Various Artists – Crossroads Guitar Festival (2007)

FrontCover1.jpgReleased almost exactly three years after the first, tremendously successful Crossroads DVD, this double-disc documents the 2007 benefit concert for Clapton’s Crossroads Center substance abuse facility. “Guitar” is the operative word here, since all the participants are six-string players. As in the last show, the genres include country (Willie Nelson, Vince Gill), gospel (Robert Randolph), Latin rock (Los Lobos), pop (Sheryl Crow, John Mayer), jazz fusion (John McLaughlin, Jeff Beck) and lots of blues (everyone else). Some performers such as Randolph, Mayer, B.B. King, Jimmie Vaughan, Robert Cray, Hubert Sumlin, Buddy Guy, and of course Clapton return from the 2004 lineup. That was a two-day event held in Dallas, TX. This was a one day — a very long day — show moved to the home of the blues, a stadium just outside of Chicago, and features a very funny Bill Murray introducing the acts.

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Based on the sunlight, it seems to be in chronological order, or close to it. Each artist gets one or two tunes cherrypicked from longer sets which keeps this album fast paced, even at its three-hour length. Still, it would make sense to release more music on a separate DVD or even CD for those who would like to hear the rest of the material. That is especially the case with Jeff Beck and Robert Randolph, two artists that burn up the stage with abbreviated performances. A highly anticipated reunion with Clapton and his Blind Faith bandmate Steve Winwood results in three songs, “Presence of the Lord,” “Can’t Find My Way Home,” and “Had to Cry Today” from that band’s only album.

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While it sounds fine, there is a noticeable spark and edge missing from the interaction, leaving it somewhat bland and certainly anti-climactic. Derek Trucks burns through Layla’s “Anyday,” though, and Clapton sounds inspired on “Tell the Truth,” another Layla track cranked up with Trucks taking the Duane Allman slide part. Collaborations also bring out the best in some axe slingers, with Vince Gill and Albert Lee’s hot-wired “Country Boy,” and Jimmie Vaughan fronting the Robert Cray band on a sizzling slow blues “Dirty Work at the Crossroads.” (by Hal Horowitz)

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Tracklist:
01. Sonny Landreth: Hell At Home (with Eric Clapton) (Landreth) 6.38
02. John McLaughlin: Maharina (McLaughlin) 8.00
03. Doyle Bramhall II; Outside Woman Blues (Reynolds) 3.45
04. Derek Trucks Band: Highway 61 Revisited (with Johnny Winter) (Dylan) 9.17
05. Robert Randolph & The Family Band: The March (Randolph) 12.04
06. The Robert Cray Band: Poor Johnny (Cray) 6.20
07. Jimmie Vaughan: Dirty Work At The Crossroads (with The Robert Cray Band) (Brown/ Robey) 4.09
08. Hubert Sumlin: Sitting On The Top Of The World (with he Robert Cray Band & Jimmie Vaughan (Burnett) 4.29
09. B.B. King: The Thrill Is Gone (Benson/Pettie) 7.14
10. John Mayer: I Don´t Need No Doctor (Ashford/Simpson/Armstead) 7.10
11. Vince Gill: Sweet Thing (Nicholson/Gill) 5.04
12. Albert Lee: Country Boy (with Vince Gill) (Lee/Smith/Colton)
13. Eric Clapton & Sheryl Crow: Tulsa Time (with Vince Gill & Albert Lee) (Flowers) 6.32
14. Willie Nelson: On The Road Again  (with Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill & Albert Lee) (Nelson) 2.50
15. Los Lobos: Chains Of Love (Hidalgo/Pérez) 6.53
16. Jeff Beck: Big Block (Beck/Bozzio/Hymas) 5.44
17. Eric Clapton: Little Queen Of Spades (Johnson) 12.59
18. Eric Clapton & Robbie Robertson: Further On Up The Road (Robey‎/Veasey) 7.18
19. Steve Winwood & Eric Clapton: Pearly Queen (Capaldi/Winwood) 5.47
20. Steve Winwood & Eric Clapton: Had To Cry Today (Winwood) 6.24
21. Steve Winwood & Eric Clapton: Cocaine (Cale) 9.30
22. Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood: Crossroads (Johnson) 5.59
23. Buddy Guy: Stone Crazy
24. Buddy Guy: Damn Right I’ve Got The Blues (Guy) 5.21
25. Buddy Guy & Eric Clapton: Hoochie Coochie Man (Dixon) 9.18
26. Buddy Guy: Sweet Home Chicago (with Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, John Mayer, Hubert Sumlin, Jimmie Vaughan, Johnny Winter) (Johnson) 8.53

