of the Allman Brothers Band (MCA 2000) - The Allman Brothers
released their self-titled debut more than 30 years ago, fronted by brothers Gregg Allman (vocals
and keyboards) and red-hot guitar player Duane Allman. Coming fresh from Jacksonville, Florida,
the band delivered a Southern rock sound that became a mainstay of FM radio.
Best of the Allman Brothers gathers
11 remastered tracks, with an appropriate focus on the highlights: Hard-driving "Whipping Post" and the
jazz-influenced "Dreams" (from their 1969 debut), Tom Dowd-produced classics "Revival"
and "Midnight Rider" (from 1970's Idlewild South), and Southern rock ballad, "Melissa,"
from 1972's Eat a Peach.
what Best of the Allman Brothers shows is the group
working as a group: Half a dozen strong players, all performing as a combo. The band also included Dickey
Betts on guitars and vocals, Berry Oakley on bass, and the dual percussion of Butch
Trucks and Jaimoe Johanny Johanson.
The Allman Brothers never let ego get in the way, blending twin
lead guitarists to produce an effortless rock jam. The band also had help from talented friends, including Bonnie
Bramlett (backing vocals on "Crazy Love") and piano player Chuck
Leavell (keyboards on "Ramblin' Man" and "Jessica").
Yet the Allman
Brothers' success was always tempered by tragedy, as both Duane Allman
and Berry Oakley died in motor vehicle accidents in the early 70s. The band regrouped for Brothers and
Sisters (1973) which yielded another classic, "Jessica," before breaking up for five years,
followed by Enlightened Rogues (1978), which yielded the top ten single, "Crazy Love."
The extended Southern rock jams of the Allman Brothers
are incredibly far removed from the sound of contemporary music, yet were staples of rock radio in their time.
Gone, but not forgotten, the Allman Brothers could rock with the
best of them.
Iggy Pop: The Heritage Collection (Arista 2000)
- Arista Records continues its Heritage Series reissues with mid-price collections from Iggy Pop, Germaine Jackson, The Outlaws,
and Ray Parker, Jr. on
digitally remastered, mid-priced 11 song collections.
The Iggy Pop Collection is drawn from the three now out-of-print albums he recorded for Arista: New Values (1979), Soldier (1980) and Party
was continuing his bombastic ways in a solo career that found the punker moving away from his hard core elements
into a more accessible sound that bears echos of the end of a disco era.
On songs like "Pumpin'
for Jill" and "I'm Bored," Mr. Pop (born James Osterberg) showed all of the
anti-social attitude that has marked his career. Also included is "Play it Safe" (recorded with David Bowie),
the in-your-face "Five Foot One," and the concluding ballad, "Sea of Love."
The Heritage Collection
will fill a gap in your Iggy
Pop collection, as it covers his out-of-print albums for Arista. While
there's no track here like "Now I Wanna be Your Dog," the material holds up.
Soundtrack to The Million Dollar
Hotel (Interscope 2000) - "The Million Dollar Hotel" is the forthcoming film from Wim Wenders, based on a story written by U2 frontman Bono and Nicholas
Klein. To my knowledge, the film is not yet in U.S. distribution,
though it won the "Silver Bear" prize at this year's Berlin Film Festival.
The soundtrack features 16 tracks from the film, including two new U2 songs and performances by Bono and various members
of The Million Dollars Hotel band (see below). The Million Dollar Hotel will tide over U2 fans, while they wait for the band's 10th studio album (due later this year).
stars Jeremy Davies as
a lovesick innocent named Tom, Milla
Jovovich as tarnished street angel Eloise, and Mel Gibson as the FBI hardliner, detective Skip.
Filmed in Los Angeles, the movie is said to focus on a fleabag hotel and the stories of the outcasts and misfits
who live there: while investigating the grizzly death of a junkie, detective Skinner's investigation blurs the
lines between murder and suicide, sane and deranged.
Million Dollar Hotel
was recorded in Dublin and was produced by Hal Willner. The opening track, "The Ground
Beneath Her Feet," is a new U2 song, with lyrics by Salman
Rushdie from his novel of the same name.
Wim Wenders is known for his dazzling photographic work in such films as "The End of Violence" and "Wings of Desire,"
so we can expect that "Million Dollar Hotel" will be a treat for the eyes, with a lean toward the noirish.
As Wenders weaves a web of relationships between the hotel's corridors and rooms and their inhabitants, he is less
interested in the progress of a plot and more in the places and characters.
The Million Dollar Hotel band is a lofty assemblage, with Bono on vocals, guitar and piano, ace producer Daniel Lanois
on guitars, vocals and pedal steel, Brian
Eno on synthesizers, Jon Hassell on trumpet, Greg
Cohen on bass, Brian Blade on drums, Phil Frisell on guitar, and Adam Dorn on beats, synth, and programming.
the MDH band gets plenty of chance to spread its wings on tracks like "Funny Face" and "Tom Tom's
Dream." If you dig an elegant, dark and yet uplifting rock sound, then the MDH band will knock your socks
Yet I have a hard time finding that the band has gelled. My favorite cuts include the new "Stateless"
by U2, and the disorienting rock of "Anarchy in the U.S.A." (which has solid radio
potential, as it brings back memories of prime Clash).
And I simply cannot get into Milla
Jovovich's cover of "Satellite of Love," the old Lou Reed song. In the hands of darkmeister Reed,
with his impeccable three-piece band, "Satellite of Love" is a classic. Jovovich's misty spoken-word
vocals miss the mark, and leave the track without definition.
The artists on Million Dollar Hotel
include some of my favorite acts, including U2 and Daniel
Lanois. But the soundtrack lurches unevenly: Jovovich bites hard on her Yoko Ono impersonation, while "Anarchy in the
U.S.A." chugs with effortless intensity. Fans of U2 will enjoy this morsel, but will be looking for a fuller
- Randy Krbechek © 2000
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