Review: The Kinks, “Muswell Hillbillies: Legacy Edition”

Ted’s checking in today with a look at one of the finest reissues of the last quarter of 2014: the CD/DVD Legacy Edition of The Kinks’ Muswell Hillbillies! - JM For God’s sake…Wanna have a cuppa tea with The Kinks…?! It’s the dead of winter and what better way to warm up these days then to spend some quality time with Ray Davies and company’s take on Americana, glam rock, and a touch of vaudeville on their 1971 classic album, Muswell Hillbillies? Taking its name from The Kinks’ cosmopolitan

Review: Jellyfish, “Bellybutton” and “Spilt Milk” Deluxe Editions

Omnivore Recordings has come out swinging in 2015! With the long-anticipated deluxe reissues of Jellyfish’s two studio albums finally here, the label has set a high bar for sheer pop ecstasy. While the band is often tagged as “power pop” – which is not altogether inaccurate – these two 2-CD sets make a strong case that Jellyfish was so much more. In his liner notes for this deluxe revival of 1990 debut Bellybutton (OVCD-5), author Ken Sharp points out that “everyone from Queen to Henry

Ella, Satchmo, Aretha, Miles and The Merm Featured On Starbucks’ “Fascinating Gershwin”

When The Library of Congress established a Prize for Popular Song in 2007, one name was affixed to it: Gershwin. With no disrespect to Messrs. Berlin, Porter, Rodgers and company, George and Ira’s surname is synonymous with the gold standard in American popular song. The recipients of the award to date – Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Carole King and Billy Joel – have all followed in the Gershwins’ footsteps of marrying smart, sophisticated and incisive

Sunshine Special: Now Sounds Collects “The Best of The GoldeBriars”

Late in 1963, The GoldeBriars recorded “Sunshine Special,” the group’s adaptation of the traditional train song. Curt Boettcher – the male vocalist in the line-up and also its major creative leader – would later make sunshine a specialty; his shimmering California-pop productions for the likes of The Millennium, The Ballroom and Sagittarius have all gone on to attain cult status. There’s not much of that baroque psych-pop sound on Now Sounds’ Walkin’ Down the Line: The Best of The GoldeBriars

The Cryan’ Shames’ “Sugar and Spice” Goes Mono In Now Sounds’ Expanded Reissue

When the venerable Goddard Lieberson, President of Columbia Records, announced the ascendancy of Clive Davis to a veep position at the label in 1965, the promotion of the younger man heralded for a new sound at Columbia. Lieberson had made Columbia the leader in the fields of classical and Broadway cast recordings, and was looking to position the label at the vanguard of rock, too. A number of new signings followed. Among those acts signed to the industry leader was The Cryan’ Shames, favorites

Reviews: Two From Omnivore – Big Star, “Live in Memphis” and Roger Taylor, “The Best”

Welcome to Part One of our two-part review round-up featuring some of Omnivore Recordings’ releases from late 2014! Just when one thinks the Big Star well has run dry, Omnivore Recordings surprises with a treat of the magnitude of Live in Memphis (OVCD-107). On October 29, 1994 at Memphis’ New Daisy Theatre, Big Star founding members Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens, were joined by Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow of The Posies for an overflowing set of Big Star classics and covers in front of an

Holiday Gift Guide Review: Captain Beefheart, “SUN ZOOM SPARK 1970 to 1972″

“Art is rearranging and grouping mistakes.” So the late Don Van Vliet, a.k.a. Captain Beefheart, is quoted on the cover of the fourth disc of Rhino’s new box set SUN ZOOM SPARK: 1970 to 1972. It’s appropriate and ironic that the aphorism is featured on the sleeve of that disc, a collection of never-before-heard outtakes from the Captain and his Magic Band. But the tracks are far from mistakes; instead, they offer a window onto the process with which Van Vliet created his unmistakable brand of

Holiday Gift Guide Review: Wilco, “What’s Your 20? Essential Tracks 1994-2014″

We’d like to welcome back Ted Frank for today’s Holiday Gift Guide review! Ted is taking a look at the new two-CD anthology What’s Your 20?  Essential Tracks 1994-2014 from alt-rock greats Wilco. (Since 2004, the line-up has consisted of vocalist/guitarist Jeff Tweedy, bassist John Stirratt, guitarist Nels Cline, multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone, keyboardist Mikael Jorgensen and drummer Glenn Kotche.) This first-ever retrospective of the Grammy Award-winning band has been produced for the

Croydon Municipal, Saint Etienne Enter Christmas Land With “Songs For a London Winter”

As Bob Stanley writes in his liner notes to the new collection Songs for a London Winter, “Christmas has always been a special time in Saint Etienne’s world. We’ve release singles, EPs, covered Cliff Richard songs, played at the Palladium, thrown a few parties and sunk a few whisky macs. We love it. But this is the first time we’ve had the opportunity to put together a Christmas compilation of other people’s songs.” Songs for a London Winter, on Stanley’s Croydon Municipal imprint of Cherry Red,

Holiday Gift Guide Review: Suzi Quatro, “The Girl from Detroit City”

Susan Kay Quatro, a.k.a. Suzi Quatro, has sold 55 million singles and LPs, scored five U.K. Top 10s  and twelve Top 50s including two chart-toppers, followed in the footsteps of Ethel Merman onstage, appeared on television’s Happy Days, and influenced a “Who’s Who” including Joan Jett and The Go-Go’s.  Quatro is billed as The Girl from Detroit City on her first-ever retrospective box set which has been recently released by Cherry Red Records.  This 4-CD, 82-song book-style box is packed with