Thursday, March 20, 2014


Recent Releases of Note
  • Beach Boys - The Big Beat 1963 [iTunes exclusive]
  • Beatles - The BBC Archives: 1962-1970 [book w/ transcripts of the BBC appearances]
  • Beatles - All These Years: Tune In [volume 1 of 3 of the Mark Lewisohn biography]
  • Beatles - On the Air: Live at the BBC, Volume 2 [2-CD set]
  • Beatles - Live at the BBC [reissue of 1994 2-CD set]
  • Beatles - Bootleg Recordings 1963 [iTunes exclusive]
  • Beatles - The U.S. Albums [13-CD box set]
  • Beck - Gimme [single]
  • Beck - Morning Phase
  • Billie Joe + Norah - foreverly
  • Eric Clapton - Unplugged [2-CD/1-DVD reissue w/ bonus tracks]
  • Eric Clapton - Give Me Strength: The '74/'75 Recordings [5-CD/1 Blu-Ray]
  • David Crosby - Croz 
  • Bob Dylan - The Bootleg Series, Vol. 10 - Another Self Portrait (1969-1971) [2-CD or 4-CD sets]
  • Steve Hackett - Genesis Revisited: Live at Hammersmith [3-CD/2-DVD]
  • Dhani Harrison - For You Blue [charity single]
  • John Hiatt - Here to Stay - Best of 2000-2012
  • Elton John - The Diving Board
  • John Lennon - The Bermuda Tapes [Interactive App]
  • Julian Lennon - Through the Picture Window [DVD]
  • Nick Lowe - Quality Street
  • Eleni Mandell - Let's Fly a Kite
  • Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell - Live 
  • Paul McCartney - New
  • Mike + the Mechanics - The Singles (1986-2013) [2-CD]
  • Graham Nash - Wild Tales [autobiography]
  • Willie Nelson - To All the Girls...
  • P!nk - The Truth About Love Tour: Live from Melbourne [DVD]
  • Mike Rutherford - The Living Years [memoir]
  • Rutles - Rutles Anthology [2-DVD]
  • William Shatner - Ponder the Mystery
  • Paul Simon - Complete Album Collection [15-CD box set]
  • Paul Simon - Over the Bridge of Time [compilation]
  • Frank Sinatra - Sinatra, with Love
  • Smithereens - The Smithereeens Play the Beatles Washington, D.C. February 11th, 1964 Concert
  • Bruce Springsteen - High Hopes
  • Ringo Starr - Octopus's Garden [children's book]
  • Benmont Tench - You Should Be So Lucky
  • Andy Williams - The Complete Christmas Recordings [2-CD]
  • Neil Young - Live at the Cellar Door
  • various - American Hustle [soundtrack featuring Jeff Lynne]
  • various - Bob Dylan: The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration [2-CD reissue or first time on DVD and Blu-ray]
  • various - The 78 Project, Vol. 1 [vinyl or download, feat. Loudon Wainwright III]
  • various - Sweet Relief III: Pennies from Heaven [charity album featuring Eleni Mandell]
  • various - This is the Town: A Tribute to Harry Nilsson

Upcoming Releases
  • Beatles - A Hard Day's Night [Criterion DVD [1 disc] or Blu-ray [3-disc] release [6/24]
  • Laurie Berkner - Lullabies [4/8]
  • Johnny Cash - Out Among the Stars [unreleased 1980 project][3/25]
  • Billy Joel - A Matter of Trust: The Bridge to Russia [2-CD/1-DVD set][5/20]
  • Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road [3/25]
    • Super Deluxe Edition - Album reissue, rarities & covers disc, 2-disc live from 1973, DVD documentary
    • Deluxe Edition - Album reissue with rarities & covers disc
    • Single disc Edition - album reissue only
  • Led Zeppelin - reissue of first three albums remastered [6/3]
    • Single disc editions for each album
    • Deluxe editions for each, featuring live and unreleased material
      • 3-CD for the debut, then 2-CD each for II & III
    • Vinyl versions of the deluxe editions
    • Super Deluxe Edition with the CDs, vinyl + download code, a 70-page book and original press kit replica
  • Mike + the Mechanics - Living Years: 25th Anniversary Edition [4/8]
    • 2-CD w/ bonus and live cuts
  • Roy Orbison - Mystery Girl 25th Anniversary Edition [5/16]
    • CD/DVD w/ 5 bonus tracks
  • Neil Young - A Letter Home [mid-2014]
  • various - Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute to John Denver [3/25]

