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LIZ CALLAWAY/Passage of Time: An appropriate title for that other Callaway sister’s first solo set in 8 years. With a ringing endorsement from Jimmy Webb even without any of his songs on board and a penultimate production by label head Tommy Krasker, Callaway comes roaring back to the recording world with the kind of set that makes non-insiders wonder how she can sell out a places like Carnegie Hall without anything on top 40 radio. Simply nailing it every step of the way on a vocal date that goes far and away beyond the typical cabaret session, it’s the kind of record that exists on it’s own plane of pure music, neither a throw back or a look ahead but timeless throughout. With well chosen songs every step of the way, you can’t go wrong with this set if you like real, adult music that doesn’t pose or posture but really delivers.

REBECCA LUKER/Greenwich Time: One of Tony’s best gal’s goes after hours for a set of Broadway old and new that lets her soprano soar and do it’s thing, with Luker always at the wheel. Delightfully flawless set you don’t really have to be a Broadway fan to enjoy, Luker knows how to be dramatic without being histrionic and really gives it to you old school. Luker lays to waste any pretenders that think cabaret is easier than it looks as she knows how to make every song her own and sing just for you in the process. A top shelf production throughout.

KATE BALDWIN/Let’s See What Happens-Songs of Lane & Harburg: It’s a personal prejudice of mine, but in the great diva/songbook revival, I don’t think Yip Harburg has gotten his share of rediscovery. Baldwin is Broadway’s newest darling and she’s doing it with a revival of “Finian’s Rainbow” so it seems more than appropriate her debut recording should tip the hat to the Yipster (and Lane and well). A wonderful voiced singer with knowledgeable expression and depth breathes life into these works that has gone wanting for too long. A shimmering piece of adult pop throughout, yuppies will love this at brunch, urbane tastes will enjoy it anytime. A delightful classic in the waiting as it’s only going to shine more in time.

KITTY’S KISSES/2009 Studio Cast Recording: Oops, I’m getting old. I remember when record companies made records because some records just had to be made. Such is the case with PS Classics forgotten musicals series with their new entry, a studio revival of a 1926 summer musical that was a hit in it’s time frame but is now completely forgotten despite having heavy hitter talent making the music. Rounding up a studio cast of label stalwarts, producer Tommy Krasker can finally admit he ate records by Goddard Leiberson and Tom Sheppard for breakfast. Sounding every bit like a classic 1950s Columbia Records soundtrack (with today’s technology behind it), this set merits the Midwest Record highly coveted jaw dropping 4 ‘goddamn’s. If you aren’t a Broadway fan and can’t wrap your head around an hour of whimsy and top shelf vocal performances, such is your loss. Someone put TARP money to good use and give this record company a blank check to make more records that need to be made are made. Everyone involved should take a deep waist bow.

GREGG ALLMAN/One More Silver Dollar-The Solo Years 1973-1997: Ah, 25 years in the life of a hard core rocker. Worth price of admission on this set is Allman’s killer version of Jackson Browne’s “These Days” which is utterly amazing in that such relatively young men could have written and sung this tale of disillusionment with such authority back in 1973. Living life like he had hell hounds on his tail, he managed to be one of the seminal rockers of the age in solo or toto. Focusing on his intermittent solo works, this set has more high spots than others who put four to the floor come out with. Coming out of the box with the signature “Midnight Rider” and going from there, the man who could have bitched about having to be in someone else’s shadow went on to make quite a name for himself, which would have made Duane proud to boot. A fine collection showing what real rock was about in the last quarter of the 20th century.

LINDA RONSTADT/Hand Sown Home Grown-Silk Purse: Oy, its been over 40 years since Ronstadt was our fresh faced, bare foot cutie but Dorian Gray holds up the proof that we weren’t nuts. Still loaded with country before later hooking up with Peter Asher, not only can no one argue with the crispness of her nascent country rock, it makes one wish that if she doesn’t need the money these days, she’d humor us with a return to her insurgent country roots and nail it one more time before slipping off into a social security haze. A wonderful trip to back in the day for gentlemen of a certain age. And after all this time, this collection still manages to serve up some previously unreleased on CD material.

MEDIUM-The Fifth Season: Potentially one of the best chick shows on broadcast TV, this Samantha without the twitchy nose and special powers continues to make us wonder if she’s cool or a pain in the ass in what was supposed to be the last season of the show. Conflict and agony fly thick and fast as the clairvoyant sees everything about everyone else except the flying mallet aimed right at her head. Bringing the kids in the ‘family business’ and falling into a coma are the least of her problems as the producers had to figure out how not to end the show after it was picked up by another network at the last minute. Guys, trust me, this is a great gift for the touchy feely spooky bitch in your life.

GREG GIRALDO/Midlife Vices: Giraldo’s everyman appeal obscures the fact that he’s been working it old school for quite a while in addition to being the guy that rips everyone apart on the Comedy Central roasts. With the energy of young Dennis Miller rants tempered by Richard Belzer cynicism and delivered in a Bobby Slayton mob nightclub type style, Giraldo is tempered to be the hot comic for the times for anyone that feels too old for Dane Cook. Celebrating his first special, this DVD has what you see on the tube and is rounded out with the adult material you don’t see. Building solidly on the albums he has out already, this is the first real blast from the comic of the oncoming 10s. Buckle up for a hard hitting laugh riot.

Volume 32/Number 345
October 11, 2009
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
©2009 Midwest Record

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