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NEARLY BELOVED/Where's Bob?: A bunch of roots cats that have an unabashed love for early Statler Brothers, Bakersfield sound and Tom Waits come in with a subversive roots date that would have normally had to spring from a mind like Kinky Friedman. Killer roots music for malcontents that want to keep it slightly under the radar and not give their stripe away too quickly, this stuff is a gas for anyone with a sense of humor---even though it's not a comedy record. Great stuff for those looking not to play it too straight.

NICK MOSS/Here I Am: I think this is the first time we've been clever enough to call him Moss the Boss, but after a few albums of really trying to refine his sound, Moss has had his Buddy Holly moment where he firmly finds that sound he was looking for that changes the course of mighty rivers. Taking the traditional blues to the next level of the game, much like the genre pushers of the past, moldy figs will take issue but the frat boys of tomorrow will be pointing to this as the blues they remember. Industrial and forward thinking, Moss really kicks out the jams, top shelf style. A killer set for those ready to take on the future.

KILBORN ALLEY/4: It's true, John Koerner and Z. Z. Top birthed a band and it was Kilborn Alley. Turning up their blues rock party sound full blast, this bunch plays the blues to chase the blues away and this set is the perfect antidote to the times we're living in. If ever there was a record that was made to accompany beer, this is it. A killer party set that is repeat button friendly and knows nothing about closing time. Check it out.

MICHAEL CAMPAGNA/Moments: Contemporary jazzbo sax man with a wide ranging resume paints his own sounds with a range of post bop modes that he fuses nicely into a sonic tapestry that moves freely but never careens out of control. Residing comfortably somewhere between moving easy and cocktail jazz, this is fun, light music to listen to when good vibes are not only in order but required. Smooth and tasty throughout.

FRANK SINATRA/Best of the Best: Don't give this to grandpa thinking you're doing him a favor. He'll jut remind you that you're a rotten kid that never calls to see how he is and you don't know a thing about him. Trust me, if grandpa likes Sinatra, he's got all this tuff at least twice over, and brought at least half of it to the old people's home with him. However, this is a great starting point to check out the majesty that was The Voice. Mixing great tracks from his Capitol and Reprise periods, this is a killer, contemporary collection. Trust me, his Columbia and RCA stuff has been rendered for hard core fans by time fleeting. This, however, kicks ass. The deluxe edition includes a 1957 concert that shows him in top, fine form. It's been out twice already but today's technology really puts you square in one of the rare performances he did with Nelson Riddle. A commanding must for newbies or those that should be.

NICOLAS MASSON/Departures: A Euro born jazzbo that look more like John Hartford than a downtown jazzbo hooks up with some downtown pals for an angular jazzbo outing in the Euro mode where there's a heavy dose of art and genre blending in the forefront. A solid bet for downtown tastes that want to know they're in good hands before stepping down those dark stairs to the church basement.

LAWSON ROLLINS/Elevation: I've hipped you to this guy before and if you haven't checked him out yet, well, I'm just sick of you. If world/jazz/instrumental isn't your thing, ok if you've been slow to check him out---but it's still no excuse. Rollins latest is right there with the best of anything Windham Hill/Narada/Higher Octave/Johannes Lindstadt/Ottmar Liebert and all the rest that have tilled these fields have had to offer. A genuine world beat outing, recorded all over the world with players old and new to your ears, this is right in the center of the winner's circle of adult listening albums to come out this year. Screw 10 best lists---this is the real thing! Enchanting, lively, buoyant and giving you a wonderful return on the investment of your time and money, adult ears will want this in their cars, on their mp3 players and ripped to their hard drives for easy access at any time. As of right now, it doesn't get any better than this.

FOLLIES/New Broadway Cast Recording: Whether your fave exclamation is ‘good golly', ‘jumping Jesus' or ‘goddamned son of bitch bastard', if you are a Broadway fan, the team of Sondheim/Peters/Krasker have delivered the answer to all your Christmas shopping needs, just in time for cyber Monday. An expensive sounding, two disc recording of the recent revival of Sondheim's 70s classic acerbic show, this set is one of those great last word on the subject albums. From the complete libretto to the spot on musical performance by the orchestra, this reunion of a bunch of showgirls getting together at their old stomping ground right before it gets thrown down for a parking lot to dig their claws into each other one last time gets to take it's place alongside of the great American classics of musical theater. And American music in general. A first class effort throughout where you can tell without a doubt that the principals made it because they had to make it. Go farther than checking it out, this is simply a classic.

Volume 35/Number 25
November 25, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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