Title - Lost In A Dream
Artist - Kristin Callahan
For those unaware, a departure from Kristin Callahan’s more straight-ahead, swing-centered projects, her new album Lost In A Dream (out July 16th, 2021) features pensive, romantic, Latin-tinged arrangements of jazz standards, as well as one Callahan original.
Indeed, her rich vocals are supported by the unique instrumentation of acoustic guitar, acoustic bass, drums and percussion, and the occasional horn feature.
Following up her previous albums A New Love and One Magic Day, both more traditional collections of standards, Callahan envisioned a different aesthetic for Lost in a Dream. I wanted an earthier sound, Callahan says, with acoustic guitar, percussion, a move away from being quite so traditional.
I wanted to do something that really reflected me: my personality, my style, my taste. Eliot [bassist Eliot Seppa] really understood. We discussed what I was thinking and he was so open to it all.
1. Lush Life (5:26)
2. Memories Always Start (0:55)
3. Round Midnight (3:59)
4. Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise (4:41)
5. Lost in a Dream (4:33)
6. Caravan (6:37)
7. The Shadow of Your Smile (4:59)
8. Once I Loved (3:02)
Co-produced and arranged by the aforementioned bassist Eliot Seppa, with Matvei Sigalov (guitars), Tom Teasley (multi-percussion), Joe Herrera (trumpet) and more, the album opens on the richly abundant ambiance of the aptly-named Lush Life and the atmospherically-imbued short embarkation into Memories Always Start, before bringing us the dulcet trumpet-led, layered mood of Monks Round Midnight, with one of my own personal favorites here, the upbeat, and generously addictive hipsway of the romanticized Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise up next.
Callahan’s vocal warmth and earnestness is truly brought to the fore next on the expressive Lost in a Dream (the one Callahan original here) which is itself backed by the upright bass-led, Latin-flavored Caravan, with the album rounding out on the simply gorgeous and free flowing melodies of The Shadow of Your Smile, these eight tracks closing all too soon on the dutiful musical poignancy of expressive mood found within Once I Loved.
By focusing on arrangements and emotional intent, rather than filling space in a conventional way with virtuosic improvised solos, Callahan got to the heart of what defines her as an artist with Lost in a Dream.
Seppa and the band, with their receptive ears and intuitive musicianship, played an indispensable role. I’m looking for the vibe of the song, getting the feeling across, Callahan says, and no doubt, that’s precisely what she did.
Kristin Callahan - Vocals,
Eliot Seppa - Bass
Matvei Sigalov - Guitar
Tom Teasley - Percussion
Mark Prince - Drums
Carroll Dashiell lll - Drums
Lee Pearson - Drums & Conga
Joe Herrera - Trumpet
Matt Rippetoe - Saxophone
Lost in a Dream / Kristin Callahan [Official Music Video]
Kristin Callahan @ Facebook
Kristin Callahan @ Twitter
Kristin Callahan @ Instagram
Kristin Callahan @ YouTube
Title - Love Is For All Time
Artist - Lorraina Marro
For those not in the know, Lorraina Marro releases her third album on July 9th, 2021 with a team of some of L.A.s finest musicians: Steve Rawlins on piano, Jennifer Leitham on bass, Grant Geissman on guitar, Steve Pemberton on drums, Dr. Bobby Rodriguez on trumpet, and Rickey Woodard on tenor sax.
The album entitled Love Is For All Time is a mix of ballads, swing, bossa nova’s, and Spanish songs, dealing with love the promise of new love, loss of love, sassy kind of love, and love for all people in general.
Indeed, Marro has experienced it all and lived long enough to sing about her own truth. In a world that has had so much sadness and suffering during the past year, we can still be uplifted by music.
The project includes songs written by composers such as Walter Donaldson/Gus Kahn, Arthur Hamilton, Ivan Lins, Armando Manzanero, Bob Merrill/Jule Styne, Dorothy Parker/Ralph Rainger, Joe Sample, etc.
1. Stairway To The Stars
2. I’m Not Alone
3. The Night Has a Thousand Eyes
4. Rain Sometimes
5. My Baby Just Cares For Me
6. Viajera Del Rio
7. When The World Turns Blue
9. I Wished On The Moon
10. Esta Tarde Vi Llover (Yesterday I Heard the Rain)
This simply divine new jazz album opens on the sweeping gossamer, and funky trumpet of Stairway To The Stars and the delicate I’m Not Alone and follows those up with the finger-snapping delights of The Night Has a Thousand Eyes, the piano magnificent of Rain Sometimes, and then delivers one of my own personal favorites here, Marro’s upright bass-led rendition of My Baby Just Cares For Me.
Next comes the soothing trumpet-imbibed Viajera Del Rio and more ornate piano work within When The World Turns Blue, which are themselves backed by the smooth jazz of People, another piano masterpiece in the form of I Wished On The Moon, the album closing out on the sensuously-imbued, multi-language ballad Esta Tarde Vi Llover (Yesterday I Heard the Rain).
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Lorraina Marro has made her mark as a classy, sophisticated and talented jazz vocalist, who is passionate about her music and committed to interpreting songs in her own style.
Her early influences include Nancy Wilson, Della Reese, Dinah Washington, Linda Ronstadt, Aretha Franklin and Barbra Streisand. Lorraina Marro has a powerful voice; her vocals are warm, smooth and sultry.
Her live performances display her joy in singing, her charm, warm sense of humor and genuine connection with her audience.
She breathes life into the lyrics she sings, whether it be an emotional ballad that tears at the heartstrings or a lively up tempo number that makes you smile and want to tap your feet on the floor. She blends together jazz, Latin music, Broadway and R&B in a very expressive style that is all her own.
Lorraina Marro @ Facebook
Lorraina Marro @ YouTube
Lorraina Marro @ Instagram
Lorraina Marro @ Twitter
Title - Under the Neon Heat
Artist - Greg Antista & The Lonely Streets
For those unaware, Greg Antista & The Lonely Streets have just released the digital single Down on Commonwealth, the lead track from the groups second album, Under the Neon Heat.
The single marks the debut of veteran guitarist Frank Agnew in the lineup and the album follows July 16th, 2021 on CD, download, and 180-gram hot pink vinyl!
The vinyl will be a strictly limited edition of 500 units and all formats come courtesy of Primal Beat Records and are available now for pre-order at Road Dog Merch.
The Lonely Streets are set to make good on the buzz generated by 2019s Shake, Stomp and Stumble, the debut album which featured nine party-starting songs anchored by indelible melodies, heartfelt vocals, and powerful musicianship.
New Noise Magazine described its tunes as perfectly-crafted, three-minute pop songs that owe as much to Johnny Cash as they do the Adolescents, while The Big Takeover compared the groups approach to a crunchier, power-pop-leaning Social Distortion.
Active in Southern California since 2018, the groups lineup is comprised of Greg Antista (lead vocals, songwriter, guitar), Frank Agnew (lead guitar, keyboards, vocals), Warren Renfrow (bass, accordion, vocals), and Jorge E. Disguster (drums, vocals).
The members previous group affiliations are extensive: Antista (Joyride, Foxy), Agnew (Adolescents, Legal Weapon, T.S.O.L., 45 Grave), Renfrow (Cadillac Tramps, Manic Hispanic, Final Conflict, and tours with Adolescents and the Damned), Disguster (The Hangmen, Mink Daggers, Mr. Mirainga, live shows with Throw Rag).
1. Down on Commonwealth
2. Feel Alright
3. Tijuana Jail
5. One More Mistake
6. Together Tonight
7. Lonesome Casualty
8. Unfinished Business
9. Broken Glass
10. Halfway to Whole
11. Carmelita (Warren Does Warren)
Opening on the ferociously upbeat and yet manically melodious and charming guitar work of Down on Commonwealth and the perky indie pop bounce of both the mosh pit skirmish of Feel Alright and the late 70s-fueled Tijuana Jail, they back those up with the euphoric yearning of the barnstormer Rosalita and the well-oiled rock hipsway of One More Mistake.
Next up from the Orange County veterans is the drum-led beauty Together Tonight the mid-tempo Lonesome Casualty, the balladry (well, for the first half, until the guitars strike up, of course) Unfinished Business, and the album then rounds out on the alt-energy of both Broken Glass and Halfway to Whole, coming to a close on the countrified Carmelita (Warren Does Warren) - featuring Warren Renfrow on lead vocals.
Official Purchase Links
Greg Antista & The Lonely Streets - Down on Commonwealth (Official Video)
Greg Antista & The Lonely Streets @ Facebook
Greg Antista & The Lonely Streets @ Twitter
Greg Antista & The Lonely Streets @ Instagram
Title - Clean Up The Living Room
Artist - Porter Block
For those unaware, in a year defined by anticipation as much as anything else, Porter Block has returned with an album all about the urgency of waiting and ache of isolation.
While Clean Up The Living Room was written during COVID lockdowns, it is far more than a quarantine record, tapping into timeless truths about the human condition as it reaches out for connection and understanding in the face of loneliness and detachment.
The songs here balance shadow and light in a delicate tightrope walk, hinting at everything from Warren Zevon and The Kinks to The Wallflowers and Fountains of Wayne as they pair bright power-pop arrangements with dark, sardonic lyrics.
1. Say Something Nice
2. I Don’t Wanna Wait
3. Work Real Hard
4. Step Inside The Right Side
5. Taking The Boat To Water
7. Spiral Down Fashion Dolls
8. Mine To Control
10. Clean Up The Living Room
11. Get On The Bus
Opening on the free flowing majesty of Say Something Nice and the poppy foot tapper Don’t Wanna Wait, they back those up seamlessly with the melodic rock of Work Real Hard, the aching hipsway of Step Inside The Right Side, the mid-tempo rocker Taking The Boat To Water, and the piano-led Angry.
Next up is one of my own personal favorites, the quietly-paced, psych-imbibed magnificence of Spiral Down Fashion Dolls and the bountiful pop rock celebration Mine To Control, with the album rounding out (all too soon, IMHO), with the gentle alt-rock of Fallen, the quieter, balladry lo-fi fare of the title track Clean Up The Living Room, and finally the rambunctiously upbeat Get On The Bus.
Our songs have always tended to be these upbeat, positive pop tunes that just confirm the absolute worst about human nature, says front man Peter Block. I think that combination happens to really encapsulate the past year for a lot of people.
Launched in 2005, Porter Block quickly garnered a reputation around New York City for their arresting blend of craftsmanship and wit. The bands 2006 debut, Suburban Sprawl, earned widespread critical acclaim, with AllMusic hailing its buoyant pop tunes filled with harmonies and hooks and PopMatters lauding its well rounded and refined songwriting and ample amounts of gorgeous melody.
Over the ensuing decade and a half, the band would go on to release five more studio records, collaborate with the likes of Mike Viola and Tracy Bonham, record with longtime Elvis Costello rhythm section Pete Thomas and Davey Faragher, and share bills with Mike Doughty, Tim Easton, Deep Blue Something, and The Samples, among others.
Along the way, Block also launched the music industry podcast In A State, which has featured guests like Marshall Crenshaw and Semisonic’s Dan Wilson, explored his passion for filmmaking, and overcame a debilitating neurological condition that left him partially paralyzed in his arms and hands.
Following his recovery, Block helped found Weill Cornell Medical Colleges non-profit Music and Medicine Initiative, which encourages students to continue engaging in musical performances during their training and teaches them to integrate the arts into their professional practices after graduation.
Official Porter Block - I Don’t Want To Wait (Official Music Video)
Porter Block @ Facebook
Porter Block @ Instagram
Title - Trees Of The Ages: Laura Nyro Live In Japan
Artist - Laura Nyro
For those unaware, Omnivore Recordings will release two sets of rare Laura Nyro music over the next few months: Trees of the Ages: Laura Nyro Live in Japan and the never-before-issued Go Find the Moon: The Audition Tape.
Both will be available on CD and Digital, with Go Find the Moon also available on vinyl (a 45-rpm LP). Each was restored and mastered by Grammy-winner Michael Graves and produced for release by Grammy-winner Cheryl Pawelski and George Gilbert with the approval of the Laura Nyro Trust.
A member of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Laura Nyro not only wrote songs that became hits for artists like 5th Dimension, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Three Dog Night, and Barbra Streisand, but has been cited as a major influence by artists as varied as Kate Bush, Elton John, Elvis Costello, Cyndi Lauper, Todd Rundgren, Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Wicked), and countless others.
Born in the Bronx in 1947, she left us far too soon, at age 49 following a bout with ovarian cancer.
She recorded ten of her own studio albums (one released posthumously), but a live performance from Nyro was always a particularly special event.
Originally issued only in Japan as Live in Japan in 2003, the 16 tracks recorded at Kintetsu Hall, plus five recorded at On Air West return as Trees of the Ages: Laura Nyro Live in Japan, to be released July 16th, 2021.
1. Dedicated to the One I Love
2. Ooh Baby Baby
3. Woman of the World
4. Louise’s Church
5. Lite a Flame (The Animal Rights Song)
6. Walk the Dog & Light the Light (Song of the Road)
7. The Japanese Restaurant Song
8. And When I Die
9. To a Child
10. The Descent of Luna Rose
11. Wild World
12. Save the Country
13. Wedding Bell Blues
14. Trees of the Ages/Emmie
15. Walk on By
16. Let It Be Me
17. Oh Yeah Maybe Baby (The Heebie Jeebies)
19. Broken Rainbow
20. My Innocence/Sophia
21. Art of Love
With a set running the gamut of her career, she first introduces a pair of teenage heartthrob songs from her youth, the 1957 hit single Dedicated to the One I Love and the 1965 hit Ooh Baby Baby, before heading into a cut from her then-new album Walk The Walk and Light The Light, the delightful Woman of the World, before bringing us a song dedicated to artists of sweet inspiration (such as Billie Holiday), Louise’s Church and the delicate Lite a Flame (The Animal Rights Song).
Next up is the key-sterner, more forthright Walk the Dog & Light the Light (Song of the Road) and a song about a mother taking her kids to a Japanese restaurant, and how plum wine comes into play, The Japanese Restaurant Song, and that is followed by the piano bounce of her hit And When I Die, the Japanese-introduced To a Child, and then both the lighter fare of The Descent of Luna Rose and Wild World.
Her hit Save the Country is next brought forth and after being rapturously appreciated thereafter, is backed by her clap-along pop hit tune Wedding Bell Blues, the pure, unadulterated gossamer of Trees of the Ages/Emmie, Nyro’s stunning rendition of Burt Bacharach’s 1963 smash Walk on By, and then we get another stand out cut within the delicate orchestrations of Let It Be Me.
They are seamlessly followed by the Motown soul of Oh Yeah Maybe Baby (The Heebie Jeebies) (made famous by The Crystals) and the crystalline harmonies of Wind, with this quite mesmerizingly beautiful flashback album (to 1994, sure, but sounding as if it were recorded by Carole King back in the early ’70s) rounding out on the organic flow of Broken Rainbow, the upbeat, impassioned power of My Innocence/Sophia closing on more harmonization on the short, but sweet, but no less beautiful Art of Love.
Simply put, Trees Of The Ages: Laura Nyro Live In Japan is an essential document of Nyro’s historic February 1994 visit to Japan. With Nyro on piano and vocals, augmented by the harmonies by Diane Wilson, Dian Sorrell, Diane Garisto, the performances are sublime.
The reissue packaging contains updated artwork and new liner notes from author and musician John Kruth. Looking and sounding incredible, this essential addition to Nyro’s discography is available worldwide for the first time.
For Trees of the Ages: Laura Nyro Live in Japan cements the legacy of an incomparable artist.
Official Omnivore Laura Nyro Trailer
Official Purchase Link"
Title - Nobody’s Girl
Artist - Nobodys Girl
For those not in the know, We always joke that it started out by accident offers singer-songwriter (and former Voice contestant) Rebecca Loebe when asked about the fortuitous aligning of stars that officially brought her and fellow Austin-based troubadours BettySoo and Grace Pettis together as Nobody’s Girl.
Well, actually, Grace and I like to joke that we tricked BettySoo into being in a band with us ... she adds, with a sly smile.
BettySoo, sitting across the table from her two bandmates at a post-rehearsal Tex-Mex dinner, laughs at this, but Grace is quick to correct the record. It is not really a joke, though, she insists with a mischievous grin. It is true!