Record Store Day - April 19th
  • ABBA - Waterloo [7" single]
  • Byrds - Straight for the Sun [2-LP 1971 live concert]
  • Johnny Cash - With His Hot & Blue Guitar [reissue of 1957 debut LP, limited to 3000]
  • Sam Cooke - Ain't That Good News [reissue of Cooke's last studio LP]
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival - The '69 Singles [10" record]
  • Everly Brothers - Roots [LP reissue]
  • Everly Brothers - Songs Our Daddy Taught Us [LP reissue]
  • Fleetwood Mac - Dragonfly [7" single from 1970]
  • Genesis - From Genesis to Revelation [LP reissue]
  • Norman Greenbaum - Spirit in the Sky [LP reissue]
  • Idle Race - The Birthday Party [reissue of 1968 debut on gold vinyl]
  • Gordon Lightfoot - Sundown [LP audiophile reissue]
  • Dean Martin - Dream with Dean [reissue of 1964 LP]
  • Randy Newman - Randy Newman [LP reissue of debut album]
  • Jimmy Page & the Black Crowes - Live at the Greek [3 LP on colored vinyl]
  • Jill Sobule - Dottie's Charms [new album that will debut on LP, released on digital and CD in May]
  • Ronnie Spector & the E Street Band - Say Goodbye to Hollywood [reissue of 1977 single]
  • Regina Spektor - You've Got Time [7" single on orange vinyl]
  • Bruce Springsteen - American Beauty [12" 4 song EP]
  • Hank Williams - The Garden Spot Programs, 1950 [10" vinyl EP]
  • various - The Folk Box [reissue of 4-LP box set originally released by Elektra in 1964]

On Tour in the Tri-State
  • America
    • Louisville - 8/16
  • Aziz Ansari
    • Cincinnati - 4/25; Columbus - 4/26
  • Beck
    • Cleveland - 6/19; Columbus - 6/20
  • Dan Bern
    • Cleveland - 3/24; Newport - 3/25
  • Mike Birbiglia
    • Columbus - 3/19
  • Chubby Checker
    • Rising Sun - 3/22
  • Chicago
    • Louisville - 5/17; Cleveland - 5/20; Evansville - 5/21; Indy - 8/10; Cincinnati - 8/13
  • Miley Cyrus 
    • Columbus - 4/13; Louisville - 4/19
  • Jay Farrar
    • Louisville - 4/30; Indy - 5/1
  • Jim Gaffigan
    • Ft. Wayne - 3/23; Toledo - 3/24; Cleveland - 3/28
  • Indigo Girls
    • Lexington - 4/7; Columbus - 4/26
  • Billy Joel
    • Louisville - 4/6
  • Laurence Juber
    • Eaton - 5/22; Louisville - 5/25
  • Alison Krauss & Willie Nelson
    • Murray - 5/1; Columbus - 5/14; Toledo - 7/18; Cincinnati - 7/19
  • Gordon Lightfoot
    • Lexington - 6/26
  • Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell
    • Louisville - 6/6
  • Don McLean
    • Cleveland - 6/11
  • Steve Miller Band
    • Indy - 6/28; Cleveland - 7/8
  • Monkees
    • Cleveland - 6/7
  • Willie Nelson
    • Indy - 8/23
  • Over the Rhine
    • Indy - 3/28; Cincinnati - 4/25, 4/26
  • John Prine
    • Cleveland - 5/17
  • Pure Prairie League
    • Newport - 4/11
  • Amy Ray
    • Indy - 5/2
  • Brian Regan
    • Cleveland - 5/3
  • John Sebastian
    • Pomeroy - 4/12; Louisville - 5/24-25
  • Jerry Seinfeld
    • Indy - 4/11
  • Bruce Springsteen
    • Cincinnati - 4/8; Columbus - 4/15
  • Ringo Starr & his All-Starr Band
    • Cleveland - 6/29
  • Styx
    • Cincinnati - 6/5; Louisville - 8/15


Shout! - Gov’t Mule (Blue Note)
by guest reviewer Jim Bates

Gov’t Mule has always struck me as a southern amalgamation of Crazy Horse and Humble Pie:  plodding jammy blues rock with a heavy guitar tone and a rhythm section covered in sludge.  The Mule started out as a power trio side project of Allman Brothers guitarist Warren Haynes.  After the death of bass player Allen Woody, they’ve expanded their sonic pallet with a keyboard player.  Working with Big Sugar impresario Gordie Johnson has also injected an occasional reggae and dub vibe into the proceedings.

