Originally released in 1988, this album marked one of the truly successful world fusion creations, which Rhythm Magazine said symbolizes "the birth of a new era in music". It's a direct, transcendent exchange between six acclaimed musicians from diverse cultures, including L. Shankar, Zakir Hussain, Nicky Skopelitis, Daniel Ponce, Aiyb Dieng and producer/bassist Bill Laswell. This CD is a true American melting pot of deeply tangled roots, merging East and West to create a new music soundscape. At it's core, there's Indian music, and somewhere underneath lies flashes of the slow rustic lope of American country music.
Retrospective is an 18-track collection that features the bulk of Leon Russell's greatest hits ("Tight Rope," "Roll in My Sweet Baby's Arms," "Lady Blue," "Back to the Island"), plus many key album tracks. Since Russell was primarily an album artist, this approach doesn't necessarily do him justice, but for listeners who only want the hits, this will do.
Leon Russell never quite hit all the right notes the way he did on his eponymous debut. He never again seemed as convincing in his grasp of Americana music and themes, never again seemed as individual, and never again did his limited, slurred bluesy voice seem as ingratiating…
Originally recorded in 1957, these sessions turned out to be the last the legendary Big Bill Broonzy would record; only a little over a year later, he succumbed to lung cancer. This collection consists not of fan or producer favorites, but Broonzy favorites, and includes a variety of blues, folk, and devotional music. Though he was instrumental to the development of the blues and the Chicago sound, much of the material on this three-disc set reaches back to the music that the blues came from, with a lot of drop-in help from Broonzy's friends, of which there were many. That makes these recordings not only recordings, but documentation, a testament to a bluesman who was at once musician and historian.