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MARIA JAMEAU & Blue Brazil/Gema: Now here’s a new twist on the old switcheroo---Brazilian music not for tourists, but by tourists, direct from the Sonoma region of Rio, California. A well traveled journeyman singer that’s easily earned her B+/A- spurs rounds up some like minded pals for an easy sounding Brazilian date that was tailor made for kicking back and falling into good times with. She knows her way around the tunes and comes in with much better pronunciation than you would expect form someone originally from Boston. A charming and winning date, this is the kind of stuff that serves as a musical gateway drug that gets musical tourists to dig deeper. Check it out.

JEFF GOLUB BAND/The Three Kings: You know him as that smooth jazz guitar guy so don’t go forgetting him spending a whole bunch of time with Rod Stewart, Billy Squrer and James Montgomery along the way. He’s more diverse than you might think so cut him some slack when looking over this good time blues set. Certainly not for purists that think a tribute to B.B., Albert and Freddie should sound like it came straight from the roadhouse on the chitlin circuit, especially with a bunch of his smooth jazz pals on board, this is the kind of stuff a Blues Brothers fan would appreciate as blues. Anyway, Henry Butler, Sonny Landreth and Robben Ford do a great job of keeping it real for any naysayers. It’s blues as party music and it works throughout. With that Staxy show band vibe running through it, all that’s missing is Otis Day and the Knights to open the show. It works wonderfully and is a gasser.

SMOKEY ROBINSON/Smokin’--The Solo Albums V. 5: Originally a double live album recorded at the Roxy after he moved from being a soul mainstay to inventing quiet storm, this is a dandy career overview where he turns the classics inside out and the ladies in the audience aren’t shy about showing him some love. Reinvention isn’t as easy as it sounds and milking the same old groove may keep you on the casino circuit but will kill you on records so what Robinson is doing here is pretty impressive, particularly when you listen to it in the context of the times. Always a cat to try to push it forward, he really shines here holding his own in the face of the disco onslaught. A perfect example of Detroit facing off against Philly with a delicious draw as the result. A welcome reissue.

THE SUPREMES/Let Yourself Go-The 70s Albums V. 2 1974-77 The Final Sessions: This lavish 3 cd box set has the last three Supremes albums along with a bunch of previously unreleased overcall sides enough to make several more albums. There must have been a bunch of interesting politics involved in keeping the franchise going up to 1977. I remember staying at the Colinda in 1986 when the Supremes were in the showroom and none of the singers here were in that group. The label and Mary Wilson probably thought keeping The Supremes name going would give the group a leg up, but retrospect shows it might have been more of a burden. These criminally ignored records weren’t bad at all, but they didn’t meet the expectations The Supremes brand carried with it. Unlike Smokey Robinson, The Supremes didn’t really reinvent themselves, they just went along with the soul into disco trend and found themselves competing with younger Philly International acts like Emotions, Jones Girls, Three Degrees etc that didn’t carry the ‘stigma’ of the 60s with them. Without the ‘out of the ghetto’ swagger of the original Supremes, they came off as just another vocal act in the hands of a team of producers when they were really so much more and had more than that on the ball. Whatever, hard core Supremes fans now have it all and the good times are going to roll. Whatever was going on behind the scenes, this was fun music for fun times.

MANOOGHI HI/Silence: If there was still a such thing as free form FM radio, or if this would have come out 40 or more years ago, djs would have plugged this in behind Hendrix and this would have been a monster before you could say ‘ooga booga boo’. With it’s roots in 70s prog rock/opera tempered by Mumbai meets Manhattan in Seattle, this is the multi culti set that is loaded with things you’ve heard before but mixes them all up into a salmagundi that you’ve never tasted before. This wild world wide wall of sound takes you places you’ve never heard before and shows you why and how they’ve been wowing everyone everywhere they touch down and weave their magic. A non stop winner that sets new standards in alternative music.

POTLUCK/Rhymes and Resin: So when did this metal label become such a welcoming home to contemporary hard core rap? Dropping another killer set that might not be as raw as Geto Boys, we are 20 years down the line and you can be raw in your own, contemporary way. And Potluck is raw. They cut to the chase and they are hard core. If you’re the kind of kid that finds a parental advisory sticker to be an invitation instead of a warning, you will love this. And there’s plenty here for pissed off adults to get behind as well. Hey, this is the shit so let’s cut the crap. Does the man really hate weed because it really does bring people together? FYE has an exclusive edition with an ep full of more hard hitting shit as well.

BARBARA SINATRA (read by Lorna Raver)/Lady Blue Eyes-My Life With Frank: 13 years after they planted him, the final Mrs. S. finally gets around to joining the parade of people that have been picking his bones. Even his valet has gotten into the act. The cover pic says it all about why wife #4 was the one that was with him the longest. Nancy Barbato was the kind of girl you married. That’s why she got dumped for Ava Gardner. In an earlier time, trophy wives were called broads the girl in the cover pic is a pedal to the metal broad all the way. At this point in his life, Sinatra didn’t need anyone to cook and clean, he wanted someone that understood non stop ring a ding ding was the thing---and the love story goes from there. If you sweep all the Sinatra biographies into one neat pile, he certainly was one of the great Rashomons of our time, but like a true stand up broad, la Sinatra came here to praise Frank, not to bury him. Probably the most intimate look you’ll get at Sinatra’s later years, fans should take the time to go to the well once more.

Volume 34/Number 235
June 25, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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