Leslie West – Silent Night + Roadhouse Blues (2021)

FrontCover1Leslie West (born Leslie Weinstein on 22 October 1945; died 22 December 2020) was an American rock guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter best known as a founding member and co-lead vocalist of the hard rock band Mountain. He also produced two studio albums and a live release with Cream bassist Jack Bruce under the name West, Bruce and Laing. West released a number of solo albums and was highly respected for his guitar work.

West gained fame the world over during his long career as one of the most innovative and influential musicians in the history of rock music. He is most noted for his role as leader of the explosive hard rock trio, Mountain, which was named by VH-1 as one of the Top 100 Hard Rock Groups of all time. With Mountain, he climbed the heights of rock stardom on the strength of a unique, signature guitar sound and classic songs such as “Mississippi Queen”, “Never In My Life” and “Theme From An Imaginary Western”,and Nantucket Sleighride which are still staples of rock radio to this day.


West earned the admiration of a long list of famous peers. During his career, he recorded or played with a litany of rock icons including Billy Joel, Van Halen, The Who, Mick Jagger and Jimi Hendrix, to name just a few. In fact, Eddie Van Halen, Michael Schenker and Richie Sambora have all cited West as an important influence on their own music.

West’s bold, expressive and unique guitar style is really a mirror of his own personality. Spend a little time talking with this larger-than-life figure, and you’ll realize that he is as charismatic without a guitar in his hands as he is with one. Possessing a sharp sense of humor, he was at once gregarious and gruff while recounting stories from his legendary past. When discussing his music projects, he exuded an infectious enthusiasm and excitement. Such projects could take him outside his traditional roles of guitarist, singer and songwriter.

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In 1986, he acted alongside Tom Hanks and Shelley Long in the hit comedy film, The Money Pit and has lent his distinctive voice to the popular animated series, Beast Wars Transformers which ran for three seasons on the WB network beginning in 1996 before going into syndication. He has also contributed the theme music to the new WB show, Mutant X.

West was a popular personality on the Howard Stern Radio Show and was Musical Director for the shock jock’s FOX series, as well as for the late comedian Sam Kinison. Most recently, he lent his production and songwriting skills to an album by Atlantic Records’ modern rock group, Clutch, and has just released his own instructional guitar DVD, Big Phat Ass Guitar. (last.fm)

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And here is his contribution to Christmas, a rare single, released in 2021

Silent Night” was recorded in 2015 für the compilation album “Blues Christmas” (can find it here).

And on the B-side of thi single we hear an exciting versions from the “Roadhuse Blues” (recorded in 2014) by The Doors (featuring Brian Auger & Rod Piazza !)


Leslie West (guitar, vocals)
Brian Auger (organ on 02.)
Scott Connor (drums)
Rod Piazza (harmonica)

Alternate Cover

01. A Silent Night  (West/Gruber) 2.17
02. Roadhouse Blues (Densmore/Manzarek/Krieger/Morrison) 4.13



More from Leslie West:

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Kim Simmonds & Savoy Brown – The Devil To Pay (2015)

FrontCover1Kim Maiden Simmonds (5 December 1947 – 13 December 2022) was a British musician. He was the founder, guitarist, primary songwriter and only consistent member of the blues rock band Savoy Brown. Simmonds led Savoy Brown since its inception in 1965 to its peak and multi-sales. He performed and appeared on every album the band recorded.

When still a young teenager, Simmonds learned to play from listening to his brother’s blues records. Considered one of the architects of British blues, he started the Savoy Brown Blues Band in October 1965, who began playing gigs at the Nags Head in 1966 in London. Early gigs included performing with Cream at Klooks Kleek and accompanying John Lee Hooker.

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Live performances led to Savoy Brown signing with Decca. But it was 1969 before its classic line-up gelled around Simmonds, rhythm guitarist Lonesome Dave Peverett, and the monocle and bowler hat-wearing vocalist Chris Youlden. That year’s Blue Matter and A Step Further albums conjured up at least three classics heard on The Best of Savoy Brown (20th Century Masters/The Millennium Collection): “Train To Nowhere”, the live show-stopper “Louisiana Blues” (a Muddy Waters number), and “I’m Tired”.

Since its first US visit, Savoy Brown has criss-crossed the country, and “I’m Tired” became the group’s first hit single across the ocean. The band would find a greater following in America than in its native England throughout its career.

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1970’s Raw Sienna followed, featuring “A Hard Way To Go” and “Stay While The Night Is Still Young”. When Youlden then departed for a solo career, Lonesome Dave took over the lead vocals. Looking In, also in 1970, featured not only “Poor Girl” and “Money Can’t Save Your Soul” but one of the era’s memorable LP covers, a troglodyte-like savage staring into an eye socket of a monstrous skull. Later, Peverett, bassist Tony Stevens and drummer Roger Earl left to form the successful but decidedly rock band Foghat. Simmonds soldiered on, recruiting from blues band Chicken Shack keyboardist Paul Raymond, bassist Andy Silvester and drummer Dave Bidwell, and from the Birmingham club circuit the vocalist Dave Walker.

The new line-up was a hit. On stage in America, the group was supported by Rod Stewart and the Faces. On the album Street Corner Talking (1971) and Hellbound Train (1972) launched favourites “Tell Mama”, “Street Corner Talking”, a cover of the Temptations’ Motown standard “I Can’t Get Next To You” and the nine-minute epic “Hellbound Train” (decades later Love and Rockets (band) adapted it as “Bound For Hell”). Walker then quit to join Fleetwood Mac, pre-Buckingham/Nicks.

