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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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)

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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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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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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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Various Artists – The Very Best Of Irish Musik And Ballads (1996)

FrontCover1Irish traditional music (also known as Irish trad, Irish folk music, and other variants) is a genre of folk music that developed in Ireland.

In A History of Irish Music (1905), W. H. Grattan Flood wrote that, in Gaelic Ireland, there were at least ten instruments in general use. These were the cruit (a small harp) and clairseach (a bigger harp with typically 30 strings), the timpan (a small string instrument played with a bow or plectrum), the feadan (a fife), the buinne (an oboe or flute), the guthbuinne (a bassoon-type horn), the bennbuabhal and corn (hornpipes), the cuislenna (bagpipes – see Great Irish warpipes), the stoc and sturgan (clarions or trumpets), and the cnamha (bones). There is also evidence of the fiddle being used in the 8th century.

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There are several collections of Irish folk music from the 18th century, but it was not until the 19th century that ballad printers became established in Dublin. Important collectors include Colm Ó Lochlainn, George Petrie, Edward Bunting, Francis O’Neill, James Goodman and many others. Though solo performance is preferred in the folk tradition, bands or at least small ensembles have probably been a part of Irish music since at least the mid-19th century, although this is a point of much contention among ethnomusicologists.

Irish traditional music has endured more strongly against the forces of cinema, radio and the mass media than the indigenous folk music of most European countries. From the end of the Second World War until the late fifties folk music was held in low regard. Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (an Irish traditional music association) and the popularity of the Fleadh Cheoil (music festival) helped lead the revival of the music.

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The English Folk music scene also encouraged Irish musicians[citation needed]. Following the success of The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem in the US in 1959, Irish folk music became fashionable again. The lush sentimental style of singers such as Delia Murphy was replaced by guitar-driven male groups such as The Dubliners. Irish showbands presented a mixture of pop music and folk dance tunes, though these died out during the seventies. The international success of The Chieftains and subsequent musicians and groups has made Irish folk music a global brand.

Historically much old-time music of the USA grew out of the music of Ireland, England and Scotland, as a result of cultural diffusion. By the 1970s Irish traditional music was again influencing music in the US and further afield in Australia and Europe. It has occasionally been fused with rock and roll, punk rock and other genres. (wikipedia)

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And here´s a real fine samlpfer with Irish Music from ARC Records:

ARC Music was a rebranding of Eulenspiegel using the same logo and Labelcode: LC 5111 / LC 05111 (in fact the company LC registration has remained under the Eulenspiegel name at the GVL). ARC Music (Company director/founder: Horst Tubbesing) started in Germany in 1983, then expanded internationally with bases in Germany, UK and USA.

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The reason for the name change was twofold, 1. Eulenspiegel was established promoting local acts in the rock, pop and folk fields and also signed some international prog and fusion artists like Tribute and Pierre Moerlen’s Gong, whereas ARC Music specialized in traditional, world and ethnic musics, including new-age and other light instrumental music. 2. ARC Music saw a change of ethic when the owners became Scientologists. The acronym ARC stands for Scientology’s “ARC Triangle”: Affinity, Reality and Communication.

Late 2017 saw the launch of the Bendigedig label, a new and unique cooperation between ARC Music and Theatr Mwldan (Wales) in which the artist really takes the lead. Fully supported by ARC Music and Mwldan, bendigedig artists enjoy the benefits of record label, publishing, management and touring, in an equal partnership, and being key in the decision-making process. (press release)

The official website:
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Another chance to discover the wonderful music from this country !

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Tracklist:
01. Noel McLoughlin: The Wild Rover (Traditonal) 3.02
02. Kieran Fahy: An Raibh Tu Ar An GCarraig / Denis Ryans (Traditional) 3.41
03. Tara: Kells Waters (Traditional) 3.51
04. Margie Butler: I Will Leave This Country (Traditional) 3.05
05. John Faulkner: Child Owlet (Traditional) 3.32
06. Sean Talamh: Galway Bay (Traditional) 3.51
07. Golden Bough: The Blind Harper Of Lochmaben (Traditional) 4.25
08. Pied Pipers: Molly Brannagan / Jennie’s Chickens / Drowsey Maggy (Traditional) 2.43
09. Noel McLoughlin: Farewell To The Life Of The Rover (Traditional) 3.02
10. Golden Bough: Cathi Milligan’s Fancy (Sørbye) 3.00
11. Margie Butler: Suo Gan (Traditional) 3.32
12. The Duggans: The Jig Of Slurs / Collin’s Jig (Traditional) 3.10
13. Noel McLoughlin: The Beggarman (Traditional) 3.37
14. Florie Brown: Once I Loved (Brown) 2.51
15. Golden Bough: Stand In The Light (Espinoza) 2.34

