Climax Blues Band had undergone a few changes by the time they cut Sample And Hold in 1983. While Peter Haycock (guitar and vocals) and Colin Cooper (sax and vocals) were still holding the fort, they had sampled a new rhythm section. The latest recruits were George Glover on keyboards, Dave Markee on bass and Henry Spinetti on drums. Together they kept the Climax flag flying. This song-packed ten original LP track CD kicks off with an upbeat and optimistic sounding Friends In High Places , with the vocal harmonies set in place by the old firm of Haycock and Cooper. Peter's guitar solo on this song is especially effective. Although the overall band sound veers towards modern Eighties pop, the guitar and drums, while still rock and strings are brought into play on The End Of The Seven Seas . A fine album with informative CD liner notes that put a much loved British band's career and this album into perspective.
With his chocolaty cool, soulful Memphis croon and sure sense of melody, Robert Cray has never been considered a straightahead bluesman. His often interchangeable albums have instead stayed closer to R&B, adding compact, stinging lead guitar to songs about matters of the heart. That formula remains, with minor variations, on Cray's 14th release, rather confusingly named Twenty. The title track, a gripping, emotional anti-war ballad of the experience of a GI in Iraq (that, incidentally, doesn't contain the word "twenty") shows the singer/songwriter shifting his emotionally charged storytelling lyrics to the political arena. It's a brief but confident detour from his usual M.O. of relationships on the brink of collapse or in general disrepair, typically related in the first person. Subtle yet effective forays into loungey jazz on "My Last Regret" and even reggae on the opening "Poor Johnny" indicate a healthy tendency to push his established envelope, if only gently, into other genres. But Cray sticks to his established bread and butter for the majority of this sturdy album, effortlessly churning out shoulder-swaying, foot-tapping R&B accompanied by a clean, clear tenor voice and a road-hardened band that finesses these songs with the perfect combination of fire and ice. Old fans won't be disappointed, and newcomers can start here and work backwards.
Julie Giroux has been composing since the age of 8, and has been hard at work ever since. Her first composition for band was published when she was only 13 years old. With over 100 film, television and video game credits, Giroux has collaborated with dozens of film composers, producers, and celebrities. She won an individual Emmy Award in the field of Outstanding Individual Achievement in Music Direction. When she won her first Emmy, she was the first female and the youngest person ever to win that award. On this release, Shine, the University of North Texas Symphonic Band presents some of her most fantastic concert band pieces. The Symphonic Band at UNT has developed an exemplary national reputation for both their performances and recordings. Membership is drawn from the finest musicians attending the College of Music. The highest quality traditional, mixed with contemporary literature make up the foundation of musical repertoire performed by the group.
Flying the flag for British rock throughout the Seventies and well into the next decade, Climax Blues Band were at the forefront of high quality, entertaining music, performed with equal success ‘live’ and on record. This ten track selection was first released in 1980, a time of change and conflicting influences. But whatever the moods affecting the musicians, they always played with maximum passion and expertise, as is revealed on ‘Flying The Flag’. The opening number ‘Gotta Have More Love’ is closer to disco pop than the blues that first inspired the group, but whatever style they espoused, Climax always delivered songs with cool expertise. And the core feeling for the rockin’ blues can always be found in performances like Peter Haycock’s outstanding ‘So Good After Midnight’ and the aggressive ‘Blackjack And Me’, that are among the highlights of a vibrant high flying album.