Current Album Reviews
Our take on some of the latest material from a variety of artists.
Jack White - Blunderbuss (Third Man / Columbia) review by Russ Barnes It’s a stretch to call Blunderbuss Jack White’s solo debut after eleven albums from the White Stripes, Raconteurs, and Dead Weather, all of which were very much his projects. Still, each band provided an overall structure for White to develop his songs and ideas around and his first release without that starting structure is something of a moving target, a jumble of genres and shifting tempos that takes repeated listens to really settle in.
Various Artists - Now That’s What I Call Classic Rock Hits (Universal / EMI / Sony) review With the weather warming up, you need a new drivin’ CD, don't you? This one should do the trick.
The Now series began life as a way to bring the biggest current hits together on a single CD. But, it’s also resulted in a lot of really interesting collections that cover other types of music as well. Now That’s What I Call Classic Rock Hits is their second foray into vintage rock.
Various Artists - Now That’s What I Call Music #42 (Universal / EMI / Sony) review The Now series continues to deliver the goods - the latest hits, with Now That’s What I Call Music #42. Somehow, this collection manages to stay one step ahead of the game - as of this writing, it contains the #1 song in the country, Australian sensation Gotye’s quirky “Somebody That I Used to Know,” the most psychedelic-sounding song to top the charts since the Sixties. But, that’s just for starters.
Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup - My Baby Left Me: The Definitive Collection (Fantastic Voyage) review Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup played a pivotal role in the development of rock n’ roll - heck, you could say he helped invent the genre.
In 1954, Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black were in the Sun Studios in Memphis, and not getting anywhere. Label owner Sam Phillips had brought Presley into the studio because he saw something magical in the former truck driver, but up to this point, he hadn’t been able to capture any of that magic on tape.
Clannad - The Essential (RCA / Legacy Recordings) review by J Hamrick A 14-year recording hiatus has left at least one generation unfamiliar with Grammy award-winning Clannad’s work. With the March release of The Essential, the internationally recognized group is reintroducing itself.
Thelonious Monk Quartet - Misterioso (Riverside / Concord Music Group - remaster) review The reissue of Misterioso takes you back to the now defunct Five Spot Cafe in the Bowery neighborhood New York City. It's the summer of 1958. There is no cover charge and a beer is only 75 cents. Thelonious Monk is in his second residency at the Five Spot. The stage is cramped and the audience sits mere feet from the band.
Blue Oyster Cult - Essential (Sony Legacy) review Sony’s “Essential” series is an excellent opportunity to delve deeper into an artist’s catalog with satisfying results. Blue Oyster Cult are basically remembered for their macabre hit “Don’t Feat the Reaper,” and for a pair of Seventies Album Rock hits “Godzilla,” and “Burnin’ For You.” Sony Legacy’s new Essential Blue Oyster Cult contains those three tracks, plus adds 28 more songs, helping give a much clearer picture of an under-appreciated band.
Various Artists - A Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On (Fantastic Voyage) review
They ain’t fakin’
I haven’t had this much fun listening to an album in a long, long time. We need more record companies like the London-based Fantastic Voyage. They’ve consistently put out fun-themed collections for some time now. Their latest is A Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On, a double disc set containing 50 tracks from the late Fifties / early Sixties, and everyone of them featuring the word “shake” in the title. Lovingly compiled by Stuart Colman, who also gives background on each track in the CD booklet. What he’s put together is one helluva great party album.
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