But why split hairs? Whether it was sparked by happy accident or some manner of sly master plan, the magic of that union was undeniable from the get-go.
That three of the loveliest voices in Americana and contemporary folk music could complement each other so beautifully might have been a given, but it was the songs they wrote together - songs unlike any of them had ever or probably would ever write on their own - that really made Nobody’s Girl, well, sing.
In a lot of ways, I think of Nobody’s Girl as a super fun project that lets us blow off steam, because it gives us a whole different channel to tap into, says Rebecca. But most of all, I am always really moved by the power of what we are able to access as a trio: just the power of three voices onstage together, carrying the same message.
They have carried that message for the better part of two whirlwind years, playing more than a 100 shows together from Texas to Ireland in support of a 2018 EP, Waterline, and a handful of singles released late last year.
But that power of three they share has never been stronger than it is now, and it has captured like bottled lightning on the trios strikingly assertive - and yes, striking fun, too - full-length debut: the self-titled Nobody’s Girl, releasing on digital, CD, and vinyl through Lucky Hound Music on July 30th, 2021.
4. Promised Land
5. Beauty Way
6. What Will I Do
9. So Far Away
10. The Morning After
Opening on the strong-foot beats of Kansas and the atmospherically effluent Rescued, they back those up amiably with the gentle foot-tapper, and Petty-esque Tiger, the Summer breeze, top down flow of Promised Land, and then we get the light, but gritty guitar work combined with some truly buoyant foot-tapping melodies on Beauty Way, with the melodically magnificent What Will I Do backing that up nicely.
The soaring jangle of Waterline is still one of my own personal favorites and that is backed by the translucent shimmer of Birthright, which in turn is followed by their piano ballad rendition of the Carole King classic So Far Away (recorded on the very same piano that King herself played on the original recording!), the album closing on the hauntingly ethereal, slow slip step of The Morning After, and then the lighter acoustic guitar fare of Lark.
Recorded in September of 2019 and January of this year at Lucky Hounds own state-of-the-art Studios at Fischer campus in the Texas Hill Country, the new album found Nobody’s Girl once again working with Michael Ramos, the Grammy-winning producer who helmed Waterline.
The sessions also reunited - and expanded - the veritable dream team of Austin talent that played on the EP. Michael brought in so many great players for this record, it is kind of insane, marvels Rebecca.
In addition to Ramos on percussion and keyboards and the formidable rhythm section of bassist Glenn Fukunaga and drummers J.J. Johnson and Conrad Choucroun, Nobody’s Girl features arguably the deepest roster of Texas guitar heroes this side of a classic Joe Ely or Arc Angels record: Charlie Sexton, David Grissom, and David Pulkingham.
Official Purchase Link
Nobody’s Girl @ Facebook
Nobody’s Girl @ Instagram
Nobody’s Girl @ Twitter
Nobody’s Girl @ YouTube
Nobody’s Girl @ Spotify
Title - Alliance
Artist - THOR
For those unaware, like the Heavy Metal Avengers, heroes and icons from all over the metal world have united behind the legendary god of metal thunder, THOR, on an epic new studio album, entitled Alliance!
Only a figure of such mythic strength and power as the mighty THOR could unite such an astounding armada of artists including W.A.S.P.s Chris Holmes, Raven vocalist John Gallagher, Soilwork singer Bjorn Strid, Danko Jones, Anthraxs Neil Turbin, Ross The Boss Friedman and many more.
Together, this battalion of champions fuse their talents to create one of the heaviest, most melodic THOR albums of all time!
Just check out the albums first single, The Ultimate Alliance, a heart-pounding, metal riffing powerhouse of a track that features some stellar guitar solos from Chris Holmes and Ross The Boss as well as the vocal talents of A Sound Of Thunder singer Nina Osegueda and Lords Of The Trident front man Fang VonWrathstein!
The track is debuted here alongside a superbly fun, special-effects heavy video - Thor feat. Chris Holmes & Ross The Boss - The Ultimate Alliance (Official Music Video)
1. We Need Musclerock (feat. John Gallagher, Raven)
2. Niflhel (Realm Of The Dead) (feat. Bjorn Strid, Soilwork)
3. The Ultimate Alliance (feat. Chris Holmes, W.A.S.P.; Ross The Boss Friedman, Manowar; Nina Osegueda, A Sound Of Thunder; & Fang VonWrathenstein, Lords Of The Trident)
4. Ode To Odin (feat. Dan Cleary, Striker)
5. We Will Fight Forever (feat. Neil Turbin, Anthrax)
6. Because We Are Strong
7. Rock Around The World (feat. Danko Jones)
8. Queen Of The Spiders (feat. Frank Soda, The Imps)
9. Power Hungry
10. Bounty Hunter (feat. Frank Meyer, The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs; & Dennis Post, Warrior Soul)
11. Battlements (feat. Trevor William Church, Haunt)
12. Thor vs. The Juggernaut (War Of The Gods) (feat. Sean Peck, Death Dealer)
13. Generation Now (feat. Joey Killingsworth, Joecephus & The George Jonestown Massacre)
14. After The Laughter (feat. Martin Gummesson, Thundermaker)
15. Good Stuff (feat. Al Harlow, Prism)
16. Congregate (feat. Joey Roads & Sheldon Byer, Roadrash)
17. We Will Fight Forever (Reprise)
This thunderously melodically new album opens on the euphorically anthemic We Need Musclerock (feat. John Gallagher, Raven) and the fight song Niflhel (Realm Of The Dead) (feat. Bjorn Strid, Soilwork) and then brings us the gruffly-sung The Ultimate Alliance (feat. Chris Holmes, W.A.S.P.; Ross The Boss Friedman, Manowar; Nina Osegueda, A Sound Of Thunder; & Fang VonWrathenstein, Lords Of The Trident), the melodic rocker Ode To Odin (feat. Dan Cleary, Striker) and then comes the lighter metal fare of We Will Fight Forever (feat. Neil Turbin, Anthrax).
Next up is the pop-metal-rock of Because We Are Strong and the ’80s-imbibed, Motely Crue-eseque Rock Around The World (feat. Danko Jones) and then comes the Goth-imbued Queen Of The Spiders (feat. Frank Soda, The Imps), the meaty duo of Power Hungry and Bounty Hunter (feat. Frank Meyer, The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs; & Dennis Post, Warrior Soul), and then we are treated to the gathering of troops outcry within Battlements (feat. Trevor William Church, Haunt).
Along next is the deep metal grunge of Thor vs. The Juggernaut (War Of The Gods) (feat. Sean Peck, Death Dealer) and the foot-tapping rock of Generation Now (feat. Joey Killingsworth, Joecephus & The George Jonestown Massacre), with the album rounding out on the rollercoaster of After The Laughter (feat. Martin Gummesson, Thundermaker), the mid-tempo rock of Good Stuff (feat. Al Harlow, Prism), closing on the sing-along of Congregate (feat. Joey Roads & Sheldon Byer, Roadrash) and a soaring We Will Fight Forever (Reprise).
Alliance features stunning artwork from Timo Wuerz and will be available July 16th, 2021 on both digital as well as on CD in a digipak and limited edition silver vinyl in a gatefold jacket!
Watch for Thor to launch several shows and festivities in this year as he celebrates his 39th studio album and an astounding 50 years of metal mayhem as well as co-starring in a feature-length action movie Pact Of Vengeance, which will feature music from the new album!
Official Purchase Links
Thor feat. Chris Holmes & Ross The Boss - The Ultimate Alliance (Official Music Video)
Stream The Single The Ultimate Alliance
Title - Year of Pain
Artist - Robert Stoner
For those unaware, Robert Stoner is a singer-songwriter from Berkeley, CA who has written and performed music for many years, and now with the help of producer Ben Bernstein is set to release his debut album Year of Pain on July 9th, 2021.
Stoner, who also goes by Bob, wrote and recorded Year of Pain over the last year and this impressively strong debut showcases his personal and nuanced grappling with issues ranging from the specific challenges of children growing up and keeping a marriage fresh, to the trials and tribulations of our modern times.
The songs on Year of Pain run the gamut from personal reflections on kids moving on in life (Just a Riverboat) or relationship difficulties (Wait Until the Morning) to commentary on the present state of ethics in the political realm (The Principle) and the difficulties that have become ingrained in our modern era (Year of Pain).
The song that leads off the album (Just a Riverboat) and the song that ends it (the title track Year of Pain) each hold special significance for Bob.
Just a Riverboat reflects on the time his daughter Lily went off to college back East by way of a trip to New Orleans with friends. It was an exciting moment and an important milestone in her life, and the New Orleans imagery provided the perfect backdrop for the song.
Year of Pain is a song that sums up the difficult times we live in, with political dysfunction, gun deaths, and growing intolerance leading the list.
1. Just a Riverboat
2. The Principle
3. Holy Grail
4. Out of Time
5. Head in the Sand
6. Wait Until the Morning
7. Rain Wash Away
8. Hear Their Voices
9. Year of Pain
This rather delightful new album opens with the magnificently dulcet, seamlessly flowing Just a Riverboat and the reflective The Principle and backs those up with the Simon & Garfunkel-esque Holy Grail, the gently upbeat Out of Time and then the beautiful summers breeze of Head in the Sand.
Next up is the psych-imbed gossamer of Wait Until the Morning, which is itself followed by the low key ballad Rain Wash Away, and then comes one of my own personal favorites, the lo-fi storytelling of Hear Their Voices, with the album coming to a close on the recounting of difficulties we have all felt recently within Year of Pain.
The brother of a professional violinist in New York City, Robert Stoner comes from a very musical family (one of his cousins even won the Tchaikovsky Competition in the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War, to great national acclaim).
Despite the fact Year of Pain is his debut release, Bob Stoner is a prolific songwriter who has been writing songs his whole life, and he is already hard at work on his next release. My songs seem to come in a pretty constant stream, says Bob. Songwriting to me is an ongoing process of listening, discovery, fleshing out of ideas, honing and sharpening, and trying to maintain or enhance the original creative energy through the production phase.
Maintaining a day job as an economist means the songwriting process has not always been straightforward for Bob, but the left and right sides of his brain have fully coalesced on Year of Pain, resulting in a musical experience that is both provocative and enjoyable for the listener.
He worked with Ben Bernstein at Ben Bernstein Music to produce the album, and Ben also contributed lead and electric guitar to the songs. Year of Pain also features vocal and instrumental contributions from singer-songwriter Maya Elise, and drums and percussion from Mike Stevens.
Adding to the personal nature of the album is the artwork painted by Bobs daughter Lily Stoner, who also contributed vocals on the release.
Official Purchase Links
Rob Stoner @ Facebook
Title - 8 Days On The Road [2CD+DVD]
Artist - Foghat
For those unaware, Foghat celebrates 50 years of Rock n Roll with the release of 8 Days On The Road (out July 16th, 2021 via their own Foghat Records label, distributed by Select-O-Hits - which is part of the Sun Records family and is owned by Sam Philips son and nephew), a cool 14-track live performance from Daryl’s House Club in Pawling, NY on 11/17/2019.
With eight gold records, one platinum and one double platinum record under their belt, the band has millions of fans and they just love to play.
Touring relentlessly, their audience consists of all ages ranging from young fans who play Slow Ride on Guitar Hero III to the Dazed and Confused generation of 30-40 somethings, plus the boomers who bought Foghat’s first vinyl or 8 tracks in the 70s.
Touring, movies, TV Radio commercials have all kept Foghat current and this quite brilliant new 2CD + DVD is a wonderful reminder that Foghat are still able to rock n roll with the best of them today.
1. Drivin’ Wheel
2. Road Fever
3. Stone Blue
4. Chateau Lafitte 59 Boogie
5. It Hurts Me Too
6. Take Me To The River
7. 8 Days On The Road
These legendary rockers Foghat — Roger Earl (founding member/drums), Bryan Bassett (lead guitar, formerly with WILD CHERRY and MOLLY HATCHET), Charlie Huhn (lead guitar and lead vocals, formerly with Ted Nugent, Gary Moore, VICTORY and HUMBLE PIE) and Rodney O’Quinn (bass, formerly with the PAT TRAVERS BAND) — kick off this excellent 14-track live performance with the free wheeling Drivin’ Wheel and the blues of Road Fever, and backs those up seamlessly with the rocking Stone Blue, the the funky blues rock of Chateau Lafitte 59 Boogie, the slow poke It Hurts Me Too, and then we get the mid-tempo rock of Take Me To The River, the first disc closing on the rousing title track.
2. Fool For The City
3. Home In My Hand
4. I Just Want To Make Love To You
6. Play That Funky Music
The second disc opens with the funky foot-stomper Chevrolet and the blistering Fool For The City, and follows those up with the AOR of Home In My Hand, the funky, guitar-laden I Just Want To Make Love To You, the pulsating, drum-led beauty Maybellene, the disc rounding out with their rendition of Black Cherry’s Play That Funky Music, closing on their own massive worldwide hit Slowride.
As original drummer Roger Earl explains: Eight days on the road is more like 80,000 days on the road for us, but that is okay; I love my job! It was a change and a real pleasure to play this particular small room.
I explained to a couple of folks sitting down front as we were about to take the stage that we sweat a lot, and they might want to finish eating. They just grinned and said, We are ready. And so were we!
To play in a small intimate venue like Daryl’s club was really fun and something we do not do often, adds lead guitarist Bryan Bassett. Combine that with the fact that this venue has been fine-tuned for acoustics by the on-site recording professionals and this became a great place for us to play and record.
Once again, veteran rockers Foghat will celebrate their 50th anniversary with a new concert album and video called 8 Days on the Road that will be released July 16th, 2021 as a two-CD/DVD package and digitally.
A 180-gram-vinyl version of the album will be released at a later date.
Title - Live At The Comedy Store, 1973: Expanded
Artist - Richard Pryor
For those unaware, on Monday, October 29th, 1973, Richard Pryor hit the Comedy Store for night one of a four-show run, the recording of which yielded one of the greatest comic documents of all time.
Following the release of his iconic debut album, Richard Pryor, in 1968, Pryor further sharpened his skills and delivered the comedy classic Craps (After Hours) in 1971, but he never stopped pushing forward.
In preparation for a Kennedy Center show in Washington, D.C., and a February 1974 Soul Train Club date in North Beach, San Francisco (which would produce the top-selling That Niggers Crazy), Pryor booked four nights at the then-relatively-new Comedy Store on West Hollywood’s Sunset Strip to woodshed new material.
It was never intended to be heard beyond its original audience, but luckily for us, tape not only rolled, but survived.
Fourteen tracks were originally issued in 2013 as a limited-edition promotional CD given away with copies of the No Pryor Restraint: Life in Concert box set sold on Shout! Factory’s web site.
Six additional Comedy Store performances found their way into the public earlier as bonus material on 2000s …And Its Deep Too!: The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings (1968–1992) and Evolution/Revolution: The Early Years (1966-1974) in 2005.
Now, all 20 tracks are pulled together for the first time and available on Live at the Comedy Store, 1973, due for July 23rd, 2021 release by Omnivore Recordings on CD and Digital.
2. Street Corner Wino
3. Wino & Junkie
10. Black Movie Stars
12. The Line-up
14. Celebrities in the Audience
15. Death [Bonus Track]
16. Niggers & Italians [Bonus Track]
17. Jim Brown (Alternate Version) [Bonus Track]
18. Black Films [Bonus Track]
19. Jesus Saves [Bonus Track]
20. Street Corner Wino (Evolution/Revolution Edit) [Bonus Track]
After a very quick introduction, this quite hysterically memorable, albeit definitely restrained live set continues on with bouts upon bouts of hysterical audience laughter for skits such as the near ten minute Street Corner Wino (and his hatred for the Ice Cream Van neighborhood music), the conversations heard between both Wino & Junkie, the brilliantly funny Fighting, the .25 second Masturbating skit, and then we get the first reflective intakes of his within Dope, his fathers words to him about Sex, and then comes his rendition of touring healers within Religion.
Next up, Pryor explains the difference between white and black folk when it comes to taking Acid and the trials and then the heartfelt tribulations of not getting the roles he went up for in Black Movie Stars, which are in turn backed by the short but sweet Cops, his time spent in The Line-up, a short political anecdote about Nixon (where he also thanks the crowd for coming out, especially given that it was a Monday), and then we get a long piece about Celebrities in the Audience that brings the original album to a close.
