Record Label and Music Spotlight 

JANUARY /
FEBRUARY 2004

  

 


PAUL McCARTNEY
on Rounder / MPL


BOB DYLAN
on Columbia / Legacy


THE ENDLESS SUMMER II
on Monterey Media

JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2004
MUSIC & RECORD LABEL SPOTLIGHT


AVANT ACOUSTIC / HAPI SKRATCH - Colorado-based acoustic guitarist Lynn Patrick is joined by several other fine guitarists on her 2002 CD When She Dreams. Also appearing are lead guitarist Dave Beegle and guit-jo wizard Joe Scott. Peaceful acoustic guitar music played with taste and tenderness, When She Dreams is filled with Lynn´s original acoustic-based instrumentals which range from folk and jazz to country flatpicking. Featured on National Public Radio shows around the country, the 12 track When She Dreams is layered with a calm, almost New Age vibe and makes for a most relaxing listening experience. www.lynnpatrick.com

BACKBEAT BOOKS - Backbeat have a fine selection of 2003 books for guitarists and music fans alike. Written by music industry veteran, Nadine Condon, Hot Hits, Cheap Demos: The Real-World Guide To Music Business Secrets presents a 192 page book that assembles a wealth of advice for the career minded musician. From marketing and promoting your music to creating a press kit, producing and promoting shows, making eye-catching web sites, finding producers, managers, agents and lawyers all the way to packaging a CD and understanding major label contracts, Condon offers her vital music business insights on Hot Hits, Cheap Demos.
Along the same lines, Backbeat also published a new book in 2003 from author Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers entitled The Complete Singer-Songwriter: A Troubadour’s Guide To Writing, Performing, Recording & Business. Geared towards the modern singer-songwriter looking to polish their craft and career, the 208 page book distills professional insights from a wealth of interviews with music legends like Richie Havens, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Arlo Guthrie, Chrissie Hynde, Jewel, Jerry Garcia and more. Featuring just the right amount of songwriting and music theory insights, the book is bolstered with key facts and inside information on managers, agents, lawyers and record company execs.
In 2003, Backbeat also updated ‘the bible’ when it comes to tubes and tube amps. Written by Aspen Pittman—the founder and president of Groove Tubes, LLC—this expanded and revised edition of The Tube Amp Book: Histories, Specs & Schematics clears the fog around the tube, featuring 40 percent more material and a CD-Rom of essential circuit diagrams. Printed in an easy to use spiral-bound format, the 416 page book features 200 color photos and is essential reading for tube-tone enthusiasts and everyday tube-amp users alike.
Backbeat takes an entertaining look at the diminutive, yet influential Ukulele with The Ukulele: A Visual History 2nd Edition. Written and put together by Uke expert Jim Beloff, the 120 page hardcover book—featuring 200 color photos—takes the reader through the history of the Ukulele from it’s roots in the 1800’s—from Hawaii to the mainland—to all the great players (remember Tiny Tim and Arthur Godfrey?) and Ukulele makers. Beyond the history and incredible pictures of more than 100 of the finest Hawaiian koa-wood ukulele’s, Beloff’s essential resource guide features loads of intriguing Ukulele trivia as well as reference lists of ukulele song titles, method/songbooks, essential recording information and more.
Written by guitarists / authors Pete Brown and Lisa Sharken, Gear Secrets Of The Guitar Legends is being marketed by Backbeat as the ‘bible for rock guitar tone.’ Featuring interviews, bio material and essential discographies of rock guitar legends including Scotty Moore, Eric Clapton and Steve Vai, the 128 page ‘trade paper’ book provides key data on guitar equipment, technique, amp settings and sound tips that will help players improve their sound while they learn about the music and lives of their favorite guitar legends. Gear Secrets also features a CD of classic guitar licks played in the style of the greats.
The definitive book on the 7-inch single, Backbeat’s 45 RPM: The History, Heroes & Villains Of A Pop Music Revolution examines the history of the 7-inch single dating back to the very first record ‘plates’ back in the 1880’s through to the key musical revelations that transformed the single record into one of America’s most popular post-war consumer products. Popular well into the 1980s—just before the compact disc revolutionized music listening—the black vinyl single is forever synonymous with early rock and roll, jukeboxes, payola, AM radio and loads more music history. Filled with 100 color and b&w photos, Dawson and Propes hit the bullseye with their 176 page retrospective of the classic ‘donut disc’, which also includes a chapter called, “The 50 Most Expensive 45s”.
The musical revolution Jimi Hendrix ignited over 35 years ago is still reverberating throughout the music world. In his 2003 book Jimi Hendrix: Musician, on Backbeat Books, U.K.-based author Keith Shandwick takes a refreshing look at Jimi Hendrix the guitarist, composer, producer and singer. Featuring 350 color and b&w photos—many never before seen—the 256 page impressive hardcover book starts off way back in 1957 with Jimmy Hendrix growing up in Seattle and goes on to cover almost every aspect of how Hendrix evolved from his humble beginnings into the rock legend we still know and love. Broken up into 20 chapters with titles like, “Do The New York Scuffle” (May 1965 To June 1966), “The Birth Of Jimi Hendrix” (June To October 1966), “The Road To Electric Ladyland” (January To April 1968) and “Burning Bridges” (January To March 1970), Jimi Hendrix: Musician provides a new, definitive look back at all the massive musical achievements Hendrix created during his all too brief time on earth. For guitarists, there’s also a final chapter entitled “Hendrix Gear”—written by Hendrix historian Douglas J. Noble—which reexamines the various guitars, amps and effects used to create that one of a kind Hendrix sound. www.backbeatbooks.com

