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BARBRA STREISAND/Love is the Answer: This isnít the first time Babs has gone toe to toe with a diva du jour to keep it fresh. Here, she letís Diana Krill sit in the producerís chair and while you might be expecting a cat fight, they both keep out of each otherís way (with Tommy Legume keeping an eye on things) and make a nice jazz flavored date that turns the clock back to Babs ďdebutĒ opening for Miles Davis. With a set card of classics ala Krall, the deluxe edition comes with two discs, one sweetened (with orchestra) and one with the same songs, unsweetened (jazz quartet version). We like the unsweetened better. Certainly a natch for fans of both ladies.

DeSOTO RUST/Highway Gothic: Too heartland in their approach to Americana to be embraced by the cognoscenti on the first pass, they are the roots equivalent of 70s rockers like Joe Grushesky that kept working whether anyone knew it or not. Embraced by classic rockers like Dickey Betts, Commander Cody and others in that pocket, if you dig the over all sound, this is a pretty safe road house rock bet to make. The lost art of blue collar rock is alive and well here.

KITKA/Cradle Songs: Has it been long enough for you to miss the Voices of Bulgaria? While this crew might be made up of a bunch of gringa, these ladies are the stateside top Eastern European vocal ensemble. Covering a bunch of lullabies from the general region, this is just what you need to send that little world beater of yours off to dream land with an appreciation international sounds. A delightful set that you have to wonder how other world beat specialists let get away.

REESE PROJECT/Eastern Standard Time: On paper, youíd think this would be some kind of chamber jazz crew but in reality, they know how to jazz it up and pour a nice glass of flute juice. With flute leading the way, they turn it up and turn it out with mostly fun, upbeat lite jazz that has the right flow to make this a must hear when you are stuck in traffic on the morning commute. Easy to take, easy to like, this is one of those dandy underground finds youíre glad to trip across. A winner throughout.

CESARIA EVORA/Nha Sentimento: The grande dame of Cape Verde, Evora is more reliable than the post office these days since neither age nor health issues nor gloom of night stop her from delivering a top shelf performance. If your first taste of her was when RCA was still in the record business and did a massive reissue program of her catalog, you arenít ready for whatís going on here. Evora widens her world beat lens and takes in a whole lot more territory than before. With almost a Caribbean sound, this is a fresh date that world beat/adult pop ears will love. Itís simply a high octane, canít miss set throughout.

SPIRIT/Fresh from the Time Coast-Best of 1968-77: They feel almost forgotten today, but back in the day, they were an influential progressive rock crew that could shred and do it all. Originally a father/son team with Jay Ferguson also on board before he found ďThunder IslandĒ, they gave the sixties a fair share of head music and adapted to power rock for the 70s, all of which is encapsulated here. Covering a load of ground from several labels, this double cd boils 10 albums down to 40 some tracks with a load of guitar pyrotechnics along the way. A group that real rockers should be aware of and not let them pass not the great rock beyond.

DAVID MacKENZIE-JOSH JOHNSTON/Notes Home: These guys have real rock cred but that isnít where their passion is. They are in love with the Hot Club era but rather than recreate it, they do original music in the style of Hot Club that sounds authentic and not at all derivative. Utterly charming. With their underlying rock edge, todayís technology and a through understanding of the vibe, they are on the money with a jazzy, adult pop set that will just blow you away. Windham Hill would still be in business if they sought out music like this for the next stage in their business plan. Itís the kind of stuff that makes you hit the repeat button rather than the eject button. Well done.

KOTTONMOUTH KINGS/Hidden Stash 4:20: Hey, Archie Andrews, there isnít just one kind of underground jam band, yíknow. These rip hoppers dig into the vaults again and come out with a Best Buy exclusive that can rival anything a mainstream act can do with Wal-Mart for value. Two fat cds a and a dvd loaded to the gills for the price of a single cd, you can bet stoners will be kept busy for hours once they rip the two discs to mp3. Thereís no power outage here with further proof that youth will be served.

Volume 32/Number 362
October 28, 2009
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
©2009 Midwest Record

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