Arcade Fire – The Suburbs (2010)

FrontCover1 Montreal’s Arcade Fire successfully avoided the sophomore slump with 2007’s apocalyptic Neon Bible. Heavier and more uncertain than their near perfect, darkly optimistic 2004 debut, the album aimed for the nosebleed section and left a red mess. Having already fled the cold comforts of suburbia on Funeral and suffered beneath the weight of the world on Neon Bible, it seems fitting that a band once so consumed with spiritual and social middle-class fury, should find peace “under the overpass in the parking lot.” If nostalgia is just pain recalled, repaired, and resold, then The Suburbs is its sales manual. Inspired by brothers Win and William Butler’s suburban Houston, TX upbringing, the 16-track record plays out like a long lost summer weekend, with the jaunty but melancholy Kinks/Bowie-esque title cut serving as its bookends. Meticulously paced and conservatively grand, fans looking for the instant gratification of past anthems like “Wake Up” or “Intervention” will find themselves reluctantly defending The Suburbs upon first listen, but anyone who remembers excitedly jumping into a friend’s car on a sleepy Friday night armed with heartache, hope, and no agenda knows that patience is key. Multiple spins reveal a work that’s as triumphant and soul-slamming as it is sentimental and mature. At its most spirited, like on “Empty Room,” “Rococo,” “City with No Children,” “Half Light II (No Celebration),” “We Used to Wait,” and the glorious Régine Chassagne-led “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains),” the latter of which threatens to break into Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” at any moment, Arcade Fire makes the suburbs feel positively electric. Quieter moments reveal a changing of the guard, as Win trades in the Springsteen-isms of Neon Bible for Neil Young on “Wasted Hours,” and the ornate rage of Funeral for the simplicity of a line like “Let’s go for a drive and see the town tonight/There’s nothing do, but I don’t mind when I’m with you,” from album highlight “Suburban War.” The Suburbs feels like Richard Linklater’s Dazed & Confused for the Y generation. It’s serious without being preachy, cynical without dissolving into apathy, and whimsical enough to keep both sentiments in line, and of all of their records, it may be the one that ages so well. (by James Christopher Monger )

And “City With No Children” is a killer !


William Butler (synthesizer, bass, guitar, percussion)
Win Butler (vocals, guitar, keyboards, harmonica, violin)
Régine Chassagne (vocals. drums, keyboards, accordion)
Jeremy Gara (drums, guitar, keyboards)
Tim Kingsbury (bass, guitar,keyboards)
Sarah Neufeld (violin, keyboards, background vocals)
Richard Reed Parry (accordion, keyboards, bass, drums, percussion)
Pietro Amato (french horn on 13. + 15.)
Colin Stetson (saxophone on 09., 13. + 15.)
Strings: Sarah Neufeld, Owen Pallett, Richard Reed Parry and Marika Anthony Shaw
Clarice Jensen, Nadia Sirota, Yuki Numata, Caleb Burhans, Ben Russell and Rob Moose


01. The Suburbs 5.15
02. Ready To Start 4.15
03. Modern Man 4.39
04. Rococo 3.56
05. Empty Room 2.51
06. City With No Children 3.11
07. Half Light I 4.13
08. Half Light II (No Celebration) 4.25
09. Suburban War 4.45
10. Month Of May 3.50
11. Wasted Hours 3.20
12. Deep Blue 4.28
13. We Used To Wait 5.01
14. Sprawl I (Flatland) 2.54
15. Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) 5.25
16. The Suburbs (continued) 1.27

All songs written and composed by Sarah Neufeld, Richard Reed Parry, Jeremy Gara, Win Butler, Will Butler, Régine Chassagne & Tim Kingsbury.


Lou Reed & The Tots – Super Golden Radio Shows (1972)

FrontCover1This show has been released in one bootleg form or another under at least 10 different titles.

It features Reed in excellent form. Playing guitar and singing such that one can clearly hear and appreciate his literate lyrics, Reed delivers a rock-solid performance. Lou’s backing band, The Tots, put on an incredible show. Sometimes prone to unfocused and less-than-energetic performances, The Tots put on the show of their lives here.

This is Lou Reed without props, without camp, and just in your face Rock ‘N’ Roll.

