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December 2002






Back In The U.S.
(Capitol / MPL)

Baby boomers looking to reclaim some lost innocence will want to check out the DVD and CD set from Paul McCartney and his group entitled Back In The US. The double CD set and single disc, 3+ hour Back In The U.S. DVD—recorded and filmed live at various locations on the first leg of Macca’s Spring 2002 American tour—features a host of Paul’s best known Beatles and Wings numbers and wistful song dedications to both George Harrison and John Lennon. The CD and DVD makes a solid case that McCartney’s current band—with guitarists Rusty Anderson and Brian Ray along with drummer Abe Laboriel, Jr. and long time McCartney keyboardist Paul “Wix” Wickens—is one of his best yet. The 36 track double CD Back In The U.S. set is a sturdy, straight up double live album, while the memorable single disc 3+ hour DVD—with fascinating behind the scenes footage, revealing rehearsal soundchecks, humorous side bits, Paul’s memories of 9/11 and interviews with all the great players on hand—is clearly the way to go. So after 40+ years of touring and recording, just what does Macca get from playing live? In his own words, “The excitement of contact with people, just that feedback, that human feedback. Just seeing people moved by what you’re doing.” A vital, breathing musical history lesson from a survivor and architect of ‘60s pop, both the CD and DVD of Back In The U.S. are capped off with extensive booklets loaded with color photos and nostalgic tour memories from Paul and his group.

Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With
(Sanctuary / DGM)

The mighty King Crimson return in late 2002 with yet another EP worth of new material. As good as the 35 minute Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With EP is, KC are even promising bigger and better things with the planned release of their upcoming Winter 2003 album The Power To Believe. The ten track Happy EP introduces a couple new tracks from their forthcoming full length album, yet taken on it’s own, Happy flows with a remarkable intensity and consistency that only a group such as King Crimson can muster. Singer songwriter Adrian Belew and long time King Crimson mentor/guitarist Robert Fripp sound as determined as ever and they hardly miss a beat in the wake of Crimson’s 2001 Level Five EP. Assisted by Trey Gunn (Warr guitar, bass) and drumming wiz Pat Mastelotto, both Fripp and Belew once again deliver the goods. With it’s fitting mix of instrumental and vocal tracks—highlighted by Belew’s stirring vocals on the title track and an instrumental version of “Lark’s Tongues In Aspic (Part IV)”—Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With may be a small masterpiece but it’s worth spending alot of time with.

One More Car One More Rider
(Reprise / Duck)

Eric Clapton’s first live album since his ‘92 Unplugged album is available in three different formats—a double CD, a DVD (which mirrors the CD track lineup) and a ‘combo-pak’ featuring the 19 track double CD with the 20 track DVD. Recorded live in L.A. and Tokyo on Clapton’s 2001 world tour the 2002 release of One More Car, One More Rider captures the rock guitar legend in rare form supported by top guns like the amazing Steve Gadd (drums), Billy Preston (Hammond organ, keyboards), David Sancious (guitar, keyboards), Andy Fairweather Low (guitar, backing vocals), Nathan East (bass) and Greg Phillinganes (keyboards). Clapton and company rip through a number of classic rock and blues gems including Cream classics like “Badge” and “Sunshine Of Your Love” and his Derek & The Dominos favorites “Layla” and “Bell Bottom Blues”. Clapton’s knack for writing pop jewels is a given and there’s some dazzling electric guitar work on the album especially on rockers like “I Want A Little Girl” and “Goin’ Down Slow”. The sound quality is remarkable and the superbly filmed and edited 2+ hour DVD is fascinating to watch. Both the CD and DVD are essential for long time Clapton followers and and way you catch it, One More Car, One More Rider reaffirms Clapton standing as the premier guitarist on the modern blues and rock scene. /


A Rush Of Blood To The Head

It’s good to know the English can still make mesmerizing post-Pink Floyd style pop and hardly anyone in England makes it quite as good as Coldplay who are enjoying major success with their 2002 CD A Rush Of Blood To The Head. Having sold millions with their debut album, Parachutes, the group’s eclectic approach to progressive pop music is quite in tact on their new CD. Perfecting their iconoclastic U2 meets The Beatles rock sound, the group’s image is underscored by drummer / guitarist Will Champion when he says, “It’s been all on our own terms. We’re not a band that can be pushed around, although we do have some amazing advisors.” Weaned on a musical diet of The Cure, PF Harvey, Nick Cave and New Order, Coldplay defy the odds on their second album and summon up a powerful new vision.

In Absentia

Follow the Porcupine Tree back to it’s origins in 1988, and you’ll find an amazing amount of progressive sounds that, over the years, has garnered acclaim for skillfully mixing modern pop genres with ease. With the release of the group’s 2002 Lava Records release In Absentia, Porcupine Tree mainstay, singer-songwriter and guitarist Steven Wilson keeps the spirit of rock alive. Citing albums like Sgt. Pepper's, Pet Sounds, Quadrophenia and Dark Side Of The Moon among his biggest influences, Wilson adds, “We reach back into the ‘70s, when the album was the paramount art form. I’m searching for modern equivalents, but I’m really struggling” Struggle no more as Wilson and his bandmates—long standing PT keyboardist Richard Barbieri, Colin Edwin (bass) and Gavin Harrison (drums)—present possibly the finest PT effort yet. Prog-rock, spacy electronic sounds, heavy metal bombast and a flair for Pink Floyd-inspired catchy pop sounds coalesce in harmony on In Absentia.


Going Down

After a long time out of the public ear, singer-songwriter Don Nix was coaxed into releasing his long awaited comeback album in 2002. An original member of the legendary early ‘60s Stax band The Mar-Keys (with Steve Cropper and Duck Dunn), Nix furthered his stellar reputation in the late ‘60s and ‘70s working with his buddies like Leon Russell and Freddie King. Don’s work with Beatles legend George Harrison led to Nix leading the choir at the famed Concert For Bangla Desh. For Going Down: The Songs Of Don Nix—a great rootsy, R&B-flavored release on Evidence Music—Nix is joined by kindred musical spirits like guitar hero Steve Cropper (of Booker T & The MGs fame), Brian May (of Queen), Leslie West (of Mountain), John Mayall, keyboardist Max Middleton, Bobby Whitlock, singers Bonnie Bramlett and Tony Joe White and more. The CD booklet is filled with historic photos and will be an eye-opener for those unfamiliar with the rock legend. That famous Nix rock and roll and blues sound comes alive and rocks up quite a storm on the fabulous Going Down.
email: EvidenceMusic

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