James Galway – Christmas Carol (1986)

FrontCover1.jpgSir James Galway is internationally regarded as both a matchless interpreter of the classical repertoire and a consummate entertainer. With his unique sound, superb musicianship and dazzling virtuosity, he has a charismatic appeal that crosses all musical boundaries and has made him one of the most respected and sought-after performing artists of our time. He also devotes much of his free time to his duties as President of Flutewise, a non-profit organization that donates instruments to low-income students and young people with disabilities.

Born in Belfast in 1939, Sir James played the penny whistle as a small child before switching to the flute. He won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London and continued his studies at the Guildhall School of Music and later the Paris Conservatoire.

Sir James began his career at the Sadler’s Wells Opera Company and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden which led to positions with the BBC Symphony Orchestra where he played piccolo. He was then appointed principal flautist of the London Symphony Orchestra and subsequently of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1969, Sir James Galway was appointed principal flute of the Berlin Philharmonic. In 1975 Sir James launched his career as a soloist and, with the help of best-selling discs and frequent television appearances, quickly became a household name. Since then he has travelled extensively, giving recitals, performing with the world’s leading orchestras, participating in chamber-music engagements, popular music concerts and giving master classes. In 1990 he took part in the historic “The Wall” concert in Berlin and in 1998 he was the only classical musician to participate in the Nobel Peace Concert in Oslo. He is also a frequent guest on television programmes in the USA.

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On 4 July 2000 he helped celebrate the first Independence Day of the century as a guest soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra in a nationally televised PBS special entitled “A Capitol Fourth”, broadcast live from the West Lawn of the Capitol. Sir James has also taken up the baton and in addition to numerous conducting engagements around the world he is Principal Guest Conductor of the London Mozart Players.

In 1978 Sir James Galway was awarded the Order of the British Empire and in June 2001 he received the honour of knighthood from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In 1997 he was named “Musician of the Year” by Musical America and has received Record of the Year awards from Billboard and Cash Box, as well as the Grand Prix du Disque for his recordings of Mozart’s Flute Concertos and numerous gold and platinum discs. In 2004 he received the President’s Merit Award from the Recording Academy at the Grammy’s 8th annual “Salute to Classical Music and in 2005 he was honoured at the prestigious Classic Brits Awards held in London’s Royal Albert Hall for his “Outstanding Contribution to Classical Music” in celebration of his 30 years as one of the top classical musicians of our time.

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In March 2004 Sir James signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon. His first release, Wings of Song, reached the no. 1 spot on the classical charts immediately after its release in August 2004. His second album followed in March 2006: Ich war ein Berliner is a collection of orchestral recordings (plus some chamber music recordings made with fellow members of the renowned BP wind section), which spotlight his solos and documents his time in Berlin. His latest recording, My Magic Flute, features Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp (with Catrin Finch) plus a collection of favourite arias, sonatas and concerto movements, all arranged for flute, flute duet (with Sir James’s wife, Lady Jeanne) or flute and harp with orchestra and is scheduled for release in autumn 2006. (by wikipedia)

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Although I’m a fan of the Christmas recordings that Sir David Willcocks abd Stephen Cleobury did with the King’s College Choir, this little gem of a classical Christmas album has its own unexpected beauties. I discovered this Christmas album in the collection of a family member, and was struck by its transcendent loveliness. It’s a joyful, uplifting, and exquisite celebration of Christmas, and specifically the Reason for the Season, and it’s a skilful blend of the old and the new. It’s a perfect blend of instrumental and vocal, lively and tender moments, and James Galway’s flute wraps around you like a rich velvety fur coat.

The opening track of Silent Night sets the tone of the recording almost immediately. The choir sings it beautifully, accompanied by Galway’s obligato descant. Although I would have liked them to sing the original John Freeman Young translation that we all know, it’s still a lovely rendition. The choir shines on some of the other tracks, such as John Rutter’s famous Shepherd’s Pipe Carol and the Czech Zither Carol, but most of the time JamesGalway04Galway accompanies them, contrasting the tenderness of What Child Is This and I Wonder as I Wander with the boisterous Past Three A Clock. Elsewhere, Galway really shines in the many solos he plays throughout the recording. His rendition of John Ireland’s The Holy Boy is beautiful beyond words and reason. In more upbeat mood the Fantasia on I Saw Three Ships blends the well-known carol with other carols, and one can really hear a certain joie de vivre here. It’s as if Galway really enjoyed playing this piece, and I think the listener can soak in the infectious gaiety here. By the time you reach the closing minutes of this album, you feel like you’re in good Christmas cheer, after you’ve soaked in the distinctly old-world charm of this Christmas offering, far away from the cacophony of commercialism that has ravaged the season many times.