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In 1997, Simmonds released his first solo acoustic album, entitled Solitaire. He toured worldwide with various configurations of Savoy Brown. The 2004 live set You Should Have Been There, recorded in early 2003 in Vancouver with Simmonds handling lead vocals – and also as a solo acoustic act. In 2011 he celebrated 45 years of touring with the Savoy Brown album Voodoo Moon.

In 2017, his album with Savoy Brown, Witchy Feeling, reached number one on the Billboard blues charts.

As a soloist and leader of Savoy Brown, Simmonds released over 47 albums through 2016. He was also a painter; the cover of his 2008 solo release, Out of the Blue, featured his original art. In 2008, Simmonds appeared in the Rockumentary “American Music: OFF THE RECORD”, Dir. by Benjamin Meade of Cosmic Cowboy Studio in Fayetteville, Arkansas, alongside Jackson Browne, Noam Chomsky, Douglas Rushkoff, Les Paul, Johnny and Edgar Winter and countless other musicians and musical acts.
On 15 August 2022, Simmonds announced via the Savoy Brown website that he has been receiving chemotherapy for stage four colon cancer. Due to the side effects of his treatment, all scheduled live performances have been cancelled. On 15 December 2022, it was stated via the Savoy Brown fanpage that Simmonds lost his battle with cancer on 13 December. (wikipedia)

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Just in time for the band’s 50th anniversary, “The Devil To Pay” is released. Since Savoy Brown released their first record in 1967 and became one of the most established blues-rock bands, 26 studio albums have been released. Masterpieces like “Blue Matter”, “Raw Sienna” or “Hellbound Train” were among them. Now “The Devil To Pay” (Ruf/in-akustik), the latest album by bandleader Kim Simmonds and his band, is released.

“Normally recordings only take two to three days for me and most of it is already done on the first day, because all the preliminary work is done in the weeks before”, Simmonds describes his approach to recording an album: “But this time the whole thing dragged on for years. We kept making improvements between tours, but then went back into the studio briefly at the end. Then it’s just a matter of capturing that special moment and being there on the dot.” There are now 13 of those special moments on the new album.


From the intricate instrumental “Snakin”, to crashing power blues, to almost classic Chicago blues, the album offers everything that has defined Savoy Brown over five decades and still does. “As a teenager, the classic Chicago stuff and artists definitely influenced me. My heart still leaps for joy when I hear good Chicago blues,” Simmonds confesses. “I still have the same energy I had when I was young. That’s what keeps my dream alive,” the guitarist affirms. One might believe the Londoner, who has lived in the USA for decades, because since the band has been on the Ruf label, they have been recording consistently good albums. Including the live albums, that makes 45 with “The Devil To Pay”. Respect! (press release)

Perhaps there will be another special album to mark Savoy Brown’s fiftieth anniversary. Until then, “The Devil To Pay” is dedicated to the anniversary in 2015. RockTimes congratulates warmly.
Thirteen new songs make up a total playing time of almost an hour and together with bassist Pat DeSalvo as well as Garnet Grimm on drums, trio leader Kim Simmonds takes a damn brave approach, at least as far as the disc’s opener is concerned. Brave because “Ain’t Got Nobody” is far from a warm-up song. A positive mood is created in an almost ballad-like way. The song is characterised by bluesy fervour, strong expression and a certain lasciviousness in Kim Simmonds’ voice. Even the first track on the record is a classic blues listen.
Completely devoid of vocals, the number “Snakin'” sneaks under your skin with a friendly story told by the guitar and the groovy rhythm gets your foot tapping. This kind of Chicago-12 beat is always a pleasure to listen to.

Savoy Brown 2015_01Even if “The Devil To Pay” is thematically about “[…]wrong decisions in the past […]”, the musical atmosphere turns out positively. Kim Simmonds is an expert on the six strings of his instrument. Without a doubt, he came up with great songwriting ideas for this album.
The range is also enormous. The protagonist writes in his digipak lyrics, among other things: “It’s all blues, but I think you’ll find variety; traditional blues, rock blues, swing and jazz blues.” This is how the artist, born in Newbridge, Wales, sums it up. With his fantasies linked in the solos, the Savoy Brown veteran is way out in front.
Bassist Pat DeSalvo is not only the accompanying low-frequency plucker. He presents himself with an extremely melodious-flowing play and together with Garnet Grimm gives the songs even more pressure.

Savoy Brown 2015_02Here and there the frontman uses his harp. It is very useful in its delivery and brings an earthy blues mood to light in the right phases. The Brit serves us the twelve-bar in combination with light jazz influences, for example, in “Stop Throwing Your Love Around” and especially in “Whiskey Headed Baby”. Both songs prove to be quite fine things.
In between these numbers, you can also enjoy a slide boogie à la Kim Simmonds and Savoy Brown and think back to the old days of “Savoy Brown Boogie”. With a little dash of rock’n’roll in the tank, the track goes down really well. “Watch My Woman” has a nice swing note in the rhythm.
If the opening track already provided a decelerated surprise, one naturally wonders how this album might end. The song title “Evil Eye” sounds like something really evil. The piece has killer qualities, especially when it gets really furious towards the end. The beginning and the end of “The Devil To Pay” are two contrasts that come together in the great playing of Kim Simmonds. This album is a confirmation that this band is full of energy even after fifty years. (Joachim ‘Joe’ Brookes; Rock Times)


