Louisiana-born and Texas-toughened, Brooks (66 at the time of this recording), Hunter (68), and Walker (62) show what blues peers can do in what seem to be peaking years. There are three numbers where all three go full-tilt; the rest of the material varies in personnel, group, and solo emphasis. The distinctive, gutsy voice of Brooks, Walker's loping guitar lines with his slightly rough, seasoned voice, and the riveting presence of Walker on all counts, musically and vocally, are showcased to consistently satisfying levels. Of the 15 cuts, there are a handful of rockers and boogies, a few pure soul tunes and ballads, a jump blues, a Cajun calypso, and some straight blues – something for everyone. The hard-swinging "Street Walking Woman" and the slower shuffle "Feel Good Doin' Bad" are great musically, if lacking in message. Walker gets a back-to-back showcase on "I Can't Stand It No More/I Met the Blues in Person," and he tears it up. Brooks pleads and shouts on "This Should Go on Forever," while Hunter's highlights are the cautious "Alligators Around My Door" and the B.B. King cop on "Quit My Baby." Score some plus points for Kaz Kazanoff's sax and harp playing, and the horn charts are mighty fine throughout.
More than Afros and bell-bottoms, the 1970s pushed music and music-lovers onto a new plane. Fasten your seat belts and enjoy the ride.
All six of the albums Hanoi Rocks made in their original incarnation – Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes, Hanoi Rocks, Oriental Beat, Self Destruction Blues, Back to the Mystery City, Two Steps from the Move, and All Those Wasted Years – are packaged together, one album to one CD, in this straightforward six-CD set. There are no extras, just the albums as they were originally released, though there's a 12-page booklet with a solid history of the band and numerous (if small) reproductions of sleeves from their original releases. It's too much at once even for many fans, but for the more dedicated of that lot, it's a handy encapsulation of their primary recorded work. Hearing all of it does make it clear that, although they're often classified as a heavy metal band, they might be more accurately pegged as a hard rock band with substantial traces of glam and pop (and even some bar band blues-rock) along with the metal.
Sony's Bar Lounge Classics: Late Night Mix Edition is a triple-disc set of 47 chill-out cuts from a variety of European acts. Its stylish mood music with a hint of sophistication delivered by the likes of Blank & Jones, Leftfield, Jet Tricks, Blue Wave, Bliss, Stardelay…