NEYBAS/Sunshine Hotel: Regional rockers are alive and well as this bar band shows with their latest. Right in the pocket for blowing off steam rock, the subjects aren't too deep, the vibe rocks and rolls nicely and they certainly know how to get a party started and keep it going. Nicely done.
BRIAN WOODBURY/Rhapsody & Filigree: Vet folk rocker brings in a cast of thousands to help him realize a vision that sounds like he's still wandering around looking for Bill Graham to book him as an opener at the Fillmore for some psych rockers. Mightily off the wall, there's something going on here but what it is ain‘t exactly clear.
MARY FAHL/Can't Get it Out of My head: Vet pomo chanteuse of 30 years standing that ever met a genre she didn‘t like cobbles together a genre that pays tribute to her childhood. Running the risk of being a pomo gift shop record, Fahl uses her chops to the most to make sure you don't confuse her with Sarah Brightman trying to milk the 70s. Heartfelt and with the ability to put her own stamp on Richard Thompson, who needs K-Tel with gals like this to take us to tomorrow. The classic Columbia looking artwork is a nice touch as well.
LEADER OF A DOWN/Screw Tape Letters: In which pieces of Motorhead hook up with pieces of Iron Maiden and show us why Beavis & Butthead will be proudly head banging keeping them forever young. A sonic attack loaded with growls as well as sonic twists and turns, this is the soundtrack for the nu youth still in the suburbs and still pissed off looking for some shredding to lead them out of the wilderness. Right stuff for the right kids.
TRIBUTE TO ERIC CLAPTON/various: I don't know how they come up with the pairings of musos and the pairing of songs for these tribute albums but when it's as inspired as it is here---look out. Pulling from all facets of Clapton's career with players you really wouldn't have thought of in a million years, the blues, rock and country top liners parading around here show just how universal Clapton. A really wild set any self respecting rocker can get behind.
SHEILA JORDAN/Live at Mezzrow: A nice book end to the release of her debut album last year that she didn't even remember recording, here all she needs is Alan Broadbent and Harvie S to turn back the back pages to her roots and deliver the classics in a way the young divas can't match. Outliving all her contemporaries and still having plenty on the ball, this is a fine kick off to the label's living legends series.
(Cellar Live 2)
EYAL VILNER + BIG BAND/The Jam!: Inspired by Duke and Count, Vilner let's classic sounding swing fly high on this mostly original set that shows that poppa loves his work and probably doesn't consider it a job. High octane throughout, any righteous swinger will recognize this as the real deal and not even fret over how it's from a nu generation. Hot stuff.
BILLY DRUMMOND & Freedom of Ideas: Valse Sinistre: For his first set as a leader in nearly 30 years, drummer Drummond brings the daddio and brings it hard as he pays notice to the people and places that have rubbed his shoulders over that time. Still thinking like an album artist, he's making music here that made to last and not be deleted when you up date your play list. Smart jazz from a smart jazzbo that all adds up well.
JEFF HARNAR/I Know Things Now-My Life in Sondheim's Words: First off, for those of us that don't have presets on the car radio for NPR, any chance to hear the great Jon Weber, the pianist and music director here, is a big event. Second, this cabaret set of Sondheim's work is on PS Classics. Even though Tommy Krasker, the foremost Sondheim scholar isn't heavily in the credits, he's hanging in the background---and this label was Sondheim's label of choice. As far as the record goes, this set is a bookend of sorts for Harnar who did a Sondheim set for the label 20 years ago. Full of Broadway and theatrics while leaving the belting to Patti and Bernadette, Harnar finds the métier of his life in Sondheim's works without relying on tent poles heavily. Obviously a heartfelt production, I'd like to point out to other straight guys that you won't be recruited to play for the other team if you find yourself getting caught up in this mature work for mature listeners. Free your ears and your mind will follow. Killer stuff.
(PS Classics 2745)
PETRA VAN NUIS & ANDY BROWN/Lonely Girl-I Remember Julie: the basics are the building blocks for a reason. Once upon a time, Julie London was divorced from Jack Webb and sitting around the house with her new husband, Bobby Troup, who was flush from having some Nat Cole coin bouncing around his pocket. This led to the lightening strike that was the husband and wife crafting an intimate duet record that Liberty loved because they wouldn't have to spend much to embellish what was already there. Such was the birth of a reluctant star. With just voice and guitar, Van Nuis and Brown keep that vibe alive on this set of all Julie all the time. This has got to be that ‘wee small hours' kind of record when you need a ‘one more for the road' record of the year. (Yeah, it's a Sinatra reference but...) Killer stuff throughout.
(String Damper 2139)
June 24, 2022
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2022 Midwest Record
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