Thursday, September 22, 2022

New Music: The Smithereens, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Lions & Ghosts

Three unearthed treasures make for fantastic listens, including the latest titles from The Smithereens, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Lions & Ghosts.

The Smithereens
Title: The Lost Album (Sunset Blvd. Records)
You might like if you enjoy: The Beatles, The Who, Buddy Holly
Tell me more: When Pat DiNizio passed away in December 2017, it appeared that the Smithereens' aptly-titled 2011 would serve as the final statement from the original lineup of the top-tier band. Fast forward to 2022 and the release of the truly miraculous The Lost Album (set for release on Sept. 23 via Sunset Blvd. Records). Recorded in the fall of 1993 when the New Jersey-spawned quartet was between record labels, the full-length set of songs is a bona fide masterwork featuring a dozen melodic rockers courtesy of the aforementioned DiNizio on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, lead guitarist Jim Babjak, bassist Mike Mesaros and drummer Dennis Diken. The parade of great originals includes the tender "Dear Abby," melodic rocker "A World Apart" (bolstered by an especially tuneful guitar solo), heavy "Stop Bringing Me Down," fiery garage rocker "Monkey Man," Beatlesque "Face the World With Pride" and confessional closer "All Through The Night." My favorite track on the album is the wistful and haunting "Don't Look Down," with DiNizio's signature baritone probing self-doubt with the stylish candor that fueled many of the Smithereens' most beloved classics. Information:

Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title: At The Royal Albert Hall (Craft Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: John Fogerty, Creedence Clearwater Revival
Tell me more: The long-awaited release of Creedence Clearwater Revival's legendary April 14, 1970 performance at London's Royal Albert Hall is an absolute joy. Grammy-winning producer Giles Martin and engineer Sam Okell mixed and restored the original multitrack tapes; the result is a recording that spectacularly captures the legendary quartet (singer-lead guitarist John Fogerty, rhythm guitarist Tom Fogerty, drummer Doug "Cosmo" Clifford, bassist Stu Cook) at the height of their powers. The fast-moving 12-song set on At The Royal Albert Hall finds the El Cerrito, California-spawned outfit tearing through a mix of timeless hits and lesser known nuggets with bona fide zeal. While casual rock fans will love the powerful takes on "Born on the Bayou," "Green River," Travelin' Band," Bad Moon Rising" and "Proud Mary," aficionados will be equally thrilled by the Lew Herman-penned blues-rock juggernaut "The Night Time Is the Right Time," rollicking take on Little Richard's "Good Golly Miss Molly" and the ferocious Southern-fried closer "Keep on Chooglin'," the latter bolstered by John Fogerty's impressive work on both blues harmonica and lead guitar. In addition to the concert recording being available on audio CD and vinyl, Netflix subscribers can view the full concert that anchors the excellent Jeff Bridges-narrated documentary "Travelin' Band: Creedence Clearwater Revival at the Royal Albert Hall." Information:

Lions & Ghosts
Title: Velvet Kiss, Lick of The Lime (Sparkle Plenty/Deko Entertainment)
You might like if you enjoy: Simple Minds, Altered State, The Replacements, The Church
Tell me more: Signed to EMI for two albums that were issued in the late 1980s, Los Angeles-based Lions & Ghosts' wonderful 1987 debut Velvet Kiss, Lick of The Lime has been reissued digitally with bonus tracks and even a new single (the shimmering "Gurl I Luv You"). Thirty five years after it was originally released, Velvet Kiss, Lick of The Lime delights and will leave listeners wondering why the quartet didn't garner more attention. The enthralling opener "Passion," bouncy "Man In A Car," driving '80s-styled rocker "Mary Goes Round," and harpsichord-anchored chamber pop gem "Stay" are early standouts on the reissue. The jazzy detour "Girl On A Swing," propulsive "Love & Kisses From The Gutter," yearning "Wilton House" and funky "Contradiction" keep up the disc's power in its last half. Lions & Ghosts featured the talents of singer-songwriter Rick Parker, guitarist Michael Lockwood, bassist Todd Hoffman and drummer Micheal Murphy. Information:

Robert Kinsler

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