Record Label
and Music Spotlight 

APRIL 2012








- Angel Air are best known for their key reissue CDs yet with the 2012 CD release of Closure from singer-songwriter Andy Collins, they deliver a modern pop masterpiece. The ten track, 43 minute album provides ample proof as to why Collins was such a vital component of the band The Storys. Collins’ band mates in The Storys—Rob Thompson and Alan Thomas—join him on the album, as do others including guitarist Matt John and guitarist / drummer Tim Hamill. It’s hard to say who Collins reminds you of—but you might cite some of Pete Townshend’s more deep and insightful tracks. Alan Thomas balances things out quite amazingly with his wide ranging keyboard sounds including mellotron. Interestingly, Closure was mastered by Pete Townshend producer / engineer Jon Astley. Come to think of it, Andy does sound somewhat like Townshend’s genius / protégé Billy Nicholls—he’s just that cool.

- Sure the cover art will stop any red blooded man in his tracks but the music under the covers is equally red hot. We’re talking about the latest CD from saucy, bluesy, cabaret inspired singer-songwriter Larkin McLean. Released in 2011, the eleven track If You’re A Wild Girl Say Aye is getting kudos for its innovative approach to pop. The lead off title track has Beatles inspired hooks while a good part of the CD turns it over to a ribald, jazzy kind of sound that skirts around the perimeters of Broadway style cabaret musical type fare. With her flashy good looks and expressive vocal mannerisms, (don’t forget tracks with titles like “Ding Dong Ding”, “Bachelorette”, “Pasties & A G String” and “Skinny Dipping Party”) I could see Larkin playing Ann Margaret’s part in the movie Bye Bye Birdie or some other type of Broadway type fare so popular back in the 1960’s. Larkin gets some solid support from her band including producer / guitarist Kenny Lyon and session ace Gary Mallaber (drums). Kicking off with a hit single of a title track, If You’re A Wild Girl Say Aye is an arresting spin from start to finish.

- One of the most prolific guitarists from the U.K., Gordon Giltrap taps into a different music direction with the 2012 CD release of Echoes Of Heaven. Containing elements of the Christian religion while also looking at spirituality as a universal experience, Echoes Of Heaven does indeed include elements of Gospel and musical hymns. The 14 track CD features Giltrap’s world renowned acoustic guitar work paired with fellow guitarist and lyricist Reverend Martin Green and singer Carol Sampson. The album is something of a departure for Giltrap, who comments, ‘For many years now I have been of the opinion that many of my tunes would make good songs or in some cases hymns.’ After recording nearly 25 instrumental albums of progressive guitar music, it’s interesting to hear Giltrap stepping out into divergent, yet somehow familiar musical terrain.

/ HEAR MUSIC / MPL - Back in 2006 I wrote liner notes, and basically paid for the first ever CD release of a fantastic, though vastly underrated instrumental guitar rock album from Sandals founder / guitar hero John Blakeley. On John’s Tan Mantis CD, he and fellow musician Ron Nagle recorded a superb instrumental version of the Frank Loesser classic “Inch Worm”. John’s version really impressed me as I hadn’t heard the song before. So now 5 years later in 2011, I find Paul McCartney doing a vocal version of “The Inch Worm”, which is track 13 on Macca’s first ever jazz classics covers album—the 14 track Kisses On The Bottom, released on the illustrious Concord Music Group. It might not be as mind-blowing and spacy (special?) as the Tan Mantis version, but Macca’s version of “The Inch Worm” is way cool in its own right and may in fact be the highlight of the KOTB album. Not quite as amazing or memorable as Blakeley’s instrumental version, the song nevertheless fits right in on Paul’s album of jazzy standards, which was tastefully produced by Tommy LiPuma while also featuring the amazing band leading piano chops of Diana Krall. Of course Paul is turning 70 in 2012 and he may be mellowing out a bit but don’t look back now as he’s hard at work on his new rock album. Actually, Kisses fits in perfectly on Concord, who also have the current rights for all of Paul’s solo albums and don’t forget Concord is reissuing CD titles of all the Frank Sinatra albums too. Arming himself with the finest studio musicians of any era, including jazz guitar great John Pizzarelli, John’s dad Bucky Pizzarelli and guests like Eric Clapton, LiPuma’s production and studio sound is first rate and the album clicks with just the right amount of echo and microphone presence. Reminiscing about these and other influential songs in his incisive Kisses On The Bottom liner notes, Paul surprisingly also speaks fondly about John Lennon a lot adding, ‘Those were the kind of songs we’d been listening to and that attracted me to him. And I do think they did have quite an influence on us melodically.’

