John McLaughlin – The Montreux Years (2022)

LPFrontCover1John McLaughlin (born 4 January 1942) is an English guitarist, bandleader, and composer. A pioneer of jazz fusion, his music combines elements of jazz with rock, world music, Indian classical music, Western classical music, flamenco, and blues. After contributing to several key British groups of the early 1960s, McLaughlin made Extrapolation, his first album as a bandleader, in 1969. He then moved to the U.S., where he played with drummer Tony Williams’s group Lifetime and then with Miles Davis on his electric jazz fusion albums In a Silent Way, Bitches Brew, Jack Johnson, and On the Corner. His 1970s electric band, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, performed a technically virtuosic and complex style of music that fused electric jazz and rock with Indian influences.

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McLaughlin’s solo on “Miles Beyond” from his album Live at Ronnie Scott’s won the 2018 Grammy Award for the Best Improvised Jazz Solo. He has been awarded multiple “Guitarist of the Year” and “Best Jazz Guitarist” awards from magazines such as DownBeat and Guitar Player based on reader polls. In 2003, he was ranked 49th in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.[3] In 2009, DownBeat included McLaughlin in its unranked list of “75 Great Guitarists”, in the “Modern Jazz Maestros” category. In 2012, Guitar World magazine ranked him 63rd on its top 100 list. In 2010, Jeff Beck called McLaughlin “the best guitarist alive”, and Pat Metheny has also described him as the world’s greatest guitarist. In 2017, McLaughlin was awarded an honorary doctorate of music from Berklee College of Music. (wikipedia)

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And here´s a brilliant compilation:

Montreux Jazz Festival and John McLaughlin have shared a special bond since the English guitarist first performed at the internationally renowned Swiss festival in 1972, with The Mahavishnu Orchestra. Since then, the ever-searching McLaughlin has returned numerous times, with almost every formation he has ever led. This double vinyl or single-CD release is effectively a sampler, as all bar one of these tunes appeared on the mammoth 17xCD box set John McLaughlin Montreux Concerts (Warner Bros Records, 2003). The one song exclusive to the 180-gram vinyl is “Friendship,” from a 1978 performance by The One Truth Band. Otherwise, vinyl and CD cover the same ground, representing five different McLaughlin vehicles from 1984 to 2016.

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Two tracks from the last incarnation of The Mahavishnu Orchestra, the burning “Radio Activity” and the more lyrical “Nostalgia,” have McLaughlin in irrepressible form. On the former, McLauglin tears it up on electric guitar with arguably one of his finest solos committed to record. On the latter, the guitarist’s fluid yet tender lines on his Syncaliver synth guitar seem to foreshadow Is That So? (Abstract Logix, 2020), an achingly beautiful series of bhajans, or devotional songs, in the company of Zakir Hussain and Shankar Mahadevan. Notable too, the playing of saxophonist Bill Evans on tenor and soprano—a mainstay of Miles Davis’s early/mid-’80s bands—and keyboardist Mitchel Forman, whose distinctive musical personalities leave their own indelible stamps on this leaner, funkier—and somewhat underrated—version of The Mahavishnu Orchestra.

McLaughlin’s restless creativity meant that few of his ’80s or ’90s bands ran for long. The Free Spirits trio with drummer Dennis Chambers and organist Joey DeFrancesco, was only documented on Tokyo Live (Verve, 2002), so its smouldering interpretation of Carla Bley’s “Sing Me Softly Of The Blues” from MJF 1995 is a welcome offering. McLaughlin and DeFrancesco take turns to let bluesy sparks fly, with Chambers, a more subtle colorist than he’s often given credit for, serving the music unobtrusively.

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Chambers also commands the drum stool on “Acid Jazz” with The Heart Of Things at MJF 1998. One of McLaughlin’s favourite—though short-lived—bands, the sextet also features saxophonist Gary Thomas, brilliant electric bassist Matt Garrison, percussionist Victor Williams and Venezuelan keyboardist Otmaro Ruiz. A talented bunch of musicians, for sure, but this is, truth be told, a slightly meandering slice of jazz-fusion that only fires in fits and starts. Thomas and McLaughlin appear to pay homage to John Coltrane with brief melodic mantras that echo “Acknowledgment” from A Love Supreme before a bristling solo from the leader, shadowed by the ever-alert Chambers.

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The only acoustic tracks on the album, from MJF 1987, see McLaughlin reunite with flamenco maestro Paco de Lucia. Both “David” and “Florianapolis,” in turns caressing and passionately fiery, appeared on the aforementioned 17xCD box set, which is now out of print. Happily, the entire 90-minute performance was released on a CD/DVD package by Eagle Eye Media in 2016. Still, these two stellar selections, which feature unison passages every bit as enthralling as the solos, serve as a timely reminder of just how special this duo was, and what a versatile player McLaughlin has always been.

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Fittingly, the album closes with McLaughlin’s tribute to de Lucia, “El Hombre Que Sabia,” at MJF 2016. McLauglin’s original intention was to record the composition with de Lucia, but with de Lucia’s passing in 2014 the tune instead made its way into the repertoire of McLaughlin’s longest-lasting band, the 4th Dimension. Keyboardist Gary Husband and McLaughlin trade fiery runs back and forth over drummer Ranjit Barot and electric bassist Etienne Mbappe’s rhythmic bustle.

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McLaughlin, who compiled the The Montreux Years himself, dedicates it “to the memory and achievements” of his good friend and MJF founder, Claude Nobbs. Those achievements were considerable, as McLaughlin recalled for an AAJ feature to mark the 50th anniversary of MJF in 2016: “Claude and his passion eventually changed the economy of the town of Montreux, and even affected the entire Swiss economy, only by virtue of his passion and love for music.”

That the 4th Dimension’s appearance at MJF 2022 marks fifty years since McLaughlin first graced the festival is no small feat. McLauglin might not have affected a nation’s economy, but in his own steadfast way his music has touched millions. His own passion and love for music—and a very broad spectrum of it at that—are evident on this eclectic live compilation in every solo, in every dazzling unison line and in every lyrical phrase. (by Ian Patterson)

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Pesonnel:
Ranjit Barot: drums on 07.)
Dennis Chambers (drums on 03. + 05.)
Joey DeFrancesco (organ on 05.)
Bill Evans (saxophone on 01 + 02.)
Mitchel Forman (keyboards on 01 + 02.)
Matthew Garrison (bass on 03.)
Danny Gottlieb (drums on 01. + 02.)
Jonas Helborg (bass on 01. + 02.)
Gary Husband (keyboards on 07.)
Paco de Lucia (guitar on 05. + 06.)
Etienne Mbappe (bass on 07.)
John McLaughlin (guitar)
Otmaro Ruiz (keyboards on 03.)
L. Shankar (violin (on 02.)

