review Archive

Album Review: “The Laughing Dogs / Meet Their Makers”

Generally accepted to have as its genesis the mid-60s singles by The Who (for example “I Can See for Miles”), powerpop has enjoyed a few brief moments in the limelight. The early 70s saw the triumvirate of powerpop groups: Badfinger (Northern England/Wales), Big Star (Memphis) and the Raspberries (Cleveland). The first and third of these

Album Review: Cass Elliot / The Road is No Place for a Lady

In 1972 Cass Elliot‘s solo career was in full swing, but she was restless. A switch from ABC/Dunhill to RCA afforded her greater artistic control over her material. She didn’t play an instrument, and she didn’t often compose songs, but she didn’t need to. As an interpreter of the work of others, Cass Elliot had

DVD Review: The Beatles – Rare and Unseen

The Beatles 2CD retrospective Anthology 3 was released in 1996, some 17 years after the Beatles broke up. It’s been another 13 years now — a span of time longer than the group was together, in fact a span of time roughly equal to the period between the Beatles appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show

Album Review: 801 – 801 Live Collectors Edition

In 1976, taking a break from his duties in Roxy Music while that art-rock group went on hiatus, guitarist Phil Manzanera assembled a group for a one-off (well, three-off, but you get the idea) concert. Drawing in some very heavy friends, Manzanera dubbed the group 801, after a lyric from a song by the group’s

Album Review: Big Star – #1 Record / Radio City (reissue)

It’s difficult to review a reissue of this disc’s stature. Big Star‘s #1 Record (1972) and Radio City (1973) rank among this reviewer’s desert island discs (I own original vinyl copies bought decades ago), and the critical acclaim these albums received is immeasurable. But of course they didn’t sell a whole lot back in the

Album Review: Various Artists – “Boy Meets Girl” Classic Soul Duets

Imagine you’re driving a lonely strip of highway late at night. You’re behind the wheel, and for whatever reason — maybe it’s a rental car, I dunno — you don’t have a CD player or an MP3 dock. So you turn on the radio. And what you discover is the coolest soul station on the

Album Review: Creedence Clearwater Revival – The Concert (reissue)

When something is a familiar part of one’s daily existence — when it’s sort of always there — there’s often a tendency to take that thing for granted, to not fully appreciate its value. So it was for me with the album The Concert from Creedence Clearwater Revival. Originally issued in 1980 — an era

Album Review: Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs – Under the Covers, Vol. 2

Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs both have deserved reputations as excellent pop artists with impeccable taste in influences. Both came to commercial and artistic maturity in the 80s: Sweet as a solo artist, Hoffs fronting The Bangles. Both have hip cred with important musical scenes; The Bangles were part of the “Paisley Underground” movement in

Album Review: Isaac Hayes – Hot Buttered Soul (reissue)

I’ve written fairly extensively on about the work of Isaac Hayes. A latecomer to his catalog, I really only discovered the man’s music around the time Ultimate Isaac Hayes: Can You Dig It? came out in 2005. Since then I’ve delved deeper into his work, especially the 70s material. While Hayes is sometimes characterized

Progressive Nation Act IV: Dream Theater

I like progressive rock, especially the British/European varieties. Those seem informed more by European folk, music of the Middle Ages, and classical, yet with plenty of power and bombast leavened by subtlety. The American variants have never moved me as much. So while I really dig acts like Yes, King Crimson, Gabriel-era Genesis and lesser