The bonus tracks includes how Pryor informs us that he’s a big deal in Peoria, whilst recounting how his folks dealt with Death, which is followed by how the Mafia has been infiltrated within Niggers & Italians, another political jab follows within Jim Brown (Alternate Version), a skit on the music within Black Films is brought to the fore, with this expanded edition rounding out on the pain of the crucifixion within Jesus Saves, closing on an Evolution/Revolution Edit of Street Corner Wino.
Noted Pryor expert Reggie Collins produced this new set along with Jennifer Lee Pryor and Grammy® Award winning producer Cheryl Pawelski. Packaging features new liner notes from Cory Frye and restoration from Grammy® winner Michael Graves.
Frye in his notes declares, As time has shown, there is no death with Richard Pryor. He may have left us in 2005 (after whole decades that would have killed lesser men), but his own afterlife’s proven immense, minus the eight-billion harp-happy m***********s he once described practicing on some distant cloud. Here is a chance to catch him just as he begins to live — again.
Omnivore Richard Pryor Live At The Comedy Store - Official Trailer
Official CD Purchase Link
Title - Comfort In Illusion
Artist - Head With Wings
For those unaware, prog ensemble Head With Wings will be releasing their brand new concept EP Comfort in Illusion this coming July 16th, 2021.
We often start naïve and green and either blossom into something remarkable, or we fizzle out - resigning to the life that we feared all along; the one we have been resisting - an uncertain path, a repetitive/menial existence, and the promise of a life without limitations, lead vocalist Josh Corum explains.
How far are you willing to go to either abandon or protect the way of life that you have been leading?
Indeed, these words paint the scene for the first act of alternative progressive rock quartet Head with Wings next chapter.
Amidst sweeping changes felt on a global scale, aspirations were put on hold, radiant futures dimmed, lives ended prematurely, and dreams were left to rot on the vine.
For so many, the struggle was a silent one - a daily war waged alone.
On their forthcoming EP, Comfort in Illusion, Head With Wings draws the listener into the isolated, agonizing, and momentarily euphoric struggle for self-actualization amidst the stifling frame of an increasingly unfamiliar world.
The collectives first output since 2018s critically-acclaimed debut, From Worry to Shame, presents a concise summation of the groups collective growth as artists and individuals.
Furthermore, Comfort in Illusion dives deeper into the quartets textural and emotive sound exploration with a timely personal narrative of self-discovery and the anxiety of change.
1. Of Uncertainty (7:00)
2. Contemplating the Loop (4:52)
3. In a House Without Clocks (6:02)
Recorded at Silver Bullet Studios (Burlington, CT) between December 2019 and March 2020, this near 18-minute EP opens on the melodically somniferous swirl of the surreal acoustic / electric layered, three-movement suite within Of Certainty.
The hauntingly cathartic Contemplating the Loop is up next and is a beautiful, fluidly smooth adventure in soft prog rock that has the listener journeying away upon the musical wings of the magnificent, deeply luscious tonal ambiance brought forth.
The benevolently vociferous vocals and instruments of the rocker In a House Without Clocks is up next, and before it has closed the EP, has brought forth Corum leaving the listener with the parting questions: Would you consider a life without a path … or would you fear it would all just fall apart — the plan that never started, the waters left uncharted?
Says lead vocalist Josh Corum, The Comfort in Illusion EP has a two-fold meaning, but we realize that its subject to the listeners interpretation and we fully embrace that.
To the band, it operates in a binary fashion narratively; connecting to the protagonist of our debut album From Worry to Shame (2018), while also paving the way for an alternatively surreal story, that is told in tandem with a specific point in the protagonists timeline on the debut (parallel to the songs From Worry to Shame and Beyond the Wall).
Admittedly, this was not my initial intention, but intuitively I wound up here some years down the line after these songs were initially conceived.
The music on this EP is not motivically or thematically linked to the debut, but rather, connected through narrative/thematic concepts and visual interpretations through our music videos.
The themes of conviction and change, etched into the fibers of these songs, are also reflected in the band, whose own internal makeup shifted in a similarly bittersweet way.
Capturing what amounts to founding drummer Andrew Testa’s most stylistically-definitive performance, the EP also serves as a fitting send off for a member who was integral to crafting the core architecture of the bands sound.
His legacy will be continued and expanded upon through the deft percussion skill of Head With Wings resident multi-instrumentalist, Mike Short, who shifts from his co-lead guitar role on the recording of the new songs to drums going forward.
As we all know, we can never again return exactly to where we have been, and the same can be said of the distinctive lineup of performers in their designated roles on this special output—a moment in time faithfully preserved.
Indeed, Comfort in Illusion features a unique release format, with each song being followed by a cinematic companion piece delivered by the remarkably talented Vikram Shankar.
The prolific composer, who was heralded for his expressive piano interpretations of songs on From Worry to Shame, expands his contributions to the Head with Wings collective with fully reimagined arrangements of each movement of the forthcoming EP.
These remixes transform each tracks mood into a palpable visual scene listeners can explore in their own personal way.
On this EP, Head With Wings is:
Andrew Testa - Drums
Brandon Cousino - Guitars
Steve Hill - Bass
Mike Short - Guitars
Joshua Corum - Lyrics, Lead & Backing Vocals
Official CD EP Purchase Link
Head With Wings @ Facebook
Head With Wings @ Twitter
Head With Wings @ Instagram
Head With Wings @ YouTube
Title - Leviathan
Artist - The Grid / Fripp
For those unaware, though not intended as such, in some respects Leviathan and its creators represent between them one version of the history of British electronic music.
In 1973, the curiosity of a significant chunk of the King Crimson and Roxy Music fan bases, along with an attractive price, propelled Fripp & Eno coming together on No Pussyfooting, and then free flowing into many thousands of homes where no such recording had previously registered a single sleeve; much less a gatefold!
By the early 80s Dave Ball & Marc Almonds Soft Cell were at the forefront of a wave of synth based bands who dominated the singles and albums charts.
In the 1990s, The Grid – Dave Ball (again) and Richard Norris formed a key act in what was sometimes referred to as Electronica, sometimes herded under the (almost meaningless) Dance music category, occasionally (equally inaccurately/narrowly) described as ambient music, the struggles of music industry name-taggers never quite catching either the breadth of the music involved, nor recognizing – until much later – the scope of its influence.
The Grids success - a number of hit singles and albums, including the million selling Swamp Thing, world tours, remixes for Eno, Pet Shop Boys, Yello, Sylvian/Fripp – could find a ready audience among those for whom, by now, electronic music was part of the everyday musical fabric and commonality of experience; even as it continued to evolve and develop as a form in itself.
The Grid were managed at the time (1992) by David Enthoven who had also managed King Crimson and Roxy Music from inception for many years and by now with a Sylvian/Fripp remix among their producing credits, it is no surprise that the duo and Fripp were keen to see if mutual recordings would produce interesting results – hence the arrival of the equipment described by Richard Norris above at Eastcote Studios in West London.
As Norris further notes: Roberts craft and musicianship was slightly daunting to us at first, being from a more DIY, post punk electronic background, but we soon worked out a language to communicate in.
Make it sound like a thunderstorm…, I am going to make a sound like a bomb, that kind of thing. After every track, Robert would say Have you got any more? and seemed to be greatly enjoying himself. He was a very generous guest.
The resulting Fripp recordings provided material for much of The Grids second album 456 and their Top 20 follow-up album Evolver.
A few years ago, The Grid rediscovered tapes from these sessions, including unreleased tracks they had worked up but never completed or mixed.
A set of long solo drone pieces from Fripp was discovered along with a lost track that was then remixed to become A Cabala Sky by The Grid / Fripp and released as part of Bill Brewster’s acclaimed Late Night Tales compilation series in 2014.
Further Fripp Soundscapes from the same period were added to the mix by DGMs David Singleton, which inspired The Grid to add new synths, drums, programming and effects to create the album Leviathan - a 2LP and CD/DVD-a set (released June 25th, 2021 and distributed by AMPED Distribution).
Inspired by the mythical whale Leviathan, the biggest prehistoric whale that ever lived, Norris adds, I like Philip Hoare’s book Leviathan, which is about his obsession with whales and whale watching and the awe of coming into contact with such massive creatures.
They are quite mysterious. Their brains are enormous, and we do not quite know what all the brain power is doing ... a bit like Robert, really.
3. Pulse Detected
6. After The Rain
7. Fire Tower
Opening on the extensively sonic complexion of the stirring Empire and the lighter, airier, more mystical fare of Milkwood, up next are the throbbing, layered textures of Pulse Detected, the generously ambient, free flowing Loom and then we get one of my own personal favorites, the opulently crafted, ethereal ten minute journey of the title track.
The foot-tapping, gentle synth-pop bounce of After The Rain is up next and is itself backed by the ten minute, more pronounced synth and drum-led orchestrations of Fire Tower, and then the album rounds out on the subtle, controlled electro-reggae hipsway of Zhora, finally closing on the upbeat, translucent at times, waves of Sympatico.
Having completed the albums stereo mixes, DGM suggested the music as ideal for a full 5.1 surround mix by The Vicar. Electronic music lends itself very well to Surround Sound mixing as the listener has no fixed notion as to where any sound should emerge from.
This mix features on the CD/DVD-a edition (alongside the stereo mix) and while Surround Sound is sometimes regarded as niche in terms of audience, the same would have been said about any form of electronic music when Fripp turned up, guitar in hand, at Enos place in 1972.
But then inquisitive musicians, even (perhaps especially) when they approach music from very different perspectives, often arrive at places that are as intriguing to an audience as they were to the participants.
Official CD Purchase Link
Title - For The Culture
Artist - Alborosie
For those unaware, reggae star Alborosie has today released his 8th solo studio album entitled For The Culture. The 14-track production covers themes of cultural pride, as evidenced in the title track For The Culture, triumph over hardships created by the pandemic (Unprecedented Time), the relief and ease some experience when they add marijuana to their meditation (Never Let Me Down) and the love shown while helping a loved one out of a difficult time (Out Of The Darkness).
All songs were written, produced, and performed by Alborosie using vintage analogue gear, dub sirens, reel‐to‐reel tape, and live instrumentation. Guest performers on the project are Collie Buddz, Jo Mersa Marley (Ready), Quino of Big Mountain (Where Do You Go) and Wailing Souls (Life To Live).
The release is accompanied by multiple music videos for the focus tracks and singles with a series of visualizers dubbed Visual-i-Jahs, conceived and directed by Alborosie and long-time creative partner Tony Fisher, to support the release.
This latest album is a bold statement and an authoritative command all at once – no holds barred – he’s roaring out for the culture. From paying tribute to his adoptive homeland with shouts‐out to Jamaica’s Culture Minister Babsy (Olivia Grange) and Brogad (Prime Minister Andrew Holness) to collaborations with foundation artistes Wailing Souls on a revision of their 1978 hit (Jah Give Us) Life To Live we know what Alborosie represents.
1. For The Culture
3. Ginal (feat. Collie Buddz)
4. Bun A Fyah
5. Ready (feat. Jo Mersa Marley)
6. Out Of The Darkness
7. The System
8. Never Let Me Down
9. Unprecedented Time
10. Life To Live (feat. Wailing Souls)
11. Break My Chains
12. Listen To The Waves
14. Where Do You Go? (feat. Big Mountain)
Opening on the magnificently fresh reggae pop bounce of the title track and the mid-tempo hipway of Challawa, next up is the smooth dub step of Ginal (featuring Collie Buddz), the rhythmic Bun A Fyah, the simply mesmerizingly opulent Ready (featuring Jo Mersa Marley, the son of Stephen Marley and grandson of reggae musician Bob Marley), and then we get both the effortlessly orchestrated Out Of The Darkness and the, at times, twistingly distorted, at others vocally embracing The System.
Up next is the emphatic melodies of Never Let Me Down and the Marley-esque hipsway of Unprecedented Time, which are in turn followed by two of my own personal favorites here on this new album, the rhythmic refrains of both Life To Live (featuring Wailing Souls) and the hypnotic dips and swells of Break My Chains, the come the gently distorted vocals of the mid-tempo outreach heard on Listen To The Waves, the album rounding out on the traditional reggae beats of Walking, closing on the euphorically charged ponderings of Where Do You Go? (featuring Quino of Big Mountain).
Alborosie - For The Culture | Official Music Video
Official Purchase Links
Alborosie @ Facebook
Alborosie @ Instagram
Alborosie @ Twitter
Alborosie @ YouTube
Title - In Solo [Vinyl]
Artist - Gary Kemp
For those not aware, Gary Kemp released his first single, Ahead of the Game, off of his upcoming album, IN SOLO just recently and now the full-length album is due out on July 16th, 20210 via SIN/UK ORCHARD.
Indeed, this is the second solo album by Spandau Ballet songwriter and Saucerful Of Secrets guitarist and co-lead vocalist, Gary Kemp.
As the songwriter & guitarist in one of the most iconic bands of the 80’s, Spandau Ballet, Gary became one of the most commercially successful writers of the decade. During their career Spandau notched up 23 hit singles and spent a combined total of more than 500 weeks in the UK charts, achieving over 25 million album sales worldwide.
Some of their songs, like True, Gold and Through the Barricades have become standards. Indeed, True has now achieved over five million plays in North America alone and Gold was the true soundtrack to the London 2012 Olympics.
Gary is also an accomplished stage and screen actor with critical & commercial success in films such as The Krays, The Bodyguard and the BBC TV comedy The Kemps – All True with his brother Martin and on stage in London’s West End as part of the Jamie Lloyd Theatre Company.
As a member of Nick Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets Gary performs early Pink Floyd material the world over to huge acclaim. His co-front man in the band, Guy Pratt, is also his presenting partner on the Apple #1 podcast The Rockonteurs.
Twenty-five years on from his solo debut Little Bruises, Gary has written and produced an album that focuses on two dominant themes: the paradox of solitude in an urban landscape, and his growing obsession with life seen through a rear-view mirror and how the past infects our present.
1. In Solo (6:23)
2. A Rumour of You (5:36)
3. Waiting for the Band (5:28)
4. Ahead of the Game (3:53)
5. I Remember You (3:47)
6. Too Much (4:15)
7. The Fastest Man In the World (4:29)
8. I Am the Past (4:36)
9. The Feet of Mercury (3:32)
10. The Haunted (6:02)
11. Our Light (4:06)
Side One of this soulfully refreshing new album opens on the stoically created, yet abundantly heartfelt ballad In Solo and the delightfully rhythmic, guitar-led A Rumour of You, and backs those up seamlessly with the mid-tempo, Steely Dan-esque ode to all those that have paid homage to their musical heroes on Waiting for the Band, the truly mesmerizingly, melodically hypnotic first single Ahead of the Game, and then we get the free flowing, summer breeze of I Remember You.
Side Two begins with one of my own personal favorites, the beautiful piano ballad Too Much and then in turn backs that sweetly up with the profoundly energetic, melodic foot-tapper The Fastest Man In The World, the gently orchestrated and hushed tones of both I Am the Past and The Feel of Mercury, the album rounding out on the ornate storytelling of The Haunted, closing on the hazy metered momentum of Our Light.
Asked why make a solo album now, Gary says … It’s confidence, playing around the world with Nick Mason gave me a certain reputation as a guitar player and singer that I never gained from Spandau Ballet. That allowed me to go and do my own record and I am of a certain age where I feel the need to understand the issues in the world and my own life, the only way I can do that is in the self-therapy of songwriting.
With Gary at the peak of his powers as a guitarist he played all the guitars on the album, the bass duties were handled by Guy Pratt (Pink Floyd, David Gilmour), except Ahead of the Game and Too Much by Richard Jones of The Feeling and Waiting for the Band by Gary’s brother, Martin Kemp.
Ash Soan (Seal, Adele, Rod Stewart, Trevor Horn) played drums on Ahead of the Game, I Am the Past, The Fastest Man in the World, The Haunted and Our Light. Drums on In Solo and I Remember You were played by Ged Lynch (Peter Gabriel, Electronic, Goldfrapp). Ged also played percussion on The Haunted, In Solo and I Remember You. Drums on Too Much were played by Queen’s Roger Taylor.
Matt Clifford (The Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger) played French horn on In Solo, Too Much and I am the Past. Sax on Waiting for the Band was played by Theo Travis (Soft Machine, David Gilmour, Steven Wilson), and Lily Carassik (Modern Nature) played trumpet on I Remember You. Gary’s other Saucerful compatriot, Lee Harris, played lap steel on A Rumour Of You.
