vendredi 31 août 2007


Pocket Full of Kryptonite (1991)

As a jam band in the vein of Blues Traveler and Phish, Spin Doctors built a grassroots following by playing anywhere and everywhere. After a live EP caught their early potential, they released this uncharacteristically tight debut album. Featuring several hits that could have appeared on a Steve Miller Band album, Kryptonite became an immediate frat-rock favorite. Thanks to a spotless production, the tight groove of "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong," "Two Princes," and "Jimmy Olsen's Blues" immediately connected with audiences who seemed to find singer Chris Barron's hapless hippie lyrics and goofy grin a winning combination.

1. Jimmy Olson'S Blues
2. What Time Is It?
3. Little Miss Can'T Be Wrong
4. Forty Or Fifty
5. Refrigerator Car
6. More Than She Knows
7. Two Princes
8. Off My Line
9. How Could You Want Him (When You Know You Could Have Me)
10. Shinebone Alley/Hord To Exist
11. Yo Mamas A Pajana*
12. Sweet Widow*
13. Stepped On A Crock*
* bonus tracks on the European edition

Turn it Upside Down (1994)

Turn it Upside Down is probably the most overlooked doctors cd. I dont see how people could review this cd negatively. I dont rate cd's on commercial success and how good their singles are because those are the only songs people take notice too. This cd is amazing. Its a very optimistic album and I love everything about it. I'm not going to go on about my favorite songs because that's a personal opinion and really doesnt make much sense for me to try and influence your opinion for the cd. You should take a listen and form your own opinion. This is one of those cd's that grows on you more and more each time you listen to it. Give it a few spins and youll be hooked.

1. Big Fat Funky Booty
2. You Let Your Heart Go Too Fast
3. Cleopatra's Cat
4. Hungry Hamed's
5. Biscuit Head
6. Indifference
7. Bags Of Dirt
8. Mary Jane
9. More Than Meets The Ear
10. Laraby's Gang
11. At This Hour
12. Someday All This Will Be Road
13. Beasts In The Woods

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jeudi 30 août 2007

Blue Öyster Cult
Extraterrestrial Live (1982)

EXTRATERRESTRIAL LIVE presents a collection of 13 songs recorded live by Blue Öyster Cult between 2/11/1980 and 12/31/1981 during shows in Long Island and Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Hollywood, Philadelphia and Reseda, California. The drummer and song composer Albert Bouchard appears only on " Black Blade " and " Dominance and Submission " recorded in 1980. He will be replaced in 1981 by Rick Downey.
The CD offers a good balance of old and new songs and only The Doors's " Roadhouse Blues " as previously unrecorded track. In 1981, the band is already in the second part of its career and this live album is THE CD to be remembered from this period. Even " Dr. Music " and " Burnin' for You ", not very convincing on the studio albums " , are excellent on EXTRATERRESTRIAL LIVE.

1. dominance and submission
2. cities on flame
3. dr. music
4. the red and the black
5. joan crawford
6. burnin' for you
7. roadhouse blues
8. black blade
9. hot rails to hell
10. godzilla
11. veterans of the psychic wars
12. eti (extra terrestrial intelligence)
13. (don't hear) the reaper

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mercredi 29 août 2007


Honey-voiced Eddi Reader has been around several blocks, musically speaking. A native of Glasgow, she has been well known and loved in Britain for years. Oddly enough, Reader jumped right into her performing career in the early '80s by traveling throughout Europe with a circus troupe. Shortly after, she decided to settle in London and become a session vocalist. Her choice proved fruitful as her book soon filled up and she landed work with the Eurythmics, the Waterboys, and Gang of Four. None seemed like the right setting for Reader. Then she found her place in the spotlight with Fairground Attraction. The band's debut, First of a Million Kisses, hit the British charts in 1988, along with the single "Perfect." Reader gained a good bit of recognition, both critical and popular, and was able to launch her solo career from that platform. Here are her second and third album for you to enjoy!

ST (1994)

On her second solo album, folk-rocker Eddi Reader moves from strength to strength. The first four songs pack an emotional wallop that might seem to be at odds with the sweet tunefulness and wispy arrangements involved: "The Right Place" is a gentle but firm assertion of romantic confidence; "Patience of Angels" depicts loneliness and despair cloaked in layered vocal harmonies and a quiet waltz rhythm; "Dear John" is perhaps the tenderest kiss-off song ever written; "Scarecrow" is about... well, it's kind of hard to tell what "Scarecrow" is about, but it's one of the prettiest pieces of jangle-pop you're ever likely to hear. After that? Well, "East of Us" is a little bit swampy, and "Howling in Ojai" is a (blessedly brief) self-indulgent waste of time. But in between you get the wry and relatively rockish "The Exception" and after them you get the wistful "Wonderful Lie," and "When I Watch You Sleeping" has something in the transition to the chorus that sounds like Peter Gabriel, in a good way. Over all of it hangs a certain je ne sais quoi that will have you going around hugging all your friends after the album's over. They may be annoyed, but you'll feel great.

