Archive for current listening

current listening: fourth at the fillmores

On July 4, 1971, the Fillmore West shut its doors after serving as the performance haven to a new rock ‘n’ roll generation for nearly six years. To mark the occasion, along with more traditional Fourth of July honors, The Musical Box used this rainy day to spin records that were cut at the Fillmore West in San Francisco and the sister Fillmore East in New York during their glory years. This is music that lets freedom ring and then some.

fillmore the last days+ Various artists – Fillmore: The Last Days (1972). A chronicle of a week’s worth of shows that led up to the closing of the Fillmore West. Today this stands, even with occasional excesses, as a capsule of a vibrant Bay Area scene that dictated the tone of a national psychedelic rock movement. It’s a Beautiful Day, Quicksilver, Tower of Power, Hot Tuna, the Grateful Dead and a ferocious young Santana highlight the farewell party.

jefferson airplane+ Jefferson Airplane – Bless Its Little Pointed Head (1969). Combining recordings from the heralded Fillmores East and West, Pointed Head presents the Airplane at the height of its flight with a full crew at the ready. Paul Kantner mans the trippy Fat Angel, Marty Balin ignites the funk of Plastic Fantastic Lover, Jorma Kaukonen rides the blues wave of Rock Me Baby and Grace Slick pilots the psychedelic meditation of Bear Melt.

aretha live at fillmore west+ Aretha Franklin: Live at Fillmore West (1971). The Queen of Soul’s landmark string of R&B hits began to subside at the dawn of the ‘70s. But her creative side hit a peak. With her underrated Spirit in the Dark album only a few months old, Franklin ceased being a jukebox, recruited soul music sax legend King Curtis and served up a string of Fillmore West shows that make up one of the most powerfully earthy records she ever issued.

miles davis+ Miles Davis – Black Beauty: Miles Davis at Fillmore West (1977). Cut in the spring of 1970 with a band that included an insanely eager Chick Corea on electric piano going toe to toe with Davis’ trumpet outbursts, Black Beauty was a testament to how diverse billings were at the Fillmores and how eager Davis was to reach the audiences that gathered there. Black Beauty was released in Japan in 1977 and not until 1997 in the U.S.

abb at fillmore east+ The Allman Brothers Band: The Allman Brothers Band at Fillmore East (1971). Few live albums defined an entire genre, much less a band, than Fillmore East did with the Allmans. Southern rock pretty much began and ended with this record, although the set is best enjoyed as a blues party. But it was a strangely fateful one. No sooner did the record catch fire in the summer of 1971 than guitarist Duane Allman died in a motorcycle crash.

the mothers+ The Mothers – Fillmore East, June 1971 (1971). Cut at the height of Frank Zappa’s Mothers alliance with ex-Turtles Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, Fillmore was a true rock ‘n’ roll tent show that shifted from performance art extremes (especially in the vocals) to guitar mayhem and to jams of jazz-prog severity. The music was expertly tight even though the performance itself seemed so loose that it nearly imploded in on itself.

Current Listening 05/25/13

charles walker+ Charles Walker and the Dynamites: Love is Only Everything (2013) – On their newest blast of vintage-flavored Nashville soul, vocal vet Walker and guitarist/songsmith Leo Black stick to the familiar – namely original tunes that bring out the brassy orchestral R&B preferences of the Dynamites and the effortless soul/funk charge that makes Walker sound ageless. The cheery Still Can’t Get You Out of My Heart and the blues smackdown Yours and Mine (a duet with Bettye LaVette) rank among the many delights.

patty griffin+ Patty Griffin: American Kid (2013) – On her first outing following an extended stay in Robert Plant’s Band of Joy, Griffin offers up an album of stately but understated beauty. Sure, the ragged blues of Don’t Let Me Die in Florida kicks up some dirt. But the bulk of the record is steeped in antique quiet, from Highway Song, a captivating duet with Plant that serves as a reciprocal communion with the spirits, to Gonna Miss You When You’re Gone, which sounds like ‘40s-era serenading filtered through Brian Eno-esque ambience.

