Seven New Album Reviews

Doing my level best to erase the backlog of albums slated for review, I’m pleased to offer up some thoughts on no less than seven recent releases. They include: Phil Manzanera’s 801 – 801 Live Collectors Edition Creedence Clearwater Revival – The Concert (reissue) Creedence Clearwater Revival – Covers the Classics (compilation) Matthew Sweet &

Album Review: Wattstax: The Living Word

With apologies to Sir Walter Scott, “oh, what a tangled web we weave, when again we practice to re-release.” The 1972 Wattstax festival was black R&B’s excellent (if belated) answer to Woodstock and other festivals of the era. Concerts in and around the Watts district of Los Angeles put the spotlight on Stax Records’ best

Album Review: Stax: The Soul of Hip-Hop

This compilation would have been an inspired, brilliant idea, had it not been done already (see review of the 2008 Blue Note compilation Droppin’ Science). So instead it’s merely a very, very good idea. Hip-hop is a genre that is largely built on synthesizing earlier works. And one of its virtues is its sense of

Album Review: Various Artists — Stax Does the Beatles

Before succumbing to the vicissitudes of the record biz, Stax Records was one of the coolest labels in the 60s and 70s. Rawer and earthier than Motown, the black-oriented label out of Memphis turned out classic albums from Isaac Hayes, Booker T. & the MGs and many others. Many of these artists wrote their own

Coffey Talk: A Chat with Guitar Legend Dennis Coffey (Part 2)

Continued from Part One … Dennis Coffey was part of a new venture, the Producer’s Workshop, led by legendary Motown bassist James Jamerson. As he recalls in Guitars, Bars and Motown Superstars, “Motown had already got rid of its staff producers who were hitless, so the remaining producers continued to develop their ideas during the