Album Review: Putumayo Presents Jazz Around the World

Putumayo’s top-selling India surveyed pop styles of that country. This, their other high-profile release of 2009, is Jazz Around the World. The sleeve describes it as “original songs and standards performed by musicians from Cuba to Cameroon.” Chantal Chamberland starts things off in slightly familiar territory: the French Canadian chanteuse sings “La Mer” accompanied by

Interview: Gentle Giant on Barrett, bootlegs, Badfinger, Back catalog and the biz

The career of Gentle Giant spanned the whole of the 1970s, and their modest commercial fortunes closely paralleled that of their chosen (or assigned) genre. Beginning with their self-titled debut album in 1970 and running through their eleventh studio album (1980’s Civilian) the group charted a singular musical path. While they went their separate ways

Album Review: Jets Overhead – No Nations

Jets Overhead‘s No Nations answers the rhetorical question: what would Coldplay sound like with an additional female vocalist and a rock sensibility? That’s an oversimplification, of course. Hypnotic beats and a heavier bottom end are key components of the Jets Overhead sound. Classic keyboards of the 1970s are used extensively on the album: Rhodes, Wurlitzer

What do you get when you cross the Yardbirds with German prog?

In or around 1980 I went into my friendly local record shop and purchased a new, shrink-wrapped 2LP set called Shapes of Things. It was a compilation of Yardbirds radio broadcasts and whatnot, on the Canada-based Bomb label. One of those semi-legit releases, I think. I got home and played it, and it was fine.

Album Review: Jason Yates (self titled)

The first three notes on Jason Yates‘ new self-titled album sound like the opening of Squeeze‘s “Black Coffee in Bed”. But that’s not at all the direction in which Yates goes. On this keyboard-led album Jason Yates covers territory that will be pleasantly familiar to fans of The Band, Randy Newman, Van Morrison and other

Album Review: Various Artists – Putumayo Presents India

The holiday gift giving season — or at least the shopping run-up — is nigh upon us. So if your plans include “giving the gift of music” as the old National Association of Record Marketers slogan suggested, it’s time to start thinking about what to buy. The Putumayo label is dedicated to world music and

One-word Review: Amazing.

I just laid hands and eyes on the new Creedence Clearwater Revival box set of 45rpm singles. The set is lovingly packaged — its presentation rivals the now-rare Rhino compilation Beg, Scream and Shout CD set from the 90s — and of course the music (reviewed here) is, well, Creedence singles, which can’t be beat.

Album Review: Mike & the Ravens – No Place for Pretty

Middle-aged guys who haven’t made a career in the music biz aren’t supposed to make terrific, authentic, original rock and roll. It’s just not done. That’s the conventional wisdom, anyway. Mike & the Ravens defy that conventional wisdom. Reuniting after forty-five-plus years of doing other things, the five guys got together to release their debut,

Album Review: Makajodama (self-titled)

Progressive rock is an acquired taste; interest in (and appreciation of) improvisational music, even more so. It was with that in mind that I approached my first listen to the new self-titled album by Sweden’s Makajodama. The one-sheet helpfully clued me in ahead of time, so I was prepared for instrumental prog with hints of

Album Review: Thee Complete Midniters – Songs of Love, Rhythm & Psychedelia!

Let’s face it. Lots and lots (…and lots) of bands in the 60s covered the standards on record. So why would you be interested in plunking down good money for a box set that includes yet another band covering “Johnny B. Goode”, “Slow Down”, “It’s Not Unusual” and “Land of 1000 Dances”? And, a pretty