On this excellent release from the World Music Network's ever-reliable Rough Guide series, a host of unknown early blues artists get their due. While Robert Johnson, Son House, and a handful of other greats from the 1920s and '30s have become widely recognized icons of the pre-war blues era, so many lesser-known, though no less talented, players have slipped through the cracks. Opening with Henry Thomas' spirited "Fishing Blues" (complete with a pan flute solo), The Rough Guide to Unsung Heroes of Country Blues winds its way through a series of wonderful and obscure country-blues gems.
This 1999 release precedes the excellent new recording from perennial prog-rockers King Crimson, titled The ConstruKction of Light. Yet with The Repercussions of Angelic Behavior, electric guitarist and Crimson founder Robert Fripp, touch bassist Trey Gunn and hard hitting drummer Bill Rieflin mesh gears for some truly energetic interplay! Spearheaded by Fripp’s signature style attack consisting of loops, EFX, and sinuous lead soloing along with a keen (if not legendary) sense of the dynamic, the trio pursues booming, driving rhythms and abstract themes amid fiery improvisation and otherworldly effects. Throughout, touch bassist Trey Gunn displays the synergy and intuitiveness exhibited on recent collaborations with Fripp in King Crimson and elsewhere.
On this excellent set, the Brazilian acoustic guitarist/singer Toninho Horta plays unaccompanied solos. Horta wrote or co-composed every song, and his program is full of rich themes, haunting understated vocalizing (often wordless), and melodic guitar. The atmospheric performances, which are as much folk as jazz, work both as background music and for close listening. Overall, this is one of Toninho Horta's better efforts.
Toninho Horta comes from the State of Minas Gerais in Brazil, from the same place and the same group of composers and musicians which gave us Milton Nascimento. Some of the most notable songs recorded by Nascimento are Horta's compositions, featuring "Beijo Partido" in Nascimento's album "Minas". This was a Horta's album recorded in 1989 for Verve Forecast. His inspiration on beautiful songs and sophisticated arrangements are all there. Also Pat Metheny plays the title song "Moonstone" in a guitar duo with Horta in this CD.
From the classic blues of Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey to female country blues pioneers Memphis Minnie and Geeshie Wiley, this Rough Guide explores the hugely significant and often overlooked role that women have played in the story of the blues. 'The fact that this release brings attention to this overlooked category is well beyond overdue'.
Until the End of the World is a definite contender for best motion picture soundtrack of the 1990s. With a lineup that includes Talking Heads, Lou Reed, R.E.M., Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Depeche Mode, U2, and others all providing original songs or new covers, it's an absolute joy. Interspersed with Graeme Revell's haunting ambient score, virtually every pop/rock track works perfectly as part of a cohesive whole. "Sax and Violins," recorded during the dying days of Talking Heads, might be the band's most confident moment, as a jazzy background shuffle and keyboards provide compelling momentum underneath David Byrne's sarcastic vocals. Crime & the City Solution could have made an entire career out of the emotional yet existential "The Adversary." R.E.M. and Depeche Mode both contribute touching ballads. "Fretless" is one of the most beautiful tracks to be found in R.E.M.'s discography, documenting a wounded relationship with subtle grace. "Death's Door" is one of those sad numbers Depeche Mode fans have grown to love, with Martin Gore handling the vocals.