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CHARLIE WHITEHEAD/Raw Spitt: Perhaps the greatest lost southern soul singer this side of Tommy Tate, Whitehead had pretty much of a don't cry for me Argentina kind of a career. Produced by Swamp Dogg with an eye toward making him a protégé, this debut album came out on a label that soon went under. More record world mishaps ensued. Meanwhile, Whitehead had a good live and writing career so it's not like he was circling the drain. This classic lost album doesn't seem audacious now, but 40 years ago black protest music was a real hot potato. Opening and closing with some familiar hippie stuff, it only book ended some incendiary stuff about almost everything. On top of that, it's some damn fine soul music throughout. This album assumed legendary status over it's years in diaspora and it's easy to hear why once you get a taste. This is more than a document about a time and place, it's classic stuff that would had to have gotten it's legs sooner or later. Check it out and find out what insiders have known for years.

LIGHTNIN SLIM/High and Low Down: Remember how in "Animal House" Otis Day could go from playing the frat house to playing the gut bucket, chitlin circuit joint. In 1970 Swamp Dogg got the great idea to take a hard core southern blues cat and back him up with a rollicking mix of Butterfield meets chitlin circuit show band. Ah, the early 70s was a time when envelop pushing was appreciated and encouraged. It didn't always meet with commercial success for one reason or another, but when it resulted in a great album like this, the result was worth the struggle. A delightfully timeless album that could be a gateway drug for any intimidated newbie looking for an introduction to the blues, it's stuff like this that's getting Swamp Dogg some late career recognition and love. Hot stuff throughout that really opens your ears to the possibilities of the blues.

BOB DOROUGH/Duets: So, take a 90 year old original hipster that still has enough hair to pull it back into a pony tail, add some really great guest stars glad to be working out with him on his iconic songs, all star back up players that know and love these tunes, dust off some previously unreleased trunk tunes and do the whole thing for charity to support a local arts organization and what to go get? A great, heartfelt album that sounds like no expense was spared that's just too cool for almost any label to release. Sounding nothing like a last hurrah from a lion in winter, putting out vital, full blooded stuff like this could get Dorough's AARP card revoked. Must hearing for anyone that loved what they were doing at Arbors or the old Concord, this is a masterstroke of jazz vocal work that's sure to take on a life of it's own. Great stuff.

RACHEL BLOOM/Please Love Me: Fairly recent college grad Bloom has wasted no time in making sure those student loans get repaid without much problem. While paying job openings for comic might not be as plentiful as ones for computer programmer, Bloom's successful embrace, mastery and navigation of the new paradigms has let her plant a lot of solid flags in a lot of territories in short order. Expanding on knowing how to create a viral hit that brings home the bacon, Bloom comes forth with a record of comedy songs that lands between Lonely Island and Tom Lehrer rather than between Allan Sherman and Al Yankovic. A smart, sassy set with a lot of in the moment references that won't harm this in the future, Bloom is within two years of being an overnight sensation whose name will be on everyone's lips. This nascent, DIY session arrives fully formed and one can only hope her inevitable show biz success doesn't go to her head the way it does for so many so she can keep us laughing for years to come. You might as well get on board now so you can say you were there back in the day. Killer stuff

SHELBY EARL/Swift Arrows: Wow. This is loads different form her last album. Practically recorded on the fly, Seattle is set for an anti-grunge revolution with this young, too many dies paid singer/songwriter that comes in with what Joni Mitchell would have come in if she was just starting out today. Don't get me wrong, she's nothing like Joni Mitchell, just a kindred spirit in vibe. Hard hitting stuff that grabs your heart like the evil bad guy in that Indiana Jones movie, Earl is playing hard ball at the top of her game setting the pace for singer/songwriters to come. Miss this at your own risk. Well done.

CANDYE KANE/Coming Out Swingin': 20 years into a recording career that has certainly seen it's fair share of recognition, this album sounds like Kane's real breakout album in which she's finally buried the various demons and misfortunes of her life putting all the energy she was putting into treading water into lustily grabbing the mic with both hands and tearing that mutha up. A non-stop, blues belting show band date loaded with the kind of energy you got from James Brown in his prime, this bad to the bone set is one you certainly don't want to miss. Make sure your shingles are nailed down because Kane is here to tear the roof off the sucka! Get with the program.

JENS LAPIDUS/Never Fuck Up (read by David Ackroyd): It's always fun to watch foreigners try to master distinctly American idioms. They either miss by a mile or come up with something that misses the mark but hits an endearing sweet spot that grabs your attention. Lapidus is writing hard boiled Swedish mysteries with a spin that makes it land somewhere between Mickey Spillane and Ed McBain. With a gritty realism that reflects a lot of contemporary issues, this hard boiled dick tale keeps the swearing and the twists and turns coming at break neck pace. Tackling this as an audio is a run ride since Ackroyd gives proper voice as a narrator giving just the right of emotion while still being the observer from the sidelines. A fine new series for readers missing the masters.

DAVID ROBINSON & BILL BREEN/Brick by Brick (read by Thomas Vincent Kelly): If you thought Lego lost it's mojo for a while and were a little mystified by it's resurgence, you were right on the front end and right to be mystified by the back end. We know we were mystified once Lego started having it's world conference just a few miles from our own international headquarters. Lego was saved because the kid in all of us think toys are cool. A Danish product, Lego is creativity at it's most protean, what are you going to do? Maybe if you aren't a Lego nut this business tome won't resonate with you, but Lego freaks are as passionate as Three Stooges freaks. No matter how you slice it, this is a nice ride through life on a harmless, fun fringe.

Volume 37/Number 231
June 20, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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