Album Reviews

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Michael Fremer  |  Dec 23, 2014  |  11 comments
Second albums make or break pop artists. If the first one was a smash the second one had also better be or you risk the "one hit wonder" label. That's what happened to Christopher Cross, Marshall Crenshaw and more recently James Blunt, even though Cross and Crenshaw followed up their debuts with many good records—or at least good tunes. They just didn't produce chart hits.

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 10, 2014  |  26 comments
On the analogplanet we greet with great enthusiasm news of a carefully considered reissue project like this, but clearly that’s not the case elsewhere. While poking around the Internet looking for background information I came upon a bizarre and surprising series of comments on, of all places Rolling Stone magazine’s website.

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 09, 2014  |  9 comments
If you already own Sunday at The Village Vanguard and Waltz For Debby you have two album's worth of material from that magical afternoon and evening of June 25, 1961 that the producer Orrin Keepnews deemed worthy of releasing.

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 05, 2014  |  48 comments
The Internet has diminished the number of "record fairs" but there still are some. When I go to "record fairs" l like to "play against type". If I see a vendor who looks like Elvis Presley (and there is/was one), I know his 50s rock records are going to be good but expensive so I'd rather rummage through the boxes of $1 records he's put on the floor under his table. That's where he puts the "junk" about which he knows nothing.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 26, 2014  |  2 comments
This double LP compilation pressed on "tie dyed" colored vinyl includes previously released Mardi Gras Records recordings from the seven brass bands featured on this surprisingly entertaining set.
Michael Fremer  |  Nov 17, 2014  |  49 comments
The third Led Zeppelin album has its heavy moments but most often the pace is faster, the groove lighter and at times it's downright celebratory.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 03, 2014  |  9 comments
Producer Lou Adler, best known by 1969 for co-producing The Monterrey Pop Festival and for producing The Mamas and The Papas on his Dunhill Record label (and that really doesn't begin to cover his comings and goings back then or now) had this idea to re-imagine Bob Dylan's music in a gospel setting.
Michael Fremer  |  Nov 03, 2014  |  7 comments
Either you get The Turtles (originally a dance band called The Crossfires) or you don't. Either you think of them as pop schlockmeisters or you see them as they really were: an adventurous, eclectic and sometimes deep post-Beatles psych/rock band.
Michael Fremer  |  Oct 30, 2014  |  10 comments
Though the first studio effort by Miles Davis’ “second great quintet” may not be the group’s finest, it is nonetheless a groundbreaking and very satisfying record, especially considering the backdrop.

Around 1963 Miles’ rhythm section of Wynton Kelly on piano, Jimmy Cobb on drums and Paul Chambers on bass left Davis to form their own group.

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 08, 2014  |  15 comments
31 year old Singapore-based vocalist Vanessa Fernandez is well known at home as a former member of hip-hop group Urban Xchange, known later as Parking Lot Pimp. That was more than a decade ago. More recently she's been the disc jockey "Vandetta" or "Miss Vandetta" on Mediacorp Radio's 987FM.

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 13, 2014  |  17 comments
A cynic might say that The Electric Recording Company chooses records to reissue by scouring Ebay, Popsike, Discogs and other used record sales monitoring sites and finds the most expensive, collectible records to reissue. This one, originally issued in 1961 on the French Ducretet-Thomson label is a solo piano recording of Debussy's "Estampes" and "Préludes Livre 1" played by the rather obscure French pianist Henriette Fauré.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 21, 2014  |  12 comments
Today we mostly think of Tony Bennett as a jazz singer but back in 1962 Tony Bennett was one of Columbia Records' pop music stars. He had his first #1 hit for the label in 1951 with "Because of You". In 1953 Bennett's "Rags to Riches" topped the Billboard charts for 8 weeks. "Stranger In Paradise" only made it to #2 that year but you couldn't avoid it on the radio and few back then wanted to.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 18, 2014  |  18 comments
Back in 1949 Guy Lombardo and then Doris Day had hits with a song called “Enjoy Yourself (it’s later than you think)”. The chipper tune composed by Carl Sigman with lyrics by Herb Magidson advised down in the dumpers to get busy enjoying themselves:

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 08, 2014  |  20 comments
First released in "Living Stereo" way back in 1959, Belafonte at Carnegie Hall continues to captivate listeners, both audiophile and non. The question that needs asking is: Were this not such an astonishing recording, would it still hold interest?.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 07, 2014  |  25 comments
Yes, it's a horrendous conflict of interest, I suppose, for me to be reviewing this double LP TRON soundtrack reissue since I originally supervised it back in 1982, but I was there, so who better qualified to do it?

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