JOHNNY RUSSELL/All I Gotta do is Act Naturally: I've been spelunking in cold storage warehouses looking for forgotten masters and I can tell you there's a load of treasures out there that are inexplicably buried. It's not all top of the charts stuff, but a lot of it is too interesting to be buried. These 1971 sides recorded at Scotty Moore's presaged outlaw and hard country but are a great example of mainstream/traditional country that's just plain fun to hear. With a cut by Beatles under his belt, the liner notes don't even mention it instead talking about the title track's impact on Buck Owens. Whoa is this a great antidote to bro country.. Fine stuff that's finally getting the airing it deserves.
(Country Rewind 210)
JEANNIE C. RILEY/Music City Sessions: Originally recorded in one take or so for military radio in the wake of her monster hit, if you've ever been tearing down the high way across the heartland after midnight with country sounds coming at you over the dashboard, this stuff is going to take you back! Coming across as purely a good ol' gal, she sings it straight, has a good choice of material and performs it right on the money. The hit is included, stuff that Shelby Singleton should have recorded is on deck and pure country fans will love it.
(Country Rewind 211)
BLUERIDGE MOUNTAIN BLEGRASS BAND/Leaving on a Jet Plane: When Sam Bush was still wet behind the ears and scraping together $5 for lessons from Jethro Burns, this bluegrass stuff was recorded contemporaneously with the bluegrass Flying Fish was unleashing by hippies. This mixes hippies with Nashville vets for some killer proto new grass that not only has it all including the kitchen sink, it has "Ballad of Jed Clampett" as well. The organic, back porch version of Gram Parson cosmic American music, this session is da bomb! Killer stuff you don't have to be a toe tapper to love.
(Country Rewind 212)
OUTLAW BILLY DON BURNS/Country Blues: They tried to run him off but Willie's slow. Apparently Burns ran too fast for his own good since he's been in the honky tonks for 50 years and finally got a record deal---when there are practically no more records. Age might has sanded down some of his rough edges, but he's still singing about running drugs from Mexico and other career paths most moms would frown upon. If you find yourself firing up Waylon and them boys on the streaming services, this is the new stuff you've been looking for. He's sings it like he lived it and the authenticity will blow your socks off. Hot throughout.
(Country Rewind 217)
REX ALLEN/America's Last Singing Cowboy: If you were raised on Hoppy, Gene and Roy, this western swinger will giver you a dose of what I'm talking about. The Arizona Cowboy originated all the moves that others turned into clichés, but these sides recorded over the 50s and 60s with Cliffie Stone and the Sons of the Pioneers echo all the stuff that made him a long lasting original. Strangely not dated at all, the purity is a plus. It's the kind of stuff you can enjoy with your kids and a good time will be had by all.
(Country Rewind 214)
REX ALLEN JR/Then & Now: This modern western singer had 50 chart hits, made good in the family business and is a member of the western music hall of fame. That easy going vibe carries well into this set that was mostly recorded just before the new traditionalists took over and this old traditionalist was cast aside (?). A master of easy rolling mainstream country, this is a fine throw back when music was made to be enjoyed and not something to put out as an advance to sell your perfume line. Enjoy this journey through the past.
(Country Rewind 215)
LESLIE BEUKELMAN/Golden Daffodil: A Chicago art chick jazz vocalist delves into a modern take on cabaret with a textured, nuanced set that doesn't stray far from the tortured artist effect to good effect. Right in step with the times and the zeitgeist.
LAUREN HENDERSON/Songbook Session: Bringing you Afro Caribbean jazz vocals from other ports than you would expect, the vet vocalist covers some well covered waterfronts but brings a liberal dose of her own special sauce to the ports of call. With a straight up sounding combo right in step, this is an enjoyable, out of the ordinary set that respects jazzbo ears looking for the real deal. A fine work from all involved.
GABRIEL CHAKARJI/New Beginning: Tasty, cross cultural piano date that echoes 50s world jazzbo excursions but bri9ngs a vibe all it's own to the fore. A well rounded listening date, this is a piano man well worth taking note of as have some hefty insiders already. Solid.
HGTS/And Then They Played: Normally, when you get a record that escapes from college, it's a bunch of bright students showing off what they can do. This time out it's the faculty, and these are cats you already know as smart jazzbos. Playing it after hours style, this can swing like, well, the pros that they are. A solid session that shows jazz is alive and well no matter how goofy things are getting. Well done.
Volume 44/Number 169
April 17, 2020
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2020 Midwest Record
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