Record Label
and Music Spotlight

JULY 2011








BANDOLERA RECORDS - Mixing good old Texas style kick-ass rock & roll with a kind of Spanglish, bandolero inspired Latin-rock groove, singer-songwriter Patricia Vonne really comes alive on her 2011 CD entitled Worth It. Filled with infectious grooves and a thoroughly captivating vocal performance from Ms. Vonne, the ten track CD features a number of fine players and guitarists who support the singer throughout. Vonne is being compared to a number of singer-songwriters recently, including Chrissie Hynde and Lucinda Williams, yet on Worth It she stakes out a unique sound of her own, especially on the solid lead off track, “Worth It” and certainly the Spanish lyric based rock sound of track 3, “Fuente Vaqueros,” which just sizzles with a neo-surf rock groove, castenets and all.

BISMEAUX RECORDS- Releasing their first self-produced album, Austin, TX based band The Wheeler Brothers show some interesting new sounds of musical life on the 11 track Portraits. Breezy folk-rock that often comes with a solid one, two punch, these guys could be construed as “unplugged” or folk-based but when they rip out the songs’ innards, the place catches fire. For those only interested in downloads, invest in the actual CD release which features bizarre cover art and booklet with a unique feel to the actual cover art. Looks like leather to me. Assisting the three Wheeler brothers—Nolan Wheeler (guitar, keyboards) Patrick Wheeler (drums) and Tyler Wheeler (bass)—are two more guitarists A.J. Molyneaux and Danny Matthews. Austin night life hits a new high with Portraits.

- Although he has an impeccable record as a guitarist making instrumental records—in addition to his work as the guiding light of Black Hen Music—guitarist Steve Dawson also knows how to wrap his vocal pipes around a set of lyrics. Case in point is Dawson’s 2011 CD, Nightshade. The deleterious effects of the nightshade plants and vegetables aside, the 12 cut Nightshade is a pretty upbeat, bluesy album that serves as a showcase for Dawson’s songs, his singing and fabulous electric and slide guitar skills. Featuring Dawson’s guitar and vocals backed up by a solid band, Nightshade is more in the spirit of Dawson’s production on Black Hen’s various artists tribute album to roots / blues legends The Mississippi Sheiks than say Telescope, Dawson’s rootsy guitar instrumental album from 2008, yet there’s still plenty of infectious bluesy pop-rock tracks here to keep Dawson’s many fans happy. Black Hen Records, home base for Dawson’s record label enterprise, has been making music fans happy since they started releasing music on disc way back in 1998 and clearly Nightshade is one of Black Hen’s best releases to date.

-Back in the ‘50s and ‘60s, Blue Note was the world’s biggest jazz label and 50 years later, they’re still at it. Blues, jazz and rock are now the main focus of the NYC institution and case in point as to how eclectic Blue Note has become over the past decade is the 2011 CD from singer-songwriter Priscilla Ahn. Produced by pop legend and guitarist Ethan Johns, the 12 track When You Grow Up does have a kind of childhood innocence. Somewhere between Judy Collins (perhaps a modern Kirsty MacColl) and Brian Wilson, the songs are deep and throughout the album the production is quite interesting. Performing a range of instruments—electric / acoustic guitars, banjo, autoharp, keyboards—Ms. Ahn partners with a number of co-writers, including the great Inara George—and a number of musicians including guitarist Gus Seyfrett (also on moog and lap steel) and drummers Joey Waronker and Jeremy Stacy (latter of the Syn). The sound is really full bodied and even lush in places, and while she can bring it all nearly down to a whisper, Ms. Ahn implements plenty of studio gagetry and retro L.A. vibes to make much of When You Grow Up a most scenic sonic tour.

