LUCAS HANEMAN EXPRESS/Catch the Westbound: This bunch resides somewhere between high octane jam band and white boys (and a gal) that like to amp up the blues rock. Blasting through Canada like a zephyr with a mission, they know how to spread the party and keep it going all night long. Coming out of the box with a bunch of high level recognition, when they bring the party to your block, be sure to get on board. Hot stuff.
JOHNATHAN BLAKE/Trion: An exploration of the drum by a session cat so busy he has to make an appointment with himself to sit down and kick out something experimental with his sax/bass trio. A solid set of music for your mind in which the label gives artists that know how not to abuse it total freedom, this is where it's at for when you want to take a journey to the center of your mind without slogging through hippy dippy stuff. Check it out.
(Giant Step Arts 2)
DAVE STRYKER/Eight Track III: It's all in the special sauce. In which we find guitar man Stryker paying tribute to his youth by hitting it on everything that was playing in your car 45 years ago when we were young and eclectic. A gift shop record in lesser hands, the set list in impeccable again and the on board jazzbos are enjoying being there for the trip---all of whom are no slouches either. Tasty fun that means so much more as Stryker and company dig beneath the commercial veneer for the real deal.
ART "TURK" BURTON/Ancestral Spirits: A member of AACM almost from the beginning, Burton hits hard with an Afrocentric release that has no business in the church basement since it echoes Radio Raheem and the dj in "The Warriors" . Badass stuff well needed in bad times, this is soul jazz maximus that's guaranteed to blow your mind.
THE GREEN/Black & White: Not really a greatest hits set as the ground breaking reggae crew offers to have you skank along with them as they traverse their back pages with fresh eyes. A tasty revamp, the continue to hit on all eight whether blazing new trails or stopping for a breather to re-evaluate where they've been. As spliff gets more legal, this sound will really fill the air.
(Easy Star 1071)
ELLIS MANO BAND/Here and Now: White Funk Brothers? Foreigner Wrecking Crew? With chops stretching back over 40 years in which they've graced everything possible in their native shores, they finally decided to kick it out on their own. As fitting such old chops, they serve up an arena rock/AOR date that perfectly captures the zeitgeist of what boomers call the era of real music. A stadium sound in search of a stadium, this bunch really knows how to turn it up hot and heavy.
SUGAR SNOW/Woodface Reimagined: What do you get when an art chick decides she wants to reimagine Crowded House's "Woodface" album and gets approval from the band to do it? You get this--a modernized pomo version of the past as interpreted through her eyes and ears. With her sensibilities at the wheel, the original is almost unrecognizable.
ALINA CELESTE/Love is te Quiero: Somewhere out there near the newly discovered black hole exists a nexus where the innocent, playful sides of Lisa Loeb and Norah Jones collide. Celeste is the result of that particular big bang. Quirky stuff almost too cool for kids, this little gem of kiddie pop is a real delight of upbeat, positive material that really hit's the right chord in the cynical mind. Fun stuff for kids of all ages, this is a solid bet for anyone to check out.
THE RIPPINGTONS/Open Road: Russ Freeman still has enough space in his cranium for ideas to bounce around letting him keep things eclectic and fresh after all this time. Being mostly a one man band these days, it's pretty cool how he can go so long without repeating himself or wearing out the same old grooves. Solid contemporary jazz geared to nu ears that boomers can enjoy as well without heading for the bathroom because he's playing the new stuff.
JOSH WHITE JR/The Blues (3 disc set comprised of Tuning for the Blues, House of the Rising Son, and Cortelia Clark): I'll bet White still has nightmares about the time he was stuck at a red light on the highway and amusing himself watching the Lynyrd Skynyrd looking cat in the car in front of him having a great time playing air everything to some tune while he was waiting for the light to change. I guess it scared him when I noticed him have a chuckle in my rear view mirror and leaping out of my driver's seat leaving the engine running and running up to his car. Hell, I just wanted to see if I could buy him a sandwich or hoist a meatball in tribute to his pop. Since his pop was a central part of the folk music revival, a lot of these tunes were either introduced to us by his pop or Bob Gibson. A solo performer on his own since 1961, poppa taught him well because he holds the center stage on these sets like the pro he is. Whether a tribute to dad or a mess of good old folk and blues, these friendly, lovely records are indispensable to any real folkie that wants to get back to the garden. Great stuff throughout. (And Josh, call me---we'll have that meat ball yet).
Volume 43/Number 173
April 12, 2019
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2019 Midwest Record
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