Friday, December 02, 2022

New music: Ruthie Foster, Bruce Springsteen, Janis Joplin & Jorma Kaukonen

Songstress Ruthie Foster, rock and roll great Bruce Springsteen, and classic rock notables Janis Joplin and Jorma Kaukonen are featured on new releases.

Ruthie Foster
Title: Healing Time (Blue Corn Music)
You might like if you enjoy: Mavis Staples, the Staple Singers, Ruthie Foster
Tell me more: Ruthie Foster's stirring ninth studio album Healing Time is a fantastic disc of genuine and authentic soul. No surprise that Foster delivers another batch of winning songs that soar, her vocals a constant wonder across the dozen-track disc that simultaneously showcases her immense skills as a top-tier songwriter. The gospel mining "Feels Like Freedom" brings chills with its power and beauty all while avoiding the modern day bombast that would diminish the might of the track. The potent and anthemic "Soul Searching" is an explosive celebration of love. Blues lovers will appreciate the longing "What Kind Of Fool," where the Austin songstress uses her full vocal range across the song's wonderful arc. The wistful "Lie Your Way To The Truth" dips into pop, but the soundscape shares more in common with the artful sonics of Florence + the Machine than the disposable and robotic approach of so many contemporary R&B hitmakers. Other memorable selections on Healing Time include the spiritual-minded "I Was Called," tuneful "Finish Line," acoustic blues foray "4 AM" and majestic "Paradise." Information:

Bruce Springsteen
Title: Only The Strong Survive (Columbia Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Sam Moore, Bruce Springsteen, classic Motown
Tell me more: On his first new album since 2020's Letter To You, Bruce Springsteen revisits a number of Gamble and Huff, Motown and Stax classics on the rousing 15-track Only The Strong Survive. Rather than recreate faithful takes on the material (such as the approach KISS lead singer Paul Stanley took on Paul Stanley's Soul Station's impressive debut album in 2021), Springsteen fuses his own signature sound with the well-known musical stylings identified with the original versions. Among the memorable tracks is an emotive take on the Commodores' 1985 track "Nightshift," the joyous Frank Wilson 1965 hit "Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)," nuanced reading of the Walker Brothers 1966 hit "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore," a tender version of the Four Tops' "When She Was My Girl" and the sorrowful "I Wish It Would Rain," the latter a song recorded by the Temptations in 1967. Springsteen is joined by 87-year-old soul music great Sam Moore on the inspired "Soul Days" and lovely "I Forgot To Be Your Lover." Across the album the receives backing from The E Street Horns, full string arrangements by Rob Mathes, as well as backing vocals from Lisa LowellDoozie Tyrell, Curtis King Jr., Michelle Moore, Dennis Collins and Fonzi Thornton. Information:

Janis Joplin & Jorma Kaukonen
Title: The Legendary Typewriter Tape: 6/25/64 Jorma's House (Omnivore Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna
Tell me more: Set for release on Dec. 2, The Legendary Typewriter Tape: 6/25/64 Jorma's House is an important and historical release featuring singer Janis Joplin and guitarist Jorma Kaukonen (Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna along with Jorma's wife Margareta Kaukonen typing away intermittently in the background  recorded on a reel-to-reel machine at the beginning of their respective careers. Although the recording has previously been available via inferior bootlegs, the official version released by Omnivore Recordings today (Dec. 2, 2022) features restoration and mastering from Grammy-winner Michael Graves and sounds wonderful. There are a mix of originals and reworked blues standards. Joplin's own "Kansas City Blues," the evocative "Hesitation Blues," a moving take on Jimmie Cox's "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out," and the fiery Joplin-penned "Daddy, Daddy Daddy" are among the winning performances captured back in the summer of 1964. Information:

Robert Kinsler

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