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Pete Gavin & The Life After Blues Band – Live And Guilty (2007)

FrontCover1.jpgPete Gavin might get confused with another musician by the same name, who likewise came out of the British blues scene. That was the drummer Pete Gavin, who worked in bands such as Vinegar Joe as well as backing up the likes of Joe Cocker and Eric Clapton. The drummer Gavin’s professional activities seem to have been winding down just around the time the guitarist decided to go professional, but they still have similarities in their early careers, one Gavin drumming in a blues band led by Long John Baldry while the other Gavin gave his all as a guitarist for bandleader and organist Spencer Davis.

Guitarist Gavin, who is usually featured on some kind of dobro or resophonic guitar, has been based out of Germany for most of his career, and indeed likes to be advertised as “Germany’s own British bluesman.” He is a native of London and began his career on the British folk scene, playing clubs around the Soho area as well as larger festivals. Until the ’80s he worked as a physicist and only dabbled in the music business.

Pete Gavin & The Life After Blues Band:

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Once he threw himself into full-time blues, years of travel throughout Europe, Japan, and the United States preceded the decision to live in Germany. In the ’90s he established the Life After Blues Band with bassist Sir Charles E. Williamson, an American who hails from Connecticut, and Berlin-based drummer Uwe Laemmche. Gavin’s repertoire includes some clever originals such as the instrumental “Spaghetti Eastern” as well as a generous portion of blues warhorses of the “I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man” and “Big Boss Man” variety. (by Eugene Chadbourne)

Born in London, Pete Gavin began his career in the folk-blues scene around Soho – playing in Bunjies, The Troubadour, The Marquee and other clubs with musicians such as Spencer Davies (Spencer Davis Group) and Keith Relf (The Yardbirds). Later he played at larger British festivals (Reading, Glastonbury).

His day job (as a physicist) kept him away from the music business for a few years, but at the beginning of the 1980s he jacked-in his sinecure and started to travel and make music.

The street became the hard school for his amazing blues-harp and guitar playing, and touring in Japan, USA and Europe helped form his style before he settled in Germany.

Pete Gavin am 11.  Februar 2012 im Gleis 1 in Waldenburg
Now comes a man who, through years of hard on-the-road music making, brings an unrivaled authenticity to your stage.

In his voice swings not only pride and bitterness, but the unrestrained energy of a now-is-the-right-time feeling. On stage, this energy is transformed into music – resolute, at times uncomfortable and melancholy, but always going forwards. Pete Gavin is one of the best slide-guitarists living in Germany – discernable by the full pearly tone he conjures from his instrument. (by perthbluesclub.com)

And this is one of his live album  … and it´s really time to discover the unique word of Pete Gavin and his way to play the Blues an archaic style … he´s one of these forgotten heroes in the European blues scene … Listen !

Recorded live at the
Yorckschlösschen, Berlin (05.11.07)
Nuremburg Volksfest (11.09.97)
Miles Club, Berlin (11.07.98)

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Personnel:
Pete Gavin (guitar, slide guitar, harmonica, vocals)
Uwe Laemmche (drums)
Sir Charles E. Williamson (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Gawain I (Anthony) 1.12
02. Statesboro Blues (McTell) 3.21
03. Fun On The Run (Gavin) 4.30
04. Big Bossman (Reed) 3.25
05. Pater Noster Boogie (Gavin) 3.40
06. You Make My Hair Curl (Gavin) 5.05
07. Kansas City (Littlefield) 3.36
08. Hard Times (Gavin) 3.41
09. Life After Blues (Gavin 3.51
10. Gawain II (Anthony) 0.30
11. Waisting Time Blues (Gavin) 5.49
12. San Francisco Bay Blues (Fuller) 3.23
13. I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man (Dixon) 3.48
14. 634-5789 (Cropper/F’loyd) 3.35
15. Gawain III (Anthony) 0.34
16. Why Love (Gavin) 3.33
17. Make & Shake Boogie (Gavin) 4,08
18. Don’t Mess With Me (Gavin) 4.38
19. Gawain IV (Anthony) 0.34

The four tunes of “Gawain” were play by the Ray Antohny Orchestra

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Willie Nelson & Wynton Marsalis – Two Men With The Blues (2008)

FrontCover1.jpgTwo Men with the Blues is a live album by Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis. It was released on July 8, 2008 by Blue Note and sold 22,000 copies in it first week of release. It was recorded on January 12–13, 2007, at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City.

