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If Dave Davies had done nothing more than take a razor blade to his amp speaker and then play the scorched earth riff to "You Really Got Me," his place in the pantheon of music history would have been assured. But Davies proved to be so much more than a guitar pioneer. Along the way with the Kinks, he became a gifted songwriter and singer and when the band with his brother Ray broke up in 1993, he continued with a solo career that still lives today.
Those songwriting, vocal and guitar chops can be heard on Rippin It Up, his seventh solo album and arguably his best. Based on a dream he had about the past and a dystopian future, the album is a time capsule of the artist's life. Dave woke from a deep sleep and started jotting down lyric ideas and putting together chord changes and came up with the title track. That was enough to point him in a direction, at which time songs like "Semblance of Sanity" and "Front Room" emerged. This latter song pays delicate homage to a time very long ago when, as the lyrics state, "We started a band, rehearsed/All plugged into one amp/With Pete, Ray and Jonah from next door." Elsewhere on songs like the title track and "Semblance of Sanity," he pours his heart into great walls of electric guitar.
Recorded in just six weeks, Rippin' Up Time featured Dave and producer David Nolte playing virtually all the instruments. The younger Davies brother has turned into a truly accomplished songwriter. The songs here are as deeply expressive as anything he's ever written and not surprisingly his guitar playing is as fierce and fevered as ever. Davies has made a wonderful record and taken a huge step in his career as a solo artist.
There are a handful of live recordings that have become as essential listening as any studio release. The Who's Live at Leeds, Humble Pie's Rockin' The Fillmore, Cream's Goodbye and a few others. One of them is the Allman Brothers' At Fillmore East released in 1971. It is a blistering album of Southern blues cooked to perfection by one of the great bands of all-time.
That iconic live recording has now been expanded into a 6-CD set. Consisting of four sets performed on the weekend of March 12th and 13th, 1981, this new release contains all the material from the original album as well as multiple other live performances including 15 hitherto unreleased tracks. The 1971 Fillmore East Recordings also features the band's set on June 27th, which represented the historic venue's final weekend of live shows.
The band was at the height of their improvisational chops at this particular moment in their career. It is extraordinary to listen to multiple versions of songs such as "Statesboro Blues," "One Way Out" and "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" and hear how the band would rearrange the compositions from set to set, expanding certain sections and building crescendos where they didn't exist in earlier versions.
This classic lineup of the band - brothers Duane and Gregg on guitar and vocals/keyboards respectively, Dickey Betts on guitar, bassist Berry Oakley, and the twin drums of Jai Johanny Johanson and Butch Trucks - only remained intact for the Allman's first four albums: The Allman Brothers Band, Idlewild South, At Fillmore East of course and Eat a Peach. At that point, other members joined and horrifically, Duane Allman and Berry Oakley would pass away.
But that historic band is…Continue
This remarkable seven-CD set is a testament to the enduring and iconic music Foreigner created during their 14-year career. The collection here includes Foreigner (1977), Double Vision (1978), Head Games (1979), 4 (1981), Agent Provocateur (1984), Inside Information (1987) and Unusual Heat (1991).
Having sold more than 80 million records worldwide, Foreigner is universally acknowledged not only s one of the all-time most commercially successful bands of all time but also one of the most consistently creative. That creativity is reflected here on these seven CDs, which contains their 16 Top 30 hits. Most significantly, "I Want to Know What Love Is," "Feels Like the First Time," "Hot Blooded," "Waiting For a Girl Like You" and all 12 others.
Besides the inclusion of every track from the original seven albums, this beautifully-packaged clamshell package contains bonus tracks like the demo for "Feels Like the First Time," a quasi-unplugged version of "Waiting For a Girl Like You" and a burning live version of "Hot Blooded."
Few bands in history can boast a recorded archive as impressive as this. Group visionary Mick Jones is one of the truly great songwriters of all time and now you can hear that canon of material in one box set.
This live video - available in DVD, DVD/2CD, 2CD and digital formats - is an intimate look at the marvel that is Alabama. Recorded at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, the set here is punctuated by a coterie of guest artists including Jason Aldean, Trisha Yearwood, Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, Jamey Johnson and the Eli Young Band.
Alabama - Jeff Cook, Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry - has been an influential and highly successful recording act since beginning in 1969. By blending standard country music with elements of gospel, pop and Southern rock, the trio has managed to create a faithful crossover audience that has helped sell more than 75 million albums during the past 45+ years.
The live set here contains many classics from the band's rich history including "Love in the First Degree," "Dixieland Delight," "Song of the South," "I'm in a Hurry (And Don't Know Why)," "My Home's in Alabama" and many others. There are also many feature pieces here including "The History and The Night," "The Making of Alabama and Friends," "The Songs and the Stories" and four other featurettes.
Cook, Owens and Gentry still sing astonishingly well. Their harmonies are unique and passionately delivered. This is a beautiful document of one of the most important country acts to ever stand in front of a microphone.
Killsmith & The Greenfire Empire is the third release in Neal Smith’s ongoing Killsmith solo project. An original member of Alice Cooper, Smith previously released Killsmith/Sexual Behavior (2008) and Killsmith Two (2011) in a series of concept albums conceived as a conceptual metal rock opera. On this new CD, Smith not only lays down his trademark rock drum grooves but provides lead and backing vocals, percussion, rhythm guitar and synthesizer.