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I’ve been a wild rover for many’s the year
And I’ve spent all me money on whiskey and beer
But now I’m returning with gold in great store
And I never will play the wild rover no more

And it’s no, nay, never
No, nay never no more
Will I play the wild rover
No never no more

I went to an alehouse I used to frequent
I told the landlady my money was spent
I ask her for credit, she answered me nay
Such a custom as yours I can have any day

And it’s no, nay, never
No, nay never no more
Will I play the wild rover
No never no more

I brought from me pocket ten sovereigns bright
And the landlady’s eyes opened wide with delight
She said:’I have whiskeys and wines of the best
And the words that you told me were only in jest’

And it’s no, nay, never
No, nay never no more
Will I play the wild rover
No never no more

I’ll go home to my parents, confess what I’ve done
And I’ll ask them to pardon their prodigal son
And when they’ve caressed me, as oft times before
I never will play the wild rover no more

And next Wednesday I’m going to Dublin for a few days and I’ll definitely visit this record shop there:
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)
+
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

Bette Midler – Experience The Divine – Greatest Hits (1993/1996)

FrontCover1Bette Midler ( born December 1, 1945) is an American actress, comedian, singer, songwriter and author. Throughout her career which spans over five decades, Midler has received numerous accolades, including four Golden Globe Awards, three Grammy Awards, three Primetime Emmy Awards, two Tony Awards and a Kennedy Center Honor, in addition to nominations for two Academy Awards and a British Academy Film Award.

Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Midler began her professional career in several off-off-Broadway plays, prior to her engagements in Fiddler on the Roof and Salvation on Broadway in the late 1960s. She came to prominence in 1970 when she began singing in the Continental Baths, a local gay bathhouse where she managed to build up a core following.

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Since 1970, Midler has released 14 studio albums as a solo artist, selling over 30 million records worldwide, and has received four Gold, three Platinum, and three Multiplatinum albums by RIAA.[3][4] Many of her songs became chart hits, including her renditions of “The Rose”, “Wind Beneath My Wings”, “Do You Want to Dance”, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”, and “From a Distance”. She won Grammy Awards for Best New Artist, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “The Rose”, and Record of the Year for “Wind Beneath My Wings”.

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Midler made her film debut with the musical drama The Rose (1979), which won her the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical, as well as a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress. She went on to star in numerous films, including Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986), Ruthless People (1986), Outrageous Fortune (1987), Big Business (1988), Beaches (1988), Hocus Pocus (1993), The First Wives Club (1996), The Stepford Wives (2004), Parental Guidance (2012), and The Addams Family (2019). Midler also had starring roles in For the Boys (1991) and Gypsy (1993), winning two additional Golden Globe Awards for these films and receiving a second Academy Award nomination for the former.

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In 2008, Midler signed a contract with Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for a residency, Bette Midler: The Showgirl Must Go On, which ended in 2010. She starred in the Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly!, which began previews in March 2017 and premiered at the Shubert Theatre in April 2017. The show was her first leading role in a Broadway musical. Midler received the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance. (wikipedia)

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Experience the Divine: Greatest Hits is a compilation album by American singer Bette Midler, featuring many of her best-known songs. The fourteen track compilation was released on Atlantic Records in 1993.

While several greatest hits albums with Midler had been released in the UK, Continental Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand and Japan throughout the 1970s and 1980s, such as The Best of Bette (1978) and The Best of Bette (1981)—two different compilations with the same title—and Just Hits (1987), this was the first career overview to be released worldwide including the US and Canada, some twenty years after Midler recorded her first studio album for the Atlantic Records label. The album included one new recording, Midler’s Emmy Award-winning rendition of “One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)”, sung to retiring talk show host Johnny Carson on the penultimate Tonight Show in May 1992. Experience the Divine: Greatest Hits peaked at #50 on the Billboard 200 albums chart in 1993 and was three years later certified platinum for one million copies sold in the US.

