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BYRDS/Straight for the Sun: With all the changes to Byrds line up over the years until McGuinn finally decided to stop the pretense and go solo, you could argue they were the first corporate rock band. This 1971 line up with McGuinn augmented by Clarence White and Gene Parson was certainly one of the strongest, but with McGuinn collaborating with Jacques Levy and Skip Battin bringing in the Kim Fowley contingent, long time fans were hollering sell out. This 1971 college radio broadcast fins them rocking out on songs from all periods of their career no matter who was in the crew at the time. While the member defections yielded Flying Burrito Brothers and CSNY, this core still had what it took, but "Mr. Tambourine Man" was 6 (gasp!) in the rear view mirror and time was marching on. Meanwhile, a great snapshot of a time and place you didn't have to be a spaceman or eight miles high to really appreciate.

ELIZA LYNN/Goodbye Nashville: Fusion in the folk world? This player took her stuff to Scotland to make a classic back porch record and along the way dropped the most vitriolic ‘fuck Nashville' song since Robbie Fulks got his dander in an uproar. She may come off as distaff with distemper but her highland hillbillies deliver the musical goods to curb the kvetching. Today's young ladies have a lot on their minds and this is a sure distillation of it all.

STEVE HECKMAN QUINTET/Search for Peace: Jonesing for some classic Blue Note? Sax man Heckman rounds up the gang from his last smashing blowing session for round two, this time with heavy focus on compositions from Blue Note All Stars from their primes. Kicking it off with a Blue Mitchell composition that sounds like he was meeting up with Sonny Rollins in St. Thomas, the festivities flow in high gear from there---particularly powered by Matt Clark's non-stop B3. Tasty stuff throughout, the straight ahead jazzbo should find hard to resist, this is the real deal. A winner throughout that's typical of the gems the major labels just don't get anymore.

GRAHAM WOOD DROUT'S IKO IKO/Bullets in the Bonfire Vol. 1: For those of you that never made it farther south than the casinos in Valdosta, Graham Drout is the south Florida version of Duke Robillard. The mainstay of the blues scene down there for over 30 years, he's the proverbial big fish in the small pond--but he's never let that get in the way of making others look good, particularly when they've taken his songs to greater blues glories. Even though he's played in everyone's sandbox, it's easy to call him a blues pro even though he's been around enough to call what he does gulf coast Americana fusing all you would expect and more. Not one to hide his age, he specializes in yuppie party music and delivers like a champ. Well done.

PERIPHERAL VISION/Sheer Tyranny of Will: Deep into the age of entitlement, this creative jazzbo crew isn't afraid to hit the road and hone their chops in the battlefield of live performance. Adding to their live chops this time around, they brought in a producer who knows how to augment their four on the floor approach to recording with studio augmentation that doesn't detract from the core. First class sitting down jazz that has a little too much muscle for the average egghead, this more along the lines of nu fusion where all kinds of rules are broken. And to think they even took arts council money to play out of the box like this. Check it out.

CHET ATKINS/Four Master Class Albums with Les Paul, Mark Knopfler, Jerry Reed and Tommy Emmanuel: For those of you that don't care about corporate takeovers, a little history is in order here. Atkins was one of the few that saved Nashville from the doldrums in the late 50s. Rather than be rewarded with a sinecure, he was phased out by RCA where he pioneered the countrypolitan sound. CBS snapped him up and let him do whatever he wanted whenever he felt like it. This fourfer collects two of the delicious guitar sets he did for RCA when they let him make off the clock records as long as he kept an eye on the clock with two of the later Colombia off the clock records where they trusted his instincts to make great music. The laugher here is that now, all these records are under that same corporate umbrella. If Beatles made lots of kids pick up guitars, Atkins was probably responsible for the rest of the kids not influenced by Beatles to pick up guitars. Four absolutely killer guitar dates, each with a different flavor, each with a legend showing respect to the master, make this a killer package for acoustic guitar fans that don't need to be country fans. This is ageless, timeless stuff that never expected more from you than just to enjoy it. Killer throughout.

STEVE KAHN/These Things: Chuck Pyle doesn't record often enough for you? Here's another Zen cowboy, from California, that might not toss them off as frequently as you'd like but he's there to help ease the wait. A singer/songwriter that knows well from whence he speaks, this is easy rolling, back porch music with rough edges that play well without sanding. A nice, well produced entry in the genre.

GERRY GIBBS THRASHER DREAM TRIO/We're Back: If I were Gibbs, I probably wouldn't be able to keep my ego in check anymore. Another record with my bandmates Ron Carter and Kenny Barron with pals Warren Wolf, Larry Goldings and Steve Wilson dropping by? Doing what? Jazz interpretations of 60s/70s R&B classics with heavy leaning on EWF. What fun. Just playing with these cats and having a good time! This set sounds just like doing nothing but that. Certainly not your average walk down memory lane recording, this swings and really nails it throughout. This bunch knows how to host a dandy party with your old friends. Check it out.

Volume 38/Number 320
September 16, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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