan Street Band) (Episode 2)

Side C:
8. 'Baby' - Donnie & Joe Emerson (Episode 5)
9. 'Dreams' - POP ETC (Episode 4)
10. 'That Was Yesterday' - Leon Bridges (Episode 7)
11. 'Why Can't We Live Together' - Jim James (Episode 4)

Side D:
12. 'Have You Ever Seen The Rain' - Willie Nelson feat. Paula Nelson (Episode 7)
13. 'Piece of My Heart' - Christina Vierra and The Ryan Rehm Band (Episode 7)
14. 'Shake Sugaree' - Elizabeth Cotten and Brenda Evans (Episode 6)

In truth, Big Little Lies [Music From Season 2] is a rather solid, if not stand alone studio album that, once again, melds and weaves various musical influences into and throughout the TV series.

Side A opens with The Spinners' beloved first hit, 'I'll Be Around' (played in the very first episode when the Monterey Five greet each other on the first day of school), and then follows on with both the raw, earthy, breathy tone of 'Good Thing Gone' (from Elle King) and then the crystalline beauty of the ballad 'Harvest Moon' from Cassandra Wilson (which plays whilst Celeste drives home and remembers the good moments with Perry while Mary Louise cooks dinner).

Side B opens with the always-a-delight-to-hear 1974 hit 'Until You Came Into My Life' from Ann Peebles, which in turn is followed by Phoebe Killdeer & The Short Straws' finger-snappin' gem 'The Fade Out Line' (which plays at the open air bar while Jane and Celeste are having a drink together).

Next up is the pep and bounce flow of 1970's 'Great Big Bundle Of Love' from Brenton Wood with 2013's 'Let Love Stand A Chance' from Charles Bradley now being enforced here by the Brooklyn, New York-based instrumental group, the Menahan Street Band.

Side C opens with Donnie And Joe Emerson late '70s smooth roll 'Baby,' and then comes one of the stand out tracks for me on this entire 2LP set, POP ETC's magnificently lush take on Fleetwood Mac's infamous 'Dreams.'

Played as Madeline is out of bed early and watching the light of the sunrise against the ocean while drinking coffee, that right royal musical gem is backed seamlessly by a pair of previously unreleased songs: Leon Bridges' 'That Was Yesterday' and Jim James' Why Can't We Live Together by Jim James cover of Timmy Thomas's gorgeous, spare soul mantra from 1973.

Side D opens with Willie Nelson and his daughter Paula on Creedence Clearwater Revival's 'Have You Ever Seen The Rain,' and baks that up with an absolutely blistering take on Janis Joplan's 'Piece Of My Heart' by Christina Vierra and The Ryan Rehm Band.

Finally bringing the musical show to a close is an amazing trip down memory lane on 'Shake Sugaree,' from Elizabeth Cotten on guitar and her twelve year-old great grandchild Brenda Evans singing from back in 1967.

2LP Vinyl Amazon Purchase Link

ABKCO @ Facebook

Title - 'Moonlight, Mistletoe & You'
Artist - Keb' Mo'

For those not in the complete know, Kevin Roosevelt Moore, known as Keb' Mo', is an American blues musician and four-time Grammy Award winner.

A singer, guitarist, and songwriter, living in Nashville, Tennessee, he has been described as "a living link to the seminal Delta blues that travelled up the Mississippi River and across the expanse of America".

Furthermore, his post-modern blues style is influenced by many eras and genres, including folk, rock, jazz, pop and country and his moniker of "Keb Mo" was coined by his original drummer, Quentin Dennard, and picked up by his record label as a "street talk" abbreviation of his given name.

Well, Keb’ Mo’s first collection of holiday music, Moonlight, Mistletoe, & You (out now via Concord Records), is a charming collection of both original songs and covers of lesser-known classics.

Indeed, the album is a celebration of the holiday season, Keb’ style, full of yuletide greetings and bluesy cheer.

1. 'Please Come Home For Christmas'
2. 'Moonlight, Mistletoe, & You'
3. 'Better Everyday'
4. 'Santa Claus, Santa Claus'
5. 'Christmas Is Annoying'
6. 'Merry, Merry Christmas'
7. 'I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm'
8. 'Santa Claus Blues'
9. 'When The Children Sing'
10. 'One More Year With You'

The veteran blues singer kicks things of with some soft smooth jazz in the form of 'Please Come Home For Christmas,' which he backs seamlessly with both a luscious turn on the title track (which also features some stellar accompaniment from saxophonist Gerald Albright), and then the finger-snappin' gospel sound of 'Better Everyday.'

He then brings some blues to the fore with the guitar and piano-soaked 'Santa Claus, Santa Claus,' which is followed by the darker side of the holiday season, the tongue in cheek 'Christmas Is Annoying.'

The beat is brought back up though for the guitar hipsway of 'Merry, Merry Christmas,' with his balladry duet featuring Melissa Manchester 'I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm' one of the stand out cuts here, for sure.

Reaching back into the Deep South, we get 'Santa Claus Blues,' before the album wraps itself up nicely with a children's choir-backed 'When The Children Sing,' and then some sentimental reminiscing found within 'One More Year With You.'

Official Purchase Link

Keb Mo @ Facebook

Keb Mo @ Twitter

Title - 'Absoulutely'
Artist - Cornell

Cornell “CC” Carter has been gracing stages and entertaining fans with his signature sound around the world for many years.

Indeed, he has shared the stage with such legends as James Brown, Ray Charles and The Temptations, and has worked with Grammy Award winning producer Narada Michael Walden (Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin).

However, it is during the past few years that he has really made a name for himself, breaking out as a top tier solo artist and winning more fans for his personal brand of melodic, soulful music.

"CC" describes his brand new album, Absoulutely as an album full of “songs that came through my Soul and out of my Heart”, and having listened to it twice through now, I can honestly say that it is also his most rounded, and indeed his most soulful to date.

Including two classic cover tracks delivered in "CC"s signature soulful style - 'We’re A Winner' by Curtis Mayfield, and 'Come Live With Me Angel' by Marvin Gaye - "CC" and his main Producer Kirk Crumpler also received tremendous contributions from other talented musicians.

These included his Mentor and Grammy winning Producer Narada Michael Walden, Eddie M (Sheila E) on saxophone, Rich Armstrong (Tony Toni Tone, etc.) on trumpet, Brian Braziel on drums, James Henry on percussion, Dave Shul and Larry White (Bobby Brown) on guitar, along with Cam Perridge (who also was the albums engineer).

1. 'Say Yes'
2. 'I See Love'
3. 'Earn It'
4. 'Come Live With Me Angel'
5. 'I Could Never'
6. 'Ever Since' (featuring Eddie M.)
7. 'Love Thang'
8. 'Morning Touch' (featuring Naté Soulsanger)
9. 'Ghosted'
10. 'We're A Winner'

The album kicks off with the super soulful R&B bounce of 'Say Yes,' which he backs up seamlessly with both the soaring mid-tempo beauty 'I See Love' and the slow funk ballad 'Earn It.'

'Come Live With Me Angel,' complete with a lush horn section is up next and is backed by the upbeat dancefloor vibe of 'I Could Never', the laid back, sax-infused hipsway of 'Ever Since' (featuring Eddie M.), and then both the finger-snappin' 'Love Thang' and the smooth slide of 'Morning Touch' (featuring Naté Soulsanger).

This quite impressive new album then rounds out with one of the best tracks on the album, for my money, the pumped up, late '70s roller disco bounce of 'Ghosted' with the triumphant funky bass groove of 'We're A Winner' bringing the album to a close.

Amazon Digital Purchase Link

Cornell "CC" Carter @ Facebook

Title - 'No Agenda'
Artist - Bernie Mora & Tangent

Guitarist Bernie Mora & Tangent have been around for a while, but their brand new album, No Agenda (out now via Rhombus Records) might just be one of their most expressive to date.

Giving us nine original tracks that captivate and inspire with rocking riffs and groove-filled rhythms, the album is chock full of wondrous rhythms and vibrant riffs and having now listened to it twice through, I can tell you it is also now in my Top 10 of the year!

1. 'Mon Cheri'
2. 'Commando Roll'
3. 'Later Daze'
4. 'No Agenda'
5. 'Doc the Clock'
6. 'Take Me Away (Reprise)'
7. 'Cup a Joe'
8. 'Pale Moon Funk'
9. 'It's a Honu World'

As it's been heard through the jazz grapevine that jazz fans who have attached themselves to Bernie Mora & Tangent over the years have started to feel slightly worried about the genres evolution in their hands, well, here on No Agenda it's safe to say that they will once again be satisfied with the direction and chord constructions brought forth.

From the off, tracks such as both the free flowing 'Mon Cheri' and the harder jazz/guitar stylings of 'Commando Roll' are just a joy to behold and are backed seamlessly by cuts such as the mid-tempo 'Later Daze,' the drum-led title track, and then the smooth jazz-lite roll of 'Doc the Clock' (a touching tribute to the group’s former drummer, the late Doc Anthony).

The jangly, funky, late '40s ballroom swing vibe of 'Take Me Away (Reprise)' is then followed by Mora's guitar being let loose early via an opening shred movement on the prog/jazz 'Cup a Joe,' which is followed by the hipsway bounce of the horn-drenched 'Pale Moon Funk, with the album rounding out with the Maui-flavored, melodic smooth jazz breeze on 'It's a Honu World.'

So yes, No Agenda is a jazz album, my friends, but it is also a showpiece for Mora's incredible, and at times pulsating guitar work too.

Working between the lines of the musicians he surrounds himself with - Charles Godfrey, drums and percussion; Daniel Becker, bass and acoustic 12 string; Doug Webb, saxes and flutes; Corey Alley, keyboards; Lee Thornberg, trumpets and trombones; and Guest Artists Eric Unsworth (fretless bass) and Leilani Rivera Low (Hawaiian chant) - this album is fresh, original, funky, bold in its expressions, and high energy (for the most part) throughout.

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Bernie Mora & Tangent @ Facebook

Title - 'Silent Night'
Artist - John Basile

When asked about his most important influences, the first two names he mentions are not other guitar players; Frank Sinatra heads the list and then pianist Bill Evans.

Perhaps this explains why John Basile is one of a select group of jazz instrumentalists who doesn’t sound like everyone else.

Musically, his guitar style utilizes a finger-style technique that approaches the guitar like a piano.

For John, the challenge of comping harmonic chord fragments and playing melodies simultaneously provides a backdrop for a more open style of playing and improvising.

His brand new album, Silent Night (released this past September 23rd, 2019), features a layering of textures arranged, recorded, and performed using midi jazz guitar and digital recording techniques.

Furthermore, nylon and electric guitars were then added “live” to create an engagingly fresh set of treatments to these classic holiday themes that we all know and love, but I can assure you have never heard performed in such a stylized and finitely cultured way before.

1. 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen'
2. 'Baby Its Cold Outside'
3. 'Lulladay'
4. 'Silver Bells'
5. 'Silent Night'
6. 'Toyland'
7. 'Oh Tannenbaum'
8. 'What Child It This?'
9. 'A Child Is Born'
10. 'Christmas Time Is Here'
11. 'The First Noel'
12. 'Auld Lang Syne'

Opening with the gentle soul of 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen' and backing it up with a cozy 'Baby Its Cold Outside,' the lush original 'Lulladay,' and then both a jubilant 'Silver Bells' and a free flowing 'Silent Night', trust me when I say that this is the only Christmas album you'll need for those quieter moments this holiday season.

A delightful 'Toyland' is next and that's followed by a versed rendition of 'Oh Tannenbaum' (that you might not even recognize, in truth), with an upbeat 'What Child It This?' and a lo-fi 'A Child Is Born' along next.

This quite magnificent, expertly created and formidably precise Christmas album then rounds out with the ornate 'Christmas Time Is Here', a veritably opulent 'The First Noel', and then comes to a close on a rich and sculptured rendition of 'Auld Lang Syne.'

"I like to combine the best elements of current technology with the traditional aspects of using real guitars,' Basile says. "It’s the best of both world’s as you combine the craft of predetermined musical architecture in the midi world with true jazz guitar improvisation."

"I think the integrity of each concept is extremely valid and that comes through clearly on Silent Night."

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Title - 'The Many Open Minds of Roger Kellaway'
Artist - Roger Kellaway

For those not in the know, Roger Kellaway is an American composer, arranger, and pianist born in Waban, Massachusetts, who is also an alumnus of the New England Conservatory.

Indeed, Kellaway has composed commissioned works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, and jazz big band, as well as for film, TV, ballet and stage productions.

One of his early mentors, the late Phil Saltman, was his piano teacher and ran a summer music camp called ENCORE in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

The Grammy-award winner and Academy-award nominated Pianist/Composer, has recorded more than two hundred and fifty albums and has worked with everyone from Ellington to Elvis, Joni Mitchell to Barbra Streisand, and Quincy Jones to Yo-Yo Ma, over the years.

Oh, and as I myself find this fact to be rather excellent, Kellaway also wrote and played the closing theme, 'Remembering You' for the TV sitcom All in the Family, which ran from 1971 to 1979, and its spinoff Archie Bunker's Place (1979-1983).

Well, the legendary pianist Roger Kellaway turns 80 this year and his background as an artist and popular performer is celebrated on this brand new album The Many Open Minds of Roger Kellaway (out now via IPO Recordings LLC.) created live at the Los Angeles Jazz Bakery.

1. '52nd Street Theme'
2. 'Have You Met Miss Jones'
3. 'Doxy'
4. 'Take Five'
5. 'Take The 'A' Train
6. 'Night and Day'
7. 'Caravan'

Featuring alongside Kellaway both Bruce Forman on guitar and Dan Lutz on bass, this luscious, absolutely sonically endearing album begins with the frenetic musicianship of '52nd Street Theme' (Thelonious Monk), and backs that up with both the slow-n-easy 'Have You Met Miss Jones' (Richard Rodgers), and the mid-tempo funk of 'Doxy' (Sonny Rollins).

Paul Desmond's methodical, quietly paced 'Take Five' is a joy to behold unto itself and is followed seamlessly by the longest track on the album, the near 13-minute lesson in exuberant piano playing, 'Take The 'A' Train' (Billy Strayhorn).

The sumptuous rendition of Cole Porter's 'Night and Day' is, for me, the highlight of this recording, of which is brought to a close with the upbeat and tenacious piano work found on 'Caravan' (Juan Tizol and Duke Ellington).

Take it from me, listening to this album you get a small sadness well up inside you that you weren't there the night that that it was recorded, but that suddenly fades when you realize that you are holding, and most likely subsequently playing and replaying one of the finest albums of this genre ever made in the modern day.

Amazon Digital Purchase Link

Title - 'Let It Bleed: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Box'
Artist - Rolling Stones

For those not in the know, this coming November 15th, 2019, ABKCO Music & Records will reissue the Rolling Stones‘ 1969 album Let It Bleed as a quite wondrous 50th Anniversary Deluxe Box-Set.

This 2 LP/ 2 Hybrid Super Audio CD set was entirely remastered in both stereo and mono by Grammy®-winning engineer Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering.

The collection also comes with a reproduction of the 1969 7” mono single of 'Honky Tonk Women'/ 'You Can’t Always Get What You Want,' in a picture sleeve.

Also included are three 12” x 12” hand-numbered replica-signed lithographs printed on embossed archival paper, and a full-color 23” x 23” poster with restored art from the original 1969 Decca Records package.

An 80 page hardcover book that includes an essay by journalist David Fricke and never-before-seen photos by the band’s tour photographer Ethan Russell is also part of the set.

FYI: ABKCO Records is also releasing the remastered stereo version of Let It Bleed as a stand-alone CD, vinyl LP, and digitally.

LP 1 – Stereo
Side 1
1. 'Gimme Shelter'
2. 'Love In Vain'
3. 'Country Honk'
4. 'Live with Me'
5. 'Let It Bleed'

Side 2
6. 'Midnight Rambler'
7. 'You Got the Silver'
8. 'Monkey Man'
9. 'You Can’t Always Get What You Want'

LP 2 – Mono
Side 1
1. 'Gimme Shelter'
2. 'Love In Vain'
3. 'Country Honk'
4. 'Live with Me'
5. 'Let It Bleed'

Side 2
6. 'Midnight Rambler'
7. 'You Got the Silver'
8. 'Monkey Man'
9. 'You Can’t Always Get What You Want'

Hybrid Super Audio CD 1 – Stereo
1. 'Gimme Shelter'
2. 'Love In Vain'
3. 'Country Honk'
4. 'Live with Me'
5. 'Let It Bleed'
6. 'Midnight Rambler'
7. 'You Got the Silver'
8. 'Monkey Man'
9. 'You Can’t Always Get What You Want'

Hybrid Super Audio CD 2 – Mono
1. 'Gimme Shelter'
2. 'Love In Vain'
3. 'Country Honk'
4. 'Live with Me'
5. 'Let It Bleed'
6. 'Midnight Rambler'
7. 'You Got the Silver'
8. 'Monkey Man'
9. 'You Can’t Always Get What You Want'

7” Vinyl Single – (Mono)
Side A – 'Honky Tonk Women'
Side B – 'You Can’t Always Get What You Want'

OK, so lets kick things off here with a review of the actual album, whether it be in Stereo or Mono, for either way it is a classic of the highest order; I think we can all agree.

One of the Stones' most beloved albums, 1969's Let It Bleed was a benchmark for several reasons. First, founding guitarist Brian Jones died during the recording process.

Second, the Stones take their last significant look at pure blues (Robert Johnson's spooky 'Love in Vain') and country ('Country Honk,' the two-stepping alter ego of 'Honky-Tonk Women') before folding both styles into a cohesive rock & roll vision.

Third, it contains some of the band's most eerie hits, such as the flame-enveloped 'Gimme Shelter,' the drug-reality anthem 'Monkey Man,' the epic 'You Can't Always Get What You Want,' and Mick Jagger's menacing 'Midnight Rambler.'

In addition to bridging the departure (and subsequent death) of Jones and the arrival of his successor, Mick Taylor, the latter is represented here on a couple of tracks ('Country Honk,' 'Live With Me'), just as Brian shows up on a pair of numbers ('You Got The Silver,' 'Midnight Rambler'), but this is really a Mick Jagger/Keith Richards creative showcase in every way possible.

From the first note to the last, and its most rootsy moment ('Country Honk') to the most elegant arrangements (the chorus on 'You Can't Always Get What You Want'), there's not a wrong note sounded anywhere on this album; which, as noted, was one of the landmarks of the group's entire output, steeped in bluesy decadence.

But lest we also forget that 'You Got The Silver' was also the first-ever Rolling Stones recording where Keith took on lead vocals while Mick manned the harmonica.

Furthermore, this is the rarest of albums where it didn't generate a huge amount of hit singles, but where the best tracks have definitely stood the test of time.

Indeed, this is never more evidenced than on 'Gimme Shelter,' a track that spoke of the uncertain future that was the late '60s as any and has been featured in several movies: 'Goodfellas' and 'Casino,' among them.

The carefree title track, the driving blues track 'Midnight Rambler,' and the reflective anthem 'You Can't Always Get What You Want' have endured just as well, with the breakdown during 'Midnight Rambler' still talked about and lauded today.

In all honesty though, I was hoping for some outtakes, demos, alternative tracks, unreleased live material and so forth, but none of that is to be found here.

I mean, with a ton of archived Stones material in the vaults, surely ABKCO could have grouped together different versions of the tracks associated with this album and added them as a rather delightful third vinyl LP, perhaps?

Regardless, the Hybrid Super Audio CDs are a nice touch and really enhance the tracks with a new crystalline soundscape. Although they have reissued these SACD Hybrids in DSD before (2002), their sound definitely has an edge over all of the competition, that's for sure.

Graphic designer Robert Brownjohn’s sketches for his original cover art depicting several random round items piled onto the spindle of an antique record player (including a cake with figurines representing the band members) is beautifully reproduced here in this 50th Anniversary Limited Deluxe Edition Box-Set.

The sketches are offered on two 12” x 12” lithographs, hand numbered, replica-signed and printed on embossed archival paper. A third lithograph of the finalized art, sans titles, completes the set housed in a foil-stamped envelope.

Brownjohn passed away less than a year after the release of the album; his estate granted ABKCO exclusive use to manufacture his images and signature.

The excellent, and heavy 80 page hardcover book contains both black and white and color photographs (all be it the former being more prevalent) taken by the band’s tour photographer Ethan Russell.

Inclusive of never-before-seen shots of Mick and Keith seated in the studio, guitars slung, heads tilted up at those speaking, seemingly absorbing the rights and wrongs of the recording studio process, they are rather darling in their own right.

The inclusive essay by journalist David Fricke is a welcome addition also and completely consumes us whilst captivating us with its detailed knowledge and revealing neve-told-before behind-the-scenes tidbits.

'Honky Tonk Women' (b/w 'You Can’t Always Get What You Want') was originally released four months ahead of Let It Bleed.

'Honky Tonk Women,' with its distinctive cowbell-centric intro, was a #1 hit in both the US and UK, and was reprised on the album in a countryfied manner as 'Country Honk.'

Eleven-time Grammy®-winning mastering engineer Bob Ludwig was tasked with remastering this edition of Let It Bleed and worked from Direct Stream Digital files taken from the original tapes at a 2.8 MHz sampling rate.

“When we did the first Let It Bleed remaster in 2002, our intention was to pay homage to the original work,” said Ludwig, who is no stranger to the Stones catalog, having mastered or remastered many of their classic albums over the past four decades.

"When we did this new version, the purpose was to make it as great as it could possibly sound. If you listen on a good set of speakers or good headphones, you’ll hear subtle things in the background that are now much more clear that were somewhat hidden before.”

The package also comes with a reproduction of the full color 23” x 23” poster that came with the original 1969 Decca Records UK version of Let It Bleed.

Pre-Order Purchase Links

Watch the Limited Deluxe Edition Unboxing!

Stream 'Monkey Man'

Watch the Official Lyric Video for 'Monkey Man'

ABKCO @ Facebook

Title - 'Down Home Christmas'
Artist - The Oak Ridge Boys

GRAMMY® Award-winning and Country Music Hall of Fame members, The Oak Ridge Boys will once again celebrate the Christmas season with their timeless hits and holiday classics on their 2019 Christmas album, Down Home Christmas.