Experience the Divine: Greatest Hits was re-released in Europe, Australia and New Zealand in 1996 with a slightly altered track list, then also including two of Midler’s biggest hits which for some reason had been left off the 1993 edition; “Favorite Waste of Time” and the Rolling Stones cover “Beast of Burden”, both from the 1983 album No Frills. The 1996 edition also included two versions of the US hit single “To Deserve You”, taken from what became Midler’s final studio album for Atlantic, 1995’s Bette of Roses. (wikipedia)

The frontcover of the 1996 edition:
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Placing the raw beginning of her career (beautifully represented by the stark resignation of “Hello in There”) against the brassy persona she has since cultivated (“Miss Otis Regrets”) against the overblown A/C cuts that have been her biggest hits (“From a Distance,” “Wind Beneath My Wings”), Bette Midler shows on this album why she is a legend and not just a popular recording artist. Being able to raise those enormously popular ballads from muck simply by rising above the production with her expressive, sterling vocals, thus making bland material classy, is one thing. But pulling off the coarseness of “When a Man Loves a Woman” as well as the sultry “Do You Wanna Dance?” in practically the same breath, while never overstating the steadfast certainty of “The Rose,” shows range that most pop “stars” can’t even spell.

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Despite that, giving listeners an overview of a 30-year career with more good material than hit singles would be difficult in any case, and some of the choices for this album seem almost arbitrary, considering the single “Beast of Burden” from No Frills and classic cuts like “Come Back Jimmy Dean” from the same album and the wrenching “Superstar” from her stellar debut, The Divine Miss M, are missing. On the plus side, Experience the Divine includes “One for my Baby (And One More for the Road),” which Midler performed as the chosen final guest of Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. Atlantic did a sound job of culling from her repertoire, and this album represents all that most casual fans would need to get an understanding of the vocalist beyond her hit singles, but, as with any true artist, to truly experience the Divine, you would need to check out each of her albums to find all of the gems. (by Bryan Buss)

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Personnel:
Bette Midler (vocals)
+
many, many studio musicians

Booklet02A

Tracklist:

The 1993 edition:
01. Hello In There (from the album “Divine Miss M”, 1972) (Prine) 4.17
02. Do You Want To Dance? (from the album “Divine Miss M”, 1972) (Freeman) 2.44
03. From A Distance (from the album “Some People’s Lives”, 1990) (Gold) 4.38
04. Chapel Of Love (from the album “Divine Miss M”, 1972) (Barry/Greenwich/Spector) 2.54
05. Only In Miami (from the album “No Frills”, 1983) (Gronenthal) 3.57
06. When A Man Loves A Woman (from the soundtrack album “The Rose”, 1979) Lewis/ Wright) 4.54
07. The Rose (Single version) (from the soundtrack album “The Rose”, 1979) (McBroom) 3.34
08. Miss Otis Regrets (from the album “Some People’s Lives”, 1990) (Porter) 2.39
09. Shiver Me Timbers (from the album “Live at Last”, 1977) (Waits) 4.43
10. Wind Beneath My Wings (from the soundtrack album “Beaches”. 1988)  (Henley/Silbar) 4.53
11. Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (previously unavailable on album hit 45 version) (Raye/ Prince) 2.19
12. One For My Baby (And One More For The Road) (live) (previously unreleased. Recorded and aired on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson on May 21, 1992 (Arlen/  Mercer/Shaiman/Midler) 4.06
13. Friends (from the album “Divine Miss M”, 1972) (Klingman/Linhart) 2.55
14. In My Life (Single version)  (from the soundtrack album “For The Boys”, 1991) (Lennon/ McCartney) 3.12

