Record Label
and Music Spotlight 









DANAL MUSIC - A great pop/rock CD with a wide breadth of memorable music and musicianship, Walls Of Jericho is a splendid introduction to the music of Mark Newman. Accurately described as a triple threat musician, Newman’s music and vocals are truly first rate while his guitar work is nothing to scoff at. In fact, fans of Duane Allman and Dicky Betts should give a listen to Newman’s electric guitar work which is highlighted here along with his performance on dobro, lap steel, mandolin and bass. A number of musicians assist Newman on Walls Of Jericho, including drummer Shawn Murray who really drives on the big beat. I was thinking as to who Newman reminded me vocally and I right away thought of the soulful rock vocals of Gregg Allman but also Newman’s cover of the ‘60s rock classic “White Bird” originally from It’s A Beautiful Day is a most fitting and rarely witnessed tribute to that underrated band’s great psychedelic rock singer David LaFlamme. Even with so many influences and music musical touchstones on hand, Newman’s own songs are really what carries his superbly recorded CD into the end zone. Time well spent for classic rock fans, Mark Newman’s Walls Of Jericho establishes him as a significant recording artist in his own right. /

EAGLE ROCK ENTERTAINMENT - I’ve always been a big fan of Eagle’s new rock recordings, case in point being their 2003 Procol Harum classic, The Well’s On Fire and while it’s been a long time since that Harum record came out, Eagle brings their roster up to date in 2010 with I Feel Like Playing from guitar legend Ronnie Wood. The CD echoes his work with Rod Stewart and The Faces back in the early '70s as well as major influences from his 35 year history with The Rolling Stones In fact, if Mick had appeared on the album it was sound just like the Stones. Wood has written some fine new tracks here and his guitar playing and vocals are superbly tracked in the wide screen mix. Wood’s painting artwork also graces the CD booklet while the music inside featuring key appearances from music legends like Jim Keltner (drums), Darryl Jones (bass), Billy F. Gibbons (guitar), Slash (guitars), Flea (bass), and other notable rock legends like Blondie Chaplin and Bobby Womack on backing vocals and much more. Plugging his 2010 Atlantic Records CD, Going Back
rock drummer turned pop star Phil Collins brought his latest album to the the stage and the results can be appreciated on Eagle's DVD Phil Collins - Going Back - Live At Roseland Ballroom NYC. Collins is a famous fan of classic Motown top 40 classics and backed by a solid band, he gets to relive his past out on stage performing a 25+ track, two hour set introducing new versions of classics made famous by Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Martha & The Vandellas, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, The Supremes and more. Backing Collins are first rate players including Motown session heroes, The Funk Brothers as well as members of Genesis including guitarist Daryl Stuermer and drummer Chester Thompson. Bonus tracks here add in an interview track with Phil and rehearsal footage for the June 2010 live show complete with Phil’s own commentary.

EVERSO RECORDS - Commenting on her 2010 CD Tears, Lies And Alibis, singer-songwriter Shelby Lynne says, ‘I am thrilled to tell you that I am officially the president and CEO of my own record label called Everso Records and Tears, Lies, And Alibis is its first release. I’ve made records for 20 years and never been more excited. I finally have the creative control I’ve needed to get my vision out there.’ On Tears, Lies, And Alibis, Shelby delivers the goods on album that veers between upbeat, sassy pop, as heard on the lead off cut “Rains Came” and quite dark, sometimes depressing tracks here such as “Like A Fool,” which is really low key country twang and quite emotive. To be honest, I really love the upbeat bounce of “Rains Came” and wish Shelby would stick to that side of the pop line but when she gets moody, look out. A bunch of great players assist the Alabama born, L.A. based Lynne including engineer Brian “Brain” Harrison, guitarists Val McCallum and Ben Peeler, session heroes David Hood (bass) and Spooner Oldham (keys), several drummers and much more. Lynne blew my mind with her spine-tingling vocal performance of the Plastic Ono Band classic “Mother” at the John Lennon “Come Together” tribute concert planned that although planned before, took place just weeks after 9/11. With her new music, Ms. Lynne still has the power and presence to send chills down your spine. Reflecting numerous changes in her life, both upbeat and downbeat, Tears, Lies, And Alibis is nevertheless the musical side of Shelby she wants you to hear.