BAD TASTE RECORDS - Sweden—the country best known for ‘60s guitar instrumental bands like The Spotnicks—continues on that same wavelength with the 2003 CD from Langhorns, entitled Mission Exotica. There’s been some great Shadows-style groups coming out of Scandinavia and Finland over the past 20 years and Langhorns are one of the best. The follow up to their ‘99 Cd, Club Gabardino, Mission Exotica features excellent guitar work of founding members Michael Sellers (lead guitar) and Martin Berglund (bass) who are joined by drummer Rik Swardh. In keeping with the ‘60 spy/surf instro vibe of the album, Mission Exotica tracks like “Spybeat”, “Checkpoint Charlie” and “Las Vegas Fist Fight” are good examples of the band’s dedication to intriguing, action-packed guitar sounds. www.badtasterecords.se

BLUE HEN RECORDS - Assisted by the fine rhythm section of Dan Rieser (drums) and Tim Luntzel (upright bass), NYC guitarist Jim Campilongo released his finest album yet in 2003. Earlier Campilongo albums—including Heavy and Table For One—earned him high regards among critics and guitar watchers in the know. On his 2003 CD on Blue Hen, American Hips, there’s something quite bold and at the same time, quite accessible about Campilongo’s compelling instrumental guitar-jazz vision. Having vocalist Norah Jones on hand for a couple vocal tracks will only help Campilongo get his message further out there. Alternatively described as avant-garde, jazzy and twangy instrumental music with edge and attitude, the 13 track CD kicks off with a fine, driving title track and moves and grooves forward with a number of originals as well as bluesy, instrumental lounge-jazz covers of the Paul McCartney / Beatles’ classic “Michelle” and a
steamy, jazzy, set closing “Ain’t She Sweet”.
www.jimcampilongo.com

COLUMBIA LEGACY - For the first time in a long time the back catalog of Bob Dylan was upgraded by the folk-rock pioneer’s original label Columbia Records. Sony’s new Super Audio CD are fantastic sounding and are playable on every generation of CD players but the full impact would be optimized with a SACD player. These albums need no introduction to music fans over the years and while each title would require a volume’s worth of notes, it’s at least worth several of these 2003 Dylan upgrades which include his April ‘69 pioneering country rock release Nashville Skyline (with Johnny Cash), that album’s predecessor released in December ‘67 John Wesley Harding (with Dylan’s original of “All Along The Watchtower”), Bringing Is All Back Home (released March ‘65), Blonde On Blonde (released May ‘66), Another Side Of Bob Dylan (with “My Back Pages”), The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (“Blowin’ In The Wind”), Highway 61 Revisited (with “Like A Rolling Stone”), Planet Waves (January ‘74) and Blood On The Tracks (released January ‘75). With each album sure to stir a batch of memories, these albums are the ones to go for the best possible CD sound quality. With other titles up and out and more Dylan classics to come, including his underrated New Morning from ‘70, this series on Columbia Legacy is a must for audiophiles and Dylan fans alike. www.bobdylan.com

EMI / CAPITOL - Back in the ‘60s, with the pop charts dominated by both The Beach Boys and The Beatles, Capitol Records could do no wrong, while over in the U.K. on EMI Records, guitar instrumentalists The Shadows had a lock on the U.K. charts during pre-Beatlemania England. Another American artist brought to greatness in the ‘60s by Capitol was Glen Campbell. A country-pop music legend going back to the early ‘60s, Campbell is given a fine career retrospective in 2003 by Capitol Records with an 80 track box set, Glen Campbell: The Legacy 1961-2002. In addition to his trademark hits such as “Wichita Lineman”, “Galveston” and “Rhinestone Cowboy”, Campbell also played guitar as a member of the famous L.A. “wrecking crew”, the session team responsible for historic recording sessions with Frank Sinatra, Elvis and The Beach Boys. In addition to playing on five Pet Sounds tracks, Campbell was actually a member of The Beach Boys during a mid ‘60s period, filling in on bass and guitar when Brian Wilson stopped touring with the band. Among the many tasty pop rarities on the Campbell box is Glen’s 1965 version of the Brian Wilson classic “Guess I’m Dumb”, featuring the greatest L.A. musicians of the era and produced by Wilson himself. Featuring Campbell’s one of a kind versions of all those great Jimmy Webb and John Hartford songs from the ‘60s, disc one and two of the four CD set will be most familiar to fans, while disc three cherry picks from Campbell’s ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s studio repertoire and disc four rounds up various live tracks from ‘69 all the way up to four 2002 tracks. With outstanding packaging and 38 page history filled booklet, Glen Campbell: The Legacy 1961-2002 shines a long overdue spotlight on Campbell’s accomplishments as both a pop legend and guitar icon. www.glencampbellshow.com