- With Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney carrying out the final chapters of the Beatles, they both go on to great successes as solo artists. Ringo’s 2012 CD is titled (what else?) 2012. Kicking off with the “Glass Onion” kick drum sound on “Anthem”, 2012 is filled with a killer range of classic Ringo music . Produced by Ringo, the CD benefits thanks to key musical contributions from heavyweight Beatles fans like Joe Walsh, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Van Dyke Parks, Dave Stewart, Don Was and Edgar Winter. Also on hand are some stellar Starr cohorts such as guitarist Steve Dudas, Bruce Sugar (keyboards) and many more. Of course, Ringo’s song-writing, vocals and Beatles inspired drumming are all as great as ever. Also included in the CD of all new material is Ringo’s cover of the Buddy Holly classic “Think It Over”. Ringo was without a doubt the most influential drummer of the original ‘60s rock era and there’s just no letting up on the good vibrations well in play on 2012.

- What is it about Israel that keeps on pumping out great singer-songwriters? Let’s face it—the Jews just live and breathe music. It’s in their blood. Of course the inevitable triangulation between London, NYC and L.A. has resulted in Lead Balloon—the 2011 CD from Rosi Golan. Backed up by a wide range of studio players, including the brilliant production from Tony Berg, the CD echoes the spirits of Suzanne Vega, Anna Domino and countless other great sultry female voices over the past 30 years. An auspicious debut from a rising talent in rock land, Rosi’s CD is well packaged and comes with an impressive booklet of water colors, lyrics and lists of who’s who and what’s what.

KW ENTERPRISES - Coming out of the jam band scene of the late ‘90s, singer-songwriter Keller Williams has recorded 17 albums since his 1994 Freek album, including working with String Cheese Incident, Bela Fleck, Bob Weir and more. On his December 2011 album Bass, Keller features his rock-steady electric bass work on an album that is fueled by bass-heavy groove rhythms and live reggae-funk sound that tastefully blends in various aspects of dub, funk and jazz. Backed by Jay Starling (keyboards) and Mark D. (drums), Keller’s modern soul-funk songs combine for a mix of dreamy, semi-psychedelic pop with the above mentioned styles and also evokes classic rock groups such as Steely Dan at times.

- Based up in the Boston area, Winterpills has a pop masterpiece on their collective hands with the early 2012 CD release of All My Lovely Goners. There’s plenty of pop smarts here, including an R.E.M. type effect in play but it’s also almost pop baroque in places. Track 2, “Amazing Sky” should be a hit single in a just world. Singer-songwriter and guitarist Philip Price is joined by a fine band, including Flora Reed (keyboards, vocals), Dennis Crommett (guitars), Brian Akey (bass) and Dave Hower (drums). With the guitars chiming away, and the sonic soundscapes offering much to marvel at, the sound is really amazingly well recorded. Also for those who still remember, the CD packaging and booklet is something to behold. After releasing three full-length albums and a 2010 EP on Signature Sounds, Winterpills truly come into their own with the often brilliant All My Lovely Goners.

- L.A. based singer-songwriter Ned Doheny is a West Coast pop icon and he puts his experience to good use on his 2011 CD, the ten tracks of The Darkness Beyond The Fire. A beautiful production and featuring excellent packaging, the CD captures all that is best about Ned’s approach to song-writing. In the past, Ned has worked with legends like Traffic founder Dave Mason and there’s a definite mid ‘70s Mason like musical influence here. In fact, besides joining Dave and Mama Cass during their brief stint together, Ned also was a friend with Jackson Brown back in the day. Filled with breezy, L.A. style singer-songwriter style pop, The Darkness Beyond The Fire is the perfect showcase for Ned’s smooth pop groove. With Ned singing on all the tracks and handling the guitars, several key players help out and the CD booklet is excellent too. Check out the booklet’s page one photo of Ned strumming guitar as a youngster with record company legends Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun looking on in amazement at this young kid with a guitar!

- Is there any music Brian Wilson can’t play? Brian’s other new album of 2011, In The Key Of Disney puts the founder of The Beach Boys smack dab in the middle of the Disney songbook, while covering songs from movies like Mary Poppins and Snow White to Toy Story and others as played by Wilson’s usually crack crew of studio aces and backing vocalists. Although Brian claimed that a bit of writer’s block inspired him to re-imagine these songs, clearly—as was the case with his recent George Gershwin tribute—they melt like butter on toast under the weight of Wilson’s proverbial genius touch in the studio. Rev up the Woody and wax your boards and take a stroll down to Wilson’s wonderland of Disney magic.