Another review:
This album which may well be Lou Reed’s best live Solo album (thanks a lot to a fabolous bad named The Tots) was recorded on 26th December 1972 and transmitted in a “Saturday Night In Concert” Radio Broadcast in January 1972, which was then re-broadcast in the mid 1980s. It showcases titles from his time with Velvet Underground as well as his later solo hits, but above all, it presents tracks from his most successful album Transformer which was produced by David Bowie and arranged by his epic guitarist Mick Ronson. The Tots at the time were at the top of their form with brilliant ensemble guitar playing and Lou Reed himself receives a rapturous reception from his home town audience.

Ultrasonic Recording Studio, WLIR FM, Hempstead NY, 1972-12-26
Super Golden Radio Shows


Scottie Clark (drums)
Vinny Laporta (guitar)
Lou Reed (vocals, guitar)
Eddie Reynolds (guitar)
Bobby Resigno (bass)

01. White Light White Heat (Reed) 4.33
02. Vicious (Reed) 3.12
03. I’m Waiting For The Man (Reed) 7.20
04. Walk It Talk It (Reed) 4.05
05. Sweet Jane (Reed) 4.42
06. Heroin (Reed) 8.35
07. Satellite of Love (Reed) 3.34
08. Walk On the Wild Side (Reed) 6.07
09. I’m So Free (Reed) 3.57
10. Berlin (Reed) 6.01
11. Rock “n” Roll (Reed) 5.14


Antonín Dvořák – Slavic Dance (unknown date)

FrontCover1The Slavonic Dances (Czech: Slovanské tance) are a series of 16 orchestral pieces composed by Antonín Dvořák in 1878 and 1886 and published in two sets as Opus 46 and Opus 72 respectively. Originally written for piano four hands, the Slavonic Dances were inspired by Johannes Brahms’s own Hungarian Dances and were orchestrated at the request of Dvořák’s publisher soon after composition. The pieces, lively and overtly nationalistic, were well received at the time and today are among the composer’s most memorable works, occasionally making appearances in popular culture.

The Op. 46 set is listed in the Burghauser catalogue as B.78 in the original piano four hand version, and as B.83 in the orchestral version. The Op. 72 set is catalogued as B.145 in the piano four hand version, and as B.147 in the orchestral version.

DvorákPrior to the publication of the Slavonic Dances, Op. 46, Dvořák was a relatively unknown composer. Because of this fact, he had applied for the Austrian State Music Prize scholarship in order to fund his compositional work. After he won the prize 3 times in 4 years (1874, 1876-77), Johannes Brahms, as one of the members of the committee responsible for awarding the scholarship, referred Dvořák to his own publisher, Fritz Simrock. The first of Dvořák’s music to be published by Simrock was the Moravian Duets, which attained widespread success; encouraged, Simrock asked the composer to write something with a dance-like character.

Unsure how to begin, Dvořák used Brahms’s Hungarian Dances as a model — but only as a model; there are a number of important differences between the two works. For example, whereas Brahms made use of actual Hungarian folk melodies, Dvořák only made use of the characteristic rhythms of Slavic folk music: the melodies are entirely his own. Simrock was immediately impressed by the music Dvořák produced (originally for piano four hands), and asked the composer for an orchestral version as well. Both versions were published within the year, and quickly established Dvořák’s international reputation. The enormous success of the Opus 46 dances led Simrock to request another set of Slavonic Dances in 1886; Dvořák’s subsequent Opus 72 dances met with a similar reception. (by wikipedia)

This a low budget production but a real nice piece of music … Enjoy it !

TitelpageThe title page of the first series of Slavonic Dances
with Dvořák’s dedication to Mr. Wassman

Marian Lapansky (piano (09 – 16.)
Peter Operczer (piano (01. – 08.)