The album held the number one position in the Billboard Jazz Albums chart for four weeks. It spent a total of 67 weeks on that chart. It peaked at number 20 on both the Billboard 200 and the Billboard Digital Albums charts, spending eight weeks and one week on the charts respectively. (by wikipedia)

History has proven that Willie Nelson will duet with pretty much anybody who comes along, and while this open-hearted open mind sometimes backfires, more often than not it results in some of his most sublime recordings. Two Men with the Blues, his album with jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis recorded over a two-night stand at Jazz at Lincoln Center on January 12 and 13, 2007, belongs in the latter category, standing as truly one of the most special records in either Nelson’s or Marsalis’ catalog. If the pair initially seem like an odd match, it’s only because Wynton long carried the reputation of a purist, somebody who was adamant against expanding the definition of jazz, which cast him as the opposite of Willie, who never found a border he couldn’t blur.

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Marsalis mellowed over the years, but it’s also true that he and Nelson share a common background in jazz and the Great American Songbook, so this pairing plays naturally, providing equal measures of comfort and surprise. The engine for this music is Marsalis’ band — pianist Dan Nimmer, drummer Ali Jackson, bassist Carlos Henríquez, and saxophonist Walter Blanding — with Nelson bringing his harmonica player Mickey Raphael along, which is enough to give this a flavor that’s quite distinct from a typical Marsalis session without being foreign. Similarly, this isn’t quite alien territory for Nelson either, as the repertoire relies heavily on blues standards, including a pair of tunes he cut on his jazzy breakthrough, Stardust (the title track and “Georgia on My Mind”), plus he’s always veered close to jazz in his vocal and guitar phrasings. All this means that Two Men with the Blues has the warm comfort of a reunion and the freshness of a new collaboration, feelings that are palpable as soon as the album kicks off with a loose yet nimble reading of Jimmy Reed’s “Bright Lights, Big City.” It’s a subtle arrangement that doesn’t draw attention to its unique touches, something that’s also true of the flashier take on Hank Williams’ “My Bucket’s Got a Hole in It,” which lurches and careens like a New Orleans marching band, coming to a highlight when Marsalis throws in a few lines from “Keep on Knockin'” for good measure.

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These sly spins on standards, along with a jump blues reworking of Merle Travis’ “That’s All” (first heard on a Willie Nelson record back in 1969), are balanced by numbers that are perhaps a bit more expected but are no less delightful, as “Night Life” is turned into a showcase for Wynton and the bandmembers sound as good skipping through “Caldonia” as they do laying back on “Basin Street Blues.” It’s music that flows so easily it’s perhaps easy to take for granted, but Two Men with the Blues is truly something special, as it captures two masters enjoying their common ground while spurring each other to hear old sounds in new ways. It’s a flat-out joy. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
Walter Blanding (saxophone)
Carlos Henriquez (bass)
Ali Jackson (drums)
Wynton Marsalis (trumpet, vocals)
Willie Nelson (vocals, guitar)
Dan Nimmer (piano)
Mickey Raphael (harmonica)

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Tracklist:
01. Bright Lights, Big City (Reed) 5.21
02. Night Life (Nelson) 5.44
03. Caldonia (Moore) 3.26
04. Stardust (Carmichael) 5.09
05. Basin Street Blues (Williams) 4.57
06. Georgia On My Mind (Carmichael/Gorrell) 4.41
07. Rainy Day Blues (Nelson) 5.44
08. My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It (Williams) 4.57
09. Ain’t Nobody’s Business (Grainger/Robbins) 7.28
10. That’s All (Travis) 6.08

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I would like to dedicate this entry to greygoose … a real enthusiastic fan of Willie Nelson

Karl Jenkins (Cantorion + The Cory Band) – This Land Of Ours (2007)

FrontCover1.jpgSir Karl William Pamp Jenkins CBE (born 17 February 1944) is a Welsh musician and composer. His best known works include the song “Adiemus” and the Adiemus album series; Palladio; The Armed Man; and his Requiem.

Jenkins was educated in music at Cardiff University and the Royal Academy of Music, where he is a fellow and an associate. He was a member of the jazz-rock band Soft Machine. Jenkins has composed music for advertisement campaigns and has won the industry prize twice.

Karl Jenkins was born and raised in Penclawdd, Gower, Wales. His mother was Swedish and his father was Welsh. Jenkins received his initial musical instruction from his father who was the local schoolteacher, chapel organist and choirmaster. He attended Gowerton Grammar School.

Jenkins studied music at Cardiff University, and then commenced postgraduate studies in London at the Royal Academy of Music.