BACKWATER RECORDS - For original hippies who were weaned on Pink Floyd classics like Ummagumma and Obscured By Clouds, the new album from The Future Kings Of England will come like a sonic revelation. Having released several previous CD/LP releases on the UK based Backwater label, TFKOE step out in style on their 2011 CD entitled Who Is This Who Is Coming? A cryptic title for sure, but the music is equally beguiling. Mostly instrumental, the superbly recorded and packaged CD is sometimes influenced by Floyd, while other times they sound like Camel doing rock instrumentals. Rock, space-rock, minimalist, soundtrack, TFKOE have it covered in spades on their latest sonic masterpiece. Enhancing this four piece band, there’s some great electric guitar work and much more. Instrumental rock fans, Pink Floyd fans and others should give a listen.

- A fantastic, sprawling, classic sounding jazz masterpiece, The Continents is a double CD filled with magical music from the chameleon of jazz himself—keyboard legend Chick Corea. The album fulfills a dream of Chick’s of cutting an album combining orchestral musicians with jazz musicians. Recorded in NYC, the first half of The Continents is just that—a six track concerto for jazz quintet and chamber orchestra, with titles named after each of the Earth’s continents, all of which (in case you forgot) start with the letter A, except for Europe. The CD set features Chick’s band—including Tim Garland (sax, bass clarinet, flute) Hans Glawischnig (bass), Marcus Gilmore (drums) and Steve Davis (trombone). Also featuring a hand picked orchestra—including members of The Harlem Quartet and others—conducted by Steven Mercurio, the orchestral jazz symphony on disc one is offset by a second CD featuring Chick’s improvised piano solos, along with several tracks from his jazz quintet from the same sessions. Chick’s never been a man of many words and now, like then, on this modern day masterpiece, he lets his music do the talking for him.

- One of the leading instrumental rock record labels in the world today, Double Crown Records has a great, late 2011 compilation CD out entitled Brave New Surf. The 20 track CD features some of the finest and most rockin’ of all the rising surf-rock bands and Ventures style instro rock bands from all over the world. The CD features in-depth track data along with informative liner notes by Croatian born guitar hero Ivan Pongracic—who has made inroads in the surf-rock world thanks to his amazing guitar work with his group The Space Cossacks. Anyway, there’s a ton of appealing instrumental rock sounds on Brave New Surf, including a fab track from The Barbwires entitled “La Caja del Muerto” that nearly steals the show. Also on hand is a cut from Pongracic’s latest band The Madeira along with cuts from The Coffin Daggers, Aqualads, The Bambi Molesters and much more. If you have one essential surf-rock CD to pick up in early 2012, make it Brave New Surf. Fans of Ivan Pongracic should also take note of his latest CD release with The Madeira, entitled Tribal Fires—released on Double Crown Records in 2012.

- Sometimes heavy metal music can be so heavy. With distorted guitars pushing the needles to the red, much hard rock or heavy metal is way too heavy for sensitive ears. Case in point where heavy metal instrumental music is played and recorded just right is Clark Colborn Again, the 2011 CD from Illinois guitarist Clark Colborn. Hipped to rock writers and mags by in the know prog and rock fans, Clark hits his stride with his latest opus, which skillfully mixes a few vocal tracks into a predominantly instrumental rock album. Clark gets compared to guitar aces like Page, Vai and Van Halen, yet he maintains, ‘I want my music to be fun to listen to, stimulating to play and to convey a sense of energy to my audience.’ Perhaps the most unique thing here is the recording sound, which is first rate, distortion free and superbly mastered—especially for what ostensibly sounds like a heavy metal album. Clark handles everything including vocals, with all the instruments superbly handled by Clark and drummer Joel Baer.

- Situated at the top of the prog-rock world for the past 15 years, Magna Carta has released amazing CD titles from the biggest names in the progressive rock music world. Although it’s not 1999 anymore, Magna Carta continues breaking new acts, case in point being the 2012 CD release of Road Less Traveled from the group known as Points North. Mixing progressive instrumental rock with a solid dose of hard rock fusion, the CD features an excellent musical interplay between group members Eric Barnett (guitars), Damien Sisson (bass) and Kevin Aiello (drums). Produced by guitarist Barnett, Points North may echo instro bands like Dixie Dregs, Eric Johnson and even Rush, yet they do so with a unique musical flair all their own.