EAGLE VISION - Watching Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green on his 2003 Eagle Vision DVD, An Evening With Peter Green Splinter Group In Concert is like watching musical history. The creative force behind the original Fleetwood Mac, Green rose to prominence in the late ‘60s and became synonymous with rock classics like “Black Magic Woman”, “Albatross” and “Man Of The World”—all Green originals. Green’s departure from Fleetwood Mac at the dawn of the ‘70s signaled the slow demise of the original band, which later morphed into the more successful, yet much less creative mid ‘70s version of the band. Green’s been on the comeback trail ever since the first recordings with the Peter Green Splinter Group, which features Green along with guitarist Nigel Watson, Peter Stroud (bass), Roger Cotton (keyboards) and Larry Tolfree (drums). Recorded during his 2003 European tour, Green’s live in concert DVD on Eagle is a total delight and—sectioned off into and “Acoustic Set” and “Electric Set”—the DVD features new 2003 in concert renditions of some of the greatest blues songs ever written, along with numerous Green / Splinter Group tracks, including several from his early 2003 Eagle CD Reaching The Cold 100. Among the DVD treats on hand here is a cool studio promo video for the song “Real World” and a fine booklet with photos and concert notes by Mike Howell. For blues devotees and long time Green followers, this outstanding two and half hour DVD is required viewing.
Another guitar hero given the deluxe DVD treatment by Eagle is Eric Clapton, who’s further immortalized with Eric Clapton & Friends Live 1986. With a band featuring Genesis drummer Phil Collins, Nathan East (bass) and Greg Phillinganes (keyboards), Clapton blazes his way through tracks originally recorded during his time with Cream (“White Room”, “Crossroads”, “Sunshine Of Your Love”) and Derek & The Dominoes (“Layla”). Collins also takes the spotlight on his ‘80s smash “In The Air Tonight”). Recorded and filmed in the U.K. on July 15, 1986, 58 minute DVD looks and sounds great and is further enhanced by extensive notes and bio material by Roger Newell.
Another Eagle Vision DVD getting lots of attention of late is Pretenders: Loose In L.A. Backed by a tight band, including guitarist Adam Seymour and drummer Martin Chambers, lead Pretender Chrissie Hynde knocks out the L.A. crowd performing a cross section of Pretenders classics including a helping from their 2003 Artemis Records CD, Loose Screw. From the extensive DVD liner notes, Hynde comments on the band’s long standing popularity adding, “I’m the ringleader. They’re the lions. I crack the whip. I get off on knowing Adam’s about to play a fantastic solo, but I’ll keep him guessing just to keep the tension there.” Filmed in L.A. in February 2003, the audio and video quality on the 140 minute DVD is top notch and—also blending in lots of bonus material—there’s plenty of classic live Pretenders action to keep the adrenaline high.
Fans of Pink Floyd are no doubt celebrating the 30th anniversary of the band's all-time classic Dark Side Of The Moon. Eagle Vision pays tribute to one of the most popular rock albums ever made with a Classic Albums spotlight on Dark Side Of The Moon. Recorded at Abbey Road between June ‘72 and January ‘73, Dark Side has sold over 29 million copies and Eagle’s new Classic Album spotlight on Dark Side takes a track by track documentary view of the album, featuring interviews with all Floyd members including Roger Waters and David Gilmour, as well as the album’s engineer Alan Parsons, while adding in loads of bonus interviews and newly recorded unplugged performances from both Waters and Gilmour.
Another classic Eagle Vision DVD, Roy Orbison - Greatest Hits features a number of classic live video performances from late, great rock and roll icon Roy Orbison. Also eaturing a number of interviews filmed shortly before his death in December 1988, the live concert DVD features guest performance from Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt and many others. In addition, the 90 minute color and b&w DVD is packed with bonus music videos of “She’s A Mystery To Me” and “Crying” (with K.D. Lang) as well as other essential Orbison-related video and audio rarities. www.eaglerockent.com / www.orbison.com

ELEKTRA RECORDS - In a fine effort to compete in a season filled with fine pop efforts, Elektra release Revive, the new album from U.K. rockers Steadman. Featuring the songs, guitar and vocals of Simon Steadman, the quintet gained the ear of none other than Paul McCartney, whose name is stickered on the front with a favorable quote on the band. The songs have lots of appeal and while there is a bit of a Beatles tinge at work here along with traces of CSN&Y and Jeff Buckley, Steadman claims, “I’ve always liked Bill Withers, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, those types of singers of course.” They may be one album away from true greatness however; Revive offers a soulful, Beatles flavored pop sound layered with an impressive studio sound and fine playing from all, including lead guitarist James Board. www.steadmanband.com

EXPERIENCE HENDRIX / MCA - Following his one off musical experiment Band Of Gypsys, Jimi Hendrix regrouped with long time Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell and army buddy Billy Cox for a pair of concerts on May 30, 1970—four short months before his untimely demise. Recorded at the Berkeley Community Theater and set against the student protests of the era, these early and late performances feature driving Hendrix performances of long time classics like “Purple Haze”, “I Don’t Live Today” and later period Hendrix tracks like “Machine Gun”, “Star Spangled Banner” and “Hear My Train A Comin”. The concerts—never intended for theatrical release—nevertheless took on an almost reverent tone following Jimi’s demise and has remained a favorite ever since. For their 2003 DVD version of Jimi Plays Berkeley, Experience Hendrix and MCA Records have done the right thing, tastefully repackaging their DVD with a detailed booklet filled with lengthy liner notes and rare photos that extensively recalls the concert event with the utmost respect. In addition to the complete first show video performance, the DVD also features an audio only remixed version of the concert’s complete second set. That same second audio-only set of the Berkeley concerts featured on the DVD has simultaneously been reissued as a CD on Experience Hendrix entitled The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Live At Berkeley. Featuring unique artwork and different liner notes from each other—written by long time Hendrix historian John McDermott—both the DVD and CD will provide a field day for long time Hendrix devotees. www.jimihendrix.com

