Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Icons reveal magic anew: Queen, Rush, Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, Dr. John tribute

Those wanting to get an early start on their holiday shopping might well want to get started with these terrific titles...

Artist: Queen
Title: Queen On Air (Hollywood Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Queen
Tell me more: Queen has long been recognized as one of the most adventuresome artists in the history of rock, and the quartet's far-flung instincts and virtuoso talents shine bright on Queen On Air, a new collection featuring the band's complete BBC radio sessions. Six magical sessions recorded between February 1973 and October 1977 anchor the 2CD and 3-LP vinyl editions, while those who opt to get a deluxe 6-disc edition (reviewed here) will be treated to highlights from three concert broadcasts (from 1973, 1981 and 1986), as well as more than three and a half hours of interviews (including the last-ever interview with all four members together that was conducted in 1989). The performances are stunning, with versions of the hard-rocking "Keep Yourself Alive," bona fide blues gem "See What A Fool I've Been," the prog rocker "Great King Rat" and a speedy "We Will Rock You" among the must-hear tracks. Queen's brilliance is clear from the earliest recording (the Renaissance-tinged "My Fairy King" is the first song), and really is fascinating to see just how quickly Queen developed into one of rock's most innovative and successful artists. Information:

Artist: Rush
Title: Rush | Time Stand (Concord Music Group)
You might like if you enjoy: Rush
Tell me more: For countless fans of the Canadian rock trio Rush, the band's new documentary Rush | Time Stand is bittersweet. To be sure, the Dale Heslip-directed film (which will be officially released on Friday, Nov. 18, 2016) is a poignant and affecting look at the band's 40-year relationship with the fans and the enduring friendships that bind Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart together. But Rush | Time Stand Still also captures the band's magnificent farewell tour that took them to 35 cities in 2015, celebrating the 40-year history of a band that wanted to say goodbye on their own terms. In addition to interviews with the three band members, rehearsal and performance footage, and glimpses of life on the road, there are plenty of probing looks at the band's dedicated fan base and the crew members who are part of the Rush family. When the R40 tour comes to an end with a powerful performance at the Fabulous Forum in Los Angeles, don't be surprised if you have shed a few tears along the way. Information:

Artist: Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow
Title: Memories in Rock - Live in Germany (Eagle Rock Entertainment)
You might like if you enjoy: Deep Purple, Rainbow
Tell me more: Now all fans of legendary lead guitarist Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple, Rainbow) can immerse themselves in his brief return to the rock 'n' roll arena that played out via a mere three European concerts staged in June 2016. Memories in Rock - Live in Germany features 18 tracks performed by Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow and the selections are pure magic. A breathtaking introduction via the Deep Purple classic "Highway Star," the potent British blues-styled "Mistreated," heavy metal classic "Man on the Silver Mountain" and dazzling "Perfect Stranges" are among the great performances captured here. The great news is Blackmore's guitar work is emotionally and technically stunning across the 139-minute title, showcasing the level of firepower of his high-profile '70s and '80s glory days. Memories in Rock is available in the following formats: DVD+2CD (reviewed here), Blu-ray+2CD, and digital formats (all available Nov 18); a deluxe version (DVD, Blu-ray, and 2CD in a 48-page hardback photo book), and a 3LP version will be available on Dec. 2, 2016. Information:

Artists: Dr. John, Bruce Springsteen, John Fogerty, Mavis Staples, more
Title: The Musical Mojo of Dr. John: Celebrating Mac and His Music (Concord Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Dr. John, Bruce Springsteen, Tab Benoit, John Fogerty
Tell me more: There are few artists who are as beloved as New Orleans legend Dr. John (he turns 76 later this month). The singer-songwriter-pianist was recently celebrated with a special concert at New Orleans' Saenger Theatre, where he was joined by a diverse group of famed musicians to perform 22 songs written or made famous by the icon, now gathered together for the multi-format release The Musical Mojo of Dr. John: Celebrating Mac and His Music. The concert (available as an audio 2CD release, or as a concert film on DVD or Blu-ray) kicks off with Dr. John and Bruce Springsteen joining forces in an uptempo take on the classic "Right Place Wrong Time," and the energy and enthusiasm of the players never ebbs. Dr. John's unique style that has blended Delta blues, jazz, funk, soul and other styles comes alive across the concert. Singer-guitarist Tab Benoit and singer Allen Toussaint are among the Louisiana greats who shine on the release, as are soul singer Mavis Staples (with the gospel song "Lay My Burden Down") and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Fogerty (who animates the apt tune "New Orleans"). Information: or

Robert Kinsler

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