On “Greenfire Born of Poison,” the album’s first single, Smith breaks open the track with a signature drum fill on toms and bass, calling to mind his signature fills on the beginning of “Billion Dollar Babies.” The music here is a relentless rock groove propelled by Smith’s heavy-handed stick attack as well as the driving rhythm guitars he so capably plays. “I Want Money” has a distinctly Alice Cooper feel and in fact Smith’s vocals even take on the characteristics of his former employer’s voice. Lady Elizabeth Dellinger also provides vocals on this one. On “Good Morning Blue Soul Land” Smith vacates the singer’s chair and moves aside while Hubert Martin lays down a bluesy performance bordering on gospel. Neal’s percussive support is characterized by a simple shuffle and some delicate tom fills.
Though he is best known as the original drummer for Alice Cooper and responsible for playing on iconic albums such as Love it to Death, Killers, School’s Out and Billion Dollar Babies, the Ohio-born musician has been strumming on a guitar for virtually the same length of time. Additionally, he has been writing songs since the earliest days of Alice Cooper and co-wrote many of that band’s biggest hits. Killsmith & The Greenfire Empire is an opportunity…Continue
Though Roger Taylor is best known as the drummer for Queen, the English musician has enjoyed a long solo career beginning in 1977 with the release of the single “I Wanna Testify.” This was followed by the recording of five solo albums—Fun in Space (1981), Strange Frontier (1984), Happiness? (1994), Electric Fire (1998) and Fun on Earth (2013—which variously featured Taylor not only on drums but singing, playing guitars, keyboards and bass. This new release titled Best is a collection of various songs from the drummer’s back catalog or as he describes them in his liner copy, “A selection of subjectively the more standout tracks I have recorded over the last 34 years.”
Some of those standouts include the rockabilly shuffle “Let’s Get Crazy” from Fun in Space. Taylor plays a “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”-inspired shuffle on his snare and then breaks into some very tasty drum fills during the song’s breakdown. “Man on Fire” is the synth-driven rocker featuring Brian May on guitar originally released on the Strange Frontier album. “Foreign Sand” is a delicate ballad from the Happiness? Album spotlighting Taylor’s haunted vocal and supported by X Japan member Yoshiki Hayashi, bassist Phil Chen and guitarist Jim Cregan. “Surrender” has a sublime sort of Queen vibe and was a single released from the Electric Fire album. Lastly, Fun on Earth is represented by the tracks “The Unblinking Eye (Everything is Broken) [single version] and “Sunny Day.” The former is another Taylor ballad arranged around piano and violin and a beautiful two-and-four backbeat. The latter is a slow groove also punctuated by piano, violin and cleanly-strummed guitars.
Taylor is an extraordinarily talented and…Continue
In the summer of 1981 when MTV first came on the air, their debut video was a song called "Video Killed the Radio Star" by the Buggles. It was an auspicious beginning and indeed signaled the death knell for rock bands who didn't look appealing on film. MTV become the touchstone for all things video and now in this new DVD release from Virgil Films titled Money For Nothing comes a film that documents both the beginnings and the future of the music video.
There are clips and videos here from an assortment of artists including the Beatles, Elvis Presley, Guns N' Roses, 2_ac, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, U2, Nirvana, Jay Z, Michael Jackson and others.
This is an entertaining and delightful collection that puts in perspective the development of the music video over the course of the past six decades. You can watch as this specific artform grew out of innocuous shorts inserted between film showings at theaters into full-blown productions most famously designed by Michael Jackson.
In this documentary, director Jamin Bricker and writer Saul Austerlitz provide an enlightened into the world of video making and the impact it has had on the music business.
Steve Hunter is maybe one of the best guitar players you've never heard of. But you know the music he's worked on. He was a member of Mitch Ryder's Detroit - an offshoot of the Detroit Wheels - and was most famously the guitarist on Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill," his first solo single release after leaving Genesis. He also played on multiple albums Lou Reed and Alice Cooper. With guitarist Dick Wagener, Hunter laid down iconic riffs on Reed's live recording Rock 'n' Roll Animal. And then teamed with Wagner again for the epic live recording from Alice Cooper, Welcome to My Nightmare.
Now, Hunter has brought those estimable chops to Tone Poems Live, an in-studio performance that captures the guitarist on film for the very first time. He runs through a collection of songs from his various solo albums including an inspired version of Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill," as well as mindbending performances of "The Idler" and "222 W. 23rd." There is also a version of Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Riviera Paradise," which was a previously unreleased Hunter track.
Steve's riffs and melodies soar like eagles. Alternately using his fingers or a pick depending on what the song demands, he flows seamlessly from funk and jazz into R&B and blues. The band - bassist Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel, King Crimson), keyboardist Phil Aaberg (Elvin Bishop, Peter Gabriel) and drummer Alvino Bennett (Dave Mason, Robin Trower - is superbly confident in laying down a melodic and rhythmic foundation while Hunter runs up and down the guitar neck.
If you loved Hunter on all those Alice Cooper records and were blown away by his work with Lou Reed, his playing on Tone Poem Live will do nothing less than leave you…Continue