James Hunter People Gonna Talk (Rounder)


Record Boy stopped into a coffee joint and ordered his usual 1/2" analog Americano. Suddenly over all the cacophony of customers and employees pointing, chattering, and asking for autographs, R.B. could hear the strains of Sam Cook playing over the in-store speakers. But it was a song he wasn't familiar with and then the next song sounded like a young James Brown singing another tune that Record Boy could not identify. Enough was Enough. Record Boy demanded that the clerk tell him what CD was playing. Turns out this was not a rarities compilation after all but a new recording by James Hunter. This young white British man can not only sing like some of the greatest R&B crooners from back in the day but he can also play the guitar and as it happens wrote all 14 tracks on this CD,  "People Gonna Talk." The production is clean and sharp, the band (guitar, bass, drums and a tenor and bari sax) is lean and mean. The solos are economical and to the point and Hunters writing (in the  50s and 60s R&B style) is imaginative. And that voice-whoa! No wonder he gets rousing praise from none other than Van Morrison. Do yourself a favor and buy this record now, arrange to have a party at your place, invite Record Boy for coffee & play this CD all night. 

(Click People Gonna Talk if you wanna buy this CD online!)


Cheap Trick   Rockford (Big 3 Records)

As a long standing admirer of this band, I figured I wouldn't be disappointed by their latest album "Rockford."What I didn't expect to hear was 12 tracks so strong that 'ol Record Boy would recommend this as RECORD OF THE YEAR! Seriously, these guys dug deep into their creative well and came up with a gem. They wrote or co-wrote every song and produced the album with some help from the likes of Steve Albini, Jack Douglas, and Linda Perry. If you love you some power pop and want to hear this band's unique blend of the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and even ELO (Record Boy had to check the credits on the track "This Time You Got It" to see if Jeff Lynne was involved but it turns out he was only being channeled!) all done up Cheap Trick style, you gotta get this now. Optimum listening experience for "Rockford"is in your car and LOUD!!

(Click Rockford if you wanna buy this CD online!)


The Wreckers Stand Still - Look Pretty (Maverick)


This record turns out to be a brilliant career move by Michelle Branch. When she first appeared on the scene at the height of Britneymania, she showed great promise as a songwriter; a teenager with gravitas, the opposite of Ms. Spears. Her promise fell short on her second record though and it looked like it was time to file her in the Vanessa Carlton section. But here she has teamed with another young songwriter, Jessica Harp and, as the Wreckers, created a strong album made up of well crafted songs backed by good singin' and playin'. Smart production mainly by John Leventhal (Shawn Colvin, Roseanne Cash etc.) brings this record into sharp focus.  Maybe you do have to be over 21 to make sophisticated music.

(Click Stand Still-Look Pretty if you wanna buy this CD online!)


Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris  All The Roadrunning

(Warner Bros/Nonesuch)


Y'know, I could make a case here for each of these artists and their talents as songwriters, musicians and singers. I could tell you what a fine 12 song collection this is and the stellar production qualities that accompany it. However, I just want to take a moment and point out MARK KNOPFLER AND EMMYLOU HARRIS MADE A RECORD TOGETHER! HOW COULD IT BE LESS THAN STELLAR? BUY IT!! Thank you.

(Click All The Roadrunning if you wanna buy this CD online!)


Paul Simon  Surprise  (Warner Bros)


My first thought was the "Surprise" is that it's a good Paul Simon record but that sounds kind of catty. Truth is Record Boy didn't care much for Paul's last record and is happy to hear that Mr. Simon has once again found his muse. The songs on this record contain lyrics that read like poems and Simon's songwriting style changes to fit around the lyrics. The real "Surprise" I guess is that Simon brought in Brian Eno to create "Sonic Landscapes" for each track. It's a brilliant (and yes, unexpected) pairing that creates an aural picture which holds together seamlessly from the beginning of the album to the end. It's always heartening when a major artist takes a chance and ends up succeeding at creating something this memorable. If you haven't given Paul a chance since "Graceland" (and c'mon that was 20 years ago!) pick up this new album and be pleasantly...well, you know.

(Click Surprise if you wanna buy this CD online!)



Donald Fagen  Morph The Cat (Reprise)


Record Boy knows all about Steely Dan’s win for “Album Of The Year" a few Grammies ago. While happy to see these guys working again, “A.O.Y." was really an overstatement. An album of the year has to be cohesive, surprising, and have absolutely no filler. That’s exactly what you get with “Morph The Cat." Fagen’s past solo albums have all been pleasant affairs but lacking the Steely Dan edge. “Morph" really calls into question what Walter Becker’s role in Steely Dan is as this album sounds like the best Steely Dan record in many, many years! Great songs, stellar playing and pristine audio quality are “Morph’s" winning combination. If it comes up for album of the year, it wouldn’t be a fluke.

(Click Morph The Cat if you wanna buy this CD online!)


The Little Willies   The Little Willies (Milking Bull Records)


Somehow you don’t expect a band with a jokey name to include Norah Jones as one of its principles but dang! There she is! Along with a supporting cast of stellar (but little known) musicians, Norah shows her versatility as the Little Willies take on some classic country tunes from writers such as Fred Rose, Hank Williams, Kris Kristofferson, Townes Van Zandt, Tompall Glaser and of course Willie Nelson. Guitarist Richard Julian has a voice well suited for the material as well as for blending with Ms. Jones. This band of New York cowpokes are surprisingly prairie friendly. Everyone sounds like they’re having a great time, which of course means that you the listener will too!

(Click Little Willies if you wanna buy this CD online!)



Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint The River In Reverse (Verve)

Elvis Costello/ The Metropole Orkest My Flame Burns Blue (Deutsche Grammophon)


Even if you don’t believe yourself to be an Elvis Costello fan, you at least have to give the man props for being so prolific! The guy has put out 6 albums in the last 4 years as well as compiling a Stax reissue. This is one busy dude. However, what makes Elvis so amazing is the quality and musical variety of these releases. “The River In Reverse" is a powerful collection of tunes recorded with New Orleans legend Allen Toussaint in New Orleans during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The reworking of some of Mssr. Toussaint’s  classic tracks like “Who’s Gonna Help Brother Get Further" and “On Your Way Down" are some of the timelessly poignant statements on this album. The combination of these two gents along with Elvis’s band the Imposters and the fabulous Crescent City Horns proves to be potent musically as well as in the thematic message.

“My Flame Burns Blue" is a live recording featuring some outstanding arrangements of new and old Elvis material as well as some sublime covers. Strings, horns and some top notch players swing this album like crazy and Elvis croons like he’s having the time of his life. It was almost 30 years ago that Elvis made his stateside debut with his angry young man persona. Who’da thunk that he’d be making a record this sophisticated and fun all these years later!?

