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PATRICE O'NEAL/Mr. P: Following in that freewheeling, shoot from the hip lineage that runs from Redd Foxx to Richard Pryor to Chris Rock, O'Neal obviously left us too soon as he was just really making his mark. This record captures a performance from soon before he recently died that finds him riffing in-the- moment hilarity that uses the audience the way Gallagher uses sledge hammers. An unyielding steamroller that takes it to the streets and says what's on his mind, as well as what's on everyone else's mind, O'Neal will bowl you over with his energy before you even digest the jokes. It seems like he was more well known to comedy insiders and hipsters, unfortunately ala Bill Hicks, and if you might have missed this comedy comet at least he left this behind so you can hitch a ride on his tail. Check it out.

JACK MILLMAN & His Hollywood All Stars/California Jazz: A seminal figure in 50s California jazz and the inventor of the video jukebox, still active today in his 70s, I have no idea who this cat is; however, I know who all the cats that hung with him are and it's a mighty impressive roster of modern jazz, all gathered and playing under his leadership. The original of this album is a mighty collectors item today and it only takes one listen to see/hear why. A wonderful, towering achievement of mainstream jazz that's firmly in the old man jazz camp (even if the players were mostly at the heights of their youthful vigor when this was originally recorded), it doesn't sound dated in the least. If you thought Howard Rumsey was the last word on California jazz with killer players, save yourself the embarrassment of public admissions like this, grab a copy of this smoking date and proceed to act like you knew about it all along. This album is a stone, cold killer. Really, get in the game.

BEAT GENERATION JAZZ The Music that Inspired a Revolution/various: Oh, come on, 60 years on, it's really hard to think of Steve Allen as a hipster, but there he was on network TV presenting bebop, hipster jazz, Jack Kerouac and Lenny Bruce. Junkies in Eisenhower era living rooms on a nightly basis, a late night, nightly basis. With so much wonderful stuff to compile through the misty, water colored memories of time, comics and jazzbos converge on this collection, well known and forgotten, all influential, and take you back to the time and place. Jazz, blues, comedy, poetry and jazz--you name it, this twofer has got it all. Whether tent poles like "Twisted", Groovin' High" or "Well You Needn't" by the original artists or riffs by Del Close and Ken Nordine, this collection will make you earn your needle and pork pie hat. More of an aberrant American snapshot than a nostalgia trip, it's a gas no matter what light you put it under. And like those late night tv greatest hits music packages, if you were to hunt down all these individual records, not only wouldn't you not be able to find them, it would cost a fortune if you did. Chrome Dreams is becoming like Rhino if it took a real left turn in it's hey day. Groove with it, daddio!

EPITAPH/Outside the Law: How could you young whippersnappers think back 38 years to when the Arab oil embargo brought us to our needs with high gas prices, the economy sucked and...hmmm, this is a pretty good time to reissue this 1974 date, isn't it? The big minded but under financed Chicago label, Billingsgate, decided to fill the air with Kraut rock to chase away the blues, but they were going to buck the trend and go prog rather than Kraftwerk. How'd that work out for them? Well, pretty well artistically. (They did introduce us to Inga Rumpf, but that's another story for another reissue). This psych/prog crew made a pretty kicking record that still feel right today. This augmented edition of the original adds bonus tracks from a subsequent, unreleased session and live tracks from a 2000 reunion concert. The booklet crams in a lot of time and tide facts, including thoughts on an appearance at the late, lamented Quiet Knight, where only 100 people showed up at the folk club for this metal infused concert. Thems was the 70s folks, you had to be there. If you like all that prog era jamming and weren't there the first time around, this is a mighty journey through the past you didn't even know you wanted to take. Check it out.

THE 44s/Americana: California blues rockers that fuse traditional LA and Chicago hard core blues pull off a wonderful back to the future fusion of old and new with steam powered energy and Kid Ramos at the controls adding his guitar fuel to their existing fire. The cats in this quartet were obviously born in a road house and grew up licking spilled beer off the floor while their parent's ignored them. How else could they come up with such an authentic sound that is familiar without being derivative while it kicks ass all over the yard? No two ways about it, party over here. Grab a ride on this blues train, pronto.

SCOTT ADAMS/Teamwork Means You Can't Pick the Side That's Right: We have taken an unscientific poll and if "Dilbert" doesn't have you ROLF LYFAO, you are either dead or unemployed. Taking a solid bitch slap at Apple on the front cover and proceeding from there, the lousy economy really brings out the best in Adams as he propels Dilbert through the idiocy of the contemporary work place. Pointy and Wally really shake it up in this year's worth of strips that'll make you try harder to figure out how to make a living on the Internet from the comfort of your fave hiding place. Open the cover, stroll through the pages and come to the realization that it's time to come over to the dark side where you are not alone. Caution, don't drink anything that can propel through your nose when you are reading this latest. It's all funny because it's all true. Wake up America, Scott Adams for President!

COLIN QUINN/Long Story Short: Quinn and Dennis Miller are both from Saturday Night Live, are both managed by Brillstein Entertainment and both can take a deep breath and peel through a story. Miller's rants have become decidedly Republican while Quinn's rants are great everyman/everyday guy pissed off observations. Throwing every inch of his New York Irish look and delivery into the pot, this is the best common man stuff since Gerry Sussman wrote "The Tales of Bernie X" (you've got Google, look it up). A 75 minute show directed by Jerry Seinfeld, comedy is in good hands here and this laugh riot will have you hitting the pause button to catch your breath and digest the reference before moving on more times than you can imagine. It was originally made for HBO and they generally never let you down with these kind of comedy specials. Laugh it up.

IMAX-BORN TO BE WILD: So let's just suppose that you aren't so busy and heartless that Knut the Polar Bear tugged at your heartstrings just a little bit. Animals don't have it easy. Kill or be killed. Poachers. Unpredictable nature patterns. This Imax documentary takes a look at the extraordinary people that take care of abandoned and orphaned monkeys and elephants in still fairly primitive parts of the world. Yes, animals have feelings and thoughts and respond to the proper stimuli like any other creature on the Earth. Without being sensationalistic or preachy, this documentary tells it like it is and points out how the delicate balance really should be maintained for the good of us all. Family entertainment that divorced dads won't think feels like obligation, this really tells it like it is and makes you want to do something, at least from the comfort of your air conditioned condo. A heart warming look at things we know about but never see. The blu ray includes webisodes that inspired this pic and it's well worth the few extra bucks the combo pack costs. Well done throughout.

Volume 35/Number 163
April 1, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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