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INNOCENT WHEN YOU DREAM/Dirt in the Ground: A young trumpeter that got warped by Tom Waits at an early age continues to jazz mine the Waits catalog on this second outing of same. An active New York improviser, Aaron Shragge can give my regards to Tom Traubert anytime he wants. Certainly Waits like you've never heard him before, this set comes in at various times in Waits career but Shragge's deep connection to the music makes it all his own in the kind of way that stuff like Bacharach/Warwick or Hatch/Clark becomes inseparable. This is a combination of talents too good to pass up.

ANDY T BAND/Double Strike: All your fave modern blues rockers show up to support T as he soldiers on in the wake of band mate Nick Nixon's health problems which are diverting the duo's award winning ways--but not stopping the vibe. A shuffling, swinging, shouting set that's given freedom and flight by T's pension for slogging it out for 23 years in he aerospace industry, pension turns to passion as evidenced by all the heart dripping from this set. A modern blues/soul set you can really dig your teeth into, this is the sound of a party on a platter. Well done.

JEFF HOBBS/Upward: A smart roots rocking singer/songwriter that was born in a small town and captures that vibe no matter how many roads he's been down, Hobbs hit's the heart strings with just the right touch to take you back home, even if that home exists just in the back of your mind. After hours blue collar music that anyone can dig, it's loaded with the kind of heartland literacy that crosses all lines. Well done.

JAMES ROSOCHA/Avalon: After 20 years of being in service to the band and rubbing elbows with the greats, this bass ace decides it's time to grab his own spotlight and let the rest of the world know what insiders already know. A true jazzbo with chops to spare, he knows how to make snazzy commercial stuff that doesn't feel commercial and gets a killer groove going with seeming ease. Tasty stuff throughout.

GATO LIRBE/Neko: A melancholy set from Satoko Fujii working it under one of her many skins. Giving herself a Euro edge, this set might be instrumental jazz but it really captures the sound of sadness in an unexpected, cross cultural way. And all this time they were saying Leonard Cohen made music to kill yourself by.

LIGHTHOUSE SWEDEN/Silence in the City: So how can a pair of Swedes come up with something that's got so much rocking roots Americana running through it that it feels like the elixir of the mix that would come from Dire Straits backing Mellencamp? A wild concept album that captures the best of all the driving folk/rock you ever loved, you have to wonder how these contemporary cats found such hippie vibes in their psyches. A glorious, wild ride take to the max, this set grabs you right from the git go and never lets go. A winner throughout.

MICKI FREE/Tattoo Burn Redux: The kind of protean guitar cat you could never really pin down since he could rock, disco, new age and swing his axe in any direction and hit some superstar standing near by, he really makes one for himself this time around. Cutting loose with nothing to prove, he shows how the parallels to him and Hendrix exist and what he can really do when he really lives up to his last name. "A real muso set for real muso ears, rock division.

DISPARROWS/Wasting Time: Walking the line between hard rock and modern blues rock, this bunch likes to turn it up and turn it loose. With more than thunder and noise in their arsenal, this band knows how to cut through the dross and reach an audience directly. Loaded with fist pumping action, this crew is here to rock up the party and make sure it gets started righteously. Check it out.

RUGRATS season one: Ok, no more MOD or best of collections. This is the real deal, with all the cheesy art and killer writing in tact. As hip as Rocky & Bullwinkle, it's time we give Klasky-Csupo their props as the Jay Wards of modern times. Subversively hip with Devo, Firesign Theatre, top voice talent, crazy kids full of wonderment, these were the episodes that got it all started. The primitive/punky art work makes it pretty timeless which only adds to the fun all these years after it's original run. With the ton of episodes that got it all started for modern kids of all ages, Tommy the fearless whose parents are an interfaith couple, Chuckie the scaredy cat with the dead mom, Angelica the bitch, the twins and dysfunctional adults galore, this stuff is a gasser all the way down to the perspective shots from the babies point of view. The show that showed us how babies understand their baby talk to each other is really here to stay---in fixed media. Get your real library started on this classic.

RUGRATS season two: Season one went over so well that about a zillion episodes were ordered for season two---and there's no drop in quality or any evidence of sophomore jinx anywhere in the work. Further expanding the curious babies universe to illogical logical extremes, this cartoon should be voted most like to watch when you aren't drinking anything thing you might have to spit out or choke on when it has you laughing so hard. With over 10 hours of malapropos and misdirection leading the way, this is one of the greatest laugh riots of all time. Rarely does something come along that's so sure fired with can't miss bullets. Once again, killer stuff throughout.

Volume 40/Number 193
May 13, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record

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