Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Reissues, retrospectives and returns: Deep Purple, Colin Blunstone, Buck Owens and the Buckeroos, Walter Hyatt tribute

The return of Deep Purple as well as essential reissues from singer-songwriter Colin Blunstone and Buck Owens and the Buckeroos as well as tribute to the late country music star Walter Hyatt are definitely worth adding to your music library.

Deep Purple
Title: Turning To Crime (earMUSIC)
You might like if you enjoy: Deep Purple, Steve Morse, Ian Gillan, Peter Green
Tell me more: Deep Purple is back with Turning To Crime, the classic hard rock troupe's first ever album featuring a full track listing covering other artists' songs. The new album is also the third release in a must-hear series of titles produced by Bob Ezrin that has marked a successful new chapter for Deep Purple (singer Ian Gillan, bassist Roger Glover, drummer Ian Paice, keyboardist Don Airey, guitarist Steve Morse). It should come as little surprise that the 12-track "Turning To Crime" celebrates Deep Purple's signature sound while also creatively honoring the classics revisited on the disc. A driving take on Love's "7 And 7 Is" kicks off the album, the rousing cover enhanced by Morse's guitar and Airey keyboards. Other early standouts on the album include a playful take on the Ray Charles favorite "Let The Good Times Roll," and potent versions of the Peter Green-penned "Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu" and "Oh Well," the latter shining a welcome light on Gillan's powerful vocals and Morse's breathtaking lead guitar playing. The magic continues with a psychedelia-tinged reading of the Yardbirds' "Shapes Of Things," amped cover of Bob Seger's "Lucifer," and burning take on Cream's "White Room." A dazzling eight-minute medley caps the album with selections pulled from the far-flung likes of Freddie King, Booker T. and the M.G.'s, Allman Brothers and Led Zeppelin revisited. Other artists covered on the album include Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels, Bob Dylan, Little Feat and Jimmy Driftwood. Information: Deep-Purple.com or ear-music.net.

Colin Blunstone
Title: One Year: 50th Anniversary Edition (Sundazed Music)
You might like if you enjoy: The Zombies, Colin Blunstone
Tell me more: Originally released in November 1971, singer-songwriter Colin Blunstone's One Year was The Zombies lead vocalist's solo debut; Blunstone's Zombies band mates Rod Argent and Chris White co-produced the album. Now comes the outstanding 50th Anniversary Edition of the classic LP that immerses the listener in the artist's enthralling mix of neo-classical, rock, jazz and Baroque pop. In addition to the original album track listing, the reissue includes 14 previously unreleased recordings and nine unrecorded compositions. One of rock's greatest singers, Blunstone's soaring and mesmerizing vocals shine across the collection. The reissue is a joy with the uptempo "She Loves The Way They Love Her," classical music-mining "Misty Roses" (featuring Zombies bassist Chris White on classical guitar) and "Smokey Day," jazz-tinged Baroque rock classic "Caroline Goodbye," and buoyant "Mary Won't You Warm My Bed" all early delights on the disc. The gorgeous "Her Song", soaring "Say You Don't Mind," flamenco guitar-adorned "I've Always Had You," touching "I'm Coming Home" and dark "Sing Your Own Song" (the latter a song written in response to Blunstone reading about his own death in Rolling Stone) are among the late-title highlights. The physical release  available on audio CD and vinyl  includes never-before-seen photos and new liner notes penned by Blunstone. Information: ColinBlunstone.net

Artist: Buck Owens and the Buckeroos
Titles: Your Mother's Prayer; The Kansas City Song; I Wouldn't Live in New York City; In the Palm of Your Hand; Ain't It Amazing, Gracie; (It's a) Monster Holiday (Omnivore Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: Dwight Yoakam, Buck Owens, Merle Haggard
Tell me more: Back in June of this year, Omnivore Recordings announced the reissue of remastered editions of nine outstanding Buck Owens and the Buckeroos album titles spanning 1968 to 1974. For fans of the legendary and beloved country music artist, these titles are crucial. In August I reviewed the first trio of these special editions and am going to highlight the other six in this week's column. 

Originally released in early 1970, Your Mother's Prayer features a gospel-centered approach highlighted by the beautiful title track (bolstered by classical and pedal steel guitar textures), the swinging "That Old Time Religion," the affecting "In God I Trust" and lively "That Sunday Feeling." Owens wrote or co-wrote seven of the 11 tracks on an album that ranks among the best country music gospel albums of all time.  

Released in July 1970, The Kansas City Song, features 10 infectious songs showcasing Owens' strong songcraft, signature vocal and the top-tier musical talents of guitarists Don Rich and Doyle Holly, drummer Jerry Wiggins, keyboardist Earl Poole Ball, bassist pianist Jim Shaw and pedal steel legend Buddy Emmons. Standouts include the rousing title track, tender ballads "Bring Back My Peace Of Mind," "I'd Love To Be Your Man," melodic "Amsterdam" and poignant "Black Texas Dirt." 

