Decemberist leader Colin Meloy has crafted a charming, hour long folk/ rock opera based on an ancient Japanese fable dealing with greed, loyalty and betrayal. A poor man finds a wounded crane, which he rescues and returns to good health. Shortly after releasing it back to the wild, a mysterious woman arrives at his home. The two fall in love and get married. To make ends meet, she agrees to weave silk garments to sell at the local market. Her only condition for doing the work is that he never watches her doing it.
Elvis’s first post-Army album created a sensation when it was released just one month after he entered Nashville Studio B on March 20th, 1960, two week after his release from the Army. Unfortunately, for Presley and RCA Elvis Is Back! wasn’t a big seller because it didn’t contain any hits. Presley had been away for two years.
Originally issued by Elektra in 1969 as EKS-74053 in November, of 1969, this record shows Butterfield feeling the cultural and political heat of the times, beginning with Gene Dinwiddie's anti-war opener, "Love March."
Let the monomania continue! I picked up an original of this at a record swap for a few bucks on a whim and was wowed! I brought a CD-R of it to CES one year and wowed crowds with the recording without identifying the chick singer.
"Everybody's gotta get into the act!" Jimmy Durante used to say. That's what's happening with phono preamplifiers—they just keep being built, and I keep getting them for review. Up for evaluation in next month's column are new models from Perreaux, Musical Fidelity, Graham Slee, and a Chinese one, Ming Da. You can bet there'll be more.
So great were Aretha’s hit making abilities during the peak of her Atlantic era that a blockbuster like “Think,” which leads off this set, did not make it to 1971’s Aretha’s Greatest Hits (SD8295). The track from this set making to the hits album was “I Say A Little Prayer,” given a less introspective, more energetic reading than the Dionne Warwick original.
There’s so much to recommend here, starting of course with Gerry Mulligan. There’s also a great deal to live up to, given the legendary “Gerry Mulligan Meets….” series on Verve from the 1950’s, one of which (Gerry Mulligan Meets Ben Webster) is reviewed elsewhere this month.
Going from Soft Lights & Sweet Music is like going from the merely excellent to the spectacularly suave and sublime, both musically and especially sonically. Though not as “clean,” and not nearly as detailed and revealing as the newer recording, there’s a liquidity, transparency and timbral rightness about the older one that just puts your mind and emotional state in a different world. Nonetheless, the piano has that boxy ‘50s sound and the bass is a bit muffled. There’s something to be said for the newer recording in terms of reality but for magic, it’s the older one. Sort of like old movies versus new ones.
There’s nothing not to like about this hard-driving, straight ahead jazz trio set first issued by Concord in 1984, led by the flamboyant, yet tasteful and ultra-clean pianist Alexander backed by the powerful Ray Brown and drummer Frank Gant.
Produced by Bay area bluesman Roy Rogers (Hooker had moved there and opened a nightclub in 1997), this Grammy Award winning set of collaborations between the then 72 year old John Lee Hooker and Carlos Santana, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Cray, “Canned Heat,” Los Lobos, George Thorogood and Charlie Musselwhite, plus two stirring Hooker solos and one backed by drums and bass, brought the blues great to a new audience.