March-April, 2001 
CD Reviews



Another Side Of Hank Marvin
(Spectrum / Polygram)

Listen to RealAudio sample: Just Another Heartbreak

The First 40 Years
(Polygram TV)

Listen to RealAudio sample: Sacha (Live)

Guitar great Hank Marvin is widely regarded as being one of the prime architects of the instrumental guitar sound, especially in his native England and throughout most of Europe and Asia. Together with his group The Shadows, Marvin recorded hundreds of instrumentals and vocal classics, originals and cover songs alike. Only in America, home of Duane Eddy, Link Wray and The Ventures did Marvin and The Shadows fail to top the charts. Looking back on his celebrated solo career, Polygram / Spectrum recently released an excellent CD combining two of Hank’s early ‘80s solo albums. Although his solo albums from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘90s have been guitar-based instrumental efforts, Another Side Of Hank Marvin features 22 tracks taken from Hank’s two vocal albums, Words & Music (1982) and All Alone With Friends (1983). Shadows’ albums from the ‘60s and ‘70s always featured several cool vocals and the tracks on Another Side feature that same high quality approach to Hank’s pop vocal skills. Topped off by eye-catching artwork and insightful liner notes from Shadows historian Rob Bradford, Another Side Of Hank Marvin features a wide range of great players, with the accent being clearly on Hank’s impressive vocal and pop songwriting skills.

The release of the recent double disc set The Very Best Of Hank Marvin & The Shadows - The First 40 Years celebrates some of the best music The Shadows and Hank Marvin recorded during the ‘80s and the ‘90s. Disc one of the set spotlights the Shads’ late ‘80 rerecordings of their ‘60s classics like "Apache", "Wonderful Land" and "Atlantis" neatly featured alongside tracks culled from a cross-section of ‘80s Shadows albums. Disc 2 of The First 40 Years compiles instrumentals from Hank’s ‘90s solo albums. Taken as a complete package, The First 40 Years serves up 44 tracks of pure instrumental guitar magic. It’s been said that before The Beatles, groups meant The Shadows. The release of The Very Best Of Hank Marvin & The Shadows - The First 40 Years proves why, after all those years, that statement still rings true. 


Buzzy Linhart Loves You
(Razor & Tie)

Listen to RealAudio sample: Talk About a Morning 

Subtitled Classic Recordings, Buzzy Linhart Loves You is the first ever CD compilation featuring the incredible singer-songwriter Buzzy Linhart. Although it’s been years since he’s recorded anything new, back at the dawn of the ‘70s Buzzy amazed listeners with the release of his now classic second album Music. The good news is that Razor & Tie has chosen to start off their new 15 track Linhart compilation with four tracks from 1970’s Music. The bad news is that Music, originally released on Buddah Records, has still not been reissued on CD. One of the most important rock albums ever, Music featured an incredible line-up of truly gifted musicians (including guitarist Doug Rodrigues) and some top studio production wizardry from Jimi Hendrix engineer Eddie Kramer. Following his Music masterpiece, Buzzy went on to record other great (though not as great as Music) albums including The Time To Live Is Now (1971) and Buzzy (1972). Compiled by surf-rock aficionado Ben Vaughn (who also supplied the CD liner notes), Buzzy Linhart Loves You is a major victory for those who’ve long been clamoring for a long overdue retrospective from Buzzy. However, until the powers that be finally release Buzzy’s 1969 debut, simply known as Buzzy (released on Phillips and featuring support from members of Gentle Giant) and until we see a much merited release of the now-fabled Music album - the whole Buzzy Linhart story simply cannot be told. 