Produced by Dave Cobb and recorded at Nashville's legendary RCA Studio A, this quite wondrous new Christmas collection includes standards - such as 'Amazing Grace' and 'Silent Night' - alongside new favorites such as 'Don't Go Pullin' On Santa Claus Beard' (written by hit-maker Anderson East) and 'South Alabama Christmas' (written by Jamey Johnson).

In fact, Down Home Christmas (out now via Lightning Rod Records) marks the Oaks' 30th annual Christmas tour, eighth Christmas album, and third album collaboration with producer Dave Cobb; but there's just something fresh, a little crisp, a wee bit more roaring open fire about this one, if you ask me.

1. 'The Family Piano'
2. 'Angels'
3. 'Bring Daddy Home For Christmas'
4. 'Reindeer On The Roof'
5. 'Silent Night'
6. 'Hallelujah Emmanuel'
7. 'Down Home Christmas'
8. 'South Alabama Christmas'
9. 'Don’t Go Pullin’ On Santa Claus’ Beard'
10. 'Amazing Grace'

The boys - Joe Bonsall, Duane Allen, William Lee Golden and Richard Sterban - kick things off with the hearty gathering song 'The Family Piano' which they back up seamlessly with the joyous 'Angels,' the read-aloud pondering missive 'Bring Daddy Home for Christmas,' and both the deep blues vibe of 'Reindeer on the Roof,' and then a quietly stunning 'Silent Night.'

An uplifting 'Hallelujah Emmanuel' is next and that's followed by a rambunctious 'Down Home Christmas,' the lo-fi country of 'South Alabama Christmas,' and then the album rounds out with the fun 'Don't Go Pullin' on Santa Claus' Beard' and (after a quick spoken word intro) an uplifting, stirring rendition of 'Amazing Grace.'

Official CD Purchase Link

Oak Ridge Boys Down Home Christmas Tour 2019:
NOV 13 -The Mansion Theatre / Branson, Mo.
NOV 14 – The Mansion Theatre / Branson, Mo.
NOV 15 – Orpheum Theatre / Sioux City, Iowa
NOV 16 – Deadwood Mountain Grand Hotel / Deadwood, S.D.
NOV 17 – Aberdeen Civic Arena / Aberdeen, S.D.
NOV 18 – Wild Rose Casino & Resort / Jefferson, Iowa
NOV 19 – Hartman Arena / Park City, Kan.
NOV 20 – The Mansion Theatre / Branson, Mo.
NOV 21 – The Mansion Theatre / Branson, Mo.
NOV 22 – Peoria Civic Center Theater / Peoria, Ill.
NOV 23 – The Vern Riffe Center For The Arts / Portsmouth, Ohio
NOV 24 – River City Casino / St. Louis, Mo.
NOV 30 – Memorial Hall / Independence, Kan.
DEC 01 – McCain Auditorium / Manhattan, Kan.
DEC 04 – UMBC Events Center / Baltimore, Md.
DEC 05 – Riviera Theatre / N. Tonawanda, N.Y.
DEC 06 – Palace Theatre / Greensburg, Pa.
DEC 07 – Roland E. Powell Convention Center / Ocean City, Md.
DEC 11 – Paramount Theater / Anderson, Ind.
DEC 14 – Honeywell Center / Wabash, Ind.
DEC 15 – Renfro Valley Entertainment Center / Renfro Valley, Ky.
DEC 18 – Mayo Civic Center Presentation / Rochester, Minn
DEC 19 – Five Flags Center / Dubuque, Iowa
DEC 20 – Shooting Star Casino Hotel / Mahnomen, Minn.
DEC 21 – Crystal Grand Music Theatre / Wisconsin Dells, Wis.
DEC 22 – Rialto Square Theatre / Joliet, Ill.

Title - 'Live in Tokyo '91' [2CD]
Artist - Barney Wilen Quartet

For those not in the know, born in Nice, Barney Wilen (1937-1996) saw his career boosted in 1957 when he worked with Miles Davis on the soundtrack of Louis Malle's film Ascenseur pour l'échafaud.

In 1959 he wrote his two soundtracks, Un temoin dans la ville and Jazz sur scène with Kenny Clarke and he also wrote a soundtrack for Roger Vadim's film Les liaisons dangereuses two years later; working with Thelonious Monk.

Wilen toured Japan for the first time in 1990 and returned the following year, when this concert was taped. He died of cancer in Paris at the age of 59.

Thankfully for all us fans, Elemental Music has just released this past October 11th, 2019 a complete previously-unissued quartet performance in pristine sound quality by this great French saxophonist, Barney Wilen.

Entitled Live in Tokyo '91 this glorious concert finds him playing at the Keystone Korner in Tokyo, Japan, on February 11th, 1991 and the quartet is completed by Olivier Hutman at the piano, Gilles Naturel on bass, and Peter Gritz on drums.

CD 1:
1. 'Introduction'
2. 'Beautiful Love'
3. 'L'Âmes Des Poêtes'
4. 'Mon Blouson (C'est Ma Maison)'
5. 'Que Reste-t-il De Nos Amours?'
6. 'Bêsame Mucho'

CD 2:
1. 'How Deep Is The Ocean?'
2. 'Little Lu'
3. 'Old Folks'
4. 'Latin Alley'
5. 'Bass Blues'
6. 'No Problem' (from Lisasons Dangereuses)
7. 'Goodbye'
8. 'Doxy' (Encore)

With an amazing two hours of music spread over the two CDs, unpublished music, at that, Live in Tokyo '91 (recorded live at Keystone Korner in Tokyo) is a quite brilliant musical endeavor and a truly breathtaking musical unearthing.

It was actually Wilen’s second trip to Japan and alongside his amazing aforementioned trio of bandsmen the saxophonist sure makes his tenor and soprano sax come to life whilst drifting through a wide variety of genres.

Genres such as French traditional (Charles Trenet) and American standards by Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane and Duke Jordan.

Listening in, eavesdropping, if you will, on this intimate live show from some 28 years ago, Wilen's take on these tracks are notably fresh, spontaneous at times, and at all times delivered lovingly wrapped within the platitudes of an energetic swing.

Every track is played to its fullest, all genre musicalities observed, ther origjnal warmth and breadth not only acknowledged, but recreated with seemingly effortless bravado.

Simply put, what that live audience witnessed that night is what we are thankfully able to also hear now, and that is the fundamental virtues of jazz embodied in a master musician.

"This fine concert was recorded directly from the console to my father’s SONY DAT," Patrick Wilen, Barney's son and also Associate Producer on this project, reveals. "Thanks to his farsightedness and passion for technology we are now able to enjoy what went down almost 30 years ago."

This quite wondrous 2CD edition also contains a 20-page booklet with rare and previously unpublished photographs from the tour courtesy of Oliver Hutman, and special annotations by Hutman, Gilles Naturel, the aforementioned Patrick Wilen, and jazz journalist Bruno Pfeiffer (the booklet contains the full texts both in English and French).

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Pride & Glory: Expanded' [2CD]
Artist - Pride & Glory

For those not in the know, before there was Black Label Society there was Pride & Glory.

Known at the time as a Zakk Wylde side project, Pride & Glory and their debut self-titled record would lead to what Berzerkers worldwide now know as Black Label Society.

Indeed, Pride & Glory was Wylde's first self-fronted project, before releasing his first solo album, Book of Shadows, in 1996.

Coming together in 1991, during the No More Tours supposed-retirement tour for Ozzy Osbourne's No More Tears, the band was originally named Lynyrd Skynhead and included the former White Lion rhythm section of bassist James LoMenzo and drummer Greg D'Angelo alongside Wylde.

Although credited solely as 'Zakk Wylde' solo tracks, this line-up actually released two individual recordings; a raucous Southern instrumental entitled 'Farm Fiddlin' on a compilation called The Guitars That Rule the World (1991) and a cover of the blues-standard 'Baby, Please Don't Go' on the L.A. Blues Authority Vol. 1 compilation (1992).

Now that debut album gets a wonderful, and well deserved reissue, as on October 25th, 2019, Metal/Entertainment One released an expanded version of the album as a 2CD set, which now adds seven new bonus tracks.

CD 1:
1. 'Losin' Your Mind'
2. 'Horse Called War'
3. 'Shine On'
4. 'Lovin' Woman'
5. 'Harvester Of Pain'
6. 'The Chosen One'
7. 'Sweet Jesus'
8. 'Troubled Wine'
9. 'Machine Gun Man' - By Black Label Society
10. 'Cry Me A River'
11. 'Toe'n The Line'
12. 'Found A Friend'
13. 'Fadin' Away'
14. 'Hate Your Guts'

CD 2:
1. 'Machine Gun Man' (acoustic bonus)
2. 'Mother Mary' (alternate version)
3. 'The Wizard' (Black Sabbath cover)
4. 'Torn & Tattered'
5. 'In My Time Of Dyin' (Led Zeppelin cover)
6. 'The Hammer And The Nail'
7. 'Come Together' (Beatles cover)

Simply put, Pride & Glory (the band and the self-titled album) is Southern Rock at its finest! Which is made all the more amazing knowing that Wylde was born in New Jersey!

The songs really rock and really show what an amazing guitarist Wylde truly is and the veritable ranges he is capable of.

Combining his rather entertaining, emotive song writing ability with a sound that is definitely reminiscent of Stone Temple Pilots, Aerosmith and, believe it or not, Sister Hazel at times, this mix of heavy crunchy riffs, light acoustic rhythms, and feelgood catchy melodies, meant that once Wylde's extremely technical guitar wizardry take over the backbone to the songs re: grunge metal kicked in.

For me, and still after all these years, the majority of the album is great and is so well produced, with pitch perfect soundscapes and a lovely, even structure to the songs and their placement.

As noted, the album has a lot of different musical styles to show off within the songs, even the now seven bonus ones that are, without a shadow of a doubt, the most perfect top up to an already mighty fine album.

Furthermore, Pride & Glory have also released a new music video for the track 'Machine Gun Man' (Acoustic Version) along with the brand-new, reissue of the self-titled album today.

The video, compiled from live footage during the Pride & Glory years, depicts a young Zakk Wylde honing his distinct sound that becomes the hallmark of Black Label Society.

Official 'Machine Gun Man' (Acoustic Version) Video

In closing, Pride & Glory is also now available on an all-new double vinyl picture disc version and contains five of the new bonus tracks via a download card.

Official Purchase Links

Title - 'Close To Me'
Artist - Maria Mendes

Music is the heart and soul of jazz singer Maria Mendes, who studied in New York, Brussels, Rotterdam, and Porto, and whose talents have been praised by musical legends such as Quincy Jones and Hermeto Pascoal.

With her new album, Close to Me (available now on Justin Time Records), she explores Fado: the music from her native Portugal and a completely different genre for the vocalist.

The results of this unique adaptation are surprising and refreshing and thoroughly engaging on her newest release and, to my mind, highlight the fact that Maria has one of the most engaging, enchanting vocal approaches to her music that exists today.

1. 'Há Uma Música Do Povo' (05:39)
2. 'Tudo Isto é Fado' (04:39)
3. 'Dança Do Amor' (04:41)
4. 'Verdes Anos' (04:38)
5. 'Barco Negro' (05:52)
6. 'Fado Da Invejosa' (04:46)
7. 'Foi Deus' (03:51)
8. 'Hermeto’s Fado For Maria' (03:37)
9. 'Tempo Emotivo' (03:18)
10. 'Asas Fechadas' (05:03)
11. 'E Se Não For Fado' (04:24)

“A symphonic Jazz approach to Fado,” is how the singer-songwriter describes the music on her new album. “It is not Fado,” she immediately emphasizes. “I only used the music and poetry from this genre, but made a completely personal interpretation of it, with new arrangements.”

In addition, she wrote her own songs, all in the spirit of the genre of her motherland. Although Mendes has been living in the Netherlands for several years, her connection to Portugal remains strong: it is where Fado is anchored, in the soul of the country.

The orchestrally beautiful, dulcet and airy 'Há Uma Música Do Povo' begins our journey and that is backed seamlessly by the upbeat, late night jazz club appeal of 'Tudo Isto é Fado,' the smooth and sultry 'Dança Do Amor,' and both the free flowing 'Verdes Anos,' and the big, bold and absolutely magnificent 'Barco Negro.'

Also featuring John Beasley (keyboards, orchestrations, percussion and conductor), Karel Boehlee (piano), Jasper Somsen (acoustic bass), Jasper van Hulten (drums and percussion), Metropole Orkest (chamber music line up on tracks nº 1, 5, 6 and 10), and Vincent Houdijk on vibraphone, next up is the emphatic 'Fado Da Invejosa' which is backed by the laid back 'Foi Deus' and then my own personal favorite, the perfected scat of 'Hermeto’s Fado For Maria.'

The album then winds down with more tempered scat on 'Tempo Emotivo,' the achingly ornately cinematic sensibilities of 'Asas Fechadas,' and then finally comes to a close with Maria's beautiful vocal-piano moment for 'E Se Não For Fado.'

Maria's first release was the 2012 debut Along The Road (Dot Time Records), and in 2015 she released the successor, Innocentia (Sony Music Portugal).

In recent years, she has completed several successful tours with performances all over the world, including the prestigious concert halls Concertgebouw (Amsterdam) and Blue Note Jazz Club (New York) as well as the North Sea and Montreux Jazz Festivals.

Official Purchase Link

Title - 'VHS Remixed'
Artist - Dr. Chrispy

For those not in the know, Dr. Chrispy (aka Dr. Chris Boshuizen) is an award-winning aeronautical engineer, music producer, and songwriter dedicated to sharing his love of both Music and Space Exploration.

Following the release of his 2019 singles 'Drive' and 'Voyager at the Heliopause' (with music video), Dr. Chrispy is now proud to announce an exciting new collaboration with a group of innovative producers entitled VHS Remixed.

The original VHS album was Dr. Chrispy's first full-length release, which ranked #8 on the Synth wave Radio Best Albums of 2018 list, and was widely praised with us here at Exclusive Magazine calling it “a wonderfully ambient, bouncy, fun, even thoughtful at times collection of instrumental tracks.”

For the new VHS Remixed project (released on November 22nd, 2019 via Interplanetary records), the tracks of VHS have been reimagined by producers from all over the world including The Stunt Man, Psybolord, T-ROM, Kevin Ochoa, Manor Sound, Always Romantic, Synthapex, and B Wiley.

The resulting collaborations have created an album that elevates the original VHS to brand new heights that I would like to think that even Dr. Chrispy (a nickname that was given to him by his NASA co-workers) himself could never have imagined!

1. 'Follow the Wild Geese' (T-ROM Remix)
2. 'Be There Soon' (The Stunt Man's 13 Bit Remix)
3. 'Sleeping in Tokyo' (Kevin Ochoa Remix)
4. 'Be There Soon' (Manor Sound Remix)
5. 'Be There Soon' (T-ROM Remix)
6. '60 Miles Up' (by Always Romantic)
7. 'Muromigawa' (Synthapex Remix)
8. '60 Miles Up' (Kevin Ochoa Remix)
9. 'Vancouver' (Manor Sound Remix)
10. 'Be There Soon' (B. Wiley Remix)
11. 'Follow the Wild Geese' (Instrumental)

As I'm sure you all know by now, the original VHS album was a delightfully thoughtful collection of ambient electro instrumental tracks that Dr. Chrispy began writing back in 2003.

Well, I am glad to report that VHS Remixed is a wondrous, highly emotive and ongoingly enticing work of musical art that builds on certain tracks from the original, whilst at the same time surpasses all expectations as to how a remix album can shine new lights on still-fresh music.

Much like the original album, it's as if Dr. Chrispy himself was traveling to work high above us on a daily routine, for work his job as an aerospace engineer, of course, for if you listen carefully to the tracks, never allowing any of them to merely drift above and over and away from you, you can most definitely hear the majesty of our universe embedded within each of them.

The contributing artists definitely bring their own unique perspectives to the project. The Stunt Man (aka Greg Mindorff) is a music producer, DJ, fellow space enthusiast and Grammy-nominated Mastering Engineer from Vancouver, BC, Canada.

As well as contributing a remix, The Stunt Man also mastered VHS Remixed.

Psybolord is a Moscow-based producer who has gone from deathcore to electronic music. In his tracks, techno merges with Russian folk motifs and classical music organically gets along with synth wave and French electro.

Tyler Romanishin (aka T-ROM) was born and raised in New Jersey and moved to California after spending five years in the Marine Corps. T-ROM aims to push the boundaries of House and electronic music while still keeping it catchy and danceable.

Kevin Ochoa loves dance music and pushing the boundaries of sound, and can often be found teaching FL Studio Master Classes at Music Conventions.

Michael Reyna (aka Manor Sound) is a San Francisco-based alt-pop and future bass producer. He utilizes the contrast of ambient textures and hard-hitting trap drums to create sonic environments that are both soothing and exciting.

Always Romantic, from Sevastapol in the Russian Federation, released his eponymous debut synth wave album earlier this year, and contributed a full cover version of '60 Miles Up' to VHS Remixed.

Hadfes Oblivion is the man behind Synthapex. With a background in metal, Hadfes Oblivion has played in a number of bands and now, with Synthapex, is exploring the electronic and synth wave genres.

Furthermore, the group recently released their breathtakingly cinematic music video 'Gone This Night,' featuring a short cameo appearance by Dr. Chrispy!

B Wiley is a producer, musician, and DJ whose mission is to bridge the gaps between the soulful and darker sounds of electronic, hip-hop, funk, and psychedelic.

He pulls influences from all directions to create his ever-changing sound that is somewhere between the dark and the light, the electronic and organic.

Each track on the original album was written in a different location, titled with the name of a city, airport code, or local attraction, and captured the vibe of each place and moment in time.

What we have here is a new collective coming together to embrace some of those works, take them away, re-cultivate them into something more like themselves, and then repopulate them back into the universe for all to further enjoy.

Basically put, VHS Remixed, much like the original album, is an auditory travel diary, inviting you along to hear and experience the evolution from Dr. Chris Boshuizen, Space Scientist, to Dr. Chrispy, the Artist, to Creator Supreme at the helm of his own musical space station where all the sights and sounds have now been reimagined by wickedly talented producers from all over the world.

Official Digital Pre-Order Purchase Links

Title - 'Dvorák, Khachaturian - Violin Concertos'
Artist - Rachel Barton Pine

In both art and life, violinist Rachel Barton Pine has an extraordinary ability to connect with people.

Celebrated as a leading interpreter of great classic and contemporary works, her performances combine her innate gift for emotional communication and her scholarly fascination with historical research.

She plays with passion and conviction, thrilling audiences worldwide with her dazzling technique, lustrous tone, and infectious joy in music-making.

Traditional folk music elevated to high art: that theme binds the unique coupling of Billboard chart-topping violinist Rachel Barton Pine’s latest release of the Violin Concertos by Czech composer Antonín Dvoøák and Soviet-Armenian Aram Khachaturian.

The multi-faceted young American Teddy Abrams conducts the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, making for a truly international collaboration.

Antonín Dvoøák (1841 – 1904)
Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 53
1. I. Allegro ma non troppo (11.38)
2. II. Adagio ma non troppo (10.54)
3. III. Finale: Allegro giocoso ma non troppo (10.32)

Aram Khachaturian (1903 – 1978)
Violin Concerto
4. I. Allegro con fermezza (16.07)
5. II. Andante sostenuto (13.47)
6. III. Allegro vivace (10.14)

Total time: 73.14

Recorded on August 21st & 22nd, 2018 at the RSNO Centre, Glasgow, this incredible, precisely poignant and beautifully elevated work of musical art from Barton Pine is, without a shadow of a doubt, some of her best interpretive work to date.

As you may or may not know, both composers were fine craftsmen, excellent tunesmiths, and deeply impacted by the folk music of their respective countries.

And so here Barton Pine lovingly translates their works for a new era, a new ear, and leaves nothing behind when it comes to being one of the most inspired soloists of her time.

For both sets of works, whether she be drawing deeply on the Armenian's influences, or the Czech's Romantic-era nationalist examples, Pine certainly draws out the soulful, and at other times quietly robust qualities of both within this quite spectacular recording.

Official Purchase Link

Title - 'The Ballad of the Brown King & Selected Songs'
Artist - Margaret Bonds

For those not in the know, Margaret Bonds was an American composer and pianist. One of the first black composers and performers to gain recognition in the United States, she is best remembered today for her frequent collaborations with Langston Hughes.

A native of Chicago, Bonds grew up in a home visited by many of the leading black intellectuals of the era; among houseguests were soprano Abbie Mitchell and composers Florence Price and Will Marion Cook.

Bonds showed an early aptitude for composition, writing her first work, Marquette Street Blues, at the age of five. Her parents were Monroe Alpheus Majors and his second wife, Estelle C. Bonds and Margaret took the last name, Bonds, after her parents divorced in 1917.

Her first study in music came when she took piano lessons from her mother. While still in school, she studied composition with Price and with William Dawson.

Bonds worked as an accompanist for dances and singers in various shows and supper clubs around Chicago; she also copied music parts for other composers, and became involved with the National Association of Negro Musicians.

And so, yes, emphatically yes, 20th-century African-American composer Margaret Bonds receives long overdue recognition with the world-premiere recording of her crowning achievement, The Ballad of the Brown King.

With an expressly written libretto by Bonds’ friend Langston Hughes, this Christmas cantata which focuses on Balthazar, the dark-skinned king who journeyed to Bethlehem to witness the birth of Jesus Christ, is beautifully interpreted by New York City-based The Dessoff Choirs and Orchestra.

It also features outstanding soloists soprano Laquita Mitchell, mezzo-soprano Lucia Bradford and tenor Noah Stewart, under the baton of their charismatic conductor, Malcolm J. Merriweather.

Furthermore, Bonds authority Dr. Ashley Jackson contributes the inspired liner notes.

This unique seasonal album also includes a selection of specially arranged songs, including a setting of Hughes’ seminal poem I, Too, Sing America, performed by baritone Merriweather and Jackson on solo harp.

