ALEKOS GALAS/Mediterranean Breeze: If you want to piss off John Belizjikian, call his oud a bouzouki. Wonder if you can piss off Galas by calling his bouzouki an oud? Either way, neither of these august pickers should be pissed off for blowing them a little gas, they rock and they should know it. Galas brings his bouzouki to a session with a bunch of LA world jazz cats for a world fusion date that hits it out of the park. Sounding at first like Ottmar Liebert on steroids, the crew finds their groove right off and makes a heady, adult listening date that new age companies leaning toward world should have picked up on before the big crash. Tasty stuff that keeps the flavor coming, you've got to be dead if this doesn't brighten your day or mood. First class throughout.
BONES & TONES: Originally put together a the request of a jazz festival that wanted some authentic world beat music, these four widely different musicians were pulled tougher under Lloyd Haber's hand and they play like they've been together for years. An adult listening date all the way, the African influence is unmistakable and it's going to be something new and different most ears. A bunch of jazzbos throughout, this is the real stuff without the sugar coated patina and it's a killer ear opener to boot. Wild stuff that armchair travelers will not be able to put down.
ERSKINE-MINTZER-OLES-PASQUA/Standards 2-Movie Music: Remember those "Jazz Goes To the Movies" albums that came out during the last great recession where august jazz cats gathered to blow and keep their chops in shape turning out some killer playing in the process. Like those albums, this set isn't essential, but it's a fine opportunity to hear some old musical friends working in an ‘off the clock' fashion bringing their own special sauce to well worn classic tunes that makes for friendly, easy listening that isn't ‘easy listening'. Jazzbo all the way, it's a fun record for when you want something first class that's light without being lite.
PAUL PIGAT/Boxcar Campfire: Holy Christ, is this a first class piece of outsider music! Michael Hurley goes down to the Delta, gets the devil and hell hounds on his tail and this blues/folk oddity is all that's left as a result. The casual listener might miss the point but the jaded ears are going to flip out in relief. Totally nuts stuff that was originally started as a diversion by the artist, it's taken on a life of it's own and a wild life it is. If you've been kvetching about how long it's been since something that really colors outside the lines has come along, the wait is over. Well done.
COUSIN HARLEY/It's a Sin: Paul Pigat in his rockabilly trio guise with Jack Davis inspired southern gothic artwork covering the whole thing shows that outsider music can go even father outside. It seems like authentic rockabilly, but this takes the music's rebel spirit and really lets it loose. If you're a pomo kid that digs classic rockabilly, now you have a group all your own that speaks right to you. They might sound like they keep it authentic, but they aren't contained by anything. A real gasser throughout.
TODD SHARPSVILLE/Porchlight: It's a cliché but this record is a double slab of proof that great art grows from misery. A British royal that was mentored as a teen ager by Joe Louis Walker into an award winning blues guitarist, this record is the document of a complete breakdown and reintegration of a personality and a life. A two record ride through the heart of darkness that would be a lot scarier if he didn't have pals like Duke Robillard, Joe Louis Walker and Kim Wilson hanging around, it's as raw as any of the early Chess sides recorded during the northern migration and it's way beyond shoe gaze whining. Light years past 70s singer/songwriter stuff that pinged with you when it covered tales of hardship, this is a set that's out of step with these narcissistic times and it really cuts to the quick. If you are up for a personal, wild ride, strap your self in an get on board. This starts where Kurt Cobain left off, y'dig? Hot stuff.
G.R.A.S.S. ON FIRE/Plays Catch a Fire: An instrumental love letter to the Bob Marley classic, this album is going to both confound and amaze. Not an homage or a tribute, and containing none of the political lyrics, without being a showy dub session, this in step crew shows their raison d'etre and puts it all in the grooves. A wild ride through the heart of the opus, this Brooklyn crew certainly knows their herbs and spices, so to speak. Certainly not a roll off project, anyone who loved the original is sure to fall in love with this refitting. Check it out.
SUSAN JAMES MUSIC
SUSAN JAMES/Highways, Ghosts, Hearts and Home: She invites comparisons to Joni Mitchell and that must be why Bob Weir,, Lindsay Buckingham and others that rock just a bit wanted her on their tours (psych!). Ok, she's blonde and writes her own stuff but other than that, she has more in common with Wanda Jackson than Joni Mitchell. A roots rocker married to an alt.producer/engineer, she's letting her roots show, and we aren't making comments about her hair color. James is the package, James is da bomb. An unrepentant rocker than can squeeze her vibe into various rock and roots corners, she'd be the savior of the music business if the current crop of music business honchos didn't have their heads so far up their asses that they can't breathe. James is the proof that you don't have to be mediocre to be mainstream. Check it out! We're issuing a hot stuff alert.
Volume 34/Number 85
January 25, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record
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Hi Chris, I read your Susan James review. Funny when she lived in the SF Bay Area I was here publicist. Then she went and moved off to England, I'm so glad she has done an album. It's been so many years since the last one!Sometimes that is what happens when you have a kid. Hey, can I have your email addy? I'd like to send a press release about an alt- country americana band I;m working with that just released their third CD. I'd rally appreciate it. Warm regards, Tanya Pinkerton, Bay Area Entertainment Listings firstname.lastname@example.org