Garnet Grimm (drums)
Pat DeSalvo (bass)
Kim Simmonds (guitar, slide-guitar,  vocals, harmonica)

01. Ain’t Got Nobody 5.29
02. Bad Weather Brewing 4.32
03. Grew Up In The Blues 4.08
04. When Love Goes Wrong 4.05
05. Oh Rosa 3.37
06. The Devil To Pay 4.22
07. Stop Throwing Your Love Around 4.18
08. Snakin’ 3.57
09. Got An Awful Feeling 6.00
10. I’ve Been Drinking 3.50
11. Watch My Woman 4.06
12. Whiskey Headed Baby 4.31
13. Evil Eye 5.11

All songs written by Kim Simmonds



More from Kim Simmonds:

More from Savoy Brown:

The official website:

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Ricercar Consort – Instrumental music by Händel (Brussels, Feb 3, 2015)

FrontCover1The Ricercar Consort is a Belgian instrumental ensemble founded in 1980 together with the Ricercar record label of Jérôme Lejeune.

The founding members were violinist François Fernandez, organist Bernard Foccroulle, and viola da gamba player Philippe Pierlot. The initial repertoire was focussed on the German Baroque, and the Consort was closely identified with the series Deutsche Barock Kantaten. In recordings and concerts, the Consort was joined by baroque specialist singers including; Greta De Reyghere, Agnès Mellon, countertenors Henri Ledroit, James Bowman, tenor Guy de Mey, and bass Max van Egmond, as well as the cornett player Jean Tubéry.

The consort is associated with the Festival Bach en Vallée Mosane held in the valley of the Meuse. (wikipedia)

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And here´s a wonderful broadcast recording:

Philippe Pierlot has called on the services of two outstanding soloists for this programme, which is entirely devoted to instrumental music by Handel. The concertos for organ and for oboe show the Saxon master’s artistry at its peak, treating us to some moments of pure pleasure in music at times moving, at times joyful. A major occasion at the Centre for Fine Arts, in the company of one of the country’s finest baroque ensembles. (press release)

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George Frideric (or Frederick) Handel was a German-British Baroque composer well known for his operas, oratorios, anthems, concerti grossi, and organ concertos. Handel received his training in Halle and worked as a composer in Hamburg and Italy before settling in London in 1712, where he spent the bulk of his career and became a naturalised British subject in 1727. He was strongly influenced both by the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition and by composers of the Italian Baroque. In turn, Handel’s music forms one of the peaks of the “high baroque” style, bringing Italian opera to its highest development, creating the genres of English oratorio and organ concerto, and introducing a new style into English church music. He is consistently recognized as one of the greatest composers of his age.

“The Chandos portrait of Georg Friedrich Händel” by James Thornhill, c. 1720:

Handel started three commercial opera companies to supply the English nobility with Italian opera. In 1737, he had a physical breakdown, changed direction creatively, and addressed the middle class and made a transition to English choral works. After his success with Messiah (1742), he never composed an Italian opera again. His orchestral Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks remain steadfastly popular. One of his four coronation anthems, Zadok the Priest, has been performed at every British coronation since 1727. Almost blind, he died in 1759, a respected and rich man, and was given a state funeral at Westminster Abbey.

Handel (centre) and King George I on the River Thames, 17 July 1717, by Edouard Hamman (1819–88):

Handel composed more than forty opere serie over a period of more than thirty years. Since the late 1960s, interest in Handel’s music has grown. The musicologist Winton Dean wrote that “Handel was not only a great composer; he was a dramatic genius of the first order.” His music was admired by Classical-era composers, including Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven. (wikipedia)

A painting of Handel by Philip Mercier (c. 1730):

Enjoy the magic of Baroque music, enjoy one of the greatest composer of this time !

Philippe Pierlot02Personnel:
Ricercar Consort condcuted by Philippe Pierlot
Sophie Gent (violin)
Maude Gratton (organ)
Emmanuel Laporte (oboe)

Philippe Pierlot01Tracklist:
01. Concerto grosso in d minor, op. 6,10 (HWV 328) 13.38
02. Concerto for oboe, strings and bc in g minor (HWV 287) 8.10
03. Concerto for organ, strings and bc in d minor, op. 7,4 (HWV 309) 16.27
04. Concerto grosso in B flat, op. 3,2 (HWV 313) 12.10
05. Concerto for oboe, violin, strings and bc in f minor 10.38
06. Concerto for organ, strings and bc in g minor, op. 4,3 (HWV 291) 10.31



The official website:

Black Patti – No Milk, No Sugar (2015)

FrontCover1And here´s a very unique and special duo from Germany:

The blues has often been declared dead and gone, but one of its best attributes is the ability to survive and reinvent itself. Certainly, we lament the passing of the old vanguard masters. But let’s be optimistic: When mourning the loss of the originators, new musicians always emerge to carry on the tradition. Sometimes they descend directly from the orbit of the legendary masters, but often they seemingly come out of nowhere, or from places least expected. When that happens, it is often a refreshing and exciting renewal.