- That magic Decca Records touch continues on with Standing On The Rooftop by singer songwriter Madeleine Peyroux. This CD is a perfect late night spin although, because it’s so spatial and quiet in a progressive kind of way, although I could see people listening to it early in the morning too. Recorded in Brooklyn NYC, the CD starts off with a kind low brow cover the Beatles' “Martha My Dear”, which is the lead off track on side two / disc one of the Beatles White Album. The penchant for covers continues with Peyroux covering “I Threw It All Away”, written by Bob Dylan while another highlight is a chilling Peyroux cover of Robert Johnson’s “Love In Vain”, that sounds almost deconstructed, even when compared to the Stones’ Let It Bleed version from 1969. Ms. Peyroux teams with several notable co-writers, including Bill Wyman, while her band here sounds like a dream NYC band come true, including guitarists Marc Ribot and Christopher Bruce, Allen Toussaint (piano), Jenny Scheinman and more. Ms. Peyroux mixes in just the perfect blend of music and musicians, making the mood and atmosphere perhaps the best reason to hear Standing On The Rooftop.

- Based out in beautiful Port Washington on Long Island, E1, formerly Koch Records, continues releasing vital new rock records on CD including a 2011 comeback by The Smithereens entitled 2011. That pretty much quickly establishes the year of the album’s release but it might as well be 1966 again as far as the Smithereens go. Singer guitarist Pat DiNizio and drummer Dennis Diken are renowned in the power pop world and, joined here by Jim Babjak (guitars) and The Thrilla (bass), they’ve crafted a rock and roll album that sounds like a kind of music The Archies might have made if they’d been given a chance to grow up. Perhaps the icing on the cake here is the production of rock legend Don Dixon, the producer / artist who also discovered the genius of Marti Jones, the singer Don went on to marry. Dixon’s story book legacy of turning to rock to gold whenever he produces or records with an artist, stays in the plus column on a CD that reestablishes The Smithereens as bona fide 21st century rock and roll messengers.

- Back in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, cartoon genius Robert Crumb was blowing many a mind with his electrifying artwork on the early Zap Comics. Looking back in 2011, times have sure changed since that late '60s psychedelic heyday, but R. Crumb’s devotion to country blues from the 1920’s and ‘30s continues in this modern age with his artwork and occasional performance on the latest CD from NYC based Eden & John’s East River String Band. Released by EER Records in 2011, the 14 track CD release of Be Kind To A Man When He’s Down captures that funky, down home, acoustic based jug-band / country blues sound that Crumb first explored in the ‘70s with his own group The Cheap Suit Serenaders. In addition to featuring R. Crumb on mandolin—along with several other guest artists—Be Kind To A Man When He’s Down mainly spotlights the combined talents of Eden Brower (vocals, ukulele) and John Heneghan (guitar, mandolin, vocals). In keeping with the old-timey vibe that Crumb himself so well excels at, Be Kind To A Man When He’s Down consists mainly of traditional music thatf evokes a kind of bluesy, depression era sensibility resulting in the current fascination with Americana roots era music. Funny how, the more things change the more they stay the same, and that pretty much applies to Eden & John’s music. And as for American art work legend Robert Crumb, well his artwork is just one of the reasons to pick up on Be Kind To A Man When He’s Down. Although some of the music featured on Be Kind To A Man When He’s Down was written as far back as 1848 (“Oh Suzanna”), 1851 (“Swanee River”) and even 1929, Eden & John—as well as Crumb’s fans—already know that both great music and great artwork will never go out of style.

- An awesome rock group with a female Cambodian lead singer, Dengue Fever are set to breakthru with their latest album and first on the fabled Fantasy Records label. Having released a number of albums themselves, this first Fantasy Records CD by Dengue Fever, entitled Cannibal Courtship is a reason to celebrate. More than the Cambodian version of Blondie, Martha & The Muffins or even Cibo Matto for that matter, the band's sensibilities go on to include other influences like the B-52’s and even Talking Heads. Sure the World Beat groove is never far behind but this is solid rock with Joe Meek style overtones that easily blends in all forms of exotica and occasional erotica. One look at the bizarre album art and you just know something wild is gonna happen. This is one band that’s not afraid to combine all manners of pop with any sound from jazz to surf to psychedelica and beyond. Brothers Ethan Holzman (keyboards) and Zac Holzman (guitars) have done a great job since starting this unique band back in 2001, while the lead singer from Cambodia, Chhom Nimol sounds greatly inspired by Double Fantasy era Yoko Ono as well. With the CD release of Cannibal Courtship, Dengue Fever establish themselves as one of the first truly original rock bands of the 21st century.