All Things Must Pass

Arriving weeks after Beatles 1 reigned supreme at the top of the 2001 pop charts, the recent reissue of All Things Must Pass honors the 30th Anniversary of the George Harrison album classic. Originally a triple album box set, released way back in 1970 on Apple Records, the new reissue of All Things Must Pass rearranges the entire album set (along with several rarities and new recordings) on a double CD set. The album has been selectively remixed and expertly remastered by the original album’s engineer Ken Scott. In addition to the sterling digital sound, other highlights include a noteworthy outtake from the All Things Must Pass sessions called "I Live For You", alternate versions of "Let It Down", a penetrating acoustic take of "Beware Of Darkness" and a very cool update of "My Sweet Lord 2000". The musical cast of All Things Must Pass still reads like a who’s who of British Rock royalty including Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Alan White, Badfinger, Gary Brooker and Dave Mason, to name a few. The All Things Must Pass sessions were recorded right after Abbey Road and Harrison’s guitar work was at it’s zenith. In fact, the entire six sided affair was a virtual guitar jamboree between Harrison, Clapton and Dave Mason. In addition, the new ATMP CD artwork must be seen to be believed. The original album (first in black and white) has now been color-ized with four alternating covers that really shows where Harrison’s head is at in the 21st Century. He also has written a timeless essay looking back at the history behind the album. Adding another chapter to the album’s perpetual legacy, George’s son Dhani Harrison also appears lending his acoustic guitar work to the unreleased cuts. Thanks to the outstanding sound restoration and the inclusion of rare gems from the original sessions, the album can finally be heard the way it should. The Capitol Records CD of All Things Must Pass is the first step towards reissuing the entire George Harrison and Traveling Wilburys back catalog. With a little luck, fans can also expect an all new George Harrison album by the end of 2001. 

Blind Faith

Way back in 1969, the one and only Blind Faith album changed the rock and roll world forever. Created after the break-up of Cream and Traffic (who would eventually reform), Blind Faith established the axis of Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood and Ginger Baker. After early rehearsals the trio added ex-Family bass guitarist Ric Gretch. Upon releasing their brilliant album debut, produced by the late, great Jimmy Miller, Blind Faith cracked and split due to the heavy pressures the band experienced during their one and only Summer ‘69 tour of the U.S. Wrongful comparisons to Cream even forced the band to add numbers like "Sunshine Of Your Love" to their live set. Quoting Steve Winwood from the CD’s impressive 28 page booklet, "What we wanted was to grow creatively as a band. We did have a chance to develop while we were recording the album, but then it became very difficult to continue while we were touring." Polydor’s recently released deluxe double disc reissue edition of Blind Faith should have collectors quite eager to check the album classic out once again. The original six track album is now expanded with nine additional tracks including a remixed electric version of "Can’t Find My Way Home" and two versions of the bluesy "Sleeping In The Ground". Echoing his legendary performances on those great live Cream albums, Clapton’s guitar work is simply amazing throughout the four recently uncovered instrumental jam sessions featured on disc two. Other reasons for long time fans to check Blind Faith out again are the historic liner notes by rock archivist John McDermott, informative track data and an array of never before seen Blind Faith photos from the glory days of 1969. 


Anthology - Through The Years

Described in the liner notes by Cameron Crowe as "The greatest and most consistent American band of the last 25 years", Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers are further celebrated with a 34 track double disc anthology recently issued on MCA Records. There’s no doubt that Petty, together with his mates Mike Campbell (guitar), Benmont Tench (keyboards) and Howie Epstein (bass), changed the tone and landscape of American pop for the better. Spanning the years 1976-1993, Through The Years goes on to sample some well known tracks from the band’s first 11 albums including huge early favorites like "American Girl" (1976) and "Refugee" (1979) along with a number of excellent mid ‘80s hits Petty co-composed with ELO founder Jeff Lynne including "Free Fallin’", "Learning To Fly" and "Into The Great Wide Open". Closing out the proceedings is a newly recorded Petty & The Heartbreakers track recorded this past August 2000 entitled "Surrender". A number of guest artists pop up throughout the CD set including George Harrison, Robbie Robertson, Dave Stewart and The Bangles. Throughout The Years illuminates all the best from Petty and The Heartbreakers and, like Crowe further states in his notes, "all you can do is crank it up, and take the ride." 


