1978's Time Passages concluded British singer-songwriter Al Stewart's trilogy of albums with producer-engineer Alan Parsons which began with 1975's Modern Times and continued with the following year's Year of the Cat. During this purple patch, Stewart earned his first hit singles in the United States, transitioning from folk troubadour at home to bona fide pop star abroad. And while Year of the Cat, the album, charted higher than Time Passages, the latter's title track was a bigger hit in the
A book about a film about an album? The new coffee table book from Callaway Arts and Entertainment and Apple Corps, The Beatles: Get Back, is essentially that: a hardcover, 240-page tome based on the film footage shot in the buildup to The Beatles' final album, 1970's Let It Be. Get Back was, of course, the name of the first version of Let It Be. It's also the name of director Peter Jackson's upcoming three-part, six-hour documentary (the first part of which premieres November 25 on the
Señor, señor/Can you tell me where we're headin'? Only Bob Dylan knew where he was headin'. In the fall of 1980, when Springtime in New York: The Bootleg Series Vol. 16 (1980-1985) opens, Dylan was two-thirds into his so-called "Christian trilogy" comprising Slow Train Coming (1979), Saved (1980), and Shot of Love (1981). He had wrapped up a fiery tour on May 21, 1980 in which he only performed his gospel material. Audiences and critics alike were divided on Dylan's immersion into
A Million Stars: Vinyl Me, Please Teams with Aloha Got Soul for Hawaiian Classics from Mackey Feary Band, Eddie Suzuki and New Hawaii
"Grin, even when you're at your lowest, grin," implores Mackey Feary on the opening track of his 1978 solo album Mackey Feary Band. "You're Young" is all sun and breeze, making it near-impossible to suppress the requested grin. It's languid yet funky, with shimmering guitars, wending saxophone, and sweet female background voices adding to the luster. As a founding member of Kalapana, Feary had been at the vanguard of Hawaiian pop in the 1970s; alongside such artists as Cecilio and Kapono and
In December, The Go-Go's will launch a mini-tour of California and Nevada hot on the heels of their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. Demon Music Group has recently been revisiting the catalogue of the band's breakout star Belinda Carlisle on vinyl. Following such releases as 2017's Heaven on Earth (reissued for its 30th anniversary), 2019's Runaway Horses (also a 30th anniversary), and Belinda earlier this year (marking its 35th), the label has delivered a Deluxe 25th Anniversary 3LP Box
Like a Companion for Your Lonely Soul Those placing the needle on The Beach Boys' Sunflower upon its release in 1970 might have been taken aback by the sheer drive of its opening track. The lusty "Slip on Through" - co-written, produced, and primarily sung by Dennis Wilson - rocked harder than just about anything else in the band's discography to that point. The song announced that Sunflower was not just The Beach Boys' first album on a new label but the beginning of a new chapter
R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Otis Redding may have written the song, but Aretha Franklin owned it. The singer was only in her mid-20s when she left Columbia Records after five years and seven albums but she wasted no time in making music history when she signed with Atlantic Records in December 1966. By the middle of 1967, she'd had long-sought-after hits with "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)" and "Respect" and was proclaimed The Queen of Soul by a Chicago disk jockey. Some reports indicate the
Ellen Foley is back with a vengeance. The singer-actress who shared the microphone with Meat Loaf on Bat Out of Hell's immortal "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" has one of the smallest yet choicest discographies in rock: just three albums between 1979 and 1983 on which she was joined by such collaborators as Ian Hunter, Mick Ronson, Vini Poncia, and The Clash's Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Topper Headon, and Joe Strummer; and a 2013 "comeback" LP. But Foley was hardly ever away. She flourished
Joni Mitchell fiercely announced her independence with "I Had a King," the haunting soliloquy which opens her 1968 debut album, Song to a Seagull. "I can't go back there anymore," she proclaimed. "You know my keys won't fit the door/You know my thoughts don't fit the man. They never can...they never can..." The song is bold, wise, and flecked with a graceful equanimity as the singer declares her freedom both from a husband who "lives in another time" and the societal constraints of the day.