- GRA seems to have a proclivity for finding near forgotten pop heroes from the ‘60s and ‘70s and case in point is the 2011 CD release of The 13 Dali’s from singer-songwriter Patrick Campbell-Lyons. With his impressive resume, Lyons goes way back to the late ‘60s scene in the U.K. when he co-founded the group Nirvana in 1967, going on to record a number of albums as well as working with numerous U.K. pop icons, including members of Thunderclap Newman and Jade Warrior was well as famed producer Chris Thomas early in his career. Somewhere between recent orchestral Neil Young and the baroque pop of the late ‘60s, the 13 Dali’s album in a genuinely rare and tasteful up to date play on the classic late ‘60s psychedelic pop era and is a most welcome return to form from Lyons, who is supported here by musicians from all over the globe. Another musical touchstone here is a 13 Dali’s cover of the Arthur Lee and Love classic “Live And Let Live.”

- Although the lead off track “Getting Ready For Christmas Day” sounds a little distant in early July, the 2011 CD release of So Beautiful Or So What is a nevertheless a welcome return to form from folk-rock pioneer Paul Simon. Ostensibly, the ten track CD has a somewhat similar vibe to Simon’s ground-breaking 1971 self-titled Lp debut, although there really isn’t a track in 2011 quite as singles friendly or pop-ish as say “Mother And Child Reunion.” Even small quibbles aside, turning 70 in 2011, Simon has evolved into one of the surviving elder statesmen of rock music. Produced by Simon and the legendary Phil Ramone—and mastered by the golden ears of Greg Calbi—So Beautiful Or So What sounds great and features Simon getting his familiar sound while backed up by a wide cast of players including backup vocals from Edie Brickell and Lulu Simon, Jim Oblon (guitar, bass, drums), Gil Goldstein (arranger), Vincent Nguini (guitars), Sonny Terry (harmonica) along with various wind and string players. The full-bodied title track comes alive with a slight rock groove, yet without a solid Top 40 style single—some catchy pop-rock track ala Simon & Garfunkel—So Beautiful Or So What will make a more favorable impression on fans who might have first caught on to Simon during his mercurial ‘80s Graceland period—more so as opposed to the early Simon & Garfunkel fans who remember just how ground breaking “Sound Of Silence” and “Red Rubber Ball” sounded way back in early 1966.

- Guitar hero Joe Bonamassa continues onward and upward with the second album from his side project Black Country Communion. Teaming with Deep Purple and Trapeze vocalist Glenn Hughes, fusion keyboard wizard Derek Sherinian and drummer son of Led Zep founder John Bonham, Jason Bonham, the sound of Black Country Communion 2 is very much hard rock but with some solid edges that helps it stand out from the pack. Bonamassa—fresh from the acclaim of his early 2011 album Dust Bowl—is in prime form and he really connects with his BCC band mates. Commenting on the second BCC album, drummer Bonham explains, ‘It went from a side project to a band. The new definitely more of a group effort. I was able to get involved more with the writing part of it this time.’ Although Hughes takes lead vocals on most of the tracks, Bonamassa takes center stage on vocals here too while top production from studio genius Kevin Shirley gives the BCC sound a wondrous sonic edge. Fans of Bonamassa’s many fine albums, as well as the Led Zeppelin legacy, Deep Purple and of course Sherinian’s impeccable jazz-rock legacy, owe it to themselves to get blown away by Black Country Communion. /

- Festival Bell is the first album from Fairport Convention since the 2007 CD release of Sense Of Occasion. Perhaps the preeminent folk-rock band from England, Fairport has over the years, released consistently on the mark albums featuring the band's unique blend of stellar English folk music and Festival Bell continues on in the finest Fairport Convention tradition. Superbly packaged and featuring 14 new studio tracks, Festival Bell features songs written by U.K. folk heroes including Ralph McTell, Richard Shindell, Sandy Denny. Overall, Festival Bell highlights excellent performances from current Fairport members Simon Nicol, Chris Leslie, Dave Pegg, Gerry Conway and Ric Sanders. Also on hand are other U.K. music legends like Joe Brown and a host of other U.K. folk-rock luminaries.