Released at the end of 1970, each song on I Wouldn't Live in New York City focuses on a different city. The concept album reached #12 on the country album charts and is a wonderful listen. The comedic 
"I Wouldn't Live in New York City (If They Gave Me The Whole Dang Town)" was recorded live on the streets of The Big Apple. Other memorable originals on the disc include the wistful "Reno Lament," beautiful "The Wind Blows Every Day In Chicago," church bells-bolstered "(It's A Long Way To) Londontown" and Latin-fused "Santa Domingo."

Released in January 1973, In the Palm of Your Hand proved to be another hit for the prolific Owens. Featuring 10 tracks, standouts on the set include the romantic title track, country rock-tinged "Made In Japan," yearning "Sweethearts In Heaven" and bittersweet "Arms Full Of Empty."

Released a mere two months after In the Palm of Your Hand, Ain't It Amazing, Gracie continued Owens' creative and commercial success courtesy of 10 indelible tracks. The pretty "Long Hot Summer," a shining cover of Home Joy's "Streets of Bakersfield," colorful "Your Monkey Won't Be Home Tonight"
 and sorrowful "Old Faithful" are among the terrific cuts on the album.

Issued in 1974, (It's a) Monster Holiday was Owens and his Buckeroos' 23rd Top 10 country album. The album features a rich mix of humorous tracks (the title track, "Meanwhile Back at the Ranch"), uptempo material ("Stony Mountain West Virginia," "Kiss An Angel Good Mornin'," "Pass Me By (If You're Only Passing Through)") and lush ballads ("Amazing Love," "I Love," "You're Gonna Love Yourself in the Morning"). The album also features "On the Cover of the Music City News," a clever re-write by Owens and Shaw of Shel Silverstein's "Cover of the Rolling Stone."

The Omnivore Recordings reissues have been released in their original configurations on audio CD and Digital (in both standard and high resolution); each has been mastered from the original analog tapes by Michael Graves and produced for release by Grammy-winner Cheryl Pawelski, and all feature expanded artwork and new liner notes from Owens biographer Randy Poe (the author of "Buck 'Em! The Autobiography of Buck Owens")Information: OmnivoreRecordings.com.

Lyle Lovett, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Junior Brown, David Ball, more
Title: Mighty Fine: An Austin City Limits Tribute to Walter Hyatt (Omnivore Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: David Ball, Lyle Lovett, Shawn Colvin, Uncle Walt's Band
Tell me more: During the late 1970s and early '80s, Uncle Walt's Band (David Ball, Champ Hood, Walter Hyatt) was one of the most popular artists in Austin, Texas. The South Carolina-spawned trio issued several self-released titles before breaking up in 1983. Even after the acclaimed trio broke up and Hyatt returned to Nashville with his wife, Heidi, he remained a fixture on the country music scene and even produced Lyle Lovett's 1990 major label debut "King Tears." Hyatt also recorded several solo albums, including 1993's Music Town. Sadly, Hyatt died in the May 11, 1996 ValueJet Plane crash that took the lives of all passengers and crew. Lovett subsequently helped organize tribute concerts to benefit Hyatt's wife and children; now tracks from a 1997 "Austin City Limits" Tribute to Hyatt have been released; the title (Mighty Fine: An Austin City Limits Tribute to Walter Hyatt) features 11 tracks from the original broadcast and six additional tracks not shown on the television special. Additionally, four previously-unissued Hyatt recordings  including the timely "In A Christmas Dream"  are included as bonus tracks. The wonderful release features a diverse lineup of artists who worked with or were influenced by Hyatt including Lovett, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Marcia Ball, Junior Brown, Shawn Colvin, and his Uncle Walt's Band mates Ball and Hood. "Mighty Fine" is available on audio CD and via Digital. Information: OmnivoreRecordings.com

Robert Kinsler

Monday, December 06, 2021

'Blues Approved,' great lost album by NC music legend Sam Moss is discovered; release set for January 29, 2022 on CD and vinyl

Another lost treasure of interest to fans of Southern blues rock and '70s rock is set for release...Robert Kinsler

