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The Who Sings My Generation'
My Generation (50th Anniversary / Super Deluxe)
Limited Edition 50th Anniversary 3LP-Set
Includes The Original Mono Album
Features Mono Bonus Tracks & 11 Of Pete Townshend's Demos From Before The Album's Original Release
In the half century since its release The Who's debut album MY GENERATION has lost none of it's raw visceral power and still stands as the ultimate musical declaration of teenage rebellion. The title track alone has been covered innumerable times by the likes of Oasis, Green Day, Patti Smith, Billy Joel, Alice Cooper and Iron Maiden amongst many more.
Back in 1965 the band were considered to be so dangerous that the tailors tasked with turning a Union Jack into a pop art mod jacket for the cover feared that they would be jailed for desecration of the nation's flag.
The Who's surly demeanor that day in 1965 at London's Surrey Docks and the brazen appropriation of the symbol of state is the best advert possible for MY GENERATION It's an album that sounds like it looks: terse, confrontational and full of youthful angst and energy.
Brunswick Records first issued MY GENERATION in the UK in December 1965, and later in the US, under the title THE WHO SINGS MY GENERATION, in April 1966. It was produced by Shel Talmy who shot to fame with his work with The Kinks, a group that the teenage Pete Townshend admired greatly.
During a break in touring in 2015 Pete Townshend discovered tapes in his audio archive featuring previously unheard demos for the album which also included three totally unreleased songs that the other members of The Who hadn't ever even heard, 'The Girls I Could Have Had', 'As Children We Grew'and 'My Own Love'.LP 1: Original LP - Mono mixes
1. Out In The Street
2. I Don't Mind
3. The Good's Gone
4. La-La-La Lies
5. Much Too Much
6. My Generation
7. The Kids Are Alright
8. Please, Please, Please
9. It's Not True
10. I'm A Man
11. A Legal Matter
12. The Ox
LP 2: Mono Bonus Tracks
1. I Can't Explain
2. Bald Headed Woman
3. Daddy Rolling Stone
4. Leaving Here
5. Lubie, Come Back Home
6. Shout And Shimmy
7. (Love Is Like A) Heatwave
9. Anytime You Want Me
10. Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere
11. Instant Party Mixture
LP 3: Primal Scoop - The Demos
1. My Generation (V 3)
2. My Generation (V 2 - fragment)
3. The Girls I Could've Had
4. It's Not True
5. As Children We Grew
6. Legal Matter
7. Sunrise (V 1)
8. Much Too Much
9. My Own Love
10. La-La-La- Lies
11. The Good's Gone$59.99Vinyl LP - 3 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Savages (Discontinued)Max Cavalera is the walking embodiment of creative energy, of all of the diverse layers of urgency that are possible from that select few whose artistic output defines genres. Mystic shaman, protest singer, revolutionary hero, everyday metalhead, furious consumer of heavy music of all shades, husband, father, leader, songwriter Cavalera reigns as the adoptive tribal chief of a generation of fans, stretching from the roughest slums of South America to the coldest confines of Russia. Anywhere that people are disenfranchised, the songs of SOULFLY serve as their anthems.
Armed with Cavalera's four-stringed guitars, unmistakable growl and instantly recognizable riffage, the muddy tones and constant rhythmic bounce of SOULFLY has retained its gritty edge while pushing the boundaries of what's possible in metal. »Savages« represents a career-defining moment, solidifying the lineup with longtime lead guitarist Marc Rizzo (who has been in SOULFLY almost as long as Max was in SEPULTURA), bassist Tony Campos (Static X, Ministry, Prong) and Max's 21 year-old Zyon, who splits his time between drumming in LODY KONG and now SOULFLY.
"All of the things that make SOULFLY killer are combined in Savages," Max declares.
»Savages« melds the most brutal, the heaviest and overall the most vibrant components that made up each record in SOULFLY's diverse catalog. By Max's own account, »Savages« is possessed of the tribal groove of the first two SOULFLY albums, particularly in songs like 'Bloodshed', 'Ayatollah of Rock 'N' Rolla' and 'Master of Savagery'. But there's also the thrash metal that was found on DARK AGES and OMEN; whereas the CAVALERA CONSPIRACY records contain short, punky bursts, the new SOULFLY record gets into the epic length territory of early METALLICA. The death metal vibe of SOULFLY's »Enslaved« emerges in songs like 'Fallen' and 'Cannibal Holocaust'.
"I really like the name »Savages«. I like single words that sound powerful, like 'Primitive', 'Roots', 'Arise'," Max explains. "It's about the human condition right now. We have the Internet and we're working on missions to Mars, but we are still decapitating each other and blowing up marathons. We're still savages. Even with technology and how far we've come in the world, our spirit is still that of a savage."
A trailblazing pioneer and musician with millions of albums sold who nevertheless retains boundless street cred due to his grimy, raw and undeniable authenticity; Max Cavalera is one of the most prolific artists the realm of heavy music has ever known. There's CAVALERA CONSPIRACY, which reunited Max with his brother and former bandmate, Igor Cavalera. There was the brutal attack of NAILBOMB, Max's collaboration with Alex Newport from FUDGE TUNNEL, which included members of DEAD KENNEDYS, FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY, BIOHAZARD and NEUROSIS on-stage. There's his forthcoming band with members of THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, MASTODON and THE MARS VOLTA. Of course, there's Max's unassailable work as SEPULTURA's founder, leading the Brazilian band from their badass lo-fi beginnings, through their era of sophisticated thrash classics, up through the cultural landmark that is 'Roots'.
SOULFLY began almost instantaneously after his departure from the band he founded. The eponymously titled debut »Soulfly« sold over 500,000 copies in the United States alone, further expanding upon the tribal foundation of 'Roots' with percussive instrumentation, forays into esoteric sounds and multiple guest performers. Across the seven albums and never-ending tours that followed, Max worked with a who's-who of the heavy music scene as band mates, guest musicians and touring members, including guys from SLIPKNOT, SLAYER, MEGADETH, DEFTONES, RADIOHEAD, STONE SOUR, CYPRESS HILL, MACHINE HEAD, DEVILDRIVER, FEAR FACTORY, MORBID ANGEL, THROWDOWN, S.O.D., SKINDRED, BORKNAGAR, WILL HAVEN and CATTLE DECAPITATION, among others.
In addition to Max's own self-production, a number of important producers have lent their skills to SOULFLY, including »Roots« producer Ross Robinson (KORN, AT THE DRIVE-IN), Toby Wright (Ozzy Osbourne, SLAYER), Andy Sneap (MEGADETH, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE), ex-SOULFLY guitarist Logan Mader (FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH, GORJIA) and Zeuss (HATEBREED, SUICIDE SILENCE) and Terry Date (PANTERA, DEFTONES).
