BOBBY CHARLES/Later Alligator!: Charles certainly deserves a chapter in the unsung heroes of rock and roll. Documenting the early rocking part of his career on this twofer, his path took him Nawlins to Woodstock and back again. Mistaken for a black cat early on, he provided the hits and heat for the feet for Bill Haley, Frogman Henry and many others rocking from Chess and on and on. A great look at one of those cats that was there at the beginning and didn't have to be first, but he was one of the best.
JONATHAN WINTERS/Complete Albums 1959-62: Back when Verve was making America's rec rooms safe for jazz, they were also harboring a veritable Mt. Rushmore of contemporary comedy powered by some of the eras biggest meshuginers. This collection gathers five of Winters' label albums from that era that proves once and for all how there would be no Robin Williams without Winters. Since this was sanitized for your protection at the end of the 50s, not all of it stands up as well as it might have if Winters was totally unfettered, but your sides are going to hurt the more of this you listen to at once whether you think so or not. There probably wouldn't be any Maria Bamford either but she's probably too young to be directly influenced. And, all the famous Winters characters make appearances as well. A solid, beefy collection.
GRAM PARSON/Cosmic American Music Rehearsal Tapes 1972: A valentine for the ultimate Parsons' freek, this is a collection of rehearsal and reference tapes made before the Grievous Angel took flight recorded on a boom box with a condenser mic. Sound quality? Certainly an oxymoron. The real deal? Ask any Parsons freek. You can even hear some Emmylou lurking somewhere in some places. High marks as far as keepsakes goes.
LISA HILTON/Transparent Sky: While everyone else was doing their pandemic bitching, Hilton took the bull by the horns, went old school and recorded a trio date in one day. Bright and breezy, with her piano and the chops she packs it with front and center, Hilton makes a big statement here and that statement is ‘have a nice day'. Loaded with deceptive simplicity, she hit's the heights once again.
(Ruby Slippers 1026)
WAYNE CONIGLIO & SCOTT WHITFIELD/Faster Friends: Why upset the apple cart on a good thing? These two bone bad boys follow up their "Fast Friends" with a slight variation on more of the same and it works throughout. A throwback to when jazz was jazz and had practitioners that were household names, this is their look back a the 70s and the times on either side of them. Blowing up a grand storm with help from a like minded crew that isn't afraid to make their mark, any straight ahead jazzbo is sure to find this irresistible--again. Top shelf throughout.
DOMINICAN JAZZ PROJECT/Desde Lejos: Here's some proof that it ain't all reggae and voodoo down there in the sunny climes. Here's some hot jazz from the Dominican accented by local folklore highlights and break neck playing. A high octane extravaganza that was well worth the 5 year wait since their last waxing, these boys know how to turn up the heat to please both locals and gringos. Well done and a real party on a platter.
VICTOR GOULD/In Our Time: The piano man with the fast phalanges that can turn a switchback faster than you can hear it brings in his trio for an angular kind of piano trio date that specializes in taking the scenic route rather than the direct route. Leading with the soul of an improviser, Gould knows his way around a keyboard well enough that he sounds at home with uneasy choices. And he knows how to make them work. A fine test for ears up for the challenge and ready for the reward.
(Blue Room 1007)
LIVESAYS/Not What I Bargained For: One of these dandy sets you're glad to see bubble up from the underground. A roots rocking crew loaded with lyrics that ride along with the groove and make you say ‘what, what?' a few steps behind the music. Musically, they aren't trying to break any new ground as much as they are trying to make you feel comfortable enough to ride along for the rocking ride. Delightfully left of center for those that never cared enough about the lines to try and color inside them. Well done.
RAM ON-50th Anniversary Tribute to Paul & Linda McCartney's Ram: Cinemascope would have called the crew on this set a cast of thousands. Pulled together by one of the cats that was actually there, he enlisted who he could that was actually there an everyone that ever claimed to be influenced by "Ram". Certainly not the clown show on the order of a legacy band with one original member and an Ipod playing a casino, if you are into Macca (do the kids still call him that?) this tends to be a mighty pleasing diversion and trip down memory lane as producer Denny Seiwell has the memories to keep the upstarts in line if they acted out. Not so much a tribute as a recreation that doesn't need to be faithful to get it's point across.
(Cherry Red Sou 1)
CITY WEEZLE/No. 2: A big, solid wallop of malcontent music that might have had it's roots in prog, sci fi or Zappa as easily as anything else. Easily a Friday night special for dateless wonders.
OFFICIAL KEITH EMERSON TRIBUTE CONCERT/Fanfare for the Uncommon Man: Sheesh, you'd almost have to be Elvis to get a concert and a package this deluxe, especially in today's musical world. The punks might have reviled him as the leader of bloated dinosaurs but the musos here were another story. This two DVD, two cd package of a special night playing tribute to the keyboard trend setter is a mighty deluxe and impassioned affair. The music is heavy on prime ELP and the crew is all first call and it's hard not to enjoy this is this was your thing. If not, check it out---it might teach you a lesson that the 70s weren't all bad.
(Cherry Red 5)
Volume 45/Number 272
July 30, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record
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