Faded old-world flowers adorn both sides of the cover with a big strip of black grease disturbing the lovely imagery on the back. Beginning with Arthur Crudup's "My Baby Left Me," like that other band of famous backup players, the Section, how can this be anything but very musical? Guitarist/vocalist Henry McCullough's "Mistake No Doubt" has eerie backing vocals and is suitably well done, as is his "Let It Be Gone," and though this is far from commercial, it is important to have this document of the guys who made magic behind Joe Cocker in 1969 and Marianne Faithfull in the mid-'70s. This came right in the middle, and the Grease Band's collaborative effort, "Jesse James," could be mistaken for Doug Yule singing Lou Reed's "Train Comin' Round the Bend." It's got that chug-a-lug subdued rock sound. With Henry McCullough's Wings connection, The Grease Band gets a touch of the Beatles' guilt-by-association mystique. As intriguing and wonderful as this album is, had Joe Cocker guested on bassist Alan Spenner's "Down Home Mama" or had Marianne Faithfull taken on the traditional "To the Lord," there would have been that something extra, that intangible that makes records so very special.
Ritchie Valens was only 17 when he died in 1959 in the same plane crash that claimed the lives of Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper, and he had only been working in a recording studio for about seven months when the tragedy occurred; thus, his musical legacy rests on about an album-and-a-half of completed studio material, a poorly recorded high school concert, and a handful of demos and rehearsal tapes. This set combines Ritchie Valens, Valens' first album for Bob Keane's Del-Fi label (essentially the only truly finished work Valens recorded), with his second, Ritchie, which was cobbled together from demos, rehearsal sessions, and other odds and ends, and ended up with an internal coherence that is pretty remarkable given the circumstances. The set then adds in eight additional tracks, mostly solo demos and live tracks, to present a pretty complete look at Valens' woefully short career. Virtually everything is here.
The former Deep Purple bassist Nick Simper's two long deleted Fandango albums are reissued here for the very first time. Taped in 1979 and 1980, both are no highly sought after albums. Future Times epecially so as it only received limited release first time around. The CD has been compiled with Nick Simper's help, and the fold out inlay details the history of the band in full. One track from each LP is omitted for timing reason. These will appear on a future RPM CD of Simper rarities from the '60s to the '80s.
Paul Anka is one of the primier balladeer's of our time. Anka puts life, love, and heart in all of his music. Every song has a meaning, and Anka really expresses himself with confidence. This album is one of many that have made Paul Anka one of the best ever. This CD includes two albums: Songs I'd Wish I'd Written (1963) and Strictly Nashville (1966).
Entirely self-taught, unfazed by blindness and brittle bone disease, Chicago born Chris Anderson (1926-2008) remains a legendary figure among jazz pianists and an acknowledged influence on Herbie Hancock, who studied with him in 1960. Hancock was quick to spread the word among musicians. His teacher, he said, had "a whole other facet of tools of expression and harmonies that I hadn’t heard in Bill Evans," adding that "Chris Anderson is a master of harmony and sensitivity." The reverence in which he is held by jazz musicians was not reflected in anything remotely like wider acclaim, but Anderson’s few recordings are much sought-after gems among those in the know. His first two trio albums, for VeeJay and Riverside/Jazzland, both of which are included here, were made in 1960 and ’61 respectively. They show a very individual and provocative harmonic sense, as distinctive as Thelonious Monk’s or Bill Evans’s, a light but firm and elegant swing, and a delicate balance of the cerebral and the emotional. It gave his music tremendous power to touch the heart and appeal to the intellect at the same time. His was a very special talent.
This "two-fer" couples two of the very best examples of the "New Conniff" sound of the seventies and early eighties that provided masterful rearrangements of popular hits of the time. Following on the heels of the breakthrough Conniff LP, "Theme From the Godfather…," "I Can See Clearly Now" was a new classic for Conniff. It firmly established the "sound," and other highly successful, and eminently listenable LPs followed. As a single continually played on radios across the world, "Harmony" was a logical partner for this reissue. These two CDs reflect Conniff "as good as it gets!"
During the late '60s and early '70s Maestro Percy Faith was churning out some of the best releases with top notch arrangements ~ thus enters the album at hand "Angel of the Morning/Black Magic Woman", featuring Faith's Orchestra and Chorus. Each song had an upbeat tone to it, with "DO YOU KNOW THE WAY TO SAN JOSE?" and the beautiful ballad "THIS GUY'S IN LOVE WITH YOU", both tunes from the composing team of Hal David and Burt Bacharach
Well, the master did it again. These two albums from 1970 and 1971 are marvelous and I never get tired of listening to them.
These recordings do not sound the least bit dated! I like all of the songs on "We've Only Just Begun". Ray does great covers "Close to You", "Everything Is Beautiful", "Let It Be", "I'll Be There", the title track, and a magnificent version of "Make It with You". That's Ray singing on "Everybody Knows", an original and happy track tailor made by Ray