With a fast, gritty, and furious slide and electric guitar style, Johnny Winter fused the blues to its rock nephew and became a white guitar legend (an albino one, no less, further adding to his stage allure) with his albums and live performances in the 1970s. This set collects some of the best of those performances at shows played between 1969 and 1977, including soaring versions of Bob Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited," the Rolling Stones' "Jumpin' Jack Flash," and Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode," all of which helped set the stage for later guitar slingers like Stevie Ray Vaughan and others.
Hits! the Videos is a DVD released by British synthpop duo Erasure as a companion to their greatest hits album Hits - the Very Best of Erasure. The double-disc set was released by Mute Records in 2003 and contained all music video clips from the band from their inception in 1985 up to 2003. Also included are several live and television performances, alternate videos and promotional documentaries and interviews with Vince Clarke and Andy Bell during the course of their career.
There's a certain relief that this 2009 Rhino reissue of 2002's double-disc set The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac doesn't even attempt to dabble in the early blues work of the Peter Green band, and treats the addition of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks as ground zero. The two eras of the band don't sit well together, and it's best to isolate them, since those who want the hits don't need to hear the blues. Here, it's the prime of the platinum years, with almost all of the big songs in their original hit versions (the one real exception is a live version of "Big Love" from 1997, but most listeners aren't going to be too upset with the substitution).
Ray Charles was the musician most responsible for developing soul music. Singers like Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson also did a great deal to pioneer the form, but Charles did even more to devise a new form of black pop by merging '50s R&B with gospel-powered vocals, adding plenty of flavor from contemporary jazz, blues, and (in the '60s) country. Then there was his singing; his style was among the most emotional and easily identifiable of any 20th century performer, up there with the likes of Elvis and Billie Holiday. He was also a superb keyboard player, arranger, and bandleader. The brilliance of his 1950s and '60s work, however, can't obscure the fact that he made few classic tracks after the mid-'60s, though he recorded often and performed until the year before his death.
A very little known group from Venice, but their only album, released in a very limited pressing, is among the rarest of the Italian 70's rock. Not really a progressive rock album, this is surely a progressive work, starting from its odd jute sack cover. It was also one of the first (or possibly the first) LP's by an Italian blues band, as the blues was considered in Italy as a music only reserved to foreign musicians during the 60's. The band's leader, guitarist Claes Cornelius, was in fact a foreigner, from Denmark, that had moved to Italy in the mid-60's and soon played an important role in the beat era and afterwards. He had founded with sound engineer Ermanno Velludo the Suono Recording Studio…