Recently by General Jabbo

Single Review: 1st Base Runner - "All Thoughts"

1st Base Runner offers a moody debut single with "All Thoughts".
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The debut single from 1st Base Runner, "All Thoughts," is an intriguing, moody piece with droning vocals, driving bass and massive keyboards. 1st Base Runner is Tim Husmann from Austin, TX, who plays all the instruments and delivers all the vocals. His voice is at once edgy and melodic, with a bit of grit to it. Husmann's voice and instrumentation make for a hypnotic track. The video is equally dark, yet compelling. Shot in black and white, and made to look as if it were shot on a cell phone, it showcases strange images of player pianos, people in masks,

Single Review: Oneo Fakind - "The Coniologist"

Oneo Fakind offer a potent new single and video with "The Coniologist".
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New from Toronto electronic duo Oneo Fakind is "The Coniologist," the lead single and video from their new album, The Start of Something. The track starts out with an ominous spoken word interlude, which is soon interrupted by booming bass sounds and melodic keyboards. Building in intensity throughout, the song features lush keyboard swells against more dissonant, almost video game sounding noises and what seems like a trace of steel drums hidden in the background. As quickly as it begins, the song ends with some eerie single piano notes. The song's video is equally intense, opening with space scenes and

DVD Review: The Go-Go's

The Go-Go's is a well-made look at this influential band.
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From director Alison Ellwood comes The Go-Go's, a film about the legendary all-female group. The documentary includes interviews with every member of the group, as well as former band members and their former manager and documents their rise from an LA punk band that could barely play their instruments to becoming the first (and only) all-female group to write their own songs and play their own instruments to score a number one album to their messy breakup and subsequent reunions. The group, which just received a nomination for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, continues to write new music

EP Review: David Thompson - The Wall

David Thompson returns with a strong synth pop EP.
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For David Thompson's second release as a solo artist, The Wall, Covid had an influence on his backing band. With everyone in quarantine, Thompson decided to play all the instruments on the album (save for two songs featuring guitar work by Howe Pearson) and self produce it as well. The result is an EP chock full of 1980s-influened electronic pop that showcase Thompson's strong songwriting skills and pop sensibilities. The EP leads off with "Time," a track that blends eerie sounding keyboards and reverb drenched vocals. The track is an ode to early 80s New Wave and its black and

Video Review: Nick Campbell Destroys - "Goodbye Moonmen"

Nick Campbell releases a trippy video for "Goodbye Moonmen."
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Nick Campbell used the pandemic to release an EP of covers, Low-Fi Bass Music For Quarantine, earlier this year under his group name Nick Campbell Destroys. Now he is back with a video for "Goodbye Moonmen," a track from the EP and a cover of a song from Campbell's favorite TV show, Rick and Morty. The song is a trippy affair, with almost spoken-word verses and a heavenly, near Beach Boys harmony chorus courtesy of vocalist Michael Mayo of Herbie Hancock fame (among others). The video has Campbell standing in outer space, with words from the lyrics appearing in the

EP Review: Lord Sonny The Unifier - All New Information

Lord Sonny The Unifier return with a diverse new EP.
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Following the release of their psychedelic-infused single, "(All My Friends) Live Underground," Lord Sonny The Unifier returns with a four-track EP, All New Information. The EP includes the aforementioned track, plus three additional cuts, "Knockout," "Pay The Man (When You Leave)," and "I Love You World." All four songs show a great deal of diversity and a willingness to experiment musically. "Knockout" leads things off and showcases a melodic, danceable groove with edgy vocals and a memorable chorus. Rock guitars and heavy effects mix with a healthy dose of bass on this standout track. The video shows multiple clips of

Single Review: Erich Mrak - "No Ways"

Erich Mrak combines genres in his smooth new single.
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Erich Mrak's latest single, "No Ways," started out as a country/pop song before he did some radical rearranging to the track. Now the track boasts heavily chorused guitars over a modern R&B beat with electronic music elements and autotune creeping in. The changes work and, arguably, make the song more interesting. Mrak's vocals alternate between falsetto and his regular voice in this laid back number about a friend expressing his or her romantic feelings when they have maybe had too much to drink for the night. The song is melodic and laid back, in spite of its heavy subject matter,

Single Review: Lord Sonny The Unifier - "(All My Friends) Live Underground"

Lord Sonny The Unifier delivers a rocking new single with "(All My Friends) Live Underground"
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Distorted guitars and psychedelic production colors the new single from New York rockers Lord Sonny The Unifier "(All My Friends) Live Underground." The song, which is from the group's EP All New Information, mixes heavy guitars and distorted, electronic noises and vocals with a melodic, psychedelic-influenced chorus. Vocalist Greg Jiritano delivers a gritty, edgy vocal and strong killer lead guitar playing in an era where there sadly is not much of that anymore. Jiritano adds some trippy keyboards for good measure and is joined on backing vocals by Amy Gordon. The song, which is about the misfits of the world

CD Review: Def Leppard - Hysteria At The O2, Hits Vegas

Previously available as part of a box set, Def Leppard have released standalone versions of two great concerts.
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Earlier this year, Def Leppard released a killer live box set, London To Vegas, that documented two fantastic shows -- one at London's O2 area where the band played their iconic Hysteria album in its entirety and the other in Las Vegas, where the group delivered a 28-song show filled with hits and seldom-played cuts. Now the shows are being released as limited edition standalone audio versions -- Hysteria at the O2 and Hits Vegas, Live at Planet Hollywood. Both releases will be available on CD and LP (in limited edition transparent blue vinyl no less). Digital audio files were

CD Review: Ricky Byrd - Sobering Times

Ricky Byrd offers hope to those struggling with addiction, and a killer set of songs, on Sobering Times.
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Three years ago, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Ricky Byrd released his acclaimed album, Clean Getaway, a record aimed at helping people struggling with addiction as he once did. The former Joan Jett and the Blackhearts guitarist has been sober for over 30 years and dedicates much of his time working as a recovery coach for other addicts. The response was so positive to Clean Getaway that Byrd decided to have a go at it again with his new release, Sobering Times, an album rich in classic rock hooks but, more importantly, rich with a message of hope

DVD Review: The Rolling Stones - Steel Wheels Live

The Rolling Stones deliver a killer concert from 1989 with some very special guests.
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In 1989, The Rolling Stones took to the road for their first tour since their widely successful Still Life tour of 1981-82. While the band had released two studio albums in the interim -- 1983's Undercover and 1986's Dirty Work-- they did not tour for either, instead focusing on solo works from singer Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards. These solo projects led to squabbling between the so-called Glimmer Twins and left the future of The World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band up in the air, so when the group announced not only a new album in Steel Wheels, but

Single Review: Shawna Virago - "Heaven Sent Delinquent"

Shawna Virago returns with a rocking new single.
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Transgender singer-songwriter, Shawna Virago, is back with a new single, an electric version of her song "Heaven Sent Delinquent." Virago is something of a pioneer. While transgender people are typically more accepted today, she has been an "out" performer since the early 1990s, long before social media and celebrities made it "cool." The song deals with some of the struggles she faced coming from an oppressive town. While Virago has been called anti-folk and punk, this song has more of a mid-tempo, almost Rolling Stones vibe to it, with its laid-back vocal and Keith Richards-esque chord changes. The video is

Album Review: Eric Anders and Mark O'Bitz - American Bardo

Eric Anders and Mark O'Bitz have crafted a fine new album in American Bardo.
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For their third full-length album, American Bardo, singer-songwriter duo, Eric Anders and Mark O'Bitz found inspiration in Greg Saunders' award winning novel, Lincoln In The Bardo. Each song in the 12-song collection, or "readers", as vocalist Anders refers to them, is about one or more characters in the story. The resulting album is a collection of warm, often haunting, well-written songs filled with strong lyrics, vocals, and musicianship. The album leads off with the swampy guitar and electronic drums of "Matterbloomlight." Drenched in echo, the song is at once melodic and melancholy, with a fine guitar solo courtesy of "O'Bitz.

Album Review: Mark Vickness - Interconnected

Mark Vickness takes acoustic fusion to the next level on Interconnected.
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Three years after releasing his debut solo album, Places, Mark Vickness is back with Interconnected, an instrumental album that best can be described as acoustic fusion. Four of the album's eight tracks are in a modern, finger picked style, while the other four feature Vickness' talented group, which includes two-time Grammy Award winning Mads Tolling on violin, Joseph Hebert on cello, Dan Feiszli on both upright and electric bass and Ty Burhoe on tabla. Heavy with rhythmic elements, the music blends elements of folk, jazz, classical, and world music, making for a unique sound that is at once familiar and

EP Review: Vast Caldera - Vast Caldera 1

Vast Caldera combines the best of electronic music and classic rock on their debut EP
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When Justin Weiss was growing up, he and his family went on a road trip. It was there he discovered, via his father's iPod, a love for classic rock music - music he spent years practicing on guitar. When Weiss was in college, he discovered electronic music and quickly wanted to absorb that the same way he did with classic rock all those years ago. Finally, he decided, "Why not do both?" Weiss has done just that with Vast Caldera 1, the debut EP from his group, Vast Caldera. Produced by Abe Duque, the five instrumental tracks mix elements of

Single Review: Cosmopolis - "Sécheresse"

Cosmopolis drops a strong new single.
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Cosmopolis, a new band with members hailing from Brisbane, Australia; Brussels, Belgium; and Canterbury, England; have released a strong set of new tracks -- "Sécheresse" and "God Hotel." The tracks are modern sounding, with elements that would make fans of Radiohead, David Bowie, and even U2 happy, but not derivative. The group has channeled these influences into something new and exciting. "Sécheresse" mixes ominous keyboards with an edgy, monotonous vocal. The song gives a real sense of paranoia with a bit of a Bowie vibe in the vocals. The guitars swell, giving way to a spacey sound with potent drums.

Single Review: Grapefruit Sound Lab And Amuka - "Love Cards"

Grapefruit Sound Lab drops another killer preview of their forthcoming full-length release
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New York Native Robert Cotnoir has parlayed his success as a Hollywood movie music editor into a musical project. Grapefruit Sound Lab is his blend of freestyle, electro, house, and classic rock, among other genres. Working with a number of collaborators, including vocalist Amuka (who has worked with artists as diverse as George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, John Mellencamp, and Rick James), the group is set to release their first album, and their new single, "Love Cards," is a potent preview of things to come. Beginning with an eerie, almost flute sounding keyboard, the track soon gives way to Amuka's powerful

Album Review: Les Techno - Flowers For Dystopia

Les Techno molds sounds of the past and present for an exciting debut album.
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After winning favor with critics on a number of singles, New York musician Les Techno has dropped his debut album, Flowers For Dystopia. The record is an edgy, often cynical, often satirical look at the world we live in today and mixes sounds new and old to bring a sound at once familiar and fresh. Imagine guitar rock, but in a nontraditional way. There are flourishes here and there, but also dissonant stabs over melodic keyboards. Add in some hip-hop rhythms and a healthy dose of 1980s keyboards and one might have a good idea of what Flowers sounds like.

Single Review: Patrick Ames - "You Make Me Scream"

Patrick Ames finds his groove on his danceable new single.
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Patrick Ames had spent the past year writing about serious issues, politics, and the state of the country. That, combined with pandemic, understandably got him down. His solution was to use his music for less serious pursuits -- in short, he wanted to dance, and his latest single, "You Make Me Scream," is certainly conducive to that. Beginning with a descending organ and bass lick that sounds like a bomb dropping, the song moves into a slinky, Stones-inspired riff with a funky bass line from producer Jon Ireson, who also played lead guitar on the track. Ames gives a gritty

Album Review - Lara Taubman - Revelation

Lara Taubman evokes music of the past, while embracing the present on her strong debut.
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When Lara Taubman was growing up, she had a serious interest in art -- painting to be specific -- and, envisioning a career in visual arts, went to college to pursue that dream. She eventually became an art critic and curator and studied cultural theory in graduate school, but she heard a call when she was cleaning of all things that said, "If you don't have children, you will probably be OK with that, but if you don't sing in a serious, committed way, you will regret it on your deathbed." Taubman heeded the call. Music had always been a

CD Review: Deep Purple - Whoosh!

Deep Purple's 21st album finds the band showing off some deep grooves
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Legendary rockers, Deep Purple, are back with their 21st album, Whoosh! The album is the band's third release produced by the equally legendary Bob Ezrin. If Whoosh! Could be described in one word, it would be groove, and few bands are able to lock into grooves as tight as Deep Purple. While many groups that have been around more than 50 years might sound their age, Deep Purple sounds fresh and vital and, most importantly, one can hear the fun they are having still making great music. The album leads off with "Throw My Bones," which begins with a funky

Album Review: Mighty Joe Castro & The Gravamen - Come On Angels!

Mighty Joe Castro & The Gravamen look to the past with their strong new album.
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Take the best elements of 1950s rock and roll and rockabilly ­­-- strong harmonies, tight musicianship, and excellent song craft -- and mix them with some modern lyrical and production elements and you would likely come up with the sounds present on Mighty Joe Castro & The Gravamen's first full-length album, Come On Angels! Formed in Philadelphia, the band consists of Castro, bassist HOOV3R, drummer Dallas, and lead guitarist Michael Stingle. The sound blends elements of Sun Records rockabilly with the Stray Cats and has a real punk energy in places, which is not surprising considering the punk pedigree of

Album Review: Chris Ianuzzi - Planeteria

Chris Ianuzzi takes listeners on a wild ride in his latest release.
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Chris Ianuzzi's music career has been decorated to say the least. He has performed for the American Society of University Composers, composed music for the Olympics in Japan, won an award for theme and music creation for The Crime and Investigation Channel, and composed music for the HBO series Earth to Moon. It is no surprise then that the music contained on his latest release, Planeteria, sounds like it could be the soundtrack to a futuristic movie. Opening with the title track, Ianuzzi quickly takes the listener on a journey that forgoes conventional song structure in place of atmospheric sounds

Single Review: Geoff Gibbons - "Keep On Driving"

Geoff Gibbons ponders the possibilities if one takes chances in his strong new single.
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Geoff Gibbons may hail from Vancouver, BC, but his sound is pure California Americana. Influenced by the likes of The Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, Gibbons' music blends pop, country, rock, and a heavy dose of roots music. For his latest single, "Keep On Driving," he uses the car metaphor to illustrate the good things that can happen if one is willing to take chances in life. He himself pondered what would happen if we didn't turn into his driveway one day and just kept driving on. It's a chance not many are willing to take. The song blends

Single Review: Patrick Ames - "Reawakened 2020"

Patrick Ames reworks his political track "Reawakened" for the times.
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Patrick Ames wrote his gospel-infused political track, "Reawakened," after President Trump's inauguration in 2017. Needless to say, he was not happy about the results of the previous year's election. Now, in 2020, the song has taken on new meaning. It It is an election year, but with the Covid outbreak and all the protests and unrest around the country, Ames thought it could use a reworking. Ames had been recording versions of his songs for a best-of collection, but felt a solo acoustic version would not suit "Reawakened." He enlisted Jon Ireson, who remixed the track -- keeping the original

Single Review: A Killer's Confession - "Last Chance"

A Killer's Confession are back with a strong new single "Last Chance."
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A Killer's Confession, a band led by former Mushroomhead front man Waylon Reavis, is back with a strong new single, "Last Chance." The song is an emotional one that moves between poppier quiet sections with Reavis' vocals over finger snaps and melodic keyboards and driving, yet still melodic, heavy sections with both melodic and guttural vocals. The track is a nice slice of modern, melodic hard rock, with strong musicianship and vocals to match. For the song's video, the band chose to follow current social distancing orders and shoot each of their parts individually at home. Shot in black and

CD Review: The Harmed Brothers - Across The Waves

The Harmed Brothers deliver ten smartly written tracks on their strong new album.
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It's been over a decade since singer/songwriter Ray Vietti and songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Alex Salcido discovered they shared a bond in music. They decided to offer it up to the world as The Harmed Brothers, putting out four albums, touring constantly and evolving their sound from a banjo/guitar duo to a full-on band along the way. For their fifth album, Across The Waves, the songwriters have settled in the river town of Ludlow, Kentucky, just outside of Cincinnati. The small town feel resonates throughout Across The Waves' ten tracks. The album opens with "Skyline Over," a driving rocker with smart lyrics and

Blu-ray Review: Def Leppard - London To Vegas

Def Leppard deliver hit after hit in two great concerts.
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For over four decades, Def Leppard has brought their brand of melodic hard rock to the masses. With a killer catalog, killer harmonies, and killer musicianship, the band's concerts celebrate rock's bygone era and play out like a classic rock radio jukebox. In 2018, the band took to the stage in London's famed O2 Arena to deliver their classic album, Hysteria, in its entirety. Six months later, the group did a residency in Las Vegas, playing lengthy sets filled with seldom heard, choice cuts. The band filmed the shows in both venues and those concerts make up the excellent Blu-ray,

Album Review - Jefferson Berry & The Urban Acoustic Coalition - Double Deadbolt Logic

Jefferson Berry & The UAC's third album delivers strong musicianship and songwriting.
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Philadelphia's Jefferson Berry has lived a varied, interesting life. He is a member of the PFS Musician's Co-Op, is a mainstay at Philadelphia Folksong Society Events, and has played the Philadelphia Folk Festival numerous times. When he's not performing on the stage, he is performing in the classroom, as a history and government teacher in the Philadelphia School District. He even taught Lil Uzi Vert. His group -- Jefferson Berry and the Urban Acoustic Coalition -- has just released their third full-length LP, Double Deadbolt Logic. The folk/rock group consists of a revolving door of musicians, anywhere from three to

EP Review - Justin Hayward - One Summer Day/My Juliette

Justin Hayward returns with two excellent new tracks
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While touring and the music industry in general have ground to a halt in the midst of the global pandemic, it hasn't stopped talented artists from pursuing their creative muse. Legendary Moody Blues singer-songwriter Justin Hayward has taken this opportunity to release a new EP, a two-song collection featuring the tracks "One Summer Day" and "My Juliette." Warm and inviting, with fine lyrics, vocals, and playing, the songs demonstrate Hayward has lost none of his melodic gifts, more than 50 years into his phenomenal career. The EP leads off with "One Summer Day," a hopeful love song about living in

CD Review and Interview: Doug "Cosmo" Clifford - Magic Window

Former CCR drummer Doug "Cosmo" Clifford discovers a strong 1985 solo album in his garage.
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For most people, cleaning out the garage might mean getting rid of old paint cans and rusted out tools, but not for former Creedence Clearwater Revival drummer, Doug "Cosmo" Clifford. Clifford discovered loads of master tapes he had forgotten about with over 100 songs on them and had them baked and transferred to digital. The result is a "new" solo album from the drummer, Magic Window, his first since 1972's Cosmo. While the album features some modern overdubs and production choices from Clifford and his guitarist/coproducer Russell DaShiell (who was the album's original engineer), the bulk of the material was

Album Review: Diane and the Gentle Men - The White Sea

Diane and the Gentle Men offer up some 1960s-inspired garage rock and power pop on their latest release.
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The year 2018 was to be a banner one for singer-songwriter Diane Gentile and her band, Diane and the Gentle Men. They had completed recording their new album, The White Sea, and Gentile had appeared live on The Garden Sessions, filmed from Adam Duritz of The Counting Crows fame's home. The group had booked a short tour of Italy when Gentile was in a bad car accident, forcing her to have major reconstructive surgery on her face. Gentile's friends urged her to release an EP while she recovered and she did, dropping Little Things, which featured songs that would ultimately

Album Review - Rachel Garlin - Mondegreens

Rachel Garlin shows off her intricate lyrics and song craft on Mondegreens.
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Rachel Garlin has lived an interesting and varied life, one that she has applied to the lyrics of her songs. The former Harvard basketball player and schoolteacher has made a name for herself as a singer-songwriter with a keen eye for observation about the world around her. Her latest album, Mondegreens, blends folk, country, rock, and a touch of blues, along with warm production and Garlin's evocative lyrics and voice, making for a compelling listen. Produced by Julie Wolf, who has worked as a side musician alongside the likes of Ani DiFranco, Carly Simon, and the Indigo Girls, Mondegreens features

CD Review: Alex Dixon Presents...The Real McCoy

Alex Dixon keeps his family's blues tradition alive on The Real McCoy.
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It's only natural that Alex Dixon would become a blues musician. After all, his grandfather was the legendary blues artist, Willie Dixon. Dixon's new album, The Real McCoy, mixes tracks written by Alex Dixon along with a handful of numbers penned by his famous grandfather. Keeping in the family tradition, Alex's 13-year-old daughter, Leila, makes her vocal debut singing backup on "Nothing New Under The Sun." It all adds up to a strong album steeped in the electric Chicago blues tradition. Dixon's band is top notch as well. Vocalist Lewis "Big Lew" Powell is a powerhouse and Steve Bell is

Album Review: Jackson Price And The Blues Rockets - I Used To Have Fun

Jackson Price delivers a strong blues-rock record.
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Blues-rock artist, Jackson Price, got his start in a different form of performing arts -- acting. For 15 years, Price appeared in commercials, TV shows, and movies, though he eventually became burned out on acting. Price was always a guitarist, having learned blues licks in his youth, and soon he found himself fronting the Los Angeles-based blues band, The Mighty Mojo Prophets. Eventually, Price grew tired of Los Angeles and moved to Taos, New Mexico, forming Big Swing Theory. The group's local success prompted Price to form a side band to perform and record his original material and Jackson Price

Single Review: Matt Lande - "Don't You (Forget About Me)"

Matt Lande delivers a strong cover of an 80s new wave classic.
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Portland-based alt rock/electro pop artist, Matt Lande, has been compared to the likes of Savage Garden and Snow Patrol and has made a name for himself, both as a solo artist and as the principal force behind bands such as StorySide: B and Heaven Is Where. For his latest single, he pays tribute to his 1980s new wave roots by covering the Simple Minds classic, "Don't You (Forget About Me)." The track, which features Lande on guitar, bass, and keyboard, and Joey McAllister on drums was mastered by Andy Walter at London's famed Abbey Road Studios. Lande's version is a

Blu-ray Review: ZZ Top - That Little Ol' Band From Texas

Fifty years on, ZZ Top continues to put Texas boogie on the map.
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For more than 50 years there has been only one ZZ Top. No band before or since really sounds -- or looks -- like them. They play the blues, but they aren't a blues band. ZZ Top's brand of music takes a page from the blues and adds a healthy dose of rock 'n roll, Texas boogie and, perhaps most importantly, a sense of humor. They're consistent, too, featuring the same lineup of Frank Beard on drums, Dusty Hill on bass, and Billy Gibbons on guitar this entire time. A new documentary, That Little Ol' Band From Texas, takes a

Album Review: Brainsqueezed - Scarred

Sébastien Laloue has created a strong batch of tunes on Scarred.
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Brainsqueezed has been compared to the likes of Guns 'n Roses, A Perfect Circle, and Steven Wilson -- lofty company to be sure -- but on the group's second album, Scarred, the group's mastermind, Sébastien Laloue, has crafted a group of songs that live up to the billing. Influenced by the likes of Queen, Pink Floyd and Peter Gabriel, Laloue builds upon those mentors' work, creating a sound that is at once both modern and classic. The album opens with the fast, acoustic strumming of "Sailors." One immediately notices the striking, rich quality of vocalist Marcello Vieira's voice. The band

Album Review - Rob Alexander - Being Myself

Rob Alexander delivers a 15-track album that sounds like an old friend musically.
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Rob Alexander has been a busy guy. When not working as a physician anesthesiologist in South Florida, he has been busy crafting well-made pop albums. His first album, 2018's Long Road Coming Home, featured five singles and much praise from critics. Now, he is back with Being Myself, a 15-song collection of well-written tunes that sound like old, familiar friends. Alexander's music is the sort of pop that dominated the charts from the 1970s until the 1990s. His voice bears a strong resemblance to that of Elton John's and, indeed there are three current members of John's touring band on

EP Review - Magical Beasts - Yes, My Love, I Am Reaching

Magical Beasts offer a laid back, richly orchestrated new EP
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On their latest release, Yes, My Love, I Am Reaching, Chicago folk group Magical Beasts have crafted a laid back EP, filled with lush orchestrations and sophisticated lyrics. Led by Nathan Paulus on vocals and guitar, and featuring John Herbst on vocals, banjo and ukulele, and Josh Miller on vocals and bass, the group recruits like-minded Chicago musicians on their recordings, fostering a sense of collaboration. Opening track "Come To Me" begins with some gentle acoustic guitar picking accented by pedal steel courtesy of Ethan Pikas. The song is a duet between Paulus and Katie Stimpson and both singers give

EP Review - Resurrection Fern - Fern

Resurrection Fern delivers an intimate new EP.
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Singer-songwriter, Resurrection Fern, is back with a new EP, simply titled Fern. Like her previous, full-length album, Beyond The Trees, Fern is a community-funded effort. Unlike that full-length release, however, Fern is a more stripped down recording, focusing on the singer's voice and acoustic guitar, making for a more intimate recording, one that feels like the listener is in the room with her. Like many musicians in this era, Fern has taken to the Internet as a main vehicle to spread her music. She has run a channel for the past three years, where fans can watch her give

Erich Mrak - See You In September Video Review

Erich Mrak offers up a video EP for his two new singles
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Toronto hip hop/electronic artist, Erich Mrak, is back with a visual EP of sorts. See You In September is an intense music video that combines two of his songs, "Navigate" and "Riptide." The video features a man seemingly lost in the jungle, in the water, on the ledge of a building, and in the city. He mirrors the lyrics to the songs of that of someone who is confused, trying to find his way, possibly hopeless. The video is not long, but the message is powerful. As "Navigate" fades out, the visuals continue before "Riptide" begins. As for the songs,

Album Review - Chotto Ghetto - WILDFIRE

Chotto Ghetto delivers a challenging, fun concept album on their latest release.
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In their 14 years together, Chotto Ghetto has been compared to the likes of Bad Brains, Faith No More and The Mars Volta. With such a diverse range of influences, it's no surprise that their third (and latest) album, WILDFIRE, is a challenging, yet fun listen that combines numerous different styles and forces the listener to think. WILDFIRE is a concept album about a found black box recording and science experiments gone awry. Several tracks include voiceovers with actors delivering the storyline while some tracks are purely news clips. The record is political and covers topics as wide ranging as

DVD Review - Toto - 40 Tours Around The Sun

Toto celebrates its 40th anniversary in style with a killer concert.
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Toto has experienced a recent resurgence with Weezer's cover of "Africa" making the classic song a hit once again. The band never really went anywhere though. In fact, they have been traveling the globe in celebration of their 40th anniversary. The group filmed a March 2018 show before a capacity crowd at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam and that performance makes up the new DVD Toto - 40 Tours Around The Sun. After some brief footage of the city, the show begins with a moody synth intro before giving way to "Alone," a new song from the band's greatest hits