1. The Right Place
2. Patience Of Angels
3. Dear John
4. Scarecrow
5. East Of Us
6. Joke (I'm Laughing)
7. The Exception
8. Red Face Big Sky
9. Howling In Ojai
10. When I Watch You Sleeping
11. Wonderful Lie
12. Siren

Candyfloss and Medecine (1996)

No surprises here for fans of Eddi Reader's special brand of swooningly pretty folk-rock. All the elements are in place: the melodies that are so simple that there's no reason why they should make you stop whatever you're doing and close your eyes in pleasure, the unapologetic Scots burr that colors every vowel she sings, the multi-tracked harmonies that cascade blissfully down through every chorus, and the lyrics that simultaneously revel in the glory of romantic love and mourn the wreckage it inevitably leaves behind. Then, of course, there are the chiming guitars that just dare you to hold their obviousness against them, knowing you won't be able to. As usual, there are no real rave-ups here; instead, you get the achingly bittersweet breakup croon "Sugar on the Pill" ("Tell me when it's over/So I can move on"), the luxurious hometown ode "Glasgow Star," and a rather dark-hued arrangement of the traditional "I Loved a Lad." Things muscle up just a bit for the retro-soulful "If You Got a Minute, Baby," but that's as tough as she gets on this aptly titled album. Fans of the British folk-rock scene will recognize the fingerprints of her collaborator, Boo Hewerdine, in the melodies and the arrangements, and let's hope they keep working together in the future. Highly recommended.

1. Glasgow Star
2. Town Without Pity
3. Medecine
4. Rebel Angel
5. Semi Precious
6. Lazy Heart
7. I Loved A Lad
8. Butterfly Jar
9. Candyfloss
10. Darkhouse

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Ian Gillan & Roger Glover
Accidentally On Purpose (1988)

the 1988 duet album from Gillan & Glover (from Deep Purple fame)

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Dead to the World & 3 Additional Selections from the Forthcoming "Kindness of the World" & Other All-Time Best-Loved Campfire Favorites (1993)

A promo cd which could be considered as a best of Joe Henry's early career. The songs are from three different albums, Kindness of the World (1993), Short Man's Room (1992) & Shuffletown (1990). Those three albums were released on the Mammoth label and display quality country folk music from one of the most talented and, sadly, ignored songwriter to be heading from the USA. Do give it a try!

1. Dead to the World
2. Short Man's Room
3. She Always Goes
4. Ben Turpin in the Army
5. Fireman's Wedding
6. Diving Bell
7. John Ranging
8. Spent it all
9. Good Fortune
10. Last One Out
11. Some Champions

Trampoline (1996)

After six albums on which he constantly moved back and forth between classic folk and country traditions, Joe Henry really hit his artistic stride on the brilliant Trampoline. While the album finds him occasionally drifting toward both of those familiar modes, Trampoline also introduces us to Joe Henry, the pop-rock experimentalist. From the exotic guitar strum that opens the album on "Bob and Ray," through a feedback-drenched cover of a Sly Stone obscurity ("Let Me Have It All"), to the dark funeral organ that drives the Blue Oyster Cult-ish "Medicine," to a track featuring a female opera singer ("Flower Girl"), the album allows Henry to use all sorts of musical eccentricities. This certainly both confused and delighted longtime fans, and set the stage for Fuse and the future. Lyrically, Henry seems to be in a pretty dark place--might or might not be about the end of a relationship. And "Flower Girl" may be the most beautiful song Henry's ever written. You could compare Trampoline to that moment when Tom Waits moved from the more traditional sound of his early albums to the Beefheartish experimentations of Swordfishtrombones and Rain Dogs--that's how great both the change and growth appear to be here.

1. Bob & Ray
2. Ohio Air Show Plane Crash
3. Trampoline
4. Flower Girl
5. Let Me Have It All
6. Medicine
7. Go With God (Topless Shoeshine)
8. I Was A Playboy
9. Parade

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mardi 28 août 2007

Mark Curry
It's Only Time (1992)

Mark Curry is one of those singer songwriters who escaped under the radar. His style is a curious amalgam of americana folk and rock without ever falling into one particular camp,possibly contributing to his lack of recognition, although sharing a monicker with a whole variety of other famous folk may well have had a hand in it. The lyrics are americanocentric to a wild degree, but if you can stomach it he sings with soul and passion that few others match. You really get the feeling he has lived the pain he writes about. Sparse production allows the songs to stand up for themselves and he repays this faith in his abilities in spades.

1. All Over Me
2. Musta Been Jo
3. Sorry About The Weather
4. Blow Me Down
5. Wanna Run Away
6. Nothin' At All
7. Gone Swimming
8. Always A Place
9. Drinkin' And How
10. Somehow
11. It's Only Time

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Dan Reed Network
ST (1988)

Fairbairn brought forth the band's harder edge, while allowing ballads such as "Tamin' the Wild Nights" [written when Dan was still in high school] and "Tatiana" [CD bonus track] to leaven the fiery funk, rock and metal. This is the Network at their most tender and tough. The band's first successful single, "Ritual," [US #39] begins with a tribal drum intro and blends into a euro-smooth funk beat that gradually builds to a shattering Brion James-directed assault. Reed shows his softer side with "Halfway Around the World". A peculiar mix of Prince & Bon Jovi's 80's sound. Worth checking out!
1. World Has A Heart Too
2. Get To You
3. Ritual
4. Forgot To Make Her Mine
5. Tamin' The Wild Nights
6. I'm So Sorry
7. Resurrect
8. Baby Don't Fade
9. Human
10. Halfway Around The World
11. Rock You All Night Long
12. Tatiana

