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
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
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.
May 15, 2018
Leonard Griffie is a musician who explores a number of styles and sounds but in the end he is grounded in the blues. He has released a new album titled Better Late Than No Time Soon. It is an album of original material which fuse the modern with the traditional.
Griffie is a musician who is able to change tempos effortlessly. There are silky ballads, gritty rhythm & blues, and explosive blues/rockers.
He is one of those artists who tends to float under the radar. despite producing very listenable blues. Hopefully Better Late Than No Time Soon will bring him some well deserved commercial success to go along with the respect he has already earned.
May 15, 2018
Eilen Jewel is as much historian as she is a blues musician. Her new album, Deep Hearted Blues, reaches back in time for songs by the famous; Willie Dixon and Memphis Minnie, and some who have been swallowed by the mists of time; Fiddlin John Carson.
She has taken a somewhat convoluted journey to releasing her first blues album. She has issued two albums of original material, recorded two gospel albums with the Gospel Shakers, and even recorded an album of Loretta Lynn covers.
Despite her search for the perfect blues material, she adds her own personal touches ranging from rockabilly to the twang of old-time surf music.
She has a wonderful soulful voice that traverses a number of keys. Every once in a while she comes close to jazz territory.
Three Willie Dixon songs form the heart of the album. “You’ll Be Mine,” “Crazy Mixed Up World,” and “You Know My Love” take on new textures curtesy of a modern day female blues approach. Minnie Lawler’s “Nothing In Rambling” is a unique take on a classic blues tune. Also of note is her resurrection of the old blues ditty “The Poor Girl’s Story” by the aforementioned Fiddlin John Carson.
Eilen Jewel continues her journey through American music with her blues laden Down Hearted Blues. It is a journey of surprises worth taking with her.