SDBlu-Ray Review - The Rolling Stones - Bridges To Buenos Aires

The Rolling Stones deliver a memorable show on the Bridges To Babylon Tour
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In April 1998, The Rolling Stones took their Bridges To Babylon tour to Buenos Aires, Argentina, for a series of massive stadium performances. Being the Stones, the band didn't just do one show, but rather five, at the famed River Plate Stadium. The band was in top form, mixing songs from their virtually untouchable back catalog -- including some rare cuts -- with several songs from the then new Bridges To Babylon. Add in a guest appearance by Bob Dylan and it made for a memorable night, a night that, fortunately for Stones fans, was filmed and makes up the

Single Review - Stimuli - "Ripple"

Stimuli mixes classic and modern metal on their single "Ripple".
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California's Bay Area has long been a source of some of the best hard rock and heavy metal produced. The latest of these bands is Stimuli, a power trio consisting of Jimmy Tomahawk on guitar and vocals, Cole Andrew on drums and Tai Hake on bass and Theremin. Stimuli's sound is at once familiar - the group has been compared to the likes of Black Sabbath, Tool, Soundgarden, and Alice In Chains - and modern, mixing palm-muted riffs and big guitar solos with dropped tunings. On their single, "Ripple," Tomahawk delivers an Ozzy Osbourne-like vocal over a chunky rhythm. The

CD Review - The Magpie Salute - High Water II

The Magpie Salute offers up another slab of killer, classic rock-influenced tunes.
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The Magpie Salute are back with their second full-length release, High Water II, and, like the name implies, it is a continuation of the sound from the group's debut album, High Water. That's not a bad thing at all when one considers the sound is very reminiscent of that of the Black Crowes - bluesy southern and hard rock trading in equal parts Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Faces, and Steve Marriott - and not a surprise considering three of the band's members, including guitarists Rich Robinson and Marc Ford, were members of the Crowes. The album opens with "Sooner

CD Review - Fastball - The Help Machine

Fastball delivers a modern pop classic with The Help Machine
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For Fastball's seventh album, The Help Machine, the band enlisted some top notch help. Released on the group's 33 1/3 label, it was produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos fame and includes guest appearances by Charlie Sexton, Bruce Hughes of Cracker, Wye Oak's Andy Stack, and Gordy Quist and John Chapman from The Band of Heathens. The result is an 11-song collection of smartly crafted pop tunes that straddle the line between classic and modern rock. As usual, Miles Zuniga and Tony Scalzo share songwriting duties on the album, with Zuniga having seven tracks and Scalzo four. The duo

Blu-ray Review - John & Yoko - Above Us Only Sky

This excellent documentary looks even deeper into this creative period in John Lennon's life.
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The period surrounding John Lennon's second proper solo album, Imagine, was one of the most creative times in his life. Freed from the pressures and expectations of the Beatles, and with his wife Yoko Ono challenging him mentally as well as artistically, it is no wonder he came up with some of his best material. Lennon also had a penchant for filming everything, offering fans an intimate look at his life few other artists of his stature (or any stature, really) would ever allow the public to see. Fans caught a glimpse of these films in the original Imagine movie

Blu-ray Review - Queen + Bejart - Ballet For Life

Six years after his death, Freddie Mercury's dream of bringing ballet to the masses came true.
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In a chance meeting at a recording studio in 1977, Sid Vicious once sneered to Freddie Mercury that he was trying to bring ballet to the masses -- a jab at Mercury's well-known love of the art form and his penchant for wearing ballet-inspired leotards on stage. While the merger between rock and roll and ballet never really happened during either Vicious or Mercury's lifetimes, in 1997, the surviving members of Queen teamed with famed choreographer Morris Bejart for the Ballet For Life, a performance that mixed ballet with the music of Queen and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with fashion by

CD Review: Cadillac Baby's Bea & Baby Records - The Definitive Collection

A thorough collection of sides from a classic Chicago blues label.
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Chicago has long been known for many things, with the blues being at the forefront. Labels such as Chess and Brunswick come from the Windy City and great artists such as Muddy Waters and Buddy Guy have ties there as well. It wasn't just the larger labels producing great blues and R&B music though. Chicago had a plethora of talent and was a hotbed for many independent labels as well. One of these labels was Bea & Baby Records, led by the larger than life Narvel "Cadillac Baby" Eatmon. From 1959 to 1989, Eatmon's label released a number of classic

Album Review: Outerfield - Pleasant Grove Hotel

Matt Hutson and Gary Schrader's patience pays off with a strong set of songs.
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Matt Hutson and Gary Schrader had been veterans of the Indiana music scene for some time when they met playing in a local church band. The pair realized they had something together and decided to combine forces as Outerfield. The duo enlisted the help of Posies and latter-day Big Star Member Jon Auer, who produced some of the group's sessions, but they were not initially happy with the results. Undeterred, they revisited the material and managed to cobble out a strong album, Pleasant Grove Hotel, in the process. Unsurprisingly, given the Auer connection, the album is rooted in strong song
Pop singer-songwriter Juliette Reilly has teamed up with pop/dance/EDM artist INViDA (David Schoenwetter) and international music duo Muza (Muza and G'Anomaly) for an interesting new single, "Chameleon". The song mixes modern pop touches with a bit of gospel and EDM for good measure. Opening with a dreamy, gospel-like feel and distant, ethereal backing vocals, the song builds in intensity throughout. Reilly delivers a soulful vocal where she unapologetically touts how she is "always turning into someone new, "likening herself to that of a chameleon. The track showcases modern pop production values with a nod to classic sounds while including a

Album Review: The General Maynyrd Band

A strong side project filled with grooves and killer vocals.
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When Crooked Flower guitarist Dan Ingberman began writing otherwise strong songs that just didn't fit his group's direction, his band mates, Daniel Erik (bass) and Pat Shields (drums) suggested forming a side project. They called upon many of their Bay Area music friends, including powerhouse vocalist Dave Combs, and the General Maynyrd Band was born. The band's music offers up heavy doses of funk and soul with a healthy slice of Lynyrd Skynyrd-style southern rock (The band's name itself has a stylized spelling not unlike Skynyrd's). One would not think this is a side project given the musical chemistry the

EP Review: Seneko - Soul Numbers

A killer mix of country, rock, folk and gospel.
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On Soul Numbers, Seneko's third EP release in the last four years, Stan Olshefski has conjured up an exciting mix that is equal parts country, rock and roll, folk, and gospel -- all with an indie edge. The songs showcase a crack band, as well as some killer singing and playing. With lyrics both serious and humorous, Olshefski's songs are bound to provoke. Soulful backing vocals and honky-tonk piano dominate the opening track "The Devil You Don't Know." Olshefski does a great job of playing the jilted ex in this country-tinged rocker. "Calling Of The Cause" is a gritty, riff-based

Single Review: Saint Mars - Loveghost

Saint Mars offers a surrealistic look at life and love with "Loveghost".
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Saint Mars released their debut EP in 2017 to much fanfare. Now the group, which is based in the UK and Switzerland and includes several notable musicians such as Angelo Bruschini from Massive Attack, has a new single, "Loveghost". The song is from their forthcoming LP Boys Never Cry, a concept album about bullying that features 14-year-old Internet sensation Tryzdin Grubbs on vocals on most of the tracks. The song is a trippy dance number, with rapped verses courtesy of Jethro "Alonestar" Sheeran (cousin of Ed) and a powerful, sung chorus from Grubbs, whose voice sounds much more mature than

Album Review: Annamay - F*ck You

a strong debut record from this Swedish singer-songwriter.
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From Sweden comes Annamay, a singer-songwriter that is equal parts pop, folk, country, rock, and 80s new wave. Her voice is strong and she crosses genres effortlessly. Her debut album, the somewhat surprisingly titled F*ck You, is proof positive of her eclectic influences and wide-ranging talent. The album opens with "I'm Gonna Wake Up," a track that features famed songwriter Tom Kimmel. The song is pleasant enough, folk-influenced pop rock about finding better things in life and showcases some tasteful, country-influenced slide guitar. Annamay gives a strong vocal performance both here and throughout the album. "See Me Now" mixes tribal

Single Review: Eddy Yang - On Our Way (Into The Night)

Eddy Yang mixes old and new genres in an exciting debut single.
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New from Eddy Yang comes "On Our Way (Into The Night)", the lead single from his debut album American Glory, the first-ever new release to be available in 5.1 Surround Sound, 24-bit/96Khz. That distinction is usually reserved for legendary, classic albums, not a first release. The song is a pleasant mix of jangly, power pop guitars over an electronic drumbeat. Yang likes to combine old sounds with new and has created something exciting here. The song's lyrics deal with being young and searching for one's path in life - something most people can relate to. Yang also mixes in some

Single Review: Galapaghost - Jellyfish

Galapaghost goes for a more electronic sound on his latest single.
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On Galapaghost's latest single, "Jellyfish," the solo artist/producer takes a deliberate turn away from his indie/folk routes, adding a healthy dose of electronica to the mix. The result is a dreamy track, with a hypnotic drumbeat and an intentionally monotone vocal, droning on about drifting through life. The jellyfish serves as a metaphor about how we often float about aimlessly in this world. The video is equally trippy. We see scenes of a man running, screaming, lying down staring at a glass of milk and a woman doing much of the same. At one point the glass of milk starts

Single Review: Best Intentions - At The Ocean

Best Intentions delivers hooky pop punk in the vein of blink-182.
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Best Intentions is the latest band to come from the Nashville music scene, but don't think country music here. Best Intentions' sound is decidedly pop punk, with some elements of hard rock for good measure. Formed in 2016 in Philadelphia by guitarist Matthew Kleinman, the group was reborn a year later with a new lineup after Kleinman's move to Nashville. They are currently working on their debut album and, in the meantime, have dropped a catchy single "At The Ocean." The song mixes crunchy guitars with a melodic lead vocal courtesy of Tony Pietrafesa and a big, memorable chorus (think

CD Review: Wes Montgomery - Back on Indiana Avenue: The Carroll DeCamp Recordings

A must-own compilation of previously unheard Wes Montgomery recordings.
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In 2012, the Resonance label issued a collection of previously unheard Wes Montgomery recordings. That release, titled Echoes of Indiana Avenue, featured recordings made in Montgomery's home state of Indiana in the late 1950s. The tapes used on Echoes contained some three hours of music, a treasure trove for Montgomery fans, of pre-Riverside, pre-fame recordings. With precious little documentation, session recorder Carroll DeCamp went uncredited on the original release. A Montgomery disciple, Brook Reindollar and fellow pianist Lewis Porter, contacted Resonance Records' Zev Feldman, informing him it was DeCamp who made those recordings. Feldman made a promise to release the

CD Review: Bill Evans - Evans In England

The newly surfaced recording of the Bill Evans trio at Ronnie Scott's is a revelation.
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In December 1969, Bill Evans played a series of shows at London's famed Ronnie Scott's jazz club with his then relatively new trio of Eddie Gomez on bass and Marty Morell on drums. The group would become his longest-running trio, playing with him until 1974. The group was on fire, feeding off each other's energy and playing at a very high level. Fortunately for fans, a recording exists of these remarkable shows. First released on vinyl for Record Store Day and now available on CD, Evans In England feels like a classic album, one that has been with us through

Album Review: Rose Ann Dimalanta Trio - It's Time

The Rose Ann Dimalanta Trio delivers a strong, versatile new album
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Rose Ann Dimalanta has been a prolific and in-demand musician, releasing eight solo albums under the name of "rad" between 1992 and 2009, all while touring the world, both on her own and as a member of Prince's band for his Musicology tour. It's no surprise then that her latest release with the Rose Ann Dimalanta Trio, It's Time, boats world class musicianship and just a bit of that latter day jazzy soul sound Prince used to chase. It's also no surprise that other two members of the trio -- Raymond McKinley on bass and Massimo Buonanno on drums --

Album Review - Ivan Beecroft - Liars, Freaks & Fools

Ivan Beecroft gives rock a shot in the arm with Liars, Freaks & Fools
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On his latest album, Liars, Freaks & Fools, Ivan Beecroft wanted to get back to the guitar-oriented rock he heard in the pubs in his native Australia in the 1980s and 1990s. In his own words, he wanted to "turn people back on to this music". If the guitar gods are just, Liars, Freaks & Fools will accomplish just that. The music offers a fresh take on a classic rock sound, with Beecroft wearing his influences on his sleeve, channeling the likes of AC/DC, Cheap Trick, and Nirvana, without sounding derivative. The album opens with the driving hard rock of

Album Review - Joan Torres's All Is Fused - Revolution

Joan Torres issues a killer final album in a four-album story.
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Joan Torres has certainly kept busy with his fusion band All Is Fused. Over the last seven years, the group has released three albums -- Before, The Beginning, Of The Musical and his latest, Revolution. The albums share similar artwork and musical themes and their titles, when combined, seem to make a statement about where All Is Fused is headed musically. On Revolution, the band mixes Latin elements with funk, rock, jazz, and prog rock to form an exciting sound. With a title such as "Before the Musical Revolution," the players had better be able to back it up and

Single Review: Erich Mrak - Fake It

Erich Mrak blends pop, hip hop and electronic music in a strong new single.
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Toronto native Erich Mrak has been on quite the creative role, releasing a single each month this year through June in a planned six-song rollout. His latest, "Fake It," is a pop tune that straddles the line between electronic and hip hop and showcases excellent production from Bento. The song opens with a jittery keyboard over sparse piano before the song fully kicks in, with lush keyboards, drenched in reverb over a more traditional hip hop beat. Mrak's monotone vocal delivery works here, given the subject matter of a person afraid to show his true feelings of a relationship gone

Single Review: Lillimure - Something

Lillimure offers an uplifting view of some of life's harsh realities with her bouncy new single.
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Singer-songwriter Lillimure's latest single, "Something," gives a positive spin on some of the negative aspects of everyday life and making the best of everything. Its chorus stresses that "everything happens for a reason" and while Lillimure may not believe it, it is "Something to hold onto." The song showcases electric pianos played over a bouncy, jazzy, beat with sparse guitars tastefully accenting the track. Lillimure's vocals are strong, powerful, and soulful, sounding like those of a seasoned veteran and not a 19-year-old newcomer. She wanted to write a song about the obstacles one faces in life to succeed and she

Single Review: Krigare - Take On Me

Krigare delivers a fresh take on an '80s classic.
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To say Krigare has lived a full life is an understatement. She backed Kelly Clarkson at the 2006 Grammys at the age of 8, she has collaborated with Grammy Award-winning writers, and she has had her music featured in the Netflix series Elite and in a trailer for Blake Lively's All I See Is You. She also survived two forms of cancer before she turned 18. Her name translates to warrior in Swedish and she certainly lives up to that moniker. Her latest single is a cover of A-ha's '80s classic "Take On Me." While the song's familiar melody is

DVD Review: Imagine/Gimme Some Truth

Newly restored, the Imagine/Gimme Some Truth DVD presents a remarkable time capsule for the lives of John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
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When John Lennon recorded his legendary album Imagine, he and Yoko Ono had the presence of mind to film everything. The pair had released albums and films together at this point and for this album, they decided to make a video scrapbook of sorts, combining footage from the recording sessions with a series of vignettes - some poignant, some humorous, some bizarre and all predating MTV by many years. Originally released in 1972, the Imagine film is part of a new reissue, combining it with the excellent documentary, Gimme Some Truth, about the recording of Imagine. For the reissue, both

EP Review: Sevi Ettinger - The Salty Water EP

An exciting debut EP from newcomer Sevi Ettinger.
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Newcomer Sevi Ettinger found musical inspiration in an unlikely source - the Syrian refugee crisis. Just 15, the American singer, who lives in Shanghai with her family, channeled the anguish she felt for the victims into the lyrics of her debut single, "Salty Water," a song that also serves as the title of her new EP. Ettinger wrote the song using an app on her phone and caught the attention of songwriter Phillip Jarrell, who played it for Grammy Award-winning producer Jeff Bova, who liked the track as well. The pair agreed to work with Ettinger in the studio, helping

CD Review: Vincent Poag - Heroes And Demons

The singer-songwriter delivers a diverse third album.
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For his third album, Heroes And Demons, singer-songwriter Vincent Poag continues where he left off on 2014's excellent For The Girls. Not one to be tied to any particular style, Poag mixes pop with touches of rock, blues, jazz and county to great effect. Poag's gritty voice at times recalls Mark Knopfler or Tom Waits, but is never derivative. The weariness of his vocals give his lyrics, which often find him ruminating about everyday life, an everyman feel and give weight to the tracks. The album opens with the bouncy pop of "Beautiful Day." Here Poag channels his inner Paul

Blu-ray Review: Eric Clapton - Life In 12 Bars

An unflinching look back at one of rock's great guitarists.
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Eric Clapton has had a career that any musician would envy. The only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he helped expose blues music to white America while staying a leading-edge, influential figure on guitar since the 1960s, receiving commercial and critical acclaim in multiple decades. His life has had its share of heartache however. Rejected by his birth mother (twice, no less) and raised by his grandmother, Clapton found solace first in music, but later in drugs and alcohol. That the death of his four-year-old son Conner didn't fully send him over the edge is

CD Review: Big Star - Live At Lafayette's Music Room

A fascinating live time capsule from this classic power pop group.
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In 1973, Big Star was in a state of flux. Founding member and co-leader Chris Bell had left after the failure of the group's debut album #1 Record and the band was unsure of its future. The rest of the group was persuaded to perform at a now-legendary showcase show for the Memphis Rock Writers Convention in May of that year, which led to the group entering the studio to record their second album, Radio City. What isn't as widely known is that this three-man version of Big Star played the same venue four months earlier opening for the R&B

CD Review: Ali McManus - Unbreakable

Ali McManus delivers a strong debut album.
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Singer-songwriter Ali McManus has had her share of adversity in her short 21 years and that's besides the near-impossible task of making it in the music business. McManus has been confined to a wheelchair since she was 7 as a result of a rare bone disorder. She's had 11 surgeries, halo tractions, and steel rods to straighten her spine. In spite of this, she became a musician, and fairly recently too. McManus has played piano since she was 14 and guitar since she was 16. One wouldn't know she has played for less than 10 years by listening to her

CD Review: Big Star - The Best Of Big Star

An excellent overview of this power pop's short, but memorable run.
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Big Star may be the biggest band a lot of people have never heard of. Formed in the wake of the Box Tops dissolution by Alex Chilton and Chris Bell, they were a group that was seemingly out of place with what was going on in popular music. A power pop band on a soul label making concise, Beatlesque pop songs in an era of 10-minute jams and rock and roll excess. A critics' darling, they were the victims of poor distribution from their record label Stax and broke up. After being persuaded to reform, Bell left the group, and

DVD Review: Robert Plant And The Sensational Space Shifters - Live At David Lynch's Festival of Disruption

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters deliver a spirited performance at the Festival of Disruption.
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Robert Plant's solo career has taken many interesting turns, continuing to push the boundaries of what is possible in a rock music context. Backed since 2012 by his excellent band, The Sensational Space Shifters, the former Led Zeppelin front man has mixed rock, blues, folk and world music, combined with a healthy dose of African rhythms and exotic instruments to create a sound that is uniquely his. The fact his music has remained powerful and relevant nearly 40 years after Zeppelin's demise is a testament to his talent and vision. In October 2016, while on tour for his Lullaby And...

CD Review: Bobby Darin & Johnny Mercer - Two Of A Kind

Two giants from different eras make magic with a big assist from Billy May
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In the early 1960s, Bobby Darin's manager Steve Blauner had a brainstorm: he wanted Darin to cut an album with famed lyricist/singer/composer Johnny Mercer with arrangements by Billy May. Darin was 24 at the time and Mercer was 51 and the record was a major nod to the Tin Pan Alley songs of old. While this might seem a recipe for disaster, quite the opposite happened. The pair had immediate chemistry and a playful camaraderie that is evident throughout. Add in the hard swinging sounds from May, who had worked with the likes of Frank Sinatra, and the resulting album,

CD Review: The Blind Boys Of Alabama - Atom Bomb

This mid-2000s Blind Boys Of Alabama classic has been reissued with bonus tracks.
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By the mid-2000s, The Blind Boys of Alabama were in the midst of a late-career resurgence that saw the group being introduced to new audiences and receiving critical acclaim and numerous awards. Continuing this hot streak was Atom Bomb, an album that featured several guest stars and showcased the group's signature blend of gospel, blues, R&B and rock. Originally released in 2005, the album has been rereleased with bonus tracks and expanded liner notes. The album opens with "(Jesus Hits Like The) Atom Bomb," a song that likens the return of Jesus Christ to that of an atom bomb and

CD Review: The Blind Boys Of Alabama - Go Tell It On The Mountain

The Blind Boys of Alabama's Christmas album rereleased with bonus tracks.
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Despite having been around for over 50 years at that point, The Blind Boys Of Alabama never recorded a Christmas album until 2003's Go Tell It On The Mountain. The album came during a period of renewed interest for the group that saw them reaching wider audiences, opening for (and performing on the albums of) the likes of Peter Gabriel and winning multiple Grammy Awards. The album featured the groups trademark harmonies, matched by an eclectic list of guest stars such as Tom Waits and Aaron Neville, and has been rereleased with bonus tracks. The album opens with "Last Month

Blu-ray Review: Black Sabbath - The End

The final chapter for this legendary heavy metal band.
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From their debut nearly 50 years ago, no band has been more synonymous with heavy metal than Black Sabbath. After numerous lineup changes over the years, including a reunion with the Ronnie James Dio-era band for the Heaven and Hell project, fans of the original Black Sabbath finally got their wish when, in 2013, the group (albeit without drummer Bill Ward, who sat out due to contract issues and was replaced by Brad Wilk) recorded a new album, 13, with Ozzy Osbourne on vocals, their first since 1978's Never Say Die! After touring extensively for 13, the band, now with

CD Review: Charles Billingsley - It's Christmas Time Again

Charles Billingsley crafts a fun, swinging Christmas album.
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From his beginnings 25 years ago as a member of the contemporary Christian group NewSong to his lengthy solo career, which has also seen turns as a speaker and author, Charles Billingsley has had quite the career. His latest release, It's Christmas Time Again, brings to mind classic Christmas releases by the likes of Frank Sinatra and mixes traditional jazz sounds and the Great American Songbook with modern sensibilities, making for an excellent holiday release. The album leads off with the hard swinging "The Man With The Bag." The track could just as easily have been from the 1950s as

Blu-ray Review: The Who - Tommy: Live At The Royal Albert Hall

The Who performs Tommy for a good cause
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The Who's Tommy is one of the most legendary albums of the rock and roll era, or any era really. The classic rock opera pushed the limits of what could be done within the confines of a rock record and was meant to be listened to as a complete piece. The band has performed Tommy live many times since it was first released in 1969, but never in its entirety until now. In April 2017, The Who took to the stage at London's famed Royal Albert Hall to perform the complete Tommy in support of the Teenage Cancer Trust. The

Blu-ray Review: Jeff Beck - Live At The Hollywood Bowl

The legendary guitarist looks back at over 50 years of music.
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Among guitar heroes, Jeff Beck has had a career like few others. The two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee pioneered hard rock and psychedelia with the Yardbirds and later his own Jeff Beck Group. Not wanting to rest on his laurels, he has also been at the forefront of jazz-fusion and instrumental music and has dabbled in electronica. More than 50 years into his career, he has outlasted most of his contemporaries and has few, if any peers. To celebrate his remarkable career, Beck played a 2016 gig at the Hollywood Bowl with numerous guests, including: Steven Tyler,

Blu-ray Review: The Rolling Stones From The Vault: Sticky Fingers Live At The Fonda Theatre 2015

The Rolling Stones deliver one of their best albums to a small group of very lucky fans.
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For years bands have been playing classic albums in their entirety in concert as a way to entice fans to their shows. One notable exception to this has been The Rolling Stones -- until now. The band began their 2015 American Zip Code tour at Hollywood's Fonda Theatre, a tiny venue for the Stones. That's nothing new as the group has traditionally played smaller venues to begin tours or as nice surprises for fans during their tours. What was new was that they performed their classic album, Sticky Fingers, in its entirety for the first and, as of now, only

DVD/CD Review: Journey - Live In Manila

A triumphant homecoming gig for Arnel Pineda of Journey.
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In 2007, Journey was at a career crossroads of sorts. Singer Jeff Scott Soto replaced Steve Augeri, who had sung with the band since 1998, the year before, but by mid 2007, Soto was out as well. The band took to YouTube to look for a replacement and found one in Filipino singer Arnel Pineda, who has held the role ever since. It helps that Pineda's vocals sound uncannily like Steve Perry's, too. After the success of the group's debut album with Pineda, the Wal-Mart-exclusive Revelation, the band decided to go that route again in 2009, with the DVD Live

CD Review: Justin Hayward - All The Way

All The Way is a great starting point to Justin Hayward's solo career.
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For more than 50 years, Justin Hayward has been best known for his role as guitarist, singer and songwriter in The Moody Blues, penning and singing such hits as "Nights In White Satin" and "Question." During that time, he has also forged a successful solo career, beginning with 1975's Blue Jays, recorded with fellow Moody John Lodge. A new compilation, All The Way, brings together 15 of these solo recordings, including a rare track once thought lost and a brand new recording "The Wind Of Heaven." The album opens with the original stereo mix of "Blue Guitar." Though the song

DVD Review: Heart -- Alive In Seattle

A fantastic homecoming concert for Ann and Nancy Wilson and Heart.
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In 2002, Heart went on their "Summer of Love" tour. The tour mixed hits from their extensive catalog with well-chosen covers and a handful of new songs. The tour culminated with a memorable stop in the group's hometown of Seattle, WA. The show was filmed and makes up the DVD Heart -- Alive in Seattle. Originally released in 2003, this strong performance is available once again on DVD. The group comes out swinging with a terrific "Crazy On You." Ann Wilson is in strong voice, challenging herself from the outset on this number with no shortage of high notes. For

DVD Review: Pete Townshend's Deep End -- Face The Face

Pete Townshend's Deep End gives an explosive performance on Rockpalast in 1986.
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In 1986, Pete Townshend was in the midst of a series of shows for his concept album White City: A Novel. For the performances, he assembled an all-star band known as Pete Townshend's Deep End, many of who played on the album, including David Gilmour on guitar and vocals and Simon Phillips on drums. On January 29, 1986, the group made an appearance on the famed German TV show, Rockpalast. Long available as a bootleg, the show is finally being released officially as a DVD/CD set titled Pete Townshend's Deep End -- Face The Face. The show mixes White City

CD Review: Bryan Adams - Wembley Live 1996

Bryan Adams' triumphant Wembley Stadium show, now available on CD.
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During his career, Bryan Adams arguably reached the peak of his popularity, at least in Europe, during the mid 1990s. Nowhere was this more evident than in England, where Adams performed before 70,000 fans at historic Wembley Stadium. Coming not quite a year after the successful DVD release of this memorable performance comes a two-CD set of the same show, Bryan Adams - Wembley Live 1996. Adams opens the show with two offerings from his then-new album, 18 Til I Die -- the Stones-influenced "The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You" and the garage rock of "Do

DVD Review - Bryan Adams - Wembley Live 1996

Bryan Adams delivers before a packed house at Wembley Stadium.
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In 1996, Bryan Adams was riding the success of his album 18 Til I Die, an album that moderately well in the U.S., but especially well in Europe. His gig in London's famed Wembley Stadium to a packed house of 70,000 fans is proof positive. The memorable performance was filmed and makes up the DVD Bryan Adams - Wembley Live 1996. The show opens with a pair of songs from 18 Til I Die, the Stones-influenced "The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You" and the garage rock of "Do To You." The former finds the band locked

Blu-ray Review: The Who - Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival 2004

The Who return to conquer the Isle of Wight once again in this 2004 performance.
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The Isle of Wight Festival has taken on a legendary status over the years -- the early incarnations, particularly the 1969 and 1970 ones -- which were attended by roughly 150,000 and 600,000 people respectively in particular. Those two festivals included memorable performances by The Who among others. It is only natural then, that when the festival was revived in 2002, that The Who would be invited back and, in 2004, they were. Many years older, and down to two original members -- Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey -- but no less explosive live, the band delivered an inspired show,

DVD Review - The Frank Sinatra Collection: The Timex Shows - Vol. 1 and Vol. 2

All four legendary Sinatra Timex shows are available officially as separate discs..
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In 1959 and 1960, Frank Sinatra was in his coolest guy in the room, Rat Pack-era prime. He was nearing the end of his legendary run at Capitol Records and soon would be running his own label, Reprise. During this time, he also recorded four TV specials featuring a bevy of guest stars and Sinatra cronies. Sponsored by Timex, and long available unofficially, the shows are now available separately as part of the Frank Sinatra Collection as The Timex Shows Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. Volume one features two shows from 1959 -- The Frank Sinatra Timex Show and An

Blu-ray Review: Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow - Memories In Rock: Live In Germany

After nearly two decades, Ritchie Blackmore returns to rock in a strong concert Blu-ray.
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Ever since Rainbow gave way to Blackmore's Night in 1997, fans of Ritchie Blackmore have wondered if he would ever return to the melodic hard rock that earned him a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Deep Purple. In the summer of 2016, fans' prayers were answered when Blackmore decided to resurrect Rainbow with an all-new lineup, playing three well-received concerts, two in Germany and one in England. The German shows were filmed and make up the new Blu-ray/2-CD Set Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow - Memories In Rock: Live in Germany. While the band's

Blu-ray Review: Def Leppard - And There Will Be a Next Time...