The latest sonic exploration from NYC based singer-songwriter Lou Barlow, You Shouldn’t Have To Shout So Loud is a six track, 2010 CD of new music from True Nature. The CD follow up to Barlow’s 2009 True Nature release of Feels Like Centuries, the second True Nature CD carries on the sound with a new sense of musical drive and purpose. As on Feels Like Centuries, Barlow’s joining together of like minded musicans is quite amazing, once again including guitarist Gerry Leonard, bass great Tony Levin, while still on the traps and producing is Aaron Comess. The cover art is once again interesting too—a child on the battlefield of life with two six shooters ready to make or break it. As on the ‘09 release, Lou has put together a great lineup to help fulfill his studio vision. These guys are some of the best in the modern music world and you can hear why Barlow is so thrilled to have a supporting cast of players of this dynamic and expertise to help calculate his sound and vision. In his liner notes for You Shouldn’t Have To Shout So Loud Barlow adds, ‘This companion EP to Feels Like Centuries marks the completion of an albums worth of material with one of the greatest studio bands ever.’ That is quite true, however these new 2010 tracks—which Barlow claimed in late ‘09 was planned to be even more guitar heavy all around—are truly memorable with more than one highlight. You Shouldn’t Have To Shout So Loud is a good pick for fans of Gerry Leonard’s early 2000s wall of guitars sound with David Bowie, as well as rock fans who also appreciate the eclectic rock dynamic of Peter Gabriel and U2.

HOR RECORDS - One of the reassuring mainstays of top 40 FM radio during the ‘70s, The Doobie Brothers make a solid comeback with the 2010 CD/DVD release of World Gone Crazy. Heck, it even makes me feel good as an American to see a local paper like The New York Post endorsing the set as their pick for Grammy Award “album of the year.” Well, for early listeners, classic Doobies tracks like “Listen To The Music” and “China Grove” left great memories of just how tight they are as a band. If you liked the Doobie Brothers of 1972, you’ll like this album. The band's founding frontmen—Pat Simmons and Tom Johnston—get solid support from longtime members John McFee (on guitars, violin, mandolin and banjo) and Michael Hossack (drums and percussion). Also adding to the festivities are guest appearances by former Doobie Brother Michael McDonald and country music icon Willie Nelson appears on a track here. Featuring that unmistakable Doobie Brothers sound, World Gone Crazy was co-produced by Ted Templeman, who worked with the Doobies on their string of classic records. Interestingly, the first single from the album , “Nobody” is actually a newly recorded version of the group’s 1971 single debut. As a fine addition to the double disc set, the DVD included here presents an extensive and quite entertaining Doobie Brothers documentary and a new music video of their “Nobody” single.

LARKIO MUSIC - Back in 1969, singer-songwriter and keyboard great Gary Wright was a member of British rockers Spooky Tooth and that summer of ‘69 the band released one of the best albums of that magical year, the ever-popular Spooky Two. The album was produced by Stones / Traffic studio wizard Jimmy Miller but despite the enormous inroads made by the album, the band followed up in 1970 with an avant gard album with French composer Pierre Henry and that movecoupled with Wright's departure after the Henry albumjust about closed the door on their big promises and commercial breakthrough of the Spooky Two era. Just around the time of his first solo album from 1971, Extraction, Gary Wright also became a huge musical force in the music world, joining forces with Beatles guitarist George Harrison on a number of key projects, starting with Harrison's 1970 breakthrough solo breatkthru' album All Things Music Pass. Although his biggest solo hit, “Dreamweaver” came out nearly 35 years ago, Wright has continued on making solo albums, some under the radar of the 21st century music world, including several instrumental New Age flavored albums no doubt shaped by his interest in Far Eastern philosophies as well as a comeback and subsequent DVD in 2007 with the original members of Spooky Tooth. During the summer of 2010, Wright was also part of Ringo Starr’s All Starr band and the band celebrated Ringo’s 70th birthday with a show at Radio City Music Hall in NYC. Long time Wright fans will get a kick out of Gary’s 2010 comeback album, fittingly entitled Connected. Featuring ten new Wright originals, Connected features Wright’s vocals and inimitable keyboard sounds and effects with added guitar spots from fretboard aces Joe Walsh and Jeff “Skunk” Baxter with Ringo Starr taking the drum spotlight on the album’s lead off track “Satisfied”. Born the same year as his late great friend George Harrison, Wright has really been around the musical world for quite a long time and it’s quite gratifying to hear him having such a great time, well Connected to his many fans all over the world.

