January 2016 Archives

DeepSoul: Natalie Cole - "Tell Me All About It"

The singer was more than Nat King Cole's daughter; she was a versatile vocalist who successfully established her own identity.
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The music world suffered yet another loss when singer Natalie Cole passed away on December 31, 2015. Since her 1975 debut Inseparable, she transformed from an R&B vocalist to pop diva and finally jazz artist. She may have been Nat King Cole's daughter--and clearly drew inspiration from him--but she successfully established a separate identity during her almost 40-year career. Many tributes have focused on Natalie's 1991 album Unforgettable: With Love, her affectionate salute to her legendary father. What few have explored is how her singing style transformed after that LP. Rather than returning to the pop of her 1980s hits

DeepSoul: David Bowie - "Golden Years"

A mid-1970s excursion into R&B proved Bowie could master an impressive array of genres.
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As the David Bowie tributes continue to pour in, one fact is often neglected: his affection for R&B. After retiring his Ziggy Stardust persona, he embarked on an ambitious 1974 tour to support the album Diamond Dogs. During this time, he experimented with incorporating other genres into his material, a relatively risky move. "I sunk myself back into the music that I considered the bedrock of all popular music: R&B and soul," he said in a later interview. "I guess from the outside it seemed to be a pretty drastic move. I think I probably lost as many fans as

DVD Review: Frank Sinatra - All Or Nothing At All

Excellent documentary looks at this remarkable entertainer's life and career.
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Frank Sinatra would have been 100 years old this year. To say his career was unprecedented would be an understatement. Starting in the mid-1930s and finishing in the mid-1990s, Sinatra was there for virtually every major trend in popular music and movies, managing to remain popular through all of them. To celebrate his remarkable achievements, an excellent documentary, All Or Nothing At All, has been released as a two-DVD set. Directed by Alex Gibney, the documentary uses footage from Sinatra's 1971 retirement concert as a sort of audio and video reference for the important points of his career beginning with

SDBlu-ray Review: Queen - A Night At The Odeon

Long available as a bootleg, Queen's legendary Christmas concert makes its SDBlu-ray debut.
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One cannot overstate the importance the year 1975 had for the members of Queen. It saw the release of their landmark album, A Night At The Opera, and saw them move to A-list status among rock bands. The band previously had success with the singles "Killer Queen" and, to a lesser degree, "Seven Seas Of Rhye" and "Keep Yourself Alive," but Opera, on the strength of its brilliant single, "Bohemian Rhapsody," turned the band into superstars. On December 24, 1975, the band performed a concert at the famed Hammersmith Odeon. The show was broadcast live, both on the radio, as

CD Review: Creed - With Arms Wide Open: A Retrospective

Three-CD retrospective focuses on hits, rarities and live cuts.
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Creed came on the rock scene during the post grunge movement of the late 1990s and quickly became one of the biggest bands in the world. The band released four albums, selling over 40 million records worldwide with one of them, Human Clay, achieving Diamond status for having sold 10 million copies. These are numbers that no one, save for maybe Adele and a few others, achieves anymore. The band's success wasn't just commercially either. They won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Song for "With Arms Wide Open" and were the first group to have seven straight #1 rock

Book Review: Ray Wylie Hubbard: A Life...Well, Lived

Ray Wylie Hubbard offers an engaging tale in his memoir.
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At 69 years old, Ray Wylie Hubbard is at the age when most men are at or near retirement, yet he is releasing some of the most vital music of his career. The Americana singer/songwriter, who has mixed country with blues, folk and rock and roll, has been making music for some 50 years now. He's written at least one classic, with "Up Against The Wall Redneck Mother," and counts a Beatle as one of his biggest fans. His song lyrics are well written and often humorous and his stories, particularly on his Facebook page (where he is very active)