This classic 80s band delivers hits and new material in a strong new Blu-ray.
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Nearly 40 years after the release of their first album, Def Leppard are as popular as ever as a live act. It's not all nostalgia either. In late 2015, the band released their underrated self-titled album and embarked on a 55-city summer tour in support of it. The band's stop at the DTE Energy Music Theatre just outside Detroit, MI, was filmed and makes up the excellent new Blu-ray Def Leppard - And There Will Be A Next Time... Filmed before a packed house, the show opens with the new song "Let's Go," a track immediately recognizable as Def Leppard

CD Review: Buzz Cason - Passion

Veteran singer-songwriter Buzz Cason delivers a strong set of songs with Passion.
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To say that Buzz Cason has had a long and varied career would be an understatement. The Rockabilly Hall Of Famer is best known for the songs "Everlasting Love" and "Soldier Of Love," both of which he co-wrote. The former has charted in every decade since its release, while the latter was covered by the Beatles and Marshall Crenshaw, among others. He has sung backup for the lines of Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson and Elvis Presley and is also a published author. If that was all Cason did, it would be a better career than most, but his muse has

CD Review: Big Star - Complete Third

A complete overview of the band's final album from their original run.
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By 1974, Big Star was a shadow of their former self. Co-leader Chris Bell had left after the recording of their first album #1 Record and bassist Andy Hummel left after Radio City, their second. All that remained were singer/guitarist Alex Chilton and drummer Jody Stephens. While critically acclaimed, neither of the group's first two albums sold well at all and Chilton, who was not in a good state of mind and who was partying a lot, had entered a tumultuous relationship with Lesa Aldridge, who contributed to the third album's sessions. Suffice to say Big Star was not in

CD Review: Bobby Rush - Porcupine Meat

60 years into his career, Bobby Rush is showing no signs of slowing down.
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By the time most men reach the age of 82, they are happy to be retired and want a quiet, relaxing life. Bobby Rush is not most men. The Blues Hall of Famer plays more than 200 shows a year and has recorded approximately 300 songs in his long, storied career. He received his first gold record in 1971 for "Chicken Heads" and has played alongside many of the greats of the genre including Howlin' Wolf, Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Freddie King and Little Walter, among others. Like many other artists, Rush had taken to self-releasing a lot

Blu-ray Review: Classic Albums: The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds

Classic Albums takes a look at The Beach Boys' monumental release, Pet Sounds.
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By 1966, Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys had retired from the road. Fueled by the pressures of competing with the likes of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, among other things, he had a nervous breakdown on one of the band's flights. What could have been catastrophic for many other bands turned out to be a stroke of luck for The Beach Boys, however, as Wilson's retirement from live performances gave him time to focus on his true love, making music in a recording studio. Wilson also instinctively knew that he couldn't keep writing surfing and car songs forever

DVD Review: The Everly Brothers - Harmonies From Heaven

A look back at this classic singing duo.
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The Everly Brothers' harmonies and string of classic singles influenced countless bands, including The Beatles, The Hollies and Simon and Garfunkel, yet offstage, their feud became equally legendary, with the brothers ultimately breaking up for ten years. Originally broadcast on BBC4, a new documentary, The Everly Brothers - Harmonies From Heaven, takes a look at the pair's brilliant, yet troubled, career. The documentary features new interviews with Don Everly and archival interviews from his late brother Phil. In addition, several musicians, including Keith Richards, Graham Nash, Tim Rice, Art Garfunkel, Waddy Watchel all express their admiration for the pair. The

DVD/CD Review: Santana IV - Live At The House Of Blues Las Vegas

The classic Santana lineup picks up where it left off in this incredible performance.
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Since the 1960s, Santana has been combining rock with Latin, jazz, blues and African elements, making for a sound uniquely theirs. Led by guitarist Carlos Santana, the group has survived many changes in popular tastes, as well as their own numerous band lineups. Perhaps most famous of those lineups is the one that last recorded together for 1971's Santana III. Besides Santana, the lineup boasted Neal Schon on guitar and Gregg Rolie on keyboards and vocals (Both of who would soon form Journey), Michael Shrieve on drums and Michael Carabello on percussion. In spite of fans wishes for them to

Blu-ray Review: Motley Crue: The End - Live In Los Angeles

Motley Crue finish where they started in this farewell performance.
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In 2014, Motley Crue joined the ranks of countless other classic rock acts by announcing their farewell tour. Unlike those acts however, the band also signed a "cessation of touring" agreement, which prevented any of the band members from touring as Motley Crue past the end of the farewell tour. While cynics will point out that this pact can be broken if all four original members agree to break it, thus far is has been more than a year and they have stayed true to their word. Realistically, these are guys who don't always get along very well, so the

DVD/CD Review: Toto - Live At Montreux 1991

Toto deliver a killer performance in this 1991 Montreux Jazz Festival performance.
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The year 1991 was one of transition for the members of Toto. It found guitarist Steve Lukather taking over the role of lead vocalist after singer Jean-Michel Byron's short stint with the band and the group's tour proved to be the last one with the late brothers Jeff and Mike Porcaro as Jeff passed away shortly after the release of 1992's Kingdom Of Desire. While on tour, the band made a stop at the famed Montreux Jazz Festival, playing old hits and covers, as well as previewing tracks from Kingdom Of Desire. The show was filmed and makes up the

DVD Review: Styx - Live At The Orleans Arena Las Vegas

Styx gives a memorable performance in this new DVD.
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Styx has been bringing their melodic brand of hard rock to audiences since 1972. The group remains a staple of classic rock radio and they are road warriors, seemingly touring every year. Their 2014 tour found them sharing a bill with legendary former Eagles lead guitarist Don Felder. A Las Vegas stop on the tour was filmed and makes up the new DVD Styx -- Live At The Orleans Arena Las Vegas. The show opens with a spot-on rendition of 1981's "Too Much Time On My Hands." Lead singer and guitarist Tommy Shaw's voice is remarkably preserved after all these

Blu-ray Review: Kiss Rocks Vegas

Kiss Rocks Vegas is a bombastic souvenir of the group's 2014 residency.
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In November 2014, Kiss descended upon Las Vegas, doing a nine-show run at the Hard Rock Hotel. It was a rare opportunity to see the band's bombastic stage show in a smaller setting and the group delivered. The stage was arguably as good as any they have had in their careers with a spectacular light and video production and the group's performances, which spanned their 40-plus year career, were top notch as well. The cameras were rolling and the band has released a new Blu-ray simply titled Kiss Rocks Vegas. Kiss Rocks Vegas is available in multiple configurations. A two-disc

DVD Review: Deep Purple - Live At The NEC

Jon Lord's memorable final show with Deep Purple is documented in this new DVD.
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In early 2002, legendary Deep Purple keyboardist and founding member Jon Lord announced his retirement from the band. Veteran keyboard player and fellow virtuoso Don Airey took his place, a position he has held ever since. In September 2002, the band decided to give Lord a proper sendoff, including him at a gig at the NEC in Birmingham, England. The performance was filmed and it was a memorable one, making up the DVD Deep Purple - Live At The NEC. Airey is the sole keyboardist for the first half of the show, with Lord joining in midway through the proceedings.

CD Review: The Scientists - A Place Called Bad

Compilation shines a new light on this oft-overlooked Australian powerhouse.
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Australian post-punk rockers The Scientists never made much of a commercial dent during their 10-year tenure, but their influence has grown in the interim, far exceeding any success they had when they were actively releasing albums. Artists such as Jon Spencer and Thurston Moore have sung the group's praises and the band is seen as having predicted the grunge revolution that was to start shortly after their breakup. The group released a number of albums and singles, which were mostly available in Australia. Now The Numero Group has compiled this influential music, rereleasing it as A Place Called Bad. The

CD Review: Judy Henske & Jerry Yester - Farewell Aldebaran

A lost classic finally gets rereleased 47 years later.
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The year 1969 should have been an exciting one for the duo of Judy Henske and Jerry Yester. The pair recorded Farewell Aldebaran, an eclectic album that remains hard to classify, but one which exemplifies the "anything goes" mentality of late 1960s rock. They had backing from Frank Zappa, who released it on his avant-garde Straight Records label and it was co-produced by Zal Yanovsky (Who Yester replaced in The Lovin' Spoonful), who also contributed guitar, bass and vocals. It didn't work out as planned though. The album may have been too diverse for its own good and it received

CD Review: CCM Jazz Orchestra - In Search Of Garaj Mahal

A killer live performance of Garaj Mahal's music by the CCM Orchestra featuring Fareed Haque.
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For over a decade, Garaj Mahal made a name for themselves by playing a fusion of jazz, funk, Indian and rock music. The group played over 1,000 shows and was known for their instrumental prowess. In 2014, the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music (CCM) Jazz Director, Scott Belck, approached Garaj Mahal guitarist Fareed Haque with an idea. He wanted to do orchestral arrangements of Garaj Mahal tunes with the CCM Jazz Orchestra, perform them live and record an album. While Haque was skeptical at first, he soon learned that Belck was serious and he ended up performing with the orchestra. The

CD Review: Todd Hunter Trio - Eat, Drink, Play

Todd Hunter sets out to make a travel log with his latest CD.
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As a touring musician and longtime pianist/keyboardist for Dionne Warwick, Todd Hunter has lived a life most musicians would be envious of. He has gotten to travel the world, playing every continent but Antarctica, and sampled the food, drink and culture of numerous locales. For his latest release, Hunter wanted to create an album that was sort of a travel log of some of the places he had been in the tradition of the great storytellers among jazz pianists. The resulting album Eat, Drink, Play takes the listener on a musical journey, one that makes it easy to imagine these

CD Review: Maggie Herron - Between The Music And The Moon

Maggie Herron delivers a diverse collection of songs with Between The Music And The Moon.
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While her previous album included a healthy dose of standards, for her new CD Between The Music & The Moon, singer-songwriter Maggie Herron wanted to focus on original material. The results are 12 songs that range between Latin dance to bluesy romps and sultry ballads. Herron's songwriting skills are evident from the start and her deep, rich voice takes the listener on a musical journey. On the opening number "Wolf," a slinky horn intro gives way to a smoky vocal from Herron with clever lyrics from her daughter Dawn (Who contributed to several tracks). Think "Fever" stylistically, though with more

CD Review: Horace Bray - Dreamstate

An impressive debut from guitarist Horace Bray.
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For his debut album, Dreamstate, Horace Bray has crafted an impression collection of songs that play more like those of a seasoned veteran. A gifted guitarist, Bray and his band, which includes Colin Campbell on keyboards, Mike Luzecky on bass and Matt Young and Connor Kent on drums are as much about creating moods as they are nimble playing and there is ample evidence of both throughout. The album leads off with the sister tracks "Laumeier" and "Laumeier Outro." The former blends mellow guitar leads over a high speed, intricate drum pattern from Young. Campbell's keyboard playing, both here and

CD Review: Charlie Ballantine - Providence

Charlie Ballantine expands his musical horizons on Providence.
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While band leader Charlie Ballantine went a more traditional jazz route on his 2015 debut, Green, he has allowed more styles to permeate his second release, Providence. In doing so, Ballantine manages to stay close to his roots while exploring new territory sonically. Backed by a crack band, including Amanda Gardier on saxophone, Josh Espinoza on organ, Conner Green on bass and Josh Roberts on drums, Providence is an exciting listen that showcases these former Indiana University students' considerable chops. The album mixes six Ballantine originals with three well-chosen covers. "Old Hammer" starts things off with a crackling sound, like

CD Review: The Bangles - Ladies And Gentlemen...The Bangles!

A killer compilation of the early years of this great '80s pop group.
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The Bangles hit their commercial stride in the mid 1980s with a string of hit singles including "Manic Monday," "Walk Like An Egyptian" and "Eternal Flame." While much of the airwaves was dominated by big haired rock bands, The Bangles were making smart, 60s-inspired pop with jangly guitars and killer harmonies. The group's success was not overnight however. The group formed in 1981 as The Bangs and was comprised of longtime members Susanna Hoffs and Debbi and Vicki Peterson. The group released a single and, later, an EP, before finally releasing a full-length album, All Over The Place, in 1984.

CD Review: Charlie Faye And The Fayettes

Charlie Faye harkens back to the era of 1960s girl groups on her latest release.
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Charlie Faye has made a name for herself as a singer-songwriter. Her last album You Were Fine, You Weren't Even Lonely reached number 16 on the American Music Association's airplay chart. She also earned a "Songwriter of the Week" honor from American Songwriter magazine's website. In spite of this, Faye was looking for a change. She had a love of the girl groups of the 1960s and, after receiving an e-mail from Peter Asher (of Peter and Gordon) offering encouragement, she decided to form her own girl group The Fayettes, with BettySoo and Akina Adderly on background vocals. Add in

CD Review: The Blind Boys Of Alabama - Spirit of The Century

The album that brought The Blind Boys Of Alabama to the mainstream gets a 15th anniversary reissue with bonus tracks.
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In 2001, The Blind Boys Of Alabama had been making music for almost 50 years. No one would have faulted them had they slowed down their pace or even retired. After all, not many singing groups attain that level of longevity. Instead, they continued to push the envelope in terms of what gospel music could be and released their Grammy Award-winning album Spirit Of The Century, putting them on the map for much of mainstream America. Now 15 years after the release of that landmark album, it is back in print and being rereleased with seven additional live cuts. The

CD Review: The Blind Boys Of Alabama - Higher Ground

A reissue of the group's 2002 Grammy Award-winning classic album with bonus live cuts.
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In 2001, The Blind Boys Of Alabama released their critically acclaimed album Spirit Of The Century on Peter Gabriel's Real World Records. Despite forming in 1944, that 2001 album brought them their biggest mainstream success, winning the group a Grammy and garnering them an opening slot on Gabriel's Growing Up tour. The group suddenly needed a big follow-up album and got one in the form of 2002's Higher Ground, an album that won yet another Grammy and featured Robert Randolph and the Family Band as the backing group. Back in print once again, the album has been rereleased with seven

Review: The Rolling Stones - Totally Stripped

The Rolling Stones deliver stripped down versions of classic and obscure cuts.
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In 1995, The Rolling Stones were finishing up their hugely successful tour for Voodoo Lounge. The tour saw them play to over six million people on six continents, no small feat to be sure. While in Europe, the band decided to play a series of intimate, stripped-down shows at tiny (by Stones standards) venues. Along those lines, the band also took to the studio in Tokyo and Lisbon to record some not quite unplugged, but still very bare bones versions of several of their songs, many of which had not been performed live in some time. The result was a

Blu-ray Review: MIKA - Sinfonia Pop

MIKA tries his hand at orchestral versions of his pop tunes.
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MIKA has made a career out of sophisticated, layered pop music. Best known for his 2007 hit "Grace Kelly," a song that was No. 1 in the UK for five weeks, he has sold more than 10 million albums worldwide and has received over 115 million video views online. With comparisons to Queen and Elton John, among others, it is not surprising that MIKA would attempt to try his hand at orchestral versions of his own songs. He first tried this with a series of concerts in Montreal, QC, in 2014. Conducted by Canadian composer Simon LeClerc, the results were

Blu-ray Review: Imagine Dragons - Smoke + Mirrors Live

Imagine Dragons give a powerful performance in this concert Blu-ray.
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Imagine Dragons' rise to superstardom was a fast one. The band's 2015 Smoke + Mirrors tour played 110 shows in 42 countries on five continents. They have sold millions of records and captured a Grammy Award along the way. For a band that only formed in 2008, that is no small feat. A July 2015 stop in Toronto, ON, was filmed before a packed house. That show makes up the Blu-ray/CD set Imagine Dragons -- Smoke + Mirrors Live. As the show begins, the band appears as larger than life silhouettes behind a curtain. The crowd is all in from

CD Review: Rich Robinson - Flux

Rich Robinson delivers a strong solo album with Flux.
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It's been a good year for Rich Robinson. The former Black Crowes guitarist and founding member has seen expanded reissues of his solo albums and two Record Store Day exclusives. Now comes his latest studio album, Flux, an album that features sounds that should be familiar to longtime Black Crowes fans, but one in which Robinson also stretches out musically. The album opens with "The Upstairs Land," a track that evokes the Rolling Stones with its heavy groove and hard rocking choruses. The song briefly veers into psychedelic territory during its solo, with Robinson providing tasteful lead guitar. "Shipwreck" showcases

Blu-ray Review: Melody Gardot -- Live At The Olympia Paris

This singer-songwriter's first-ever live video release captures the essence of her music perfectly.
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Throughout her career, Melody Gardot has mixed multiple musical genres with ease, effortlessly moving from jazz to pop/rock to blues to soul to funk. It is why her music is so hard to define, but also why her music is so exciting. By mixing familiar elements with different styles, she has managed to create something interesting and new. Her first-ever live Blu-ray, Melody Gardot -- Live At The Olympia Paris, offers ample proof of this singer-songwriter's many talents. The stage is dimly lit and Gardot is clad in black, with a hat and sunglasses throughout the performance. This suits the

DVD Review: Alan Jackson - Keepin' It Country: Live At Red Rocks

This country music veteran delivers a great live performance from Red Rocks.
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For more than a quarter century, Alan Jackson's name has been synonymous with country music. His has released 23 albums, which have sold more than 60 million total copies and has received 150 music industry awards. In addition, he has had 20 songs reach No. 1 on the charts, which puts him in very select company. In 2015 he celebrated his 25th year in the business. A stop at the famed Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado was filmed and makes up the excellent new live DVD Alan Jackson -- Keepin' It Country: Live At Red Rocks. From the opening notes

CD Review: The Bo-Keys - Heartaches By The Number

The Bo-Keys latest offers the best of Memphis soul, country and R&B.
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The Bo-Keys may be a contemporary group, but they'd have easily fit in during the glory days of the Memphis/Nashville/Muscle Shoals music scene. Effortlessly blending country with folk, soul, gospel and a little bit of rock and roll, they have crafted a sound that is at once familiar and current. On their third album, Heartaches By The Number, the group mixes original songs with classics from Hank Williams, Swamp Dogg and Merle Haggard, among others, making all the tracks their own in the process. The disc opens with the title track, a country classic made famous by Ray Price and

CD Review: Candice Night - Starlight Starbright

A gorgeous collections of lullabies and mood music from the Blackmore's Night singer.
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For her second solo album, Starlight Starbright, Blackmore's Night singer Candice Night didn't have to go very far for inspiration. Her children, Autumn (Who she was pregnant with when she began writing the album and Rory served as her muses for the project. Night originally designed the album as a series of lullabies to help her children sleep, but soon found that her music had a calming effect on many children with sensory, hyperactivity and learning issues, making the album much bigger in scope. For the album, she is backed by her husband, legendary guitarist Ritchie Blackmore as well as

CD Review: Wayfaring Strangers - Cosmic American Music

An excellent compilation of laid back country rock from the 1970s.
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The late 1960s and early 1970s gave birth to what has since become known as country rock. Though he hated the term, former Byrd and Flying Burrito Brother Gram Parsons was at the forefront of this movement, describing the Burrito Brothers as "Basically a Southern soul group playing country and gospel-oriented music with a steel guitar." Not quite rock, not quite country, not quite soul or gospel, this was a new form of music -- Cosmic American Music as it were. Parsons wasn't the only one traveling down this musical path. Many musicians seemed to be thinking the same way

DVD/CD Review: Rainbow - Monsters of Rock: Donington 1980

The final live show from the Graham Bonnet era of Rainbow is a good one.
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1980 was a year of transition for Rainbow. Touring in support of Down To Earth, their sole album with singer Graham Bonnet, it found the band shifting from the lengthier songs and mystical lyrics of the Ronnie James Dio era to a more radio-friendly sound, which would be carried even further by Bonnet's successor, Joe Lynn Turner. That year the band headlined the first-ever festival at Castle Donington in England. The performance was filmed and recorded and makes up the DVD/CD Rainbow - Monsters Of Rock: Donington 1980. While footage from this show had been available as a bootleg for

CD Review: Sammy Walker - Brown Eyed Georgia Darlin'

40 years on, these demos showcase Walker's talent and what landed him his deal at Warner Brothers.
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The follow-up to Sammy Walker's 2008 LP, Misfit Scarecrow, has an interesting backstory, one that is 40 years in the making. In the 1970s, Walker sent a tape to Broadside magazine, a popular folk publication. They liked what they read and heard, publishing his lyrics and sending a tape to New York DJ Bobb Fass on WBAI. Fass played Walker's tape, which caught the attention of folk singer Phil Ochs. Ochs helped Walker get a deal with the Folkways label and produced his first album. Later, he saw bigger things for Walker and played a collection of his demos for

Blu-ray Review: Elvis Costello - Detour: Live At Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

Elvis Costello shines in this solo performance with a little help from Larkin Poe.
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In 2015, celebrated singer-songwriter Elvis Costello was given the honor of "The most prodigious writer of fine songs in British history" from UK newspaper The Independent. High praise to be sure, but his record speaks for itself. His solo tour from that year, appropriately titled "Detour," featured Costello on guitar and piano, often telling the stories behind the songs, not unlike on Storytellers. The combination worked, making for an evening of great music and conversation. A show was filmed at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and makes up the excellent new Blu-ray Detour: Live At Liverpool Philharmonic Hall. Costello does his

CD Review: Groove Legacy

A killer jazz funk debut from these session pros.
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A shared love of the jazz funk music prevalent in the 1970s is the common thread bringing together the seven main members of the group Groove Legacy. Individually, the players are no slouches, having backed up the likes of Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Sara Bareilles and Carrie Underwood, but together they offer an exciting, tight sound of a band with several albums under their belt. The fact that this self-titled collection is their debut makes the offering all the more impressive and guest appearances from ace players such as Larry Carlton and Robben Ford don't hurt either. The album opens

DVD Review: The Jam - About The Young Idea

About the Young Idea is an excellent look at the lasting influence of The Jam.
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England during the late 1970s was host to a thriving punk scene, with bands such as The Sex Pistols and The Clash leading the way. There was also a bit of a mod revival going on at the same time. Enter The Jam. Fronted by Paul Weller, the band had the energy, attitude and socially conscious lyrics of many of the punk bands, but they did so in neatly tailored suits. In this sense, they didn't fully fit into either world, but they forged their own identity in the process. Then, in 1982, seemingly at the height of their powers,

DVD Review: The Ritchie Blackmore Story

This legendary guitarist's story is told here for the first time.
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To say Ritchie Blackmore is one of the giants of rock guitar would be an understatement yet; only this year did he finally receive the honor of being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of his former band, Deep Purple. He is a virtuoso, yet remains a musician's musician. He has played on some of the most memorable rock tracks of all time, both with Deep Purple and with Rainbow and has fused Renaissance music with rock as a member of Blackmore's Night. While much has been said of his many bands (and the

CD Review: Alan Price - Savaloy Dip

Alan Price's lost classic finally sees the light of day.
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The tale of Alan Price's 1974 LP, Savaloy Dip, is a curious one indeed. A founding member and keyboardist for The Animals, Price was in the midst of a promising solo career when Dip was recorded. What happened next is a matter of opinion and speculation. A March 1974 issue of Circular magazine called Savaloy Dip "every bit as good as O Lucky Man!" yet only one track from the album appeared on his next album, which was not Savaloy Dip but, rather, Between Today And Yesterday. Making matters more confusing, Savaloy Dip was briefly released officially -- on 8-track

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)

CD Review: Amp Trio - M(Y)Our World

Amp Trio's second release is a dreamy, sonic wonder.
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For their sophomore release, M(Y)Our World, the members of Amp Trio -- Addison Frei on piano, Perrin Grace on bass and Matt Young on drums -- decided to not only record audio, but also video for the tracks on the album, making for a multimedia event. The album mixes lush orchestration with sparse tracks and breezy with the psychedelic to create an interesting sonic mix. By adding in guest appearances by Tahira Clayton on vocals, Brad Kang on guitar, Drew Zaremba on organ and Nick Rothouse on percussion, Amp Trio has expanded their sound, taking the listener on a sonic