Chris Stamey restores record by regionally renowned guitarist and mentor.
Sam Moss (Photo: Alex Forsyth)
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. —  In Winston-Salem, N.C., the late guitarist Sam Moss is a legend. A superior, highly versatile musician whose advocacy for the blues and 1960s mastery of the nuances of electric soloing somewhat paralleled Mike Bloomfield’s in Chicago, Moss was an inspiring, charismatic mentor to generations of North Carolina rockers, including Let’s Active and The dB’sSouthern Culture on the Skids Rick Miller tells us: “Sam was one of the hippest guys we knew — our Guru of Groove, the Maharishi of Mojo." A larger-than-life character, Moss astounded local audiences in his club appearances, yet he never released a record in his lifetime. So producer Chris Stamey was thrilled to discover, in 2020, on the end of an old tape, forgotten masters of Blues Approved, a spectacular Stax– and Muscle Shoals–influenced solo record, made with Mitch Easter in 1977. This “great lost” record reveals that Moss was also a soulful songwriter and singer. It has now been carefully remixed and produced for release, with a deluxe booklet featuring detailed liner notes and bio, session notes by Easter, and lots of vivid color photos. Peter Holsapple (The dB’s) explains: “Sam Moss was an inspiration to so many of us; with the release of Blues Approved, now people everywhere will understand why.”
Blues Approved will be released on CD and digitally by Schoolkids Records on January 28, 2022, with a vinyl edition to follow in early summer.
Moss had made the first of several trips to nearby Chapel Hill to record his own original compositions in early 1977, with old friend Easter on drums (and engineering). Mitch recalls: “I had a ‘studio’ in my house, meaning a Teac 2340 four-track recorder, three or four humble microphones, and for monitoring, the home stereo system. For extra-fancy sessions, I’d rent a Tapco six-channel mixer. . . . Sam came down with two or three guitars, his Fender Twin. I played drums and Sam played everything else. And it was a really good session! Sam wrote interesting songs that almost always had a blues angle, but he brought in a lot of elements from elsewhere. He was pleased with the results, so we met a couple more times that year and recorded an LP’s worth of songs.” But the material then sat on the shelf, unheard, as Moss opened a vintage guitar store, selling internationally to rock stars and other celebrities for several decades.
Sam Moss
(Photo courtesy of Margil Conrad)
Stamey felt that most of the material seemed fully formed on its own, despite the limited recording options then available, but for a few tracks — the openers “Rooster Blood” and “King of My Hill,” and the Stonesy “Vida Blanche” — he enlisted the help of the Uptown Horns’ leader Crispin Cioe, a veteran of Rolling Stones tours whose Southern-fried additions on sax fit the material like a glove. And once a few later covers (created with Henry Heidtmann and Jay Johnson at Creative Audio/Turtle Tapes in the early ’90s) were added to the picture — including the captivating, bluesy spin taken with “Ain’t That Peculiar” featuring “Weso” Wesolowski on harp — the record was complete. 
Contemporary technology was used to reassemble the various generations of four-track tapes into first-generation sources, peeling back the layers to put the listener back in the room where it happened. The mono closing track, a teenage Moss in his first band singing Buck Owens’ “Act Naturally” in a church basement, was too cool not to include. And as bonuses, there are three additional surprises from the Turtle Tapes sessions: the Monkees’ 1967 hit “Pleasant Valley Sunday” (written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King) an instrumental of Pomus and Shuman’s “Can’t Get Used to Losing You,” and the Stones’ obscurity “Who’s Driving Your Plane?”
Sam Moss (Photo: John French)
Easter: “I had a pretty good memory of this material, but when I actually heard it again I was delighted that it really is great.  Sam was always strangely unconcerned about stardom, but he was a star anyway.  When you play the record, you'll see what I mean.” On July 30, 2021, the City of Winston-Salem honored Moss with a sidewalk star in the city’s Walk of Fame downtown. 
Original Sessions Produced by Sam Moss at
Route 8, Box 1-C and at Creative Audio/Turtle Tapes 
Produced and Mixed for Release by Chris Stamey 
(with Input from Gene Holder and Mitch Easter) at 
Modern Recording (Chapel Hill, N.C.)

Saturday, December 04, 2021

ABBA Christmas single and video out now

Check out the new music video for ABBA's first-ever Christmas song, the lovely "Little Things"...Robert Kinsler 









ABBA has released their first Christmas single ‘Little Things’, out now with proceeds going to Unicef to help support the Global Child Protection Fund.


Taken from ABBA’s album Voyage (Capitol), ‘Little Things’ is a reflection on the joy of Christmas morning and family time around this special time of year.


Agnetha, Björn, Benny & Anni-Frid say:

“We think it is impossible to eradicate poverty without the empowerment of women. That's why we support Unicef in protecting girls from sexual violence and empowering them through the Global Child Protection Fund. We have done so for many years with our song Chiquitita and now we have decided to give Unicef a Christmas gift in the form of a second song: Little Things from our album Voyage.”


The official music video for the single also launched yesterday (Dec. 3, 2021). Directed by Grammy and BRIT Award-winning British music video director and longtime ABBA fan Sophie Muller (Gwen Stefani, Annie Lennox, Sade, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Radiohead, Björk) alongside Executive Producer Juliette Larthe (Arca, Kanye West, Little Simz ), Producer Chris Murdoch (Kylie Minogue, Franz Ferdinand, Maneskin) Performance Director Theo Adams (Years & Years, Paloma Faith, FKA Twigs) and PRETTYBIRD UK, the film is a brilliantly-conceptualised take on the production behind ABBA Voyage, the series of concerts featuring digital versions of ABBA that will open in London next year.