- Back in 1969, Simon Kirke hit American shores as the drummer in Free, when they were opening for Blind Faith at Madison Square Garden. After years with Free, Bad Company and Ringo Starr’s All Star Band, Simon is back with a new album on NYC based MPCA Records. Hard to believe after 40+ years playing with and backing up some of the greatest singers and guitarists, Simon is making new history in 2011 with his first ever solo album Filling The Void. In Free, Simon was one of the top rock drummers of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s but on Filling The Void, Simon picks up guitars, bass and more including writing and co-writing all the original tracks. Commenting on the CD, Simon add, ‘I've been writing songs for many, many years and I just wanted to get them out, like an exorcism.’ Kind of an autobiographical look back at where he’s been this past ten years, Filling The Void also features some fine players and guitarists including Bad Company fretboard ace Mick Ralphs and guitarists John Conte, Steve Conte, GE Smith, Howard Leese and more. Upbeat, mostly uptempo, sometimes breezy pop songs with Simon on drums and lead vocals, Filling The Void is the latest chapter in the legacy of a true rock & roll all star and drumming legend.

- Many of the greatest art-rock and fusion guitarists—from Mike Oldfield to Steve Morse—have been influenced by the reels and jigs from Ireland. You can hear why on a 2011 CD on New Folk Records called The Sailor’s Cravat. Subtitled Irish Traditional Music And Song, the 17 cut CD features a number of artists including Paddy O’Brien (accordion), Tom Schaefer (fiddle), Paul Wehling (bouzouki) and Erin Hart (vocals). The CD is primarily folk-based, acoustic music but there’s an undeniable magic in these timeless traditional melodies that will get you reeling and jigging in no time. Recorded in Minnesota, the CD booklet features information on the history of these classic Irish folklore tunes. New Folk also released another Irish music classic in 2011. Lost River: Vol.1 features singer / guitarist Dáithí Sproule in the company of some fine players including Peter Ostroushko (mandolin), Dean Macgraw (guitar) and many more. Recorded in Minnesota, this twelve track CD is a great pick for Irish music enthusiasts. Even with their devotion to traditional music, New Folk is also on the cutting edge of modern rock too. Last year, New Folk released the latest studio album from Peter Bruntnell and in 2011 they also release the latest CD from Badfinger guitarist Mark Healey called Inside Out. Although the CD was also released in the U.K. on Angel Air, New Folk handle the U.S. release of this amazing power pop classic. Described as classic rock with a modern pop flavor, the CD features Mark backed by a number of fine players including long time Badfinger member Joey Molland. Put it this way: if you loved Badfinger in 1970, you’ll also love where Healey is taking the Badfinger legacy 40 years later. Somewhere in heaven, Tom Evans and Pete Ham are giving Healey a thumbs up.

- I had not known that Oregon pop maestro Gary Ogan has a number of albums out under his own name—with 1972’s Portland and the self-titled Gary Ogan dating back to 1977. That ‘77 album was released on Warner Brothers Records and also featured co-production credits by Leon Russell, one of Ogan’s mentors no doubt. Commenting on working with Leon back in the ‘70s, Ogan adds, ‘Writing with Leon was a very serious regime. We would sit a separate typewriters and type stream of consciousness prose that we would later attempt to find musical homes for if possible.’ Well, a whole slew of albums later, Ogan is back with his latest solo album—a 2010 CD release called Sound Ground. Essentially, a one man band affair, Sound Ground proves to be yet another Ogan masterpiece influenced by pop icons like Todd Rundgren, Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder. In the spirit of those music heroes, Ogan performs every note himself—from keyboards and vocals to guitars and drums—all played and sang by Ogan himself. In the soulful spirits of McCartney and Wonder, Sound Ground is a smooth pop trip filled with scenic music and memorable pop magic. Commenting on the album, Ogan adds, ‘I wanted to reach back to that wonderful place in time when those guys were making records by themselves.’ Other influences like Michael Frank and even Steely Dan hover high above Ogan’s sound. As Ogan’s fans and followers will tell you, Sound Ground is the sound of soul triumphing over technology.

