2016 three CD collection. As that noted hipster Plato once observed, when the mode of the music changes, the walls of the city shake. And there was certainly a whole lotta shakin' goin' on in 1967. A distended Summer of Love saw psychedelic pop emerging from the underground clubs to infiltrate the home-grown music scene mainstream, with the vast majority following in the footsteps of perennial market leaders The Beatles in surrendering to the new genre. As the year progressed, it seemed that more or less every element of the British pop world had been swept up in the blissed-out UFOria. Beat boom survivors, R&B stalwarts, sharp-suited mods, Swinging London soul revues, earnest acoustic folkies, Denmark Street hustlers, traditional pop acts… all abandoned or refined their previous identities to make music that reflected the ubiquitous influence of psychedelia in it's myriad paisley-patterned guises. Across four hours and eighty tracks, the all-singing, not-much-dancing Let's Go Down And Blow Our Minds anticipates the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love to chronicle a tumultuous twelve-month period of music-making within the British Isles.
Blow by Blow typifies Jeff Beck's wonderfully unpredictable career. Released in 1975, Beck's fifth effort as a leader and first instrumental album was a marked departure from its more rock-based predecessors. Only composer/keyboardist Max Middleton returned from Beck's previous lineups. To Beck's credit, Blow by Blow features a tremendous supporting cast. Middleton's tasteful use of the Fender Rhodes, clavinet, and analog synthesizers leaves a soulful imprint. Drummer Richard Bailey is in equal measure supportive and propulsive as he deftly combines elements of jazz and funk with contemporary mixed meters. Much of the album's success is also attributable to the excellent material, which includes Middleton's two originals and two collaborations with Beck, a clever arrangement of Lennon and McCartney's "She's a Woman," and two originals by Stevie Wonder. George Martin's ingenious production and string arrangements rival his greatest work. Beck's versatile soloing and diverse tones are clearly the album's focus, and he proves to be an adept rhythm player.
This recording of duets by the great composers of the Restoration is one of the gems of Hyperion’s catalogue. It features the celebrated countertenors James Bowman and Michael Chance at the peak of their powers, and the combination of their two voices with the sympathetic accompaniment of The King’s Consort creates something uniquely glorious.