- What does every country in the world share as a method to connect past borders and languages? Why the good old guitar of course! The guitar is truly the international method for communication. Every country in the world has their own guitar heroes and virtuosos seeking fame and fortune outside their nation’s borders. Case in point is the 2011 CD from Norway-based guitar ace Steinar Karlsen. Steinar’s CD, Ulydium is receiving great press from the guitar mags and web sites over in Europe and for good reason. Combining a love of The Ventures, Link Wray, a touch of The Shadows and much more, Steinar’s ten track Ulydium CD rocks up a storm. Plus, being all instrumental, you can really focus on the music and there’s even a hint of Scandinavian folk-jazz music that permeates the surf-flavored rock sounds. Steinar gets amazing support from his band mates Morton Skage (bass) and Kåre Opheim, while a number of guest artists add various sonic embellishments. The CD sound and the CD packaging is also first rate, adding the finishing touches on an album that will put a smile on the face of the serious instro rock fan.

- A fascinating sounding CD of otherworldly proportions, Journey Around The Sun: A Mayan Odyssey is a solid introduction to the music of composers / producers Bill Wren and Frank Ralls. Joined by a wide range of musicians, Frank and Bill have put together an all instrumental album that—while fitting into the modern New Age music category—should hold enormous appeal among neoclassical and even progressive rock fans open to some new kind of hypnotic, sonic soundtrack. Although ostensibly about the ancient Mayan civilization and, perhaps more significantly about the Mayan’s now famous 2012 prophesy, the all instrumental soundtrack provides a lot of leeway in drawing your own conclusions. Sure, it’s some heady type of concept album but that said, the music is beautifully recorded and produced and there’s plenty of room for the listener’s musical imagination to run wild. Complete with two bonus video tracks, the 14 track CD packaging is first rate and sound is exquisite, featuring strings, horns, all types of acoustic guitars, bass, synths and keyboards. Programming and production by Frank Ralls assures that Journey Around The Sun is a scenic and sonic trip you’ll want to experience time and time again.

- One of the brightest bands of the 21st century U.K. surf-rock instrumental scene, Surfquake are making waves with their 2011 CD Surf And Destroy. Looking at the Surfquake Facebook page you can see their M.O. right away—“They came like a vicious avalanche from the sea...exploding from the surf, on a wave of destruction”. Not bad, considering Surfquake’s music is a convincing, modern day revival of the original American West Coast guitar sound explored by The Ventures, Davie Allan and Dick Dale and so many others. Despite coming from the land of Hank Marvin, on Surf And Destroy, Surfquake is much more Ventures than Shadows. Works for them and after a few good spins, the CD wins you over. Guitarist Nelson Surfquake gets superb support from his band. Mixing classic covers with new Surfquake originals, the CD takes off into the sonic stratosphere. A welcome rock instro cover of “The Munster’s Theme” from the great TV show seals the deal on Surfquake’s sonic “go-go guitar” trip back to the swinging sixties.

VARÈSE SARABANDE - Although he’s been keeping busy releasing soundtrack albums as a noted film music producer, progressive music icon Trevor Rabin returns to the rock world with the 2012 CD release of Jacaranda. Released on the Varèse label, Jacaranda is actually a fully formed jazz-rock fusion album of sorts featuring a mix of progressive style YES inspired music magic. Featuring Rabin’s patented guitar sound and production skills, the 12 track Jacaranda also features key contributions from Jeff Beck group members Vinnie Colaiuta (drums) and Tal Wilkenfeld (bass) as well as Lou Molino III (drums) and Trevor’s son Ryan Rabin. Although Rabin may have earned his stellar reputation as guitarist and songwriter with YES during their early ‘80s to mid ‘90s period, on Jacaranda Trevor’s symphonic style electric guitar and piano / keyboard sound is purely instrumental and sounds more like Al DiMeola with Chick Corea or even Mike Oldfield in places, than say the catchy, pop-prog vibe of “Owner Of A Lonely Heart.” In the spirit of fellow YES members Bill Bruford and Steve Howe before him, Rabin’s 21st century foray into instrumental, guitar-centric fusion makes for a most rewarding and ear-opening spin. There’s even one vocal track here with singer Liz Constintine, who is featured on a track here called “Rescue”, which is inspired by the film The Guardian. With the 2012 CD release of Jacaranda, YES fans who wondered when Rabin would return to the rock (and jazz-rock) world need wonder no longer.


