Current Album Reviews
Our take on some of the latest material from a variety of artists.
Various Artists - Groove & Grind: Rare Soul ’63-’73 (Rockbeat Records) review
If you call yourself a fan of soul music, you need to own this set
Rockbeat Records has just done the impossible with the release of Groove & Grind: Rare Soul ’63-’73 - they’ve assembled a 4-CD box set containing over 100 vintage soul songs - and almost every one of them is making its debut on CD. And, while you might think this is probably “bottom of the barrel” material, the exact opposite is true - prepare to be knocked out.
Loveland Duren - “Johnny Boy” (Edgewood Recordings) review
The Memphis music community endured a huge loss in late 2014 with the passing of both John Hampton and John Fry within six days of each other. The former was a producer and co-owner of Ardent Studios, the latter was the studio’s founder. As a way of handling their grief, the duo of Vicki Loveland and Van Duren penned “Johnny Boy” as a loving tribute to both men.
Various Artists - Now That’s What I Call Music 55 (Universal / Sony) review
The soundtrack of the Summer of ’15
We’ve come to expect a new Now compilation about every three months or so, and the latest, Now 55, brings together the biggest hits of this summer - many of them coming from all over the world. The set kicks off with English singer Ellie Goulding’s majestic “Love Me Like You Do,” which was co-written with Swedish vocalist Tove Lo, who turns in “Talking Body,” her second hit single.
America - The Warner Bros. Years - 1971-1977 (Warner) review
You’ve heard the hits - now dig a little deeper
America was one of the biggest bands of the early Seventies, placing six singles in the Top Ten. Yet their albums were also successful - with their first seven studio records hitting the Top Thirty. These have been compiled, along with their Live album, in the new America - The Warner Bros Years - 1971-1977.
2Ton Bridge - “Pennies on the Shore” / “I’m a Hoot Owl” (Alexander Wright) review
This little appetizer is meant to whet our whistle for a 2Ton Bridge long player due sometime in 2016. If the two songs are any indication, we’re in for quite a treat when it does come out.
Great music has the power to transport you through time, space, or both. 2Ton Bridge’s music isn’t necessarily tied to a particular era - the earthy instruments give off a timeless quality. The real strength here is these songs’ ability to take you out of your current surrounding - away from the constant dinging on your phone; the tweets, likes and noise - to what’s really important - human contact. Close your eyes and prepare to be lifted away - maybe not too far, perhaps just to the rafters in your garage, or the woods behind the mall, but just far enough for a moment of solace.
Various Artists - Please Mr. Disc Jockey: The Atlantic Vocal Group Sound (Fantastic Voyage) review
Three discs of stone-cold classic R&B vocal glory
When it came to R&B vocal groups, nobody could touch Atlantic Records in the Fifties. There was something magical about that red & black label that meant you were getting music that was a cut above the rest. From the Clovers, the Drifters, & the Coasters, to lesser-known artists, the high points have been collected in Please Mr. Disc Jockey from the British Fantastic Voyage label.
Various Artists - Now That's What I Call New Wave 80’s (Universal / Sony) review
Remember when MTV actually played videos?
Now That’s What I Call New Wave 80’s transports us back to a time when the synthesizer was the lead instrument, crazy haircuts meant everything, and the stranger your video was, the better. The disc brings together 18 songs from the glory days of music videos, with some surprises as well.
The Doobie Brothers - The Warner Bros Years: 1971-1983 (Warner) review
All nine studio albums gathered together in one place
You'd be hard pressed to name another band that changed more stylistically, yet remained successful, than the Doobie Brothers. Over the course of twelve years, the group morphed from an acoustic-based folk rock band, to blending elements of hard rock and jazz, to finally becoming a full-blown, blue-eyed soul outfit. All of this transformation can be heard on this new box set, The Warner Brothers Years.
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