The 1996 edition:
01. To Deserve You (single remix) (from the album “Bette Of Roses”, 1995) (McKee)  4.11
02. Beast Of Burden (from the album “No Frills”, 1983) (Jagger/Richards) 3.50
03. Favorite Waste Of Time (from the album “No Frills”, 1983) (Crenshaw) 2.41
04. Hello In There (from the album “Divine Miss M”, 1972) (Prine) 4.17
05. Do You Want To Dance? (from the album “Divine Miss M”, 1972) (Freeman) 2.44
06. From A Distance (from the album “Some People’s Lives”, 1990) (Gold) 4.38
07. Chapel Of Love (from the album “Divine Miss M”, 1972) (Barry/Greenwich/Spector) 2.54
08. Only In Miami (from the album “No Frills”, 1983) (Gronenthal) 3.57
09. When A Man Loves A Woman (from the soundtrack album “The Rose”, 1979) Lewis/ Wright) 4.54
10. The Rose (Single version) (from the soundtrack album “The Rose”, 1979) (McBroom) 3.34
11. Miss Otis Regrets (from the album “Some People’s Lives”, 1990) (Porter) 2.39
12. Shiver Me Timbers (from the album “Live at Last”, 1977) (Waits) 4.43
13. Wind Beneath My Wings (from the soundtrack album “Beaches”. 1988)  (Henley/Silbar) 4.53
14. Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (previously unavailable on album hit 45 version) (Raye/ Prince) 2.19
15. One For My Baby (And One More For The Road) (live) (previously unreleased. Recorded and aired on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson on May 21, 1992 (Arlen/  Mercer/Shaiman/Midler) 4.06
16. Friends (from the album “Divine Miss M”, 1972) (Klingman/Linhart) 2.55
17. In My Life (Single version)  (from the soundtrack album “For The Boys”, 1991) (Lennon/ McCartney) 3.12
18. To Deserve You (from the album “Bette of Roses”, 1995)) (McKee) 5.14
+
19. Red (taken from the album “Broken Blossom”, 1977) (Carter/Hagar) 3.20

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More from Bette Midler:
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The official website:
Website

Barbra Streisand – Duets (2002)

FrontCover1Barbara Joan Streisand (born April 24, 1942), known professionally as Barbra Streisand, is an American singer, actress, and filmmaker. With a career spanning over six decades, she has achieved success in multiple fields of entertainment, and is among the few performers awarded an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony (EGOT).

Streisand began her career by performing in nightclubs and Broadway theaters in the early 1960s. Following her guest appearances on various television shows, she signed to Columbia Records, insisting that she retain full artistic control, and accepting lower pay in exchange, an arrangement that continued throughout her career, and released her debut The Barbra Streisand Album (1963), which won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Throughout her recording career, Streisand has topped the US Billboard 200 chart with 11 albums—a record for a woman—including People (1964), The Way We Were (1974), Guilty (1980), and The Broadway Album (1985). She also achieved five number-one singles on the US Billboard Hot 100—”The Way We Were”, “Evergreen”, “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers”, “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)”, and “Woman in Love”.

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Following her established recording success in the 1960s, Streisand ventured into film by the end of that decade. She starred in the critically acclaimed Funny Girl (1968), for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. Additional fame followed with films including the extravagant musical Hello, Dolly! (1969), the screwball comedy What’s Up, Doc? (1972), and the romantic drama The Way We Were (1973). Streisand won a second Academy Award for writing the love theme from A Star Is Born (1976), the first woman to be honored as a composer. With the release of Yentl (1983), Streisand became the first woman to write, produce, direct, and star in a major studio film. The film won an Oscar for Best Score and a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Musical. Streisand also received the Golden Globe Award for Best Director, becoming the first (and for 37 years, the only) woman to win that award. Streisand later directed The Prince of Tides (1991) and The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996).

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With sales exceeding 150 million records worldwide, Streisand is one of the best-selling recording artists of all time. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), she is the highest-certified female artist in the United States, with 68.5 million certified album units tying with Mariah Carey. Billboard ranked Streisand as the greatest female artist on the Billboard 200 chart and the top Adult Contemporary female artist of all time. Her accolades include two Academy Awards, 10 Grammy Awards including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and the Grammy Legend Award, five Emmy Awards, four Peabody Awards, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and nine Golden Globes.

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Duets (retitled Star Collection in some countries) is a compilation album by American singer Barbra Streisand, released on November 26, 2002, by Columbia Records. The collection features nineteen duets from Streisand’s career, including two newly-recorded ones: “I Won’t Be the One to Let Go” with Barry Manilow and “All I Know of Love” with Josh Groban. The former song was released as the album’s lead single on November 4, 2002, as a streaming-only exclusive for AOL Music website members. Duets was reissued in South American countries in 2013 under the title Star Collection with new artwork.

The compilation was executively produced by Streisand and her manager, Jay Landers. Music critics highlighted the album’s duets with Ray Charles, Judy Garland, and Frank Sinatra, but were disappointed by her decision to release another compilation album following The Essential Barbra Streisand, which was released earlier in 2002. Commercially, the album peaked within the top ten of record charts in Denmark and the Netherlands; it also entered the Billboard 200 at number 38 and became certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipments of 500,000 copies. Duets has gone on to sell 1.5 million records worldwide.

