Current Album Reviews
Our take on some of the latest material from a variety of artists.
Juliet & the Lonesome Romeos - No Regrets (Tree O Records) review On the front cover of her band’s debut album, No Regrets (preview on amazon), Juliet Simmons Dinallo is leaning against a vintage gasoline pump, clad in a cowboy hat and denim jacket - signals of the no-frills rock & country blend that lies inside. And, that’s probably the most satisfying thing about the record - it straddles the line between the two genres, leaning one way or another, depending on what the song needs.
Jimi Hendrix - People, Hell & Angels (Experience Hendrix / Sony) review The fact that Hendrix sounds fresh today, just shows how far ahead of his time he was back then.
People, Hell & Angels (view this album on amazon.com) is an entire album of unreleased Jimi Hendrix music. I know what you’re thinking - “this must be bottom of the barrel stuff, right”? Unbelievably, the answer is no. In fact, most of what’s included here is revelatory and can stand proudly up against his finest work. There have been so many other Hendrix archival releases, so how can this be?
Nine Times Blue - Falling Slowly (Renegade / City Hall) review Finally...some melody!
The Power Pop genre has always baffled me. How can music that is so “radio friendly” be ignored by radio? Big Star, Tommy Keene, and Matthew Sweet should have scored as many hits as Elton John by now. Well, maybe in an alternate universe, right? The Atlanta-based band Nine Times Blue adds a worthy addition to this underrappreciated genre with the release of Falling Slowly (view album on amazon).
Billy Joel - She’s Got a Way - Love Songs (Columbia / Sony Legacy) review New collection explores the singer’s lesser-known romantic side
Judging from the title, you’d think She’s Got a Way - Love Songs was just another “best of,” rehashing the same old Billy Joel tracks as before. There’s just one problem - Joel’s hits weren’t usually of the romantic variety (for starters, his two #1’s were “It’s Still Rock n’ Roll” and “We Didn’t Start the Fire”). True, the Rhodes piano-infused ballad “Just the Way You Are” was the song that put him on the map, climbing to #3 in 1977 and garnering a Grammy for Song of the Year. That song is here. So is “She’s Got a Way” and “An Innocent Man.” But those hits share the spotlight with some of Joel’s more underrappreciated work, making this an extremely enjoyable listen.
Led Zeppelin - Celebration Day - Live DVD (Atlantic) review We wanted a reunion tour - we got one night, one damned good night
Since the untimely passing of drummer John Bonham in 1980, Led Zeppelin have played only three concerts. The first one, in July of 1985, was in front of 1 billion people for the Ethiopian benefit concert Live Aid. Yet, Jimmy Page’s guitar was out of tune, Robert Plant’s voice was off-key, and fill-in drummer Phil Collins flubbed his drum fills several times (he never had time to rehearse with the band before the gig). The second time was for the 40th anniversary of their former record label, Atlantic Records, in 1988. Although their performance wasn’t marred in any mistakes, the band looked and sounded small - like a garage band covering classic rock songs, instead of one of the greatest bands in all of rock.
Rolling Stones - GRRR! (Universal) review Three discs of the World’s Greatest Rock n’ Roll Band
To try and sum up the career of a band that’s celebrating it’s 50th anniversary is a daunting task. Grrr! does a pretty good job though, by giving fans a chance to choose how deep they want to go - there’s a 2-CD set with 40 tracks, a 3-CD set with 50 tracks, and even a Super Deluxe edition with 80 tracks. We’ve picked up the one with three discs and will give you the rundown on that one. The set contains 50 tracks, beginning with their very first single, a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Come On,” and ending with a pair of newly-recorded tunes, “Doom and Gloom” and “One More Shot.”
20/20 - 20/20 / Look out! (twofer) (Real Gone / Epic) review The Power Pop genre is littered with legendary bands with sub-par albums. Even the mighty Raspberries, who crafted some of the greatest singles of the style, had spotty records. That’s what makes this new reissue of 20/20 and Look Out! from Real Gone Music such a welcome surprise. Although rarely mentioned in the same breath as stalwarts like Big Star or the Shoes, the band’s first two albums rival anything from even the most legendary of melodic bands.
Dickie Goodman - Long Live the King (RockBeat) review For 30 years, Dickie Goodman records were a mainstay on the charts. In fact, he placed more novelty hits (17) than any other artist (hence the “king” in the CD title). Long Live the King (view on amazon.com) collects 26 of his best-known tracks, compiled by Goodman’s son, Jon (Dickie sadly passed away in 1989).
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