ANGEL AIR - Although Matthew Fisher will go down in musical history as one of the founding members of U.K. progressive rock icons Procol Harum, his career as producer, keyboardist and singer-songwriter is equally intriguing. Looking back on his post-Procol Harum solo career, his early solo albums and his production of the first Robin Trower solo album, it’s worth noting that Fisher was also on The Well’s On Fire, the latest (and to date the last) Procol Harum studio album from 2003. One nearly forgotten album that Fisher recorded in 1994, A Salty Dog Returns has finally come out as a CD on Angel Air, Amazingly, the 16 track album is completely instrumental and features Fisher playing everything while covering a wide breadth of instrumental sounds—from Procol inspired rock symphonic edges, to Fisher-esque instrumental covers of Bach played prog-rock style, soundtrack type interludes and there’s even a very cool, surf-inspired Shadows tribute track here called “A Tribute To Hank”. Who knew Fisher was so adept on both guitars and drums too? A musical pioneer and trendsetter back during the Summer of Love, Fisher was quite instrumental in helping develop Procol Harum’s orchestral rock side—the central fascination being his church-like Hammond B3 organ sound. That side of Fisher, along with a whole lot more can be found on the most welcome rediscovery / reissue of A Salty Dog Returns. Fine, in depth liner notes by Henry Scott-Irvine written in 2012, fills in the missing pieces behind Matthew Fisher’s once, but no longer, long lost instrumental rock masterpiece.

ANGEL AIR - Also up and out on Angel air in 2012 is an amazing title called Hooked On Number Ones - 100 Non Stop Hits. Featuring an all star cast, including original artists, and produced in 1984 by Geoff Morrow, the 100 track CD features snippets of songs everyone knows and loves and breaks it all down into four medleys. On hand are much revered artists including members of The Fortunes, Mungo Jerry, Marmalade, Lonnie Donegan, Joe Brown, Helen Shapiro and more. As documented on previously released Angel Air titles—including CDs from Ammo and Butterscotch—Morrow’s work in the pop field is never less than exemplary. Touching on a hundred different tracks, it’s all a bit karaoke, but nevertheless, Hooked On Number Ones makes for 65 minutes of nonstop listening fun.

CLEOPATRA RECORDS - Based out in Los Angeles, Cleopatra Records have remained on the cutting edge of rock and progressive rock for much of the past 20 years. Starting off with YES during their Keys To Ascension period around 1995, Cleopatra has done a lot with one time YES producer / guitarist Billy Sherwood and there’s a new Sherwood produced tribute to Supertramp coming in 2012 on Cleopatra so the alliance continues. Cleopatra also has a solid commitment to rock history with a number of archival sets, including a deluxe 4 disc box set honoring California psychedelic legends Quicksilver Messenger Service entitled Anthology Box 1966 - 1970. Mostly out takes from Quicksilver’s historic first studio album on Capitol and live tracks from the Fillmore East, these 3 CD are augmented by a DVD featuring the great five piece band that recorded their last few albums on Capitol including the hits “Fresh Air” and “What About Me”, both featured with live videos on the DVD. Although the DVD is b&w and in fair to good video and audio quality, just seeing Dino Valente, Gary Duncan, John Cippolina and David Freiberg on stage together is a pretty revelatory experience—even in 2012. For an example how just how far ahead of most bands Quicksilver was, check out disc one’s two sweeping psych-rock instrumentals of “The Fool” and “Cavalry”, which combine jam band thinking with a future-coming space rock fusion of sound.

CLEOPATRA RECORDS - Cleopatra also honors rock legends Blues Image with the 2011 double CD release of Anthology Box 1975 - 1979. Although Blues Image scored a major hit with “Ride Captain Ride” in the spring of 1970, group founder Mike Pinera went on to record several solo albums which form the core of disc one on the first half. Disc two combines a pair of albums recorded by Pinera’s post-Blues Image band Thee Image in 1975. There’s even a demo version of “Ride Captain Ride” closing out disc one. There’s plenty of great stuff on Pinera’s ‘70s solo albums that backs up his legacy as a fine singer-songwriter and guitarist. Packed inside the box are the two CDs and an oversized poster / written history of Pinera’s 42+ year history in the music biz.