Opus 46:
01. No. 1 in C major (Furiant) 3.55
02. No. 2 in E minor (Dumka) 5.01
03. No. 3 in A-flat major (Polka) 4.07
04. No. 4 in F major (Sousedská) 6.04
05. No. 5 in A major (Skočná) 3.06
06. No. 6 in D major (Sousedská) 5.49
07. No. 7 in C minor (Skočná) 3.25
08. No. 8 in G minor (Furiant) 4.03

Opus 72
09. No. 1 (9) in B major (Odzemek) 4.05
10. No. 2 (10) in E minor (Starodávný) 5.17
11. No. 3 (11) in F major (Skočná) 3.16
12. No. 4 (12) in D-flat major (Dumka) 5.17
13. No. 5 (13) in B-flat minor (Špacírka) 2.43
14. No. 6 (14) in B-flat major (Starodávný (“Ancient”) 3.25
15. No. 7 (15) in C major (Kolo) 3.02
16. No. 8 (16) in A-flat major (Sousedská) 5.56

Duke Ellington & His Orchestra – In A Mellotone (1972)

FrontCover1This LP from 1972 is a straight reissue of an RCA album from the early ’60s.

Comprised of 16 performances by Duke Ellington’s Orchestra during what many consider to be his peak period, the program is highlighted by such classics as the original version of “Take the ‘A’ Train,” “Just A-Settin’ and A-Rockin’,” “I Got It Bad,” “Perdido,” “Cotton Tail” and “All Too Soon.”

With such soloists as trumpeter Cootie Williams (who was replaced by Ray Nance) and Rex Stewart, trombonists Tricky Sam Nanton and DukeEllington1940Lawrence Brown, altoist Johnny Hodges, clarinetist Barney Bigard, Ben Webster on tenor, baritonist Harry Carney and the innovative bassist Jimmy Blanton (in addition to the leader/pianist), this was one of the all-time great orchestras.

Ellington’s recordings are available in more complete form elsewhere but this is a strong sampling. (by Scott Yanow)



Ivie Anderson (vocals)
Barney Bigard (clarinet)
Jimmy Blanton (bass)
Lawrence Brown (trombone)
Harry Carney (clarinet, saxophone)
Duke Ellington (piano)
Sonny Greer (drums)
Fred Guy (guitar)
Otto Hardwick (saxophone)
Johnny Hodges (clarinet, saxophone)
Herb Jeffries (vocals)
Wallace Jones (trumpet)
Ray Nance (trumpet, violin)
Joe “Tricky Sam” Nanton (trombone)
Junior Raglin (bass)
Rex Stewart (cornet)
Billy Strayhorn (piano)
Juan Tizol (trombone)
Cootie Williams (trumpet)

Ad1940Ad for Duke Ellington’s first Vancouver show. Vancouver Sun, 15 April 1940

01. Take the “A” Train (Strayhorn) 2.577
02. A Portrait Of Bert Williams (Elli9ngton) 3.14
03. Main Stem (Ellington) 2.52
04. Just A-Sittin’ And A-Rockin’ (Ellington/Gaines/Strayhorn) 3.37
05. I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good) (Ellington/Webster) 3.21
06. Perdido (Drake/Lengsfelder/Tizol) 3.12
07. Blue Serge (Mercer/Ellington) 3.24
08. The Flaming Sword (Ellington) 3.10
09. In A Mellow Tone (Ellington/Gabler) 3.21
10. Cotton Tail (Ellington) 3.14
11. I Don’t Know What Kind Of Blues I Got (Ellington) 3.17
12. Rumpus In Richmond (Ellington) 2.51
13. All Too Soon (Ellington/Sigman) 3.33
14. Sepia Panorama (Ellington/Strayhorn) 3.27
15. Rocks In My Bed (Ellington) 3.10
16. What Am I Here For? (Ellington/Laine) 3.25



Cream – Live Cream Volume II (1972)