dead can dance+ Dead Can Dance: In Concert (2013) – The title is the only thing generic about this latest performance document by Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard, the Mulder and Scully of modern pop. The music is often as exact as the group’s studio works, mixing world music melodies, foreign rhythms and especially Gerrard’s lyric-less singing. At times, as on Ubitquitous Mr.Lovegrove, the resulting blend is otherworldly. At others, such as the luscious groove of Children of the Sun, Dead Can Dance sound dead sexy.

todd rundgren+ Todd Rundgren: State (2013) – Some might see this foray into big beat electronica as jumping on a stylistic bandwagon several years too late. But one man band experiments involving pop accessibility and advanced electronics have always been Rundgren’s modus operandi. While State takes a few listens to gain your trust, its songs reveal considerable wit and solace as well as a generous supply of melodic charm, all of which remain Rundgren trademarks. At 64, Todd still has the ability to satisfy and surprise.

stick men+ Stick Men: Deep (2013) – Stick Men is the prog alliance of Tony Levin, Pat Mastelotto and Markus Reuter. Levin and Mastellotto’s lengthy credits include extended tenures in King Crimson, which suggests some of Deep’s punctuated charge. But the record is both tough knuckled and textured, using Levin’s Chapman Stick, Reuter’s Stick-like touch guitar and Mastellotto’s acoustic and electronic drums to created densely patterned instrumental music colored by funk and a sense of prog that is truly progressive.

current listening 08/11/12

+ Herbie Hancock: Maiden Voyage (1965) – Over 45 years on, Maiden Voyage remains the jewel of Hancock’s 1960s Blue Note catalogue. The personnel replicates the Miles Davis Quintet of the previous year (with the newly departed George Coleman returning on sax and Freddie Hubbard in for Davis), but the music is an original mix of jagged bop (Eye of the Hurricane) and serene lyricism (the title tune). It remains a lovely listen.

+ Pink Floyd: A Saucerful of Secrets (1968) – The torch is passed here from Syd Barrett to David Gilmour as Pink Floyd settles into the lineup that would last through the making of The Wall. Secrets sounds somewhat dated in its overtly psychedelic slant. But that’s half the fun. Gilmour and Roger Waters, even then, were the figureheads. But Richard Wright’s keyboard colors give Secrets its texture, mystery and, ultimately, allure.

+ Neil Young and Crazy Horse: Year of the Horse (1997) – Granted, Year of the Horse was the third live album in as many decades to team Young with his longstanding garage rock troupe Crazy Horse. And, yes, some of the repertoire spills over from the previous concert records. But the playing here is outrageous, whether it is through the funereal reading of Human Highway or the electric bludgeoning of Slipaway. A brutal gem.

+ Fairport Convention: Babbacombe Lee (1971) – A tip to the seminal British folk-rock band’s annual summer festival, which takes places this weekend. Babbacombe Lee tells the story of an Englishman, convicted of murder, who survives multiple attempts of execution by hanging. The tale is almost Dickensian. But the music, full of dramatic harmonies and traditional-meets-progressive interplay, is all Fairport.

+ Various Artists: The Harder They Come (2002/1972) – Still can’t stop listening to reggae star Jimmy Cliff’s outstanding comeback album, Rebirth. The record also pushed me to rediscover the 2002 reissue of The Harder They Come. Often mistaken for a Cliff album, this soundtrack-and-more set is actually a reggae primer with invigorating rhythms by The Maytals, Desmond Dekkar and a youthful Cliff at his mightiest.

current listening 07/28/12

+ King Crimson: Live at the Marquee – August 10, 1971 (2012/1971) – This newly unearthed concert recording is the proverbial rabbit-out-of-a-hat, a surprise snapshot capturing the free jazz symmetry, prog-ish abandon and improvisational daring of what remains the most unfairly maligned Crimson lineup. The elegance of Formentera Lady and Cadence and Cascade, the mounting instrumental firepower of The Sailor’s Tale and The Letters and the recording’s pristine sound quality all represent the 1971-72 era Crimson at its finest.

