Wild Wild Love By Flat Duo Jets

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Wild Wild Love (Expanded CD Reissue)

Flat Duo Jets

Daniel 13 Label 2017

Review by David Bowling

 

The Flat Duo Jets originated in North Carolina as a two man band; guitarist/vocalist Dexter Romweber and drummer Chris “Crow” Smith. They later added bassist Tony Mayer. They produced a hard core modern rockabilly sound with elements of surf and straight rock added to the mix.

While they released nine studio albums during their existence, it is their first album, Wild Wild Love, that remains their best and most elemental. It is one of the ultimate self-produced garage albums as it was actually recorded in a garage on a direct two-track to tape system. Originally released in 1990, it now returns in an expanded version.

The original album is a live blast of twisted rockabilly built on Romweber’s pulsing guitar runs and Smith’s thumping drums.  The jazzy “Man With The Golden Arm” is transformed into a driving rock classic. “Strut My Stuff” is a guitar lover’s delight.

The band got even more basic with the release of the cassette-only In Stereo. Only 2000 copies were printed but now the six songs have been added to the expanded release. The Leiber/Stoller rock staple “Riot In Cell Block #9” and Buddy Holly’s “Think It Over” are twisted all out of shape and then re-assembled. Even Elvis’ gentle “Love Me” is turned into a vehicle for Ronweber’s guitar fantasies.

The second disc contains 13 outtakes. Songs such as “”Stephane Grapppelli’s “Minor Swing,” Huey Lewis’s “You Made Me Cry,” and staples ranging from “Harlem Nocturne” to “Bumble Bee Boogie” make for a varied above average group of extras.

The Flat Duo Jets created rock and roll at ground level. They were similar to thousands of high school bands, but just more talented. Their music is raw, gritty, and ultimately what rock and roll should be about.

Rating: ****

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Never Mind The Bollocks (40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition 3 CD Set) By The Sex Pistols

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Never Mind The Bullocks (40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition 3 CD Set)

Sex Pistols

UMC 2017

Review by David Bowling

 

They couldn’t play very well, their songs were basic, and their stage act was chaotic. Yet, during the three years of their initial existence they changed the course of popular music and to an extent, pop culture as well.

The Sex Pistols may not have invented punk music but singer Johnny Rotten, guitarist Steve Jones, drummer Phil Cook, and bassist Glen Matlock (replaced by Sid Vicious), made it a artl form by shoving it down the throat of the music world.

The Sex Pistols have influenced thousands of bands and artists yet during their brief career only issued one studio album and four singles. Now to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their only studio album Never Mind The Bollocks, an expanded 3-CD version has been released.

Disc one is Never Mind The Bollocks is all its hash, screaming glory. “Anarchy In The UK,” “God Save The Queen,” Problems,” and “Submission” may have lost a little since their release but they are still a powerful yell from the past.

Disc two is a compilation of odds and ends. There are a number of different mixes, demos, and alternative vocals. The four B sides of their single releases are the heart of the disc. “Satellite,” “No Feeling,” “Did You No Wrong,” and “No Fun” are fully realized songs, three of which did not appear on their album.  The disc is basically for the person who wants everything by the band.

Disc three contains two concerts recorded in Norway and Sweden. While many of the tracks are the same, they present the Pistols basic approach.

Never Mind The Bollocks (40th Anniversary Edition) is a raw rock and roll experience. The Sex Pistols are still for the brave.

Rating: ****

Two Dogs (CD) By Poppa Chubby

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Two Dogs

Poppa Chubby

Poppa Chubby Productions 2017

Review by David Bowling

 

What’s in a name? For Theodore Joseph Ted Horowitz it’s about character with a little sexual innuendo thrown in for good measure.

Poppa Chubby is a no nonsense blues artists who takes no prisoners. He has returned with a new album titled Two Dogs. 

His voice is gritty and many of his lyrics have an edge. The title track, “Sam Lay’s Pistol,” “We Won’t Back Down,” and “Preexisting Conditions” examine the world through Chubby’s eyes within a blues framework.

There are two live bonus tracks, which close the album. Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” and the Rolling Stones “Sympathy For The Devil” are a raw listening experience but good examples of the power of his live show.

Two Dogs is a blast of basic modern-day blues. If you are looking for something a little different, then this may be an album for you.