(Click The River In Reverse if you wanna buy this CD online!)

(Click My Flame Burns Blue if you wanna buy this CD online!)



Neil Diamond 12 Songs (American/Columbia)


Record Boy has wanted to like a Neil Diamond album for a long time. While I appreciated Neil’s ‘60s output, he lost me in the ‘70s. It was probably the line “No one heard at all…not even the chair??? that had Record Boy lumping Neil in with Barry Manilow and John Denver. But then during the height of the punk movement Record Boy and Neil met. What do you say to a world-renowned celebrity? Well, Neil eventually figured it out. At one point Record Boy asked Neil his thoughts on punk. Expecting a negative response, Record Boy was surprised that Neil was a champion of the rebellious spirit of rock. That’s when I decided to try to like his music but it took this recently released “12 Songs" album to do it.

Produced by Rick Rubin, this album feels like a collection of a dozen finely crafted and expertly played songs as opposed to a couple good ones and filler. Rubin insisted that Diamond play his own guitar on the recordings (something he hasn’t done in eons) and he kept the backing to a minimum, making great use of Benmont Tench, Mike Campbell, Smokey Hormel and Billy Preston among others. The result is an immediate and personal sounding record. Combined with his best song writing since the Brill Building days, “12 Songs" is a potent blend. Record Boy thinks it was worth the wait!

(Click 12 Songs if you wanna buy this CD online!)



System Of A Down Mesmerize (American/Columbia)


OK, my Boomer friends. This admittedly is not Record Boy's usual cup of tea, nor yours I suspect. However, if you're in the mood to hear a great modern rock record, this is it. Surprising throughout with the use of whisper to a scream dynamics, intelligent lyrics, interesting harmonic work, this 11 song collection (short & sweet at just over 36 minutes total!) is as compelling as it gets. Singer, guitarist, writer, producer Daron Malakian is an undeniable talent and he and his co-writing vocalist/keyboardist Serj Tankian have one of the most instinctive musical partnerships that Record Boy has heard in years. Bassist Shavo Odajian and drummer John Dolmayan provide the thunder that rolls across all the tracks. The lyrical play on the song "B.Y.O.B." for example, is mightily underscored as the band seamlessly shifts gears between the danceable chorus "Everybody's going to the party,have a real good time" and the earth shaking verses "Why don't presidents fight the war? Why do they always send the poor?" "Mesmerize" is an apt description of what System of a Down's aural journey does to the listener. Pick up a copy and watch for the coming release "Hypnotize" which is part two of this album.

(Click Mesmerize if you wanna buy this CD online!)



The Siegel-Schwall Band Flash Forward? (Alligator)


What's a 30 year wait in between new studio albums when the album is this good? What Corky Siegel and Jim Schwall were best at during the band's late '60s - early '70s hey day was infusing their excellent musicianship with a cutting sense of humor. They were acoustic blues warriors eclipsed by their contemporaries the Paul Butterfield Blues Band who opted for a grittier electric sound. Now 30 years later Butterfield alumni Sam Lay joins in on drums and the effervescent Rollo Radford returns to his old bass duties. "Flash Forward" is a collection of originals with writing credits appearing for all four members. Recorded in Chicago, this album is the aural equivalent of a great party. Everybody's having a good time and the chemistry is palpable. If you love your blues sweetened with some big smiles, don't hesitate to pick this CD up!

(Click Flash Forward if you wanna buy this CD online!)



John Prine Fair and Square (Oh Boy)


If you're a fan of song then you have to already know and love John Prine. On "Fair and Square" his first album of new songs in well over five years (and his first since undergoing successful throat cancer treatment) there's a lot of new J.P. to love.

Whether an indictment of the Bush administration ("Some Humans Ain't Human") where Prine compares W to "an ice cube with hair," or the frustration of trying to make it big ("Crazy As A Loon") where the hard luck hero "got hired Monday morning/downsized that afternoon." John makes you laugh while he's making you think.

Prine as usual situates himself with top notch backing musicians. He's even got a few guest stars like Alison Kraus and Mindy Smith to help him out. His voice has gotten gruffer since the surgery but it adds to his charm. It's good to have this guy back to make us smile again.

(Click Fair And Square if you wanna buy this CD online!)


Mark Knopfler Shangri-La (Warner Bros.)


It's no secret that the music business has been in disarray for years now. People who used to buy lots of music just don't do it anymore. Remember Dire Straits? A band in the 80's led by brilliant guitarist and writer Mark Knopfler that sold millions of records. Well, Mark has continued to write great songs and his playing is better than ever. However, very few of the millions who bought Dire Straits records have a clue that Mark is alive, well and still making great music.

If there's any justice to be had in this world, "Shangri-La," the new Mark Knopfler album, won't go completely unnoticed by people who like good music. Knopfler had to battle back from a bad motorcycle accident in 2003 that left him unable to play guitar for some time. But on "Shangri-La" his playing is as serpentine and precise as ever. Several standout tracks include the funky "Song For Sonny Liston," the dreamy surf stylings of"Our Shangri-La," the Latin rhythms of "Postcards From Paraguay" and the tribute to the king of skiffle "Donegan's Gone."

Pick this CD up and remind yourself why you love music.


(Click Shangri-La if you wanna buy this CD online!)


Brian Wilson Presents Smile (Nonesuch)


OK. It only took him 37 years to finish this album. At least he's set an enduring record that not even Axl Rose can match! But, what a record!

"Smile" is the legendary follow up to "Pet Sounds" that got shelved in 1966. Bits and pieces came out over the years (you may recall "Good Vibrations," "Heroes and Villains" and "Surf's Up" for example), but the complete song cycle that was going to set pop music on its ear never saw the light of day...until now.

Wilson keeps true to his original vision and every track is as he envisioned it back then. Of course the help of modern technology (editing digitally is so much easier and faster than splicing tape) made it possible for Brian and his old writing partner Van Dyke Parks to finish this project at last. If you didn't know the history of this legendary album you'd still be impressed with the inventiveness and creative energy that flies out of your speakers. But if you stop and think that this album would have preceded "Sgt. Pepper," it's mind blowing in its reach and depth.

When was the last time you bought a masterpiece? Here's your chance!


(Click Smile if you wanna buy this CD online!)


Little Axe Champagne and Grits (Real World)


Skip McDonald aka Little Axe is probably the best blues fusionist on the scene today. Little Axe comes from the old school hip-hop world but there's only a hint of this background in his music. This is modern blues to be sure; slow blues grooves mixed with gospel, reggae, samples and great singing and playing. There are acoustic guitars and harmonicas, electric guitars and tables, and of course bass and drums.