FrontCover1An oft-overlooked curio, Live Cream, Vol. 2 appeared at a very odd time, with very little warning, almost two years after its predecessor — and at virtually the same time as the related (though not overlapping) History of Eric Clapton. And both showed up, not coincidentally, at a point when Clapton, unbeknownst to most of the public, was sidelined with a crippling heroin addiction — this album helped keep him in the public eye, as a singer as well as a guitarist. On its face, Live Cream, Vol. 2 is a more ambitious album that its predecessor, offering more songs and including concert versions of two of the group’s AM radio hits (as opposed to the album tracks that comprised the repertory on Live Cream, Vol. 1). And it is just about essential listening for anyone who wants to understand what Cream was about, which was live performance. Utilizing — for the time — state of the art mobile recording equipment, it was a significant achievement at the time in capturing the genuine sound of a high-wattage power trio on-stage, playing away at full volume; and the overall sonic excellence here must surely be credited to engineers Tom Dowd and Bill Halverson. The feeling that you are in the front row is very much in evidence, and this is largely due to their ability to capture the band’s live fury with clarity and intimacy, down to every nuance of Ginger Baker’s playing. As for the performances, this record does capture the band at their peak, though perhaps not at the very best moments of that peak — the group made their reputation as a live act with epic, lengthy jams that verged on jazz, but the repertory represented here (as opposed to that on Live Cream, Vol. 1) is more focused on their pop/rock efforts, such as “White Room,” “Sunshine of Your Love,” “Tales of Brave Ulysses,” etc., which don’t lend themselves as easily (or at all) to opening out in extended jams, in the manner of, say, “N.S.U.” or “Sweet Wine,” or the legendary “Spoonful”; additionally, numbers such as “Sunshine of Your Love” and, in particular, “White Room,” require more vocal dexterity than Clapton and bassist/singer Jack Bruce could muster in this kind of concert setting — their singing, especially on “White Room” comes close to breaking down (“Sunshine of Your Love” fares better), whereas their playing holds together, almost better than perfect at times. “Deserted Cities of the Heart” — which opens the album — comes off exceptionally well as a concert piece, the bass and guitar actually combining to overcome the absences of swooping cellos, acoustic guitars, and other accompanying instruments from the studio rendition. And there is one priceless example of Cream in a full-tilt jam, on the 13-plus-minute closing cut, “Steppin’ Out” — the band’s sheer energy overcomes what minor deficiencies there are in the overall sound quality. And coupled with the compact, four- to five-minute versions of “Deserted Cities of the Heart” and “Tales of Brave Ulysses,” among others, the album is a vital, intense, and enjoyable listen that is ultimately rewarding. The original LP had its sonic limitations, and the original late-’80s CD showcased these more severely, but the 1998 remastered CD, part of The Cream Remasters series, solved most of those problems and offered the best sound ever heard for this album.  (by Bruce Eder)

Ginger Baker (drums)
Jack Bruce (bass, vocals)
Eric Clapton (guitar, vocals)

01. Deserted Cities Of The Heart (Bruce/Brown) 4.32
02. White Room (Bruce/Brown) 5.39
03. Politician (Bruce/Brown) 5.05
04. Tales Of Brave Ulysses (Clapton/Sharp) 4.44
05. Sunshine Of Your Love (Bruce/Brown/Clapton) 7.22
06. Steppin’ Out (Bracken) 13.42



Joss Stone – The Soul Sessions (2003)

JossStoneSoulSessionsFCQ: She’s 16 and British, what can she possibly know about singing vintage American soul music? A: Enough to make you squirm, get off your ass, and dance close with anybody who’ll have you. Joss Stone is a young woman who, if you believe the story, was about to record her wannabe pop smash debut and then be well on her way to becoming the next Britney/Christina. Then she heard some vintage American Miami soul made by the likes of Latimore, Little Beaver, Betty Wright, Timmy Thomas, and the like, and genuine inspiration took hold. The result of all this career changing (or diva postponement) is The Soul Sessions, a collection of ten badass soul classics recorded with all of the above folks — soul princess Betty Wright and S-Curve’s Steve Greenberg produced almost all of it in Miami, though a pair of tracks were recorded in New York with R&B wunderkind Mike Mangini and a souled-out cover of the White Stripes “Fell in Love With a Boy,” guided by the Roots’ ?uestlove (Ahmir Thompson) on the modern tip, was cut in Philly. These jams drip honey sweet and hard with tough, sexy soul, and Stone’s voice is larger than life. It’s true she’s been tutored and mentored by Wright and her musical collaborators in the science of groove, but she keeps it raw enough to be real. Her reading of Harlan Howard’s “The Chokin’ Kind” reveals that it should have been an R&B tune all along — check out Little Beaver’s (Willie Hale) guitar solo. Her reading of Bobby Miller’s “Dirty Man,” a track associated with Wright, is gutsy and completely believable, and the interplay between Latimore’s piano and Beaver’s funky, shimmering guitaristry brings Stone’s vocal down to street level.

