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PETE SEEGER & LORRE WYATT/A More Perfect Union: Oddly enough, I was recently listening to "Link in the Chain" and even though Guy Clark has no relationship to Pete Seeger, he would certainly be pleased that Seeger is one of the few things that is built to last. Now in his 90s and in the 15th year of his relationship to the label that was started to keep his music alive, Seeger turns in a set that could be a studio companion to "Live at Mandel Hall" in vibe and spirit. An ageless, right in the pocket folk music record that will probably never get dated, Seeger pulls together all his various interests and modes for a deluxe set that at minimum will win him another late career Grammy. Attracting acolytes like Springsteen, Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle and others, Seeger, everyone's cool offbeat grandpa, delivers the musical comfort food even when delivering uncomfortable truths. Dazzling stuff from one of the last real pros of his generation, long may he run. Great stuff for anyone looking to come to the table and find it packed out with a great, meaty musical buffet, folk music style (singer/songwriter to you young whippersnappers). First class all the way.

PETE SEEGER/Pete Remembers Woody: Woody Guthrie's centennial birthday hasn't caused the same stir as Duke Ellington's but he's a cat with no less impact on American music. Seeger was a pal of Guthrie's from back in the day and who better to be the ringleader of this two cd set that should have been a multi media production? Seeger reminisces, others write and sing Guthrie's praises, and god damn almighty if this isn't one of those records that got made because it demanded to be made. Wonderfully preserving a slice of Americana that'll soon be lost to time and not come this way again, if you call yourself an Americana fan, get on board now. Even without the visuals, this feels like the kind of thing HBO does so well, and you can see it as Seeger tells it. Well done.

GEORGE LOPEZ/It's Not Me, It's You: I never really would have expected Lopez to turn into the Latino Dick Gregory but he has grown into that mantle as he continues his exploration of Chicano life in America mixing humor, bite and biting back. Mainstreaming things so that whitey can listen and enjoy as well as his landsmen, this is where contemporary class conscious humor resides these days. Recorded live, this roll off from his HBO special crackles with the no safety net energy that only live performance can give. A stone cold laugh riot for contemporary melting pot America.

GRUPO LOS SANTOS/Clave Heart: Sounding way more Nyorican or Afro-Cuban than their last names would have you believe, this New York jazzbo crew serves it up like it came right from a hip Brooklyn neighborhood prior to gentrification and $4K/month rentals for closets. Snappy, snazzy stuff, they know how to let the fire burn at just the right temperature and they do deliver the goods piping hot. Tasty.

JON HAMAR/Hymn: A progressive Seattle bass player rounds up Todd DelGuidice and Geoff Keezer for a jazz piano trio that colors way outside the lines mixing the church basement and outer space for an out of this world configuration that let's these creative musicians push their creative envelopes. Certainly not a mainstreamer's paradise, this is for those that like it out there, but not so far out that you'd need Sun Ra as your sherpa.

HOOD SMOKE/Laid up in Ordinary: Am I hearing young Hawk Wolinski and Chaka Khan echoing in these grooves? A smoking Chicago crew that knows their groove history a well as their local history deliver Grandson of Rufus on this funky for the times set that's driven by their well honed chops. Fun stuff that'll be sure to tell you something good.

Volume 35/Number 330
September 15, 2012
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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