This album has an unmistakable groove throughout but I must issue a Record Boy alert. The track "All In The Same Boat" co-written and sung by Squeeze's Chris Difford while not a bad tune is so different from the rest of the album that when it first came on Record Boy had to check his CD changer to see what happened! Thanks to advances in technology, Record Boy now grooves to "Champagne and Grits" but skips the Difford track every time. Check Little Axe out yourself!


(Click Champagne & Grits if you wanna buy this CD online!)


Holly Williams The Ones We Never Knew (Universal South)


Record Boy thinks you'd be impressed with this young but mature sounding singer-songwriter. Impressed with her thoughtful and reflective lyrics about her life and relationships. Impressed with her musicianship and the intimacy of her voice.

But when you know that she's the daughter of Hank Jr. and the granddaughter of Hank himself and hear her sing:


"I wish I were an angel in '52

In a blue Cadillac on the eve of the New Year

And there I would have saved him, the man who sang the blues

But maybe he's listening right now

Hopefully he's listening right now."


You might get a little choked up. You might feel the power of her bloodline. But for sure you'll want to hear more of what this lady has to say.

Holly uses top-flight Nashville musicians to back her on this record and while some of the tracks are spare, others make good use of horns and strings. She is a talented songsmith in her own right, waiting for you to give a listen!


(Click The Ones We Never Knew if you wanna buy this CD online!)




Charlie Hunter Trio Friends Seen and Unseen (Ropeadope)


Record Boy has recommended Charlie Hunter to you before but you might not remember. Let's see if any of this rings a bell: monster guitarist, plays a unique 8 string guitar which allows him to play both bass lines and guitar lines at the same time (!), great band (John Ellis on woodwinds, Derrek Phillips drums) and great tunes (this time around check out "Running In Fear From Imaginary Assailants" and "Eleven Bars For Gandhi"). This is the formula for Charlie's records. "Friends Seen and Unseen" is only different because on this, his 11th album, Charlie Hunter just keeps getting better and better. Scary better when you consider that those funky bass lines and those fantastic leads are being played by the same person AT THE SAME TIME! -Whew- Do yourself a favor if you're a true music lover and pick this CD up now!!

(Click Friends Seen and Unseen if you wanna buy this CD online!)



Ozomatli Street Signs (Concord)


This multi-ethnic group from L.A.has something for everybody. Funk, soul, rap, rock, salsa, jazz and hip hop come to mind. And that's just in one song! This 21rst century Tower of Power is the party band of the new millennium. These guys are political and culturally aware to be sure but they know how to party too."Street Signs" is the bands third release on their third different label which indicates that they haven't found their audience but Record Boy strongly suggests that their audience finds them! These guys are too strong to be ignored. Check out the appearance of salsa legend Eddie Palmieri on a couple of tracks. Ozomatli es muy autentico!

(Click Street Signs if you wanna buy this CD online!)




Hound Dog Taylor Release The Hound(Alligator)


If you love the blues like 'Ol Record Boy does you already know and love the music of Hound Dog Taylor. Hound Dog left us many years ago but anyone that had the privilege of seeing him perform will never forget him. Picture Hound Dog sitting on a chair at the front of the stage with his cheap Japanese electric guitar, singin' his ass off and playing the most wicked slide. Behind him are guitarist Brewer Phillips, a great blues player in his own right, alternately playing bass lines on his guitar, chords and fills. Rocking steady in the drummer's chair was Ted Harvey. The sound these three guys made was some of the dirtiest and most majestic music you'd ever hear. "Release The Hound" comes as close as you'll ever get to experiencing Hound Dog live. He was wild, he was funny, and he was a stone cold bluesman. Make your house smell like cigarette smoke and alcohol, turn down the lights and play this CD loud. You'll be dancin' to the Dog in no time!

(Click Release The Hound if you wanna buy this CD online!)



Patti Scialfa 23rd Street Lullaby (Columbia)


Yes, she's Mrs. Springsteen but no she's not Mrs. McCartney. Patti Scialfa can write her own powerful songs and sing 'em powerfully too! This album is an autobiographical work that seems to cover her life before she married Bruce and was struggling like the rest of us. She sings about family, romance, and work, something we're all familiar with and there's something in her songs that everyone can relate to. Record Boy's only gripe is that Ms. Scialfa refers to specific years on too many songs, setting up a picture in your mind for sure but once shoulda been enough! But Record Boy is sophisticated enough to get past that and let Patti tell her stories. Yes, Bruce and other E-Streeters? appear on the record but this is not an album by a back up singer. This is a strong collection of songs by an artist in her own right. You go girl!

(Click 23rd Street Lullaby if you wanna buy this CD online!)



Gary U.S. Bonds Back In 20 (MC Records)


It was the early '60s when Gary U.S. Bonds had his first two hits "New Orleans" and "Quarter To Three." Then with the help of his acolyte Bruce Springsteen he reappeared on the charts 20 years later in the early '80s with "This Little Girl" and "Out Of Work." So here it is, another twenty years down the road and Gary is back (Back in 20-get it?). If it wasn't for the fact that now you have to be under 21 to have one of the 10 songs that's played on the radio, you'd be hearing Gary again. There are some great tracks on here like "Can't Teach An Old Dog New Tricks" (with Springsteen and Southside Johnny guesting) and "Murder In The First Degree" for example. Dickey Betts sits in on a couple of tunes and Phoebe Snow duets with Gary on a song called "Bitch/Dumb Ass" which of course is about a female dog and a stubborn donkey. So take it from ol' Record Boy, don't wait for Gary's 2024 release. Get this one now!

(Click Back In 20 if you wanna buy this CD online!)



The Finn Brothers Everyone Is Here (Nettwerk America)


Yeah, you know these guys. Both rose to critical prominence in Split Enz and then Crowded House. Both can write compelling songs and sing them beautifully. On "Everyone Is Here" the bros. are once again ably abetted by producer/keyboardist Mitchell Froom as well as the likes of arranger Tony Visconti and sublime guitarist Jon Brion. Some of the highlights here include the anthemic "Won't Give In", the timely "Homesick" and the sweet "Disembodied Voices." Neil and Tim harmonize like only brothers can with the obvious comparison of the Everly Brothers. Hopefully the Finn boys don't hate each other like Phil and Don do so that we can continue to hear what they have to say for a long time!

(Click Everyone Is Here if you wanna buy this CD online!)