CD Review: Art Pepper - Live At Fat Tuesday's

Art Pepper and his band deliver a killer, late-period set.
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Art Pepper was a brilliant musician. In spite of numerous interruptions (and incarcerations) to his career due to his drug dependency, the quality of his musicianship never dipped. Before his untimely death in 1982, he was in the midst of one of his most fertile periods, one that began during the mid 1970s. On April 15, 1981, Pepper played a set at the famous New York City jazz club Fat Tuesday's. It was a case of extreme good fortune that Elemental Music label owner Jordi Soley managed to locate an excellent recording of the show from a collector. After clearing

CD Review: Kim Nalley - Blues People

Kim Nalley shows off her considerable vocal talents on this new CD.
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More than 50 years ago, Amiri Baraka released the book Blues People: Negro Music in White America. The book put forth the idea that African Americans were a Blues People, that, more than just music, the blues were a way of life for them. Today Kim Nalley looks at the ideas of Baraka's book and expands upon them, setting them to music. The result is Blues People, a diverse record based in the blues that showcases Nalley's considerable talents. The album opens with Nalley's sultry reading of "Summertime." The sparse piano accompaniment from Tammy Hall lets Nalley's voice shine, which

DVD/CD Review: Black Stone Cherry - Thank You: Livin' Live, Birmingham, UK October 30, 2014

Black Stone Cherry thanks their British fans with a high-energy live DVD/CD set.
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Black Stone Cherry has always had a special relationship with their British fans. The fans showed their love by making it possible for the band to go from playing 200-seat clubs to headlining an arena tour in under a decade. On October 30, 2014, the group returned the favor, documenting a gig at Birmingham's LG Arena. The high-energy show makes up the new DVD/CD Black Stone Cherry - Thank You: Livin' Live, Birmingham, UK October 30, 2014. A wild light show behind the curtain precedes the melodic modern metal of "Rain Wizard." Backed by heavy guitars and a military-style drumbeat,

Blinded By Sound Exclusive Song Premiere: "Sock Boo Ga Loo" by Bobby Rush

Bobby Rush is set to release a career-spanning box set and Blinded By Sound has the exclusive premiere of a song making its digital debut...
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Bobby Rush has played with the likes of Elmore James, Howlin' Wolf', Muddy Waters and Jimmy Reed and his career has lasted over 50 years. Now Rush is being honored with a box set celebrating his long and varied career entitled Chicken Heads: A 50-Year History Of Bobby Rush. The box includes five hours of music from 20 record labels and runs the gamut from blues to soul to R&B and even disco. Blinded By Sound had a chance to check out "Sock Boo Ga Loo," which makes its digital debut on this collection. The song is a sizzling slice

Blu-ray Review: Just Let Go - Lenny Kravitz Live

Lenny Kravitz's fall 2014 European tour is showcased in this fine live Blu-ray.
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Lenny Kravitz has always maintained a special bond with his European fans. They were supporters from day one and he has returned the favor by documenting his 2014 European tour. Filmed over three months Just Let Go - Lenny Kravitz Live captures Kravitz and his tight band delivering great performances for enthusiastic crowds. The Blu-ray also includes numerous backstage interview clips with Kravitz and the band, intended to show the camaraderie between this solo artist and his touring musicians. The show opens with a strong version of "Fly Away." The bass, courtesy of Gail Ann Dorsey, is featured prominently in

Blu-ray Review: Lynyrd Skynyrd - Pronounced 'Leh-Nerd 'Skin-'Nerd & Second Helping - Live From Jacksonville At The Florida Theatre

Lynyrd Skynyrd delivers album sets of two of their most celebrated releases in this new Blu-ray.
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In recent years, many classic rock acts have taken to playing their classic albums in their entirety in concert. Lynyrd Skynyrd is the latest to join this crowd, performing their first two albums Pronounced 'Leh-Nerd 'Skin-'Nerd and Second Helping at two special concerts in their hometown of Jacksonville, FL. The shows were filmed and make up the new Blu-ray Lynyrd Skynyrd - Pronounced 'Leh-Nerd 'Skin-'Nerd & Second Helping - Live From Jacksonville At The Florida Theatre. The Pronounced set begins with "I Ain't The One," a track that finds the band locked into a tight, southern funk groove and one

DVD Review: Frank Zappa - Roxy The Movie

Video of Frank Zappa and the Mothers' killer 1973 Roxy shows finally sees the light of day.
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When Frank Zappa announces, "something terrible has happened" at the beginning of the excellent new Roxy The Movie DVD, he wasn't kidding. The audio equipment had malfunctioned, making it virtually impossible to synch the audio to the video. Four cameras were used and four shows were recorded, making for a massive amount of footage that just couldn't be synched properly using 1973 technology. So the show sat. For four decades. Now, some 15 years after being promised all the shows, one performance has been edited together, and it is a revelation. The show opens with "Cosmik Debris," which is a

Blu-ray Review: Rage Against The Machine - Live At Finsbury Park

Rage Against The Machine keeps their promise and delivers a potent, free set in London.
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Rage Against The Machine came on in the early 1990s like a musical sledgehammer. The band mixed heavy metal, punk, killer grooves and featured the fiery, socially conscious rapping and singing of Zack de la Rocha. They were a force, both musically and lyrically. After breaking up in 2000, the band reformed in 2007, going on occasional tours. In 2009, English DJ Jon Morter and his wife Tracy started a campaign in England to get a different group's single to become the all-important Christmas Number 1 as it had been dominated by X-Factor winners for several years at that point.

CD Review: Joyce Moreno + Kenny Werner - Poesia

Joyce Moreno and Kenny Werner team up for an excellent album of love songs.
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With over 50 albums between them, numerous awards and nominations, and accolades from greats such as Antonio Carlos Jobim, Joyce Moreno and Kenny Werner hardly need any introduction. The pair has been leading musical voices in Brazilian and jazz music for decades now, and their working relationship goes back just as far, with Werner playing piano on Moreno's Verve albums and taking part in her 1991 Japanese tour. When Werner and his band played Brazil a few years ago, he invited Moreno to sit in with him. The combination proved to be magical. This prompted the pair to go into

CD Review: Raging Fire - Everything Is Roses: 1985-1989

This overlooked 1980s Nashville band gets a second chance with an excellent new compilation.
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In the mid 1980s, big hair, spandex and keyboards were all the rage in the music industry. Hard rock and wild guitar solos dominated radio and the ever-important MTV. For a band such as Raging Fire, it was hard to fit in. That's not to say they didn't get noticed. A CMJ readers' poll voted them, along with The Pixies, as one of America's best unsigned bands. Their sound, which mixed elements of punk, with Led Zeppelin and the Who and which featured the distinctive vocals of Melora Zaner, was ahead of its time however, predating grunge by half a

Blu-ray Review: What's Going On: Taste - Live At The Isle Of Wight

One of the band's final performances, filmed in front of 600,000 fans.
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In 1970, Taste, led by guitarist Rory Gallagher, should have taken the music world by storm. They had received critical acclaim from the likes of John Lennon and Jimi Hendrix and delivered a killer set at the Isle Of Wight Festival. What should have been a major coming out party though turned out to be the beginning of the end, as the band announced their breakup just a few days later, the result of disagreements between Gallagher and drummer John Wilson and bassist Richard McCracken over money, management and a host of other issues. Had they not been obligated to

CD Review: Paul McCartney - Pipes Of Peace Special Edition

McCartney's follow-up to Tug Of War yields more hits and A-list guests.
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In 1983, just one year after the commercial and critical smash Tug Of War, and with an abundance of leftover material from those sessions, Paul McCartney decided to strike while the iron was hot and release his next album, Pipes Of Peace. The album in many ways mirrors its predecessor. It has pretty much the same players, the same producer in George Martin and features two duets with a high profile pop star, this time Michael Jackson as opposed to Stevie Wonder. The album was a commercial smash, though not as successful critically as Tug Of War. Now it is

CD Review: Paul McCartney - Tug Of War Special Edition

Paul McCartney's major return to form from 1982 is available in a remixed, special edition.
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1982 was an important year for Paul McCartney. It had been two years since he released the experimental McCartney II to mixed reviews and, in the interim, John Lennon had been murdered. Perhaps sensing the need of another alpha male type to help focus his new album's material, McCartney called upon George Martin to produce for the first time since "Live And Let Die" and for his first full-length album since The Beatles broke up. The resulting album, Tug Of War, was a critical and commercial success, aided by his duet with Stevie Wonder on "Ebony And Ivory." The album

DVD Review: Jeff Lynne's ELO - Live In Hyde Park

Jeff Lynne brings back ELO in a triumphant 2014 performance.
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In the early 1970s, Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood and Bev Bevan took the remnants of The Move and formed the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). Originally a side project intending to merge classical with rock and continue where The Beatles' "I Am The Walrus" left off, it quickly became the main focus for the trio. Wood soon lost interest and, as you cannot have two captains on the same ship, decided to leave to form Wizzard. ELO became Lynne's baby and ended up becoming one of the most successful bands in the world, selling more than 50 million albums worldwide. Since

CD Review: Santana & McLaughlin - Live At Montreux 2011: Invitation To Illumination

This great performance from two legends of guitar is available on CD for the first time.
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When it comes to pushing musical boundaries, Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin are two guitarists at the top of the list. The pair has mixed world music with jazz, rock, Latin, blues and funk with a heavy dose of spirituality, all played with a stunning level of virtuosity. In 1973, they collaborated on an album, Love Devotion Surrender. The subsequent tour was the last time they had played a full-length concert together however until 2011. That year, Claude Nobs invited them to play the Montreux Jazz festival. While the two guitarists had played there many times on their own, it

CD Review: Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Live At Montreux 1997

A blistering performance by these prog rock legends.
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Prog rock super group, Emerson, Lake & Palmer took the music world by storm in the 1970s. Keyboardist and former The Nice member Keith Emerson's virtuoso abilities were matched by drummer Carl Palmer and former King Crimson member, bassist Greg Lake, who added a pop sensibility to the mix. The studio records were good, but the band was even better on the live stage, where they could extend jams for as long as they liked and present a flamboyant stage show that included, among other things, knives in keyboards. The band broke up in the early 1980s, only to return

Blinded By Sound Song Premiere Exclusive: "More Than This" by Raging Fire

Raging Fire debuts a blistering rerecording of one of their classic tracks.
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Start with a driving guitar riff that's equal parts Steve Jones, Guns 'N' Roses and AC/DC and add the sultry vocals of Melora Saner and you have "More Than This," a preview track from Raging Fire's forthcoming compilation, Everything Is Roses. This is a previously unreleased 2015 rerecording of a song from the band's 1986 LP Faith Love Was Made Of. The surviving members of the band (Guitarist Michael Godsey died in 2012), along with guitarists Joe Blanton of The Bluefields and Warner Hodges of Jason and the Scorchers, cut the track as a tribute to Godsey. The song sounds

DVD/CD Review: Aerosmith - Rocks Donington 2014

The legendary rockers deliver a killer performance at the 2014 Download Festival.
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Aerosmith's second act has been a remarkable one. Their comeback-period albums of Permanent Vacation, Pump and Get A Grip are now each over 20 years old and the band has survived everything from in-band fighting, cancer, Steven Tyler falling off the wagon (and off stage) and becoming a judge on American Idol. In 2014, the band headlined the Download Festival at Donington Park in Leicestershire, UK, with a blistering set that would make bands half their age take notice. The show was filmed and has been immortalized in the DVD/2-CD set, Aerosmith Rocks Donington 2014. The DVD begins with backstage

CD Review: Pugwash - Play This Intimately (As If Among Friends)

Pugwash gets a long-overdue international release for their great new album.
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While Ireland's Pugwash has been plying their trade making smart, well-crafted pop songs for a number of years now, it wasn't until 2014's compilation, A Rose In A Garden Of Weeds, that the band had been afforded a worldwide release. Now signed to Omnivore records, the band has released its first studio album to a worldwide audience, Play This Intimately (As If Among Friends). The sound is familiar, influenced particularly by the likes of Jeff Lynne, yet the band adds enough of their own spin to the music to push the songs in exciting new directions. The album leads off

CD Review: Buzz Cason - Record Machine

The veteran singer/songwriter is back with an exciting set of new songs.
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It's been a long and varied ride to say the least for music veteran Buzz Cason. His career, which has spanned parts of six decades, has seen Cason sing backup for the likes of Elvis Presley and Willie Nelson and sing lead for Buddy Holly's old band, the Crickets. He has penned songs that have been covered by U2 and The Beatles, sat in the producer's chair and has found himself enshrined as a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. He's also a performer in his own right and his new release, Record Machine, is a mix of familiar

CD Review: Anton Fig - Figments

The legendary drummer releases his first solo album.
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While Anton Fig may be best known to most people as the longtime drummer in David Letterman's band, he has had a lengthy career as a session player and, sometimes, touring band member. Fig's resume reads like a who's who of popular music and includes the likes of Kiss, Joe Cocker, Bob Dylan and Mick Jagger. He has also been a band member, most notably with former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley in Frehley's Comet and more recently with Joe Bonamassa. Fig is also a songwriter and, over the years, he managed to accumulate a large bank of unused songs. He

CD Review: Lorraine Feather - Flirting With Disaster

Lorraine Feather's first album of love songs is an intelligent, well-crafted record.
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Lorraine Feather has had a long and varied musical career. Noted for her lyrics, she has written for movies such as The Jungle Book 2, Dinosaurs and All Dogs Go To Heaven, earning seven Emmy nominations in the process. She is also a Grammy-nominated jazz artist, having released 11 solo albums since the late 1990s. It is somewhat surprising then that, up until now, she has never written an album comprised entirely of love songs. Flirting With Disaster aims to rectify that with 11 songs expressing the trials and tribulations of new romance via clever lyrics and expert arrangements. Flirting

BlindedBySound Exclusive: Hear Tommy Keene Premiere New Song "Dear Heloise"

"Dear Heloise," the latest single from Tommy Keene, is a jangly power pop gem.
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"Dear Heloise," the first single from veteran rocker Tommy Keene's new album, Laugh In The Dark (album due out September 4), is two minutes and 14 seconds of power pop bliss. Keene channels his inner Robin Zander over jangly guitars and an instantly infectious melody. There are elements of The Beatles and latter-day Cheap Trick in this well-crafted tune. The song is poppy, but with an edge, a fact the singer attributes to its not one, but two bridges. Keene said of the song, "'Dear Heloise' is a fictional ditty about a chanteuse from where else but Baltimore as an

CD Review: Bill Evans - The Complete Fantasy Recordings

The late jazz pianist's entire output for the Fantasy label is available once again.
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It has been 35 years now since the great Bill Evans left this earth at the age of 51, a victim of multiple health problems and years of on again/off again drug use. In that time, his legend and influence have only grown and he is rightfully considered one of the true giants of jazz music. For much of his last decade, Evans recorded for the Fantasy label. A box set of his entire Fantasy output, The Complete Fantasy Recordings, was released but had been out of print for some time. This year sees the rerelease of the box in

Blu-ray Review: The Rolling Stones From The Vault: Hyde Park Live 1969

The Stones begin the Mick Taylor era with this legendary free concert.
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1969 was a pivotal year for The Rolling Stones. It saw the end of one era with the death of guitarist Brian Jones and the beginning of another with the arrival of Mick Taylor as his replacement. It also saw the band return to the road for the first time in two years. On July 5, 1969, just two days after Jones' passing, the band performed a free concert at Hyde Park in London. Upwards of half a million fans attended the gig, which was filmed by Granada TV for a documentary, The Stones In The Park, and marked the

CD Review: Blinddog Smokin' - High Steppin'

High Steppin' is a fun, funky slice of Americana.
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One year after backing Bobby Rush on his Grammy-nominated release, Decisions, Blinddog Smokin' returns with an eclectic set of their own, High Steppin'. The album - the band's 11th - mixes blues, rock, funk, country and Americana with virtuoso musicianship and features lyrics that show the band's tongues are firmly planted in their cheeks. The album, which was produced by Grammy-, Golden Globe- and Oscar Award-winning writer, Donny Markowitz, features additional contributions from Hall & Oates guitarist Shane Theriot as well as New Orleans pianist David Torkanowsky. The album opens with the horn-driven funk of "Pimp Shoes," a song front

Blu-ray Review: Heaven Adores You: A Documentary Film About The Life & Music Of Elliott Smith

This excellent documentary looks at the life and career of the talented, yet troubled singer.
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"I'm the wrong kind of person to be really big and famous," said Elliott Smith in a 1998 interview that opens the excellent film, Heaven Adores You: A Documentary Film About The Life & Music Of Elliott Smith. Perhaps Smith was right. The film, directed and produced by Nickolas Rossi examines the life of the gifted, yet troubled, singer who died in 2003 from two stab wounds to the chest that may or may not have been self inflicted. Smith describes in his interview how playing his Oscar-nominated song, "Miss Misery," at the Academy Awards as "really weird" and "fun

CD Review: The Knack - Normal As The Next Guy

The Knack's final studio album, remastered with bonus tracks.
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When The Knack released 1998's Zoom, it was a critical success even if its sales did not match. Undeterred, the band continued to play live shows, though without a follow-up release. After finding a new manager in Jake Hooker (who co-wrote "I Love Rock 'n Roll," later made famous by Joan Jett), the band was to take part in a tour called "The Rock 'n' Roll Fun House." A DVD was filmed, which was made to look like an old 1960s TV show and the band were set to hit the road. The only problem was they didn't have a

CD Review: The Knack - Zoom

The Knack's Zoom album, a fine return to form, gets remastered with bonus tracks.
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The past few years have been good to fans of The Knack. First came the live album, Havin' a Rave-up: Live in Los Angeles 1978, which showcased via a blistering performance why the band was in such demand before they even had an album out. Next came Rock 'n' Roll Is Good For You: The Fieger/Averre Demos, which gave a look at the songwriting duo's pre Get The Knack demos. Some of these songs eventually found homes on The Knack's six albums, but all of the songs are excellent. Now comes the rerelease of Zoom, a latter-day gem by Doug

Interview: Knack Guitarist Berton Averre

The Knack's lead guitarist speaks about the latest reissues of the band's music.
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Blinded by Sound recently spoke with Berton Averre, lead guitarist for The Knack, about the rerelease of several of the band's albums, the history of The Knack and his current projects. Here's what he had to say. The past few years have been good ones for Knack fans in terms of new releases. How did this latest batch of rereleases come about? Doug Fieger's sister Beth inherited his business side of things and she is a very capable woman. She is interested in furthering the business side of things and found this label, Omnivore, who really liked our music. She

SDBlu-ray Review: The Who - Live At Shea Stadium 1982

The Who delivers a great performance in this, their original farewell tour.
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Though it has become, partially because of The Who, a running joke in the world of rock and roll to make fun of bands on their farewell tours, in 1982 The Who did, indeed intend on calling it a day. A myriad of factors affected this decision, including Pete Townshend's depression and drug use, as well as his feeling spent musically in a changing musical climate. Regardless of their reasons, the band toured behind a new album, It's Hard (their last for 24 years) and, not to rest on their laurels, pushed themselves on stage by having The Clash open

CD Review: Carl Hall - You Don't Know Nothing About Love: The Loma/Atlantic Recordings 1967-1972

New compilation shines a light on this overlooked soul singer.
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Carl Hall was something of an enigma. Possessing an incredible four-octave vocal range, he began his career as a gospel singer in the 1950s for The Rasberry Singers before moving on to secular music in the 1960s, first with Mercury and, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, under the Warner Brothers musical umbrella. From 1967 to 1972, Hall released only a handful of singles that didn't make much of a dent in the charts, but have since become collector's items. In addition, Hall recorded a number of tracks that remained unreleased until now. Carl Hall - You Don't Know

SDBlu-ray Review: The Rolling Stones From The Vault: The Marquee Club Live In 1971

The Stones' legendary Marquee Club gig gets its first official release.
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In March 1971, The Rolling Stones embarked on a short tour of the UK in support of their newest album, Sticky Fingers. Besides having an opportunity to play their homeland once again, the tour served as a farewell of sorts. The group had become tax exiles, moving to France where their next album, Exile on Main Street, would be recorded and they needed to be out of England before April 1, when the next tax year began. On March 26, 1971, the band played to an intimate, star-studded crowd at London's Marquee Club. Among the 150-200 lucky members of the

Blu-ray Review: Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators - Live at the Roxy 9.25.14

Slash goes back to his roots in this killer performance.
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The legendary Roxy in West Hollywood, CA, has loomed large in Slash's career. Not only is it the place where he and his new band, Slash Featuring Miles Kennedy & the Conspirators, played some of their earliest gigs, it is also one of the key locations in the early days of Guns 'n' Roses. In 2014, Slash went back to his roots, playing some of the clubs where he got his start, including a blazing night at the Roxy. The show was filmed, and makes up the new Blu-ray Slash Featuring Miles Kennedy & the Conspirators - Live at the

CD Review: Uncle Lucius - The Light

Uncle Lucius delivers a set of 12 thought-provoking numbers on The Light
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Before Uncle Lucius recorded their fourth album, The Light, they got out of their record deal. That move may have been crippling for some bands but for Uncle Lucius, it was not. After a decade of slogging it out on the road, the Austin band built a loyal fan base, which happily pledged to help fund its latest record. For listeners, it was a coup. The Light boasts 12 tracks with thought-provoking lyrics and a healthy dose of Americana. The album opens with its strong title track. Singer Kevin Galloway accompanies himself on acoustic guitar on this introspective number before

CD Review: Lynyrd Skynyrd - Sweet Home Alabama

This classic Rockpalast performance makes its CD debut.
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In 1996, nearly a decade after defying the odds by reuniting and nearly two decades after the plane crash that almost ended the band for good - and did end them for a decade - Lynyrd Skynyrd made an appearance on the famed German music program Rockpalast. Now, nearly two decades later, this classic performance makes its first appearance on CD as Lynyrd Skynyrd - Sweet Home Alabama. Johnny Van Zant, who has been the singer since the band reunited in 1987, taking the place of his late brother Ronnie, handles vocals on the 1996 show. The performance opens with

CD Review: Jeff Beck - Performing This Week...Live At Ronnie Scott's

This legendary Ronnie Scott's performance is available complete on CD for the first time.
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In 2007, Jeff Beck performed a series of concerts at the famed Ronnie Scott's club in London. A packed house, including several famous guests, attended every show and Beck had some big-name guest stars on stage as well. The concerts became something of legend and have been released on CD and DVD before, but never complete on CD, until now. Jeff Beck - Performing This Week...Live at Ronnie Scott's, culls all of the performances, including those with the guest stars as well as his set with the Big Town Playboys in a new two-CD set. The show starts out in

CD Review: Little Richard - Directly from My Heart: The Best of the Specialty & Vee-Jay Years

New box set collects tracks from Little Richard's most vital years.
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If there was a Mount Rushmore of rock and roll's founding fathers, one would think the likes of Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis would be among its members. Another, equally important, performer would be Little Richard. His boisterous style and larger-than-life persona paved the way for countless other performers and his music represents the very DNA of rock. While Little Richard may have always seemed to be a star, his early period proved to be a struggle, in spite of being signed to the RCA label, which would soon be the home to Presley. After a series

Blu-ray Review: Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued

16 unused Bob Dylan lyrics form the basis of a fascinating documentary about the attempt to turn them into songs.
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Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes from 1967 have, rightly, achieved legendary status over the years. His recordings with The Band, never meant for public consumption, eventually did make their way out, both in illegitimate and legitimate forms and have been the subject of much discussion ever since. It's no surprise then that when a box filled with 16 sets of unused lyrics from this period turned up, people took notice. With Dylan's blessing, producer T Bone Burnett and musicians Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens of Carolina Chocolate Drops, Taylor Goldsmith from Dawes, Jim James from My Morning Jacket and Marcus Mumford from

CD Review: Otis Taylor - Hey Joe Opus/Red Meat

Otis Taylor's latest is a trance-blues work of art.
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Otis Taylor's 14th album, Hey Joe Opus/Red Meat is an interesting mix of trippy, psychedelic sounds and traditional blues. The 10 songs flow into one another, as if one long song, but never seem long and work individually. "Hey Joe" appears twice and is the main theme of the record, while Taylor's original, "Sunday Morning appears in three different forms, all distinctly different, yet tied together. It's a unique mix, but it works. The first "Hey Joe" uses a three-guitar attack, including Taylor, Warren Haynes, and Langhorne Slim with violin courtesy of Todd Edmunds and cornet from Taylor Scott. It

Interview: Ides Of March, Survior Frontman Jim Peterik

The ides of March cofounder speaks about the band's 50th anniversary box set.
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Blinded by Sound had a chance to speak with Ides of March founding member, Jim Peterik, about the band's new 50th anniversary collection, as well as his career writing for other artists and his time with the group Survivor. He's had a long and varied musical career to say the least. Here's what he had to say. How did the box set come about? What was your involvement? Was it difficult to get all the tracks from the different labels? It's definitely home grown. We're our own record company and we found a distributor. It starts out in 1964 with

CD Review: The Ides of March - Last Band Standing

Chicago veterans release their definitive, 50th anniversary collection
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50 years ago, a group of teenagers from Berwyn, IL, comprised of Jim Peterik, Bob Bergland, Larry Millas and Mike Borch took their love of rock and roll and followed the lead of countless other teens during those glory years of rock and formed a band. Initially, they were named The Shondells, but not long after changed their name to The Ides Of March. By 1970, they had a massive hit single with "Vehicle" and were opening for the likes of Led Zeppelin. More success followed, but by 1973, the band had broken up, with Peterik going on to cofound

LP Review: The Complete Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Recordings

New vinyl box set commemorates the 40th anniversary of the pairing of these two musical giants.
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Forty years ago, two giants of American music collided when Tony Bennett and the late virtuoso jazz pianist Bill Evans decided to make music together. Remarkably, the pair didn't even have a song list in mind when they got together, Rather, Bennett would call out a number and Evans would approve or disapprove and they'd work out arrangements from there. The results were an embarrassment of riches. 1975's The Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Album and its follow-up, Together Again, showcase two masters of their craft on top of their games. Bennett is in strong voice throughout and is matched note for

Blu-ray review: Daryl Hall and John Oates - Live in Dublin

Pop duo makes its first-ever trip to Dublin.
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Hall & Oates have been called the most successful duo of the rock era by Billboard magazine. With a career spanning more than 40 years, seven platinum albums and six number one singles, it's easy to see why. Their success has enabled them to play many places but, until 2014, they had never played Dublin, Ireland. That changed on July 15, 2014, when the duo performed at the Olympia Theatre. The performance was filmed and makes up the Blu-ray Daryl Hall and John Oates - Live in Dublin. While this review is for the Blu-ray, the DVD edition also includes

