July 17, 2018
“It has a good beat, but can you dance to it.” -American Bandstand
I have never considered Pink Floyd a dance band, but then I can’t dance. A Collection Of Great Dance Songs by Pink Floyd was original issued about 36 years ago. As I remember it, the album was put together to satisfy a label contractual obligation. This makes me think that the title was selected tongue in cheek.
The album has now been reissued in a vinyl format. The music has been remastered from the original tapes and the thick 180 gram vinyl gives it a pristine sound.
The album could have been titled The Best Of Pink Floyd 1971-1979. The six tracks provide an introduction to Pink Floyd’s music. “One Of These Days,” “Money,” “Sheep,” “Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 1-4)” “Wish You Were Here,” and “Another Brick In The Wall Part 2” are instantly recognizable to any fan of the band or the era.
While the songs are readily available on many albums, it’s nice to have their most commercial, and in many ways mainstream material, in one place. The album has a nice flow and the four parts of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” have been combined into one long track.
Many of the original Pink Floyd albums were conceptual and their strength was in sum rather than the parts. Here the songs stand alone and hold up well as individual pieces.
A Collection Of Great Dance Songs is in some ways a niche release, It is on vinyl and provides just a glimpse of what Pink Floyd is all about. Still, while you may not be able to dance to it; it does have a good beat.
July 17, 2018
During the 1990’s, Mariah Carey ruled the pop music world. While her commercial appeal diminished during the 2000’s, her sales of 200,000,000 plus albums, makes her the biggest selling female artist of all time.
Her early albums were pop oriented but in 1997, the release of Butterfly signaled a change of direction. It has a more urban feel as her style moved toward hip hop and rhythm & blues. Now to commemorate the 20th anniversary of its release, Butterfly has been re-issued as a limited-edition picture disc.
Picture discs have been around for decades. They are issued more as collectibles than records that are actually played. Early picture discs had audio issues as the different colors of the vinyl affected the sound. Modern technology has mostly cured that problem.
Carey really came into her own as she co-wrote 11 of the 12 tracks. The only exception was a cover of Prince’s “The Beautiful Ones, on which she shared vocals with Dru Hill.
The number one hit “Honey” fueled the album’s new direction. “My All,” “Babydoll,” “Whenever You Call” and “Outside” solidified her new approach.
Today the album may seem a little dated and mild but at the time of its release it pushed the envelope of popular music as it began the fusion of pop, rhythm & blues, and hip hop.
This numbered edition of Butterfly is a visual collectible and basically for the hard core Mariah Carey fan. If you want a copy of the album to actually play, they are cheaper versions available.
July 17, 2018
If there is a holiday coming, the chance are there will be a David Ian release following close behind. He specializes in holiday music and his new release, Vintage Christmas Trio, continues this trend.
Ian is a piano player, who produces a light jazz sound. His style produces perfect background music for the season.
Backed by only a bass and percussion duo, his new album is a minimalist affair that revolves around his piano. Songs such as “Deck The Halls,” “White Christmas,” “”I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day,” and “Silver Bells” all slide by the senses effortlessly. Perhaps the most creative track is his take on “O Come All Ye Faithful,” which features only piano and percussion.
Ian Has found a nice niche for himself. His music may not be revolutionary but it is pleasant and sometimes that is enough.
June 24, 2018
Many artists who have been active for decades, both dead and alive, seem to have an unlimited reservoir of unreleased material. Prince has a treasure trove in the Paisley Park vaults, Elvis has the RCA archives, Dylan has his seemingly endless Bootleg Series, and Willie Nelson has his stash.
Thus far, Nelson’s archival series has been a family affair. The first release from his stash was December Day with his sister Bobbie. Now comes Willie And The Boys: Willie’s Stash Volume 2, which features sons Lucas and Micah.
Nelson describes the album as…’kinda like the country version of ‘Stardust’ and that is an apt description. It consists of classic country songs that many people are unfamiliar with these days.
The album’s core is seven compositions by Hank Williams Sr. Songs such as “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” “Cold Cold Heart,” “Why Don’t You Love Me’ and particularly “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” are perfect for Nelson’s laid back approach and cadence.
Hank Snow’s “I’m Movin’ On,” Hank Cochran’s “Can I Sleep In Your Arms,” and Hank Locklin’s “Send me The Pillow You Dream On” are re-imagined by one of the great interpreter’s of country music. The only original tune is Nelson’s “Healing Hands Of Time,” which fits the overall concept of the album well.
The vinyl pressing has a superb sound as one would expect with modern day recording techniques. There is something to be said for listening to classic country the old fashioned way.
Willie Nelson is like “Old Man River” in that he just keeps flowing along. Willie Nelson And The Boys is a fine album that makes one wonder what else is lurking in his stash.
June 24, 2018
You can call it blues, you can call it rhythm & blues, you can call it soul music. In really doesn’t matter because Johnny Rawls is a master of them all.
Rawls has returned with a new release titled Waiting For The Train. The album contains five originals co-written by Johnny and some tasty covers of material by the likes of Wilson Pickett “I’m In Love,” Syl Johnson “We Did It,” and a re-imagined version of Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released.
Rawls just does not produce bad or even average albums. The passion and enthusiasm are always present. Listen carefully to his new album and you’ll hear a master at work. It’s a train you don’t want to miss.
June 24, 2018
James Armstrong plays the blues pure and simple. To help him keep the faith on his new release Blues Been Good To Me, he brings along veteran bluesman Johnny Rawls as the producer.
Eight new original songs form the core of the album. The title track, “Shot Gun Wedding,” “Change In The Weather,” and “Second Time Around” epitomize what the fusion of classic and modern blues are all about.
His ability to twist a song and make it his own are shown on Marvin Gaye’s “How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You.” He speeds up the tempo and changes the textures through the use of a slide guitar.
Armstrong’s sound is vibrant with a full band, including keyboards and a brass section in support.
Blues Been Good To Me is a traditionalists blues lovers delight.
June 24, 2018
Michael Jackson, like Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, and Prince, remains just as popular in death as he was in life. Also, similar to the aforementioned mentioned threesome, there seems to be a huge reservoir of material waiting to be released or re-released.
Jackson’s newest posthumous release is titled Scream. While it was issued in conjunction with Halloween, it is basically a collection of 13 dance tracks, plus a newly created five song medley “Blood On The Dance Floor X Dangerous (The White Panda Mash-Up)” It is being released in a number of formats but this review is for the double disc vinyl version.
The uniqueness of the vinyl will appeal to hardcore Jackson fans and possibly to general record collector’s alike. The vinyl is glow in the dark. Picture discs have been around for decades but this is a nice modern technological touch, especially when spinning on the turn table.
The sound is impeccable as it should be with today’s technology and the use of quality rather than scrap vinyl.
The 13 regular tracks are not new but having some of his up-tempo material in one place makes for an energetic, toe-taping release. They also dig a little deeper into his catalogue. Songs such as “Thriller” and “Dirty Diana” are very recognizable but Rockwell’s dance hit “Somebody’s Watching Me” with Jackson adding vocals, “Heartbreak Hotel” by The Jacksons now titled “This Place Hotel,” and “Scream,” which is his only duet with sister Janet are all nice additions and give the overall feel of the album a different twist.
Scream is a well-thought out and impeccably produced album. It presents Michael Jackson’s legacy from a unique perspective. The vinyl is an added bonus.