Their latest album - "Shout!" - is an interesting concept: a two disc set with one disc of the songs played by Gov’t Mule and the second disc with the Mule backing up a myriad of guest singers on the same songs.  

Listening to the Mule disc, you can correctly guess who will sing on the second disc.  I pegged the reggaesque “Scared to Live” as perfect for Toots Hibbert, “Stoop So Low” as the Dr. John tune, Whisper in Your Soul” had Grace Potter written all over it, and “Captured” reeked of Jim James.  As usual, Gov’t Mule jam these songs out, with the shortest being 4:55 and “Bring on the Music” topping the scale at over 11 minutes.  They’re clearly in no hurry and enjoy the sludge.  The highlights are Warren’s guitar tone, his solos, his rugged vocals, and Matt Abt's drums.  The lyrics are often obvious in that blues tradition kinda way.  Some wish that the Mule would go back to their power trio days, but I enjoy the tasty additions of the keyboards, especially the clavinet.   About the only misstep is “Done Got Wise”, not because it’s a bad song, but because it’s such a Zeppelin pastiche that I'm worried Jimmy Page might sue.

Thankfully, the songs with the guests are re-recordings, not just the same tracks with new vocals.  Outside of Dr. John’s “Stoop So Low” - an awesome cut which totally rocks - they tend to be more succinct and less jammy.  While still being the Mule, here they adapt to complement their lead vocalist rather than just jamming away.  Most of the singers make sense, as they are fellow souls, but I prefer the originals.  It is interesting to hear Elvis Costello fronting Gov’t Mule.  I really wanted to prefer the Grace Potter cover of “Whisper in Your Soul”, but that is probably only because my girlfriend and I disagree on whether or not she’s actually hot.  I could do without Dave Matthews, but that is just me.  And who the heck are Glenn Hughes and Ty Taylor?  Overall, this album is a neat concept, but I see myself listening to the Mule disc more often than the guest disc.

Elton John - The Diving Board (Capitol) - I hadn't bought an Elton studio album since being disappointed by "The Big Picture" in 1997.  It was so dull I lost my copy in a rental car 10 years ago and never bothered to replace it.  I wasn't alone, as the three subsequent albums were all billed as a 'return to classic Elton form.'  This new album, hyped the same way, is the first time I bit, prodded by the albums pedigree of super-producer T-Bone Burnett.  There are some standout, memorable tracks, but the album suffers from an overall mid-tempo sameness.  Clocking in at nearly an hour, it would have benefitted from some editing.

Willie Nelson - To All the Girls... (Legacy) - Like last year's "Let's Face the Music and Dance", this album of duets is a lazy stroll through a comfortable catalog.  No stranger to duets, Willie pairs with a different female country singer on each of the 18 tracks.  There are old friends (Emmylou, Dolly and Loretta) and newer voices (Brandi Carlile, the Secret Sisters).  At nearly 70 minutes the album has a certain sameness to it, though he finds a different vibe to host Mavis Staples on "Grandma's Hands" and manages to cut loose on one track ("Bloody Mary Morning").  Plenty to like, but like mac and cheese, you only need so much.

William Shatner - Ponder the Mystery (Cleopatra) - What is this thing?  Shatner does his sing-talking act again, only this time with Billy Sherwood, a prog rocker and ex-member of Yes.  Sherwood handles the production, as well as backing vocals and most of the instruments.  Shatner handles the lyrics (i.e., odd Shat-man poetry) and emoting.  Shatner ponders they mystery of life in twilight, pushing to life life to the fullest and time slips away.  This one had to grow on me, unlike 2004's "Has Been" (one of my all-time favorite albums) and 2011's "Seeking Major Tom" (a fun novelty record, despite its loftier intentions).  Not for the faint of heart.


The Fan With No Name!!! said...

...hey, there's no listing for / various - From Another World: A Tribute To Bob Dylan (Feb. 11) / & / various - Bob Dylan in the 80's: Volume One (March 25) / ...?!??!!

Jerry Smith said...

Matt, what say we rustle up a few hundred bucks and hit the Miley Cyrus concert. You know you want to! Sorry you were disappointed in the Shat's latest. At least his books are still entertaining.