Pasadena Roof Orchestra – The Christmas Album (2011)

FrontCover1.jpgThe Pasadena Roof Orchestra presents its very first Christmas Album. All the tracks are carefully selected Christmas favourites drawn from the Orchestra’s extensive repertoire, and capture the very essence of a vintage Christmas celebration.

A Christmas album from an established artist is normally high up on the recording agenda. In this respect it might be fair to say this album is somewhat overdue, especially as the Orchestra had a radio hit with “White Christmas” in the 70s. A little research into seasonal songs from the 20s, 30s and 40s reveals a wealth of material, and whilst some of these tracks will be very familiar, others not so. “It’s Winter Again” or “I’m Going Home for Christmas” for example are welcome new additions to a Christmas playlist.

The styles on this album range from a pure Norman Rockwell like “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” to an out and out swinging Dorsey style “Santa Claus is Coming To Town”. It starts with a Simon Townley inspired “Christmas Stomp” – listeners who can spot all the tunes in this medley can award themselves an extra mince pie!

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The Pasadena Roof Orchestra has been playing swing and hot dance jazz for over 40 years, releasing roughly 40 albums in that span. The London based outfit is extremely popular throughout Europe and, of late, in Japan. The founder of the group, John Arthy, was the last original member of the group when he retired in 1997. But the band goes on. Arthy founded the band upon having discovered a trunk full of original band arrangements from the 20s in an attic, so the bulk of the band’s repertoire is 20s and 30s, but they don’t always limit themselves to pre-war material (“The Christmas Album” being a good example; the song “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” made it’s first appearance in song on the radio in 1948). (stubbyschristmas.com)

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Personnel:
Mally Baxter (trumpet)
Dave Berry (bass, sousphone)
Dave Ford (trumpet)
Robert Fowler (saxophone, clarinet)
Adrian Fry (trombone, vocals)
Duncan Galloway (vocals, saxophone, clarinet)
James Hastings (saxophone, clarinet)
Dai Pritchard (saxophone, clarinet)
Graham Roberts (guitar, banjo)
Simon Townley (piano, celsta, vocals)
John Watson (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. Christmas Stomp (Townley) 3.42
02. Winter Wonderland (Bernard/Smith) 2.49
03. It’s Winter Again (Freed/Goodhart/Hoffmann) 3.09
04. Sleigh Ride (Anderson) 3.05
05. Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer (Marks) 3.12
06. White Christmas (Berlin) 3.18
07. The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot (Carr/Connor/Leach) 2.35
08. I’ll Be Home For Christmas (Gannon/Kent/Ram) 2.53
09. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (Coots/Gillespie) 3.39
10. I’m Going Home For Christmas (Goodheart/Hoffmann/Sigler) 2.52
11. Jingle Bells (Pierpont) 2.18
12. Silent Night (Stille Nacht) (Gruber/Mohr) 2:19

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More from The Pasadena Roof Orchestra:

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Vandaveer – Dig Down Deep (2011)

FrontCover1.jpgVandaveer is an American, Louisville, KY-based indie-folk musical project, spearheaded by singer-songwriter Mark Charles Heidinger. Vandaveer has released five albums and three EPs since 2007, touring extensively throughout the US and Europe, logging over 1200 shows to date.

Vandaveer began performing as a solo artist in late 2006, releasing his debut record, Grace & Speed, in the spring of 2007 on the now-defunct DC label, Gypsy Eyes Records. Rose Guerin began singing with Vandaveer in mid-2007 and has been a permanent fixture since. Robby Cosenza, Justin Craig and J. Tom Hnatow (all formerly of These United States) are regular collaborators with Vandaveer both in the studio and on stage. 2009 saw the release of Vandaveer’s second full-length LP, Divide & Conquer, on the Supply & Demand Music label in the US and Alter K Records in Europe.

In 2010, Vandaveer self-released the five-song EP, A Minor Spell, a stark, lo-fi homemade recording centered largely around the vocal pairing of Heidinger and Guerin.

In April 2011, the band released their third full-length record, entitled Dig Down Deep, again via Supply & Demand Music and Alter K Records.

Vandeveer01.jpgVandaveer’s fourth full-length LP, Oh, Willie Please… was released in April 2013, via Quack Media. The album, featuring J. Tom Hnatow on dobro, piano, pedal steel and acoustic guitar and Phillips Saylor on clawhammer banjo and acoustic guitar, is a collection of traditional folk songs, mostly murder ballads and songs of self-ruin, and was inspired in part by the band’s participation in The 78 Project in December, 2011.

On February 16, 2016, Vandaveer released their fifth full-length LP, The Wild Mercury. Timothy Monger of AllMusic called The Wild Mercury “…perhaps his most personal and well-constructed collection yet.”  Dylan Weller of Splash Magazine gave the album a score of 8/10 and said, “Their old-timey sound of angelic harmonies combined with hearty rustic guitar leads to a titillating production.”

Prior to Vandaveer, Heidinger was the primary vocalist, guitarist and songwriter for The Apparitions from Lexington, KY.