Gary Thomas (saxophone on 03.)
Victor Williams (percussion on 03.)

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Tracklist:
01. Radio Activity (McLaughlin) (1984) 10.07
02. Friendship (McLaughlin) (1978) 9.27
03. Nostalgia (McLaughlin) (1984) 11.18
04. Acid Jazz (McLaughlin) (1998) 13.03
05. David (McLaughlin) (1987) 11.16
06. Florianapolis (McLaughlin/Forman) (1987) 11.57
07. Sing Me Softly Of The Blues (Bley) (1995) 8.06
08. El Hombre Qu (McLaughlin) (2016) 7.25

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Various Artists – Sweet Love (1999)

FrontCover1I got this double album from an old girl friend of mine … it contains Love Songs mostly from the 90s.

Most of the artists are unknown to me … and of course this is another low budget poduction.
But you can listen to it on a hot sultry summer evening if you want to.

This album was produced and distributed in Australia.

Artistsamd bands like Tina Arena, Kulcha, Merril Bainbridge, Absent Friends, Robertson Bros, Rick Price, Margaret Urlich and Renee Geyer … comes from Australia and New Zealand..

The songs are in a very soft mood (Phillysound !) … and that’s why I think this album will mostly appeal to women. … Not my kind of music !

And  “Feel Like Making Love” from Pauline Henry is a sort of Disco version from the old Bad Company classic song ! I really need to hear the original version now!

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Tracklist:

CD 1:
01. Tina Arena:  Chains (Arena/Werfel/Reswick) (1994) 4.00
02. Des’ree: Feel So High (Des’ree/Graves) (1991) 3.52
03. Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories: Stay (Loeb)  3.02
04. Sade: No Ordinary Love (Adu/Matthewman) (1992) 4.26
05. Annie Lennox: No More I Love You’s (Freeman/Mitchell) (1995) 4.51
06. Kulcha: Everytime You Go Away (Hall) (1995) 4.00
07. Sophie B Hawkins: As I Lay Me Down (Hawkins (!994) 4.09
08. Martika: Love, Thy Will Be Done (Martika/Prince) (1991) 4.10
09. Merril Bainbridge: Mouth (Bainbrdige) (1995) 3.25
10. Taylor Dayne: Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love (White) (1993) 4.26
11. La Bouche: Falling In Love (Hamilton) (1996) 3.56
12. The Chimes: I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (Evans/Hewsome/Clayton/ Mullen (1990) 5.28
13. Absent Friends: I Don’t Want To Be With Nobody But You (Floyd) (1989) 4.45
14. Puff Johnson: Forever More (Walden/Johnson/Dakota) (1996) 5.04

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CD 2:
01. Roachford: Lay Your Love On Me (Roachford) (1994) 4.11
02. Pauline Henry: Feel Like Making Love (Rodgers/Ralphs) (1990) 4.00
03. Terence Trent D’Arby: Sign Your Name (D’Arby) (1987) 4.36
04. Take That: How Deep Is Your Love (B.Gibb/R.Gibb/M.Gibb) (1995) 3.41
05. Haddaway: I Miss You (Halligan/Torello) (1993) 4.13
06. Brownstone: If You Love Me (Gilbert/Chambers/Hall) (1994) 5.03
07. 4pm: Lay Down Your Love (Goldmark/Mueller) (1994) 4.24
08. Jennifer Brown: Me Everything (Brown/Cox/Bagge) (1994) 4.28
09. Robertson Bros: Winter In America (Ashdown/Stewart) 4.37
10. New Kids On The Block: I’ll Be Loving You (Starr) (1988) 3.54
11. Rick Price: Not A Day Goes By (Price/Werfel/Redwick) 4.15
12. Margaret Urlich & Rick Price: Where Is The Love (Tyson/McTaggart) (1993) 2.54
13. Margaret Urlich: Number One (Remember When We Danced All Night) (Tyson/ McTaggart) 4.05
14. Renee Geyer: Say I Love You (Grant) 3.12

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Crosby, Stills & Nash – Carry On (1991)

FrontCover1Crosby, Stills & Nash (CSN) were a folk rock supergroup made up of American singer-songwriters David Crosby and Stephen Stills, and English singer-songwriter Graham Nash. When joined by Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young as a fourth member, they are called Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (CSNY). They are noted for their lasting influence on American music and culture, and for their intricate vocal harmonies, often tumultuous interpersonal relationships, and political activism.

CSN formed in 1968 shortly after Crosby, Stills and Nash performed together informally in July of that year, discovering they harmonized well. Crosby had been asked to leave the Byrds in late 1967, and Stills’ band Buffalo Springfield had broken up in early 1968; Nash left his band the Hollies in December, and by early 1969 the trio had signed a recording contract with Atlantic Records.

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Their first album, Crosby, Stills & Nash, was released in May 1969, from which came two Top 40 hits, “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” (No. 21) and “Marrakesh Express” (No. 28). In order to tour the album, the trio hired drummer Dallas Taylor and session bassist Greg Reeves, though they still needed a keyboardist; Ahmet Ertegun suggested Neil Young, who had played with Stills in Buffalo Springfield, and after some initial reluctance, the trio agreed, signing him on as a full member. The band, now named Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, started their tour, and played their second gig at the Woodstock festival in the early morning hours of August 18, 1969. The first album with Young, Déjà Vu, reached number one in several international charts in 1970, and remains their best selling album, going on to sell over 8 million copies with three hit singles: “Woodstock”, “Teach Your Children”, and “Our House”. The group’s second tour, which produced the live double album 4 Way Street (1971), was fraught with arguments between Young and Taylor, which resulted in Taylor being replaced by John Barbata, and tensions with Stills, which resulted in his being temporarily dismissed from the band. At the end of the tour the band split up. The group have since reunited several times, sometimes with and sometimes without Young, and have released eight studio and four live albums.

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Crosby, Stills & Nash were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and all three members were also inducted for their work in other groups: Crosby for the Byrds; Stills for Buffalo Springfield; and Nash for the Hollies. Neil Young has also been inducted as a solo artist and as a member of Buffalo Springfield but not as a member of CSN. They have not made a group studio album since 1999’s Looking Forward, and have been inactive as a performing unit since the end of 2015. Whether or not this break is permanent remains to be seen, as the group has often been inactive for years at a time.