FOSSIL - Colorado-based guitarist Charles Brown really lets it rip on his self-produced 2003 album, Thru The Flames, for the Illinois-based Fossil Records. Having already released several fine CDs, Brown is a masterful guitarist who wisely implements a wide range of prog-metal guitar strategies within his jazz-rock and hard rock tracks. Among the guitars featured on Thru The Flames are Roland GR-30 guitar synth, Les Paul Standard, Fender Strat as well as acoustic and classical guitars. With contributions from keyboardist Matt Bassano, the all-instrumental 12 track Thru The Flames is a sonic roller coaster and is a fine follow up to Brown’s earlier albums, Mystics, Earth Voyage and Mystic Visions. Citing guitar legends such as Richie Blackmore, Pat Metheny, Steve Howe and classical guitarist Christopher Parkening among his big influences, Charles Brown takes some bold musical moves on his most powerful and compelling instrumental rock guitar album yet. www.mp3.com/charlesbrown-ascap

FUEL 2000 - In addition to the Jethro Tull Christmas Album and the 2003 Stage Left CD from Tull guitar ace Martin Barre, Fuel 2000 also recently released Rupi’s Dance from Jethro Tull mainman Ian Anderson. Anderson’s fourth solo CD, Rupi’s Dance is superbly recorded and is filled with that classic, orchestral pop Tull sound. One listen and it’s apparent Anderson’s hasn’t lost a bit of his dry lyrical humor and captivating orchestral rock edge. On his latest solo CD, Ian is joined by notable friends including percussionist / drummer Leslie Mandoki, David Goodier (bass) and James Duncan (drums) to name a few. A couple Rupi’s tracks feature Tull keyboard wiz Andrew Giddings while the last track features the near complete Tull lineup of Giddings, guitar great Martin Barre and drummer Doane Perry. Track by track liner notes by Anderson sheds interesting light on his latest solo masterpiece. www.j-tull.com
Fuel 2000
are also quite renowned for their acclaimed reissue CDs and in 2003 the label rolls out several noteworthy titles including Johnny Winter - Winter Essentials 1960-1967. A fine retrospective from one of the supreme American blues rock guitarists of the 20th Century, Winter Essentials features forty tracks Winter and his band recorded prior to his signing with Columbia Records in 1968. Including Winter’s first single, from 1960, Fuel’s double CD set is highlighted by cool cover art and historic liner notes from Bill Dahl. Fuel 2000 have also been doing some great work with the back catalog of The Yardbirds. Masterworks 1963-1965 pairs single CDs of Eric Clapton & The Yardbirds: The Yardbird Years with Jeff Beck & The Yardbirds: The Yardbird Years. The double CD package combines forty tracks, 20 with Clapton and 20 with Beck on guitar. Complete with various single versions, instrumental versions, and even a previously unreleased stereo mix of their September ‘65 recording of “New York City Blues”, the double CD Masterworks 1963-1965 set features fine liner notes and detailed discography information by noted Yardbirds expert Greg Russo. In addition to a flurry of 2003 blues reissues—including titles by Big Bill Broonzy - Blues Is My Business, Sister Rosetta Tharpe - Sing Sister Sing and Otis Clay - Testify!—Fuel have also reissued a unique CD long associated with Rolling Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards. Todays Pop Symphony by The Aranbee Pop Symphony Orchestra Under The Direction Of Keith Richard features instrumental orchestral versions of various ‘60s pop chestnuts from The Beatles, The Four Seasons, Sonny & Cher and of course, The Rolling Stones. Produced and directed by Richards and engineered by Glyn Johns way back in 1966, the CD—a vital ‘60s pop artifact—remains essential listening for long time Stones fans. The CD features liner notes by pop historian Greg Russo. Last but not least from Fuel is fine Christmas-related title for the holidays from Bill Pickney & The Original Drifters entitled O’ Holy Night: A Drifters Christmas. Keep an eye on Fuel 2000 for more essential pop classics in 2004. www.Fuel2000.com

IMP - Over in Sweden, Light Valley Shadows released their third CD entitled Just Cruisin’ Back on their own Instrumental Music Production label. Featuring guitarists Roger Nilsson (rhythm) and Stig Larsson (lead guitar), the five piece instro rock band skillfully romp their way through retro-tinged instro guitar classics such as the Jerry Lordan classic “Diamonds” and fourteen other classics made famous during the ‘60s by legends like The Shadows, The Ventures, Dick Dale and more. The knowledge and musical expertise Light Valley Shadows brings to the table is quite evident and Just Cruisin’ Back is a stellar example of just how well these Swedish masters perform this evergreen style of music. www.instro.nu

IMAGE ENTERTAINMENT
- Four of the five original members of Roxy Music reunited for a tour back in 2001. In mid 2003 Image Entertainment released a DVD of the 2001 London show of Roxy’s fabled Worldwide reunion entitled Roxy Music Live At The Apollo: London 2001. Featuring the original lineup, minus Brian Eno, of Bryan Ferry, guitar great Phil Manzanera, Andy Mackay (sax, oboe) and drummer Paul Thompson, Roxy serve up tasty new versions of their all time classics and are joined on stage by guitar legend Chris Spedding and other notable players, vocalists and dancers. Manzanera’s guitar playing has never sounded better and despite the fact that they hadn’t toured in over 18 years, their 2001 DVD proves Roxy still have it. In addition to long time Roxy classics like “Love Is The Drug”, “Virginia Plain” and “Avalon”, the 2+ hour DVD features an entertaining documentary on the band’s comeback tour including press conference / interview clips and rehearsal footage. www.bryanferry.com / www.manzanera.com
One DVD sure to capture the imagination of the many fans of Elvis Presley is 200 Cadillacs. The hour long documentary focuses on the 200 Cadillacs Elvis gave away to his many friends and associates. A humorous yet historically valid Presley documentary, the DVD features numerous interview segments with the lucky recipients of the caddys and other intriguing gifts from Elvis. Also on hand on this novel documentary are original Elvis drummer DJ Fontana along with extensive liner note by founding Aztec Two-Step member Rex Fowler. www.image-entertainment.com

