Review: Chicago, “The Studio Albums” and America, “The Warner Bros. Years”

In 1969, Chicago Transit Authority - a.k.a. Robert Lamm, Peter Cetera, Terry Kath, Danny Seraphine, Lee Loughnane, James Pankow and Walter Parazaider - released its first album on Columbia Records.  46 years and a total of 36 core albums later, the band simply known as Chicago is still intact with Lamm, Loughnane, Pankow and Parazaider.  In the waning days of 1971, another band made its first appearance on records.  America - the trio of Gerry Beckley, Dewey Bunnell and Dan Peek -

Omnivore Uncovers The Lost Soul of Carl Hall

Even the most diehard soul connoisseurs can be forgiven for not knowing the name of Carl Hall.  After all, he left behind just a handful of singles on labels including Mercury, Loma, Atlantic and Columbia before focusing on a stage career.  But thanks to Omnivore's recent release of You Don't Know Nothing About Love: The Loma/Atlantic Recordings 1967-1972, it's highly unlikely that you'll forget the name, and sound, of Carl Hall.  Distinguished by both his intensity and his stratospheric vocal

Let’s Go Disco: Big Break Gets Down With MFSB’s “Universal Love”

Big Break Records is letting the love come through - Universal Love, that is! - with its new reissue of the third album from Philadelphia International Records' inimitable house band, MFSB.  The only mystery about the 1975 album is how this No. 2 R&B smash (and respectable No. 44 Pop success, as well) has avoided compact disc release after all these years.  Happily, it follows 1972's MFSB and 1973's Love is the Message into Big Break's catalogue in a newly-expanded and remastered

It’s Clobberin’ Time! Ace Unearths Gems From Motown’s Fantastic Four

Last weekend, The Fantastic Four - the super-powered Reed Richards, Susan Storm, Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm - returned to the big screen, ultimately to disappoint fans.  But Ace Records' Kent label has another group of the same name in the spotlight - and this one is bound to thrill! Joe Pruitt, Ralph Pruitt, Toby Childs and James Epps made their debut as The Fantastic Four in 1966 on Detroit's Ric-Tic label, notching a series of R&B and Pop hits (including 1967's No. 6 R&B/No. 63 Pop

Review: Simon and Garfunkel, “The Complete Columbia Albums Collection” and “The Concert in Central Park”

When Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel took the stage on April 24, 2010 at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, it's doubtful that many in the audience knew they were witnessing the end of one chapter in the story of Simon & Garfunkel.  That concert marked the final time that the famous duo have performed together to date, but over five years later, the specter of Simon & Garfunkel still looms large over both men.  It's no surprise; the question of a reunion cropped up almost

Review: Various Artists, “Here Today! The Songs of Brian Wilson”

The title of Ace Records' recent collection is Here Today! The Songs of Brian Wilson, after one of those famous Wilson songs off The Beach Boys' 1966 Pet Sounds.  But the fact of the matter is - as this enjoyably diverse set proves over the course of its 25 tracks - Brian Wilson's music is not only here today, but will be here for many tomorrows. Unlike Ace's 2003 volume Pet Projects: The Brian Wilson Productions, this anthology concentrates on Brian as songwriter.  But there are a couple of

Omnivore’s Got The Knack! Three Reissues, Reviewed

"Pop is dead, bring a shovel!" So proclaimed The Knack in the acerbic lyric to the opening track of 1998's "comeback" album Zoom.  Of course, the song proved otherwise, as the years between 1991's Serious Fun and Zoom had been kind to the band, a.k.a. Doug Fieger (lead vocals/rhythm guitar), Prescott Niles (bass) and Berton Averre (lead guitar/keyboards/vocals).  Omnivore Recordings has recently reissued Zoom and its follow-up, Normal as the Next Guy, along with 2001's Live from

New “Rare Soul” Collection Features Otis Redding, Percy Sledge, Solomon Burke, Mary Wells and More

If Rare Soul is what you're looking for, PopMarket has an exclusive release just for you.  The online shop has recently released A Crate Digger's Collection of Rare Soul, a 3-LP set pressed on heavyweight180-gram vinyl presenting 35 tracks culled from the Warner Music Group family of labels including Atlantic, Cotillion, Loma, Atco and Warner Bros. itself.  This handsome package, a limited edition of 1,000 units, features 35 tracks from some of the labels' heaviest hitters as well as names that

Review: Ronny and the Daytonas, “The Complete Recordings”

The sound was surf-rock, but the pedigree was pure Nashville.  Ronny and the Daytonas burst onto the scene in 1964 with the rip-roaring California-style car tune "G.T.O.," scoring a Top 5 hit on both the Billboard and Cash Box charts.  The group - in actuality, singer-songwriter John "Buck" Wilkin and a rotating cast of Music City's finest - recorded a couple of albums and notched other hits, most notably 1965's dreamy "Sandy," through 1966 on the Mala label before moving to RCA for a stint

Good Grief! Varese Premieres “A Boy Named Charlie Brown” On CD

When Charles Schulz, director-producer Lee Mendelson and co-producer Bill Melendez announced they were bringing Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the Peanuts gang to the big screen for the very first time, anticipation was naturally high.  A Boy Named Charlie Brown was well-received upon its December 1969 theatrical debut, going on to do good business and receiving credit for breaking the Disney monopoly on feature-length animation.  Today, it's still remembered as the best of the four Peanuts animated