- Rounder continues breaking ground in the pop world with the 2011 CD release of Rare Bird Alert from Steve Martin And The Steep Canyon Rangers. As the founding comic genius of the fabled NYC based Saturday Night Live TV show back in 1975 or so, Martin is also a devoted musician of the bluegrass persuasion but that doesn’t prevent him from breaking new ground for pop in general. Case in point is Martin’s new album, featuring a track with a lead vocal cameo from Beatles bass ace Paul McCartney while another track here spotlights The Dixie Chicks. Martin’s banjo skills are as right on as his comic wit, although this album is in no way a laughing matter. The lead off track, a banjo-fusion instrumental brings to mind jazz banjo master Bela Fleck. Martin’s interaction backed by The Steep Canyon Rangers borders on ESP while having banjo master Tony Trischka producing Martin’s own banjo-based album is a blessed event. Having McCartney on hand will no doubt ensure exposure to a wider audience but there’s plenty here to make Martin’s name a household word in the banjo world as well as the pop music world too.

- One of the true guitar legends of the international soul-jazz and funk-rock explosion of the late ‘60s and ‘70s, Dennis Coffey may be turning 70 late in 2011 but he keeps his guitar sound everlasting on his self-titled 2011 CD, Dennis Coffey. In 2004 Coffey published his biography book Guitars, Bars And Motown Superstars, which retells his story as a founding member of the fabled Funk Brothers and well as his legacy as the guitarist behind the sound of classic wah-wah guitar flecked, psychedelic soul Motown 45 rpm classics from The Temptations, Freda Payne, The Isley Brothers and The Supremes. Coffey’s sizzling. psychedelic. acid-funk guitar sound comes sharply into focus on the 2011 Dennis Coffey album. Throughout the Dennis Coffey CD, the guitarist gets plenty of help from a range of top players, and—while the album is primarily instrumental—with the primary focus on Coffey’s guitar, there’s also a few tracks that spotlight some hot singers in the spirit of the Temptations and Isley Brothers late ‘60s sound. With offices in both England and NYC, Strut Records is doing some amazing things sound-wise for the art of modern Soul Jazz, house / dance music and World Beat jazz. One of Strut’s finest CD releases yet, the eleven cut, 39 minute Dennis Coffey will amaze fans of modern R&B as well as instrumental soul-jazz guitar enthusiasts looking to see what became of R&B guitar pioneer Dennis Coffey. / /

- Over in Norway, Termo Records is having a field day releasing some truly unusual prog-rock and wild fusion and top of the bill among their album releases in early 2011 is the CD release of Rites At Dawn by the group Wobbler. They describe the band as symphonic progressive rock and quite rightly so, the lead vocalist—Andreas Wettegreen Strømman Prestmo—sings quite a bit like YES founder / bassist Chris Squire. On Rites At Dawn Wobbler also displays some bright talent including guitarist Morten Andreas Eriksen, the Wakeman-esque keys of Lars Fredrik Frøislie, Kristian Karl Hultgren (bass) with all backed up by the drumming of Martin Nordrum Kneppen. Very much in the spirit of the first YES album from 1969, the quintet also cites musical influences and prog heroes Gentle Giant, Egg, Banco and Gryphon to name a few. Clearly, prog-rock fans will feel right at home listening to Wobbler. /

XL RECORDINGS - Weaned on a musical diet of early R&B and pop, the U.K.'s latest singing sensation, Adele strikes soul-pop gold with her second album 21. That whole Northern Soul craze in England over the past decade has yielded some impressive new singer-songwriters and Adele Adkins is right up there with the best. On a number of tracks here, Adele mixes a more pure soul-pop vibe with a slightly progressive pop sound, especially evident on the album’s centerpiece “Set Fire To The Rain”, which sounds like Fontella Bass singing with Roxy Music. That particular song was written by Adele and Fraser T. Smith (guitar, bass). Of course that smooth as silk R&B sound, partly inspired by Adele’s singing icon Beyoncé, is up front for much of 21, yet the album really sounds spectacular when she conjures up musical magic with the cool Euro-pop vibe of “Set Fire To The Rain”. Overall, 21 is without a doubt Adele’s finest moment on record yet.


