Bob Dylan: The Bootleg Series Volume #9: The Witmark Demos 1962-1964

“Genius is reckoned to be the innovative transformation of source materials,” writes Colin Escott in these liner notes.

The ninth volume of Legacy’s deep-pocketed “Bootleg Series” of Bob Dylan may be the best one of all since, in essence, you get to hear this scruffy Jewish kid from Minnesota, Robert …

by   |  11/24/2010  |  Comments (1)

Elvis Costello: National Ransom

Elvis Costello spits out the lyrics of the opening title track like the punk he started out as in 1977. It’s a hard-charging number and his anger is back in the forefront. “Around the time the killing stopped on Wall Street/You couldn’t hold me, baby, with anything but contempt.” Marc …

by   |  11/24/2010  |  Comments (2)

John Lennon: Signature Box Set

All eight of John Lennon’s post-Beatle albums—Plastic Ono Band (1970), Imagine (1971), Some Time In New York City (live, with Yoko Ono 1972), Mind Games (1973), Walls And Bridges (1974), Rock ’N’ Roll (1975), Double Fantasy (with Yoko Ono, 1980) and Milk And Honey (with Yoko Ono, released posthumously …

by   |  11/10/2010  |  Comments Off on John Lennon: Signature Box Set

Elton John/Leon Russell: The Union

Elton John deserves a hit. Reportedly, he was irked that his most excellent Captain & The Kid (2006) stiffed after seeing one of his best friends/competitors Rod Stewart sell millions with his tepid and almost unlistenable standards collections. Maybe justice will prevail now as Elton has teamed up with his …

by   |  11/03/2010  |  Comments (1)

Chucho Valdes & The Afro-Cuban Messengers: Chucho’s Steps

There was a time when all my music-crazed friends and I thought Irakere was the next Santana. We spent hours grooving to their 1980 self-titled masterpiece, keying in on the hot piano player.

Pianist Chucho Valdes, 69, is the son of legendary Cuban pianist Bebo Valdes (91 and still going …

by   |  11/03/2010  |  Comments Off on Chucho Valdes & The Afro-Cuban Messengers: Chucho’s Steps

John Mellencamp: No Better Than This

Lost in all the hoopla about how these songs were recorded is just how good they actually are. Mellencamp went on a wild writing spree and wrote 13 songs in 13 days then, during a break from last summer’s minor league ballpark tour with Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan, took …

by   |  10/29/2010  |  Comments (1)

David Bowie: Station To Station

David Bowie has been strangely mute since 2003’s Reality, so the release of one of his best (from 1976), complete with a previously-unreleased two-disc ‘76 Nassau Coliseum concert, is more than welcome. (There’s also a “Deluxe” box with the same material stretched out over five discs.)

Bowie was still …

by   |  10/27/2010  |  Comments Off on David Bowie: Station To Station

Rory Gallagher: The Beat Club Sessions

Rory Gallagher (1948-1995) was a hard-living, hard-playing Irishman. An electric guitarist steeped in the blues, he first fronted Taste in 1966, the proto-typical power trio. His wild solo ‘70s work-outs rank right up there with Stevie Ray Vaughan and Johnny Winter. Featuring material mostly from his first two solo albums, …

by   |  10/20/2010  |  Comments Off on Rory Gallagher: The Beat Club Sessions

Eric Clapton: Clapton

This former guitar god is aging gracefully yet asking all of us to age with him by covering songs our parents loved by such admittedly stellar songwriters as Hoagie Carmichael [1899-1981], Irving Berlin [1888-1989], Johnny Mercer [1909-1976], JJ Cale [still alive and in this band] and others.

You’d figure Clapton …

by   |  10/13/2010  |  Comments (1)

Neil Young: Le Noise

Fuzz guitar, echo and feedback permeate opener “Walk With me” as producer Daniel Lanois (who did so much for Dylan and U2) lets Neil Young release his inner grunge. Young, at 65, shows no signs of resting on past laurels. That idiosyncratic voice which has traversed decades unscathed sounds great …

by   |  10/13/2010  |  Comments Off on Neil Young: Le Noise

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