JAZZ SOUL SEVEN/Impressions of Curtis Mayfield: You think it adds a little to the proceeding that there are some cats on this set that actually played with Mayfield 40 years ago when a lot of these cuts first sprang to life? With each member of this crew being a first call player in their own right, the melding of these jazz minds brings a new dimension to Mayfield's music that will open the ears of new listeners. A wonderfully heady and appropriate performance on undeniably great music, even without he lyrics present, all contemporary jazzbo ears owe it to themselves to turn in this direction for a great, ear opening experience. Well done.
CHELLE ROSE/Ghost of Browder Holler: One thing about these two fisted southern gals whether Janis Joplin, Lucinda Williams, Elizabeth Cook or Bobbie Gentry et al--they might come of out of the same carton, but they all have different flavors. Rose is no exception. Certainly a two fisted broad all the way, she embraces element of all her foremothers but adds her own special sauce, like a sinister sounding Bonnie Raitt vibe, into her pitbull stew. With the original Redneck Mother at the helm, this uncompressing bar parking lot brawl will get your blood flowing. Hot stuff that'll wake you up any morning faster than reveille.
REAL GONE MUSIC
THE GIRLS FROM PETTICOAT JUNCTION/Sixties Sounds: Ok Free Design fans, please tell me how this album that never was got to be a sunshine pop classic that never happened. Of all the cheesy, TV personality roll off albums that sank like a stone, this collection of singles that were and weren't released is finally becoming an album, complete with a shot of the gals in the water tank. With Perry Botkin and George Tipton arranging their sunshine pop butts off and the gals even showing they had first crack at "Up, Up and Away", just what went wrong? Sure, it's a tasty confection representing a time and place, but still---Laverne and Shirley were treated better than this. Check out the one that really got away, it's fun stuff throughout.
RANDY HOEXTER GROUP/Fromage: A hipster inside joke kind of backfires here, and that's not altogether a bad thing. A jazzbo decides to do his cover album of some of the cheesiest songs of his life and brings in some first call jazzbos to help him realize his vision. Because these are the kind of cats that can play the phone book in any key, they make "Pina Colada", "You Light Up My Life", "Muskrat Love", "I've Never Been to Me" and many other songs you love to hate sound good. What's this world coming to? So kick back with "Honey" and "Pacheibel's Canon" side by side, and like many of the other tunes here, mostly unrecognizable next to it's original state. This is what happens when you bring a bunch of guys that know how to play together.
BERT JANSCH/Sweet Sweet Music: Another of our contemporary masters that would have died forgotten if not for the late in life hands lend by Johnny Mars and Eric Clapton, this 2006 live set finds Jansch in the throes of lung cancer that might have truncated his voice but didn't still his fingers. Soldiering on as best as one can with age and cancer nipping at your heels, Jansch delivers a virtual greatest hits of Pentangle and solo sides that would have warmed your heart if you were there. Leaving us with some personal music for the ages, this might not be seminal Jansch, but it is memorable Jansch. The final sounds of an acoustic guitar master are well on display here.
THE NIGHTHAWKS/Damn Good Time: Oddly enough, after a zillion credible years of plugging away, Nighthawks are just coming off their most satisfying album, a non-album that was recorded as a special for satellite radio. Grabbing the momentum, this time around they bring some adult pop sensibility to their trademark white boy blues and shake up a mix that could be the new sound of the suburbs, if listeners can tear themselves away from their mortgage problems and heroin addicted kids long enough to enjoy the groove. Wonderfully tasty stuff that hit's the mark.
IAN TYSON/Raven Singer: Someone should have given more thought to the sequencing of this album. The virus that killed Tyson's voice makes itself known right away, but as the album plays on, the sound of struggle wears away. The voice might make contemporarily Pete Seeger sound vigorous in comparison, but the pen, the guitar and the spirit are still in full flower. The resilient cowboy presses on but maybe it's time to consider forming the Tyson/Russell Band as Tom Russell is the man who would be Tyson anyway---could be interesting, just saying. Long time fans will forgive the struggle and welcome new Tyson anyway they can get it, after all, he isn't getting any younger---but he is getting better. This elder statesman deserves your support.
TWEED FUNK/Love Is: A bunch of cats that look like they have a few years under their belts came out of nowhere from nowhere fast in the last two years lighting up fans and critics scoring the kind of awards and recognition that it takes big bankrolls and big corporations to get lavished that fast. Playing from the gut on originals and covers, they might be from Milwaukee but they have the southern show band circuit in their blood. Aging frat boys crave this more than they do the latest Madonna set. Amped up blues rock funk in the deep west side tradition, this is another sure winner for this crew. Check it out.
Volume 35/Number 188
April 27, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record
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