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LUTHER ‘GUITAR JUNIOR' JOHNSON/Once in a blue Moon: The well traveled bluesman that's been at it over 60 years shows he knows what's on every page in the book and is still around to write a new epilog as well. After a triumphant return to recording with an acoustic set, here he rocks it out live to a small, appreciative crowd that knows the real deal when meeting up with it. A smooth, after hours recording with nothing to prove, it almost feels like a house party where everyone knows each other and wants to bathe in the vibe of good vibes. Totally cut from the true vine.
(Crossroads Blues Media)

MANDY MARYLANE/Blues Shack: A guitar slinging blues belter in the tradition of a Barbara Dane, Marylane shows that any friend of Fred Neil's is a friend of ours. A white gal that really has the blues, this is one of those eps that totally leaves you wanting more.
(Y&T 112)

GORDON GRDINA/Pendulum: The protean string man starts a new label just to handle the various outputs he's drawn to that would overwhelm a label where he's not at the helm. This set finds him overlapping his classical guitar with his oud for a set that clearly colors outside the lines. Feeling more like classical improv than jazz or opium den music, here Grdina sounds like the proverbial guy playing in the corner of a fave restaurant that eventually makes you take longer between bites as you pay more attention to the wizardry going on in the corner. Subtle but wild stuff.
(Attaboygirl 1)

GORDON GRDINA'S SQUARE PEG/Klotski: In which we find the Canadian debuting his experimental quartet with a set that has more in common with German cool school improv sets than it does with stateside jazz improv. Lining up some pros to help bring his vision to fruition, this is a must for fans of angular jazz that takes it's commitment to improv seriously.
(Attaboygirl 2)

WADADA LEO SMITH'S GREAT LAKES QUARTET/Chicago Symphonies: How much more old school can you get? At a time when cds are in disfavor, Smith can't help but to put out another multi disc box set. And he does it with guys like Jack deJohnette and Henry Threadgill to help out. And he tips the cap mightily to AACM, AEC and ACM. And he focuses on Chicago so tightly that he pays tribute to everyone from Louis Armstrong to Barack Obama. People might talk roots but Smith shows he is roots. A free jazz extravaganza, long may the players keep arthritis at bay. A real one of a kind collection.
(TUM 4)

JAH WOBBLE/Metal Box Rebuilt in Dub: Feeling the need to journey through the past without competing with his younger self, the bass player from Public Image shows they were the innovators that invented oontz oontz music as the opening riff sounds like bed springs. They were innovative in a few other ways as well. Captured here and brought into the present, it's almost amazing how time takes the scariness out of punk. A interesting example of how something can be the same but still be different.
(Cleopatra 2586)

MARK MURDOCK/Visitors from Another Planet: Jazz and rock meet up in space but not for a trip through the seventh galaxy, it's for head tripping prog as pulled together by a crew of up and comers that have been o0ut there making names for themselves. Very much in the classic pocket from before D&D took over everything, this is the headbang alternative for the sound of the suburbs.

LESLIE HUNT/Descend: Continuing to expand her sound and vision, Hunt continues to show the 70s are alive and well in some quadrants as she still has a hold on that underground vibe that a lot of English birds knew how to spread as they spread their wings. Sure to have been a darling of John Peel in their times, she knows how to push against feelings of restlessness as she prowls for escape. A really solid writer that needs more than eps to spread her wings.
(Spirit of the Unicorn/Cherry Red 5)

CLIVE NOLAN & OLIVER WAKEMAN/Dark Fables: If you just wait long enough... the aborted third album in the duo's series of novels set to rock operas finally sees the light of day. With a pinch and a tweak here and there, the original vision is filled out and left in tact for fans of the crew and the sound to enjoy. Loaded with the drama and strum and drang that would have gone well with a rock opera originally based on "Frankenstein" but adapted here to literary vignettes, dramatic music fans can now fully enjoy this reformatted lost work.
(Spirit of the Unicorn/Cherry Red 2)

VIRGINIA & the Slims/Busman's Holiday: A Chicago jump blues crew from North Carolina (wither beach music?), they've mastered that sound you want to hear at 3 a.m. when no one has their eye on the clock. Laid back good timers that leave nothing to chance, this is music that brings back the fun of smoking and drinking long after you should be in bed.

Volume 46
December 1, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record

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