Summer 2001
CD Reviews



Just Like Gravity
(Gold Circle)

Listen to RealAudio sample: Breathless

On their third album together, David Crosby, James Raymond and Jeff Pevar fulfill the promise of their first two group efforts. Crosby remains one of the most acclaimed rock artists of the past 40 years yet even he claims it took a while for the group to get it right stating that Just Like Gravity is, "...stronger, more confident, as if we’ve melded together as a group. Our co-writing has improved as well...bands are a chemistry, it takes some time to gel." Clearly the strongest CPR album to date, Just Like Gravity completely captures the mesmerizing Crosby sound. Crosby’s son, keyboardist James Raymond, has evolved into a fine songwriter himself and his vocals echo his dad’s, especially on his own composition "Jerusalem". Guitar ace Jeff Pevar contributes some fine fretboard work and songwriting while the album is further enriched by the rhythm section of Andrew Ford (bass) and Steve DiStanislao (drums). After all he’s been through, Crosby still sings and harmonizes superbly and his songwriting still takes you to places you’ve never quite been before. Fans of Crosby’s work with both The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash must check out Just Like Gravity. 


Shadows In The Air

Listen to RealAudio sample: He The Richmond

In the words of rock legend Jack Bruce, "This is really a trilogy of records I’m planning to do of Latin-influenced music. Shadows In The Air is the first one, and I included several old songs of mine on there to encourage people to listen to the music." After the untimely breakup of the ‘60s rock supergroup Cream, nearly thirty three years ago, Jack proceeded to record some brilliant, though underrated solo albums including 1971’s Harmony Row and, during the ‘90s, Monkjack with keyboardist Bernie Worrell. For Shadows In The Air the bass great is joined by an array of players including ex-Cream guitar ace Eric Clapton. In a long overdue return to form, Clapton and Bruce revive both "White Room" and "Sunshine Of Your Love" (complete with a new Bruce/Clapton vocal arrangement adorned with Latin percussion trimmings). The addition of the Latin percussionists and horn players adds an interesting dynamic to the legendary Bruce sound. Other players appearing here include guitarists Gary Moore and Vernon Reid, the great Dr. John (keyboards) and Jack’s son Malcolm Bruce (guitars/keyboards). Other vintage Bruce gems given a new lease on life here include a pair of tracks from Jack’s now classic ‘69 album Songs For A Tailor as well as the West, Bruce & Laing favorite "Out Into The Fields". After thirty five years of great music, Jack refuses to give up making timeless music adding, "I still find it very enjoyable to stand up and scream into a microphone. I would probably get bored not keeping busy. I’m after the real thing. I’m not interested in playing it safe."  / 

(Heyday / New Surf North)

Listen to RealAudio sample: Coastal Moon

The Endless Summer Revisited
(Monterey Media DVD)

Daytrips is the result of a very productive musical union between pop singer-songwriter Jeff Larson and instrumental surf-guitar legend John Blakeley. Anyone familiar with the ’60s surf-rock era will remember that Blakeley was (and still is) the original lead guitarist in The Sandals, the California group best remembered for their evocative instrumentals featured on the original soundtrack for the 1964 surf movie documentary The Endless Summer. Jeff and John’s new mood-enhancing experience is a splendid and well recorded disc filled with breezy West Coast pop vocals highlighted by several key instrumental cuts that obviously bear the John Blakeley guitar stamp. Concerning the album Jeff Larson adds, "John is one of the best guitarists around and it was an honor to work with him on this project. I just wanted to do something with the moody surf vibe and vocals - although not too many harmonies because I needed to let the music breath with John." Several other fine players appear including Jeff Foskett (harmony vocals) and Scott Matthews (drums). Reminiscent of the West Coast pop sound of The Eagles and pop icon Brian Wilson, Daytrips kicks things off with the hook-laden "Coastal Moon". The song is the perfect vehicle for Larson’s smooth vocals and Blakeley’s talents as a guitar stylist. After several spins you just know that Daytrips is one of the best pop albums of 2001. 