- Even a randy prog maven like this humble reviewer sometimes can’t resist saying some nice things about a youthful new pop talent worth giving an ear to. We’re talking about U.K. singer-songwriter Eliza Doolittle—an up and coming pop talent who sounds slightly influenced by both the bluesy cabaret chanteuse vibe of Amy Winehouse and the bouncy, ‘60s pop / vaudeville era of Sandy Shaw. Introducing, England’s latest pop trendsetter Eliza Doolittle, who strikes a blow for 21st century pop. Fittingly, Eliza’s web site has a special blog devoted to her hero John Lennon, and her 13 track self-titled debut album on Parlophone—the home label of The Beatles—exudes a special glow. Whether or not Eliza becomes the new Beatles is somewhat humorous conjecturing, but clearly there’s a whole bunch of bouncy pop confections that effortlessly crosses over and back between vintage retro pop, R&B flavored soul-pop and a more mature blues-pop .

- 2010 has proved to be a classic year for L.A. pop and making the cut this year is the latest long player from The Jigsaw Seen called Bananas Foster. The eleven cut CD goes retro when it has to but the novel, postmodern approach keeps the music fresh and the sound current. A fine quartet featuring Dennis Davison (vocals), Jonathan Lea (guitar), Tom Currier (bass) and Teddy Freese (drums), the Jigsaw Seen is augmented on the album by guest artists including L.A. pop mavens Probyn Gregory and David Nolte. Vintage gear like the mellotron give the music a prog-pop dynamic and in some cases the music successfully evokes the spirit of classic late ‘60s bands like the Left Banke and The Bee Gees. Whereas many bands are cutting out packaging and going with downloads only in some cases, The Jigsaw Seen have always been known for their intriguing packaging and the seen to be believed CD art and packaging of Bananas Foster is a concept unto itself and makes an cool compliment to a band renowned for their futuristic / retro approach to pop.


ASTRAL WEB / JAM RECORDINGS - Based out in Michigan, Jeremy heads up Jam Recordings and one artist he’s recorded with and continues to plug in his vast pop catalog is Argentina born multi-instrumentalist / keyboard synthesist Cazenave. On his latest album Ser, the Spain based Cazenave sounds influenced by instrumental chill music avatars like Vangelis and T. Dream and others but he also adds guitar into the mix as another color. The mood is also very influenced by early Pink Floyd, Kitaro and Anthony Phillips among others, while the mostly instrumental album also features a couple guest vocals from Jeremy himself! One other thing about this album is the very interesting artwork and design. The whole thing is quite oblique and makes an interesting spin for fans of modern rock electronica. In addition to Casenave’s many instrumental albums, he’s also quite a pop maven and you can hear a good example of his devotion to the folk-rock and pop genre on his album Pack. Released recently in 2008 on his Astral label, I believe the recording is actually from 1998. On Pack, Cazenave sounds influenced by pop mavens like Robin Hitchcock and as such his guitar and vocal approach—with vocal cameos from the González sisters—is very retro-cool. Cazenave is a fine spin either as New Age electronica or as a very rockin' pop experience.

BLAZZ MUSIC - Guitarist Ben Rogers is the boss of Australian instrumental surf-rock. Backed up by his group The Ben Rogers Instrumental Asylum, Ben has really been on a roll thanks to several key releases, including the 2007 release of Reverb Rehab. Backed up by the same band of players on that album—Nikki Scarlett (bass, ukulele) and Denis Close (drums, rhythm guitar, sound effects)—Ben now presents a great follow-up with 2010’s Instrumentally Disturbed. Ben Rogers records the same type of surf-music that Jimi Hendrix would have liked—plenty of hard rock riffing, enough echo to fill a stadium and the tracks to make it all click. Ben really comes into his own as a composer on the humorously titled Instrumentally Disturbed CD. Even so, for this writer the two highlights here are a pair of cover tracks that project just how original and bold Rogers can get as a guitar stylist. Back in 1962, the all girl group The Exciters had a huge pop smash with “Tell Him”—produced by Lieber and Stoller—that brought them to the top ten of the music charts. In the process, Rogers and his Asylum have transformed what was a national girl group hit in ‘62 into a raging instro-rock classic. It's just amazing stuff really. Also, one of the all time classic songs, “Beyond The Sea” is given a new twist on Ben’s take of the track with the original 1943 French title, “La Mer”. Even though “Beyond The Sea” has been recorded by 400 artists at least, Ben really puts a cool instro spin on this timeless classic. Looking for a comforting musical sanitarium where instrumental rock inosculates with surf and retro rock? Welcome to The Ben Rogers Instrumental Asylum. /