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lundi 27 août 2007


Diesel is an Australian musician. He has recorded nine albums under either this name, his birth name of Mark Lizotte or the epithet Johnny Diesel. Two of his albums have been No. 1 Australian hits and he has also played on several albums by his brother-in-law, rock singer Jimmy Barnes. Best known as a singer and guitarist, Diesel is also competent on bass guitar, drums and percussion and keyboards. After a few years leading the band Johnny Diesel and the Injectors, Johnny Diesel was launched as a soloist with the single "Love Junk" in 1991. His next single, "Come to Me", released in November, was released under the name Diesel and all of subsequent releases saw him billed as such until 1999. The same month saw the release of Jimmy Barnes' sixth album Soul Deep, on which Diesel again played guitar. He also duetted with Barnes on the track "Bring it On Home to Me". Diesel's next album Solid State Rhyme from 1994 featured the singles "All Come Together", "Fifteen Feet of Snow" and "Get It On". It was another multi-platinum success. It was preceded in May by the EP "Still Got A Long Way to Go", a duet with Jimmy Barnes from Barnes' album Flesh and Wood, however this was not a chart hit. With his 4 solo albums, Diesel sold over 800,000 records in Australia and won nine awards. His cool funky rocking music with a slightly friendly radio sound has sadly never broke outside of Australia. Here's a chance for you to catch up on a very fine singer, songwriter!

Hepfidelity (1992)

1. Man Alive
2. Tip of My Tongue
3. One More Time
4. Brand New Song
5. Get Lucky
6. Master Plan
7. Come to Me
8. Never Miss Your Water
9. Too Much of a Good Thing
10. Picture of You
11. Love Junk
12. There's a Love

Solid State of Rhyme (1994)

1. Chill Pill
2. Get It On
3. Love Again
4. All Come Together
5. You
6. Sacred Cow
7. Make It Right
8. Still Thinking About Your Love
9. 15 Feet Of Snow
10. Come If You Dare
11. Bad Seed
12. Blur
13. Time

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dimanche 26 août 2007

Allroy Saves (1990)
Punk with a brain. Not just a band with a cool video and a catchy hook. Witty, smart lyrics that make you laugh and think and pogo your little beatle boots off...Thats how I would describe ALL. This is my favorite album by the rawkers. From the cute kid charm of 'Frog' to the worldly aware "just living", "sum" and "educated idiot" you will dig this amazingly fun and wildly amusing bunch of punky tunes. Think Pinhead Gunpowder or Cringer but only more cool and fun and smart...
1. Educated Idiot
2. Just Like Them
3. Prison
4. Just Living
5. Freaky
6. Frog
7. Simple Things
8. Cyclops
9. Ratchet
10. Sum
11. Crawdad
12. Explorador

Percolater (1992)
What these guys lack in the field of aggressive, hard-hitting punk, they make up for in cuteness. Percolator is All's most playful album to date, and the recording refrains from laying it on thick with tales of heartbreak and bad days — this time around, it's more about just having fun. If the instrumental tracks such as "Charligan" and "Birds" fail to bring the mood to an uppity level, "Dot," "Nothin'," and "Breath" will definitely strike a nerve. Just completely ignore the song "Hot Plates," which has this scary resemblance to Def Leppard during their Pyromania era.
1. Charligan
2. Nothin'
3. Dot
4. Nobody's
5. Wonder
6. Minute
7. Birds
8. Empty
9. MO. 63
10. Egg Timer
11. Gnugear (Hot)
12. Hotplate
13. Hey Bug
14. Breathe

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samedi 25 août 2007

Discography 1990-1999

He was born a few minutes after a full solar eclipse, on the dark side of the planet, as it slipped from the grasp of the shadow of the Moon. Raised behind Pete Pistol’s Wrecking Yard at the end of a dead end street, just north of Austin, Calvin Russell never left this place in his mind or his music. For the rest of us, he left it far behind. With a backdrop of roots Americana music rippling through the country, Calvin Russell re-emerges into the genre main stream, immediately recognizable as the real thing. He paid his dues in prison and in Paris, and now he has returned to his Texas Roots; by way of his two latest CDs, 'Rebel Radio' and 'In Spite Of It All'.
Calvin Russell’s been on this bus a long time. He came up with Townes Van Zandt, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Blaze Foley, Lucinda Williams, Jerry Jeff Walker, Jubal Clarke, Billy Joe Shaver, Steve Earle, et. al. He went down on his own. A Prisoner Of War on drugs, Calvin endured the dark times by focusing on music and mastering his muse. And then this crusty country boy got discovered. By France – of all places.
Ten years and twelve CDs later, leaving behind legions of European fans (as in fanatics), Calvin Russell has come home. Playing many of Austin’s legendary music clubs, Calvin has been discovered again, and this time by Texans, by God. He's back in Texas, where he belongs and he's bringing his message back to the USA.

A Crack in Time (1990)

1. A Crack in Time
2. Living at the End of the Gun
3. Big Brother
4. I Should Have Been Home
5. Nothin'
6. My Way
7. Behind the 8 Ball
8. This Is My Life
9. Automated
10. Little Stars
11. North Austin Slim
12. Moments
13. One Step Ahead
14. Wagon to Stars

Sounds from the Fourth World (1991)

1. You're My Baby
2. Last Night
3. One Meat Ball
4. Crossroads
5. May Be Someday
6. Rockin' the Republicans
7. Baby I Love You
8. Love Stealer
9. You Don't Know
10. Down Down Down
11. One Meat Ball (acoustic)

This is Your World (1992)

1. This is Your World
2. My Love is So
3. This is My Life
4. All Along the Watchtower

Soldier (1992)