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Carry On is the twelfth album by Crosby, Stills & Nash, issued on Atlantic Records in 1991, generally for the European and Australian markets. It is a two-disc sampler of their four-disc box set, CSN, released two months previously in the United States and the United Kingdom. It features material spanning 1968 through 1990 from their catalogue of recordings as a group in addition to selections from Crosby & Nash, Manassas, and their individual solo albums. It was reissued on 30 June 1998 on the WEA International record label. This compilation should not be confused with the Stephen Stills box set of the same name released in 2013.

Where the box set is a more comprehensive overview, this one focuses on previously unreleased tracks, hits, and favorites. Of its 36 tracks, 13 had been unreleased previously, and nine contain all of the group’s Top 40 hits from the Billboard Hot 100. The group’s some-time partner Neil Young appears on eight tracks, including his own songs “Helpless” and “Ohio”. The previously-unreleased material includes studio recordings by the full quartet of “Helplessly Hoping” (originally released by the trio), “Taken at All” (originally by Crosby & Nash), and “The Lee Shore” (previously available only live).[2] The set also includes both the demo of “You Don’t Have to Cry”, the first recording they made as Crosby, Stills & Nash, and the three tracks from their most recent studio album as of 1991 that are also on the box set.

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The original recordings were produced David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, and Neil Young, with assistance from Howard Albert, Ron Albert, Stanley Johnston, and Paul Rothchild. Audio engineers on the original recordings include Stephen Barncard, Larry Cox, Russ Gary, Don Gooch, Steve Gursky, Bill Halverson, David Hassinger, Andy Johns, and Jim Mitchell. The original masters were recorded at the following studios: Devonshire Sound Studio, Wally Heider Studios, The Record Plant, Rudy Recorders, the Sound Lab, Sunset Sound, Sunwest Studio, and Village Recorders in Los Angeles; United Studio in Hollywood; The Record Plant in New York City; Wally Heider Studios, His Master’s Wheels, and Rudy Recorders in San Francisco; Criteria Sound Studios in Miami; Island Studios in London; and Stephen Stills’ late 1960s home in Laurel Canyon. The selections were compiled for this set by Crosby, Stills, Nash, Gerry Tolman, and Yves Beauvais, with additional research by Joel Bernstein. (wikipeia)

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This two-CD set, issued for the European and Australian markets, has proved among the most popular of Crosby, Stills & Nash’s imports since its release in 1998. Not as hefty, physically or monetarily, as the 1991 four-CD box, it limits itself to the group’s hits and popular and important LP cuts — many represented by outtake versions and alternate mixes — interspersed with popular tracks from the work of Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, and David Crosby (solo and partnered together), and adds what is mostly the best of the previously unissued Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young material from the box. It’s a good survey of the trio’s best moments and the three members’ most effective solo outings, and presents their most appealing side — one assumes that a future Graham Nash compilation will include room for tracks like “I Used to Be a King” or “Military Madness” and that Crosby’s best stuff off of his first solo album will be compiled that way as well. The inclusion of Crosby’s 1968 version of “Guinevere,” the early alternate mix of “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” and a handful of additional outtakes that surfaced on the box are the places where the set departs from a standard best-of, but that departure is justified and welcome, separating this set from the So Far album, and anyone who didn’t spring for the four-CD set will be delighted. There are no notes, but none are needed either, and the only drawback for some will be the fact that the stuff isn’t presented in remotely chronological order. (by Bruce Eder)

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Personnel:
David Crosby (vocals, guitar, keyboards)
Graham Nash (vocals, guitar, keyboards, percussion)
Stephen Stills (vocals, guitar, keyboards, bass, percussion)
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Neil Young (vocals, guitar, harmonica, keyboards)
*
guitar:
Joel Bernstein – Danny Kortchmar – Michael Landau – David Lindley – Michael Stergis –  James Taylor

bass:
Jack Casady – Tim Drummond – Bob Glaub – Bruce Palmer – George “Chocolate” Perry –  Greg Reeves – Calvin “Fuzzy” Samuels – Leland Sklar

keyboards:
Richard T. Bear, – Joel Bernstein – Craig Doerge – Mike Finnigan – Paul Harris – James Newton Howard

drums:
John Barbata – Russ Kunkel – Dallas Taylor

percussion:
Michael Fisher – Joe Lala – Efrain Toro, Jeff Whittaker
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Tony Beard (drum programming)
Cyrus Faryar (bouzouki)
Jerry Garcia (pedal steel-guitar)
Wayne Goodwin (fiddle)
Branford Marsalis (saxophone)
John Sebastian (harmonica, backround vocals)
Joe Vitale (drums, percussion, keyboards, synthesizers, vibraphone, flute)
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background vocals:
Joel Bernstein – Rita Coolidge – Venetta Fields – Priscilla Jones – Clydie King – Sherlie Matthews – Dorothy Morrison – Timothy B. Schmit
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Tracklist:

CD 1:
01. C S N & Y: Woodstock (Mitchell) (1969:**) 3.54
02. C S & N: Marrakesh Express (Nash) 2.36
03. C S & N: You Don’t Have To Cry (Stills) (1968:†) 2.41
04. CS N & Y:  Teach Your Children (Nash) )1969) 2.54
05. Stephen Stills: Love the One You’re With (Stills) (1970) 3.06
06. CS N & Y: Almost Cut My Hair (Crosby) (1970; †) 8,51
07. C S & N: Wooden Ships (Crosby/Kantner/Stills) 5.27
08. C S & N: Dark Star (Stills) (1983; *) 4.58
09. C S N & Y: Helpless (Young) (1969) 3.37
10. Graham Nash: Chicago/We Can Change The World (Nash) (1971) 4.00
11. C S & N: Cathedral (Nash) (1977) 5-28
12. Stephen Stills: 4+20 (Stills) (1969; **) 2.11
13. C S N & Y: Our House (Nash) 2.59
14. David Crosby & Graham Nash: To the Last Whale…” (Crosby/Nash) (1975) 5.31
15. Stephen Stills: Change Partners (Stills/Crosby) (1971) 3.16
16. C S & N: Just A Song Before I Go (1977) 2.14
17. C S N & Y: Ohio (non-album single) (Young) (1970) 3.06
18. C S & N: Wasted On The Way (Nash) (1981) 2.50
19. C S & N: Southern Cross (Stills/R.Curtis/M.Curtis) (1981) 4.39

