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BUFFY FORD STEWART/Same Old Heart: Anyone who is not a Stewartista will probably wonder how the widow of a criminally underappreciated contemporary songwriting legend could round up such a guest list of heavies for a tribute record on a micro indie. She probably just had to hit John’s Outlook contact list since these are all people he either influenced, had songs recorded by, recorded with, or for real trivia freaks, was in bands with (no matter how short lived). Still obviously feeling the loss after five years, whether doing her own originals or covering songs she inspired along the way, this is such a heartfelt recording, by all involved, that it just jumps off the disc at you. Whether dueting with Davy Jones on “Daydream Believer” just a few days before he died, or writing an answer to a Stewart swan song or anything in between, Stewart takes the legacy to heart and after the fire, this heart is gold. A wonderfully amazing record throughout. By the way, wanna bet the barn in the background of the cover pics is the same barn from the “California Bloodlines” album cover?

BUFFY STEWART/Buffy’s Christmas Album: Reissue of a simple, lovely, 1999 Christmas album where the real Christmas gift was probably John producing Buffy and letting her have her way with the sounds of the season. This is one of those times when simple and direct speaks louder than all the production the biggest checks can muster. A lot of love must have gone into this recording because you can still feel it pouring out. This deserves to become a perennial holiday classic/staple.

JOHN YORK/Fanfare for 2: York might have been part of the revolving door era of Byrds, but he made his mark on them and they made their mark on him and this set finds him to be the one to carry on the legacy with the most nobility. Not having to bring McGuinn’s baggage to the fore, York can revel in 12 string folk rock-singer/songwriter moves that flow like the last 40 years hasn’t inched by at all. Simply done but not stark, this is the kind of record your parents stayed up late to, separating the stems from the seeds on the album cover while they waxed profound about the lyrics. Not at all a journey through the past, this is a slice of how they used to make ‘em and how well they were done.

PETER DALTREY/Best of V. 2-King of Thieves: With the young ‘uns busy rediscovering Bert Jansch, John Martyn, Roy Harper and others, it was only a matter of time before 60s pysch folkie Daltrey got his revelation. Paired with a New Orleans hipster who re-energized him, this is a collection of solo and band tracks culled from over the years that hangs together as a solid album for the uninitiated. Left of center without the Dylan imitations the labels put John Hartford, Townes Van Zandt and many others through, Daltrey is still around while many others aren’t. Not nearly as precious as a lot of neo-psych-folk, this is a dandy diversion for anyone with the sweet tooth for the genre that really wants to get closer to one of the protogenitor sources shown in fine light.

JOHN YORK & KIM FOWLEY/West Coast Revelation: Both involved in different periods of Byrds existence, York & Fowley recently came together and sparks flew when they looked back and remembered how sweet it all was. This is a dandy little folk rock set remembering the 60s; the creativity, the freedom and the lunacy, all in good order. Whether Byrds or Runaways, these guys had a big hand in crafting the soundtrack of the story of your life. Like a folk/rock version of two old blues cats getting together for the first time in later life, this is one of those things where boomers are advised start your engines. Wild stuff that flies under the radar and really catches you by surprise.

ALEXANDER BYRNE/Self Referentials V. 1 & 2: If the cool package doesn’t tip you off that this is art music, then you really are a lunkhead. Like Eno riding a world fusion tip, this avant garde Todd Rundgren takes you on his flights of fancy into realms that aren’t easily described but fuse everything from Wendy Carlos to Eno to those guys who were on Vanguard that I can’t remember right now. It’s not the kind of stuff that’ll clear out a room when you want your party guests to leave, but unless you’re trying to impress an art chick, there might not be a second date in the wind if you want to use this to show off.

ROCK CANDY FUNK PARTY/We Want Groove: Kicking it off with a groove that you think will be a throwback to porno funk but quickly slips back into the mainstream, guitar shredder Joe Bonamassa and his various pals, including some from his regular band, want to revel in some 70s jazz/soul/funk like they used to make even if they wrote all the tunes themselves in real time. It’s a groove record that’s a groove and there’s nothing else to do but let the good times roll. Check it out. The package also comes with a behind the scenes DVD if you’re so inclined.

LUCKY PETERSON BAND/Live at the 55 Arts Club Berlin: If you’re ready for a rollicking electric blues show, this package gives you everything you need to get the party started. Checking in with 5 discs, there are three DVDs and two cds, with two of the dvds tracking the audio of the show from the cds. Peterson and his wife and their pals wanted to send the fans home at least five pounds lighter. The B3 never stops soaring and if it’s blues/funk you want, this is the right place to get it. Peterson is mightily energized, getting back in touch with the energy he had as a wide eyed tyro and simply taking it over the top. A killer contemporary blues set that really covers all the bases.

BILL FRISELL/The Disfarmer Project: Well, I guess if you dig deep enough into anyone’s back pages, you’re going to find something unexpected. Those stark, old west images Richard Avedon did? They were inspired by Mike Disfarmer’s depression era Arkansas photos of real people in real hard times. Frisell set those images to music with the help of Carrie Rodriguez, Victor Krauss and Greg Leisz. Who knew they even knew each other? We find Frisell pushing the envelop once again with impressionistic music that never steps on the images while the band plays on. With a set of first class sitting down music moving things along, sure, it’s for the artsy crowd but that doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t enjoy it when we feel like getting our grown up on. This is much more than a long form music vid. Believe me.

Volume 37/Number 81
January 21, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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