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The Collier Septet 1967 – from L to R: Karl Jenkins, John Marshall, Mike Gibbs, GC, Harry Beckett, Phil Lee, Dave Aaron

For the bulk of his early career Jenkins was known as a jazz and jazz-rock musician, playing baritone and soprano saxophones, keyboards and oboe, an unusual instrument in a jazz context. He joined jazz composer Graham Collier’s group and later co-founded the jazz-rock group Nucleus, which won first prize at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1970.

In 1972 he joined the Canterbury progressive rock band Soft Machine. The group played venues including The Proms, Carnegie Hall, and the Newport Jazz Festival. The album on which Jenkins first played with Soft Machine, Six, won the Melody Maker British Jazz Album of the Year award in 1973. Jenkins also won the miscellaneous musical KarlJenkins02instrument section (as he did the following year). Soft Machine was voted best small group in the Melody Maker jazz poll of 1974. The albums in which Jenkins performed and composed were Six, Seven (1973), Bundles (1975), Softs (1976) and Land of Cockayne (1981). Jenkins composed most of the tracks on Seven and nearly all of the tracks on the subsequent three albums.

After Mike Ratledge left the band in 1976, Soft Machine did not include any of its founding members, but kept recording on a project basis with line-ups revolving around Jenkins and drummer John Marshall. Although Melody Maker had positively reviewed the Soft Machine of 1973 and 1974, Hugh Hopper, involved with the group since replacing bassist Kevin Ayers in 1968, cited Jenkins’s “third rate” musical involvement in his own decision to leave the band,[3] and the band of the late 1970s has been described by band member John Etheridge as wasting its potential.

In November 1973, Jenkins and Ratledge participated in a live-in-the-studio performance of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells for the BBC. It is available on Oldfield’s Elements DVD.

Jenkins has created advertising music, twice winning the industry prize in that field. From the 1980s, he developed a relationship with Bartle Bogle Hegarty, starting with composing musics for their Levi’s jeans “Russian” series. He composed a classical theme used by De Beers diamond merchants for their television advertising campaign focusing on jewellery worn by people otherwise seen only in silhouette. Jenkins later included this as the title track in a compilation called Diamond Music, and eventually created Palladio, using it as the theme of the first movement. Other arrangements have included advertisements for the Renault Clio.

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As a composer, his breakthrough came with the crossover project Adiemus. Jenkins has conducted the Adiemus project in Japan, Germany, Spain, Finland, the Netherlands, and Belgium, as well as London’s Royal Albert Hall and Battersea Power Station. The Adiemus: Songs of Sanctuary (1995) album topped the classical album charts. It spawned a series of successors, each revolving around a central theme. In 2014 Jenkins released a tribute song for the 2014 Winter Olympics, performed by his new age music group also called Adiemus.

Jenkins was the first international composer and conductor to conduct the University of Johannesburg Kingsway Choir led by Renette Bouwer, during his visit to South Africa as the choir performed his The Armed Man: A mass for peace together with a 70-piece orchestra.

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Jenkins’ choral work The Peacemakers, features texts from Gandhi, Martin Luther King, the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Anne Frank and Mother Teresa, as well as words from the Bible and the Qur’an with some new text specially written by Terry Waite. On the 2012 record the London Symphony Orchestra is joined by different vocal forces including Rundfunkchor Berlin, the City of Birmingham Youth Chorus, and the 1000-strong “The Really Big Chorus” made up of members of UK choirs from across the country brought together in one day, in one studio, to contribute to two movements on the album. Guest artists include violinist Chloë Hanslip, soprano Lucy Crowe, Davy Spillane on Uilleann pipes, Indian bansuri player Ashwin Srinivasan and jazz musicians Nigel Hitchcock and Laurence Cottle. The album was released on 26 March 2012. The world premiere of this seventeen-movement work took place, however, in New York City’s Carnegie Hall on 16 January 2012. Jenkins conducted from the podium and John H. Briggs, Sr. conducted the Children’s Chorus from a seated position. Briggs was the Choral Arts Conductor of one of the participating schools and its two choruses: Il Bel Canto and Die Meistersingers of Gwynn Park Middle School, Maryland.[citation needed] Additional concerts in the UK and US took place later in the year.

Jenkins composed the music for the 2012 BBC Wales series The Story of Wales presented by Huw Edwards.

