omnivore recordings Archive

Album Review: Peggy Lee — Something Wonderful

A casual listener might only be able to name “Fever” – and possibly “Is That All There Is” – but Peggy Lee scored a lengthy run of hit singles. The primary arc of her career ran from the early ‘40s (when she was the singer in Benny Goodman’s big band) through 1974, when she hit

Album Reviews: ‘Richard Pryor’ and ‘Craps (After Hours)’

Comedy albums are unique in the album world. Unlike music, for most listeners, they’re a one-and-done affair. You may well have bought Robin Williams’ Reality: What a Concept when it was released in 1979, but if you’re like me, you listened, enjoyed, and then moved on, rarely taking it off the shelf for another spin.

Always Finish What You Started: Van Dyke Parks on ‘Orange Crate Art’ (Part 3 of 3)

Continued from Part Two… Parks recalls a visit to a friend in rural Virginia, nearly 2500 miles due East from southern California. “I went past, Galax, where the Old Fiddlers Convention is held,” Parks remembers. “It inspired me to write ‘My Jeanine,’ [set] in a place that doesn’t exist and a time I haven’t forgotten.”

Always Finish What You Started: Van Dyke Parks on ‘Orange Crate Art’ (Part 2 of 3)

Continued from Part One… Parks recalls how the germ of the project came about in or around 1990. “I had a piano exercise, and it was fun for me,” he says. “Because I am a pianist, most of my songs derive from the keyboard.” Seeking a name for the exercise, he came up with “Orange

Always Finish What You Started: Van Dyke Parks on ‘Orange Crate Art’ (Part 1 of 3)

Though he never sought the role – nor does he wear it comfortably – Van Dyke Parks is something of a cult figure in music. An idiosyncratic musical storyteller of all he surveys, remembers and imagines, Parks filters his ideas through a distinctly American sensibility, one that exists resolutely outside of the rock and pop

Hundred-word Reviews: February 2021, Part 3

These five are all archival, reissue and/or compilation releases. There’s even a vinyl release here. Wolfgang Lackerschmid & Chet Baker – Quintet Sessions 1979 I was only recently introduced to the sublime collaborative genius of Lackerschmid and Baker via this release. Now, from the same era, comes this archival release. It’s even better, featuring as

Album Review: Little Richard — The Rill Thing

By the end of the 1960s, it was reasonable to assume that Little Richard’s rock ‘n’ roll career was moribund. Though he was one of music’s most important figures, by 1958 he had forsaken secular music in favor of gospel. And while he would return to rock in the ‘60s, too often he and his

Album Review: Little Richard — King of Rock and Roll

Just slightly more than a year after releasing a well-received (if non-charting) comeback album in The Rill Thing, Little Richard returned with the audaciously-titled King of Rock and Roll in September 1971. But while The Rill Thing’s defining aesthetic was a Southern soul sound (thanks in large part to its being made at FAME Studio

Album Reviews: Three from Little Richard

Quite recently, Omnivore Recordings reissued a pair of long out-of-print Little Richard albums, The Rill Thing and King of Rock and Roll. The first was an impressive updating of Little Richard’s style into soul, and the second was an only-sometimes-successful attempt at making a thematically cohesive album. But there exist more albums from that era

Hundred(plus)-word Reviews for November 2020, Part Four

Here’s a quick look at five new releases. Four are reissues; the other is a compilation of previously-unreleased material. All are simply superb; essential, even. For the first time in a decade-plus, I’ve allowed myself to exceed my 100-word limit. Flamin’ Groovies – Now Originally released in 1978, this album was – intentionally or not