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During 2002, Streisand and Columbia Records released two compilation albums, with the first one being The Essential Barbra Streisand, a greatest hits album mostly consisting of the singer’s top ten hits and top forty hits. Later that year, on November 26, she released Duets, a compilation of nineteen duets from her music catalog. The collection was executively produced by Streisand and her manager, Jay Landers.

Fourteen out of the album’s nineteen tracks were originally featured on previous Streisand studio albums. In addition, the singer included three songs that were originally performed live with another artist. “I’ve Got a Crush on You”, with Frank Sinatra, initially appeared on his 1993 Duets album, while her rendition of “Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead” with Harold Arlen was first released on his 1966 studio album Harold Sings Arlen (With Friend). Her medley of “Get Happy / Happy Days Are Here Again” with Judy Garland was originally performed live on The Judy Garland Show in 1963. With eighteen of the album’s songs being duets with other musicians, Streisand’s medley of “One Less Bell to Answer” and “A House Is Not a Home” is a duet with herself, first released on the 1971 album Barbra Joan Streisand.

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Streisand recorded two new tracks for the album: “I Won’t Be the One to Let Go” with Barry Manilow and “All I Know of Love” with Josh Groban. The former track was written by Richard Marx and Manilow, while the latter was written by David Foster and Linda Thompson.

“I Won’t Be the One to Let Go” was released as the album’s lead and only single on November 4, 2002, as an exclusive download for AOL Music website members. Although the track was not released commercially, “I Won’t Be the One to Let Go” was distributed as a promotional CD single on January 6, 2003. With the release handled by Columbia Records, the CD was sent exclusively to United States radio stations and includes the “Radio Version Edit” and “Radio Version” releases of the song. In 2013, Sony Music Entertainment rereleased the compilation in South American countries with a new cover art, but identical track listing, under the title Star Collection.

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Duets entered and peaked on the Billboard 200 at number 38, during the week of December 14, 2002. It was the chart’s eleventh highest debut and would go to spend fourteen weeks on the listing. On January 9, 2003, it was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for physical shipments of 500,000 copies, and during the year-end Billboard 200 chart in 2003, the compilation was listed at number 176. As of June 22, 2007, Duets has sold 561,000 copies in the United States, outselling its predecessor (The Essential Barbra Streisand) by 55,000 copies. In Oceania, the album peaked in Australia and New Zealand at numbers 13 and 11, respectively. In the two aforementioned countries, it received a Gold certification by the Australian Recording Industry Association for shipments of 35,000 copies and a Platinum certification by Recorded Music NZ for shipments of 15,000 copies.

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The album entered several record charts across Europe as well. According to the Official Charts Company, it peaked at numbers 39 and 30, in Scotland and the United Kingdom, respectively. In the latter country, the compilation spent 6 weeks charting during 2002 and was ranked on the year-end sales charts at position 89. In Denmark and the Netherlands, Duets peaked within the top ten at numbers 10 and 9, respectively. The album reached number 26 in Spain and received a Gold certification by PROMUSICAE for shipments of 50,000 copies. Its lowest peak positions were achieved in France, Germany, and Switzerland, where the compilation peaked at numbers 44, 53, and 88, respectively. The album has sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide.

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In her lengthy career, Barbra Streisand has never shown much inclination to share the spotlight. In the movies, she must endure a leading man, but in her recordings, she has gone it alone for the most part. In 1978, however, a disc jockey edited together her and Neil Diamond’s recordings of “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” and she and Diamond quickly cut a real duet, resulting in a number one hit. Thereafter, she cannily coaxed others into sharing the microphone, resulting in chart singles with Donna Summer, Barry Gibb, Kim Carnes, former boyfriend Don Johnson, Bryan Adams, and Celine Dion, and album tracks with Johnny Mathis, Michael Crawford, and Vince Gill. The material mostly consisted of mediocre adult contemporary ballads that were outshone by the star power of the singers.