Jem Finally Woken (ATO)


Has it been awhile since you felt it was safe to purchase music by a young female artist? Record Boy recommends that you check out Jem's debut album "Finally Woken." This collection is an intriguing hodge podge of hip hop beats, film score music, pop and soul. Jem is a young woman from Wales (which means her real name is probably Grothyffrnbvcdsawrt) who besides being a promising songwriter (she's already worked with Madonna on her last album), is also a skilled DJ (and no, she is not related to Jewel). To top it off, she dresses modestly and has yet to expose her breasts on national television. That will probably have to wait for her follow up album. In the meantime pick up this Jem!

(Click Finally Woken if you wanna buy this CD online!)




Death Cab For Cutie Transatlanticism (Barsuk)


Y'know it was already 10 years ago that if you were a band from Washington state, good luck getting signed. Back then the members of Death Cab for Cutie were probably dealing with the trials and tribulations of High School (or Jr. High!) but judging by their ultra-melodic music they weren't listening to Nirvana as much as The Posies. These Washington boys have been putting records out for the past 6 years or so and their current release "Transatlanticism" deserves your attention. Thoughtful and often charming lyrics set against interesting melodies propelled by the plaintive vocals of lead songwriter Benjamin Gibbard make for a compelling listen start to finish. More albums need the kind of consistency and maturity that this one has. If you can get past the bands' goofy name you are in store for a big treat!

(Click Transatlanticism if you wanna buy this CD online!)




Various Artists

Blue Note Revisited (Blue Note)


There have been many attempts to bring classic jazz into the world of hip-hop but this album gets it right. A horde of remixers have descended on the Blue Note catalog, gaining access to the original multi-tracks and have remade classic Horace Silver, Bobby Hutcherson, Donald Byrd, Brother Jack McDuff and nine others in their image. Interesting that given access to such a rich treasure trove of music, the majority of the remixers chose the late '60s/early '70s as the period of choice. Lots of Fender Rhodes! The reason this collection works and hangs together so well is that all of the tracks are approached with a great deal of respect for the original versions. Dig the regrooveification of Blue Note soul!

(Click Blue Note Revisited if you wanna buy this CD online!)



Kings of Leon Youth & Young Manhood (RCA)


Shame on Record Boy for not telling you about this album sooner but he's telling you about it now! This band is made up of three young brothers and their first cousin all with the last name of Followill. Their dad was an evangelical preacher, moving the family back and forth between Oklahoma City and Memphis many times. The brothers were originally church musicians but then they started writing rock tunes and the outcome is "Youth and Young Manhood." These guys play like the great garage bands of the 60's with the undeniable influence of the Rolling Stones. Great production work by Ethan Johns make this album sound like something you bought in 1972. This is a rare CD where every track is a winner and could end up being the best investment you make this year!

(Click Youth & Young Manhood if you wanna buy this CD online!)




Rickie Lee Jones The Evening Of My Best Day(V2)


Rickie Lee returns with one of her most fulfilling albums of her career: Twelve tracks that reveal her jazz heart and political mind. With a fine ensemble of world class musicians like Bill Frisell& Greg Phillinganes and guest vocalists like Ben Harper, Grant Lee Phillips and Syd Straw, Rickie uses this album to paint like a master. She tars and feathers the Bush administration with her words while wrapping them around supple rhythms that seduce the listener and lend the CD the authority to be played over and over. If you're a listener to Norah Jones, Record Boy not only guarantees that you'll love this Rickie Lee Jones (no relation) album but you 'll figure out Norah is Rickie Lee lite! Record Boy says buy this CD and boy, (no relation) will you be glad!

(Click The Evening Of My Best Day if you wanna buy this CD online!)



Robert Lamm

Subtlety & Passion (Blue Infinity)


You have no idea how cool this solo album is! Robert Lamm, of course,is one of the original members and principal songwriters for the band Chicago. Remember John Lennon?s early solo albums that featured performances by George and Ringo? This album has all the current members of Chicago appearing on it (save Bill Champlain) and some former ones too, most notably Terry Kath! Seems Robert had a cassette of a cassette of a solo that Terry recorded in 1972 and thanks to modern technology was able to clean it up and write a track called "Intensity" around it. "Subtlety & Passion" has 10 other notable tracks including "Gimme Gimme" that rocks hard, a very cool track called "It's Always Something" that features some great harmonica work by Tris Imboden, "The Mystery of Moonlight" which sounds like a classic Chicago track and "You Never Know The Story" that has Lee Loughnane playing muted trumpet ala Miles. This is the album for which Chicago fans have been waiting a long time. Give it a listen and hear for yourself the music you've been missin'!

(Click Subtlety & Passion if you wanna buy this CD online!)



The mars Volta de-loused in the crematorium (Universal)


Singer Cedric Zavala has got some pipes boy! His bandmate, guitarist/producer/songwriter Omar Rodriguez-Lopez has got some chops too. There are moments that sound like The Red Hot Chili Peppers (thanks to co-producer Rick Rubin's touches and appearances by Flea and John Frusciante). Except with Zavala they sound like the RHCP with a real singer! The band can sound like Wishbone Ash, Pink Floyd and Santana...and that's just on one track! This is modern day progressive rock; a great listening experience. Few recent albums bear repeated listening but thanks to the production work, the creative song structures, and superb musicianship, "de-loused in the crematorium" offers newly discovered surprises each time.

(Click De-Loused in the Crematorium if you wanna buy this CD online!)



Howard Tate Rediscovered (Private Music)


Howard Tate first recorded "Get It While You Can" in 1967. While it went on to be covered most notably by Janis Joplin, Howard never met with any success, quit the music biz, and dropped out of sight. In 2001 Howard started his comeback, and this year released his first album in decades.

"Rediscovered" produced by "Get It While You Can" songwriter/producer Jerry Ragavoy is Howard's reintroduction. Lovingly performed, produced and mastered, this is some great ear candy for soul music lovers everywhere. Get it while you can and pick it up!

(Click Rediscovered if you wanna buy this CD online!)



Jools Holland & His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra More Friends (Rhino)


Not familiar with ex-Squeeze member Jools Holland? He's a big star in England thanks to his TV show. But even if you're not that familiar with Jools you might know some of his friends on this album. Ever hear of Norah Jones, Bryan Ferry, Dionne Warwick, Tom Jones, Chrissie Hynde, Ray Davies and Jimmy Cliff? How about Robert Plant, Jeff Beck, George Benson and Bono? YOU HAVEN'T? Then what the heck are you reading this for??

Anyway, all of the above are here on "More Friends." It's a high-energy album with great R&B performances on mostly original material. You're bound to find a track on here that you can't live without!

