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TIM HENDERSON/Winds of Texas: One of those singer/songwriters you really have to be an insider to know about, like a Chuck Pyle or a Chris Wall, Henderson has been wowing them for so long that he's got pull quotes from Townes Van Zandt. A well covered, well traveled writer who has been recorded by many, shaded stages with Pete Seeger and has loads of other accomplishments for a guy you probably never heard of, this set is like a Remington painting come to life. If you can be more Texas than Willie Nelson or Bob Wills, Henderson is the guy to do it. Hell, he's at least as Texas as Dan Jenkins. Here's a singer/songwriter you need to hear more from, he's got Baja Oklahoma in his soul.

JIM BYRNES/Everywhere West: He's only got three originals this time around, but no matter how old the chestnut he's roasting, Byrnes makes the song his own no matter what. And once again, he comes in with an amazing record that blues and more but basically so powerful that you don't have to put any label on it other than ‘killer stuff'. I guess we've become so jaded by the overabundance of easily available music that we think it's a big deal that a real talent can make four amazing records in a row, but I think we should be amazed here no matter what. He's unstoppable and this is a must to have in the car either coming to or leaving the job because you need this musical angel on your shoulder. A winner throughout.

KARYN OLIVER/Red Dress: One of those down home gals that writes and sings with style and knows how to shake the Americana groove, leaves her DC comfort zone to shake it up with a lot of contemporary Nashville looking for the chance to play some middle aged after hours stuff ( they don't stay up that late anymore). Right in the pocket throughout, Oliver probably sings from experience and is sure to touch the mid lifer with her wisdom that she's open to sharing. Tasty and tasteful, she might just be the grown up antidote to Taylor Swift.

A STRING QUARTET CHRISTMAS: Originally recorded between 1995 and 1998, these three audiophile recordings by Arturo Delmoni and his musical pals are as close as you can get to a real down home Christmas, where family members entertained themselves, as you can get without this country plunging into an economic depression that rivals the one of the 1860s. Certainly you can enjoy this without worrying about revenooers lurking in the shadows, this set really touches some place deep within, someplace we've probably never been in the first place, with a love and warmth that probably only existed in fiction. The kind of elegant stuff you get when audiophiles are allowed to run wild, this is as classy a Christmas music set as you can find. Check it out.

CTI RECORDS-The Cool Revolution/various: Yes, we should be celebrating CTI Records as it shows us it's still here 40 years later. Never really given the respect it should have gotten since commercially minded Creed Taylor was piloting something simple but wholly radical to the moldy fig establishment, this is the genesis of many of the stripes of jazz we still enjoy today. The 4 cd set is broken up into themes that do a fine job of covering the water front and really whet the whistle of the novice that has seen the cool, original lp jackets at thrift stores and garage sales and is finally ready to hear what all the hub bub was about. As cool now as it was then, this is a real grail for the modern jazz fan ready to seek out life beyond Prestige. A classy package throughout.

TOPH-E & THE PUSSYCATS/No Ordinary Day: This crew does themselves a disservice with the goofy name that's probably an inside joke because it hides the fact that this group would probably cost more than Aerosmith to have them play at your kid's bar mitzvah. Session heavies Will Lee, Ralph Mac Donald, Chris Parker, Clifford Carter and David Mann have about a million years of experience and a million resume credits and a million gold records hanging on their walls and they still know how to jam and have fun after all this time. Fusing every kind of jazz with everything else that swings, this set is a wake up call for people that like good music without labels. Hot stuff.

TERRY OLDFIELD/Silent Night peaceful Night: By now, you've been all around the world with Oldfield, have you considered spending Christmas with him? Everybody in the family except Mike made it down to Australia for this family gathering Christmas where it's as much of a traditional, new age Christmas as you would expect. Classic faves as well as some tunes from well off the beaten path make this the kind of set you want around when the wine is kicking in and the count down to Santa coming in and grabbing those cookies is well in effect. Another sonic bit of heaven from Oldfield.

KAVI/Breath of Fire: If you're girl fiend is a contemporary, over scheduled, uptight, white honky bitch, this is what was created to chill her out more than chemicals will. Music designed to let her let go, this is dance music for people that really can't dance but don't want to feel self-conscious about doing the "Elaine dance" when they really want to let go. Don't let Kavi around your wimmin folk, he'll be like the Pied Piper around them when he makes stuff like this. It's not that he's funky, he's just your everyday psychedelic mystic, and , well just watch it, he knows his stuff.

Volume 33/Number 357
October 25, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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