BLUE ARMADILLO - Having built his guitar reputation working with hard rockers Whitesnake, Juicy Lucy and Snafu, guitarist Micky Moody puts his guitar legacy in order with his 2010 CD entitled Electric Journeyman. Moody has backed up the best U.K. singers including Eric Burdon, Frankie Miller, Chris Farlow and more, but the accent on his own CD is instrumental rock of the highest caliber. It’s just amazing how true to Moody’s hard rock and blues rock background you can get while still immersing yourself in a new type of instrumental rock sound that borrows from jazz-rock fusion, Hank Marvin / Shadows era dynamics as well as the classic dueling rock guitar sound of great bands like Wishbone Ash and Thin Lizzy. Perhaps it’s Moody’s background working with film scores and T.V. commercials that gives his sound an intriguing sense of immediacy and purpse not easily conceived of. If you dig hard rock and inventive electric guitar instrumentals, Micky Moody is your man.

EAGLE ROCK ENTERTAINMENT - One of the main things that irked me about Emerson Lake & Palmer was they didn’t have a guitarist in the band, although that changes with Eagle’s 2010 CD release of Working Live - Volume 3 by ELP drumming wizard Carl Palmer. On the front cover of the CD booklet are the subtitled words Featuring Pictures At An Exhibition and this CD’s condensed 23 minute versiona completely instrumental pure rock version of the Mussorgsky classicis chock full of soaring electric guitar sounds care of Paul Bielatowicz replacing Keith Emerson’s organ as the main instrument. Palmer really nails the nut rocker on the head with this fantastic live album which tastefully opens with a track you might have heard of called “Peter Gunn”, while the six track, 45 minute CD proceeds to lay out a strategic rational as to why Palmer has long been considered one of the key architects from the dawn of the '70s progressive rock era.

EMI MUSIC - I remember interviewing Don Wilson, cofounder of The Ventures just before they were inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of fame in early 2008. Sadly, Don’s cofounder in The Ventures, Bob Bogle passed away soon afterward. Even so, Don keeps the Ventures’ legacy up to date with a 2010 CD from EMI in Japan entitled In My Life, which stacks up to be a fantastic guitar tribute to the music of the Beatles by their ‘60s competition, The Ventures. An excellent, nostalgic guitar instrumental album, the 15 cut CD features previously released material, remixes and six new tracks. Wilson once again teams with a fine band who pay great respect to the music of The Beatles as well as the Ventures guitar sound. Guitarist Bob Spaulding is in fine form and Spaulding’s on Ian Spaulding also appears in this latest Ventures lineup on bass. The downside is, In My Life is only available in Japan. EMI Japan has printed a nifty booklet with amazing cover art, but the inside booklet is all in Japanese! Get it for the music though.

FRÉMEAUX - Over in France, the sound of Gypsy Jazz is alive and well on the Fremeaux label. They’ve released three huge Django Reinhardt box sets over the past year or two and they keep the vintage guitar sound of Django’s modern day disciples with a number of popular artists such as Gypsy Jazz guitarist Romane, who has a 2010 album on the label entitled Impair & Valse. The time-honored sound of the Gypsy waltz came out of the “Musette” tradition huge in the dancehalls of Paris before the war, and with his Gypsy jazz guitars ablaze, Romane performs these pieces amazingly well, accompanying himself on rhythm and solo lead guitar with fine backing from bassist Alice Bassié. Romane’s percussive acoustic rhythm keeps the waltz beat strong. Extensive liner notes of the history of the Gypsy waltz are well written by Francis Couvreux and the recording sound and mastering are first rate. The CD features a number of extras including a CD ROM track with tab and scores. If you like the swinging sound of Gypsy Jazz, with the focus on the guitar specifically, Romane is a great discovery. Same could be said about another Frémeaux release by The Angelo Debarre Quartet entitled Impromptu. Unlike the Romane CD, Debarre’s approach to Gypsy Jazz blends a number of voices including rhythm guitar, contrabass and violin. Debarre released the 13 track 2007 recording, Live In London with his group in 2009, and Impromptu recaptures a studio set recorded in London in May 2002, so it’s cool to have this early snapshot of Debarre and his group on a session that brings a fresh perspective and concept of Django Reinhardt’s music.