Gary Kemp - Ahead Of The Game (Official Video)
Gary Kemp - Waiting for the Band (Official Lyric Video)
Official Purchase Links
Gary Kemp @ Instagram
Gary Kemp @ Twitter
Gary Kemp @ YouTube
Title - As Yet Untitled
Artist - Doogie White
For those unaware, acclaimed Scottish hard rock singer Doogie White is soon going to release a brand new double album. Entitled As Yet Untitled, it is actually Doogie’s debut (and so far, only) solo album that was originally released ten years ago.
This new, reissued version contains two previously unreleased bonus songs along with the ten tracks on the original album release.
The second album contains 12 previously unreleased tracks Doogie recorded with fellow musicians and friends White has performed and recorded with over the course of his 35-plus year career in music.
Doogie started his career in his native Scotland in 1984 by fronting the Scottish hard rock band La Paz, paying his dues, and making a couple of records that instantly showcased his big, powerful voice.
After auditioning for the lead vocalist slot in Iron Maiden and touring Japan in 1991 with Praying Mantis, White recorded a demo tape that eventually ended up in the hands of Ritchie Blackmore, who, in 1994, hired White to be Rainbow’s lead singer.
White remained in Rainbow until 1997 with the band releasing 1995’s Stranger in Us All album that featured Doogie as lead vocalist. A live CD/DVD, entitled Black Masquerade, recorded in 1995, was released in 2013.
White went on to join Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force in 2001 and recorded two albums (Attack!! and Unleash the Fury) before leaving the band in 2008 and joining UK metal band Tank, with whom he recorded two albums.
Doogie joined up with another legendary guitarist, Michael Schenker, in 2011 and recorded two albums under the moniker Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock.
He is currently the lead vocalist in longtime UK hard rock band, Alcatrazz, when he took over from the band’s founding singer, Graham Bonnet, in 2020. Alcatrazz released its first single, Turn of the Wheel, with Doogie on vocals, in June 2021.
1. Come Taste The Band
2. Time Machine
3. Dreams Lie Down And Die
5. Land Of The Deceiver
6. Secret Jesus
7. Sea Of Emotion
8. Catz Got Yer Tongue
9. Living On The Cheap
10. Times Like These
11. Dishing the Dirt [Bonus Track]
12. Small Town Saturday Night [Bonus]
Opening on the synth-laden, before kicking into guitar high gear of Come Taste The Band and the AC/DC-imbibed Time Machine, Doogie moves seamlessly into the drum-led rocker Dreams Lie Down And Die, and then we get the AOR of both Lonely and the storytelling of Land Of The Deceiver, before the quite brilliant rock of Secret Jesus and the mid-tempo, Led Zeppelin-imbued strained ballad Sea Of Emotion are brought forth.
More AC/DC-imbibed melodies and rock rhythms come out to play on Catz Got Yer Tongue which is itself followed by the Poison-esque soft rock of Living On The Cheap, and then we get the foot-stomper Times Like These, with the two newly added bonus tracks – the early ‘80s AOR, Lou Gramm vocalized hue of Dishing the Dirt and the Steve Perry ingrained Small Town Saturday Night – bringing the new CD release to a glorious close.
1. The Clairvoyant [Iron Maiden]
2. Too Hot To Handle [UFO]
3. Judgement Day [Whitesnake]
4. Let’s Spend The Night Together [The Rolling Stones]
5. This Flight Tonight [Nazareth]
6. Long Gone [UFO]
7. Emerald [Thin Lizzy]
8. Crying In The Rain [Whitesnake]
9. Love Hurts [Nazareth]
10. Not Fade Away [The Rolling Stones]
11. Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter [Iron Maiden]
12. Twisting The Night Away [Sir Rod Stewart]
This magnificent, simply enthralling cover album – which could have, and quite easily, have ben a stand alone release – opens with a solid musical and vocal nod to Bruce Dickinson of the soaring The Clairvoyant and then comes a foot-stomping romp through UFO’s Too Hot To Handle, before Doogie brings us a near reflective, and highly emotive rendition of David Coverdale’s monster Judgement Day.
A buoyant and totally righteous take on Mick Jagger’s Let’s Spend The Night Together (albeit it sung in the vein of David Bowie impersonating Mick) is up next and is itself followed by Nazareth’s very own cover of a Joni Mitchell original the melodic rocker This Flight Tonight, then comes the drumtastic rocker Long Gone (UFO), with a rambunctious, albeit less fist-clenched than the original, cover of Phil Lynott’s Emerald up next.
One of my own personal favorites here on this second CD, especially given that I am a huge WS fan, is Doogie’s highly impressive take on Coverdale’s colossal masterpiece, Crying In The Rain, and that is backed by the low key Nazareth ballad Love Hurts, and then we get another Stones cover, this time the upbeat and perky Not Fade Away, with the album rounding out on the thunderous Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter, closing on the melodiously hearty, pop-rock of Rod Stewart’s Twisting The Night Away.
Michael Schenker Group / U.F.O. / Doogie White - Dr. Dr. [Live in London 2010]
Rainbow - Still I’m Sad [Live 1995]
Ritchie Blackmore & Doogie White [Acoustic]
Title - Pale Blue Dot
Artist - The Mangoes
For those unaware, pop-rock duo The Mangoes will be releasing their new EP Pale Blue Dot on July 19th, 2021. The Mangoes was formed by Tim Morse and Bret Bingham in 2014. Conceived as a songwriting collective, their first album The Mangoes was well received as a pop-rock, tongue-in-cheek concept album.
After a break where Bret and Tom both released solo albums, they have reformed and are about to release this quite magnificently crafted brand new 8-track EP.
At the beginning of the pandemic, Tim got in touch with Bret about making some music together – not necessarily reviving The Mangoes. However, Bret sent Tim around ten song ideas and the majority of them seemed to be Mango-y songs, so the duo leaned into that direction.
There are a variety of genres on this project, there’s a blues-y gospel feel to Hypnotized! And a The Band/Dylan vibe of When the Sky Fell Down, but it isn’t prog rock, but has an art-rock flavor, much like the Alan Parsons Project, The Moody Blues and even a bit of Pink Floyd.
1. Suspended in a Sunbeam
2. Pale Blue Dot
4. When the Sky Fell Down
5. Finding the Light
7. Pale Blue Dot (Reprise)
8. Free as a Bird
Opening on the simply gorgeous, synth-laden gossamer of Suspended in a Sunbeam and the gorgeously orchestrated storytelling of the title track Pale Blue Dot, next up is the soaring, gently euphoric, Bowie-imbibed Mystery, and then we get the drum-led foot-tapper When the Sky Fell Down.
Next up is one of my own personal favorites off this new EP, the layered chameleon Finding the Light, which is itself followed by the beautifully crafted soft pop rock of Hypnotized!, the EP rounding out on an atmospheric Reprise of Pale Blue Dot, closing on the languishing majesty of the Lennon-esque Free as a Bird.
Says Bret, In general, the concept of the CD was inspired by the existential musings of Carl Sagan and his observation that ‘The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena.’ The extension of this is to look outward, beyond our myopic viewpoints, and realize that each of us is a very small part of something much larger.
Tim continues, I see the album as a song cycle with Pale Blue Dot as the starting and ending point, it is the fulcrum of this music. All of the other songs are vignettes about people and events that take place on the Pale Blue Dot.
Official Purchase Link
Official Tim Morse Website
Tim Morse @ YouTube
Tim Morse @ Facebook
Title - Rhino [EP] [Digital Only]
Artist - Oxygene8 (Linda Cushma)
For those not in the know, much like myself, the RHINO collaboration (out now) was conceived at the height of the pandemic, during the first quarantine, with all of life-human and beast-scrambling for safety and security. The project took on the soundtrack of the times.
Tracks with such vulnerability and heart - you can hear it and even more poignantly for me because these are my friends playing so generously and graciously. I was so touched by that every time a track came in. I am awake thinking tonight of international friends, family and wishing you and all our world’s most vulnerable and endangered beasties safety and calm. This music is our gift to you. – Linda Cushma
Oxygene8 features bassist and vocalist Linda Cushma (USA), best known for her work with this experimental ensemble. The project also features guitarist Federico Miranda (Costa Rica), co-founder of the Costa Rican rock band Gandhi & Baula Music, promoting environmental conservation & awareness through music; Tim Alexander, drummer for band PRIMUS, plays tom-toms on the RHINO soundtrack; guitarist Pablo Tato (Spain/UK) is a studio musician that has worked with producers such as Paul Epworth (Adele, Paul McCartney, U2) and now resides in London.
The RHINO EP mix & magic by Steve Parrish (USA) @ Desert Coast Studio.
1. Rhino [7:33]
2. Santa Monica [4:47]
Opening on the funky, finger-snapping, foot-tapping, Chapman stick-imbued, musical majesty of the title track, everything about this near eight minute long opus, along with their Santa Monica cut (a more swarthy hipsway of a melodic interlude, but nonetheless as powerful a decree as its predecessor), means that both are simply mesmerizingly fluid, and ornately orchestrated to bring forth the highly emotive environmental conservation and awareness messages formed within.
Official Digital Purchase Links
Linda Cushma @ Facebook
Linda Cushma @ Instagram
Title - Punk & Disorderly: The Albums - Sound of UK82
Artist - Various
Releasing July 23rd, 2021 via Cherry Red Records UK, Punk & Disorderly: Albums (The Sound Of UK82) is a 3CD, 64 track digipak box-set that concentrates on one of the most successful Punk compilation series ever, Punk & Disorderly.
Vol. 1 came out in March 1982 and reached No.48 in the UK National Charts as well as spending nigh on eight months in the Independent Chart, peaking at No.3.
Seminal Indie Chart hits from the likes of Dead Kennedys, Blitz, Vice Squad and G.B.H. helped establish the format of the series and quickly caught the imagination of the Punk buying public.
The bonus tracks on the first disc are from Anti Nowhere League, The Defects, Discharge, The Lurkers and Special Duties.
Further Charges was released in September 1982 and sneaked into the UK National Chart at No.91 as well as reaching No. 6 in the Independent version.
Another 16 Indie Chart hit singles highlighting the UK82 Punk scene were gathered together by original label Anagram Records and they have now added bonus cuts from Dead Man’s Shadow, Instant Agony, Last Rites, Mau Maus and The Varukers.
Disc 3 concentrates on the third volume Final Solution which came out in the summer of 1983 and hit No.10 in the Independent Chart. Alongside the likes of Punk stalwarts U.K. Subs, Angelic Upstarts and Newtown Neurotics were UK82 heroes like The Exploited, Adicts and Abrasive Wheels.
Again there have been bonus tracks added courtesy of Dead Wretched, External Menace, Resistance 77, Major Accident, Riot Squad and The Blood, each track from an Indie Chart hit single.
The booklet contains detailed liner notes and pictures of all related singles.
Disc One: PUNK AND DISORDERLY
1. LAST ROCKERS – Vice Squad
2. STRAIGHT JACKET – The Adicts
3. FOR MY COUNTRY – UK Decay
4. COMPLETE DISORDER – Disorder
5. BANNED FROM THE PUBS – Peter And The Test Tube Babies
6. YOUNG OFFENDER – Disrupters
7. IN BRITAIN – Red Alert
8. SOMEONE’S GONNA DIE – Blitz
9. KILL THE POOR – Dead Kennedys
10. POLICE STORY – The Partisans
11. NO ROOM FOR YOU – Demob
12. LAST DAY – The Insane
13. ARMY SONG – Abrasive Wheels
14. 4 MINUTE WARNING – Chaos U.K.
15. MANIA – The Outcasts
16. RACE AGAINST TIME – G.B.H.
17. LET’S BREAK THE LAW – Anti-Nowhere League [Bonus Track]
18. DANCE (TIL YOU DROP) – The Defects [Bonus Track]
19. STATE VIOLENCE STATE CONTROL – Discharge [Bonus Track]
20. THIS DIRTY TOWN – The Lurkers [Bonus Track]
21. PUNK ROCKER – Special Duties [Bonus Track]
One of the classic Punk compilations that has ever been created, this definitive retrospective on the criminally underrated early-’80s U.K. Punk scene is a leather jacket studded with nonstop spikes to pogo to ’til you drop!
Stand outs for me include The Partisans’ riotous debut single Police Story, GBH manically ripping through Race Against Time, Blitz bringing their youthful energy to the fore on the excellent Someone’s Gonna Die Tonight, and amongst others, Chaos U.K.s vividly entertaining 4 Minute Warning and Red Alert’s mob-handed vocal approach to In Britain.
Overall, the wide range of Punk is compellingly charged in full blast: mid-paced sneers with Last Rockers, Straight Jacket, For My Country; melodic sensibilities as romantic as a middle finger thrust to your face - No Room for You, Mania; a bristling odd man out - Kill the Poor; the lone dud: Last Day; and headbanging moshfests - Complete Disorder, Race Against Time.
Simply put, Punk & Disorderly is the quintessence of an age, a time, a look and a sound that inspired a generation to spike their hair and let loose!
Disc Two: PUNK AND DISORDERLY – FURTHER CHARGES
1. SICK BOY – G.B.H.
2. DREAMING – The Expelled
3. EL SALVADOR – The Insane
4. STAB THE JUDGE – One Way System
5. GOTTA GET OUT – Court Martial
6. LONDON BOUNCERS – Action Pact
7. THE MASQUE – The Dark
8. GANGLAND – Violators
9. I’VE GOT A GUN – Channel 3
10. VICIOUS CIRCLE – Abrasive Wheels
11. FALLEN HERO – The Enemy
12. DEATH TO HUMANITY – Riot/Clone
13. HOBBY FOR A DAY – The Wall
14. MORE THAN FIGHTS – Disorder
15. SHELLSHOCK – Erazerhead
16. RESURRECTION – Vice Squad
17. NO SIGN OF LIFE – Instant Agony [Bonus Track]
18. WE DON’T CARE – Last Rites [Bonus Track]
19. SOCIETY’S REJECTS – Mau Maus [Bonus Track]
20. DON’T WANNA BE A VICTIM – The Varukers [Bonus Track]
21. TOLERATION STREET – Dead Man’s Shadow [Bonus Track]
Continuing the theme, depending on your perspective, the early-’80s Brit-punkers were abrasive, Mohawked no-hopers, or a necessary response to class of ’77 ideals derailed by major-label chicanery.
Whatever theory you embrace, there’s no denying the stripped-down, street-level immediacy of bands like the Adicts, Abrasive Wheels, Chron Gen, and Vice Squad, all of whom are represented here.
Not surprisingly, velocity is the priority, although mid-tempo tracks like the Adicts’ Viva le Revolution boast the usual thuggish soccer-style choruses that provide this genre’s signature calling card.
On the downside, few of the songs match the lyrical acuity of ’77-era wordsmiths like the Clash’s Joe Strummer, the Sex Pistols’ Johnny Rotten, or even ATV’s Mark Perry.
With odd exceptions, such as the Exploited’s hilariously technophobic Computers Don’t Blunder, the sentiments are as basic as their fuzzed-out backdrops.
That issue aside, there’s enough roughhewn gems, like the ever-reliable Vibrators’ Dragnet, to make this effort worth the listen.
In truth, Punk fans of any generation probably won’t mind a second helping of this meat and potatoes, but ’77-era acolytes should probably find something closer to their taste.
Disc Three: PUNK AND DISORDERLY III – THE FINAL SOLUTION
1. BURN ’EM DOWN – Abrasive Wheels
2. GIVE US A FUTURE – One Way System
3. KICK OUT THE TORIES – Newtown Neurotics
4. POLICE STATE – U.K. Subs
5. JAILBAIT – The Destructors
6. GOVERNMENT POLICY – The Expelled
7. DEAD HERO – The Samples
8. WOMAN IN DISGUISE – Angelic Upstarts
9. VIVA LA REVOLUTION – The Adicts
10. DRAGNET – The Vibrators
11. COMPUTERS DON’T BLUNDER – The Exploited
12. NEW BARBARIANS – Urban Dogs
13. HAVE YOU GOT 10p? – The Ejected
14. OUTLAW – Chron Gen
15. SUICIDE BAG – Action Pact
16. SUMMER OF ’81 – The Violators
17. NO HOPE FOR ANYONE – Dead Wretched [Bonus Track]
18. SOME DAY – External Menace [Bonus Track]
19. JOIN THE ARMY – Resistance 77 [Bonus Track]
20. FIGHT TO WIN – Major Accident [Bonus Track]
21. SOCIETY’S FODDER – Riot Squad [Bonus Track]
22. STARK RAVING NORMAL – The Blood [Bonus Track]
The last chapter of the musical trilogy, The Final Solution was released in 1983, just as the UK punk scene was reaching saturation point, in all honesty.