(Click More Friends if you wanna buy this CD online!)



Grandaddy Sumday (V2)


Why haven't you heard of Grandaddy? Well, the bottom line is that these guys are not made for MTV. They're a little older than teens and they ain't very pretty. But they play great pop rock. As a matter of fact the track "Now It's On" was one of Record Boy's faves this past year. If you're beyond buying music based solely on a band's image then "Sumday" will be an aural treat. Just don't look at the pictures!

(Click Sumday if you wanna buy this CD online!)



Fountains of Wayne Welcome Interstate Managers(S Curve/Virgin)


"Stacy's Mom" was a big MTV hit over the summer but if that's your only impression of Fountains of Wayne, you're missing a lot by not picking up "Welcome Interstate Managers." Chris Collingwood and Adam Schlesinger are great power pop songwriters. Record Boy first listened to this CD in his Record Mobile and had to pull over at one point because laughing was interfering with driving! Fave songs include "Bright Future In Sales," "Hackensack," "Little Red Light," "Halley's Waitress" and of course the above mentioned "Stacy." If these guys lyrics can't get at least a smile outta you, jack you dead!

(Click Welcome Interstate Managers if you wanna buy this CD online!)




The Allman Brothers Band

Hittin' The Note (Peach/Sanctuary)


Admit it. You haven't bought a new Allman Brothers album since "Eat A Peach." You might not have even known that they've had any new albums since then! Well, despite 150 personnel changes over the years, the band has soldiered on and still makes a living on the road. "Hittin? The Note" is not only the best Allman Brothers album in many years but it's also one of the best new "classic" rock records released in a long, long time. Guitarists Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks rip it up throughout, Gregg is in fine voice and Butch and Jaimoe have this two-drummer thing down after over 30 years together. The song writing is strong and Warren is a great singer to boot. Record Boy recommends this to any of you who have said lately, "they just don't make rock n' roll like they use to." The Allmans just did!

(Click Hittin' the Note if you wanna buy this CD online!)



Peter Wolf Sleepless (Artemis)


Don't be afraid of the big bad Wolf. There is not a single hint on this album that the former lead singer of the J. Geils Band recorded the banal "Light's Out" in the 80s! Even though a majority of the original songs on "Sleepless" are co-written with the slick Will Jennings (well- thought of for all of the hits he wrote for Steve Winwood, less fondly remembered here for the Dionne Warwick, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion crap he's made his living from), this is a back to the roots album for Peter. Not to be missed are his duets with Mick Jagger on "Nothing But The Wheel" and Keith Richards on "Too Close Together." Wolf covers Otis Rush and Sonny Boy Williamson on this album and throws in a Stax gem for good measure. Welcome Peter back to the land of good music and pick up "Sleepless"!

(Click Sleepless if you wanna buy this CD online!)



Bill Perry Crazy Kind of Life (Blind Pig)


If you're not hip to Bill Perry, here's a good place to start. Bill is an exciting guitar player who can tear up the blues. He's teamed here musically with Conan O'Brien's bandleader Jimmy Vivino (who is also a co-producer of this set). Bill's guitar licks whip the listener into a blues-rock frenzy. Just when you think you can't take it no mo', the album ends with a smooth, solid cover of the Stone's "No Expectations" with Perry's old boss Richie Havens handling the vocals. It's a total 180 from the rest of the record but it works. Do yourself a favor and check the cat out!

(Click Crazy Kind of Life if you wanna buy this CD online!)



Graham Nash Songs For Survivors (Artemis)


It's too bad this album didn't have any marketing muscle behind it. It came and went without a trace but ol' Record Boy picked it up and is glad of it! This is one of the strongest albums to come out of the CSNY camp in many a moon. Nash's tunes here (he wrote or co-wrote all but one: a Richard and Linda Thompson cover) are poignant, clever, and touching, performed with the grace of true pros (Russ Kunkel, Dean Parks and of course David Crosby). A common complaint about the state of the music biz today is that too many albums have one or two good songs and the rest is filler. All credit due to Graham for turning in a 10-song set that holds together solidly from beginning to end and deserves repeated spins. You owe yourself a good new album from an old rock icon!

(Click Songs for Survivors if you wanna buy this CD online!)



JURASSIC 5- Power In Numbers (Interscope)


Four rappers and two DJs add up to Jurassic 5 and while you're trying to figure that out, let me tell you about their latest album "Power in Numbers." Hip Hop seems to work best for ol' Record Boy when you've got a musically inventive producer who can create a dense sonic canvas for a rapper with a distinct voice. This band has four such voices plus guest appearances by Big Daddy Kane and Nelly Furtado (to name a few) and not one, but two talented producers, Dj Nu-Mark and Cut Chemist. Every track utilizes interesting samples and the rappers don't talk about how much money and guns they have nor is there any mention of bitches and Hos. Jurassic 5 seem to have a social conscience and there are tracks that bring the Last Poets to mind. Check out just how hip hip hop can be.

(Click Power in Numbers if you wanna buy this CD online!)



MIKE BLOOMFIELD - Knockin' Myself Out (Fuel 2000)


This album compiles Bloomfield's solo work from the 1970s, an era where Mike was largely into traditional, old timey acoustic blues. There's certainly a lot of charm in Bloomfield's performances here and on some of the tracks he plays all or nearly all the instruments. However if you're looking for the kind of material that made Mike a Chicago blues legend in the '60s, it's in short supply here. "Your Friends" is one track where Bloomfield cuts loose in a slow blues and "At the Cross" is a powerful instrumental highlighted by his masterful slide work. Record Boy isn't sure that this collection needed the previously unreleased track "Crisco Kid" (think San Francisco bath house) but all in all a nice footnote to previous collections that focused on his work with Butterfield, Dylan, The Electric Flag and Al Kooper.

(Click Knockin Myself Out: The Blues Collection if you wanna buy this CD online!)





THE FORD BLUES BAND In Memory of Michael Bloomfield (Blue Rockit)


This is a well thought out collection of tribute material. Interspersed with a couple brief interview sections with Mike, the Ford Blues Band (with Robben Ford and Chris Cain sittin' in) chooses 13 tracks associated with Bloomfield's career and performs them lovingly. While it's always a pleasure to hear Robben play the blues, he doesn't sound much like his hero. Chris Cain is actually a little closer in capturing Bloomfield's intense and haunting guitar style. It's a good listen from start to finish and heart warming to see someone finally give Michael his due over 20 years after he left us.

(Click In Memory of Michael Bloomfield if you wanna buy this CD online!)