Centred around a dedicated and ambitious group of school-age children, many of whom in real life are close to (or even related to!) the creative team behind the groundbreaking concerts, this next generation of geniuses are inspired to create an ABBA Voyage ‘Christmas Special’, and embark with irrepressible enthusiasm on the enterprise of motion capture, choreography, costume design, stage lighting and band rehearsals, culminating with the arrival of parents and family members and the beginnings of snow, to watch a very convincing performance by the re-imagined ‘ABBA’, as ‘Little Things’ draws to a close.


After what was one of the biggest and most anticipated comebacks in history, ABBA’s new album Voyagewas released last month, going straight to the No. 1 spot in 18 countries including the UK, Germany, Australia and Sweden and reaching No. 2 on the US Billboard 200. In its first week, Voyage achieved worldwide sales in excess of 1 million copies, and has received more than 190 million combined streams to date.


The single ‘I Still Have Faith In You’ has just received the band’s first ever Grammy nomination for ‘Record of the Year’.


Speaking on the success of Voyage“We are so happy that our fans seem to have enjoyed our new album as much as we enjoyed making it! We are absolutely over the moon to have an album at the top of the charts again / ABBA”.


ABBA / Voyage - global launch highlights include:

      Voyage achieved worldwide sales in excess of 1 million copies in its first week, and has received more than 190 million combined streams to date. 

      In the U.K. Voyage became ABBA’s 10th UK Number 1, and their first to top the Official Albums Chart in 40 years. It is 2021’s fastest-selling album to date and registered the biggest first week sales in four years (203,909). It is also the fastest-selling vinyl release of the century. 

      In the U.S. – Voyage debuted at #1 on the Top Albums chart, as the band achieved their biggest ever US chart debut. ABBA also claimed the highest sales week in 2021 for a group.

      The album achieved multiple gold and platinum certifications around the world.

      Voyage is the biggest international debut of the year in Japan, Germany, Australia, U.K. & France.


Next year will see the opening of ABBA Voyage, the revolutionary concert that will see Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Anni-Frid as digital avatars at their very own purpose-built ‘ABBA Arena’ at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, performing a set-list of ABBA’s greatest hits along with two songs from their new album Voyage, ‘I Still Have Faith In You’ and ‘Don’t Shut Me Down’, alongside a ten-piece live band.


Tickets on sale now at abbavoyage.com


ABBA Voyage is directed by Baillie Walsh (Flashbacks of a Fool, Being James Bond, Springsteen and I), and produced by Svana Gisla (David Bowie Blackstar/Lazarus, Beyoncé and Jay Z for HBO, Springsteen and I) and Ludvig Andersson (And Then We Danced, Yung Lean - “In My Head”, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again).

abba press.jpg








About ABBA

With nearly 400 million albums sold worldwide, 17 No. 1 hits and over 16 million weekly global streams, ABBA are one of the world’s most successful music acts of all time. Ever since their breakthrough with ‘Waterloo’ back in 1974, ABBA’s music has captured the hearts of people all over the world. Today, the songs they created – written and produced by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, and interpreted vocally with passion and commitment by Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid “Frida” Lyngstad – are regarded as an important part of the international music canon. In the 21st Century, ABBA are more popular than ever. ABBA Gold, originally released in 1992, recently passed its 1000th week on the UK Album Chart, the first album in history to reach this milestone. Content using the #ABBA hashtag on TikTok recently reached one billion views, without the catalogue officially being available on the platform. ABBA was inducted into the Rock N’Roll Hall of Fame in 2010, and ‘Dancing Queen’, one of their most beloved songs, was added to the GRAMMY Hall of Fame in 2015.

TJR and Robert Kinsler discuss The Beatles 'Get Back'

On their newly-posted episode, TJR and Robert Kinsler discuss "Get Back," the ambitious docuseries from Peter Jackson that made its debut over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Watch the episode HERE.

Friday, December 03, 2021

Jason Aldean's double album 'Macon, Georgia' set for release on April 22, 2022

Big news for fans of country music artist Jason Aldean, who is set to release his ambitious two-part 30-track album next spring....Robert Kinsler


Aldean Reveals Full Track-Listing of Double Album with Pre-Order Launching Today
for GEORGIA and Three-Disc Collector's Vinyl Set 

NASHVILLE, TN - Dec. 03, 2021 - Grammy-nominee Jason Aldean reveals more details today behind the expansive 10th release of his double-album MACON, GEORGIA (Macon Music/Broken Bow Records), available April 22. Built slow through long months off the road, Aldean's full 10th studio album represents the first chunk of time since Aldean was a teen that he was not hopping from city to city each night, and he put it to good use. Part all-new music and part career retrospective, highlighting the fiery live shows Aldean’s made his calling card, the massive set features 30 songs over two jam-packed releases – with 20 new tunes and 10 unheard live takes showcasing everything he does. The full release will also be marked by a commemorative three-disc vinyl set which fans can pre-order here. The collection’s second installment, GEORGIA, is now available for pre-order here, with MACON already available here.

