Album Reviews

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Michael Fremer  |  Jun 05, 2019  |  2 comments
Buddy Guy’s 1967 Chess release—his first— has nothing to do with San Francisco, nor was it recorded July of 1967 though the jacket says it was. No big deal. Someone (probably Leonard Chess) chose to reference San Francisco because “flower power” was happening and it seemed like a good way to grab the white kids’ interest. The recording date was chosen close to the original release date so it would sound current but in fact, this is a compilation that includes tracks recorded between 1962 and 1967.

Malachi Lui  |  May 25, 2019  |  12 comments
Following a turbulent decade battling personal demons in the 1950s, tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon had mostly faded from the jazz scene by the end of that decade; after all, he only recorded three sessions (two of which he led) in the second half of it. By 1961, however, he began a successful relationship with Blue Note that commenced that year with Doin’ Allright. The Los Angeles-native moved back to New York City for the third time, got rediscovered by jazz listeners, and led a quintet on this album that included Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Horace Parlan on piano, George Tucker on Bass, and Al Harewood on drums.

Malachi Lui  |  May 06, 2019  |  10 comments
Wouldn’t pairing a highly talented bluesman with one of the best house bands in the world result in a great record?

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 23, 2019  |  12 comments
It seems appropriate to review Rhino’s sumptuous 4 LP set Aretha Franklin’s Amazing Grace The Complete Recordings, her enduring gospel album recorded in a Los Angeles church and released in June of 1972 on Atlantic Records, two days after Kanye West’s Easter morning “gospel service” at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival before 50,000 fans.

Malachi Lui  |  Mar 28, 2019  |  16 comments
Despite recording a handful of legendary Paramount Records sides in 1930, Eddie James “Son” House, Jr. vanished after his rediscovery in August 1941 by Alan Lomax. His recordings gained stature over the ensuing decades, which in 1964 lead Dick Waterman, Nick Perls, and Phil Spiro on a mission to find House. They eventually located him that June in Rochester, New York, approximately 1,000 miles from his origins in the Mississippi Delta. Following his migration, House worked as a New York Central Railroad porter, killed a man in self-defense, and perhaps most importantly in the context of this review, put down his Dobro after the death of close friend and fellow bluesman Willie Brown. However, the younger generation’s enthusiasm for House’s original recordings reinvigorated his desire to play, which he then did for the first time in seven or eight (according to the liner notes) years.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 13, 2019  |  54 comments
AnalogPlanet editor Michael Fremer is not a classical music authority. If you didn't know that before watching this frantic, somewhat shallow video, you will after!

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 22, 2019  |  35 comments
Mobile Fidelity's One-Step reissue of Marvin Gaye's groundbreaking album What's Going On is long out of print but still deserving of a short review.

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 21, 2019  |  6 comments
Blue Note's new "Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series" is part of the company's 80th anniversary celebration. Wayne Shorter's Etcetera is the first release in the series. Joe Harley, well known among audiophiles for his work with AudioQuest both as a press liaison (among other tasks) and especially for the series of all-analog AudioQuest LPs he produced back when vinyl was "dead", "hand picked" these "Tone Poet" titles and oversaw their production.

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 16, 2019  |  9 comments
The boomer generation is firmly out of cultural control and rock is pretty much dead—not in terms of interest but in the same way big band music is dead—though back in 1980 when this Linda Ronstadt concert was produced and recorded for an HBO special, boomer power peaked.

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 11, 2019  |  22 comments
One of the Anthony Wilson-shot photographs in the coffee table quality photobook housed within Songs and Photographs’s handsome, textured paper slipcase— along with the jacketed 180 gram LP (Goat Hill Recordings GHR-005)—is of a church’s red brick back wall, in front of which are three gravestones. The late afternoon sun casts against the wall three long offset shadows.

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 06, 2019  |  5 comments
You know those records that “got away”? The ones you saw in the bins when they first were released that you mean to buy but somehow didn’t? One for me was Peter Walker’s Rainy Day Raga on Vanguard. I’ll pick up a copy eventually (I said that before, back in the ‘60s, but this time I mean it!) but for now there’s this old-time/modern psych-drone fest with the recently resurfaced Walker, now in his 80s, collaborating with Harmony Rockets (better known as Mercury Rev along with Wilco’s Nels Cline, Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley and Martin Keith.

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 28, 2019  |  8 comments
Sam Records just issued a never before released series of absolutely rocking live performances by the under appreciated American-born tenor/soprano saxophonist and flutist Nathan Davis (1937-2018).

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 25, 2019  |  4 comments
Darkness into Light, Evil into Good, Ugliness into Beauty, Ignorance into Knowledge, Confusion into Certainty, deliverance from oppression (and the other way around) and simultaneous alternative realities are familiar transformative comic book and biblical themes (Shorter is a known comic book fan; not sure about his biblical proclivities).

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 24, 2019  |  16 comments
Former N.Y.C. Deputy Mayor Edward Morrison's obituary appeared in today's New York Times. Morrison was instrumental in helping John Lennon remain in America at a time when Richard Nixon was trying to deport him. Lennon's anti-war political agitation bugged Nixon. The deportation was going to based on an old pot bust. Morrison intervened and helped Lennon to remain in America by having him declared a "valuable cultural asset to New York City".

Malachi Lui  |  Jan 02, 2019  |  5 comments
On August 11 of last year, I had the amazing opportunity to meet Jack White and his band at their Portland, Oregon concert after the publication of my Boarding House Reach review. White read my review, loved it, and through his tour manager and a few other connections, invited my family backstage. We got to stand right behind the sound engineers and lighting controllers, and I even got to view the show from the side of the stage next to White’s guitar technician. Needless to say, I’m a fan; we purchased concert tickets prior to his invitation (and in February 2016, we even made the trek from New Jersey to his Third Man Records headquarters in Nashville).

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