For a woman as young as Stone to tackle Carla Thomas’ “I’ve Fallen in Love With You” and Aretha Franklin’s “All the King’s Horses,” not to mention John Ellison’s nugget “Some Kind of Wonderful,” takes guts, chops, or a genuine delusional personality to pull off. Stone has the former two. She has unique phrasing and a huge voice that accents, dips, and slips, never overworking a song or trying to bring attention to itself via hollow acrobatics. The strings and funky backbeat provided by Thompson on “I’ve Fallen in Love With You” are chilling in the way they prod Stone to just spill a need out of her heart that one would believe would be beyond her years. And speaking of Thompson, his production of the Stripes tune is more than remarkable; it conveys Jack White’s intent but in an entirely new language. The set closes with Stone’s radical reread of the Isleys’ “For the Love of You,” a daunting and audacious task. The way she tackles this song, prodded only by Angelo Morris’ keyboard whispering alongside her, is far from reverential, but it is true, accurate, moving, and stunningly — even heartbreakingly — beautiful. This is a debut that, along with those fine practitioners in the nu-soul underground such as Peven Everett, Julie Dexter, Yas-rah, Fertile Ground, and a few others, is solid proof that soul is alive and well. And perhaps, given her youth and stunning looks, the perverse star-making machinery will use this unusual entry into the marketplace to reinvestigate the wonders of timeless depth and vision inherent in soul and R&B that are far from exhausted, as this record so convincingly proves.


Cindy Blackmann (drums)
Jack Daley (bass)
Willie “Little Beaver” Hale (guitar)
Benny Latimore (piano)
Angelo Morris (keyboards, guitar)
Joss Stone (vocals)
Adam Blackstone (bass on 03. + 10.)
Deanna Carroll (background vocals on 07.)
Mark Ciprit (guitar on 07.)
Kirk Douglas (guitar on 03. + 10.)
Karen Dreyfuss (viola on 07.)
Taneka Duggan (background vocals on 07.)
Jimmy Farkus (guitar on 05.)
Sam Furnace (saxophone on 07.)
Steve Greenwell (bass on 07.)
Dawn Hannay (viola on 07.)
Kamal (keyboards on 03.)
Lisa Kim (violin on 07.)
Myung Hi Kim (violin on 07.)
Sarah Kim (violin on 07.)
Soo Hyun Kwon (violin on 07.)
Leanne LeBlanc (cello on 07.)
Liz Lim (violin on 07.)
Mike Mangini (tambourine on 02.)
Namphuyo Aisha McCray (background vocals on 01., 02., 04., 06. + 09.)
Ignacio Nunez (percussion on 02.)
Sandra Park (violin on 07.)
Danny Pierre (keyboards on 07.)
James Poyser (keyboards on 03. + 10.)
Robert Rinehart (viola on 07.)
Tom Rosenfeld (viola on 07.)
Laura Seaton (violin on 07.)
Sarah Seiver (cello on 07.)
Rob Shaw (violin on 07.)
Fiona Simon (violin on 07.)
Alan Stepansky (cello on 07.)
Angie Stone (background vocals on 03. + 10.)
Jenny Strenger (violin on 07.)
Timmy Thomas (organ on 01., 02., 04. + 08.)
Ahmir Thompson (drums on 03., 07. + 10.)
Jeremy Turner (cello on 07.)
Betty Wright (background vocals on 01. – 03., 04., 06., 09. – 10.)
Jeanette Wright (background vocals on 01., 02., 04., 06., 09.)
Sharon Yamada (violin 07.)
Jung Sun Yoo (violin on 07.)


01. The Chokin´ Kind (Howard) 3.35
02. Super Duper Love (Are You Diggin´ On Me ?) Pt. 1 (Garner) 4.20
03. Fell In Love With A Boy (White) 3.38
04. Victim Of A Foolish Heart (Buckins/Jackson) 5.31
05. Dirty Man (Miller) 2.59
06. Some Kind Of Wonderful (Ellison) 3.56
07. I´ve Fallen In Love With You (Thomas) 4.29
08. I Had A Dream (Sebastian) 3.01
09. All The King´s Horses (Franklin) 3.03
10. For The Love Of You Pt. 1 & 2 (E.Isley/M.Isley/K.Isley/R.Isley/R.Isley/Jasper) 7.33

JossStoneSoulSessionsCD* (coming soon)