+ Deep Purple and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra: Concerto for Group and Orchestra (2002/1969) – Dug this out after hearing the sad news of Jon Lord’s death a few weeks ago. Considered one of the first extended alliances of rock and orchestral music, the concerto is entirely Lord’s creation. It’s a bit haughty and a bit dated, but there are lovely passages, especially when the orchestra goes it alone. This 2002 set boasts three bonus tracks sans the strings – Hush, Child in Time and the mighty Wring That Neck. Lord plays like a lunatic during the latter.

+ Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band: Bat Chain Puller (2012/1976) – This was the great lost Captain Beefheart record, an album that cleansed the aftertaste left by two disastrous commercial crossover attempts in the mid ‘70s. But due to various legal tangles, Bat Chain Puller was never released until this year. And what a monster it is, from the twisted vaudeville lead of Harry Irene to the beat-less beat poetry of 81 Poop Hatch to the title tune, which chugs along like a wheezy freight train with a sensibility that was punk before punk was hip.

+ Santana: Lotus (1991/ 1974) – Originally a three record concert LP set issued in Japan following Santana’s heavily spiritual and jazz-directed Welcome album in 1973, Lotus didn’t receive a domestic release until this double CD set surfaced 17 years later. Here, brave compositions by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Chick Corea sit side by side with Santana faves like Soul Sacrifice and Incident at Neshabur. Two years later, the band would reinvent itself as a conventional pop unit. Lotus, though, is a fireball of Latin psychedelic spiritualism.

+ The Steve Miller Band: Your Saving Grace (1990/1969) – One of the great overlooked recordings in Miller’s pre-Joker catalogue, Your Saving Grace offered boogie-driven basics (Little Girl), psychedelic meditations (Baby’s House), protest songs (Don’t Let Nobody Turn You Around) and trippy pop (the title tune). But leading the pack is a slow, chilling, electric reading of Motherless Children that represents the stylistic depth of Miller’s music before the hits took over. Sadly, this 1990 CD edition has been out of print for years.

current listening 05/26/12

+ Grateful Dead: Dave’s Picks, Vol. 2 (2012/1974) – Sporting a leaner sound than usual thanks to the economical playing of drummer Bill Kreutzmann and keyboardist Keith Godchaux, this latest mail-order-only archival live release from 1974 showcases the Dead’s strengths (Jerry Garcia’s exquisite guitar improvs during I Know You Rider and Wharf Rat) and shortcomings (the paint-peeling singing of Donna Jean Godchaux). Then you have those great ensemble blasts, as on Jack Straw, where the Dead simply soar.

+ Doug Dillard: The Banjo Album (1994/1970) – The pop world mourned the deaths of Donna Summer and Robin Gibb last week. But behind the headlines was news of banjoist Doug Dillard’s passing. This 1994 reissue of Dillard’s aptly titled 1970 instrumental album serves as a brilliant intro (and postscript) to his playing. Backed by giants like John Hartford and Gene Clark, Dillard ran circles around bluegrass and old timey tunes. But Bells of St. Mary’s backed by harpsichord? That proved just how wily Dillard was.

+ Joe Cocker: Sheffield Steel (2002/1982) – Released 30 years ago today, Sheffield Steel took Cocker to Nassau for recording sessions with producer Chris Blackwell and the all-star reggae duo of drummer Sly Dunbar and bassist Robbie Shakespeare. What resulted wasn’t reggae, but a fascinating, groove-centric blend of rock, dub and soul. The medley of Bill Withers’ ominous Ruby Dee and the churchy Jimmy Cliff gem Many Rivers to Cross reveals how readily Cocker’s grizzled vocals took to the music and material.

+ Argent: All Together Now (2012/1972) – Funny how Argent’s most popular album was also the entry in its Epic Records catalogue that has been out-of-print the longest. The British label Esoteric finally resurrected it this spring. The radio hit Hold Your Head Up hardly sounds dated at all since its release 40 summers ago. More prog-directed extremes like the playful suite Fantasia and the anthemic I Am the Dance of Ages, less so. But the record remains a wonderful timepiece of proud, prog-ish pop and Argent’s finest hour.