OGLIO - Although he’s most well known for writing some of the greatest pop and rock standards of the 20th century with his group The Doors, (“Light My Fire”, “Tell All The People”) the love that Robby Krieger keeps for the guitar is a concept that transcends musical genres. So you know Krieger can write pop standards, but you might not know he’s even more in his element as a jazz / rock instrumental guitarist. Krieger nearly invented the art of crafting a psychedelic jazz guitar solo in a rock song, but on his long awaited 2010 comeback album Singularity, Krieger paves a another road on a CD that crafts ten instrumental rock tracks that borrow from jazz, flamenco and funk jazz as well as rock. In this instrumental album setting you can really focus on and appreciate Krieger’s guitar sound, incorporating Flamenco with electric rock guitar styles. Interestingly, Krieger composed many of these tracks with Arthur Barrow, who also serves on bass and keyboards as a member of the large studio band backing up the rock legend on the Singularity album. Krieger’s CD cover art painting is pretty ominous yet it really fits Krieger’s time-honored guitar sound and style on a CD that further casts his legacy deep and wide. /

- On the back cover he looks like he burning in the fires of the almighty, but the music just smokes with God-given fury. We’re talking about the 2010 CD from Kentucky based heavy metal guitarist Michael Shouse, entitled Alone On The Sun. Shouse’s music is definitely instrumental hard rock / heavy metal but it’s done well and he’s clearly put some thought into the packaging, design and music concept. The album features some fine backing musicians and there’s even a vocal track to add to the fun. The CD also features an enhanced feature, including a music video for the title track, guitar tabs and more. Commenting on his release, Shouse adds, ‘I haven't played another persons music in 22 years. I did however decide to learn all I could about the guitar and to be an instrumentalist when I first heard Satriani's Surfing With The Alien. I loved how he arranged and focused on the melody but was also creative. My faves are Satriani, Gilbert, Wylde, Petrucci, Malmsteen, Vaughn. I’ve never learned any of their stuff, but have gotten ideas from listening to them. Every lick on the CD is an original lick. I have been coming up with them over the last few years. There are things on there that have never been done or attempted on the guitar. That’s why I wanted to put the tab on the CD. The guitar on the back of the CD cover is a 7 string Carvin, like all my guitars. All I play is Carvin. The 7 string is strung differently, it has regular 6 strings and the first string is a middle E string. It gives me 2 octaves of E next to each other, which gives me the weird licks on "The Arabian". Find out more about other reviews and the musicians on the CD on my site.'