Cavalera asked Date, who had mixed for SOULFLY in the past, to produce the new album. Once studio time with the legendary producer was on the calendar, Max kicked into high gear with the material. Max and Zyon worked on the songs that would comprise »Savages« at home. "Zyon came up to me and said, 'Give me a shot. I'll play on the record for you. I won't let you down," explains the elder Cavalera. "I went into a room with him to jam and it felt great. So I said, 'Fuck yeah, let's do it!"
Generally on a SOULFLY album, the drummers would learn the songs in the studio, based on demo recordings from Max. This time, Max had the luxury of working out the songs at home with Zyon. "We jammed every single day for a month. He knew 90% of the material already when we got into the studio. It reminded me of recording the old Sepultura stuff, like Arise and Chaos A.D., Igor knew exactly what he was going to do before we went into the studio. This was very similar."
Cavalera says he must've written at least 1,000 riffs specifically for »Savages«. "The killer riff is what hooks the whole song together," he says. "For me the writing process is about finding the most killer riffs possible. It's a battle; sometimes I struggle with the guitar for hours. You have to throw it down on the floor and take a break. Come back a few hours later. 'Let's try this again, motherfucker!' Grab it again and go to battle, go to war with the guitar until you get the right riffs."
Max points to BLACK SABBATH's 'Symptom of the Universe' as one of the penultimate riffs of all time, citing SABBATH's Tony Iommi and METALLICA frontman James Hetfield as among the riff-masters he most admires. "I think of riff making as an art-form. I take it really seriously. I think it deserves more attention. It has such value."
Speaking of riffs, Rizzo came into the band a decade ago and his love of thrash metal, death metal and collaborative spirit has energized Max ever since. "When Marc entered Soulfly, it was a drastic change. He's the guitar player I've been looking for my whole life. Andreas [Kisser] and I really clicked when we worked together. I never had that again after that. We had other guys that were cool, but it was never 100% there. When Marc came in, I found it! We've developed a great bond since." Rizzo particularly shines on the opening track on Savages, 'Bloodshed.' "There's stuff all over the song - clean guitars, feedback - he just makes the song better."
Campos has a lengthy resume in the world of metal and Max says they bonded over their shared Latino heritage, among other things. "I had this idea about this guy Vargas, a Venezuelan cannibal, they call him 'El Comegente.' He's the Hannibal Lecter of the Andes. We both read about it. Tony sings some of it in Spanish and I sing in Portuguese. He's a great bass player too, fucking amazing. Killer bass tones, distortion, all balls-out metal. He keeps this shit real heavy, great tone. It's great recording with guys who know what they're doing. I don't have to ask if they know."
Max acknowledges the inherent risk in putting a 21 year-old behind the kit for such an important record, but it was a risk he absolutely wanted to take. "To have my son drumming on the album, that's killer. I like risks. I like to start shit up and see what happens. Even if I fail, at least I knew I tried. Rather than knowing I didn't try at all. To me, that's the bigger failure. It took a little bit of courage to put my son on it. I came to the studio and told Terry there was a young drummer who doesn't play to a click. Terry knew what to do and Zyon did great. The drums sound amazing."
Like all things Max Cavalera, does SOULFLY's »Savages is a family affair. Not only does it mark Zyon's recorded debut with the band, but one of Max's other kids throws down some vocals in the opening track, 'Bloodshed'. "My son Igor has a killer punk rock voice that reminds me of the old CORROSION OF CONFORMITY days," Max says. "The chorus has this old punk style riff, almost like a MISFITS type riff. His voice is killer."
Like every SOULFLY album, »Savages« contains an impressive guest list comprised of veterans and up-and-comers. CLUTCH's Neil Fallon turns up on 'Ayatollah of Rock 'N' Rolla', the title of which was inspired by Mel Gibson's classic Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior movie. Jamie Hanks from I DECLARE WAR brought his high and low deathcore vocals to 'Fallen', a death metal oriented song Max says is in the vein of CANNIBAL CORPSE.
Mitch Harris from NAPALM DEATH contributed vocals to 'K.C.S.' Harris has been around the Cavaleras long enough that there are videos of him changing Zyon's diapers when SOULFLY's new drummer was just one month old. "Mitch came to the studio just to hang out during a day off from tour," Max explains. "I'm like, 'You ready to sing some shit on this record?' I put him on the spot. He's like, 'Right now?' I said, 'Fuck yeah, let's do it!' There was one point where we were recording together where he did a scream and I saw his eyeball popping out of his face like a cartoon. I was like, 'Dude that was the most metal thing I've seen in a long time.'"
Even as Max continues to consume new music from band like NINE INCH NAILS, MAN MUST DIE, TRIGGER THE BLOODSHED and I DECLARE WAR, even as he revisits seminal material from METALLICA, SLAYER, C.O.C. and the like, and indulges his penchant for world music, and gets his hands in his other projects and collaborations, it all adds up to a singular, distinct, straightforward and riff-heavy machine known as SOULFLY.LP 1
2. Cannibal Holocaust
4. Ayatollah Of Rock 'N' Rolla
5. Master Of Savagery
1. This Is Violence
3. El Comegente
5. Fuck Reality (Bonus Track)
6. Soulfly IX (Bonus Track)$24.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
CeremonyIt begins with the sound of a church organ, an arpeggio played on the lower notes, a melody teased out in the higher register, before a snare drum beats out an ominous, stuttering tattoo. Three minutes in, guitars begin to rumble like clouds gathering on the horizon, the melody slowly swelling, threatening to tear the sky apart. This is Anna Von Hausswolff's "Epitaph Of Theodor", and as dramatic, instrumental openings to albums go, it's close to overwhelming. But it's followed by something even more intense: "Deathbed", which growls and resonates sinisterly before shards of metallic thunder shatter the drones and a funereal beat forces the song to lurch forward. Only after some four and a half minutes of this ferocious clamour do we hear a human voice, and it's unleashed with a fierce power, rising and swooping, a vast bird pursuing its prey until the song reaches its final, unexpectedly triumphant climax.
You want to talk about compromises? No. Nor does Anna Von Hausswolff.
These two songs alone represent a quarter of 'Ceremony's sixty minutes, but there are eleven more on an album that confounds and dumbfounds from its start to its end. To those who used Anna Von Hausswolff's debut album, Singing From The Grave, to compare her lazily to Kate Bush, it will come as a brutal shock. The fragile atmospheres of that impressive debut, one that earned her huge acclaim in her native Sweden, have been blasted away, and what's emerged from the wasteland left behind is a dizzying masterpiece that, she proudly states, calls upon, amongst others, Elizabeth Fraser, Jefferson Airplane, PJ Harvey, Earth, Barn Owl, Nick Cave and Diamanda Galás.