Back in 1992, guitarist John Blakeley resurrected his ‘60s group, The Sandals and rerecorded their original 1964 soundtrack to The Endless Summer movie. Filled with 13 instrumental guitar tracks mostly written by Blakeley and Sandals’ rhythm guitarist Walter Georis, the album featured The Sandals’ original score from the movie. The group’s rerecorded Endless Summer album and various other Sandals CDs can be picked up through the Tri-Surf Records web site at . Directed by Bruce Brown, The Endless Summer has remained a cult movie favorite since it came out in 1964. There was even a mid ‘90s sequel called The Endless Summer II and now comes a fascinating new documentary, produced by Bruce Brown and his son Dana Brown, on the making of both movies. Everything you ever wanted to know about both movies can be found on The Endless Summer Revisited. Filled with glorious color outtakes from both Endless Summer movies topped off by new music by Wade Brown, The Endless Summer Revisited offers a vital look back at two of the best surfing movies ever made. 

Live At The Cavern Club
(Image Entertainment - DVD)

On December 14, 1999, the great Paul McCartney returned to his roots with an impromptu gig in front of 300 die-hard Beatles fans at the fabled Cavern Club in Liverpool, England. Also viewed by some 3 million people over the internet, McCartney’s appearance at the Cavern found him in the company of a fantastic support band including David Gilmour (from Pink Floyd on guitar), Mick Green (guitar), Ian Paice (drums) and Pete Wingfield (keyboards). Early in their career, The Beatles performed some 280 shows at the Cavern and Paul hadn’t played the club since the Beatles heyday in 1961. Although the Cavern was demolished 1982, it was lovingly reconstructed using original bricks and blueprints and today it remains a popular music spot and tourist destination. Around the time of this show, Macca had lost his wife and partner Linda, and had released his acclaimed oldies album Run Devil Run. Tastefully filmed and recorded in Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, Live At The Cavern Club revives selections from Run Devil Run like "Lonesome Town" and "No Other Baby". McCartney & Co. even summon up a rockin’ revival of "I Saw Her Standing There". McCartney has rarely performed better than he does here and the band (particularly guitarists Gilmour and Green) are simply incredible. In addition to the complete Cavern Club performance, this Image Entertainment DVD features a 22 minute interview with Paul and two new music video clips of "No Other Baby" and the Chuck Berry classic "Brown-Eyed Handsome Man". Another fine tribute to McCartney’s eternal love of roots rock and roll, Live At The Cavern Club takes music fans back to where it all started for Paul McCartney and The Fab Four. 

This Is Where I Came In

In a career that’s spanned 28 albums over five decades, The Bee Gees come full circle on their Universal Records debut CD. From the group’s early days as a Beatles-inspired pop band to successful forays into disco (‘70s) and electronic laced Euro-pop (‘80s), there aren’t many musical genres the Brothers Gibb haven’t touched. As their new album proves, when it comes to wedding a catchy pop hook with heavenly harmonies, the Gibbs still have the magic touch. The group’s most underrated songwriter, guitarist Maurice Gibb adds, "We actually sort of went back to the way we recorded in the late ‘60s. In fact, the whole album takes me back to our Beatle period. We just wanted to rock a bit more". For This Is Where I Came In each of the Gibbs brought in several classic sounding Bee Gees’ style tunes. "Man In The Middle" and "Walking On Air" proves that Maurice can still write and sing as well as his celebrated brothers Robin Gibb and Barry Gibb. The title track summons up just the kind of retro-cool sound that will bring the Bee Gees back into favor with anyone who first dug them way back during the days of ‘60s classics like "World" and "To Love Somebody". An enhanced CD, This Is Where I Came In is attractively packaged with lyrics and detailed session data. 


Featuring three inventive singer-songwriters who whip up quite a storm together, Autoliner sings the praises of 21st Century power pop. It’s obvious that Autoliner evokes the best of pop spirits like Badfinger, Love, ELO and Cheap Trick, but there’s also a deeper ‘60s vibe at work here as witnessed by group influences like The Nazz, The Move and The Grass Roots. All of which underscores the fact that the power trio of Tom Curless (drums), Brian Leach (guitars, keyboards) and John Ross (bass) have come up with a solid batch of catchy retro pop tunes. A creatively recorded pop set, Be also is well enhanced by sundry sonic embellishments and added instrumentation like violin, trumpet and cello. A successful follow-up to the group’s first album Life On Mars, Be establishes Autoliner as a promising pop power. 