In short, a self-recommending Christmas album that can serve as lovely background music to a Christmas party and yet it stands up well to serious listening. I’m convinced it appeals to those who haven’t yet grown to love the ethereal, plaintive yet crystal-clear timbre of the flute, and I think it has something to please everyone, in varying moods and style. (by Yi-Peng)

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Personnel:
James Galway (flute)
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Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Barry Griffiths
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BBC Singers + Chapel Choir Of King’s School conducted by Barry Rose and John Poole
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John Birch (organ)

Booklet01ATracklist:
01. Silent Night (Gruber) 4.09
02. Shepherd’s Pipe Carol (Rutter) 3.11
03. Air From Suite No. 3 In D (Bach) 3.59
04. Fantasia On ‘I Saw Three Ships’ (Overton) 3.10
05. Greensleeves (Traditional) 3.36
06. Zither Carol (Traditional) 2.54
07. The Holy Boy (Traditional) 2.47
08. Patapan (Traditional) 1.24
09. Past Three O’Clock (Traditional)  3.04
10. Sinfonia From The Christmas Oratorio (Bach) 2.57
11. Ave Maria (Gounod/Bach) 2.45
12. Chorale From The Christmas Oratorio (Bach) 1.42
13. I Wonder As I Wander (Traditional) 2.55
14. Sheep May Safely Graze (Bach) 5.51
15. Jesus Christ The Apple Tree (Poston) 3.30
16. We Wish You A Merry Christmas (Warrell/Ryan) 1.35

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Vladimir Horowitz – Horowitz The Poet (1991)

FrontCover1.jpgVladimir Samoylovich Horowitz (October 1 [O.S. September 18] 1903 – November 5, 1989) was an American classical pianist and composer born in the Russian Empire. He was acclaimed for his virtuoso technique, his tone color, and the excitement engendered by his playing. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest pianists of all time. (by wikipedia)

Vladimir Horowitz had a complicated relationship with Schubert’s last piano Sonata. He revered the Sonata from the 1930s on, but felt it was too small scale a work for performance in today’s large concert halls. He finally gave it a try in 1953, playing it at the 25th Anniversary of his American Debut. One critic wrote that “Horowitz subjects poor, innocent Schubert to the most neurotic bombardment.” The hypertense, oversized 1953 performance is one of the most uncomfortable piano recordings ever made.

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Despite his difficulties in bringing it to life, Horowitz remained fond of the Sonata and often played it at home. His conception mellowed over the years, and friends urged him to perform it again. Horowitz played the Schubert at several recording sessions in March of 1986, about one month before his Moscow concert. So, his mind may have been elsewhere during these sessions. On the positive side, there is a welcome sense of relaxation, he plays the often neglected first movement repeat, and he gets the tempos right. It’s nice to hear the second movement, marked Andante sostenuto, played at the intended tempo – instead of Adagio or even Largo. But there are too many negatives here: Horowitz gussies up the piano writing (adding fifths in the left hand and lowering bass notes), breaks apart phrases, and generally disrupts the flow of the music to the extent that what is left is a parody of Schubert’s most sublime piano sonata. He’s also not quite up to snuff technically in the last movement.

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The pianist himself recognized the problems with this performance – calling it “fussy” – and refused to grant Deutsche Grammophon permission to release it. (Other pieces recorded during those sessions, Schubert’s Moment Musical No. 3, the Schubert-Liszt Serenade, and Soirees de Vienna No. 6, were released on the “Horowitz at Home” CD in 1989.) In 1991, Wanda Toscanini Horowitz overrode her late husband’s rejection and allowed the Sonata to be released. It says something about Mrs. Horowitz’s musical judgment that she approved the release of a substandard performance of a highly regarded musical work, but she refused RCA permission to release Horowitz’s astounding live performances of Balakirev’s Islamey and Liszt’s St. Francis Walking on the Water because she felt they were unmusical warhorses. She was clearly more interested in associating her husband’s name with snob repertoire than in great performances.

