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

Liza Minnelli: Confessions

Liza Minnelli’s first all-new studio album in 14 years is a laid-back informal affair that sidesteps obvious chestnuts in favor of discreet picks like Peggy Lee’s “He’s A Tramp,” Ray Noble’s “I Hadn’t Anyone Till You” and a dozen others. Many of these tracks work well as late night last …

by   |  10/13/2010  |  Comments Off on Liza Minnelli: Confessions

Robert Plant: Band Of Joy

You have to hand it to the 62-year-old Robert Plant. He’s been in bands since age 17, the first one, with John Bonham, is this project’s title. He’s obviously not the same singer who sang “Communication Breakdown” in 1969. His voice today has an earthy, smoky, haunting, ethereal quality, perfect …

by   |  10/08/2010  |  Comments (2)

Mavis Staples: You Are Not Alone

Jeff Tweedy is totally in service to The Queen here: Rock ’n’ Roll Hall Of Famer Mavis Staples, 71, growls, cajoles, pleads, croons, testifies, rocks and stomps her way through 13 well thought out gems. Tweedy, as producer/instrumentalist/composer, picked out these tunes, serving Staples well in the process, making her …

by   |  10/06/2010  |  Comments Off on Mavis Staples: You Are Not Alone

Jerry Lee Lewis: Mean Old Man

First, Ronnie Wood solos on the Kristofferson-penned title track. Then, The Killer duets with Kid Rock while Slash solos madly. After duets with Mic Jagger and Tim McGraw (boo!), Clapton and longtime Presley guitarist James Burton trade licks while Eric harmonizes. Duets with Sheryl Crow and Merle Haggard precede Ringo …

by   |  09/29/2010  |  Comments (1)

Antibalas: Who Is This America?

The grooves on this 2004 reissue are so funkalicious, bubbling with creative juice, fat with horn, thick with percussion, that you almost don’t notice the burn of the protest, the cynicism of the outlook and the smackdown against consumerism and oppression.
Welcome to the world of the Antibalas Afro-Beat Orchestra, …

by   |  09/22/2010  |  Comments (1)

Dr. John: Tribal

The first thing that hits you about Dr. John’s Tribal is his voice. It’s deeper, more soulful, filled with cool expressive asides, Southern phrasing and mixed just perfectly atop the gumbo. At 70, the good doc (Mac Rebennack) is now the face, voice and personality of New Orleans itself. No …

by   |  09/22/2010  |  Comments Off on Dr. John: Tribal

Brian Wilson: Reimagines Gershwin

Timelessness is the essence of great art. For the compositions of George Gershwin (1898-1937), many co-written with his brother Ira Gershwin (1896-1983), to still be so vital is testament to not only their melodic durability but their underlying universal truths. For another melodic genius of a different era to “reimagine” …

by   |  09/15/2010  |  Comments (2)

Various Artists: This Is The Blues (Volumes I, II, III & IV)

Let’s get one thing straight. This is not the blues. This is, for the most part, British Blues Rock: and a damn fine jam of a time with odd pairings of all kinds of great musicians, and for that it’s a stone cold winner.

In the 1960s, every good rock …

by   |  09/08/2010  |  Comments Off on Various Artists: This Is The Blues (Volumes I, II, III & IV)

Vanilla Fudge: Box Of Fudge

I’m standing on the lawn outside Upsala College in East Orange, NJ, waiting for the band after witnessing my very first rock concert. It’s 1967. I’m 16. Vanilla Fudge just blew my mind and I have to meet bassist Tim Bogert.

I’m lying on my bed in Newark, NJ, after …

by   |  09/08/2010  |  Comments (2)

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