Vandaveer has been featured in Vincent Moon’s La Blogotheque series of live music encounters, called Take Away Shows. The video for “Pretty Polly,” the first single from Oh, Willie, Please… stars David Yow (The Jesus Lizard, Scratch Acid) and Tricia Vessey, and was directed by long-time Vandaveer video & film collaborator Jared Varava. (by wikipedia)

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And here´s their third album:

As the title to Vandaveer‘s third album suggests, frontman Mark Charles Heidinger gets even more personal with his songwriting on these forthright batch of new tunes, while also clearly identifying with his countrified Kentucky roots. Dig Down Deep is a delicate collection of artfully crafted Americana that pulses with an honesty and elegance that ultimately makes these songs memorable while also sounding distinctly timeworn and familiar, even upon first listen. Rose Guerin’s lovely vocal harmonies augment each number with a deeper tenderness and added intimacy, as the duo’s weathered voices blend seamlessly over the sparse, wispy arrangements.

The hymn-like title track opens the record splendidly, as the muted strum of Heidinger’s acoustic guitar eventually gives way to an uplifting piano strain and muted drums that elevate the song to its rousing chorus. It’s a striking start that surely will catch any listener’s attention, but the band switch gears a bit on the rootsy ‘Concerning Past & Future Conquests’ (as they do consistently throughout the record), which has a poppier melody and echoes Damien Rice a bit both in the vocal delivery and raw emotion conveyed by Heidinger and Guerin. There is an old-world sound to each of these numbers, which is a testament to the subtle beauty of Heidinger’s songwriting, but also to the subtle, understated production that never piles on more sonic layers than these refined songs can handle.

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‘Beat, Beat, My Heart’ is the longest track on the record, and even though it comes near the start, it forms the sturdy centerpiece of the album. The restrained guitar work featured throughout the track gives the song a real front-porch singalong feel, as if we have gathered around the duo as they sing to a reassuring roomful of friends. It’s a moving, genuine track that works because of its discerning nature, never trying for anything more grand or overreaching for fear of sounding false. The emotions conveyed by these stirring songs always come across cleanly and bristle with an authenticity that only adds to the lingering sentiment the listener is left with after spending time with the record.

‘The Great Gray’ injects a palatable sadness to the middle portion of the album, which continues with the mournful, bluesy piano of ‘As A Matter Of Fact,’ which colours the song with a disconsolate passion that is easy to identify with. But they snap out of their doldrums on the boisterous ‘The Nature Of Our Kind,’ a spirited, emphatic number that is one of the clear standouts of Dig Down Deep, and surely will get fans singing along on the rousing chorus. And rather than sticking out awkwardly after the string of downtempo numbers, the track fits seamlessly within the confines of the emotional spectrum set by these songs, and the record flows impeccably from start to finish.

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After the driving urgency of ‘Spite’ and ‘Pick Up The Pace,’ the album concludes with the impassioned solemnity of ‘AOK’ and ‘The Walking Hour.’ The latter track comes across as a bit of a tragic lullaby that, despite its somber undertones and harrowing lyrics, at least provides a welcome bit of serenity for both the singer and listener alike after the tender, revealing sentiments expressed throughout the recording. It’s a strong finish to an album that touches a clear nerve, featuring songs that make you feel but also make you move at the right moments. And it’s ultimately quite refreshing to hear something this honest and heartfelt coming out of Washington, DC. Let’s just hope that some of the leaders are listening. (Erik Thompson)

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Personnel:
Rose Guerin (vocals, guitar)
Mark Charles Heidinger (all instruments, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Dig Down Deep 4.03
02. Concerning Past & Future Conquests 3.17
03. Beat, Beat, My Heart 5.52
04. The Great Gray 2.37
05. As A Matter Of Fact 4.42
06. The Nature Of Our Kind 3.38
07. Spite 2.40
08. Pick Up The Pace 2.26
09. AOK 4.45
10. The Waking Hour 5.35

All songs written by Mark Charles Heidinger

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The Head Cat – Walk The Walk, Talk The Talk (2011)

FrontCover1.jpgThe Head Cat is an American rockabilly supergroup formed by vocalist Lemmy (of Motörhead), drummer Slim Jim Phantom (of The Stray Cats) and guitarist Danny B. Harvey (of Lonesome Spurs and The Rockats). As of 2017, former Morbid Angel member David Vincent took Lemmy’s place as vocalist and bassist.

Head Cat was formed after recording the Elvis Presley tribute album Swing Cats, A Special Tribute to Elvis in July 1999 to which the future band-mates all contributed. After recordings were finished they stayed at the studio and Lemmy picked up an acoustic guitar and started playing some of his old favorite songs by Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran.[3] The rest of the guys knew them all and joined in.[4] The name of the band was created by combining the names Motörhead, The Stray Cats and 13 Cats, which resulted in The Head Cat, similar to what Lemmy did in 1980 with Headgirl, a collaboration between Motörhead and Girlschool.

