An enjoyable collection for White fans, although one might prefer one's spirituals on a bigger scale. That said, Willard White makes these well-known songs seem much more intimate and reflective, private rather than public. Swing low, pressed into service at last year's rugby world cup, is sung rather faster than usual. That's no bad thing, as the song can be made to sound rather lachrymose. For White there is a sense of eager anticipation, that heaven really is at hand. The Copland songs are enjoyable too and are sung with apparent enjoyment. They were all new to me and I can see myself returning to them for their witty lyrics and sense of fun. The Chandos recording is good and the voice is well caught. The accompaniment is discreet and intelligent, making this a delightful disc all round.
American Ride is the ninth studio album from American musician Willie Nile. It was released in June 2013 under Loud & Proud Records. A hell of a lot has been written about rock & roll singer/songwriter Willie Nile since he made his Arista debut in 1981. Musicians and press alike have sung his praises across the globe, yet mainstream success has always proved elusive. It hasn't deterred him, however; he's continued to issue new recordings – albeit sporadically – that have been lyrically consistent, and contain enough deft, melodic hooks, to justify his unrepentant swagger. The recording of American Ride, the follow-up to his killer Innocent Ones from 2011, was funded by a successful Pledge Music campaign; it was to be issued independently. Loud & Proud's Tom Lipsky intervened after hearing it, and made Nile the signature signing for the label's new distribution deal with Sony's RED. This is his first album to have major-label distribution in 22 years.
Recorded during Marc Bolan's U.S. visits during 1971 and 1972, Spaceball is the first full re-counting of four American radio sessions previously made partially available as a bonus LP within the Marc label's Till Dawn compilation in 1985. Eight songs, taped in L.A. in 1972, are reprised from that set; 11 more are collected here. The overall mood of the two CDs is sparse, but astonishingly dynamic, with the earliest session – taped for WBAI, New York, in June 1971 – especially remarkable. It opens with a pair of unaccompanied Bolan performances, previewing the as-yet-unreleased "Cosmic Dancer" and "Planet Queen." The guitar heavy "Elemental Child" follows, a surprising inclusion given the song's freak-out dynamics, but it's an effective piece, all the more so after bandmates Mickey Finn and bassist Steve Currie join in a few minutes into the song.
During the post-production of Dennis Hopper’s surreal and unjustly-forgotten South American anti-imperialist western, The Last Movie (which would prove disastrous for his career upon release, yet go on to become a cult classic and one of Hopper’s own proudest achievements), the actor and director was the subject of a sort of loose, biographical documentary, filmed around his Taos, New Mexico home as he wandered the desert, got wasted, and philosophized about life (see tag line: “I’d rather die fighting than die getting fat”). American Dreamer would share in the fate of The Last Movie and quickly disappear into obscurity, but among the film’s remains lays a beautiful acoustic soundtrack, featuring original compositions courtesy of Hopper’s personal acquaintances, such as John Buck Wilkin and Chris Sikelianos, as well as better-known performers such as Gene Clark and gonzo-mime-band The Hello People.