Record Label Spotlight 

October 2001



The Everly Brothers -
The Complete Cadence Recordings 1957-1960
On Varese Vintage

APPLESEED RECORDS - The voice of Roger McGuinn filled the AM radio waves when The Byrds took flight with their huge 1965 hit "Mr. Tambourine Man". Throughout the ‘60s and much of the ‘70s Byrds’ albums and the group’s overall influence on a whole generation of musicians and music fans was huge and, while the group broke up in the early ‘70s, their legacy remains as strong as ever. McGuinn went on to various solo projects in the ensuing years including his incredible ‘91 solo album classic Back From Rio and Live From Mars, released in ‘96. With the advent of the internet, McGuinn began recording a number of traditional folk gems for his online site It’s taken a while, but Roger has finally released his first official solo album in quite some time appropriately entitled Treasures From The Folk Den on PA.-based Appleseed Records. A veritable treasure chest of newly interpreted folk music classics by McGuinn, Treasures From The Folk Den features the music icon singing up a storm assisted here by folk music greats like Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Odetta and Judy Collins. While long time Byrds fans may still be longing for that long overdue (and eagerly awaited) rock album from McGuinn, Treasures From The Folk Den offers a most penetrating return to form from the rock legend. McGuinn’s reverence for these traditional folk gems is quite profound while the CD booklet is filled with a wealth of information, lyrics, photos and lengthy liner notes by the man himself. Another recent release on Appleseed worth checking out is If I Had A Hammer: The Songs Of Pete Seeger Vol. 2. The living embodiment of folk music for much of the 20th Century, Pete Seeger is given the ultimate tribute by his peers on the 16 track If I Had A Hammer. Numerous artists lend their support including Jackson Browne, Joan Baez, Billy Bragg, Arlo Guthrie and Eric Anderson to name just a few. Seeger himself joins in with many of these artists on various tracks here, making the CD a living, breathing tribute to the distinguished king of American Folk music. 

BIG OAK RECORDS - Following up his 1999 solo album Tulsa, Oklahoma-based rocker Dwight Twilley recently released his 2001 CD, The Luck on his newly established Big Oak label. Produced by long-time Twilley cohort Richie Podolor, songs on The Luck actually date back to the mid ‘90s, although the album was never released. Now in the middle of 2001, Twilley has finally reconditioned The Luck and has released the album with a whole new lineup of tracks. For those unfamiliar with Twilley, a close sound comparison would be Tom Petty, and in fact Petty himself appears here (on backing vocals) along with other top players like guitarists John Duva, Danny Johnson, Paul Frank and drummer Bernie Pershey. Filled with 16 tracks of pure power pop and American roots-rock energy, The Luck is a true windfall for Twilley’s many fans. 

BUDDHA RECORDS - NYC-based Buddha Records continues to be a most effective reissue arm of the mighty BMG Music. In addition to reissuing a variety of CDs from the back catalog of the original Buddah Records from the ‘60s and ‘70s, Buddha has also been busy reviving a variety of CDs from RCA Records artists such as The Guess Who. The most recent Guess Who reissue CDs on Buddha include the group’s early CD Canned Wheat (from 1969 - with "Undun" and "Laughing") and Share The Land (1970). A very popular folk-pop group from the original Buddah Records days (before the name was officially changed to Buddha), Brewer & Shipley are paid tribute with their first ever Stateside retrospective entitled One Toke Over The Line - The Best Of Brewer & Shipley. In addition to featuring their all time classic "One Toke Over The Line (Sweet Jesus)", the 2001 B&S Best Of compiles 13 other tracks taken off the group’s four albums on the original Buddah’s sister label Kama Sutra Records. A noteworthy act from the heyday of early ‘70s FM radio, Brewer & Shipley always spotlighted a number of fine players on their albums and featured on One Toke are erstwhile legends like Jerry Garcia, Mike Bloomfield and keyboardist Nicky Hopkins. In addition to a fine selection of radio friendly classics, Brewer & Shipley’s Best Of is rounded out by revealing liner notes from Mitch Jayne (former member of The Dillards). Another new line of CDs on Buddha Records that should be of interest to ‘60s pop music collectors is their new Entertainment Weekly - The Greatest Hits series. The series spans the years 1965-1993 with each CD featuring a dozen chart toppers. The first five titles 1965-1969 were recently issued and highlights include tracks by Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs, James Brown, The Lovin Spoonful and The Temptations (on the best of 1965 CD) with The Beach Boys, The Monkees, The Hollies and others featured on the Best Of 1966 disc. Other artists appearing on the first five releases include The Jefferson Airplane, The Buckinghams, Tommy James & The Shondells, Harry Nilsson, Dusty Springfield, The Guess Who along with numerous other chart-topping artists from the heyday of the mid to late ‘60s. Each CD features that unmistakable Entertainment Weekly logo while the CD booklets add in key facts relating to each artist.  / 