In 2006, the band released their first studio album on Jun 27, Fool’s Paradise, which was a re-release of an earlier album titled Lemmy, Slim Jim & Danny B recorded in September 1999 but Fool’s Paradise doesn’t include 3 songs from first release and track list is in different order, sleeve is different as well and they used name The Head Cat for first time. It included cover songs from artists such as Buddy Holly, Carl Perkins, Jimmy Reed, T-Bone Walker, Lloyd Price, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash.

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On the recordings Lemmy played acoustic guitar in live performance too like on “Rockin’ At Cat Club” only live album they had, on live performances Lemmy uses his signature Rickenbacker bass in later years saying “I’m just not that good on guitar”. Live album “Rockin At Cat Club” have almost all different songs from other two studio albums. Before that re-release, a DVD of a live performance was released on 25 April 2006, album was recorded in on Tuesday Jan 13 2004 and was released in 2006 on limited Vinyl 322 copies too. Filmed at the Phantom’s Cat Club on Los Angeles Sunset Strip and which included 13 live songs and interviews with the band.

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The band’s second studio album (or third altogether), Walk the Walk…Talk the Talk, was recorded by the Niji Entertainment Group in June 2010, released in 2011. This was the first new material by the band in eleven years, following up from the Lemmy, Slim Jim & Danny B album in 1999. It has two original songs “American Beat” and “Eagles Fly On Friday”. First album was all acoustic, Lemmy was on rhythm guitar, harmonica and vocals. Second album, live album, was half acoustic, Lemmy was on acoustic guitar but Danny B was on electric guitar. Third album (second studio) was all electric, Lemmy played bass like in Motorhead. In 2016 Cleopatra Records re-released live album “Rockin At Cat Club” on vinyl with different sleeve from original release and for first time on CD three panel digipak. (by wikipedia)

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While Lemmy Kilmister was best known as an innovator in heavy metal with his over the top band Motörhead, he was around to witness the early days of rock & roll. The Head Cat was a side project that allowed Lemmy to indulge his passion for rockabilly and first-era rock. The Head Cat featured Lemmy on bass, guitars, and vocals; Slim Jim Phantom of the Stray Cats on drums and vocals; and Danny B. Harvey of the Rockats and the Lonesome Spurs on guitar, bass, and keys. The trio came together when Lemmy was invited to contribute guitar and vocals for the 2000 album A Special Tribute to Elvis by Phantom and Harvey’s group the Swing Cats. After cutting a version of “Good Rockin’ Tonight,” Lemmy picked up a guitar and began jamming on some classic Eddie Cochran tunes. Phantom and Harvey quickly joined in, and the three felt the chemistry was right and they should cut an album of their own.

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In 2000, the trio recorded Lemmy, Slim Jim & Danny B, which was released by the German label Steamhammer; it was reissued in a different sequence and with new artwork in 2006 by Cleopatra Records under the title Fool’s Paradise. The band played occasional live dates when their schedules permitted, and a 2004 show in Los Angeles was released in a special DVD/LP package, 2006’s Rockin’ the Cat Club: Live from the Sunset Strip. In 2011, the Head Cat brought out a second studio album, Walk the Walk…Talk the Talk. While the debut album consisted entirely of vintage rock & roll covers, Walk the Walk featured a pair of original numbers along with ten rockabilly, blues, and country chestnuts.

The Head Cat continued to play occasional club and festival dates until early 2015, when HeadCat05.jpgLemmy’s failing health began to interfere with his performance schedule. The Head Cat were scheduled to perform as part of a Lemmy birthday show on December 13, 2015, but Kilmister was too ill to participate. He died on December 28, ending the trio’s memorable run. (by Mark Deming)

It’s been a while since listeners last heard from the HeadCat, Lemmy Kilmister’s rock & roll side project. And now, five years after the release of their debut, Fool’s Paradise, comes their sophomore effort, Walk the Walk…Talk the Talk. Joining the Lem-man once more are Stray Cats drummer Slim Jim Phantom and Rockats guitarist Danny B. Harvey, and again, the trio has cooked up a rockin’ good time, heavy on readings of classic rock & rollers from yesteryear, cases in point being several tracks that were later covered/made famous by rock royalty — the Chuck Berry obscurity “Let It Rock” (later covered by the Rolling Stones), Johnny Kidd & the Pirates’ “Shakin’ All Over” (later covered by the Who), and an album-closing rendition of Robert Johnson’s “Crossroads” (later covered by Cream). And Lemmy’s trademark throaty growl works better than you’d think in the context of old-time rock & roll, as he takes it down a few notches on such ditties as “I Ain’t Never” and “The Eagle Flies on Friday.” As with the HeadCat’s debut album, Walk the Walk…Talk the Talk is a much welcomed arrival in a period that will undoubtedly go down as “the Auto-Tune era,” when the original thrill of raw and real rock & roll has been all but replaced by computer-perfected blahness. (by Greg Prato)

And their version of the Robert Johnson classic “Crossroads” was of course inspired by the legendary Cream !!!

