Chuck Berry fanatics, your ship has come in, and it’s the Queen Mary — or maybe we should call it the Queen Maybellene. As you’d expect from the Bear Family label, which specializes in gargantuan reissues, this 16-CD, 396-song box doesn’t simply span Berry’s career, it embraces virtually every musical note the man has ever issued. You’ll find all of his released album tracks and singles, starting with an obscure 1954 recording and including everything from the Chess, Mercury and Atco labels, plus every surviving alternate take. Also here are five CDs’ worth of concert performances from 1956 to 1972.
This brilliant CD series entitled "Didn't It Blow Your Mind, Soul Hits Of The 70s" is a 20-volume anthology of excellent R&B music from the 1970s. Each CD features several artists of the R&B genre, performing songs that helped to shape their generation. This is like having your very own 70s Soul Music party. Great R&B classics don't get any better than this, and Rhino brings it to you in one amazing, top-knotch series.
It took Ben Harper nine years to reconvene the Innocent Criminals for 2016's Call It What It Is, but that's not necessarily an abnormally long time for this crew: eight years separated its 2007 predecessor Lifeline from their 2009 debut, Burn to Shine. Harper formed the Innocent Criminals partially with the intention that they'd be his Band of Gypsies, a support system for him to indulge in his Jimi Hendrix daydreams, but they wound up being an even better outlet for his soulful side. Despite "Pink Balloon" and the ham-fisted opener "When Sex Was Dirty" – bluesy bluster that pulls this closer to Lenny Kravitz than Hendrix – Call It What It Is is largely devoted to this blissed-out, mellow vibe.
The long established musical relationship between guitarists Dave Specter and Steve Freund goes back nearly 20 years, when Specter sought out Freund as a guitar teacher. They have shared many stages, but this marks the first occasion that they have recorded together. In the best of the Chicago blues tradition as illustrated by the legendary Delmark label, Is What It Is is a loose, swinging, tough blues date filled with great tunes, inspired playing and loose-groove vibes. While Specter has become well-known for his jazzy blues playing, his former teacher Freund has stayed close to the roots of the Chicago sound. That contrast works beautifully here on both covers and originals. Freund's tunes are some of the bets on the set as evidenced by the opener "My Little Playhouse." One of the reasons for this is his deep, clear soulful singing which adds punch and nuance to the dueling guitars Specter brings classy elegance to the set in his instrumentals, like the title track that carries a deeply Southern-fried funk to the more urban Chicago sound and the shuffling gutbucket stroll of "Riverside Ride," where the two players wind around and through one another exuberantly.
BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST? Needless to say more about the indisputable reputation of this band who has been bringing their million-sellers like LIFE IS FOR LIVING or HYMN to succeeding generations of fans in dynamic live performances for four decades. They have been enjoying ongoing success since the seventies with band leader LES HOLROYD who gave the band their very specifically own sound in Classic Rock genre which somewhat reminds of the style of THE MOODY BLUES and PINK FLOYD. THAT WAS THEN… THIS IS NOW gives an eloquent overview of their repertoire, with a bonus DVD of their scene performances for the past 15 years in Europe…