TOMMY KEENE The Merry Go Round Broke Down (Spin Art)


Y'know, Tommy Keene is a friend of ol' Record Boy but even I didn't know he had a new record out! That's the kind of marketing effort you'd expect from Gargantuan Music, not some tiny indie label! Anyway, for those of you not familiar with the artist and his stellar career you can jump right in and start with this CD. Tommy is a prolific power pop writer and performer and this 12 song collection is packed with hooks, jangly guitars and a rockin' rhythm section. Tommy even stretches out on the track "The Final Hour" and shows us all his masterful guitar chops. Guaranteed to be some of the best pop rock music that you can't find anywhere!

(Click Merry-Go-Round Broke Down if you wanna buy this CD online!)




Joe Louis Walker Pasa Tiempo (Evidence)


I was listening to a jazz station when I heard a tune that had a Latin feel with soulful singing punctuated by Wallace Roney's trumpet (a fine Miles Davis impersonator). Record Boy's ears really perked up when the announcer said "That was Joe Louis Walker." Joe Louis Walker? The blues guy?? It turns out that Walker's latest album is a grab bag of styles-world music, jazz, blues-sometimes in the same song! Walker's backing musicians on this outing include the aforementioned Roney, Ernie Watts on sax, Ndugu Chancler on drums, the sublime Barry Goldberg on the Hammond B3 and a couple of guest appearances by guitar great Phil Upchurch. Walker always sings and plays like he means it and sounds comfortable in all the different musical settings to be found here. Bravo to the album's producers for setting such an interesting plate for Joe, and to Mr. Walker for stepping up to it!

(Click Pasa Tiempo if you wanna buy this CD online!)



Jim Lauderdale, Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys

Lost In The Lonesome Pines (Dualtone)


Jim Lauderdale has a crisp clear tenor voice, Ralph Stanley a gruff one, and the Clinch Mountain Boys throw in some bass and baritone vocals. The blend is a splendid one.

With the exception of a Bill Monroe cover, all the songs on this album were written or co written by Lauderdale but sound like they could have been written when Stanley was in knee pants! The Clinch Mountain Boys are top-notch bluegrass musicians who propel the music from beginning to end. O Brother, this is a good album!

(Click Lost in the Lonesome Pines if you wanna buy this CD online!)



David Bowie Heathen (ISO/Columbia)


This record came and went so fast on the charts that you'd think it was just another David Bowie album of the last 20 years. I mean after all, could you name all the Bowie albums that have come out since his last huge hit album "Let's Dance"?

Don't make the mistake of assuming the guy is washed up and unable to reconnect to the muse of his '70s triumphs. On "Heathen," Bowie reunites with Tony Visconti, the producer of some of his most cohesive and innovative albums; "Low," "Heroes," "Lodger," and "Scary Monsters." The pair delivers one of the most complete sonically satisfying Bowie excursions in years.

Ya gotta love Pete Townshend's guest guitar soloing on the track "Slow Burn" and all the little audio surprises Bowie and Visconti pour into each track. Any fan of classic Bowie will welcome this "Heathen" into their homes.

(Click Heathen if you wanna buy this CD online!)




Victor Villadangos Guitar Music of Argentina (Naxos)


Record Boy keeps waiting for the industry to produce a new, legitimate rock guitar hero. Well, in the meantime how about discovering an Argentinean guitar hero? On this album Victor Villadangos plays the music of famed Argentinean composers Maximo Diego Pujol, Narciso Saul and Hector Ayala among others. He has a clear ringing tone on his nylon string guitar and occasionally plays with such passion that his percussive smacks on the guitar body will surely get your attention. He ends the track "Boulevard San Jorge" by snapping on a string so hard, I felt sorry for his instrument! This may not be a rock album, but it's a delightful 70-minute diversion into some exquisite and exotic music. Rock on Victor!

(Click Guitar Music of Argentina if you wanna buy this CD online!)



Humble Pie Live At The Whisky A-Go-Go '69 (Castle Music)


In 1969 Humble Pie had already released two underwhelming albums and were touring the U.S. for the first time, billed as a super group (does a band made up of a guy from The Small Faces, a guy from Spooky Tooth, a guy from The Herd and a 17 year old drummer really qualify as a super group??)

Now, most classic rock fans are familiar with Humble Pie's seminal 1971 album "Performance-Rockin' The Fillmore," but it's interesting indeed to hear this never before released historical document of the group playing at a small club 2 years before they peaked. They only played one song from their first two albums and the rest of the set is covers.

Note that while this recording is over 50 minutes long, there is a total of 5 songs! They just don't cut 21-minute versions of "I Walk On Gilded Splinters" like they used to!

The truth is Peter Frampton and Steve Marriott were a potent singer/guitarist combo early on and this album is good medicine for those sick of bad rock music.

Click Live at the Whiskey A-Go-Go 69 if you wanna buy this CD online!)





Doyle Bramhall Jr. makes a good case for overcoming obstacles. Nearly overwhelmed by addiction problems a decade ago, Doyle reemerged a few years back clean and mean. Several of his songs from his '99 album "Jellycream" found their way into Eric Clapton's hands and ended up on Eric's wildly successful collaboration with B.B. King, "Riding With The King." On "Welcome" Doyle continues to write some of the best blues based rock songs you've ever heard and plays killer guitar to boot. If you thought they don't make rock records anymore with great riffs, great playing and a deft touch at the producer's controls, then prepare to be surprised and delighted. Don't wait to see if these songs show up on Eric's next album!

(Click Welcome if you wanna buy this CD online!)



STEVE EARLE/TOWNES VAN ZANDT/GUY CLARK Together at the Bluebird Cafe (American Originals)


Recorded in 1995 in the intimacy of this small club, this record is a songwriter tour de force. One superbly crafted tune after the other is delivered here acoustically, with no production frills. All three guys are (or were in the case of the late Van Zandt) excellent storytellers. They weave a spell on the listener as they deliver tales of their lives and the characters in their heads. Don't miss an opportunity to hear three master craftsmen in top form entertain you. Pick this one up!

(Click Together at the Bluebird Cafe if you wanna buy this CD online!)

cover THERE IS NO EYE: MUSIC FOR PHOTOGRAPHS (Smithsonian Folkway Recordings)


This is a great compilation put together by musician/photographer John Cohen to accompany his book of the same name. Cohen is a folkie from the '50s who among other things photographed and recorded many famous blues and folk artists. He is also a member of the New Lost City Ramblers. There are 23 tracks on this album from musicians you know (like Muddy Waters, Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan) and many that you probably don't (like Mary Townsly, Sidna Myers and Sweet's Mill Band). The only track that feels out of place on this wide-ranging album is a jazzy beatnik number by David Amram, but come on. The guy hung with Kerouac and Ginsberg, so somehow we can fit him in here. Note that the Dylan track is a previously unreleased radio appearance from 1962 and it's a good 'un. That was back when Dylan looked more like Ollie from Kukla, Fran and Ollie then he does like Vincent Price now.