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A work entitled The Healer – A Cantata For St Luke was premiered on 16 October 2014 (7:30 pm) in St Luke’s Church, Grayshott, Hampshire, and was recorded and broadcast on Classic FM.[9] The Healer received its US premiere at Carnegie Hall, New York on 19 January 2015. In September 2015, the recording of the premiere of The Healer was released on CD by Warner Classics as part of the 8 disc boxed set Voices.

A compilation CD, Still With The Music, was also released in September 2015, coinciding with the publication of his autobiography of the same name.

On 8 October 2016 Jenkins’ choral work Cantata Memoria: For the children, a response to the 1966 Aberfan disaster with a libretto by Mererid Hopwood and commissioned by S4C, premiered at the Wales Millennium Centre. The concert was broadcast the following evening on S4C and was released as an album by Deutsche Grammophon.

Jenkins holds a Doctorate in Music from the University of Wales. He has been made both a fellow and an associate of the Royal Academy of Music, and a room has been named in his honour. He also has had fellowships at Cardiff University (2005), the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, Trinity College Carmarthen, and Swansea Metropolitan University.

In 2008 Jenkins’ The Armed Man was listed as No. 1 in Classic FM’s “Top 10 by living composers”.

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He was awarded an honorary doctorate in music from the University of Leicester, the Chancellor’s Medal from the University of Glamorgan and honorary visiting professorships at Thames Valley University, London College of Music and the ATriUM, Cardiff.

Jenkins was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2005 New Year Honours and a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2010 Birthday Honours. In 2015 he was made a Knight Bachelor.

Jenkins is joint president of the British Double Reed Society and Patron of the International Schools Choral Music Society (ISCMS).

In 2016 Jenkins received the BASCA Gold Badge Award for his unique contribution to music. (by wikipedia)

Tracks on the album ‘This Land Of Ours’ are all special arrangements by Karl Jenkins and range from classical favourites and choral classics to traditional Welsh tunes and pop standards – all performed in that unique brass band style. (prestomusic.com)

This wonderful recording grabbed me at the first note and excepting for one track (“Delilah”, whose inclusion I did and do fail to understand). I was in turn moved to tears, exalted, enchanted and in all, delighted by this recording. Given the nationality of the composer, it’s not surprising that the land referred to in the title is Wales. The original songs by Karl Jenkens, performed in Welsh are gorgeous, showing a genuine affection for the music, and musicians of his homeland. The all male group, Cantorion are splendid. Some all-male (and-all female choruses, for that matter) can bring a sameness to their performances, but not Cantorion.

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The blend is awesome and the range of color of which this group is capable is nothing less than astounding. And as far as the instrumental ensemble, Cory Band, is concerned, the review who opined that this was ‘not a good recording for them’ must have been listening to something else entirely. First of all, the combination of male chorus and band is an ancient and honorable one in Wales. Also, the performances here are nothing short of awesome — in every sense of the word. The final selection ends with an extended cadenza for the band that absolutely takes my breath away every time I listen to it. And every time I play it on my radio program, “Sunday Evening Songfest” (on WMNR Fine Arts Radio — wmnr.org) I get calls from listeners who love what they hear and can’t wait to get this recording. (Annie Schwaikert)

It seems slightly unfair to label this as a ‘Karl Jenkins’ album, as the performers here are the multi-award-winning brassists Cory Band and male voice choir Cantorion. Of course, fellow Welshman Jenkins is the arranger and producer of the material included on this EMI Classics debut, and it’s his name that looms largest on the cover.

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Jenkins’ powerful use of surging vocal arrangements infused with drama, and the sprinkling of modern touches into classical structures is here in abundance – it’s a Jenkins work and no mistake.

The inclusion of the Cory Band generates a clean, brass sound and an almost-Christmassy atmosphere.

Some lesser-known Welsh-language pieces such as Cysga Di (Go To Sleep) vie with age-old favourites (Delilah, Abide With Me, Pie Jesu) but Jenkins’ skill comes in its own, allowing each to breathe; not one piece overwhelms another.

He’s on top form with this interperative collection, aided by some of the UK’s very best musical and vocal performers. (James McLaren)

Recorded at the Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, 31 August, 1 & 2 September 2007

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Personnel:
Cantorion (chor; musical director: Tim Rhys-Evans)
Cory Band (brass band; musical director: Robert Childs)
+
David Childs (euphonium)

