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Winter 2007

 

     
 

 
SEAN LENNON


P.F. SLOAN


TOM PETTY

 
ROD STEWART
 
GILBERT O'SULLIVAN
 
LOS STRAITJACKETS
 
     
 

SEAN LENNON
Friendly Fire
(Capitol)

As Sean's brother Julian Lennon pointed out to me in my 20th Century Guitar interview with him in 1999 (an interview currently on www.heyjules.com that is running unauthorized by this writer or the magazine) the real magic of the Beatles was that combination of vocal harmonies. Having four singer / songwriters of equal caliber is a thing almost never attempted with such success in pop lore. When Sean Lennon released his first solo album in 1998 it was heralded as a major breakthrough for pop. It’s taken almost 8 years but—released on CD with a mirror DVD complete with intriguing videos with bizarre scenes—the story behind his 2006 album Friendly Fire more than lives up to it’s bizarre title. Having an amazing band of players behind him—including Paul Simon’s son, Harper Simon on guitar—only adds to the sonic luster. Despite not having a voice yet to rival his dad or the sheer impact of his mom’s timbres, track by track Sean aligns his own musical universe with Friendly Fire. If he wants to truly follow the leaders, he should instigate a studio masterpiece with himself, the Pinder Brothers and Jason Nesmith. The dream ain’t over. It’s only sleeping. www.seanlennon.com

 


 
 

P.F. SLOAN
Sail Over
(Hightone)

One of the great ‘60s pop composers, P.F. Sloan is back in at age 60 with a killer rock album that borrows the spirit of the ‘60s and infuses it with some well earned pop smarts. Sloan’s track “Eve Of Destruction” was a huge hit for pop icon Barry McGuire back in late ‘65 and not only has the song maintained its potency but, revived in 2006 by Sloan and his band, it sounds more ironic and timeless today. Combining new versions of his most famous hits of the ‘60s, Sailover also features a catch of new songs that proves P.F.’s still got the knack to bowl you over with a solid hook and complex lyrics. For the 2006 release of Sailover, Sloan receives backing from a tight band of players including co-producer / guitarist Jon Tiven. www.hightone.com


 
  TOM PETTY
Highway Companion
(American)

There are good Tom Petty albums then there are great Tom Petty albums. Clearly, Petty’s 2006 CD on American, Highway Companion is one of his great albums. With a memorable batch of tunes and ready to rock, Tom links up with long time guitarist Mike Campbell and long time Traveling Wilburys cohort Jeff Lynne. Between the three of them, they turn L.A. pop to gold on a dozen tracks that glisten like silver cacti on a desert highway. Clearly Petty and Lynne had George Harrison, and to some extent Dylan and Orbison, in mind with much reverence when they cut these tracks as Harrison’s spirit as both a singer and guitarist, lingers here like a fog upon L.A., echoing those timeless Wilburys spirits. www.tompetty.com

 


 
  ROD STEWART
Still The Same
(
J)

Assisted by a range of top players including guitarists John Shanks (who also produced), Greg Leisz, Dean Parks and Tim Pierce, Rod Stewart returns with his first roots rock covers album. Featuring stately Stewart versions of classics by renowned songwriters John Fogerty, Pete Ham, Cat Stevens, Van Morrison, Bonnie Tyler, Elvin Bishop, Bob Dylan, The Eagles and more, Still The Same: Great Rock Classics Of Our Time rocks steady. On this 13 track pop covers CD, Stewart comes across like he was meant to reinterpret these rock evergreens. www.rodstewart.com

 


 
  GILBERT O'SULLIVAN
A Scruff At Heart
(By Gum)

Few musicians can captivate an audience with just a piano accompaniment. In the spirit of keyboard rockers like Elton John and Paul McCartney, Gilbert O’Sullivan reemerges in fine form with the 2006 CD release of A Scruff At Heart. If you can find it on Ebay, check out the gorgeous Japanese pressing with superb gatefold cover art and lyrics booklet. For the 2006 release of A Scruff At Heart Gilbert has penned batch or memorable rockers that sound great with spare yet tasteful backing from strings, woodwinds and brass. The first track “Take Your Foot Off My Toe” is a toe tapping intro to an album that sounds better spin after spin. www.bygumrecords.com



 
  LOS STRAITJACKETS
Twist Party
(YepRoc)

Renowned for their rockabilly style surf to outer space instro and beyond, Los Straitjackets team with the ‘world famous’ Pontini Sisters and vocalist Kaiser George for a sound best described as David Byrne meets Booker T. & The MG’s. The CD half of this 2006 CD/DVD set features the band with George while the DVD features dance instruction videos from the slightly ‘twisted’ and scantily clad sisters. Stuff like this was coming out left and right 25 years ago. There’s a great instro (with Munsters style sound effects) called “Mad Scientwist” while a set closing cover of “Peppermint Twist” sounds like a cut from a Joey Dee & The Starlighters meets The Raybeats Lp that never happened. www.straitjackets.com






 
 
 
   
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