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TODD WOLFE BAND/Miles to Go: A return to the three piece, heartland, easy rocking bar band of old. All you need is a rock bar that opens on some water and a few cold ones.

ROBIN McKELLIE & the Flytones/Soul Flower: If you wonder where this vet vocalist gets the blue eyed soul edge from, you must have forgotten the time she spent being Michael McDonald's background vocalist. It did rub off some. A nice, jazzy, contemporary run at blue eyed soul with a first class send up on "I'm a Fool to Want You" giving it a sinister edge no one has brought out before.

ISAIAH B. BRUNT/Nursery Rhyme Blues: When the conversation winds down to those Ginger vs. Maryann things, this album answers the question "What would happen if Ry Cooder produced Mississippi John Hurt and Leon Redbone sat in?" Rootsy with a polished/primitive edge, Brunt's latest isn't outsider music, it's more a conceptualization of what would have happened if a jam on Muddy Waters back porch on the west side got moved to Paris for blues aficionados that wanted to dig the real deal. Compelling stuff for listeners that don't want weird for weird sake but are looking for something different to make their ears perk up. Well done.

BILL FRISELL/Big Sur: What can you say about a Frisell album that hasn't been said already? It would be news if it wasn't good, didn't open your ears, didn't make for compelling listening or didn't make a statement that increased the lexicon of his playing. No news here. Any fans of this player will not be disappointed, quite feat for a career running this long, and will be sure to spread the word that minimalism might be in the air but it's all maximum Bill.

ALAN JONES & FRANCOIS THEBERGE/Another View: Two long time musical kindred spirits decide to go for it on an all original date for jazz orchestra that's heavy on the art jazz so much so that it's almost like a ricochet from the 50s. Programmed almost like a show, this is a set that colors widely outside the lines defying expectations swinging for the fences in the way that records that don't worry about being hits but worry about being good often do. Quite the urbane listening experience.

NICK SANDERS/Nameless Neighbor: For those of you worried about Keith Jarrett being ready for social security, his replacement is waiting in the wings. This piano man charts his own course but has the moves of a young Jarrett and hard core fans could make a seamless transition if Jarrett decided to hang it up tomorrow and spend his time walking through the park and humming. He's got one facet of the Jarrett trio thing down here just right and there's probably a load of more tricks up his sleeve waiting for the right time to come out. Check it out.

BONNIE WHITMORE/There I Go Again: She's 30 years old but her second record shows she listened to plenty of singer/songwriters who tried to adapt at the start of the folk rock revolution when many had as much of a problem as silent actors that tried to convert to talkies. She listened to what worked as well as what didn't and the noble failures in between. The result is a wonderfully personal album that kicks off with a riff that sounds like she reassembled Bob Dylan's first electric band. Loaded with songs that Stevie Nicks could have stolen and released as her next album, Whitmore is an original that understands the dictates of the commercial world serving up a nice pairing of both. Quite a smashing set.

BURT BACHARACH/Anyone Who Had a Heart: Isn't it amazing how Bacharach has gotten so much flack over the years for writing treacle when it was he who wrote the music and Hal David who wrote the lyrics? Here's Burt's revenge, a who book of words, telling story his way, tied in with a dandy cd overview all packaged nicely for PBS pledge nights. Unless you've been a hard core fan over the years, you probably look at Burt and think about the money, the babes, the fame and all the good stuff. This book reveals the bad stuff, the bad times and the warts. At 84, he can look back at a life that was fully lived, high low and in between, and be proud of a body of work that has stood the test of time (still generating royalties when many others who had it all have been kicked to the curb). One of the better show biz autobiogs and a pretty good look at a life in the public eye in the 20th Century.

Volume 37/Number 222
June 11, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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