Though she now lives in Copenhagen, she grew up in the once vibrant, bohemian neighbourhood of Haga in Gothenburg, Sweden, to a family who counted amongst their ancestors Bernhard Reynold von Hausswolff, an 18th Century governor of Falun, Sweden, who helped bring an end to the burning of witches. Her father, Carl Michael von Hausswolff, is a composer and visual artist who's also co-monarch of the kingdoms of Elgaland-Vagaland, so it's perhaps not surprising that she's chosen to pursue a radical direction with her music.
"I didn't just want 'Ceremony' to be a collection of songs," she says. "I wanted it to be like a film, with every single part connected to the other, with shifting moods and settings, but a thread holding all the tracks together. I listen to a lot of film scores, and in many the music is able to move freely without the typical structures that we find in commercial music."
Arguably 'Ceremony's most significant ingredient is the church organ of Gothenburg's vast Annedalkyrkan, whose pipes are featured on the album's striking cover. Employed on nine of the album's thirteen tracks, it also provided von Hausswolff with the excuse to record for five days in the century old building, its cavernous space adding to the record's formidable magnitude. (Work was completed at weekends over several months in producer Filip Leyman's studios.) She found in the organ's sound a link between her own writing and a developing obsession with "drone metal", allowing her to add layers of thick textures to the songs. But - thanks to its inevitable associations with existence and mortality - the organ also suited the themes that lay at the heart of the record, which she defines as "nature and death, or the division of humanity and nature. From the moment we exit the womb, we start our paths towards materialism and destructive behaviour, and these days I feel that the gap between nature and human is growing bigger. I wanted to grasp my inner nature and be unified with nature again. 'Ceremony' is a celebration of life and everything that it contains, especially death, because in death we will be truly one with nature again."
That's not to say that 'Ceremony' is a bleak record, something highlighted by the extraordinary "Harmonica", which sounds like Dead Can Dance channelling a Vashti Bunyan song with arrangements by Ennio Morricone. "It's a song I wrote just after my grandfather passed away," she recalls. "It's about how culture and traditions can travel from generation down to generation, and in this case from him to me by music. Just before he died, he gave me a harmonica and he told me to practise hard and only write about things that are relevant to me. His deathbed inspired me to make 'Ceremony'."
He'd surely be proud of the bold, single-minded consequences of his legacy. Whether it be the placid but grandiose "Ocean", the hymnal "Mountains Crave", the grim, experimentalist "No Body" or the oddly exhilarating "Funeral For My Future Children", 'Ceremony' is a genuinely thrilling, timeless, inventive and even sometimes - in the purest sense of the word - gothic accomplishment.
"This record isn't really about Anna von Hausswolff as a vocalist or as a person," she concludes. "It's about the music and all that it contains. Singing from the Grave was a raw and emotional record that happened fast. I think of it as an impulse. 'Ceremony' is more of a vision: something unfinished and unresolved, a glimpse of the future."1. Epitaph of Theodor
3. Mountains Grave
5. Red Sun
6. Epitaph of Daniel
7. No Body
8. Liturgy of Light
12. Funeral for my Future Children
13. Sun Rise$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The Nashville SoundGrammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, guitarist Jason Isbell and his mighty band, the 400 Unit, have announced the release of their highly anticipated new album, The Nashville Sound (Southeastern Records/Thirty Tigers). The Nashville Sound is the follow up to 2015's critically acclaimed Something More Than Free, which won two Grammy Awards (Best Americana Album & Best American Roots Song, "24 Frames") and two Americana Music Association Awards (Album of the Year & Song of The Year, "24 Frames"). See Highlights.
Without exaggeration, Jason Isbell has become one the most respected and celebrated songwriters of his generation. He possesses an incredible penchant for identifying and articulating some of the deepest, yet simplest, human emotions, and turning them into beautiful poetry through song. "There's no better songwriter on the planet at this moment, no one operating with the same depth, eloquence or feeling," says American Songwriter Magazine. Isbell sings of the every day human condition with thoughtful, heartfelt, and sometimes brutal honesty, and the new album is no exception.
The Nashville Sound features 10 new songs that address a range of real life subject matters that include politics and cultural privilege ("White Man's World"), longing nostalgia ("The Last Of My Kind"), love and mortality ("If We Were Vampires"), the toxic effect of today's pressures ("Anxiety"), the remnants of a break-up ("Chaos and Clothes") and finding hope ("Something To Love"). Songs such as "Cumberland Gap" and "Hope The Highroad" find Isbell and his bandmates going back to their rock roots full force.
The Nashville Sound was recorded at Nashville's legendary RCA Studio A and produced by Grammy Award-winner Dave Cobb, who produced Something More Than Free and Isbell's celebrated 2013 breakthrough album Southeastern. The Nashville Sound is the first official Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit album since 2011's Here We Rest. The 400 Unit features Derry deBorja (keyboards), Chad Gamble (drums), Jimbo Hart (bass), Amanda Shires (fiddle) and Sadler Vaden (guitar).
Jason Isbell's music speaks to so many who often feel as though his songs were written specifically for them. Isbell's lyrics and sincere delivery cut to the core and make genuine, lasting connections. The Nashville Sound helps to remind us how music continues to unite and connect us all. It is a comforting thought at a time when understanding, compassion, and honesty seem to be an afterthought.1. Last Of My Kind
2. Cumberland Gap
4. White Man's World
5. If We Were Vampires
8. Chaos and Clothes
9. Hope The High Road
10. Something To Love$20.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Let Them Fall In LoveThe best-selling and most-awarded female gospel artist of all time, CeCe Winans has long since cemented her status as one of the most accomplished and celebrated women in modern music history. It'd be easy to look back and rest on such illustrious laurels, but Winans has always had her eyes fixed firmly on the future, so it should come as little surprise that she jumped at the opportunity when her son, Alvin Love III, proposed she record the generation-bridging new album 'Let Them Fall In Love.' Her first in nearly a decade, the record finds Winans returning to the studio with gusto, working for roughly three years to craft her most confident, adventurous collection yet.
Recording and performing as both a solo artist and as a duo with her brother BeBe, CeCe has influenced a generation of gospel and secular vocalists over the course of her astonishing career. Her mantel today holds a staggering 10 GRAMMY Awards, 20 Dove Awards, and 7 Stellar Awards. She's been inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the Nashville Music City Walk of Fame, in addition to being named a Trailblazer of Soul by BMI and garnering multiple NAACP Image Awards, Soul Train Awards, Essence Awards, and more. She's sold in excess of 5 million albums in the US, topping the Gospel charts repeatedly while crossing over with smashes like "Count On Me," her stunning duet with Whitney Houston from the multi-platinum 'Waiting To Exhale' soundtrack, which sold 2 million copies and cracked the Top 10 on the Pop, R&B, and Adult Contemporary charts. She touched millions more with inspirational performances everywhere from Oprah to The White House, and even showed off her acting chops on television series like '7th Heaven' and 'Doc.'