Penumbra Moon

Listen to RealAudio sample: Alone Again

The last Billy Nicholls album, Under One Banner, was released nearly ten years ago, so his fans can now rejoice with the release of Billy’s latest disc Penumbra Moon. Actually, several Penumbra Moon songs were recorded as far back as the late ‘70s but have been reworked with newly recorded parts and some high-tech remixing. For anyone unfamiliar with him, Nicholls is a long time colleague of Pete Townshend and in the past Billy has turned up singing and playing on various Townshend solo albums as well as several Who albums. In his own right, Nicholls is a very gifted singer-songwriter who’s all but been neglected by the music press. In addition to a dozen Nicholls’ pop gems, Penumbra Moon features solid co-production by Nicholls’ son Morgan Nicholls and key songwriting contributions from Billy’s brother, guitarist/keyboardist Mike Nicholls. The title track is the first-ever release of Billy’s composition "Penumbra Moon", a song first made popular by the great Justin Hayward as it was covered on Justin’s 1980 album Nightflight. Justin has always praised Billy’s own recording of the song and now you can hear why. The album is filled with one great catchy and memorable song after another. Many fine players grace the album including Who keyboardist John "Rabbit" Bundrick and bassist Kenny Altman, although the real star here are the songs, all of which simply get better with repeat listens. Billy’s own Southwest Records continues to generate great CDs from the Nicholls’ archives with the latest being the first ever CD reissue of the early ‘70s, self-titled album Billy recorded with the group White Horse. The newly remastered White Horse album features an array of Nicholls’ 70’s classics as well as several other tracks from his White Horse bandmates Kenny Altman and John Lind. Other musicians appearing include U.K. guitar great Caleb Quaye, David Paitch (keyboards) and Paul Barrere (guitar). 

Running Back Thru Canada

Recorded live during their Summer 2000 tour of Canada, Running Back Thru Canada gives long time fans of The Guess Who new reasons to celebrate. Once rated one of the top 5 bands on the planet, with over 45 singles and 20 albums, the recently reunited Guess Who are captured in prime form on Running Back Thru Canada, a well recorded, twenty two track double disc live concert set spotlighting newly revived Guess Who classics such as "American Woman", "These Eyes", "Undone" and "Rain Dance". Guitar hero Randy Bachman and singer/keyboardist Burton Cummings, together with long time group drummer Gary Peterson, sound quite comfortable performing their evergreen pop hits before devoted crowds on their 30 date 2000 Canadian tour. In addition to reviving all the big Guess Who hits, the band also dip into their extensive repertoire, serving up several gems from Bachman’s very popular BTO. The CD booklet for Running Back Thru Canada provides a program guide of the tour complete with concert photos, tour details and liner notes. Another double disc CD sure to stir up interest among Guess Who fans is This Time Long Ago. Researched by group founder Randy Bachman and reissued on his own Ranbach Music, This Time Long Ago features 28 late ‘60s performances from the rock legends as recorded in London and Minneapolis as well as a number of tracks the band made for the CBC’s Let’s Go Music Hop show. Of particular interest are the tracks recorded in London on their 1967 U.K. tour including covers of the Buffalo Springfield’s "Flying On The Ground Is Wrong" and Bachman’s raga-rock inspired "Sitar Rock". Disc two finds The Guess Who performing a wide range of tracks for the Canadian Broadcasting system including their own Beatles-inspired tracks and covers of rock classics like "White Room" and "Light My Fire". A superb period piece reflecting the early progress of a band determined to succeed, This Time Long Ago is filled with history-laden insights and rare photos. 

(Warner Bros.)

A few years back, just after he released his ‘98 album Imagination, Brian Wilson was interviewed by R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck. Buck was obviously quite moved by Wilson’s masterful late ‘90s return and continues to honor Wilson’s towering influence with a new R.E.M. album that often sounds inspired by Wilson’s wide ranging melodic and harmonic sensibilities. Reveal songs like "All The Way To Reno" and "Summer Turns To High" are superb musical works of art and are among the band’s best recordings. R.E.M. singer and lyricist Michael Stipe adds, "These songs take place in wide open spaces. There is the impression of air and breath and flying away." The follow-up to the R.E.M. soundtrack for the Andy Kaufman film biography, Man On The Moon, the recently released Reveal was recorded in 2001 in Vancouver, Athens, Dublin and Miami. Bass player Mike Mills adds, "I’m particularly happy with the melodies we came up with this time around. Sonically, for us, it a real progression, and at the same time it reflects the best of our earlier work." Loaded with supernatural ambient art-rock, Reveal fulfills the promise of the R.E.M.’s ‘99 classic Up. 