Margaret Bonds (1913 – 1972)
The Ballad of the Brown King (1954) (23.34)
Libretto by Langston Hughes (1902 – 1967)
Laquita Mitchell soprano (4, 6, 9)
Lucia Bradford mezzo-soprano (9)
Noah Stewart tenor (1, 4, 6)
1. Of the Three Wise Men (3.31)
2. They Brought Fine Gifts (2.33)
3. Sing Alleluia (0.46)
4. Mary Had a Little Baby (2.45)
5. Now When Jesus Was Born (2.09)
6. Could He Have Been an Ethiope? (4.53)
7. Oh, Sing of the King Who Was Tall and Brown (4.12)
8. That Was a Christmas Long Ago (1.24)
9. Alleluia (2.41)

The Dessoff Choirs & Orchestra
Malcolm J. Merriweather conductor

10. To a Brown Girl Dead (1956) (2.06)
Text by Countee Cullen (1903 – 1946)

11. Winter Moon (1936) (1.15)
Text by Langston Hughes

Three Dream Portraits (1959) (7.00)
Texts by Langston Hughes
12. Minstrel Man (2.20)
13. Dream Variation (2.38)
14. I, Too (2.02)
Malcolm J. Merriweather baritone
Ashley Jackson harp

Listening along as I type, I can tell you that The Ballad of the Brown King is a cantata composed entirely by Margaret Bonds. Indeed, it may well be her most frequently performed work and was written in honor of the African king, Balthazar (with, as aforementioned, text written by Langston Hughes).

The Ballad premiered in December 1954 in New York and was performed by the George McClain Choir. This was a shorter version of the piece, which was subsequently expanded by both Hughes and Bonds to include full orchestration.

The longer version was performed on December 11th, 1960 and televised in a CBS special called "Christmas U.S.A." The 1960 performance was sung by the Westminster Choir and if you ever get to see and/or hear it, you will be amazed at just how deep it runs through your soul.

The cantata is made up of nine movements with parts for soprano, tenor, baritone and choir with the composition including a combination of European, Jazz and Calypso music.

Other musical influences include four-part hymn and gospel music although there are definitely also "quasi-recitative sections" and blues influenced parts of the cantata too.

This magnificent ballad focuses on one of the Three Kings from the story of the birth of Jesus with and additionally, Malcolm J. Merriweather, Dessoff’s Music Director and baritone soloist along with Ashley Jackson on harp, recorded five songs by Margaret Bonds – 'To a Brown Girl Dead' (text by Countee Cullen), 'Winter Moon', 'Minstrel Man', 'Dream Variation', and 'I, Too' (with texts by Langston Hughes).

Tracks 1 – 9 were recorded November 30th and December 1st, 2018 at James Memorial Chapel, Union Theological Seminary, New York City; and Tracks 10 – 14 were recorded at Skinner Hall, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY, on February 16th, 2019.

Recording producer, engineering, editing, and mastering was by Marlan Barry.

Official Purchase Link

Title - 'The Russian Album'
Artist - Christoph Croisé & Alexander Panfilov

In the spring of 2019, Christoph Croisé scored a break-through with his critically acclaimed recording of Haydn’s Cello Concertos (AV 2402).

With The Russian Album, he turns his attention to two towering 20th-century masterpieces, Sergei Rachmaninov’s early, eloquent and emotional Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op. 19, and Dmitri Shostakovich’s D minor Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op. 40.

The latter work’s finale featured what would become the composer’s signature style of caricature and irony that proved too provocative to the Stalinist regime.

Croisé also offers two “encores” – his own transcriptions of the March from Sergei Prokofiev’s propulsive opera The Love for Three Oranges, and Rodion Shchedrin’s flambouyant In the Style of Albéniz – and a bonus track by his compatriot, the Swiss cellist and composer Thomas Demenga, New York Honk, a humorous homage to the Big Apple’s cacophonous traffic noises.

Sergei Rachmaninov (1873 – 1943)
Sonata for Cello and Piano in G minor, Op. 19
1. I. Lento – Allegro moderato (14.16)
2. II. Allegro scherzando (6.32)
3. III. Andante (6.20)
4. IV. Allegro mosso (10.59)

Dmitri Shostakovich (1906 – 1975)
Sonata for Cello and Piano in D minor, Op. 40
5. I. Allegro non troppo (12.06)
6. II. Allegro (3.13)
7. III. Largo (7.39)
8. IV. Allegro (4.16)

Rodion Shchedrin (b. 1932), transcr. Christoph Croisé
9. In the Style of Albéniz (4.12)

Sergei Prokofiev (1891 – 1953) transcr. Christoph Croisé
10. March (from The Love for Three Oranges) (1.37)

Thomas Demenga (b. 1954)
11. New York Honk (2.07)

Total Time: 73.33

Recorded on October 23rd to 25th, 2017 at Radiostudio Zürich, Switzerland, this magnificent, soaring work from Christoph Croisé on cello and Alexander Panfilov on piano is now one of my most favorite classical works to have come out this year.

Opening with Rachmaninov's stern, stoically controlled Lento – Allegro moderato, the Allegro scherzando is more playful and allows for more expression from both men.

When we reach Andante the tone is once more of a down beat, somber mood, but come the invigorating, sweeping beauty of Allegro mosso and all is right with the world; so to speak.

Shostakovich's powerfully performed - by both artists - Allegro non troppo begins this journey, with the boisterous piano work of Panfilov coming to the fore magnificently on Allegro.

Then we get the creeping ambiance of Largo, before rounding out with the orchestral, free spirited bounce of Allegro.

The two big pieces are, again, magnificent and showcase the talents of both Christoph Croisé and Alexander Panfilov to their upmost perfections.

However, the smaller works are just as delightful, inclusive of a stirring In the Style of Albéniz, a robust March (from The Love for Three Oranges), and the bonus track, the two minute 'New York Honk' - a lovely, playfully vibrant, if not at times purposely frenetic tribute to Swizz cellist Thomas Demenga.

Official Purchase Link

Title - 'Magdalene'
Artist - FKA Twigs

Tahliah Debrett Barnett, known professionally as FKA twigs, is an English singer and songwriter raised in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, England.

She became a backup dancer after moving to South London when she was 17 years old and made her musical debut with the extended plays EP1 (2012) and EP2 (2013).

Her debut studio album, LP1, was released in August 2014 to critical acclaim, peaking at #16 on the UK Albums Chart and #30 on the US Billboard 200 (it was later nominated for the 2014 Mercury Prize).

She released the M3LL155X EP in 2015 to further critical praise and subsequently, her work has been described as "genre-bending", drawing on various genres including electronic music, trip hop, R&B, and avant-garde.

The follow up to FKA twigs’ critically acclaimed Brit Award and Mercury Prize nominated debut LP1 (which was also regarded as one of the best albums of 2014), Magdalene is out November 8th, 2019 (via Young Turks, once again).

Inclusive of Top 40 rapper Future, who appears on the album’s second single 'Holy Terrain,' continuing a run of rap collaborations including an appearance on A$AP Rocky’s Testing album.

1. 'Thousand Eyes'
2. 'Home With You'
3. 'Sad Day'
4. 'Holy Terrain' [Explicit]
5. 'Mary Magdalene'
6. 'Fallen Alien'
7. 'Mirrored Heart'
8. 'Daybed'
9. 'Cellophane'

On an album where almost every track is built upon a base piano line, each one gradually adding to the musical impressions and expressions that FKA twigs wishes us to behold, its easy to quickly sense that you are in the presence of something ravishingly exquisite here.

At times Tori Amos and a young Kate Bush, but yet at all times still her unique self, tracks such as the lush album closer 'Cellopane' stand out to me, but it's when she loses herself within a song - such as 'Holy Terrain' [Explicit] featuring Future - that you know this recording is one of her most accomplished and, one imagines, self-pleasing to date.

Which runs alongside the opposing, underlying theme here of a woman brought to her knees, exhausted and shattered with and by life. She has had enough of the prying eyes from both public and personal quarters, is sick and tired of failed personal and public relationships, and yet is still standing (somewhat) strong.

Tracks such as the rhythmical title cut 'Mary Magdalene' and the impressively cultured 'Fallen Alien' showcase how she can turn the direction she is headed in on a dime, shapeshifting both the melody and the narrative in such a way that her voice takes on a whole new level of magical expression.

Another great track is the cinemascope ballad 'Sad Day,' where she pushes all known boundaries of what we've come to know of her music, once again refusing to conform to traditional arrangements.

In short, FKA twigs' music is unpredictable, always sonic, and without a shadow of a doubt, luxuriously expressive, soulful and full of pathways that explore regions both known and once-unknown.

Whether she tinges her vocal approach with choral or operatic stylings, or delves into a breezy layer of digital manipulation, or is just tuned into her bare, stripped and raw and emotive vocal, everything here on Magdalene is as incredible as you could have ever hoped it would be.

FKA twigs will tour the US in November with a theatrical performance that debuted in May to universal acclaim as well as several major festivals (Afropunk Brooklyn and Atlanta, Flog Gnaw) and has already undergone a Press campaign that includes: September i-D cover, multi-page feature in Vogue October issue, television appearances and more.

Official 'Magdalene' Purchase Links

Title - 'Greatest Hits' [2CD Remastered Collection]
Artist - Dollar

For those not in the know, Dollar (Thereza Bazar and David Van Day) were a pop vocal duo from the United Kingdom, consisting of David Van Day and Canadian-born Thereza Bazar.

The duo were successful in the late 1970s and 1980s, achieving ten UK top-40 singles, including the top-10 hits 'Love's Gotta Hold on Me' (1979), 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand' (1979), 'Mirror Mirror (Mon Amour)' (1981), 'Give Me Back My Heart' (1982), and the dreamy 'O L'amour' (1987).

In fact, between 1978 and 1988, Dollar registered 14 hits on the UK charts, ten of which made the Top 40.

Housed in a digipack with a lavish 24 page booklet containing a discography and song lyrics, Disc One of this upcoming Dollar: Greatest Hits, 2CD Remastered Collection (out December 6th, 2019 via Cherry Red Records UK) features every Dollar single; inclusive of all those mentioned above.

CD 1
1. 'Shooting Star'
2. 'Who Were You with in the Moonlight'
3. 'Love's Gotta Hold on Me'
4. 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand'
5. 'Love Street'
6. 'Ring Ring'
7. 'The Girls Are Out to Get Ya'
8. 'Takin' a Chance on You'
9. 'You Take My Breath Away'
10. 'Hand Held in Black and White'
11. 'Mirror Mirror (Mon Amour)'
12. 'Give Me Back My Heart'
13. 'Videotheque'
14. 'Give Me Some Kinda Magic'
15. 'Two Hearts'
16. 'We Walked in Love'
17. 'Haven't We Said Goodbye Before'
18. 'O L'amour'
19. 'It's Nature's Way (No Problem)'
20. 'Sugar Sugar'
21. 'It Doesn't Matter' - Bonus Track

Having loved this band since day one, and having collected most all their 7" single releases too, I have to say that, in reflection, it might not have only been due to their catchy songs; but moreover to do with the beautifully stunning Thereza Bazar being one half of the hit group!

That aside, this was a rather lovely flashback to a much simpler time - inclusive of music - where a catchy pop chorus and backbeat was all you needed to instantly crack the British Top 40 Singles Chart.

Kicking things off with the brilliant 'Shooting Star,' they then line 'em up to be lovingly appreciated one after the other. 'Who Were You With in the Moonlight' is a smooth piece of R&B disco as there ever was and that's backed seamlessly by tracks such as the Bazar-led 'Love's Gotta Hold on Me,' the hypnotic drum riff of the Beatles cover 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand,' and both the harder funk of the Van Day-led 'Love Street' and the unsuccessful single 'Ring Ring.'

The rocker 'The Girls Are Out to Get Ya' is an interesting listen to these days, and showcases the fact that even being their fifth single, Van Day was taking over all the vocals by now; and Bazar was there for the occasional backing words and underlying "ooohs and ahhhs," sadly.

The gentle hipsway ballad 'Takin' a Chance on You' brings to the fore Bazar's dreamy, cloud-like vocal touch beautifully, and that's backed by the moment Dollar embraced live pop show TV performances, 'Hand Held in Black and White.'

For their turn on the big British Chart Show known as Top Of The Pops (TOTP), they allowed themselves to dress better than they had before, add some hairspray to their do's, and, well, genuinely smile and ham it up for the TV audiences at home.

Then comes their big "Christmas" hit 'Mirror Mirror (Mon Amour).' Co-written by Trevor Horn and Bruce Woolley, the song (which was the follow-up to 'Hand Held in Black and White'), actually revived the duo's career in the Summer of 1981.

It went on to become their first Top 20 hit for a year and a half and charted over the Christmas period (1981) and was the biggest hit of Dollar's career (reaching #4 in the UK and spending a total of 17 weeks in the charts).

Next up is the laid back synth of 'Give Me Back My Heart,' the mulit-layered, mid-tempo dancefloor hit 'Videotheque,' the pop bounce of both 'You Give Me Some Kinda Magic' and 'Two Hearts,' and then both the Euro-fluff of 'We Walked in Love' (check their cheesy soap opera-esque video for it out on YouTube!), and their non-charting single 'Haven't We Said Goodbye Before.'

Up next is their beautiful and sweet cover of Erasure's hit song 'O L'amour' (which earnt them a nice Top 7 position on the UK Singles Chart) and that's followed by their very last single, the fun 'It's Nature's Way (No Problem)' (produced by Phil Harding & Ian Curnow for PWL).

This first disc then rounds out with a 2002 cover of The Archies' 'Sugar Sugar' and then finally the previously-unreleased song, ‘It Doesn’t Matter’.

Disc Two is packed with extended versions, including previously unreleased PWL mixes of ‘Sugar Sugar’ and newly commissioned extended versions of the hits ‘Mirror Mirror’ and ‘Loves Gotta Hold On Me’ - created using the original master tapes.

Fan favorites ‘We Walked In Love’, ‘Haven’t We Said Goodbye Before’ and ‘It’s Nature’s Way (No Problem)’ also make their CD debut.

CD 2
1. 'Love's Gotta Hold on Me' (2019 Extended Version)
2. 'Talking 'Bout Love' (2019 Extended Version)
3. 'Who Were You with in the Moonlight' (2006 Extended Dance Mix)
4. 'Hand Held in Black and White' (Extended Mix)
5. 'Mirror Mirror (Mon Amour)' (2019 Extended Version)
6. 'We Walked in Love' (Extended Version)
7. 'Haven't We Said Goodbye Before' (Extended Mix)
8. 'O L'amour' (Extra Beat Boys 12" Mix)
9. 'It's Nature's Way (No Problem)' (Extended Version)
10. 'Sugar Sugar' (PWL Sweetness Beats Mix)
11. 'It Doesn't Matter' (Jazz Mix)
12. 'Sugar Sugar' (Extra Beat Boys 12" Mix)

As for the second disc of extended and newly-mixed tracks, in truth, I can't ever get enough Dollar and as it's been sooooooo long since anything quite like this from them has been released, well, I was knee deep into this other disc the moment the first disc had ended!

For a big fan such as me, listening to this disc of extended versions is like Christmas Day coming early! Every one of them is a bright, bubbly, flashback-tinged musical gem that makes me smile from ear to ear!

Stand outs, for me obviously, are the brilliant duo of 'Who Were You with in the Moonlight' (2006 Extended Dance Mix) and 'Hand Held in Black and White' (Extended Mix), with both 'Mirror Mirror (Mon Amour)' (2019 Extended Version) and the always-excellent-to-hear 'O L'amour' (Extra Beat Boys 12" Mix) following along close behind.

Personally overseen by Thereza Bazar, with introduction comments from both Thereza and David, this very special release also includes a lush 24-page booklet with lyrics.

Official 2CD Box-Set Purchase Link

Title - 'DIVA & The Boys'
Artist - The DIVA Jazz Orchestra

Hard-charging. Powerful. Immersed in the history of their craft and in total command of their instruments. That’s The DIVA Jazz Orchestra – an ensemble of 15 extremely talented and versatile musicians who just happen to be women.

They can’t help it – they were born that way.

Headed by swinging drummer Sherrie Maricle, DIVA exudes the excitement and force found in the tradition of the historic big bands but with an eye towards today’s progressive sound of originality and verve.

With New York as their home base, DIVA performs all over the world playing contemporary, mainstream big band jazz composed and arranged to fit the individual personalities and styles of the musicians themselves.

The inspiration for DIVA came from Stanley Kay, one-time manager and relief drummer for Buddy Rich. In 1990, Kay was conducting a band in which Sherrie Maricle was playing the drums.

Stanley immediately picked up on her extraordinary talent and began to wonder if there were other women players who could perform at the same level.

In 1992 the search was on, and through nationwide auditions the foundation for DIVA was poured. What emerged is the dynamic musical force that holds forth to the present day.

Out now via MCG Jazz, The DIVA Jazz Orchestra has just released a quite extraordinary recording that celebrates 30 years of MCG Jazz.

Entitled DIVA & The Boys, the new eight track album sees DIVA performing alongside jazz greats such as Claudio Roditi (trumpet), Ken Peplowski (clarinet), Jay Ashby (trombone), and the magnificent Marty Ashby (guitar).

1. 'Slipped Disc'
2. 'A Felicidade'
3. 'Deference to Diz'
4. 'Nocturna'
5. 'The One I Love Belongs To Somebody Else'
6. 'Piccolo Blues'
7. 'Estate'
8. 'Bucket O' Blues'

The joyous, free flowing and fun 'Slipped Disc' kicks things off perfectly and that's backed by the gentle hipsway of 'A Felicidade,' the upbeat and perky 'Deference to Diz,' and both the laid back 'Nocturna' and the mid-tempo jam 'The One I Love Belongs To Somebody Else.'

As you would expect, the music is original, fresh and exciting, and features the boys and DIVA members with equal fire, finesse and swing!

Which perfectly describes the rhythmic one-two shuffle of 'Piccolo Blues, the quietly lush 'Estate,' and then the album rounds out with the big band soiree of 'Bucket O' Blues.'

Packed with high-energy performances inclusive of unique improvisation, spontaneity, and fun, DIVA & The Boys is perfectly timed for your holiday season.

Tired of that "usual festive music," well, to make people warm, fuzzy and happy, put this wonderful CD on and watch their smiles grow and their hips groove along!

The DIVA Jazz Orchestra: Alexa Tarantino - Lead Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet Scheila Gonzales - Alto Saxophone 2, Flute, Clarinet Janelle Reichman - Tenor Saxophone 1, Clarinet Roxy Coss - Tenor Saxophone 2, Flute, Clarinet Leigh Pilzer - Baritone Saxophone, Bass Clarinet Tanya Darby - Lead Trumpet, Flugelhorn Jami Dauber - Trumpet 2, Flugelhorn Rachel Therrien - Trumpet 3, Flugelhorn Barbara Laronga - Trumpet 4, Flugelhorn Jennifer Krupa - Lead Trombone Linda Landis - Trombone 2 Leslie Havens - Bass Trombone Tomoko Ohno - Piano Noriko Ueda - Bass Sherrie Maricle - Drummer, and Leader Stanley Kay - Founder.

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Just Imagine'
Artist - Dave Miller Trio

For those not in the know, pianist Dave Miller has been a fixture on the Northern California jazz scene for quite a few years.

Early in his life he discovered the music of George Shearing whose quintet made bebop accessible in the 1950s, and he considers Shearing an important influence on his own playing although Miller has his own voice in straight ahead jazz.

Shearing was born August 13th, 1919 so Miller's brand new album entitled Just Imagine is a celebration of his centennial in addition to being a tribute to his artistry and the wide range of his music.

Indeed, rather than recreating Shearing’s hits, Miller and his regular trio with bassist Chuck Bennett and drummer Bill Belasco perform both standards and superior obscurities that Shearing had played along the way.

1. 'One For The Woofer'
2. 'You Took Advantage Of Me'
3. 'The Bebop Irishman'
4. 'I'd Love To Make Love To You'
5. 'Bittersweet'
6. 'A Foggy Day'
7. 'A Beautiful Friendship'
8. 'Confirmation'
9. 'You Must Believe In Spring'
10. 'This Time The Dream's On Me'
11. 'Careful'
12. 'A Time For Love'
13. 'All My Tomorrows'
14. 'Just Imagine'

The trio kicks things off in fine style with both the upbeat and emotive duo of 'One For The Woofer' and the bass-led delight 'You Took Advantage of Me.'

The sterner 'The Bebop Irishman' is backed by the late night jazz club feel to 'I'd Love to Make Love to You,' which in turn is followed by both the pointed 'Bittersweet' and then comes my own personal favorite, their take on George and Ira Gershwin's delightful 'A Foggy Day.'

Next up is the soft shoe shuffle of 'A Beautiful Friendship' which is followed by the perky 'Confirmation,' the laid back and emotive 'You Must Believe in Spring,' and the sprightly, and up tempo 'This Time the Dream's on Me.'

The album then rounds out with the musical, and thoroughly unique-sounding instrument beatboxing found within 'Careful,' the ornately grand 'A Time for Love,' the finger snappin' 'All My Tomorrows,' and then finishes on the opulent title track itself.

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Gettin' It There'
Artist - Fabrizio Sciacca Quartet

For those not in the know, Italian-born Fabrizio Sciacca is a young bassist based in New York who began playing piano and electric bass at age 13.

In 2011, he won a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music in Boston and whilst there he not only attended class, but he played in several jazz clubs.

In 2015, Sciacca moved to New York City and enrolled in the Manhattan School of Music, where he earned a masters degree in Performance and Composition in 2018.

Sciacca is considered a bassist with a large tone and swinging style and here on his magnificent debut, the just-released Gettin' It There, he is joined by Jed Levy on saxophone, Donald Vega on piano and Billy Drummond on drums.

"Gettin' It There represents both musically and personally where I come from, where I stand now and what I reaching for," Sciacca himself explains. "With the mixture of straight-ahead and modern tunes, the purpose of this album is to express what Jazz means to me and what the role of the bass is in said musical context, as soloistic and rhythm section instrument."

