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Album Reviews
Michael Fremer Apr 01, 2008 0 comments

Lovers of chamber music in general and Heifetz in particular, will find this “Living Stereo” oddity from 1961 a sonic and musical treasure. “Oddity” because it’s an album pieced together from two studio recordings made at either side of “the pond.”

Album Reviews
Michael Fremer Apr 01, 2008 0 comments

This lovely set of intimately arranged and meticulously recorded covers, originally issued in 2000, is precisely the kind of semi-obscure album in need of a quality all-analog reissue.

Album Reviews
Michael Fremer Apr 01, 2008 0 comments

Like West Meets East (Angel/EMI 36418 LP) the famous Ravi Shankar/Yehudi Menuhin collaboration from 1966, this 1992 get together between the guitarist/musicologist Ry Cooder and Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, a classically trained Indian musician you may have unknowingly seen playing the Mohan Viña (an instrument he devised) in the DVD “A Concert For George,” attempts to mesh Eastern and Western musical sensibilities.

Mar 01, 2008 2 comments

There’s an air of unreality about issuing a 7 CD set honoring the 50th Anniversary of The GRAMMY Awards. For one thing, the GRAMMYs award commercial, not artistic merit, though occasionally the two intersect. But more importantly, in an age of iTunes, where you can grab the tunes you want for a buck a piece, there’s something outdated and inefficient about packaging and marketing 16 tunes per category on a CD. What if you only like a few of them? Why be forced to buy all of them? Guess what? You’re not. NARAS (National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) and Shout! Factory decided to issue these 7 discs anyway.

Album Reviews
Michael Fremer Mar 01, 2008 0 comments

In retrospect it’s easy to understand why these superstars would want to write and perform this codger-esque novelty stuff under assumed names. They must have figured that while writing and singing this lighthearted fare inspired by the music of their formative years was fun, they were hardly washed up artists and had more greatness within waiting to pour forth.

Album Reviews
Roger Hahn Mar 01, 2008 0 comments

Having been drowned to within an inch of its life, New Orleans, source of great musical innovations and revivals, birthplace of early jazz and classic rock, purveyor of fundamental funk, and mother of idiosyncratic geniuses beyond number, is still in the process of washing off the mud and putting the pieces back together again.

Album Reviews
Michael Fremer Mar 01, 2008 0 comments

This is a weird, squooshy, watery record. The music is soft and squooshy, the lyrics are soft and squooshy. Songwriter Art Halperin’s voice is particularly squooshy, the background musicians play softly and squooshily, and even the veteran recording and mastering engineer Barry Diament has captured it squooshily in real stereo in a pleasingly reverberant church using a pair of carefully placed microphones.

Album Reviews
Michael Fremer Mar 01, 2008 0 comments

Listen: I did stand-up comedy in Boston before any comedian at any comedy club in Boston got his sorry ass on stage and opened with “Hey, how you guys doing?”

Album Reviews
Michael Fremer Mar 01, 2008 0 comments

Frank Zappa acknowledges the influence of Edgar Varése, Igor Stravinsky and other modern classical composers in much of his music but did he ever mention Charles Mingus? Not that I can recall having read (save for the oblique reference in the title of the composition “Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue”), but it’s impossible to not draw the connection when the sextet slinks its way into the staccato twists and turns of the raucous, mocking, angry and mostly exasperated and distraught half hour version of “Fables of Faubus,” found on this epic but until recently unknown March 18th, 1964 Cornell University concert.

Album Reviews
Michael Fremer Mar 01, 2008 0 comments

Head Shin James Mercer is one of those artists like James Taylor who arrived whole and utterly original, though you can occasionally hear Morrissey channeling through his high-pitched vocals and more significantly, his melodic constructs.