Cardboard sleeve, digitally remastered re-release of Big Star's last album featuring all of their original members. Cardboard sleeve (mini LP) replicates original LP artwork with obi strip, printed inner and lyric sheet in Japanese & English. After Big Star released Radio City, they fell apart, leaving Alex Chilton to record in 1975 what was later released as 3rd (aka Sister Lovers). The album is strikingly different from everything Chilton created before or after. With pained outpourings such as the haunting "Holocaust," it holds its own against rock's greatest monuments to existential angst, from Tonight's the Night to Bryter Layter. It also ranks alongside the Beach Boys' SMiLE as perhaps the only "classic" album with no set sequence. (Chilton never bothered to sequence it because, upon its completion, no label wanted to release it.) It finally came out four years later, and since then, while it has appeared on several labels, no two have used the same track order.
The second of back-to-back solo albums cut in the early ‘80s,
The Brightest Smile in Town presents a more balanced mix of vocal and instrumental tracks than its predecessor, Dr. John Plays Mac Rebennack.
While it’s fun to hear the great New Orleans pianist romp through “Box Car Boogie” and patiently work his way through the twilight blues of “Pretty Libby,”
the unexpected treats are the best : a heartsick version of Jimmy Rodgers’s “Waiting for a Train;” a Doc Pomus cover, “Average Kind of Guy,” that sounds like Randy Newman on a particularly good day; and “Marie La Veau,” a highly syncopated bow to one of the Crescent City’s many voodoo queens.
By the time Rebennack ends Brightest Smile with two gorgeous instrumentals – a lovely take on Harold Arlen’s “Come Rain or Come Shine” and “Suite Home New Orleans” – you’re reminded just how encyclopedic his knowledge of American music is.
Keith Moerer @ Amazon.com
Robert "Bob" Hurst's 2013 album Bob: A Palindrome follows up the bassist's 2010 studio album Bob Ya Head. Recorded in 2001, the album's release was delayed by 9/11, as well as Hurst's own busy career as a highly sought-after sideman and professor of music at the University of Michigan. Joining Hurst here are such longtime associates as saxophonist Branford Marsalis, drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts, trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, flutist and bass clarinetist Bennie Maupin, pianist Robert Glasper, and percussionist Adam Rudolph. With all the songs composed and arranged by Hurst, including the epic mid-album Duke Ellington-style three-part "Middle Passage Suite," Bob: A Palindrome is a superb showcase for Hurst's improvisational skill, songwriting ability, and talent for assembling an all-star band. This is urbane, highly creative, and straight-ahead modern jazz at its finest.