Although Angel Air are primarily involved with releasing new and vintage albums from English artists, they stretch out into welcome territory with a new double disc release from American pop culture icons Tommy James & The Shondells. Angel Air’s 2010 CD/DVD release from Tommy James—entitled Live And On Fire—features a live 2000 DVD concert video of Tommy James & The Shondells down on Bleecker Street in the Village performing all their big hits like “Hanky Panky”, “I Think We’re Alone Now”, “Mirage” and many more. Throughout the twelve track live show, James is backed up by a fine band, including excellent lead guitar player John Golden. The DVD also features several bonus features including a new, in depth, sit-down interview with Tommy discussing key points and memories of his star-studded career. Unknown to many fans, Tommy James also released a great comeback studio album in 2006 entitled Hold The Fire and that studio CD comprises the CD half of this double CD/DVD set. Anyone who might have written Tommy James off as a ‘60s phenomenon should give a listen to just how well he brings the ‘60s into the new millennium on the Hold The Fire album. Guitarist Golden, Smithereens drummer Dennis Dyken and a whole lot of other fine musicians help bring these legendary ‘60s flavored pop songs to life. The Hold The Fire album sounds great and is superbly produced by Tommy and Jimmy “Wix” Wisner. Angel Air does the reissue / repackage thing among the best and fittingly, the CD/DVD set features a detailed booklet filled with color pics of the 2000 show along with a 2010 essay on Tommy and his historic song contributions to the world of ‘60s pop and beyond. Back in the 1970s Stray was one of the great U.K. rock bands. Combining unique melodies and arrangements with hard rock licks, the group featured the guitar and voice of Del Bromham. In 2009, Angel Air released a double CD set from Stray entitled New Dawn, coupled with a live CD entitled Alive And Giggin’. Following up on that release, Angel Air also have a new for 2010 album from Stray entitled Valhalla. Produced by Chris Tsangarides, on Valhalla Stray live up to their legacy as one of the hardest working bands in U.K. rock over the past 40 years. Stuart Uren (bass) and Karl Randall (drums), back up Del’s guitar and vocals on the hard hitting studio sound of Valhalla. In addition to the occasional new album album, as in the case of Stray, Angel Air are best known for their impressive reissue catalog and high on the list of 2010 reissues is Dangerous Music, from singer-songwriter Robin George. First released in 1985, the twelve cut CD is reissued in 2010 by Angel Air, complete with four bonus cuts and in depth CD booklet complete with July 2010 liner notes by John Ogden. George has played with U.K. rock legends including Robert Plant, Roy Wood and Carl Palmer to name a few and backing up his songs, lead vocals and guitar/keyboards on Dangerous Music are great players including Pino Palladino (bass), Phil Lynott (bass) and others. Another U.K. reissue classic on Angel Air is the 2010 reissue of Walking Into Mirrors from singer-songwriter Johnny Warman. Released in 1981 by Rocket Records, Warman’s first solo album featured a guest appearance by Peter Gabriel, but Elton’s label soon pared down it’s roster and a second release vanished. Thankfully, Angel Air has done a fine job on the reissue of Warman’s ‘81 classic, adding in six bonus cuts and several enhanced CD-rom promo videos. In addition to Gabriel’s guesting, the CD also features Warman getting key backup from rock heroes like Larry Fast (synths), Dave Lawson (keyboards) and Jerry Marotta (drums). Also in 2010, Angel Air strike pop-rock gold with a rare double CD set from legendary U.K. rockers Magna Carta entitled Midnight Blue / Live & Let Live. Originally released in 1982, Midnight Blue offers a mix of classic light and breezy pop rock sounds that evoke a soft kind of West Coast American country rock sound laced with a quintessential English soft-rock vibe that really benefits from a great group performance and fine songs from Magna Carta singer-songwriter and front man Chris Simpson. Not only does Simpson prove to be an effective singer-songwriter but his guitar skills are in fine form throughout the 19 track Midnight Blue album which features the original album complete with a number of bonus cuts. Simpson and the many fine musicians—including various members from bands such as 10cc and Sad Cafe—in Magna Carta are spotlighted on the live half of this fine CD set. Live & Let Live showcases twelve Magna Carta live performances taken from various live shows recorded between 1992 and 2007. With track listing, artwork and remastering overseen by Chris Simpson, the double CD Midnight Blue / Live & Let Live set is tastefully packaged and is complete with twenty page booklet detailing the history of Magna Carta. / / /

There’s only one cure for the blues on a stormy Monday and that’s to spin the upbeat, inspirational music of guitar great Wes Montgomery. Before he moved on to CTI Records, Wes was a king of the long players at the Riverside label and, delving into the Riverside vaults, Concord makes good on the Montgomery legend with a 2010 CD reissue of Boss Guitar—recorded in NYC on April 22, 1963. Boss Guitar typifies the class and finesse Montgomery brought to the world of early ‘60s jazz and backing up the guitarist on this recording are Mel Rhyne (Hammond B-3 organ) and Jimmy Cobb (drums). For the Concord Music Group remasters, the label has employed the golden ears of Joe Tarantino, who has done an impressive job on the remastered CD sound of Boss Guitar. The album is part of the latest series of CD remasters from Concord Music Group that shines a light on their famous Original Jazz Classics Remasters series. Commenting on the series, Nick Phillips of Concord adds, ‘Like the previous titles in the series, these are all-time classic recordings by some of the most legendary artists in the history of jazz.’ Also released with the Wes title in this late 2010 CD reissue blast from Concord is Jazz Impressions Of Black Orpheus by Vince Guaraldi Trio. Although best known for his piano-based impressions of the Peanuts cartoon series, Guaraldi became a legend overnight with his Jazz Impressions Of Black Orpheus soundtrack which—recorded in late ‘61 and early ‘62—included his most treasured composition, the ever brilliant “Cast Your Fate To The Wind”. Released initially on Fantasy Records—now part of the Concord Music Group—the 2010 CD remaster of this Guaraldi favorite features the original eight cut album as well as five bonus cuts. Same pretty much could be said for the other recent CD reissue titles in Concord’s Original Jazz Classics Remasters, including Dig by Miles Davis featuring Sonny Rollins (recorded in October 1951 for Prestige Records), Chet Baker Sings: It Could Happen To You (from trumpet master turned singer Chet Baker, recorded in August 1958 for the Riverside label) and Waltz For Debby by Bill Evans Trio (recorded live at the Village Vanguard in June 1961). 24-bit remastering, insightful new liner notes and key bonus tracks makes each of these essential jazz CD remasters from Concord Music Group satisfying listening for long time jazz fans and newcomers alike.