CD Review: Roger Taylor - Strange Frontier

Roger Taylor's second solo album gets the expanded treatment in this rerelease.
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Shortly after Queen released their 1984 album The Works, Roger Taylor dropped his second solo album, Strange Frontier. Like its predecessor, Fun In Space, Taylor played most of the instruments himself but, unlike that album, Strange Frontier features some notable guest appearances, including Rick Parfitt from Status Quo and all three of his Queen band mates. The CD has been rereleased in the US in expanded form. The album opens with the title track, a song that answers the question of what Taylor would sound like put through a Bruce Springsteen filter. The song builds in intensity from its mellow

CD Review: Roger Taylor - Fun In Space

The Queen drummer's vastly underrated first solo album is available once again in expanded form.
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While much of the focus with Queen has been on their iconic front man, the late Freddie Mercury and, to a lesser degree, their bombastic guitarist Brian May, the band's secret weapon has arguably always been Roger Taylor. From his trademark harmonies (Who else could sing the high harmony to Mercury?) to penning some of the band's biggest hits to his own underrated tracks on many of their albums, Queen's drummer is a crucial ingredient in the band's sound. A prolific writer, Taylor began stockpiling songs that were either not used by or deemed unfit for the band for one

SDBlu-ray Review: Live At Knebworth

Live at Knebworth has been called "the best British rock concert of all time."
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On June 30, 1990, a who's who of British rock royalty gathered at the Knebworth House in Hertsfordshire, England for a concert benefitting Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy and The Brit School for the Performing Arts. The lineup, which was made up of prior recipients of the Nordoff-Robbins Silver Cleff award didn't disappoint. Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd, Robert Plant, Elton John, Phil Collins -- both solo and with Genesis -- Dire Straits, Tears for Fears, Cliff Richard & The Shadows and Status Quo made up the bill, making for a memorable day. The footage has been newly restored and is

DVD/CD Review: The J. Geils Band - House Party - Live In Germany

A killer performance from the famed German music program Rockpalast.
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The J. Geils Band made great studio albums, but any fan will tell you that the real magic was seeing them live. The band released three live albums with songs from two of them remaining staples on classic rock radio to this day. As fantastic as those albums are though, they lack the visual component of what made them such a dynamic live band. Hearing manic front man Peter Wolf's performances is one thing, but watching him, not unlike Mick Jagger, is a workout itself. The release of House Party: Live in Germany finally rectifies this with a killer DVD

Blu-ray Review: Genesis - Sum Of The Parts

The band's classic-era lineup is reunited for a series of interviews about the group.
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Genesis was one of the most successful progressive rock bands (and bands in general) of all time. They were also one of the most polarizing. A band it's never really been "cool" to like, its fans are fiercely loyal. Much like with Van Halen, different camps exist supporting a preferred singer, in this case Peter Gabriel or Phil Collins. The documentary Sum of the Parts assembles the classic lineup of Gabriel, Collins, Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks and Steve Hackett for a series of interviews -- both separate and together -- and attempts to make sense of it all. The documentary

CD Review: The Brand New Heavies - Sweet Freaks

The Brand New Heavies return with a new singer and a classic sound.
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The Brand New Heavies are back with a brand new lead singer. Dawn Joseph, who shared vocals on 2013's Forward, takes over as lead vocalist on the band's newest album, Sweet Freaks. The singer may be new, but the sound isn't. This is a fun record steeped in 1970s disco and funk grooves and melodies. Opening track "Sweet Freeek," mixes horns with a 1970s disco vibe. It's an infectious melody that sticks in your head from the first listen. The band gives a James Brown feel to Peter Gabriel's classic, "Sledgehammer." While Joseph's vocals lack the intensity of Gabriel's original,

Blu-ray Review: Jeff Beck - Live in Tokyo

The virtuoso guitarist is captured live in Tokyo in this 2014 performance.
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Jeff Beck and Japan have shared a mutual love affair for over 40 years. From his first visit in 1973 with Beck, Bogert & Appice, which resulted in a classic live album, to today, the country has always been a favorite of the guitarist. It's only natural then that Beck's first shows with his killer new band featuring Jonathan Joseph on drums, Nicolas Meier on guitar and Rhonda Smith on bass take place in Japan. An April show at the Tokyo Dome City Hall was filmed and makes up the Blu-ray Jeff Beck -- Live in Tokyo. The show opens

DVD Review: The Rolling Stones - From The Vault: L.A. Forum (Live in 1975)

The Stones archive series continues with this official bootleg of L.A. 1975.
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1975 was a pivotal year for The Rolling Stones. Longtime lead guitarist, Mick Taylor, had left the group after the release of their most recent album, It's Only Rock 'N' Roll, putting the group in a bind for their upcoming tour. Enter Faces guitarist, Ronnie Wood, a friend of the band's and a contributor (albeit billed as inspired by, instead of a songwriting credit) to the song "It's Only Rock 'N' Roll (But I Like It)." The band took to their Tour of the Americas, so called because it had intended to make stops in Central and South America. Those

CD Review: Status Quo - Aquostic (Stripped Bare)

Veteran UK rockers release their first-ever all-acoustic album.
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After nearly 50 years as one of the UK's top hard rock acts and the triumphant reunion of the Frantic Four lineup in 2013 and 2014, Status Quo have little, if anything, to prove. In spite of these facts, the band continues to push the envelope musically and has released its first-ever all acoustic album, Aquostic (Stripped Bare), with a cover photo shot by Bryan Adams no less. Aquostic finds the band reworking classic Quo songs as well as some deeper album cuts. The new arrangements include strings and accordions and focus on the band's strong vocal harmonies, presenting a

LP Review: Bill Evans - The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings, 1961

The final recordings of this classic lineup of Bill Evans' trio, presented in a lavish vinyl box set.
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In June 1961, fans unknowingly watched Bill Evans and his trio, which consisted of Scott LaFaro on bass and Paul Motian on drums, make Jazz history with their performance at the Village Vanguard in Greenwich Village, New York City. Though Evans has rightly since become a giant in the jazz world, he wasn't very well known at this point, despite having already played with Miles Davis and, as a result, the shows were sparsely attended. The performances would provide material for two of Evans' best-loved albums, Sunday At The Village Vanguard and Waltz For Debby, and they would prove to

Blu-ray Review: Eric Clapton - Planes, Trains and Eric

A look at the guitarist's recent Far East tour.
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Eric Clapton has been hinting about scaling down his touring for some time. At age 69, he's not into the travel and wear and tear required for major tours anymore. It's not like he has anything left to prove at this stage, anyhow. One wish he had though, was that when he turned 70 and really started to scale down his live shows, was to play Japan and the Far East again, areas that have proven a mutual love fest for Clapton and his fans alike. In early 2014, Clapton did just that, documenting the tour, including his 200th show

CD Review: Big Star - Live in Memphis

An unearthed reunion show from the Memphis power pop giants.
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In 1993, original Big Star members, Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens, were asked to perform at a one-off concert at the University of Missouri's Springfest. They rounded out the lineup with The Posies' Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow and Big Star, the Memphis power pop band who never lived up to their name sales wise, but who influenced countless bands, was reborn. A live album was recorded from the event and the band played a short tour. It was an offer from Mike Glenn to play the New Daisy in Memphis -- a homecoming gig -- that really enticed the

CD Review: Paul McCartney - Wings At The Speed Of Sound

The pinnacle of Wings' mid-1970s popularity, remastered and reissued.
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After the major success of Venus And Mars and the accompanying 1975 tour, Paul McCartney and Wings cranked out a sister album the following year. The record was Wings At The Speed Of Sound and it spawned two major hits in "Let 'Em In" and "Silly Love Songs," continuing the roll the band had been on and leading into their first, and only, U.S. tour. This was to prove the high point of Wings' popularity. The album has been remastered as part of the Paul McCartney Archive Collection and is available in a number of formats, including a double LP,

CD Review: Paul McCartney - Venus And Mars Special Edition

A rerelease of the album that began Wings' most popular period.
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The year 1975 saw the release of Paul McCartney and Wings' fourth album, Venus And Mars, and marked arguably, the beginning of their most popular phase as a band. New members Jimmy McCulloch and Joe English had replaced Henry McCullough and Denny Seiwell on guitar and drums respectively and became permanent, important fixtures of the band in the studio and on stage. This album and its follow-up, Wings At The Speed Of Sound, provided much of the material for the hugely successful world tour the band was soon to undertake, which spawned the triple-live album Wings Over America. The album

SDBlu-ray Review: The Rolling Stones -- From the Vault: Hampton Coliseum Live in 1981

The Stones' classic 1981 pay-per-view concert, available on SDBlu-ray for the first time.
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The Rolling Stones were flying high in 1981. Touring in support of the critically acclaimed Tattoo You, the band's tour took in a then record $50 million. While on tour, the band simulcast a Hampton, VA, concert to many major rock stations across the country and made the show available on pay per view -- a first for any concert. That show has been restored, with remixed audio by Bob Clearmountain, who supervised the Stones' audio archive releases, and is available on SDBlu-ray for the first time as The Rolling Stones -- From the Vault: Hampton Coliseum Live in 1981.

Blu-ray Review: Genesis - Three Sides Live

First-ever Blu-ray release of the band's 1981 tour film.
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1981 was a transitional year for Genesis. It was a year that found them straddling the line between the more experimental music of the Peter Gabriel and earlier Phil Collins years and the more pop-oriented music to come. Nowhere was this more evident than on their album Abacab, which featured lengthy prog rock tracks such as "Dodo/Lurker" and "Me & Sarah Jane," as well as pop songs such as "No Reply At All" and "Man On The Corner." While on tour for Abacab, the band recorded a live album, Three Sides Live and a corresponding video of the same name.

CD Review: Roger Taylor - Best

Queen's legendary drummer gets the best-of treatment
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Queen's Roger Taylor has had a very prolific solo career. Starting with his first single, "I Wanna Testify" in 1977, the drummer has released five solo albums as well as three albums with his band The Cross. Much of this music has not been available in America for some time and some of it not at all. A new best of, appropriately titled Best, attempts to shine new light on the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's underrated solo career. The CD is arranged in (roughly as "I Wanna Testify" is not the first track) chronological order, with tracks from

Blu-ray Review: Yes -- 35th Anniversary Concert: Songs From Tsongas

Prog rock giants celebrate their 35th anniversary
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In 2004, progressive rock legends, Yes, Celebrated their 35th anniversary. To commemorate the occasion, the classic lineup of Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Alan White, Chris Squire and Rick Wakeman took to the road, playing songs from their storied career. A show at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell, MA, was filmed and makes up the Blu-ray Yes -- 35th Anniversary Concert: Songs From Tsongas. While the Tsongas show had been previously released, the Blu-ray also includes 70 minutes of highlights from a 2004 gig in Lugano, Switzerland. After an orchestral intro, the band takes to the futuristic-looking stage for a potent

Blu-ray Review: Deep Purple With Orchestra - Live in Verona

These classic rock legends team with an orchestra in an ancient setting.
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Deep Purple are no strangers to performing with an orchestra. Their legendary late keyboardist, Jon Lord, was a master at fusing rock and classical music in particular. In 2011, the band, now featuring the great Don Airey on keyboards, took to the stage at the Arena di Verona, A Roman amphitheater from 30 AD. Backed by the Neue Philharmonie Frankfurt, the group delivered a powerful set of Deep Purple classics. The show was filmed, and makes up the Blu-ray Deep Purple With Orchestra -- Live in Verona. The amphitheater makes for a spectacular setting, particularly as the sun goes down

CD Review: The Jeff Healey Band -- Live At The Horseshoe Tavern 1993

The late guitarist delivers a sizzling live performance from 1993.
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The late Jeff Healey was a musical enigma. He blended blues and rock music at a time when hair metal and, later, grunge dominated the charts, never really fitting in, but finding success all the same. Highly regarded by other musicians, Healey even managed to get George Harrison and Jeff Lynne to appear on his cover of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." The Jeff Healey Band was a force in concert as the new live CD, The Jeff Healey Band -- Live At The Horseshoe Tavern 1993, proves. For the performance, Healey was joined by Joe Rockman on bass and

CD Review: Shelby Lynne - I am Shelby Lynne Deluxe Edition

Shelby Lynne's breakout album gets the deluxe treatment.
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By 1999, Shelby Lynne had been around for some time, releasing five albums in the process. It was her sixth album, I Am Shelby Lynne that first garnered her attention, however. The breakout work earned her a Grammy Award for Best New Artist, showing that sometimes it takes the mainstream a little longer to catch up to everyone else. In honor of its 15th anniversary, the album has been rereleased with bonus tracks and a live DVD. While Lynne had previously done more traditional country music, I Am Shelby Lynne mixes in a blue-eyed soul approach. Lynne's voice is high

CD Review: Celebrating Jon Lord - The Composer/Celebrating Jon Lord - The Rock Legend

A loving tribute to a giant of a musician.
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The Sunflower Jam was started in 2006 by Jacky Paice, the wife of Deep Purple drummer Ian Paice, after meeting a teenaged Deep Purple fan who was stricken with cancer. Ian Paice and his fellow Purple band mate, the late Jon Lord, brought some signed posters for the teen, who sadly passed two weeks later. The teen had been receiving treatment at the complimentary care facility at University College London. After seeing the good the center did, Jacky Paice wanted to raise money for the center and the Sunflower Jam was born. Many famous musicians, including Robert Plant, Brian May,

CD Review: Gary Moore - Live At Bush Hall 2007

A killer live performance from the late guitarist.
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In 2007, Gary Moore played an intimate gig at London's Bush Hall before 400 lucky fans. Tickets were not sold for the event. The only way to get in was to win one a ticket from Planet Rock Radio, which broadcasted the show live. The scorching set has never been made available in its entirety since its initial broadcast, a travesty rectified by the release of Gary Moore -- Live At Bush Hall 2007. The show opens with the Moore original, "If The Devil Made Whiskey," one of several cuts performed from his then new album, Close As You Get.

CD Review: Status Quo - The Frantic Four's Final Fling

The final show from the final tour of Status Quo's classic lineup.
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For Status Quo fans, the unthinkable happened in 2013. The classic lineup -- consisting of Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt, Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan -- reunited for a nine-date UK tour. After all, this lineup hadn't played together since 1981 and had been mired by lawsuits and inter-band tensions for years. The response to the tour was tremendous and the band went on the road again in 2014 as a final farewell to the Frantic Four. On April 12, 2014, the classic lineup played its final show at the Dublin O2 Arena and the band has released a live album,

CD Review: DEC3

Jon Haber proves it's never too late to rock.
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While rock and roll was once purely thought of as young people's music, Jon Haber has proven, at age 49, that one is never too old to rock. The New York-based music store entrepreneur has released his first full-length album, DEC3. While he had played in bands when he was younger, Haber never had an opportunity to release an album until now. The music reflects that of the era in which he grew up in -- 1970s and 1980s classic rock. Haber played most of the instruments himself, but is joined by Chris Saulpaugh on lead vocals and Mike Kalajian

CD Review: Big Star - Radio City

Big Star's second album gets the remastered treatment.
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When the commercial impact did not match the artistic triumph that was #1 Record, Big Star's Chris Bell (who was already battling depression) left the band during the sessions for the group's second record, Radio City. While Bell reportedly worked on "O My Soul" and "Back Of A Car," he is uncredited on the album. The band was reduced to a trio and was now, for all intents and purposes, Alex Chilton's baby. While losing a talent such as Bell was a blow, Chilton was still an incredibly talented writer and Radio City is nearly as good as its predecessor.

CD Review: Big Star - #1 Record

This legendary album gets the remastered treatment.
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In spite of their ironic name and title of their first album, Big Star never achieved much commercial success during their initial run as a band. While some of this can be attributed to distribution problems with Stax Records at the time, it still did not stop them from being a huge influence on the likes of REM, The Replacements and countless others. The band's debut, #1 Record, which was available for years (and in several versions) as a twofer disc coupled with the band's second album, Radio City, has been remastered and rereleased in a stand-alone configuration with liner

SDBlu-ray Review: Queen - Live At The Rainbow '74

Queen opens the vaults to release their legendary Rainbow gig for its 40th anniversary.
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1974 was a pivotal year for Queen. They had just finished a tour supporting Mott the Hoople and released two of their most ambitious albums in Queen II and Sheer Heart Attack, respectively. 1974 also saw the band receive a fair amount of airplay for the songs "Seven Seas Of Rhye" and "Killer Queen." In March and November, the band played a series of legendary gigs at The Rainbow in London. The shows were recorded and filmed but, aside from an edited VHS release in the early 1990s as part of Box Of Tricks in England, they have sat on

CD Review: New Model Army - Between Wine and Blood

Veteran band uses time off to record six great new songs.
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While New Model Army was on tour for their critically acclaimed album, Between Dog And Wolf, drummer Michael Dean was diagnosed with blood clots in his leg, forcing the postponement of the spring leg of the tour. The band, riding high on the momentum of some of the best reviews of their three-decade-plus career, decided to take this newfound time off and head back to the studio. The resulting mini album, Between Wine And Blood, mixes six new songs with a disc of live material from the Between Dog And Wolf Tour. The album opens with the gritty rocker "According

SDBlu-ray Review: Ian Anderson - Thick As A Brick: Live In Iceland

Jethro Tull's frontman delivers the entire Gerald Bostock story live.
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In 1972, Jethro Tull released their landmark album, Thick As A Brick. The album told the story of Gerald Bostock, a fictional 10-year-old boy genius who was co-credited with writing the album's lyrics. The album was meant as satire, poking fun at serious prog rock, the band itself, the critics and even the fans. The album's cover was done as a mock newspaper and live performances included interruptions by phone calls, band members reading the newspaper and giving the audience weather reports. The music itself was one long song, divided into two tracks for either side of the original vinyl.

CD Review: Justin Hayward - Spirits...Live

Live CD captures the Moody Blues singer on his recent solo tour.
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Moody Blues singer Justin Hayward took to the road in 2013 to support his solo album, Spirits Of The Western Sky, his first since 1996. Backed by Alan Hewitt and Julie Ragins, both on keyboards and backing vocals, as well as Mike Dawes on guitar, the tour mixed new material with several Moody Blues classics. A show in Atlanta, GA, was recorded, making up the new live album Justin Hayward -- Spirits...Live. The show opens with a trio of Moody Blues songs, the first being "Tuesday Afternoon." Hayward is in strong voice here, and throughout, his voice remarkably unchanged over

DVD Review: Justin Hayward - Spirits...Live

An excellent live document of the Moody Blues singer's solo tour.
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In 2013, Moody Blues singer Justin Hayward released the excellent Spirits Of the Western Sky, his first solo album since 1996. He took to the road for a solo tour, bringing along a crack band including Mike Dawes on guitars and dual keyboard/vocalists, Alan Hewitt and Julie Ragins. A show at the Buckhead Theatre in Atlanta, GA, was filmed and makes up the new DVD Justin Hayward -- Spirits...Live. Images old and new of Hayward and the band make up a video montage that begins the DVD. Set to an instrumental rendition of "Captivated By You," it serves as a

CD Review: Nils Lofgren - Face The Music

Unsung guitar hero Nils Lofgren gets a massive, career-spanning retrospective
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For many music fans, Nils Lofgren is best known through his work with Neil Young, where he was briefly a member of Crazy Horse and, more recently, for his time with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. A musician's musician, Lofgren has earned a reputation for being a great side man -- and deservedly so. A fantastic guitarist, Lofgren has proven that he plays for the song and has, arguably, made both legendary groups stronger in the process. At the same time, Lofgren has been releasing critically acclaimed music of his own, both with his early band, Grin, and

CD Review: Saga - Sagacity

This veteran band steps into the future with Sagacity.
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For bands that have been around as long as Saga, it can be difficult to add modern elements to their music without sounding derivative. This is not the case, however, on Saga's latest, Sagacity, which manages to incorporate contemporary guitars while maintaining the band's signature, progressive rock roots. Moody, atmospheric keyboards and guitar lines introduce "Let It Slide," The album's opening cut. A complicated song, it blends heavy guitars with almost funky verses and a chorus of strong, multilayered vocals courtesy of Michael Sadler. Ian Crichton and Jim Gilmour deliver a unison lead on guitar and keyboards respectively in this

CD Review: Marillion - A Sunday Night Above The Rain

Legendary prog-rockers return with a new live set.
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During their long career, Marillion has amassed a very devoted fan base. So much so that twice a year, there is a Marillion Weekend with this one taking place at Center Parcs in Port Zelande, Netherlands. In a March 2013 performance, fans from 44 different countries got to witness the band perform its latest album, Sounds That Can't Be Made, in its entirety, as well as a number of classic cuts. That performance makes up the groups latest live offering, A Sunday Night Above The Rain. The show opens with "Gaza," from the Sounds That Can't Be Made album. One

Blu-ray Review: ZZ Top - Live At Montreux 2013

The little old band from Texas still has it in their latest live release.
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The Montreux Jazz Festival has always been a special place for ZZ Top. The band has turned in many memorable performances at the festival and bassist Dusty Hill has amassed a collection of event posters, some given to him personally by the late Claude Nobs, the festival's founder. In July 2013, the band made its first appearance at Montreux since Nobs' passing, turning in a blues-soaked set of the band's brand of Texas rock. The performance was filmed and makes up the Blu-ray ZZ Top - Live At Montreux 2013. The show opens with a hard-charging "Got Me Under Pressure."

Blu-ray Review: Elton John - The Million Dollar Piano

A great memento of Elton John's latest Las Vegas show.
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The Las Vegas residency has long had its place in popular music lore. What was once seen as a home for "older" music, such as Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin, has since seen the likes of Elvis Presley, Prince, Motley Crue, Shania Twain and Cheap Trick, among others, take to the stage. Elton John is no stranger to Vegas either, having already performed more than 200 times as part of his Red Piano show. His latest show, The Million Dollar Piano, has been a hit with fans and critics alike and is the subject of a Blu-ray of the same

Blu-ray Review: Peter Gabriel - Back to Front: Live in London

Peter Gabriel celebrates 25 years of So live with the original band.
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In recent years, it has become the thing for classic rock artists to recreate their most famous albums in their entirety on the concert stage. Acts from Cheap Trick to Bruce Springsteen to Judas Priest to Aerosmith have all performed their biggest releases. It is not surprising then that for the 25th anniversary of his landmark album, So, Peter Gabriel performed the album in its entirety live, with the original touring band no less. A London performance was filmed to mark the occasion and makes up the new Blu-ray Peter Gabriel - Back To Front: Live In London. The show

CD Review: Jim Mize

This singer-songwriter returns with a strong collection of songs.
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Not many "new" artists release their first album when they are in their 40s, only to take 14 years to release their next two, but so it is with Jim Mize. This Arkansas singer-songwriter didn't even enter a recording studio until he was in his late 30s, but that didn't stop him from writing and amassing a serious collection of songs in the process. Now, at age 57, he has graced the music world with his third album, simply titled Jim Mize. Mize's day job is that of an insurance adjuster, traveling the American South and West. He's seen his

CD Review: The Babys - I'll Have Some Of That!

