Friday, 28 March 2014

Fleetwood Mac - Original Album Classics 1968-1969 (2010) {3-CD Box Set}

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Blues, Blues-rock,
Original Release Date: 1968-1969
Label: Sony Music

This three disc box set presents us with the first three Fleetwood Mac albums. They are returned to their original LP configurations and audio mixes. And that is a good thing. The versions offered on the Complete Blue Horizons Sessions Box Set sound great, I have no complaints about the remastering done for it. It's the inclusion of far too much studio talk and use of too many false starts on many of the songs that takes away from full enjoyment of the set. How many times do we need to hear a song's opening riff repeated?By comparison this set is a blessing in its simplicity. The CDs are well mastered and sound excellent. The packaging is kept to the basics as well, with eco friendly reproductions of the original album sleeves. The only thing missing is the full gatefold image on the cover of Mr. Wonderful. It's a tacky joke that only works the first time you see the cover. So not reproducing it here is a benefit.So with the emphasis not on packaging, ultimately what this box set highlights is the music. There is no booklet with rare photos and essays praising the band. There are no unnecessary additions of any kind to bloat the set. At the heart of it, what is here are three CDs of Fleetwood Mac playing blues music very well. Concentrating on the music is a good thing.

Friday, 4 May 2012

VA - Songs Of Led Zeppelin - All Blues'd Up! (2003)

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Blues Rock, Classic Rock
Original Release Date: 2003
Label: Smith & Co Sound & Vision B.V.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Vlatko Stefanovski Trio - Thunder From The Blue Sky 2008

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Blues-rock
Release Date: 2008
Label: Esoteria Records

Blues music has never only been about endless guitar solos and licks, but the emotions and feelings that pull those guitar strings. Be it happy or sad or angry, it has never been limited geographically, except in some minds, and has become a universal language that many people identify with.

Vlatko Stefanovski, one of Europe's premier guitarists, has always had that blue note in his playing and, given the broad spectrum of music genres he has put his fingers to, it would have felt incomplete if he hadn't done a proper, all-out blues album during his career. The blues repertoire was also present in his first band, Leb i Sol's earliest playlists as, by their own words, in the early days, whenever they would play all their original material, the band would also play blues standards. Stefanovski's first solo album had two original blues tunes, "Life is an Open Road" and "Red Blues," but beside that he has never really delved into the blues area completely. Thunder From the Blue Sky is Stefanovski's first album entirely devoted to blues music, covering some of the best blues classics.

Not so long ago the cover version was a derided format, associated largely with manufactured acts devoid of their own ideas. In the current pop climate, however, the cover has become an admired art form in itself. One of the trademarks of the repertoire from Leb i Sol and Stefanovski's solo career was a unique approach to covering Macedonian folk songs. One of the most important things to achieve when covering other writers' tunes is to impose your own unique style and to have your own interpretation, rather than walking in other people's footsteps. Though the cover form is the easy way out commercially, it can also sometimes become a minefield artistically if the artist is not up to it. Stefanovski, at this point in his career, is up to the challenge.

The track list on Thunder includes such blues chestnuts as BB King's "The Thrill is Gone," Ray Charles' "What'd I Say," Muddy Waters' "Hoochie Coochie Man" and tunes such as "Texas Flood" and "I'm So Glad". The approach Stefanovski takes is in total contrast to his youthful, stinging, flashy guitar lines as he takes a sparser, economic approach, punctuated by raunchy licks. With classics such as these one can do no wrong. Among the standout tracks is "Dizzy Fingers," by Edward Confrey, originally played on a piano. Stefanovski's rollicking guitar sounds like a twister on this track. The band's groovy support only magnifies the humorous and dizzy feeling behind it.

Beside the covers, there are two originals by Stefanovski. "Country" is a popular tune from the soundtrack "Shmeker" that he did during the 1980s. The title track is a gritty blues composition that shows Stefanovski pulling out many of his six-string tricks and taps.

Joining him on this endeavor, beside his regular band, are Damir Imeri on keyboards, and guitar legend (and Stefanovski's childhood guitar hero as well), Jan Akkerman. Thunder From the Blue Sky sees Stefanovski breathing new life into these standards and the result is a rich, easy-rolling album that is awash in poignancy.