1. Soldier
2. Strangers
3. Characters
4. I dreamed I saw
5. Rats & Roaches
6. Down in Texas
7. Shackles and chains
8. This could be the day
9. This is your world (Memphis mix)

Le Voyageur (1993)

1. Living on the end of a gun
2. Characters
3. My way
4. One meatball
5. A crack in time
6. Crossroads
7. Play with fire
8. You don't know
9. Should've been home with you
10. Rockin' the republicans
11. It's just you
12. Down in texas
13. North austin slim
14. Maybe someday
15. Band Presentation
16. Last night
17. Right on time

Dream of the Dog (1995)

1. Don't turn your head
2. Trouble
3. Valley far below
4. We can live together
5. I gave my soul to you
6. So blue (about you)
7. You'll get yours
8. The Answer ?
9. It's my life
10. All we got is rock'n'roll
11. Keepin' the demons down

Calvin Russel '97 (1997)

1. Let the Music Play
2. Nothin' Can Save Me
3. I Want to Change the World
4. Desperation
5. Lovin' you
6. Mr. Mudd and Mr. Gold
7 My Love is So
8. Time Flies
9. Cut the Silver Strings
10. Drive By

Sam (1999)

1. Sam Brown
2. Common One
3. Wild Wild West
4. Somewhere Over The Rainbow (Arlen/Harburg)
5. The Hole (Townes Van Zandt)
6. That Wouldn't Be Enough
7. Where The Blues Get Born
8. Texas Bop ( James Luther Dickinson)
9. Retcha
10. Dream Of A Better World

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Mike Rutherford
Smallcreep's Day (1980)

This solid solo undertaking from the stalwart Genesis bassman shouldn't disappoint Genesis fans. Rutherford has recruited some prog heavyweights to serve as his band here: Anthony Phillips plays the Keyboards (!), Morris Pert (Brand X & later Talk Talk) provides percussion, and the estimable Simon Phillips (Eno/801, Pete Townshend, etc.) is behind the drum kit, thundering away on his trademark double bass drums. As well, Noel McCalla (otherwise unknown to me) is a fine singer. The songwriting is equally up to the high standards of the band: apart from Hackett's work, this is the best of the solo Genesis outings. In classic prog fashion, the lyrics are written around a single concept (the life of a lonely "nobody" in a dead-end job) and the tracks all run together. The opening "Moonshine" with its trademark Rutherford bass pedals, and infectious keyboards, is especially powerful, and the closing "At the End of the Day" is moving and anthemic. What lies between is simply very good prog, and makes SMALLCREEP'S DAY a good option for followers of Genesis, and progressive in general!

1. Moonshine
2. Time and time again
3. Romani
4. Every road
5. Overnight job
6. Smallcreep's day
I) Between the tick and the tock
II) Working in line
III) After hours
IV) Cats and rats (in this neighbourhood)
V) Smallcreep alone
VI) Out into the daylight
VII) At the end of the day

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Leftoverture (1977)

Almost perfect, a true jewel in the middle between the tradition of such a convincing US Hard rock/FM rock and the greatest European Progressive Rock. Out of the standard concerning the European Progressive genre, this famous work is diverse, a special contamination between the best American tradition of classic rock and an epic progressive music, which could deserve the maximum score!! For instance the mini-suite "Magnum Opus" is a masterpiece, but also "Cheyenne Anthem", with his splendid central chorus-section and the final stunning epic instrumental, or once again the most typical US hard rock stuff, included within "Carry on my Wayward Song".Regarding of the explanations above, all these tracks make this album a must-have!!

1. Carry on wayward son
2. The wall
3. What's on my mind
4. Miracles out of nowhere
5. Opus insert
6. Questions of my childhood
7. Cheyenne anthem
8. Magnum opus

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vendredi 24 août 2007

Rich Minus

There is on the Austin's scene a character at least as typical as Calvin RUSSELL. Since forever, RICH MINUS is a well-known person in the whole city, but also in its suburbs. However, no-one knows where he really comes from and what he did during all these years (more or less 50 years...).
We only know that he was born in San Antonio, known as a real brillant
student in his early years. But today, everybody knows that RICH MINUS sings, plays guitar, and writes fuckin' good songs. It's not hazard if the TEXAS TORNADOS played a cover of his "Laredo Rose" and Calvin RUSSELL himself played two MINUS'songs ("Last Night" and the furious "Rockin' The Republicans" on the "Songs From The Fourth World" LP).
After recording a few tracks on some weird compilation (cf "Austin Music Series"), we find back the great RICH MINUS's songwriting talent on his first album "COLLECTION", with the band of his old pal, M. RUSSELL, and also Charlie SEXTON as special guest.
After his first masterpiece, RICH MINUS released his second opus : "BORDELINE BLUES", a collection of 12 "roots" songs. We found there all his good fellows, like Ernesto saldara DURAWA (drums), Kenny GRIMES (electric guitar) and Speedy SPARKS (bass).