Conducted by Karl Jenkins

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Tracklist:
01. Cantilena: Ysbryd y Mynyddoedd (Spirit Of The Mountain) (Davies/Jenkins) 3.29
02. Cysga Di (Davies/Dvořák) 2.56
03. Delilah (Mason/Reed) 2.26
04. Abide With Me (Monk) 2.43
05. Suo Gan (Traditional) 3.23
06. Danny Boy (Traditional) 4.16
07. Son Of Maria (Barratt/Traditional) 3.03
08. Pie Jesu (From Requiem) (Jenkins) 4.34
09. Hyfrydol (Traditional) 3.38
10. Evening Prayer (Kelley/Humperdinck) 3.47
11. In These Stones Horizons Sing (Jenkins) 4.22
12. Flower Duet (Delibes) 1.41
13. Myfanwy (Parry) 4.16
14. Agnus Dei (From The Armed Man) (Jenkins) 3.39
15. Benedictus (From The Armed Man) (Jenkins) 7.38
16. Lle Cana’r Eryrod (Where Eagles Sing) (Lovatt-Cooper) 3.58

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Vanilla Fudge – Out Through The In Door (A Tribute To Led Zeppelin) (2007)

FrontCover1.jpgOut Through the In Door is the eighth album by Vanilla Fudge, released in June 2007, with the US finally following in August 2009. According to the band’s official webpage, it originally was to be released in February 2007. The following statement was taken from their website:

Coming in February, 2007… A New Album! It’s true! Mark, Vince, Tim, and Carmine were in California in July recording an album of Led Zeppelin covers. Mark said, “Basically, we rearranged some songs — we’re doing a lot of their stuff Vanilla Fudge style. Some of the arrangements are slowed down, and some speeded up but I think we’ve done the songs justice.”

The album title is a play on words of the 1979 Led Zeppelin album In Through the Out Door. (by wikipedia)

Throughout the years, there have been oodles and oodles of Led Zeppelin tribute albums. And many of these releases feature hard rock bands that merely replicate Zep classics note for note, karaoke-style. In 2007, along came Vanilla Fudge’s “tip of the cap” to Bonham-Jones-Page-Plant, titled Out Through the In Door. Unlike most other bands that have covered Zep, Vanilla Fudge actually have some honest to goodness history with the group they’re paying homage to, as Zep supported the Fudge on one of their earliest U.S. tours, back in 1969. And it’s common knowledge among drummers that John Bonham studied — and perhaps even borrowed a thing or two from — the Fudge’s powerhouse drummer, Carmine Appice.

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What makes Out Through the In Door work — unlike many other Zep tributes — is that Vanilla Fudge inject their own style and approach to the tunes, and aren’t afraid to stray a bit from the original compositions. One case in point is “Ramble On,” which gets much more soulful (especially in the chorus), and another is the nice touch provided by Mark Stein’s organ flourishes on “Fool in the Rain” — while both elements collide in an impressively haunting reading of “Dazed and Confused.” Few Zep tribute albums — or even most classic rock tribute albums in general — work as well as Out Through the In Door does. (by Greg Prato)

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Personnel:
Carmine Appice (drums, vocals)
Tim Bogert (bass, vocals)
Vince Martell (guitar, vocals)
Mark Stein (vocals, keyboards)
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Teddy (Zig Zag) Andreadis – Tom Vitorino

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Tracklist:
01. Immigrant Song (Page/Plant) 3.20
02. Ramble On (Page/Plant) 4.29
03. Trampled Under Foot (Jones/Page/Plant) 4.50
04. Dazed And Confused (Page) 5.59
05. Black Mountain Side (Page) 3.31
06. Fool In The Rain (Jones/Page/Plant) 5.36
07. Babe I’m Gonna Leave You (Bredon) 7.05
08. Dancing Days (Page/Plant) 4.49
09. Moby Dick (Bonham/Jones/Page) 6.08
10. All My Love (Jones/Plant) 6.17
11. Rock And Roll (Bonham/Jones/Page/Plant) 4.21
12. Your Time Is Gonna Come (Jones/Plant) 5.46

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I got this greaat album from Mr. Sleeve … he has a really great collection of records … thanks again !

Radio String Quartet – Celebrating The Mahavishnu Orchestra (2007)

FrontCover1.jpgHiding political tics behind faux-formalist boilerplate, pop aesthetes accused them of imposing Solidarity and Agent Orange on their musical material, but in fact such subjects signaled an other-directedness as healthy as Michael Stipe’s newfound elocution. Admittedly, with this one beginning “The world is collapsing around our ears,” I wondered briefly whether “Losing My Religion” was about music itself, but when Stipe says they thought about calling it Love Songs, he’s not just mumbling “Dixie.” Being R.E.M., they mean to capture moods or limn relationships rather than describe feelings or, God knows, incidents, and while some will find the music too pleasing, it matches the words hurt for hurt and surge for surge. The Kate Pierson cameos, the cellos, and Mark Bingham’s organic string arrangements are Murmur without walls–beauty worthy of DeBarge, of the sweetest soukous, of a massed choir singing “I Want To Know What Love Is.” (Press release)

This must surely be one of the most unusual releases in ACT’s distinguished canon. The idea of a classical string quartet playing the fusion era compositions of guitarist John Mclaughlin is initially mind-boggling but it all works surprisingly well. So well in fact that the project has won the endorsement of McLaughlin himself who demonstrates his approval by supplying the albums liner notes.