+ Jeff Parker Trio: Bright Light in Winter (2012) – Parker is a true rarity among jazz guitarists. On this wonderfully atmospheric album, he offers nine tunes that stroll along with casual, emotive fire, coloring a traditional guitar/bass/drums trio with very subtle electronics and, on occasion, flute (courtesy of bassist Chris Lopes). In less industrious hands, such a formula would disintegrate into cosmic wallpaper music. But this is substantial jazz all the way that, despite the album title, casts an inviting, summery glow.

current listening 04/07/12

Van Morrison:  A Period of Transition (1977) – Dismissed by many as Morrison’s most uneven album of the ‘70s, Transition boasts the proud sound of a master songsmith rediscovering his blues and soul roots. Co-produced by the tireless Mac Rebennack (Dr. John), the fun shifts from the serene R&B meditation The Eternal Kansas City to two of the most unabashedly cheery nuggets in the entire Morrison canon – Joyous Sound and Flamingos Fly.

Merle Travis: Strictly Guitar (1968) – Listen to the immaculately sunny tone and patient lyrical charm on the all-instrumental Strictly Guitar and you can’t help but wonder what in God’s name happened to country music over the past four-plus decades. Though short on running time (under 25 minutes), this set of ‘20s and ‘30s-era staples (highlighted by a summery Dance of the Goldenrods and its unexpectedly treacherous rhythmic turns) overwhelms with unforced picking brilliance.

Bill Frisell: Ghost Town (2000) – A guitarist of an altogether different color and style, Frisell goes it alone on Ghost Town, creating a panoramic Americana portrait that weaves fascinating original works (Tell You Ma, Tell Your Pa) with classics by Hank Williams (I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry) and John McLaughlin (Follow Your Heart). Frisell’s wiry electric vocabulary is augmented by acoustic guitar and banjo for a sound as earthy as it is ghostly.

Chuck Mead and his Grassy Knoll Boys: Back at the Quonset Hut (2012) – BR549 cofounder Mead takes his newest retro country outfit to Nashville’s famed Quonset Hut studio with a few celebrity pals for a seriously cool tribute album where the repertoire (the overlooked George Jones hit You Better Treat Your Man Right with a stoic Jamey Johnson singing harmony) is as cool as the delivery (the red hot rockabilly of the Johnny Horton gem Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor).

U.K.: U.K. (1978) – No, this isn’t the by-product of Wildcat Fever, but rather the self-titled debut album by the all-star prog-rock combo of Bill Bruford, Eddie Jobson, Allan Holdsworth and John Wetton. Though dated, especially in some of Jobson’s more languid keyboard passages, much of the playing is captivating, including Holdsworth’s exquisitely paced guitar solo during In the Dead of Night. Bruford and Holdsworth bolted after this record, leaving U.K. as a pre-Asia pop brigade.

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ANNOUNCES COMPENSATION FOR SERVICEMEMBERS AS PART OF SETTLEMENT WITH BANK OF AMERICA.

States News Service November 10, 2011 WASHINGTON — The following information was released by the U.S. Department of Justice:

The Justice Department announced today that, as part of its settlement with BAC Home Loans Servicing LP, a subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation, servicemembers whose homes were unlawfully foreclosed upon will each receive a minimum $116,785 plus compensation for any equity lost to compensate them for the bank’s alleged violation of the Servicemember Civil Relief Act (SCRA).

Bank of America agreed to pay $20 million to approximately 160 servicemembers who were illegally foreclosed on between 2006 and the middle of 2009. Under the agreement, Bank of America agreed to provide information about its foreclosures from mid 2009-2010 and will pay damages in the same minimum amount to those servicemembers whose homes were illegally foreclosed upon to compensate for the loss of their homes. The review is on-going. this web site bac home loans

“The men and women serving our nation should not have to worry about a bank foreclosing on their home while they bravely serve our country,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will vigorously enforce the laws that protect servicemembers while they do the difficult and necessary work of protecting our country. We have and will continue to work hard to ensure that servicemembers receive the full protections of the law and relief they deserve in a timely fashion.” On May 26, 2011, the department announced a settlement with BAC Home Loans Servicing LP, formerly known as Countrywide Home Loans Servicing LP, which resolved allegations that the bank unlawfully foreclosed on servicemembers’ homes in violation of the SCRA.

