A post-Replacements side project that still satisfies
At their peak, the Replacements were everything we loved about rock n’ roll: furious, unpolished, unpredictable, and a hell of a lot of fun. But leader Paul Westerberg knew the fun wouldn’t last forever, and tried to steer the band toward legitimacy. Yet, no one really wanted the class clowns to start wearing suits, and their last couple of studio albums suffered as a result. After the band fizzled out, Westerberg continued to soften his approach for his subsequent solo albums.
Then, in 1993, an unlikely thing happened – ‘Mats bassist Tommy Stinson strapped on a guitar, stepped to the mic, and put a band together called Bash & Pop that recalled some of the greatest moments of his classic, former band. Their debut album, Friday Night is Killing Me, has just been reissued by Omnivore Recordings with an entire disc of rarities. Continue reading Bash & Pop – Friday Night Is Killing Me (Omnivore) review→
One of the greatest scores in movie history, back in analog!
John Williams will forever be linked with the music he composed for the Star Wars’ series of movies. His “Main Title” opened all seven of the films, and continues to give us goosebumps each time we hear it. Yet, he’s done countless other scores (Jaws before, E.T. and Harry Potter after, just to name a few more). Arguably his second most popular composition is “Raiders March,” which later became synonymous with the theme for Indiana Jones. That piece of music was first introduced in Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981. The expanded soundtrack has just been reissued on vinyl from Concord Music Group. Continue reading Raiders of the Lost Ark – Original Soundtrack Vinyl Release (Concord Music Group)→
Finally, the live album Raspberries’ fans have been waiting for
When Eric Carmen reunited with the Raspberries for a series of shows in 2004-2005, it gave thousands of fans a chance to see the fathers of power pop in concert for the first time in 30 years. A live disc, Live on Sunset Strip, came out in 2007, commemorating the reunion. Yet, that album was missing something. I was lucky to catch another Cleveland concert in 2005, and I can tell you, it was phenomenal. Finally, here comes Pop Art Live, a true document of what the Raspberries were capable of in concert. Continue reading Raspberries – Pop Art Live (Omnivore) review→
Odd Fact: Ian Anderson has had a #1 album every 22 years in the US
Jethro Tull has released over 30 albums in their 50-plus year history, making them a staple on rock radio all over the world, with songs like “Aqualung,” “Living in the Past,” and “Bungle in the Jungle.”
The band has never been afraid to take chances, and their latest project is a perfect example. Jethro Tull – The String Quartets, is a collaboration with the Carducci String Quartet. It’s an opportunity to take many of the most recognizable tracks in the band’s catalog and present them in a classical setting.
This left turn has proven quite successful, as the album has recently hit #1 on the Billboard Classical Albums chart. It’s also the first Tull album to come out exclusively through Pledge Music.
We welcome back to the program Tull frontman Ian Anderson, who talks about the inspiration for this unique project, why they chose to record the album in old churches, and what to expect from an upcoming tour. Plus, Anderson talks about the latest Jethro Tull album to get the deluxe reissue treatment, Songs From the Wood.
Smokin’ lead guitars, gritty vocals – there’s a lot to like here
When Gregg Allman passed away earlier in the year, it may have signaled the end of the Allman Brothers, but thanks to band’s like Florida’s Tucci, their spirit lives on. The four-piece has just released their latest album, Olivia.
The album benefits greatly from the presence of Larry McCray, who lends his fantastic vocals and stinging guitar to the majority of the album. The disc opens with the blues shuffle of “High Roller,” where McCray and Steve Tucci trade off licks. Saxophonist Shawn Murphy steps to the mic for “Olivia,” which features some very nimble slide work from Ira Stanley. “I Don’t Need It” is a fantastic, minor blues, which spotlights some fine, Hammond B3 work from Donnie Richards. Continue reading Tucci – Olivia (Hideaway Music) (review)→
The Australian band Jet rocketed on to the charts in 2003 and reminded us what no-frills rock n’ roll used to sound like. Rhino Records has just issued the band’s debut album, Get Born, in a Deluxe Edition, featuring remastered sound and a second disc of bonus material. Continue reading Jet – Get Born (Deluxe Edition) (Rhino)→
The Jukebox Heroes celebrate 4 decades of rock with new 2-disc best of
Look around at the current rock landscape – there’s not many legendary bands left. But, count Foreigner as one of those still standing. The group is celebrating 40 years together with a current tour, and a brand-new collection, 40, their first-ever career spanning retrospective. Continue reading Foreigner – 40 (Atlantic/Rhino)→
A Countrypolitan masterpiece, improved with a healthy dose of bonus material
One of the most underrated vocalists of all-time, Skeeter Davis helped blur the line between Country and Pop music at a time when such an act was still considered blasphemy, and in doing so, paved the way for everyone from Tanya Tucker to Taylor Swift and beyond. Playback Records, a reissue label based in Australia, has just put out Let Me Get Close to You, a classic album of hers from 1964, complete with a heaping bunch of bonus tracks. Continue reading Skeeter Davis – Let Me Get Close to You (Playback Records)→
John Gary Williams was a member of the Mad Lads, who were signed to Stax Records in the early Sixties, while he was still in high school. They had several R&B hits, including “I Don’t Have to Shop Around,” and “I Want Someone.”
Williams decided to go solo in the early Seventies, recording a fantastic debut, self-titled album in 1973. Full of lush strings, funky rhythms, and Williams’ falsetto overtop, it should’ve been a smash hit. Yet, distribution problems kept his album from getting into key markets like Detroit and Chicago.
Now, over 40 years later, his album is finally getting a proper release, as part of Stax Records’ 60th anniversary celebration.
We chat with Williams about his early days in the Mad Lads, who were much closer to New York Doo Wop, than Memphis Soul. Plus, he talks about an upcoming movie that’s in production about his life. And, he takes us track by track through the reissue of his debut album.