CD 2:
01. C S & N: Suite: Judy Blue Eyes (Stills) (1969; ** ) 7.29
02. C S N & Y: Carry On/Questions (Stills) (1969) 4.27
03. C S N & Y: Horses Through A Rainstorm (Nash/Reid) (1969; ‡) 3.39
04. Manassas: Johnny’s Garden (Stills) (1972) 2.47
05. David Crosby: Guinnevere (Crosby) (1968: †) 4.46
06. C S N & Y: Helplessly Hoping (Stills) (1969: †) 2.32
07. C S N & Y: The Lee Shore (Crosby) (1969; †) 5.30
08. C S N & Y: Taken At All (Nash/Crosby) (1976; † ) 2:54
09. C S & N: Shadow Captain (Crosby/Doerge) (1977) 4.33
10. C S & N: As I Come Of Age (Stills) (1981; †) 2.49
11. David Crosby: Drive My Car (Crosby) (1978; †) 3.51
12. Steve Stills & Graham Nash: Dear Mr. Fantasy (Winwood/Capaldi/Wood( (1980;‡) 7.04
13. C S & N: In My Dreams (Crosby) (1977) 5.12
14. C S & N: Yours And Mine (Crosby) (1990) 4.28
15. C S & N: Haven’t We Lost Enough? (Stills/Cronin) (1990) 3.07
16. C S & N: After The Dolphin (Nash) (1989) 4.54
17. C S N & Y: Find the Cost Of Freedom (B-side of the “Ohio” single) (Stills) (1970) 1.59

An asterisk (*) indicates a live recording, two asterisks (**) a previously unreleased mix, (†) a previously unreleased version, and (‡) a previously unreleased song.

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Earth, Wind & Fire – September (2001)

FrontCover1Earth, Wind & Fire (EW&F or EWF) are an American band who have spanned the musical genres of jazz, R&B, soul, funk, disco, pop, EDM, Latin, and Afro pop. They have been described as one of the most innovative and are among the most commercially successful acts in history. With sales of over 90 million records, they are one of the world’s best-selling bands of all time.

The band was founded in Chicago by Maurice White in 1969, having grown out of a previous band known as the Salty Peppers. Other prominent members of EWF have included Philip Bailey, Verdine White, Ralph Johnson, Larry Dunn, Al McKay, Roland Bautista, Robert Brookins, Sonny Emory, Fred Ravel, Ronnie Laws, Sheldon Reynolds and Andrew Woolfolk. The band is known for its kalimba sound, dynamic horn section, energetic and elaborate stage shows, and the contrast between Philip Bailey’s falsetto vocals and Maurice White’s baritone.

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The band has won 6 Grammys from their 17 nominations and four American Music Awards out of 12 nominations. They have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, the NAACP Image Award Hall of Fame, and Hollywood’s Rockwalk, in addition to receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The band has also received an ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award, BET Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Soul Train Legend Award, as well as a NARAS Signature Governor’s Award, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2012 Congressional Horizon Award, and the Kennedy Center Honors in 2019. Rolling Stone called them “innovative, precise yet sensual, calculated yet galvanizing” and declared that the band “changed the sound of black pop”. VH1 has also described EWF as “one of the greatest bands” ever. (wikipedia)

Maurice White

Earth, Wind & Fire were one of the most musically accomplished, critically acclaimed, and commercially popular funk bands of the ’70s. Conceived by drummer, bandleader, songwriter, kalimba player, and occasional vocalist Maurice White, EWF’s all-encompassing musical vision used funk as its foundation, but also incorporated jazz, smooth soul, gospel, pop, rock & roll, psychedelia, blues, folk, African music, and, later on, disco. Lead singer Philip Bailey gave EWF an extra dimension with his talent for crooning sentimental ballads in addition to funk workouts; behind him, the band could harmonize like a smooth Motown group, work a simmering groove like the J.B.’s, and improvise like a jazz fusion outfit. Their stage shows were often as elaborate and dynamic as George Clinton’s P-Funk empire.

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More than just versatility for its own sake, EWF’s eclecticism was part of a broader concept informed by a cosmic, mystical spirituality and an uplifting positivity the likes of which hadn’t been seen since the early days of Sly & the Family Stone. Tying it all together was the accomplished songwriting of Maurice White, whose intricate, unpredictable arrangements and firm grasp of hooks and structure made EWF one of the tightest bands in funk. Not everything they tried worked, but at their best, Earth, Wind & Fire seemingly took all that came before them and wrapped it up into one dizzying, spectacular package. (by Steve Huey)

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And here´s a nice compilation with many of their hits.

Not my kind of music but ouf course a very important part of Rock & Funk in the hsitory of music !

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Personnel.
various Earth, Wind & ire line-ups

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Tracklist:

CD 1:
01. September (M.White/McKay/Willis) (1978) 3.35
02. Let’s Groove (M.White/Vaughn) (1981) 4.03
03. Got To Get You Into My Life (single version) (Lennon/McCartney) (1978) 4.01
04. Serpentine Fire (M.White/V.White/Burke) (1977) 3.51
05. Getaway (album version) (Taylor/Cor) (1976) 3.44
06. Electricnation (M.White/Page/Fairweather) (1983) 4.31
07. Let Me Talk (album version) (M.White/Bailey/V.White/Dunn/McKay/Johnson) (1980) 4.07
08. Runnin’ (album version) (M.White/Dunn/Barrio) (1977) 5.52
09. Kalimba Story (album version) (M.White/A.White/Verdine) (1974) 4.02
10. I’m In Love (Hill/Spears/Young) (1990) 3.51
11. Be Ever Wonderful (M.White/Dunn) (1977) 5.07
12. Could It Be Right (album version) (M.White/Willis/Foster) (1983) 5.19

CD 2:
01. Boogie Wonderland (Lind/Willis) (1979) 4.44
02. Fantasy (M.White/Barrio/V.White) (1977) 3.44
03. Shining Star (M.White/Bailey) (1975) 2.52
04. Star (album version) (M.White/Willis/Barrio) (1979) 4.21
05. Moonwalk (Foster/O`Connor) (1983) 4.09
06. Sing A Song (album version) (M.White/McKay) (1975) 3.21
07. Touch (Lind/Page) (1983) 4.54
08. Miracles (M.White/Lind/Barrio/D´Astugues) (1982) 4.57
09. Reasons (M.White/Stepney/Bailey) (1975) 4.53
10. I’ll Write A Song For You (McKay/Bailey/Beckmeier) (1977) 5.19
11.  Daydreamin’ (Hill/Spears/Young/M.White) (1990) 3.57
12. Song In My Heart (M.White/Glenn/Russell) (1980) 4.17

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The official website:
Website

James Taylor – Classic Songs (1987)

LPFrontCover1James Vernon Taylor (born March 12, 1948) is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. A six-time Grammy Award winner, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 100 million records worldwide.