EAGLE ROCK ENTERTAINMENT - Perhaps the crown jewel in Eagle’s late 2010 DVD lineup of hits, Ladies & Gentlemen...The Rolling Stones recaptures the British invasion heroes, post ‘60s during four nights of performances in Texas during their 1972 tour. Minus the Stones genius, multi-instrumentalist and founder Brian Jones, this DVD captures a pretty rough and ready snapshot of the Stones during their “Exiles” era and for the most part the DVD combines tracks from Exile On Main Street, Sticky Fingers and Let It Bleed with the set only looking back to the Jones era, hit single Stones on the closing “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”. That said, the Glimmer Twins get ace support from their fabled rhythm section and historic session heroes like Mick Taylor and Nicky Hopkins. In addition to the 15 track live performance, the DVD also includes two revealing interviews with Mick Jagger from 1972 and 2010. Probably the most widely acclaimed DVD from Eagle in 2010 was Eagle Rock Classic Albums Series Unveils The Story Of Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers’ Damn The Torpedoes. The original 56 minute documentary compiles newly filmed interviews with all the Heartbreakers including Tom Petty and guitarist Mike Campbell as well as a big supporting cast of producers and engineers. Following the tragic passing of pop legend Maurice Gibb, at age 53 in 2003, his brothers Barry Gibb and Robin Gibb pretty much retired the group name, but they reunite for a 2010 look back at the legacy of the Bee Gees with In Our Own Time. The Bee Gees were a pop force to be reckoned with since they broke out on the world wide stage back in 1967. Discovered by Brian Epstein and Robert Stigwood, the band achieved untold success and their incredible story is summed up on the nearly two hour documentary. Performance footage is superbly meshed with the intimate struggles and triumphs that have made them one of the world’s most adored musical families. From the incredible family footage of their early years to Robin and Barry ruefully reworking tracks in 2010, capped off with an extensive range of interviews, both new and old, makes In Our Own Time the most up close, in depth and personal look at the Bee Gees story yet. Another legend given the royal treatment by Eagle, The Everly Brothers are feted on The Everly Brothers Reunion Concert - Live At The Royal Albert Hall. Filmed on September 23, 1983, the brothers reunion concert has finally been reissued on DVD. All the hits are here—”Cathy’s Clown”, “Love Is Strange”, “Bye Bye Love” and more—while the band backing them, including guitar hero Albert Lee and others is first rate. In addition to the 22 track concert, there’s also a mini documentary / history on the Everly’s featuring the brothers along with contributions from Chet Atkins, Linda Ronstadt, Tom Petty and others while 2010 liner notes by writer Al Heller puts this historic two hour event into context.

- A fretboard master of many hats and guises, guitar genius and innovator Phil Manzanera is without a doubt one of the key figures behind the shaping of early ‘70s rock music and it’s subsequent offshoot, namely progressive rock fusion. Exploring the concepts behind Manzanera’s unique contributions to the guitar world and 20th century pop and rock music in general, the 2010 release of Phil Manzanera - The Music 1972 - 2008 combines 25 key music selections spread over two CDs, along with a third disc—a DVD combining eight different video tracks, including a 24 minute, 2008 documentary called “Revolution To Roxy” as well as other various video productions and live performances spanning the years 1975-2006. Roxy of course, is a reference to Phil’s early ‘70s guitar playing and contributions in Roxy Music, and the group are represented with several classic tracks on disc one, as well as previously unseen Roxy Music footage on the DVD disc. Featured on CD 1 are other tracks Phil plays on including Roxy, tracks from solo albums by Brian Eno, as well as album cuts from Phil’s prog-rock entourage 801 and Phil’s own ‘70s solo albums. As great as that early Manzanera sound was and still is, the second CD here is really the meat of the matter for long time fans. Featuring a number of selections from several of Phil’s albums from 2000-2010, CD 2 merges some of the best tracks from Manzanera albums such as Vozero, 6PM and 50 Minutes Later. Commenting on The Music 1972 - 2008, Phil adds, ‘When choosing the songs and music from a body of work that, so far, has spanned 35 years, I did wonder if some common thread would emerge, and I guess it did...namely my passion for experimentation and musical exploration through sound and collaborations. I have never wanted to play it safe, even if it means, as the great music writer Ian MacDonald said of me, ‘soaring like an angel one minute and stumbling like a sleepwalker the next’. Superbly packaged with colorful unique artwork and packaging, the booklet of the triple disc The Music 1972 - 2008 features key color pictures of Manzanera through the years and insightful 2008 liner notes written by Phil and his childhood friend, the late Ian MacDonald that sheds further light on Manzanera's amazing guitar-based musical journey.

