reissue Archive

Album Review: John Gary Williams

Memphis-based Stax Records had a long, impressive and tumultuous history. The label that was home to legendary artists like Booker T & the MGs, Otis Redding and Isaac Hayes produced a staggering amount of “southern soul” in its heyday. But bad luck and a host of other problems (best chronicled in Rob Bowman’s exhaustive history

Seven Jazz Reviews for July 2017

Here’s a look at seven recent reissue and/or archival releases of note. All are enthusiastically recommended. Bobby Darin & Johnny Mercer – Two of a Kind (Omnivore Recordings) Founded in 2010, Omnivore Recordings is a boutique label that quickly became renowned for its thoughtful and carefully-curated reissues and archival releases; the release schedule of the

Musoscribe’s 8th Anniversary Post: Four from Playback Records

Today I’m celebrating the eight-year anniversary of this Musoscribe online music magazine. I started the blog in June 2009, but I had already been writing for many years. Eventually I went back and archived nearly all of my pre-2009 work, back-dating the pieces (if somewhat arbitrarily). So now you’ll find nearly 2,500 posts – reviews,

Album Review: Jean Jacques Perrey — Moog Indigo

Perhaps Jean Jacques Perrey shouldn’t be thought of in the same context as Jean-Michel Jarre, Hans-Joachim Roedelius and other early pioneers of the synthesizer-as-musical-instrument. His work wasn’t as edgy and experimental as that of those other guys. But here’s the thing: a half-century on, spinning a Perrey album is far more likely to bring a

He’d Only Just Begun: Paul Williams and The Holy Mackerel (Part 2)

Continued from Part One … From a very early age, Williams had been greatly influenced by the Great American Songbook. He recalls that even as a child in Omaha, Nebraska, “I was this little 11- and 12-year old kid singing Gershwin, Cole Porter and the like.” Gordon Jenkins’ 1946 album Manhattan Tower was Williams’ favorite

He’d Only Just Begun: Paul Williams and The Holy Mackerel (Part 1)

(Note: an edited version of this feature appeared previously in print in Goldmine Magazine.) In 1970, songwriter Paul Williams was catapulted to the top of the pop music world. Two of his songs – co-written with Roger Nichols – became major hit singles: the Carpenters scored with “We’ve Only Just Begun” (a #2 hit), and

Album Reviews: Three Standells Reissues

From one point of view, The Standells were opportunists. As that story goes, they got their start as a smiling, suited pop group, only changing their sound and collective demeanor once they took a new reading as to which way the pop culture winds were blowing. Moreover, that argument goes, they weren’t even from Boston,

Long Shot: The Story of Delaney & Bonnie’s ‘Motel Shot’ (Part 2)

Continued from Part One … The Motel Shot that finally saw release would consist almost completely of material from the studio sessions. On release, it fared well, reaching #65 on Billboard‘s album chart. A surprise hit single, “Never Ending Song of Love” rose to #13 on the singles charts. Even in its more refined state,

Long Shot: The Story of Delaney & Bonnie’s ‘Motel Shot’ (Part 1)

As the 1960s rolled over into 1970, popular music was undergoing a seismic shift. The full reasons aren’t totally clear; maybe it was the disillusionment in the wake of the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy. Perhaps it was the cumulative shock experienced at the daily news of the disastrous war in

Album Review: Ultimate Spinach — Behold & See (Mono)

At the time of its 1968 release, Ultimate Spinach‘s Behold & See suffered from critical backlash. Those brickbats were directed primarily at the ill-advised “Bosstown Sound” marketing hype that surrounded the group. Considered on its own, Behold & See is a worthwhile and oft-overlooked artifact of its era. Yet the flow of Behold & See