Taylor achieved his breakthrough in 1970 with the No. 3 single “Fire and Rain” and had his first No. 1 hit in 1971 with his recording of “You’ve Got a Friend”, written by Carole King in the same year. His 1976 Greatest Hits album was certified Diamond and has sold 12 million copies in the US alone. Following his 1977 album JT, he has retained a large audience over the decades. Every album that he released from 1977 to 2007 sold over 1 million copies. He enjoyed a resurgence in chart performance during the late 1990s and 2000s, when he recorded some of his most-awarded work (including Hourglass, October Road, and Covers). He achieved his first number-one album in the US in 2015 with his recording Before This World.

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Taylor is also known for his covers, such as “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” and “Handy Man”, as well as originals such as “Sweet Baby James”. He played the leading role in Monte Hellman’s 1971 film Two-Lane Blacktop.

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Classic Songs is the second compilation album by James Taylor. Only available in Europe it was, for a long time, the only compilation album to feature original versions of Taylor’s classics. It spanned from his original work to his That’s Why I’m Here album from 1985. (wikipedia)

For a long time, Classic Songs was the only compilation to feature the original versions of all of James Taylor’s classics from his debut up through 1985’s That’s Why I’m Here. Unfortunately, it was only available in Europe, yet it long remained the best, most comprehensive collection of his work. (by Chris Woodstraby Chris Woodstra)

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Personnel:
James Taylor (vocals, guitar)
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many, many studio musicians

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Tracklist:
01. Fire And Rain (Taylor) 3.24
02, Mexico (Taylor) 3:00
03, You’ve Got a Friend (King) 4.30
04. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You) (Hollan/Dozier/Holland) 3.36
05. Carolina In My Mind (Taylor) 4.00
06. Something In The Way She Moves (Taylor) 3.09
07. Shower The People (Taylor) 4.31
08. Sweet Baby James (Taylor) 2.52
09. That’s Why I’m Here (Taylor) 3.38
10. Everyday (Holly/Petty) 3.12
11. Up On The Roof (Goffin/King) 4.20
12. Your Smiling Face (Taylor) 2.43
13. Her Town Too (Souther/Taylor/Wachtel) 4.25
14. Handy Man (Blackwell/Jones) 3.17
15. Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight (Taylor) 2.36
16. Only A Dream In Rio (Taylor) 4.57

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A low budget reissue from 1992:
Re-Issue

More from James Taylor:
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The official website:
Website

John Mellencamp – The Best I Could Do (1978-1988) (1997)

FrontCover1John J. Mellencamp (born October 7, 1951), previously known as Johnny Cougar, John Cougar, and John Cougar Mellencamp, is an American musician, singer-songwriter, painter, actor, and film director. He is known for his catchy brand of heartland rock, which emphasizes traditional instrumentation.

Mellencamp rose to fame in the 1980s while “honing an almost startlingly plainspoken writing style” that, starting in 1982, yielded a string of Top 10 singles, including “Hurts So Good”, “Jack & Diane”, “Crumblin’ Down”, “Pink Houses”, “Lonely Ol’ Night”, “Small Town”, “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.”, “Paper in Fire”, and “Cherry Bomb”. He has amassed 22 Top 40 hits in the United States. In addition, he holds the record for the most tracks by a solo artist to hit number one on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, with seven. Mellencamp has been nominated for 13 Grammy Awards, winning one. His latest album of original songs, Strictly a One-Eyed Jack, was released on January 21, 2022. Mellencamp has sold over 30 million albums in the US and over 60 million worldwide.

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Mellencamp is also one of the founding members of Farm Aid, an organization that began in 1985 with a concert in Champaign, Illinois, to raise awareness about the loss of family farms and to raise funds to keep farm families on their land. Farm Aid concerts have remained an annual event over the past 37 years, and as of 2022 the organization has raised over $60 million.

Mellencamp was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 10, 2008.[3] On June 14, 2018, Mellencamp was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

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The Best That I Could Do 1978–1988 is the first greatest hits compilation album by American singer-songwriter John Mellencamp, released by Mercury Records in 1997 (see 1997 in music). It compiles Mellencamp’s most popular material recorded during his first decade with Riva and Mercury Records, beginning with 1978’s A Biography, up through 1987’s The Lonesome Jubilee, with a new recording of Terry Reid’s “Without Expression”. Mellencamp picked the songs for the album and also came up with the title for the album. The album reached No. 33 on the Billboard 200. This album and Rough Harvest came about because, after leaving Mercury Records for Columbia Records, Mellencamp still owed the label two more albums.

Robert Christgau described it as the best of John Mellencamp, which to him is not saying much. Entertainment Weekly gave the album a “B” rating, describing it as “uncomplicated but sophisticated.” (wikipedia)

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The Best That I Could Do is an appropriately self-deprecating title for John Mellencamp’s greatest-hits collection, considering that the heartland rocker never seemed too convinced of his own worth. Of course, he had to struggle to get any respect after he was saddled with the stage name Johnny Cougar early in his career, but this 14-track collection proves that he was one of the best, unabashed straight-ahead rockers of the ’80s. The 14 tracks here actually turn out to be a little too short to contain all of his great singles — songs like “Rain on the Scarecrow,” “Rumbleseat,” “Pop Singer,” “Again Tonight,” and “What If I Came Knocking” are left off the collection (there’s nothing from 1988’s Big Daddy at all) — but it’s hard to argue with what’s here. Over the course of the collection, such classic rock hits as “I Need a Lover,” “Hurts So Good,” “Jack and Diane,” “Crumblin’ Down,” “Pink Houses,” “Lonely Ol’ Night,” “Small Town,” “Paper in Fire,” “Cherry Bomb,” and “Check It Out” are chronicled, with a new cover of Terry Reid’s “Without Expression” added for good measure. It may fall short of being definitive, but only by a small margin, and it remains an excellent overview and introduction to Mellencamp’s remarkably consistent body of work. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
Kenny Aronoff (drums, background vocals, hammer dulcimer, vibraphone on 02.)
John Cascella (keyboards, accordion)
Larry Crane (guitar, harmonica, background vocals, flutophone)
Carroll Sue Hill (keyboards, background vocals)
John Mellencamp (vocals, guitar)
Toby Myers (bass, background vocals)
Eric Rosser (keyboards)
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Brian Bekvar (keyboards on 01.)
Dane Clark (drums on 14.)
Robert “Ferd” Frank (bass, background vocals on 01.)
Lisa Germano (violin)
Tom Knowles (drums on 01.)
George “Chocolate” Perry (bass on 03.)
Mick Ronson (guitar and background vocals on 04.)
Rick Shlosser (drums on 02.)
Miriam Sturm (violin on 14.)
Mike Wanchic (guitar, background vocals on 14.)
Andy York (guitar, background vocals on 14.)
Moe Z (keyboards, background vocals on 14.)
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background vocals:
Pat Peterson – Crystal Taliefero – Sarah Flint – Dave Parman