This is the largest SCRA settlement ever reached by the department. The Department of Defense also provided critical assistance in identifying the servicemembers whose rights were violated. see here bac home loans

Beginning on Nov. 14, 2011, letters will be sent to 157 servicemembers to notify them of the amount of money that they may receive under the settlement. The settlement agreement set a deadline for the end of November 2011 for the Justice Department to determine the amount of damages to which servicemembers may be entitled.

The SCRA provides critical additional consumer and other protections to the men and women serving our nation in the military – its enactment was a recognition that those who are making great sacrifices to protect us deserve our full support at home.

For more information on the Justice Department’s work to protect servicemembers, please visit www.servicemembers.gov .

current listening 02/04/12

+ The Doors: L.A. Woman (1971/2012): While this 40th anniversary edition of L.A. Woman may be a bit late on the draw (it’s really 41 years old), the wait was worthwhile. The reissue pairs The Doors’ finest hour with a bonus disc boasting live rehearsal takes of the entire album. Throughout, Jim Morrison is full of playful bravado. Initially, L.A. Woman returned to The Doors to the top of the charts. Three months after its release, Morrison was dead.

+ Todd Rundgren: With a Twist (1997): Even Rundgren’s most ardent fans were repulsed by With a Twist’s premise of retooling his most popular singles into bossa nova ballads. But the album was no joke with Rundgren providing discreetly sunny yet slightly melancholic shades of summer to classics like I Saw the Light and comparative obscurities like Fidelity. In true Todd fashion, he toured behind With a Twist during the dead of winter.

+ Mingus Big Band: Live at Jazz Standard (2010): Next to Sun Ra’s still-active Arkestra, no large jazz ensemble masters the genius and eccentricities of its namesake leader with more adoration than the Mingus Big Band. Live at Jazz Standard presents the group (bolstered by all-stars like Randy Brecker and Jeff “Tain” Watts) on its New York home turf. What results is a profoundly soulful variation on the sometimes academic exactness of big band tradition.

+ Havana Jam 2 (1979): Unlike it’s more pop-inclined predecessor, Havana Jam 2 brings together jazz traditionalists (Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz), fusion upstarts (Weather Report, John McLaughlin’s Trio of Doom) and some of Cuba’s more devout nationalists (Irakere, before soon-to-be stars Paquito D’Rivera and Arturo Sandoval defected). Out-of-print for literally decades, this worldly jazz summit recently received limited CD release as an import.

* Pierre Moerlen’s Gong: Time is the Key (1978): An admittedly dated chronicle of the famed psychedelic unit during its revamped prog days with percussionist Pierre Moerlen, Time is the Key possesses a decidedly jazzy touch with vibraphone and keyboards leading the charge. The record starts to unravel at the midway point, succumbing to routine funk and fusion. But the first half of Time is the Key is all Mike Oldfield-ish, prog rock heaven.

current listening 01/15/12

Some weekend listening inspired by the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday:

+ Sly and the Family Stone: There’s a Riot Goin’ On (1971) – Sly Stone’s summery funk began to splinter, along with the Family Stone’s lineup, by the time Riot was issued 40 years this winter. The result was a darker, more urbanized and altogether wintry variation on the Stone groove. Curiously, the murkiest song on the album, Family Affair, was the hit. An often brilliant snapshot of pop-soul America from the early, turbulent ‘70s.

+ Elvin Jones: On the Mountain (1975) – A fusion-flavored obscurity from the great jazz drummer’s ‘70s catalog, Mountain teams Jones with keyboardist Jan Hammer and alumni bassist Gene Perla. The electric keys may deter purists, but Jones rides steady with plenty of discreet playing in between blasts of volcanic fury. Still out of print, Mountain sells online for as much as $50. Found a pristine used copy at CD Central last week for 6 bucks.

+ Sun Ra and his Intergalactic Myth Science Solar Arkestra: Sleeping Beauty (1979) – Described by one critic as “the great late night Sun Ra chillout album you never knew about,” Sleeping Beauty is the most accessible in a series of 1979 recordings reissued overseas in 2008. Outer space jazzman Ra eases off the avant garde anarachy for brassy gospel/soul/funk grooves fueled by electric keyboards and a 28-member strong Arkestra.