DREN RECORDS - Back in the mid ‘60s he co-founded The Monkees, wrote the hit single "Different Drum" for Linda Ronstadt and also recorded an array of critically acclaimed country-rock solo albums. Despite these history making achievements, singer-songwriter and pop music visionary Mike Nesmith has never really gotten his just recognition. Now, Washington, DC-based Dren Records attempts to set that record straight with the release of Papa Nez: A Loose Salute To The Work Of Michael Nesmith. The 20 track Papa Nez tribute CD features a assortment of relatively unknown pop artists and groups who clearly have a high regard for Nesmith’s songs within and without the Monkees. Among the many highpoints are the lead off "You Told Me" (from Buddy Woodward), "Sweet Young Thing" from the enormously talented Western Electric featuring Sid Griffin and "You Just May Be The One" by guitar wiz John Jorgenson. The brilliance of Nesmith’s music provides the perfect incentive for these aspiring artists to really rise to the occasion. The eye-catching CD booklet, which delves deep into the Nesmith resume, offers detailed track data along with informative liner notes by Western Electric singer-guitarist Sid Griffin. 

LEON RUSSELL RECORDS - Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Leon Russell remains of the most significant musicians of the past fifty years. Russell’s work as a crack studio musician during most of the ‘60s as well as his early ‘70s work with Joe Cocker and George Harrison is legendary. Russell recently kicked off the Fall 2001 release schedule of his own Leon Russell Records. Among the first CD titles is Leon ‘s latest album Signature Songs which features new Russell versions of his most popular songs. In Russell’s own words, "Signature Songs is an answer to the many requests from fans for an unplugged release of some of my hits, and I thought it would be interesting to change some of the arrangements slightly so they could hear the songs a bit differently. I really enjoyed making this CD." Featuring revived versions of classics like "A Song For You", "Back To The Island" and "Delta Lady", Signature Songs will be released at the same time as two out of print Russell classics, Guitar Blues (from ‘95 featuring Leon’s son Teddy Jack Bridges) and 1999’s Face In The Crowd. Also just out on Leon Russell Records is the new self-titled album from jazz vocalist Connye Florance and a new all instrumental disc from jazz guitarist Mike Gallaher entitled Blue Paradise. Gallaher’s been compared to guitar greats like Eric Johnson and Johnny Winter and on Blue Paradise he’s joined by fine players like Dennis Chambers (drums) and Vic Wooten (bass). Russell admits to having signed both Florance and Gallaher "because of their immense talent" adding, "we have many other acts on the label that are very talented and will be given the opportunity to bring their talent to the surface shortly." With the label ready to roll out many more new and reissue titles, the future looks bright for Leon’s many fans. 

LION RECORDS - Finland-based Lion Music made quite a few people happy with their 2001 double disc tribute to fallen guitar hero Jason Becker entitled Warmth In The Wilderness. High on the list of other recent titles on Lion is the latest CD from guitarist Chris Steberl and his group, Project: Alcazar entitled Reasons For A Decade. Joined by John Homan on drums, Steberl cuts loose with a scintillating set of instrumental rockers that merge the spirit of heavy metal and classical music. Steberl give the metal edge treatment to classical favorites from symphonic masters like Mussorgsky, Mozart and Vivaldi. Tracks like "Night On Bald Mountain" and Mozart’s "25th Symphony In G minor" absolutely smoke and lay to rest any notions that classical and hard rock can’t be synchronized. Relief from the (at times) overwhelming sonic onslaught arrives with the CD closer "Silk ‘n Honey", a frisky instro displaying Steberl’s approach to melodic guitar invention. Other highlights include the tastefully atmospheric "Sahara Skies" and "Neptune Island", a track on which Steberl echoes the spirit of Steve Howe’s work in Yes. Steberl’s been compared to Yngwie Malmsteen, Eddie Van Halen, Eric Johnson, Jason Becker and Al DiMeola, yet after hearing Project: Alcazar’s Reasons For A Decade it’s clear he’s well on the way to carving out a unique niche for himself. 