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Tracklist:
01. I Need A Lover (Mellencamp) (from “A Biography”;1978) (1) 5.36
02. Ain’t Even Done With The Night (Mellencamp)  (from “Nothin’ Matters And What If It Did”; 1980) 4.36
03. Hurts So Good (Mellencamp/Green) (from “American Fool”; 1982) (1) 3.39
04. Jack And Diane (Mellencamp) (from “American Fool”; 1982) (1) 4.14
05. Crumblin’ Down (Mellencamp/Green) (from “Uh-Huh”; 1983) 3.34
06. Pink Houses (Mellencamp) (from “Uh-Huh”; 1983) 4.44
07. Authority Song (Mellencamp) (from “Uh-Huh”; 1983) 3.48
08. Lonely Ol’ Night (Mellencamp) (from “Scarecrow”; 1985) 3.43
09. Small Town (Mellencamp) (from “Scarecrow”; 1985) 3.41
10. R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A. (Mellencamp) (from “Scarecrow”; 1985) 2.54
11. Paper In Fire (Mellencamp) (from “The Lonesome Jubilee”; 1987) 3.51
12. Cherry Bomb (Mellencamp) (from “The Lonesome Jubilee”; 1987) 4.48
13. Check It Out  (from “The Lonesome Jubilee”; 1987) 4.19
14. Without Expression (Reid) (previously unreleased; 1997) 5.06

(1) first released by John Mellencamp under the stage name “Johnny Cougar”

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The official website:
Website

Wet Wet Wet – Greatest Hits – End Of Part One (1993)

FrontCover1Wet Wet Wet are a Scottish soft rock band formed in 1982. They scored a number of hits in the UK charts and around the world in the 1980s and 1990s. The band is composed of Graeme Clark (bass, vocals), Tommy Cunningham (drums, vocals), Neil Mitchell (keyboards, piano, vocals) and, since 2018, lead vocalist and former Liberty X singer Kevin Simm, who replaced founding member Marti Pellow after he left during the previous year. A fifth, unofficial member, Graeme Duffin (lead guitar, vocals), has been with them since 1983. The band were named Best British Newcomer at the 1988 Brit Awards.

They are best known for their 1994 cover of The Troggs’ 1960s hit “Love Is All Around”, which was used on the soundtrack to the film Four Weddings and a Funeral. It was a huge international success and spent 15 weeks atop the British charts. One week before potentially equalling the record for the most consecutive weeks at number 1 on the UK singles chart, held by Bryan Adams’ “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You”, it dropped to number two.

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End of Part One: Their Greatest Hits is the first compilation album released by Scottish pop rock quartet Wet Wet Wet. Released on 8 November 1993, the album serves as a comprehensive collection of the band’s single discography, featuring all sixteen singles released between 1987 and 1993, plus two brand new songs — “Shed a Tear” and “Cold Cold Heart” — which were recorded by Nile Rodgers at The Hit Factory in New York City, where the album’s artwork was also shot. Both went on to be released as a singles.

The album peaked at No. 4 on the UK Albums Chart. An accompanying VHS video, containing the band’s fifteen music videos to date, was released three days after the album on 11 November. In 1994, following the release of the band’s biggest hit to date, “Love Is All Around”, the album was re-released containing the aforementioned song as a bonus track. Subsequently, the album re-entered the UK Albums Chart, this time peaking at No. 1. A US-only version of the album, Part One, was released on 26 July 1994, peaking at No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100. (wikipedia)

Wet Wet Wet02From the time Wet Wet Wet’s debut was released in 1987 to the time this best-of compilation was released in 1993, the band managed to become one of the biggest-selling acts in British chart history; and that was before the release of “Love Is All Around.” End of Part One brings together Wet Wet Wet’s hits from the late ’80s and early ’90s and is a good overview of the band’s early catalog of work.

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Ranging from blue-eyed soul to radio-friendly pop, the disc catalogs the band’s evolution, although it also serves to show some of the limitations of the band, most noticeably Marti Pellow’s charismatic but limited vocal delivery. For casual fans, this is all the Wet Wet Wet you’ll ever need, as End of Part One contains the best of their recordings without too much of the album fill. Apart from their biggest single, “Love Is All Around,” there was nothing from the last few years of their existence that matched the quality of the songs collected here. (by Jonathan Lewis)

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Personnel:
Graeme Clark (bass, guitar, background vocals)
Tommy Cunningham (drums, percussion, background vocals)
Graeme Duffin (guitar, background vocals)
Neil Mitchell (keyboards)
Marti Pellow (vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Wishing I Was Lucky (Clark/Cunningham/Mitchell/Pellow) 3.52
02. Sweet Little Mystery (Clark/Cunningham/Mitchell/Pellow) 3.42
03. Angel Eyes (single version) (Clark/Cunningham/Mitchell/Pellow) 4.29
04. Temptation” (edited version) (Clark/Cunningham/Mitchell/Pellow) 3:58
05. With A Little Help From My Friends (Lennon/McCartney) 2.37
06. Sweet Surrender” (7″ version) (Clark/Cunningham/Mitchell/Pellow) 4.22
07. Broke Away” (7″ version) (Clark/Cunningham/Mitchell/Pellow) 3.58
08. Hold Back The River (Clark/Cunningham/Mitchell/Pellow) 4.43
o9. Stay With Me Heartache (Clark/Cunningham/Mitchell/Pellow) 4.08
10. This Time (Mitchell/Adams Jr.) 4.13
11. Make It Tonight (Clark/Cunningham/Mitchell/Pellow) 4.03
12. Put The Light On (Clark/Cunningham/Mitchell/Pellow) 3.56
13. Goodnight Girl (Clark/Cunningham/Mitchell/Pellow) 3.38
14. More Than Love (Clark/Cunningham/Mitchell/Pellow) 4.20
15. Lip Service (7″ version) 4.27
16. Blue For You” (live) (Clark/Cunningham/Mitchell/Pellow) 5.15
17. Shed A Tear (Clark/Cunningham/Mitchell/Pellow) 4.38
18. Cold Cold Heart (Clark/Cunningham/Mitchell/Pellow) 4.12
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19. “Love Is All Around (Presley) 3.56