CLEOPATRA RECORDS - New for 2012 on Cleopatra’s Deadline Records offshoot label is a double CD set of two late period albums by Humble Pie entitled On To Victory (1980) and Go For The Throat (1981). With the two albums adding up to 19 tracks on the 74 minute disc one, the second CD here features a live, eight track Humble Pie set from 1981. Kind of in the mold of Humble Pie’s great Smokin’ album from 1972, the double CD set features a fine performance from Humble Pie founders Steve Marriott and drummer Jerry Shirley, who are joined here by Bobby Tench (guitars) and Anthony “Sooty” James (bass). The set features full credits and incisive liner notes from Dave Thompson, while also blending in interview clips with Jerry Shirley.

CHROME DREAMS / SEXY INTELLECTUAL / MVD - Released in the U.S. through MVD, Strange Fruit - The Beatles’ Apple Records clocks in just at under 3 hours and is so far, the best DVD movie documentary about Apple Records. When The Beatles started the concept of Apple back in 1967 they probably had little idea of the paradigm shift in the music world their record label precipitated. The whole indy music world was just a dream back in mid 1967, but in the end, the artist driven Apple label was the best of them all. The Strange Fruit DVD recaptures much of the excitement surrounding the history of Apple, while focusing on the Beatles’ involvement on a personal and business basis. The script for Strange Fruit is superbly written and features great narration from the voice of Thomas Arnold, as well as key contributions from Beatles experts Chris Ingham, author Mark Paytress and Apple biographer Stefan Granados. The DVD features key interviews from a number of Apple artists, including Jackie Lomax and Joey Molland of Badfinger as well as surviving Apple exec Tony Bramwell. Most Apple fans know the story of Badfinger, but the DVD also offers intriguing insights into how John Lennon brought in fresh music from NYC based artists, including Yoko Ono, David Peel and Elephant’s Memory. Strange Fruit is a must see video of the four Beatles and their various artists signings to the label—while recapturing the inside out of the ups and downs, the last music from the Fab Four and finally, the end of The Beatles and their utopian vision for the late great, and as this DVD so aptly portrays, historically still significant Apple Records.

MIG MUSIC / MVD - MVD teams up with Made In Germany for a new batch of Live At Rockpalast DVD and CD releases, including a 76 minute DVD title from blues rock guitar hero Roy Buchanan filmed and recorded on February 24, 1985. Backed by a solid band, Roy covers a range of blues and rock vocals and instrumentals of classics like “Green Onions”, “Walk Don’t Run”, “Peter Gunn” and even a pair of Hendrix covers of “Foxy Lady” and “Hey Joe”. Also out on DVD and CD on MIG / MVD is Ian Hunter Live At Rockpalast Featuring Mick Ronson. Ronson, David Bowie’s guitarist and Mott The Hoople hero Ian Hunter made a formidable pair and this Live At Rockpalast captures a fine performance from 1980. Also out on DVD and CD is John Cale & Band Live At Rockpalast. Caught live on October 14, 1984, Cale’s release is actually a 161 minute double DVD set with one disc from 1984 and one other preserving a solo Cale show from 1983. The double DVD set is complimented by a simultaneously released companion double Lp set and a double CD set.

RAVEN RECORDS - I am constantly amazed at the great CD reissues on the Australia-based Raven Records label. Sure, there’s been some rarities on Raven, but mostly their titles feature reissues of classic American rock and country music. Such is the Aussie devotion to U.S. music but clearly Raven has global domination in mind and they get it right with a double disc compilation entitled Instant Armadillo Blues - Best Of 1971-1975 from country psychedelic band New Riders Of The Purple Sage. Signed by Columbia Records back in 1971, the New Riders burst out of the Grateful Dead hippie music scene while featuring a number of players who worked with the Dead founder Jerry Garcia. Raven’s 42 track, 140 minute, double CD set features a helpful heaping, nine tracks in fact, from the now historic 1971 NRPS debut, as well as tracks from albums like Powerglide from 1972, Gypsy Cowboy (also 1972), The Adventures Of Panama Red (1973), Home, Home On The Road (1974, produced by Jerry Garcia), Brujo (also 1974) and Oh, What A Mighty Time (1975). A fine example of Raven’s devotion to classic U.K. rock is their double CD set from Traffic cofounder Jim Capaldi—pairing Short Cut Draw Blood (1974) with The Contender (1978). The double CD set is a fine overview of Capaldi’s solo work in the aftermath of his Traffic heyday and features key contributions from a number of musicians including Steve Winwood, Chris Wood, Paul Kossoff, Chris Spedding and more. Raven’s Jim Capaldi double CD set also includes a wealth of rare bonus tracks. The double CD features 30 tracks and clocks in at 140 minutes. Like all Raven titles, their Jim Capaldi reissue features a great booklet filled with detailed liner notes and prominent artwork.

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