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ANCIENT FUTURE/World Without Walls: Bloody hell, get me some Alzheimer's drugs, will you? Ancient Future was on Narada's Sona Gaia subsidiary with a world beat album that was ahead of it's time and they were hanging out with Zappa's world beat buddies and I don't remember any of it? Each track has a different taste and a different texture making this a world beat travelogue that gleefully genre bends whatever the crew felt like with a merger of hillbilly and Indian music, the sound of an African traffic jam and more stuff that tastes good without the over riding vibe of being good for you. And it's not empty calories either. No wonder the group labored so long and so hard to get Capitol to reissue this, it's time. More bloody hell, new copies of this are going for over $200 on Amazon! How did I miss this? This is the world beat/jazz/pop album for people that shy away from things called world beat and jazz. Fun stuff throughout that still sounds fresh and in the moment today.

BONEY JAMES/Contact: A nice transitional album from the veteran jazz sax man. The transition is how to stay relevant in an era when smooth jazz stations are dropping off the face of the earth and the net still hasn't been corralled in any useful way for ‘niche' projects. Add a few vocals, give things a little r&b slant, it's still James and his sax at the core. If you're a fan, it's a nice trip, if you aren't already, you might become one as he moves more toward ‘the middle' as time marches on. In any case, the trademark playing is right on the money and he knows his stuff well and how to do it right. Smooth jazz might be changing but the real players, like James, still deliver the goods throughout.

DEREK & THE DOMINOS/Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition: Layla turns 40 and how many people really only know it from "Good Fellas" 20 years ago? And what of the real Layla, now 40 years older? The original double album is on disc one and the goodies are on disc 2; a face off between Clapton and Duane Allman, TV appearances and more, more, more. Certainly a good test of how many real Clapton geeks are still out there that still want it all, if you just want the music, the mastering tracks the single disc edition of a few years ago but the price is right for the real geek to jump in and feel ok. Amazing how the coda to "Layla" still feels like a song on it's own even today. No matter how you slice, dice and schmice it, it's still an enduring classic.

BO DIDDLEY/Bo Diddley's Beach Party: Buried in the vaults until now, this is the first digital release of Diddley's first live album in which we found him tearing it up in the Carolina's with a set that veers from proto punk rock energy to outright weirdness. Come and laugh at how much integrity the record men of old had (the cover shot almost looks like a Klan rally, and it is down south, y'all) when compared to the cats of today. A raw, primal blast from a power house of the day, this is a fine snapshot of how it was back in the day and it's nice to have it finally seeing the light of day. A really nutty find for fans of original rock.
(Hip-O Select/Chess/Geffen)

THE WAILER BAND/Majestic Warriors: This record is 20 years old already? Where does the time go and my goodness how things can fall off the radar. Carrying on after Marley checked out, the rest of the crew was trying to keep things skanking along, but there was a major recession in 1991 and people were distracted from anything but the real thing. With a lot of heart and soul in the playing, this is a nice addition to any classic reggae collection and it has the chutzpah to stand on it's own six feet. Check it out since it's a good bet you missed it the first time around.

STAN GETZ QUINTETS/The Clef and Norgan Albums: After going three for three, it's safe to say this label knows how to get Stan Getz box sets done. Getz broke into recording as a muscular 18 year old for Savoy, but promoter Norman Granz quickly brought Getz into his fold where he laid down these punchy albums that found him in a variety of situations with a variety of players laying down some stuff that would become the bedrock for what would become only the first part of his career. Most of this has never been on cd and much of it was from 10 inch albums which is why this appears to be a smaller box set than the previous ones. A wonderful collection for all classic jazz fans, Getz is delivering "The Sound" and he laid it down right to cross time and generations. Solid stuff that never let's you down, you have to wonder how this was left to molder for so long when it could have been out catching a fire, even if it was cool. All the same, it's hot stuff and this is the text book on modern sax playing. It's a towering collection from a real colossus.
(Hip-O Select/Verve)

SMOKEY ROBINSON/Solo Albums Volume 4: A shiny, digital, repack of Robinson's 7th and 8th albums would be worth the price of admission alone just for "Cruisin‘", one of the real defining moments of his solo career. While one of the albums was probably a first in that he didn't write any of it, he came roaring back with new vigor on the next and pretty much perfected quiet storm at that moment. A winning twofer that's a fine addition to the series and a clear cut pleaser for the fans.
(Hip-O Select/Motown)

BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS/Live Forever-Super Deluxe Edition: This never before released twofer cd is the last concert recorded by Marley before he died. Recorded over 30 years ago while on tour for his "Uprising" album, you had to get up and stand up when he implored you to do so. Better than just another repack of the old stuff, even if these are the same songs, this live greatest hits panorama of his impact on a live audience is more than just a testament. Killer stuff that will bring new fans into the fold even at this late date, Marley really was one of the chosen. Now, let's get to jamming'!
(Tuff Gong)

Volume 34/Number 254
July 14, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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