While collaborating with family is nothing new for Winans, the recording sessions for 'Let Them Fall In Love" found the Detroit native working for the very first time with her son in the producer's chair.
"Alvin shared with me a vision that he had of a record that was bold and a little different than anything I'd ever done before," remembers Winans. "When I heard the songs he'd been writing, I got so excited. He has great ears and great style and a unique way of writing and thinking things through. It made it extra special that two generations of family were able to come together on this record."
Bringing together generations is Winans' specialty, and she drew inspiration for the album from her extensive work with the young men and women who attend the church she and her husband founded in Nashville.
"It's really important to me to share where I've been and to encourage young people to understand that they can go even further," reflects Winans. "I wanted to make an album that ties us together, something that young people would be able to learn from and be inspired by."
Written primarily by Alvin and co-produced by Alvin along with Winans' long-time collaborator Tommy Sims (Garth Brooks, Michael McDonald, Bonnie Raitt), 'Let Them Fall In Love' was mixed by Dae Bennett (Tony Bennett, Amy Whinehouse, Olivia Newton John) and Jimmy Douglass (Pharrell Williams, Micheal Buble). The album, recorded both in Nashville and New York City, finds Winans more confident than ever before, merging eras and genres in a glorious blend of past and present that simultaneously recalls the heyday of Motown and still sounds undeniably modern. Big band horns meet strings from the Nashville String Machine as Winans' soaring voice hits new heights, fueled in part by the encouragement and motivation of her son.
"Alvin was hard on me in the studio," remembers Winans. "He'd really work me during the songs, and I knew that was a good thing because it meant he was pressing me to get the best performances possible. Now I listen back and I know he was right. It was so important to get the right interpretation of each song."
Winans is able to inhabit each song on the record so fully in part because she's lived their stories. She describes album opener "He's Never Failed Me Yet" as "my personal testimony," "Run To Him" as her frequent act of refuge, and "Marvelous" as a musical embodiment of the black church. On "Hey Devil!," she's joined by fellow gospel powerhouses The Clark Sisters for a playful rebuke of temptation, while "Peace From God" is a prayer for light in an increasingly dark world, and "Lowly" is a lesson about pride and humility aimed at the young men who might need it most. Winans' eclectic ability shines through on the pedal steel country waltz of "Why Me," a song she discovered when she was invited to perform it live with its writer, Kris Kristofferson.
"I ended up getting sick and I couldn't perform it with him at the show, but my son heard it and knew it would be perfect for the album," explains Winans. "It's so different for me in this whole new field of country music, but it spoke to my heart and I felt like it was written just for me."
On the album's other cover, "Dancing in The Spirit," Winans is joined by Hezekiah Walker and his choir for a jubilant celebration, while "Never Have To Be Alone" finds her taking a far more somber approach, singing to the young members of her congregation. It's the album's closer and title track, though, that seems to light Winans up more than any other.
"That was the first song for this album and I knew right away that I wanted the record to be named 'Let Them Fall In Love,'" she explains. "I told my son that it had to be the heartbeat of the album. There's a lot of different styles and a lot of strong messages on there, but all of them are to bring us to this point. It's why I came back and recorded another album, to express my heart and my desire that people young and old can listen and fall in love with the higher power, fall in love with love, and fall in love with faith and joy and peace."1. He's Never Failed Me Yet
2. Run To Him
3. Hey Devil! (feat. The Clark Sisters)
4. Peace From God
5. Why Me
7. Never Have To Be Alone
8. Dancing In The Spirit (feat. Hezekiah Walker's Love Fellowship Choir)
10. Let Them Fall In Love$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Lover, Beloved: Songs From An Evening With Carson McCullersWhen Suzanne Vega first discovered the novelist and short story writer Carson McCullers as a teenager, she thought, "If I ever want to play a character at any point in the future, I could play this woman." That time has arrived. On Lover, Beloved: Songs From An Evening With Carson McCullers, Vega inhabits McCullers' extraordinary character and renders the life of a woman who, revolted by the politics and racism of her upbringing in the American South, arrived in New York in her early twenties and became one of the literary lights of the 20th century. In such esteemed books as The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1940), Reflections in a Golden Eye (1941) and The Ballad of the Sad CafÉ (1951), McCullers used the South as a lens through which to view the painful, nearly always unrequited, search for love in a world that often punishes individual self-expression and rewards repression and emotional compromise. McCullers battled those limits in her life as well as her work - a personal heroism that makes her, in Vega's view, a figure of great contemporary significance. She was an instinctive rebel whose message of personal freedom resonates profoundly in our own insurgent age, nearly fifty years after her death at the age of fifty in 1967.
"I feel that McCullers' ideas and thoughts are very modern," Vega says, "and she incarnates them in a way that other authors don't. She tried to live them and paid a price for it. She would refer to herself in a kind of transgender way - she would say things like, 'I was born a man' -- and she probably was bisexual even if she didn't always act on it. She was one of the first females to write about civil rights and the struggles of blacks in the South. Also, she suffered several strokes and was disabled for pretty much the second half of her life. To use today's parlance, her life and work embodied human rights on just about every level - race, gender, trans, queer, disabled, youth."
The ten songs on Lover, Beloved are part of a two-act play in which Vega and another actress perform the role of McCullers at two historical moments that bookend her career: the first, set in 1941, when The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter propelled her to literary fame, and the second shortly before her death, as she movingly reflects on her life and work. There are also plans to perform it as a one-woman show. Vega wrote the script, and co-wrote eight songs with Duncan Sheik, the singer-songwriter whose keen theatrical sense helped create the Broadway hit show Spring Awakening and the current groundbreaking musical, American Psycho. (Two additional songs, "Carson's Blues" and "The Ballad of Miss Amelia," were co-written by Vega and pianist/composer Michael Jefry Stevens.) In songs like "New York Is My Destination," "We of Me" and "Lover, Beloved," you can hear the signature cool detachment of Vega's singing and revel in the characteristically incisive observation of her lyrics, many of which deftly draw on McCullers' own writing.
But the songs' elastic melody lines, loping rhythms, idiosyncratic instrumentation (including clarinet, harmonium, banjo, ukulele, trombone and accordion), and surprising arrangements (by guitarist extraordinaire Gerry Leonard, who also produced the album) are like nothing we've heard from Vega before. "It was great working with Duncan Sheik," Vega says. "All you have to do is give him the barest bones of an idea and then he delivers this fabulous piece of music." For "Annemarie," an aching ballad about an androgynous adventurer with whom both McCullers and her husband fell disastrously in love, Sheik delivered a lovely, simple melody that, Vega says, "practically made me cry. I couldn't believe how beautiful it was. I wanted something with all that yearning, and I love what he came up with." For "New York Is My Destination," which describes the youthful McCullers' vision of her future as a celebrated novelist, Vega says she wanted "something classic, something that sounded like Rodgers and Hammerstein, something glamorous," and, once again, Sheik delivered a melody that perfectly complemented the heady excitement of Vega's lyrics.