Indian Summer

Released in the U.K. on N-M-C Records, Indian Summer features some of the final music from late, great guitar icon Mick Ronson. Ronson, of course was David Bowie’s guitarist between ‘70-74. Following the release of Pin-Ups, Ronson, sadly, would never record another album with Bowie yet he did leave behind several great solo albums. Mostly recorded in Upstate N.Y. during the early part of the ‘80s, Indian Summer was an actual working soundtrack to a film featuring a cross section of rockers and instrumental guitar tracks all imbued with the classic Ronno guitar touch. With Ronson performing most of the tracks himself, the album demonstrates that he was both a multi-faceted instrumentalist and a polished singer and guitarist. Put together with style and grace by Ronno’s wife, Suzie, Indian Summer goes the distance adding another impressive archival chapter to an already legendary rock figure. 

The Night Has A Thousand Eyes
& Bobby Vee Meets The Crickets
Comeback When You Grow Up
& Bobby Vee Meets The Ventures

A major player in the post-Buddy Holly world of early ‘60s pop music, song stylist and composer Bobby Vee recorded an array of fine albums back in the ‘60s. Collectables has collected four of Vee’s most popular albums and has just reissued them as a pair of two-fer CDs complete with new liner notes and bonus tracks. Vee was a huge Buddy Holly fan and actually filled in for Holly on that famous Winter Dance Tour the night after Holly died. So it’s quite fitting that the earliest Vee album here is his 1962 date with Holly’s former band The Crickets. Complete with Holly’s great rhythm section of Jerry Allison and Joe B. Mauldin, the CD revisits huge Holly hits like "Peggy Sue" and "Well All Right" along with covers of Roy Orbison, Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry. Also appearing on these Vee/Crickets sessions were guitar greats Tommy Allsup and Howard Roberts. Collectables pairs Bobby Vee Meets The Crickets with The Night Has A Thousand Eyes, a Vee outing from 1963. The song, "The Night Has A Thousand Eyes", along with "Rubber Ball" and "Take Good Care Of My Baby", has remained one of Vee’s signature songs. The new Take Good Care Of My Baby / Bobby Vee Meets The Crickets CD features 26 classic pop songs from numerous songwriters like Vee, Holly, Goffin & King, Bacharach & David and Jackie DeShannon. Likewise, the 26 track pairing of Come Back When You Grow Up (1967) & Bobby Vee Meets The Ventures (1963) presents Vee in another interesting pairing of classic musicians. Vee’s date with surf-rock legends The Ventures is really cool with it’s mix of instrumentals and songs written by Jackie DeShannon and former Holly sideman Sonny Curtis. Comeback When You Grow Up was released in ‘67 and features a more mature sounding Bobby Vee complete with assorted material from Vee, Ron Dante (voice of The Archies), Leon Russell and James Griffin (of Bread). The sound quality, packaging and liner notes on both CDs is quite impressive. No fan of early ‘60s pop should miss these two-fer CDs on Collectables. 

Second Album
(Collector’s Choice)

Collector’s Choice continues to add to their catalog of progressive rock favorites with two more classics from the U.K. group Curved Air. Curved Air was formed at the dawn of the ‘70s by keyboard/guitar wiz Francis Monkman and violin prodigy Darryl Way who soon enlisted vocalist and acoustic guitarist Sonja Kristina. Espousing a technically excellent and often mood-altering rock sound, Curved Air combined electronics, prog-rock, folk, classical and jazz-rock fusion in an effort to come up with something completely unique. Later members included Mike Wedgewood (bass) and Eddie Jobson. Collector’s Choice keeps the Curved Air legend alive with new reissues of the band’s second and third albums. Basically a ‘70s musical phenomenon, Curved Air occasionally regrouped in ‘80s and ‘90s with their last release, Alive coming in ‘90. Featuring fine vintage music and revealing liner notes, these newly remastered CDs helps sets the Curved Air record straight. 