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Bakerloo - Bakerloo 1969 [1993]

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: jazz/blues-rock
Release Date: 1969
Label: Repertoire Records

The British trio BAKERLOO known in wider circles in the first place as the leading specialists for many of the more famous colleagues on stage. At various times, team members were part of groups such as URIAH HEEP, MAY BLITZ, COLOSSEUM, HUMBLE PIE, GRAHAM BOND & HOLY MAGICK and many others. But the first chapter of the musical career of three outstanding musicians, perhaps, remained the most interesting and exciting, though considerably less successful.
Composition in the face of Clemson Dave (Dave Clempson), Terry Poole (Terry Poole) and Keith Baker (Keith Baker) was formed in the mid 60s in the town of Tamworth. Original title BAKERLOO BLUES LINE speaks for itself - the musicians offered their variations on the theme of British blues. However, apart from the blues tradition BAKERLOO brought to their sound and strong jazz flavor, which made their music more unusual and heaped.
In the first major tour of the country's musicians went with his manager Jim Simpson (Jim Simpson), who also directed the affairs of EARTH and later turned into a BLACK SABBATH. In addition to the EARTH and our heroes were touring together with bands such as LOCOMOTIVE and TEA & SYMPHONY. Incidentally, the last enlisted the support of Clemson during the recording of their debut album «An asylum for the musically insane». Among other interesting facts worth noting that it BAKERLOO warmed up the audience before the first performance of LED ZEPPELIN in the club Marquee on Oct. 18, 1968.
Signed to Harvest Records, the musicians in July 1969go released their first single - Drivin 'bachwards / Once upon a time. The central track was brilliant instrumental number, the main theme of which was borrowed from Bach, but the execution with a fatal drive and power. Turned out really nice roll guitar and harpsichord. In the recording of this song took part trumpeter Jerry Salisbury. Second side of the single occupied straightforward hard-rock number that remotely resembled the music of another curious British team NSU. Here is the influence of blues and jazz was almost imperceptible. However, released at the end of that year the first (and last) album, presented a slightly different face of the group.
Seven tracks were largely instrumental, even where he was a vocal (half plate), he played a more supporting role. Blues numbers - a classic Willie Dixon (Willie Dixon) Bring it on home and the thing Klempsona / Pool This worried feeling - as a whole did not go beyond the genre. They can be compared with earlier formulations FLEETWOOD MAC and CHICKEN SHACK, except that the guitar Clemson more aggressive and hard rock. All have turned out better as a jazz-rock numbers Big Bear Ffolly Gang Bang c and powerful rhythm section and a really heavy guitar. By the way, despite the undeniable talent of the guitarist, is the rhythm section seems to be most persuasive. Especially Party of China Baker sounded so powerful and inventive, that you involuntarily ask yourself - and it's not a relative of another Baker? Final record 15-minute track Son of Moonshine though built on the blues structures is rather striking example of heavy progressive rock. A quote from the blues classics just spicing up this hurricane, "the monster".
However, such a clever and unusual music was unclaimed. Financial affairs of the group walked slowly to the bottom, and as soon as possible Klempson left the band. He replaced the legendary jazz-rock group COLOSSEUM guitarist and singer James Lizerlenda (James Litherland), and a couple of years has made even greater heights in the famous blues-rock team of HUMBLE PIE.
Despite the loss of so important a person as Clemson, Poole and Baker decided to revive the group with the help of two new musicians - George Northall (sax) and Adrian Ingram (guitar). By the time the style changed even more in the direction of instrumental jazz-rock. Support from Jim Simpson was still very, very solid. Followed by a tour of England (where the records were made on the BBC) and Germany (where they even played on local television), but after a number of permutations in the name was changed to HANNIBAL. And, while recording only one album of "old new" group in 1970 from the original BAKERLOO have nobody left.
In what ways Poole and Baker went at once. A few months they played with the Canadian guitarist Jamie Black (Jamie Black) in the group MAY BLITZ, however, by the time of recording the first album of both left and joined this group. Baker almost immediately became a member of URIAH HEEP and contributed to a landmark plate «Salisbury». Terry Poole was in a group of Graham Bond (Graham Bond) and recorded on the album «We put our magick on you». Later, each of them became famous and respected session musician.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Gary Moore - Still Got The Blues 1990 [2003 Virgin Remaster]



On Sunday 6th February 2011 musician Gary Moore died in his sleep of a heart attack while on holiday in Spain.

Acknowledged as one of the finest guitarists that the British Isles has ever produced; Gary Moore’s career dated back to the sixties. Moore graced the line-ups of several notable rock bands including Thin Lizzy, Collosseum II and Skid Row, to name but three, and to this year maintained a highly successful solo career.

