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MARIA BAMFORD/Ask Me About My New God!: Bamfoo is back with both guns blazing and blasting away. Mightily rebounding from her break down and it's after math, she's heading a multi media assault on comedic senses everywhere while being able to make fun or her situation going so far as to list her prescription list in the liner notes. If she can be diagnosed as bi-polar 2 and still deliver laughs we can relate to and identify with, what's that say about the rest of us? In any case, she's one of the greats it's a wonderful to be able to laugh with her than to shut up mooks telling them not to laugh at her. This deluxe package also includes a companion dvd that has two of her half hour Comedy Central specials that keep the laughs rolling. Hot stuff throughout.

KUMAIL NANJIANI/Beta Male: The tanning of America continues as this Pakistani comic delivers the laughs in Austin, TX. Bringing an international flair to his laughs, the crowd loves his stuff because he offers what amounts to a Paki take on Jeff Foxworthy. A companion piece to his soon to be aired Comedy Central special, the audio and dvd portion features material left out of the special. A laugh riot no matter what his accent, Nanjiani is another of these new cats proving that comedy is as much as a universal language as music. A rising star for the cable channel, he's a comer that really has it on the ball. A real laugh riot.

SHAN KENNER/Behavior of Vibration: Cut in 10 hours in Jersey, this spontaneous, live in the studio session shows the future of jazz guitar improv in good hands. A lively date where mind reading between the players is in effect, this is a grand showcase for Kenner, a guitarist you should be more familiar with. Showing off all the reasons he accumulates so much praise and admiration, fusion fans will love the snap, crackle and pop this set delivers. A winner throughout.

EARL KLUGH/Handpicked: Klugh doesn't do these solo dates often along the way of his career, but when he does they are special events and this third on in 40 years is the most special of all. With a few duet partners that offer nice surprises along the way, Klugh shows that's he's been taking his fish oil or something because his fingers are as nimble as ever. Loaded with the most original compositions on one of his dates yet, Klugh makes the old and new tunes all his own in his unique way and sets your ears on fire with simplicity, technique and style---by the truck load. Killer stuff that jazz guitar fans will simply flip for.

TOM PALEY'S OLD TIME MOONSHINE REVUE/Roll On, Roll On: Hey you, yeah, you--the one with the knock off Martin guitar and the Bob Dylan hat. What do you call yourself? Nu folk, lo fi, Americana, what, what, WHAT? You better turn your attention to this debut recording from a new English preservation label whose first set is by an 85 year old, former member of New Lost City Ramblers. It's one of the best folk records ever. Backed by a crew that is so simpatico to Paley and his vibe that you would be tempted to think this is the unearthing of some long forgotten Folkways session, this set is one of the best surprises to come along in some time. Not at all playing like someone that's forgotten more than you'll ever know, Paley is one of the folkies that set the standards for what would become "Mighty Wind" clichés and it's great to hear him sounding like he's never been away. Top shelf throughout.

SPIDER JOHN KOERNER/What's Left of Spider John: I don't know what possessed me to head over to John Koerner's Amazon page to see if there's been anything new out by him since the Wounded Bird reissue a few years ago, but it was a mighty big surprise to see this newly recorded set had just come out. Three cheers and send a pint over to those fine English blokes who started a preservationist label to capture late period performances by seminal American, musical greats that have been pushed aside by time and tide. Wry and sly as ever, 75 year old, post multiple bypass Koerner sounds like he made the follow up to "Spider Blues" with this being the bridge between that and "Running Jumping Standing Still". Concurring heartily with the user generated review on Amazon that says if you don't know who Koerner is, you have no class, this pre FM radio, king of underground cool has never lost his edge or his vibe and the man who influenced Bob Dylan and David Bowie can still turn a few heads around. Since Koerner reprised a bunch of his classics but left off "I Ain't Blue", we have hopes there's still a little more left of Spider John. Great stuff, late period or not. Check it out.
By the way, Hornbeam packages their releases in what used to be called deluxe packaging in the vinyl era--fold out packaging and an informative inner sleeve. It's a wild way to go throughout.

REBECCA HARROLD/River of Life: Will Ackerman got the jones to make a new recording and he still had working phone numbers for Tony Levin, Charlie Bisharat, Eugene Friesen and a few others so he herded them together behind a new piano find and made a set that recalls the glory days of Windham Hill without sounding the least bit dated or cliché. All that's missing is Mike Marshall and Andy Narell to make you feel like a grown up in the 80s that was raised on records but was too old for one trick pony hair bands. After all is said and done, this classical trained pianist has delivered a gorgeously lovely instrumental record that keeps resonating with you long after the last byte has been bit. Check it out.

LOS NUGGETZ 60s Garage & Psych from Latin America/various: Nostalgia, uber hipster fodder or bleeding edge of the next trend? Remember when you would listen to baseball games on the Spanish radio station in class on your cheesy ear bud just to chuckle when the announcer would be clattering away in Spanish but you found something wonderfully off beat about when they would say the players names in English? This set is that mood on steroids. Punk is punk and inasmuch as this set is designed to give you a load of stuff you never heard or heard of, it has Latin bands covering Kinks, "Hey, Joe", "Wooly Bully" and more, more, more, spread over 4 discs. The stuff that has had off beat collectors making Salvation Army a regular stop the way soccer moms make Starbucks a regular stop, this overwhelmingly, maddingly cool collection will have you standing apart from the pack as you blast it in your car with the windows down. Beautifully packaged in a little golden book sized book complete with kokopelis, death masks, wrestling masks and other cheesy artifacts, this is the kind of stuff that could drive some gringos as crazy as reggae drives other gringos crazy. When you see James Austin and Rock Beat on the same package, just grab it and don't worry about where the path leads. Once again, this is a serving of the finest in vinyl junkydom and your tour guides will not leave you humped and dumped in some strange back alley, in tub of cold water with your kidneys missing. This is a fun house, roller coaster ride of the first order. Check it out.

BILLY BANG/Da Bang!: Recorded two months before liver cancer ultimately claimed him, the violin man and his crew are there to give his career the proper coda and capper with this set that ends with a lively version of "St. Thomas" which is probably the way he wanted to be sent off into that good night. Tasty, slightly left leaning jazz by a crew that likes to push the envelope, but not with gale force. Fun stuff throughout that leaves fond memories for his fans.

Volume 37/Number 250
July 9, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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