I Believe
Griffin & Sylvester

Pop fans may remember pop singer-songwriter Terry Sylvester from his years as a member of U.K. pop greats The Hollies. Actually Sylvester’s early years as a pop musician dates way back to The Escorts when the group shared the bill with The Beatles at the Cavern Club in Liverpool back in the early ‘60s. Also a member of The Swinging Blue Jeans, Sylvester later joined The Hollies as the replacement for Graham Nash back in 1968. That same spirit of catchy Hollies classics like "The Air That I Breath" (co-produced by Sylvester) can be heard on Terry’s first solo album I Believe. Produced and recorded by the esteemed Alan Parsons at Abbey Road studios and first issued way back in 1976, I Believe has long been out of print yet remains required listening for fans of Sylvester’s work in The Hollies. The 15 track reissue CD is filled with unique pop music, although the highlight has to be the title cut, a brilliant reworking of the Stevie Wonder classic "I Believe". Much the same can be said about Sylvester’s collaboration with Bread founder James Griffin. Recorded in Memphis back in the Summer of 1981, the 13 track reissue finds the pair sharing vocal leads and joining together for some splendid harmonies. Featuring catchy songs, top production, eye-catching artwork and three bonus cuts, Griffin & Sylvester is just the kind of album you’d expect from these two seasoned pop pros.  / 

Instrumental Cool
(Razor & Tie / Collector’s Choice)

Some of the greatest instrumental pop hits from the past 40 years are compiled on the recent double disc set Instrumental Cool. Like those late night TV only CD offers you’re always hearing about, Instrumental Cool is an instrumental collectors dream come true. There’s no real liner notes or track info, but there are 45 truly incredible instrumental tracks including all time favorites from Henry Mancini ("Peter Gunn"), Vince Guaraldi ("Cast Your Fate To The Wind"), Charlie Byrd & Stan Getz ("Desifinado") and Mason Williams ("Classical Gas"). Disc 2 of Instrumental Cool continues the party with classics from Jan Hammer ("Miami Vice"), Edgar Winter ("Frankenstein"), Al Caiola ("Bonanza") and The T-Bones ("No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach’s In"). Sure to bring back a ton of memories for fans of instrumental music, especially ‘60s instro pop fans, Instrumental Cool is one special double disc you won’t want to miss. 

The George Benson Anthology
(Warner Archives / Rhino)

In a career that’s spanned 46 years and 31 albums, there isn’t much that guitar great George Benson hasn’t accomplished. Beginning with the track "Shadow Dancer", from the guitarist’s 1964 album debut The Boss Guitar Of George Benson, The George Benson Anthology proceeds to take a long look back at every phase of Benson’s multi-faceted career. Covering early recordings and productions by John Hammond and Creed Taylor to his beginnings as a Warner Bros. artist, and the success of his now classic 1976 album Breezin’, The George Benson Anthology confirms that Benson has indeed paid his dues. Rhino’s 32 track double CD compilation features comprehensive liner notes by A. Scott Galloway and a 48 page full color booklet filled with incredible graphics including Benson’s earliest publicity photos in 1953, at age 10 when he made his first recordings for RCA as Little Georgie Benson. Another interesting aspect pointed out in the liner notes was Benson’s involvement, at age 19, with early manager Gene Landy, a luminary who would later resurface in the ‘80s as a psychologist for the great Brian Wilson. At age 57, Benson continues to be a role model for jazz guitarists of all persuasions. An apropos portrait of the most successful jazz artist ever to cross over into the world of pop music, The George Benson Anthology is a remarkable overview of Benson’s career as a trend-setting guitar icon. 

