Current Album Reviews
Our take on some of the latest material from a variety of artists.
Freddie King - The Complete King & Federal Singles (Real Gone Music) review You say you want to learn to play guitar? Here’s where you need to start
Freddie King was arguably the first electric guitar gunslinger, wielding his instrument as a fine marksman - with stinging accuracy. His recordings played a huge role in shaping modern rock electric guitar - Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Peter Green all have cited King as a major influence. Real Gone Music has just issued The Complete King & Federal Singles, marking the first time the “A” and “B” sides have been coupled together in a single, two-disc anthology.
Stephen Stills - Carry On (box set) (Atlantic / Rhino / Warner Music Group) review An unbelievably solid, four-CD retrospective covering the long career of Stephen Stills
The last in a series of box sets covering the careers of Crosby, Stills, & Nash, Carry On sheds light on the immense and diverse talents of Stephen Stills. Spanning more than 50 years, the set touches on all aspects of his musical history, from his early days in Buffalo Springfield, to his on-again/off-again relationship with Crosby, Nash (and sometimes Young), to his colorful solo career, featuring 82 tracks, 25 of them previously unreleased.
Reivers - Second Story (review) After a 22-year hiatus, the Reivers return
When you’ve taken an extended time off, as the Reivers have, you can either try and pick up where you left off, or forge a new path. Thankfully, they’ve chosen the former for their first new album in 22 years, Second Story.
Richard Barone - Cool Blue Halo (Richard Barone Music / Digsin) review A hauntingly beautiful album that spawned a new kind of music turns 25
In 1987, at the height of big hair, big drums, and well, big everything, a rather unassuming album - Cool Blue Halo, was issued by ex-Bongos frontman Richard Barone. It’s guitar, cello and light percussion lineup was a marked departure from the jangly, guitar-driven pop which his previous band had perfected. Upon first listen, this new direction was so sparse, it sounded like it was missing something - completely out of step with the times.
Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign (remastered) (Stax/Concord) review He’s being inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame this year - here’s one really good reason why
A colossally important album in the history of the the blues, Born Under a Bad Sign has just received the remastered treatment from Stax/Concord Music Group. What Albert King’s debut for Stax did in 1967 is bridge the gap between rock n’ roll and blues. There had been many blues artists before that had jammed with the rock guys, but you got the impression that some of them didn’t understand, or care, about how they were influencing a new movement. Instead, Albert embraced it.
Various Artists - The Girl Can’t Help It - The Greatest Rock n’ Roll Film of the 1950’s (Fantastic Voyage) review The classic soundtrack - on steroids. And, it also acts as a great history of early rock n’ roll
In 1956, rock n’ roll was still taboo in many homes across the country. So, for Hollywood to assemble some of the genre’s boldest new stars (Little Richard, Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, Fats Domino) and put them in a comedy featuring the voluptuous Jayne Mansfield, was a really big deal. For many, it was their first exposure to this exciting new music. Fantastic Voyage pays tribute not only to the movie, but to the musicians involved in the film through the release of The Girl Can’t Help It, a three-disc, greatly expanded version of the original soundtrack.
Various Artists - Coolsville! Hits & Rarities From the Golden Age of Pop Instrumentals (Fantastic Voyage) review
Where did the instrumental go? Once a staple on radio and a hit with consumers, the wordless pop song is sadly a thing of the past. Fantastic Voyage has assembled Coolsville! - a great, two-disc collection of these mostly-forgotten classics.
Fanny - Fanny (Real Gone Music) review Back when the Go Go’s and Bangles were both still in grade school, this California quartet blazed a trail for all female rockers to come.
The first all-girl band to be signed to a major label, Fanny released this debut album back in 1971 (now remastered by the folks at Real Gone Music). It seems completely ridiculous now - especially with so many talented women ruling the charts - but these girls had a lot of trouble being taken seriously. Girls were supposed to stand there and look pretty - not rock, especially as hard as these girls did.
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