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This album collects all those duets, plus a couple of newly recorded mediocre adult contemporary ballads sung with Barry Manilow and Josh Groban, and a few stray tracks from the 1960s and early ’70s when Streisand joined another singer. Her unsuitability to the duet format is repeatedly evidenced, as she seems virtually incapable of shutting up when her partner is trying to take a solo, invariably humming in the background to draw attention back to herself. The only real exception to this rule is the version of “I’ve Got a Crush on You” recorded for Frank Sinatra’s own Duets album, a track Streisand did not control. Naturally, the best performances occur when she is paired with a singer who is more than just a cipher — Sinatra, Ray Charles, or Judy Garland, the latter two in TV performances. Then, of course, there’s the medley of “One Less Bell to Answer” and “A House Is Not a Home” on which she finally finds the perfect duet partner, her overdubbed self! (by William Ruhlmann)

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Personnel:
Barbra Streisand (vocals)
+
many, many studio musicians

Booklet04A

Tracklist:
01. I Won’t Be The One To Let You Go (w/Barry Manilow) (Marx/Manilow) (new recording; 2002) 4.40
02. Guilty (w/Barry Gibb) (B.Gibb/R.Gibb/M.Gibb) (1980) 4.25
03. You Don’t Bring Me Flowers (w/Neil Diamond) (A.Bergman/M.Bergman/Diamond) (1978) 3.25
04. I Finally Found Someone (w/Bryan Adams) (Streisand/Hamlisch/Lane/Adams) (1996) 3.42
05. Cryin’ Time (w/Ray Charles) (Owens) (1991) 2.18
06. I’ve Got A Crush On You (w/Frank Sinatra) (G.Gershwin(I.Gershwin) (1993) 3.23
07. Tell Him (w/Celine Dion) (Foster/Thompson/Afanasieff) (1987) 4.53
08. No More Tears (Enough Is Enough) (w/Donna Summer) (Jabara/Roberts) (1979) 4.43
09. What Kind Of Fool (w/Barry Gibb) (B.Gibb/Galuten) (1989) 4.07
10. I Have A Love / One Hand, One Heart (w/Johnny Mathis) (Bernstein/Sondheim) (1993) 4.45
11. One Less Bell To Answer / A House Is Not A Home (Dubbed Duet) (Bacharach/David) (1971) 6.32
12. Lost Inside Of You (w/Kris Kristofferson) (Streisand/Russell) (1976) 2.55
13. Till I Loved You (w/Don Johnson) (Yeston) (1988) 4.17
14. Make No Mistake, He’s Mine (w/Kim Carnes) (Carnes) (1984) 4.11
15. If You Ever Leave Me (w/Vince Gill) (Marx) (1999) 4.38
16. The Music Of The Night (w/Michael Crawford) (Webber/Hart/Stilgoe) (1993) 5.38
17. Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead (w/Harold Arlen) (Arlen/Harburg) (1966) 1.54
18. Get Happy / Happy Days Are Here Again (w/Judy Garland) (Arlen/Koehler/Yellen) (1963) 2.22
19. All I Know Of Love (w/Josh Grobin) (Foster/Thompson) (new recording; 2002) 4.29

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The official website:
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Roberta Flack – Softly With These Songs – The Best Of Roberta Flack (1993)

FrontCover1Classy, urbane, reserved, smooth, and sophisticated — all of these terms have been used to describe the music of Roberta Flack, particularly her string of romantic, light jazz ballad hits in the 1970s, which continue to enjoy popularity on MOR-oriented adult contemporary stations. Flack was the daughter of a church organist and started playing piano early enough to get a music scholarship and eventually, a degree from Howard University. After a period of student teaching, Flack was discovered singing at a club by jazz musician Les McCann and signed to Atlantic.

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Her first two albums — 1969’s First Take and 1970’s Chapter Two — were well received but produced no hit singles; however, that all changed when a version of Ewan MacColl’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” from her first LP, was included in the soundtrack of the 1971 film Play Misty for Me. The single zoomed to number one in 1972 and remained there for six weeks, becoming that year’s biggest hit. Flack followed it with the first of several duets with Howard classmate Donny Hathaway, “Where Is the Love.” “Killing Me Softly with His Song” became Flack’s second number one hit (five weeks) in 1973, and after topping the charts again in 1974 with “Feel Like Makin’ Love,” Flack took a break from performing to concentrate on recording and charitable causes.

Roberta Flack05She charted several more times over the next few years, as she did with the Top Ten 1977 album Blue Lights in the Basement — featuring “The Closer I Get to You,” a number two ballad with Hathaway. A major blow was struck in 1979 when her duet partner, one of the most creative voices in soul music, committed suicide. Devastated, Flack eventually found another creative partner in Peabo Bryson, with whom she toured in 1980. The two recorded together in 1983, scoring a hit duet with “Tonight, I Celebrate My Love.”