Take Black Patti, one of the best country blues duos to come out of Germany, and certainly one of the biggest blues talents ever to come out of that country. The duo started out in Munich in 2011, the capitol of Bavaria, a place better known culturally for lederhosen and beer gardens. But the duo founders Peter Krause, born 1967, und Ferdinand Kraemer, born 1990, had other ideas. Their passion was for the old, purely acoustic blues, and they are still committed to this musical genre today. The duo sometimes invites other musicians who are not part of the core duo to join them, such as Ryan Donohue on upright bass, but that depends on the size of the venue and purse of the gig.

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The duo took its name from a defunct US record company. Black Patti was a small, obscure Chicago record label of the pre-WWII era. It was founded in 1927 by Mayo Williams, who named his label after a now virtually forgotten African American opera singer, Sissieretta Jones, a “Soprano Who Shattered Racial Barriers,” nicknamed Black Patti because she looked similar to the Italian singer Adelina Patti. The label lasted for only seven months and issued 55 releases before going broke. Their peacock logo was revived decades later by the well-known Yazoo label. That’s also where the Bavarian duo took its brand, and they also cover a few songs from the Black Patti label’s repertoire.

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Some blues musicians give themselves exotic-sounding stage names that often become more famous than their own. That’s as common today as it has always been, and Black Patti is no exception: When the Munich lads get on stage or into the studio they appear as Peter Crow C. (Krause) and Mr. Jelly Roll (Kraemer). These pseudonyms are their artist names, both humorous and somewhat self-ironic. Ferdinand Kraemer’s selection is a personal tribute to the great Jelly Roll Morton because his first name was Ferdinand, too. And Peter Krause explained that his puzzling moniker “Crow C.” is derived from the phonetic pronunciation of his last name, as they would say it in Texas.

Unquestionably, these guys are the real deal. They have released three CDs, and all are deeply rooted in the old-time blues. (thecountryblues.com)

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And here´s their debutalbum from 2015.

I know that if you two had sat down with Son House and Willie Brown and Joe Martin in Robinsonville in 1930, and did any one of the “Moon Going Down” numbers the way you did “Future”, there would have been a lot of smiles all around, and you would have been as thoroughly welcomed by them as Al Wilson was in 1964, and for the same reasons. I was really moved by that number and by the closing Patton number. So much respect for the material and yet so much originality.” (Phil Spiro)

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“Here’s the ideal combination of serious study of the great blues masters and a contemporary spontaneity. Black Patti don’t just try to recreate old sounds, although they have the talent to do so.

Instead, they make the songs their own with original arrangements that still remain true to the aesthetics of the tradition. I’ve seen the best and the worst of the Blues Revival for more than fifty years. Black Patti represent the revival’s young generation, and they’re taking it in a good direction.” (Dr. David Evans)

In other words: A hell of a record !


Ferdinand „Jelly Roll“ Kraemer (guitar, mandolin, vocals)
Peter „Crow C.“ Krause (vocals, guitar, harmonica)


01. 01. Morning Train (Traditional) 3.16
02. Jelly Roll Swing (Krause) 3.05
03. You Got To Take Sick And Die Some Of These Days (Morganfield) 3.39
04. The New Early In The Morning (Williamson I) 3.28
05. Busy Bootin‘ (Arnold) 2.57
06. Future Blues (Brown) 3.28
07. Black Patti Boogie (Kruse/Kraemer)
08. Please Baby (Sheiks) 3.08
09. I’m So Worried About My Baby (Kramer) 3.11
10. The New Shake That Thing (Sheiks) 3.18
11. Big Mama’s Door (Hart) 4.17
12. I’m Goin‘ Home (Patton) 3.20




And the cover of their latest album was drawn by none other than the legendary Robert Crump … because he likes kMusic so damn much:

Barock Project – Skyline (2015)

FrontCover1Barock Project was born in 2003 and have the goal to match classic music (mainly baroque), rock and a few jazz, substained by a pop structure to renew the beloved Progressive Rock of 70s. The head of project is the keyboard player Luca Zabbini, piano player and composer, affected by the passion for the famous keyboardist Keith Emerson (ELP). In the summer of 2004 Giambattista Giorgi, a young bass player, the drummer Giacomo Calabria and the voice of Luca Pancaldi joined to the band.
In January 2007 they performed live in Bologna with a string quartet. The arrangements are made by Zabbini and Rock In Theater is the DVD of the concert. In the end of the same year come out the first album Misteriose Voci under the label Musea Records and in the summer of 2009 the second record, Rebus under the italian label Mellow Records, gained good reviews both.

In March 2012 the french label Musea Records publish their third album Coffee in Neukölln, wrote totally in english.

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Was the work which consacrate Barock Project such as Symphonic Prog Rock international band with a nomination to the Prog Awards 2012.
In the same year joined to the band Eric Ombelli (drum) and Marco Mazzuoccolo (guitar) and in 2014 started recording of the fourth and more complex album. At the end of 2014 the bassist Giorgi left the group and Francesco Caliendo took his place.

In January 2015 Barock Project announce the exit of Skyline,edited by Artalia with the help of a fundraising campaign and with partecipation of two big name of prog: Vittorio De Scalzi (New Trolls) and Paul Whitehead (first cover artist of Genesis).

In November of the same year Alex Mari take the place of Luca Pancaldi.
In May 2016 came out the live Vivo,a double cd of two hours of music, recorded during the tour played in 2015.
In March 2017 the sixth album Detachment saw the light, and the band performed in Holland and at Symphonic Night Festival at Tsutaya O-East in Tokyo.