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The official website:
Website

Swing Out Sister – Breakout (2001)

FrontCover1Although Swing Out Sister’s music is unashamedly commercial pop, their impeccable indie credentials (keyboardist Andy Connell and drummer Martin Jackson were formerly of A Certain Ratio and Magazine, and singer Corinne Drewery had no professional experience at all before joining), jazz-tinged arrangements, and knack for clever hooks move them closer to the indie dance territory of St. Etienne or late period Everything But the Girl than to the cookie-cutter dance-pop of Kylie Minogue or Paula Abdul.

Connell and Jackson formed Swing Out Sister in their hometown of Manchester, England, in 1985 as a studio-based partnership set to refine the jazzy funk of A Certain Ratio and Magazine’s quirky reimaginings of old-fashioned middle-of-the-road pop. Nottingham-born singer Drewery joined the duo just in time for their first single, “Blue Mood,” in late 1985. That single didn’t do much, but the follow-up, “Breakout,” was a Top Ten hit in Great Britain and Japan in the fall of 1986.

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The trio belatedly completed debut album It’s Better to Travel in 1987; its U.S. release scored a pair of hits with “Breakout” and “Twilight World.” Jackson demoted himself to partial contributor on 1989’s Kaleidoscope World, which emphasized the remaining duo’s debt to lush ’60s pop by hiring the legendary Jim Webb to arrange and conduct the orchestra. Though the singles “You on My Mind” and “Waiting Game” were U.K. hits, the album didn’t attract much attention in the U.S. In Japan, however, both albums were big enough hits that a special Japan-only collection of remixes, Another Non-Stop Sister, was released in late 1989, followed by the similar Swing 3 in 1990, which also collected early B-sides and other rare tracks.

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Released in 1992, Get in Touch with Yourself returned Drewery and Connell (Jackson had by this time bowed out completely) to the U.S. and U.K. charts with their cover of Barbara Acklin’s “Am I the Same Girl,” a ’60s pop hit based on the famous instrumental “Soulful Strut” by Young-Holt Unlimited. The single was even bigger in Japan, where Swing Out Sister were by this time one of the most popular acts in the country. Another remix compilation, Swing Out Singles, and a live album, Live at the Jazz Cafe, were released in Japan that year. After 1994’s The Living Return failed to chart in Great Britain, the U.K. office of Mercury Records put out 1996’s The Best of Swing Out Sister but failed to release 1997’s Shapes and Patterns, 1999’s Filth and Dreams, or 2001’s Somewhere Deep in the Night in the duo’s native country — this despite Swing Out Sister’s continued success in Japan and a devoted cult following in the U.S. and Europe.

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EMI was the worldwide label for 2004’s Where Our Love Grows. Live in Tokyo appeared a year later, followed in 2008 by Beautiful Mess, the group’s ninth studio album. In 2010, Swing Out Sister issued Private View, a hits collection that was available exclusively through their Facebook page. The year 2012 marked the 25th anniversary of the band’s debut album, It’s Better to Travel, which was reissued as a deluxe two-disc set. Later that year, Private View (with two bonus tracks) saw CD release through normal distribution channels. As the culmination of a PledgeMusic project, the group released a studio album, Almost Persuaded, in 2018. (by Stewart Mason)

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And here´s a nice compilation of tracks released originally 1985-1994. All tracks are album versions, except 2 and 15. Tracks 5, 6 & 16 are early B-sides.

Not really necessary but of course a part of the history of British pop.

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Personnel:
Andy Connell (keyoards)
Corinne Drewery (vocals)
Martin Jackson (drums)
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many, many studio musicians

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Tracklist:
01. Breakout (Connell/Drewery/Jackson) (1986) 3.47
02. Fooled By A Smile (Connell/Drewery/Jackson) (1987) 3.41
03. Blue Mood (Connell/Drewery/Jackson) (1985) 4.16
04. Communion (Connell/Drewery/Jackson) (1987) 4.36
05. Another Lost Weekend (Connell/Drewery/Jackson) (1986)3.38
06. Fever (Connell/Drewery/Jackson) (1987) 4.30
07. Coney Island Man (Connell/Drewery) (1989) 3.42
08. Tainted (Connell/Drewery/Jackson) (1989) 3.57
09. Am I The Same Girl? (Record/Sanders) (1994) 4.06
10. Precious Words (Connell/Drewery) (1989) 4.11
11. Between Strangers (Connell/Drewery/Jackson) (1989) 4.04
12. Get In Touch With Yourself (Connell/Drewery/O´Duffy) (1994) 5.07
13. Who Let The Love Out (Connell/Drewery) (1992) 4.38
14. Circulate (Connell/Drewery) (1992) 4.54
15. Notgonnachange (Connell/Drewery/O´Duffy) (1994) 4.17
16. Wake Me When It’s Over (Connell/Drewery/Jackson) (1985) 4.34
17. Surrender (Connell/Drewery/Jackson) (1987) 3.54
18. The Kaleidoscope Affair (Connell/Drewery) (1989) 3.09

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The official website:
Website

Rod Stewart – Downtown Train – Selections From The Storyteller Anthology (1990)

FrontCover1Sir Roderick David Stewart CBE (born 10 January 1945) is a British rock and pop singer, songwriter, and record producer. Born and raised in London, he is of Scottish and English ancestry.

With his distinctive raspy singing voice, Stewart is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold over 250 million records worldwide. He has had 10 number-one albums and 31 top ten singles in the UK, 6 of which reached number one. Stewart has had 16 top ten singles in the US, with four reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100. He was knighted in the 2016 Birthday Honours for services to music and charity. (wikipedia)

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Downtown Train is a compilation album released by Rod Stewart in March 1990. It was a US only release by Warner Bros. Records (WEA 926 158-1/2).

The album is made up of twelve tracks from the previously released Storyteller Anthology. The album is skewed toward the more recent period of Rod’s career, most of the songs dating after 1980.

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Included, however, is Stay with Me, a contemporary sounding song from 1971. This is also the only song on Downtown Train that is not from Rod’s solo catalog, though Storyteller includes ten. In the US Downtown Train would peak at #20 and by 1995 would be double platinum. (wikipedia)

A good and nice compilation album … Great mix for any Rod fan!

