Folk-pop supergroup the Continental Drifters' 1999 album Vermilion was a success with critics. Their new studio disc Better Day is due out this month. If you liked Vermilion, and are looking forward to Better Day, may I recommend a look back at an earlier album? On their self-titled 1994 debut disc ( Razor & Tie ) , the Continental Drifters introduced us to their country-tinged folk-pop. What's remarkable about their sound is that the members of the band all came together from various early '80s post-punk, early modern rock bands such as the dBs ( Peter Holsapple ) , the Bangles ( Vicki Peterson ) , the Dream Syndicate ( Mark Walton ) , and '60s Partridge Family precursors The Cowsills ( Susan Cowsill ) . Highlights include Cowsill's vocals on "Desperate Love" and the cover of Carole King and Gerry Goffin's "I Can't Make It Alone," "Get Over It," the country blues of "Invisible Boyfriend," and Vicki Peterson's vocals on "Mixed Messages."
Speaking of supergroups, Blind Faith ( consisting of Cream members Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker and Traffic's Steve Winwood ) was one of the first. Although they recorded only one album, it was a significant event in rock music history. Blind Faith's self-titled debut disc has been reissued in a two-disc deluxe edition ( Polydor ) . In addition to having the controversial original album art ( shirtless pubescent girl with toy airplane ) and subsequent alternative cover, you will find the familiar songs "Can't Find My Way Home" and "Well All Right," as well as previously unreleased tracks such as "Sleeping In The Ground" and "Time Winds," to name a few, all on disc one.
Disc two features more previously unreleased material in form of four lengthy "jams."
The outrageous ( and much deserved ) success of the Beatles chart-topping singles collection 1 has forged a renewed interest in all things Beatle ( not that interest ever really flagged ) and in that spirit comes the reissue of All Things Must Pass by George Harrison. In addition to containing five additional tracks, the two-disc set contains beloved solo Harrison tracks such as "My Sweet Lord," "What Is Life," "Isn't It A Pity," and "Wah-Wah."
In 2000, Peter Frampton was celebrated with two reissues. His self-titled 1994 album ( Legacy/Relativity ) was reissued with four bonus tracks, including live acoustic versions of the classics "Baby, I Love Your Way" and "Show Me The Way." To celebrate the 25th anniversary of his record-setting live album, Frampton Comes Alive ( A&M ) has been reissued in a deluxe edition four more previously unavailable ( on disc ) live tracks. This classic album also features all the hits that made this album one of the best selling sets of the '70s, including "Something's Happening," "Do You Feel Like We Do," and the previously mentioned "Show Me The Way" and "Baby, I Love" ( in their beloved electric versions ) .
The reissue of Curtis ( Rhino/Curtom ) , Curtis Mayfield's 1970 solo debut disc couldn't have come at a better time. With the current soul revival underway and artists such as D'Angelo and Jill Scott reminding us of the power and glory of this style of music, Mayfield's distinctive vocals and song writing are an invaluable touchstone. Songs such as "We People Who Are Darker Than Blue," " ( Don't Worry ) If There's A Hell Below We're All Gonna Go," "Miss Black America," and "The Other Side Of Town," demonstrate Mayfield's substantial contribution, and pave the way for his 1972 masterwork, the soundtrack to the movie Superfly. Among the nine bonus tracks, you will find the demos for "Power To The People" and "Ghetto," to name a few.
Nada Brahma ( Indipop/Narada World ) is the latest reissue of Sheila Chandra's mid-'80s "Asian fusion." Like the popularity of the soul music revival, the Asian fusion scene is burgeoning with artists such as State Of Bengal, Talvin Singh and Bally Sagoo setting the pace. Predating them by at least ten years, Ms. Chandra albums are glittering gems, and this five song EP ( including the nearly 27-minute title track ) and the percussive "Question The Answer" and "Raqs," fill in some of the blanks for newcomers to this exotic and compelling musical genre.
I still haven't forgiven Rodney Crowell for the way he broke ex-wife Rosanne Cash's heart during their marriage, but that doesn't take away from the fact that he is a talented singer/songwriter. On Diamonds & Dirt ( Columbia/Legacy ) , which is considered to be the best of his Columbia albums ( he recorded for Warner Brothers prior to signing to Columbia ) , Crowell teams up with Cash on the lovely duet "It's Such A Small World." The remaining tracks ( including the highlights "I Couldn't Leave You If I Tried," "I Know You're Married," and "After All This Time" ) , placed him firmly in the company of fellow male, groundbreaking, new country artists such as Steve Earle, Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yoakam. This reissue expands on the 1988 original with three bonus demo tracks.
In the late 1980s, country dominated the charts and hip-hop and rap were just beginning their ascent. In 1989 two rap artists, Tone Loc and Young M.C., made an impression on the music scene. Loc-ed After Dark ( Delicious Vinyl/Rhino ) by Tone Loc and Stone Cold Rhymin' ( Delicious Vinyl/Rhino ) by Young MC, both produced by Matt Dike and Michael Ross, have just been reissued on CD. Young M.C. was a clean-cut rapper in the mold of the young Fresh Prince ( a/k/a Will Smith ) who had youth on his side, and tracks such as "Principal's Office" and the mega-hit "Bust A Move," are good examples of his youthful exuberance. Tone-Loc's rhymes were a little grittier, and anyone who remembers his hits "Wild Thing" and "Funky Cold Medina," know what I mean.
John Cale, who was once a member of The Velvet Underground and who produced the first album by ( Iggy Pop and ) The Stooges, recorded and released a surprisingly lovely solo disc ( his first ) in 1970. The album, Vintage Violence ( Columbia/Legacy ) is another relevant reissue, and includes the previously unreleased song "Wall" as one of its two bonus tracks.
Originally released in 1997, as the two disc various artists compilation disc, One Step Up/Two Steps Back: The Songs of Bruce Springsteen, one disc and part of the title has been stripped for the 2000 reissue and we now have the fourteen track single disc compilation The Songs Of Bruce Springsteen ( The Right Stuff ) . Mrs. Fun and Tina & The B-Side Movement's cover of "Janey, Don't You Lose Heart," is the main reason for owning this album. Other recommended tracks include John Wesley Harding's rendition of "Jackson Cage," John Hiatt's Tom Waits-esque version of "Johnny 99," and Syd Straw's stunning reading of "Meeting Across The River."
As a Chicago-native living ( and going to college ) in Boston in 1980, I was embarrassed by REO Speedwagon, and their chart-topping album Hi Infidelity ( Epic/Legacy ) . Was this the best that my home-state of Illinois had to offer? After all Boston had quality acts such as The Cars and J. Geils Band. Twenty-one years later, feeling a little less sensitive now that I'm living in Chicago again, I have to say that, for what it's worth, this album is still pretty sophomoric, but less offensive than I originally thought. The album's biggest hits "Keep On Loving You," "Take It On The Run," and "Don't Let Him Go," sound just as silly as they did the first time I heard them on WBCN, only now they sound less threatening.