/ CHROME DREAMS - Like so many of the expert DVD masterpieces on the Chrome Dreams label, the 2010 release of Brian Wilson - Songwriter 1962 - 1969 opens up a pandora’s box of information surrounding the music of The Beach Boys and the group’s founder and mentor Brian Wilson during their heyday, throughout much of the 1960s. It’s a double DVD that runs over 3 hours and features some intriguing bonus footage including an additional feature called "The End Of An Era - The Beach Boys In 1970". For impeccable insights into the group’s early rise as representatives of the Southern California youth movement of the early ‘60s and their early explorations into classic rock, this in depth look into the musical mind of Brian Wilson and how he shaped one of the most influential rock groups of all time is quite impressive. With the key vintage b&w and color footage from the '60s, the DVD is brought up into the now with new interviews from long time Beach Boys member Bruce Johnston, along with a whole litany of the historic producers, session players and assorted family friends that surrounded the Wilson clan back in the heyday of the ‘60s.

- I’ve always been a big fan of experimental music going back to listening to Wendy Carlos (and Walter before the big change), Yoko Ono, Edgard Varese, Colin Noncarrow, Ragnar Grippe and Luciano Berio to name a few. One label keeping that spirit of experimental music alive is the Australian Shame File Music who strike avant gard gold with a 2010 CD release from legendary Australian experimentalist Arthur Cantrill—entitled Chromatic Mysteries: Soundtracks 1963-2009. Released in 2010, the Chromatic Mysteries CD presents an intriguing cross-section of instrumental avant gard flavored sounds that incorporate subtly captured environmental soundscapes to fully blown abstract electronic music and musique concrete. I can remember thrilling to Pink Floyd on their thoroughly uncommercial Ummagumma masterpiece from 1969, and you can say the spirit of Chromatic Mysteries is right up early Floyd’s musical alley, minus the more conventional rock instrumentation. Cantrill recorded a number of his compositions with his co-composer Corinne Cantrill and, as indicated in the superbly designed 16 page CD booklet, there’s plenty of history and mystery behind the Cantrill’s intriguing sonic explorations. In addition to the Chromatic Mysteries, Shame File Music has also released a comprehensive, 2010 double CD set entitled Artefacts Of Australian Experimental Music: Volume II 1974-1983. Somewhat along the lines of the Cantrill CD, Shame File’s Artefacts CD set explores the explosion of instrumental Australian experimental music; from the mid ‘70s use of synths and computers, through to the radical fringes of post-punk, noise/audio collage and the beginnings of industrial and dark wave. Like the Cantrill release, the CD booklet for Artefacts is quite comprehensive, giving a good indication of the amazing sonic delights on these CDs.

- 1980 was most bizarre year indeed. Aside from the obvious ominous endings in December of that year, there was a touch of humor and pop culture strangitudes as well! I can remember watching the Caveman movie with Ringo and sultry cave woman and soon to be wife Barbara Bach in early '81. Then there was Popeye, which incidentally after way too long, was reissued as a beautifully packaged CD on the Japanese boutique label Think. I think I'm definitely going to check this movie out because the soundtrack music simply fantastic. Basically, the music was written and produced by Harry Nilsson and Van Dyke Parks, who receive great backing from The Falcons—a band featuring Ray Cooper, Doug Dillard, Klaus Voorman and of course Parks and Nilsson. Several of the key artists appearing in the movie—including Robin Williams, Shelly Duvall and Ray Walston appear here too singing Nilsson's amazingly appropos music! As such, most of the songs reflect or relate to events in the movie but fans of Nilsson’s orchestral strings and the quirky pop productions of Parks will not be disappointed. Released on Boardwalk Records in 1980, Popeye is super look back and a kinder, gentler time in American pop music lore. / /

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