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BRIAN MOLNAR & the Naked Hearts/Miss You: We keep getting more amazed with each new outing how there's such heavy duty roots music alive and well, and thriving, in in the middle of Brooklyn. Pulling fave tracks from their past three albums and rolling them into a live setting outside Nashville, this merry bunch of troubadours that fancy themselves as the fool in the tarot deck are the kind of band we'd go see even if we weren't on the list at the door. Following their own muse and the guideposts of 60s country rock like what the Nashville A team was doing when they backed up Dylan and drew other hippies to Nashville, they are starting to make T-Bone Burnett look like an insular knucklehead for not using them in a soundtrack already. This is the new course roots should be taking. Check it out.

ANTHONY GOLDSTONE/Sergei Lyapunov V. 4 Russian Piano Music Series: Goldstone has simply proven himself to be one cool cat. Diving into the well of unsung Russian classical composers yet again, he's produced another winner as he digs into the ornate works of Lyapunov, a composer who you've probably never heard of if you are reading this on this side of Vladivostok. The composer must have pissed off someone in the Kremlin to have his works so criminally ignored unless Goldstone adds so much to the interpretation that he's playing things that were never heard. If you love classical piano with a flourish, this is right up your alley. With never a dull moment, you'll fall in love with something you should have heard a long time ago. Well done.

CHRISTOPHER WHITE/Mahler Symphony #10: Transcribing a Mahler symphony for piano isn't something you do in your spare time, for fun. This is serious effort and you are leaving yourself open for serious ridicule if you make a false step. The piano monks that were hard at work in the transcription here are no slouches as they've managed to capture of grandeur of this symphonic work for solo piano and keep you riveted. A world premiere recording of the work in this form, it may not be the last time it's done but for a long time you can expect it to stand as the best.

LOU BOND: When you think Stax you don't immediately think Lena Zavaroni (for good reason) or Gus Cannon (initial release sold 500 copies) and you certainly don't think about Lou Bond, the black hippie who released a highly different Stax album for the We Produce subsidiary just as the entire operation was blowing to shit in every direction leaving the pressed copies to leak out to cut out bins. After recording unreleased sides for Chess that Hip-O Select still hasn't unearthed for deep catalog freeks, Bond tried his hand in Memphis for results that are basically finding their initial release almost 40 years later. Too lost in it's own ozone to sound dated, or even period, this is the sound of a bunch of hungry cats trying to do something different and lasting. And they succeeded. They just never got paid. Well done civil rights music for white hippies that wanted to groove left of Marvin Gaye. Another amazing journey through the past. Is this what Gil Scott-Heron would have sounded like if he wasn't so angry?

KRIS KRISTOFFERSON/Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends: This collection of publishing demos from 1968-72 show just how deep the well was back in the day as there's stuff here Kristofferson was still debuting several years later. Kicking the demos off like he kicked off his first album, this is pure Kristofferson getting by, high and strange. Like after hours recordings with the pressure off ,and sure to become as legendary as Jackie deShannon's publishing demos, with a few exceptions, it's a greatest hits album and it's up close and personal nature is what all his fans have been looking for since he jumped on the merry go round with both feet after his second album. It's like a Walter Cronkite you are there moment. A grand way to re-examine his genius.

SWEET ELECTRA/When We Abandoned Earth: A modern take on space rock with electronica and grooves running the show. First class head music for college kids, this is a grand dose of underground lite that parents won't write off as headache music as the whooshes and swooshes rampage around the room in a playful fashion genre splicing modes and methods with the crazy abandon that might not make sense but really doesn't have to. Left leaning good times throughout.

LOS ANGELES GUITAR QUARTET/Interchange: So, our Grammy winning pals team up with a symphony to open with the first quartet guitar concerto and close with the most recent. Goddamn! What a killer recording! Called a classical record only because of the lack of a better tag, this is a wonderful instrumental recording that is simply flawless. I'll bet you get a ‘goddamn' out of them if you play this for the most ADD rocker you know. Even though executed with a light and deft touch, it's a cinemascopic recording that is so perfectly played that you can fearlessly give this as a gift item without worrying about the recipient's taste or reaction. One of the best all around recordings of the year.

ROBIN SHARMA (read by Holter Graham)/The Leader Who Had No Title: Time for a new leader in the leadership world. Sharma has been kicking it with the heads of corporations and governments for the last 15 years and now he's ready to share his secrets with the average mook like you. Positive thought is at the core of this tome about how to get ahead in in life and times, and if you follow what he has to say, you'll either lead us out of the current mess we're in or kick him in the pants for advising our leaders on how to get into this mess in the first place. If you believe in yourself first, you'll be able to put these pointers in to better use in practice. Unabridged.

KARL ROVE/Courage & Consequence: A modern day Machiavelli pulls back the curtain and shows how things worked after he hitched his wagon to a star and let the comet do the work, even if he was instrumental in planting the seeds. A political memoir of our times, once the waters receded, party affiliation doesn't matter as much as being allowed into the inner sanctum of how things get done. A fascinating hear for the hard core political junkie.

Volume 33/Number 148
March 29, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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