H.M.R.
- One of the best flamenco-rock albums ever made, Spanish Blood was released by Los Jets in late 2003. Formed in Spain in the late ‘50s by brothers Jose Maria and Santiago Gonzalez, Los Jets have carried on the tradition of Spain’s great guitar instrumental music for the past four decades. Simply put, Spanish Blood may be the finest Los Jets album ever. Featuring the masterful drumming of Eduardo Bartrina and the meticulous guitar sound of Michael Martinez, the 16 track CD is filled with memorable tracks that draws on Spain’s guitar heritage while also incorporating the classic instro-pop guitar sound of ‘60s groups such as The Shadows and The Ventures. With highlights being the killer lead off track, “Don Quijote”, new versions of “Andalucia” (“The Breeze & I”) and “Lady Of Spain” and a dazzling instro cover of the Doc Pomus / Mort Shuman classic “Spanish Lace”, Spanish Blood is an entertaining excursion into the land of magical instrumental guitar rock. www.losjets.com

HAPPY FROWN RECORDS
- Commenting on the release of his latest solo CD Transit Plaza, L.A.-based Trevor Lissauer states, “Transit Plaza is a place where people are always coming and going, whether it’s home or some place brand new.” Backed by a fine rhythm section, the Dallas-born singer-songwriter has composed an array of original, catchy, stay-in-your-head tracks for the album that combines time-honored influences like Neil Diamond, acoustic Bowie and even Kinks tunesmith Ray Davies. That said, there’s also a strong air of originality on the eleven track CD that reveals itself with repeat spins. Interestingly, Lissauer is also a player and collector of vintage Martin acoustic guitars including the 1959 Martin D-18E made famous by Kurt Cobain on MTV Unplugged. Regarding his Martin fixation, Lissauer adds, “I’ll be collecting for the rest of my life. I’ll probably have enough to fill up a museum some day.” That said, Lissauer puts the instruments to good use on an album that can only be described as memorable, well-composed pop of the highest quality. www.trevorlissauer.com

INSIDE OUT MUSIC AMERICA
- IOMA is one of the preeminent progressive rock labels on the music scene today. The label’s 2003 releases include new albums from Yes guitarist Steve Howe and the Chris Squire / Billy Sherwood Conspiracy project. IOMA have also plunged into the DVD world and among their first big releases is a double disc DVD / CD set from King Crimson stick master Trey Gunn entitled Untune The Sky. Gunn mastered the guitar, bass and keyboards early on his career, although his expertise in King Crimson focuses on his Warr Guitar—a nine and ten string instrument played by tapping the strings, not strumming or plucking them. With guest appearances from King Crimson founder Robert Fripp and KC thumper Pat Mastelotto, the CD half of Untune The Sky acts as a greatest hits compilation collecting fourteen tracks from a number of different Gunn CDs, while the DVD half of the set features seven live videos, video montages and interview segments. Untune The Sky is hypnotic, edgy instrumental music at it’s best. Gunn blends rock, fusion and World Beat sounds to a great effect and the DVD / CD set underscores Gunn’s massive contributions to the current King Crimson lineup. www.treygunn.com
Another new essential prog-rock video on IOMA is a double DVD collection from the Swedish band The Flower Kings entitled Meet The Flower Kings - Alive Recordings 2003. At the center of the Flower Kings sound is legendary Swedish guitar master Roine Stolt, who first came into his own as a member of the band Kaipa and later with his 1979/80 solo album Fantasia. The double DVD set features the band recording live in the studio in addition to video footage of the Flower Kings recent tours of America, Europe and South America. Classic Swedish Prog-rock played with precision, power and majesty, the double DVD set features a scintillating performance by Stolt, who’s joined by top players including Tomas Bodin (keyboards) and Swedish percussion master Hasse Bruniusson. www.insideoutmusic.com

KING BISCUIT FLOWER HOUR RECORDS
- Although guitar legend Steve Miller made his mark early on with a series of brilliant blues rock albums, topped off by his late 1969 classic, Your Saving Grace, it wouldn’t be until he released his early ‘73 hit “The Joker” that he would find huge commercial success. Those years between the ‘73 release of The Joker through till his May ‘76 album Fly Like An Eagle are fondly remembered on a 2003 double CD set from Miller entitled King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents The Steve Miller Band. Luckily, the King Biscuit radio team were on hand to record Miller and his band from a show in Washington D.C. on November 24, 1973 and then again in NYC on June 12, 1976. In his 2002 liner notes, Miller recalls his reemergence and the massive success of Fly Like An Eagle, while further notes by S.F. rock critic Joel Selvin puts Miller’s resounding ‘70s success story into a truly fitting perspective. King Biscuit Flower Hour’s double disc set bookends both concert dates on two separate CDs, and complete with a superbly detailed booklet, the package puts forth a fine live retrospective of Miller captured live from the heyday of ‘70s FM radio. The CD booklet adds in an interesting two page spread written by guitar icon Les Paul, who in his notes (and cool photo) recalls meeting a young Steve Miller when he was just a kid who was so eager to learn from the master himself. Also released in 2003 on King Biscuit Flower Hour Records are King Biscuit “Archive Series” Greatest Hit Live CDs from Byrds / CSN&Y founder David Crosby (recorded in 1989, featuring “Deja Vu”, “Wooden Ships” and tracks from his Oh Yes I Can CD), Dixie Dregs (from 1979) and America (recorded September 4, 1982). www.kingbiscuit.com