At first glance, Southside Johnny Lyon and Tom Waits might seem at disparate ends of the musical spectrum. New Jersey native Lyon is a progenitor of the Jersey Shore sound with its brassy, party-time fusion of rock & roll and rhythm & blues. California's Waits came into prominence during that state's singer-songwriter boom, touching on folk before settling into a piano-based, jazz-influenced sound that he would ultimately jettison in favor of a more experimental and avant-garde
Richard Lee (guitar), Norman Durham (bass), Paul Crutchfield (percussion/keyboards) and Woody Cunningham (lead vocals/drums) united in 1972 as The Choice 4 before evolving into The Jam Band, Pipeline and, under the aegis of Patrick Adams and Greg Carmichael, The Universal Robot Band. After flirting with R&B, funk, disco and even straight-ahead rock, the quartet settled as Kleeer and signed to Atlantic Records. Between 1979 and 1985, Kleeer released seven albums on Atlantic, proving worthy
Let's hear it for Deniece Williams. Since making her first big splash 45 years ago with debut album This is Niecy, the daughter of Gary, Indiana has scored 27 Billboard R&B hits and 14 Pop successes including two crossover Number Ones, won four Grammy Awards (and amassed another nine nominations), and recorded over fifteen albums blurring the lines between soul, pop, and gospel. Between 1976 and 1988, Williams made Columbia Records her home, both with Maurice White's ARC imprint and with
Bohemian Rhapsodies: A Closer Look at Vinyl Me Please's Reissues of Queen's "A Night at the Opera" and Al Green's "Call Me"
In April, record club Vinyl Me Please announced that it would be restoring some previously out-of-print titles to the catalogue to celebrate 100 releases in the club's Essentials series. (See the list of all ten titles here.) We've given a spin to the re-presses of Queen's A Night at the Opera and Al Green's Call Me. For Queen, too much was never enough. That attitude is perhaps best embodied by the band's fourth album, 1975's A Night at the Opera. While the title was derived from the Marx
Oh What a Night for Love: Mint Audio Continues Peter Skellern Anthology Series with "The Complete Island and Mercury Recordings"
When Mint Audio Records left Peter Skellern on The Complete Decca Recordings, the British singer-songwriter-pianist had completed his 1972-1975 tenure at Decca Records after three studio albums and one odds-and-ends collection. Now, Mint has continued the Skellern story with the release of a new 3-CD set, The Complete Island and Mercury Recordings, covering 1975-1982 via six full albums and a handful of bonus tracks. This beautiful anthology chronicles his path from singer-songwriter to
Surely one of the most unlikely hits of 1976-77 was Al Stewart's "Year of the Cat." An atmospheric tale of romance in a faraway place with Casablanca name-checks of Humphrey Bogart and Peter Lorre, the song propelled the British singer-songwriter to the top of the pops: No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 (and even higher, No. 4, in Cash Box) and No. 8 AC as well as No. 31 in the U.K., his only chart appearance there. Following its expanded reissue late last year of Stewart's 24 Carrots, Cherry
When Fleetwood Mac's Live reached store shelves in time for Christmas 1980, the deluxe 2-LP set was following another mammoth affair: Tusk, released just fourteen months earlier. While Tusk was a success by any measure - it reached No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and yielded two U.S. top ten singles - it fell off the album chart within nine months as opposed to its predecessor, Rumours, which spent a record-breaking nine consecutive weeks at No. 1 in 1977-1978 on its way to becoming one of the
Oh! You Pretty Things: David Bowie's 1971 song became an anthem for the glam era: "Don't you know you're driving your mothers and fathers insane? Let me make it plain, you gotta make way for the homo superior..." Bowie's alien persona - androgynous, dangerous, sexy, and flamboyant - connected with youth and caused a stir among their parents. The song's title has now been adopted by a new 3-CD box set from Cherry Red's Grapefruit imprint. Alas, "Oh! You Pretty Things" doesn't appear anywhere