Collection (1991)

1. Rockin' The Republicans
2. She's Got To Move
3. Arm And A Leg
4. Mexican Brown
5. Last Night I Went Out
6. Die With My Dreams On
7. Santa Ana's Foot Soldier
8. Laredo Rose
9. Cans

Borderline Blues (1992)

1. Borderline Blues
2. Connie
3. Gray Day
4. Feliz Compleanos, Mi Corazon
5. The Legend
6. Watchin' Topper
7. Wish I Was 21 In 1961
8. Still A Stranger
9. Wreck On The Eastern Freeway
10. Look Out 19
11. Dirty Windshield
12. A Penny For Your Thoughts

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Peter Gabriel
Plays Live (1983)

Peter Gabriel has one of the most original voices in the music industry. He was good in Genesis, but he is better in his solo career, that actually became interesting from the third album. Pete Gab's interest for Africa and the world music rendered his music less pop-oriented and more experimental. This live recording has one foot in the traditional pop material heard on albums 1 and 2 (on the air, I go swimming, DIY) and the other foot in the african-influenced tracks (the rhythm of the heat, no self control). All songs sound to me better than the studio original tracks, thanks to an excellent musicianship (Larry Fast on keyboards [see my review of Synergy's 'Electronic realizations for rock orchestra'], David Rhodes on the guitar, Tony Levin (which joined King Crimson in 1980) on the bass (fantastic bassline on 'I don't remember' and 'DIY') and Jerry Marotta on drums (the sound is similar to Mosley's sound on the Marillion's live 'Reel to real', as they both play on Yamaha drums). The songs are played with energy and Pete's voice is great. This is a fabulous live recording, that is worth being listened to as often as you can.

Disc: 1
1. The Rhythm Of The Heat
2. I Have The Touch
3. Not One Of Us
4. Family Snapshot
5. D.I.Y.
6. The Family And The Fishing Net
7. Intruder
8. I Go Swimming

Disc: 2
1. San Jacinto
2. Solsbury Hill
3. No Self Control
4. I Don't Remember
5. Shock The Monkey
6. Humdrum
7. On The Air
8. Biko

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mercredi 22 août 2007

Neil Young
After the Gold Rush (1970)

After laboring in Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Neil Young finally hit perfect pitch--if his endearing off-center whine can be called "perfect"--with his third album. He's equally passionate with trippy riddles (has anybody figured out what "We've got mother nature on the run" means in the title track?) and pointed protest (after 30 years of rock-radio overplay, "Southern Man" still rings with truth about redneck racism). His creaky ensemble, including pianist Jack Nitzsche and rotating members of Crazy Horse, transforms ramshackle country and folk songs into soulful hippie hymns.

1. Tell Me Why
2. After The Gold Rush
3. Only Love Can Break Your Heart
4. Southern Man
5. Till The Morning Comes
6. Oh, Lonesome Me
7. Don't Let It Bring You Down
8. Birds
9. When You Dance You Can Really Love
10. I Believe In You
11. Cripple Creek Ferry

Neil Young
Zuma (1975)

If Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere and Ragged Glory are the two finest studio albums Neil Young recorded with Crazy Horse, Zuma certainly qualifies as a close third. Recorded in 1975, Zuma exudes both a sense of focus and a tentative optimism, two qualities that were completely MIA from the bleak Time Fades Away/Tonight's the Night/On the Beach trilogy that preceded it. "Barstool Blues," "Don't Cry No Tears," and "Drive Back" are terse, punchy rockers, while "Danger Bird" and "Cortez the Killer" are extended guitar workouts in the grand Crazy Horse tradition. And the two acoustic entries--"Pardon My Heart" and "Through My Sails" (the latter was recorded with Crosby, Stills & Nash)--are absolutely gorgeous. Ignore the crappy cover art, and treat yourself to one of Young's most underrated records.

1. Don't Cry No Tears
2. Danger Bird
3. Pardon My Heart
4. Lookin' For A Love
5. Barstool Blues
6. Stupid Girl
7. Drive Back
8. Cortez The Killer
9. Through My Sails

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mardi 21 août 2007

Thin Lizzy
Night Life (1974)

The first album to feature Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson features a different sound that fans became acustomed to after the release of Jailbreak. Thin Lizzy dives through many styles here. From the hard edge sounds of "It's Only Money", and "Sha-La-La" to the beautiful overtons of "Dear Heart", and "Frankie Carroll". A certain kind of jazz influence is apparent on the title track, which is probably my favorite song on the album. "Showdown" sounds like it was the theme for some night-time 70's cop show. "Philomena" is a sweet song dedicated to Phil's mother, and the short but sweet instrumental "banshee" is a cool treat. So if you are a big Thin Lizzy fan and you don't have this. Don't miss out on this great album!

1. She Knows
2. Night Life
3. It's Only Money
4. Still In Love With You
5. Frankie Carroll
6. Showdown
7. Banshee
8. Philomena
9. Sha-La-La
10. Dear Heart

Thin Lizzy
Black Rose (1979)

A really, really good disc by Thin Lizzy. Mesmerizing guitar work by Gary Moore and Scott Gorham throughout this release. Once again excellent songs penned by Phil Lynott and well above average work by drummer Brian Downy. There is no shortage of excellent songs here and my favorites include "Do Anything You Want to", "Waiting for an Alibi", "Sarah", "Got to Give it Up", and "Black Rose". There is also "Get Out of Here", which is well above average listening. Thin Lizzy never disappoints me, other than the fact that there hasn't been enough material released by them. This disc contains hard rock, slow ballads, and great stories to listen to and there is always the superb musicianship and the twin blazing guitars, which has been a trademark since the Mercury days. Recommended!