MATT RAE
- You can tell alot about about a guitarist by the records that influenced him. In the case of Connecticut-based guitarist Matt Rae some of those influential instrumental guitar albums include Speedy West And Jimmy Bryant’s Swingin’ On The Strings, Duke Levine’s Country Soul Guitar and Arlen Roth’s Toolin’ Around. Inspired by those greats—and other past masters like Roy Buchanan and Danny Gatton—Rae, assisted by fine players including Mark Bridgman (bass), works a musical magic together of his own to great effect on his solo debut Twang! In Rae’s own words, “Although I played different styles on the CD from fast country, blues, funk and fusion, I feel that the CD is held together by the ‘Tele-Twang’ sound.” Rae makes good use of his 1963 Fender (Tele) Esquire, which is fitted with an added Lindy Fralin neck pick-up and he’s in fine musical company with several fine players assisting including Paul Opalach (bass, keyboards) and drummer Stuart Stahr. Currently playing second guitar behind Arlen Roth, Rae assembles a winning coalition of twangy and rockin’ guitar sounds on his tasty solo debut. Contact: mattrae2003@yahoo.com

MONTEREY VIDEO - Possibly the greatest surfing movie ever made, The Endless Summer woke up the masses to the surfing craze back in 1964. Thirty years later—in 1994—the movie’s original producer Bruce Brown joined forces with his son Dana Brown to make the original movie’s long awaited sequel. The Endless Summer II was an outstanding sequel and, in fact some of the original stars from the first Endless Summer movie are on hand for more action-packed surfing excitement. Ten years after it’s original run, California-based Monterey Video has done a splendid job reissuing Endless Summer II on DVD, adding in loads of extras, including documentary info as well as the original soundtrack music and guitar work of fretboard great Gary Hoey. Monterey is also renowned for their historic View From The Vault DVD concert series from The Grateful Dead. Monterey’s latest is Grateful Dead: The Closing Of Winterland. Originally filmed and recorded for San Francisco public TV on New Year’s Eve December 31, 1978, the concert event is now superbly documented on a six and a half hour, two DVD set that combines Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead’s entire mind-blowing (4+ hour, 3 sets) performance that night along with bonus footage featuring the concert opening performance from The Blues Brothers (John Belushi & Dan Akroyd) from that night with a band featuring Stax legends Steve Cropper and “Duck” Dunn. This 25th anniversary 2003 double DVD set honoring Grateful Dead and their closing of Winterland is decked out in first class packaging, topped off by a stunning 28 page color booklet. www.montereymedia.com / www.dead.net

NEGATIVE / TCY TUNES
- One of the most pleasurable and easy on the ears acoustic guitar CDs of 2003, The Moment The Apple Falls is the second full length CD from South Carolina-based Tom Yoder. Yoder earned high marks for his ‘99 CD, Eat This It’s Safe and—while he mastered the electric guitar, having studied the licks of both Eddie Van Halen and Greg Howe—he’s lately been compared to acoustic legends such as Leo Kottke and Michael Hedges. Like Kottke and Hedges, Yoder has a unique ability to entrance listeners with just his Taylor acoustic guitar in hand. Featuring eleven satisfying Yoder originals, The Moment The Apple Falls is the perfect acoustic guitar album to chase away your Winter blues. www.tomyoder.net

NORTHERN BLUES
- Canada-based Northern Blues released two excellent tribute albums in 2003. First off, Johnny’s Blues: A Tribute To Johnny Cash celebrates “The Man In Black” with 13 covers of songs made famous by Cash including “I Walk The Line” (from Garland Jeffreys), “Walking The Blues” (from Maria Muldaur) and “Get Rhythm” (from Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown & Benjy Davis) to name a few. A blues-based tribute to one of America’s great music legends, Johnny’s Blues features track by track notes by each of the artists. Another fine 2003 CD on Northern Blues is Beautiful: A Tribute To Gordon Lightfoot. One of Canada’s great folk-rock exports, Gordon Lightfoot is responsible for writing some of the greatest folk gems of the past 40 years including “Sundown” (covered here by the great Jesse Winchester) and “If You Could Read My Mind” (here by Connie Kaldor). Also taking part in this fine CD tribute are Cowboy Junkies, Ron Sexsmith, Bruce Cockburn and others. In the spirit of their Johnny Cash tribute, Northern Blues have done a fine job on their 15 track Lightfoot tribute topping it off with insightful liner notes. www.northernblues.com

NO SWEAT RECORDS
- A great new 2003 CD from one of the best current guitar instrumental groups to come out of Texas in a long time, Guitars Gone Wild! reintroduces the guitar heavy sound of The Plungers. A seven piece surf instrumental group featuring 2 lead guitars, rhythm guitar, bass, Fender six string bass, baritone guitar, and drums, The Plungers take the ‘60s rockin’ twang sound of The Ventures, The Shadows and even the vintage ‘50s style connection between the guitar work of Buddy Holly and drummer Jerry Allison to new heights. The 21 track CD has something for everyone, but mostly the album features some rocking guitar rave-ups played with sense of style and finesse usually reserved for the best instro surf-rockers. A fine follow-up to the bands earlier effort, Land Of A Thousand Surf Guitars, the 2003 release of Guitars Gone Wild! is the album that puts this top notch group on the map. www.theplungersband.com