Rating: ***

 

 

Delicate Sound Of Thunder (Vinyl LP Reissue) By Pink Floyd

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Delicate Sound Of Thunder (Vinyl LP Reissue)

Pink Floyd

Legacy 2017

Review by David Bowling

 

The Pink Floyd vinyl releases just keep on a-coming. The latest in the Floyd sweepstakes is their 1988 live album The Delicate Sound Of Thunder.

The album was put together from five 1988 performances at Nassau Coliseum, Long Island, and released during November of that year. Thirty years later it remains the definitive Pink Floyd live album.

The original CD release had audio issues. This new vinyl has an impeccable sound. Re-mastered from the original tapes and pressed on 180 gram vinyl; the tracks are brighter and reveal a depth of textures.

While I prefer a complete concert, the tracks selected make sense and fit together well. The songs are representative of the classic phase of their career and provide a nice taste of their concert experience.

David Gilmour is the star. Sometimes his guitar playing is so subtle and laid back, it just slides under the radar. Live, it comes to the forefront and shines. “On The Turning Away” is one of the better examples of his playing.

Pink Floyd albums tend to be conceptual and their songs form part of a whole, but live and removed from that context, they are forced to stand on their own. While the album is comprised of many of their well-known songs; “Money,” “Another Brick In The Wall Part 2.” “Comfortably Numb,” Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 1-5),” and “Run Like Hell” undergo a make-over removed  from the studio.

Vinyl releases have made a comeback during the last several years and while they will never dominate the market; their quality have enabled them to find a niche. Delicate Sound Of Thunder is a worthwhile release for the Pink Floyd fan and the vinyl aficionado.

Rating: ****

A Collection Of Great Dance Songs (Vinyl Re-Issue) By Pink Floyd

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A Collection Of Great Dance Songs (Vinyl Reissue)

Pink Floyd

Sony Music/Pink Floyd Music 2017

Review by David Bowling

 

“It has a good beat, but can you dance to it.”  -American Bandstand

I have never considered Pink Floyd a dance band, but then I can’t dance. A Collection Of Great Dance Songs by Pink Floyd was original issued about 36 years ago. As I remember it, the album was put together to satisfy a label contractual obligation. This makes me think that the title was selected tongue in cheek.

The album has now been reissued in a vinyl format. The music has been remastered from the original tapes and the thick 180 gram vinyl gives it a pristine sound.

The album could have been titled The Best Of Pink Floyd 1971-1979. The six tracks provide an introduction to Pink Floyd’s music. “One Of These Days,” “Money,” “Sheep,” “Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 1-4)” “Wish You Were Here,” and “Another Brick In The Wall Part 2” are instantly recognizable to any fan of the band or the era.

While the songs are readily available on many albums, it’s nice to have their most commercial, and in many ways mainstream material, in one  place. The album has a nice flow and the four parts of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” have been combined into one long track.

Many of the original Pink Floyd albums were conceptual and their strength was in sum rather than the parts. Here the songs stand alone and hold up well as individual pieces.

A Collection Of Great Dance Songs is in some ways a niche release, It is on vinyl and provides just a glimpse of what Pink Floyd is all about. Still, while you may not be able to dance to it; it does have a good beat.

Rating: ****

Butterfly (Vinyl Picture Disc) By Mariah Carey

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Butterfly (Vinyl Picture Disc Reissue)

Mariah Carey

Legacy 2017

Review by David Bowling

 

During the 1990’s, Mariah Carey ruled the pop music world. While her commercial appeal diminished during the 2000’s, her sales of 200,000,000 plus albums, makes her the biggest selling female artist of all time.

Her early albums were pop oriented but in 1997, the release of Butterfly signaled a change of direction. It has a more urban feel as her style moved toward hip hop and rhythm & blues. Now to commemorate the 20th anniversary of its release, Butterfly has been re-issued as a limited-edition picture disc.

Picture discs have been around for decades. They are issued more as collectibles than records that are actually played. Early picture discs had audio issues as the different colors of the vinyl affected the sound. Modern technology has mostly cured that problem.

Carey really came into her own as she co-wrote 11 of the 12 tracks. The only exception was a cover of Prince’s “The Beautiful Ones, on which she shared vocals with Dru Hill.

The number one hit “Honey” fueled the album’s new direction. “My All,” “Babydoll,” “Whenever You Call” and “Outside” solidified her new approach.

Today the album may seem a little dated and mild but at the time of its release it pushed the envelope of popular music as it began the fusion of pop, rhythm & blues, and hip hop.

