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LISA MAXWELL/Return to Jazz Standards: When you've got Bob Dorough hanging around your house because he's business partners with your husband and you were once a singer anyway, don't you think the bug would bite you to wax a few tunes? Not doing it like a contemporary diva, Maxwell puts the song first and doesn't really worry about what bag it was pulled from even if oldies are her long suit. A nice, tasty vocalist that doesn't really use the mommy track as an excuse for getting off the beaten path for more than a few years, this is certainly a dandy welcome back.

LEAH AND THE MOONLIGHTERS: Austin's celebrated jazz/folk crew puts it in fixed media to show the rest of the country the next hot thing to bubble out from the Austin city limits. Polishing their chops in the UT jazz program, the resumes are deep and varied for such young ‘uns. A certifiable left field recording that seems as close as anything the 10s have to offer to Tim Buckley, if this doesn't make you fire up a doob, it just isn't your intoxicant of choice. This bunch really got it right.

TARBABY/The End of Fear: Leave it to this bunch of progressive jazzbos and their progressive jazzbo pals to make civil rights jazz for the future. You almost want to separate out the undercurrent talking to hear what these characters are chattering about in it's full stream on consciousness glory since it's as wild as the music. If you've got more than a handful of Actual lps still hanging around, this is right up your alley and you shall be retro no more.

SUSAN ANDERS/Swimmer: Suppose you ever wondered what Rickie Lee Jones would have sounded like if she kept her trajectory true and sailed into middle age without worrying about letting it show. Well traveled folk/pop songwriter Anders comes right out of the box with a set that screams ‘middle age Rickie Lee Jones' and now we know the theoretical answer. With a resume that shows she isn't one to sing into her hairbrush in the bathroom mirror, this is solid state adult pop that isn't for divorcees only. Fun stuff that digs in and won't let you go. Well done.

ANN RULE (read by Blair Brown)/In the Still of the Night: In which the queen of true crime (especially when it involves gruesome death) tries to unravel the mystery of the mystery of how a death kept getting reclassified under curiouser and curiouser circumstances. With her classic reporters quest for the truth nipping at everyone's heels, Rule charges through an 11year mystery that serves up a load of unprecedented problems. She's at the top of her game and fans will be following this like it was a Twitter.

BETTY WHITE/Here we Go Again: Telling the tale of her life in television, 1949-1995 (ok, we get it, there's a part two with the next 15 years lurking), the current doyenne of the tube tells the tales on her self in the sassy from that most of her characters would do themselves. It's a chatty coffee date with America's cool grandma that is one of the more entertaining autobiogs to come along in a while.

VINCE FLYNN (read by George Guidall)/American Assassin: All it takes is terrorists blowing up a plane with his girl friend in it to become the CIA's super agent and terrorist's worst nightmare. Almost sounds like the back bone of a contemporary vampire tale, huh? At one time, he super agent was just another star athlete and here we go back to his humble beginnings, almost Superman style, for how this action packed spy series first took wing. A sure bet for action fans that like it coming at them non-stop.

NORA TITONE (read by John Bedford Lloyd)/My thoughts Be Bloody: And here's that meaty, historical thing history loving adults clamor for every Christmas. Lavishly produced in 16 cd, unabridged glory, this tells the real tale of what led up to the Lincoln assassination, a far cry from what we've been fed in school all these years. Reassembled from all kinds of personal notes that were shielded from view until now, Titone lets it out that this was the work of a nutty family with a bunch of screwy pathology. This season's real ear opener for smart adults will change a lot of thinking hard. Well done.

Volume 33/Number 342
October 10, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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