Wednesday September 17

Current Album Reviews

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

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.

Sony / Legacy Classic Christmas AlbumsThe Sony/Legacy Classic Christmas Albums


A Christmas album for every step of the holidays

The series continues this year with eight new holiday collections from Johnny Cash, Andy Williams, Alabama, Martina McBride, Barbara Streisand, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Neil Diamond, and George Jones & Tammy Wynette.   All of the discs grab from a variety of sources, creating a “best of the holidays” for each artist.

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Creedence Clearwater Revival - Box SetCreedence Clearwater Revival - Box  (Concord / Fantasy)  review

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Okay, here’s a challenge: name any American band that’s released at least seven albums.

I’ll take CCR.

But, no matter who you choose, you’ll have a difficult time beating my choice.  No band captured the spirit of the “everyman” better than Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Various Artists - Pablo Records Original Jazz Classics (Concord Music Group) review

Dizzy Gillespie - Dizzy's Big 4

Art Tatum - Solo Masterpieces - volume one

Duke Ellington - The Ellington Suites

Oscar Peterson - Stephane Grappelli - Skol

Zoot Sims - and the Gershwin Brothers

 

 

 

 

Five new titles explore the underrated Pablo jazz archives

 

Pablo Records was extremely important in the history of jazz.  Formed in 1973 by jazz impresario Norman Granz, the label provided a home to several legendary artists who had been cast aside by the major record labels.  Concord Records is celebrating the label’s 40th anniversary through a series of archival releases, many of which stand up to the finest in all of the genre.

Miles Davis - The Original Mono Recordings box setMiles Davis - The Original Mono Recordings (Sony / Legacy) review

 

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A nine-disc box set of classic Miles - the way it was originally meant to be heard

Prior to 1970, before stereo became the norm, most people listened to music through a single speaker, or “mono” sound.  So, most artists created their albums with mono in mind.  Sony / Legacy has just issued Miles Davis - The Original Mono Recordings, a nine-disc set, covering the early stages of the legend’s career at Columbia Records, and restoring these classic albums to their original, mono configuration.

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