A new version of this classic rock favorite is back for the first time in more than 30 years with I'll Have Some Of That!
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In the late 1970s and early 1980s, The Babys had a string of hits with songs such as "Head First and "Back On My Feet Again" that remain classic rock radio staples to this day. The band broke up in 1981, with singer John Waite forging a successful solo career, bassist Ricky Phillips joining Styx and keyboardist Jonathan Cain joining Journey, where he co-wrote "Don't Stop Believin', " among others. That trio later resurfaced in the super group, Bad English, but The Babys had been pretty much dead in the water since 1981. That all changed in 2013, as original

CD Review: NRBQ - Brass Tacks

This veteran band turns in an eclectic set of strong songs on their newest release.
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NRBQ released its first album 45 years ago and has operated on the premise of no rules ever since. Founding member Terry Adams wanted a band that could play whatever style and songs it wanted, whenever it wanted and the band has built its reputation on doing just that. While the group has gone through numerous lineup changes (Adams is the lone remaining original member), this spirit lives on in its latest release, Brass Tacks. The album opens with the infectious pop of "Waitin' On My Sweetie Pie." Harmonies reminiscent of the Everly Brothers punctuate this bouncy number. Adams laments

DVD Review: Super Duper Alice Cooper

A fantastic tribute to one of the originators of shock rock.
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Before Kiss and before Marilyn Manson, there was Alice Cooper. Cooper brought outrageous theatrics to rock and roll before and, arguably, better than most. It wasn't all about the stage show, however, as many Cooper songs remain staples on classic rock radio. If the former Vincent Furnier was Dr. Jekyll, then Cooper was Mr. Hyde, and the character nearly consumed him. His rise, fall and redemption are chronicled on the excellent new documentary, Super Duper Alice Cooper. Furnier was born in Detroit, but eventually relocated to Phoenix. His father was a preacher and Furnier spent a fair amount of time

DVD Review: The Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett Story

A look at the early years of Pink Floyd and its original leader, Syd Barrett
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In 1967, the psychedelic movement was in full swing. The acid scene radically altered the sound and look of rock and roll with bands such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones releasing Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Their Satanic Majesties Request respectively. One group, which became one of the biggest bands in the world in their own right during the 1970s (albeit in a radically different state), released one of the crowning achievements of this era. The band was Pink Floyd and its leader at the time was Syd Barrett. Barrett's star rose as quickly as it

CD Review: Hank WIlliams - The Garden Spot Programs, 1950

Recently unearthed radio shows offer a treasure trove of live material for Hank Williams fans.
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In 1950, country radio was entering a transitional phase from live music to DJ shows. Stations looking to fill airtime would often do so by adding transcribed shows to the mix. These were 15-minute shows purchased by sponsors, pressed to disc and shipped off to radio stations. A good number of these recordings are sadly lost to the annals of radio history. These shows are also how Hank Williams made his way to KISB radio. Williams recorded several shows for Naughton Farms, a large nursery at the time, based on Waxahachie, Texas. Williams made the recordings in Nashville, but the

CD Review: Dio - Live In London: Hammersmith Apollo 1993

This classic Dio show from 1993 sees its first-ever release in 2014.
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1993 was a pivotal year for Ronnie James Dio. Having crashed and burned with Black Sabbath for the second time, he decided to reform Dio. This new lineup featured Sabbath drummer Vinny Appice along with Dokken bassist Jeff Pilson and guitarist Tracy G. The band recorded Strange Highways, which marked a harder-edged stylistic shift musically. A concert at London's legendary Hammersmith Apollo was recorded and is being released for the first time as Dio - Live in London: Hammersmith Apollo 1993. Not wanting to simply rest on his laurels, Dio featured several tracks from Strange Highways in the set list,

Blu-ray Review: Dio - Live in London: Hammersmith Apollo 1993

21 years later, this Strange Highways-era Dio concert is finally seeing the light of day.
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In 1993, Ronnie James Dio's second stint with Black Sabbath was over and the veteran singer was, once again, finding himself as a solo artist. He decided to reform Dio, taking Sabbath drummer Vinny Appice with him in the process while recruiting former Dokken bassist Jeff Pilson and guitarist Tracy G to round out his new lineup. The band recorded Strange Highways, which marked a harder-edged stylistic shift musically. A concert at London's legendary Hammersmith Apollo was professionally filmed and is just now being released for the first time as Dio - Live in London: Hammersmith Apollo 1993. The show

Blu-ray Review: Toto - Live In Poland: 35th Anniversary Tour

Veteran band delivers a hit-filled set.
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Through the years, the members of Toto have been better known for their session work than for Toto itself. Artists as diverse as diverse as Michael Jackson, Judas Priest, Paul McCartney, Miles Davis and Boz Scaggs, among others, have had recordings graced with one or more members of Toto. Still, the band has managed to carve out a successful career for itself with many hits. In 2013, the group reunited with vocalist Joseph Williams and keyboardists David Paich and Steve Porcaro to celebrate its 35th anniversary. A June show from Poland was filmed and makes up the new Blu-ray Toto

CD Review: Vince Guaraldi Trio - A Boy Named Charlie Brown

This classic soundtrack album gets the remastered treatment for its 50th anniversary.
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The 1960s Peanuts animated specials are among the most iconic television shows ever. Beloved specials such as It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and A Charlie Brown Christmas have become holiday staples, viewed year after year by new generations of fans. While Peanuts characters such as Charlie Brown and Snoopy have become legendary, equally legendary is the music accompanying their onscreen exploits. The late jazz pianist, Vince Guaraldi's, compositions have become synonymous with the series. There is one exception, however, where this wasn't the case. In 1963, a documentary about Willie Mays titled A Man Named Mays was released. The

CD Review: Thom Douvan - Brother Brother

The Former Funk Brother pays tribute to soul classics on his latest release.
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While guitarist Thom Douvan currently calls California home, the Ann Arbor, Mich., native cut his teeth on Detroit soul music. He played in his first soul band at age 16 and, by 1985, was playing with the legendary Funk Brothers of Motown fame. On his second release as a bandleader, Brother Brother, Douvan pays tribute to the soul music he's spent a lifetime playing. As a guitarist, Douvan certainly has chops, having attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston. However, on Brother Brother, he tends to lay back, often letting the rest of his excellent band shine, while holding

CD Review: Vincent Poag: For The Girls

Singer/songwriter returns with a strong second album.
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Singer/songwriter Vincent Poag has been compared to Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler -- lofty praise to be sure -- and while his music and voice bear similarities to both, especially the latter, he's different enough that he has forged his own unique path. On his second album, For The Girls, he blends strong lyrics and songwriting with pop, jazz, country and world music to come up with a fine collection of songs. The album opens with the well-constructed waltz of "45 Mile An Hour Girl." Poag contrasts the difference between him and his female companion by stating that he's a

CD Review: Deep Purple - Live in California 74

This classic Coverdale-era Deep Purple show is available on CD for the first time.
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In 1974, Deep Purple brought its new lineup to the United States for a tour to support Burn, the first album to feature David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes, who had replaced Ian Gillan and Roger Glover on vocals and bass respectively. Toward the end of the tour, the band played the California Jam, delivering a literally explosive set as misplaced pyrotechnics set the stage on fire. A dispute over what time the band would take the stage led to an angry Ritchie Blackmore, who would trash some of his guitars, as well as a TV camera, at the end of

Blu-ray Review: Brian May & Kerry Ellis - The Candlelight Concerts

The Queen guitarist and Wicked star offer a stripped-down presentation of their songs in this new Blu-ray.
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Queen guitarist Brian May first became of Kerry Ellis when he saw her as an understudy in My Fair Lady. She later auditioned for, and got, a part in the Queen musical, We Will Rock You, and has since performed in Wicked both in London and on Broadway. The pair toured and released a live album, Acoustic By Candlelight, and, in 2013, got to play the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival. That performance was filmed and it, along with the Acoustic By Candlelight CD, is included in the Blu-ray/CD collection, Brian May & Kerry Ellis - The Candlelight Concerts. Unlike the

Blu-ray Review: Sensation -- The Story of Tommy

Documentary pays tribute to The Who's classic rock opera.
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By 1969, Pete Townshend was facing a bit of an identity crisis. The Who had been a successful singles band during the 1960s, but the band was caught between the heavy, psychedelic style of their masterpiece, "I Can See For Miles" and the R&B throwback of "Magic Bus." A bad acid trip, where Townshend had an out of body experience, led to him wanting to take both his life and his music more seriously. The band had flirted with the idea of a rock opera in the past with tracks such as "Rael" and "A Quick One, While He's Away,"

CD Review: Marillion - Sounds That Can't Be Made Special Edition

Prog rock veterans' 17th album now available as a 2-CD Special Edition
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Throughout their three-decade career, Marillion has carved out a place as one of the major players in progressive rock. Like their prog-rock brethren Genesis, the band survived a lead singer change and has forged on, creating critically acclaimed music. Their 17th album, Sounds That Can't Be Made, was originally released in 2012, reaching the top 40 in the Netherlands, Poland, Germany, Norway and France. Now it is being rereleased in North America with a bonus disc of radio sessions and demos. The band wastes no time going for it musically on the opening track, "Gaza." A moody intro of keyboards

CD Review: Deep Purple NOW What?! Gold Edition

Deep Purple's latest gets the Gold treatment.
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Legendary British rockers, Deep Purple's 19th studio album, NOW What?!, was a successful one for the band. Their first album since 2005, it made the top 20 in the UK -- the first time the band had done that in 20 years -- and achieved gold status in Germany, Russia, Czech Republic and Poland. To celebrate, the album is being rereleased in a 2-CD Gold Edition with bonus studio and live cuts. The studio album, which was produced by Bob Ezrin of Pink Floyd, Kiss and Alice Cooper fame, among others, is a fine blend of sounds longtime Deep Purple

Blu-ray Review: The Doors -- R-Evolution

A visual evolution of this classic band.
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For all of Jim Morrison's poetry and The Doors' unique blend of the blues with the psychedelic music of the times, The Doors were equally innovative visually, pushing the envelope with their promotional films. That should come as no surprise as both Morrison and keyboardist Ray Manzarek were graduates of the UCLA Film School. This combination made The Doors unlike any band before them and, arguably, since. While The Doors were making cutting edge music and films, American television hadn't quite caught up, still seemingly stuck in more milquetoast days. A number of these films and TV appearances are collected

DVD Review: George Thorogood & The Destroyers - Live At Montreux 2013

The legendary blues-rock band makes their first Montreux appearance.
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Throughout his over three-decade career, George Thorogood has made a name for himself taking the blues of Howlin' Wolf and Bo Diddley, along with the rock 'n' roll of Chuck Berry and updating it through his own, high-intensity filter. Known for his slide work and open guitar tunings, Thorogood, along with his killer band, The Destroyers, has had success both on radio, as well as on the concert stage, even performing at Live Aid. While he would seem a natural to have performed at the famed Montreux Jazz Festival, which has long celebrated the blues as well as jazz, he

CD Review: Status Quo - The Frantic Four Reunion 2013

Status Quo's classic lineup reforms for a strong live album.
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While Status Quo continues on successfully in the UK to this day, for decades, fans have been clamoring for -- while not holding their breath -- a reunion of the band's classic "Frantic Four" lineup. Their wishes were granted when Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt, Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan played a series of surprise UK gigs in March 2013. The band recorded their shows at the Hammersmith Apollo in London and those comprise the live CD, Status Quo -- The Frantic Four Reunion 2013. The show opens with the hard-charging blues of "Junior's Wailing." Lancaster gives a strong vocal while

Blu-ray Review: Saga - Spin It Again! Live In Munich

Prog rock veterans return with an excellent concert Blu-ray.
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Canadian prog-rock veterans, Saga, have always had a strong relationship with their German fans. It's no surprise then that the band completed their sold-out tour for 20/20 -- their first album since reuniting with original lead vocalist, Michael Sadler -- in Munich. The crowds were enthusiastic and, fortunately for Saga fans, the shows were filmed, comprising the Blu-ray Saga -- Spin It Again! Live In Munich. A lush keyboard intro with pre-recorded background vocals sets the mood as the band takes the stage to perform "Anywhere You Wanna Go," from their 20/20 album. Sadler, singing in unison with drummer Mike

Blu-ray Review: The Rolling Stones - Sweet Summer Sun: Hyde Park Live

44 years later, the Stones return to Hyde Park triumphant.
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Forty-four years ago, The Rolling Stones played one of the most famous gigs -- not just in Stones' history, but also in rock history -- when they performed a free concert at Hyde Park in London, England. Former guitarist, Brian Jones, had died just two days before and new guitarist, Mick Taylor, was set to make his live debut in front of upwards of 500,000 fans. The show has become a defining moment in Stones lore, so it is only fitting that the band, now celebrating their 50th anniversary, should close out their tour with two shows at the historic

Blu-ray Review: Dream Theater -- Live At Luna Park

The prog-metal giants deliver a powerful new Blu-ray.
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Prog-metal legends, Dream Theater, have built a career on spectacular musicianship while remaining melodic. When the group hit the road on their "A Dramatic Tour Of Events" tour -- their first with former Extreme drummer, Mike Mangini -- they finished before a series of enthusiastic crowds in South America. The band filmed two nights in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and those make up the new Blu-ray, Dream Theater -- Live At Luna Park. The band took the stage, amidst images of a man on a unicycle, to the ominous drones of "Bridges In The Sky." Singer James LaBrie offers a sinister

Blu-ray Review: Springsteen & I

This new documentary celebrates the fans of The Boss.
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Most musicians hope to have a fan base as rabid and devoted as that of Bruce Springsteen's. While there have been many features on Springsteen over the years, Mr. Wolf and Ridley Scott Associates have decided to pay tribute to his fans. Made with support from Springsteen, Springsteen & I combines homemade testimonials from fans, along with rare footage of The Boss in concert in a fitting tribute for fans and an attempt to convert the nonbelievers. The documentary opens with bootleg footage of a Springsteen concert where he proclaims, "We're here for one reason -- because you're here. Where

Blu-ray Review: Move Me Brightly

Bob Weir delivers an all-star 70th birthday present to the late Jerry Garcia.
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Jerry Garcia would have been 70 years old last August. In honor of that milestone event, fellow Grateful Dead band mate, Bob Weir, threw a star-studded birthday bash at his TRI Studios in San Rafael, CA. The concert was filmed, and makes up the Blu-ray, Move Me Brightly. Directed by Justin Kreutzmann (son of Grateful Dead drummer, Bill), the film mixes live performances with memories from friends, family and band mates about what Garcia meant to them. Luke Wilson, a fan himself, serves as interviewer for the proceedings. On his way to Weir's studio, he is greeted by Sammy Hagar,

Blu-ray Review: Lady Antebellum - Live: On This Winter's Night

Lady Antebellum offers a holiday treat for their fans.
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On the heels of their holiday album of the same name comes Lady Antebellum's Blu-ray special, Live: On This Winter's Night. This concert by the country superstars was filmed at Nashville's Schermerhorn Symphony Center and showcases the band delivering several holiday classics, as well as their own original material, all while accompanied by a 40-piece orchestra. The Blu-ray opens with vintage family photos and Christmas videos from the band and has its members reminiscing about past holiday seasons in between songs. The musical portion opens with "A Holly Jolly Christmas" that has a jazzy, big band arrangement while featuring strong,

Blu-ray Review: CeeLo Green is Loberace -- Live in Vegas

CeeLo Green is Loberace, an homage to Vegas performers of years past.
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From the mind of CeeLo Green comes Loberace -- Live in Vegas. Part 70s soul singer, part Elton John, part Liberace, Loberace is a unique stage persona that is all Las Vegas. If it sounds tripped out, it is, but Green makes it work in this entertaining show that features dancing girls, numerous costume changes and many hits, both from Green's career and from artists he admires. The show opens with a wild James Bond opening sequence parody set to "Ladykiller," before settling in to the smooth soul of "Bright Lights Bigger City." Flanked by dancing girls, Green hits the

Blu-ray Review: The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert

The most complete version of this legendary concert, now on SD Blu-ray.
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In the world of rock and roll, there have been few, if any, greater front men than Freddie Mercury. This was a man who while intensely private off stage, could command an audience of 100,000 and make it feel like an intimate performance. In addition to his showmanship, he had the voice and songs to match. When Mercury died in November 1991 at the age of 45 due to complications from AIDS, the band decided to, in the words of guitarist Brian May, "give him the biggest sendoff in history." They quite possibly may have achieved that on April 20,

Blu-ray Review: Morrissey - 25 Live

The former Smiths front man celebrates 25 years as a solo artist with this new Blu-ray.
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Throughout his career, both as the singer of the legendary British alt-pop band, The Smiths, as well as the 25 years he has spent as a solo artist, Morrissey has carved out a niche as one of the most enigmatic and enduring performers to come out of the 1980s. His live shows are musical events, filled with some of the most devoted fans in all of music and performances that are nearly therapeutic in their intensity both for the performer and the fans alike. Just one day after selling out the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Morrissey offered fans a

CD Review: Paul McCartney - New

Sir Paul's latest mixes old and new touches with great results.
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For Paul McCartney's new album, appropriately titled New, he worked with four producers with the intent on finding one he liked and finishing the record with that person. What McCartney didn't envision was liking them all equally -- but he did -- and so Paul Epworth, Mark Ronson, Ethan Johns and Giles Martin all have credits on the album. As all four producers have very diverse styles and credits from artists ranging from Adele to Kula Shaker to Ryan Adams to Duran Duran, it's not surprising that McCartney's album is very diverse as well, but then again, so were The

DVD Review: Deep Purple - Perfect Strangers Live

A classic show from the reunion of the Mk II lineup.
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While every band seems to reunite these days, the 1984 reunion of Deep Purple's famed Mk II lineup was a major event in the music world. Rock and roll still dominated the charts and, after 11 years apart, fans welcomed the "Smoke On The Water" lineup of the band with open arms. During their time apart, Deep Purple briefly continued on with David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes handling vocals, singer Ian Gillan had a solo career along with a stint in Black Sabbath and Ritchie Blackmore had great success with Rainbow. Still, Mk II's chemistry was undeniable and, after 11

CD Review: New Model Army - Between Dog And Wolf

Post punk veterans expand their sound on their latest release.
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In the four years since their last album release, New Model Army went through a tumultuous period, having had their manager pass away, their studio burning down (with the rest of their gear being stolen, no less) and their bassist, Nelson, leaving the band. The group was, in many ways, forced to start over. New bassist, Ceri Monger, who at age 26 wasn't even born when the band first formed, has breathed new life into the group with his groove-oriented playing and the band decided to take a new approach musically as well. Drenched in lush keyboards and tribal drums,

CD Review: James Booker - Classified: Remixed And Expanded

The late piano genius' final album, remixed and expanded
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As New Orleans musicians go, James Booker would certainly be at or near the top. A contemporary of Dr. John, among others, the self-proclaimed "Bronze Liberace" played on albums by a diverse group of artists ranging from Ringo Starr to Fats Domino to Maria Muldaur. He also served as a mentor for a young Harry Connick Jr. Booker was not without his demons, however. Long-term struggles with drugs and alcohol indirectly contributed to his death from renal failure at age 43 and he struggled with mental illness as well. His music remains timeless though and Booker has amassed a growing

Blu-ray Review: Bryan Ferry - Live in Lyon Deluxe Edition

The legendary Roxy Music frontman delivers an excellent solo Blu-ray
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As both a member of Roxy Music and as a solo artist, Bryan Ferry has carved out a four decade (and counting) musical career that blends elements of everything from the pre rock 'n roll era to blues to soul to rock and the avant-garde. With not only his original material, but also with well-chosen covers (ready mades as he calls them), he has managed to create a sound that is uniquely his. It's a testament to his talents that his covers often sound as if he had written them himself. While on tour in 2011 for his album, Olympia,

Blu-ray Review: Peter Gabriel - Live in Athens 1987

The last night of the legendary So tour comes to Blu-ray.
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In 1987, Peter Gabriel was at the height of his powers both artistically and commercially. His most recent studio album, So, had turned him into a mega star with its critically acclaimed songs and groundbreaking music videos. The last night of the tour, a 1987 stop in Athens, Greece, was filmed and released in edited form on VHS as POV. Fast forward 25 years to the present to find that So was yet another classic album to get the super deluxe treatment, this time including a DVD of the entire Athens show as a bonus. Now the entire show --

CD Review: Songs From Scandal - Music For Gladiators

Twelve classic soul tracks make for a fine soundtrack to Scandal.
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On the television series, Scandal, Kerry Washington plays Olivia Pope, a character loosely based on former George Bush press aide, Judy Smith. Like Smith, who represented the likes of Monica Lewinsky and Chandra Levy, among others, Pope is a crisis management person for the elite, making sure their dirty laundry never gets aired. The very nature of her business leads to much drama in Pope's life and, as such, a powerful soundtrack is in order to really bring the show to life. The Stax label has released Songs From Scandal -- Music For Gladiators, a strong collection of soul classics

CD Review: Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow -- Black Masquerade

The final hard rock outing for Ritchie Blackmore?
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In 1995, having left Deep Purple for good, Ritchie Blackmore took a band of unknowns out on the road in support of Stranger In Us All -- the final album by his other legendary group, Rainbow. The album and tour featured Doogie White on lead vocals, a man who had the unenviable task of filling the vocal shoes of Ronnie James Dio, Graham Bonnet and Joe Lynn Turner. The band also included a young Candice Night, now the lead singer in Blackmore's Night and Ritchie Blackmore's wife and songwriting partner. Rainbow was recorded live on a stop on the German

DVD Review: Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow -- Black Masquerade

Ritchie Blackmore's final hard rock DVD?
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The mid-1990s were a period of major change for Ritchie Blackmore. In 1993, he left the reformed Deep Purple -- a band with which he had a love-hate relationship for some time -- for good and set out to record a solo album. The album featured largely unknown musicians and record company pressure forced Blackmore's hand by insisting he call this lineup Rainbow to sell more records. The lineup turned out to be the group's final to date and the album, Stranger In Us All, featured Doogie White on lead vocals and Blackmore's future wife and musical partner, Candice Night,

Blu-ray Review: Santana & McLaughlin - Live At Montreux 2011: Invitation To Illumination

Two legendary guitarists reunite for their first full-length concert in decades.
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Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin have spent their respective careers on a spiritual and musical journey. The pair has blended world music and spirituality with jazz, Latin, rock, blues and even funk influences. The pair first collaborated on 1973's Love Devotion Surrender. The subsequent tour was the last time they had played a full-length concert together until 2011. That year, their old friend, the late Claude Nobs, invited the pair to play his famed Montreux Jazz Festival. Dubbed Invitation to Illumination, the concert was a magical event, pairing two virtuosos and musical soul mates and is the basis for the

Blu-ray Review: Aerosmith - Rock For The Rising Sun

After the effects of the earthquake and tsunami in 2011, Aerosmith helped out the people of Japan the best way they knew how, with their music.
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In March 2011, Japan was devastated by the effects of a massive earthquake and tsunami. To make matters worse, the Fukushima nuclear power plant suffered a meltdown. Tourists were advised to stay away for their own safety, but Aerosmith, never ones to follow the rules, had other ideas. The band had maintained a close relationship with its Japanese fans over the years and, against conventional wisdom, decided to help the country heal through their music, staging a series of concerts later that year. The shows were filmed and form the basis of the new Blu-ray, Aerosmith -- Rock For The

CD/DVD Review: Christopher Cross - A Night In Paris

The veteran singer delivers new live album...
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As debut albums go, the self-titled release from Christopher Cross was as about as successful as anyone could have hoped for. Released in late 1979, it sold over 5 million copies in the United States alone (20 million worldwide) and garnered the singer five Grammy Awards in 1981. His second album, Another Page, was a success as well, going gold in the U.S. and spawning another top-10 hit in "Think Of Laura." As the years passed, Cross' releases became more sporadic, yet still achieved critical acclaim. In 2011, he released Doctor Faith, his first album of original material in over

CD Review: Status Quo - Bula Quo!

British veterans star in their first movie and provide the soundtrack in the process.
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While they may not be household names in America, British rockers, Status Quo, have carved out a successful career in Europe that has lasted more than 40 years. They have performed at prestigious gigs such as Live Aid and were on the bill for Queen's legendary Wembley Stadium shows in 1986, but there's one thing the band hasn't done until now -- record a movie soundtrack. Bula Quo! is the soundtrack to the film of the same name, which features the band as themselves (also a first). The soundtrack is a 2-CD collection featuring new original material, reworked tracks and

CD Review: Queen V - The Decade Of Queen V

A decade of hard-charging rockers from Queen V
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Through the past 10 years, Queen V has demonstrated one thing consistently -- she rocks. In the male-dominated world of guitar-driven rock, Queen V has more than held her own, winning over tough audiences opening for the likes of Twisted Sister and Billy Idol. The best of her recorded work from the past decade makes up the new CD, Queen V -- The Decade of Queen V. The CD opens with 2009's "Revolution Baby," which starts with a military march and showcases Queen V's gritty voice, which is not unlike Joan Jett's or her former Runaways band mate, Lita Ford's.

DVD Review: The Beach Boys - Good Vibrations Tour

Vintage Beach Boys TV special gets a DVD release
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In 1976, The Beach Boys were riding a wave of nostalgia thanks, in large part, to the "Brian's Back!" campaign. The Beach Boys' principal songwriter had spent the better part of three years in bed -- eating, drinking and abusing drugs -- and disengaged himself from not only the band, but also the world. After hiring the controversial therapist, Eugene Landy, Wilson was deemed ready for action once more. The results were the first Wilson-produced Beach Boys album in a decade, 15 Big Ones, and his return to the live stage to coincide with the band's 15th anniversary. To capitalize

Blu-ray Review: Paul McCartney And Wings - Rockshow

Rockshow, the legendary Wings concert from 1976, finally gets the Blu-ray treatment
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In 1976, Paul McCartney and Wings mounted their only U.S. tour, the aptly nicknamed Wings Over America. The tour was a massive success and spawned a live album of the same name. It had been 10 years since McCartney had toured the U.S. on the Beatles' final outing and, with Wings at the height of their popularity, the time was right to return to the States. Sensing the enormity of the tour, McCartney had shows in New York, Los Angeles and Seattle filmed with the hopes of putting together a concert film. The film was titled Rockshow, after the song

CD Review: Dio - Finding The Sacred Heart: Live in Philly 1986

This legendary concert is remastered and complete for the first time.
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When the late Ronnie James Dio was on tour for his Sacred Heart album, he had a show on the second leg of the tour filmed for VHS release. The concert was significant as it was the first tour with new guitarist, Craig Goldy, who replaced original Dio guitarist, Vivian Campbell, after the first leg was completed. The original concert was incomplete, however. Now the full show is available for the first time, digitally remastered, as Dio - Finding The Sacred Heart: Live in Philly 1986. For the tour, Goldy joined a crack band that included Dio's ex-Black Sabbath band

Blu-ray Review: Dio - Finding The Sacred Heart: Live in Philly 1986

Legendary performance released in its entirety for the first time.
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The late Ronnie James Dio took his love for the mystical to a new level in 1986. While on tour for his then current album, Sacred Heart, he and his crack band played on a stage that resembled a giant castle, complete with an animatronic dragon. It was the perfect backdrop for Dio's powerful music. Fortunately for fans, a show in Philadelphia was filmed and released, first as a VHS and later as a DVD. Unfortunately, however, the show was edited in those releases. For the Blu-ray release, entitled Dio - Finding The Sacred Heart: Live in Philly 1986, the

DVD/CD Review: The Moody Blues - Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970

A glimpse of a classic band in their prime.
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By 1970, the Moody Blues were arguably at the peak of their commercial and creative powers. Their newest album, and third in two years, A Question of Balance, hit number 1 on the UK charts and their previous two hit 1 and 2 respectively. Perhaps most telling is their position in the lineup at the legendary Isle of Wight Festival. In 1969, the band played on the opening day while in 1970, they were one of the headliners. That 1970 performance was filmed and makes up part of the DVD/CD set, The Moody Blues - Live At The Isle Of

Blu-ray Review: The Rolling Stones - Crossfire Hurricane

A new documentary on this legendary band.
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Few performers have had the longevity of The Rolling Stones. In 50 years, they've gone from being the dangerous, anti-Beatles to being the elder statesmen of rock. In the band's own words, they went from being the group everyone hated to being the group everyone loves. In honor of their 50th anniversary, director Brett Morgen sat down with the individual members of the band, past and present, to hear them tell their remarkable story. That story is preserved on the new Blu-ray, The Rolling Stones -- Crossfire Hurricane. For the documentary, no film cameras were allowed for the band interviews.

Review: Styx - The Grand Illusion/Pieces Of Eight Live

Styx performs two of its classic albums in one night on this live CD.
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On November 9, 2010, Styx followed the lead of many notable classic rockers, including Aerosmith, Peter Gabriel and Cheap Trick, by bringing not one (unlike those artists), but two of their biggest albums to the stage in their entirety during the same show. The albums in question were 1977's The Grand Illusion and 1978's Pieces Of Eight. The show, entitled Styx -- The Grand Illusion/Pieces Of Eight Live, was recorded and previously released in a number of formats, including DVD/CD, but this release marks its first appearance as a standalone two-CD set. The show was recorded at the historic Orpheum

CD Review: Paul McCartney And Wings - Wings Over America (CD/DVD)

Wings' live document of their 1976 U.S. tour gets remastered.
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By the time 1976 rolled around, Paul McCartney and Wings were at the height of their popularity, having amassed numerous hits and successful tours abroad. There was one thing left to do however, something McCartney had not done since 1966 while still a member of The Beatles -- tour America. After a tour of Europe and Australia, Wings traveled to North America for their first (and only) tour of the continent. The tour was a major success, with many cities hosting multiple sold-out nights. The live document of the tour, Wings Over America, also did well, reaching number one in

DVD Review: Rainbow - Live In Munich 1977

The only complete filmed performance from this legendary lineup of Rainbow.
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In 1977, Rainbow was on tour in Vienna, Austria, when trouble struck. Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore didn't take too kindly to a bouncer getting physical with fans and expressed his displeasure by drenching him in beer. Blackmore's actions got him a night in jail, which posed a problem as the band was set to be filmed the following night in Munich. Luckily for fans, the next night was available and the band was filmed as scheduled for the German TV show Rockpalast. That show makes up the DVD, Rainbow -- Live in Munich 1977, and is the only complete concert on

CD Review: Rainbow - Live In Munich 1977

A fantastic performance from the Dio era of Rainbow.
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In 1977, Rainbow was filmed live in Munich, Germany, for an appearance on the Rockpalast television show. The show, recorded not long before Ronnie James Dio's final album with the band, Long Live Rock 'N' Roll, was released was, by many accounts, a stunning performance. The audio of this show has been newly remastered for the CD, Rainbow -- Live In Munich 1977. The show opens with a blistering "Kill The King," one of two songs the band would play from the then yet-to-be-released Long Live Rock 'N' Roll. As concert openers go, few are more intense than this. From

CD Review: Deep Purple - NOW What?!