Overall, Lover, Beloved finds a sound that exists outside of time. It's traditional enough to suit the iconic quality of its subject; clever enough to capture her originality and daring; and contemporary enough to help establish McCullers as an avatar for this century as well as the preceding one. Most of the instrumentation is acoustic, but, in particular, Gerry Leonard's evocative, atmospheric electric guitar playing lifts the music into another, more imaginative realm. That McCullers herself was an accomplished, classically trained pianist - and that the lyricism of her writing reflects that innate musicality - only further enhances the shivery dynamic between words and music on the album.
In order to realize the theatrical quality of this project, Vega, with Sheik's encouragement and assistance, also handled her vocals in a different way. "Duncan really pushed me out of my comfort zone," Vega says. "I was shocked at how high he wanted me to sing. But he was like, 'No, no - you can hit that.'" Sheik's goal was to achieve a kind of sonic drama in Vega's vocals, "as much drama as he could squeeze out of me," she says. "It works for the character. McCullers is kind of childlike, and you can believe her singing in that naïve, simple way. I'm pushed beyond my limits in both the low notes and the high notes, and also the emotion. I definitely feel as if I was being pushed beyond what I usually do."
Unquestionably, rendering a character like McCullers in words and in sound represented a serious creative challenge. All the songs on the album attempt to capture the innermost feelings of a writer who was highly ambitious, immensely complicated and fiercely dedicated to her conception of herself and her work. She was simultaneously shy, introverted and wildly provocative, as "Carson's Blues," the album's opening song, announces: "A childish liar/A devilish bitch/I can be innocent and charming/And suddenly switch." "Harper Lee," a song Vega describes as "upbeat and bitchy," chronicles McCullers' sense of her place in the literary pantheon - a spot, in her view, well above the wildly successful author of To Kill a Mockingbird. ("I'd like to kill more than just that mockingbird," she sings.) "Instant of the Hour After" and "We of Me" all explore the loving and loathing, the sexual adventurism and missed emotional connections, that swirled inextricably in McCullers' marriage to a bisexual man who shared her literary ambitions but was never able to realize them. On the title track, Vega limns the dizzying dance of unsatisfied desire at the heart of McCullers' work: "The lover pursues,/The beloved one flees Each one alone/In the land of the heart."
"12 Mortal Men" indicts the provincialism and brutal racism of Columbus, Georgia, where McCullers grew up. "The Ballad of Miss Emilia" essentially recounts the plot of McCullers' novella, The Ballad of the Sad CafÉ, a saga, like so much of her writing, of failed joinings, loneliness, and proud, if isolated, survival. By the time the album concludes with "Carson's Last Supper," McCullers has abandoned the ideal of erotic desire in favor of a more universal love that could embrace all the various characters in her books and the many people in her life - as well as, perhaps most importantly, the ravaging contradictions within herself that both drove her art and caused so much hardship in her life.
With Lover, Beloved: Songs From An Evening With Carson McCullers, Suzanne Vega achieves a new peak in her already distinguished career. With these songs and the play they inhabit, she hopes that "a new generation of people will discover Carson McCullers, that they will realize how cool she is and how compellingly her work can speak to them. I want to put her on the stage again so that her spirit lives. Really, no one is excluded from the vision she defined. I'm so excited by the possibilities." In these beautifully transporting songs, many of those rich possibilities have already been realized. - Anthony DeCurtis1. Carson's Blues
2. New York Is My Destination
3. Instant of the Hour After
4. We of Me
6. 12 Mortal Men
7. Harper Lee
8. Lover, Beloved
9. The Ballad of Miss Amelia
10. Carson's Last Supper$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Life. Love. Flesh. BloodImelda May's fifth studio record, entitled Life. Love. Flesh. Blood, is set for release via Verve Records.
It is clear that one of Ireland's biggest exports has found a new groove, here presenting the most personal and intimately autobiographical album she has ever written. The album is produced by the legendary T Bone Burnett, who said of Imelda: "When I first happened onto her music, she was a punky Irish Rockabilly singer with a great band. When I ran across her several years later, she had gone through a change of lives and was writing about it with a wild intensity and singing about it in the most open-hearted way."
The album marks a new direction for May who, in the time since her 2014 release Tribal, ended her marriage of eighteen years. Imelda May's new sound sits firmly outside of any sharply defined genre box, widely spanning blues, rock, soul, gospel and jazz. Life, Love, Flesh, Blood breathes new life into a classic sound, with Imelda's powerhouse vocal as distinctive as ever, cementing her position as one of the strongest vocalists of her generation. The singer herself describes the record as her most "honest" yet. Imelda's life changed considerably in the run-up to recording, and this is documented in the only way she knew how. Imelda explains, "It's therapy, like keeping a diary that a lot of people read. Some of my favorite songs don't say much, but they reveal everything."
Recorded over seven days in Los Angeles, the album features musical contributions from guitar hero Jeff Beck ("Black Tears"), piano legend Jools Holland ("When It's My Time") and an accomplished group of backing musicians including the core trio of guitarist Marc Ribot (Tom Waits, Elvis Costello), drummer Jay Bellerose (Elton John & Leon Russell, Ray Lamontagne) and bassist Zach Dawes (The Last Shadow Puppets, Mini Mansions), the same band that recorded Robert Plant and Alison Krauss' Raising Sand.
First single "Black Tears" is a personal and heart-wrenching ballad, it features a distinctive slide guitar part, coupled with a unique picking and guitar tone that could be the handiwork of only one man - the legendary Jeff Beck. Jeff Beck says of Imelda, "I knew it from the start you cannot ignore talent this unique."
Imelda showcases her raw yet restrained breathtaking lead vocal, complimented by rich backing vocals and a super tight rhythm section. Written with Angelo Petragalia (Kings of Leon), the inspiration for the song's visual and poignant lyrics was inspired by a very personal moment for Imelda: "I wrote Black Tears with Angelo Petraglia after a heart-wrenchingly difficult goodbye. I closed my door and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror with black tears rolling down my face. It's a sight and situation most women have unfortunately seen ourselves in at some point in life. Angelo had a beautiful guitar piece that fit the mood perfectly."