Route 50:
Driving New Roots For 50 Years

A double disc set celebrating the history of Vanguard Records, Route 50 centers on some of best artists ever to be released on Vanguard. Disc two of the double set features a range of new artists recently signed to the ongoing label. In the ‘50 and ‘60s, Vanguard single-handedly helped shape the roots of America’s best folk, jazz and blues music. Founded in NYC 50 years ago by Seymour Solomon and his younger brother Maynard Solomon, Vanguard made musical history early on signing ground-breaking artists such as producer legend John Hammond, Paul Robeson, The Weavers and Joan Baez. In the ‘60s, Vanguard’s roster of artists read like a who’s who of musical legends including big names like Charlie Musselwhite, Doc Watson, Jerry Jeff Walker, Eric Anderson, James Cotton, John Fahey, Odetta, Ian & Sylvia, Otis Spann and Buddy Guy. In addition to their blues and folk artists, Vanguard also made jazz breakthroughs with their signings of Oregon, Sandy Bull and Larry Coryell. Disc one of Route 50 retraces moments from the label’s historic back catalog while disc two, featuring Peter Case, Tab Benoit and Patty Larkin, proves that Vanguard continues to be in the forefront of signing new American talent. Presented in remastered 20-bit digital audio, Route 50 adds in history-filled liner notes. 

Two Classic Albums From Faust
(Collector’s Choice)

Back at the dawn of the ‘70s, when anything was possible in the music world, German art-rockers Faust changed the musical landscape with a pair of ground-breaking albums. Sounding more influenced by the sound collage approach of Frank Zappa and Yoko Ono than with robotic German space-rockers such as Kraftwerk or Tangerine Dream, Faust smashed musical barriers all in an effort to reach a much higher musical attitude. Their self titled album Faust and the follow-up So Far have long been revered by rock musicologists since their arrival at the dawn of the ‘70s. Both albums combine a rare mixture of musical absurdism (think Zappa) with skillful studio wizardry and an eccentric reverence for both jazz and Beatle-esque pop. Make no mistake about it, these albums are both truly bizarre, yet both are also quite musical sound experiments filled with a remarkable smorgasbord of far-out ear candy. The mixing of pop music with a heady dose of the avant-gard would later firmly take hold in the mid-70s with U.K. groups like Henry Cow and Gong, yet back at the start of the ‘70s, Faust paved the way with these albums. Now released for the first time in the U.S., Faust and So Far have been combined and released on one CD by Collector’s Choice. Both albums, then as now, must be heard to be believed. 

The Very Best Of

At the tale end of the 1960’s, while the pop culture revolution had entered the age of Woodstock and the rock opera, The Archies injected the music world with a refreshing dose of innocence. Of course the song we’re talking about is "Sugar Sugar". Although 1969 was hardly a year of reclaimed innocence, The Archies took their big ‘69 hit to the top of the charts in both England and America. Originally rejected as a possible new song by TV pop idols, The Monkees, "Sugar Sugar" went on to become the trademark hit for The Archies, an animated TV version of the pre-fab four concocted by famed pop mogul Don Kirshner. Featuring the vocals of Ron Dante and Toni Wine, this 15 track Archies ‘best-of’ also factors in a pair of ‘99 remix versions of "Sugar Sugar" as well as decent liner notes. 

Ten Best
(Purple Pyramid)

Pop greats The Association will always be remembered for their massive ‘60s hits like "Along Comes Mary" and "Windy". Although the group faded into pop oblivion at the dawn of the ‘70s, L.A.-based Purple Pyramid rekindles the Association legacy with a pretty good collection of recently rerecorded Association hits featuring members of the original band. Coming out of the L.A. music scene that spawned legends like The Byrds and Love, The Association were never able to transcend their top 40 roots, even when the group attempted to rock out a bit more with a comeback attempt way back in ‘72. Ten Best sheds little new light on the great band, mixing in recently recorded hits like "Never My Love" and "Cherish" with unfortunate covers like "Just The Way You Are" and "Isn’t She Lovely", although the CD does feature splendid liner notes by noted rock historian Skip Heller. 