RICHARD ROBINSON
- A noteworthy acoustic guitar album guaranteed to lower your stress levels, Watercolors is a fine introduction to New York-based guitarist Richard Robinson. The ten track 2003 CD provides some appealing musical scenery and in some respects recalls some of Pat Metheny’s noble acoustic moments. In his own words, Robinson adds, “I would describe the CD as musical impressionism. Each piece was written on site at a particular body of water.” Robinson—recording direct to DAT, often in one take—makes excellent use of his Yamaha LL-5 acoustic. Citing a number of guitar influences—including Eric Clapton, Kenny Burrell, Steve Howe, Larry Carlton, Mike Bloomfield, B.B. King, Wes Montgomery and Pat Martino—Robinson steps into the spotlight with his excellent Watercolors CD. Contact: richsethrobinson@yahoo.com

RAVEN RECORDS
- Down under in Australia, Raven Records keeps music collectors happy with a 2003 2-on-1 CD reissue from rock legend Shuggie Otis. Raven’s Shuggie Otis reissue pairs Here Comes Shuggie Otis (1970) with Freedom Flight (1971), both produced by Shuggie’s father, Johnny Otis. Although Otis resurfaced again in 2001 with a recent reissue of his 1975 album Inspiration Information, Raven give fans what they’ve been longing for with this long overdue reissue of two early Otis classics. Reissued on CD for the first time, the single CD set features 18 tracks, including the original Otis version of “Strawberry Letter 23” and a rare 1969 track from Kooper Session...Al Kooper Introduces Shuggie Otis. With it's mix of electric blues, instrumental free jazz and psychedelic soul sounds,
this fantastic sounding blues-rock CD clocks in over 75 minutes and features a history-filled CD booklet. Also up and out on Raven in 2003 is a fine 2003 retrospective from British invasion legends The Animals, entitled Absolute Animals 1964-1968. This newly remastered 20 track Animals compilation combines a fine crosssection of their early R&B hits (“Boom Boom”, “House Of The Rising Sun”), most of their now historic Top 20 ‘60s smashes (“It’s My Life”, “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place”) and latter period psychedelic pop (“San Franciscan Nights”, “Sky Pilot”, “Monterey”). Clocking in at over 78 minutes, the colorful CD booklet features liner notes by Aussie rock scribe Glenn A. Baker and reestablishes The Animals as one of the top mid ‘60s U.K. rock groups. www.ravenrecords.com.au

REAL MUSIC
- One of the finest American music labels, Sausalito-based Real Music has remained on the cutting of New Age World Beat music for over ten years now. One of their 2003 releases—The Spirit Of Yoga by Ben Leinbach—is one of their best ever. A master synthesist who is always quite skilled on the harmonium, tamboura and acoustic guitar, Leinbach is joined by the legendary Jai Uttal (dotar, vocals) and Bond Berglund (electric guitar). Perfect instrumental music—topped off with some exotic background vocals—made for the art of Yoga and other healing practices, The Spirit Of Yoga presents an otherworldly blend of Eastern mysticism and fascinating meditation music that simply should not be missed. http://www.realmusic.com


ROUNDER - Released on Rounder Records through MPL and Liberty International Entertainment, Paul Is Live In Concert On The New World Tour is an 85 minute live concert DVD recorded during Paul McCartney’s 1993 world tour. Accompanied by his late, great wife Linda McCartney, guitarist Robbie MacIntosh and the rest of his band from that early ‘90s period, Macca and Co. serve up fine renditions from Paul’s solo albums along with rockin’ covers of Beatles classics like “We Can Work It Out”, “Penny Lane”, “Paperback Writer, “Magical Mystery Tour” and many more. McCartney’s album from 1993 Off The Ground is also well represented on the DVD with several tracks such as “Looking For Changes”, “Hope Of Deliverance” and “Biker Like An Icon”. Superbly filmed with plenty of sumptuous b&w and color footage, the DVD features 5.1 Dolby digital surround, biography info and photo gallery. www.rounder.com
Also from Rounder on the Zoe imprint is a new double DVD set from prog-rock icons Rush entitled Rush In Rio. Superbly filmed by a 22 camera shoot during the Brazilian leg of the Rush 2002 tour of North and South America, the double DVD features an impressive live set from Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart. All the band’s great hits are played with impeccable sound and style and it’s amazing to watch the Rio De Janeiro crowd go wild and cheer on just about every note the band play. Presented in a 16x9 widescreen format, other features included Dolby 5.1 surround and Dolby digital stereo sound, a documentary including band interviews, rehearsal and backstage footage, multi-angle viewing options and several rare relics from the Rush vaults. Extra points for the dazzling DVD packaging. www.rush.com

