Monthly Archive:: August 2011

CD Review: Ben Craven – Great & Terrible Potions

The sound of a heavy door creaking open…deliberate footsteps across a wood floor…the sound of an antique clock being wound. Those form the opening to Ben Craven’s “Diabolique,” the opening salvo on his modern progressive rock album Great & Terrible Potions. Now, when I write “modern,” I do so referring only to the date of

CD Review: The Blasters – Live 1986

Over the years, rootsy rock has had its moments on the cultural landscape. Every so often, it seems – typically when rock or pop music veers more than usual toward vapidity and lack of substance – some musicians take a look backward for inspiration, coming up with something exciting and compelling in the process. Of

CD Review: The Residents – Meet the Residents

How to discern between worthless noise, a Dada in-joke, a piss-take on avant garde noodlings and a landmark work of enduring value? When the subject is Meet the Residents, it’s not an easy task. Even nearly four decades after its original release, this 1974 album – newly reissued on MVD – continues to confound. File

Hot Tuna: Forty Years On, Still Going Steady (Part Two)

Continued from Part One The bridging of styles between rock, blues and country is something that Hot Tuna has been about since the very beginning. Nobody called it Americana in ‘70, but that’s what it was. Noting the popularity of Americana in the 21st century, Jack laughs when I suggest that maybe popular music has

Hot Tuna: Forty Years On, Still Going Steady (Part One)

When lifelong friends Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen founded Hot Tuna in 1969, it looked to many observers as if the band was a busman’s holiday, a way for the pair of musicians to exercise some musical muscles that perhaps weren’t getting a full workout within the context of their other band, the Jefferson Airplane.

CD Review: Jean-Luc Ponty Experience – Open Strings

To fans whose interest in this violinist falls anywhere short of the label hardcore, Jean-Luc Ponty is best known as either (a) the guy who worked with Frank Zappa in the late 60s/early 70s or/and (b) the guy who created a successful series of jazz/rock/pop/fusion crossover albums in the 1970s. But before either of those

CD Review: Fall on Your Sword – Another Earth (OST)

When a filmmaker chooses a single artist to provide soundtrack music, he/she is taking a big risk. This approach stands in direct contrast to the tried-and-true method (popular in the 80s) of assembling a bunch of hits and potential hits by au courant pop stars, slapping a cover on it, and raking in the ancillary

CD Review: Putumayo Presents Jazz

To my way of thinking, CD releases on the Putumayo label occupy a specific market niche. Generally speaking, they are not designed as potential additions to the music collection of serious/hardcore music fans. That’s not to say they’re not without merit; not at all. It’s merely to point out that what a Putumayo release offers

CD Review: The New Mastersounds – Breaks From the Border

There’s a tradition – maybe not a proud one, but a tradition nonetheless – of not messing with that which works. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” goes the old saw. Yet for artists who are serious about their art, pushing the boundaries is essential. To keep themselves alive creatively, change and growth are

CD Review: Johnnie Taylor – Taylored in Silk

Johnnie Taylor is best known for his 1968 Stax hit “Who’s Making Love,’ and nearly as well-remembered for his mid-70s disco hits, including the regrettably-named chart-topper Eargasm. But in between those, he made an album that bridged the styles. 1973’s Taylored in Silk found the versatile singer serving up eight tracks of, well, silky-smooth soul.