Wednesday August 24

Current Album Reviews

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

Now That's What I Call Power Ballads HitsVarious Artists - Now That’s What I Call Power Ballads Hits (Legacy Recordings) review


Your lighter may run out of fuel -  the best single disc collection of metal ballads ever assembled.


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Let’s travel back in time to the late Eighties / early Nineties - when your hair had to be big and your metal had to be melodic.  No matter how bad the boys were or how hard they rocked, they were always obligated to show off their sensitive side, in the form of a power ballad.  Legacy collects 18 of the biggest of the short-lived genre in Now That’s What I Call Power Ballads Hits.


Creed - With Arms Wide Open: A RetrospectiveCreed - With Arms Wide Open: A Retrospective (Bicycle/Concord Music Group) review


Rarely does a band allow its history to be collected so completely.


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Creed was one of the biggest rock bands of the late Nineties / early 2000’s, selling in excess of 40 million records worldwide.  Their blend of grunge angst and Christian-themed sincerity, coupled with a knack for writing anthemic choruses, made them one of the last rock bands to sell millions of albums.  With Arms Wide Open is a three-disc anthology, collecting all the band’s hits, alongside soundtrack one-offs, demos, and acoustic versions.

King Curtis - The Complete Atco SinglesKing Curtis - The Complete Atco Singles (Real Gone/Rhino/Atlantic) review

This 3-disc set sees several songs making their debut on CD


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King Curtis was best known as the man who laid down those honkin’ sax solos on the classic Coasters’ hits of the Fifties.  Yet, he also managed to score many great instrumental smashes on his own, before his untimely death in 1971.  The Complete Atco Singles brings together his entire output for the label, during two separate stints, and puts them all in a new three-CD set from Real Gone Music.  Many of these sides are making their debut in the digital domain.

Wes Montgomery - One Night in IndyWes 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.

Faces - Stay With Me - The AnthologyThe Faces - Stay With Me - the Anthology (Rhino / Warner) review

The first-ever collection to truly capture the essence of the Faces


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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 - Complete SinglesMamas & the Papas - The Complete Singles - 50th Anniversary Collection (Real Gone / Universal) review


First-ever singles collection to feature their ultra-rare mono, hit versions


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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 - Complete Christmas CollectionJohnny Mathis - The Complete Christmas Collection 1958-2010 (Real Gone / Sony) review

More legendary holiday tunes than you can shake a candy cane at


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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 UniverseJeff 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


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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.

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