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Horowitz had a more steady relationship with Schumann’s Kinderszenen. The pianist played it frequently in concert from the 1940s on. This version, his fourth official recording of the work, is from a live performance in Vienna’s Great Golden Hall in May of 1987, one of Horowitz’s last concerts. In many ways, it’s also his finest recording of Kinderszenen. Horowitz’s two studio renderings, from 1950 and 1962, are fairly straightforward accounts, with occasional lapses into pianistic micromanagement and hints of nervousness when there should be repose. A 1982 live recording is almost the opposite, with bizarre rubatos, distended ritards, slack rhythm, and almost no coherence. But here, in 1987, Horowitz has pulled himself together and plays with simplicity, controlled freedom, and conviction. It is often said that the elderly sometimes return to a childlike state. In old age, Horowitz had achieved communion with Schumann’s visions of childhood lost.

The sound is fine in both works, with remarkably little audience noise during the live Kinderszenen. (by Hank Drake)

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Personnel:
Vladimir Horowitz (piano)

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Tracklist:

Franz Schubert: Piano Sonata In B Flat Major, D 960:
01. Molto Moderato 19.12
02. Andante Sostenuto 8.02
03. Scherzo: Allegro Vivace Con Delicatezza 4.12
04 Allegro Ma Non Troppo 7.38

Robert Schumann: Kinderszenen:
05. Von Fremden Ländern Und Menschen 1.35
06. Kuriose Geschichte 1.05
07 Haschemann 0.32
08. Bittendes Kind 0.50
09. Glückes Genug 0.40
10 Wichtige Begebenheit 0.51
11. Träumerei 2.34
12. Am Kamin 1.19
13. Ritter vom Steckenpferd 0.40
14. Fast zu ernst 1.29
15. Fürchtenmachen 1.38
16. Kind Im Einschlummern 1.40
17. Der Dichter spricht 2.07

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VladimirHorowitz1October 1, 1903 – November 5, 1989)

Southern Lightning – Down The Road (1986)

FrontCover1.jpgI found only a few informations about this fantastic Blues-Rock band from Australia …

They was formed in die mid 80´s and play for two or three weeks … 2 albums and two singles.

The band was led by Dave Hogan, one of the finest Aussie blues singers.

After leaving Southern Lightning he was in another finde band, called “The Paramount Trio” … and he´s still active in Australia … .

Dave Hogan, still resident in Melbourne, blows a mean harp for pre-war blues style outfit The Paramount Trio, while also playing in Southern Lightning, and releasing records with both bands to acclaim in Australia. He recently formed Blues Hangover with original Pretty Things bass player John Stax. (by audioculture.co.nz)

But here we can hear him with one of his first bands … and if love and like this good damn ol´ fucking blues.rock … then you should listen …

This entry is dedicated ot all these more or less unknown groups, who played this music.

And you´ll find two sons of Robert Johnson. e should not forget, that these songs were written in 1936/1973 … and they are still alive and well … Unbelieveable !

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Personnel:
Louie Black (drums)
Nik Guselev (bass)
Dave Hogan (vocals, harmonica)
Manny Seddon (guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. I Ain’t Superstitious (Dixon) 3.22
02. Down The Road  (Hogan/Guselev/Seddon) 4.43
03. Muddy Waters Blues (Barton/Hogan/Guselev/Seddon) 8.07
04. Shame Shame Shame (McCrackin/Geddins) 3.35
05. Stones In My Passway (Johnson)
06. Love Shock (Willis) 4.30
07. Blues For Breakfast (Harrington) 6.10
08. I Believe (Dust My Broom) (Robert Johnson) 4.52

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China Crisis – What Price Paradise (1986)

LPFrontCover1.JPGWhat Price Paradise is the fourth studio album by English new wave group China Crisis. It was released on CD, LP and Cassette in 1986. The CD version featured one bonus track: “Trading in Gold”, originally released on the B-side of the “Arizona Sky” single. (by wikipedia)

