Category Archives: Reviews

Raspberries – Pop Art Live (Omnivore) review

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

Tucci – Olivia (Hideaway Music) (review)

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)

Walk the Line – Original Soundtrack (Craft Recordings) review

 

Walk the Line Soundtrack on LP from Craft Recordings

A celebration of the Man in Black from a unique perspective – first time on vinyl

When making a list of the greatest music biopics, Walk the Line is definitely near the top.  Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon dazzle as Johnny and June Carter Cash in this film from 2005.  Now, Craft Recordings has made the movie’s soundtrack available on vinyl for the very first time. Continue reading Walk the Line – Original Soundtrack (Craft Recordings) review

Skeeter Davis – Let Me Get Close to You (Playback Records)

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)

Jaco Pastorius – Truth, Liberty & Soul (Resonance)

We’re going to start calling Resonance Records the “Babe Ruth of reissue labels,” because all they’re doing lately is hitting home runs. Whether it’s digging up lost treasures from guitarist Wes Montgomery, pianist Bill Evans or saxophonist Stan Getz, the label continues to add to the lexicon of jazz.

Two whole discs of rare concert footage from the genius of bass guitar is reason enough to celebrate. That Resonance is behind Truth, Liberty & Soul: Live in NYC – The Complete 1982 NPR Jazz Alive! Recording means that you’re in for a real treat. Continue reading Jaco Pastorius – Truth, Liberty & Soul (Resonance)

Stax Records Celebrates 60 Years With New Stax Classics Series

There was a time when each record label had its own sound. Atlantic was responsible for the pioneering R&B of Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin, while Motown turned an assembly-line mentality into a string of pop crossover hits. Yet, no label got closer to pure soul than Memphis’ Stax records. The label is celebrating its 60th anniversary with a string of cost-friendly compilations, which serve as great introductions to a wealth of phenomenal music.

Continue reading Stax Records Celebrates 60 Years With New Stax Classics Series

Looking Forward – The Roots of Big Star – Featuring Chris Bell (Omnivore Recordings) (review)

Much has been written about the brilliance of the Memphis band, Big Star. Yet, they didn’t just appear out of nowhere; like all bands, their collective musicians developed over time. Free Again: the 1970 Sessions (read our review here) concentrated on the pre-Big Star work of Alex Chilton. Looking Forward – the Roots of Big Star showcases the group’s other frontman and initial songwriter, Chris Bell, in a revealing new compilation from Omnivore Recordings. Continue reading Looking Forward – The Roots of Big Star – Featuring Chris Bell (Omnivore Recordings) (review)