Classic rockers team up with Bob Ezrin for their latest release.
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For NOW What?!, their first studio album since 2005, the legendary Deep Purple decided to enlist the services of an equally legendary producer. Bob Ezrin, who helmed classic albums by groups such as Kiss, Pink Floyd and Alice Cooper, is working with Deep Purple for the first time. The results are a strong album that mixes familiar Purple elements with modern production touches. The lead track, "A SIMple sOng" (Yes, all the song titles are written this way), reflects its title with its laid back, bluesy intro. Steve Morse lays down some subtle guitar lines over a keyboard backdrop courtesy

CD Review: Neil Cowley Trio - Live At Montreux 2012

These highly touted jazz artists make their Montreux debut.
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Neil Cowley has made quite a name for himself, both through his own music as well as his session work. The 2013 UK Jazz Artist Of The Year gained experience playing with the likes of Brand New Heavies and Zero 7 and, more recently, he played piano on both of Adele's smash albums, 19 and 21, exposing his playing to a wide audience, even if they didn't realize it was him. In 2012 while on tour for The Face Of Mount Molehill, Cowley and his crack band made their debut appearance at the famed Montreux Jazz Festival. The show was

CD Review: Alanis Morissette - Live At Montreux 2012

The Canadian star's fourth appearance at the Montreux Jazz Festival is the basis of this new live set.
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Alanis Morissette was once considered the Canadian Debbie Gibson. She released two dance pop albums in her native Canada before undergoing a radical career makeover. 1995's Jagged Little Pill was the result of those efforts and it struck an emotional chord, especially with female listeners, selling over 30 million albums worldwide and making Morissette a bona fide superstar. A four-time guest of the Montreux Jazz Festival, her 2012 appearance in support of Havoc And Bright Lights was recorded and makes up the new live album, Alanis Morissette - Live At Montreux 2012. The show opens with "I Remain," a moody

CD Review: Thom Chacon

The singer-songwriter tackles real American characters in this strong set of songs
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On Thom Chacon's self-titled new CD, he delivers a gritty dose of Americana that betrays his age. Channeling his inner Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan, Chacon sounds as if he's lived every one of these tales himself. Chacon even plays with Dylan's rhythm section, Tony Garnier and George Receli on the disc, which was cut live in an all-analog setting, which suits these songs well. The CD opens with "Innocent Man," a story of a man wrongly convicted and placed on death row. Chacon gives a haunting vocal performance, transporting the listener to his prison cell. Chacon accompanies himself on

CD Review: Justin Hayward - Spirits Of The Western Sky

Justin Hayward's first solo album since 1996 finds him exploring new musical avenues
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Throughout his four-decade-plus career, both as a singer/guitarist in The Moody Blues and as a solo artist, Justin Hayward has not only had commercial success with songs such as "Nights In Wight Satin" and "Your Wildest Dreams," but has also been at the forefront of the psychedelic and progressive rock movements. In addition, the Moody Blues pushed the envelope in terms of mixing classical and pop music on albums such as Days Of Future Passed. On Spirits Of The Western Sky, his first solo record since 1996's The View From The Hill, Hayward mixes his strong pop sensibilities with dreamy

CD Review: Glenn Hughes - Live In Wolverhampton

Glenn Hughes tackles his extensive catalog in this live set.
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Glenn Hughes' career has seen many highs and lows, both on and off the stage. From his promising beginnings in Trapeze to a choice spot in Deep Purple to over a decade of substance abuse followed by more than two decades (and counting) of sobriety, he has seen and done it all, both musically and otherwise. After more than 40 years, Hughes is showing no signs of slowing down. In recent years, he has released three critically acclaimed albums with Black Country Communion, as well as his own strong solo albums. While on tour in 2009 for his album, First

CD review: Deep Purple - Live in Paris 1975

Remastered version of the end of the Mk. III era of the band.
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April 17, 1975. Not only was this stop in Paris, France, the end of the Stormbringer tour for Deep Purple, unbeknownst to the fans in attendance, it would be the end of an era. Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore had expanded the sessions for what was originally to be a solo single into a new album and band, Rainbow, but that hadn't been announced to the public at large yet. In their eyes, it was business as usual as Purple took the stage. The band's management knew otherwise and preserved recordings of these last gigs and now, thanks to Eagle Rock, Deep

Blu-ray Review: Patti Smith - Live At Montreux 2005

The legendary singer takes her band to the legendary Montreux Jazz Festival
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For nearly 40 years (albeit with a self-imposed hiatus for much of the 1980s), Patti Smith has mixed her unique blend of poetry, punk, folk and rock and roll, creating something interesting and powerful. She started strongly with Horses, her legendary 1975 debut, and has continued to push musical boundaries ever since. In 2005 while on tour for her album, Trampin’, Smith and her band, which includes original members Lenny Kaye and Jay Dee Daugherty, along with Television’s Tom Verlaine in a guest spot, were invited to play the famed Montreux Jazz Festival. The concert was filmed and is now

DVD Review: The Yardbirds - Making Tracks

Jim McCarty and Chris Dreja keep The Yardbirds name alive with a new, young band
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It’s not exaggerating to suggest that The Yardbirds are one of the most important bands of the Rock and Roll era. Pushing the boundaries between blues, hard rock and psychedelia, the band helped launch the careers of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page and many of their songs are considered classics. These days, the band consists of original members Jim McCarty on drums and Chris Dreja on rhythm guitar, along with singer Andy Mitchell, lead guitarist Ben King and bassist Dave Smale. The band tours and plays their classic 1960s songs, along with newer material from 2003’s Birdland. The

Blu-ray Review: Lady Antebellum - Own The Night World Tour

Country superstars captured live in Little Rock, AR
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In the short time since they formed in 2006, Lady antebellum has gone from playing acoustic shows at gas stations to headlining arenas, selling millions of albums and winning numerous awards and critical praise for their albums. Their music blends country with pop and rock with tight vocal harmonies. Their lives shows are energetic affairs, with fans singing all the words to their many hits. A stop in Little Rock, AR, on their 2011 tour for Own The Night was documented and makes up the new Blu-ray, Lady Antebellum – Own The Night World Tour. The Blu-ray mixes concert performances

Blu-Ray Review: Paul McCartney - Live Kisses

An intimate performance at the legendary Capitol Studios in Los Angeles.
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Paul McCartney has always had an old-time sensibility that has come out in his music on numerous occasions. Songs such as “When I’m Sixty-Four” and “Honey Pie” have more to do with the music his father would have grown up with than the songs the Beatles were writing during the 1960s. There’s a reason for that – It was the music that McCartney heard as a young child via his father or through parties his family would have when people would get together to sing these songs around the piano. McCartney had wanted to do an album of standards for

Let The Music Play – The Story Of The Doobie Brothers DVD Review

More than 40 years on, these classic rockers keep rolling.
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To say the Bay Area music scene had a lasting influence on Rock and Roll would be an understatement. At the tail end of that period came the Doobie Brothers, named after their left-handed cigarette of choice. The Doobie’s sound was unique, contrasting Tom Johnston’s chunky guitar rhythms against Pat Simmons’ more intricate finger picking style and incorporating three-part (or more) harmonies. The formula worked, as more than 40 years later, we are still talking about them. The DVD, Let The Music Play – The Story Of The Doobie Brothers, does justice to the legacy of this classic band. The

DVD Review: Stray Cats - Live At Montreux 1981

An early show from these rockabilly revivalists
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The year was 1981. Disco was fading while punk was morphing into post punk and new wave. The 80s hair metal scene was just beginning to take root, but three guys from Long Island, NY, had different ideas for what their new music should sound like. Instead of looking forward, they looked to the past, specifically the rockabilly music of the 1950s. Formed in 1980, they called themselves the Stray Cats and none of its three members (Guitarist/vocalist Brian Setzer was the oldest at age 22) were even born when rockabilly was in its heyday, yet here they were with

CD Review: Simon Townshend - Looking Out Looking In

Pete's younger brother delivers a strong set of songs on his seventh solo album.
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It’s hard to make a name for oneself when the shadow of their famous sibling looms so large, yet, in Simon Townshend’s case, he has managed to do just that. Besides lending his talents to The Who and Roger Daltrey’s live shows, Townshend has performed with the likes of Jeff Beck and Pearl Jam and began his musical career at a young age, contributing backup vocals to Tommy at age nine. He’s also released seven solo albums, the latest of which is called Looking Out Looking In. Music has run through the Townshend family’s blood for some time; with Simon

Blu-ray Review: Hungarian Rhapsody - Queen Live in Budapest Deluxe Edition

Queen's legendary show behind the Iron Curtain makes its Blu-ray debut.
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In 1986, Queen mounted their most ambitious tour yet, a stadium outing for their latest release, A Kind Of Magic. It would prove to be the band’s final tour with their charismatic front man, Freddie Mercury. One of the most memorable stops on the tour — and arguably of the band’s career — came on July 27, 1986, when Queen played Budapest, Hungary. Though there was no money to be made at this gig, it was more important than that. Queen became the first western act to play a stadium show behind the old Iron Curtain, which, for the members of

Blu-ray Review - The Doors: Live At The Bowl '68

Legendary concert film available in its entirety for the first time
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The Doors’ live performances have become something of legend over the years. Few bands blended poetry, theater, blues, psychedelia and unpredictability quite like the Doors and their live shows took their songs to places not possible on the studio recordings. One of their finest performances was on July 5, 1968, at the Hollywood Bowl. Fortunately for fans, the cameras were rolling and the show was filmed. Technical problems during the concert prevented the inclusion of three tracks in the original VHS version of the show, but modern technology has enabled those tracks to be presented for the first time in

Blu-ray Review: Peter Gabriel - Classic Albums: So

A look back at this landmark album.
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Peter Gabriel’s fifth solo album, So, was the first to have a title (His fourth album was titled Security by the record label in the U.S.). It was also his most successful, spawning numerous radio hits, including “Sledgehammer,” “Big Time” and “In Your Eyes,” among others. So is the latest entry in the Classic Albums series, taking its rightful place among other great critical and commercial successes. Like other albums showcased in the series, Classic Albums: So combines interviews with the principal players as well as music critics. Rolling Stone’s David Fricke comments that Gabriel wasn’t a household name until

DVD/LP Review: Muddy Waters & The Rolling Stones: Live At The Checkerboard Lounge Chicago 1981

The master meets the students at this intimate club show.
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Seeing the late, great Muddy Waters in person was always a treat for fans. Seeing him live at Buddy Guy’s Checkerboard Lounge in Chicago was even better. An intimate venue, it served as the perfect environment for Waters’ songs. In November 1981, fans not only got to see Waters in this setting, some very special guests also joined him. Seems The Rolling Stones were in town in support of their album, Tattoo You and Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and pianist Ian Stewart decided to take in the show. It didn’t take much persuading from their hero to join

The Rolling Stones: Some Girls Live In Texas '78 DVD/LP Review

This instant classic release is now available as a DVD/LP set.
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The Rolling Stones’ tour for their 1978 album, Some Girls, is considered to be one of their very best. In a response to the aggression of punk and the bloated excess of disco, the album of the same name finds the band at their stripped down best. While the punks labeled many bands from the Stones’ generation dinosaurs, the Stones ended up showing the punks a thing or two about who pioneered snarling rock and roll. For the tour, the band played stadiums, arenas and small theaters. Fans in Forth Worth, TX, were treated to a small show at the

DVD Review: The Who - Live In Texas '75

A classic show from the band's classic original lineup
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While the Who have had their fair share of studio triumphs, they have always been known, first and foremost, for their powerful live performances. In the band’s prime, on a good night, they could blow anyone off the stage. While on tour for their 1975 release, The Who By Numbers, fans in Houston, TX, were treated to such an aural assault. Fortunately, the cameras were rolling and the show is now available as The Who – Live In Texas ’75. After a bit of tuning up, the band launch into a ferocious version of their Mod-era classic, “Substitute.” Pete Townshend,

CD Review: Jon Lord - Concerto For Group And Orchestra

The late Deep Purple organist finally gets a studio version of his groundbreaking piece.
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After the breakup of Deep Purple’s original lineup, the band took a bold next step. Out were bassist Nick Simper and singer Rod Evans and in were Roger Glover and Ian Gillan in their place. While this newly minted Mk II lineup of the band would become its definitive one, its first release was a puzzling one for the band’s fans. In September 1969, the band was joined onstage by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to perform a composition written by organist Jon Lord. This became Concerto For Group And Orchestra and was groundbreaking in that a live melding of rock

DVD Review: Gary Moore - Blues For Jimi

The late guitarist takes on the Hendrix catalog in this 2007 performance
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On October 25, 2007, history was made as Gary Moore took the stage at the London Hippodrome with his band to perform a set of Jimi Hendrix classics. The performance was part of the lunch of the Jimi Hendrix Live At Monterey program and makes up the new DVD, Gary Moore — Blues For Jimi. The band opens with the classic riff of “Purple Haze.” Playing in a trio format featuring Dave Bronze on bass and Darrin Mooney on drums, the band quickly gets lost in the music on the tiny stage. Moore, playing a well-worn Strat, attacks his guitar,

CD Review: Gary Moore - Blues For Jimi

The late guitarist tackles the legendary Hendrix catalog in this special performance
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Jimi Hendrix was considered by many to be the greatest rock guitarist who ever picked up the instrument. Hendrix inspired countless guitarists, many who became virtuosos in their own right. One of those players was the late Gary Moore. In 2007, as part of the launch of the Jimi Hendrix Live At Monterey program, Moore performed a set of Hendrix classics with his band and some very special guests at the London Hippodrome. The show was recorded and filmed, and makes up the CD, Gary Moore — Blues For Jimi. Moore’s band, much like the original Jimi Hendrix Experience, was

Blu-ray Review: Freddie Mercury - The Great Pretender

An insightful look at the legendary singer
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When one thinks of Queen, the first person he or she usually thinks of is Freddie Mercury. This in spite of the fact that all four members of the band were major forces in their own right, contributing hit songs and, in guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor’s case, the trademark harmonies that enabled Queen to sound like no band before or since. Mercury was one of popular music’s best singers and arguably the greatest rock front man to ever grace the stage, effortlessly making crowds of 100,000 seem like intimate shows of 1,000. He was flamboyant, but he

Satriani, Duff McKagan, Santana, Flaming Lips, Vai, And Metallica Pay Tribute to Deep Purple Classic On 'Re-Machined'

40 years on, the classic album gets the tribute album treatment
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Deep Purple’s Machine Head has long been considered one of the high water marks for hard rock and heavy metal music. Now, to celebrate the album’s 40th anniversary, an all-star group of musicians has come together to pay tribute to this legendary release with Re-Machined – A Tribute To Deep Purple’s Machine Head. Machine Head, of course, is the album that introduced the world to one of the most famous guitar riffs ever with “Smoke On The Water.” Every guitarist learns that riff and, as such, the song is featured in two vastly different versions. The first one leads off

Blu-ray Review: Etta James - Live at Montreux 1993

Some of the legendary singer's Montreux appearances are highlighted in this Blu-ray.
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Throughout her legendary career, the late Etta James made many appearances at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Her 1993 appearance showed that even more than three decades into her career, she had lost none of her swagger. This performance is captured on the Blu-ray, Etta James – Live At Montreux 1993. The show opens with a song that lives up to its name – the instrumental “Funky Good Time.” A slinky blues workout, the song is punctuated by the horns of Kraig Kilby on trombone and Ronnie Buttacavoli on trumpet. A second instrumental follows, a sizzling cover of the Sam &

CD Review: Tanita Tikaram - Can't Go Back

Singer-songwriter continues to push musical boundaries on her seventh release
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For more than two decades, Tanita Tikaram has been blending folk and pop music with her unique voice to create something special. On her seventh album, Can’t Go Back, she mixes in influences of Americana to go along with Motown and Chess soul. The blend gives the album its unique style. The album opens with “All Things To You,” which marries an irresistible bass and piano groove with a hint of 1950s rock. Tikaram’s deep, distinctive voice really drives the track, which would not be out of place stylistically on Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’ Raising Sand. On the acoustic

Interview: Dave Fields Discusses New Album 'Detonation'

The blues guitarist spoke with Blinded by Sound about his new album, playing with legends and building guitars, among other things
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Blinded by Sound had a chance to interview New York blues guitarist, Dave Fields. He spoke about his new album, Detonation, playing with Hubert Sumlin, building guitars and some of his influences. "Addicted to Your Fire" has a definite Hendrix vibe to it, as does the solo to "Prophet in Disguise." Who are some of the players, past and present, that you try to emulate? There is a long list of guitarists that I listened to. I would try to emulate them just so I could understand what they were doing then incorporate the essence of what I had learned

CD Review: Dave Fields - Detonation

New York blues guitarist blends blues and rock on this powerful release
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New York blues guitarist, Dave Fields’ new CD, Detonation, is making people take notice. Big City Rhythm‘n’Blues magazine opined, Detonation explodes with a harder rocking sound as Fields works through a variety of styles touching on classic rock and reggae mixed in with a blast of blues.” While Detonation is indeed more rock-oriented than his previous two releases, the recent New York Blues Hall of Fame inductee still manages to incorporate the blues for his most diverse album yet. Fields channels his inner-Hendrix with the scorching album opener, “Addicted To Your Fire,” mixing a strong vocal with his wah-drenched guitar

CD Review: Ian Gillan & Tony Iommi - WhoCares

Legendary rockers combine new, old and rare tracks on this charity CD
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In 2011, Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan reunited with his old Black Sabbath band mate, Tony Iommi, to record a charity single to benefit a music school in Armenia that was destroyed in the 1988 earthquake that devastated the region. The pair recruited a number of A-list musicians for the lead track, “Out Of My Mind,” including Iron Maiden’s Nicko McBrain on drums, Jason Newsted on bass and the late Jon Lord on keyboards. That track, along with its B-side, “Holy Water,” is included in the two-CD compilation album, WhoCares, the profits of which will further aid the charity. The album

CD Review: Saga - 20/20

Canadian Prog-Rock legends return with their twentieth studio album
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Canadian prog-rockers, Saga, are back with 20/20, their first album since the return of original vocalist, Michael Sadler. Like The Beach Boys before them, 20/20 refers to the fact that it is the band’s twentieth studio album (The Beach Boys included compilations in their tally), but it has a double meaning as well, as keyboardist/vocalist Jim Gilmour had eye surgery during the band’s most recent European tour leaving his vision, you guessed it, 20/20. The album opens with the pulsating synths of “Six Feet Under” before the full band kicks in on this melodic rocker. The track features a call

Blu-ray Review: Staind - Live From Mohegan Sun

Staind deliver their alt-metal to a packed house.
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For over 15 years, Staind have delivered their unique brand of heavy music. Part grunge, with a big dose of detuned metal guitars, but not lacking in melody, the band has racked up more than 15 million album sales worldwide as well as the most-played rock song of the last ten years, “It’s Been Awhile.” The band was captured live on November 25, 2011, at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Montville, CT. That performance makes up the Blu-ray, Staind – Live From Mohegan Sun. The show opens with “Eyes Wide Open,” from the band’s self-titled 2011 release. After a menacing

CD Review: Alvin Lee - Still On The Road To Freedom

Legendary guitarist still pushing the edge musically.
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In 1969, the Woodstock Music & Art Fair catapulted Ten Years After and their young guitarist, Alvin Lee, into the spotlight. Seemingly overnight, the band went from playing clubs to arenas and, by 1973, Lee had had enough of the lifestyle and of being expected to produce hits. He was tired of being just product. That year, he released his first solo album along with Mylon LeFevre, the star-studded On The Road To Freedom. Now, nearly 40 years later, Lee is back with a sequel of sorts, Still On The Road To Freedom. The album leads off with the title

DVD Review: Queen - Greatest Video Hits

A rerelease of some of Queen's most beloved videos
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Throughout their illustrious career, Queen presented a unique experience for their fans, both with their complex, operatic music featuring multilayered guitars and vocals and visually, with their extensive, groundbreaking use of music videos. Queen Greatest Video Hits celebrates the latter, presenting many of the band’s videos in both restored picture and sound. Disc one leads off with perhaps their most iconic track, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Opening with the striking visual of the four band members used on the cover of Queen II, the video mixes straight performance with images of multiple Queen members replicating the vocals. It is often considered the

CD Review: Neil Sedaka: The Show Goes On – Live At The Royal Albert Hall

Neil Sedaka wows a UK audience with songs from his seven-decade career...
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Neil Sedaka’s amazing career has touched parts of seven decades. From his beginnings as a pop singer in the 1950s and 1960s to his rebirth as a songwriter in the 1970s, Sedaka has had a remarkable run. Not only has Sedaka had hits with the over 500 songs he has written or co-written, many of music’s biggest names, from Elvis Presley to Frank Sinatra to The Carpenters have had success with his music. Sedaka’s popularity has always been high with his fans in Great Britain and, in April 2006, they got to see Sedaka in a stripped-down performance – just

Blu-ray Review: Peter Gabriel - Secret World Live

Peter Gabriel's classic live document of his Secret World Tour makes its way to Blu-ray
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More than most artists, Peter Gabriel has managed to incorporate a strong visual element in his live performances to match his groundbreaking music. While on the Secret World Tour in support of his album Us, Gabriel released a live album and concert film entitled Peter Gabriel - Secret World Live. The film has been newly remixed, remastered and restored and is appearing on Blu-ray for the first time. The show opens in dramatic fashion. The crowd illuminates the air with their lighters while the sound of a telephone ringing is heard. Gabriel appears in a phone booth (dating the concert)

DVD Review: Ozzy Osbourne - Speak Of The Devil

Ozzy's legendary 1982 MTV show gets remastered audio in this DVD release.
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In late December 1981, Ozzy Osbourne and his band set out on tour for Diary Of A Madman, the second solo album from the former Black Sabbath front man. The tour was legendary from the get-go with a replica castle on stage and a crack band featuring Randy Rhoads on guitar, Rudy Sarzo on bass, Tommy Aldridge on drums and Don Airey on keyboards. The tour was by all means a success and Osbourne and his new band seemed unstoppable. Then, in March 1982, it all came to an abrupt end. Randy Rhoads was dead. A freak airplane accident had

CD Review: Duran Duran - Live 2011: A Diamond In The Mind

Former 80s poster boys prove they still have it.
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When Duran Duran singer, Simon Le Bon lost his voice in May 2011, he didn’t know if he’d be able to continue on with the band. The group had to cancel a number of shows, including some in their home country of England and the wait over the summer proved tortuous. Le Bon persevered and the London shows were rescheduled for December 2011. The band came back strong, finishing with some of the best shows of the tour. These shows make up the new live CD, Duran Duran - Live 2011: A Diamond In The Mind. These days, Duran Duran

The ABC and D Of Boogie Woogie - Live in Paris

Charlie Watts helps to keep boogie woogie alive in this side project.
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Charlie Watts is known the world over as the legendary drummer of the Rolling Stones, currently celebrating their 50th anniversary. What many people do not know is that his first love is jazz and he has an affinity for the nearly forgotten boogie woogie. Fortunately for music fans, he has managed to team with like-minded musicians, who also happen to be virtuosos on their respective instruments to form the A, B, C & D of Boogie Woogie. Named for the initials of its members, the band is made up of Axel Zwingenberger on piano, Ben Waters on piano and vocals,

CD Review: Foreigner - Alive & Rockin'

Singer Kelly Hansen gives Foreigner new life in this live performance from Germany.
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Foreigner is a band often associated with radio-friendly power ballads. At the Bang Your Head!!! Festival in Germany 2006, they got to show off their more rocking side with a strong, hour-long set. This performance is captured on the CD Foreigner – Alive & Rockin’. While guitarist Mick Jones remains the only original member, this performance finds the band showcasing one of their stronger lineups. Jeff Pilson of Dokken plays bass and provides backing vocals while Jason Bonham handles the drum duties. Replacing Lou Gramm is no easy task, but former Hurricane vocalist Kelly Hansen fills in ably, sounding enough

Review: Bachman & Turner - Live At The Roseland Ballroom, NYC

The Canadian classic rockers return with a sizzling live album.
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After the seeming career suicide of leaving The Guess Who at the height of their popularity, many likely figured Randy Bachman’s days on rock radio were numbered. Bachman’s second act was not to be taken lightly, however, as a few short years later, he returned with C.F. Turner to form Bachman-Turner Overdrive. BTO’s music dominated the airwaves in the 1970s and many of their songs are still staples of classic rock radio. Much like The Guess Who, they’ve reunited in various forms over the years and, much like The Guess Who, they have legal issues with ex band mates over

Review: Paul and Linda McCartney - Ram: Special Edition

The ex-Beatle's classic second solo album is the latest in the Paul McCartney Archive Collection.
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When Paul and Linda McCartney released Ram in 1971 — the only album credited to both of them — it didn’t meet with the warmest of reviews from critics or McCartney’s former band mates in the Beatles. Fans of McCartney’s pop master craftsmanship in the Beatles were puzzled by the rough, unfinished quality of his first solo album, McCartney, and when Ram was more of the same, it was too much for some to take. As for the Beatles, Ram was written at the height of McCartney’s feud with ex-songwriting partner John Lennon, who believed many of the songs (correctly

CD Review: Chris Barber - Memories Of My Trip

A 2-CD retrospective aimed at introducing the British bandleader to an American audience.
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British bandleader, trombonist and bassist, Chris Barber is a legend on that side of the pond. Since the 1950s, he’s been a prominent name on the jazz scene, as well as a well-known blues and gospel player. He’s played alongside many of the greats and was a founding director of the legendary Marquee Club, but he’s not that well known in America. Chris Barber – Memories Of My Trip intends to rectify that. A two-CD anthology, Memories covers Barber’s impressive 60-year career. The discs are arranged thematically, with disc one covering blues, jazz and gospel while disc two focuses on

CD Review: Laura Wilde - Sold My Soul

The hard rocking debut from Australia's newest import.
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Australian import Laura Wilde’s debut album, Sold My Soul mixes hard-charging, Joan Jett-influenced rockers that betray the singer/guitarist’s young age of 22. People have started to take notice. Wilde recently landed the opening slot on Ted Nugent’s tour and she certainly holds her own. The album opens with the sounds of a motorcycle revving before slamming into the up-tempo rocker, “All Alone.” Wilde delivers a cutting solo over the punk-inspired track. A multi-instrumentalist, Wilde did all the vocals, guitar, bass and drums on the album. The title track features a sleazy riff that recalls the glam rock era of the

CD Review: Peter Gabriel - Live Blood

Peter Gabriel pushes boundaries again, this time with an orchestra.
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In 2010, Peter Gabriel had the idea to record a cover album of some of his favorite songs. That’s nothing new — artists do that all the time. What was unique about the project was that the covers were to be orchestral versions with no guitars or rock drums. This album was called Scratch My Back and was generally well received. There was to be a companion album entitled, I’ll Scratch Yours where the artists Gabriel covered on his album would return the favor, covering one of his tracks. That never happened, though a few artists came through and their

CD Review: Deep Purple - Total Abandon: Australia '99

These classic rockers still deliver the goods live.
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Replacing a guitar legend is never an easy task, but by the 1999 tour for Abandon, Steve Morse’s second album with Deep Purple (and Jon Lord’s last), the guitarist had firmly entrenched himself in the band, a position he has not relinquished. Total Abandon: Australia ’99 finds the Mark VII lineup (which is the Mark II lineup with Morse replacing Ritchie Blackmore) as vital as ever, delivering a blistering live performance. The show offers a good mix of newer tracks as well as 1970s classics, opening with “Ted The Mechanic” from 1996’s Purpendicular. From the opening notes of this fan

CD Review: Legacy: The Best Of Tab Benoit

A nice career overview of the blues virtuoso's career
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For the better part of two decades, Tab Benoit has showcased his unique brand of the blues. The Louisiana native has blended Delta blues with country and rock, all with a Cajun flavor to come up with his unique sound. Benoit has spent more than 10 years on the Telarc label, with the best of his recordings for them collected on Legacy: The Best Of Tab Benoit. The disc opens with a cover of Buddy Miller’s “Shelter Me,” a fine vehicle for Benoit’s gritty, soulful vocals. The track is about overcoming the odds and is made all the more poignant

CD Review: Tony Bennett - Isn't It Romantic?