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Personnel:
Danny B. Harvey (guitar, piano)
Lemmy Kilmister (bass, vocals)
Slim Jim Phantom (drums)
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TJ McDonnell (percussion)

Booklet

Tracklist:
01. American Beat (Harvey/Kilmister/Phantom) 1.44
02. Say Mama (Earl/Meeks) 2.02
03. I Ain’t Never (Tillis/Pierce) 1.53
04. Bad Boy (Williams) 1.58
05. Shakin’ All Over (Heath) 2.34
06. Let It Rock (Berry) 2.07
07. Something Else (Cochran/Sheeley) 2.04
08. The Eagle Flies On Friday (Harvey/Kilmister/Phantom) 3.22
09. Trying To Get To You (Singleton/McCoy) 2.23
10. You Can’t Do That (Lennon/McCartney) 2.29
11. It’ll Be Me (Clement) 1.58
12. Crossroads (Johnson) 3.04

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“Lemmy” Kilmister (24 December 1945 – 28 December 2015)

LeAnn Rimes – Lady And Gentlemen (2011)

FrontCover1.jpgMargaret LeAnn Rimes Cibrian (born August 28, 1982) is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and author. Rimes rose to stardom at age 13 following the release of her version of the Bill Mack song “Blue”, becoming the youngest country music star since Tanya Tucker in 1972.

Rimes made her breakthrough into country music in 1996 with her debut album, Blue, which reached No. 1 on the Top Country Albums chart and was certified multi-platinum in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The album’s eponymous leadoff single, “Blue”, became a Top 10 hit and Rimes gained national acclaim for her similarity to Patsy Cline’s vocal style. When she released her second studio album in 1997, You Light Up My Life: Inspirational Songs, she moved towards country pop material, which set the trend for a string of albums released into the next decade.

Rimes has won many awards, including two Grammys, three ACMs, a CMA, 12 Billboard LeAnn Rimes03Music Awards, and one American Music award. She has released ten studio albums and three compilation albums and two greatest hits albums, one released in the U.S. and the other released internationally, through her record label of 13 years, Curb Records, and placed over 40 singles on American and international charts since 1996. She has sold over 37 million records worldwide, with 20.8 million album sales in the United States according to Nielsen SoundScan. Billboard ranked her 17th artist of the 1990–2000 decade.[7] Rimes has also written four books: two novels and two children’s books. Her hit song “How Do I Live” was ranked as the most successful song of the 1990s by Billboard magazine. (by wikipedia)

 

Lady & Gentlemen is the tenth studio album by American country music recording artist LeAnn Rimes. The album is Rimes’ second cover album (the first being her self-titled album.) The only new songs on the album are the two bonus tracks, “Crazy Women” and “Give”. It was released on September 27, 2011 by Curb Records. Rimes co-produced the album with country singer, Vince Gill, and Darrell Brown, with whom she collaborated on her 2007 album Family. A vinyl record of the album was released on the same day.

Lady & Gentlemen consists of Rimes covering songs by male country artists, including LeAnn Rimes01Vince Gill, who helped produce the album, Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, and Waylon Jennings. Rimes also “revisited” her 1996 debut single, “Blue” on the album, which she picked up the tempo on. The album was released on September 27, 2011 by Curb Records. A vinyl record of the album was released on the same day. Rimes co-produced the album with country singer, Vince Gill, and Darrell Brown, of whom she collaborated with on her 2007 album Family.

Three singles were released from the album. The first single released for the album was a cover of John Anderson’s 1983 single, “Swingin'” on June 8, 2010. The second single, “Crazy Women”, was released on December 10, 2010. A third single, “Give”, was released on June 14, 2011. (by wikipedia)

Country diva LeAnn Rimes has been contending lately with flak from image-conscious types over paparazzi photos of her slimmed-down physique, but her leaner, meaner approach to a batch of classic country songs for her latest collection is mostly good news.

She’s collaborated with country standard bearer Vince Gill in this outing, recasting hits from nearly a dozen male singers to a female perspective. Ultimately, however, it matters little whether it’s a man or woman singing Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through the Night.” The bittersweet character of a civilized romantic parting that Kristofferson sketched is gender-free.

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There is a bit of an emotional shift in her take on Waylon Jennings’ “Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line,” when she changes “daddy” to “mama,” but the more significant differences come from the arrangements she, Gill and her other associates have cooked up. John Anderson’s “Swingin’” becomes a peppy double shuffle, while Merle Haggard’s “The Bottle Let Me Down” is given a haunted “Long Black Veil”-like arrangement.