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Blues-rock, Blues
Release Date: 1990
Label: Virgin Records

Gary Moore - lead vocals, lead & rhythm guitars

Don Airey - keyboards

Stuart Brooks - Trumpet

Albert Collins - Guitar

Bob Daisley - Bass

Raul d'Oliveira - Trumpet

Brian Downey - Drums

Martin Drover - Trumpet

Andy Hamilton - Saxophone

George Harrison - Guitar, Vocals

Nicky Hopkins - Keyboards

Albert King - Guitar

Frank Mead - Saxophone

Nick Payn - Saxophone

Nick Pentelow - Saxophone

Andy Pyle - Bass

Graham Walker - Drums

Mick Weaver - Piano

Gavyn Wright - Strings

Released in 1990, this CD should pretty much be old news now, and it would seem that most everyone has either heard this CD for themselves or gotten an opinion on it from a trusted friend. Still, whenever someone asks me to make a few recommendations for guitar oriented blues-rock CD's, Still Got The Blues is always in my first list of suggestions. A surprising number of times the recipient of my suggestions either has not heard of Gary Moore or hasn't heard this CD. If you enjoy blues-rock guitar and don't have this one in your collection, read on.
While I'm not absolutely certain of this, I believe Gary was the first hard rock guitarist to cross over to blues by dedicating a full CD to the genre. There have been a string of "heavy blues" releases and blues CDs produced by predominantly rock guitarists since the release of Still Got The Blues, most notably the numerous releases on Shrapnel's Blue Bureau International division. But it's my feeling that Gary set a standard in this area that has yet to be equaled. (I'll likely be challenged on that statement, however).
Simply put, Gary Moore stands comfortably among the top rock/blues guitar players, past and present. He does rock the blues, there's no disputing that, playing powerful chords and ripping off lots of rapid fire leads throughout the CD. But the emotional aspect of blues music is not lost in a flurry of notes, as sometimes happens with this style of play. Gary injects tremendous passion into his playing. And the gutsy, sustained growl oozing from his Les Paul makes me wonder why Fenders are so prominently prefered by bluesmen. Completing the package, Gary's vocals are very good as well.
Albert Collins and Albert King each make guest appearances, both trading licks with Gary. The contrast of playing styles between Gary and these blues veterans makes for some interesting listening. George Harrison also makes a guest appearance, playing slide guitar on That Kind of Woman. Of the 12 tracks, most of them are medium or fast paced, but there are three slower ballads to break things up. The most notable of these slower numbers is the title cut, Still Got The Blues, on which Gary does some very nice melodic, passionate lead work. In all, there are 5 originals and 7 covers.
As with many CDs I review, this CD features lots of aggressive guitar, and mostly upbeat, faster paced blues-rock songs. If you are a fan of guitar-driven blues rock, there's no question this CD needs to be in your collection. It probably won't have a lot of appeal to those who favor primarily tradional blues.
Gary did however, release a later CD entitled Blues For Greeny, on which he plays a guitar given to him by Peter Green, and features Peter's songs. This CD has a much more tradional flavor to it, and frankly was a bit too laid back for me. However, I have heard (or read) several favorable comments from others regarding Gary's playing on this CD.


Sunday, 30 January 2011

Scott Henderson - Tore Down House (1997)

Format: ape + cue + log
Genre: Blues, Fusion
Release Date: 1997
Label: Mesa Records

Scott Henderson - Guitar, Production

Thelma Houston - Vocals

Masta Edwards - Vocals

Dave Carpenter - Bass

Kirk Covington - Drums

Pat O`Brien - Harmonica

Scott Kinsey - Keyboards, Production

Albert Wing - Alto Sax, Tenor Sax, Flute, Fearless Horn Section Leader

Walt Fowler - Trumpet, Flugel Horn

Mike Nelson - Tenor Sax, Baritone Sax

Dan Fornero - Trumpet, Flugel Horn

Eric Jorgenson - Trombone

T.J. Helmerich - Background Vocals, Engineering, Mixing

Mark Nonisa - Background Vocals

With a fusion of jazz, blues and rock, guitarist Scott Henderson put together a set of his own songs; the lone exception is Jaco Pastorius’ "Continuum ." Most of the album features Thelma Houston with a blues trio; Houston wails while Henderson smokes in a contemporary electric blues vein. Most of the guitarist’s career has been based on fusion; leaders with whom Henderson worked early on include Joe Zawinul, Jean-Luc Ponty, and Chick Corea with his Elektrik Band.

Alongside Henderson’s ferocious guitar and the fluid singing of Houston is the propulsive team of bassist Dave Carpenter and drummer Kirk Covington. The title track is a slow vocal blues with emotional guitar fills and an exciting interlude. The Bo Diddley beat of "Meter Maid" carries the singer’s tale of urban living with a comfortable feeling that makes the background pleasurable and the lyrics understandable. There are places on the album, however, where the lyrics’ meaning may seem offensive to someone who’s never had a serious long-term relationship. The horns only appear on "Dolemite." Carpenter and Covington rip off a genuine "Continuum" with support from Scott Kinsey at the organ and Henderson on acoustic guitar. The up-tempo "Harpoon" pushes the envelope with a syncopated New Orleans shuffle and exciting solos from Henderson & Pat O’Brien. The music is fun, and the artist is quite talented.

By JIM SANTELLA May 1, 1999