A collection of some of the crooner's most romantic tracks.
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Tony Bennett has had an over 60-year career singing some of the biggest and best love songs ever written. Now, 15 of those tracks are collected on the new compilation, Tony Bennett – Isn’t It Romantic? The collection is culled from Bennett’s 1970s period with nine of the 15 tracks from his two acclaimed albums with the late jazz pianist Bill Evans. The disc opens with “Make Someone Happy,” originally from Together Again, his second album with Evans. Bennett delivers an impassioned vocal against Evans’ brilliant, understated accompaniment. This is the sound of two masters on top of their respective

Paul McCartney Tackles Great American Songbook On 'Kisses On The Bottom'

Macca tackles The Great American Songbook.
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While making a name for himself as a pop rock musician, Paul McCartney has always been the least likely to shy away from a standard. Indeed, many of his own songs were written in this style from “When I’m 64” to “Honey Pie” to “You Gave Me The Answer” and he famously covered "Til There Was You" from the musical The Music Man. It is therefore not surprising that McCartney has finally decided to record his own tribute to the songs he heard his father play when he was growing up on his new album, Kisses On The Bottom. The

CD Review: Frank Sinatra - The Concert Sinatra

The Chairman of the Board takes to a movie scoring stage to make a classic album.
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The Concert Sinatra is a misleading title as it is not a live concert performance at all. What it is, however, is the sound of Frank Sinatra, Nelson Riddle and a large orchestra pushing the boundaries of recording technology for 1963. The album was recorded using 35mm magnetic film on a motion picture scoring stage. As stereo was in its infancy, multiple recorders were synchronized to take advantage of the full stereo spectrum. The master recording “Magnestripes” have not been used in any subsequent releases of The Concert Sinatra – until now. Recently discovered by producer Charles Pignone sitting unused

Slash Revisits Guns N' Roses, Velvet Revolver, Snakepit Past On New Live Album 'Made In Stoke 24/7/11'

Slash's first-ever live solo album delivers the goods.
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Who says you can’t go home again? Legendary guitarist Slash returned to Stoke on Trent, England, where he was raised as a young boy to record his first-ever live solo album, Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy Live – Made In Stoke 24/7/11. The album offers a good mix of solo, Velvet Revolver, Slash’s Snakepit and, of course, Guns ‘N Roses tracks and features Alter Bridge’s Myles Kennedy on lead vocals. The set opens with “Been There Lately,” a groove-laden Snakepit track with a killer riff that the band brought out specifically for the hometown show. It was one of two such

The Rolling Stones - Some Girls Live In Texas '78 (Blu-ray)

The Stones lean and mean on their '78 tour.
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The late 1970s offered a stark contrast in terms of popular music styles. There was the bloated excess of disco – arguably at the height of its powers – dominating the charts and the club scene, especially in places such as Studio 54 in New York. Tipping the scales in the other direction was the punk scene, which stripped rock ‘n’ roll back to its most pure elements – high energy, guitar, drums, bass, snarling vocals. Punk helped put the danger back into rock music. The Rolling Stones managed to embrace both on their seminal release, Some Girls, with a

Review: Ray Charles - Singular Genius: The Complete ABC Singles

The Genius switches labels and delivers more than a decade of classic tracks.
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By the end of the 1950s, Ray Charles, already a star in black America, began to make inroads into the white teen record buying market with hits such as "I Got A Woman" and "What'd I Say." Charles' contract with Atlantic Records was about to expire and the label fully expected to keep their rising star. However, a new label, ABC-Paramount, was looking to stake their claim in the white teen market and came to court Charles. Their offer was too good to refuse. Charles was able to produce his own records, he received a healthy royalty rate and, most

Review: Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings - Collector's Edition Box Set

The first four albums from the Rolling Stones' original bassist's new band.
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The World’s Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll band had just completed their incredibly successful comeback tour for Steel Wheels. It was the first Rolling Stones tour since the 1981-82 tour for Tattoo You and, in 1991, the band was primed to sign a megabucks deal with Virgin Records. Well, most of the band that is. Weary of touring and the rigors that come with being in a major band, original bassist Bill Wyman decided he had had enough and did the unthinkable – he quit the Rolling Stones. The band kept the door open until it was time to hit the

Review: Roger Glover And The Guilty Party - If Life Was Easy

Deep Purple's legendary bassist returns after 9 years with his side project
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Nine years after their first release, Roger Glover and the Guilty Party are back with If Life Was Easy, an eclectic collection of songs from the legendary Deep Purple bassist. Fans expecting the bombastic hard rock of Glover's main group may be disappointed, but fans with an open mind will find a fine collection of songs. Album opener, "Don't Look Now (Everything Has Changed)" is a reggae-influenced tune with Middle Eastern overtones. Randall Bramblett takes lead vocals on the track while Glover plays the baglama — a seven-stringed instrument similar to a lute and a sitar that he first found

Review: Rufus Thomas - Do The Funky Chicken (Stax Remaster)

Funk's elder statesman returns with a classic LP
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As the 1960s wore on, the Stax label focused on current artists such as Otis Redding and Booker T and the M.G.'s while Rufus Thomas, an early hit maker for the label was being left behind. Now in his early 50s, Thomas had been left off the label's tour of Europe — a move he found insulting — and his 1968 cover of Eddie Floyd's "Funky Mississippi" was recorded for an album that was never released. Undeterred, Thomas returned to the studio in 1969, backed by his son Marvell and members of the Bar-Kays to record his own "Do The

Review: The Dramatics - Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get

The debut album from the soul legends
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Toward the end of the 1960s, Stax vice president Al Bell diversified his talent pool by looking outside of Memphis, Tennessee for his artists. They went to Detroit, home of their competitor, the legendary Motown Records, to bring producer Don Davis down to Memphis. Initially, Davis worked with Carla Thomas and then Johnnie Taylor, but by the end of 1969, Davis had produced the first Stax single by another Detroit import, The Dramatics on the label's Volt imprint. When that single failed to chart, Davis released the group from their contract and they went back to Detroit to work with

Review: Shirley Brown - Woman To Woman (Stax Re-issue)

Shirley Brown's first single is Stax's last big hit.
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After being discovered by blues legend Albert King at age 14, Shirley Brown served as his opening act on an off for the next 13 years. After a failed single in the early 1970s, King managed to get Brown a tryout with the Stax label where he had some success himself. Recognizing the similarities between Brown's voice and Aretha Franklin's, the label had her record a demo featuring some of Franklin's biggest hits, including "Respect" and "Rock Steady." It was the single, "Woman To Woman," that became Brown's first hit, however, and the title track of her first LP for

Frank Sinatra & Count Basie's 'The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings' Is A Must-Own

Frank Sinatra claimed he had waited 20 years to work with the legendary Count Basie and his orchestra and, in 1962, he finally got his chance with Sinatra-Basie: An Historic Musical First.
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Frank Sinatra claimed he had waited 20 years to work with the legendary Count Basie and his orchestra and, in 1962, he finally got his chance with Sinatra-Basie: An Historic Musical First. The pairing of these two New Jersey natives was so successful that they worked together again on 1964's It Might As Well Be Swing. Now both of these legendary recordings are available on the newly remixed and remastered Frank Sinatra & Count Basie — The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings. The songs are presented in their original running order and the collection leads off with a swinging "Pennies From

DVD Review: Twisted Sister: Double Live

Twisted Sister at two key phases of their career.
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Twisted Sister spent a number of years on the New York club scene, building a large following and setting attendance records with their legendary performances. In 1982, before leaving for England to record their debut album, Under The Blade, the band bid farewell to the clubs with a blistering performance at the North Stage Theater. Fast forward nearly two decades later to the NY Steel show in 2001. Held just 11 weeks after the events of 9/11, the show benefitted the New York Police & Fire Widows' & Children's Benefit fund. After 13 years apart, Twisted Sister was asked to

DVD Review: Deep Purple - Phoenix Rising

A history of Deep Purple Mk. IV.
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Deep Purple is a band with an often volatile history, none more so than its ill-fated Mk. IV lineup. Guitar god Ritchie Blackmore was out and American axe-slinger Tommy Bolin was in. Their history is documented in Deep Purple: Phoenix Rising. The idea that this is purely a Mk. IV documentary however is misleading. It's more about the entire Mk. II-Mk. IV history of the band from Ian Gillan and Roger Glover leaving to Glenn Hughes and David Coverdale joining to Blackmore leaving to Bolin joining to the band's ultimate demise in 1976. The history is told via new interviews

CD Review: WhoCares: Out Of My Mind/Holy Water

Ian Gillan leads an all-star band for charity.
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In 1983, after the departure of Ronnie James Dio, Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan joined forces with Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward to record Born Again, the first — and only — Black Sabbath album to feature Gillan's vocals. Despite its short-lived status, that Sabbath lineup has a cult following among fans. Fast forward to the end of the 1980s when tragedy struck the Spitak region of Armenia in the form of an earthquake. Gillan, along with Deep Purple band mate, Ritchie Blackmore and an all-star cast including Tony Iommi, David Gilmour, Bruce Dickinson, Brian May and Roger

Review: Deep Purple - Deep Purple

The final album by Deep Purple's original lineup
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Deep Purple's third and final release from their original lineup was a self-titled affair. Unlike their first two albums, Deep Purple primarily features originals with only one cover song, showing the band's artistic growth. The album has been rereleased on CD with a number of bonus tracks. Deep Purple leads off with "Chasing Shadows," an infectious rocker with tribal drumming from Ian Paice. Indeed, the song serves as a showcase for the legendary drummer with a lengthy drum outro as well. The sole cover is "Lalena," a reworking of an old Donovan track. It is far mellower than the band's

Review: Deep Purple - The Book Of Taliesyn

Deep Purple takes a slightly heavier turn on their sophomore release.
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After Deep Purple's success with Shades Of Deep Purple, the band did not stray far from its formula for their second album The Book Of Taliesyn. Like its predecessor, The Book Of Taliesyn is roughly half cover songs and half originals and it is being rereleased on CD along with all of the other Mk. I albums with a number of bonus tracks. Book sees the band adding a harder edge to their sound, one they would expand upon with later lineups of the group. The album opens with "Listen, Learn, Read On," a driving song with killer drumming by

Review: Deep Purple - Shades of Deep Purple

The legendary band's debut LP
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Before the bombast of such classics as "Smoke On The Water" or "Highway Star," there was Deep Purple Mk. I. The original band released three albums between 1968 and 1969 and featured Rod Evans on vocals and Nick Simper on bass. This incarnation was more psychedelic and pop-oriented than the hard rock sound the band would come to be known for. Now, all three of these albums are being rereleased with bonus tracks. Deep Purple's first album, Shades Of Deep Purple, had a fair amount of success — particularly in the U.S. — including a top-5 hit with their cover

Review: Paul McCartney - McCartney II (Special Edition)

Paul's one-man follow-up to his legendary debut is even more experimental.
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Much like its predecessor, 1970's McCartney, signaled the end of the Beatles, its follow-up, 1980's McCartney II, came at the end of Wings. Whether Paul McCartney intended that to be the case is a matter of opinion, but he has not had a named band since nor has there been a third album in the McCartney series. McCartney II was originally supposed to be a double album but ultimately got released as a single disc. 31 years later, the tracks intended for the double LP have been included as bonus cuts on McCartney II (Special Edition). The album leads off

Review: Paul McCartney - McCartney (Special Edition)

The ex-Beatle's legendary debut.
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McCartney, The classic solo debut from Paul McCartney, is often touted as the final nail in The Beatles' coffin. Released before Let It Be — against the other Beatles' wishes — the album also accompanied a press release where McCartney said he no longer envisioned a future writing partnership with John Lennon. The dream was over. Now, 41 years later, this famous debut is getting the expanded treatment as McCartney (Special Edition). Recorded at home, McCartney provides all instruments and vocals himself, save for the occasional background vocals from wife Linda. The album is quirky and comes off as a

Review: ZZ Top - Live in Germany 1980

ZZ Top sets out to conquer Europe.
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In 1980, while on tour for Deguello, ZZ Top was looking to expand their fan base to a worldwide market. Already popular in America, the band wanted to conquer Europe next. An opportunity presented itself in the form of the popular German television show, Rockpalast, which broadcasted throughout Europe. Taking the stage at 4:00 a.m., the band played a spirited set that makes up the CD, ZZ Top – Live In Germany 1980. After the intro music of "El Deguello," the band launches into a fierce version of the Sam and Dave classic, "I Thank You." Billy Gibbons' guitar tone

Review: Chick Corea - The Definitive Chick Corea On Stretch And Concord

30 years of highlights from the jazz giant.
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To say Chick Corea is a giant of the modern jazz era would be an understatement. Beginning in the mid 1960s, Corea was a pioneer in the avant-garde jazz movement, accompanying the likes of Miles Davis. He later formed Return To Forever, a fusion group that, over time has counted Stanley Clarke and Earl Klugh among its ranks. More recently, he's had his Elektric and Akoustic bands, his Five Peace Band, his Trios and he has explored solo piano outings as well. Collecting all this material on two CDs would be an impossible task. In honor of Corea's 70th birthday

Review: Frank Sinatra - "Ring-A-Ding Ding!"

Sinatra's debut for his new label is a hard-swinging affair.
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The end of 1960 was a good time to be Frank Sinatra to say the least. He was in his Rat Pack prime, his albums and concerts were both artistic and commercial triumphs and his efforts, at least partially, led to John F. Kennedy winning the presidency. Still he felt stifled at Capitol Records and decided to form his own record label where he’d answer to no one. Reprise was the label and it became Sinatra’s home for most of the rest of his career. Sinatra's first album for the label needed to reflect this positive period in his life.

Review: Ozzy Osbourne - "Diary Of A Madman: Legacy Edition"

Ozzy's sophomore solo record tries to better his debut.
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It would be tough to better a solo debut as strong as Blizzard Of Ozz, but to many fans, Ozzy Osbourne may have done just that with its follow-up, Diary Of A Madman. In honor of its 30th anniversary, the album is now available in remastered, expanded form as Diary Of A Madman: Legacy Edition. Diary was most recently remastered in 2002, but royalty disputes between former band members Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake and Osbourne's camp led to their parts being redone for the CD by Robert Trujillo and Mike Bordin respectively. The move was controversial to say the

Review: Ozzy Osbourne - "Blizzard Of Ozz (Expanded Edition)"

Ozzy's legendary solo debut gets the expanded edition treatment.
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In 1979, Ozzy Osbourne's career had hit a major turning point. Fired from Black Sabbath, who had since gone on to replace Osbourne with Ronnie James Dio, Osbourne's next move needed to be big, No one could have predicted just how big it would be. Osbourne joined forces with bassist Bob Daisley and drummer Lee Kerslake, but it would be former Quiet Riot guitarist Randy Rhoads who stole the show on what would become not only one of the best solo debuts, but one of the best metal albums of all time, Blizzard Of Ozz. Over the years, both Daisley

Review: Twisted Sister - Under The Blade: Special Edition

The band's legendary debut, remastered, and expanded.
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After toiling away in the New York club scene for years, Twisted Sister recorded its first EP, Ruff Cutts, for the U.K. Secret Records label with two tracks produced by Eddie Kramer. That hard-charging release served as a primer for the band's legendary debut, Under The Blade, as three of its four tracks were redone for the album. While the album was later remixed and reissued in the United States with a different cover, it is the original artwork and U.K. mix that most Twisted Sister fans clamor for. That has been rectified with the release of Under The Blade:

CD Review: The Staple Singers - Be Altitude: Respect Yourself

The Staple Singers at the peak of their powers.
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Few groups have had the longevity of the Staple Singers. Fewer yet have managed to do it while completely changing styles more than once. The Staple Singers started out as a gospel group in the 1950s, before turning to folk music and protest songs in the 1960s. After signing with Stax in the late 1960s, the Staple Singers moved from protest music to "message music," as Mavis Staples put it. The songs were still socially conscious, but didn't beat the listener over the head with their message. The music also infused more of a soul and R&B flavor to it.

Review: Johnnie Taylor - Taylored in Silk (Stax Re-issue)

Stax with a touch of Motown and the blues make for a memorable album from Johnnie Taylor.
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By the early 1970s, the late Johnnie Taylor's sound had evolved from gospel singer to blues singer (he was known as Johnnie Taylor The Blues Wailer for a time) to smooth soul singer. Producer Don Davis had been brought in from Detroit to try and create a hybrid between the legendary Motown and Stax sounds, the results of which are plentiful on 1973's Taylored In Silk. The album leads off with one of its three top-five R&B singles, "We're Getting Careless With Our Love." Taylor's soulful vocals recall The Temptations and the slow-burning song tells the tale of two cheating

Review: Booker T. and the M.G.'s — McLemore Avenue (Stax Re-issue)

The legendary Stax house band pays tribute to Abbey Road
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Booker T. and the M.G.'s cut their teeth as the house band for Stax Records, backing legendary soul and R&B acts such as Otis Redding and Sam & Dave and helping to define the Memphis sound. They also released a number of instrumental singles and albums, but it was keyboardist Booker T. Jones' interest in the Beatles that led the band to one of their more ambitious projects, McLemore Avenue. McLemore Avenue pays tribute to the Beatles' Abbey Road, both in terms of the songs (They cover the majority of the album) and the cover, which features the band walking

Review: Ben Waters - Boogie 4 Stu: A Tribute To Ian Stewart

Legendary Rolling Stones pianist finally gets his due.
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Ian Stewart was one of the unsung heroes of rock 'n' roll. A founding member of The Rolling Stones, he was dismissed from the touring lineup by manager Andrew Loog Oldham for not looking the part. Undeterred, Stewart continued to play on the band's albums and serve as their road manager. Later, with Oldham no longer the band's manager, Stewart returned to the concert stage for various tours between 1969 and 1982 as one of the group's pianists. Stewart died in 1985 and the band paid tribute to him by insisting on his inclusion when they were inducted into the

Review: The Definitive Bill Evans On Riverside And Fantasy

A 2-CD overview of the legendary pianist's career.
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Bill Evans was one of the great innovators of modern jazz piano. It's no stretch to say he's had at least some influence on virtually every pianist to follow his innovative lead. From his days with the Miles Davis sextet to his years as a solo artist, Evans accomplished more than most in terms of furthering his genre. The Definitive Bill Evans On Riverside And Fantasy collects 25 tracks from a 21-year period from this jazz legend. Disc one opens with "Speak Low" from New Jazz Conceptions and it is clear from the outset that Evans was to be pushing

Review: The Definitive Miles Davis On Prestige

An overview of the jazz legend's early years.
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Collecting the works of Miles Davis can be a daunting task. The jazz giant had dozens of albums and was at the forefront of numerous jazz movements, many of which were radically different from one another. From 1951 to 1956, Davis recorded for the Prestige label, transformed his sound from Cool Jazz to Hard Bop and led some of the greatest bands in 20th century music. Twenty-four of these recordings are collected on The Definitive Miles Davis On Prestige. Disc one leads off with "Morpheus" from his initial Prestige sessions in 1951. The sound is exciting and experimental with Davis

Review: The Definitive Albert King On Stax

Albert King's greatest tracks for Stax.
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Albert King, along with his namesakes Freddie and B.B., comprise the Three Kings of the Blues. While not the household name today that B.B. is, Albert King is arguably no less influential among blues guitarists with Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan among others counted among his devotees. The pinnacle of King's creative and commercial success came when he was on Memphis' Stax Records from 1966-1975, with the best performances from these years captured on the two-disc set, The Definitive Albert King On Stax. The collection leads off with a song from King's pre-Stax days though with 1961's "Don't Throw

Review: Ray Charles - Live in Concert

The genius that was Ray Charles, captured live.
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The word genius gets tossed around a lot when referring to musical artists, with some more deserving of the honor than others. When people referred to the late Ray Charles as a genius, however, rarely was it more appropriate. Charles was a master of multiple genres seldom seen before or since, mixing R&B, big band, jazz, gospel, country and rock 'n' roll into a blend uniquely his. After playing with smaller combos throughout the 1950s, Charles assembled a 15-piece band in 1961. Originally released in 1965 as a 12-song album, Ray Charles – Live in Concert, the album has been

Review: Various Artists - SIN-atra

Dee Snider, Glenn Hughes, Robin Zander, Joey Belladona, and Jani Lane cover the Chairman Of The Board...
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As leader of the legendary Rat Pack, Frank Sinatra had attitude in spades, a fact not lost on Twisted Sister front man Dee Snider. In the liner notes for SIN-atra, an album featuring hard rock and heavy metal covers of Sinatra tunes, Snider calls Sinatra "the original rock star" and proclaims that "if he had come up in the '80s, there is no doubt in my mind he would have been the front man for a heavy metal band!" Bold words for sure, especially considering Sinatra wasn't much of a fan of the metal genre, but does Snider have

CD Review: Elvis is Back! Legacy Edition

The King comes to reclaim his throne.
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When Elvis Presley entered the Army in 1958, it could have been career suicide. While he was the undisputed King of Rock 'n' Roll up until that point, record buyers have always been fickle and two years was a long time to wait for new material back then. In short, his first album back needed to be killer — and it was. Elvis is Back! ranks among not only Presley's best albums, but is one of the best rock albums of all time. Now, more than 50 years after its release, it is getting the deluxe treatment by being paired

Review: Twisted Sister — 'Club Daze Volume 1: The Studio Sessions'

Twisted Sister hones their sound in the New York Club scene.
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"Rock will live tomorrow, but disco dies today," a defiant Dee Snider sang on "Rock N Roll Saviors," a call to arms for the forces of rock and a standout track on Twisted Sister — Club Daze Volume 1: The Studio Sessions. Originally released in 1999 by Spitfire, The Studio Sessions captures Twisted Sister when they were a hungry New York club band. While known now for their iconic '80s metal years, the band cut their teeth as glam-influenced '70s hard rockers as evidenced by the groove-laden "Pay the Price" and the rock and roll boogie of "High Steppin'." Snider's

Review: Twisted Sister — 'Love Is For Suckers'

Once intended as a Dee Snider solo effort, 'Love Is For Suckers' marked the end of the road for Twisted Sister.
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No album divides Twisted Sister's fan base (or even the band itself) more than its final album of all-new material Love Is For Suckers. First released in 1987, the album was intended to be a Dee Snider solo project. The record label refused to release it unless it was branded as a Twisted Sister release though and the album and tour were a failure, with Snider leaving the band shortly after the tour's completion. It's certainly the most pop of Twisted Sister's albums and owes more to Winger — seemingly once the antithesis of the band — than to past

Review: Twisted Sister — 'Come Out And Play'

Twisted Sister ponders its next step after MTV Success.
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After the success of its breakthrough LP, Stay Hungry, Twisted Sister found itself at a crossroads with its follow-up LP, Come Out And Play — placate the mainstream fans that got into the band with "We're Not Gonna Take It" or stand by the longtime fans that got into Twisted Sister the metal band. The band chose to do both with (mostly) good results. Produced by Dieter Dierks of Scorpions fame, Come Out And Play is a little slicker than previous releases, yet opens with Dee Snider's demented voice chanting "Twisted Sister, come out and play" in a nod to

Review: Twisted Sister — 'You Can't Stop Rock 'n' Roll'

Twisted Sister's major label debut delivers fist-pumping anthems.
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After years toiling away in the New York club scene and the word-of-mouth success of their debut LP, Under The Blade, Twisted Sister was rewarded with a contract from Atlantic Records. The band's first major-label LP, You Can't Stop Rock 'n' Roll, was a bold first step toward superstardom. The band wastes no time announcing their presence from the driving riffs and powerhouse vocals of "The Kids are Back" to the undeniable groove of "Like a Knife in the Back." This is the sound of a band that, finally getting their chance, intends to prove its worth. Twisted Sister is

DVD Review: Jeff Beck – Rock 'n' Roll Party Honoring Les Paul

One guitar great honors another as Jeff beck pays tribute to the late Les Paul...
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The legendary Les Paul spent the last 14 years of his life playing every Monday at New York City's famed Iridium Jazz Club. What better place for fellow legend Jeff Beck to honor one of his heroes on what would have been Paul's 95th birthday? Beck enlisted the aid of several guests, including Imelda May, Darrel Higham, Brian Setzer, Gary U.S. Bonds and Trombone Shorty for a tribute concert, the results of which make up the DVD Jeff Beck — Rock 'n' Roll Party Honoring Les Paul. The concert features a number of Paul's hits as well as several rockabilly