On this, their fourth studio album, you are treated to the unexpected missing link between James Taylor Quartet's early mod-cum-spy theme sound and the later polished acid jazz feel (which carried the band through to be the respected pioneer figures they are today) without sounding exactly like either of them. Having landed themselves with the big-budget U.K. label Polydor, James Taylor found he could indulge himself with the best in big jazz-funk sounds, employing what sounded suspiciously like more than a "quartet" to produce a collection of bold and brassy numbers that escalated the sounds of Johnny Hammond and Booker T into the late '80s. The album begins as it finishes, with a touching yet relentless jazz-rock instrumental groove combining clever chord structures and strong piano flourishes gliding over, of course, Taylor's trademark whirring Hammond organ.
Arista was poised to take Taylor Dayne beyond the dance tracks and drum beats which established her as a force to be reckoned with on her smash debut Tell It to My Heart. Can't Fight Fate, her sophomore outing, featured much more straight-ahead rock & roll, lush production, and top-notch songwriters (including Diane Warren, who penned her biggest hit "Love Will Lead You Back"). The album proved an even bigger success than her debut, scoring two Top Ten hits, one number one hit, and one Top 20 hit. Unfortunately, however, the momentum was lost after this album, and Taylor Dayne never again reached the commercial stratosphere she scaled with this set. The album's dance songs, such as the lead-off Top Five hit "With Every Beat of My Heart," feature more organic instrumentation, although there are a few straight-ahead dance tracks, such as "Up All Night." The ballads are lush and dramatic, and one of them, "Love Will Lead You Back," soared all the way to number one. The real killers, however, are the rock songs, and Taylor delivers like a true, seasoned rock star.
Big Brass marks one of trumpeter Benny Bailey's earliest efforts as a leader, but it is also one of the best releases of his career. Joined by an all-star septet including Phil Woods, Julius Watkins, and Les Spann in the front line, plus a rhythm section consisting of Tommy Flanagan, Buddy Catlett, and Art Taylor, Bailey and his musicians shine in their interpretations of charts by Quincy Jones, Hale Smith, Oliver Nelson, and Tom McIntosh.
SCARED TO GET HAPPY (A Story Of Indie Pop 1980-1989) was the first box set ever to document the explosion of Indie Pop in Britain across the 1980s. This release is a 5 CD Cherry Red's box set, charting Indie Pop’s development from the post punk era and the dominance of Scottish bands through to its genre-defining C86 period and onto the end of the decade, with the arrival of Madchester and the shoegazing sound.
Altoist Phil Woods took a rare vacation from playing with his regular group to collaborate with pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist George Mraz and drummer Kenny Washington on this fine straight-ahead quartet date. The 13 selections are fairly concise (clocking in between 3-7 minutes apiece) and most of the material (other than "Canadian Sunset," "Yours Is My Heart Alone," "Blue and Sentimental" and Bill Evans' classic "Waltz for Debby") consists of either obscurities or recent originals. A special bonus is that Woods plays his appealing clarinet on three numbers. Highlights include "Charles Christopher" (a tribute to Charlie Parker), "Butter" and Hal Galper's "Just Us."
MILLIONS LIKE US is the first-ever box set to properly document the Mod Revival scene of the late Seventies and Eighties. Across 100 tracks by all the key bands, the story of the Mod Revival is told, from its roots in Punk/New Wave through to its commercial heyday in 1979 with bands like Secret Affair and The Lambrettas and its resurrection in 1985 with The Untouchables and Makin Time.
Fenton Robinson is among the second-line blues musicians who have come close but never made it over the hump. He has certainly got the guitar goods, and his vocals are often memorable and anguished. Unfortunately, the 13 songs he did on this 1989 date were mostly good but nowhere as intense as he has delivered on other occasions. Neither is the instrumental work on this Evidence CD; his solos are firmly articulated, often elaborately constructed and paced, but they lack impact. Too many times Robinson falls just short of turning in a triumphant or exciting number, either through a less than emphatic vocal or a mundane solo.
This 1977 double-album opus represents Golden Earring's entry into the series of live albums that were so popular in the late '70s. At this point in its career, the band's live sound had a newfound sense of power, thanks to the addition of second guitarist Eelco Gelling. Indeed, classics like "Radar Love" and "She Flies on Strange Wings" benefit from a newfound complexity and energy that stems from the energetic guitar interplay between Gelling and George Kooymans. Golden Earring's new double-guitar sound also allows the group to overhaul some of its material in new and interesting ways. For instance, "To the Hilt" is transformed from the short country-flavored tune that appeared on its similarly titled studio album into a stomping, twin-guitar epic in the live arena.