1. 'One for Amos'
2. 'Lullaby in Central Park'
3. 'Zellmar's Delight'
4. 'For Sir Ron'
5. 'A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square'
6. 'Lonely Goddess'
7. 'One Second Please'

The breezy, yet finger-snappin' opener 'One for Amos' sets the scene beautifully for what's to come, inclusive of both the lushly orchestrated, cymbal-tinged 'Lullaby in Central Park,' and the upbeat swing of 'Zellmar's Delight.'

On an album that includes such wondrous, distinctive and yet individually cultured musical expressions - that one would have imagined were beyond his years - Sciacca and company next bring us the passive hipsway of 'For Sir Ron,' and a rather resplendent rendition of 'A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square.'

The album then rounds out with the achingly artistic 'Lonely Goddess,' and then finishes on the flirtatious energy of 'One Second Please.'

CD Baby Purchase Link

Title - 'Taladim'
Artist - Rozina Pátkai

For those not in the know, Rozina Pátkai is a Hungarian singer, songwriter and visual artist.

She is a vocal artist who has Italian roots and has come to fore with her band playing bossa nova, who have succeeded in many Hungarian and international competitions.

She launched her Minka projects in 2016, with which the all-round artist turns to fine art and to the meeting point of electronic music and poetry.

With her first two albums having garnered a lot of media and fan attention, Pátkai is now releasing the highly anticipated Taladin (via Tom-Tom Records).

Taladin has poems by Nathaniel Barratt, T.S. Eliot, William Blake, Jane Tyson Clement, Fernando Pessoa, Federico Garcia Lorca, Paul Verlaine and others that she has adapted to a creative jazz setting.

1. 'Taladim'
2. 'Lorelei'
3. 'Song'
4. 'Laughing Song'
5. 'Sea Song'
6. 'Szerelem? (Intro)'
7. 'Szerelem?'
8. 'Põe-Me as Mãos nos Ombros'
9. 'Llagas de Amor (Intro)'
10. 'Llagas de Amor'
11. 'A Rã'
12. 'Chanson d’Automne'
13. 'O Leãozinho'

The hand-clappin', finger-snappin', foot-tappin' fullness of the title track kicks things of in spectacular style and that's backed seamlessly by both the Latin hipsway of 'Lorelei,' the longest track on the album at over six minutes, the stoic resonance of 'Song,' and then comes one of my own personal favorites from the thirteen, the passionate, cinematic 'Laughing Song.'

The sea shanty 'Sea Song' is a lovely touch and is backed by the short instrumental 'Szerelem (Intro)' before the longer version of 'Szerelem?' is brought forth.

The atmospheric and truly innovative 'Põe-Me as Mãos nos Ombros' is then followed by 'Llagas de Amor (Intro)' which in turn bleeds gently into more of the native country-fused 'Llagas de Amor.'

This quite vibrant, innovative and expertly created album then rounds out with the cheery jaunt of 'A Rã,' the crystalline 'Chanson d’Automne,' and then ends with the mandolin-led ditty, 'O Leãozinho.'

Amazon Digital Purchase Link

Rozina Pátkai @ Facebook

Title - 'This Winter's Child' [CD Single]
Artist - Potter's Daughter

For those not in the know, the international art pop band Potter’s Daughter was formed in NYC while North Pocono native Dyanne Potter Voegtlin (piano, vocals, composer) was studying classical piano performance at the Manhattan School of Music.

The group performed regularly in NYC, as well as in northeastern PA, and has been featured on radio and TV.

They recently joined forces with longtime friend, Amit Chatterjee, (producer, arranger, and guitarist), Ian C. Voegtlin (composer, guitarist, saxophonist), Randy Crafton (percussion), and Walter Sitz (drums) and released their first single since the release of their debut album, The Blind Side, last spring.

Indeed, and furthermore, the Potter's Daughter single, 'Blood and Water' featured a very special guest artist, Annie Haslam.

Annie, as I'm sure you will all be well aware, is the legendary lead singer from the band Renaissance, and has also had a long and diverse solo career.

'This Winter's Child' is the latest song from the Art Rock/Prog Fusion and is a soft, wintry poem of sound with mostly acoustic instrumentation that stays with you long after the song has ended.

Produced by Amitava Chatterjee (who is also the arranger and guitarist), and with Ian C. Voegtlin on bass, guitar, and saxophone, the hauntingly ethereal, atmospheric and simply crystalline vocals from Dyanne Potter Voegtlin (plus her work on piano and keyboards), once again ensures that their music is as divine and as desirable as ever.

Running at four and a half minutes, 'This Winter's Child' is a return to the acoustic and eclectic sound of their aforementioned debut album, and thus is a beautifully intrinsic piano and guitar work of musical art that comes together to create the kind of prog Renaissance sound for which they are known.

Official CD Single Purchase Link

Potter's Daughter @ Facebook

Title - 'Unburied Treasure' [30-Disc Deluxe Box-Set]
Artist - Gentle Giant

For those not in the know, Gentle Giant were an English progressive rock band active between 1970 and 1980.

The band was known for the complexity and sophistication of its music and for the varied musical skills of its members. In fact, all of the band members, except Malcolm Mortimore, were multi-instrumentalists.

Although not commercially successful, they did achieve a cult following. The band's onetime stated aim was to "expand the frontiers of contemporary popular music at the risk of becoming very unpopular", although this stance was to alter significantly with time.

Gentle Giant's music was considered complex even by progressive rock standards, drawing on a broad swath of music including folk, soul, jazz, and classical music.

Unlike many of their progressive rock contemporaries, their "classical" influences ranged beyond the Romantic and incorporated medieval, baroque, and modernist chamber music elements.

The band also had a taste for broad themes for their lyrics, drawing inspiration not only from personal experiences, but from philosophy and the works of both François Rabelais and R. D. Laing.

In 2015 they were recognized with the lifetime achievement award at the Progressive Music Awards.

Including a lavish 136-page coffee table hardback book and 96-page tour history book, Unburied Treasure (releasing December 6th, 2019 via Madfish Records)‬ is a quite wondrous 30-Disc Deluxe Box-Set with signed photo, and it totally, and officially authorized by all members of Gentle Giant.

Strictly limited to just 2000 copies globally, the set includes remastered versions of the 12 albums the band released between 1970 and 1980, along with 15 concert albums (7 never previously released, 7 never previously officially released and 1 previously unavailable on CD).

The box also includes two posthumous live/outtakes albums and a Blu-ray bonus disc (featuring a Steven Wilson surround mix of the band’s 1970 debut).

Also included are books, posters, replica promotional items and much more!

The complete contents of the Unburied Treasure Box-Set are:

• Signed photograph by band members Derek Shulman, Ray Shulman, Gary Green, Kerry Minnear & John Weathers
• Brand new cover artwork illustration by Bob Venables based on original illustrator George Underwood's design for the band's debut album
• The 12 original albums released during the band's active years, including live album Playing the Fool
• Two albums released after the disbanding: Winchester 1971 (live) & Pinewood Rehearsal 1977 (outtakes)
• 15 official previously unreleased live albums:
• Essen 1972 *
• New Orleans 1972 (feat. three previously unreleased BBC recordings)
• Hollywood Bowl 1972 *
• Vicenza 1973 *
• Torino 1973
• Munster 1974 *
• St Gallen 1974 *
• Cleveland Agora 1975
• Basel 1975 *
• Dusseldorf 1976 Part 1 †
• Dusseldorf & Brussels 1976 Part 2 †
• Munich 1976 †
• Paris 1976 †
• Chester 1977
• Roxy 1980

* Audience recording remastered for the highest possible quality

† Unreleased material from the 'Playing the Fool' gigs remixed by GG expert Dan Bornemark

• All music on the 29 CDs has been newly remastered by Pete Reynolds
• Blu-ray disc with a listening experience second to none – featuring the full debut album Gentle Giant remixed by Steven Wilson in high resolution 96/24 Stereo LPCM, 96/24 5.1 surround LPCM and DTS-HD 5.1 surround. Also included are the instrumental mixes for every track
• 136-page hardback coffee table book featuring the band's in-depth story as told by GG expert Alan Kinsman, as well as: rare photographs, posters, passes and unburied memorabilia from the band and fans
• Exclusive 96-page tour history book compiled by Jack Skelly, comprising: set lists, memorabilia and gig review notes including commentary on the new live recordings
• Two replica posters of their first gig at Portsmouth Polytechnic 1970 and 'The Power & The Glory' – voted as the most popular poster on the official band website
• Replica 'Playing The Fool' booklet, which was originally given away with the first 10,000 sales of the album
• Replica 'Giant For A Day' mask, which was included in the original 1978 album
• Replica Missing Piece jigsaw, which was a promotional item for the album when originally released. One randomly chosen boxset will also include the MISSING GOLDEN PIECE, which, when claimed, will award the owner with the coveted 'The Power & The Glory' screen printed mirror

Simply put, for fans, friends and followers, Unburied Treasure is the motherlode!!

Official 30-Disc Deluxe Box-Set Pre-Order Purchase Links

Official Gentle Giant Website

Gentle Giant @ Facebook

Title - 'Ruffyunz'
Artist - Ruffyunz

For those not in the immediate know, much like myself, Ruffyunz is a partnership between Randy Pratt (Cactus/The Lizards), Emmy winning engineer JZ Barrell, and singer Ed Terry and a collection of drum and guitar masters.

With guest artists including guitar legend Pat Travers and drummer T.C. Tolliver from The Plasmatics, the songs on their debut self-titled album (out October 15th, 2019 via Hyperspace Records) are a blend of many styles of guitar-heavy music.

Furthermore, JZ Barrell handles recording, engineering, mixing and arranging and with Jesse Berlin acting as the band's go-to guitarist, well, you kinda already know what you're in for here, don't you!

Indeed, the band's concept is to use known drummers and guitarists as guests on their records so that once the guest guitarist has done his or her thing, Jesse trades solos with them!

1. 'Tonight'
2. 'Freedom'
3. 'Pressure'
4. 'On the Road'
5. 'Mist'
6. 'Frantic'
7. 'Funky Heavy & Tight'
8. 'Hard Times'
9. 'Demons'

Kicking off with the drum-led 'Tonight,' is the most perfect introduction to the band at large. It's a funky, rock 'n' roll monster, smothered in R&B and thrust out into the world as a bad mother**ker of a tune!

Some funky slap bass licks brings forth 'Freedom' with some dynamic lead guitar wizardry unleashing 'Pressure' next.

Featuring a full ensemble of Ed Terry on vocals along with Pat Travers (guitar), Jesse Berlin (guitar), Randy Pratt (bass & pedals), T.C. Tolliver (drums), Neil Cicione (drums), JZ Barrell (extra guitar), and Paul Latimer (extra funk guitar), I can honestly hear so much youthful Extreme pulsating through this entire album that had I not known it was a conglomerate of talent, I would have bet money it was an unreleased Cherone and Bettencourt album from the very early '90s!

That aside, next up is the intense prowling of 'On the Road,' which is backed brilliantly by the frenetically swelling 'Mist,' the R&B rocking hipsway of 'Frantic,' and then the harmonica-driven blues of 'Funk Heavy & Tight.'

The album then rounds out with the rock jam 'Hard Times,' and then comes to a close with the palpitating darkness found within of 'Demons.'

Ruffyunz @ Soundcloud

Hyperspace Records @ Facebook

Title - 'Winter Stories'
Artist - Brian Culbertson

For those not in the know, Brian Culbertson is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer known for his distinct brand of genre-crossing contemporary jazz, R&B and funk.

Mining the urban sounds of musically-rich Chicago, he began his musical studies on piano at age eight and quickly picked up several other instruments by the time he was twelve, including drums, trombone, bass and euphonium.

Inspired by the iconic R&B-jazz-pop artists of the 1970s like Earth, Wind & Fire, Tower of Power, Chicago, David Sanborn and others, Culbertson started composing original music for his seventh grade piano recital and hasn’t stopped since.

Amassing 30 Billboard #1 singles (and counting!) and a deep catalogue of 18 albums, most of which have topped the Billboard contemporary jazz charts, released this past October 4th, 2019 via his own BCM Entertainment, Brian's Winter Stories album now becomes his 19th new release.

Featuring Steve Rodby on acoustic bass and Khari Parker on drums (on brushes), Winter Stories is Brian’s first foray into a traditional jazz sounding album and whilst it is obviously still melodic and well-produced, at its roots it is also a very cultured, and very earnest jazz-oriented album.

1. 'Sitting By The Fire'
2. 'Montana Skies'
3. 'Morning Walk'
4. 'Flurries'
5. 'City Sleigh Ride'
6. 'Waltz For M'
7. 'Island Dream'
8. 'Northern Lights'
9.. 'Frosted Window'
10. 'Starry Night'

Whereas most all artists that release a Christmas album tend to focus on re-recording standards, maybe perhaps including a brand new track they have written especially for inclusion, Brian has written and produced ALL 10 of these new Holiday-inspired tracks; which is pretty darn amazing, if you ask me.

He begins with the dulcet piano lead into 'Sitting By The Fire' and backs that up beautifully with both the expressive 'Montana Skies,' and then the light bounce and skip of 'Morning Walk' is brought forth.

The crystalline 'Flurries' (a track that if you close your eyes could also easily apply to listening to the gentleness of rain running down your windows) is then followed by the jazz club vibe of my own personal favorite on this quite wondrous new album, 'City Sleigh Ride.'

The sweet-sounding 'Waltz For M' is a pure, unadulterated joy to behold and is backed by the finger-snappin,' rhythmic hipsway of 'Island Dream,' and then the delicately rounded, if you wish, ballad 'Northern Lights' comes next.

The joyous, sitting by a roaring fire late at night ambiance of 'Frosted Window' is along next with this highly addictive new Holiday album rounding out with the seasoned (if you'll pardon the pun) 'Starry Night.'

Brian Culbertson @ Twitter

Brian Culbertson @ Facebook

Title - 'It Snows In Heaven Too' (Remastered Edition)
Artist - Annie Haslam

For those not in the know, Annie Haslam is an English vocalist, songwriter, and painter who is best known as the lead singer of progressive rock band Renaissance since 1971; and for her long and diverse solo singing career.

Indeed, she has a five-octave vocal range and from 2002, Haslam has developed a parallel career as a visual artist, producing paintings on canvas, painted musical instruments, and giclées.

Esoteric Recordings have just released (November 29th, 2019) the digitally remastered edition of It Snows In Heaven Too, the magnificent, and so well received Christmas album by the acclaimed Renaissance vocalist.

Originally issued on Annie's White Dove label in 2000, the album has been unavailable for many years and features Annie's unique interpretation of Christmas songs and Carols, both traditional and contemporary.

1. 'Oh Holy Night'
2. 'Silent Night'
3. 'The Snowman'
4. 'It Snows in Heaven Too'
5. 'It Came Upon a Midnight Clear'
6. 'Joy to the World'
7. 'The Christmas Song'
8. 'Ave Maria'
9. 'We Three Kings'
10. 'The Little Drummer Boy'
11. 'Christmas Time Is Here'
12. 'Away in a Manger'
13. 'O Come, O Come Immanuel'
14. 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas'
15. 'Hark! the Herald Angels Sing'
16. 'White Christmas'

I absolutely love Christmas music - authentic Christmas music. I can listen to Carols from Trinity all day long.

However, Christmas is a time for marketing mischief as one hack after another slaps something together in hopes of making a few easy sheckles.

The good news is, It Snows In Heaven Too shines out for its appeal is universal. This is the kind of CD you will return to year after year, and enjoy every time.

The blend of secular with religious is nicely done; there are many standards as well as a couple of surprises. The arrangements are spare - thank goodness - no goopy strings, cloying choirs, ham-fisted extras.

The emphasis is always squarely where it belongs, on Annie's extraordinary vocal performances.

I will say that she possesses an exquisite voice, and her high notes are sweet as candy. But what I notice most about her singing is the gorgeous diction.

Today, her English accent is almost gone, but she caresses each word as though she were on the boards at the Old Vic.

Haslam sings with the utmost care, precision, and clarity - absolutely enchanting considering today incomprehensibility is fashionable if not de rigueur.

In an age of mediocrity, and a season of wretched excess, treat yourself to the real thing. This is Christmas as it should be and thus It Snows In Heaven Too (Remastered Edition) (and with fully restored artwork) is sure to appeal to all fans of Annie Haslam and Renaissance as the Yuletide season approaches.

Official CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Insufficient Necessities' [EP]
Artist - Chris Haskett

Original guitarist in the Rollins Band (1986 to 1997, and again for the band's reunion in 2006), Chris Haskett has also worked with Jah Wobble, Lloyd Cole, Utah Saints, Foetus, Cassandra Complex, Pigface, Reeves Gabrels, Elliott Sharp and David Bowie.

Chris grew up in Washington DC, but he he spent 1976-1977 in the UK where he was greatly inspired by the birth of the UK punk scene.

Soon after his return to the US he was recruited into seminal DC band, The Enzymes. Heavily inspired by such diverse influences as Sun Ra, The Art Ensemble of Chicago, The Damned and Captain Beefheart, the band existed at the fringes of what would eventually turn into DC Hardcore.

In 1982 he moved to Leeds to finish an undergraduate degree in Philosophy and whilst there he joined Dave Coleman aka Surfin Dave's surf/trash band.

Originally called the Beany T's, the band was rechristened the Absent Legends and played clubs in and around the UK, releasing one LP (In Search of a Decent Haircut on Crammed Discs in 1985). The Absent Legends disbanded the following year.

During a return visit to Washington DC in the Summer of 1986, Chris encountered longtime friend Henry Rollins. The two had been in regular contact since 1984 and often discussed musical collaboration.

The serendipitous meeting turned into an improvised plan. DC bassist Bernie Wandel and Absent Legends drummer Mick Green were brought in as rhythm section and the result was the album Hot Animal Machine.

The band racked up close to a thousand performances across the globe and were known for a high-intensity blend of raw energy and profound musicianship.

In 1994 they were nominated for a Grammy and performed live at the ceremony. This incarnation broke up in 1998 after finishing their tour on the Come In and Burn album.

Rollins kept the Rollins Band name with a new lineup of the band. The Rollins/Haskett/Cain/Gibbs lineup reformed briefly for the As the World Burns tour with Los Angeles rockers X.

Indeed, throughout the 1990s he played his own instrumental compositions live with various bands. Inspired by both Sonny Sharrock and the Grateful Dead, the instrumentation was usually guitar, bass, drums, drums.

1995 saw his first solo release Language, a mixture of angular, dense, difficult acoustic guitar (some in duet with ex-Birthday Party guitarist Rowland S. Howard) and musique concrete.

In 1997 he released the CD Nonfiction in collaboration with Dog Eat Dog drummer, Brandon Finley. The CD was a fusion of electric jazz and the go-go music that had been the soundtrack to his DC teen years.

2002 saw the release of Not Part Of The Solution which showcased a more conventional approach to the electric guitar and allowed his debt to his heroes such as Zappa and Beck to show through.

He reunited with Brandon Finley for 2011's Maybe Definitely (a play on Jeff Beck's title Definitely Maybe) and another foray into the jazz/go-go territory the two explored on Nonfiction.

In 2014 he released The Courage Born of Conflicting Terrors in collaboration with Nick Enfield and Mirna Sodre.

The next Chris Haskett CD is a 4-track EP entitled Insufficient Necessities (coming out November 15th, 2019 via DenCity Records) and features his local Nijmegen band - Johan Jansen, Collin van Gerven and Ton Massen.

1. 'Dodge 'Em'
2. 'Ivy City'
3. 'Hoof-Deee!'
4. 'Going Back'

Tonally, this EP is more a collective gathering of funk, rock, and jazz instrumentals that kinda follows the path taken by this last two albums and kicks off as much with the at-first stuttering to find its hold, but then free flowing into a quite brilliantly funky guitar and bass line 'Dodge 'Em'.

That's backed seamlessly by the RHCP-lite vibe of 'Ivy City' with the next track on this vibrant new EP being the frenetically controlled 'Hoof-Deee!'

The 4-track EP then comes to a close with the ticking clock backbeat of the mid-tempo, funky R&B hipsway of 'Going Back.'

In truth, it's got to be the most "user-friendly" and conventional release Chris has ever released, which isn't saying much, I guess, but he definitely aims, swings and nestles himself nicely in the whole instrumental rock angularity found within the Jeff Beck world; which is never a bad thing.

Title - 'The John Adams Album'
Artist - Kent Nagano/Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal

For those not in the know, Kent Nagano is renowned for his clarity, elegance, and intelligence in performance.

He enjoys a steadfast international reputation, engaging with a vast repertoire spanning the Baroque era to contemporary music, championing little-known works while bringing new ideas to the performance of the established repertoire.

Maestro Nagano has been Music Director of the OSM since 2006. He also served as Music Director of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin – of which he is Honorary Conductor – from 2000 to 2006 and the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich from 2006 to 2013.

He is Principal Guest Conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra (Sweden), since 2013 and in 2015, he was appointed General Music Director of the Hamburg State Opera and Principal Conductor of the Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra.

Maestro Nagano was named Commander of the Ordre de Montréal, Grand Officer of the Ordre national du Québec, Companion of the Ordre des arts et des lettres du Québec, in addition to receiving the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Medal.

Released October 18th, 2019 via Decca Classics, The John Adams Album contains his key orchestral works conducted by one of his greatest, lifelong champions.

“Like all great pieces, each time one returns to them and restudies them, I’m able to find something more," Nagano says about John Adams. "No dimensions that I haven’t seen before, other reflections of innovation and genius.”

Continuing the award-winning series of orchestral and operatic recordings from OSM and Nagano on Decca, the stirring opener 'Common Tones in Simple Time' (20:47) is simply magnificent to behold.

A work of musical art that reflects not only Adams' intentions, but now fuses intricately, and yet boldly at times, them with the stunning ensemble Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, 'Harmonielehre' (43:04) is up next and is equally as delightful.

Beginning with, what else, First Movement, the tranquil, aching beauty of the track is brought forth marvelously and is backed by the more free flowing, yet effortlessly dainty The Anfortas Wound.

The piercingly majestic Meister Eckhardt and Quackie is my own personal stand out here, for its length, breadth and reach of augmented musicianship is a magnificent, and unadulterated gem to truly behold.

This masterful new piece then rounds out with the clip-ity clop of the frenetic 'Short Ride in a Fast Machine,' which is yet another vibrant work unto itself.