She revisits her own first hit, “Blue,” picking up the tempo a tad, treating it as a barroom one-step. She rounds out her excursion to old-school country with two new songs, the single “Give” and “Crazy Women,” that bring her back to the contemporary pop-country mainstream. (by Randy Lewis)

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Personnel:
LeAnn Rimes (vocals)
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a bunch of unknown studio musicians

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Tracklist:
01. Swingin’ (Anderson/Delmore) 3.02
02. Wasted Days And Wasted Nights (Duncan/Fender/Meaux) 4.07
03. The Only Mama That’ll Walk The Line (Bryant) 2.39
04. I Can’t Be Myself (Haggard) 3.12
05. Sixteen Tons (Travis) 2.43
06. Help Me Make It Through The Night (Kristofferson) 3.01
07. Rose Colored Glasses (Conlee/Baber) 3.06
08. A Good Hearted Woman (Jennings/Nelson) 3.41
09. When I Call Your Name (Gill/DuBois) 3.41
10. He Stopped Loving Her Today (Braddock/Putman) 3.51
11. Blue (with The Time Jumpers) (Mack) 2.35
12. The Bottle Let Me Down (Haggard) 3.49
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13. Crazy Women (Clark/Dillon/McAnally) 3.26
14. Give (Harrington/Isaacs/Yeary) 4.32

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Leslie West – Unusual Suspects (2011)

FrontCover1.jpgIf you don’t know of Leslie West, then shame on you. Even decades since his band Mountain shook Woodstock, his name still remains disturbingly unknown among the masses. On Unusual Suspects, his latest solo release, the pioneering titan of blues rock demonstrates that his name still deserves a spot among the greats; his impact on blues rock guitar (and hard rock, for that matter) can be heard in bands that range from Gov’t Mule to Motörhead to Muse.

The most exciting aspect of Unusual Suspects is the appearances made by A-listers of the guitar world. Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Slash (Guns N’ Roses), Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne, Black Label Society), Joe Bonamassa, and session maestro Steve Lukather, best known for his role in Toto, are a crushing company that helps authenticate West’s status as a guitar legend. Despite their smoking presence, West towers above. It is also extremely noteworthy that Kenny Aronoff is by West every step of the way. With possibly the most impressive résumé of any working drummer, Aronoff continues to turn standard blues beats into flawless roaring beats that fit perfectly on Unusual Suspects.

When it comes to Unusual Suspects, there are no low points. If you drop the needle on any and every point of the album you are sure to witness heavy and fun displays of blues inspired rock. Of the tracks that brandish guest stars, there isn’t one that doesn’t demand an immediate listen.

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“One More Drink for the Road” is driven by Steve Lukather’s ominous keys. The chugging rock tune is as heavy as anything else on the album without every truly exploding. “Mudflap Mama,” featuring Slash, boasts a nasty bottleneck riff that sounds as if it just rolled off the Harley-Davidson line. “Standing On A Higher Ground” is nothing but an ideal parade of Billy Gibbons and his blunt coolness. Co-written by Gibbons, the tune is 100% ZZ Top. Two of the most coveted and renowned tones in rock history team up together on this track. Gibbons’ swaggering and sly playing teams with West’s momentous crunch to create a locomotion of desirable sleaze. The wildest part of this track is undoubtedly the opening riff: an absolutely bizarre hybrid of Hendrix’s “Castles Made of Sand” and a garage blues turnaround. It is beyond delightful.

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“Third Degree,” a cover of blues piano legend Eddie Boyd’s tune (co-written by Willie Dixon), flaunts the mesmerizing playing and vocals of Joe Bonamassa (a noted favorite of BluesRockReview.com). By dragging a spooky, heavier than heavy riff across an honored Chicago groove, and cutting loose on intimidating duels, West and Bonamassa provide an answer to those who have ever wondered what it would have sounded like if Muddy Waters were 10 feet tall and on steroids.

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“Nothin’s Changed” proves West’s prominent influence on modern playing. Zakk Wylde, the MVP of the metal scene, flashes his impeccably meaty chops. Wylde has always been vocal about his influences, but here you can downright hear it. West’s bottom-heavy tone is an evident predecessor of Wylde’s metal-savvy tone. As West and Wylde fire playful thunderbolts at each other, the true fun is hearing how much fun they are having. It sounds as if a lifelong master guitarist and his novice are finally able to out-duel each other with a wink and a nod. The last notable team effort is a cover of Willie Nelson’s “The Party’s Over.” This beer and whiskey guzzling tune features two of the best beer and whiskey guzzlers on the guitar scene: Slash and Zakk Wylde. Driven by down-home acoustic playing, cutting solos, and simple percussion/clapping, “The Party’s Over” proves that “heavy” isn’t loud; “heavy” is passion and attitude.

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It is worth mentioning that West’s cover of the Beatles’ “I Feel Fine” may seem like an odd addition, but it is presented as a fast, hip-shaking, boogie. The intro calls to mind “Satch Boogie” by Joe Satriani. Much of the pop gloss of the original is stripped by West’s ability to beef up the main themes, thus transforming the track into a bouncy version of the Mountain classic “Mississippi Queen.”

Upon hearing of Unusual Suspects, I was thrilled. I knew the music would be great, and I knew that I would love hearing the collaborations between West and some of the greatest American-influenced rock players of the century, but I was most excited that West has yet another shot at becoming a widely respected name like “Clapton” or “Van Halen.”