The Asylum Recordings
(Rhino Handmade)

Following the 1970 release of The 12 Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus, the great rock group Spirit split up. Minus the late great Randy California, John Locke and Ed Cassidy regrouped for Spirit’s underrated Feedback album, while the remaining members formed Jo Jo Gunne. Featuring Spirit members Jay Ferguson (vocals, keyboards) and Mark Andes (bass), Jo Jo Gunne took the classic Spirit sound in a convincing new direction with the release of their now classic, self-titled 1972 debut Jo Jo Gunne. With Ferguson and Andes guiding the group sound, that first Jo Jo Gunne album was an FM radio smash and a huge hit with Spirit fans. Also featuring Mark’s brother Matt Andes (slide guitar) and Curly Smith (drums), Jo Jo Gunne (minus Mark Andes) went on to follow up their fabled first album with the 1973 album Bite Down Hard. Both albums have now been united on a top-notch, two-on-one 21 track CD reissue on the Rhino Records Handmade label. Jo Jo Gunne went on to record two more albums for Asylum Records, and likewise Rhino Handmade has also done a great job with their 22 track two-fer CD of Jumpin’ The Gunne (1973) and Where’s The Show (1974). Both CDs feature excellent packaging, original album art, bonus tracks, extensive group history and telling recollections from Jay Ferguson. Jo Jo Gunne was a short lived rock phenomenon, yet both CDs go a long way to reviving their legacy and are no doubt welcome by fans of ‘70s rock and especially Spirit fans. 

Special Edition

One of the most long awaited reissues is the great 1990 pop masterpiece from the legendary Toy Matinee. Formed by acclaimed pop producer Patrick Leonard and the late, great singer-songwriter and guitarist Kevin Gilbert, Toy Matinee recorded only one album, but that album has long been revered by pop fans. L.A.-based Unitone Recordings has done a great job with their 10th Anniversary reissue of Toy Matinee Special Edition, repackaging the album classic with ample graphics, five bonus tracks, lyrics, liner notes by Leonard and dedications from L.A. dj’s Mark & Brian. Musically, Toy Matinee Special Edition clearly reflects the Leonard and Gilbert knack for combining the most accessible spirit of progressive rock with catchy fun-filled pop and intelligent lyrics. Looking back on the album, Patrick Leonard reflects, "No strings, no expectations...we had the opportunity to do an album we cared about, simply because we cared about it." Produced and mixed by Bill Bottrell, the album also features splendid support from Tim Pierce (guitar), Guy Pratt (bass), Brian McLeod (drums) as well as fine support vocals from the great Julian Lennon. If sparkling, clever pop with great singing and top musicianship is your bag, you simply must hear the still fascinating Toy Matinee Special Edition. 

Misty Mirage

Listen to RealAudio sample: Misty Mirage

Anyone interested in the heyday of late ‘60s West Coast pop is strongly advised to hunt down the recent compilation form California pop legend Curt Boettcher. Boettcher formed the pop group The Millennium at the suggestion of his mentor, the late, great Gary Usher. It was Boettcher and Usher who also gave us the brilliant L.A. pop classic from Sagittarius. Boettcher was also responsible for the ‘68 Millennium classic Begin. A master at combining experimental studio wizardry with Brian Wilson-inspired pop, Boettcher was truly a gifted musician and a great vocalist too. Released by the London-based Poptones Limited, Misty Mirage is a fitting collection of Boettcher’s solo album sessions (unheard by anyone since 1969) along with a staggering array of demo tracks, outtakes, instrumentals and late ‘60s advertisements composed by Boettcher, who’s supported here by a wide range of talented pop sidemen. For those music buffs still intrigued by album classics like The Beach Boys Smile or the great Sagittarius album is strongly advised to pick up Misty Mirage. 

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