Current Album Reviews
Our take on some of the latest material from a variety of artists.
Robin Gibb - Saved By the Bell - The Collected Works of Robin Gibb 1968-1970 (Rhino / Reprise) review
“I’m a dreamer and my hobby is writing”
Robin Gibb stated the above quote during a BBC interview conducted during his brief separation from the Bee Gees, which is covered in a new, three-disc set, Saved By the Bell. Gibb possessed one of the most unique voices in all of popular music. Capable of intense emotion, he took centerstage on Bee Gees’ hits like “I Started a Joke,” and “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart.” Yet this set shows an artist bursting with ideas - an incredible watershed of singular creativity. He released one solo album, recorded music for a second, and wrote songs for a third, all in a span of about twelve months.
Thelonious Monk - The Complete Riverside Recordings (Riverside) review
Grammy-award winning box set is finally available again
Few artists recorded a body of work for one label as important as Thelonious Monk did during his tenure at Riverside Records from 1955-1961. During this period, he went from relative unknown to jazz superstar under the tutelage of label founder Orrin Keepnews. The Complete Riverside Recordings was originally released back in 1986 on 22 LP’s and 15 CD’s. Garnering several Grammy’s, it’s now finally back in print in both disc and mp3 form.
Various Artists - Summer Songs, Summer Love, Summer Fun (Fantastic Voyage) review
81 tunes - enough to keep you partying all summer long
There’s been a few other “summer” related compilations over the years - but none of them can touch Summer Songs, Summer Love, Summer Fun, just released by British reissue label Fantastic Voyage - featuring three discs jam-packed with songs all related to the warmest season of the year.
Yes - Progeny: Highlights From Seventy-Two (Rhino / Atlantic) review
Wow, they were THAT good
In 1972, Yes were at the peak of their powers. They were coming off the trifecta of studio albums - The Yes Album, Fragile, and Close to the Edge, when they hit the road for an extensive US tour. At the end of those shows, the band released the triple-album set Yessongs. Yet, even though it went platinum, that album suffered from lousy sound quality. Over 40 years later, they’ve gone back to the original tapes and remixed everything, and the results, Progeny: Highlights From Seventy-Two are mind blowing.
Iron Butterfly - Ball (Expanded Edition) (Real Gone / Atco) review
This lost classic shows off the band's other sides
Iron Butterfly are remembered mostly for the “Iron” part of their name, thanks to their 17-minute magnum opus “In a Gadda Da Vida,” which became a surprise hit on AM radio, when edited down to 2:54. Yet, if you listen to the rest of that song’s parent album, you’ll find plenty of “Butterfly” moments as well - the band really did know how to write a good melody. Ball, the followup album, is arguably their most consistent release, and it’s just received the remastering treatment from Real Gone Music.
Ben Wilkins - All From Hello (Midnight Train Records) review
Soulful grooves and pristine production highlight his sophomore release
We raved about Ben Wilkins’ debut album back in late 2011. Now, the Canadian singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist is back with his followup, All From Hello. But, don’t expect it to be a carbon copy of his first album.
Little Richard - Directly From My Heart (Specialty / Concord Music Group) review
Little Richard came on like a category 5 hurricane…and here’s the proof
Directly From My Heart is a new, 3-CD, Little Richard compilation that should be subtitled “The Good Stuff,” because it covers a period of time when he was still at the peak of his powers. So, there’s a healthy dose of the seminal sides that he cut for Art Rupe’s Specialty label, but you also get an entire disc of lesser-known tracks from his stint with Vee Jay, after his sabbatical in religious music. The end result is the greatest Little Richard collection ever assembled, and one heck of a fun ride.
Craig Fuller / Eric Kaz (Expanded Edition) (Real Gone / Sony Music) review
Long out of print 70’s California rock
Fuller was the voice and writer behind Pure Prairie League’s signature hit “Amie,” while Kaz penned several hits for Bonnie Raitt & Linda Ronstadt. Their debut collaboration arrived amid high expectations in 1978. Yet, despite the excellent songs, impeccable vocals, and stellar backing, the album was a commercial failure.
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