Features the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (compatible with standard CD player) and the latest 24bit 192kHz remastering. Funky genius from Lou Donaldson – one of his first funky albums for Blue Note, and a real killer all the way through! The album has a great young group working with Lou – players that include Blue Mitchell on trumpet, Lonnie Smith on organ, Leo Morris (aka Idris Muhammed) on drums, and George Benson on guitar – grooving with that really soulful early sound of his! The album has that hard Lou Donaldson funky sound that still sounds fantastic today – and titles include "Dapper Dan", "Midnight Creeper", "Bag of Jewels", and "Love Power".
Originally released in 1989 on IRS' Illegal Records imprint, Leslie West's Alligator seemed then and still seems now, as evidenced by this straight reissue from Voiceprint Records, to be mostly West treading water. He plays some hot guitar here, of course, but then not as much as one might like, and he sings a lot here, too, perhaps more than one might like. It all adds up to a rather ho hum album without a single track that really takes your head off, although the flashy "Hall of the Mountain King/Theme from Exodus" mini-suite sure aims for sonic decapitation, as does the screeching "Whiskey" (featuring bass by Stanley Clarke), and West's cover of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell on You" is certainly atmospheric enough, but in the end it all seems more like cage rattling than a substantial musical statement. Stick to the early Mountain records for West at his best.
After 35 years and the release of over 2800 contemporary blues tracks, it's safe to say that Bruce Iglauer's Alligator Records is the world's premier blues label, particularly if sheer numbers are factored in, and while the label's releases tend to sound mind-numbingly similar sometimes, this two-disc overview of Alligator's history shows how much raw vitality the blues still has in its tank. Alligator Records 35X35, arranged chronologically and featuring a selection drawn from each of the artist's debut albums with Alligator, gets rolling right where it all began, with Hound Dog Taylor's "She's Gone" from 1971, and marches through to 2004, closing the second disc with a stunning version of "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean" (here called "A Dying Man's Plea") by the great Mavis Staples, who makes clear the deep affinity of gospel to the blues, or vice versa, since the two forms philosophically complete each other, the way Saturday marches straight into Sunday.
This solid 2-disc compilation celebrates two decades of this label's existence. There are many worthwhile tracks but few surprises.
Starting with its 20th anniversary in 1991, every five years brings another double Alligator collection, and 2011 was no exception. While the 35th edition –released in 2006 – logically featured 35 songs, the compilers couldn't quite squeeze 40 onto this 40th anniversary disc, even though owner Bruce Iglauer does admit to fading a few endings off prematurely in order to maximize the list, which hits 38 selections. The trick with these albums is to both pay tribute to the label's storied past while including enough recent acts to connect the dots between the house-rocking music Iglauer built his company on, and the more modern yet still roots-based sounds he's released during the last five years. He does an excellent job here, mixing not just old and new, but male and female musicians who have recorded for Alligator over the decades.
The National may sound like a garage band turned down, but there's as much primal energy lurking behind Alligator as in any mop-topped group of city kids with bloodstained Danelectros in a dusty warehouse. While Matt Berninger's lyrics and conversational delivery rely heavily on the kind of literate self-absorption that fuels so much of the indie rock scene today, he never comes off as preachy or unaware that the world would manage just fine without him; rather, he uses metaphor and humor as bullet points for a profound sense of displacement and anger. Out-of-the-blue statements like "f*ck me and make me a drink," from the brooding but lovely "Karen," are effective because the listener is brought into the story slowly, almost amiably, before being led to the plank.
Features SHM-CD format and the latest 24bit 192kHz remastering. Alligator Bogaloo is one example of Lou Donaldson's successful combinations of hard bop and soul-jazz. Of the six tunes, three are Donaldson originals, including the title hit. The excellent band, consisting of Melvin Lastin, Sr. on cornet, George Benson on guitar, Lonnie Smith on organ, and Leo Morris on drums, mixes laid-back vamps beneath driving hard bop charts. As the '60s turned into the '70s, Donaldson began shaving off hard bop invention for a more radio-friendly and 45 rpm length, leaving soulful – yet monotonous – vamping. At that point, Donaldson's material suffered from a lack of originality. That's not the case on Alligator Bogaloo.
Jan Garbarek's icy and haunting tones on tenor and soprano are in the forefront during much of this set. He performs six originals (which have simple but picturesque titles such as "Blue Sky," "Windows" and "The Red Roof") with the assistance of guitarist Bill Connors, pianist John Taylor, bassist Eberhard Weber and drummer Jon Christensen.