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Personnel:
Rod Stewart (vocals)
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many, many studio musicians

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Tracklist:
01. Stay With Me (Stewart/Wood) 4.39
02. Tonight’s The Night (Gonna Be Alright) (Stewart) 3.56
03. The Killing Of Georgie (Part I and II) (Stewart) 6.27
04. Passion (Chen/Cregan/Grainger/Savigar/Stewart) 5.32
05. Young Turks (Appice/Hitchings/Savigar/Stewart) 5.03
06. Infatuation (Hitchings/Robinson/Stewart) 5.14
07. People Get Ready (feat. Jeff Beck) (Mayfield) 4.55
08. Forever Young (Cregan/Savigar/Dylan/Stewart) 4.06
09. My Heart Can’t Tell You No (Climie/Morgan) 5.14
10. I Don’t Want To Talk About It (Whitten) 4.53
11. This Old Heart Of Mine (Is Weak for You) (L.Dozier/Holland/B.Holland/Moy) 4.12
12. Downtown Train (Tom Waits) 4.39

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More from Rod Stewart:
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The official website:
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Wham! – The Final (1986)

FrontCover1Wham! (briefly known in the US as Wham! U.K.) were an English pop duo formed in Bushey in 1981. The duo consisted of George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley. They became one of the most commercially successful pop acts of the 1980s, selling more than 30 million certified records worldwide from 1982 to 1986.

Influenced by funk and soul music and presenting themselves as disaffected youth, Wham!’s 1983 debut album Fantastic addressed the United Kingdom’s unemployment problem and teen angst over adulthood. Their second studio album Make It Big in 1984 was a worldwide pop smash hit, charting at number one in both the UK and the United States. Associated with the MTV-driven Second British Invasion of the US, the singles from the album—”Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”, “Everything She Wants” and “Careless Whisper”—all topped the US Billboard Hot 100. In 1985, Wham! made a highly publicised 10-day visit to China, the first by a Western pop group. The event was seen as a major watershed moment in increasing friendly bilateral relations between China and the West.

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In 1986, Wham! broke up. Michael was keen to create music targeted at a more sophisticated adult market rather than the duo’s primarily teenage audience. Before going their separate ways, a farewell single “The Edge of Heaven”, and a greatest-hits album titled The Final would be forthcoming, along with a farewell concert entitled The Final.

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The Final is a greatest hits album released in 1986 to summarize the career of British pop duo Wham!. The album was not initially released in North America, where an album entitled Music from the Edge of Heaven was released instead. Six songs from that album appear on this compilation. The compilation album was followed by the farewell concert of the same name on 28 June 1986, at Wembley Stadium.

The CD edition omits “Blue (Armed with Love)” and the extended mixes. A deluxe edition of the album was released on CD/DVD and download in November 2011, with the DVD featuring all of Wham!’s music videos, including the video for “Young Guns (Go for It!)”, “Last Christmas”, and a remix version of the video for “Everything She Wants”. It follows the track listing of the CD, with the exception of “Battlestations”, as it was a B-side and not an official single.

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When George Michael guested on the Aspel & Company talk show on 1 March 1986, he announced that Wham! were to split and perform one last concert, later titled The Final. In addition to that, he also announced that he were to be recording the last Wham! single with Andrew Ridgeley the following week in Los Angeles.[2][3] As it turned out, he revealed to journalist Paula Yates on The Tube that he was recording four tracks, two of which – “Where Did Your Heart Go” and “The Edge of Heaven” – had been previously played on the Whamamerica! tour and the other two being new tracks he was experimenting with. This was prior to the filming of the video for Michael’s then-forthcoming solo single, “A Different Corner”. Michael was planning to release three of the tracks as part of a Wham! EP, but wasn’t sure which one of the songs was going to be the main single at that point – all of these would appear on “The Final”.

As of 12 March 1986, the album and single had been completed and ready for release under the Wham! name. (wikipedia)

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The Wham! collection The Final stands as the most accurate compilation of the duo’s hits, even including the correct single versions of hits that were not available on their respective albums. From the early bubblegum silliness of “Bad Boys,” “Wham! Rap,” and “Young Guns” to the singles that made them an international pop phenomenon (“Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” “Everything She Wants,” “Careless Whisper,” and “I’m Your Man”), the hits are all here. “Everything She Wants” and “Freedom” are included in their single versions which did not appear on the multimillion-selling Make It Big.

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Also included is George Michael’s first true solo hit, “A Different Corner,” which, along with “Careless Whisper,” hints at the later, more sophisticated styles of music that would further propel him into international superstar status. To round out the collection are other hits including their last U.S. Top Ten, “The Edge of Heaven,” their yearly resurrected Christmas single “Last Christmas,” and the overlooked “Where Did Your Heart Go.” For fans of their brief but very successful reign at the top of the pop charts, this hard-to-find collection packs the most bang (or Wham!) for its buck. (by Jose F. Promis)

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Personnel:
George Michael (vocals)
Andrew Ridgeley (guitar)
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many, many studio musicians

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Tracklist:
01. Wham Rap! (Enjoy What You Do) (Special US Re-Mix) (from “Fantastic”) (Michael/Ridgeley) 6.42
02. Young Guns (Go for It!) (from “Fantastic”) (Michael) 5.11
03. Bad Boys (from “Fantastic”) (Michael) 3.20
04. Club Tropicana (from “Fantastic”) (Michael/Ridgeley) 4.28
05. Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go (from “Make It Big”) (Michael) 3.50
06. Careless Whisper (7″ version) (from “Make It Big”) (Michael/Ridgeley) 5.03
07. Freedom (7″ version) (from “Make It Big”) (Michael) 5.20
08. Last Christmas (Pudding Mix) (from “Music From The Edge Of Heaven”) (Michael) 6.45
09. Everything She Wants (Remix) (from “Music From The Edge Of Heaven”) (Michael) 6.29
10. I’m Your Man (from “Music From The Edge Of Heaven”) (Michael) 4.04
11. A Different Corner (from “Music From The Edge Of Heaven”) (Michael) 3.58
12. Battlestations (from “Music From The Edge Of Heaven”) (Michael) 5.30
13. Where Did Your Heart Go? (from “Music From The Edge Of Heaven”) (Dave Was/Don Was) 5.42
14. The Edge Of Heaven (from “Music From The Edge Of Heaven”) (Michael) 4.35

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