Imelda May, born and raised in The Liberties area of Dublin, has become one of Ireland's most celebrated female artists in history. Discovered by Jools Holland, who asked Imelda to support him on tour, Imelda has gone on to perform alongside legendary artists including Lou Reed, Bono, and Smokey Robinson.1. Call Me
2. Black Tears (feat. Jeff Beck)
3. Should've Been You
4. Sixth Sense
6. How Bad Can A Good Girl Be
7. Bad Habit
9. When It's My Time (feat. Jools Holland)
10. Leave Me Lonely
11. The Girl I Used To Be$22.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Seeds From The UndergroundOver the course of a stellar career that has spanned more than 30 years, saxophonist Kenny Garrett has become the preeminent alto saxophonist of his generation. From his first gig with the Duke Ellington Orchestra (led by Mercer Ellington) through his time spent with musicians such as Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers and Miles Davis, Garrett has always brought a vigorous yet melodic, and truly distinctive, alto saxophone sound to each musical situation. As a bandleader for the last two decades, he has also continually grown as a composer. With his latest recording (and second for Mack Avenue Records), Seeds From The Underground, Garrett has given notice that these qualities have not only become more impressive, but have provided him with the platform to expand his horizons and communicate his musical vision clearly. Seeds From The Underground is a powerful return to the straight-ahead, acoustic and propulsive quartet format that showcases Garrett's extraordinary abilities.
For Garrett, Seeds From The Underground is a special recording. It once again consists of all original compositions, and is truly an homage to those who have inspired and influenced him, both personally and musically. "All of these songs are dedicated to someone," says Garrett. "And the 'seeds' have been planted, directly or indirectly, by people who have been instrumental in my development."
With Seeds From The Underground Garrett has crafted a project that offers his appreciation while always making the listener aware of his band's skillful approach to melody, harmony and rhythm. From personal nods such as the opening track "Boogety Boogety," dedicated to his memory of watching western films with his father (the title refers to the sound of a galloping horse); "Wiggins," which references his high school band director Bill Wiggins; and "Detroit," an evocative, reflective composition about his hometown, and a celebration of mentor Marcus Belgrave; to his appreciation of some of his musical heroes on "J Mac" (Jackie McLean); "Haynes Here" (Roy Haynes); and "Do Wo Mo" (Duke Ellington, Woody Shaw and Thelonious Monk).
Melody, as a matter of fact, was a key element for the saxophonist when writing for the recording. "I wanted to focus on the melody," Garrett reflects. "I want people to remember what the melody is before we start improvising and on some songs I heard voices, the singing of the melody." This latter point is in evidence on the selections "Haynes Here," "Detroit" and "Welcome Earth Song."
Another notable component compositionally for Garrett on Seeds From The Underground is his approach to rhythm and meter. Over the past few years, one of the most popular and acclaimed groups that he has been a part of is the GRAMMY® award winning Five Peace Band, joining guitarist John McLaughlin, pianist Chick Corea, bassist Christian McBride, and drummers Vinnie Colaiuta and Brian Blade. His participation in that band led him to experiment with writing in different meters. "Some of these songs are in odd meters; in my experience with John, we played some songs in odd meters, so I thought, this is a different way of writing songs," Garrett states. "So there is some of that approach here."
Garrett's current working band is very much up to the task on Seeds From The Underground. And like all successful bandleaders, Garrett knows what he wants musically and has formed a band that will best communicate his message (with implicit trust among one another). Bassist Nat Reeves is a rhythmic anchor and a long-standing member of Garrett's past aggregations. However, for this recording, Garrett thought a lot about the talents of fellow Detroiter, drummer Ronald Bruner, as well as Venezuelan pianist Benito Gonzalez. "When I decided I wanted to do the album, I had Ronald in mind; I thought that he would work well on these songs. And Benito has been in my band for a while, and we talked conceptually about how I hear the piano in the band. McCoy Tyner is my man, so I wanted to have more of that sound, and there aren't a lot of young guys around who are dealing with that like Benito is." Percussionist Rudy Bird also provides a driving, rhythmic pulse to the recording.
A very important contributor to Seeds From The Underground is the project's co-producer: pianist, composer and educator, Donald Brown. His friendship with Garrett goes back to their days with Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers. He has been an integral part of past Garrett recordings, and has been a musical inspiration for him. "I feel comfortable in the studio with him and I know he's going to hear what I hear, because we think alike in how we hear music," states Garrett. "I've also always admired his compositions and he was really inspired by these compositions, so he was glad that we were able to hook back up on this project."
Garrett has always expressed interest in music from other parts of the world. Whether it's Africa, Greece, Indonesia, China or Guadeloupe, he immerses himself in the culture and gleans from his experience something that becomes a part of his artistic message. On Seeds From The Underground, the African-influenced "Welcome Earth Song" and "Laviso, I Bon?" (the latter was inspired by a musician friend in Guadeloupe) are prime examples.
The album highlights Garrett's overall approach to music: wide-ranging, receiving ideas from all musical sources and genres. Garrett states, "I love the challenge of trying to stay open about music and about life. If it's music, I just try to check it out. Right now I'm listening to some music from Martinique and I'm lovin' it. If I like it, maybe I can incorporate some of it into what I do." As for composing: "I don't try to control what I write," he says. "Music comes from 'The Creator.' It's a gift that's coming in, and I receive it. I write in all genres, and I'm writing all the time. It's never about what it is I just say thank you."
Seeds From The Underground is the latest stop on what continues to be a fascinating musical journey for Kenny Garrett and his listeners. It's a recording that is not only a significant personal statement from the saxophonist, but a musical declaration of his continued growth as a musician, and in particular, as a composer.1. Boogety Boogety
2. J. Mac
4. Haynes Here
6. Seeds from the Underground
8. Welcome Earth Song
9. Ballad Jarrett
10. Laviso, I Bon?$27.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Any Day Now (Pure Pleasure)The material - many of the Dylan classics - is unsurpassable. Her voice is at its zenith, young, supple - neither undisciplined (as in her 1st records) nor the later, low vibrato warble. There is none of the self-conscious and silly Dylan vocal imitation found in Baez's later recording. Where Dylan's own singing is wonderfully raw and rough, Baez is clear and pure. Both are great for me, but very, very different from each other. These lovely renditions are like no one else's. Just pure Joan in her finest voice.
She is backed here by several of the very best of '70s Nashville session musicians (pickers). Some folks think of Nashville sidemen as inevitably bound up with Country Music. While this is not counter-country, it fits much more into folk - as the names Dylan and Baez rightly connote.
One Too Many Mornings is too often overlooked among Dylan's compositions, and this is among the best renditions I've heard. The full-length, unhurried treatment Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowland is spell-binding and satisfying. Perhaps my favorite, though, is the subtle and poignant Spanish Boots of Spanish Leather. Dylan's lyrical genius is fully manifest, in his gorgeous melody and Joan Baez's a wonderful performance.
For many of us who listened both then and recently, this pristine work inevitably reminds us how much has aged in the decades since this earlier era - also recaptured so vividly in Dylan's own Chronicles. These are timely works, both for reminiscence and to introduce newbies to the non-acid experiences that stirred an earlier generation. But regardless of any social import, this is simply beautiful poetry and music.
