The Happenings are best-known for their hit single "See You in September," which is a sunny slice of sunshine pop featuring happy, bouncy vocals and intricate harmonies reminiscent of great white doo wop groups like the Four Seasons and the Tokens, who were not-so-coincidentally the Happenings' mentors and producers. Collectables has reissued both of the Happenings' records on one disc: 1966's The Happenings and 1967's Psycle. Both discs feature the stunning vocal gymnastics of their hit single and their updated doo wop sound coated with an easy listening gloss of strings on a not-very-thick Wall of Sound. Most of the songs on their debut were written by the members of the Tokens and are not bad but not that memorable, as they follow the formula of their hit but pale in comparison. An exception to this is the strange "You're in a Bad Way," which is a spooky track filled with death-related imagery that sports a surprisingly funky backbeat.
Pianist Steve Kuhn, accompanied by David Finck and Billy Drummond, explore classical works by a number of top composers from the 19th and 20th centuries on this Japanese release, though they are used as a launching pad for improvisation. Maurice Ravel's "Pavane for a Dead Princess" is recast as a soft samba, also incorporating a bit of an earlier standard that was derived from the French Impressionist's piece, "The Lamp Is Low." Chopin is obviously one of Kuhn's favorite classical composers, as three of his features, highlighted by a dreamy setting of "Nocturne in E Flat Major, Op. 9, No. 2." He brightens the tempo of Claude Debussy's "Reverie" while retaining its lyricism, while slowing Johannes Brahms' "Lullaby" to a crawl and demonstrating how a master jazz pianist utilizes space as an element of improvisation.
Ray Wilson is back with a new solo album. Through the years Ray Wilson has released several high quality albums. Through all these releases, a common denominator has been his incredible voice and a wonderful atmosphere, always with a melancholy beast lurking in the background. This combination just works. The year 2013 is very special for Ray Wilson - it marks twenty years since the release of his first studio album - “Swing Your Bag” with Guaranteed Pure.