Many Thanks, Marc and Cheryl
the Covers: A Tribute to the Beatles (Hip-O 1997) - Meet the
Covers includes 14 interpretations of the Fab Four's most popular songs,
recorded by a wide variety of soul, funk, pop, and modern rock stars.
Wait a moment: I'll get to the highlight.
The album starts slowly with Earth, Wind & Fire's
excruciating version of "Got to Get You Into My Life." Fortunately, other
cuts are stronger, including "Let It Be" by Aretha Franklin,
"Anytime at All" by Nils Lofgren, and "Come Together"
by Ike & Tina Turner.
But the highlight of the disk (and the reason for this review) is Richie
Haven's amazing 1971 live version of "Here Comes the Sun." Haven's
folk-tinged version (which made it into the top 20) taps right into George
Harrison's spirit, and deserves to be heard by a new audience.
Meet the Covers is not earthshattering, but has enjoyable
Artists, Class of Country: 1975-79 (Hip-O 1997) - Another reissue
from Hip-O is Class of Country: 1975-79. What's surprising
is much how these so-called "country" songs have a pop feel.
Thus, songs like "Here You Come Again" by Dolly Parton,
"Rhinestone Cowboy" by Glen Campbell, and "Sleeping Single
in a Double Bed" by Barbara Mandrell sound much more
like top 40 numbers than country songs. And why is "Convey" by C.
W. McCall considered a country track?
My favorite is "Tulsa Time" by Don Williams (also covered
a few years later by Eric Clapton). Class of
Country: 1975-79 is a likeable collection, and highlights the
inherent difficulty in trying to pigeonhole songs into a particular genre.
Death to the Pixies (Elektra 1997) - After a long hiatus, Elektra
has begun to tap into its vaults for reissues. Among the first projects
is Death to the Pixies, a double-disk collection drawing
from the five albums recorded by the Pixies between 1987 and 1991. As
reflected on this double-disk set, the Pixies mixed guitar noise with
some great songs to help recharge college music.
The first disk features 17 songs spanning the Pixie's recording career,
and draws equally from the band's studio albums: Come on Pilgrim,
Surfer Rosa, Doolittle, Bossanova, and Tromp le Monde.
Included are such great rock songs as "Gigantic" and "Wave of Mutilation."
Disk two is a live recording of the Pixies taped at a 1990 Dutch concert,
and features the foursome (bassist Kim Deal, drummer
David Lovering, guitarist Joey Santiago,
and singer/guitarist Black Francis (who now records under
the name "Frank Black") in fine form.
Missing from the live album, however, is singer Black's eccentric sense
of humor: I've heard other live recordings by in which frontman Black
was a real cutup (as well as a fine rocker). In addition, the liner notes
by producer Gary Smith of Ft. Apache Studios
are of historic interest, but not very helpful. For example, the liner
notes give zero information about the live show.
But these quibbles do not detract from the music, which remains essential.
Another new release from Elektra's vaults is Beyond and Back,
another double disk set featuring Los Angeles' X (fronted
by singer Exene Cervenkova and guitarist/songwriter John
Doe). X charged out of the L.A. punk scene in
the late 70s, and was energized by such fine guitarists as Tony
Gilkyson and Dave Alvin (who later went on to
form the Blasters.) Another point of
interest - several of X's albums were produced by Ray
Manzarek of the Doors.
Elektra has some of the deepest vaults in rock music, and we should
expect years of great compilations like these.
Siren (MCA 1997) - Siren is the debut release
from Colony, an earnest quartet hailing from the central plains of Columbia,
Missouri. Featuring production help from Ben Mink (best
known for his work with k.d. lang), the 12 cuts on Siren
have a solid feel.
With images of flight and fancy, the new album is feel-good rock for
the late 90's. The band consists of John Stuller on bass
guitar, Jon Armstrong on lead guitar and vocals, Matt
Hickenbotham on drums and backing vocals, and Ted Bruner
on lead vocals and guitar.
Siren is ably-made rock, featuring such radio-friendly cuts as "Breathe." For a friendly blast from the heartlands, go for Colony.
Copyright (c) Randy Krbechek
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