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In 2018 Barock Project was in tour in Holland, in USA at RosFest festival and one more time in Japan at Tsutaya O-West in Tokyo. The band completes the year with a concert to Auditorium Parco della Musica in Roma.
On August 2019 the band signs with the label Immaginifica by Aereostella and in September the band release the new album Seven Seas. /taken from their website)

This is a well-made album with complex compositions and very competent performances on all instruments but, like Dan Brittan’s various highly regarded projects, the music of Skyline simply fails to lure me in. I do like it that Barock’s songs have a distinct if slightly JTULL sound to them, but, like last year’s impressive FREDDEGREDDE album, complexity does not always make for enjoyable or engaging listening. The problem here with Skyline is that even with repeated listens over months none of the songs are making their way into my brain, none of these songs are songs that I want to seek out or push repeat for. Once again: Maybe if I were more lyric oriented . . . (BrufordFreak)

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I may have only just come across this Italian outfit with their latest album, ‘Detachment’, but I am determined to make up for lost time so am now listening to their latest studio album, which was actually their fourth. Released in 2015, this is very much the forerunner to the most recent, and although it isn’t quite in the same league is still an incredibly impressive piece of work. The flute only appears on a couple of songs this time, although there is also some cello and viola at times. From the a capella opening, through to the very last note, this is an incredibly polished and controlled album: one that takes the listener on a journey that they are sure to enjoy.


I’m not quite sure why, but there does appear to be a much heavier Jethro Tull feeling to parts of this album, and this has nothing to do with the use of flute, but rather the way that some of the acoustic numbers seem to flow and sweep. I have seen them likened to Echolyn in some places, and I can see why, but to be honest although I always enjoyed Echolyn I don’t think they were quite in the same league as these guys. This the second studio album I have heard, and am still getting to grips with the fact that up to a few months ago I had never heard of them! Still, like finding a good author after he has been going a while (I first read Stephen Donaldson as he was about to release the sixth volume of ‘Thomas Covenant’ novels), it does give one the opportunity to go back and see what else they have been doing over time, and that is something I fully intend to do.

Barock Project are easily one of the most impressive bands currently operating within the progressive scene and I heartily recommend this to anyone who enjoys the more melodic and less challenging forms. (by Kev Rowland)


Marco Mazzuoccolo (guitar)
Eric Ombelli (drums, percussion, loops)
Luca Pancaldi (vocals)
Luca Zabbini (keyboards, bass, guitar, background vocals)
Giuseppe Franchellucci (cello, viola)
Vittorio De Scalzi (vocals, flute on 03.)
Onelio Zabbini (flute on 04.)


01. Gold 8.40
02. Overture 3.39
03. Skyline 10.20
04. Roadkill 5.59
05. The Silence Of Our Wake 10.48
06. The Sounds Of Dreams 2.23
07. Spinning Away 6.05
08. Tired 9.57
09. A Winter’s Night 4.37
10. The Longest Sigh 7.52

Music: Luca Zabbini
Lyrics: Antonio de Sarno




Rachel Grimes – The Clearing (2015)

CDFrontCover1Rachel Grimes is a pianist, composer, and arranger based in Kentucky – most renowned for her work in Rachel’s, the groundbreaking chamber-rock ensemble that introduced an entire generation of underground rock fans to the unexpected similarities and appeal of neoclassical music. Grimes has toured the world as a solo pianist, and as a collaborator with chamber ensembles such as Portland Cello Project, astrïd, Cicada, the Amsterdam Sinfonietta trio, and Orchestra Kandinskij. Unhurried, at times fleeting, and stretching into the sky, The Clearing is a winding path of transient moments exploring personal memory, relationships, and mystery from a deeply internal place. The music is a wide spectrum of textures in strings, harp, piano, woodwinds, and percussion. Featuring an ensemble that includes Scott Morgan (LOSCIL), Scott Moore, Kyle Crabtree (Shipping News), Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Jacob Duncan (Liberation Prophecy), and Helen Money, The Clearing reveals a broad new chapter for Rachel Grimes. (rachelgrimes.bandcamp.com)

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Most rock musicians who’ve tried to take a flyer at classical music (or something like it) approach their compositions from a position of bombast (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), melodrama (Paul McCartney), high drama (Elvis Costello), or purposeful eccentricity (Frank Zappa). But as pianist and composer with the groundbreaking ensemble Rachel’s, Rachel Grimes showed it was possible to combine the sensibilities and tonal palettes of indie rock and chamber music in a way that flattered both styles and embraced their best qualities, and she’s continued to do so in her solo work. Grimes’ second proper solo album, 2015’s The Clearing, collects 11 short pieces (one just over a minute, another eight times that length) that Grimes first adapted from her own piano improvisations and then arranged using small ensembles of strings, woodwinds, and percussion. The titles used in The Clearing reflect a pastoral bent, celebrating the natural world outdoors, but the music reflects both the beauty and the dangers of the wilderness, finding a sense of ominous wonder amidst the trees and the night sky. Grimes writes and arranges in simple but bold strokes, allowing her accompanists to add texture and shade while the piano and strings establish melodic structures that provide a sturdy framework for the other elements.

