In contrast to the earthy, rootsy qualities of Bella Donna, Stevie Nicks took a slicker, more high-tech approach on her third solo album, Rock a Little. But for all its glossiness, this pop/rock CD comes across as sincere and heartfelt rather than formulaic or contrived…
Although it's missing a few important (not to mention big) hits, Greatest Hits, Vols. 1 & 2 is an excellent retrospective of the first half of Billy Joel's career. Beginning with "Piano Man," the first disc runs through a number of early songs before arriving at the hit-making days of the late '70s; some of these songs, including "Captain Jack" and "New York State of Mind," weren't strictly hits, but were popular numbers within his stage show and became radio hits. Once the songs from The Stranger arrive halfway through the first disc, there's no stopping the hits (although "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant," an album track from The Stranger, manages its way onto the collection). In fact, over the next disc and a half, there's so many hits, it's inevitable that some are left off – to be specific, "Honesty," "Sometimes a Fantasy," "An Innocent Man," "Leave a Tender Moment," and "Keeping the Faith" aren't included.
Reissue with the latest remastering and the original cover artwork. Comes with a description written in Japanese. A nice little set from Monty Alexander – a Sunday Night session recorded with the same group, on the same weekend as his Saturday Night album! Monty Alexander's always great in a trio, but we really love the pianist when he's trying to add a little something extra to the mix – as he does here in a quartet performance that features some nice added percussion from Robert Thomas! The tracks have that warm glow and open flow that Alexander first started bringing to his music in the 70s – with sensitive rhythm work here from Reggie Johnson on bass and Ed Thigpen on drums – but the added percussion really helps things swing at a slightly higher level, giving a gentle kick to some cuts, while Monty's still able to open up with some warmly lyrical lines over the top.
British jazz-funk combo Shakatak formed in London in 1980. Originally comprising keyboardists Bill Sharpe and Nigel Wright, guitarist Keith Winter, bassist Steve Underwood, and drummer Roger Odell, the group quickly scored an underground hit with its debut single "Steppin'," cracking the British Top 50 the following year with the singles "Livin' in the UK" and "Brazilian Dawn." Their debut LP, Drivin' Hard, was also well-received, and with the 1982 follow-up Nightbirds, Shakatak (which replaced Underwood with bassist George Anderson) scored their first Top 20 hit in "Easier Said Than Done"; the disc's title track also rocketed into the Top Ten. Nightbirds also introduced singer Jill Saward, who emerged as Shakatak's lead vocalist with the band's fifth album, 1984's Down on the Street, which notched the hit "Watching You"; 1985's Live preceded the release of the group's next studio effort, Day by Day.