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JAMES TAYLOR/Feel the Moonshine: The startling thing about this 1976 radio concert is that by 1976, Taylor who had just released his 7th album, had already recorded everything you shout out for in concert today. Quite an interesting feat for a cat who's career is still rolling along 40 years alter. In case you've forgotten, this is a reminder of how sweet the 70s Cali folk/rock sound was. With The Section joined by David Sanborn and David Lindley, this is one of the better you-are-there recordings to come rolling along in some time. One spin through this set and you'll be glad the tapes were rolling to catch this magic moment in time.

BRIAN LYNCH EMMET COHEN QUARTET & DUO/Questioned Answer: In which we get the answer to the question that yes, sometimes music can simply be fun. Swinging through jazz in the purest of daddio styles from back in the day, this duo has the advantage of growing up in an era when music can be aimed at the top of the charts and that's what makes this modern daddio set differ from the classic Bluenote/Verve stuff. Not quite jazz as pop, this stuff certainly does pop and I dare you not to groove along with it. Killer stuff throughout.

KETTLES-ENO/Jake Leg Chronicles: I guess roots/Americana from Atlanta gets to color outside the normal roots/Americana lines. Kicking it off with a honky version of keeping it real, this duo of renegade southern Americana pros that have been through it all come up with a set that hits you between the eyes with it's view of life down home in the Walmart age. Yankees might get this for all the wrong reasons, but it's just as southern as William Faulkner and so meaty that you have to give it repeated listenings to get all that's going on here. If you want to enjoy as a purely, well done Americana/roots date, go ahead. If you want to get so much more of everything that's packed into the grooves here, you are encouraged to go for it. Killer stuff.

JOHN WEEKS BAND: Hey, what's the deal here? We're used to the Brits ripping off our blues and selling them back to us reconfigured for white people. Now we have Frenchies doing it? Slimmed down west side blues reconfigured with a bunch of user friendly sounds for aging frat boys, this set takes it back to the day when a lot of first, almost legal, beers were being consumed. There's nothing here really ground breaking but this set scores well on the ‘have a good time' meter. Check it out.

PETER FURLER/Christmas: This is almost the usher of a new kind of Christmas record, the serious Christmas record. The set list is the usual assortment of chestnuts but they are paraded out with a something different coursing through them. Not serious like in dour or reverent, there's just a certain gravitas mixed in with the jazz that brings this to a certain, but no less enjoyable point. Reflective? Let's go with that. In any case, it's a textbook example of how to make the familiar into something new without losing a step along the way. Well done.

ANI DiFRANCO/Allergic to Water: DiFranco has come a long way in the last 25 years, and how does a trend setter keep the train rolling with incipient middle age looking over her shoulder along with other life changes in tow? No longer toting the church basement folk sound, she's facing the future head on. Still political and dissatisfied, she now has the temperance of being a mom to help her deliver the messages in a different way. All told, she's made it possible for her old fans to follow her through the new changes and even spread the net farther as she goes. Quite a mature work from a folk punk that's sure to surprise anyone with a preconceived notion of who she is. Smart stuff throughout.

PIERS FACCINI & VINCENT SEGAL/Songs of Time Lost: An appropriate title given that it took 25 years for these pals to finally record together. Mixing Townes Van Zandt with Marlene Dietrich with originals, this is certainly a different kind of record for the label if you've been following their recent output. It often seems like this cello/guitar duo is taking you to the old world in your mind creating a new kind of escapist fare. This is a sophisticated record for when you want something done right but well beyond the normal pop pale.

LANG LANG/The Mozart Album. Face it, the worst thing you can say about a Lang Lang album is Cool Cool---but this double album has so much more. Fronting for Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Vienna Philharmonic, the aggregation takes Mozart to some new sonic heights. Sure, it's warhorse/chestnut repertoire, but if you're going to hold it against the principles for not being around 200 years ago to be there when these works were hot off the press, then you're a jerk that likes to go around denying genius. Disc one finds the piano man giving it his all on only two pieces. The rest of the program, recorded at another time has more on the plate but the level of genius is never stretched thin. A marvelous player playing at the top of his young life's game, this is a must for any Mozart fan or anyone that should be. Well done throughout.

Volume 38/Number 343
October 9, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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