BURNS LONDON - Although early American guitar gods like Les Paul, Buddy Holly, Nicky Sullivan and Tommy Allsop are credited with inventing the rock guitar solo between ‘49-59, in England in the late ‘50s that rock ‘n roll guitar thing was catching on big time. Funny thing was, back in 1961 Hank Marvin even looked and played guitar and sang almost as good as Buddy did! That whole English rock and roll guitar college started by Hank, with a nod to Burt Weedon and Lonnie Donegan, had a huge impact on guys like guitarist Barry Gibson, who skillfully carries on the art of the Shadows inspired instrumental guitar tradition with the 2011 CD release of Two Of Our Shadows Are Missing by his group Barry Gibson’s Local Heroes. Hank Marvin of course was renowned for playing the first Strat imported to England back in 1959 but by 1965 he developed a fondness for the Burns Guitar instruments that in fact, the Shadows helped put on the map. Fittingly, Barry is the head of the current Burns guitar company in the U.K. and he puts his Burns guitars to the test on the ten track CD, which by the way, decked with some keen retro artwork, looks as cool as it sounds.

E1 RECORDS - After Koch Records changed their name and image to E1 or E One Records a few years back they begin revamping their repertoire and the hits keep coming with a 2011 CD from Béla Fleck & The Flecktones titled Rocket Science. The CD marks the return of Howard Levy (on harmonica) to the fold for the first time since the 1991 lineup. Teaming with Levy, Vic Wooten (bass) and Roy “Futureman” Wooten, Fleck’s cosmic bluegrass meets jazz, “blu-bop” sound pays off quite nicely throughout this endlessly entertaining CD. Sounding like jazz harmonica hero Toots Thielemans jamming with country fretboard virtuoso Roy Clark and banjo-billies Flat & Scruggs, Rocket Science comes across as cosmic country style progressive instrumental music. Mix one part Steve Morse with one part refried banjo boogie and voila! The Morse comparison to Fleck, when applicable, comes across quite succinctly on track six here, “Storm Warming,” when Béla electrifies his banjo for a minute and cranks out a solo (said to be on banjo) that might indeed give Morse a run for his money! The comparisons between Levy and the great Thielemans is inevitable and mixing that polite form of country jazz with that very continental harmonica sound is still a trick worth repeating. Oh yeah, the CD was superbly recorded and with all kind of fancy eye candy artwork, Rocket Science is a modern text book example of what you’d think a CD is supposed to sound and look like.

SONIC CANVAS - One of America’s top jazz-rock instrumental guitar exponents, Denny Jiosa returns in 2011 with Jiosa - On The Edge album. Among modern jazz guitar enthusiasts, Jiosa is renowned for his smooth jazz guitar stylings that sometimes mixed one part Earl Klugh with one part Jeff Beck. That Jeff Beck side of his playing—the more cutting edge Jiosa—comes out in full force on the 2011 CD release of On The Edge. Throughout the 12 track CD, the guitarist gets solid support from his band—John Toomey (drums) and Jon von Boehm (bass). Denny even gets in a vocal track that keeps in spirit with the overall edgy rock fusion style throughout. Jiosa continues to impress and the sonically appealing On The Edge may very well be his best album to date.