That said, this third CD still strives hard to capture 22 songs from that year that best sum up what was still happening in the charts and in the clubs.
Here we get the crunchy Burn ’Em Down by The Abrasive Wheels, a rather urgent rendition of Give Us A Future by One Way System, a blistering New Barbarians from Urban Dogs, The Newtown Neurotics’ timeless anthem Kick Out The Tories, and a mesmerizingly brilliant Dragnet from The Vibrators.
The one irony of this third disc is that the UK Subs’ great single Police State came out just after their UK pop chart career had ended, but it is here, ready to be heard and loved all over again, luckily.
The elder statesmen of punk the Angelic Upstarts are back here with their underrated Woman In Disguise, The Ejected bring their melodic punk fun to the fore on Have You Got 10p?, Riot Squad sneak in on the bonus tracks with the hard-nosed Society’s Fodder, and Action Pact join the musical outing with Suicide Bag (all to do with the trend at the time of glue sniffing from paper bags!)
Official 3CD Purchase Link
Title - Complete Atlantic/Elektra Albums: 1962-1983 [6CD]
Artist - Mose Allison
For those unaware, Strawberry Records are proud to present the 12 albums that Mose Allison issued on Atlantic Records and Elektra Musician between 1962 and 1982 on 6CDs. However, This does not include Greatest Hits or Best Of albums which of course duplicated tracks from regular albums.
Although these albums have all appeared on CD reissues at different times over the years this is the first box set to gather together all of the albums from this period in one set.
The original LPs are featured two per CD in chronological order. Produced by Bob Fisher whose detailed essay covers the entire history of Mose Allison’s career with quotes and endorsements from artists like Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt, Pete Townshend, Georgie Fame, Van Morrison and many others who were inspired by his music, the booklet includes complete recording details and supporting personnel for each album along with numerous reproductions of advertisements, reviews and news stories from music industry magazines.
Designed by Michael Robson and mastered by Simon Murphy, The Complete Atlantic/Elektra Albums: 1962-1983 is the definitive collection of this period of Mose Allison’s career.
Disc One contains the first two Atlantic albums: I Don’t Worry ‘Bout A Thing and Swingin’ Machine
Disc Two contains the albums The Word from Mose and Wild Man on The Loose
Disc Three features Mose Alive and I’ve Been Doin’ Some Thinking
Disc Four presents Hello There, Universe and Western Man
Disc Five opens with the live set, Mose In Your Ear and his last album for Atlantic, Your Mind Is on Vacation
Disc Six concludes the box with his two albums for Elektra Musician, Middle Class White Boy and a third live set recorded in 1982. This time from the famed Montreux Jazz Festival, Lessons in Living with sidemen, Lou Donaldson, Jack Bruce, Eric Gale and Billy Cobham.
I Don’t Worry ‘Bout A Thing
1. I DON’T WORRY ABOUT A THING
2. IT DIDN’T TURN OUT THAT WAY
3. YOUR MIND IS ON VACATION
4. LET ME SEE
5. EVERYTHING I HAVE IS YOURS
6. STAND BY
8. THE WELL
9. MEET ME AT NO SPECIAL PLACE
10. THE SONG IS ENDED
Mose Allison was already 34 and had recorded nine records as a leader before cutting his debut for Atlantic, but this was his dutiful breakthrough, that’s for sure. One of jazz’s greatest lyricists, at the time, Allison was making the transition from being a pianist who occasionally sang to becoming a vocalist who also played his own unusual brand of piano.
In addition to the original versions of Your Mind Is on Vacation, I Don’t Worry About a Thing (Because I Know Nothing Will Turn out Right) and It Didn’t Turn out That Way, he sings bluish versions of two standards (Meet Me at No Special Place and The Song Is Ended) and plays five instrumentals with his trio.
There may well only be about 33 minutes of music on this album, but the set is one of Mose Allison’s most significant recordings; and deservedly so.
11. SWINGIN’ MACHINE
12. DO IT
13. STOP THIS WORLD
15. IF YOU’RE GOIN’ TO THE CITY
17. I AIN’T GOT NOTHING BUT THE BLUES
18. SO RARE
In truth, Jazz fans may find this Allison session unique among scads of releases from this laid-back, witty and original singer and pianist. Almost never found recording outside of the piano trio context, this album perhaps reveals the reason why: on a whole, adding horns to Allison’s band just doesn’t work that well.
The trombonist Jimmy Knepper is of particular interest, in that he most often recorded under the intense leadership of Charles Mingus, a far cry from the loose and relaxed sound of Allison.
His fellow horn man here is tenor saxophonist Jimmy Reider; not a very well-known jazzman but certainly competent in a swing style. If the leader had stuck to all vocal numbers this might have been a top drawer album.
That all said, all the vocal tracks here are fine, with the song Stop This World rating among the best things this artist has recorded in a long career.
It’s the instrumental tracks that drag, however, since like any respectable pianist bandleader, Allison chooses to put the two horns out front for theme-solo-theme arrangements that would only be worth repeated listening if every other jazz performance ever recorded happened to vanish off the face of the earth.
Allison’s piano playing picked up some steam as the ’60s wore on, so it is a shame he didn’t revisit this concept at a later date. In all, an enjoyable album but a tad bit disappointing, in my humble opinion.
The Word from Mose
2. ONE OF THESE DAYS
3. LOOK HERE
4. DAYS LIKE THIS
5. YOUR RED WAGON
6. I’M THE WILD MAN
7. ROLLIN’ STONE
8. NEW PARCHMAN
9. DON’T FORGET TO SMILE
10. I’M NOT TALKING
11. LOST MIND
This iconoclastic performer has sometimes been described as a country blues player, perhaps leading to images of a blind man standing on a corner playing a guitar with a bottleneck slide.
In reality, Allison is from a much more cosmopolitan tradition, and the country blues adage comes from attempts to describe the sound he gets playing light, swinging jazz with a distinctly rural, Southern influence.
This album, from one of many he recorded for Atlantic, actually contains examples of him taking material from the real country blues heritage and reworking it into his own style, to brilliant effect.
His New Parchman Farm is a simply fantastic piece, as he changes what was once a stark, depressing prison blues into something else again.
Perhaps this version would be more suited to white-collar criminals such as the Watergate mob, basking in upper-class prisons complete with tennis courts.
At any rate, this is a performance that only the most hardened individual would be able to listen to without a smile cracking their face.
Wild Man on The Loose
12. WILD MAN ON THE LOOSE
13. NO TROUBLE LIVIN’
14. NIGHT WATCH
15. WHAT’S WITH YOU
17. YOU CAN COUNT ON ME TO DO MY PART
18. NEVER MORE
19. THAT’S THE STUFF YOU GOTTA WATCH
20. WAR HORSE
The lion’s share of recordings by this artist are in a piano trio setting, and this mid-’60s session finds him working with one of the best combinations he ever had.
Bassist Earl May is a solid, inventive player who is beautifully recorded here with a sound that can have the soulfulness of a classical guitar at times.
On drums, Paul Motian is something of a legend, and here is heard at his most straight-ahead, simple and swinging with some nice touches from the brushes. He is also recorded extremely well, giving the pianist a really beautiful base to take off from, as well as making the overall tracks sound brilliant.
The art of recording piano trios in this manner, with such a clear and immediate sound, seems to have been lost unfortunately. Sometimes a weak link on his records, even the Allison instrumentals come across forcefully. Is there a Cecil Taylor influence, or is it just the same Duke Ellington touches heard in Taylor’s music?
The instrumental track Power House is one of the finest numbers of this sort Allison has ever recorded. Vocal performances are smooth as always, although the set does not contain any totally classic numbers.
2. SEVENTH SON
3. FOOL’S PARADISE
4. I LOVE THE LIFE I LIVE
5. SINCE I FELL FOR YOU
6. LOVE FOR SALE
7. BABY PLEASE DON’T GO
8. THAT’S ALRIGHT
9. PARCHMAN FARM
10. TELL ME SOMETHIN’
11. THE CHASER
This wonderful album was recorded at the Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach, California, where the atmosphere was relaxed and created an gentle, easy swing set in a Trio-style setting. Allison sings and plays in an unspectacular, yet still oh-so very cool way, which actually manages (in this live setting) to breathe new life into his own songs and some blues tracks from down home.
Accompanied by Stan Gilbert on bass and Mel Lee on drums, and featuring Allison’s subdued vocals, wacky lyrics, and superb piano playing, this vivacious live album has some great piano solos and a truly memorable performance of the classic Parchman Farm.
I’ve Been Doing Some Thinkin’
12. JUST LIKE LIVIN’
13. CITY HOME
14. IF YOU’RE GOIN’ TO THE CITY
15. NOW YOU SEE IT
16. YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE
17. YOUR MOLECULAR STRUCTURE
18. LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO
19. IF YOU REALLY LOVED ME
20. EVERYBODY CRYIN’ MERCY
21. I FEEL SO GOOD
22. LET IT COME DOWN
23. BACK ON THE CORNER
Three years had gone by between this release and the previous Mose Allison outing on Atlantic, perhaps giving the artist time to concoct some of the really tasty lyrics he came up with.
The opening track, Just Like Livin’, alternates between absurd satire and to-the-point cynicism in a way that is completely unique to Allison, although many other artists have tried to imitate it. How many songwriters can sum up life in less than two minutes, after all?
There are many other highlights as well, including the memorable structure of City Home and a rococo reworking of You Are My Sunshine that might cause a riot at a wedding if played as a request.
A peak perhaps not only of this album but the entire Allison career is the ballad Everybody’s Cryin’ Mercy, as powerful an indictment of hypocrisy as has ever been recorded. Bassist Red Mitchell is on hand with his fat but easy to digest sound, and he seems to prompt Allison to play aggressively.
Hello There, Universe
1. SOMEBODY GOTTA MOVE
2. MONSTERS OF THE ID
3. I DON’T WANT MUCH
4. HELLO THERE, UNIVERSE
5. NO EXIT
6. WILD MAN ON THE LOOSE
7. BLUES IN THE NIGHT
8. I’M SMASHED
9. HYMN TO EVERYTHING
10. ON THE RUN
This obscure Mose Allison LP has the pianist/singer/lyricist using a larger band than usual, an octet with Richard Williams and Jimmy Nottingham on trumpets, altoist Jerome Richardson, either Joe Henderson or Joe Farrell on tenor, Pepper Adams or Seldon Powell on baritone, Bob Cranshaw and John Williams on bass, and drummer Joe Cucuzzo.
The truth is, most of the other musicians are really not needed, for their solos take away from Allison’s vocals and piano solos. Allison (who also plays a bit of organ) contributed nine of the ten songs on the album (all but Blues in the Night), best known of which are the title track Hello There, Universe and Wild Man on the Loose, although there are no hits or future standards included.
11. IF YOU ONLY KNEW
12. HOW MUCH TRUTH
14. NIGHT CLUB
15. DO NOTHING TILL YOU HEAR FROM ME
17. WESTERN MAN
18. ASK ME NICE
19. TELL ME SOMETHING
20. IF YOU’VE GOT THE MONEY, I’VE GOT THE TIME
On this outing, Allison noticeably tries to update his sound a little by doubling on electric piano and using electric bassist Chuck Rainey and drummer Billy Cobham, but his fans had little to fear on this out of print LP.
Allison’s wry wit is in fine form, and his ironic yet truthful lyrics are always fun to hear. None of his nine originals from the studio session caught on (Ask Me Nice is perhaps best-known), but his cover versions of If You’ve Got the Money, I’ve Got the Time and Duke Ellington’s Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me make the songs seem as if they were written for him.
Mose In Your Ear
1. LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO
2. FOOL’S PARADISE
3. I DON’T WORRY ABOUT A THING
5. HEY GOOD LOOKIN’
6. I AIN’T GOT NOTHIN’ BUT THE BLUES
7. YOU CAN COUNT ON ME TO DO MY PART
8. YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE
9. DON’T FORGET TO SMILE
10. THE SEVENTH SON
In my humble opinion, this live session from 1972 features Allison at his best. Performing with his working trio (bassist Clyde Flowers and drummer Eddie Charlton), Allison sounds quite inspired on such tunes as Fool’s Paradise, I Don’t Worry About A Thing, Hey Good Lookin’, I Ain’t Got Nothin’ But The Blues and The Seventh Son.
Most memorable is his minor-toned downbeat ballad version of You Are My Sunshine which casts new meaning on the usually optimistic lyrics which, to my mind, makes this entire set a near-classic set.
Your Mind Is On Vacation
11. YOUR MIND IS ON VACATION
12. FOOLIN’ MYSELF
13. NO MATTER
14. ONE OF THESE DAYS
15. I FEEL SO GOOD
16. FIRES OF SPRING
17. IF YOU ONLY KNEW
18. I CAN’T SEE FOR LOOKIN’
19. WHAT DO YOU DO AFTER YOU RUIN YOUR LIFE
20. SWINGIN’ MACHINE
21. PERFECT MOMENT
22. YOUR MOLECULAR STRUCTURE
It seems strange to realize that this was Mose Allison’s only recording during the 1973-1981 period. In addition to his trio with bassist Jack Hannah and drummer Jerry Granelli, such guests as altoist David Sanborn, Al Cohn, and Joe Farrell on tenors and trumpeter Al Porcino pop up on a few selections.
However, Mose Allison is easily the main star, performing ten of his originals (including a remake of the famous title cut, What Do You Do After You Ruin Your Life, and Swingin’ Machine) plus renditions of the standards Foolin’ Myself and I Can’t See for Lookin’.
Middle Class White Boy
1. HOW DOES IT FEEL (TO BE GOOD LOOKING)?
2. ROLLIN’ STONE
3. I DON’T WANT MUCH
4. MIDDLE CLASS WHITE BOY
5. WHEN MY DREAMBOAT COMES HOME
6. I’M NOBODY TODAY
7. I’M JUST A LUCKY SO-AND-SO
8. BACK DOWN SOUTH
9. THE TENNESSEE WALTZ
10. HELLO THERE, UNIVERSE
11. KIDDIN’ ON THE SQUARE
Simply put, Middle Class White Boy is a quite wonderful dose of Mose Allison - wry, sly, lyrics mixed with his piano, it is a well-blended collection of originals and covers, including Muddy Waters’ Rollin’ Stone, and Duke Ellington’s Just a Lucky So and So.
Indeed, and whether purposely orchestrated to be so or not, most songs are from the point of view of the smart-aleck outsider who misses what he doesn’t have, but finds humor in his situation. Tracks such as How Does It Feel (To Be Good Looking?) and the title track itself pretty much sets the tone for the album.
Furthermore, if you were to only buy the one album, this is a truly great place to start your Mose Allison collection or to explore deeper if you don’t have it yet.
Lessons In Living
12. LOST MIND
13. WILD MAN ON THE LOOSE
14. YOUR MIND IS ON VACATION
15. YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE
16. SEVENTH SON
17. EVERYBODY CRYIN’ MERCY
18. MIDDLE CLASS WHITE BOY
19. I DON’T WORRY ABOUT A THING
20. NIGHT CLUB
Recorded in a live setting in 1982 - the same year as the aforementioned Middle Class White Boy album - Lessons in Living is a mixed bag.
The material is terrific, and Mose Allison is in typically fine form, the issue lies more with the all-star band assembled for the date: bassist Jack Bruce, drummer Billy Cobham, and soloists Eric Gale (guitarist) and Lou Donaldson ( alto saxophonist).
For starters, Allison didn’t need a large band - or any band, at all really - to shine. Though he had been absent from the recording scene for six years until that point, he had continued to perform live and his chops as both a pianist and a singer are stellar.
These players, fine as they are, don’t seem to understand the subtler kind of magic that Allison puts across in a club setting, and don’t know how to lay back enough - this is particularly the case with Cobham, who is overly busy throughout the date, double-timing already fast tunes like Wild Man in the Street.