1. Do Anything You Want To
2. Toughest Street In Town
3. S & M
4. Waiting For An Alibi
5. Sarah
6. Got To Give It Up
7. Get Out Of Here
8. With Love
9. Roisin Dubh (Black Rose) A Rock Legend

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lundi 20 août 2007

Dire Straits
S/T (1978)

By the mid-'80s Dire Straits were a platinum band dismissed in their native England as safe, yuppie rockers, yet the original quartet's lean, guitar-driven music struggled to find a label home when first recorded in 1978. Mark Knopfler offers craggy vocals, literate blues-based songs, and sinuous, virtuosic guitar work. He melds keening solo lines and rapidly picked fills and dodges the synth washes and postpunk power chords of then-competing new wavers; he relies on atmosphere, character, and pure musicianship intead of heavy irony or pop fashion. "Sultans of Swing," codifies this stance, a galloping paean to aging jazz musicians playing for the sheer love of the music. This became a major hit and has endured as a radio classic. The album itself has proven equally sturdy thanks to cinematic imagery and the tightly wound arrangements of "Down to the Waterline," "Six Blade Knife," and "Water of Love."

1. Down To The Waterline
2. Water Of Love
3. Settin' Me Up
4. Six Blade Knife
5. Southbound Again
6. Sultans Of Swing
7. In The Gallery
8. Wild West End
9. Lions

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Gerry Rafferty
City to City (1977)

While the excellent single "Baker Street" is the best known song from Gerry Rafferty's ace solo album, "City to City," there are plenty of other great songs here worthy of the man who composed "Stuck in the Middle With You" as part of the band Stealer's Wheel. Rafferty shows himself to be a first rate songwriter, composing such fine gems as "Stealin' Time," "The Ark" and the masterful "Whatever's Written in Your Heart," which features him and his backup singers crooning with little backing instrumentation. Overall, this is one of the best rock albums from the late 1970s.

1. The Ark
2. Baker Street
3. Right Down The Line
4. City To City
5. Stealin' Time
6. Mattie's Rag
7. Whatever's Written In Your Heart
8. Home And Dry
9. Island
10. Waiting For The Day

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Steve Miller Band
The Joker (1973)

I'll admit up front, "The Joker" was the first song by the SMB I ever heard on the radio. Little did I know (it took a while to grow on me) that Steve Miller would become one of my favorites in the music biz. Stripping his repertoire down to R&B, this was Miller's most "pop"-style album at the time-- but it was only a foreshadowing of things to come. My faves include "Sugar Babe" (why wasn't THIS a big hit?), "Mary Lou" (some girls are just BAD news!), "Shu Ba Da Du Ma Ma Ma Ma" (Be-Bop reinvented for the 70's?), "Your Cash Ain't Nothin' But Trash" (a novelty tune that refers back to the previous "Gangster Of Love" and "Space Cowboy"--shades of Cab Calloway) and "The Joker" (which in a more musical way does the same while adding "Enter Maurice" and its twisted lyrics to the mix). FUN stuff! A great example of how persistence pays off-- it "only" took 8 albums before SMB really hit it BIG!

1. Sugar Babe
2. Mary Lou
3. Shu Ba Da Du Ma Ma Ma Ma
4. Your Cash Ain't Nothin' But Trash
5. The Joker
6. The Lovin' Cup
7. Come On In My Kitchen
8. Evil
9. Something To Believe In

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The Blues Brothers
Music From The Soundtrack (1980)

Inspired by the lovable Saturday Night Live white-boy blues schtick of Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, director John Landis seemingly threw every harebrained stunt he could imagine--and millions of dollars in production costs and wrecked autos--onto the screen. The resulting film could have been mistaken for a bad case of Hunter S. Thompson's D.T.'s, but Landis never shortchanged the music: Cab Calloway, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, and Ray Charles all get their moment in the spotlight. Miraculously, the chic-shabby Blues Brothers, anchored by the Stax rhythm section of Cropper and Dunn, hold their own against the legends, perhaps by the sheer joy and love they have for the music.

1. She Caught The Katy - Jake
2. Peter Gunn Theme - Jake
3. Gimme Some Lovin' - Jake
4. Shake A Tail Feather - Ray Charles/Jake & Elwood
5. Everybody Needs Somebody To Love - Jake & Elwood/Patty Austin/Vivian Cherry/Ullanda McCullough
6. The Old Landmark - James Brown/Rev. James Cleveland Choir
7. Think - Aretha Franklin/Brenda Corbet/Margaret Branch/Caroline Franklin
8. Theme From Rawhide - Elwood & Jake
9. Minnie The Moocher - Cab Calloway
10. Sweet Home Chicago - Elwood & Jake
11. Jailhouse Rock - Jake

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dimanche 19 août 2007

Richard Cheese
Lounge Against the Machine (2000)

On Lounge Against the Machine, alt-rock hits get the Vegas treatment way before their time. Vocalist Richard Cheese and his piano trio really know how to warp a song. Rage Against the Machine's "Guerilla Radio" sounds smooth as silk, if incredibly schmaltzy, in the hands of this wayward lounge act. The Dead Kennedys' "Holiday in Cambodia" gets completely defanged in Cheese's rendition. And it's definitely strange to hear the rage drained out of Nirvana's "Rape Me" and replaced with bland, mindless enthusiasm. The tone of these covers is so far removed from the originals that at times you forget what you're really listening to. At moments like these, Cheese and the boys sound like some anonymous combo going through the motions. But then you'll hear the singer let loose with some foul language or croon a harsh line and it sounds downright strange and funny. Lounge Against the Machine can be tiresome at times, but it certainly takes the piss out of these songs.

