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JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2005

 

     
 

 
ALAN PARSONS


PROCOL HARUM


BILLY TALBOT BAND

 
JOHN FOGERTY
 
MARK KNOPFLER
 
DAVID BOWIE
 
     
 

ALAN PARSONS
A Valid Path
(Artemis)

Starting his career as a recording engineer for The Beatles and Pink Floyd at Abbey Road, Alan Parsons went on to a star-studded solo fame of his own and he lives up to his near exalted reputation with his 2004 Artemis Records debut. On his earlier albums, Parsons tapped into the classic rock mode and on A Valid Path he neatly combines his sound with forays into the beat crazy world of electronica, filling the grooves with poly-rhythmic drum beats and soaring guitar solos, some performed here by Pink Floyd ax-man David Gilmour. With Parsons handling the vocals, keyboard, bass and some guitar parts, the CD also features some tasty electronic programming P.J. Olson, The Crystal Method, guitar and vocals from Ambrosia founder David Pack and even a vocal from U.K. comic John Clesse. Parsons’ latest fusion of electronica instrumentals and vocal pop works brilliantly on every imaginable level. www.5point1.net / www.alanparsons.com

 


 
 

PROCOL HARUM
Live At The Union Chapel
(Eagle Vision)

He may have a graying mane and a face that’s weathered the pinnacles of 20th Century musical greatness, yet the twinkle in Gary Brooker’s eye suggests he still has alot of gumption left in him. That and the fact that he still loves playing the music of Procol Harum for live audiences is at the root of a 2004 live in concert DVD on Eagle Vision entitled Procol Harum Live At The Union Chapel. With it’s gothic interior, built in 1877, the Union Chapel is perfect for Procol’s neoclassical prog and heavy blues sound. Expertly captured on Friday, December 12, 2003 before some of their most appreciative U.K. fans, Brooker and company live up to their impeccable legacy. Having revamped Procol in the early ‘90s after a false start reunion with original guitarist Robin Trower, Brooker and his songwriting cohort Keith Reid miraculously struck up Procol yet again for their 2003 Eagle Rock CD The Well’s On Fire, the best of which is recalled in live performance on the Union Chapel DVD. Filmed on the last night of a tour that saw them playing on three continents, including Europe, North America and Asia, Live At The Union Chapel serves up a wide range of classic Procol, both new and old, including ‘60s favorites from Shine On Brightly and A Salty Dog, ‘70s classics from Home and Broken Barricades, not to mention their trademark song “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” and a near forgotten rarity called “Good Captain Clack.” In addition to showcasing a brilliant performance from Brooker (vocals and keyboards), Matthew Fisher (B-3), Geoff Whitehorn (guitars), Mark Brzezicki (drums) and Matt Pegg (bass), the 2+ hour DVD features cool extras including an interview with Brooker, a high speed, unfurling montage of the Union Chapel stage set up and a segment called “Comments From The Bar”, giving long time U.K. fans a chance to voice their opinions on one of the greatest rock groups ever to come out of the United Kingdom. www.procolharum.com


 
  BILLY TALBOT BAND
Alive In The Spirit World
(Sanctuary)

Best known as the bass player in Neil Young’s band Crazy Horse, Billy Talbot steps out on his own with the long awaited debut CD from the Billy Talbot Band. Touched with musical deja vu, the CD features Talbot performing the acoustic / electric guitar and vocals with assistance from four other guitarists, including his long time cohort Matt Piucci on electric guitars, keyboard and judicious mellotron sounds. With drumming ace Stephan Junca laying down the beat, Talbot breaks out on an album that sounds remarkably like Neil Young. Perhaps after all those years and albums later with Crazy Horse—who can forget his amazing bass work on albums like After The Gold Rush and Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere—Talbot is in the cards for some long overdue recognition as a solo artist. Let’s hope so because Alive In The Spirit World is one heck of a fine CD. www.billytalbotband

 