This numbered edition of Butterfly is a visual collectible and basically for the hard core Mariah Carey fan. If you want a copy of the album to actually play, they are cheaper versions available.

Rating: ***

Vintage Christmas (CD) By David Ian

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Vintage Christmas Trio

David Ian

Prescott Records 2017

Review by David Bowling

 

If there is a holiday coming, the chance are there will be a David Ian release following close behind. He specializes in holiday music and his new release, Vintage Christmas Trio, continues this trend.

Ian is a piano player, who produces a light jazz sound. His style produces perfect background music for the season.

Backed by only a bass and percussion duo, his new album is a minimalist affair that revolves around his piano. Songs such as “Deck The Halls,” “White Christmas,” “”I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day,” and “Silver Bells” all slide by the senses effortlessly. Perhaps the most creative track is his take on “O Come All Ye Faithful,” which features only piano and percussion.

Ian Has found a nice niche for himself. His music may not be revolutionary but it is pleasant and sometimes that is enough.

Rating: ***

Willie And The Boys: Willie’s Stash Vol. 2 (Vinyl Release) By Willie Nelson

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Willie And The Boys: Willie’s Stash Vol. 2 (Vinyl Release)

Willie Nelson

Legacy

Review by David Bowling

 

Many artists who have been active for decades, both dead and alive,  seem to have an unlimited reservoir of unreleased material. Prince has a treasure trove in the Paisley Park vaults, Elvis has the RCA archives, Dylan has his seemingly endless Bootleg Series, and Willie Nelson has his stash.

Thus far, Nelson’s archival series has been a family affair. The first release from his stash was December Day with his sister Bobbie. Now comes Willie And The Boys: Willie’s Stash Volume 2, which features sons Lucas and Micah.

Nelson describes the album as…’kinda like the country version of ‘Stardust’ and that is an apt description. It consists of classic country songs that many people are unfamiliar with these days.

The album’s core is seven compositions by Hank Williams Sr. Songs such as “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” “Cold Cold Heart,” “Why Don’t You Love Me’ and particularly “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” are perfect for Nelson’s laid back approach and cadence.

Hank Snow’s “I’m Movin’ On,” Hank Cochran’s “Can I Sleep In Your Arms,” and Hank Locklin’s “Send me The Pillow You Dream On” are re-imagined by one of the great interpreter’s of country music. The only original tune is Nelson’s “Healing Hands Of Time,” which fits the overall concept of the album well.

The vinyl pressing has a superb sound as one would expect with modern day recording techniques. There is something to be said for listening to classic country the old fashioned way.

Willie Nelson is like “Old Man River” in that he just keeps flowing along. Willie Nelson And The Boys is a fine album that makes one wonder what else is lurking in his stash.

 

Rating: ****

 

 

Waiting For The Train (CD) By Johnny Rawls

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Waiting For The Train

Johnny Rawls

Catfood Records

Review by David Bowling

 

You can call it blues, you can call it rhythm & blues, you can call it soul music. In really doesn’t matter because Johnny Rawls is a master of them all.

Rawls has returned with a new release titled Waiting For The Train. The album contains five originals co-written by Johnny and some tasty covers of material by the likes of Wilson Pickett “I’m In Love,” Syl Johnson “We Did It,” and a re-imagined version of Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released.

Rawls just does not produce bad or even average albums. The passion and enthusiasm are always present. Listen carefully to his new album and you’ll hear a master at work. It’s a train you don’t want to miss.

 

Rating: ***1/2

Blues Been Good To Me (CD) By James Armstrong

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Blues Been Good To Me

James Armstrong

Catfood Records 2017

Review By David Bowling

 

James Armstrong plays the blues pure and simple. To help him keep the faith on his new release Blues Been Good To Me, he brings along veteran bluesman Johnny Rawls as the producer.

Eight new original songs form the core of the album. The title track, “Shot Gun Wedding,” “Change In The Weather,” and “Second Time Around” epitomize what the fusion of classic and modern blues are all about.

His ability to twist a song and make it his own are shown on Marvin Gaye’s “How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You.” He speeds up the tempo and changes the textures through the use of a slide guitar.

Armstrong’s sound is vibrant with a full band, including keyboards and a brass section in support.

Blues Been Good To Me is a traditionalists blues lovers delight.

 

Rating: ***