Like jazz, the blues has its share of late bloomers – artists who didn't start recording or didn't become well-known until they were well into their 50s or 60s. R.L. Burnside is very much a late bloomer; the Mississippi bluesman was born in 1926, but it wasn't until the 1990s that he started to enjoy the publicity he deserved. Recorded in 2000, Wish I Was in Heaven Sitting Down finds the veteran singer continuing to be fairly unpredictable at 73. Essentially, this CD falls into the Mississippi blues category – Burnside maintains the earthy, down-home rawness that people expect from Mississippi country-blues. But Burnside certainly isn't without urban influences, and this CD illustrates his appreciation of John Lee Hooker and early Muddy Waters as well as the Texas blues of Lightnin' Hopkins.
There was a time, not long ago, when Baroque scores were treated as a folio of performance suggestions, not as the letter of the law. Performers felt free to add music or (more often) to take it away, and to do other things which were quite different from what the composer originally had in mind. Sir Thomas Beecham had no qualms about performing surgery on the music of George Frideric Handel, a composer he absolutely adored. No disrespect was intended. In fact, Beecham loved Handel so much, he wanted everyone else to love him too. That meant making him more palatable for modern tastes – bigger and leaner, at the same time.
Brothers Ron and Russell Mael from Los Angeles, USA have been making diverse music since 1969 under various incarnations of Sparks. In 1979 they ditched the guitars and keyboards of glam geek rock and started working with Italian producer Giorgio Moroder, beginning a love affair with electronic music. Since then they have worked with a variety of people including Finitribe, Les Rita Mitsouko, Erasure and Faith No More. No. 1 in Heaven is the eighth album by the American rock band Sparks. Recorded with disco producer Giorgio Moroder, it marked a change of musical direction for the group and became influential on later synth-pop bands.