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SERGIO MENDES/Celebration---A Musical Journey: Well, a 2 cd retrospective of Mendes's golden years almost makes up for the live in Montreal twofer never getting a proper domestic release and does a lot to add luster to his reputation that was often over looked as rec room hipness. A cat that did as much for Brazilian pop/jazz as Gilberto, Getz or any of the other luminaries that hadn't burnished such a suburban image, it's now ok to look back and admit you liked this stuff. You can even admit you liked his versions of Beatles stuff even better than the originals. At the core of it all, Mendes was a smoking piano player that traded his jazz cred for mass acceptance and in the end, everyone came out a winner even though it cost him a big part of his audience when tastes changed a few years later and the public wouldn't let him change with the times. Meanwhile, it's always good to have this collection of tunes back in circulation as they always managed to hit the bulls eye. A solid collection throughout.

CHUCK BERRY/Icon: If you weren't there the first time around, it's almost impossible to fathom that Berry wrote the book of rock & roll with the 12 tunes on deck here. A veritable sampler of the protogenesis of it all, these tunes still crackle across time and deliver the goods as only youthful, raging hormones can understand. The brown eyed handsome man with the penchant for the young stuff finally got his #1 record with a goofy track well below his abilities, but it's here with all the rest. I got yer oldies show right here. Hah! It's all as relevant as it was over 50 years ago.

BUDDY HOLLY/Icon: With Paul McCartney as the steward of the Holly publishing legacy, Holly's recorded catalog has always been well represented in the modern era. After several pricy repacks commemorating several different Holly milestones, his catalog is once again distilled to a popularly priced essence that gives you all you need to either have the quintessential tracks or give you the impetus to dig deeper into the great works of the white man that even fooled black audiences before MTV became the great leveler. It might be a collection of oldies, but it ain't the stuff for retro hipster ironic parties. Holly still raves on in mighty fashion.

SOLOMON BURKE & DEDIJK/Hold on Tight: After a career revival with Jon Tiven, Daddy Mention was once again keeping it relevant with in the moment songs like "Text Me' and Dutch backing band that was helping him keep it real, old school style. Still a powerful vocalist that knew how to enthrall an audience, he sounds like he just stepped off a late night snow plow run to deliver a show stopper performance (that was the back story to his first hit). Sadly, this is the last new recording we'll ever see from Burke, but he left behind a great memento reminding that we won't be seeing the likes of his kind around these parts any time too soon. Even though this was recorded with the Dutch version of the classic Stax house band, this is hot stuff that's not just for cruise down nostalgia lane.

MAD MEN A Musical Companion/various: This double disc set amplifies on the single disc set that came out when the show was new. With several seasons of the show to work with, this is what AM radio sounded like during the heart of the ‘Mad Men' era. Generously stacked at 36 tracks, this collection is a valentine to the fans that wouldn't know the off beat tracks here except for the show. Well stacked with a flow that works on it's own independent of the show, this is the collection for your retro party to celebrate the new season of the show, when they finally get around to getting it off the ground. Or else you can just enjoy for the well rounded oldies collection that it is.

TEENA MARIE/Icon: The label has been doing a fine job of keeping Marie's memory front and center this year, and here's the single disc retrospective that kicked it all off. A repack of a previous, no fat hits collection, this is quintessential Marie in top form as stacked by a producer who cared about preserving and presenting her legacy the right way. Nicely mastered, this is solid collection of nothing but the best from top to bottom.

FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS/Authorized Bootleg Fillmore East Late Show: Well 40 years ago, you could see a concert for $5.50 and you could see Burrito's 2.0 which was basically the jumping off point for Firefall and Eagles annex. A smoking show recorded just after Gram Parsons left the group and the band had something to prove to hold on to their recording option, this is a smoking set that might have been loaded with tunes identified with Parsons but don't sound as sloppy without him. Hell, if Nik Venet was at this show, he wouldn't have been in the back of the room hollering "bullshit" (look it up if you don't believe me). A real solid find unearthed that true believers will enjoy. And if you want to know more about the birth of country rock, he's a little thing to check out for you.
(Hip-O Select)

IKE & TINA TURNER/River Deep Mountain High: Even with 40 years worth of reissue opportunities in it's wake, this album is probably way more influential than the just the sales figures would have you believe. A well decorated set that that was basically a flop when it first came out over 40 years ago, this was a legendary keystone in both the career arcs of Ike & Tina and producer Phil Spector. With the wall of sound banging away at it's apex, this is the ultimate in teen age symphonies that goes way beyond the r&b the Turner's were known for becoming an enduring classic that time has vindicated. Even with Hip-O Select shunning their normal marketing plan of adding a load of extras, it's properly remastered and presented as the stand alone classic that it is. A killer set that has stood the test of time and was the real cement of Tina Turner's legend. Still hot stuff.
(Hip-O Select)

Volume 34/Number 253
July 13, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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