Archive for June, 2012

Harry Smith Project: Anthology of American Folk Music Revisited – Various artists | CD/DVD review

(Shout Factory/Shock) 5 stars The sheer wealth of material alone on this splendid boxed set is worth a five-star rating. Two CDs, two DVDs and a 40-page booklet are all dedicated to the work of Harry Smith, whose original seminal folk `Anthology’, released on Folkways in 1952, helped transform the American musical landscape.

Ray Sings, Basie Swings – Ray Charles, Count Basie Orchestra | CD review

(Concord) 3 stars Ray Charles never performed with Count Basie, but his arrangements were strongly influenced by Basie and at times his band featured Basie sidemen. `Ray Sings, Basie Swings’ (Concord) isolates Ray’s vocals from ’70s concert tapes and sets them to new studio arrangements with the current Basie band and Raelettes’ harmonies.

Last Man Standing – Jerry Lee Lewis | CD review

(Artists First/Shock) 5 stars “Some folks say it’s too old/Some folks say it goes just a little too fast’’. It’s almost as if Bruce Springsteen, in his classic rocker `Pink Cadillac’, was writing about Jerry Lee Lewis – especially when the Killer (now 71) and the Boss team up to sing it on this feisty, […]

The Captain & the Kid – Elton John | CD review

(Mercury) 3.5 stars Piano man Elton John and lyricist Bernie Taupin first collaborated in 1967, as teenage staff songwriters in London, eventually emerging with 1969’s `Empty Sky’ album. Elton’s eponymous 1970 LP, containing the hit `Your Song’, finally brought pop stardom and a succession of hit albums quickly followed, including 1975’s autobiographical `Captain Fantastic and […]

I’m Your Man – Leonard Cohen/Various artists (soundtrack CD)

(Verve Forecast) 4.5 stars Leonard Cohen’s songs get under your skin. Although he’s no great singer – Cohen freely admits it – and his melodies often tread well-worn paths, those lyrics are wickedly seductive and drolly self-deprecating.

Time Being – Ron Sexsmith | CD review

 (Warner) 5 stars That Ron Sexsmith is a consummate tunesmith has been freely acknowledged by artists as diverse as Lucinda Williams, Elvis Costello and k d lang. But the Canadian balladeer’s own interpretations hold the strongest appeal, allowing words and melody to breathe.

Modern Times – Bob Dylan | CD review

(Columbia) 4.5 stars Despite its title – or perhaps perversely – `Modern Times’ is rooted in American traditional music, continuing in style and mood where Dylan left off on 1997’s `Time Out of Mind’ and 2001’s `Love and Theft’. Another stripped-back, loosely structured self-production (under his Jack Frost pseudonym) and backed by the “never-ending’’ tour […]

Pulse – Pink Floyd | DVD review

(Columbia 2DVD) 5 stars Remember Pink Floyd’s original `Pulse’, with its smart, twin-CD digipak and blinking red light? That 1994 live album, recorded in London during the group’s `The Division Bell’ world tour (sadly, Australia missed out) was the first time the group had recorded its entire `Dark Side Of The Moon’ album in concert.

Adieu False Heart – Linda Ronstadt-Ann Savoy | CD review

 (Vanguard) 4.5 stars Linda Ronstadt’s vintage voice has ripened and matured over the years into a rich, expressive instrument and on the beguiling `Adieu False Heart’, she found a kindred spirit in Cajun folkie Ann Savoy. Dubbing themselves The Zozo Sisters, the duo first combined on Vanguard’s excellent 2002 compilation `Evangeline Made: A Tribute to […]

American V: A Hundred Highways – Johnny Cash | CD review

(American) 4 stars Cash recorded these dozen songs in the months up to his death in September 2003. There’s a dignified strength about the ailing musician’s performance and choice of material (from Hank Williams to Gordon Lightfoot, Bruce Springsteen and Ian Tyson) that transcends the wasted voice.

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