Tuesday December 06

Current Album Reviews

Our take on some of the latest material from a variety of artists.

Blood Sweat & Tears - Complete Columbia SinglesBlood, Sweat & Tears - The Complete Columbia Singles (Real Gone Music)

All the A & B sides from the peak years of Blood, Sweat & Tears

 

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Blood, Sweat & Tears had two Platinum and three Gold Albums, two of which went all the way to number one, yet this marks the first time that all their singles, including B sides, are available in one collection.  The real selling point for The Complete Columbia Singles is the first eight tracks on disc one, which collect both sides of their first four singles, all available in their original, mono format.

 

Jimi Hendrix - Miami Pop FestivalJimi Hendrix Experience - Miami Pop Festival (Experience Hendrix / Sony Legacy) review

Newly-discovered tapes offer some of the best document of Hendrix in his element

 

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So, you’re probably thinking: “wait, another Hendrix live album - aren’t we scraping the bottom of the barrel”?  The answer is, an emphatic NO.  In fact, Miami Pop Festival may turn out to be one of the finest documents of the cosmically-talented guitarist’s short career.

David Lanz - Movements of the HeartDavid Lanz - Movements of the Heart (Shanachie) review

The most romantic album of Lanz’s long career

 

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We’ve seen it happen several times recently - an artist takes some time off from their originals to revisit the music of their heroes, then comes back strong with a great new album.  The roots rock band the Smithereens followed this path, immersing themselves in the music of the Beatles and Who for almost a decade, then returned with their strongest CD in years called 2011 (read our review).

Jellyfish - Radio JellyfishJellyfish - Radio Jellyfish (Omnivore) review

Recently discovered radio performances from these influential power poppers

 

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Jellyfish were sort of the Big Star of the Nineties.

Both bands seemed to have an endless well of radio-friendly material, which ironically never actually made it to the radio.  Their brief careers were marred by record company blunders, yet each band has a loyal fanbase, which seems to grow every year.

Big Star - Playlist: The Very Best ofBig Star - Playlist: The Very Best of Big Star (Zoo/Legacy) review

An odd, yet interesting alternate history of the fathers of Power Pop

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For a band that didn’t sell many records, Big Star is everywhere.  First came the excellent documentary, Nothing Can Hurt Me, from 2013, which shed light on the triumphs and failures of this ill-fated, but much-loved group.  Now comes Playlist: The Very Best of Big Star.

This is Lone JusticeLone Justice - This is Lone Justice: The Vaught Tapes, 1983 (Omnivore Recordings) review

 

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Archival release captures the raw energy of this under-appreciated band

I vividly remember purchasing the debut Lone Justice album from the Record Bar at Northgate Mall in Durham, NC in 1985.  It was the first time I bought any music without ever hearing a single note. We were blessed with fantastic college radio stations in the Raleigh/Durham area, but for some reason, they had ignored this record.  But, after reading several rave reviews of the band, I decided to take the plunge anyway.  From the very first banshee-like wail of Maria McKee on the opener “East of Eden,” I was hooked.  Yet, listening back to that record now, although still great, the production is way too slick, and the drums are too big sounding.

Jimi Hendrix - Hear My Train a Comin' DVDJimi Hendrix - Hear My Train a Comin’ (DVD) (Experience Hendrix / Sony Legacy) review

A phenomenal two-hour documentary worthy of the Hendrix legend

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As legendary a figure as Jimi Hendrix still is, it’s easy to forget that he was also a human being.  Hear My Train a Comin, a new documentary on DVD, paints the most complete picture of the gifted guitarist that we’ve ever seen.  Hendrix concert footage is all over the Internet, but what was he like offstage?  Through extensive interviews with family members, and especially former girlfriends, we find out that the Hendrix we saw onstage was a lot different from (and oftentimes, at odds with) the man he was away from the spotlight.  Interviews with Hendrix’s family and the inclusion of home movies and photos, help add a human side that we haven’t seen before.

Eric Clapton - Unplugged - Deluxe EditionEric Clapton - Unplugged (Deluxe Edition) (Reprise) review

Clapton’s biggest-selling album gets “amped up”

 

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With over 10 million copies sold, Unplugged is not only Eric Clapton’s best-selling album, it also ranks on the list of biggest of all-time.  It also garnered the guitarist a whopping six Grammy’s in 1992.  Reprise Records has just remastered the original album, tacking on a disc of bonus tracks left off the original program.  Also included is a DVD featuring the full episode, plus a never-before seen rehearsal, taped earlier in the day.

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