“We’ve always tried to lean toward more songs than less…and this album is no different,” Aldean explains. “We decided to pepper in some of the live tracks we’ve had stockpiled for a while. After nine albums and 16 years of recording, I hope people can tell I wanted to make this tenth album fun and different from anything we’ve done before."

Leading into the release of the second installment, GEORGIA, Aldean will release a new track. Today, fans have access to the first track released off GEORGIA, "Whiskey Me Away" here.

MACON Track List (Available Now):
1. "After You"
2. "Over You Again"
3. "That’s What Tequila Does"
4. "Small Town Small"
5. "If I Didn’t Love You"
6. "Story For Another Glass" 
7. "Heaven" 
8. "This Bar Don’t Work Anymore"
9. "The Sad Songs"
10. "Watching You Love Me"
11. "Amarillo Sky" (Live from Nashville, TN)
12. "Johnny Cash" (Live from Los Angeles, CA)
13. "She’s Country" (Live from Las Vegas, NV)
14. "Big Green Tractor" (Live from Dallas, TX)
15. "My Kinda Party" (Live from St. Louis, MO)

GEORGIA Track List (Out 4/22/22):
16. "Whiskey Me Away"
17. "Trouble With A Heartbreak"
18. "The State I’m In"
19. "Midnight And Missin’ You"
20. "Ain’t Enough Cowboy"
21. "God Made Airplanes"
22. "My Weakness"
23. "Holy Water"
24. "Rock And Roll Cowboy"
25. "Your Mama"
26. "Take a Little Ride" (Live from Las Vegas, NV)
27. "Burnin’ It Down" (Live from St. Louis, MO)
28. "Any Ol’ Barstool" (Live from Knoxville, TN) 
29. "Rearview Town" (Live from St. Louis, MO)
30. "Blame It On You" (Live from Manchester, TN)

Together with longtime producer Michael Knox, Aldean took an anything-goes approach to his signature sound – tough on its surface, yet often tender at the core – adding new writers to his established crew and reviving his barbed-wire vocal for a new era. Since the very beginning, the Macon-specific confluence of Country music, Southern rock, and R&B has provided inspiration for his work – from hometown legends like the Allman Brothers to Otis Redding and beyond – helping him create a game changing country-rock mix. Here he tips a hat, while continuing to leave his own mark on the city’s vibrant history. Above all, he reaffirms his allegiance to the world Macon represents.

The three-time ACM “Entertainer of the Year” has bolstered 26 No. One hits, 15 billion streams and more than 20 million albums sold. Notably, seven of Aldean’s previous studio albums have been certified PLATINUM or more and he has the most Top 10 song on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, more than any other artists, since making his chart debut in 2005. Aldean just wrapped the "explosive run" (Tulsa World) behind his BACK IN THE SADDLE TOUR 2021, as he continues be one of a card-carrying member of Country's elite headliners whose incendiary tours are nearing legendary status. The multi-Platinum singer has launched Wolf Moon Bourbon, an 80 proof bourbon that has been distilled from Midwestern grains and aged for four years offering a finish of caramel, oak and spice. For more information, visit www.JasonAldean.com.

Thursday, December 02, 2021

Marshall Crenshaw continues his series of expanded album reissues with updated edition of his 1999 release ‘#447,’ on the artist’s Shiny-Tone label via Megaforce, out Feb. 4, 2022

Exciting news for fans of the great Marshall Crenshaw...Robert Kinsler

Marshall Crenshaw counts to #447

World-class rock 'n' roll auteur continues his series of expanded album reissues with updated edition of his 1999 release #447, on the artist's Shiny-Tone label via Megaforce; out Feb. 4, 2022

Best Classic Bands premiered the previously unheard songs: https://bestclassicbands.com/marshall-crenshaw-reissues-expanded-12-2-21/

