BRIAN HO/Organic: There's just something about these young cats that have an old school affinity but know how to bring that inescapable special sauce that makes it imperceptibly modern for modern ears. Ho is right in the classic B3 pocket and brings a crew that thinks like he does. With all the new B3 in the recent air, this is a fine addition to the pack that knows how to seamlessly elbow it's way in without making waves or roiling waters. This young Asian American that learned it from jump doing a Sunday gig at an African American church where the true believers were the rocking hymnal hardcore, is probably one of those Asian kids that fucked up grading curve in math class for the rest of us, but all is forgiven with this kind of playing. We're too old to be giving swirlies at this time anyway. This kid is going to be huge and it all begins here. Get on board for early bragging rights now.
ALLAN HARRIS & TAKANA MIYAMOTO/Convergence: I didn't exactly know what this piano/vocal duo was trying to do with this set of oldies until I read the hype sheet that explained it. This is the duo's tribute to the Bill Evans/Tony Bennett duets of the 70s. The originals were pretty loungy, and this keeps the lounge vibe alive and well, but they add their own particular special sauce that was missing from the originals, recorded when both artists were, um, 'off roster' (y'dig). Replacing some of the underlying bitterness with DIY spirit, this set by established pros, falls somewhere in between 'yeah, ok' and swinging lounge stuff. By the time Miyamoto, who has spent enough time in Evans tribute bands, tackles "Waltz for Debby" any doubts are forgiven and good vibes are on tap for all. Check it out for a different look at Evans you'll easily appreciate.
NEW AGE MUSIC CIRCLE
SOUNDS FROM THE CIRCLE IV/various: I still say that even if cds are inconvenient, they are still the best back up device for music you really want to keep in pretty permanent and impervious condition. Long time new age guru Suzanne Doucet must know what I'm taking about as she's crafted a sampler for new age artists that fly under her wing by putting 3.5 hours of music on an mp3 cd. Playable mostly from your computer or mp3 reading equipped device (or just download it and do what you do), there's no discernable sound loss and the song stack is a delightful treat throughout. Even if you are using an older laptop, it plays and loads just fine but you have to give it a while to ramp up, at which point the grinding sound will stop. An eclectic set throughout, it stay right at the edge of what a granola eater would consider commercial making it a fine mid point for the hard core as well as the tourist. Hey naysayers, this set shows the genre is still vibrant and lively with only EMI and RCA to blame for driving it all underground. Check it out.
GARY PRIMICH/Just a Little Bit More...With Omar Dykes: What is it about white guys that make their way in the blues and depression? There seems to be a growing trend out there that some doctor that doesn't have Phil, Mehmet or Drew in his name needs to look into. This generously stocked twofer is a tribute set spearheaded by his family and long time friend, Omar Dykes, who provided the cooling out spot Primich needed when leading a road band got to be too much. Harmonica doesn't start and end with Little Walter and Toots Thielmanns. Primich did plenty to raise the reputation of harmonica from kid's toy to serious instrument to be taken seriously. A sweltering set of high energy, the only time it really slows down is when Primich finds all the pain in "September Song" and let's his "toy' bring on the pain. A sensational set of blues harmonica that doesn't need the "white boy' modifier to tell you what's going on. Primich was committed to being the real deal and this look back shows how well he succeeded.
BOBAN I MARKO MARKOVIC ORKESTAR/Golden Horns: These authentic gypsies always make music that sounds like it could be from a funeral scene in an unmade Mel Brooks movie forget about "12 Chairs"). While the music is authentically ethnic, they are world wise enough that they usually sound like a walk through New York as you get away from Central Park and 5th Avenue. Apparently listening to a lot of Miles Davis and Herb Alpert on Radio Free Europe when they were kids, these party animals expose the party side of their music on this greatest hits set. They've been making wonderfully off beat records (at least off beat for gringos) for quite a while, and this set, where the deck is stacked, is a tonic for jaded world beat ears and eastern Euros that want to reconnect with some of their roots. A delightfully wild ride throughout.
MICKEY MURRAY/People Are Together: Want to know how to go from selling a million copies of your debut single to becoming a footnote in one easy step? Murray can tell you how. A King Records home grown act that came along just as King was losing James Brown, Murray wasn't going to take it easy on the funk and black power. Black djs told the label this stuff was too radical for them to play, even in the age of �burn, baby, burn'. 42 years later, you wonder what all the hub bub about his preaching and wailing was all about (as is the usual course of things). Still a mighty heartland soul release that can stand toe to toe with anything Curtis Mayfield was doing back then, the message isn't lost because it's still relevant. Murray believes this was never actually released and it's a fine soul session with a message that was long overdue for escaping from the vaults. Secret Stash has done it again.
Volume 35/Number 176
April 14, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record
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