10,000 Hz Legend

Over the past several years, the French group Air have been described as a modern cross between Pink Floyd and Kraftwerk. The group’s obsession with mood-enhancing electronics has been widely praised by fans of Hip-Hop, Prog-rock and New Age. Recorded in Paris during 2000, 10,000 Hz Legend is the group’s best album to date. The eleven track CD combines influences from a variety of musical genres and breaks new ground for Air. Instead of concentrating on instrumental ambient sounds and synthesized electronics, the new Air album is fueled by sweeping orchestral arrangements and the addition of high profile vocalists like Beck and Jason Falkner. Falkner also joined the ‘Air force’ for their Summer 2001 tour. Also on hand is keyboardist Roger Manning Jr. who also adds vocal support on several tracks. According to Air co-founder Nicolas Godin, "With this album we have done exactly what we wanted to do. This is our first grown up album as men." In addition to the eye-catching artwork, 10,000 Hz Legend features a complete lyric sheet. 


He’s played the role of lead guitarist with both The Pretenders and Paul McCartney, yet guitarist Robbie McIntosh quickly points out, "To say I wrote songs anywhere near as good as those guys would be presumptuous to the max." On his new catchy and introspective pop album McIntosh has recorded a tasty batch of tunes that at times reflect his affinity for The Beatles, Dire Straits and Pete Townshend. The optimum showcase for Robbie’s songwriting, singing and guitar work, Widescreen is further enhanced by fine players including Pretenders lead singer Chrissie Hynde on backing vocals, Paul Beavis (drums) and the guitar work of Hawaiian pedal steel player Melvin Duffy. As a reminder of his fretboard virtuosity, McIntosh closes out the CD with a whimsical instrumental entitled "Special Fried Turnip". 

Here And Now

Filled with the hot and heavy R&B sound he pioneered as a prestigious guitar-slinging band leader back in the ‘50s and ‘60s, Here And Now is a veritable showcase for Ike Turner’s vast musical experience. While The Ike & Tina Turner Review have always been regarded as a legendary rhythm & blues group, Ike first established himself way back (years before Tina) in 1951 with the raunchy R&B hit "Rocket 88" recorded with the Kings Of Rhythm on Sam Phillips’ Sun Records. On Here And Now Ike summons up a new remake of "Rocket 88" along with ten other R&B flavored Turner vocal and instrumental cuts including the CD opening "I’m Tore Up", a track recorded by Ike in 1956 for Federal Records. Talking about taking a trip back in time to his fabled past Ike muses, "They’ve been telling me, ‘Hey, man, you’ve got to go back and start playing the blues like you did with Howlin’ Wolf in the ‘50s. I tried to play that, man, and it was like an impossibility. So then I found out what I had lost. Then at that point, I started to get back into learning what I had forgot". Supporting Ike’s amazing guitar, drums and piano playing are James Lewis (guitars), Kevin Cooper (bass) along with various drummers and horn players. Here And Now helps set the record straight about Ike’s new music while also introducing him to a whole new audience.  / 

The Incomplete
Glenn Tilbrook
(Quixotic /W.A.R.?)