After making a bid to become the ’80s version of Steely Dan on the delightful Flaunt the Imperfection, China Crisis offered a fuller and more pop-oriented follow-up the next year. With the duo of Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley (replacing Walter Becker) sharing the producer’s chair, the songs on What Price Paradise feature warm, intricate arrangements and prominent brass and strings. But while more than one Langer/Winstanley offering of this era overwhelmed its subject with such treatment — Elvis Costello’s ill-fated Goodbye Cruel World is a good example — the sophisticated and melodic songs here prosper from the attention to detail.

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The Motown-ish bounce of “Worlds Apart” and “June Bride” is made even more infectious by punchy horn charts, while “Hampton Beach” offers sweeping melodrama, as Gary Daly’s delicate vocals are surrounded with just the right touches. Even the songs that hint at the previous album’s jazzy complexities, like disc opener “It’s Everything,” are more accessible and inviting here and, on “Arizona Sky,” China Crisis seemed to have the big American hit that singles like “King in a Catholic Style” didn’t quite deliver. Released at a time when many of the group’s U.K. new wave contemporaries were being flushed off the charts — most for good — What Price Paradise was yet another strong outing from this too-often underrated band. (by Dan LeRoy)

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Okay … this is another album from this series “not my kind of music”, but this blog should show all the different sides of music … many fantastic colorus, you know ?

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Personnel:
Gary Daly (vocals)
Gary “Gazza” Johnson (bass)
Eddie Lundon (guitar, vocals)
Brian McNeill (synthesizer, vocals)
Kevin Wilkinson (drums, percussion)
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Gary Barnacle (saxophone, flute)
Martin Ditcham (percussion)
Stuart Nisbet (guitar)
Pete Thoms (trombone)
Luke Tunney (trumpet, flugelhorn)
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background vocals:
Davie Dover – John Lewis
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David Bedford (string arrangements, conductor)

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Tracklist:
01. It’s Everything 5.09
02. Arizona Sky 5.25
03. Safe As Houses 4.26
04. Worlds Apart (Daly, Johnson, Lundon, McNeill, Wilkinson, Kevin Kelly) – 3:35
05. Hampton Beach 4.47
06. The Understudy 5.45
07. Best Kept Secret 4.08
08. We Do The Same 4.21
09. June Bride 3.50
10. A Day’s Work For The Dayo’s Done 4.17
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11. Trading In Gold 4.29

All songs written by Gary Daly – Gary Johnson – Eddie Lundon – Brian McNeill – Kevin Wilkinson

except 04, which was written by China Crisis with Kevin Kelly

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China Crisis

Wendy O. Williams – Kommander Of Kaos (1986)

FrontCover1Wendy Orlean Williams (28 May 1949 – 6 April 1998) was an American singer, songwriter, and actress. Born in Webster, New York, she came to prominence as the lead singer of the punk rock band Plasmatics. Her onstage theatrics included partial nudity, exploding equipment, firing a shotgun, and chainsawing guitars. Dubbed the “Queen of Shock Rock” and the “Metal Priestess”, Williams was considered the most controversial and radical female singer of her time. Performing her own stunts in videos, she often sported a mohawk hairstyle. In 1985, during the height of her popularity as a solo artist, she was nominated for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.

Leaving home at 16, Williams hitchhiked to Colorado, earning money by crocheting string bikinis. She travelled to Florida and Europe landing various jobs such as lifeguard, stripper, macrobiotic cook, and server at Dunkin’ Donuts. After arriving in New York City in 1976, she began performing in live sex shows, and in 1979 appeared in the porno WendyOWilliams01Candy Goes to Hollywood. That year manager Rod Swenson recruited her to the Plasmatics and the two became romantically involved. The band quickly became known on the local underground scene, performing at clubs such as CBGB.