1. Nookie/Break Stuff (originally by Limp Bizkit)
2. Guerilla Radio (originally by Rage Against The Machine)
3. Come Out And Play (originally by Offspring)
4. Closer (originally by Nine Inch Nails)
5. Wrong Way (originally by Sublime)
6. Bullet The Blue Sky (originally by U2)
7. Creep (originally by Radiohead)
8. Last Resort (originally by Papa Roach)
9. Rape Me (originally by Nirvana)
10. What's My Age Again (originally by Blink 182)
11. Smack My Bitch Up (originally by Prodigy)
12. Fight For Your Right (originally by Beastie Boys)
13. Only Happy When It Rains (originally by Garbage)
14. Suck My Kiss (originally by Red Hot Chili Peppers)
15. Holiday In Cambodia (originally by Dead Kennedys)
16. The Rockafeller Skank (originally by Fat Boy Slim)

Pat Boone
In A Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy (1997)

Monty Python have got nothing on Pat Boone. You want absurd, this is the pinnacle. No comedy writer in his/her dreams could have dreamt up anything even half as stupid. The mere idea of Pat Boone, Mr. Squeaky Clean himself, (ahem) crooning heavy metal tunes is bad enough, but it gets so much worse. Big name arrangers were brought in to take crunchy power chords and squealing guitar solos and turn them into jazzy riffs and big band horn blasts. Even a few of the artists whose material is covered make guest appearances. Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore plugs in on "Smoke on the Water," while vocalist Ronnie James Dio gives a shout out on his band's "Holy Diver." This musical "idiodyssey" actually works a few times. I'm not immune to the kitsch value that the swingin' versions of AC/DC's "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)," Hendrix's "The Wind Cries Mary," or Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" provide. These songs almost sound like they were written for this kind of overblown, slick swing. Very scary. As for the rest, well, let's just say that aside from the fact that they don't really work too well in this format, Boone just ends up sort of speaking the lyrics and sounding completely goofy. If that's not comedy enough for you, surely the extensive liner notes explaining (rationalizing?) why Boone felt the need to make this record are the topper. I liked this guy a lot better when he was pals with the Parents' Music Resource Center. Can't wait for In a Grunge Mood--sometime in the 21st century.

1. You've Got Another Thing Comin'
2. Smoke On The Water
3. It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'N Roll)
4. Panama
5. No More Mr. Nice Guy
6. Love Hurts
7. Enter Sandman
8. Holy Diver
9. Paradise City
10. The Wind Cries Mary
11. Crazy Train
12. Stairway To Heaven

The Mike Flowers Pops
A Groovy Place (1996)

The most wonderful one hit wonder of the 90's. The album is mostly parodic Burt Bacharach kind of versions of different artists' songs. But unlike most humor music, this is both funny and good music. The hit, "Wonderwall" by Oasis sounds better than the original version. "1999" by Prince is another hilarious song, the liner notes say it's recorded at the end of the millenium party. Flowers also wrote a few songs himself. One of them, "A Groovy Place" is one of the best songs on the album. I'd love to hear another Mike Flowers Pops album but I doubt there will be one. This kind of thing couldn't have done more than once.

1. A Groovy Place
2. Wonderwall
3. "In" Crowd
4. Light My Fire
5. Please Release Me
6. Venus as a Boy
7. Crusty Girl
8. The Velvet Underground Medley: All Tomorrow's Parties/Venus in ...
9. Freebase
10. 1999

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samedi 18 août 2007

The Simpsons Sing The Blues (1990)

Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie pour their hearts out about their garishly-coloured lives in a mixture of classic covers and songs written especially for them. Bart delivers the dance-raps of Do The Bartman and Deep Deep Trouble and also duets with Buster Pointdexter on Chuck Berry's School Days with Joe Walsh's guitar solos. Homer, full of woe and trouble, croons the classic blues Born Under A Bad Sign and Marge covers Springfield Soul Stew to the melody of Memphis Soul Stew. Together the two of them sing the romantic duet I Love To See You Smile with Dr John on piano and Roger McGuin on banjo. Blueshound Lisa shines on the Billie Holiday standard God Bless The Child and the original Moanin' Lisa Blues. This family is hot!

1. Do The Bartman
2. School Day
3. Born Under A Bad Sign
4. Moanin' Lisa Blues
5. Deep, Deep Trouble
6. God Bless The Child
7. I Love To See You Smile
8. Springfield Soul Stew
9. Look At All Those Idiots
10. Sibling Rivalry

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Badly Drawn Boy
The Hour of Bewilderbeast (2000)

In 2000, the techno-folk troubadour Damon Gough, a.k.a. Badly Drawn Boy, won the U.K.-based Mercury Music Prize, Brit-pop's blue ribbon award. His first full-length, The Hour of Bewilderbeast, is a song cycle relaying the life span of a romantic relationship with dry lyrical humor, soft-touch acoustic strumming, mellow horns, and gossamer strings. Repeated listenings are required, but like a down pillow, as your head sinks into this album, its warm comforts and rewards reveal themselves deep within a melodic cushion.

