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VELVET UNDERGROUND/Icon: There was once a time when all you Jim Jims in this town would have been one of the few to buy a copy of something by this crew and then use your trust fund money to run off and start a band. Now, you'll buy this record and use your trust fund money, and your father's hedge fund pals, to start a well funded dot crash. But the spirit lives on. Your parents generation's first taste of decadence (because you could count on them not to read William Burroughs), this is ground zeros for all the yuppies that think they invented sex in all it's permutations. Hey, one of the guys in this band was married to Betsey Johnson and she was content to support his rock star life style, and he blew her off. Now that's decadent! And let's not forget the heroin in the mix. Long lasting crazy stuff for all time, once and for all.

STEPHANIE MILLS/Feel the Fire-The 20th Century Collection: Mills' stay at 20th Century might not have been a long one, but it came at the right time for her, the label and her producers because she was able to ride the heat from "The Wiz", Mtume and Lucas got their stars polished and 20th stayed in business a little longer after Barry White left. This collection gathers most of her heat for the feet along with extra mixes and it shows by the time she dropped these sides, she was no longer a kid with a few failed pop albums behind her. One of those dandy yesterday-once-more collections, the youth and hunger of everyone in the studio brewed up one serious concoction. Still hot stuff today and better sounding than the Japan reissues. Well done throughout.
Hip-O Select

JAZZ AT THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL/various: For all the cool Norman Granz/JATP stuff that's been released over the last 15 years, it amazes that this 1956 session is just seeing light of day on cd. The first time jazz was ever presented at the Bowl, Granz brought all his all stars along for the ride so you know there's absolutely nothing here that misfires from Ella to Louis to Ella and Louis to Art Tatum to the gang that brought up the rear including Oscar Peterson, Illinois Jacquet and the rest. Sure, it's old man jazz, but it sizzled then and it sizzles now. Totally killer stuff that sets the standard for straight ahead jazz.
Verve Select

PHAROAH SANDERS/Village of the Pharoahs-Wisdom Through Music: Another twofer celebrating the 50th anniversary of Impulse finds Sanders delivering two 1973 dates that finds in him his way out of the times groove along with sidemen that would later go on to become luminaries on their own including Norman Connors, Stanley Clarke, Art Webb, Mtume and many, many more. Very left of center world jazz that had elements taken from whatever point on the curve Sanders wanted to take them from, this is solid listening for the open eared and not faint of heart. You can tell this was recorded back when the labels actually wanted to foster creativity (if the price was right).

O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU deluxe edition: The collection that took care of Gillian Welch's old age as well as brought vets like John Hartford back to the front, this is the set that introduced yuppies to Americana, country and other great indigenous sounds by great players. Very much one of the genre's perfect records, more amazing since it was a soundtrack, this is killer stuff, simply put. Certainly one of those country albums to own if you only own one country album....Now go take a trip on this "Big Rock Candy Mountain" with Van Dyke Parks? What a wonderful set.
(Lost Highway)

Volume 34/Number 302
August 31, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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