MUSIC VIDEO DISTRIBUTORS - The authorized video biography of two authentic American music heroes, The Outlaws examines the life and times of both Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. The first half of this superbly filmed and produced two hour DVD on Music Video Distributors features Willie Nelson speaking about his colorful life in song and words layered with praiseworthy interview footage from country music icons like Chet Atkins, Ray Charles, Johnny Cash and others. Related through archival performance footage, photos, TV shows and film clips, The Outlaws provides an eye-opening history lesson about one of America’s underrated country music heroes. The same could be said about the second half of The Outlaws DVD, which goes on to probe the history of Waylon Jennings. From his early years performing with rock legend Buddy Holly, The Outlaws moves on to feature Waylon performing various songs meshed with associated archival interviews with Kris Kristofferson, Hank Williams Jr. and Herb Alpert. Released by the DVD specialists at Pennsylvania-based Music Video Distributors, The Outlaws is a superb sounding, entertaining musical biography of two of America’s greatest country music superstars.

Devotees of classic ‘70s prog-rock and hard rock should check out several new DVDs from Music Video Distributors. The Oaks, PA.-based distribution company has a pair of new DVDs from on again off again Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman. Recorded live on February 4, ‘75 in Australia is the DVD recreation spectacular of Wakeman’s fabled solo album Journey To The Center Of The Earth. Out on tour promoting his highly successful Journey Lp back then, Wakeman and company, including the Melbourne Philharmonic Orchestra, perform the entire Journey magnum opus topped off by other Wakeman favorites from his all time classic The Six Wives Of Henry VIII and King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table. Interestingly, MVD’s Journey To The Center Of The Earth DVD is actually two disc set, one half being the video DVD and another a dolby digital audio CD of the entire show. A new Rick Wakeman DVD/CD combo package on MVD is Rick Wakeman - The Legend Live In Concert 2000. Like Journey To The Center Of The Earth, Wakeman’s Live In Concert 2000 features a DVD and a matching audio CD of the entire show. Wakeman’s superbly recorded Live In Concert finds the pianist in a rather wistful mood, serving up splendid solo keyboard instrumental versions of his many great tunes. Leading off with his magnificent version of "Pacobel...Canon In D", the enchanting double disc set samples other Wakeman classics like Rick’s cover of The Beatles’ "Help/Eleanor Rigby". The overall sound and vision is impeccable and offers more proof of Wakeman’s status as one of the great classical rock keyboardists of the modern rock era. Another recent DVD on MVD sure to create interest with rock fans is Deep Purple - New, Live & Rare - The Video Collection: 1984-2000. The 24 track DVD features key Deep Purple tracks like "Hush", "Fireball" and "Smoke On The Water" as performed by the most recent incarnation of the band with guitarist Steve Morse. Clocking at over 3 hours, Deep Purple’s New, Live & Rare is topped off by studio footage of the group from 1990. 

REPRISE RECORDS - In the words of Air Supply founder/guitarist Graham Russell, "It wasn’t always fashionable to sing our kind of music, but we’ve always stuck to our guns, and, I think, maintained our integrity." In the spirit of classic U.S. pop groups like Chicago, Bread and even later period Beach Boys, Utah-based Air Supply have crafted a pop album of polished beauty and grace with Yours Truly. The group’s new album on Reprise Records features a stack of moving torch songs, most obviously the album starter "Who Am I", a song layered with dramatic string arrangements, complex harmonies and intimate lyrics. Graham Russell and Air Supply co-founder, vocalist Russell Hitchcock, are joined by number of seasoned players on their latest pop extravaganza. Certain to enchant long time Air Supply fans and bring in new admirers, Yours Truly is overflowing with musical compassion for these trying times. 

