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EMMYLOU HARRIS & Friends/Live in Concert: Lack of credits, so so fidelity and one of a kind performances by aces whose power overcomes it all. The heart and soul of the nascent Americana movement are gathered here from a bunch of 1999 radio broadcasts. The only thing missing from the Ďand friends' part of this set is Robert Keen doing "The Road Goes on Forever". Other than that, this is a veritable greatest hits set by all your fave Americana acts. True stuff for the true believers.
(Laser Media 3804)

JONI MITCHELL/At the New Vic: The length and breath of Mitchell's career is such that she is actually a lightening rod artist that you either love or hate depending on which aspect of her career you focus in on. One thing that everyone can agree on is that her "Court and Spark" period is unarguably her most fertile and potent. Leaning heavily on "Court" and "Blue" with the LA Express at her side showing her how jazz and fusion work, this is a most righteous snapshot that all her fans, and more, can agree on---to the positive. You should have been there in 1974.
(Left Field Media 596)

EMMYLOU HARRIS & Spyboy/Bottom Line, New York 1998: Despite a wealth of Americana royalty backing her at the time, this disc proves Spyboy was better live than on record. Coming from a transitional time when Harris and her genre were reinventing themselves, often charting courses on the fly, she shows herself to be an all time artist as the songs here are from a 25 year period and they all hang together like the sonic paintings were made with Allen Reynolds after her Reprise run came to an end. Coming from an FM broadcast that was never intended to be a record, that's the only quibble. Hot stuff.
(Left Field Media 594)

BONNIE RAITT/The Archives: A three cd set of radio broadcasts from across Raitt's rich and varied career that shows her delivering her all even when the chips were down. Pulled from her early 70s ebullience, her late 70s slowdown when the collapse of disc hurt everyone and concluding with a set from the late 80s when her comeback was hitting the boards. A real trouper always keeping some kind of blues within arm's reach, these sessions prove beyond any doubt she's a mighty river that'll always keep flowing.
(Broadcast Archive 6071)

FRED HERSCH & THE WDR Big Band/Begin Again: The juices are flowing here. Hersch faces off against the WDR big band and Vince Mendoza is arranging and conducting. If you know anything about jazz, you're already on board. Culling music from various points of his career and letting the music speak for itself, this is just one of those big releases that can't be held back---even if it doesn't lead with bombast. Hot stuff by a pro that plays it like he's glad to be here. Well done throughout.

ERIC ALEXANDER/Leap of Faith: When sax man Alexander left Chicago for New York, you could hear it in his tone that he was off to find his inner Sonny Rollins. Who knew that he had an inner Rollins under the bridge just waiting for the right opportunity to leap out. Recorded by a label that's genuinely altruistic in it's mission, this art filled labor of love is exactly the kind of record that gets made because it needs to be made. The chordless trio on board here know how to pull together and really drive it out in high octane style. Well done throughout and a tonic for the daddio purist.
(Giant Step Arts 3)

Volume 43/Number 202
May 11, 2019
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2019 Midwest Record

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