NEW YORK, N.Y. — “I love it that phonograph records are popular again,” enthuses Marshall Crenshaw. “They were consigned to oblivion by the music business back when I was recording for Razor & Tie, but now they’re back!”
The veteran rock ’n’ roll tunesmith, whose beloved body of work encompasses ten studio albums as well as a variety of EPs, compilations and live discs, recently regained ownership of the five acclaimed albums he released on the Razor & Tie label between 1994 and 2003. In 2020, Crenshaw launched a series of ambitious revised editions of those albums, on his own Shiny-Tone label (distributed through Megaforce) on CD, Vinyl and Digtal on February 4, 2022. The new expanded reissues, all of which include newly recorded bonus tracks, are being released on vinyl, as well as on CD and on all digital platforms. 
The reissue series, which began with Crenshaw’s 1996 effort Miracle of Science, now continues with a freshly revised edition of his 1999 set #447, remastered by legendary engineer Greg Calbi. The original 11-song set includes such instant Crenshaw classics as the tongue-in-cheek “Dime a Dozen Guy,” the haunting “Television Light,” the infectious “Tell Me All About It” and the romantic “T.M.D.” Recorded in the artist’s own home studio as well as Nashville’s Alex the Greatstudio, #447 features Crenshaw on vocals, guitar, bass, drums, percussion and various vintage keyboards, with additional instrumental contributions from such kindred spirits as Brad Jones, Bill Lloyd, Greg Leisz, Andy York and former E Street Band member David Sancious.
Writing in allmusic.com, legendary writer/musician Cub Koda observed that #447 “stands tall as one of his finest albums, as well as his most ambitious and perhaps perfectly realized. The big news is the wealth of great original material, plus Crenshaw's newfound interest in guitar textures, giving this album a complex weave of interesting tones that literally leap out of the mix … But with Crenshaw, the pop hook's the thing, and tunes like ‘Dime a Dozen Guy,’ ‘Television Light’ [and] ‘Glad Goodbye’ do not disappoint. He hasn't sounded this confident and relaxed on a record in a long time, and this disc spotlights his talent in a way that makes you smile as you're singing along with a new song that you've never heard before ... This is Marshall Crenshaw firing on all four cylinders, doing what he does best.”
Recalling the period that spawned #447, Crenshaw asserts, “I was happy to get out of the major label world back in 1991, after Life’s Too Short, my one album for MCA/Paradox — the tapes of which, according to Wikipedia and the guy that owned Paradox, got burned up in the Universal vault fire and are now dust particles floating in outer space. Oh well, there might be some symbolism there.
“After that, it was back to a hands-on/home studio/auteur approach to record-making for me, and I was happy about that. It suited me better. By 1993/1994, I had a great little studio space behind our house in Woodstock, which was beautiful inside, visually and sonically. And I was involved with Razor & Tie Records, which was a no-pressure situation at all times.
#447 was the second album I did for Razor & Tie. As with the previous one, Miracle of Science, I was in a space where I could really think clearly. I’d had a cash windfall from co-writing “’Til I Hear It From You” for the Gin Blossoms, and had stocked up on some classy recording gear with brand names like TubeTech, Manley and Ampex. Along with what I was doing at home by myself, I was doing the other half of the work at a great studio in Nashville, Alex the Great, presided over by Brad Jones. He and I always had a good rapport and were pretty much always on the same page in terms of what we thought was cool, aesthetically and artistically. Brad and I had established a really good groove on Miracle of Science, and on #447 we got deeper into that.”
The new edition of #447 incorporates a pair of new Crenshaw recordings, “Will of the Wind” and “Santa Fe.” Those songs appear as a 7'' single packaged with the album’s new vinyl edition, and as bonus tracks included on the CD and in the digital edition. Both songs reflect Crenshaw’s admiration for veteran punk iconoclast Gregg Turner, best known for his pioneering work with the Angry Samoans.
“These songs are the first brand-new material that I’ve recorded since 2016,” Crenshaw notes. “The A-side, ‘Will of the Wind,’ was written and recorded by me during the first months of lockdown in early 2020. I had no way to get together with other musicians, so I did the whole thing by myself. Lyrically, it captures that particular moment in time — that sense of disorientation, uncertainty and being at the mercy of nature, which we always are anyway. It's a pretty good rock ’n’ roll song, in my opinion. Gregg Turner helped me finish the lyrics.

“The B-side is ‘
Santa Fe,’ a Gregg Turner song. A mutual friend gave me one of Gregg’s solo CDs a few years ago and I really flipped over it. I had been meaning to cover ‘Santa Fe’ for a while now. I got hypnotized and fascinated by this song during a cross-country drive back in 2013, on which Gregg’s CD Gregg Turner Plays the Hits was part of the soundtrack. Lyrically, to me, it seems like two separate songs in one, first a breakup song and then … you’ll have to ask Gregg about the rest of it. Big thanks to the great Mike Neer on steel guitar; he sounds like he’s done some cross-country drives himself.”

Crenshaw is particularly pleased with the new expanded edition of #447, which he regards as one of his favorite of his albums. “Out of all the albums I’ve made,” he states, “I’m fond of #447 and Miracle of Science in particular, like I’m fond of my first two albums on Warner Bros. Some of my albums kind of go in pairs, in terms of capturing a vibrant moment in my life, and I think that #447 and Miracle of Science do that.”
The new reissue series appears on Crenshaw’s newly created Shiny-Tone imprint, whose label design echoes the distinctive graphics of the legendary Roulette label. “I couldn’t resist paying tribute to the circa-1958 Roulette Records label design,” he explains. “I hope nobody comes after me about that, but we checked and there’s no copyright.”

