Album Reviews

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Michael Fremer  |  Jul 01, 2013  |  7 comments
This loving tribute to Les Paul featuring longtime trio cohort Lou Pallo and others with whom Les played at Fat Tuesdays and the Iridium is musically fabulous assuming you like the timeless "old school" style. And if not, why not? If it's good enough for Keith Richards, Steve Miller, Billy F. Gibbons and Slash, among others who perform here in that style, well hell, then it's good enough for you!

No doubt Les's playing and his technological innovations with guitar and multi-tracked overdubbing affected all of them. But surely his playing hit them more squarely in their young guitarist wheelhouse.

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 30, 2013  |  21 comments
Last winter an old audio biz friend of mine visited bearing a gift: a new Italian 45rpm pressing of Gil Evans' dark, brooding and oh so slinky 1960 recording of Out of the Cool originally issued in 1961 by the then new Impulse! label created by producer Creed Taylor for parent company ABC-Paramount. The album was Impulse! A-4, the label's fourth release.

This reissue on the DOXY label puts the entire album on a single 45rpm record. Given that side one runs almost 21 minutes, I was surprised they squeezed it onto a single side. Sides two's approximately 16 minutes is slightly more manageable with "slightly" the operative word.

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 27, 2013  |  31 comments
Dylan claims Blood on the Tracks' pained, heartbreaking and often very angry and vicious songs weren't personal confessionals, though he was in the midst of a painful divorce. His son Jakob says they were. Does it really matter if they were about or inspired by his life? He delivers them as if they were very personal as does any great actor, but they are just as satisfying or disturbing thought of as having been inspired by his personal circumstances at the time.

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 24, 2013  |  23 comments
Ridley Scott's 1982 "future noir" classic "Bladerunner" based on Philip K.Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" was a box-office flop when first released. Like "TRON", another flop, it has gained stature over the years, though like "TRON", the movie's visual and sonic pleasures are greater than the storytelling.
Michael Fremer  |  Jun 10, 2013  |  4 comments
When first released by RCA as a single LP back in 1988 (RCA 9589-1-R) this album, probably sourced from digital, created a sensation—at least among the legions of Elvis Presley fans.
Michael Fremer  |  May 30, 2013  |  29 comments
David Bowie fans who lost the thread around his Tin Machine days or who meandered mystified or perhaps less than fully satisfied through his end of century output and beyond need to return for The Next Day his first album in a decade, following his 2004 heart attack and major surgery. Not that Heathens wasn’t a good outing
Michael Fremer  |  May 08, 2013  |  15 comments
Through her early EMI recordings, among others, the late Hungarian violinist Johanna Martzy has achieved fame, notoriety and a cult following that escaped her during her lifetime.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 25, 2013  |  3 comments
Singer/songwriter Thom Chacon delivers hardscrapple tales in a voice well-suited to the task that will immediately remind you of what's his name? Maybe John Prine, or John Mellencamp, or Steve Earle or Bruce or Guy Clark or?

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 21, 2013  |  12 comments
Frank Sinatra recorded this album for Capitol in the summer of 1960—the same year he left the label and with a few hundred thousand dollars of his own money started Reprise Records. You can be sure plans for the new label were well underway during the production of this thirty three minutes and change long album.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 04, 2013  |  12 comments
Greatest Hits albums from the '60s are a crap shoot: how many were made from original tapes strung together to produce reels for lacquer cutting? A few but not most. Instead the originals (hopefully) were pulled and tape copies of the hits were made and those were strung together for the hits package.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 02, 2013  |  4 comments
Note: The pressing issue I encountered with the copy I bought was corroborated by some readers but not all. The producer's QC copy was fine, so we exchanged copies. The replacement I was sent (autographed by Bryan Ferry, thank you!) sounded fine throughout.
Michael Fremer  |  Mar 09, 2013  |  7 comments
Why am I reviewing a CD???? The answer(s) are easy. Firstly, this loving tribute to Les Paul featuring longtime trio cohort Lou Pallo and others with whom Les played at Fat Tuesdays and the Iridium is musically fabulous assuming you like the timeless "old school" style.
Michael Fremer  |  Feb 19, 2013  |  4 comments
A record label forensic specialist might be required to trace how The Allman Brothers Band ended up an Island/Def Jam property issued on Mercury Records, all now owned by Universal Music Group. The original was issued in 1969 on the ATCO division of Atlantic Records. Perhaps it had to do with the sale of the late Phil Walden's Capricorn imprint, through which the ATCO deal had been made.
Michael Fremer  |  Aug 14, 2012  |  2 comments
Over the past few years, jazz fans have been treated to some astonishing, heretofore unreleased treasures. Unlike in the rock world, where such finds, along with “bonus tracks” usually tell you why they weren’t released in the first place (with Bob Dylan being a notable exception), these jazz releases have felt like un-mined diamonds, only occasionally in the rough.

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 14, 2012  |  3 comments
Who begins a debut album with a dirge-like, mournful song taken at a heartbreakingly slow pace like Richard Manuel's "Tears of Rage?" The Band did on their debut album that didn't exactly hit the pop charts running.

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