Friday November 28

Current Album Reviews

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

Essential Eric CarmenEric Carmen - The Essential (Arista/Legacy)

The most comprehensive Eric Carmen collection ever assembled - and it sounds fantastic

 

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Most music today is consumed through lousy quality ear buds or computer speakers.  Yet, once in a while, a remaster comes along that sounds so good, you’ll want to dust off that old CD player to get the full experience.  The Essential Eric Carmen is the first two-disc collection to span the talented singer/songwriter’s entire career.  And, it’s one of those rare CDs where the sonic improvement is so noticeable, you’ll find yourself hearing things you never heard before.

 

Nine Times Blue - Matter of TimeNine Times Blue - Matter of Time (Renegade Recordings / City Hall) review

In a world where “melodic” and “rock” rarely come together anymore - there’s Nine Times Blue

 

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There are some artists who enjoy flying in the face of current trends: at the height of New Wave, Brian Setzer fronted a rockabilly band, the Stray Cats; at the pinnacle of Progressive Rock, Eric Carmen led the Raspberries through four albums of Beatles’ inspired Power Pop.  Add Kirk Waldrop and his band, Nine Times Blue, to the list.  At a time when Rock music is either really angry or…nothing, his band has just released Matter of Time, a six-song EP filled with (gasp!) melody!

Vanilla Fudge - The Complete Atco SinglesVanilla Fudge - The Complete Atco Singles (Real Gone/Rhino/Atlantic) review

Vanilla Fudge did it first.

 

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We typically give the English guys credit for inventing heavy metal.  Yet, America’s Vanilla Fudge arrived a year before Deep Purple, and two years before the mighty Led Zeppelin.  Their extremely high volume, menacing tempos, and frenetic drumming pretty much wrote the blueprint for everything that came after.  The Complete Atco Singles sums up this band’s history in a unique way, by focusing on the shorter, hit single versions of their songs.

Grass Roots - Complete Dunhill / ABC SinglesThe Grass Roots - The Complete Dunhill/ABC Hit Singles (Real Gone Music / Universal Music) review

Rescued from the dumpster!  The Grass Roots singles on CD for the first time

 

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In the late 1970’s, MCA Records famously chucked hundreds of single master tapes of their recently-acquired Dunhill Records catalog in the dumpster because they were running out of room.  While this certainly sounds like a heinous crime today, keep in mind that very few people saw the advent of the compact disc coming, and the need to take things from tape sources.  As a result, very few artists from the Dunhill label have ever had their mono, hit single versions put on CD.  We’re talking Steppenwolf, Mamas & Papas, and the Grass Roots, just to name a few.

Bettye Swann - Complete Atlantic RecordingsBettye Swann - The Complete Atlantic Recordings (Real Gone Music / Rhino) review

Sides cut in Muscle Shoals and Philadelphia, plus six previously unreleased recordings make this disc indispensable to soul fans

 

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Bettye Swann is best remembered for her hit “Make Me Yours,” a slice of soulful pleading from 1967.  She works her same magic on The Complete Atlantic Recordings, a collection of 23 tracks making their digital debut.

True to the Blues: The Johnny Winter StoryJohnny Winter - True to the Blues: The Johnny Winter Story (Sony/Legacy Recordings) (Box Set review)

Get ready to melt your speakers with four CD's of Johnny Winter's fiery guitar

 

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Most multi-disc collections are put together to compile the best of an artist’s career.   But, every once in awhile, a box set comes along that alters the way you look at a performer.  True to the Blues is a 4-disc anthology that covers Johnny Winter’s 45 years in the music business.  After you hear it, you’ll be a true believer.

Michael Bloomfield - From His Head to His Hands to His Heart from Sony LegacyMichael Bloomfield - From His Head to His Heart to His Hands (Columbia / Legacy) review

Colossally important, criminally under-appreciated - Michael Bloomfield gets his due

 

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Guitarist Mike Bloomfield may not be a household name, but every rock fan owes him a huge debt.  A new 3-CD/1-DVD “audio / visual scrapbook” From His Head to His Heart to His Hands sheds light on his incredible genius.

Paul Simon - Over the Bridge of TimePaul Simon - Over the Bridge of Time - A Paul Simon Retrospective (1964-2011) (Sony / Legacy) review

An interesting, but frustrating overview of Paul Simon’s entire career

 

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Over the Bridge of Time marks the first time that Paul Simon’s solo material has co-mingled with his previous work with partner Art Garfunkel.  That, in itself, makes this collection unique.  Yet, this 20-track set barely scratches the surface of Simon’s long career.

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