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RICHARD PRYOR/Live at the Comedy Store 1973: A woodsheding event that was done to sharpen the material he was going to do to launch one of the brightest runs in stand up comedy history. Never before released in this format (these tracks have been released in drips and drabs and chunks for super geeks but never as a whole show) and the laughs don't stop. Nearly 50 years later, the original bad boy of comedy still sounds as fresh as today's headlines. Immortal stuff from a real immortal.
(Omnivore 432)

SONS OF THE NEVER WRONG/Undertaker's Songbook: If you think you know this group their 30th anni disc will change your mind about that. Still mining the quirky vein, they have a whole different sound and vibe going on here with an almost dark, spiritual overtone underpinning the proceedings. Pulling folk in to the future, they're still singer/songwriters at the core but this outing sets new standards easily that others will want to follow. Some real grown up music for real grown ups.
(Sons 3 3)

RODD BLAND & the Members Only Band/Live on Beale Street: Yep, it's Bobby's kid and he's doing a tribute to pop. Focusing on deep cuts rather than the hits, this outgrowth of a tribute show put together for IBC shows just how far the apple didn't fall from the tree. Killer stuff that Bland fans will loudly applaud.
(Nola Blue 16)

BROKE FUSE/Rocket Ride: With obvious inspiration from the Butterfield crew, what's there here not to like? A smoking, rocking harp session that knows how to liven up a party, this bunch has the blues but you almost wouldn't know it. With loads of tasty licks powering the proceedings, this could be the cause of another price increase of harmonicas.

SAM BARRON/Prayer for a Field Mouse: Whew! If this guy sang with a rasp, he'd be classic Tom Waits taking it lower to a whole ‘nother level. Somewhere between a post card from a hooker in Minneapolis and Townes Van Zandt, Barron knows how to take a roots song and turn it into one of Van Zandt's hopeless songs. Perhaps the Gen Z version of Kerouac and other beatniks, this is a pretty wild walk on the wild side.
(Mother West 221)

JOHN SCOTT SHERRILL/Copper Tears: Pissed off stuff from the heartland by a real country boy that cuts through the bullshit and self congratulatory nonsense to show there's hope and potential still left in this old country. From the heart as well as the heartland, this kicks bro country right in the pants without taking us all the way back to Hag but charting a new course instead. When you know what to do, you can do it and do it right.

ROBERT STONER/Year of Pain: Pure recidivist coffeehouse folkie stuff from a sincere folkie singer/songwriter that has taken the long way around to get here. A solid set of songs for aging children come, the economist that comes from a musical background pulls it all together nicely here.

ANDY PEAKE/Mood Swings: This set caught our attention quickly because it's dripping with names we already know and trust. Offbeat, after hours roots/folkie/blues stuff that brings a grin even if you aren't in the mood for it to swing you in another direction. With a nice underground sensibility, it's the off ramp you really need every so often.
(Big Little 2101)

BILLY BARNETT/Hold On: If Michael Hurley was making rock records for today's mainstream rockers, this has the look and feel of what those records might look and feel like. Loaded with the kind of exuberance that made ‘bar band' a real compliment years ago, it's nice of him to give today's kids the chance to know what it feels like to get down to some fist pumping anthems in a beer joint. There really once was a such thing as quarter beer night in college towns. This was it's soundtrack.

DARRYL WAY/Destinations 2: A solid set of sonic soundscapes that takes you around the world and back. Not world beat as you would expect it. Other than calling it it's own kind of world music, it doesn't fit easily into any pigeon hole, especially since it's a moving target that is jetting around the world with unlimited bonus miles. A tasty antidote to your staycation schpilkes.
(Spirit of the Unicorn/Cherry Red 3)

LESLIE HUNT/Ascend: Not an alt.diva, not a manufactured one but mostly in the spirit of the left of center English lasses that turned up on Elektra or other left of center and small labels back in the day that attracted solid underground followings. She writes from the heart and rocks it up and delivers a sound that can connect with today's ears that want more than beats and repeated tag lines.
(Spirit of the Unicorn/Cherry Red 4)

FOCUS 50/Live in Rio: Here's a package to fill any Focus fans underserved sweet tooth. Tackling their 50th anni with a world tour, this set has 2 discs and a DVD that cover the proceedings from the final leg of the tour in Rio. On top of that, to beat the quarantine blues, the band reconvened to re-imagine the songs they closed the tour with, apparently just to keep their chops up and amuse themselves. This is one mighty package for the flute driven prog fan. Thijs and Pierre are still leading the charge and they have an incurable case of instrumental rock professionalism in their blood. Great for old timers to take a trip back to the day with but newbies looking for a real charge can get into it with no prologue. Well done.
(In and Out of Focus 10)

GEMMA SHERRY/Music to Dream To: With a little girl voice, a 40s look, an appreciation of blues and Sinatra and love and passion for samba, what's there here not to like? A fun vocalist that exists in her own time zone, she leaves the pack of divas in the dust rather than compete with them on their turf doing it her way throughout. A real winner of a date that's going to get it's hooks into you before you now what happened. Check it out.

CLAY MELTON/Back to Blue: This 26 year old blues guitar slinger looks like a kid that wouldn't know his Albert King from the King Sisters but once he plugs in and turns on, it sounds like Albert King has returned to Stax. Smoking stuff that doesn't manqué around, dis is da blooze! Well done.

Volume 45/Number 248
July 6, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record

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