RHINO RECORDS - It’s often been touted just how important the guitar work of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page were to The Yardbirds during their brief tenure as one the ‘60s most prominent U.K. rock groups. As wonderful as Eric, Jeff and Jimmy were in the group, the key to The Yardbirds greatness was always the band’s catchy songs and the unique musical chemistry created by the band’s lynchpin members - singer Keith Relf, bassist Paul Samwell-Smith, rhythm guitarist Chris Dreja and drummer Jim McCarty. From their early years with Clapper as a trendsetting blues-rock band to their extensive forays into Top 40 pop and soulful psychedelia, The Yardbirds were often one step ahead of everyone else. That fact in itself was sadly to become significant in the eventual demise of the group. While Clapton, Page and Beck all went on to become way too trendy for their own good, sadly Keith Relf, who after forming the art-rock legend Renaissance, died in the mid ‘70s under some quite clouded circumstances. All things considered, The Yardbirds left us a legacy of immense proportions. The group’s new 52 track, double disc The Yardbirds Ultimate! collection on Rhino Records takes the entire Yardbirds’ history into account, and with it’s very impressive 54 page color booklet, yields some penetrating results. 

SANCTUARY RECORDS - Since U.K.-based Sanctuary Records joined forces with Carolina-based CMC Records they’ve been coordinating a number of new and reissue releases. Reissuing well layed out versions of all those great early albums from The Kinks CDs here in the U.S. is a great idea. One Sanctuary title released over there in London town that might never see a U.S. release is the the double disc compilation spotlight on the 1980’s group The Jetset entitled Jetsetmania - The Ultimate Collection. The 49 tracks here are taken from a number of The Jetset’s U.K. albums including tracks from their art-pop classic Vaudeville Park. On the group’s more developed, later-period songs, as witnessed upon repeat playings of disc 2, the group sounds like Ray Davies meets The Monkees meets The Cowsills. Very ‘60s pop sounding even though the songs were made in the mid to late ‘80s! The good old ‘80s... For collectors of vintage ‘60s music, Jetsetmania will be a real treat. It comes with an amazing packaging complete with rare photos and incredibly well layed out multi-panel four color CD booklet. For collectors of this sort of stuff (attention fans of The Rutles and various ‘60s pop-lite) it doesn’t get any better than Jetsetmania. 

VARESE VINTAGE - Few labels can match the quality and overall sheer amount of reissues coming from California-based Varese Vintage and their parent company Varese Sarabande. Some recent CD titles on Varese include three CDs that more or less defined the psychedelic pop sound of Boston during the the late ‘60s. Included are Orpheus - Very Best Of Orpheus, Ultimate Spinach - Very Best Of Ultimate Spinach (first ever U.S. CD reissue filled with Baroque pop, sitars and hard rock) and the Various Artists collection Best Of The Boston Sound with tracks by Orpheus, Ultimate Spinach, Beacon Street Union, Puff, Eden’s Children and more. Another ‘60s pop hero given the Varese reissue treatment is Norman Greenbaum with a reissue of his Reprise album Spirit In The Sky. The 17 track disc features the single version of the classic 1970 title track (with an unreleased demo version of "Spirit In The Sky") along with a number of Norm’s follow-up Reprise singles. Varese also recently reissued a comprehensive double disc set from The Everly Brothers entitled The Everly Brothers - The Complete Cadence Recordings 1957-1960. The double disc Everly’s set features all their huge Cadence Records hits like "Bye Bye Love", "Wake Up Little Susie" along with 45 others. An essential release for Beatles fans on Varese is Beatles Classics by ‘60s easy listening band leader Enoch Light. This Varese collection features 15 Beatles covers culled from four different Enoch Light albums including his ‘74 Beatles Classics Lp. Also recent on Varese is the latest release CD from pop pundit Kyle Vincent entitled Wow & Flutter. The follow up to his last self-titled CD, Vincent’s latest should hit the spot with fans of power-pop and pop-rock worldwide. More on the many fine reissues from Varese soon. 

STEEL GUITAR NEWS - The Steel Guitar is to American music what Bagpipes are to Scottish music or what the Koto is to Japanese music. It’s been used by Country Music artists for years to season their sound and it’s also a favorite among Hawaiian musicians and progressive U.K. guitar greats like Steve Howe and B.J. Cole. Many of America’s leading steel guitarists continue to go unheralded, yet they also continue to release excellent new and reissue albums. Among the finest instrumental pedal steel CDs released in the past year is Finally Here (on Steel Guitar Forum Records) from PA.-based Jim Cohen. A long time pedal steel enthusiast and the leader of Philadelphia’s premier Western Swing band, Beats Walkin’, Cohen has arranged a number of jazz and pop standards for his debut solo CD including new covers of the A.C. Jobim classic "Desifinado", the Max Steiner classic "Tara’s Theme" (a/k/a "Gone With The Wind") and a sterling cover of "Our Day Will Come", the early ‘60s Top 40 hit from Ruby & The Romantics. Superbly produced by Dan Kleiman and featuring Cohen supported by a solid crew, Finally Here is certainly one of the best new steel guitar albums of 2000. 