Bruce, playing electric bass, has a wonderful facility to move and shift gears with the pianist, but still feels a shade behind Cobham’s fast and furious beat - the overdriven Your Mind Is on Vacation is a case in point.
That said, Allison feels like he is having the time of his life. Donaldson’s solo on You Are My Sunshine is stirring and raw, something that feels jarring at first with the wonderfully relaxed groove of Allison’s arrangement, but fits like a glove after a chorus.
The stomping pace of Willie Dixon’s Seventh Son is a highlight on the set with Cobham lightening his touch a bit and Allison’s vocal is swaggering and tough. The laid-back blues of Everybody Is Crying Mercy is another gem, with the band holding Allison’s blues loose and easy.
In closing, Lessons in Living is basically for Allison devotees, but it has fantastic moments. Ironically, Allison didn’t return to recording again for another three years in 1986 after this set was originally issued.
Official Purchase Link
Title - Clarão
Artist - Kristen Mather de Andrade
How the principal clarinetist and soloist from West Point’s Army Special Band decided to make her debut recording an authentic Brazilian album on which she plays and sings in Portuguese in jazz big band settings is a story centered on love more than a decade in the making.
There is also an Olympic connection to the release of Kristen Mather de Andrade’s global music offering Clarão, which drops July 23rd, 2021, the same day as the opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics.
Mather de Andrade was enamored by Brazilian music at a young age, and her affinity rose to the next level when she met and married a Brazilian man in 2011.
Desiring to immerse herself in the culture, the classically trained clarinetist and saxophonist began learning songs in Portuguese in order to learn the language.
She started playing choros, classic instrumental Brazilian pop music dating back a century ago, finding that the style suits the clarinet. To celebrate the 2016 Rio Olympic athletes, Mather de Andrade performed a handful of tunes live on the West Point Band Facebook page.
The enthusiastic response even garnered coverage from the Brazilian media. The seeds were planted and teaming with producer Sergio Krakowski the passion project blossomed into Clarão - which means flash of light.
1. Um Chorinho Diferente
2. Côco Tara Tá Tá
3. Guelê Guelê
4. Chorinho Pra Ele
5. Doce Melodia
9. Santo Forte
10. Clarinete Gostoso
Opening on the simply gorgeous, vibrantly airy Um Chorinho Diferente and the slightly more forthright Côco Tara Tá Tá, they are in turn backed by the gentle acoustic guitar work within Guelê Guelê, the smoothly orchestrated ambiance of Chorinho Pra Ele and then we get the late night, tender dancefloor swirl of Doce Melodia.
Next up is the Accordion and Bass-led wonderment of Sagrado and the rousing, climbing ebb and flow of the ballad Bendito, which are in turn followed by fun and perky Modulando, the album rounding out on the beautiful ballad Santo Forte, closing on the cheerfully sanguine Clarinete Gostoso.
Preceding the album release, an animated video for the song Guelê Guelê created by the record’s bassist, Belo, will be released on June 25th.
The tune is one of the originals composed by Ferriera. Mather de Andrade said, Roque Ferreira is a major composer from the North East of Brazil in the style of Bahian Samba. His style is very evocative and creates vivid imagery, which lent itself to an animated video treatment.
Guelê Guelê by Roque Ferreira | Kristen Mather de Andrade | Animations by Eduardo Belo
The recording process began two summers ago with Mather de Andrade recording live with the horns and rhythm section. She recorded her vocals just prior to the coronavirus quarantine, which delayed the project’s completion and forced some additional accordion and pandeiro tracks to be added remotely. Mather de Andrade describes Clarão as a multicultural offering.
What I like about the album is the uniquely New York experience: the horns are all American, the rhythm section is all Brazilian, and the arrangers are American and Brazilian. We had a French guitarist - the studio owner was Italian - there were a ton of languages flying around the sessions.
It was a great combination of talents to create a sound that I have come away thinking is just as much New York as it is Brazilian, said Mather de Andrade of the global music record quilted together from swatches of Brazilian music, jazz and classical.
Official Purchase Link
Kristen Mather de Andrade @ Facebook
Kristen Mather de Andrade @ Instagram
Kristen Mather de Andrade @ YouTube
Kristen Mather de Andrade @ SoundCloud
Title - London Boys: Requiem – The London Boys Story [5CD]
Artist - London Boys
Now for the first time, we can all celebrate the memory of the London Boys with a brand new 5-CD box-set, London Boys: Requiem – The London Boys Story, 5CD Expanded (out July 30th via Cherry Red Records UK) featuring three albums, expanded with a host of extra material.
Edem Ephraim and Dennis Fuller, both true Londoners from the east end, were christened The London Boys in 1986. Discovered whilst working as dancers in Hamburg, producer Ralf-René Maué instantly saw their potential for pop stardom.
The duo enjoyed several hits in Europe and Asia, but it was the single Requiem that caught on internationally, thanks to Pete Waterman, who persuaded The London Boys U.K. label to release the record domestically.
Requiem rose to #4 on the charts and was swiftly followed by the #2 hit London Nights. Both were included on the near-double-platinum album, The Twelve Commandments Of Dance, that also hit #2.
Further hits followed in the UK and around the world with Harlem Desire, My Love, Freedom and Chapel Of Love.
Sadly, the duo were killed when their car was hit by a drunk driver in the Eastern Alps, Austria, on January 21st, 1996.
Disc One: THE TWELVE COMMANDMENTS OF DANCE
2. KIMBALEY (MY MA-MAMA SAY)
3. HARLEM DESIRE
4. CHINESE RADIO
5. WICHITAH WOMAN
6. MY LOVE
7. LONDON NIGHTS
8. I’M GONNA GIVE MY HEART
9. EL MATINERO
10. DANCE DANCE DANCE
12. THE MIDI DANCE
14. TALK! TALK! TALK!
16. REQUIEM (Continental Edit)
17. LONDON NIGHTS (PWL 7” Remix)
18. HARLEM DESIRE (7” Mix)
19. MY LOVE (7” Remix)
20. REQUIEM (Special U.K. Mix Edit)
This once 12-track album, now lovingly expanded, bursts open with lead single Requiem. Whilst starting with some sinister gothic organ, it soon switches over to a bouncing bassline and beat.
The throbbing synth bass set alongside the repeated line of never gonna get enough is catchy, and the spoken word style of the verses remind me of the Pet Shop Boys.
This gives the choruses a great contrast where Dennis Fuller and Edem Ephraim show off their vocal range and harmonies. This is a wonderful dancey, uplifting song.
Some pan-pipes open next song Kimberley (My Ma-Mama Say), switching to another chugging bass-heavy track, backed by a light pop beat. The chorus is really quite catchy. At times it reminds me a little of Boney M.
Next up is Harlem Desire, which stood as their third UK charting single, reaching #17 in 1989. This song is quite dancey, giving plenty of space for Edem to show off his vocals.
It has some great vocal harmonies too, and also sees lots of stabbing synths scattered throughout. Musically, this again reminds me of the Pet Shop Boys, and it’s wonderfully catchy and sing-along.
Chinese Radio follows this, and is laden with pseudo-Chinese-esque synth sounds. The spoken-word verses offer a sound that feels like it’s from much earlier in the 1980s, and it works pretty well here.
The chorus is wonderfully catchy with Ouuh, radio! I love my radio! My Chinese radio whilst a repeated radio, radio, radio is chanted underneath it. All ends on the gong, presumably signaling dinner time!
This is followed by Wichitah Woman, which starts off with some more of that pseudo-Chinese-esque sounding synth, and it repeats it several times throughout which is odd considering Wichitah (sic) is here in the US.
The song bounces along, but it’s not quite as catchy as some of the other tracks. This song feels like a filler to me.
Up next is My Love, which is a great little dance track. It’s fairly simple, but catchy, giving the guys lots more vocal harmony time. This was the fourth UK single for the duo, but signaled their decline by stalling at #46 in the charts.
Still, it did earn them an appearance on UK Breakfast Show TV-AM during the Mad Lizzie Webb fitness routine section.
Hit single London Nights is up next, and the tempo, throbbing bassline, and the mixture of choral synth samples and dance beat really makes this song really catchy.
It’s completely understandable how this song did so well back in the summer of 1989. Again, there’s plenty of Pet Shop Boys about this song, and that would have certainly been to their credit, alongside the general up-beat, party feeling of the song.
I’m Gonna Give My Heart is a much more gentle pop track in comparison to the more energetic tracks that appear elsewhere on this album. It comes complete with some lovely synths sweeping in.
Again the pounding dance beat is present, and the song builds up nicely into the first verse. This song acted as the duo’s first single back in 1986, but like the next four singles (most also from this album), it failed to chart.
Thankfully they persisted, and found success a few years later.
Ninth track El Matinero reminds me a little bit like an early Macarena. Essentially it seems to be about a dance, and the song has plenty of vocal samples along with some authentic South American sounds to it.
The song is pretty simple, but again feels a bit like a filler.
Dance, Dance, Dance is up next, and this was their third early non-charting single in 1987. There’s elements of Stock/Aitken/Waterman to this track, even though they had nothing to do with it.
Obligatory 80’s Saxophone gets a speedy airing here, helping to deliver the song into its final third. The song has some great megaphone-styled instructions for the dancing listener. I’m surprised that this song didn’t chart, as it’s definitely catchy enough.
A slow ballad follows – Sandra – possibly the only song in the history of pop to bear that name. This sees Edem and Dennis take on a more mature sound and topic of missing a love. Gone are the pounding dance beats and synths.
This time it’s vocal harmonies and gentle beats. There’s even a key change and a brief second appearance of Obligatory 80’s Saxophone in the last third of the song.
The original album closes with The Midi Dance, which even by title, let alone by the vocals and music style, sound like it’s come straight off of a David Hasselhoff album.
The song plods along with plenty of space for Edem and Dennis to once again show off their vocals. The chorus is particularly catchy, as is the bridge where they spell the word Midi, just in case you were confused.
This is quite a nice catchy closure to the album, and gives a lyrical nod to disco influences that have appeared throughout the album.
What follows now on this first disc are seven tracks that were rarely heard from the London Boys. The HI-NRG euro beats of both Helpless and Talk! Talk! Talk! and the previously unreleased dancefloor throbber Heartache are up first and then we get various remixes of their better known hits.
Disc Two: THE TWELVE COMMANDMENTS OF DANCE DISC II
1. I’M GONNA GIVE MY HEART (Maxi Mix)
2. HARLEM DESIRE (Maxi Mix)
3. DANCE DANCE DANCE (Maxi Mix)
4. MY LOVE (Maxi Mix)
5. REQUIEM (Continental Mix)
6. LONDON NIGHTS (Extended Version)
7. HARLEM DESIRE (Extended Remix)
8. MY LOVE (Extended Remix)
9. REQUIEM (London Remix)
10. LONDON DAYS (Instrumental)
The second disc is a collection of six of their hits all now brought forth as Maxi Mixes or Extended Versions, with the stands outs here being the brilliant London Nights, the magnificently euphoric Requiem and, for my money, the underrated My Love.
Disc Three: SWEET SOUL MUSIC
1. SWEET SOUL MUSIC
2. TONIGHT! TONIGHT!
4. IS THIS LOVE
5. BOB MARLEY
6. WAS?! (JUST AN ILLUSION)
7. LOVE TRAIN
8. HIGH FIDELITY
9. CHAPEL OF LOVE
11. REGGAE-REGGAE, RASTA RASTA (Reprise)
12. CHAPEL OF LOVE (Radio Mix)
13. IS THIS LOVE (7” Remix)
14. FREEDOM (Eight-O-Eight Mix)
15. SWEET SOUL MUSIC (Soul Kitchen Mix)
16. CHAPEL OF LOVE (Hot Mix #2)
17. FREEDOM (Instrumental)
18. CHAPEL OF LOVE (Jungle Mix) (Previously Unreleased)
This original 11-track album, now expanded, opens with the rattle of snares of third single and titular track Sweet Soul Music. This sees Edem and Dennis take on a Motown-inspired song.
There’s certainly the beat, and a burst of brass, and a sample of a man saying Motown every now and then. The song is really upbeat and fairly catchy. The wall of sound and enthusiastic pop vocals reminds me of something you’d hear from Big Fun.
Next is Tonight! Tonight!, opening with a sultry spoken promise before bounding straight into another tirelessly bouncy pop song. Again, the pop vocals and harmonies run throughout, and I’m reminded again of Big Fun, or Brother Beyond, or maybe even Jason Donovan, yet there’s no sign of Stock/Aitken/Waterman here.
The track was the album’s fifth and final single, but it didn’t bother the UK charts.
That leads on to second single Freedom, which also as the duo’s final single to chart in the UK. It reached #54. The track opens with swirling synths and vocal chorus, before dropping into another big pop song.
The vocals are a bit buried in the mix though, although the backing vocalists help to lift it a bit. The theme of unity that this song conveys probably helped it get picked as a single, and the breakdown with the inevitable crowd-participation hand claps above the head moment is a nice but brief moment that would have helped bring things together, but Tonight! Tonight! would have been a better choice for the earlier single.
Is This Love follows and the tempo lowers for a breathy and tender ballad. A warm synth pad swells as echoey soft percussion and vocals joins the guys as they sing about love. Musically there’s a beat that reminds me of the Fine Young Cannibals and swathes of orchestra-like sounds that would make Enya twitch.
That said, it’s a really nice song, and really good to hear the guys sing a slow song. We’re even treated to a key change in the final minute, that allows the guys to show off their vocal power and range. The track was the album’s 4th single, but didn’t touch the UK charts.
The tempo picks back up as we’re given a mid-tempo Bob Marley. Not actual Bob Marley, but a song. The bubbling synths gradually evolve closer to a reggae sound, but never quite get there. Who’s the man? Edem asks, as the track steadily builds with loads of vocal layers and an affectionate song about Bob.
That’s followed by Was?! (Just An Illusion) which opens with some insane female vocals that sound like what Martha Wash might sound like if she trapped her hand in a door.
The track is a prime 1991 exhibit of mashed up of pseudo-rap, dance vocals, and unstoppable euro-pop synths. It’s a bit nuts, and probably could have benefitted of making a bit of space in the track with a few less instruments just to give the vocals some breathing room.
It’s time for Love Train, and this has some beautiful synths throughout, and the catchy synth sequence we’re introduced to right off the bat, is a great friend throughout this song.
The song effortlessly shuffles from verse and chorus and back. The vocal samples everybody part-ay and cheering crowds dates it a bit, but this is definitely a great track that could.
High Fidelity is next, and this track sounds pretty unstoppable. It’s very loud and energetic, with the chorus vocals repeatedly singing the song title. It probably was exciting and fresh in 1991, but listening to it now, it just goes on for a bit too long.
Chapel Of Love follows this, and this was the album’s lead single. The track opens with an interpolation of The Wedding March before bursting into a high energy dance track.
This is absolutely the sound that The London Boys were successful for in the UK with their debut album. The lyrics are catchy, as is the throbbing bass drum, racing bass line and synths.
Excellent! Sadly though, it wasn’t a success, and it gave them a #75 UK single – their lowest, and penultimately charting single in the UK.
That leads on to Cherokee, which begins with cries of Cherokee Nation!, and is performed like a political battle song, and the London Boys have definitely got the defiant vocal power and musical wall to put up a good fight.
Would have been interesting to see this as a music video, although I don’t think it would have performed at all as a single.
The album closes with Reggae-Reggae, Rasta-Rasta (Reprise Bob Marley) which wafts in as if from a radio before becoming the full stereo track.
It’s a continuation of earlier track Bob Marley, giving a wonderful continuation of the chorus vocals and harmonies. It’s a really nice addition in reprise form to close the album as it heads back off to a radio sound.
This expanded CD now adds four new tracks, such as the Previously Unreleased Chapel Of Love (Jungle Mix), which is an absolute belter, the beautifully constructed, and layered Freedom (Eight-O-Eight Mix), and a brilliantly vibrant Sweet Soul Music (Soul Kitchen Mix).