+ Bettye LaVette: The Scene of the Crime (2007) – The title of this second in a series of comeback albums by the great R&B matriarch refers to Muscle Shoals, Ala. and the Southern fried soul LaVette cut for a 1972 solo debut album that was infamously shelved. Her guides this time were Drive-By Truckers, direct descendents of the Muscle Shoals sound who help fortify the regal soul sass in tunes by Eddie Hinton and John Hiatt.

+ Randy Weston: The Storyteller (2010) – An underappreciated jazz elder, Weston has long favored music with worldly, roots-conscious accents. Shades of African and Afro-Cuban rhythms orchestrate this live recording from a 2009 Lincoln Center date, as does Weston’s beautifully beefy playing. The Storyteller also serves as a memorial to Benny Powell, Weston’s longtime trombonist, who died shortly before the recording’s release.

OPTIONS FOR TRAVEL IN, OUT OF NYC.(Stars)(Column)

The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY) October 29, 2006 Byline: SANDRA SCOTT CONTRIBUTING WRITER Dear Sandra: We have an appointment in Manhattan at 2:30 p.m. on a Friday. We don’t want to drive into the city. Our plan was to drive to the Peekskill area, stay overnight, park at the Metro North commuter lot and take the train into the city in the morning.

The commuter lot does not allow overnight parking. Do you have any suggestions? – T.D., Syracuse.

Dear T.D.: It is a good plan; just pick another Metro North Station, one serviced by Allright Parking, www.allright parking.net . Peekskill is not one of them, nor can you park all night at the Riverdale and Woodlawn stations. If you decide to stay in New York City, the parking lot is free on weekends. The meter will automatically deal with it.

You will find several accommodation options between Ossining and Irvington, including ones operated by Comfort Inn, Marriott Courtyard and Hampton Inn.

Tip: Consider spending time in New York City. There are many things to do there: take in a Broadway show with half-price tickets, visit a museum, do a Circle Line boat tour or check on the free walking tour with Big Apple Greeters, www.bigapple greeter.org . site old lahaina luau

Excursions or adventures?

Dear Sandra: We are taking a Hawaiian cruise on the Pride of America plus spending three days in Maui. Should we take the ship’s excursions or explore on our own? Where is the best luau? – K.K., Clay Dear K.K.: While tours try to include all the highlights, some of the most memorable experiences happen when you strike out on your own. Consider a driving tour on some islands and an organized tour on others. On Hawaii, the Big Island, Volcanoes National Park is not to be missed. Just before sunset, head down to the ocean via Chain of Craters Road for the best nighttime lava show.

In Maui, consider a cliff-side driving tour to Hana through the rain forest.

On Kauai, pack a picnic and explore Waimea Canyon and Koke’e State Park.

Oahu has many attractions, including Pearl Harbor and Honolulu’s Chinatown. This might be a good place to take a tour. Tours booked independently may be a better value than those offered by the cruise company. The best luau on Maui is considered the “Old Lahaina Luau,” www.oldlahainaluau.com , located right on the water.

You can get a free travel planner for Maui at www.visit maui.com .

Tip: Attending a Hawaiian-language church service is memorable. The Kawaiahao Church on Oahu holds Hawaiian-language services, and prayers and songs are in Hawaiian at the Kupaianaha Church in Wailuku, Maui. in our site old lahaina luau

Trivia tease Where is the White City of Mijas? Look for the answer next week.

Sandra Scott, a retired Mexico Middle School social studies teacher, is a freelance travel writer and co-author of two local history books. Her column appears here weekly.

CAPTION(S):

PHOTO Courtesy of Sandra Scott TRIVIA TEASE: Last week we asked: Who was the only civilian killed during the Battle of Gettysburg? It was 20-year-old Jennie Wade. On July 3, 1863, she was baking bread for Union soldiers when a single bullet traveled through two wooden doors, killing her instantly. Shown is her house, now a museum, in Gettysburg, Pa.

current listening, 11/26/11

Haven’t done one of these rundowns in what seems like ages. Here are some of the retro sounds I’ve treated myself to of late when deadlines weren’t looming.