Official CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Jericho'
Artist - Jeff Lofton

For those not in the know, Austin, Texas-based trumpeter/composer Jeff Lofton recently released his incredible, simply brilliant new album, Jericho, and it has already garnered some rather rave, favorable, and downright deservedly high praise reviews.

A Grammy member and two-time SXSW Austin Music Awards winner, Lofton offers a diverse style, impressing audiences and critics with his ability to easily swing from styles as eclectic as neo-soul, jazz, urban, and R&B.

1. 'You Blues You Lose'
2. 'Compared To What' (featuring Carolyn Wonderland)
3. 'Rose'
4. 'What A Little Moonlight Can Do'
5. 'Love Comes (Amor Viene)'
6. 'Jericho'
7. 'The Christmas Song'
8. 'Nola Beat'
9. 'Compared To What' (featuring Murali Coryell)

The album kicks off in some fine style with the upbeat and funky, swing jazz of 'You Blues You Lose,' and backs that up with both the high tempo cracker 'Compared To What' (featuring Carolyn Wonderland), and then the slow roll, mellow groove of the ballad 'Rose.'

It's very evident on this new album that Lofton is giving us a sample of his creativity and dynamic trumpet style throughout the nine studio recordings, for his musicianship is simply top notch.

The frenetic 'What A Little Moonlight Can Do' is up next and is followed by the late night jazz club appeal of 'Love Comes (Amor Viene),' the reverberatingly exquisite title track, and then the perfectly timed for this upcoming holiday season, his immaculate rendition of 'The Christmas Song.'

The finger-snappin' beauty 'Nola Beat' is up next with the album rounding out with another version of 'Compared To What,' this time featuring Murali Coryell and coming across as more of a softer James Brown styling.

Jeff Lofton @ Facebook

Jeff Lofton @ Twitter

Amazon Digital Purchase Link

Title - 'New York Graffiti – 1619-1750' [4CD Box-Set]
Artist - Various

In short, New York Graffiti – 1619-1750 Broadway: An Independent American Pop Story 1958-1968 is a study of American pop music during the time it exploded into a record industry.

Releasing this November 29th, 2019 via RPM Records / Cherry Red Records UK, some Americans reference the music of their parents from the late 1950s to mid-1960s as the American Graffiti generation.

The term coined by George Lucas in his movie homage to that period and the youth coming of age during that time.

And so RPM uses that reference as it’s setting to focus on the records produced by a group of music companies operating in the ‘tin pan alley’ of New York from the Brill Building at 1619 Broadway and up around the block.

A fascinating story emerges surrounding the growth of a group of independent US Publishing Companies, some 28 in number, the oldest of which Broadway Music was founded in 1914, and how by the end of 1968 all had come under the ownership of one, the Edward Kassner Music Company.

New York Graffiti is set in the time when the song publishers launched their own in house record labels. Not only that, these companies were part of the business as a vertical integration of publishers, writers, arrangers, producers, labels, studios, artists, management, DJs, radio.

Most in the same district of New York, often in the same building. With control of ‘the Song’ then it was about manipulating as much as possible around it’s exploitation for maximum commercial exposure.

With our group of Publishers they specifically launched and ran the labels Joy Records, Seville Records, President Records, Duel, Gulf, Shell Records, Select, and the recordings on this collection are drawn from them.

Included in this quite magnificent, rather wondrous new 4CD Box-Set are singer / songwriter Neil Diamond’s early single as Neil & Jack, and Tom Pacheco in his first band The Raggamuffins.

Also included are artist Shirley Ellis pre-‘Clapping Song’ as Shirley Elliston, soon to be backing Elvis and Dusty in American Studios ‘Memphis Boy’ Bobby Wood, pre-Three Degrees producer Richard Barrett, and ‘Montego Bay’ Bobby Bloom during his time with The Imaginations.

And many examples of where the Song is King such as 'Prisoner of Love,' a 1946 Perry Como record, here as a glorious swing beat number by Billy Duke months before James Brown’s soul defining version.

As included is Ricky Shaw’s stab at Rick Nelson with 'A Fool’s Memory' subsequently covered by Billy Fury, and Bobby Sherman’s R&B classic 'Do You Want To Dance' here given the then-on-trend "twist" treatment by Joey & The Twisters; just before Cliff Richard’s upbeat pop version.

We also get Earl Wade’s bossa version of 'Feel So Bad' which was soon followed by Elvis’s hit single version, and more obscurely Laura Lynn’s beautifully swooning 'It Took A Long Time Coming,' then covered by Robert Plant as an early solo single.

Not to mention the label’s own hits including ‘Bobby’s Girl’, ‘Shout Shout (Knock Yourself Out)’, ‘Little Band Of Gold’, ‘Heartbreaker’, ‘Hootenanny’, ‘Pushin’ Your Luck,’ and so, oh so many more!

In fact, over half the set is on CD for the first time with three tracks previously unreleased and two others freshly mixed down from multi track tapes.

Many very collectable, such as the garage sound of The Barbarians, the early Neil Diamond as Neil & Jack, Northern and early Soul classics including those from Pat Hervey, Roger Pace, Linda Cumbo, Pat Jarvis, Sonny Stiles, The Kampells, Millie Foster, and Curtis Knight.

Disc: 1
1. 'Ankle Bracelet' - the Pyramids
2. 'Story Tellin' Baby' - the Jodimars
3. 'Rock and Roll Kittens' - Judy and Joyce
4. 'Sock Hop' - the Gorman Sisters
5. 'Lavender Coffin' - Russ Cassata
6. 'Blue Flute' - Don Harper
7. 'I Am Yours' - Richard Barrett and the Sevilles
8. 'But Are You Sure' - Ronnie Mitchell
9. 'The King' - Gregg Madden
10. 'Feeling This Thing Called Love' - Wallie Hawkins
11. 'Baby You're a Long Time Dead' - Freddie Scott
12. 'Boca Raton' - Ronnie Mitchell
13. 'Pitter Patter' - the Five Fleets
14. 'A Beautiful Love' - Shirley Elliston
15. 'Lost the Right' (Take 9) - Freddie Scott
16. 'Don't Believe Them' - Wallie Hawkins
17. 'Feel So Bad' - Earl Wade
18. 'Hurricane' - Kenny Dana
19. 'You're Still My Baby' - Earl Wade
20. 'Fools Fall in Love' - Starfires
21. 'Hey You' - the Imaginations
22. 'Shout! Shout! (Knock Yourself Out)' - Ernie Maresca
23. 'It Was Like Heaven' - Little Joey & the Flips
24. 'Heart Breaker' - Dean Christie
25. 'Love Is the Greatest Thing' - the Delacardos
26. 'Oh Love (Stop Knockin on My Door)' - Jamie Horton
27. 'Pretty Baby' - Charlie Gracie
28. 'Bossa Rock' - Bellino

Delving into each disc one at a time and revealing who I personally think stands out for their musical contributions, on this first disc it actually kicks off with truly one of the top doo wops of all time in The Pyramids' 'Ankle Bracelet.'

The glorious lindy hoppin' music of 'Lavender Coffin' from Russ Cassata is another joy to behold, along with 'Baby You're a Long Time Dead' from Freddie Scott, the barbershop quartet vibe of 'Fools Fall in Love' from Starfires, and the groovy disc-ending 'Bossa Rock' by Bellino.

Disc: 2
1. 'When You've Got Love' - Curtis Knight
2. 'Night and Day U.S.A.' - Charlie Gracie
3. 'Wheel and Deal' - Bill Roxy
4. 'Do You Want to Dance' - Joey & the Twisters
5. 'Early Sunday' - Mort Garson and His Orchestra
6. 'Lovin' Time' - the Hideaways
7. 'Go Shout It from a Mountain' - Jamie Horton
8. 'Bobby's Girl' - Marcie Blane
9. 'Love Wheel' - Millie Foster
10. 'Jigsaw Puzzle' - the Chelmars
11. 'A Fool's Memory' - Ricky Shaw
12. 'Even Though' - Susan Lynne
13. 'Lovin' Time' - Sleepy King
14. 'You're Gonna Be Sorry' - Curtis Knight
15. 'Bitterness' - Millie Foster
16. 'There'll Be No Goodbyes' - Susan Lynne
17. 'I'm Afraid' - Neil & Jack
18. 'Til You've Tried Love' - Neil & Jack
19. 'Bye Bye Travelin Man' - Hughie Garrity & the Hollywood Playboys
20. 'Real Churchy' - Al Tousan
21. 'That's All I Need' - Bobby Wood
22. 'Midnight Hassle' - the Frank Virtue Combo
23. 'Nobody Knows' - Michael Zara and the Compliments
24. 'Tell Me More' - Scotty Carrol
25. 'Little Band of Gold' - James Gilreath
26. 'Summers Come and Gone' - the Brandywine Singers
27. 'Hootenanny' - the Glencoves

The finger-snappin' twist of 'When You've Got Love' from Curtis Knight will definitely put a smile on your face, and that's backed by the warm sounds of 'Lovin' Time' from the Hideaways, the beautiful ballad 'Bitterness' by Millie Foster, and upbeat piano and organ work of 'Real Churchy' from Al Tousan.

Arranged and conducted by Bill Ramal, a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music and Columbia University who formed the production team Ramal-Wilson Associates with Marty Wilson, 'Nobody Knows' from Michael Zara and the Compliments is brilliant to listen to even today and so too the second disc closer, the hand-clappin' pop bounce of 'Hootenanny' from the Glencoves (it was actually their debut release and became their only hit, reaching #38 on the Billboard charts).

Disc: 3
1. 'Did I Think About You' - Millie Foster
2. 'Will You Wait' (PT 1) - Larry Banks
3. 'What a Thrill' - Millie Foster
4. 'Devil's Waitin' (On Bald Mountain)' - the Glencoves
5. '609' - Billy Duke
6. 'Larry' - the Allen Sisters
7. 'The Sweetest Boy' - the Kittens
8. 'You Got It Bad' - the Kampells
9. 'The Street' - Terry and the Tunisians
10. 'Snow Surfin'' - Zeke Sheppard
11. 'Boys Cry' - the Four Coins
12. 'Get Lost' - the Sillaways
13. 'Just Like My Baby' - Joan Berry
14. 'I'm Hurt and So Is My Heart' - Little Gigi
15. 'Don't Deceive Me' - Jimmy & Jack
16. 'Just in the Nick of Time' - Billy Lee
17. 'When I Meet a Girl Like You' - the Pageboys
18. 'You've Got to Understand' - the Barbarians
19. 'Pompton Turnpike' - Floyd Morris
20. 'People in Love' - the Taylor Brothers
21. 'Take the Bitter with the Sweet' - Little Gigi
22. 'Hello Lady' - Ludaway
23. 'I Don't Want to Make You Cry' - Billy Lee
24. 'Sha la Lu Luma' - the Twilights
25. 'Hey Little Bird' - the Barbarians
26. 'I Have Love' - the Pageboys

The third disc begins with Millie Foster's shrill ballad 'Did I Think About You,' and is followed by the folk harmony of 'Devil's Waitin' (On Bald Mountain)' (the Glencoves), the doo-wop girl group hybrid Terry and the Tunisians with 'The Street,' and the horn-influenced 'Don't Deceive Me' from Jimmy & Jack.

Another lo-fi gem is the acid uptempo mod jazz of 'Pompton Turnpike' from Floyd Morris, the moody piano supported mid-tempo, harmonica-laced (complete with haunting girl-group chorus) 'I Don't Want to Make You Cry' from Billy Lee, and ends with one of my favorite 7" singles of that time, The Pageboys with 'I Have Love.'

Disc: 4
1. 'The Dixatay' - Billy Butterfield
2. 'Prisoner of Love' - Billy Duke
3. 'Did You Ever Lose Your Mind Over a Boy' - Linda Cumbo
4. 'The Hurtin Kind' - Marcie Blane
5. 'It's Their World' - Ernie Maresca
6. 'Fools Paradise' - Bobby Wood
7. 'Now I'm at the Top' - Scott Bedford Four
8. 'Four Times Faster' - Fish 'N' Chips
9. 'Last Exit to Brooklyn' - Scott Bedford Four
10. 'Girl Can't Take a Joke' - the Druids
11. 'She Belongs to Me' - Ray Emmett and the Superiors
12. 'You Day Is Coming' - James Gilreath
13. 'The Truth Hurts' - Dick Roman
14. 'The Minute My Back Was Turned' - Roger Pace
15. 'Give a Little Bit' - Sonny Stiles and His Kings Men
16. 'You Copped My Soul' - the Demetrons
17. 'Here She Comes' - Sonny Stiles and His Kings Men
18. 'Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow' - Linda Cumbo
19. 'The Soul of My Man' - Pat Jarvis
20. 'Can't Get You Out of My Mind' - Pat Hervey with the Tiaras
21. 'It Took a Long Time Coming' - Laura Lynn
22. 'Alley Pond Park' - Culver Street Playground
23. 'Hate to See a Good Thing Have to Go' - the Raggamuffins
24. 'Cry Alone' - Guardians of the Rainbow
25. 'It Wasn't Happening at All' - the Raggamuffins
26. 'You Can't Do That' - Doris Willingham

The fourth and final disc opens with the upbeat trumpet work of Billy Butterfield's Nola-inspired 'The Dixatay,' and backs that up with the lush orchestrations of 'Now I'm at the Top' (Scott Bedford Four), and another gem, the brilliantly tonal 'Give a Little Bit' by Sonny Stiles and His Kings Men (a young Tom Jones-esque, perhaps?).

The awesome voice of Linda Cumbo next brings us the love song 'Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,' and then we get the staggeringly atmospheric 'Hate to See a Good Thing Have to Go' (the Raggamuffins), with the toe-tappin,' horn-led disco/pop beauty 'You Can't Do That by Doris Willingham rounding the collection off perfectly.

An 80-page, perfect bound book(let) reveals this whole New York Graffiti story in detail, including photos and images never before published, history of the songs, along with biogs of every artist in the box.

Simply put, this gorgeous 4CD Box-Set comprises over 100 tracks and 250 minutes of music for all true music lovers to dive right into!

In closing, is a musical romp through a decade of American Pop history, 1958-1968, following a specific set of Publishers and their record labels who mirrored all the key Pop music movements of that period: Doo Wop, Rock n Roll, RnB, early Soul, Girl Group, Folk, Beat, Garage.

Title - 'Same Day Delivery: Live'
Artist - Leslie Pintchik Trio

For those not in the know, before embarking on a career in jazz, Leslie Pintchik was a teaching assistant in English literature at Columbia University, where she also received her Master of Philosophy degree in seventeenth-century English literature.

Indeed she first surfaced on the Manhattan scene in a trio with legendary bassist Red Mitchell at Bradley's, and in the ensuing years Pintchik formed her own trio which performs regularly at New York City and East Coast jazz venues that include Jazz At Kitano, Bar Next Door, the Blue Note, Cornelia Street Cafe, 55 Bar, Smalls, Knickerbocker Bar and Grill, Alvin and Friends Restaurant, Scullers Jazz Club and the Side Door, among others.

Pintchik's debut CD So Glad To Be Here was released in June 2004, followed by Quartets in 2007, both on the Ambient record label. In the fall of 2010, she released her third CD We're Here To Listen, as well as a DVD Leslie Pintchik Quartet Live In Concert, both on the aptly-named Pintch Hard record label.

Pintchik's fourth CD In The Nature Of Things was released in 2014 and her fifth CD True North in March of 2016. Her sixth CD You Eat My Food, You Drink My Wine, You Steal My Girl! was released in February 2018 and reached #4 in the country for radio spins on JazzWeek; and also remained in the top 10 for five weeks.

And now the wait is over as her (Leslie Pintchik Trio) brand new, and seventh CD Same Day Delivery: Live was just released on October 18th, 2019, once again via Pintch Hard label.

1. 'Smoke Gets In Your Eyes'
2. 'I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face'
3. 'There You Go'
4. 'Falling In Love Again'
5. 'Terse Tune'
6. 'Your call will be answered by our next available representative, in the order it was received. Please stay on the line; your call is important to us'
7. 'Tumbleweed'
8. 'Let's Get Lucky'
9. 'I'd Turn Back If I Were You'

From the off it's plainly obvious that this trio - Pintchik, Scott Hardy (bass) and Michael Sarin (drums) - were of good, upbeat, fun cheer when it came to performing this wondrous live show.

Recorded within a small club atmosphere, the opening 'Smoke Gets In Your Eyes' has a most joyous flow and skip to it that you simply cannot help but smile throughout and that's followed by the laid back, and uber lush 'I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face.'

A duo of near nine minute wonders of musical art are up next in the form of the Pintchik-written, finger snappin' and foot tappin' 'There You Go,' and then the Friedrich Hollaender classic 'Falling In Love Again.'

The lofty 'Terse Tune' is another Pintchik original (and actually begins a run of originals until the album closes) and is backed seamlessly by the magnificently entitled, and perky 'Your call will be answered by our next available representative, in the order it was received. Please stay on the line; your call is important to us.'

The ambrosial 'Tumbleweed' is easily one of my own personal favorites here and is backed by the mellifluent, and so abundantly enraptured 'Let's Get Lucky,' with the album rounding out with the drum-led, upbeat beauty 'I'd Turn Back If I Were You.'

Official Purchase Links

Title - 'Last Christmas: The Soundtrack'
Artist - George Michael / Wham!

For those not in the film know right now, 'Last Christmas' is a new romantic comedy directed by Paul Feig and written by Bryony Kimmings and Emma Thompson; who co-wrote the story with her husband, Greg Wise.

Based on the song of the same name, the film stars Emilia Clarke as a cynical Christmas store worker who forms a relationship with a mysterious man (Henry Golding) and begins to fall for him (Thompson and Michelle Yeoh also star).

The film's stunning soundtrack features three Wham! hits and an amazing 12 George Michael (the legendary Grammy-winning artist, who sold more than 115 million albums and recorded 10 #1 singles over the course of his iconic career) solo songs from throughout his career; including a brand new and never-before-released track 'This Is How (We Want You To Get High).'

1. 'Last Christmas' - Wham!
2. 'Too Funky'
3. 'Fantasy'
4. 'Praying for Time'
5. 'Faith'
6. 'Waiting for That Day'
7. 'Heal the Pain'
8. 'One More Try'
9. 'Fastlove, Pt. 1'
10. 'Everything She Wants' - Wham!
11. 'Wake Me up Before You Go-Go' - Wham!
12. 'Move On'
13. 'Freedom! '90'
14. 'Praying for Time'
15. 'This Is How (We Want You to Get High)'

Well, if you're a lover of all-things George Michael and Wham! you already know going into this soundtrack what you're in for! That said, listening to these songs now having seen the movie and I have to say more and more of them seem to have taken on that Holiday feel, if you know what I mean.

Of course, the movie's title comes directly from Wham!'s 1985 smash-hit of the same name, and George Michael's solo stuff is most definitely the musical glue that not only holds the movie together, but threads a rather delightful story line too.

After the intro of the title track, from then on we get what can only be described as a Greatest Hits collection from the great man and his works through the years.

Opting to lean heavily into his solo career, the film actually uses them at moments throughout where certain things are happening; and not all of them are made clear why until the very end.

Obvious highlights include the much-loved hits, 'Faith', 'Fastlove', 'Freedom ’90', and 'Too Funky' alongside such surprises as 'Heal The Pain', 'Waiting for that Day' and the MTV Unplugged version of 'Praying For Time' (which George himself adored), and the fabulous Older track, 'Move On'.

So, sure, if you are a mega George Michael / Wham! fan or even a casual observer passing through, fans much like yourselves are (most likely) only buying this new album for the never-before-released track, 'This Is How (We Want You to Get High).'

It's been said that when Emma Thompson heard the new track, 'This Is How (We Want You To Get High)', she instantly knew it had to be part of Last Christmas (an extended version will be available on the vinyl version of the soundtrack).

With that in mind then, let's talk about the one track that you, even now, might not have heard of or anything about. The track is, as always, a beautiful lush ballad … that suddenly explodes into a Latin samba with distortion on George's vocals for some reason.

Personally, I wish they had left all the fuzz and Latin vibe off it and kept it clean and, well, George Michael-esque, so to speak.

Recorded in his latter years, perhaps just before he passed away (given that it's never seen the light of day before), sure, ok, it's absolutely worth seeking out for the die-hard fans.

But, maybe everyone else should get one of his prior, and definitive Best Of albums to truly behold the magical vocal beauty of the man gone too soon.

Official Purchase Links

Title - 'Latin Lounge'
Artist - Frank Colón

For those not in the know, Frank Colón is a composer, producer, author, and a specialist in Latin, Brazilian, and Asian percussion instruments.

He is also a Krav Maga Black-Belt Dan 2 Instructor, a Tai Chi Chuan Instructor, and a PADI Divemaster.

On his brand new album Latin Lounge we discover the perfect blend of Latin grooves to move your body and soothe your soul.

Entirely composed and arranged by Puerto Rican percussionist, Colón, Latin Lounge also features a very interesting combination of young, talented musicians from Brazil, USA and Russia.

1. 'Emerald Coast'
2. 'Easy Does It'
3. 'Summer Cocktail'
4. 'Let's Just Go...'
5. 'Samba Gitano'
6. 'Spanish Heart'
7. 'Bali'
8. 'Wishful Thinking'
9. 'Tango Lucumí'
10. 'The Whales of Bahia'

The atmospheric, smooth wave roll of the opener 'Emerald Coast' showcases what the listener is in for perfectly on this album and that is backed seamlessly by both the streamlined trumpet found on 'Easy Does It,' and then the upbeat Latin hipsway of the mid-tempo 'Summer Cocktail.'

As a sideman with the Manhattan Transfer for 12 years, he collaborated with his creative sound for two of their Grammy awards (even being voted in 1988 as one of the top three “Most Influential Percussionist of the Year” by the readers of Modern Drummer Magazine), so it's no wonder that this new album from Colón is so artistically flavorful.

More of the same can be found on 'Let's Just Go...' which in turn is followed by the gorgeous free flowing violin and cello work found on the wondrous 'Samba Gitano.'

