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REDD FOXX/I Ain't Lied Yet: It says this was originally released in 1978 but don't you believe it. This was originally released before his stay on Warners in the 60s. A prime slice of Foxx on the chitlin circuit, once upon a time, this record had to be sold in a plain wrapper and sold from under the counter. Sheesh how times have changed. Hitting it rapid fire, Foxx was/is a laugh riot, even if we know these jokes backwards and forwards, we have to hear them with his timing and inflection. Who says you can't listen to a comedy record more than once? It's good to see this back in print.

MANNISH BOYS/Double Dynamite: This super hip contemporary blues crew goes all out to give you the biggest bang for your buck this time around. With an ambitious twofer in tow, they have one disc with it's foot in tradition and one disc with it's foot in the future and now. Stacking the deck with a load of great guests and pals who just flat out gather round to deliver the goods, any place you fit in on the blues spectrum has something here for you. Always amped up whether tipping the cap to Muddy or JB, this crew has come loaded for bear. Trying really hard to be the only blues album you need to buy this year, the Boys are back in town. It's to stay and they never left. Well done.

RJ MISCHO/Make It Good: The Minnesota kid that was smitten enough with Muddy Waters to make an early career decision to jump on this merry go round is now at the top of his game several decades later. Playing the kind of blues rock that can keep a road house jumping all night long without even paying off the cops to look the other way about being open past the license restrictions, this is a high octane party that just doesn't quit. Another blue plate special served up hot for the frat boy in everyone.

BILL MUMY/Thank You Kindly: If you're a guy in your 50s, you can only hope that Mumy's life has been as good on the inside as it looks from the outside. For every kid that dreamed of being Aaron Rodgers, there's a kid who wanted to be Mumy. From starring in one of the defining "Twilight Zone" episodes to being Will Robinson to making "Fishheads" to making adult life look pretty easy, he's done it---and then some. Mumy's, whose first record was produced by John Stewart, decided he wanted to make a Kingston Trio homage record when they were given a lifetime Grammy in 2011. Without Capitol's studio C, without Voyle Gilmore and without anybody but himself in the studio, he's done an amazing recreation of the classic Trio sound. Focusing on the songs he liked as opposed to covering the hits, Mumy gets in touch with his inner Nick Reynolds and delivers what should at least be used as a textbook for the Trio Fantasy Camp attendees. Some stuff just stops you in your tracks and this album is one of them. Trio fan, folk music fan, Mumy fan...this is one for your collection. Well done. By the way, Bill, do we get bonus points for knowing the album title is a phrase from "Desert Pete" which isn't on board here?

KINGSTON TRIO/Born at the Right Time: You have to give Bob Shane and the ‘new guys' a lot of credit. McCartney never hired three other guys and toured as Beatles. Liam Clancy never hired three other guys to tour as Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem (even though he did duet later with Makem, we know smart ass). And the Lovin' Spoonful--when you see them in the mall parking lot in summer without John Sebastian and a bunch of guys younger than you...forgetaboutit! This is a very cool transition album. While it was always a little disconcerting to hear the ‘new guys' intro a song saying "when we first started singing this 50 years ago...". This is the first record where the ‘new guys' are really on their own. While Bob Shane's watchful eye is in the background keeping an eye and ear on the quality of the brand, this is a song stack looking to the future to further the legacy. They're doing a much better job of carrying on than The Who did when adding some new guys. After 30 years of being "the new guys", purists may never think the original can be topped but they will have to admit this crew can stand toe to toe with the first two Trios. Well done.

THE SUPREMES/At the Copa Expanded Edition: When you listen to the previously unreleased complete show, all that's missing is Henry Hill sitting ring side hooting and stomping between numbers, slurping down champagne Johnny Roast Beef sent over while the gals were tearing up. Basically offering up three versions of the original album, they deliver the soul hits, supper club style, then they dip into the Jimmy Roselli song bag to please the rest of the crowd that showed up from different streets. Recorded a few years before the series of long, hot summers and the civil rights explosion, Diana Ross, Berry Gordy and the rest had their eye on the real prize that brings real equality, green power. The complete show makes it clear that this bunch were all around entertainers that time, tide and marketing made them adapt as was seen fit. Selling out? Not really if they were trying to be entertainers in the entertainment business. Doing bang up jobs on songs Louis Prima did was a long way from co-opting yourself and doing a blackface act. A very interesting snapshot on a lot of levels, this was recorded at the tail end of the times when a black act could play Vegas but couldn't stay at the hotel where the show was. Dynamic, headstrong and tuneful, this is a high octane performance from a time when making it was the end all and be all in itself. Killer stuff.

LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III/Older Than My Old Man Now: Sometimes you just have to swallow the bitter pill you don't want to. After "Dead Skunk", the powers that be told Wainwright all he had to do what shut up and make a quirky album every 18 months. Didn't work that way. Two screwed up families of folk music royalty later, Wainwright makes the album he should have made instead of "Attempted Mustache". Of course, he didn't have the almost 40 years of life experiences that shaped this quirky album that takes us back to the simplicity of his Atlantic albums that were simple, direct and so heartfelt, they had everything that was needed and more, modest budgets be damned. Much more than an album only Judd Apatow could love, he's been visible enough over the years that this set might make him some new fans out of curiosity, but because he's the kind of singer/songwriter you always kept a lazy eye out for no matter how far off the rails he flew, old fans will take these songs of aging and looking at the end to heart and make this a classic on their play lists. Classic Wainwright in killer form.

GLENN FREY/After Hours: If Lester Bangs was still alive, he would take this opportunity to say that the content of Frey's first solo album in almost 20 years proves he's been out of new ideas since covering "Ol' 55". Covering songs that are classics and loved by almost everyone, he's no Steve Tyrell when it comes to mining these fields and all but the die hard Eagles fans will be left with quizzical expressions before passing this one by. It's not a bad album, it's not a mediocre album, it's just too personal of an album. Someone like Linda Ronstadt could pull this off as her personality moved through a lot of changes. Frey is Eagles, a skin he can never shed, and the closest he comes to hitting it right is "Route 66" (which might go through Winslow, AZ). A least it's a heartfelt try.

KINGSTON TRIO/1987 Concert on Lake Michigan: One of the great things about being rich is that you can hire whoever you want to sing at your birthday party. In 1987, a rich guy wanted one of the Shane Trios to play for his wife and a bunch of their invited guests. This wasn't meant to be recorded for posterity but now that You Tube has decentralized everything we watch, better to put a few bucks in the musician's pockets than just let it fly free into the cosmos. Not letting the honored birthday girl down, the Trio delivers. At minimum, this release is a nice valentine for the fans and a nice snapshot at one of the editions of the group that came and went. One thing is certain, if you have the 1957 Purple Onion demos, you won't stand on ceremony about anything here.

Volume 35/Number 206
May 15, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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