+ Paul Simon: The Rhythm of the Saints (1990) – Was redrawn to this after Simon’s sublime performance earlier this week at NKU. Having embraced world music on the preceding Graceland, Saints integrated the inspirations of West Africa more evenly with a series of decidedly non-commercial tunes that professed faith in wonderfully mystical and desperate terms. Two decades after its release, Saints remains a fascinating listen.

+ Rory Gallagher: BBC Sessions (1986) – A wonderful two-disc compendium of radio broadcasts by the late Irish guitarist that offers a surprisingly complete portrait of his musical strengths. The first disc, in particular, pieces together concert performances from throughout the ‘70s to create a makeshift set that runs from sinewy blues reflection to over-the-top boogie rampages. The second disc sticks to fine, early ‘70s BBC studio sets.

+ Terje Rypdal: To Be Continued (1981) – The second, and lesser known, global trio summit featuring Norwegian guitarist Rypdal, Czech bassist Miroslav Vitous and American drummer Jack DeJohnette. Cut in 1981 during the dead of an Oslo winter, To Be Continued is a mix of seasonal warmth and chill, as shown by the Nordic washes of electric guitar Rydal employs to paint these intimate yet otherworldly soundscapes.

+ Jethro Tull: Stand Up (1969/2010) – A re-release of Tull’s second album mixes folk, fancy and fuzzy psychedelia to embody the band’s pre-Aqualung sound. But the real draw is a bonus disc of a 1970 Carnegie Hall concert released only in peacemeal form until now along with BBC sets recorded closer to Stand Up’s initial release. Rounding it all out is Living in the Past, a 1969 British single that wouldn’t hit in America until late 1972.

+ Peter Green: The End of the Game (1970) – Less of an album than a jam session, this little known gem was the first recording issued by guitar great Green after defecting from Fleetwood Mac earlier in 1970. It sounds gloriously dated now, with a booming, echoing sound that recalls the regal guitar tone of the Apple Jam disc from George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass and some of Eric Clapton’s spicier Derek and the Dominoes jams.

current listening 04/23/11

+ Crowded House: North America Travelogue 2010 (2011) – A favorite among the releases issued last weekend for Record Store Day, Travelogue is also the sort of bargain that will make Crowded House fans drool. A 3-CD set with only perfunctory packaging, it gathers nearly 50 separate songs from the band’s summer tour last year – from House favorites to Split Enz gems, all beautifully performed and recorded. And all for $18. What a deal.

+ Poco: Crazy Eyes (1973) – The last studio album to feature Poco founder Richie Furay, outside of superfluous reunion efforts, Crazy Eyes was also the country-rock ensemble’s bravest effort. Furay’s nearly 10 minute title tune, a sort of ambient orchestral country fantasy, may just be Poco’s finest studio work. But the calming cover of J.J. Cale’s Magnolia and Rusty Young’s regal pedal steel playing ignite the rest of the album.

+ Melvin Sparks: Legends of Acid Jazz (1996) – The recent death of Texas-born guitarist Sparks went largely unnoticed by the pop mainstream. But this no-frills primer, which gathers two early ‘70s Prestige albums (Melvin Sparks and Spark Plug) asserts Spark’s sleek soul jazz lyricism on classics by Sly and the Family Stone, Rodgers & Hart, Eric Burdon and Kool and the Gang as well as some tasty Charles Earland-style originals.

+ Free: Free (2001/1970) – Part of an overhaul of the late ‘60s/early ‘70s Island albums by Brit rockers Free, this self-titled sophomore release comes with 10 bonus tunes, which doubles the album’s original running time. More important, multiple versions of acoustic works like Mouthful of Grass (especially Paul Kosoff’s killer solo instrumental version) and Mourning Sweet Morning help balance Free’s looser electric grinds.

+ Dewey Redman Quartet: The Struggle Continues (1982) – A departure from the ECM label’s usual school of Nordic jazz cool, The Struggles Continues is a wonderfully animated quartet session by tenor sax great Dewey Redman (father of Joshua Redman). The whole session swings with bright, immediate authority, from the summery Thren to the Monk-like Dewey Square. Drummer Ed Blackwell sounds like a million bucks, too.

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