(Click <There Is No Eye: Music for Photographs if you wanna buy this CD online!)



BELA FLECK Perpetual Motion (Sony Classical)


Have you ever wondered how classical music would sound being played on a 5-string banjo? Well neither have I but once I heard this album I was delighted at the outcome. Bela Fleck is one heck of a musical adventurer, first introducing the world to Banjo Jazz and now this. Playing pieces from composers as varied as Bach, Beethoven, Chopin and Debussy, Fleck shows unbelievable musical muscle here in the company of such stalwart guests as Joshua Bell and John Williams among many others. This is one cool record that deserves your attention.

(Click Perpetual Motion if you wanna buy this CD online!)



BEN FOLDS - Rockin' The Suburbs (Epic)


Ben Folds has proven himself in Record Boy's book to be one of the premier young power pop songwriters around today. On this truly solo outing, Ben plays the lion share of all the instruments and comes up with some gems. His lyrical point of view is unabashedly white, middle class and suburban, often served up in very self-effacing ways. Here's a sample lyric from the title track: "All alone in my white boy pain, Shake your booty while the band complains, I'm rockin' the suburbs just like Michael Jackson did, I'm rockin the suburbs, except that he was talented." Ben is the high school music geek up in his room writing songs while everyone else is out partying. He's old enough now to let us share the chops he developed in his suburban woodshed so dig in and smile!

(Click Rockin' the Suburbs if you wanna buy this CD online!)



MERCURY REV- All is Dream (V2)


This is one of those records for boomers who think that the only music coming out today is aimed toward 12 year olds. The songs here are well crafted and well produced with orchestral and choral flourishes abounding. The lyrics are dreamy, romantic and yeah, occasionally pretentious, but delivered with intense sincerity. The kicker in this package is lead singer Jonathan's voice. Sounding like a Neil Young ringer for most of the tracks (that is the Neil Young "testicles in a vice" style of singing) and reminiscent of others like Al Stewart on the other tracks, this is one creative package worthy of the over 40 crowd to check into.

(Click All Is Dream if you wanna buy this CD online!)


AFRO CELT SOUND SYSTEM Volume 3: Further In Time (Real World)


On this, the third Afro Celt Sound System outing, the group continues the highly unlikely hybrid of Irish and African music, mixed with enough electronica to make this a powerful modern album. Joined on one track by Peter Gabriel, another with Robert Plant (refraining from histrionics, thank you) and on several with the Irish sister group, Screaming Orphans, there are some pretty cool songs here. Haven't had your fill of talking drums and penny whistles or dhol drums and uileann pipes mixed with Celtic harps, strings and djembes? This world music stew is waiting for you. Grab a fork and dive in!

(Click Volume 3: Further in Time if you wanna buy this CD online!)



RYAN ADAMS Gold (Lost Highway)


Hands down the most interesting young songwriter to come down the pike in these here modern times, Ex-Whiskeytown frontman Ryan Adams has a new solo album out. Do you like the Stones, Van Morrison, Bob Dylan and the Beatles? How 'bout Springsteen and Tom Petty and maybe even Pete Townshend and Neil Young to name a few? Well, guess what? Ryan does too! If you like hearing well crafted tunes with great lyrics and enjoy a little game now and then of "Name that Influence," you?ll have a field day with "Gold."

This album has over 20 songs and no filler in the bunch. Ya gotta love a guy this prolific. Treat yourself to a great listen. Repeat as necessary.

(Click Gold (Limited Edition)if you wanna buy this CD online!)



PAT MARTINO Live At Yoshi's (Bluenote)


Jeez. This is one powerhouse performance. This is the jazz record you need to play to anyone who thinks jazz is boring! Guitarist Pat Martino, along with Joey DeFrancesco on the Hammond B3 organ, and Billy Hart on drums are on some incredible telepathic plane with each other. The solos are thrilling and inventive. The interplay is amazing. The crowd at Yoshi's is pumped. Face it. This CD rocks! Yeah, you heard me. It Rocks! Fleet fingers, supple wrists and the desire to kick ass all come together on this rollicking set. A must for the seriously cool music lover!

(Click Live at Yoshi's if you wanna buy this CD online!)



DELBERT MCCLINTON Nothing Personal (New West Records)


How cool is Delbert McClinton? You first heard him playing harmonica on Bruce Channel's 1962 #1 hit single Hey! Baby and so did John Lennon. Legend has it while touring England with Bruce, Delbert taught John how to play and if so, thank Delbert for Please Please Me (and Oh! Yoko too)!

Delbert's latest album is a tour de force. Classic R&B (ala Doc Pomus), country, blues and rock are all styles that Delbert is comfortable in and the 13 tracks on Nothing Personal reflect that. Delbert wrote or co-wrote every track as well as co-produced the record. It's a true joy ride, packed with great performances from well known back up musicians such as Benmont Tench, Ricky Fataar, Rick Vito, Bekka Bramlett and Iris Dement among others. Delbert's sense of humor pours through the lyrics with lines like "My ship came in and she sunk it- I was the toast of the town and she drunk it."

Delbert has been making great music for a long time and this is his finest outing in years. Be kind to your ears and pick this one up.

(Click Nothing Personal if you wanna buy this CD online!)



BARE JR. Brainwasher (Immortal)


This is country star Bobby Bare's son's band. His music is informed by country music to be sure, but equally informed by Elvis Costello and maybe Metallica too! This is part Whiskeytown, part Wallflowers and part Frank Zappa. Sample lyric "The skeletons in my closet have more fun than me. I am boring and useless and my skeletons are fabulously unique." Try this on. One size fits all.

(Click Brainwasher if you wanna buy this CD online!)



PJ HARVEY Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea (Island)


Record Boy used to dismiss Miss Harvey as a 2nd generation Patti Smith until being struck by this album. Lyrically this record is very fulfilling with the album title being truth in advertising: each song is a story. Yet they all flow together as one narrative-tales of relationships in many different settings. Musically, the record is stark but very often so powerfully performed that it rocks hard when that's the intention and is haunting when the mood calls. Stand out tracks include "This Mess We're In" (with Radiohead's Thom Yorke) "This Is Love" (tres erotique!) and "We Float."

(Click Stories From The City, Stories From The...if you wanna buy this CD online!)



