Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane – The Complete 1957 Riverside Recordings (Craft Recordings) (review)

Finally a packaging that is worthy of the phenomenal music housed within.

Touching a button on your phone and immediately getting music leaves you wanting more. It’s like going to a fancy steakhouse and just getting the steak. It’s the reason you came, right? But, it’s the potatoes, steamed vegetables and glass of wine that enhance the flavors of that steak. Streaming music is very much like that – you get the music, but where’s the liner notes, photos, front and back cover, and essays, to help elevate the music?

No record company is more aware of this fact than the newly-minted Craft Recordings, a subsidiary of Concord Music, run by veteran Sig Sigworth (who’s held titles at great labels like Rhino and IRS). Their maiden release is one sure to turn heads – Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane – The Complete 1957 Riverside Recordings, a 3-LP set, which comes cleverly housed in a package that replicates an expanding file folder with postage information on the outer cover. Your friends may think you’ve been given some sort of super-important document (and, they’d be right!). Continue reading Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane – The Complete 1957 Riverside Recordings (Craft Recordings) (review)

The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – 50th Anniversary Edition

There’s a brand-new, 50th anniversary edition of The Beatles’ classic album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band that’s been remixed by Giles Martin, and just issued from Apple Records. You might ask “why is this necessary”? Because –

The original stereo mix of Sgt. Pepper sucked.

Yes, the most common version of what many people consider the greatest album of all-time actually isn’t very good. Continue reading The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – 50th Anniversary Edition

Cheap Trick – The Epic Archive Vol 1 (1975-1979)

Through demos, outtakes and live tracks, an alternate history of this revered band

Cheap Trick took their unique blend of power pop, metal, punk and glam, and went on to become one of the most influential bands in all of rock. While numerous “best ofs” will give you the hits, The Epic Archive: Vol 1 (1975-1979), a new collection from Real Gone Music, shows the path the Rockford, Illinois quartet took to get there. Continue reading Cheap Trick – The Epic Archive Vol 1 (1975-1979)

#304 – Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull – The String Quartets

Jethro Tull The String Quartets
New album from Jethro Tull

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.

Honeybeat – Groovy 60s Girl Pop

Star Trek’s Lt. Uhuru and Aretha’s sister are just two surprises waiting for you in this excellent collection of lost gems

The early days of rock n’ roll were dominated by guys, while the girl-led music was viewed as merely “cute” and “throwaway pop.”  Over time though, the ladies’ contributions have been reassessed.  Now, girl group fans are some of the most rabid in all of popular music.  Honeybeat – Groovy 60’s Girl-Pop, just released from Real Gone Music, uncovers 19 obscure tracks which add to the canon of this much-revered sub-genre. Continue reading Honeybeat – Groovy 60s Girl Pop

#303 – Jason Falkner – Make it Be

Jason Falkner
Jason Falkner

Pristine power pop and low fi collide

Multi instrumentalist Jason Falkner played in the Three O’Clock, Jellyfish and the Grays before embarking on a solo career in the mid-90’s. He’s also played with numerous artists, including Beck, Air and even Paul McCartney.

Falkner’s latest project is an unlikely collaboration with him and low fi pioneer R. Stevie Moore. The new album, Make It Be, meets their two styles midway, with songs mostly written by Moore, featuring backing mostly by Falkner. He talks about how the pairing came about and how both of them chose which songs to record.  Falkner also addresses his successful Bedtime with the Beatles series, and how soon we’ll see a new Falkner solo album.

#302 – Chris Stamey – Big Star’s Third Live

Fascinating behind-the-scenes look at a concert tribute to Big Star’s swan song

For an album that was deemed unreleasable at the time of recording and has never had a proper running order, Big Star’s Third has certainly gotten its due. It’s now considered one of the greatest albums of all time. After the sudden passing of Big Star frontman Alex Chilton in 2010, an all-star group of musicians got together to pay tribute, including Mike Mills of REM, Mitch Easter of Let’s Active, Chris Stamey of the dB’s and members of the Posies. They found that the magic they created was worth continuing.

After playing live shows all over the world, they decided to document things with Thank You Friends – Big Star’s Third Live…and More, a DVD/CD combo just released by Concord Bicycle Music. To talk about it, we welcome in the musical director of the project, Chris Stamey. He also talks about playing in a post-Big Star band with Chilton and what led to him releasing Chris Bell’s single “I Am the Cosmos” on his own label in 1978.

The Rascals – Complete Singles – A’s & B’s

5 Top Five hits, including three #1’s.

The Rascals rarely get the accolades they deserve. The New Jersey quartet practically invented “blue-eyed soul” with songs like “Good Lovin,” “People Got to Be Free,” and “Groovin.” But, as a new compilation from Real Gone Music, The Complete Singles – A’s & B’s, makes very clear, the Rascals had a lot more than just those three songs.

While the band has been compiled several times before, this is the first where the focus is placed on their singles, both the A and B sides. Plus, everything is presented in the original, hit single versions, which means mostly the hard-to-find-mono mixes. At 47 tracks, it’s also the most expansive of their collections. Continue reading The Rascals – Complete Singles – A’s & B’s

Various Artists – Thank You Friends – Big Star’s Third Live…And More!

An all star lineup pays homage to a fractured masterpiece.

Back in 2010, several North Carolina musicians got together in the wake of Alex Chilton’s passing, to heal the best way they knew how – by creating music together. They chose to perform music from Chilton’s most difficult album, Big Star’s Third. Yet, the core musicians worked so well together, they decided to take the performance on the road. Thank You Friends – Big Star’s Third Live…and More is a DVD/CD set just issued from Concord-Bicycle music, which documents a star-studded show from the ironically named Alex Theater in Glendale, California from 2016.

This is hallowed territory to be sure, and musical director, Chris Stamey (who played with Chilton in a post-Big Star band), went to great lengths in arranging the material. He was able to obtain the original multi-track recordings, isolate each instrument, and learn how each part fit together. Make no mistake, this isn’t your typical all-star tribute album. The musicians really were able to dig into the essence of what made these songs so powerful in their original form, and project them in a live setting. Continue reading Various Artists – Thank You Friends – Big Star’s Third Live…And More!

#301 – Chip Taylor – A Song I Can Live With

Chip Taylor
Songs Of Freedom promotional shoot, May 2008

Chip Taylor is best known as the songwriter for both “Wild Thing” and “Angel of the Morning,” but there’s so much more to him than just those two songs. For one, he’s written hundreds of other tunes, including “I Can’t Let Go” for the Hollies, and “Try a Little Harder” recorded by Janis Joplin.

Taylor got his start in a rockabilly group, Wes Voight and the Town Three, who were signed to a subsidiary of King Records back in 1958. He released a series of critically-acclaimed solo LP’s in the Seventies before retiring from music in the Eighties.

After returning to music in the mid-Nineties, Taylor has been on a hot streak as of late, releasing an average of an album a year. He’s also issued several successful records with fiddle player Carrie Rodriguez. His latest release is A Song I Can Live With.

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