1. The Shining
2. Everybody's Stalking
3. Bewilder
4. Fall In A River
5. Camping Next To Water
6. Stone On The Water
7. Another Pearl
8. Body Rap
9. Once Around The Block
10. This Song
11. Bewilderbeast
12. Magic In The Air
13. Cause A Rockslide
14. Pissing In The Wind
15. Blistered Heart
16. Disillusion
17. Say It Again
18. Epitaph

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Ben Folds Five
The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner (1999)

Simultaneously challenging and accessible, The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner is a song cycle about death and dying, people, relationships, optimism, innocence--you name it. On his first two albums, Ben Folds was quick to toss off bombs of blame (most notably on the vitriolic "Song for the Dumped"), but here he aims most of his criticism at the mirror. On the wondrously snarky "Redneck Past" he sings, "My ex-wives all despise me / try to put it all behind me / but my redneck past is nipping at my heels." Apparently he doesn't have a chip on his piano any more. The production is lush and ornate, with strings and horns embellishing Folds's usual quota of to-die-for hooks (which he seems to dash off as effortlessly as postcards from the beach). An obvious point of reference is Pet Sounds, but Ben Folds Five widen their scope to also include hints of Steely Dan, Pink Floyd, and even Queen, whose influence is front and center on the bombastic opener "Narcolepsy," a virtual homage to "Bohemian Rhapsody." Other highlights include "Army," a hilariously detailed indie-rock answer to Billy Joel's "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant."

1. Narcolepsy
2. Don't Change Your Plans
3. Mess
4. Magic
5. Hospital Song
6. Army
7. Your Redneck Past
8. Your Most Valuable Possession
9. Regrets
10. Jane
11. Lullabye

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vendredi 17 août 2007

Jill Sobule
Happy Town (1997)

In a perfect world, Jill Sobule would be incredibly famous and sell tons of records. She is an incredibly gifted songwriter with a irreverent, sly, wicked sense of humor. So ironic are many of her lyrics that some of the dimmer bulbs out there buying music may not (read: don't) "get" her or confuse her back-handed commentaries on a variety of topics with endorsements of them (the same problem dogs other such talented smart-asses like Randy Newman). Despite being featured on many a hit movie's soundtrack, she has never broken out as a major success. Too bad, because she's great, offering up catchy, interestingly-arranged songs about such topics as the religious right ("Soldiers of Christ"), struggles in the music biz ("Bitter"), Prozac ("Happy Town"), and high-school misfits ("Underacheiver"). This, her third disc, is more experimental and far-reaching than the one previous, "Jill Sobule," but both show a big talent waiting to be discovered

1. Bitter
2. Happy Town
3. Barren Egg
4. Half A Heart
5. When My Ship Comes In
6. Clever
7. I'm So Happy
8. Little Guy
9. Underachiever
10. Love Is Never Equal
11. Soldiers Of Christ
12. Attic
13. Sold My Soul
14. Super 8
15. Supermodel (bonus, from the 'Cluesless' soundtrack)

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jeudi 16 août 2007

The Jayhawks
Hollywood Town Hall (1992)

It was one of the more unlikely major label releases of 1992 — nothing to do with grunge, certainly not a last holdout from '80s mainstream sludge. On the flip side, it wasn't really the incipient alternative country/No Depression sound either, for all that there was a clear influence from the likes of Gram Parsons and fellow travelers throughout the grooves. This wasn't a sepia-toned collection of murder ballads or the similarly minded efforts that were almost overreactions to Nashville's triumphalism throughout the '90s. At base, Hollywood Town Hall found a finely balanced point — accessible enough for should-have-been success (sclerotic classic rock station programmers were fools to ignore this while still playing the Eagles into the ground) but bowing to no trends. Its lack of variety tells against a bit — while there are certainly stronger moments than others, most of the songs do have a tendency to blend into each other — but the core strengths of the group come through. George Drakoulias fleshed out the sound just enough, with the side help of performers like Benmont Tench and Nicky Hopkins adding fine extra touches without swamping the identity of the group. Piano and organ may be prevalent, but it's really Olson and Louris' great harmonies that are the core of things, giving songs like "Crowded in the Wings" and "Settled Down Like Rain" a high-and-lonesome sparkle. Callahan's a good drummer, if not particularly noteworthy, but he keeps the pace steady without dominating the tracks, Drakoulias keeping him back in the mix a bit. Olson's eventual departure isn't really explained by this disc — he might have been tired of the attempt to aim for commercial success, but this sounds more like something made for the group's own satisfaction that connects beyond it as well.

1. Waiting For The Sun
2. Crowded In The Wings
3. Clouds
4. Two Angels
5. Take Me With You (When You Go)
6. Sister Cry
7. Settled Down Like Rain
8. Wichita
9. Nevada, California
10. Martin's Song
11. Leave No Gold

The Jayhawks
Tomorrow The Green Grass (1995)

The Jayhawks' final record with singer/songwriter Mark Olson, Tomorrow the Green Grass is also the group's finest. While the band's earlier efforts perfected a more traditional brand of country-rock, their fourth record is marvelously eclectic, both musically and emotionally; never before had they rocked as hard as on "Real Light," dug as painfully deep as on "Two Hearts," or hit quite the same peaks of exuberance as on "Miss Williams' Guitar," a tribute to Olson's new wife, neo-folkie Victoria Williams. The addition of keyboardist Karen Grotberg brings rich new layers to the Jayhawks' sound, as does the inclusion of a string section on cuts like "Blue" and "I'd Run Away," a soaring pop song that's quite possibly the best thing the group ever recorded. A fitting legacy, indeed.

1. Blue
2. I'd Run Away
3. Miss Williams' Guitar
4. Two Hearts
5. Real Light
6. Over My Shoulder
7. Bad Time
8. See Him On The Street
9. Nothing Left To Borrow
10. Ann Jane
11. Pray For Me
12. Red's Song
13. Ten Little Kids

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