Tag Archives: Albums

Cowboy Junkies: The Wilderness – The Nomad Series – Vol.4

Cowboy Junkies
The Wilderness – The Nomad Series – Vol.4

March 26, 2012
Proper Records UK

“Free from vague thematic restraints, this volume works as the most immediately listenable and comprehensible of the Nomad Series and stands alone as another strong volume of the craft Cowboy Junkies have been honing for years.”All Music Guide

“The series is all that they are-accomplished, graceful, thoughtful and poignant. And The Wilderness is its fitting conclusion.”Paste Magazine

Cowboy Junkies are releasing The Wilderness, Volume 4 of The Nomad Series, marking the conclusion of an ambitious schedule of four releases over an 18-month period.

The title, The Wilderness, in some odd way defines what these songs were actually “about”: fragility, emptiness, loneliness, beauty, chance, loss, desperation, the delicate balancing act that makes up a life

Michael Timmins sums up the band’s motivation for taking on such a massive project as The Nomad Series quite simply. “The main reason for wanting to do it,” he says, “is that, as we steam through our twenty-fifth year, we feel that we have the energy and inspiration to pull it off.”

Bonnie Raitt: Slipstream

Bonnie Raitt
Slipstream

April 10, 2012
Proper Records

“It’s mood music with a razor edge, pain fronting as bliss, delivered by a vet who understands that the blues are often about just that.”Rolling Stone

“Slipstream relies on Bonnie;’s voice and slide playing–and, above all, her felicitous ability to pick the right song.”Uncut

Bonnie Raitt’s new album “Slipstream” is daring, bluesy, and steeped with the inimitable slide guitar and soulful vocals that could only be hers. “Slipstream” marks her first new album in seven years.

While most of “Slipstream” is self-produced and features Raitt’s longtime touring band, four of the album’s songs were helmed by celebrated producer Joe Henry (Allen Toussaint, Solomon Burke) and showcase his usual crew of extraordinary musicians. Additional guests include Bill Frisell, Al Anderson (formerly of NRBQ), Ireland’s Paul Brady, and Maia Sharp. The album’s twelve tracks feature Raitt’s renditions of songs by such luminaries as Bob Dylan, Joe Henry, and Loudon Wainwright III.

John Cale: Conflict & Catalysis: Productions & Arrangements 1966-2006

John Cale
Conflict & Catalysis: Productions & Arrangements 1966-2006

March 6, 2012
Big Beat

Film directors have always been lionised by their industry and by fans who made household names of Ford, Hitchcock and Spielberg. On the other hand, Phil Spector notwithstanding, record producers have by-and-large laboured in near-anonymity outside the music business and the most devoted of followers. To help remedy that situation, a few years back, we instigated our Producers series, spotlighting the studio outputs of Jack Nitzsche, Jerry Ragovoy, Bert Berns, Kim Fowley, Brian Wilson, Martin Hammet and other visionaries who lived to bring the sounds in their heads to the grooves of a record. Another master of the art is John Cale.

Cale’s career has many facets. Since leaving the Velvet Underground in 1968, he has released over two-dozen solo albums – their scope ranging from minimalism, through guitar-based rock to full-scale orchestral. A tireless live performer, he is currently readying a new album for release, having not long returned from a tour of Europe. As a multi-instrumentalist who thrives on collaboration, he has contributed to recordings by William Burroughs, Nick Drake, LCD Soundsystem, La Monte Young and very many others. He has also composed the scores for several ballets, an opera and many films. In the Queen’s Birthday Honours List of 2010 he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire. On receiving his decoration from the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace that November, he commented, “Someone has decided that you have done something right, and it is your job to figure out what that is.”

Here on “Conflict & Catalysis” the focus is on Cale the producer. Spanning 40 years, the collection contains everything from the proto-punk of the Stooges and the Modern Lovers to Euro-pop princess Lio and no-wave enigma Cristina and comes with a stylish 28-page booklet which includes a 9000-word essay incorporating specially commissioned memoirs from several of the featured performers.

Elvis Heard Them Here First

Various
Elvis Heard Them Here First

April 3, 2012
Ace Records UK

From his debut recording session to his last, Elvis Presley loved to reinterpret. The first song he ever cut, ‘My Happiness’, was one he probably learned from the 1948 recording by John and Sondra Steele. The last song, ‘He’ll Have To Go’, probably came via Jim Reeves (although Jim was not the first to record it – that honour went to one Billy Brown). In 24 years of studio and stage activity, Elvis cut over 150 songs that had been recorded previously – and put his own stamp on all of them, regardless of who sang them first. All of which makes him a guaranteed shoo-in for his own ‘special edition’ in Ace’s popular “You Heard It Here First” series.

Most people who buy Ace CDs will already know what the originals of songs such as ‘Blue Suede Shoes’, ‘One Night’, ‘Hound Dog’ and ‘Blue Moon Of Kentucky’ sound like. We could have gone the obvious route with this project and stuck to Elvis’ revivals of R&B, blues and hillbilly material, but we’ve elected to compile “Elvis Heard Them Here First” from songs he cut after his military service put his career on hold for a while. We’ve tailored our selection to embrace the originals of some of his biggest hits – ‘Always On My Mind’, ‘Girl Of My Best Friend’, ‘Guitar Man’ – and some of his most obscure B-sides and albums cuts. Believe us, they don’t come much more obscure than Duane Dee’s ‘True Love Travels On A Gravel Road’, the Bards’ ‘Goodtime Charlie’s Got The Blues’ or Roger Douglass’ ‘Never Ending’. In doing so, we hope more than a few of even the most hardcore Elvis collectors will discover some original versions of songs they may not have even suspected were ever recorded by anyone other than Elvis.

Andre Williams & The Sadies: Night & Day

Andre Williams & The Sadies
Night & Day

28 May 2012
Yep Roc

Canada’s finest live band, The Sadies, have reunited with explicit soul singer/cult legend Andre Williams for Night and Day on Yep Roc Records. Night and Day is the result of sessions that began in 2008 at Key Club Studio in Detroit and captures Andre, then 70 years old and still using at the time, at his most raw, honest, and immediate. No filter.

Andre is aided by a stellar cast of musical friends, dirty bluesers who have earned the trust of the ancient hustler, including Jon Spencer (who directed these sessions) and Matt Verta-Ray of Heavy Trash, Danny Kroha of Detroit’s own gutter-blues superheroes, The Gories, the unsinkable Mekon, Jon Langford, and of course, behind it all, The Sadies’ long-time line-up of Dallas Good on guitars and keys, his brother Travis Good on guitars and fiddle, Mike Belitsky on drums, and the mighty Sean Dean on the bass. The result is a raw, gritty slice of raunch rock that has attitude in spades and the hooks and playing to back it up.

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