Twilight of The Rolling Stones? TJR and Robert Kinsler discuss the legacy and future of the British band

The Rolling Stones rocking in Austin, Texas on
Saturday, November 20, 2021.
Photo: J. Bouquet

What is the future of The Rolling Stones? Following the band's final "No Filter" date in Florida on Nov. 23, 2021, TJR and Robert Kinsler got together to discuss the long and celebrated legacy of the band and their future in an in-depth new episode available HERE.

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

2021 Holiday music roundup

What would the season be without new holiday music? A myriad of new releases, as well as highly-anticipated and expanded reissues are available this year.

Blackmore's Night
Title: Winter Carols (earMUSIC)
You might like if you enjoy: Blackmore's Night, Renaissance music
Tell me more: Originally released in 2006, the newly-remastered and expanded edition of the Blackmore's Night classic Winter Carols is available as a 2CD and digital album. Previous favorites such as the luxurious "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," spectacular "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"/"O Come All Ye Faithful" medley, Baroque-flavored "I Saw Three Ships" and instrumental classical guitar gem "Winter Base Dance)" are here. "Coventry Carol," an English carol dating back to the 16th century, is reworked here with additional lyrics by amazing lead vocalist Candice Night and new arrangement by guitar master Ritchie Blackmore. There are also several other tracks new to the collection, including the shimmering "Here We Come A-Caroling," "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," "O Little Town Of Bethlehem" and "Silent Night." The 2CD version includes a wonderful 20-page booklet with photographs, lyrics for all the selections and album credits. Information: blackmoresnight.com.

Eagles of Death Metal
Title: Eagles of Death Metal Presents A Boots Electric Christmas (UMe)
You might like if you enjoy: Eagles of Death Metal, holiday music
Tell me more: Leave it to the Palm Desert-spawned Eagles of Death Metal to release one of the most delightful and old-fashioned Christmas music collections of 2021. The six songs on Eagles of Death Metal Presents A Boots Electric Christmas (available on Nov. 19) recall the cheer of the best holiday music-minded sets of the 1960s. There is a warmth, intimacy and authenticity to the group's affecting versions of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," "Put A Little Love In Your Heart," "O Holy Night," "Little Drummer Boy" and "Little Town Of Bethlehem." The disc's closer is a shining a cappella rendition of "O Holy Night" featuring the tandem vocals of Jesse Hughes and Joshua Homme. Information: EaglesOfDeathMetal.com.

Goo Goo Dolls
Title: It's Christmas All Over (Warner Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Goo Goo Dolls, Fastball
Tell me more: Celebrated rockers Goo Goo Dolls have released a deluxe edition of It's Christmas All Over, which follows on the heels of the group's latest compilation album titled Rarities. The 12-song "It's Christmas All Over" reintroduces the first-ever holiday music release from John Rzenik and Robby Takac. The collection includes a brand new sentimental original "One Last Song About Christmas" and previously-unreleased cover of "I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm," the latter a classic made famous by Dean Martin. My other faves on the album include the group's version of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" and "This Is Christmas." Information: GooGooDolls.com.

Billy Idol
Title: Happy Holidays (Dark Horse Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Billy Idol, Steve Stevens
Tell me more: Billy Idol's 2006 Christmas studio album Happy Holidays is out now for the first time on vinyl and streaming platforms via Dark Horse Records. This gem features a mix of cool originals ("Happy Holidays," "Christmas Love") and reworked covers ("Frosty the Snowman," "Silver Bells," "Let It Snow," "Blue Christmas"). A new original bonus track also appears on the album; the mid tempo rocker "On Christmas Day" features long-time Idol collaborator Steve Stevens on electric guitar. My favorite on the collection is Idol's rocking cover of Chuck Berry's "Run Rudolph Run." Fans can purchase the LP on black vinyl, audio CD and on limited edition white vinyl. Information: BillyIdol.net.

Paul Kelly
Title: Paul Kelly's Christmas Train (Gawd Aggie/Cooking Vinyl Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Paul Kelly, Bob Dylan
Tell me more: There is a parade of diverse material on Paul Kelly's first-ever Christmas album (Paul Kelly's Christmas Train). Among the terrific selections on the expansive 22-track double album set is the lovely Americana-styled version of "Silent Night" draped with Hawaiian guitars and ukuleles, a cappella traditional joy "Coventry Carol," rollicking power pop-styled take on the Chris and Wes Harrington cut "Christmas," bewitching "Little Drummer Boy," shining reading of the early 1960s classic "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)" and absolutely stunning version of "O Holy Night" ("Papu Te ") sung in English and Māori featuring singer Marlon Williams and the Dhungala Children's Choir. In keeping with the spirit of the season, Kelly even includes a Hanukkah song ("Shalom Aleichem") while Islam is honored when Waleed Aly recites the vivid poetry of Surah Maryam on the collection. Information: CookingVinyl.com.