His love for kinetic groove is shown passionately on both the lush 'Spanish Heart' and the enchanting 'Bali,' with the perky 'Wishful Thinking' along next.

The album then rounds out with my own personal favorite, the impassioned 'Tango Lucumí,' before coming to a close with the enthralling soundscapes found within 'The Whales of Bahia.'

Amazon Digital Purchase Link

Frank Colón @ Facebook

Title - 'Stronger Now'
Artist - Carol Albert

Healing is a process and there is no substitute for time. As we move through each phase, we grow stronger.

Carol Albert has been very open about her recovery from the unexpected loss of her husband in 2014, letting go on the soul-soothing album Fly Away Butterfly.

On the cover of her upcoming brand new album Stronger Now (due out January 31st, 2020), we quickly see that Carol’s radiant smile has indeed returned.

Furthermore, the delicate, gossamer wings of a butterfly have evolved into powerful, feathery wings, mighty and capable of fending for herself while gracefully soaring to new heights.

And that is exactly what the award-winning composer, pianist, keyboardist and vocalist does on the aptly-named Stronger Now, which she produced with two-time GRAMMY® winner Paul Brown and Lew Laing.

1. 'Stronger Now' (3:43)
2. 'Love Again' (4:03)
3. 'Perfect Sunday' (4:03)
4. 'For The Moment' (4:24)
5. 'Femme Flight' (Album Version) (4:25)
6. 'Winter Rain' (5:31)
7. 'Sun's Out' (Album Version) (3:55)
8. 'I Am Fine' (4:39)
9. 'Moon On The Water' (4:23)
10. 'Til We Meet Again' (5:27)

On the album opener, the empowered, soaring title track, Carol immediately makes her listeners aware she has begun moving forward and is now ready to embrace her ornately luxuriant and vibrant piano work once again.

Setting her emotional journey to music, it's been said that Carol wrote Stronger Now intimately journaling her period of refortification.

Indeed, throughout the ten-song set, Albert summons the courage to again feel joy, love and laughter balanced with healthy periods of reflection, solitude and introspection.

Tracks such as both the melodic, uplifting 'Love Again' and the fragrant Latin jazz escapade 'Perfect Sunday' (the latter inclusive of Lee Thornberg's horns) are pure, unadulterated joys to behold, and are backed seamlessly by both 'For The Moment' (which features Paul Brown on guitar), and my own personal favorite, the gently frenetic Latin jazz fusion of Carol's impassioned piano work (combined with flutist Ragan Whiteside and saxophonist Magdalena Chovancova) on 'Femme Flight' (Album Version).

The weighty sojourn of 'Winter Rain' showcases another side, another mood shall we say, of Carol's chosen art form, but she doesn't hang around there too long before she's bursting into the light once again on the revitalizing 'Sun’s Out.'

As if needing to calm people's nerves about how she is handling the passing of her late husband, up next is a recurring mantra to them in the form of the reassuring 'I Am Fine,' with a career defining piece of piano poetry up next within 'Moon On The Water.'

The album then rounds out with the ode to her late husband, the sanguine, hope-threaded 'Til We Meet Again,' which complete with Daniel Baraszu’s stirring acoustic guitar, elevates the track just enough for us to feel that Carol is closing that previously-performed chapter on this period of her life and is now welcoming the next.

Featuring: Paul Brown (guitar), Dan Baraszu (guitar), Lil John Roberts (drums), Jay Williams (drums), Sam Sims (bass), Ragan Whiteside (flute), Magdalena Chovancova (sax), Joseph Patrick Moore (bass), and many other talented musicians.

Amazon Digital Purchase Link

Carol Albert @ Facebook

Carol Albert @ Twitter

Title - 'Destination Rachmaninov: Arrival'
Artist - Daniil Trifonov

For those not in the know, Grammy Award winning Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov – winner of Gramophone’s 2016 Artist of the Year award – has made a spectacular ascent of the classical music world as a solo artist, champion of the concerto repertoire, chamber and vocal collaborator, and composer.

Combining consummate technique with rare sensitivity and depth, his performances are a perpetual source of awe. “He has everything and more … tenderness and also the demonic element. I never heard anything like that,” marveled pianist Martha Argerich.

Trifonov recently added a first Grammy Award to his already considerable string of honors, winning Best Instrumental Solo Album of 2018 with Transcendental, a double album of Liszt’s works that marks his third title as an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist.

As The Times of London notes, he is “without question the most astounding pianist of our age.”

After the highly acclaimed album Destination Rachmaninov – Departure Daniil Trifonov concludes his Rachmaninov project with a coupling of the composer’s Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 3.

On Destination Rachmaninov: Arrival (released via Deutsche Grammophon), gifted pianist Trifonov once again teams with The Philadelphia Orchestra as conducted by the also gifted Yannick Nézet-Séguin for a continued unique and highly successful approach to Rachmaninov.

1 The Silver Sleigh Bells (op. 35, 1st movt.)
2-4 Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 1 in F Sharp minor (op. 1)
5 Vocalise (op. 34 no 14)
6-8 Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 3 in D minor (op. 30)

Including Trifonov’s own transcriptions of Rachmaninov’s famous, beloved, heart-rending Vocalise and virtuosic The Silver Sleigh Bells, it's the latter that begins the journey here. The choral-orchestral masterpiece is simply magnificent to behold and is a near seven minute, at times frenetically controlled, work of impassioned beauty.

The four-part Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 1 in F Sharp minor (op. 1) is less corybantic, instead choosing to flow sweetly, gently, curving and bending in the air as if it were in flight.

Vocalise is a short, but sweet melody and Trifonov dedicates his meticulous time to in rather splendid fashion and then comes Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 3 in D minor (op. 30).

On what could easily have become a rather flashy, even loud piece, given that it builds and falls, ebbs and flows, with peaks and troughs throughout, luckily Trifonov and Nézet-Séguin are more clearly focused on allowing the music to continually grow and swell naturally.

As always, their combined technical prowess is flawless and it all conveys such an energy and finesse of touch throughout. Indeed, the balance between piano and orchestra, especially during the opening gambit and its accompaniments is phenomenal.

Amazon Purchase Link

Title - Songs For Groovy Children: Fillmore East Concerts
Artist - Jimi Hendrix

Over the course of four extraordinary years, Jimi Hendrix placed his indelible stamp upon popular music with breathtaking velocity.

Measured alongside his triumphs at Monterey Pop and Woodstock, Hendrix’s legendary Fillmore East concerts illustrated a critical turning point in a radiant career filled with indefinite possibilities.

The revolutionary impact Jimi Hendrix, Billy Cox and Buddy Miles had upon the boundaries and definitions of rock, R&B, and funk can be traced to four concerts over the course of two captivating evenings.

These performances were first celebrated by Band of Gypsys, which featured six songs from the two January 1, 1970 concerts, including 'Machine Gun,' the album’s dramatic centerpiece.

Issued in April 1970, Band of Gypsys challenged and surprised the wide following of Jimi Hendrix with its extended arrangements and vibrant mix of rock and soul.

In June of 1969, at the height of their fame, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, closed a musical chapter. Before the shockwaves could settle, Hendrix assembled a new, expanded ensemble to perform at Woodstock in August.

A new chapter was opened as Hendrix introduced Gypsy Sun and Rainbows. The large ensemble included Jimi’s longtime friend Billy Cox, on bass, whom he had befriended when both were serving with the 101st Airborne Division in Ft. Campbell, Kentucky in 1962.

This Woodstock lineup was short-lived; from its ashes a new trio emerged in October that Hendrix dubbed Band of Gypsys, consisting of Hendrix, Cox and Electric Flag drummer Buddy Miles, who would also contribute occasional lead vocals.

Hendrix was inspired by his collaboration with Cox and Miles and this creative renewal drove the development of promising new material such as 'Power Of Soul,' 'Burning Desire' and the extraordinary 'Machine Gun.'

Their debut live performances were a series of four concerts at the Fillmore East in Manhattan – two on New Year’s Eve 1969 and two on New Year’s Day 1970, each of which were professionally recorded.

Hendrix had sold out Madison Square Garden just nine months prior, but the Fillmore East was chosen as the setting for a live recording.

Experience Hendrix L.L.C. and Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment, have just released the incredible Songs For Groovy Children: The Fillmore East Concerts by Jimi Hendrix, as a 5CD Box-Set (also digitally, November 22nd, 2019), with an incredible 8-vinyl Box-Set to follow on December 13th, 2019.

This collection assembles all four historic debut concerts by the legendary guitarist in their original performance sequence. Indeed, the 5CD or 8-vinyl set boasts over two dozen tracks that have either never before been released commercially or have been newly pressed and newly remixed.

Furthermore, those who pre-order the digital version will instantly receive the previously unreleased track 'Message To Love,' from the second New Year’s Eve performance on the collection.

Disc One: 12/31/69 - 1st Set
1) 'Power Of Soul'
2) 'Lover Man'
3) 'Hear My Train A Comin’
4) 'Changes'
5) 'Izabella'
6) 'Machine Gun'
7) 'Stop'
8) 'Ezy Ryder'
9) 'Bleeding Heart'
10) 'Earth Blues'
11) 'Burning Desire'

The show opens with Hendrix unleashing his funky guitar solos on 'Power Of Soul,' before backing that up with the frenetic 'Lover Man,' the slow-poke beauty 'Hear My Train A Comin',' the set centerpiece 'Machine Gun,' and then both the foot-tappin' 'Stop' and the thunderous 'Ezy Ryder.'

Culminating the show with the slow, melancholy roll of 'Bleeding Heart,' the rhythmic passion of 'Earth Blues,' and then the longest cut on the live recording, a near-ten minute 'Burning Desire,' Hendrix and his band of merry men were most assuredly on fire that night.

Disc Two: 12/31/69 - 2nd Set
1) 'Auld Lang Syne' (%)
2) 'Who Knows' (%)
3) 'Fire'
4) 'Ezy Ryder' (*)
5) 'Machine Gun' (%)
6) 'Stone Free'
7) 'Changes' (*)
8) 'Message To Love' (*)
9) 'Stop' (*)
10) 'Foxey Lady'

* previously unreleased
% back in print on CD/LP for the first time in a decade, and newly remixed

Kicking this second live disc off is a well-appreciated 'Auld Lang Syne' (which has to be heard to be believed), with both the mid-tempo bounce of 'Who Knows' and then the blistering 'Fire' along next.

After the mid-set anchoring of 'Machine Gun' once again, the pulsating 'Stone Free' (running at nearly 18 minutes) is brought forth and is followed by the rhythmic duo 'Changes' and 'Message To Love.'

Rounding out with the measured hipsway of both 'Stop' and an absolutely searing 'Foxey Lady,' this live performance is my own personal favorite of the bunch.

Disc Three: 1/1/70 - 1st Set
1) 'Who Knows'
2) 'Machine Gun'
3) 'Changes' (+)
4) 'Power Of Soul' (%)
5) 'Stepping Stone' (%)
6) 'Foxey Lady' (+)
7) 'Stop' (%)
8) 'Earth Blues' (+)
9) 'Burning Desire' (%)

+ first time on CD/LP/streaming (previously only available as part of concert film)
% back in print on CD/LP for the first time in a decade, and newly remixed

The uber funky guitar licks and tight drum backing found on the opener 'Who Knows' leads us into yet another wondrous live show from Hendrix and his band. Now deciding to put 'Machine Gun' in second, that frees up the middle third of the live set to jam out.

Tracks such as 'Stepping Stone,' 'Foxey Lady,' 'Stop,' 'Earth Blues,' and an extended cut of 'Burning Desire' round the set out, and leave you wishing you had been at one of these simply incredible, passionate and mesmerizing live shows.

Disc Four: 1/1/70 - 2nd Set
1) 'Stone Free' (%)
2) 'Power Of Soul' (#)
3) 'Changes' (#)
4) 'Message To Love' (#)
5) 'Machine Gun' (%)
6) 'Lover Man' (*)
7) 'Steal Away' (*)
8) 'Earth Blues' (%)

* previously unreleased
# longer, unedited versions of previously released material, and newly remixed
% back in print on CD/LP for the first time in a decade, and newly remixed

Opening with the pulsating 'Stone Free,' the live show moves quickly, burning through 'Power Of Soul,' 'Changes,' Message To Love,' and after the usual mid-set 'Machine Gun,' the short but sweet 'Lover Man.'

Wrapping the live concert with the under valued slow roll viscosity of 'Steal Away' and the blues funk of 'Earth Blues,' the 2nd Set of the night continues on the last disc included in the Box-Set.

Disc Five: 1/1/70 - 2nd Set
1)'Voodoo Child (Slight Return)' (%)
2) 'We Gotta Live Together' (#)
3) 'Wild Thing' (%)
4) 'Hey Joe' (*)
5) 'Purple Haze' (*)

* previously unreleased
# longer, unedited versions of previously released material, and newly remixed
% back in print on CD/LP for the first time in a decade, and newly remixed

Well, if ever there was a dream team of Hendrix hits to hear live, this final CD of the 2nd Set is most definitely it!

Everything spectacular about the man and his band is on display here and none of them need any introduction. Running at 25 minutes, it is such an amazing 2nd Set that I have since played it three times now back to back!

The lavish package is filled with unseen photos from talent such as Fillmore East house photographer Amalie Rothschild, Jan Blom (whose iconic, color saturated images provided the original artwork for 1970’s Band of Gypsys) as well as Marshall Amplifier representative Marc Franklin, who had full access to the group in their dressing room backstage.

The booklet features remembrances from bassist Billy Cox and liner notes by author/journalist/filmmaker Nelson George.

Songs For Groovy Children was produced by Janie Hendrix, Eddie Kramer and John McDermott - the trio that has overseen every project for Experience Hendrix since 1995.

The box set was mastered by Grammy-winning engineer Bernie Grundman.

Official Purchase Links

Title - 'Santa Baby' [CD Single]
Artist - Rebecca Angel (featuring Dennis Angel)

On her sultry and soulful debut EP What We Had (2018), Rebecca Angel drew from a fresh whirlwind of classic and contemporary influences.

Here on her new single, a cover of the Christmas classic 'Santa Baby' (originally recorded in 1953 by the late Eartha Kitt, and out November 29th, 2019), the emerging NYC-based singer brings forth a lush, emotive, and joyous rendition of a song that will put a smile on the faces, and a glow in the hearts of all those that hear it.

Not striving to alter it, not aiming to remodel it, Rebecca simply envelopes it within the soft, luxurious confines of smooth jazz, whilst at the same time allowing her sultry vocals to pour honey over each and every lyric.

With a background that includes a Vocal Jazz Degree from Ithaca College, Rebecca most certainly knows her way around a jazz track and collaborating here with a very cohesive ensemble (not least her father, Dennis, on Flugelhorn), she presents a renowned holiday song for a whole new generation to fall in love with.

'Santa Baby' is scheduled to be released on November 29th, 2019 on Timeless Groove Records.

Musicians: Rebecca Angel – vocals; Dennis Angel – Flugelhorn; Jason Miles – Electric Piano, Hammond B3; Jonah Prendergast – guitar; Reggie Washington – bass; and Brian Dunne – drums.

Rebecca Angel @ Facebook

Official 'Santa Baby' CD Single Purchase Link

Title - 'Live At The Sydney Opera House'
Artist - Joe Bonamassa

As Joe Bonamassa approaches his 30th year as a professional musician, he continues to blaze a remarkably versatile artistic trail, and amass an authentic, innovative and soulful body of work.

Bonamassa’s career began onstage opening for B.B. King in 1989, when he was only 12 years old.

Today, he is hailed worldwide as one of the greatest guitar players of his generation, and is an ever-evolving singer-songwriter who has released 13 solo albums since his debut, A New Day Yesterday in 2000 (all on his own label, J&R Adventures, and of which 11 have reached #1 on the Billboard Blues charts).

Today, Bonamassa, who Guitar World cites as "arguably the world's biggest blues guitarist," is back with his new solo album, the highly impressive Live At The Sydney Opera House (released October 25th, 2019).

Live At The Sydney Opera House is a new collection of live recordings from his 2016 performance at one of the world's most legendary venues.

Inclusive of previously-unreleased versions of tracks from his coveted #1 album Blues Of Desperation (2016), the live album is compiled for a premium listening experience available digitally, on CD with beautiful packaging (that also includes a glorious 20-page collector's booklet), and a stunning vinyl 180 Gram Double LP (which also features the exclusive bonus track 'Livin' Easy.'

1. 'This Train'
2. 'Mountain Climbing'
3. 'Drive'
4. 'Love Ain't A Love Song'
5. 'How Deep This River Runs'
6. 'Mainline Florida'
7. 'The Valley Runs Low'
8. 'Blues of Desperation'
9. 'No Good Place For The Lonely'

Kicking things off in fine style with the piano and guitar feuding brilliance of 'This Train,' that's followed by the funky blues of 'Mountain Climbing,' the slow-poke, countrified roll of 'Drive,' and both the electric, Hendrix-infused, 10 minute long 'Love Ain't A Love Song,' and the mid-tempo, husky growl of 'How Deep This River Runs.'

The upbeat, free flowing beauty 'Mainline Florida' is one of my own personal favorites and is backed seamlessly by the Gospel-tinged 'The Valley Runs Low.'

This quite magnificent, and truly atmospheric album, permeated with hard life, lessons learned lyrics wrapped up within rockin' rhythm and blues that will have you air guitaring in seconds flat, rounds out with the hard-nosed album title of the moment, 'Blues Of Desperation' (for this is, in all truth, basically his Blues of Desperation album done live), and the expansive 'No Good Place For The Lonely.'

Joe Bonamassa @ Facebook

Official 'Live At The Sydney Opera House' Purchase Links

Title - 'Miserere: Songs of Mercy and Redemption'
Artist - Karl Jerkins

Sir Karl Jenkins continues his 75th birthday year celebrations with a new album, Miserere: Songs of Mercy and Redemption (out November 15th, 2019 via Decca Classics).

This quite brilliant new work is dedicated to all who have suffered or perished during the conflicts in the Middle East over the last 70 years.

Conducted by Stephen Layton directing the choir Polyphony, Miserere features countertenor Iestyn Davies and South African cellist Abel Selaocoe, a recent recipient of the Sir Karl Jenkins Music Award in association with Classic FM.

1. Principium (4:03)
2. Miserere mei, Deus (4:44)
3. Hymnus: Ubi caritas (3:04)
4. Sacramentum (2:38)
5. Lavabis me (4:11)
6. Hymnus: When I survey the wondrous cross (2:53)
7. Panis Angelicus, Panis Hominum (5:07)
8. Hymnus: Locus iste (2:44)
9. Praise, Joy & Gladness (2:10)
10. Canendo (5:54)
11. Hymnus: Eli Jenkins' Prayer & Epilogue (3:22)
12. Rahma (3:39)
13. Contemplation & Benediction (6:20)

Motivated by the desperate situation for the millions of people displaced and impacted by the cruel effects of war, and hoping the healing and uniting powers of music could be used to bring together people from different religions, this new album of works from Jenkins is an orchestral marvel, it has to be said.

From the opening, desperately yearning track 'Principium,' and the angelic choir found on segments such as Miserere mei, Deus and the blessed Lavabis me, through the powerful, yet ethereal vocal moments brought forth on Panis Angelicus, Panis Hominum and the upbeat, rejoicing magnificence of Praise, Joy & Gladness, on through to the feverous Rahma, and the patient, cohesively rounded album closer Contemplation & Benediction, this album is, simply put, a choral masterpiece.

Conductor Stephen Layton himself has said, “Miserere is such an intriguing juxtaposition of many elements – I do believe it will catch the imagination around the world."

"It’s rare I find myself singing things over and over again. There is something very enduring and uniquely wonderful here which I love. I’m honoured to have had the opportunity to record this fantastic music.”

Britten Sinfonia, Polyphony
Stephen Layton
Abel Selaocoe (cello), Catrin Finch (harp), Maya Youssef (kanun), Belinda Sykes (vocals), Karl Jenkins (music production), Jody Jenkins (percussion), Zands Duggan (percussion), Iestyn Davies (counter-tenor), Thomas Gould (orchestra leader), and Karl Jenkins (keyboards).

Karl Jenkins @ Facebook

Title - 'The Roots Of Great White (1978-1982)'
Artist - Dante Fox

From the vault of powerhouse vocalist, Jack Russell, comes this almost lost gem of early demo recordings featuring Russell’s earliest recorded collaborations with guitarist Mark Kendall, which formed the foundation of ’80s hard rock icons Great White!

Includes songs that would eventually find their way onto Great White’s 1984 self-titled debut album, such as 'In Love' (later re-written as 'On Your Knees') and 'Money' (later rewritten as 'Stick It'), Dante Fox's The Roots Of Great White (1978-1982) is now available on both CD and limited edition BLUE vinyl!

1. 'In Love'
2. 'Last time'
3. 'Motor Love'
4. 'Money'
5. 'Head Over Heels'
6. 'There's No Way'
7. 'Front Row Girl'
8. 'The Strike'
9. 'Bead In The Rain'
10. 'Lonnie Never Lied'
11. 'Stay Away'
12. 'Need Your Love'
13. 'On The Run'
14. 'She's Got Fever'
15. 'Calling You'
16. 'Space Age Rocker'
17. 'The Blues'

Kicking things off with the raucous 'In Love,' the more melodic 'Last Time' is then backed by both the one-two punch of the guitar-heavy 'Motor Love' and the mid-'80s rock brilliance of 'Money.'

The thunderous 'Head Over Heels' is one of my own personal favorites here from the new bunch, and that's backed seamlessly by both 'There's No Way' and the pulsating 'Front Row Girl.'

A bout of strident guitars come to the fore on 'The Strike' which is followed by the foot-tappin' fervency of 'Bead In The Rain,' the soaring 'Lonnie Never Lied,' and then both out and out rockers 'Stay Away' and 'Need Your Love.'

'On The Run' has a (obviously) nice late-'80s rock vibe to it and is backed by the methodical, rock by numbers 'She's Got Fever,' with the album rounding out with both the billowing 'Space Age Rocker,' and then the guitar-tastic, finger-snappin' blues melodies of 'The Blues.'