ULTIMAE - Perfectly described as a series of hypnotic and cinematic soundscapes, the 2011 CD release of Fahrenheit Project Part 7 is just that and a whole lot more. Based over in Lyon, France, Ultimae has established themselves among the finest purveyors of electronic music on Earth. Having released some amazing CDs from electronic entourages like AES Dana and Solar Fields—each impeccable examples of instro electronica—the 2011 release of Fahrenheit Project Part 7 is truly astounding. The French have always been at the forefront of electronic music going way back to the mid ‘70s explorations of Jean Michel Jarre. Much more atmospheric and impressionistic than say, the more commercial music of Jarre, Fahrenheit Project Part 7 is actually a compilation of sort featuring key contributions from e-music trendsetters from all over the globe who add their music to this sonic jigsaw puzzle that yields fresh musical fruit for eager ears to enjoy. Fahrenheit Project Part 7 features key contributions from international artists such as Asura, Solar Fields, Scann-Tec, Field Rotation, Maurizio Piazza, Hol Baumann remixed by Max Million and talented new comers to the Ultimae realm, Cygna, Gaiana and Astropilot. Circular join in and pay their tribute to Norway’s “Green Poet” Rolf Jacobsen with words from "Landskap med gravemaskiner", courtesy of his family. Lush and hypnotic e-music soundscapes, Fahrenheit Project Part 7 was selected by AES Dana and mastered at Ultimae studios in France.


- Back in the mid ‘70s while living in Los Angeles I became introduced to that art of Ragtime guitar as taught by guitar virtuoso and musicologist Stefan Grossman. Although from NYC, Grossman migrated to England during that fabled 1968 period and cut a number of acclaimed albums including the 1970 release of Ragtime Cowboy Jew. The self-deprecating title aside, it's quite ironic that Grossman should seek musical inspiration in England during the incredibly sad Vietnam War period that killed so many young American men Grossman’s age. You can hear Grossman’s devotion to Ragtime as well as rock and even early guitar fusion on an album that not only displays his acoustic guitar work as well as some rock oriented electric guitar work and several cuts feature Grossman’s vocals. A 24 track double album originally released on England’s acclaimed Transatlantic label in 1970, Ragtime Cowboy Jew features a number of acoustic tracks, while others feature some of England’s best session players of the era including drummer Gerry Conway and guitar icon Jerry Donahue to name just a few. The original liner notes as well as a new in depth perspective on Grossman written by John Tobler serves as a fitting introduction to Grossman’s star-studded career as one of the penultimate guitar impresarios. Also out in 2011 on CD on BGO is a 24 cut CD compilation from British Invasion superstars, The Hollies, best known as the first band of rock legend Graham Nash, who later co-founded Crosby, Stills & Nash. Of course in 1965, the Hollies were on the US based Imperial Records label and on this 2 on 1 CD remaster BGO interestingly combines two 1966 American album releases on Imperial, Bus Stop and Stop! Stop! Stop! Both album title tracks were two huge chart topping hits in the U.S. for the English pop hitmakers, yet, whereas the early ‘66 Bus Stop album was still geared around the early British invasion sound and Motown covers, the late ‘66 release of Stop! Stop! Stop! found the Hollies mainly focusing on originals, with a slight pre-psychedelic edge, as composed by Nash and Hollies band mates Allan Clark and Tony Hicks. Either way, the Hollies had it covered back then. In depth, 2011 liner notes by David Wells fills in the history behind these Hollies' pop classics. Also current in 2011 on CD from BGO are several titles from Dutch jazz / rock flautist / keyboardist Thijs van Leer, who was the cofounder, along with guitarist Jan Akkerman, in the Dutch rock group Focus. Van Leer is also renowned throughout Europe for his "beautiful music" albums, which featured a Neoclassical orchestral vibe, not unlike Sweden’s flute / keyboard master Bjorn J:son Lindh. Of course when Van Leer recorded both Introspection 3 and Introspection IV in the late ‘70s, the world was a kinder gentler place than it is now. Working with co-producer Rogier van Otterloo, Van Leer gets light orchestral backing for his meditative Neoclassical flute instrumentals. With their connections to The Beatles, U.K. British invasion singing duo Peter & Gordon recorded some of the most pleasurable soft-pop of that young and innocent mid '60s period. BGO’s 2011 Peter & Gordon double CD combines three different Peter & Gordon albums including Lady Godiva, Knight In Rusty Armour with disc two here featuring the eleven track In London For Tea. Amazingly, all three albums were recorded during that heady 1967 paisley pop era in London. Topping off this BGO Peter & Gordon retrospective are 2011 liner notes by David Wells. Released on Lp in 1977 on the RCA-related Grunt Records, Flight Log (1966-1976) is a pretty amazing, double album best-of from Jefferson Airplane. BGO has done a pretty neat job on the 2011 double CD remaster of Flight Log. Best known for that amazing front cover album artwork, Flight Log features key Airplane tracks, from the start of the band, all the way through till Long John Silver in 1972 while also including various album tracks from Hot Tuna, Grace Slick and Jefferson Starship. BGO’s 2011 remaster of Flight Log features good sound quality with near voluminous liner notes by John Tobler. The late, great Billy Preston is paid honors by BGO with the 2011, 22 track, double CD release of I Wrote A Simple Song paired here with Music Is My Life. Released on A&M Records during 1971/72, both albums feature Preston in fine form while backed up by by a solid band including guest spots by guitarist George Harrison on I Wrote A Simple Song. Both albums are history laden remembrances of Preston’s unique contributions to rock based R&B music. And who can forget hearing the amazing “Outa-Space”, Preston’s early funk fusion instrumental featured on the I Wrote A Simple Song album? Another double CD released by BGO in 2011 is a pairing of Hobo With A Grin with The Candidate from Cockney Rebel founder Steve Harley. BGO has a number of Harley remasters in their catalog including several CDs released with Harley and his ‘70s glam rock group Cockney Rebel. BGO has a number of American artists represented on their label including rock 'n' pioneer Phil Everly, cofounder of The Everly Brothers. BGO comes through with a 2011 CD remaster of Phil’s 1983 album, the self-titled Phil Everly. With a pair of bonus cuts, the Phil Everly album features a number of guest artists, including Cliff Richard, Mark Knopfler, Christine McVie and many more. Last but not least is a 2011 CD remaster of the all time Mountain classic, Nantucket Sleighride. It’s been nearly 30 years since Gail Collins shot her husband Felix Pappalardi to death in 1983, and till today she claims the shooting was an accident. Either way, for Mountain and Cream fans that loss was beyond tragic yet, we still have the classic Mountain albums as legacy. Leslie West may now be missing a leg now and Corky Laing is still kicking around, while this latest CD reissue of Nantucket Sleighride on BGO features October 2010 liner notes written by John O’Regan.

