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BACON BROTHERS/Philadelphia Road-Best of: Just wondering, did anyone that slagged Bacon Brothers actually listen to them? Casting themselves as folk rockers with a bluesy bent, the actor and his movie composer brother know their way around tunes. The thing where they were let down was in the material where their voices never really found a voice. An actor and a film composer, they know how to deliver what other people want, but in the case of directly dealing with an audience, you don't do shoe gaze just because everyone else is doing shoe gaze. I can be bummed out anywhere, show me why I should let you bum me out. So in lies the problem. That and people you're writing check to standing around nodding their heads going ‘that is so right on, man'. Working in film as they do, they never leaned how to break down the fourth wall. This anthology isn't bad and if you like Kevin Bacon, it's a nice personality piece.

AMINA FIGAROVA/Twelve: No matter how much you travel in the cause of jazz, if you are foreign born, there's a certain palpability that creeps into all your senses when you move to New York---and that vibrancy is reflected right out of the gate on Figarova's 12th album, creatively titled ‘12'. Her world sensibilities collide with the 52nd Street hat might not be around per se any longer, but exists in the minds and psyche's of jazzbos everywhere. Kicking it high style with a transplant's sense of wonder, she just has to remember to be as careful jumping the A train as she would be wandering the souks. Tasty, high octane stuff from one of our fave lady, piano jazzbos.

SUSIE ARIOLI/All the Way: Canada's Juno winning vocalist gets in touch with her Italian roots and delivers the long over due Sinatra flavored set that's heavy on tracks associated with Sinatra, his era or jazzbos you think about along the same lines---but it's heavy on Sinatra, even if someone else did the song definitively. Certain focusing on the moody, ballad side of the ledger, this is one smoky set that harkens back to the golden era of broads and clip joints hustling ginger ale flavored champagne cocktails. I can almost hear Morris Levy telling the guy from ASCAP to go to hell in the background. Totally on the money throughout.

JO WYMER/Living With Scars: From the back liner photo, I thought Wymer was an anguished folkie with a message on life borne out of experience. Surprise. Wymer is Fender Sunburst wielding rocker with the kind of sound that rocks clubs to their foundation because of the arena aspirations. This bad ass babe has the sound, the fury and the moves all down right without sounding prefabricated. Whether or not she gets the breaks to make it to the sheds, this is a high octane sound that will sell a lot of drinks and leave a lot of sweat behind. Hard core hot stuff.

CARMEN INTORRE JR/For the Soul: Hey buddy, you had me with ‘I drum for Pat Martino and Bob Belden is producing', you didn't have to have a first call backing crew and some killer funk as well. Well, I'm not complaining that you did, just sayin'. A right on cat that knows how to properly dig in the crates for some fine funk and jazz, treating other's songs as is they were his own, this is a delightfully solid date that runs along the funk/jazz/fusion tip, never falling on it's face and never falling into fuzak. A purely smoking little cooker that turns up the heat and forgets to turn it back down. Check it out.
TODD FRITSCH/Up Here in the Saddle: He looks like a slumming yuppie hanging out at a dude ranch but he sings like a real deal redneck, honky tonk rocker. With a sound that's so far away from anything the powers that be think people want, this is as populist as it gets without being communist. A loud and proud cowboy that ain't afraid to let her rip, this is first class music for heartland listeners that think John Mellencamp is too city. Killer stuff.

PETE SEEGER/Complete Bowdin College Concert 1960: Over 50 years ago, when Seeger was just coming off the commie blacklist of the 50s, he was on the edge of a new radicalism that led him to played a series of unannounced concerts. This double cd was pulled from one of those, just was he was getting radicalized against Viet Nam and falling in line as the father figure the nascent hippies wished they'd had. Still deeply steeped in the folk tradition, a lot of people miss the fact that Seeger really wanted to be a pop star. He believed in his causes, but they were really incidental to what was going on when he hit the stage. Entertaining and engaging as always, this is a charming blast from the past when tame stuff like this was considered ‘radical'. An essential American original, this is a pretty fair starting place to jump in if you want to know more about the 93 year old while he's still around. Certainly a dream set for the hard core folkie, it's not chopped liver for other music lovers as well. Check it out.

SEMBEH MA FA FE (Revisits Volume)/various: So, have you really been thinking about the music scene in Guinea ever since they declared independence and cut themselves off from the rest of the world? Ok, gotcha. So what's been going on there lately? A wild skanking, funky gumbo of world sounds that you wouldn't think had creeped in so well. Music from the streets just like the first generation of everything from reggae to house, it crackles with the passion of uprising, escape and plugs into the universal groove. The first volume of a two volume set that is going to showcase the hottest and hardest, this is some wild funky stuff that just doesn't know when to quit. Since there's a lack of English, if these are political diatribes, you can fire up a doob without the message hashing your mellow. Check it out.

Volume 35/Number 217
May 26, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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