Also among the best of the latest round of steel guitar CDs is In Time from Missouri-based Tom Brumley. One of the top steel players still on the scene, Brumley secured his reputation playing on numerous recordings with Buck Owens and Rick Nelson (he was on Nelson’s big country rock smash "Garden Party"). Brumley’s approach to instrumental steel guitar-based sounds is, in a word, impeccable. Self produced and mostly composed by Brumley, In Time is high on melody and also features classic Brumley versions of the Santo & Johnny favorite "Sleepwalk" topped off by a rousing cover of "Hawaiian Wedding Song". Recorded and mixed in Nashville, In Time spotlights a number of fine players including guitarists Steve Wariner and Ray Flacke. contact: 

Recorded in Brooklyn, N.Y. The Word is a project inspired by bluesy style of Gospel influenced Church music played on the pedal steel guitar. The Word (on Ropeadope / Atlantic) is an all instrumental effort featuring noted instrumentalists John Medeski, the North Mississippi All Stars (featuring guitarist Luther Dickinson) and N.J.-based pedal steel prodigy Robert Randolph. Between them, the group merge Southern country roots music, Gospel and even Booker T. style blusey R&B. The guitar work of Randolph and Dickinson really gets the sound hot and heavy, all topped off by some fine playing from Chris Chew (bass) and Cody Dickinson (drums, while pedal steel fans will be mighty impressed with the performance of young Randolph. Anyone seeking out sublime country style pedal twang pickings will be quite surprised by the melting pot of rockin’ sounds stirred up here.  / 

Up there on the list of fabulous new instrumental steel guitar albums is the latest from steel guitar great Doug Jernigan entitled Jazz By Jernigan. Long a favorite among pedal steel fans in the know, Doug’s new album swings out with instro covers of jazz classics like "Lime House Blues", Charlie Parker’s "Dexterity" and George Shearing’s "Lullaby Of Birdland". Also featuring top players like Greg Cole (drums/engineer) and guitarists Van Manacas and Gary Adams, Jazz By Jernigan is a breezy delight from start to finish. 

A Steel Guitar Hall Of Fame member still ridin’ the range is Tennessee-based Hal Rugg who recently released two instrumental albums Finally! and Slidin’ For Scale. Breaking onto the steel guitar scene back in Arizona during the ‘50s, Rugg got his first big break in ‘63 as the steel guitarist with George Jones, later going on to work with guitar great Roy Clark and even pop singer Gene Pitney. Both Finally! and Slidin’ For Scale are splendid instrumental steel guitar-based efforts, layered with just the right amount of country twang and easy listening grooves. Both also feature top players including Ray VonRotz (drums) and guitarist Roddy Smith. 

Burnin’ Ernie Hagar is back in the limelight with a fine steel guitar reissue CD. Man Of Steel (on Ambiance Records) feature 20 steel guitar-based tracks Hagar recorded back in the ‘60s and ‘70s including his ‘70s album Steel Guitar Odyssey along with various 45’s and album cuts released in the ‘60s on Sage & Sand Records. The twenty track Man Of Steel is proof of Hagar’s legacy and finds the ‘man of steel' supported by various musicians including guitarist Jimmy Wright, to whom Hagar dedicates this Man Of Steel collection. In addition to period piece photos of Hagar, Man Of Steel features extensive liner notes including new liner notes from Hagar.  / or contact Ernie at: 

Finally for steel guitar purists there’s 50 Years Of Legendary Steel Guitar (on CPR Records) from Don Helms. An audio documentary of Helms’ long career as a steel guitar hero, 50 Years goes back to tracks that Helms composed and recorded in 1953 with guitar great Chet Atkins. Don made his name performing and recording with greats like Hank Williams, Ray Price and Patsy Cline and 50 Years Of Legendary Steel Guitar provides a vital introduction to the Helms legend. Also included are new 1999 renditions of several songs Helms recorded with the late great Hank Williams including "I’m So Lonesome" and "Mansion On The Hill". Track 12, "Don Helms The Man", finds Helms reminiscing about his life and his golden years with Williams and the rest as they history. contact:  For an amazing cross-section of steel guitar albums, from yesterday and today check out:  and  or call 888-355-4103




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