Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sam Cooke..The Man and his Music

A 28-track best-of giving conclusive proof that soul's doomed golden boy was a singer of exquisite control and grace. Opening with a couple of Soul Stirrers gospel gems, The Man & His Music packs together most of Cooke's great pop sides, from the airily lovely "You Send Me" all the way to the majestic "A Change Is Gonna Come." Some of the cuts are more twee than others--it's rare that he touches the soulful pinnacles of "Bring It on Home to Me" or "That's Where It's At," and too often he descends to dross like "When a Boy Falls in Love." Even on the more winsome hits, though, he remains a peerless vocal artist. And when you finally get to "Change," it's hard not to feel despair at Cooke's premature death. --Barney Hoskyns...Amazon.com

1. Touch the Hem of His Garment
2. That's Heaven to Me
3. I'll Come Running Back to You
4. You Send Me
5. Win Your Love (For Me)
6. Just for You
7. Chain Gang
8. When a Boy Falls in Love
9. Only Sixteen
10. Wonderful World
11. Cupid
12. Nothing Can Change This Love
13. Rome (Wasn't Built in a Day)
14. Love Will Find a Way
15. Everybody Loves to Cha Cha Cha
16. Another Saturday Night
17. Meet Me at Mary's Place
18. Having a Party
19. Good Times
20. Twistin' the Night Away
21. Shake
22. Somebody Have Mercy
23. Sad Mood
24. Ain't That Good News
25. Bring It on Home to Me
26. Soothe Me
27. That's Where It's At
28. A Change Is Gonna Come


Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Best of Booker T. and The MG's

These four gentlemen, Booker T. Jones (organ, piano), Steve Cropper (guitar), Lewie Steinberg (bass)(Steinberg was replaced by Donald "Duck" Dunn in 1965), and Al Jackson, Jr.(drums), may have been the most important players in all of soul music. They were an interracial group before it was popular or even accepted. They formed the core of the house backing-band at Stax Records, wrote classic soul songs, and discovered and produced artists at Stax. As this compilation makes very clear, they recorded great songs in their own right. All instrumentals, the MGs wrote their own classics-"Green Onions," "Time Is Tight"--and interpreted others--"Groovin'," "Hang 'Em High." The contemporary sound and feel of these vintage tracks proves what visionaries they were. --Robert Gordon..Amazon.com

1. Green Onions
2. Mo' Onions
3. Jellybread
4. Tic-Tac-Toe
5. Soul Dressing
6. Terrible Thing
7. Can't Be Still
8. Boot-Leg
9. Summertime
10. Be My Lady
11. Red Beans And Rice
12. My Sweet Potato
13. Booker-Loo
14. Hip Hug-Her
15. Slim Jenkins' Place
16. Groovin'

Saturday, November 24, 2012

As It All Began...The Best of John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers 1964-1969

"The Father of British Blues" himself chose and annotated the 20 tracks that comprise this look at his early years, and when you consider Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Paul Butterfield, Mick Fleetwood and Mick Taylor all passed through the band during this era, the honorific is well-earned!

 1. Crawling Up A Hill
 2. Mr. James
 3. Heartache
 4. Crocodile Walk
 5. Blues City Shake Down
 6. Lonely Years
 7. Bernard Jenkins
 8. All Your Love
 9. Parchman Farm
10. Looking Back
11. A Hard Road
12. Eagle Eye
13. Double Trouble
14. Broken Wings
15. The Death Of J.B. Lenoir
16. Me And My Woman
17. Suspicions
18. Picture On The Wall
19. Miss James
20. Start Walkin'


The Best of Aretha Franklin

“There are singers,” said Ray Charles, “then there is Aretha. She towers above the rest. Others are good, but Aretha is great. She’s my only sure-enough sister.” Since the moment Aretha stepped to the pulpit at her father’s famed New Bethel Baptist Church as a young girl singing in the great gospel tradition, the world has recognized her as a musical miracle. Aretha Franklin's first collection of hits is represented with this CD, which was originally released in 1968. Many of her best songs from the 1960s are here: "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)" (#9 in 1967), "Respect" (#1 for 2 weeks in 1967), "Chain of Fools" (#2 in 1968), "Think" (#7 in 1968), and "I Say a Little Prayer" (#10 in 1968).

1. Chain of Fools
2. I Say a Little Prayer
3. Natural Woman, A (You Make Me Feel Like)
4. Think
5. Rock Steady
6. Until You Come Back to Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)
7. Respect
8. Spanish Harlem
9. Dr. Feelgood
10. Do Right Woman, Do Right Man
11. I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)
12. Save Me

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Van Morrison...Moondance

Van Morrison went a long way towards defining his wild Irish heart with his first two classic albums: the brooding, introspective Astral Weeks (1968), and the expansive, swinging Moondance. If the first was the work of a poet, its sequel was the statement of a musician and bandleader. Moondance is that rare rock album where the band has buffed the arrangements to perfection, and where the sax solos instead of the guitar. The band puts out a jazzy shuffle on "Moondance" and plays it soulful on "These Dreams of You." The album includes both Morrison's most romantic ballad ("Crazy Love") and his most haunting ("Into the Mystic"). "And It Stoned Me" rolled off Morrison's tongue like a favorite fable, while "Caravan" told a tale full of emotional intrigue. Moondance stood out in the rock world of 1970 like a grownup in a kiddie matinee. --John Milward ..Amazon.com

1. And It Stoned Me 
2. Moondance 
3. Crazy Love 
4. Caravan 
5. Into The Mystic 
6. Come Running 
7. These Dreams Of You 
8. Brand New Day 
9. Everyone 
10. Glad Tidings 

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Doors...first album

THE DOORS, first released in January 1967, is one of rock music's most famous debuts...the Doors more than fulfilled the promise of their infamously challenging gigs around Los Angeles throughout the previous year. Whether belting out a standard like "Back Door Man" or talk-singing such originals as "The Crystal Ship" and "I Looked at You," leather-clad vocalist Jim Morrison exuded both sensuality and menace. The mixture, on the outsize album finale, "The End," helped rewrite the rules on rock song composition. None of this would have worked, though, were it not for the highly visual instrumental work of keyboardist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robbie Krieger, and drummer John Densmore, whose work on tracks such as "Take It As It Comes" and the lengthy hit "Light My Fire" virtually defined the rock-blues-jazz-classical amalgam that was acid-rock. --Billy Altman ..AMAZON

1. Break On Through (To The Other Side) 
2. Soul Kitchen 
3. The Crystal Ship 
4. Twentieth Century Fox 
5. Alabama Song (Whisky Bar) 
6. Light My Fire 
7. Back Door Man 
8. I Looked At You 
9. End Of The Night 
10. Take It As It Comes 
11. The End 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Otis Redding...The Definitive Collection

Otis Redding was a major force in 60's soul music. His vocals were outstanding and one can not listen to this album without thinking what could have been if he had not tragically died in 1967. His lyrics are well written and have meaning without sounding trite. "Sittin' On the Dock of the Bay" is his signature song but there are many other tracks that are on the same level, like "Mr Pitiful", "Hard to Handle" and "Try A Little Tenderness". Many of these were revived when "The Commitments" movie was released and were featured on the soundtrack.