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Still, with all of the respect and admiration of the guitar playing on this album, West never asks his guests to bow to him. They are there because West clearly respects them by trusting them to help his songs and by giving them their moment. The album comes full circle by the end as you realize that all of the talent, influence, mutual respect, and fun you just witnessed is the tangled behemoth that is Leslie West’s Unusual Suspects. (by Jason Bank)

And I included the great booklet … over 50 pages … with a story about Leslie West, written by Dave Ling from the Classic Rock Magazin)

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Personnel:
Kenny Aronoff (drums, percussion)
Fabrizio Grossi (bass)
Phil Parlapiano (keyboards)
Leslie West (guitar, vocals)
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Joe Bonamassa (guitar, vocals on 05.)
Billy Gibbons (guitar on 04.)
Steve Lukather (guitar on 01.)
Slash (guitar on 02. + 11.)
Zakk Wylde (guitar on 07. + 11.)

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Tracklist:
01. One More Drink for the Road (Pizza/West) 3.14
02. Mudflap Momma (Pizza/West) 3.07
03. To the Moon (Bronham/West) 4.51
04. Standing on Higher Ground (Gibbons/Grossi/West) 4.27
05. Third Degree (Boyd/Dixon) 5.11
06. Legend (Pizza) 4.45
07. Nothin’s Changed (Pizza/West) 3.54
08. I Feel Fine (Lennon/McCartney) 2.57
09. Love You Forever (Pizza/West) 5.06
10. My Gravity (Tiven/West) 4.23
11. The Party’s Over (Nelson) 3.21
12. I Don’t Know (The Beetlejuice Song) (Christy/Green/West) 2.34

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Yuri Goloubev – Titanic For A Bike (2011)

FrontCover1.jpgYuri Goloubev (born 27 July 1972 in Moscow, Russia) is a jazz musician, composer and double bass player. He switched to jazz in 2004 after over a dozen years as a very successful bass player in classical orchestras, and has achieved notable success in jazz also as a performer with “perfect pitch, flawless execution and an improviser’s imagination”. He is also praised for his arco playing. Ian Patterson, writing in All About Jazz wrote “There are few better exponents of arco, and his tone has the warm resonance of a cello.”

Yuri Goloubev won the First Prize in the All-Soviet-Union Students’ Competition in 1990, then started work as the Principal Bass with the Moscow-based “Ensemble XXI” Chamber Orchestra (1990–1991). From 1991 til 1992 he also worked as a section bass with the Bolshoi Theatre. He studied classical composition at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory and 1995 he received his master’s degree in double bass as a soloist and chamber music performer. From 1992 til 2004 he was the Principal Bass with the Moscow Soloists directed by Yuri Bashmet. It was during this time that he performed with many artists such as Mario Brunello, Sarah Chang, James Galway, Lynn Harrell, Barbara Hendricks, Kim Kashkashian, Gidon Kremer, Shlomo Mintz, Thomas Quasthoff, Sviatoslav Richter, Mstislav Rostropovich, Vladimir Spivakov, Uto Ughi and Maxim Vengerov. He has performed at venues such as Sydney Opera House, Royal Albert Hall, Musikverein, Carnegie Hall, Suntory Hall, Gewandhaus, Concertgebouw, Salle Pleyel, Palacio de Bellas Artes, Palais des Beaux Arts, Accademia di Santa Cecilia and Megaro. He Yuri02.jpghas also appeared at major festivals such as the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival (Finland), Hong Kong Festival of the Arts, Bath Music Festival (UK), Perth Festival (Australia), Casals Festival (Puerto Rico), Prestige de la Musique (France) and Omaggio a Roma (Italy).

In December 2004 Goloubev moved to Milan, dedicated himself solely to jazz and quickly gained the attention of many Italian musicians. He worked with such artists as Francesco Bearzatti, Fabrizio Bosso, Gianni Cazzola, Giovanni Falzone, Claudio Fasoli, Paolo Fresu, Rosario Giuliani, Guido Manusardi, Massimo Manzi, Enrico Pieranunzi and Glauco Venier. He also worked with Bob James, Pablo Held, Asaf Sirkis, Franco Ambrosetti, Kenny Werner, Klaus Gesing, John Law, Benjamin Henocq, Stan Sulzmann, Wolfgang Muthspiel, Julian Argüelles, Tim Garland, Rick Margitza, Manhu Roche, Gwilym Simcock, Mike Serin, Jason Rebello, Daniele Di Bonaventura, Chihiro Yamanaka and Bill Smith. In 2007–2009 he taught at the jazz faculty of Centro Professione Musica (CPM) in Milan and in 2010 became the Jazz Double Bass Professor at The Conservatorio di Musica F.A. Bonporti, Trento. Currently, he teaches at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, Wales.

Goloubev is also a composer and has released several albums as leader.