Three albums with Plasmatics later, Williams embarked on a solo career and released her debut album, WOW, in 1984. Albums Kommander of Kaos (1986) and Deffest! and Baddest! (1988) followed, before her retirement from the music industry. Williams made her non-adult screen debut in Tom DeSimone’s film Reform School Girls (1986), for which she recorded the title song. She also appeared in the 1989 comedy Pucker Up and Bark Like a Dog, television series The New Adventures of Beans Baxter, and MacGyver. On 6 April 1998, Williams committed suicide near her home in Storrs, Connecticut by gunshot; she had attempted to kill herself twice in the years leading up to her death, allegedly she had also been struggling with deep depression.

Kommander of Kaos is the second solo studio album released by Wendy O. Williams after her group, the Plasmatics, went on hiatus. The album was recorded in 1984 but not released until 1986. A live version of the Gene Simmons-penned “Ain’t None of Your Business” appears on this album (the song previously appeared on her debut album).

The album has been re-released by several independent labels in recent years (such as WendyOWilliams02Plasmatics Media and Powerage). (by wikipedia)

Although best known as the death-defying leader of the Plasmatics, Wendy O. Williams issued several albums on her own during the 1980s. And while her earlier band was a certified punk outfit, by this stage of her career, Williams was zeroing in on the heavy metal audience — Gene Simmons had produced an earlier album, while the singer was spotted hosting a heavy metal video show on the USA cable channel. So by the time of 1986’s Kommander of Kaos, Williams was knee-deep in metal. Once more, Simmons’ name makes an appearance on a Williams record (not as a producer this time, but as a songwriter — “Ain’t None of Your Business”), while Williams covers Motörhead’s “Jailbait,” and the main riff of the album’s opening “Hey Hey (Live to Rock)” is quite reminiscent of Mötley Crüe’s “Live Wire.” While Kommander of Kaos was probably just as good as just about anything else that theatrical-minded metallists were putting out that year (W.A.S.P., Lizzy Borden, etc.), Williams was much more convincing as a Mohawk-ed punker. (by Greg Prato)

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Personnel:
Wes Beech (guitar)
Michael Ray (guitar, background vocals)
Greg Smith (bass, background vocals)
T.C. Tolliver (drums)
Wendy O. Williams (vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Hoy Hey (Live To Rock) (Ray/Swenson) 3.47
02. Pedal To The Metal (Ray/Smith/Swenson) 3.29
03. Goin’ Wild (Ray/Swenson) 4.13
04. Ain’t None Of Your Business (live) (Simmons/Carr/Vincent) 5.36
05. Party (Beech/Swenson) 3.38
06. Jailbait (Kilmister/Taylor/Clarke) 3.25
07. Bad Girl (Bunyard/Beech/Swenson) 3.36
08. Fight For The Right (Ray/Swenson) 3.11
09. (Work That Muscle) F*ck That Booty (Ray/Swenson) 3.31

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Wendy Orlean Williams (28 May 1949 – 6 April 1998)

Cause of death‎: ‎Suicide by gunshot

Her suicide note regarding her decision:

I don’t believe that people should take their own lives without deep and thoughtful reflection over a considerable period of time. I do believe strongly, however, that the right to do so is one of the most fundamental rights that anyone in a free society should have. For me, much of the world makes no sense, but my feelings about what I am doing ring loud and clear to an inner ear and a place where there is no self, only calm.

Dr Feelgood – Mad Man Blues (1986)

FrontCover1.JPGDr. Feelgood are an English pub rock band formed in 1971. Hailing from Canvey Island, Essex, the group are best known for early singles such as “She Does It Right”, “Roxette”, “Back in the Night” and “Milk and Alcohol” . The group’s original distinctively British R&B sound was centred on Wilko Johnson’s choppy guitar style. Along with Johnson, the original band line-up included singer Lee Brilleaux and the rhythm section of John B. Sparks, known as “Sparko”, on bass guitar and John Martin, known as “The Big Figure”, on drums. Although their most commercially productive years were the early to mid-1970s, and in spite of Brilleaux’s death in 1994 of lymphoma, a version of the band (featuring none of the original members) continues to tour and record to this day. (by wikipedia)

1985 was bringing in some musical surprises, some of them good, some not so, but with the advent of the musical video, things were all about the “forward look,” so it goes without saying that many great rock n’ roll bands, bands who should have been receiving countless amounts of air time, saw none. You can count Dr. Feelgood in that category of “none,” and that’s a loss this world will never bounce back from.