 
  JOHN FOGERTY
Deja Vu All Over Again
(Geffen)

When he helped induct Creedence Clearwater Revival into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, Bruce Springsteen commented, “Creedence wasn’t the hippest band in the world, but they were the best.” Creedence may have officially split up in 1972, yet they left a legacy of song classics that sounded great (and still do) on hip FM radio as well as Top 40 AM and even country and western stations. It was years later, after his 1987 album, Eye Of The Zombie, that Fogerty was coaxed back into singing his great Creedence songs adding, “Gradually I realized that these were not just my songs anymore.” Now in 2004, seven years after his 1997 album, Blue Moon Swamp, Fogerty returns with his latest toe-tapping collection that takes a cue from the great American pop-rock sound he helped to craft back in the late ‘60s. Borrowing the title wording from an old Yogi Berra expression, the song “Deja Vu (All Over Over Again)” takes a hard look at the division and anxiety created in the aftermath of the Iraq war. Hearing Fogerty sing the words, ”One by one I see the old ghosts rising, Stumblin’ cross Big Muddy where the light gets dim”, sends shivers up your spine and you just know your listening to the voice of experience. It’s not all gloom and doom and Fogerty receives stellar support from the best in the biz including Kenny Aronoff (drums), Jerry Douglas (dobro), while sharing guitar chores with Dean Parks and the great Mark Knopfler. From the protest-peace vision of the title track to the Sun Sessions / Carl Perkins vibe on tracks like “Honey Do”, Deja Vu All Over Again is a welcome return from an American musical giant. www.johnfogerty.com

 


 
  MARK KNOPFLER
Shangri-La
(Warner Bros.)

Recording out in California, U.K. guitar great Mark Knopfler keeps the great tradition of great Warner Bros. pop albums alive and well with his 2004 CD, Shangri-La. Recorded with his band of crack musicians—including fellow guitarist Richard Bennett and keyboardist Guy Fletcher—the 14 track CD is a fine follow-up to his 2002 CD, The Ragpicker’s Dream, and in fact the album was even influenced by recording location. Knopfler adds, “Old California seemed to go with a pile of the stuff I was doing and some of it rubbed off on the recordings. I found myself in the ‘60s a fair bit and even earlier influences from when I was small, like Lonnie Donegan and The Shadows.” Hank Marvin references aside, the album features the latest Knopfler classics from the man who paved the pop road back in the ‘70s and ‘80s with Dire Straits hits like “Money For Nothing” and “Sultans Of Swing”. Long time followers will completely enjoy the haunting CD opener “5:15 a.m.” and the hysterical social satire of “Boom, Like That.” The album was recorded in the aftermath of Knopfler’s motorcycle accident and thankfully with Shangri-La, he’s back on the right track. Featuring eye-catching cover art, the liner notes supply complete lyrics and detailed list of all the vintage guitars played by Knopfler and Bennett. www.mark-knopfler.com



 
  DAVID BOWIE
A Reality Tour
(ISO / Columbia)

Recorded and filmed Dublin, Ireland on November 22 and 23, 2003, A Reality Tour marks the first major concert film from Bowie in well over a decade. Mixed for 5.1 surround sound by Tony Visconti, the 2 hour + A Reality Tour DVD clocks in with 30 live Bowie performances including a number of tracks from his 2003 Reality CD. The tour was cut short by his unfortunate illness in 2004, yet the DVD clearly underscores Bowie’s perennial appeal as a concert artist. Armed with a revolving set list of 60 songs, Bowie’s A Reality Tour band consisted of guitarists Gerry Leonard, Earl Slick and bassist Gail Ann Dorsey. Also appearing on the DVD is long time Bowie side man Mike Garson on keyboards. Revving up a number of vintage classics from The Man Who Sold The World, Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust as well as his recent Columbia albums, A Reality Tour DVD seals the deal with high tech state of the art sound and Bowie’s own stage / lighting production. www.davidbowie.com




 
 
 
   
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