Disc Four: LOVE 4 UNITY
1. BABY COME BACK
2. I HAVE A DREAM
3. PHILADELPHIA ‘69
4. KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK
6. OH, TRACEY
7. WE’RE CALLING THE WORLD
8. DREAMS OF GLORY
9. WALK ON BY
10. MY PRAYER
11. A BEAUTIFUL VIEW OF THE EARTH (Deep-Affinity Remix)
12. BABY COME BACK (Rapino 7” Handbag Mix)
13. MOONRAKER (Friendship 7 Mercury Mix)
14. BABY COME BACK (Please Come Home Extended Version)
15. MOONRAKER (Tribale-Base Mix)
16. BABY COME BACK (Teryjaky With Rapino Brothers Club Mix)
17. MOONRAKER (The Instrumental)
This album was released in 1993 where both Moonraker and Baby Come Back were released as singles in Germany, with Baby Come Back peaking at #27 in Austria.
Indeed, sadly, this was the last album from the duo, although Hallelujah Hits would be released under the name The New London Boys.
The album was not successful and the two singles also failed to chart in Germany, but it opens on the old Player hit from 1977 Baby Come Back and the flows seamlessly into the beat-tastic hits of I Have A Dream, the pop flow of Philadelphia ‘69, the dancefloor groove of Knock, Knock, Knock, and then we get the brilliantly vibrant, soaring Moonraker, and then the low key, cheesily-rapped ballad Oh, Tracey.
The HI-NRG returns for We’re Calling The World which is itself backed by the mid-tempo dance-pop tempo of Dreams of Glory, the lighter pop ebb and flow of Walk On By, this original album closing on the magnificently ambient grooves of A Beautiful View of The Earth (Deep-Affinity Remix).
Now containing just two songs, with various remixes and extended mixes now thrown into the mix, both Baby Come Back and the space lift off and subsequent orbiting vibe of Moonraker are taken to their farthest reaches!
Disc Five: DANCE! DANCE! DANCE!
1. THE LONDON BOYS MEGAMIX
2. HARLEM DESIRE (Extended Mix)
3. I’M GONNA GIVE MY HEART (Remix)
4. LONDON NIGHTS (London Remix)
5. CHAPEL OF LOVE (Hot Mix #1)
6. REQUIEM (Hamburg Mix)
7. IS THIS LOVE (Come On Jamaica Remix)
8. HARLEM DESIRE (Instrumental)(Previously Unreleased)
9. I’M GONNA GIVE MY HEART (Instrumental)
10. MY LOVE (Instrumental)
11. CHAPEL OF LOVE (Instrumental)
12. DANCE DANCE DANCE (Instrumental)
13. GOSPEL TRAIN TO LONDON
Including a wealth of remixes, edits and instrumental versions, many mixes are new-to-CD from the original master tapes, and even some Previously-Unreleased mixes, this fifth and final is a right royal goldmine for fans of the London Boys!
Stand outs here, for me, at least, are the obvious ones such as The London Boys Megamix, the brilliant Harlem Desire (Extended Mix), and then we get London Nights (London Remix), a quite uber-funky Requiem (Hamburg Mix), and it all comes to a close on the HI-NRG of Gospel Train to London (inclusive of the traditional African-American spiritual choruses, such as both He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands, Michael, Row the Boat Ashore and Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen.
This wondrous Box-Set also features a brand new, 2021 interview with writer/producer Ralf-René Maué.
Official 5CD Purchase Link
Title - Old Friend: The Deluxe Collections 1976-1998 [9CD]
Artist - Phyllis Hyman
SoulMusic Records is exceptionally pleased to present the first-ever box set of the music of the late Phyllis Hyman, who created a wonderful legacy of recordings over close to twenty-years that continues to resonate today with her dedicated global audience and beyond.
Creatively traversing the soul/R&B and jazz genres from the mid-‘70s until her passing in June 1995 from suicide, with her instantly recognizable and distinctive vocal style, Phyllis developed a solid cadre of discerning music buyers with albums for Buddah, Arista and Philadelphia International Records (all collated here along with a number of bonus tracks and guest appearances for a total of 113 tracks).
Appropriately named Old Friend: The Deluxe Collections 1976-1998, this 9CD box-set has been lovingly created by SoulMusic.com founder David Nathan in cooperation with Glenda Gracia, manager & executrix of the Phyllis Hyman estate, who contributes a moving up-close-and-personal essay.
The first disc is the self-titled Phyllis Hyman and marked Phyllis’ official album debut and includes the US R&B/dance charted single, Loving You, Losing You, co-penned by Philly soul maestro Thom Bell who also co-wrote Betcha By Golly Wow, which Phyllis recorded with jazz drummer Norman Connors in 1976 along with a duet with Michael Henderson (We Both Need Each Other), resulting in her first exposure to a wider audience.
Disc One: PHYLLIS HYMAN: EXPANDED EDITION
1. LOVING YOU, LOSING YOU
2. NO ONE CAN LOVE YOU MORE
4. I DON’T WANT TO LOSE YOU
5. DELIVER THE LOVE
6. WAS YESTERDAY SUCH A LONG TIME AGO
7. THE NIGHT BIRD GETS THE LOVE
8. BEAUTIFUL MAN OF MINE
9. CHILDREN OF THE WORLD
10. BABY (I’M GONNA LOVE YOU) [Bonus Track]
11. DO ME [Bonus Track]
12. YOU’RE THE ONE
13. WE BOTH NEED EACH OTHER – Norman Connors Feat. Phyllis Hyman And Michael Henderson [Bonus Track]
14. BETCHA BY GOLLY WOW – Norman Connors Feat. Phyllis Hyman [Bonus Track]
15. JUST IMAGINE… – Norman Connors Feat. Phyllis Hyman [Bonus Track]
As I’m sure you are fully aware, this 1977 debut set from one of music’s most emotional and beloved singers is a doozy of a collection right the way through and, to my mind, Skip Scarborough’s No One Can Love You More is indicative of her plentiful sensual charm and her rich vocal timbre.
Although Hyman’s vocal prowess is well-known, this set also shows that she was gifted with an uncommon maturity. Hyman was only in her mid-twenties when this was recorded, and her self-possession enabled her to glide through the majority of the material here.
Indeed Hyman’s version of Thom Bell and Linda Creed’s I Don’t Want to Lose You (originally recorded by the Spinners) is even more of a tearjerker, but from singing the chorus in the intro to a Sarah Vaughan-like scat in the middle, the song was made hers.
Also on this expanded edition are both sides of Phyllis’ 1976 single for Desert Moon Records along with some delightful duets.
The second disc is SOMEWHERE IN MY LIFETIME which marked Phyllis’ addition to the Arista Records roster when Buddah Records was acquired by the Clive Davis-helmed label.
The title cut was co-produced by Barry Manilow and six tracks were included from Phyllis’ 2nd Buddah LP, Sing A Song which only gained release outside the US in 1978.
Disc Two: SOMEWHERE IN MY LIFETIME: EXPANDED EDITION
1. KISS YOU ALL OVER
2. SOMEWHERE IN MY LIFETIME
3. LOOKIN’ FOR A LOVIN’
4. THE ANSWER IS YOU
5. SO STRANGE
6. GONNA MAKE CHANGES
7. LIVING INSIDE YOUR LOVE
8. BE CAREFUL (HOW YOU TREAT MY LOVE)
9. SOON COME AGAIN
10. HERE’S THAT RAINY DAY
11. SO STRANGE (12″ VERSION) [Bonus Track]
12. KISS YOU ALL OVER (12″ VERSION) [Bonus Track]
13. SWEET MUSIC [Bonus Track]
14. LOVE IS FREE [Bonus Track]
15. SING A SONG [Bonus Track]
16. AS YOU ARE – Pharaoh Sanders Feat. Phyllis Hyman [Bonus Track]
Hyman’s second album is similar to many of her efforts: a great singer, but too many so-so songs. The album starts off with a cover of Exile’s disco/pop hit, Kiss You All Over, but despite her best attempts, the horrible lyrics and the song’s origins make this a waste of precious studio time.
The lachrymose title-track ballad, produced by Barry Manilow and Ron Dante, finds Hyman’s voice poorly recorded and placed into a schmaltzy arrangement.
Still, the album features quite a few of the songs she came to be identified with: The Answer Is You, Gonna Make Changes, and Gary Glenn’s Be Careful (How You Treat My Love), all skillfully produced by then-husband Larry Alexander and Skip Scarborough.
The song Be Careful followed the Norman Connors example of providing Hyman with a sympathetic arrangement, then getting the best take possible.
After all of the botched crossover attempts and so-so dance moves, Somewhere in My Lifetime ended on a good note. Here’s That Rainy Day has her accompanied only by a piano, and she turns in an affecting performance, neither self-pitying nor melodramatic.
Although this effort had a few career-threatening detours, Hyman’s charisma and some solid songs make this a solid effort.
This newly expanded edition features bonus tracks from Sing A Song and a guest appearance with saxophonist Pharaoh Sanders, As You Are as well as 12 inch single versions of Kiss You All Over and So Strange.
The third disc is YOU KNOW HOW TO LOVE ME which saw Phyllis teamed with James Mtume & Reggie Lucas, hitmakers for Stephanie Mills. The result was Phyllis’ biggest R&B/dance hit with the now-classic title track.
Disc Three: YOU KNOW HOW TO LOVE ME: EXPANDED EDITION
1. YOU KNOW HOW TO LOVE ME
2. SOME WAY
3. UNDER YOUR SPELL
4. THIS FEELING MUST BE LOVE
5. BUT I LOVE YOU
7. HOLD ON
8. GIVE A LITTLE MORE
9. COMPLETE ME
10. YOU KNOW HOW TO LOVE ME (SINGLE EDIT) [Bonus Track]
11. UNDER YOUR SPELL (SINGLE EDIT) [Bonus Track]
12. MAGIC MONA [Bonus Track]
13. I’LL BE AROUND – McCoy Tyner (Featuring Phyllis Hyman) [Bonus Track]
14. LOVE SURROUNDS US EVERYWHERE – McCoy Tyner (Featuring Phyllis Hyman) [Bonus Track]
15. IN SEARCH OF MY HEART – McCoy Tyner (Featuring Phyllis Hyman) [Bonus Track]
16. IN A SENTIMENTAL MOOD [Bonus Track]
You Know How to Love Me was most definitely Hyman’s most successful album and was carefully tailored to become the artist’s crossover breakthrough, with prolific producer/songwriters James Mtume and Reggie Lucas on board.
The end result is a carefully constructed blend of contemporary disco-styled songs and ballads, some better than others, and the more routine tracks are always rescued by Hyman stellar pipes.
The album never truly realized its full potential, but does include the song that would become one of Hyman’s signature tunes, You Know How to Love Me.
The song was never a blockbuster hit, but has grown into a classic, covered by artists such as Lisa Stansfield and Robin S. Other highlights include the excellent quiet storm of Some Way, which allows Hyman’s husky voice to shine, the somber, sublime piano ballad But I Love You, and the jazzy saxophone ballad Complete Me.
You Know How to Love Me is as close as Hyman truly came to becoming a commercial force and is an important and essential chapter in this star’s musical legacy.
This is the case of an album that was not a blockbuster upon initial release, but, like a great overlooked film, has grown into a classic whose importance will only increase with the passing of time.
This expanded edition includes the Thom Bell-produced Magic Mona, three tracks on which Phyllis guested with jazz pianist McCoy Tyner and In A Sentimental Mood from the Duke Ellington Broadway musical Sophisticated Ladies (in which Phyllis starred and was nominated for a Tony Award).
The fourth disc is 1981’s CAN’T WE FALL IN LOVE AGAIN which featured Phyllis’ highest-charting R&B hit, the title track a duet with Michael Henderson.
Disc Four: CAN’T WE FALL IN LOVE AGAIN: EXPANDED EDITION
1. YOU SURE LOOK GOOD TO ME
2. DON’T TELL ME, TELL HER
3. I AIN’T ASKING
4. CAN’T WE FALL IN LOVE AGAIN – Phyllis Hyman & Michael Henderson
5. THE LOVE TOO GOOD TO LAST
6. TONIGHT YOU AND ME
7. THE SUNSHINE IN MY LIFE
8. JUST ANOTHER FACE IN THE CROWD
9. CAN’T WE FALL IN LOVE AGAIN (SINGLE VERSION) – Phyllis Hyman & Michael Henderson [Bonus Track]
10. YOU SURE LOOK GOOD TO ME (SINGLE VERSION) [Bonus Track]
11. TONIGHT YOU AND ME (DISCO VERSION) [Bonus Track]
12. SLEEP ON IT [Bonus Track]
13. IF YOU EVER CHANGE YOUR MIND [Bonus Track]
14. IN BETWEEN THE HEARTACHES [Bonus Track]
Although Hyman was a premier vocalist, she was often given songs hat betrayed her impressive gifts, and this effort too often proves the point.
Leading this 1981 set is You Look So Good to Me, reminiscent of the Pointer Sisters’ hit He’s So Shy. As talented as she was, girl-group sweetness wasn’t her forte. The meandering dance workout I Ain’t Asking is short on lyrics and Hyman has to riff over half of the song.
The title track brought her back to a sense of normalcy, featuring duet partner Michael Henderson, the then-labelmates steam it up and exchange screams.
With his booming voice, Henderson was one of the few male singers who had both the vocal range and persona to match her. The most pleasant surprise here is Hyman reuniting with Norman Connors on The Love Too Good to Last, which was arranged by Paul Riser and written by Carole Bayer Sager, Burt Bacharach, and Peter Allen.
Hyman’s take was warm, polished and sexy; she didn’t give an inch on her phrasing to tackle the abrupt cadences of the lyrics. The Sunshine of My Life, with a smooth sax solo from Gary Bartz, sounds like it came from one of Connors’ own classic late-’70s or early-’80s albums.
Other tracks now included - all of them with production by Norman Connors and Natalie Cole’s co-producer Chuck Jackson - feature three tracks not on the original LP.
The fifth disc is GODDESS OF LOVE which was Phyllis’ final LP for Arista with production from Narada Michael Walden (the R&B/dance hit Riding The Tiger) and Thom Bell.
Disc Five: GODDESS OF LOVE: EXPANDED EDITION
1. RIDING THE TIGER
2. GODDESS OF LOVE
3. WHY DID YOU TURN ME ON
4. YOUR MOVE, MY HEART
5. LET SOMEBODY LOVE YOU
6. FALLING STAR
7. WE SHOULD BE LOVERS
8. JUST ME AND YOU
9. JUST TWENTY FIVE MILES TO ANYWHERE
10. I’M NOT ASKING YOU TO STAY [Bonus Track]
11. RIDING THE TIGER (DANCE VERSION) [Bonus Track]
12. RIDING THE TIGER (SINGLE EDIT) [Bonus Track]
This 1983 set was Hyman’s last effort for Arista. During the early ’80s she easily maneuvered between R&B and jazz with a skill few artists possessed. Regrettably, this takes Hyman away from jazz and often puts her knee-deep in pablum.
The album splits the production duties between Narada Michael Walden and Thom Bell, the tracks with Walden may be a little too mainstream for Hyman acolytes.
Glossy ’80s dance exercises Riding the Tiger and Goddess of Love have Hyman singing goofy lyrics like You’ll feel the fear of my name and My skin never lies.
Even Grace Jones couldn’t do anything with that. Walden acquits himself nicely with the good, hooky ballad Why Did You Turn Me On, a song he put on one of his own albums a few yeas before.
The work with Bell is below his customary excellence. He and his writers must have used all of their best tracks for Deniece Williams’ classic My Melody, because Hyman is left with mostly re-treads.
After a few so-so tracks, Goddess of Love does go out with a bang. The sparsely arranged Just Twenty Miles to Anywhere has Hyman finally getting lyrics of a substantive nature so she could soar, and displays all of the greatness Hyman had to offer; it’s too bad that most of this album didn’t follow suit.
This expanded CD also includes a bonus track from the Bell sessions, I’m Not Asking You To Stay’ along with two different versions of Riding The Tiger.
The sixth disc is LIVING ALL ALONE and marks Phyllis’ 1986 pacting with Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff’s Philadelphia International Records’ label and resulted in immediate success with two Top 20 R&B hits, the title track and the perennial Old Friend, which remained a staple of Phyllis’ live shows.
Disc Six: LIVING ALL ALONE: EXPANDED EDITION
1. LIVING ALL ALONE
2. FIRST TIME TOGETHER
3. IF YOU WANT ME
4. SLOW DANCIN’
5. OLD FRIEND
6. YOU JUST DON’T KNOW
7. AIN’T YOU HAD ENOUGH LOVE
8. SCREAMIN’ AT THE MOON
9. WHAT YOU WON’T DO FOR LOVE
10. BLACK AND BLUE – Barry Manilow & Phyllis Hyman, Featuring Tom Scott [Bonus Track]
11. SACRED KIND OF LOVE – Grover Washington, Jr. Featuring Phyllis Hyman [Bonus Track]
Coming off a successful though problematic tenure with Arista, Phyllis Hyman signed with Philadelphia International shortly after the label switched from CBS to Capitol.