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He has performed on over 100 recordings and two of his recent trio recordings have been selected as Critics Choice Top 10 Jazz Albums in Japan: Roberto Olzer Trio – Steppin’ Out, #1 Best Jazz Album, 2013, Michele di Toro Trio – Play, #8 Best Jazz Album, 2014. Various albums with his participation have been featured in the inflight entertainment programs of such airlines as Air France, Lufthansa, British Airways, Swiss, Emirates. He has received widespread acclaim for his partnership with the pianist Gwilym Simcock in two recordings released on ACT Music in 2014. Their album “Duo Art: Reverie at Schloss Elmau” received a number of 4 star reviews. The critic Dave Gelly wrote in The Observer “In Russian bassist Yuri Goloubev, Gwilym Simcock has obviously found a collaborator with the same expansive imagination and equal virtuosity. The interplay between the two is like musical telepathy.” In JazzTimes H. Allen Williams wrote, “Goloubev’s playing is a sound of beauty with impeccable technique and heartfelt feel.” (by wikipedia)

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The old saying, “if you want a job done ask a busy person,” certainly applies to Russian bassist Yuri Goloubev, one of the hardest-working musicians in jazz. When not touring with his own small ensembles, he’s criss-crossing Europe in the trios of pianists Gwilym Simcock, Johnny Laws and Carlo Morena, or in the quartets of saxophonists Claudio Fasoli and Mattia Cigalini. And in the two years since Metafore Semplici (Universal, 2009)—his last outing as leader—he has also graced around twenty other recordings. Prodigious as well as prolific, Goloubev’s hypnotising playing is freer here than on the more compositionally focused Metafore Semplici, though the same group adherences to melody and a softly voiced lyricism are cornerstones of the music on this adventurous, yet wholly accessible offering.

Perennial Goloubev collaborator, drummer Asaf Sirkis, once again lends his guile, dobbing lingering colors on the collective canvas. Sirkis’ contribution is—for the most part—tremendously subtle, gliding furtively in and out of the mix. Vastly experienced soprano saxophonist Julian Arguelles brings strong melodic lines and flowing lyricism to almost half the cuts, and additional intuitive complicity, having previously recorded with Goloubev and Sirkis on pianist Carlo Magni’s Notturni (Music Center, 2011). A striking difference between this recording and Metafore Semplici is Goloubev’s more dominant presence as a soloist here. The liner notes state that he was searching for greater freedom by “treating the double bass rather as a wind instrument,” and Goloubev certainly blows a storm; the set is peppered with his wonderfully creative interventions, with and without bow.

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The final piece in the jigsaw is pianist Claudio Filippini, who leaves a lasting impression on compositions that exude individual expression. At 29, and with four CDs as leader to his name, the pianist from Pescara is no debutant. Though essentially a modernist, his naturally unfolding rhapsodic lines and constant melodic invention are evocative, though in no way imitative, of pianists Bill Evans and Bud Powell. Filippini’s talent is notable, and with a little luck he will reach a much wider audience. Goloubev has been an admirer of Filippini’s playing for some time, and must be delighted with the pianist’s scintillating contribution to this recording.

A simple two-note piano motif ushers in Sirkis’ composition “Sailing,” and the sound soon swells with the arrival of Goloubev on bowed bass. There are few better exponents of arco, and his tone has the warm resonance of a cello. Formerly a classical bassist with the Moscow Soloists for 12 years, Goloubev’s jazz recordings have used elements of contemporary classical composing—in particular harmonic—though on Titanic for a Bike the inevitable classical influence is most felt in his phrasing, a synthesis of the classical and jazz idioms. Downing his bow, the four-minute bass solo which follows is a killer. Melody drives Goloubev, and his playing has a lilting, folkloric quality. Filippini takes over the lead—with Sirkis slipping quietly in at the same time—and weaves a delightful course that is simplicity and grace personified. Bowed bass and the opening two-note piano motif return to close out this utterly seductive composition.

The loose compositional frameworks mean that no fixed patterns are readily discernible on tracks like “Philosophy” and “Well Seasoned Waltz,” other than the shared characteristic of a series of interconnected solos which gently immerse the listener. The playing is free, though the individual roles are carefully defined. Sirkis and Filippini steer the group rhythmically, with Sirkis displaying a deft percussive accent that at times could lull a baby to sleep, notably on “How We Were.” Argüelles hoists the melodic mast, and his solos have a spiraling beauty, whilst Goloubev and Filippini largely construct the tunes’ narrative flow.

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Elegance and melody, however, permeate the music, even at its most lively. On “Bagatelle 2,” Argüelles stretches out with soulful exuberance, buoyed by Sirkis’ most animated playing of the set. On “Elmau Revisited”—a notable exercise in counterpoint—the individual voices swirl around each other like currents. Empathy in the playing is ever-present too; Argüelles and Filippini’s voices entwine in a hypnotic rising-falling exchange on “Bill Gates Among Us,” another great tune. The piano-trio number “Love Stories” illustrates Goloubev’s ability to comp beautifully in totally free mode. On the same track, Filippini’s uncluttered solo reveals a sublime touch and an inherently emotive voice. The solo bass number, “Titanic on the Bike,” is a pleasing oddity, germinating with an urgent, King Crimson-esque bowed riff, over which Goloubev charts the famous theme from the James Cameron movie.

