JAMI LUNDE/Big Black Birds: A world traveled alt.country troubadour, Lunde parks it in Colorado with some local luminaries with national reputations and turns in the set people that who would like a Lucinda Williams that speaks to a younger generation have been looking for. With concise, hard hitting lyrics leading the way, this is one of those indie albums that sneaks up on you and blows you away. A welcome new vector for Americana for sure.
HIP-O SELECT/VERVE SELECT
IMPULSE @ 50-First Impulse-the Creed Taylor Collection: The funny thing about Creed Taylor is that he was a producer that by and large made a bunch of pretty records. Whether at Verve or CTI, he just wanted to make nice stuff that made people happy. It's easy to see how he could be such a pivotal figure in modern jazz, but a controversial one? Depends who you ask. Here we find Taylor just at the tip of adjusting to the 60s just a little ahead of the curve. While Impulse would go on to be the home of some pretty way out stuff, it's early days were filled with sets like the six represented on these 4 discs that were recently inducted into the hall of fame. Certainly, it was the house that Coltrane built, but in addition to showing off Coltrane here, there's Winding & Johnson, Oliver Nelson, Ray Charles in one of his grandest complete statements and Gil Evans. The remastering makes Johnson and Winding sound even grander than they did before and the whole thing is a gasser throughout. Not meant to be a survey of anything more than a recent moment in time, Taylor has to be given his props for always knowing his stuff. A welcome reissue throughout.
PIERS LANE-GOLDNER STRING QUARTET/Elgar Piano/String Quartet: Just when you think there's nothing new under the sun, especially in classical music, along comes four previously unrecorded piano pieces from 100 years ago. These solo pieces are sandwiched by two quintet performances Elgar wrote 100 years ago that were inspired by his rural surroundings. A deep, romantic set that feels orchestral in scope, these pieces are delightful and delightfully played. A recording that certainly lies in the inner circle of top instrumental recordings.
MARTYN BRABBINS BBC SCOTISH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA/Walton Symphonies: In which we find proof that you don't have to be a whining shoe gazer to write about the turbulence in your life. It took Walton three years to write these symphonies and they reflect the turbulence going on in his life. Deeply moving works that almost let you taste the controversy he was dealing with, Brabbins is soon to be recognized in the front ranks of energetic conductors that know how to lead the band the right way. Feeling very much like the stuff your grand parents used to listen to, this set is a winner throughout.
THE KINKS/Kinks-Deluxe Edition: It didn't take long for Kinks to find their footing at the top of the charts. Even if albums behind hit singles were a slapdash affair in the early 60s, and this one followed the format, the garage punk energy the Davies brothers and their cohorts brought to the studio made suburban kids everywhere sit up and take notice. Because they really were uncontrollable, today they sort of seem like a B team British Invasion group that doesn't merit mention in the same breath as the Stones or Beatles, but the loads and loads of extras on board these two discs, from mono mixes to radio material rent that assertion asunder as these guys were in the front line---just uncontrollable. The best sounding reissue of this material yet, old and new fans can discover these bad boys all over again as your ears never got into the music like this before. You really got me, indeed.
THE KINKS/Kinda Kinks-Deluxe Edition: Recorded in the middle of the initial flush of whirlwind success, this is almost Ray Davies' Jackson Browne album as he goes on and on about romantic disillusionment. The well stuffed deluxe edition paint a vastly different picture of this album than previous stand alone editions have for the last 45 years. Once these guys hit the studio, they left behind enough material for a label to milk them for years if they were too uncontrollable, and a lot of it showed they were bringing their A game. Wild stuff that showed a different side of their legend, even at their most heartsick they were still protopunk all the way.
EDDIE GIP NOBLE/In the Lite of Things: A been there done that album by a been there done that cat with one twist, he's taking on songs that he wasn't there for and giving them a contemporary smooth jazz twist. And he does it without sounding like one of those cheapo knock off albums that used to sell for $1.99 everywhere. Opening it up with some contemporary funked up "Linus & Lucy", the fun begins and keeps going through tunes likely and unlikely for the revamp. Just the perfect stopover for some smooth jazz with tunes you can trust.
KOTTONMOUTH KINGS/Sunrise Sessions: Pretty much celebrating 15 years in action, this crew couldn't have had as much fun and success if they hadn't left their major label deal behind. Sounding something how Zappa would have sounded in the mid 70s if he was celebrating reefer, this nutty set is right up the younger brothers alley of their older brothers who helped this crew be such an indie world success. They enjoy getting high so much, in such cross cultural fashion, how can you not want to fire one up with them, especially since they keep pushing the boundaries when they could have fallen back on past successes quite easily. Call it whatever you want but real alternative music is alive and well on this blunt tribute to blunts. A wonderful, wild ride.
Volume 34/Number 258
July 18, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record