The seeds of the project were sown in 2000 when Austrian composer and accordionist Klaus Paier asked violinist Bernie Mallinger to assemble a string quartet to play on Paier’s CD “Moviemento”. The album was a considerable success and was nominated for an “Amadeus Award”.

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Mallinger’s string quartet acquired a life of it’s own and over the course of several personnel changes and numerous projects the group metamorphosed into the radio.string.quartet. The modish name hints at Mallinger’s willingness to reach beyond the classical repertoire and to embrace more diverse and contemporary styles of music.

He is joined in the radio.stringquartet by fellow violinist Johannes Dickbauer who studied classical violin in Salzburg and Vienna but also has an aptitude for jazz.
Cynthia Liao, another classically trained player is on viola, with Asja Valcic, from Zagreb completing the quartet on cello. Both Liao and Valcic have expressed their enjoyment of playing in the group and of the challenges and freedoms it offers them musically.

Mallinger had been a fan of the Mahavishnu Orchestra and was intrigued by the way Mclaughlin integrated the violin of Jerry Goodman (later succeeded by Jean Luc Ponty) into a jazz-rock context. He felt that re-arranging Mclaughlin’s music for string quartet would bring out the melodic and harmonic aspects of Mclaughlin’s compositions, qualities that were sometimes hidden by Mahavishnu’s somewhat bombastic approach. Mallinger’s arrangements reveal the structures within Mclaughlin’s compositions and bring out the beauty of tunes such as “A Lotus On Irish Stream”.

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This is not to say that the string quartet’s playing lacks energy. Indeed at times they play with a verve and intensity (as on “The Dance Of Maya” and “Birds Of Fire”) that I have never previously encountered from this instrumental line up. There is a great interaction between the players and a drive that also brings out the rhythmic qualities of Mclaughlin’s music. These string players play pizzicato and utilise their bows to create the kind of percussive effects that would be unthinkable in classical music but which are totally appropriate in this context. Mclaughlin’s complex compositions represent a considerable technical challenge to the players and they respond brilliantly. The arrangements by Mallinger and Klemens Bittman are superb and must have been a real labour of love.

Although Mclaughlin incorporated a string quartet into the second incarnation of the Mahavishnu Orchestra the results were surely nothing like this. Radio.string.quartet have put their own stamp on the music and created a different type of fusion as classical discipline combines with the spirit of jazz improvisation to create something unique. There are even a few folk inspired flourishes for good measure.

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The project is a total success on it’s own terms and is a superb blend of passion and precision. However it is very intense and hearing the whole album in one sitting represents a considerable challenge to the listener. Although the album may be less of a commercial prospect than label mates E.S.T. it is to ACT’S credit that they continue to foster such adventurous music.

Fans of Mclaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra should find this album fascinating and hopefully enjoyable. Others like myself, who found Mahavishnu rather too bombastic and OTT will welcome the opportunity to view Mclaughlin’s compositions in a new light. It may even inspire me to revisit the original Mahavishnu recordings, which go back some thirty-five years, heaven help us all.

Radio.string.quartet performed this music to considerable critical acclaim at the 2006 Berlin Jazz Festival. They subsequently performed it at London’s Vortex Jazz Club in May as part of ACT’s fifteenth anniversary celebrations, but I’ve not heard any feedback regarding that concert as yet. On the evidence of this recording it must have been a very interesting evening. (by Ian Mann)

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Personnel:
Johannes Dickbauer (violin)
Bernie Mallinger (violin)
Cynthia Liao (viola)
Asja Valcic (cello)

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Tracklist:
01. Open Country Joy 3.58
02. A Lotus On Irish Stream 6.18
03. Vital Transformation 4.55
04. The Dance Of Maya 6.37
05. Dawn 5.03
06. Dream 5.06
07. Thousand Island Park 3.04
08. Meeting Of The Spirits 5.33
09. Celestial Terrestrial Commuters 4.59
10. Hope 1.44
11. Birds Of Fire 5.01
12. You Know, You Know 5.15
13. Sanctuary 6.52
14. Resolution 2.31