Remembered for a sting of pop hits he wrote as a member of Squeeze, guitarist Glenn Tilbrook has finally released his first solo album. Back in the late ‘70s, Tilbrook and co-writer Chris Difford were turning out Top 40 hit after hit. Squeeze were renowned for their pop songwriting and on The Incomplete Tilbrook continues that respected tradition, here sounding particularly inspired by Beatle Paul McCartney. In the past Tilbrook has worked with Elvis Costello, Aimee Mann, Mark Knopfler and Sting and his new CD features a fine group of support players including drummer Jim Kimberley. The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook was released on Tilbrook’s self-owned Quixotic Records and is distributed Stateside by Colorado-based What Are Records? If you like innovative, melodic pop, hunt down Tilbrook’s latest pop long player.  /  


White hot from their 2000 album, Jimmy Page And The Black Crowes Live At The Greek, The Black Crowes recently returned for their new album Lions. Producer Don Was only hooks up with the best and his winning streak continues with his production of Lions. Recorded on the stage of an old Yiddish theater on the Lower East Side of Manhattan that was converted into a recording studio, the songs work and are propelled by a sense of immediacy and purpose. According to lead singer Chris Robinson, "This record is an accumulation of experience, the things that happen in your career, which are things that happen in your life. Within that, I think Lions is the best record that we’ve ever made." Sounding like a 21st Century version of early Led Zeppelin, The Crowes are in stellar form on Lions. Extra mention must go to an amazing performance by Crowes guitarist Rich Robinson, who co-composed these songs with his brother Chris. Having sold over 15 million albums already, The Crowes raise the ante with the sing-song, rock solid sound of Lions.  / 


One of the missing links between Texas roots-rock and T.Rex-inspired glam-rock riffing, singer-songwriter David Garza makes good on the promise of his ‘98 Atlantic Records debut This Euphoria. Overdub might not be as instantly infectious as that CD but it does ultimately deliver the goods. Garza’s been touted as singing like a modern day Donovan crossed with a touch of Robert Plant. As a guitarist, Garza more than holds his own with some neat fretboard pyrotechnics as well. To help harness his compelling pop beat and insightful, often wry lyrics, Garza employs a fine band including Will Calhoun (drums) and Doug Wimbish (bass). 

Buzzle Bee
(Drag City)

For years now, The High Llamas, and especially the group’s chief songwriter Sean O’Hagan, have more than simply been interested in the sound and vision of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys back in the late ‘60s. A few years back O’Hagan even said that, "Brian Wilson was probably the most experimental pop pioneer of our time." As witnessed on Buzzle Bee, O’Hagan & Company are still experts at melding vintage ‘60s-flavored pop, layered with assorted electric and electronic wizardry. Filled with breezy, neo-tropical sounding instrumentals and vocals, the group’s sixth full length album (and first for Chicago-based Drag City) continues the Llamas lush, retro-tinged approach to pop. Sounding more like Sergio Mendes and Martin Denny than say, The Ventures, Buzzle Bee really hits the spot for disciples of ‘60s flavored musical art-pop. 

Shoe Fetish

Hailing from Zion, Illinois, pop favorites Shoes are the subject of a new tribute CD spotlighting 22 of the best pop bands of 2001. Never a real for the masses kinda pop band, Shoes were always a solid favorite among the power-pop coterie and well into the ‘90s they were releasing tasty platters as well as running a top pop label known as Black Vinyl Records. Anyway, long time Shoes fans are gonna love this tribute album featuring Shoes fans like Doug Powell, Don Dixon & Marti Jones, Jeffrey Foskett, The Spongetones, The Shazam and Chewy Marble to name a few. Described best by Shoes members Gary Klebe, Jeff Murphy and brother John Murphy in their liner notes as being "Kinda like overhearing a conversation from the next room where someone is complimenting you over and over", Shoe Fetish helps shed new light on a vastly undervalued pop band. 


Having ‘60s pop songwriting icon Jimmy Webb for a dad no doubt raises the bar a bit for The Webb Brothers band which spotlights brothers Christiaan Webb (vocals, keyboards) and Justin Webb (vocals, guitar). Their new Atlantic Records album Maroon is clearly derivative of ‘60s and early ‘70s pop, and solid arrangements, sound and group playing really helps to strengthen the whole album. Assisted by Neal Ostrovsky (drums) and John San Juan (bass), The Webb Brothers demonstrate a knack for crafting catchy pop productions that leave you thinking. Not as far-out lyrically as their Dad’s "MacArthur Park", for example, many of the songs do really take you by surprise. Recorded in Chicago with producer Stephen Street, Maroon features a score of well honed studio productions adding to the opulent pop veneer. Well on the way towards reaching a higher pop plateau, The Webb Brothers honor their illustrious lineage with Maroon.

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