In the end, Goloubev—on arco—and Filippini combine in a beguiling duo-interpretation of Jimmy Hughes/Dorothy Fields’ song, “Don’t Blame Me.” It’s perhaps appropriate that these two musicians should take the final bow, as their playing throughout this record is simply wonderful. Titanic for a Bike is Goloubev’s most satisfying recording to date, and goes a long way towards elevating him to the ranks of jazz’s premier bass improvisers. It also states the case most persuasively, for Goloubev as a modern composer and leader of note. Highly recommended. (by Ian Patterson)

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Personnel:
Julian Argüelles (saxophone)
Claudio Filippini (piano)
Yuri Goloubev (bass)
Assaf Sirkis (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. Sailing (Sirkis) 8.26
02. Philosophy (Goloubev) 8.13
03. Well Seasoned Waltz (Goloubev) 6.55
04. How We Were (Re: The Way We Were) (Goloubev) 7.44
05. Titanic For A Bike (Goloubev) 3.24
06. Love Stories (Re: Love Story) (Goloubev) 6.06
07. Elmau Revisited (Goloubev) 5.54
08. Bill Gates Amongst Us (Goloubev) 6.39
09. Bagatelle #2 (Goloubev) 7.20
10. Don’t Blame Me (Fields/McHugh) 2.51

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Blues Trackers – Smells Like Trouble … (2011)

FrontCover1.jpgThe Blues Trackers started playing music in Larisa (Mount Tyrnavos to be specific)/Greece in 1996 and they are consisted of Panos Badikoudis (guitar/vocals), Tasos Litridis (guitar/vocals), Sakis Smarnakis (bass) and Thodoris Triantafyllou.

By then and until today they have swarmed Greece with lives, and have appeared in various European Festivals along side well respected artists such as Elias Zaekos and Louisiana Red to Dr. Feelgood. With 15 year experience in their hunch, it’s time for the bands debut release with original work – there was a CD with 6 love covers recorded in 2002. In this release, Marios Spiliotopoulos has replaced Sakis Smarankis in bass.

Smells Like Trouble is a blues record for the most part, but with touches of classic rock, folk and some bands that made a killing back in the famous “summer of love”. Three things that will catch your attention in this record are the delicate and meticulous production (made by the band members themselves), the dexterity and flawless performance by the members of the band, and last but not least, their general overview of the blues sound in circa 2011. The collaboration between Andy Moor and Giannis Kyriakidis show a different route for today’s blues.

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The albums starts out with the album’s name track (in a “I Put A Spell On You” style), with a piano fueled intro which travels you to the dingy infamous and outlaw bars of New Orleans, like the ones you see in the movies. Right next is the Desperate Man, where the Dire Straits style and the desperate soul of a heart broken man meets the solos and liveliness of the earlier blues. If it only was written 40 years ago… Next up is Dream. Imagine H.P.Lovecraft merged with West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band to write a blues song. I think that’s how they would have done it. In “Mind Starvation” is easy to spot how many things they Blue Wires have passed to their descendants. Nice song and very groovy, with blues and funky elements. The fifth track of the album is the dreamy “The Dolphin Dance Part 2”, and if you happen to be a psychedelic fan from the circa 1967-1970, you will surely enjoy this one. It feels like digging out a hidden treasure from that era. Perfect for these summer car drives in empty streets.

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Looking For Myself is an homage paid to Bob Dylan and Neil Young (the 70’s one-s). The atmospheric guitars and the harmonica will guide you there. In A Bad Condition, is another pure blues moment from the band. It sounds like whiskey taste. Jenny Star can be safely called the European way of playing the blues. Second to last is the Fake Fairy Tale: a contemporary example to show what guitar pop and folk music was all about in the 60’s. Slow paced. The album abides with The Dolphin Dance Part 1, which sounds like the Part 2, but fused with more dreaminess. This is where the title gets more meaningful: if dolphins can dance, this is how they would probably do it. (by Panagiotis Tzonos)

Okay … this is this fucking good, old and dirty blues-rock … and I guess it´s time to discover The Blues Trackers … worldwide !!!

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Personnel:
Panos Badikouthis (vocals, guitar, piano)
Tasos Lytridis (vocals, guitar)
Sakis Smarnakis (bass)
Thodoris Triadafillou (vocals, drums, keyboards)

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Tracklist:
01. Smells Like Trouble (Badikouthis) 5.30
02. Desperate Man (Badikouthis) 4.14
03. Dream (Lytridis/Triadafillou) 4.19
04. Mind Starvation (Badikouthis) 4.05
05. The Dolphin Dance (Part 2) (Lytridis) 4.04
06. Looking For Myself Badikouthis) 4.27
07. In A Bad Condition Badikouthis) 4.21
08. Jenny Star Badikouthis) 3.37
09. Fake Fairy Tale (Lytridi/Beck) 4.35
10. The Dolphin Dance (Part 1) (Lytridis) 1.56

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