- Joan Baez (guitar, vocal)
- Fred Carter (mandolin)
- Hargus 'Pig' Robbins (keyboards)
- Stephen Stills, Pete Drake, Harold Rugg (guitar)
- Tommy Jackson, Johnny Gimble (violin)
Recording: 1968 by Selby Cofeen
Production: Maynard Solomon
Format: 2LPs 33rpm / gatefold sleeve
About Pure Pleasure
At the beginning of the 90s, in the early days of audiophile vinyl re-releases, the situation was fairly straightforward. Companies such as DCC, Mobile Fidelity, Classic Records and, of course, Pure Pleasure all maintained a mutual, unwritten ethical code: we would only use analogue tapes to manufacture records.
During the course of the present vinyl hype, many others have jumped on the bandwagon in the hope of securing a corner of the market. Very often they are not so ethical and use every imaginable source to master from: CDs, LPs, digital files, MP3s - or employed existent tools from the 80s and 90s for manufacturing.
A digital delay is gladly used when cutting a lacquer disc because tape machines with an analogue delay have become quite rare and are therefore expensive. When cutting the lacquer, the audio signal is delayed by one LP revolution against the signal, which controls the cutter head, and for this a digital delay is very often employed. Of course, the resultant sound signal is completely digital and thus only as good as this delay.
We should like to emphasize that Pure Pleasure Records on principle only uses the original master tape as the basis for the entirely analogue cutting of lacquer discs. In addition, the pressing tool is newly manufactured as a matter of principle.
We only employ existing tools for manufacturing if an improved result is not forthcoming, e.g. the title Elvis Is Back, which was mastered by Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray, or several titles from our Philips Classics series, which in any case Willem Makkee cut from the original masters at the Emil Berliner Studios in the 90s. It goes without saying that we only used the mother and that new tools were made for our production.
To put it in a nutshell: we can ensure you that our releases are free from any kind of digital effects and that the lacquer discs are newly cut.1. Love Minus Zero/No Limit
2. North Country Blues
3. You Ain't Going Nowhere
4. Drifter's Escape
5. I Pity the Poor Immigrant
6. Tears of Rage
7. Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands
8. Love Is Just a Four-Letter Word
9. I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine
10. The Walls of Redwing
11. Dear Landlord
12. One Too Many Mornings
13. I Shall Be Released
14. Boots of Spanish Leather
15. Walkin' Down the Line
16. Restless Farewell$49.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Porcupine MeatNaming one's album after a song titled "Porcupine Meat" may seem a little unusual - unless, of course, you're Bobby Rush, who earned his first gold record in 1971 with a hit entitled "Chicken Heads." He elaborates on his recent composition: "If a lady won't treat me right, but she doesn't want anyone else to have me, that is hard to digest." Hence the lyric, "too fat to eat, too lean to throw away."
Porcupine Meat is Rush's debut release for Rounder Records, and one of the best recordings of his astonishing 60-plus year career. The album is due out September 16, 2016.
Rush estimates that he has cut over 300 songs since he first began making music. He has been honored with three Grammy nominations, as well as ten Blues Music Awards and 41 nominations. He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2006.
Make no mistake: Rush is not your typical octogenarian. At age 82, he exudes the energy of a 20-year-old, on the road for more than 200 dates a year. His hectic tour schedule has earned him the affectionate title King of the Chitlin' Circuit. Rush has traveled the globe including Japan and Beirut. In 2007, he earned the distinction of being the first blues artist to play at the Great Wall of China. His renowned stage act features his famed shake dancers, who personify his funky blues and the ribald humor that he has cultivated during the course of his storied career.
Born Emmet Ellis, Jr. in Homer, Louisiana, he adopted the stage name Bobby Rush out of respect for his father, a pastor. According to Rush, his parents never talked about the blues being the devil's music. "My daddy never told me to sing the blues, but he also didn't tell me to not sing the blues. I took that as a green light."
Rush built his first guitar when he was a youngster. "I didn't know where to buy one, even if I had the money. I was a country boy," he says. After seeing a picture of a guitar in a magazine, he decided to make one by attaching the top wire of a broom to a wall and fretting it with a bottle. He also got some harmonica lessons from his father He eventually acquired a real guitar, and started playing in juke joints as a teenager, when his family briefly relocated to Little Rock, Arkansas. The fake moustache Rush wore made club owners believe he was old enough to gain entry into their establishments. While he was living in Little Rock, Rush's band, which featured Elmore James, had a residency at a nightspot called Jackrabbit.
During the mid-1950s, Rush relocated to Chicago to pursue his musical career and make a better life for himself. It was there that he started to work with Earl Hooker, Luther Allison, and Freddie King, and sat in with many of his musical heroes, such as Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, Willie Dixon, and Little Walter. Rush eventually began leading his own band in the 1960s. He also started to craft his own distinct style of funky blues, and recorded a succession of singles for a various small labels. It wasn't until the early 1970s that Rush finally scored a hit with "Chicken Heads." More recordings followed, including an album for Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff's Philadelphia International Label.
Rush relocated one final time, to Jackson, Miss. in the early 1980s. He was tired of the cold up north, and he realized that setting up his base of operations directly in the center of the South would make it easier to perform in nearby cities on weekends. More indie label recordings followed. Songs like "Sue, A Man Can Give (But He Sure Can't Take It)," "What's Good For The Goose Is Good For The Gander Too," and" I Ain't Studdin' You" became regional jukebox favorites in juke joints throughout the region, and many of those songs are still fan favorites that are an integral part of his live repertoire.
Since 2003, Rush has self-released the majority of his work (including the critically acclaimed Folk Funk album) on his Deep Rush label, but recently, he came to the realization that having a bigger record company behind him would be beneficial. "I outgrew myself," he says. "I need someone to help in doing the things I can't do. When you are wearing all the hats, you can't be everywhere at once."
Enter esteemed producer and two-time Grammy winner Scott Billington, Rounder Records' longtime VP of A&R. Billington first met Rush at a Recording Academy meeting 25 years ago, and they became fast friends. He has wanted to work with Rush ever since. "He is the most vital bluesman of his generation," says Billington. He continues, "There are many people who still don't know Bobby Rush, even though he is a hero in the parallel universe of the Chitlin' Circuit - fans stop him on the street in Memphis and Helena and Little Rock."
Porcupine Meat will not only please Rush's older fans, but is likely to win over many new ones. Billington reflects, "We wanted to come up with something fresh, while staying 100% true to Bobby."
The album was recorded in New Orleans, and Rush was pleased and proud to be given the opportunity to make an album in his home state for the very first time. His impassioned vocals and in-the-pocket harmonica playing are among the best performances of his career. Unlike most of his recent releases, these sessions only feature real instruments and no synthesizers. All of the rhythm tracks were cut live in the studio, often edited down from jams that on several occasions ran close to ten minutes.
