Sunday March 29

Current Album Reviews

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

Rosemary Clooney - White ChristmasRosemary Clooney - Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (Real Gone) review

With the addition of newly-discovered archival footage, this becomes a bona fide Christmas classic

 

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It seems completely ridiculous that the biggest movie of 1954, White Christmas, never had a proper soundtrack (even though it remains a perennial holiday favorite on TV) .  The problem was that the stars of the film (Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney) all recorded for different record labels.  Bing & Danny released their version on Decca, while Rosemary had her version come out on Columbia.  Irving Berlin’s White Christmas originally came out as an 8-song set issued on a 10-inch vinyl LP.  Not surprising, it was never issued on CD.  However, credit goes to the folks at Real Gone Music, who, in addition to the original tracks, have unearthed seven bonus cuts.  No longer tied to the label restrictions, these feature Rosie with Bing on many of the songs.  The result is a holiday classic, sixty years in the making!

 

Big Star - Live in MemphisBig Star - Live in Memphis (Omnivore Recordings) review

The reunited band in front of a hometown crowd

 

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2012’s excellent documentary, Big Star - Nothing Can Hurt Me, brought this underrappreciated band’s story to an entirely new audience (we reviewed the soundtrack here).  Live in Memphis follows up that success with the release of the only-known complete concert filmed of the reunited band, playing in front of their friends, family and fans in their hometown in October of 1994.

Essential KinksKinks - Essential Kinks (RCA/Arista/Legacy) review

The Kinks sound monstrous in this new career-spanning collection

 

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With all the negative talk about the music business lately, it’s easy to overlook the good things still happening. Case in point: Legacy Recordings’ Essential series, which has not only compiled some of the finest career-spanning retrospectives, but also improved (oftentimes drastically) the sound quality in the process.  A fine example of this is the recently-issued, two-disc set, The Essential Kinks.

Jimi Hendrix - Rainbow BridgeJimi Hendrix - Rainbow Bridge (Experience Hendrix / Legacy) review

Long out of print Hendrix albums available in their original form

 

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Little known Hendrix fact: Besides being an amazing guitar player, Jimi Hendrix was also an avid record collector. What better way to hear Hendrix’s music than the way he would’ve wanted you to hear it - on high-quality vinyl. Experience Hendrix & Sony Legacy have just issued two classic Hendrix albums, The Cry of Love & The Rainbow Bridge Soundtrack, and both are available on mp3, CD, and most importantly, good ol’ vinyl.

The Hollies 50 at Fifty - Box SetThe Hollies - 50 at Fifty (Parlophone) review

Better than the Beatles?  At harmony, they were

 

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Because they tackled mostly lighter material, the Hollies are rarely mentioned in the same breath with their British contemporaries like the Beatles & the Stones.  Yet, the Hollies released an incredible amount of great material, as a brand-new box set, 50 at Fifty, proves.

The three-CD set kicks off with the band’s very first single, “(Ain’t That) Just Like Me,” which hit the Top 30 in the UK in 1963.  That single sounds very much like the Beatles’ “I Saw Her Standing There,” as they hadn’t quite developed their own unique style.  Their fourth single, “Just One Look,” a revamp of the Doris Troy classic, showcases the soaring, multi-layered harmonies that would become the band’s trademark (surprisingly, it was not a hit in the US).  Other UK hits like the pounding “Here I Go Again,” or the dark, cascading “We’re Through,” may not be familiar to US listeners, but are fantastic nonetheless.

Revolver - Original mono vinylRevolver - New mono vinylBeatles - New Mono LP’s - a side-by-side comparison

Recently, Capitol Records rolled out The Beatles in Mono Vinyl Box Set, a 14-record collection containing the ten albums the Beatles originally mixed in mono, plus a 3-LP Mono Masters set, which collects all the mono singles.  I’ve compared one new LP with both a vintage mono copy, and the recent mono CD version.

I own both the Stereo and Mono CD box sets, plus all the original US LP’s, so I decided against purchasing the entire new vinyl box (haven’t I given them enough money already?).  However, the new mono LP’s are also available individually, so I purchased a copy of Revolver and decided to compare it.

TV EyesTV Eyes - TV Eyes (Omnivore Recordings) review

Supergroup New Wave homage gets it’s first US release

 

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The world should’ve tuned in.  TV Eyes was a short-lived alternative supergroup featuring Jason Falkner & Roger Manning, who both spent time in Jellyfish, and Brian Reitzell of Redd Kross.  All three members have made careers out of breathing new life into classic styles of music, so TV Eyes made sense.  Grabbing their name from an Iggy & the Stooges classic, the band aped the sound of the late Seventies / early Eighties punk/New Wave movement, before the funny haircuts took center stage: vintage bleeping synthesizers, crunching guitars and rhythms that make you want to pogo, all wrapped in catchy melodies.

Stevie Ray Vaughan - Complete Epic RecordingsStevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble - The Complete Epic Recordings (Epic / Legacy) review

All of the Master’s studio & live material in one place, with a treasure trove of bonus material

 

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Stevie Ray Vaughan rewrote the way the electric guitar was played.  He effortlessly blended Texas blues with jazz and rock, and came up with a sound that would influence generations of guitarists.  Now, for the first time, Epic & Legacy Recordings are making all of the influential guitarist’s work available in one collection. The Complete Epic Recordings, is a 12-disc set that culls all of Vaughan’s studio work and released live material, and couples it with rare concert performances and unreleased tracks - making for the ultimate fan experience.

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