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Flack spent the remainder of the ’80s touring and performing, often with orchestras, and also several times with Miles Davis. She returned to the Top Ten once more in 1991 with “Set the Night to Music,” a duet with Maxi Priest that appeared that year on the album of the same name. Her Roberta full-length, featuring interpretations of jazz and popular standards, followed in 1994. As she continued into the 21st century, Flack recorded infrequently but released albums like 2012’s Let It Be Roberta: Roberta Flack Sings the Beatles, which showed that her poise and balanced singing had aged well. Varese Sarabande released a lovingly remixed version of Flack’s fine 1997 holiday album Christmas Songs (it had originally appeared from Capitol Records under the title The Christmas Album) that same year, adding in an additional track, “Cherry Tree Carol.” (by Steve Huey)

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And here´s a nice compilation album:

Roberta Flack was blessed with one of the loveliest, most soothing voices in the music industry. In the 1970s, she not only appealed to pop and R&B audiences, but also fit in with the era’s more serious, sensitive singer/songwriters. She scored some of the decade’s biggest hits with classics such as “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” “Killing Me Softly with His Song,” and “Feel Like Making Love,” as well as her legendary duets with Donny Hathaway, all which have gone on to become standards in the pop pantheon. This single-disc set attempts to collect her best and most successful recordings from the 1970s to the 1990s, when she enjoyed the success of another Top Ten hit with Diane Warren’s “Set the Night to Music” (with Maxi Priest).

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However, this ambitious collection, even with such stellar material, proves a little frustrating due to the omission of several key tracks from Flack’s catalog, among those “Jesse,” “If I Ever See You Again,” “You’ve Got a Friend,” and several others. It does, however, manage to incorporate other Flack collectibles, including her soundtrack hit “Making Love,” her hit with Peabo Bryson, “Tonight I Celebrate My Love,” her lovely, breezy, chart-topping 1988 R&B hit “Oasis,” and a sleek 1990s house track, “Uh-Uh Ooh-Ooh Look Out (Here It Comes).” This ambitious yet frustrating collection not only highlights Flack’s long, illustrious career, but also brings to attention the fact that a multi-disc retrospective on this legendary singer would be a most welcome addition to her catalog. (by Jose F. Promis)

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Personnel:
Robert Flack (vocals)
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many, many studio musicians

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Tracklist:
01.The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (from “First Take”;1969) (MacColl)  5.22
02. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (from “Quiet Fire”; 1971) (King/Goffin) 4.07
03. Where Is The Love (duet with Donny Hathaway) (from “Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway”; 1972) (MacDonald/Salter) 2.44
04. Killing Me Softly With His Song (from “Killing Me Softly”;1973) (Fox/Gimbel) 4.48
05. Feel Like Makin’ Love (from “Feel Like Makin’ Love”;1975) (McDaniels)  2.54
06. The Closer I Get to You (duet with Donny Hathaway) (from “Blue Lights In The Basement”;1977) (Lucas/Mtume) 4.42
07. More Than Everything (duet with Peabo Bryson) (from “Live & More”;1980) (Bryson/ Flack) 4.03
08. Only Heaven Can Wait (For Love) (duet with Peabo Bryson) (from “Live & More”;1980) 5.47
09. Back Together Again (duet with Donny Hathaway) (from “Roberta Flack Featuring Donny Hathaway”;1980) 4.51
10. Making Love (from “I’m The One; 1982) (Bacharach/Sager/Roberts) 3.44
11. Tonight, I Celebrate My Love (duet with Peabo Bryson) (from “Born to Love”; 1983) (Goffin/Masser) 3.31
12. Oasis (from “Oasis”; 1988) (Miller/Stephens) 6.10
13. And So It Goes (from “Oasis”; 1988) (Flack/Miles/Angelou) 3.36
14. You Know What It’s Like (from “Oasis”; 1988) (Flack/Russell/Miles) 4.45
15. Set The Night To Music (duet with Maxi Priest) (from “Set The Night To Music”; 1991) (Warren) 5.24
16. My Foolish Heart (from “Set The Night To Music”; 1991) (Washington/Young) 4.41
17. Uh-Uh Ooh-Ooh Look Out (Here It Comes) (Steve Hurley’s House Mix) (single version; 1989) (Ashford/Simpson) 5.14

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More from Roberta Flack:
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