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Monthly Archives: September 2008

Vee-Jay – Definitive Collection

 

The first successful African-American-owned record label, Vee-Jay, was formed in 1953, six years before Berry Gordy formed Motown. Its catalog eventually boasted a wider stylistic range than Chicago rival Chess Records, but initially concentrated on doo-wop and blues. Shout! Factory’s four-disc, 86-track anthology is the first serious (more…)

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Electric Prunes – Release of an Oath

 

The ’60s produced some mighty weird bands, perhaps none odder than the Electric Prunes. The group is primarily known for its 1967 hit “I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)” and the album Mass in F Minor, a Catholic mass sung entirely in Latin. 1968’s (more…)

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James Hunter – Believe What I Say

 

This U.S. release of Hunter’s ’96 U.K.-distributed album shows Hunter honing the skills that would lead to his new album, People Gonna Talk. If you’re familiar with that one, this mix of Sam Cooke, James Brown, Jackie Wilson, and touches of blues won’t surprise you, but (more…)

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Steve Trovato – Country Jazzmaster

 

Jerry Reed’s “Guitar Man” is the perfect opener for Steve Trovato’s sophomore release – not only thematically (the song made famous by Elvis is about a “swinging little guitar man”) but stylistically. His 2001 debut, About Time…, was an eclectic mix, running the gamut from Django to (more…)

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Mike Martin – 2 of 5

 

Mike Martin is a player with considerable chops who started on the East Coast before moving south. He has played with various bands of different genres and released this collection of instrumentals that show his love of fusion and pop music. While there is no denying (more…)

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Lexie Roth – One Long Blink

 

Roth was 17 when she started recording this project, 19 when she finished, and it’s testament to her talent and maturity that you can’t tell where the performances fell chronologically. Her six originals also more than hold their own alongside three tunes written or co-written by (more…)

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Gil Parris – Gil Parris and Friends Live

 

We’ve discussed Gil’s playing in these pages several times, and this DVD reinforces that use of ink. Shot at the Irvington Town Hall Theater in Irvington, New York, it’s obvious Parris is among friends, not just on stage, but in the crowd. He takes them through (more…)

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Pete Seeger/Bruce Springsteen – Give Us Your Poor

 

The fascinating, and moving, concept behind Give Us Your Poor differs from previous fundraising, conscious-awareness efforts, in that established musicians are teamed with talented people who have been, or are currently, homeless. So Jon Bon Jovi backs blues singer Mighty Sam McClain (once indigent but thankfully (more…)

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Canned Heat – Live at Montreux

 

The story of Canned Heat has more twists and turns than Spinal Tap’s evolution from the Thamesmen to Spinal Tap, Mark II. Which is why some of the dramatic, lofty claims in the documentary contained in this double-DVD undermine the amazing tale of the band’s actual (more…)

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Patty Larkin – Watch the Sky

 

Patty Larkin is one of the finest acoustic guitarists in the world. On her 12th release, Watch The Sky, she focuses on her songwriting, singing, and multi-instrumental talents. The final results are as stellar as her guitar playing. Unlike prior recordings, usually group efforts involving other musicians (more…)

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