SANCTUARY - Todd Rundgren has a good relationship with Sanctuary. The label have released several fine Rundgren DVD titles including Live At The Forum ‘94 and the Nearly Human Tour, Japan ‘90. In late 2003 Sanctuary follows suit with a live concert DVD with Rundgren’s mid ‘70s band Utopia. Sectioned off into three different sets, the DVD, Utopia: Live In Columbus, Ohio 1980 includes live performance footage, Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, rare photos and a new 2003 interview with Todd on his early involvement in making live concert videos. Personally selected by Rundgren for release, the DVD features live Utopia performances of numerous Rundgren classics—including “Love Of The Common Man”, “Hello It’s Me”, and “Couldn’t I Just Tell You”—and is a fine showcase for the multi-talented Utopia lineup of Rundgren, Roger Powell, Kasim Sultan and Willie Wilcox. www.sanctuaryrecordsgroup.com / www.tr-i.com
Progressive rock legends King Crimson are well represented on a 2003 double DVD set released on Sanctuary. With one DVD featuring the band on April 16, 2003 from their 2003 Japanese tour and the other capturing live Krim from a July 3, 2000 London show recorded at Shepherds Bush Empire, Eyes Wide Open presents the current KC lineup in prime form. Drawing on vintage Crimson—but focusing on live versions of the band’s recent CD releases—the double DVD set features an impressive DVD booklet filled with all manner of color photos and mind-boggling artwork as well as a wealth of extras such as a Tokyo sound check and camera check on disc one and something called “Improvising Crimson” on disc two. There’s almost too much music here to fully fathom in one viewing, but that’s the way Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew and company like it. With so much classic Crimson to savor, long time KC followers will eat this one up. www.king-crimson.com
Another rock legend given a spotlight profile is original Genesis drummer Phil Collins. Taking a close view look at Phil Collins: singer, songwriter, drummer and actor, A Life Less Ordinary features video clips of Phil performing big solo hits like “In The Air Tonight” and “Another Day In Paradise”. Originally broadcast in England on the BBC on November 4, 2002, the hour long documentary was reissued on DVD by Sanctuary during the Summer of 2003. In addition to Phil’s personal home movies, interviews and concert clips, A Life Less Ordinary features various extra features including assorted commentary by British rock royalty including Sir George Martin, Ozzy Osbourne, Sir Bob Geldof as well as Phil’s former bandmates in Genesis including Peter Gabriel. www.philcollins.co.uk

WARNER STRATEGIC MARKETING / RHINO - It’s been quite a few years since pioneering Grateful Dead vinyl pressings like American Beauty and Workingman’s Dead. Those early Warner Bros. albums as well as tracks from various albums the band released on Arista and their own Grateful Dead Records are given a fresh spin on The Very Best Of Grateful Dead. Released on WSM the 17 track reissue compilation is an ear opening retrospective, featuring early classics like the dazzling, “The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion”) a ‘67 track from their Lp debut, “Box Of Rain” and “Truckin’” (both from 1971’s American Beauty) and classics like “U.S. Blues (from Mars Hotel - 1974), touching down in 1987 with the Jerry Garcia / Robert Hunter hit, “Touch Of Grey” from their In The Dark CD. Despite the passing of Garcia, the band, now just The Dead—still the originals featuring Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann—carry on filling concert stadiums where ever they go. The CD features cool picture discography and in the Rhino / Warner tradition, features finer liner notes and eye-catching artwork.
Another essential release on WSM is a 2003 release of Eagles - The Very Best Of. The 33 track double CD is a celebration of America’s most popular country-rock group. Kicking off with the group’s anthem, “Take It Easy” (May ‘72), the double CD set covers three decades of music history all the way up to the group’s 2003 Glen Frey / Don Henley-penned comeback single “Hole In The World”. A 48 page CD booklet featuring a track by track Eagles interview conducted by rock scribe Cameron Crowe puts the finishing touches on the band's first ever career spanning double CD set.
What more can be said about The Doors, perhaps the greatest American rock band of the ‘60s. Single after hit single—from their first smash, “Break On Through” in ‘67 through till their ‘71 swansong “Riders On The Storm”—there will never be another band quite like them. The otherworldly vocals of the late, great Jim Morrison balanced out by the neo-jazz rock virtuosity of Robbie Krieger, Ray Manzarek and John Densmore defined the ‘60s and while it was all over way too soon, Rhino / Elektra keeps the Doors’ story alive with The Doors Legacy: The Absolute Best. Drawing on single edits and various tracks from the band’s six studio albums—and assorted live cuts—the double CD set is backed up by a 24 page CD booklet featuring a wealth of photos, discography info and liner notes guaranteed to keep The Doors story alive for decades to come.
Another new Rhino / Warner Bros. ‘best of’ sure to create interest is The Collected Works Of The Roches. Spanning the heyday of the folk-fusion sister act—from 1979-1992—the single CD retrospective spotlights 19 songs culled from their albums on Warner Bros. and MCA. Produced by the band and featuring new track by track by Maggie, Terre and Suzzy Roche, the CD features eight tracks produced by guitar legend Robert Fripp, while also thankfully drawing on tracks from their brilliant 1985 masterpiece Another World. www.rhino.com / www.wmg.com

WATSON / GUPTILL / BILLBOARD BOOKS - The ‘50 and ‘60s were synonymous with the rise of the the Top 40 pop song. For baby boomers born in the mid ‘50s, the AM radio craze of the early and mid ‘60s is still a time filled with cherished memories. Billboard Magazine’s music historian Fred Bronson—Mr. “Chart Beat” himself—puts it all into fitting perspective with his book The Billboard Book Of Number 1 Hits. This massive book—featuring 1000+ pages—provides a first hand retrospective and related chart info behind every song to reach the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart between 1955 and 2002. Starting off with the Bill Haley classic, “Rock Around The Clock” (which hit Number on July 9, 1955) and ending with the number one success of “This Is The Night” by Clay Aiken (hitting the top spot on June 28, 2003), the book goes on to feature individual in-depth perspectives on fifty years of number one greatness and overall, provides a fascinating, well researched inventory of some of the greatest songs ever recorded. Despite the fact that much of the excitement brought about by the rise of Top 40 radio during the ‘50s and ‘60s was more or less over by the dawn of the ‘70s, Bronson’s book is nevertheless essential reading for those looking for an in depth analysis of the number one hit song phenomenon. Another fascinating Bronson-penned book released by Billboard Books—Billboards Hottest Hot 100 Hits (updated & expanded 3rd edition) takes yet another looks at the top 100 songs of every year from 1956-2001, while also offering further detailed analysis of the biggest pop hits of all time and the artists who made them.
www.watsonguptill.com



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