Ace Records' two most recent entries in its Songwriter Series of collections both spotlight artists who bucked tradition to forge their own paths at the end of the 1960s and the dawn of the 1970s: Leon Russell and Kris Kristofferson. As we wrote upon his passing in 2016 at the age of 74, Leon Russell was an extraordinary talent unlike any other: A true renaissance man and an extraordinary talent as composer, musician, arranger, producer, and artist, The Master of Space and Time led many
When Neil Young announced the release of Young Shakespeare as Disc 3.5 of the Neil Young Archives Performance Series, many wondered, "Why another solo acoustic show?" Since the archival series began in 2006, Young has released six solo acoustic concert albums, three of which chronicled performances from 1970-1971; Young Shakespeare was recorded in that time frame, on January 22, 1971, at Stratford, Connecticut's Shakespeare Theatre. While the venue sadly burned to the ground in January 2019,
Jon Anderson's 1976 solo debut Olias of Sunhillow was a lockdown album decades before those were in vogue. Recorded in his home's garage with Anderson on every instrument, the singer-songwriter recalled three months of 10-hour days to bring the ambitious sci-fi/fantasy concept album to life. While its success was modest - it peaked at No. 47 in the U.S. and a stronger No. 8 at home in the U.K. - Olias musically anticipated Anderson's collaborations with Vangelis and is today fondly looked upon
When Harpers Bizarre made their debut on Warner Bros. Records in spring 1967, they joined an eclectic roster of pop stars (Petula Clark, The Association), folksingers (Chad Mitchell, Peter Paul and Mary), comedy titans (Bob Newhart, Allan Sherman), MOR artists (The Anita Kerr Singers, Rod McKuen), and one forward-thinking psychedelic rock band (Grateful Dead). The group defied easy categorization, and over the course of four albums merged pop, MOR, rock, and even dashes of folk and comic whimsy
Motown's Rare Earth imprint intended to bring the sound of rock to the home of The Supremes, The Miracles, Martha and The Vandellas, The Temptations, and Four Tops. The imprint was named after a white rock band from Detroit and its artists were both home-grown and licensed from other parties. In the latter category was Toe Fat, a U.K. psych-rock band built around the talents of Cliff Bennett, formerly of the beat group Cliff Bennett and The Rebel Rousers. Both of Toe Fat's albums - issued on
The story of the band Fancy began with Chip Taylor's "Wild Thing." Captivated with Jimi Hendrix's fiery take on the classic popularized by The Troggs, producer Mike Hurst (The Springfields, Cat Stevens, Shakin' Stevens, Showaddywaddy) began to imagine the song as sung by a woman. He dialed up both the sex and the funk for a slower, breathier, and more salacious version of the pop-rock staple. Guitarist Ray Fenwick, bassist Mo Foster, drummer Henry Spinetti, keyboardist Alan Hawkshaw, and
"Hey Clockface, keep those fingers on the dial," Elvis Costello implored on the jaunty, jazz-flavored title track of his 2020 album. "You said you'd be a friend to me, but time is just my enemy and it is hurting me so..." Despite his pleas, time has been rather good to Costello's artistry. Though initially branded an "angry young man" - and indeed, he channeled the punk zeitgeist early on with his fast and furious compositions - Costello has been able to travel wherever his muse takes him.
High Time: Cherry Red, Grapefruit Collects U.K. Band Byzantium on "Halfway Dreaming: Anthology 1969-75"
Byzantium was only active for a brief period at the tail end of the late 1960s and the first half of the 1970s, but the band is still well-remembered within the British underground rock scene. Now, the group's officially issued works (and more!) have been collected by Cherry Red's Grapefruit imprint on the new 5-CD set Halfway Dreaming: Anthology 1969-75. Byzantium emerged from the ashes of the band Ora, formed by students Robin Sylvester, Julian Diggle, and Jamie Rubinstein at University