Official CD Purchase Link

Official BLUE Vinyl Purchase Link

Title - 'Zeitgeist'
Artist - Frank Wyatt And Friends

Simply put, Frank Wyatt & Friends delves into his musical career and take you on a fantastic journey with a new Pedal Giant Animals production, Zeitgeist!

Zeitgeist is a collaborative music endeavor featuring members of the progressive rock bands Happy The Man, Oblivion Sun, and the Pedal Giant Animals project.

The recording project started out as an idea for a Happy The Man reunion CD, but evolved to include many other musicians so another Pedal Giant Animals project was born!

The music was produced in the studios of the respective artists and at Crafty Hands Studio using state of the art recording technologies as well as some old school hardware and techniques.

So, of course, this wonderfully unique gathering of such great musicians always promised to deliver a beautiful and exciting musical experience and here on the brand new album, Zeitgeist that promise has been well and truly fulfilled.

1. 'Zeitgeist'
2. 'Leaving '
3. 'Twelve Jumps'
4. 'Eleventh Hour '
5. 'The Approach'
6. 'Fred's Song'
7. 'To Venus (Perelandra Mvt. I, Andante)'
8. 'The Green Lady (Perelandra Mvt. II, Allegretto con moto) '
9. 'The Golden Feast (Perelandra Mvt.III, Allegro)'
10. 'Blessed Be He (Perelandra Mvt. IV, Presto)'

Opening with the introductory storytelling title track 'Zeitgeist,' the beautifully lush, swaying 'Leaving' is next and that's backed by both the perky, free flowing keyboard work of 'Twelve Steps' and then the mid-tempo ballad 'Eleventh Hour.'

The melodic renascence of 'The Approach' is yet another magnificent example of the key work to be discovered on this brilliant new album and that's followed by Wyatt's own piano work on the ambient 'Fred's Song.'

The lavishness of 'To Venus (Perelandra Mvt. I, Andante)' is simply breathtaking to behold and is backed seamlessly by the building, ethereal, soaring work of 'The Green Lady (Perelandra Mvt. II, Allegretto con moto).'

The album then comes to a close with the playful, yet fully harmonized and palatial 'The Golden Feast (Perelandra Mvt.III, Allegro)' and then rounds out with forthright, chivalric even 'Blessed Be He (Perelandra Mvt. IV, Presto).'

Frank Wyatt, Piano, Keyboards - Bill Brasso, Drums - Stan Whitaker, Guitar, Vocals - David Hughes, Bass - Cliff Fortney, Vocals - David Rosenthal, Keyboards - Rick Kennell, Bass - Chris Mack, Drums - Peter Princiotto, Sitar - Mike Beck, Percussion - Ron Riddle, Drums - Kit Watkins, Keyboards Joe Bergamini, Drums and Andrew Colyer on Keyboards.

FYI: The Zeitgeist project digital download includes a .jpg version of the entire CD booklet that ships with the physical CD.

Official 'Zeitgeist' Purchase Link

Title - 'Born In The Bronx'
Artist - Handsome Dick Manitoba

For those not in the know, much like myself beforehand, Handsome Dick Manitoba was the leader of the NYC punk group The Dictators starting in 1975.

The group went through a series of break ups and name changes but always with Manitoba as front man.

Born In The Bronx (released November 8th, 2019 via Liberation Hall) is his first solo release and is backed by a lineup of stellar musicians including P.F. Sloan, Michael Shrieve, Simon Kirke and others.

1. 'Shelley'
2. 'Back to My TV'
3. 'Eve of Destruction'
4. 'Surfside'
5. 'The Cooker & the Hit'
6. 'Big Army Brass'
7. 'Layers Down'
8. 'Callie May'
9. 'Thicker Than Blood'
10. 'Magenta Street'
11. '8th Avenue Serenade'
12. 'Soul, Punk, King of NYC'
13. 'Born in the Bronx'

Kicking off with the melodic slow-punk of 'Shelley,' he moves quickly into the more frenetic 'Back to My TV' and then brings forth his own rendition of Sloan's protest song from mid-1964, 'Eve of Destruction.'

With Sloan backing Manitoba on the storytelling opus 'Eve of Destruction' (a song made famous by Barry McGuire), his playing of harmonica and guitar blend in seamlessly along with his background vocals.

Next up is the gentle rock 'n' roll of 'Surfside' which he backs up tightly with both the electric countrified 'The Cooker & the Hit' and then my own personal favorite, the raucous fun of 'Big Army Brass.'

The upbeat rock 'n' blues of 'Layers Down' is another stand out track and that's followed by the obsessive 'Callie May,' and then the mid-tempo duo of 'Thicker Than Blood' and 'Magenta Street.'

The infectious hipsway of '8th Avenue Serenade' is a real joy to behold, and then the slow blues roll of 'Soul, Punk, King of NYC' adds yet another expertly crafted musical layer to the album, which rounds out with the Mellencamp-esque storytelling of 'Born in the Bronx.'

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Title - 'I Think About You' [7 Inch Vinyl Single]
Artist - Patsy Thompson

For those not in the know, Canadian born Singer-Songwriter Patsy Thompson made her way to Texas, and back, and now West Coast audiences will only be the better for it.

Now they can experience her rich, moving voice, raw edged rough one moment, smooth and tender the next, always dear and soulful, in songs with catchy turns of phrases and such universal themes as love, loss, dreams, and partying your socks off!

Her sound is a textured blend of driving beat, growly blues with a bit of Canada's airy accent, with some Texas twang, molded by the influence of musicians she loves: Patsy Cline, Bonnie Raitt, Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, KoKo Taylor, Bob Seger, and Merle Haggard, and Willie Nelson to name but a few.

With her sixth album, Fabulous Day, scheduled for a February 2020 release, this precursory first single, 'I Think About You' is a genuine musical gem of the highest order.

The upbeat Country/Americana Christmas song about not being able to be with the one you love over the holidays is right royally catchy and has just enough jangles and background bells to allow it to slide seamlessly into the holiday season.

Backed with the equally memorable 'Dreamin,' the gently twanging ballad combined with Thompson's delicious vocals makes this, to me, a righteous double A-Side.

The single is being released digitally throughout Canada and the USA, but Patsy has taken it all one glorious step further and pressed the track as a 7" vinyl single (of which I lovingly reviewed here today) and as a CD single.

CD Baby Digital Single Purchase Link

Patsy Thompson @ Facebook

Patsy Thompson @ Instagram

Title - 'Bury'd Alive'
Artist - Chantel McGregor

For those not in the know, Chantel McGregor has been performing live gigs since the age of 12, schooled at a music college and achieved a First Class Honors Degree in Popular Music.

Along with her current band members, Colin Sutton on bass and Thom Gardner on drums, they form an awesome power trio playing an eclectic mix of blues based tunes, composed by Chantel.

Ranging from traditional blues numbers complimented perfectly by the purity of her singing voice, to a much more raunchy blues rock style, it's clearly obvious that Chantel is a musical force to be reckoned with.

Chantel released her debut album, the critically acclaimed Like No Other in 2011 and followed that up with the highly anticipated sophomore release Lose Control in 2015.

Her new album, Bury'd Alive recorded at the prestigious Apex in Bury St Edmunds on March 29th, 2019, is a live album that encapsulates everything great about Chantel in the pulsating 11 track set.

1. 'Take The Power'
2. 'Killing Time'
3. 'Like No Other'
4. 'Caught Out'
5. 'Eternal Dream'
6. 'Lose Control'
7. 'Inconsolable'
8. 'Your Fever'
9. 'April'
10. 'Walk On Land'
11. 'Freefalling'

The powerhaus track 'Take The Power' showcases Chantel's guitar and vocal prowess brilliantly and that's backed seamlessly by both 'Killing Time,' and then the tranquil storytelling of the night after within 'Like No Other' ("My head pounds more than my heart").

Another monstrous guitar session comes to the fore in the rockin' blues of 'Caught Up,' with the ballad 'Eternal Dream' along next. The raucous 'Lose Control' is one of my own personal favorites and is followed by yet another ballad, this time the dulcet 'Inconsolable.'

With the heavy, thumping, pounding 'Your Fever' showing us that Chantel's not afraid to take the darker rock road, up next is the atmospheric ballad 'April,' the melodic 'Walk On Land,' and then the album rounds out with the billowing blues of 'Freefalling.'

Official CD Purchase Link

Chantel McGregor @ Facebook

Chantel McGregor @ Twitter

Title - 'Punk Rock Christmas 2'
Artist - Various

Put away the pumpkins, kids, it's time to hang the fishnet stockings, trim the plastic, spittle-flecked tree and celebrate another Punk Rock Christmas!

Following on the heels of the massively successful originator, Punk Rock Christmas (released in 2015), comes another collection of holiday favorites performed by an even larger gathering of punk rock all-stars.

Now inclusive of, amongst others, Tsunami Bombs, The Rumjacks, The Members, The Vibrators, Reagan Youth, Down By Law, Naked Aggression, Johnny Thunders and more, the album is available as a CD (in a stocking-sized digipak!) and on beautiful RED vinyl - a perfect gift for the punk rock lover in your life!

1. Tsunami Bomb – 'Santa Claus Is Coming To Town'
2. The Rumjacks – 'Christmas In Killarney'
3. Naked Aggression – 'What We Buy'
4. The Members – 'Happy Xmas (War Is Over)'
5. Pulley – 'O Holy Night'
6. Dave Smalley & The Bandoleros – 'Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree'
7. MDC – '(Merry Christmas) World’s On Fire'
8. The Queers – 'Ramones Christmas'
9. The Vibrators – 'Santa Had To Go Into Rehab'
10. Ship Thieves – 'Who Put The Gum In Santa’s Whiskers'
11. Amber Pacific – 'Merry Christmas Happy Holiday'
12. Reagan Youth – 'Punk Rock Christmas'
13. Down By Law – 'Merry Christmas (Feels So Right)'
14. Bankrupt – 'When Johnny Saved Christmas'
15. Punchline – 'Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)' 17. Unsteady Heights – 'Around Christmas' [CD ONLY]
18. The Spears – 'Christmas Sucks (You Stupid F**ks!)' [CD ONLY]
19. High Wire – 'Where Are You Christmas?' [CD ONLY]
20. Splinter – 'Fairy Tales' [CD ONLY]
21. Walter Etc. – 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas' [CD ONLY]
22. Slap Of Reality – 'Last Christmas' [CD ONLY]
23. Down And Outs – 'Merry Christmas Everybody' [CD ONLY]
24. Chief State – 'All I Want For Christmas' [CD ONLY]
25. The Widows – 'Please Daddy Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas' [CD ONLY]
26. Johnny Thunders – 'Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer'

This manically, thumping, pounding, punk rockin' Christmas delight kicks off in fine style with Tsunami Bomb's 'Santa Claus Is Coming To Town,' and then backs it up brilliantly with the frenetic Celtic rendering of 'Christmas In Killarney' (The Rumjacks), the surprisingly tuneful 'What We Buy' (Naked Aggression), and then both the spot on atmospheric brilliance of 'Happy Xmas (War Is Over)' (The Members), and the frenzied musical assault of Pulley on 'O Holy Night.'

Dave Smalley & The Bandoleros bring us a pulsating 'Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree,' which is followed by MDC's '(Merry Christmas) World’s On Fire,' The Queers' excellent rendition of 'Ramones Christmas,' and then come two of my own personal favorites, The Vibrators with 'Santa Had To Go Into Rehab,' and the furious 'Who Put The Gum In Santa’s Whiskers' from Ship Thieves.

The most melodic track is 'Merry Christmas Happy Holiday' from Amber Pacific and that's backed by a melancholic Reagan Youth on 'Punk Rock Christmas.' The music then gets cranked back up for Down By Law's 'Merry Christmas (Feels So Right),' and then the mid-tempo onslaught of Bankrupt's 'When Johnny Saved Christmas.'

Another melodic cut is up next in the form of Punchline's 'Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),' which is neatly backed by the authoritive vibe of 'Father Christmas' (Parasites), the upbeat rockin' punk of 'Around Christmas' (Unsteady Heights), and both the naughty punk raunch of The Spears' drumtastic 'Christmas Sucks (You Stupid F**s!),' and the fanatical 'Where Are You Christmas?' from High Wire.

The PIL-esque 'Fairy Tales' from Splinter is up next and is followed by the low key, unpunk-like Walter Etc.'s rendition of 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,' with a rockin' and rollickin' version of Wham!'s 'Last Christmas' by Slap Of Reality along next.

The album then rounds out with the Down And Outs on a brilliant cover of Slade's 'Merry Christmas Everybody,' the melodic punk of 'All I Want For Christmas' (Chief State), and then both The Widows with 'Please Daddy Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas,' and a quite excellent blues rendition of 'Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer' from Johnny Thunders.

Official CD Purchase Link

Official RED Vinyl Purchase Link

Title - 'A New York Session'
Artist - Ellen Edwards

For those not in the know, the beautifully serendipitous story behind Ellen Edwards’ dynamic breakthrough EP A New York Session (due out February 2nd, 2020), begins with her songwriting teacher, legendary country artist Suzy Bogguss.

Loving the Atlanta based singer-songwriter’s jazz-based material, Bogguss then hooked up her student with her former producer, veteran keyboardist Jason Miles.

Hearing immediate potential in Ellen’s powerfully emotive storytelling and distinctive phrasing, Miles quickly assembled a Big Apple based ensemble of session greats – including trumpeter Randy Brecker, pianist Robbie Kondor, guitarist Jeff Mironov and percussionist Richie Morales.

Thus, her debut EP, the aptly-titled A New York Session brings forth 5 tracks that ooze spontaneity, soul and grit and also perfectly showcases Ellen’s naturally expressive singer/songwriter qualities.

1. 'Over There'
2. 'Let The Fire Grow' (featuring Randy Brecker)
3. 'Love's On My Side'
4. 'Blue and Green'
5. 'The Queen's Bridge'

From the soothing and infectious drum-led soul and jazz gem opener 'Over There' (a song about having the vision and courage to move forward), to the highly emotive, lush groove of 'Let the Fire Grow' (featuring a lavish trumpet solo by Randy Brecker), to the gospel and blues-tinged ballad 'Love’s On My Side,' you instantly know each and every track holds sentiments dear to Edwards herself.

Indeed, when it comes to her piano track 'Blue and Green,' it actually touches on her grief of letting go of her kids and her long-held identity as a mom, with and acceptance of her new life at the end, and then the EP rounds out with the once again drum-led funk pop, jazz-influenced 'Queens Bridge.'

The latter track chronicles a clever conversation with herself, trying to push away her years of the lies of self-criticism and take new chances and so with Ellen clearly searching both within and outside of herself for their collective inspirations, A New York Session might well just be one of the most heartfelt and genuinely aesthetic works of music to come out in decades.

“The most inspiring part of recording A New York Session and looking forward to this new phase of my career has been disciplining myself as a songwriter, singer and pianist more than ever before,” Ellen says.

"A few years ago, I wondered what would become of my life when the kids left, and now I have meaningful work to do. I’m always in my home studio practicing and woodshedding songs and vocals."

"It’s exciting to realize after so many years that I’m still getting better. Whatever happens out there, I know I can keep improving and evolving.”

Official CD and Digital Purchase Links

Title - 'Pure Imagination'
Artist - Amber Weekes

For those not in the know, Amber Weekes is a Los Angeles native with Caribbean and Latin roots and who has an on-going love affair with "Torch Songs" and the like.

The daughter of avid music lovers, Amber had her first chance to sing before a live audience at age fourteen. That was it! Performing was in her blood!

Amber is now a seasoned performer and a well-trained vocalist who has studied with Catherine Hansen, song writer and vocalist Sue Fink (perhaps, best known as the director of the "Angel City Chorale,") and has spent the last several years under the tutelage of three-time Grammy nominee, Sue Raney.

Having released her first full-length CD, ‘round Midnight, which was produced by Louis Taylor and Trevor Ware, Amber has now brought out a stunning new album, entitled Pure Imagination.

And yes, being that Amber is a straight ahead Jazz vocalist with a passion for the Great American Songbook, inclusive of the music of Oscar Brown Jr., this quite breathtaking new album is definitely one for the ages.

1. 'Pure Imagination' (feat. Sue Raney)
2. 'It's All Right With Me'
3. 'When He Makes Music'
4. 'The Snake'
5. 'Gotta Be This Or That'
6. 'Brown Baby'
7. 'After You've Gone'
8. 'When October Goes'
9. 'Mr. Kicks'
10. 'The Way He Makes Me Feel' (feat. Mon David)
11. 'Just Squeeze Me'
12. 'Gone At Last'
13. 'When October Goes (Ballad)' [Bonus Track]

The lush title track, 'Pure Imagination' (featuring renowned American jazz singer Sue Raney) kicks things off in fine style, with the toe-tappin' beauty 'It's All Right With Me,' and then the laid back roll of 'When He Makes Music' backing it seamlessly.

The late night, smoky jazz club, finger-snappin' vibe of 'The Snake' is next and is followed by the upbeat 'Gotta Be This Or That,' and then the sterner, deeper renderings of 'Brown Baby.'

One of my favorite tracks here is the delightfully swinging 'After You've Gone,' which is backed by the free-flowing ambiance of 'When October Goes' and the dancehall hipsway of 'Mr. Kicks.'

The sweeping majesty of 'The Way He Makes Me Feel' (featuring the award-winning Filipino-American jazz vocalist, composer, arranger, musician, poet and more, Mon David) is another highlight, and is followed by the jazz blues of 'Just Squeeze Me.'

The gospel-tinged 'Gone At Last' is a most joyous upbeat celebration to behold and then the album rounds out with the Bonus Track, a ballad version of 'When October Goes.'

CD Baby Purchase Link

Amber Weekes @ Facebook

Title - 'Chalkboard Destiny'
Artist - Lisa Hilton

For those not in the know, Lisa Hilton's style influences extend beyond jazz legends Thelonious Monk, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington, to include bluesman Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson, to classical giants like Chopin.

Hilton’s releases consistently sustain her profile as a consistent composer, pianist, producer and bandleader. She also performs at venues across the US from the Weill Recital Hall within the legendary Carnegie Hall to Chicago’s historic Green Mill and is known her expressive technique at the piano as well as for her warmth and storytelling on stage.

Originally from a small town on California's central coast, Hilton studied classical and twentieth century piano formally from the age of eight, where she was inspired by her great uncle, Willem Bloemendall, (1910-1937), a young Dutch piano virtuoso.

In college though, due to the lack of creativity in the music program, she switched majors and received a degree in art instead. Ever since becoming a professional musician, this background in the fine arts has well informed Hilton's composition process.

On her brand new, and 24th worldwide album, Chalkboard Destiny (out now via Ruby Slipper Productions), Hilton redefines her path once more.

Joined by jazz luminaries JD Allen on tenor sax, Rudy Royston on drums and Luques Curtis on bass, throughout the 10 tracks Hilton conveys her lyrical concept of the idea that our future, our destiny, can be continually reshaped; implying that we are not beholden by history or traditional myths, allowing us a freedom in creation.

1. 'Rush Hour Rhapsody'
2. 'Sympathy for Blues'
3. 'Chalkboard Destiny'
4. 'Temporary Lullaby'
5. 'Blue Boy'
6. 'Tropic of Tango'
7. 'Waltz from Nowhere'
8. 'Myths & Fantasy'
9. 'Café Au Mojo'
10. 'Adventures & Alibis'

Opening with the pitter patter perky brilliance of 'Rush Hour Rhapsody,' a track that encapsulates that time of day just perfectly, the album then slides into a more laid back, Pink Pantheresque vibe with 'Sympathy for Blues' (which also features a quite stunning sax solo from Allen), backing that up with the atmospheric title track, and then the dulcet ballad 'Temporary Lullaby.'

The laid back, retro charm of Hilton's piano playing combining oh so sweetly with her trio of featured performers then continues onward in fine form with their rendition of the Joni Mitchell classic 'Blue Boy.'

Next up are the impulsive Latin rhythms found within the ambiance of 'Tropic of Tango,' which is backed by a rather stirring 'Waltz From Nowhere.'

The album then rounds out with more Latin percussion on both 'Myths & Fantasy' and one of my own personal favorites, the connective 'Adventures & Alibis,' with some more traditional melodies elegantly captured within the track sandwiched in-between, 'Café au Mojo.'

It’s noteworthy that Grammy award-winning engineers Al Schmitt, Gavin Lurssen, Reuben Cohen, and Fernando Lodeiro all contributed to the high quality soundscape found here on Lisa Hilton's compelling new album, Chalkboard Destiny.

Amazon Digital Purchase Link

Lisa Hilton @ Facebook

Lisa Hilton @ Twitter

Lisa Hilton @ Instagram

Title - 'Between The Tracks'
Artist - Steve Eulberg

For those not in the know, based in San Mateo, California, guitarist-composer Steve Eulberg has just released this ninth solo album this year.

A 13-track, 44 minute album, Between The Tracks (out now via Owl Mountain Music) is Steve's latest offering of relaxing, melodic solo guitar magic highlighting his jazzy and bluesy acoustic instrumentals.

Steve is also renowned for his pop-vocals and his instrumental dulcimer albums and on Between The Tracks he returns to his love of acoustic finger-style nylon and steel string guitar instruments.

1. 'Habits'
2. 'For Emily'
3. 'Planxton's Farewell'
4. 'Between The Tracks'
5. 'Charlie's Wrinkle'
6. 'Godspeed'
7. 'Theatricum Bontanicum'
8. 'The Guitar Twiddle'
9. 'Morning Pages'
10. 'Eos'
11. 'Traded My Thyroid In'
12. 'Guitar Etude No. 3'
13. 'Walking Down The Trail'

We begin with the beautiful, gently Latin 'Habits' which blends seamlessly into the acoustic duo of both 'For Emily' and 'Planxton's Farewell,' and then the tempo is raised for the foot-tappin' title track.

The affable Latin sway of 'Charlie's Wrinkle' is next with the acoustic folk of 'Godspeed' backed by my favorite track on the album, the playful 'Theatricum Bontanicum.'

Next up is the mellow, laid back, low key blues of 'The Guitar Twiddle' which in turn is followed by the acoustic folk of 'Morning Pages.'