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Some might debate if The Clearing should be filed under classical or pop, although the use of structures and ideas gleaned from chamber music doesn’t seem pretentious or a stunt in this context, but an approach well suited to the rich minimalism of her compositions. And by the same token, the rock elements of The Clearing aren’t trundled in for effect, but grow organically from the performances of Grimes and her gifted crew, just as the recording uses approaches common to pop to reinforce compositions written for orchestral instruments. Rachel Grimes has given us a collection of new pieces that quietly dazzle with their evocative power, intelligence, and strength, and The Clearing is something lovely and truly extraordinary that ranks with the best, most enveloping music of recent memory. (by Mark Deming)

In other words: What a beautiful album ! We need to keep her name in mind !


Kyle Crabtree (percussion)
Jacob Duncan (saxophone, clarinet)
Lisa Spurlock Gilmore (harp)
Rachel Grimes (piano)
Aaron May (bass)
Jennifer Potochnic (oboe)
Helen Money – Wendy Doyle – Örs Köszeghy
Christian Frederickson – David Marks – Melinda Odle
Violin – Adriane Tilanus, Jane Halliday, Scott Moore

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1 The Air 1:33
2 The Clearing 7:55
3 The Air of Place 1:03
4 The Herald 4:29
5 The Air in Time 1:27
6 In the Vapor with the Air Underneath 4:44
7 Transverse Plane Vertical 2:51
8 Transverse Plane Horizontal 3:10
9 The Air, Her Heart 1:56
10 Further Foundation 6:16
11 The Air at Night 7:01
12 And Today Was Her Birthday 6:19

Music composed by Rachel Grimes



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Cold Chisel – The Perfect Crime (2015)

FrontCover1.jpgThe Perfect Crime is the eighth studio album by Australian rock band Cold Chisel. It was released on 2 October 2015. It was the first album not to feature a contribution from drummer Steve Prestwich, who died of a brain tumour in January 2011. The album peaked at number 2 on the Australian charts and number 7 in New Zealand.

Recording for the album was done in two sessions in 2014 and 2015. Initial recording was done in Barnes’ home studio, with the band working six hours a day on each song. Barnes said, “We recorded this album in two sittings – the first sitting was at my place and we did nine songs, and then about eight months later we did 10 songs at 301.” Barnes later said that the album was easy to make, largely because it was the first he had recorded sober.

The album was intended to be more blues orientated than Cold Chisel’s recent work. Walker said that he personally wanted an album that was bluesier with no country songs. Barnes said, “We wanted to make a rock record – we wanted to make a record that was more ‘up’ than the last record we made. We wanted to utilise and focus on what this band does best – which is these rhythm and blues numbers. Steve was more of a rock drummer, and Charley’s much more of a rhythm and blues drummer so he brings in these different grooves to things.” Walker added, “Cold Chisel does a wide range of stuff … but originally Cold Chisel was a bluesy rock band. I just thought it would be good to do something that focused on that.”


Another goal for the band was to have song-writing credits from all of the original members. Walker said, “I wanted it to be a much more diverse album with the writing and where the writing was coming from. And I think to a certain extent we got both of those. Probably still could have been more diverse with sourcing the songs, but that’s the way it ended up.”

Two of the songs on the album, the title track and “Four in the Morning”, had previously been recorded by Walker and released on his solo albums. Walker was initially hesitant to record them with Cold Chisel, but claimed he was, “swept along in the enthusiasm,” of his bandmates.

The first single, “Lost” was co-written by Walker and former Australian Idol contestant Wes Carr in 2012. Walker said, “After putting out an album of the normal stuff that Idol people have to record, he wanted to do an album of real songs and wanted to see if I could get involved in some co-writing.” The song was not initially short-listed for inclusion on the album before Shirley suggested the inclusion of strings and backing vocals.


“All Hell Broke Lucy” was inspired the tale of Lucretia Dunkley who was the first woman hanged in Australia in 1843, at Berrima Gaol near Barnes’ home. Both of Barnes’ songwriting contributions to the album were co-written with his son-in-law Ben Rodgers.

“Down-and-dirty disco highlight, “Bus Station” was written by Walker in the eighties. The lyrics include the line, “Fat girl with a travel rug / She’s got a Chiko Roll”. Barnes said, “Yeah, the fat girl holding a Chiko Roll under a blanket line. Don, being a voyeur, thought it was sexy. It’s very symbolic. Don is a very sick man.”

“The Mansions” was inspired by an incident in Kings Cross where Walker saw a riot squad raid a brothel and arrest an escaped prisoner. As the prisoner was led away, the early morning drinkers at the Mansions Hotel serenaded him as the jukebox played “My Way”. Walker said, “Monty Python couldn’t put this together. All these drunks out on the sidewalk, the kind of people who are drinking at 7am, bawling out ‘I did it My Way’. Fantastic.”


The Australian described “Mexican Wedding” as “the one that’s hardest for the more conservative rock aficionados to come at — but hear it out. It’ll repay you. The Latino bar-band feel would likely fall apart in lesser hands, but here it just makes sense, swaggering with almost a Bruce Springsteen/Tom Waits kind of jauntiness. Way more than a novelty song, even if it feels a little like it at first.”

The Australian declared the album a typical contribution from Cold Chisel. “Jimmy Barnes screaming like a Torana doing a burnout on blown tyres. Awkward harmonies. Lyrics about trucks, police, women and ‘feeling like shit’. A beat you can dance to without spilling your beer, and guitar solos you can’t. Staccato notes filling silence with menace and brooding. And so on.”


The Sydney Morning Herald also declared the album “unmistakable Chisel. It delves further back to their rock’n’roll roots with chief songwriter Don Walker carving up the keys, guitarist Ian Moss both gritty and sublime.” It was awarded four of a possible five stars.