Photo credit: Gina Binkley 

Pistol Annies
Title: Hell of a Holiday (UMe)
You might like if you enjoy: Ashley Monroe, Miranda Lambert, Angaleena Presley
Tell me more: Celebrated country music trio Pistol Annies has ushered in Christmas with the aptly-titled Hell of a Holiday, a spirited collection of mostly-original tracks that are are as ambitious as they are wonderful. There are some lovely originals to be sure  the '50s-mining "Make You Blue" and poignant "The Only Thing I Wanted" immediately come to mind  there is a plucky attitude across much of the disc. The lively title track features some artful and sublime vocal harmonies. The playful "Snow Globe" is literate and melodic, totally capturing the spirit of the holiday season. "Harlan County Coal" is a bit more irreverent than your average Christmas track, as evidenced by the catchy chorus: "Making decorations out of shotgun shells, making it up as we go / Making something out of nothing so you better straighten up, Or all you're gonna get's a chunk of Harlan County coal." Other standouts on the wonderful album include the jazzy "Come On Christmas Time," gospel jewel "Leanin' on Jesus," soaring "Believing" and acoustic Americana jewel "Joy." In addition to the 10 original tracks on "Hell of a Holiday," Ashley Monroe, Miranda Lambert and Angaleena Presley make "Sleigh Ride," "Auld Lang Syne" and Merle Haggard's "If We Make It Through December" their own. Information: PistolAnnies.com

Jeremiah Lockwood
Title: A Great Miracle: Jeremiah Lockwood’s Guitar Soli Chanukah Record (Reboot)
You might like if you enjoy: Hanukkah music, "The New Possibility: John Fahey's Guitar Soli Christmas Album," instrumental guitar music, Richard LaForge's "Coloring Trees" album
Tell me more: With the first night of Hanukkah having arrived on Sunday, Nov. 28, there is no time like the present to listen to Jeremiah Lockwood's A Great Miracle: Jeremiah Lockwood’s Guitar Soli Chanukah Record. Released on Nov. 22, A Great Miracle: Jeremiah Lockwood’s Guitar Soli Chanukah Record is a beautiful solo guitar celebration of the Festival of Lights. Inspired in part by the groundbreaking 1968 album The New Possibility: John Fahey's Guitar Soli Christmas Album, Lockwood's new 8-track album delivers a stunning selection for each night of the Chanukah holiday. Spanning from the lovely "Ritual" and more forceful "Al Hanisim" to several pieces centered on the magic of the Dreydl (the bluesy take on Samuel Goldfarb's "Little Dreydel" and original arrangement of Moishe Oysher's "Drey Dreydl") and touching closer "Chanukah Oy Chanukah," this is a wonderful album that will brighten any music lover's holiday season. Information: JeremiahLockwood.com

Ronnie Milsap
Title: Christmas with Ronnie Milsap (Craft Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: Ronnie Milsap
Tell me more: Ronnie Milsap's 1986 album Christmas with Ronnie Milsap has returned via a terrific new reissue. Listening to the legendary country music artist's only holiday title it's crazy that it was ever out of print. The performances are terrific and the symphonic approach works as Milsap delivers touching versions of favorites such as the uptempo "Only One Night of the Year," sweeping "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and soaring "O Holy Night." Information: CraftRecordings.com

Carrie Underwood
Title: My Gift: Special Edition (Capitol Nashville)
You might like if you enjoy: Carrie Underwood
Tell me more: Originally released in 2020, Carrie Underwood's My Gift has been released as a Special Edition set that includes all 11 tracks from the original version along with three new tracks ("Favorite Time Of Year," "All Is Well," "Let There Be Peace/Something In The Water") performed on her recent HBO Max television special. Information: CarrieUnderwood.com


Elf: The Deluxe Edition (Varèse Sarabande Records)
Composer: John Debney's scores for "Iron Man 2" and "The Jungle Book"
You might like if you enjoy: Christmas music
Tell me more: When the holiday movie "Elf" was released in 2003, the film starring Will Farrell became an instant classic. Although the soundtrack was initially released in connection around the time of the movie's arrival in theaters, its enduring popularity made releasing an expanded edition a wonderful idea. Elf: The Deluxe Edition features an expanded score (44 tracks in all!), as well as the alternate and edited tracks from the 2003 audio CD. Liner notes by Tim Grieving feature new interview content with director Jon Favreau, composer John Debney and one of the film's stars, Mary Steenburgen. Information: VareseSarabande.com.

Robert Kinsler