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EMMYLOU HARRIS/Live in 1978: This radio broadcast was originally recorded by WXRT when their un-concert series was one of the best engineered and recorded concert venues for live radio broadcasts around. Originally recorded in discreet quad, this this version of "Easy From Now On" doesn't blow your mind sonically, your hearing is shot. The rest of the set holds up just as well. Recorded on the heels of the release of "Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town" there's a bunch of songs here form that set and you can hear and feel why Harris was in the middle of a meteoric rise at the time. This is a well preserved moment in time that really captured Harris when she was rocking the house as only she could do when playing at the top of her game. Whew!

JIMMY McINTOSH/and...: Our first encounter with Vegas guitar man McIntosh was an impressive one. This one ups the ante by having guests like Scoey, Mike Stern, Ron Wood and Ivan Neville. Playing angular jazz like you would expect from some project Zappa was watching over, this gang really gets in the mix and tears it up in a real non-Vegas fashion. You might need a few miles on your odometer or a maturity that has you leaving selfies behind to really appreciate this, but anyone that knows their shredding will know this is the real deal. A stone winner of an ear opener throughout.

MOSE ALLISON/Complete Recordings 1957-62: Such a dilemma, we've been getting a waterfall of Allison riches lately. A few months ago, we got a fat, multi disc collection that focused on Allison the sideman as much as Allison the main event. This set gives us five discs with 11 complete albums, top loaded with most of his classics. Whether dazzling us with his originals, which is what we show up for, or covering jive stuff his producers made him do, he makes it all Mose showing us there are hipster pockets in Mississippi so it never pays to turn up your nose at anything before you know what you‘re turning it up at. A tasty collection that gives you the nod that you don't have to worry about a thing because nothing's going to be alright, Allison proves himself to be one of the ultimate hipsters for the ages. A solid collection that never lets you down!

THE BAND/Palladium Circles: A 1976 live radio broadcast that many call the warm up for "The Last Waltz" which followed a few short months later, this is a veritable live greatest hits set by the original Band line up ten years down the road from their initial Big Pink glory but still playing like they were flush from it. Playing with the kind of crackle a crew like this could best muster in the moment and live, the sound might not be the best but the energy and verve make up for it.

BONNIE RAITT & LOWELL GEORGE/Ultrasonic Studios 1972: Take a lesson here kids, this is the kind of stuff that could only have come about when labels still believed in artist development. A barely old enough to legally drink and vote Raitt is paired with a baby faced Lowell George backed by John Hammond and bottomed with Freebo. Wow! Raitt and Freebo carry on in "Love Me Like a Man" like she's a white version of Chaka Khan tearing it up on her version of "Tell Me Something Good". Fresh off the release of her second album that has a lot of these songs, this is an intimate radio show, with all the warts left in, that won't change the world but it might just have an influence in changing your world. It's good that moments like this were captured because they can never be recreated. While it wasn't recorded with the intention of being a record, it's a good thing it would up as one.

T. GRAHAM BROWN/Forever Changed: One of the last of the old school Nashville singers before Garth Brooks changed the state of affairs forever, Brown is back with his first set in a decade and only his second in a long time. Basically a gift ship record for Cracker Barrel, this set is produced in first class old school style loaded with familiar guests that know the right kind of commercial moves to make, great players, Dan Penn's pen all over the song list, a few sides from Carson Whitsett and Brown's acknowledgment that you have to do the right thing loading the deck with a bunch of Jesus flavored songs that don't hit you over the head as Jesus songs. With a face, a hair color and a birth certificate the country radio world would rather ignore, Brown has a killer contemporary version of a classic mainstream country record here. Give those sound posts at Cracker Barrel a work out, this might be hit maker Brown's best set ever.

ON THE TOWN/new Broadway cast recording: The only sure thing that happens when PS Classics takes on an iconic work is that the iconic work is going to be remembered well in it's refashioned fashion as the definitive version. The label's streak continues it's roll here. Perhaps Comden & Green's greatest sustained moment written with Bernstein when he was still Lenny, this Broadway revival of a play from another time and place is as current and vibrant as any new work just rolling out of the word processor. Well deserving of all the acclaim it's been raking in, these iconic songs haven't sounded so good since Sinatra and Kelly first gave them the spark of life. Without a breath or note out of place, this is the kind of stuff that makes these revivals more than a history lesson. Killer stuff throughout and must hearing for anyone that has any interest the great American songbook.

JERRY JEFF WALKER/No Leavin' Texas 1968-82 The Classic Jerry Jeff: Yep, here's a nutty little bit of symmetry you won't get anywhere else but from us. Guy Clark wrote ‘em, Jacky Jack sang ‘em. Symmetry? Raven did the Clark multi-label anthology before tackling the individual albums in his catalog but they've put out a bunch of Walker solo albums before serving up the multi-label anthology. A sign of the end of days? Probably not. If you're looking for a twofer full of classics and those that should be, this fatly tracked set will have you hungering for JJW's solo sets if you aren't already a hard core fan. Loaded with obvious highlights, kicking it off with a beautiful, crisply remastered "Mr. Bojangles" and rolling through Texas like a Texas wind, I can't remember ever hearing Jacky Jack sound so good--especially on crappy, little computer speakers. Yep kiddies, this is a fine example of why the boomers keep telling you the stuff today is dreck; Walker just kills it track after track whether original or pulled from the songwriting heart of Texas. A perfect example of country/singer-songwriter killer stuff.

ROUND EYE: Freak punk from Shanghai that'll have you scratching your head if you're out of high school, this will have teen clubs getting the patrons banging their heads, yelping ‘far out' and wondering what will be coming at them next even if they've played the record a million times to make sure they irritate their parents. Utterly nutty stuff kids will enjoy.

SHAUN MURPHY/Loretta: I get the funny feeling that this is what Rosanne Cash would have sounded like if she kept rocking at the end of the 80s rather than get introspective. A blues rocker that really knows how to kick it out and round up well traveled associates that can realize her vision, this is the kind of stuff that made the good old days so good. A real shot to the bread basket, Murphy has a fire burning that just isn't going to be put out that easily. Well done.

Volume 38/Number 141
March 21, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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