Reviewed in Rolling Stone Australia, the first song was said to “slam in at full tilt, Don Walker hammering a low left-hand boogie while Jimmy Barnes exercises a newfound clarity in his upper register.” It was noted that the band “rush at their second album in three years with the reckless exhilaration of greener days.” (by wikipedia)

Oh yes, the boys in the band knows how to rock and how to roll …


Jimmy Barnes (vocals)
Charley Drayton (drums, background vocals)
Ian Moss (guitar, vocals on 09. + 11., background vocals)
Phil Small (bass, background vocals)
Don Walker (keyboards, piano, background vocals)


01. Alone For You (Walker) 3.11
02. The Backroom (Walker) 3.36
03. All Hell Broke Lucy (Barnes/Rodgers) 4.06
04. The Perfect Crime (Walker) 2.41
05. Long Dark Road (Barnes/Rodgers) 4.34
06. Four In The Morning (Walker) 5.23
07. The Mansions (Walker) 3.14
08. The Toast Of Paris (Walker) 4.43
09. Shoot The Moon (Moss/Scullion) 3.30
10. Mexican Wedding (Walker/Small/Moss) 3.35
11. Get Lucky (Small) 3.03
12. Bus Station (Walker) 5.13
13. Lost (Walker/Carr) 4.06
14. Romantic Lies (bonus track) (Walker) 3.30
15. Blue Flame (bonus track) (Walker) 4.17




Martin Barre – Back To Steel (2015)

FrontCover1.jpgDescribed by Martin Barre as the “most important work in my career as a musician” sets the, er, bar high for this much loved and respected guitarist. When it is set by the man himself, listener expectation is bound to be high too.

For the past couple of years or so Martin has been bedding in his current band. I spoke to him at the start of an extensive and surely gruelling European tour in September 2014 and of course at that time we were still asking about his departure from Jethro Tull.

With ‘Back To Steel’ he further carves out his own niche and a trajectory which, in truth, started back in 1994 with “Trick Of Memory”. But this is also a more integrated band album, rather than a true solo album. Perhaps it should even be billed The Martin Barre Band?

Martin’s fans will lap this up again. There is always great attention to detail in the arrangements. He doffs the cap to his former employer/heritage with fairly straightforward – if attractive – versions of ‘Skating Away’ and ‘Slow Marching Band’ whilst the inclusion of ‘Eleanor Rigby’ will delight those who have caught Martin on tour as this is one of the highlights of his recent set. It is to Barre’s credit that the Beatle song is the closest thing to Tull on the album, apart from those Tull covers.


The tone is blues rock throughout, a smorgasbord of Martin’s cumulative influences, and there is some rather nice female harmony vocal work from Alex Hart and Elani Andrea whilst Dan Crisp further consolidates his position on lead vocals.

Throughout his guitar work is immaculate but, as previously, supportive rather than overtly spectacular. We know he can let rip and is one of rock’s finest but Barre-watchers may be dismayed that his approach – for the most part – is restrained.

There are only three instrumentals – the very short ‘Chasing Shadows’ and ‘Calafel’ echoing the tone of a previous offering ‘Away With Words’ and the more expansive ‘Hammer’. As ever, a few more of these more frenetic electric workouts would have been very welcome.


The mix of the powerful and the pastoral is ever present with songs like ‘You And I’ (reminiscent of ‘Protect & Survive’ ) and ‘Sea Of Vanity’ (Fairports?) rubbing shoulders with the heavyweight ‘Moment Of Madness’, a potential single (!).

One can’t help wondering what would happen if Barre had taken a different musical direction, perhaps a bit more proggy or even hard rock/AOR. There are elements of course – ‘Moment Of Madness’ also shows a rather appealing commerciality – but for me the album is a little too diverse and as a result less cohesive. Its main appeal will therefore be to “the faithful”.

‘Back To Steel’ finds Martin Barre further escaping from the shadow of the Pied Piper and we can report he is in rude good health, and thriving.

Martin Barre is an English rock musician best known for his work with progressive rock band Jethro Tull, with whom he recorded and toured from their second album in 1969 to the band’s initial dissolution in 2012. In the early 1990s he went solo, and has recorded four studio albums and made several guest appearances. He has also played the flute and other instruments such as thesaxophone, mandolin, both on stage for Jethro Tull and in his own solo work.


Martin Barre is one of those guitarists who often misses out on the awards and recognition but who, when you hear him, is one of the best musicians around. This album celebrates 50 (yes 50) years of playing saxophone and guitar and returns him to his roots, playing electric guitars with steel strings. Right from the title track he mixes it up, playing with fluidity and flexibility whether he is playing rock or edging towards prog and throws in some sterling melodies and riffing alongside his songwriting which is generally excellent. The main instrument throughout is Barre’s guitar but his vocals are pretty tasty, especially on numbers like Bad Man where his growled vocals go perfectly against a resonator acoustic. Back To Steel is pure rock with shrieking guitar set against a dark and heavy bass line while Hammer reaches an almost jazz like melody. When he softens his stance, as he does on the lovely Chasing Shadows, he shows a remarkable lyrical side to his playing. (unknown source)


Martin Barre (guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, banjo, flute, keyboards)
Dan Crisp (vocals, guitar)
George Lindsay (drums, percussion)
Alan Thomson (bass, vocals)
Alan Bray (bass on 15.)
Patrick James Pearson (organ on 01.)
Alan Thomson (slide-guitar on 14., organ on 11.)
background vocals:
Alex Hart – Elani Andrea