MARKET SQUARE RECORDS - Over in England, Market Square Records reintroduces the legacy of English folk-rock legend and folk-jazz guitar hero Michael Chapman. The third CD release in a series of unreleased archival recordings from Chapman, the twelve cut Growing Pains 3, goes way back to 1969 and leads up to modern times with recordings made as recently as 2005. Part live, part studio, and a mostly vocal album, Growing Pains 3 accurately portrays Chapman as a most eclectic guitarist and vocalist—very obscure in the U.S. yet, as this CD accurately points out, he's one who is nevertheless worthy of rediscovery. Having recorded four albums for the original Harvest Records in the early ‘70s, then going on to record an instrumental New Age classic called Heartbeat for the Coda label during the mid ‘80s all the way to his latest millennium return with the mysterious instrumental folk-jazz sounds of Time Past & Time Passing, Chapman remains a most noteworthy curio in the pantheon of great English guitarists. Even with its acoustic flavors, Growing Pains 3 does feature Mike's guitar and vocals backed up on certain tracks by renowned musicians such as singers Maddy Prior and Ann Jenkins, bassist Rick Kemp as well as a track featuring Sonic Youth founder Thurston Moore and Jim O’Rourke. Although the vocals are cool, when the CD does feature Chapman’s instrumental side, things get really interesting. Track ten, “Untitled”, echoes Chapman’s spacey, New Age side to great effect. To their credit—even working with a wide scope archival release of rarities—Market Square packages Growing Pains 3 with an eye-opening booklet loaded with scads of photos and information pertinent to Chapman’s ever growing legacy.

Attention Artists and Record Companies: Have your CD reviewed in MWE3.COM
Send to CD Reviews MWE3, P.O. Box 630249, Little Neck, N.Y. 11363-0249 e-mail:





CD Reviews Feature Reviews & Features Archive Photo Archive Contact MWE3 Home


Copyright 1999-2011, Inc.
All Rights Reserved