Current Album Reviews
Our take on some of the latest material from a variety of artists.
Wes Montgomery - One Night in Indy (Resonance) review
A never-before heard live date features Montgomery in his hometown
The fact that we’re finding unheard material from a legendary artist who’s been gone almost fifty years is pretty amazing. That the discovered recordings are of such high quality is nothing short of astounding. Resonance Records has just issued One Night in Indy, featuring Wes Montgomery and the Eddie Higgins Trio, the only known recording of the pairing, taped back in 1959. This release comes on the heels of last year’s In the Beginning (read our review), which traced the guitarist’s early days.
The Faces - Stay With Me - the Anthology (Rhino / Warner) review
The first-ever collection to truly capture the essence of the Faces
Compiling the Faces has always seemed like trying to give the town wino a managerial position - kind of a waste of time. One disc was too little and didn’t give enough of the band’s personality (judging by Good Boys…When They’re Asleep). The 4-disc You Can Make Me Dance, Sing or Anything (which we reviewed here) is good for some, but is certainly too much as an introduction. Enter Stay With Me - The Anthology, a two-disc set that finally sums up this mercurial band’s career.
Mamas & the Papas - The Complete Singles - 50th Anniversary Collection (Real Gone / Universal) review
First-ever singles collection to feature their ultra-rare mono, hit versions
Real Gone Music is evidence that there are plenty of good things still happening in the music business. For several years now, they’ve been delving into the Dunhill Records’ catalog, issuing best of’s from the Grassroots and Steppenwolf (read those reviews here), featuring the original, mono single versions available for the first time on CD. Now, they’ve turned their attention to the Mamas & the Papas with The Complete Singles: 50th Anniversary Collection.
Johnny Mathis - The Complete Christmas Collection 1958-2010 (Real Gone / Sony) review
More legendary holiday tunes than you can shake a candy cane at
No other artist is more closely associated with Christmas music than legendary vocalist Johnny Mathis. For millions of people worldwide, Mathis is as much a part of tradition as baking cookies and decorating the tree. Real Gone Music has just issued the ultimate treat for fans - for the first time, all five of Mathis' classic holiday albums are brought together in one collection, augmented by the inclusion of singles and one-off collaborations.
Jeff Lynne’s ELO - Alone in the Universe (Big Trilby / Sony) review
The ELO Spaceship rises again for their best record since their late-Seventies’ heyday
Electric Light Orchestra were one of the biggest bands of the Seventies and early Eighties. Their combination of Beatles’ soaked melodies, drizzled with classical overtones made their ear candy radio hits immediately recognizable. And that signature ELO drum sound - it was like four drummers playing at once! Leader Jeff Lynne grounded ELO in the late Eighties and turned his attention to producing some of the biggest-selling albums of the next two decades: Tom Petty, George Harrison, the Traveling Wilburys, Roy Orbison, and even the reunited Beatles all carried on that signature, Lynne sound. Now, with The Muppets back on TV, and Star Wars in theaters, the time is right for ELO to fly again.
Frank Sinatra - A Voice on the Air - 1935-1955 (Columbia / Legacy) review
One of the most important and entertaining Sinatra collections ever released
Frank Sinatra’s rich legacy is well-documented in the numerous studio and live performances, and Hollywood movies released during his lifetime. Yet, Sinatra’s legend was first built on the popularity he achieved on radio. A Voice on the Air, a new, four-disc box set, explores this important aspect of his early career.
Beatles - 1+ (CD/DVD) (Apple/Universal) review
The videos will entice you, but the remixed music is the real thrill
The Fab Four’s offering for the 2015 holiday season is Beatles 1+, a repackaging of their best-selling hits collection featuring all 27 of the Beatles #1 hits, accompanied by a DVD of those same songs in video form. A deluxe edition adds a second disc containing 23 more videos. Both sets are also available in Blu Ray, featuring surround sound audio mixes.
Keiko Matsui - Live in Tokyo (Shanachie) (DVD/CD review)
The gifted pianist is even better in a live setting
Keiko Matsui’s last studio album, Soul Quest (which we reviewed here), was a high water mark in her long career. The album sold over a million copies, and the single, “Black Lion,” was a big hit on Smooth Jazz radio in the US. Live in Tokyo is taken from the tour supporting that album, and finds the pianist returning to her birthplace for a special concert with several guest musicians, captured on both DVD and CD.
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