For the project, Billington assembled some of the best Louisiana musicians, including Shane Theriot, David Torkanowsky, Jeffrey "Jellybean" Alexander, Kirk Joseph, Cornell Williams, and others. Rush brought along his old friend and longtime collaborator, guitarist Vasti Jackson, who worked with Bobby and Scott on getting the songs ready for the studio. Guitar greats Dave Alvin, Keb' Mo', and Joe Bonamassa all make guest appearances on the album.
Rush has always been a prolific and clever songwriter. The songs he penned for Porcupine Meat such as "Dress Too Short," "I Don't Want Nobody Hanging Around," "Me, Myself And I," "Nighttime Gardener," "It's Your Move," and the title selection, all equal or rival his best material. "Funk O' De Funk" delivers exactly what the title suggests and what Rush has always done the best, which is putting the funk into the blues. While "Got Me Accused" is inspired by events from Rush's own life, the lyrics tell an all-too-familiar tale about the rampant racial injustice that afflicts our society. Producer Billington and his wife Johnette Downing (the well known New Orleans songwriter and children's musician) co-wrote a couple of fine selections, "Catfish Stew" and "Snake In The Grass."
Bobby Rush is the greatest bluesman currently performing. Porcupine Meat is a testament to his brilliance, which presents him at his very best, and doesn't try to be anything that he is not. "I just try to record good music and stories," he humbly states. With this recording, he has more than accomplished his goal, and has produced one of the finest contemporary blues albums in recent times.1. I Don't Want Nobody Hanging Around
2. Porcupine Meat
3. Got Me Accused
4. Snake in the Grass
5. Funk O' De Funk
6. Me, Myself and I (feat. Joe Bonamassa)
7. Catfish Stew
8. It's Your Move (feat. Dave Alvin)
9. Nighttime Gardener (feat. Keb Mo)
10. I Think Your Dress Is Too Short
11. Standing on Shaky Ground
12. I'm Tired (Tangle Eye Mix)$25.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Black Beauty28-page, full-color book (11" x 11")
Extensive essay by Ben Edmonds (Creem, Rolling Stone, Mojo) featuring all-new interviews
Abundant, never-before-seen photographs by Herbert Worthington (Fleetwood Mac's Rumours)
Brilliantly mastered by multi-GRAMMY® nominee Dan Hersch (Paul Simon, Kinks, Cars,The Band)
Mastered for vinyl by multi-GRAMMY® winner Doug Sax (The Who, Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd)
Black Beauty, the never-before-released masterpiece by Arthur Lee's legendary psychedelic rock band Love, is available on 180-gram vinyl LP. Recorded in 1973 for the ambitious new label Buffalo Records,
the album remained unreleased when the company folded. Finally, after 39 years High Moon Records is honored to fulfill Arthur Lee's wish that Black Beauty be heard by music fans worldwide. Black Beauty is making its first-ever official release
in any format, anywhere! With unparalelled sound and state-of-the-art packaging, critics are hailing Black Beauty as an instant classic. Black Beauty is that rarest of rock artifacts: an unreleased,
full-length studio album, from an undisputed musical
genius. Black Beauty is the missing link in a catalog that includes Forever Changes, the classic 1967 Love album the New York Times called "one of the most affecting and beguiling albums of all time. With Black Beauty, Arthur Lee manages to combine searing 70's-rock with gorgeous melodies and stellar songwriting - topped off by his most distinctive, snarling, soulful vocals ever. With its wonderfully eclectic collection of songs, the
album offers Love fans a rare glimpse into a previously undocumented phase of Arthur Lee's fabled career, while shining a light for new fans to discover the unique genius that is the music of Arthur Lee and Love.
It's tempting to play what-if with Love's lost labor, Black Beauty, which was recorded in 1973 but shelved for nearly four decades. What if Buffalo Records hadn't gone out of business just prior to the album's release? What if Black Beauty had actually hit stores? What if it hadn't languished in limbo until years after Arthur Lee's death? Would it have stopped Love's slide into obscurity? Would it have signaled a comeback for the man who masterminded Forever Changes, still one of the most complex and compelling artifacts of 1960s Los Angeles? Would his life and career have played out any differently? Would we think of him today as something other than a cult artist, inspired as well as damned by his era?
It's difficult to imagine any answers to those questions, but it says a lot about Lee that the album even raises these what-ifs and coulda-beens. The very qualities that made him such a fascinating voice-- restlessness, excitability, paranoia, perfectionism, single-mindedness-- may have doomed any commercial prospects more than his notorious fear of travel ever did. After recording Forever Changes, he fired the band and hired new musicians to take their places. Every subsequent album featured a different line-up, although the changes seem based more on personality than on musical direction or ability. Never stagnant, Love was in constant flux, always in a state of development but never quite arriving. So the operative question becomes: Was this the version of Love that Lee had been working toward?
For Black Beauty-- which is finally seeing release via High Moon Records, although the reissue has been delayed for two years-- Lee assembled guitarist Melvan Whittington, bass player Robert Rozelle, and drummer Joe Blocker. This may be the hardiest and most muscular of Love's post-Changes rosters, with remarkable force and range. With crisp production by Paul Rothchild, best known for his work with the Doors, Love build from a potent blues rock foundation not dissimilar to that of Jimi Hendrix, but without the distracting shamanistic persona and guitar pyrotechnics. "Walk Right In" struts into country rock territory, rewriting Cannon's Jug Stompers 1929 hit into a plea for empathy, and "Beep Beep" attempts a sort of pop reggae, albeit not entirely convincingly.
On the whole, this particular line-up sounds perfectly rough and unrehearsed, generating a tense energy on "Skid" and "Stay Away" even as they suggest a band still figuring out exactly what they can do together. It's a strong album, but it's not another Forever Changes, whose accomplishments in retrospect were unrepeatable, or even another Four Sail. On the other hand, Lee wasn't aiming to craft something in that vein. Still, especially considering the professional setbacks he had faced in the years leading up to Black Beauty-- which includes being dropped by Elektra and shuffling through a series of independent labels-- Lee sounds engaged and invigorated, forgoing the bitterness that had rankled the band for a slightly more hopeful outlook. On stand-out "Can't Find It", he sings, "Every time I cry my heart out, and every time I play the fool, but there's gotta be something in this lonely world for me." The confession is all the more bittersweet for being capped with the line, "but I can't find it without you." It's ostensibly a love song, but could just as easily be addressed to his audience. His creative satisfaction relies on having a listener to complete the circuit, which makes this album's long shelf life all the sadder.
-Stephen M. Deusner (Pitchfork, May 15, 2013)1. Young & Able
2. Midnight Sun
3. Can't Find It
4. Walk Right In
6. Beep Beep
7. Stay Away
8. Lonely Pigs
9. See Myself In You
10. Product Of The Times$26.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now