Music composed by John McLaughlin

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When I was first given the demo CD of the recordings of the compositions I wrote for the “Mahavishnu Orchestra” performed by the radio.string.quartet.vienna, I imagined something of dubious quality.
Remember, these compositions were written for an electric jazz-fusion group 34 – 35 years ago, and while the 2nd version of Mahavishnu Orchestra had a string quartet within the group, the drums, bass and electric guitar were always there and very present.
From the first note I was struck by the way this group had ‘appropriated’ my music and made it their very own. They even got the atmosphere which was present all those years ago. The other aspect that touched me deeply was the importance they attach to improvisation, and they do improvise!
The quartet is also not without humour: just listen to that version of “Celestial Terrestrial Commuters”…
This is no ordinary string quartet. The love of, and the dedication they have to their respective instruments is marvellous, and the fact that they have taken what was electric jazz-fusion music, fused it with their training in ‘classical’ music, and conserved the ‘electric’ atmosphere is outstanding.
Throughout the listening of this recording, the radio.string.quartet.vienna brought me back to the wonderful days of the Mahavishnu Orchestras with true enjoyment. Thank you! (John McLaughlin)

 

Gillian Welch and David Rawlings – Nobody Sings Dylan Like Gill ‘n’ Dave (2019)

FrontCover1.jpgIf you saw Gillian Welch and David Rawlings on the Oscars this year, you know they’re amazing. You may not know they are also amazing interpreters of a certain Nobel Prize-winning singer-songwriter. They were featured often on my 40-volume Dylan cover collection “Nobody Sings Dylan Like Dylan,” but when I heard that the Dave Rawlings Machine had covered “Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts” at a San Francisco concert last year – opening the show with the first half of the song, and closing it with the second half – I decided it was time to give them their own NSD collection. A year later, here it is.

As always, thanks to the tapers – they are the true heroes of the ROIO world – and to Gill and Dave for daring to test their mettle on these incomparable songs. As you might remember, in the summer of 2015 Gill ‘n’ Dave did a 50th anniversary tribute at the Newport Folk Festival to the historic show at which Dylan first plugged in. Surprisingly, it has never turned up on any of the download sites I frequent, though there is a barely listenable/watchable version on YouTube. If you have a better version to offer, please do; if you don’t want to bother with the nuts and bolts of uploading, let me know and I’ll do it for you.

A few of these songs are featured on other NSD sets, but these are different versions. Finally, please allow me to dedicate this collection to my friend and fellow Dylan fan Erik, who first introduced me to Gill ‘n’ Dave’s music in 1996 by giving me a copy of “Revival” and telling me I’d love it. I did, and I still do. (jeffs98119 at dime)

Various dates and venues. Mix of audience and soundboard recordings
between 1996 and 2018

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Dave Rawlings & Gillian Welch (Oscar 2019)

Personnel:
Dave Rawlings Machine (on 01., 03., 05., 07., 11. + 13.)
The Esquires (on 02. + 09.)
Gillian Welch & David Rawlings (on 04., 06., 08., 10. + 12.)

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Tracklist:
01. Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts (1) (Mar 1, 2018, Fillmore, San Francisco, CA) 7.36
02. Gotta Serve Somebody (Sep 27, 1999, Radio Cafe, Nashville, TN) 7.31
03. I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight (Oct 4, 2007, Tangier Restaurant, Los Angeles, CA) 5.00
04. I Dreamed I Saw St Augustine (Aug 21, 1996, Acoustic Coffee House, Nederland, CO) 3.42
05. As I Went Out One Morning (Sep 24, 2014, Moore Theatre, Seattle, WA) 5.32
06. Billy (Nov 18, 1998, Off Broadway, St. Louis, MO) 6.13
07. Oh, Sister (Mar 8, 2018, McDonald Theater, Eugene, OR) 5.10
08. Goin’ to Acapulco (Oct 13, 2004, McDonald Theatre, Eugene, OR) 5.53
09. Quinn The Eskimo (Sep 27, 1999, Radio Cafe, Nashville, TN) 3.29
10. Odds And Ends (Aug 2004, WXPN Studios/World Café session, Philadelphia, PA) 2.58
11. Queen Jane Approximately (Jun 20, 2014, Town Park, Telluride, CO) 10.28
12. Mr Tambourine Man (Oct 3, 2015, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA) 6.07
13. Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts 2 (Mar 1, 2018, Fillmore, San Francisco, CA) 5.05

All songs written by Bob Dylan

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