There are people out there who are gonna tell you that Dr. Feelgood was a working man’s R&B, Rockin’ Blues band, and while that’s sort of true, it’s like saying that Gram Parsons was a working man. Gram wasn’t any more a working man then Dr. Feelgood, the Doctor [or should I say Doctors] had no choice, the music was in them, and if it didn’t get out, they were gonna explode … which is pretty much what happened whenever the took the stage. You need to feel this music, you need to turn the speakers up loud … that “Blown Away Guy” sitting in the Le Corbusier armed chair facing a JBL L100 speaker for the Maxell tape ad back in the 70’s, well hands down he was listin’ to Dr. Feelgood for sure.

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Go ahead, dismiss this album if you wish, wave off this review if you must … but just for one minute, open any window in your house and take a listen to what’s blasting from mine, and you might just change your thinking. And that’s a fact, Jack! (streetmouse)

Lee Brilleaux and Dr. Feelgood sound positively revitalized on Mad Man Blues, a collection of raw versions of blues standards that is their best album since 1977’s Be Seeing You. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
Lee Brilleaux (guitar, harmonica, slide-guitar, vocals)
Phil H. Mitchell (bass, vocals)
Kevin Morris (drums, percussion, background vocals)
Gordon Russell (guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. Dust My Broom (James) 2.57
02. Something You Got (Cropper/Floyd) 2.40
03. Dimples (Hooker) 2.59
04. Living On The Highway (Nix/Russell) 3.37
05. Tore Down (King) 2.41
06. Mad Man Blues (Hooker) 2.25
07. I’ve Got News For You (Brilleaux/Morris/Russell/Vernon) 3.57
08. My Babe (Dixon) 2.23
09. Can’t Find The Lady (Wallis) 3.31
10. Rock Me Baby (Bihari/King) 4.30

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Lee Brilleaux

Lee Brilleaux (born Lee John Collinson, 10 May 1952 – 7 April 1994)

Larry Carlton – Alone/But Never Alone (1986)

FrontCover1.jpgLarry Eugene Carlton (born March 2, 1948) is an American guitarist who built his career as a studio musician in the 1970s and ’80s for acts such as Steely Dan and Joni Mitchell. He has participated in thousands of recording sessions, recorded on hundreds of albums in many genres, for television and movies, and on more than 100 gold records. He has been a member of the jazz fusion groups The Crusaders and Fourplay and has maintained a long solo career. (by wikipedia)

One of the few smooth jazz artists of the ’80s to make music that’s simultaneously melodically substantial and sonically contemplative, Larry Carlton hit a career high on 1986’s Alone/But Never Alone. Playing only acoustic guitar (with electric bass, drums, and synthesizers on most tracks), Carlton neatly sidesteps the twin pitfalls of new age mush and smooth jazz showboating, playing neatly phrased, well-thought solo lines against a variety of melodic and rhythmic backgrounds.

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The acoustic focus gives the album a timeless quality, even though a few tracks feature synthesizer lines that betray their mid-’80s origins, and the obviously spiritual quality of the music (song titles include not only the higher-power-oriented title track, but “Smiles and Smiles to Go” and “Perfect Peace,” and the centerpiece track is an instrumental setting of a common tune for “The Lord’s Prayer”) is becalming without being drippy or pillow-soft. This is not an album that will change the mind of those dead-set against smooth jazz, but it’s a small masterpiece of the genre. (by Stewart Mason)

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Personnel:
Larry Carlton (guitar, bass, keyboards)
Michael Fisher (percussion)
Abraham Laboriel (bass on 01., 05. + 07.)
Rick Marotta (drums)
Terry Trotter (keyboards on 05. + 08., synthesizer on 01.)

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Tracklist:
01. Smiles And Smiles To Go (Carlton) 5.48
02. Perfect Peace (Carlton) 4.28
03. Carrying You (Carlton) 4.00
04. The Lord’s Prayer (Malotte) 5.10
05. High Steppin’ (Carlton) 5.44
06. Whatever Happens (Withers/Carlton) 4.28
07. Pure Delight (Carlton) 5.33
08. Alone/But Never Alone (Carlton) 3.34

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