Like Shirley Jones’ 1986 album Always in the Mood, Living All Alone typified the synth-based but still melodic mid-to-late-’80s Philly sound.
The producers and writers gave her an album’s worth of instant-classic singer’s songs. The album’s first single, the bittersweet You Just Don’t Know, typified the powerful and classy proceedings. First Time Together also follows the same style.
While Hyman’s vocals are top-notch here, fans listening to Living All Alone can’t help but be struck by the sense of melancholy apparent in the sessions. That’s not true of the title track, an oddly sensual song that has her trademark fire, as she does some great vocalizations and screams, and seems to live the lyrics.
The poignant Thom Bell and Linda Creed gem Old Friend quickly became a fan favorite and thus, and although most of Living All Alone is emotionally draining, it is still one of Hyman’s finest efforts.
This expanded edition features guest appearances with Barry Manilow and Grover Washington Jr. on both Black And Blue and Scared Kind of Love, respectively.
The seventh disc is 1991’s PRIME OF MY LIFE which brought Phyllis her 1st R&B chart-topping single, Don’t Wanna Change The World (with the rare non-rap version included on this expanded edition) and included notable tracks Living In Confusion and Meet Me On The Moon.
Disc Seven: PRIME OF MY LIFE: EXPANDED EDITION
1. WHEN YOU GET RIGHT DOWN TO IT
2. I FOUND LOVE
3. DON’T WANNA CHANGE THE WORLD
4. PRIME OF MY LIFE
5. WHEN I GIVE MY LOVE (THIS TIME)
6. I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE
7. WALK AWAY
8. LIVING IN CONFUSION
9. MEET ME ON THE MOON
10. WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO OUR LOVE
11. (THE) HOTTEST LOVE AROUND [Bonus Track]
12. DON’T WANNA CHANGE THE WORLD (NO RAP VERSION) [Bonus Track]
Listening to Phyllis Hyman’s 1991 emotional tour de force Prime of My Life is at once a happy and sad experience. Happy because it finds Hyman at a moment when she was not tortured by her inner demons and tragic because it provides an undeniable glimpse into Hyman’s tortured soul and the pending suicide which would materialize four years later.
Prime of My Life granted the sophisticated lady her first R&B chart-topper with the saucy Don’t Wanna Change the World, which incorporates elements of new jack swing, hip-hop, and early-’90s house, and even features a rare, sexy rap by the songstress herself.
The album opens with the jazzy quiet storm hit When You Get Right Down to It and features several shimmering, gorgeous ballads, most notably the timeless audience favorite Meet Me on the Moon, one of the high points of Hyman’s catalogue, period.
Other gems include the light, bittersweet closer Whatever Happened to Our Love, I Can’t Take It Anymore, which is a sad tune pitted against a happy beat, and the self-assured yet ultimately tragic Prime of My Life.
One of the true highlights, however, is the over-seven-minutes-in-length Living in Confusion, which Hyman belts with unmistakable integrity, growling out the bewildered lyrics with overflowing conviction, and provides more than a glimpse into what was really going on in the singer’s life.
Hyman could take an average song and tear through it like a tiger, which is what made her music so appealing. This album is a true gem and proves that the husky-voiced Hyman was a timeless song stylist in a class all her own.
As aforementioned, one of the additional bonus tracks here is the rare non-rap version of Don’t Wanna Change The World along with Hottest Love Around, which was only previously available on a CD single.
The eighth disc is I REFUSE TO BE LONELY, and with primary production by Nick Martinelli (who had worked on Phyllis’ 1991 CD) was released after her passing in June, 1995 and features five tracks co-written by Phyllis including the title track and standout It’s Not About You (It’s About Me).
Disc Eight: I REFUSE TO BE LONELY
1. I REFUSE TO BE LONELY
2. WAITING FOR THE LAST TEAR TO FALL
3. THIS TOO SHALL PASS
4. I’M TRULY YOURS
5. I’M CALLING YOU
6. BACK TO PARADISE
7. IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU (IT’S ABOUT ME)
8. IT TAKES TWO
9. WHY NOT ME
10. GIVE ME ONE GOOD REASON TO STAY
As noted, I Refuse to Be Lonely was released five months after Phyllis Hyman’s terrible suicide, and it is virtually impossible to listen to this album without realizing that many of these songs more than faintly hint at the tragedy that was brewing.
This immaculately produced set begins with her self-affirming, yet ultimately tragic ballad I Refuse to Be Lonely, which finds Hyman basically crying the lyric.
Not all the songs on this set are so maudlin, however. I Refuse to Be Lonely is followed by the jazzy Waiting for the Last Tear to Fall and the dramatic and impressive This Too Shall Pass, which finds Hyman convincing herself that her troubles will soon be over, set against a backdrop of heavy percussion and soaring backing vocals.
Hyman gets jazzy on It Takes Two and provides a sophisticated quiet storm ballad with Why Not Me. Hyman also sounds sexy and less depressed on the piano ballad I’m Truly Yours and the happier, jazzy Back to Paradise, which still keeps with the troubling prophetic nature of the album with the repeated lyric I’ve been waiting here at the gates of heaven.
All of this is only heightened by the last song, prophetically titled Give Me One Good Reason to Stay, where Hyman sings It’s true I’m leaving/My bags are at the door.
Phyllis Hyman, despite all her troubles, managed to leave the world another wonderful set of classy, sophisticated quiet storm jazz ballads with I Refuse to Be Lonely, augmented by her one-of-a-kind, brutally raw and honest voice.
Nancy Wilson has previously spoken up and whilst lamenting Hyman’s passing also pondered at the marvels she would have produced had she chosen to record the songs of Cole Porter or George Gershwin. This album, however, only hints at the wonders which, sadly, the world will never know.
The ninth, and final disc of this highly impressive new box-set is FOREVER WITH YOU which consists of a collection of previously-unreleased recordings that Phyllis had recorded for Philadelphia International Records, including four she co-wrote, notably The Strength Of A Woman, as well as a memorable version of Hurry Up This Way Again, a 1980 R&B hit for The Stylistics.
Disc Nine: FOREVER WITH YOU
1. FOREVER WITH YOU
2. FUNNY HOW LOVE GOES
3. COME RIGHT OR NOT AT ALL
4. THE STRENGTH OF A WOMAN
5. HURRY UP THIS WAY AGAIN
6. HOW LONG
7. SOMEONE TO LOVE
8. TELL ME WHAT YOU’RE GONNA DO
9. THE KIDS
10. SET A LITTLE TRAP
11. NO ONE BUT YOU
Issued three years after Phyllis Hyman’s death, Forever With You collected 12 unreleased songs recorded between 1985-1995, during her tenure with Philadelphia International.
Not a single track on this set sounds like filler - the whole album is comprised of well-produced, elegant, and sophisticated songs, running a gamut of musical styles, and further showcases the loss that the music world suffered with Hyman’s tragic passing.
The album opens with the upbeat, Latin-tinged title track, and then heads into quiet storm territory with Funny How Love Goes (a duet with newcomer Damon), Come Right or Not at All, The Strength of a Woman, and her faithful cover of the Stylistics’ Hurry Up This Way Again.
The album veers into left gear with the energetic house track How Long, which works incredibly well and, had things gone differently, could have opened up a whole different market for Hyman.
Someone to Love, the greatest torch song Barbra Streisand never recorded, is a definite album highlight, and brings to mind the music of classic Hollywood films of the 1940s.
Hyman even tackles hip-hop lite with Tell Me What You’re Gonna Do, provides a socially conscious quiet storm ballad with The Kids, and vamps coyly on the sexy Set a Little Trap, another album highlight.
This set closes with the shuffling, hip-hop-laced No One But You and the soaring ballad Souvenirs. Forever With You, which also includes several songs co-written by Hyman, is a must for any fan, and sounds like an actual, cohesive set, as opposed to a compilation of rarities and unreleased material.
As always, and with respect to all her albums, the star is Hyman’s tortured, elegant, and ferocious voice, and the unparalleled conviction that she injects into each song.
Renowned writer Janine Coveney provides a heartfelt tribute with an overview of Phyllis’ music, whilst SoulMusic Records’ Michael Lewis offers his thoughts on Phyllis’ compelling live performances.
In a beautifully-designed box with artwork by Roger Williams along with stellar mastering from Nick Robbins, Old Friend: The Deluxe Collection is a fitting celebration of Phyllis Hyman’s contribution through music, to commemorate the anniversary of her 72nd birthday, on July 6th, 2021.
Official 9CD Purchase Link
Title - Yellow Cowboy Hat [EP]
Artist - Grace Womack
For those unware, Austin, Texas-based singer-songwriter Grace Womack is set to release her debut EP, Yellow Cowboy Hat, on August 13th, 2021.
A 20-year-old rising junior (majoring in English and Government) at the University of Texas, Womack showcases her broad range and vocal dexterity through nimble, lyrical narratives about what interests her: friendship, love, confusion, forgiveness, and how lives become intertwined and grow apart. I often end up writing about what I don’t know—how nothing is certain, and how confusing it is to be alive sometimes. I write what feels real, she says.
1. Pity The Fool
4. Yellow Cowboy Hat
5. Miss Tennessee
6. How We Met
The first single from the EP, and also the opener, Pity the Fool, and which came out May 28th and premiered at Glide Magazine (who praised Womack and the track, writing, Though she may be young, Womack displays a soulful wisdom in the piano-driven song that harkens back to ’70s pop music), is a magnificent jaunt through those late ‘70s, melody-driven, bold piano, plucky guitar and dramatically cultured vocalizations, and that’s backed seamlessly by the feisty origins and piano work, much akin to Elton John, of Friendship, and then we get the second single, the earthy, beautifully crafted, fully layered ballad Oblivion.
The funky country-pop rock of the title track Yellow Cowboy Hat is an uproariously joyous musical number of the highest order, complete with saxophone and Hammond organ, and it is itself followed by the lonesome, lovelorn yearn of Troubadour storytelling within Miss Tennessee, the EP closing out on the third single, the funk-led, foot-tapping, pop-rock melodies of How We Met.
The EP is rife with Womack’s trademark romantic, down-to-earth tunes that reveal a rare depth and a warm curiosity about the world around her. There’s a gentleness and ease to Womack’s pop-meets-R&B sound that feels both self-assured and at the same time vulnerable.
Backed by delicate harmonies, her voice weaves around mellow acoustic guitar riffs and piano melodies, floating up to high octaves with the effortless grace of powerhouse pop vocalist Sara Bareilles and sinking down to croon husky alto melodies with the low-key cool of bluesy R&B chanteuse Alana Davis. Her style has also been compared to Lizzie McAlpine, Lake Street Dive, and Kacey Musgraves.
A performer since the age of 9, Womack was born and raised in Houston, Texas, where she developed an early love for musical theater that eventually distilled into a love for writing and performing her own songs.
Inspired by everything from her dad’s dreams of writing novels, to classic artists ranging from The Beatles to Linda Ronstadt, to the work of idiosyncratic pop artists like Wisconsin drummer-turned-singer Sammy Rae, Womack is a genuine writer at heart. Her soothing anthems are rich in visual imagery and metaphor, exploring the range of human experience in candid and elegant detail.
Yellow Cowboy Hat was produced by Jason Wyatt (former member of Lost Trailers who has also shared stages with Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton, The Band Perry, Maggie Rose, and many more), and the EP was mixed and mastered by Elliott Didur and recorded at Didur’s studio in Spring Hill, Tennessee. Joining Womack in studio were Adam Nitti (Kenny Loggins, Carrie Underwood, Michael McDonald, Susan Tedeschi) on bass; Luke Mosely (Casting Crowns, Francesca Battistelli) on keys; Scott Bernard on guitar; and Eric Flores on drums.
Official Purchase Links
Grace Womack @ Facebook
Grace Womack @ Twitter
Grace Womack @ YouTube
Grace Womack @ SoundCloud
Title - Let There Be Light
Artist - Dr. Mike Bogle
For those not in the know, a versatile multi-instrumentalist, composer and educator, Dr. Mike Bogle has long led several different groups that have been quite active in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, ranging from a trio to a big band. For his latest recording, Let There Be Light, he put together an impressive new group of skilled associates to perform creative groove music.
Let there Be Light teams Bogle (on piano, keyboards, trombone and vocals) in a unique ensemble consisting of vibraphonist Dana Sudborough, bassist Buddy Mohmed, drummer Harrel Bosarge, and Andy Barrus on steel pan and percussion.
1. Voyager’s Dream (7:58)
2. Let There Be Light (6:35)
3. Eat Your Vitamins (9:32)
4. Positano (6:16)
5. The Chicken (8:22)
6. Let There Be Light (Alternative Take) (6:37)
Opening on the simply magical, steel pan-enhanced, fluidly engaging, Latin groove of Voyager’s Dream, next up is the free flowing, atmospherically charged flow of the gently vocalized title track Let There Be Light, which is itself backed by the groovy hipsway of Eat Your Vitamins.
Along next is the lighter fare of Positano, which in and unto itself features Bogle on trombone along with a rather stirring piano solo, which is itself followed by a stirringly euphoric, and dare I say funky rendition of Pee Wee Ellis’ classic The Chicken, the album closing on an alternative take of the title track, an instrumental version of Let There Be Light.
Dr. Mike Bogle, who is the Professor of Commercial Music at Dallas College, Cedar Valley campus, has worked with such notables as Doc Severinsen, James Moody, Slide Hampton, Jaco Pastorius, Ira Sullivan, Pete Christlieb, and Duffy Jackson, performing throughout the world including Europe, South America, Mexico and Canada.
Mike has released 6 previous albums as either Mike Bogle, Mike Bogle Trio, or Dr. Mike Bogle including: Other Life, Eternal Family, Hipness Oasis, Live At Stoney’s, Dr. B! (organ trio), Rhapsody In Blue (solo piano), plus various singles.
His Tropical Jazz Project (with Andy Barrus on steel drums) can be heard on Rainbows, and the Mike Bogle Orchestra has released two albums: In The Mood and Sing, Sing, Sing.
In conclusion, Let There Be Light is a very enjoyable introduction to the musical world of Dr. Mike Bogle.
Amazon Purchase Links
The Chicken – Dr. Mike Bogle (Official Music Video)
Title - Third Impression
Artist - 3.2
For those unaware, this is the second installment of 3.2 by Robert Berry. Both this disc and its predecessor, The Rules Have Changed, are long-delayed companions to 3, the band Berry was one-third of alongside Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer.
Originally intended as a continuation of that outfit with Emerson’s enthusiastic participation, the group became 3.2 upon Emerson’s death, with Berry playing all the instruments.
The Rules Have Changed was a worthy successor to 1988’s To the Power of Three, avoiding most clichés while delivering an album of proggy songs similar in tone to both 3 and the efforts of Palmer’s succeeding band Asia.
Now comes Third Impression, the title presumably taken from the fact it’s the third endeavor in this vein, as well as referencing ELP’s iconic Karn Evil 9, which was broken into three sections or impressions.
1. Top Of The World
2. What Side You’re On
3. Black of the Night
4. Killer of Hope
5. Missing Piece
6. A Bond of Union
7. The Devil of Liverpool
8. Emotional Trigger
9. A Fond Farewell
Less of a direct extension of its predecessors, and more a solo Berry album following in their footsteps, this quite excellent, multi-instrument musical wonderment opens on the free flowing majesty of Top Of The World and then the prog rock of What Side You’re On, and backs those up with the mid-tempo AOR of Black of the Night, the euphorically soaring Killer of Hope, before we get the delicate gossamer of Missing Piece.
The gentle piano work of the magnificent, multi-tracked vocalized A Bond of Union is then followed by the pop-rock of The Devil of Liverpool (itself complete with a grand organ solo), the late night, underground blues-rock café, mournful ballad Emotional Trigger is along next, with the album rounding out on the feisty, Who-esque A Fond Farewell, closing on the emphatic Never.
Official Purchase Link
Robert Berry @ Facebook
Robert Berry @ Twitter