Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Masters Showcased on New Sets

Four outstanding titles deserving of widespread attention are available now, including a look back at some notable Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ceremonies, the latest studio album from Sir Paul McCartney, a live Yes set and wonderful collection featuring Bay Area favorites Malo.

Title: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Concert: Encore (Time Life)
You might like if you enjoy: Heart, Rush, Gary Clark Jr., Tom Petty, Donovan
Tell me more: Available on both Blu-ray and DVD, "Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Concert: Encore" features the complete 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 induction ceremonies for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The good news for fans of pop, rock, soul and blues is there is a wide range of great performances and interesting speeches that make for solid viewing. Among this writer's favorite performances (there are 44 performances featured across the title!) is the Hollies performing "Bus Stop," a wonderful tribute to the late Freddie King featured the combined talents of Joe Bonamassa, Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Derek Trucks, a powerful set from Rush, and an inspired take on Randy Newman's "I Love L.A." featuring the singer-songwriter-composer joined by Jackson Browne, John Fogerty and Tom Petty. Other artists who appear as part of wonderful performances include modern-day blues great Gary Clark Jr., icon Bruce Springsteen and classic rockers Heart. On the Blu-ray edition reviewed here, the visual and audio quality are truly marvelous. Information:

Artist: Paul McCartney
Title: Egypt Station (Capitol Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Paul McCartney, Jason Falkner, Rusty Anderson
Tell me more: When it comes to classic '60s-spawned rock artists who have continued to release albums of new music there are always those who have little or no interest in listening regardless of how strong the material. The Zombies, Neil Young, Ringo Starr and Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues have all impressed on recently-issued titles. Add to that distinguished list Sir Paul McCartney courtesy of his terrific Egypt Station. At 76, McCartney's once shining vocal tenor is admittedly more scratchy on his 18th solo album (25th if you count Wings), but he uses that huskiness to help propel a batch of winning songs exploring everything from lust-filled romance ("Come On To Me," the Ryan Tedder co-penned "Fuh You") and attack on bullying (the infectious blues rocker "Who Cares") to the search for peace in our time ("People Want Peace"). There are several songs that rate with some of McCartney's best-ever post-Beatles songs, notably the beautiful and confessional piano ballad "I Don't Know," introspective Beatlesque-mining "Happy With You," Bossa nova foray "Back in Brazil" and reflective melodic gem "Dominoes." "Egypt Station" ends its glorious run with a glorious rock medley ("Hunt You Down/Naked/C-Link") that captures McCartney's rare ability to fuse tuneful song craft, bona fide rock 'n' roll and artful ambition with singular magic. Information:

Artist: Yes featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakeman
Title: 50th Anniversary Live at the Apollo (Eagle Rock Entertainment)
You might like if you enjoy: Yes, Rick Wakeman, Trevor Rabin
Tell me more: The good news for those who didn't catch Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin and Rick Wakeman on their 2016-2017 tour celebrating the music of Yes is that a sold-out performance staged at the Manchester Apollo in the United Kingdom in early 2017 was captured and is now available. 50th Anniversary Live at the Apollo was released on Sept. 7 and is available on DVD, Blu-ray, 2CD and 3LP. The performance featuring Anderson (vocals), Rabin (guitar) Wakeman (keyboards), Lee Pomeroy (bass) and Lou Molino III (drums) truly provides an astonishing look and listen at many Yes favorites. Nuggets are pulled from across the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group's 50-year legacy; "Owner of a Lonely Heart" bristles with power; "Roundabout" is slightly reworked from its 1971 studio arrangement but maintains its bewitching ethereal wonder. "I've Seen All Good People" is bolstered by a sweeping British folk spirit in its first half before more rock elements and vocal harmonies elevate it during the song's grand finale. Indeed the entire concert recording is a joy and celebrates Yes' groundbreaking prog rock sound. Information:

Artist: Malo
Title: Latin Bugaloo (Omnivore Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: Tower of Power, War, Santana
Tell me more: Along with groups such as Tower of Power and War, Malo carved out an intoxicating sound by mixing rock, funk, blues, Afro-Latin and jazz adorned with a brass section. Now the ensemble's enduring sound is showcased on Latin Bugaloo: The Warner Bros. Singles. Featuring all 14 A- and B-sides from the Bay Area-based band's four albums released by Warner Bros. Records in the early 1970s, the remastered cuts here sound amazing and showcase the approach of the troupe, led by bandleader Jorge Santana (the brother of Carlos Santana). Malo was able to creatively use the large mix of instruments including keyboards, congas and bongos in the service of jams that supported strong songs. "Latin Bugaloo" features the radio single versions of songs that sometimes stretched much longer on the albums. Among the highlights featured on the outstanding set is the band's best known hit, the breezy "Suavecito," the jazz-flavored "Nena," richly-textured "Just Say Goodbye," pretty ballad "Love Will Survive" and funky "Think About Love.". Information:

Robert Kinsler

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