01. Back To Steel (Barre) 3.37
02. It’s Getting Better (Barre) 3.31
03. Bad Man (Barre) 3.14
04. Skating Away (Anderson) 3.25
05. Chasing Shadows (Barre) 0.58
06. Hammer (Barre) 3.13
07. You And I (Barre) 2.54
08. Moment Of Madness (Barre) 3.07
09. Calafel (Barre) 1.53
10. Eleanor Rigby (Lennon/McCartney) 3.17
11. Peace And Quiet (Barre) 3.59
12. Sea Of Vanity (Barre) 2.55
13. Smokestack Lightning (Burnett/Barre) 4.02
14. Without Me (Barre) 3.12
15. Slow Marching Band (Anderson) 3.28



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

Dave Rawlings & Gillian Welch (Oscar 2019)

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.)


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



Warren Haynes (feat. Railroad Earth) – Ashes & Dust (2015)

FrontCover1.jpgAshes & Dust is the third studio album by American musician Warren Haynes. The album was released on July 24, 2015, by Concord Music Group.

When Warren Haynes released the rocking soul and gospel set Man in Motion in 2011, it was the fulfillment of a dream, to write and record songs that reflected the early influence of those sounds on his musical development with an all-star band. Ashes & Dust is another side of his story. Growing up in Asheville, North Carolina, Haynes was equally exposed to bluegrass, mountain folk music, and country gospel. Their influence is plentiful here, on originals and covers alike. He’s chosen New Jersey’s endlessly inventive roots music ensemble Railroad Earth this time out. Haynes uses electric guitars here; they are part and parcel of a largely acoustic tapestry that can loosely be called Americana. He wrote or co-wrote eight of these 13 tunes. Among the highlights is “Company Man,” a song that’s been around for more than a decade in his own shows. It was inspired by his father’s hard-wrought life and work experiences; though it is ultimately triumphant, the song’s narrative poignantly details struggle. John Skehan’s mandolin, Andy Goessling’s banjo and strummed acoustic, and Tim Carbone’s fiddle swirl around Haynes’ stinging electric break, which adds drama to his lyric. The cover of Billy Edd Wheeler’s classic “Coal Tattoo” (he’s the songwriter and visual artist who wrote “Jackson” for Johnny Cash) weds Appalachian mountain music to the electric blues with Haynes slide cutting through the banjo and mandolin. Shawn Colvin and Mickey Raphael assist on the road-weary country-rock of “Wanderlust.” “Stranded in Self-Pity” is a jazzy rag blues with a honky tonk piano underscoring Haynes’ wily electric guitar, Carbone’s fiddle, and Skehan’s clarinet solo.


One can hear the influences of Levon Helm and T-Bone Wolk on the track, which is only fitting. He planned this record seven years ago and they were both supposed to play on it. The only misstep here is the cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Gold Dust Woman,” with Grace Potter almost mimicking songwriter Stevie Nicks’ role. It’s such a straight arrangement that it adds virtually nothing. “Spots of Time” is the set’s longest cut at over eight minutes, co-written with Phil Lesh. It is one of two tracks here to feature drums and percussion by Marc Quiñones. It’s a loping, breezy rocker with a gorgeous extended jazz guitar solo; it would have been right at home in the Grateful Dead’s catalog. Closer “Word on the Wind” is an excellent update — even reinvention — of Southern rock; it exists in a space where Marshall Tucker, Crazy Horse, and the (Joe Walsh era) James Gang all melt into one another. While Ashes & Dust doesn’t really add anything “new” to Haynes’ musical profile — fans already knew this was here — there are some fine benchmarks: his singing has never used such a range of dynamics before; for once he lets the song dictate his expression. Others are tight songwriting and arranging craft — especially when fleshed out by the almost limitless creativity of Railroad Earth. Ashes & Dust is a worthy and welcome addition to Haynes’ catalog. (by Thom Jurek)

This is one of the finest Southern Rock albums in the last years !


Andrew Altman (bass)
Tim Carbone (fiddle)
Andy Goessling (guitar, pedal steel-guitar, banjo, clarinet)
Carey Harmon (drums)
Warren Haynes (guitar, slide-guitar, vocals)
Todd Sheaffer (guitar, background vocals)
John Skehan (mandolin, bouzouki, piano)
Oteil Burbridge (bass on 11.)
Shawn Colvin (vocals on 10.)
Grace Potter (vocals on 08.)
Marc Quinones (percussion on 09. + 11., drums on 11.)
Mickey Raphael (harmonica on 10.)


01. Is It Me Or You (Haynes) 5.15
02. Coal Tattoo (Wheeler) 7.26
03. Blue Maiden’s Tale (Haynes) 7.27
04. Company Man (Haynes) 4.49
05. New Year’s Eve (Haynes) 4.40
06. Stranded In Self-Pity (Rhodes) 6.37
07. Glory Road (Sisk) 6.00
08. Gold Dust Woman (Nicks) 6.24
09. Beat Down The Dust (Haynes) 4.56
10. Wanderlust (Haynes) 4.50
11. Spots Of Time (Lesh/Haynes) 8.25
12. Hallelujah Boulevard (Haynes) 5.43
13. Word On The Wind (Sheaffer/Haynes) 6.46