JIMMY SMITH dot com blues (Blue Thumb)


Jimmy Smith is an organ player like Michael Jordan is a basketball player or Bobby Bland is a singer-get my drift? Smith does not play the organ, he rides it like it was a souped up NASCAR. He takes the keys and drains them like every note is a story unto itself. This record teams Jimmy up with guests like Dr. John, Etta James, B.B. King, Taj Mahal and Keb' Mo' and is produced by the well established blues producer John Porter. It's funky fresh hot buttered soul served up by a master musician who demands your respect dammit! Aww yeah!!

(Click Dot Com Blues if you wanna buy this CD online!)



DOLLY PARTON The Grass Is Blue (Sugar Hill)


One of Record Boy's favorite rock star photos of all time was a mid '70s shot of Dolly Parton and Mick Jagger. They are side by side, cheek to cheek and all smiles-except Mick appears to be BLUSHING. That's right. Mick Jagger is caught on camera overwhelmed by a woman. For those of you who only think of Dolly as an older Pam Anderson with a Minnie Mouse voice, check out this record. Dolly embraces her roots in bluegrass music the same way she embraced Mick in that photo and if you're not overwhelmed by her musical tour de force, jack you dead. She can even make a '70s Billy Joel song not sound trite! She has an ace group of back up musicians and Alison Krauss even shows up to sing harmony on several tracks. Stop blushing and let Dolly embrace your ears!

(Click The Grass Is Blue if you wanna buy this CD online!)



LIQUID SOUL Here's The Deal (Shanachie)


Are you a Tower of Power fan? Record Boy guarantees Liquid Soul will not disappoint you. On their latest album they continue their funky horn driven sound, adding a few more jazz and rap elements as they go along. The record is produced by saxophonist Mars Williams who knows how to capture a great drum sound on tape. "Here's The Deal" is a party record on one level and a great album to listen to on a purely musical level. Shotgun drums and a tight rhythm section, powerful horn arrangements and groovin' guitar. What more could you hope for? Buy this record!

(Click Here's The Deal if you wanna buy this CD online!)



LAURA NYRO Angel In The Dark (Rounder)


This album contains Laura's last recordings in '94 and '95. Though battling cancer at the time, Miss N. bravely soldiered on doing what she loved. Backed by stellar musicians like the Brecker Brothers, John Tropea , Will Lee and Bernard Purdie this album is an incredibly well put together work. Laura sounds great, especially on her covers of "heartbeat" songs like "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow," "Ooh Baby Baby" and "La La Means I Love You." She is missed. Talented songwriters/interpreters don't come along every day y'know.

(Click Angel in the Dark if you wanna buy this CD online!)



DAN HICKS AND THE HOT LICKS Beatin' The Heat (Surfdog)


Face it. Dan Hicks is a crack up. His songs are laced with humour and a certain air of stone cold cool. Joining Dan and his Hot Licks on this record is none other than Brian Setzer, Rickie Lee Jones, Bette Midler, Elvis Costello and Tom Waits. Waits duet with Hicks on "Tell You Why That Is" is the perfect example of Hicks' funny/cool--even they crack up at the end of the tune. The Hot Licks are made up of experienced studio musicians (Gregg Bissonette and Sid Page a couple of the more recognizable names) and they swing hard and rock as tough as they want. This is one of the most fun records you can kick back and listen to this year!

(Click Beatin' the Heat if you wanna buy this CD online!)



BUDDY GUY Sweet Tea (Silvertone)


This is where Buddy rediscovers Mississippi. The majority of the tunes here are authored by Fat Possum greats Junior Kimbrough, Cedell Davis and "T-Model" Ford. Their songs serve to revitalize Guy, who after a couple of successful slick Blues/Pop albums seemed to be falling into a formulaic funk. The album kicks of with Kimbrough's "Done Got Old" and Buddy does such an intense take on the track that the listener is led to believe that this is Guy's swan song. But when the second track "Baby Please Don't Leave Me" kicks in-fuggedaboutit.

Buddy reminds us all why he's a living legend. Check it out.

(Click Sweet Tea if you wanna buy this CD online!)



RUFUS WAINWRIGHT Poses (Dreamworks)


Haven't heard Loudon's kid yet? Stylistically Rufus is a stylish blend of Cole Porter and Van Dyke Parks with dashes of (believe it or not) Billy Joel and Michael Feinstein! Well played cabaret type tunes with self conscious lyrics. For a young dude, Rufus has some very worldly observations to make and this is a good record to remind people that there are still young folks who see music as more than commerce. Rufus promises to be an interesting artist for many good years to come.

(Click Poses if you wanna buy this CD online!)



ANI DIFRANCO Reckoning/Revelling (Righteous Babe)


Ever wonder just how prolific this independent powerhouse is? How about this album with 29 new songs divided into two discs. "Reckoning" is stark and acoustic. The moody songs on this disc make for powerful listening as Ms. Difranco's voice and guitar playing take you deep inside her lyrics. "Revelling" is less stark with most of the songs featuring a full band and even occasional guest Maceo Parker. This is not to say the tone of "Revelling" is any sunnier than "Reckoning." Ani Difranco is an artist with lots to say about the state of the world at large and her world in particular. How can you tune out anyone with so much to say in such an aurally pleasing way?

(Click Revelling/Reckoning if you wanna buy this CD online!)



LUTHER ALLISON Luther's Blues (Motown)


What was Motown thinking when they signed one of the funkiest, soulful bluesmen of all time to their label in the early '70s? Luther certainly didn't meet with the commercial success that they must of hoped for but no fault on his part! The real treat of this reissued CD is the three bonus tracks. "San-Ho-Zay" is a fiery rockin' blues and "Bloomington Closing" shows Luther bein' funky as he wanna be. The price of the CD is well spent however just on the previously unreleased 20 minute medley of blues tunes, recorded live at his legendary 1973 appearance at the Ann Arbor blues festival. True blues lovers cannot be without this record spinning in heavy rotation!

(Click Luther's Blues if you wanna buy this CD online!)



RODNEY CROWELL The Houston Kid (Sugarhill)


Rodney's legendary songwriting prowess is in full evidence on this record. Using his childhood as a thematic backdrop, Crowell tells spellbinding and often harrowing tales of love, family relationships and the march of time. He even reworks and revisits his ex father- in-law's signature tune "I Walk The Line" with Johnny Cash hisself singin' the famous chorus. For those of you sick of listening to albums that don't hang together well and leave you wondering where the great songwriters have gone, The Houston Kid will reconfirm your faith that great records are still being made!

(Click The Houston Kid if you wanna buy this CD online!)