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.