The album then comes to a close with the mid-tempo bounce of 'Eos,' the American folk of 'Traded My Thyroid In,' the longest track on the album at nearly six minutes, the Latin-fused 'Guitar Etude No. 3,' and ends with the down south blues of 'Walking Down the Trail.'

Amazon Digital Purchase Link

Owl Mountain Music @ Facebook

Title - 'Deeper Imaginings'
Artist - Paul Adams & Elizabeth Geyer

Bringing together some of the worlds most accomplished musicians, Deeper Imaginings (released this past November 10th, 2019 via Lakefront Records), by Paul Adams and Elizabeth Geyer, is a follow-up to 2015's Imaginings (which debuted #1 on the iTunes new age chart and was the Zone Music Reporter's best Contemporary Instrumental Album of the year).

Indeed, it was actually a journey of happenstance, whimsy and the joy of sharing music and love between cultures that these vibrantly wonderful and extremely talented musicians even came together.

Elizabeth came all the way from Australia. Pravin Godkhindi played bansuri flute in India. Alp Akmaz who played the balaban (similar to duduk) is from Turkey. Former trumpet soloist and arranger David Hoffman is based in Illinois, and Gary Green of the legendary UK band Gentle Giant added gentle guitar.

1. 'Endless Horizon'
2. 'The Unfolding'
3. 'Acceptance'
4. 'New Morning'
5. 'Essence & Flow' (feat. Elizabeth Geyer)
6. 'Allowing'
7. 'Still Meadows'
8. 'Awakening'
9. 'All That I Am'
10. 'Evening'
11. 'Hope for the Game'

Perfectly described as new age contemplative instrumental music poetically presented with an influence of world music in the vein of Peter Gabriel, Paul Winter, Ravi Shankar and Brian Eno, the album begins with the atmospheric 'Endless Horizon' before bringing us the ethereal ambiance of 'The Unfolding' and then the calm, meditative running waters of 'Acceptance.'

The awe-inspiring awakening of dawn is captured perfectly through 'New Morning' which is backed seamlessly by both 'Essence & Flow' (which truly showcases the heartfelt and soulful piano work of Elizabeth Geyer), and then come the gossamer tones of 'Allowing.'

The celestial vibe of 'Still Meadows' is one of my own personal favorites here on this new album and is followed by a pair of the longest tracks, at six minutes each, first the Far East-imbued 'Awakening,' and then the milieu cohesiveness of 'All That I Am.'

The album then rounds out with 'Evening,' which allows Alp Akmaz to present to us his balaban (double-reed wind instrument) skills and then comes to a close with the upbeat, gentle pop hipsway of the spoken word 'Hope for the Game.'

"We like to work toward a harmonious cross cultural blend of richness, passion and growth," Paul Adams says. "We love the idea of collaboration with the finest musicians in the world such as David Hoffman (trumpet soloist/arranger Ray Charles), the genius of India's premier bansuri flute player Pravin Godkhindi, Alp Akmaz from Turkey, Gary Green (formerly with the UK band Gentle Giant) and others."

"Embracing serenity and wearing music like a warm comforting coat is how I would describe our approach. At a time when the earth seems to shrink and we come closer together, we need to embrace our differences in support during these challenging times."

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Title - Everybody Under the Sun: Voices of Solstice, Vol.1
Artist - Paul Winter Consort & Friends

For those not in the know, coming up for nearly 40 years now, the Paul Winter Consort has presented solstice concerts annually at the world’s largest cathedral, St. John the Divine, in New York City.

Celebrating a “one world” concept with musicians from around the globe, Paul brings his ethereal soprano saxophone along with his consort, which has featured oboist Paul McCandless, cellist Eugene Friesen, and guitarist, Oscar Castro-Neves, all noted musicians.

To celebrate this extended period of solstice concerts, the Living Music label has just-released (December 6th) a magnificent 2CD set of highlight vocals (a strictly instrumental set will be issued next year) from 22 guest singers from 13 distinct cultures; all who have shared the stage with the consort over the past 38 years.

Disc 1:
Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble – 'Kurski Funk' (Russia)
Susan Osborn – 'In My Life' (US)
Kecia Lewis-Evans – 'The Sparrow' (US)
Pete Seeger – 'How Can I Keep from Singing?' (US)
Luciana Souza – 'Luiza' (Brazil)
Ivan Lins – 'Lua Soberama' (Brazil)
Karan Casey – 'Golden Apples of the Sun' (Ireland)
John Carlos Perea – 'Witchi Tai To' (Apache)
Noirin Ni Riain – 'Fog on the Hill' (Ireland)
Chris Berry – 'Nhemumusassa' (US)
Maria Koleva – 'Bulgarian Song' (Bulgaria)
Arto Tuncboyaciyan – 'Singing to the Mountain' (Armenia)
Lucky Moyo – 'Zebra Song' (Zimbabwe)
Theresa Thomason – 'Sound Over All Waters' (US) Gary Brooker – 'A Whiter Shade of Pale' (England)

Disc 2:
Theresa Thomason & Lucky Moyo – 'You are My Sunshine' (US & Zimbabwe)
Danny Rivera – 'El Belen' (Puerto Rico)
Renato Braz & Dmitry Pokrovsky Ensemble – 'Desenredo' (Brazil & Russia)
Niam Parsons – 'Green Grass, It Grows Bonny' (Ireland)
Abdoulaye Diabate & Paul Winter Consort – 'Prayer, Suite Port Au Prince' (Mali & US)
Fabiana Cozza – 'Sweet Memories' (Brazil)
Arto Tuncboyaciyan – 'Before It’s Too Late' (Armenia)
Yangjiin Lamu – 'Words of Wish Fulfillment' (Tibet)
Susan Osborn – 'Mystery' (US)
Renato Braz & Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble – 'Angola' (Brazil & Russia)
Noirin Ni Riain – 'Christmas Day is Come' (Ireland)
Gary Brooker – 'In My Life' (England)
Gordon Bok – 'The Good Wish' (US)
Theresa Thomason – 'The Rain is Over and Gone' (US)
Paul Winter Consort & Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble – 'Minuit/Auld Lang Syne' (US & Russia)

In truth, and not knowing what to expect from this package beforehand, I can honestly say that having now listened to both discs through twice, back to back, that it the release contains a quite extraordinary, and highly atmospheric coming together of musical and vocals.

Indeed, all the tracks appearing here on this anthology share a common theme of acceptance, and joyous energy that both soothes the soul, as well as aiming to lighten our daily load of stress; which is always especially welcome in these heady times of ours.

Though we may not understand all the languages being sung, the passion of the vocalists, backed by Winter’s consort, comes through loud and clear.

Artists known to many US listeners include Pete Seeger, Ivan Lins, Luciana Souza, and even Procol Harum’s, Gary Brooker, but for the majority that you may not know, well, sit back, close your eyes and breathe in wondrous, and experienced vocalists from places such as Bulgaria, Armenia, Tibet, and Zimbabwe, amongst others.

Paul's elevated soprano sax on 'Kurski Funk'opens the musical experience and is backed by a supreme rendering of 'How Can I Keep from Singing,' and later on a stirringly rigorous 'Singing to the Mountain.'

Other stand out highlights for me include two versions of 'In My Life,' created here to honor John Lennon, who was murdered ten days before the Winter Solstice concert in 1980, just blocks from the Cathedral.

The first is the beautiful, lush orchestrations from Susan Osborn, and the second, a more deeply measured vocal interpretation from Gary Brooker and my oh my, are they both passionate and exhilarating in equal measures. Another track is the gospel-tinged 'Sound Over All Waters' performed by Theresa Thomason and the quite breathtaking 'The Sparrow' from Kecia Lewis-Evans.

Add to that the cultural coming together of the aforementioned Thomason and Lucky Moyo (from Zimbabwe) on 'You are My Sunshine,' the absorbing track 'Words of Wish Fulfillment' from Yangjiin Lamu (Tibet),' and the Celtic-inspired pairing of 'Golden Apples of the Sun' (Karan Casey) and Niam Parsons on 'Green Grass, It Grows Bonny,' and with Paul's soaring soprano sax providing the backbone for this cinematic soundscape throughout, this new album has easily become one of my Top 5 of 2019.

Official Digital Purchase Link

Title - Triumph - Classics: 30th Anniversary Edition (2LP)
Artist - Triumph

In honor of its 30th anniversary, Canadian power trio Triumph's 1989 best-of compilation Classics will be reissued as a 2LP colored vinyl set on December 13th, 2019.

The album, which will be pressed on 180-gram silver vinyl, will feature the original 11 tracks, as well as two bonus live performances: a rendition of 'Never Surrender' from the 1983 US Festival and a medley of 'Blinding Light Show' and 'Moon Child,' from Triumph's 2008 reunion at the Sweden Rock fest.

As I'm sure you all know, Classics features the two Triumph songs that cracked the Billboard Hot 100's top 40: 1979's 'Hold On' and 1986's 'Somebody's Out There,' as well as rock radio hits 'Lay It on the Line,' 'Magic Power,' 'A World of Fantasy,' 'Spellbound' and 'Follow Your Heart.'

Side A:
1. 'Tears In The Rain'
2. 'Lay It on the Line'
3. 'I Live for the Weekend'
4. 'Magic Power'

Side B:
1. 'Somebody's Out There'
2. 'Spellbound'
3. 'A World of Fantasy'
4. 'Follow Your Heart'

Side C:
1. 'Fight the Good Fight'
2. 'Rock & Roll Machine'
3. 'Hold On'

Side D:
1. 'Never Surrender' (Live at the US Festival)
2. 'Blinding Light Show'/'Moon Child' (Live at Sweden Rock)

Featuring Rik Emmett (guitars & vocals), Gil Moore (drums & vocals) and Michael Levine on bass & keyboards, Triumph (which was also founded in 1975 by the trio) was a massive showcase for Emmett; an amazing, top-tier singer-songwriter and guitarist.

The hard rock trio from Canada were both fairly and unfairly compared to Rush from the very off. Like Rush, they were, as mentioned, a Canadian power trio that featured a lead vocalist with a high-pitched voice and a bassist who also doubled as their keyboardist.

However, while Rush continued to update their sound and challenge themselves musically with each release, all of Triumph's albums sounded very similar; mostly competent hard rock with a couple power ballads thrown in.

Classics cuts away the fat from their albums and delivers their best material, much of which is first rate.

'Rock & Roll Machine' and 'I Live For The Weekend' are the heaviest tracks here, with the latter featuring a great accompanied guitar solo from vocalist/guitarist Rik Emmett.

The tracks 'Hold On' and 'Fight The Good Fight' are also rather excellent songs in both their melodic arrangements and their positive self-help lyrics.

The riff rocker 'Follow Your Heart' and the pop-rock of 'Somebody's Out There' continue in this vein lyrically and despite sounding very reminiscent of their era are also fine songs.

'Lay It On The Line' and 'A World Of Fantasy' are also both strong tracks featuring excellent vocals from Emmett. However, the one undeniable gem here is 'Magic Power,' one of the best hard rock songs of the '80s; that, to my mind, had it have been released a few years later would have been a monstrous hit.

The remaining tracks 'Spellbound' and 'Tears In The Rain' are decent, but don't touch the rest of the material here. Overall this is a solid compilation and worth picking up if you like good melodic hard rock (especially now that it has been pressed on 180-gram silver 2LP vinyl to celebrate its 30th Annivesary Edition!)

"We are excited to showcase our career on the Classics reissue," says the band in a joint statement. "It's a beautiful package and sounds awesome!"

And so, come December 13th, 2019l rock fans will be reminded once again about the power that Triumph possessed - deep in the grooves of the re-released, remastered and rejuvenated Classics.

Amazon Triumph - 'Classics: 30th Anniversary Edition (2LP)' Purchase Link

Title - Shoulder to Shoulder – Centennial Tribute to Women
Artist - Karrin Allyson Sextet

Even those casually familiar with vocalist and pianist Karrin Allyson’s 26-year recording career surely appreciate her tremendous versatility, exploring everything from French chansons to Brazilian jazz, from blues to pop, from Coltrane to Rodgers and Hammerstein with unerring panache.

And now the Karrin Allyson Sextet has released Shoulder to Shoulder: Centennial Tribute to Women’s Suffrage (August 30th, 2019 via eOne Music), a very special and timely album to celebrate the centennial of women’s voting rights.

In addition to five-time Grammy nominee Karrin Allyson, the sextet also features Ingrid Jensen (trumpet), Mindi Abair (alto saxophone) Helen Sung (piano), Endea Owens (bass), and Allison Miller (drums).

Furthermore, Shoulder to Shoulder seeks to re-create the multi-decade debate – warts and all – that culminated in the enactment of the nineteenth amendment.

"We want to highlight this significant movement in American history," says Karrin. "One that we shouldn’t forget and that is relevant today. It’s also one in which music played an important role."

1. 'Preamble'
2. 'The March of the Women'
3. 'The Great Convention' (featuring Madeleine Peyroux, Denise Donatelli)
4. 'Susan B. Anthony (1873)' (performed by Rosanne Cash)
5. 'I’ll Be No Submissive Wife'
6. 'Frederick Douglass (1888)' (performed by Harry Belafonte)
7. 'Anti Suffrage Rose' (featuring Veronica Swift)
8. 'She’s Good Enough To Be Your Baby’s Mother'
9. 'Elihu Root (1894)' (performed by Peter Eldridge)
10. 'Columbia’s Daughters'
11. 'Sojourner Truth (1851)' (performed by Lalah Hathaway)
12. 'The Promised Land' (featuring Pauline Jean, Antonia Bennett, Emily Estefan, Kate Reid)
13. 'Winning the Vote' (featuring Kurt Elling)
14. 'Alice Paul (1921)' (performed by Julie Swidler)
15. 'Way Down Below' (featuring Regina Carter)
16. 'Big Discount' (featuring Rapsody)

This quite breathtakingly honest, raw and heartfelt album begins with a spoken word 'Preamble,' before the upbeat 'The March of the Women' and the mid-tempo, low light jazz appeal of 'The Great Convention' (featuring Madeleine Peyroux, Denise Donatelli) comes along.

Next up, Rosanne Cash reads 'Susan B. Anthony (1873),' which is followed by the tersely perky 'I’ll Be No Submissive Wife,' before Harry Belafonte reads 'Frederick Douglass (1888).'

'Anti Suffrage Rose' (featuring Veronica Swift) and the flirtatious 'She’s Good Enough To Be Your Baby’s Mother' are both pure musical joys to behold, and are backed by Peter Eldridge reading 'Elihu Root (1894)' and Lalah Hathaway reading 'Sojourner Truth (1851)' (with the smooth jazz of 'Columbia’s Daughters' resting neatly in between).

This quite extraordinary and deeply profound album then rounds out with the gospel harmonies of 'The Promised Land,' 'Winning the Vote' (featuring Kurt Elling), Julie Swidler reads 'Alice Paul (1921),' and then comes to a close on the honey dew approach to 'Way Down Below' (featuring Regina Carter), and then the finger-snappin' 'Big Discount' (featuring Rapsody).

In closing, Shoulder to Shoulder – Centennial Tribute to Women’s Suffrage is just a fabulous musical journey through the history of the American Women’s Rights movement.

Superbly sung and narrated, it is, quite easily, one of my Top 10 of the year and I'm sure it will be in yours also once you have taken a listen.

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Outstandards'
Artist - Eyran Katsenelenbogen

For those not in the know, Eyran Records announces the release of master jazz pianist Eyran Katsenelenbogen’s highly anticipated new solo album, Outstandards.

Within this quite remarkable, ambient and yet at all times fluid and vibrant new album, pianist Eyran Katsenelenbogen presents jazzy renditions of classical cornerstones such as 'Für Elise' (Beethoven) and Mozart’s 'Piano Sonata in C major' alongside jazz classics such as 'Tea for Two' (Youmans / Caesar) and 'Cheek to Cheek' (Berlin).

Katsenelenbogen also revisits Chick Corea’s 'Armando’s Rhumba,' which was released on his CD Solotude in 2005 and delivers a rather intimate performance of 'Insensatez' (How Insensitive) (Jobim / De Moraes).

Furthermore, the piece 'Insensetaz' (How Insensitive) carries a special meaning for Katsenelenbogen and is dedicated it to his parents, in gratitude for their eternal love.

1. 'Libertango '
2. 'Für Elise'
3. 'Sonata No. 16 in C major K. 545: I. Allegro'
4. 'Prelude in C-sharp minor Op. 3, No. 2'
5. 'Hungarian Dance No. 5'
6. 'Cheek to Cheek'
7. 'Tea for Two'
8. 'Prelude in C minor, BWV 847 and Improvisation'
9. 'Armando's Rhumba'
10. 'Theme for Ernie'
11. 'Insensatez (How Insensitive)'
12. 'Chega de Saudade (No More Blues)'
13. 'The Windmills of Your Mind'
14. 'Just You, Just Me'

Katsenelenbogen opens with the vigorous 'Libertango' and backs that up seamlessly with both a quite stunning, frenetic rendition of 'Für Elise' quite like I've never heard before, and a free flowing, foot-tapping 'Sonata No. 16 in C Major K. 545: I. Allegro.'

The dulcet ambiance of the recurrent 'Prelude in C-Sharp Minor Op. 3, No. 2' slows things down, before Katsenelenbogen is back into his dynamic free fall on 'Hungarian Dance No. 5,' the melodic pairing of both 'Cheek to Cheek' and 'Tea for Two,' and then the cultured drive of 'Prelude in C Minor, BWV 847 and Improvisation.'

The atmospheric 'Armando's Rhumba' is also one of my own personal favorites here and that's followed by the perfected balladry of both 'Theme for Ernie,' and the nostalgia-tinged 'Insensatez (How Insensitive).'

This quite magnificent album then rounds out with the mid-tempo playfulness of 'Chega De Saudade (No More Blues),' the hauntingly memorable 'The Windmills of Your Mind,' and the comes to a close with the robust, yet sophisticated 'Just You, Just Me.'

Amazon Digital Purchase Link

Title - 'Spectacular Class'
Artist - Jontavious Willis

Every generation or so, a young bluesman bursts onto the scene and sends a jolt through the blues community.

Jontavious Willis may just have that effect on people. The 22-year-old rising multi-instrumentalist has released a new album, Spectacular Class (out April 5th, 2019 via Kind of Blue Music).

Through original lyrics written by Willis himself, the gifted musician delivers a timeless album that features dynamic vocals and all types of blues: Delta, Piedmont, Texas, and Gospel.

With his stand-out fingerpicking, flat-picking, and slide prowess are also on display, GRAMMY award-winning artists Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ played an active role in producing Spectacular Class with Taj Mahal credited as Executive Producer and Keb' Mo' as the Producer.

1. 'Low Down Ways'
2. 'The Blues Is Dead?'
3. 'Resting On My Mind'
4. 'Daddy's Dough'
5. 'Friend Zone Blues'
6. 'Jon's Boogie'
7. 'Country'
8. 'Liquor'
9. 'Long Winded Woman'
10. 'The World Is In A Tangle'

Spectacular Class, the follow-up to Jon's debut album, Blue Metamorphosis (2016), kicks off in fine style with the foot-tappin' beauty 'Low Down Ways' which is followed by the down and dirty 'The Blues Is Dead?' and then the Gospel-tinged, yearning ballad 'Resting On My Mind.'

The down south blues funk of 'Daddy's Dough' is one of my own personal favorites on this new album, and that's backed by the slow-poke approach to 'Friend Zone Blues' and the fun, light and breezy instrumental 'Jon's Boogie.'

The album then rounds out with the bucolic blues of 'Country,' the storytelling of 'Liquor,' and then comes to a close with the coquettish 'Long Winded Woman' and the cultured 'The World Is In A Tangle.'

In closing, Jontavious is a new bluesman who having been mentored and ultimately recommended to all listeners by Keb' Mo' and Taj Majal has now embraced his new lease of life with both arms wide open.

It truly is just so hard to believe Jon is still only in his early twenties for his combination of soulful blues and ragtime is as fresh and as vibrant today as it ever was back then.

In addition to its digital release, the album will also be available on CD and vinyl.

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Title - 'I Remember You: The Music of Nat King Cole'
Artist - Nicolas Bearde

For those not in the know, recording artist, Nicolas Bearde’s silky baritone sound invites comparisons to Johnny Hartman, Lou Rawls, and Joe Williams, and his wit and engaging rapport captures and draws the audience into his live performances.

For the past thirty plus years, Bearde has made major marks in the world of jazz as an original member of Bobby McFerrin's innovative a cappella ensemble, "Voicestra", while carving out his own distinctive solo career.

With classic performances and innovative interpretations of jazz standards and blues, Bearde, and without a shadow of a doubt, is the definitive jazz romantic.

Bearde has released six albums to date, his debut in 1997 was Crossing the Line, his latest I Remember You: The Music of Nat King Cole out on August 30th, 2019, all via his own label, Right Groove Records.

Featuring special guest and sax great, Eric Alexander, the album rightly rose quickly to the Top 20 on the Jazz Week Charts, garnering rave reviews at both home and abroad.

1. 'I Remember You'
2. 'That Sunday, That Summer'
3. 'Funny (Not Much)'
4. 'Sweet Lorraine'
5. 'L-O-V-E'
6. 'Thou Swell'
7. 'The Rules of the Road'
8. 'Straighten Up and Fly Right'
9. 'Tenderly'
10. 'I Wish You Love'

Bearde gets things off on a smooth roll with the title track 'I Remember You,' and backs that up seamlessly with the gentle hipsway of 'That Sunday, That Summer' ("Newborn whippoorwills were calling from the hills Summer was a-coming in but fast"), the beautiful, if not heartbreaking 'Funny (Not Much),' and then both the lush 'Sweet Lorraine' and the silky 'L-O-V-E.'

The upbeat and excited show tune and jazz standard 'Thou Swell' is then followed by the laid back, late night sway of 'The Rules of the Road,' and then one of my own personal favorites from the new album, the buoyant 'Straighten Up and Fly Right' (originally performed by The King Cole Trio).

This quite beautifully crafted and heartfelt album then rounds out with a supple rendition of 'Tenderly,' and then comes to a close with the effortless balladry found within 'I Wish You Love' ("Goodbye, no use leading with our chins, this is where our story ends").

Official CD Purchase Link