On their umpteenth release, the Five Blind Boys of Alabama mix some modern blues and R&B into their core gospel sound. The rhythm section, led by the organ of the legendary Booker T. Jones, keeps the accompaniment simple as the group soars through some traditional material ("Closer Walk with Thee," "Every Time I Feel the Spirit, "), a few originals by lead vocalist Clarence Fountain, and a transcendent version of Bob Dylan's "I Believe in You."
This is such an awesome and unique album. Linda recorded this music right after she adopted a child. The love and tenderness of these amazing songs is so refreshing. Queen's "We Will Rock You" is done in a way you would never imagine. You can hear the heartbeat, almost as if you were inside the womb and listening to your own mother's heartbeat. It's just simply amazing. All of the songs a beautiful and Linda's incomparable voice is exquisite.
Among folk legends, the late Phil Ochs is nearly peerless. His dozen years as a ringing voice in the war against social and political injustice left the world with a wealth of music and lyrics that remain powerful and in some cases topical more than 30 years after he recorded them. Joined by the likes of Ry Cooder, Clydie King, Jack Elliott, Van Dyke Parks, Don Rich, and Tom Scott, Ochs created a legacy of words and music that continues to drive the spirit of social conscience in musicians like Billy Bragg, Natalie Merchant, and Ani DiFranco. This 3 CD set collects the work he did at Elektra, A&M, and Folkways between 1964 and 1975, as well as several previously unreleased tracks. It chronicles not just an era when music and politics often clashed, but also one spiritual man's sojourn from rebellion and activism to depression and despair.
Pointedly not a greatest-hits collection, the double-disc compilation Songs from the Trees instead is a soundtrack to Carly Simon's 2015 memoir Boys in the Trees (in that it has a cousin in Elvis Costello's Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink, an autobiography with an accompanying aural collection). Surely, there are hits here – not all of them, but "You're So Vain," "Mockingbird," "You Belong to Me," and "Anticipation" are – but there are also some deep cuts, a track from the Simon Sisters ("Winken', Blinkin' and Nod") and other assorted rarities.
What 1989's Arara hinted at, 1991's Brasileiro delivers with a vengeance, for at long last, here is a genuine, back-to-Brazil tour de force by expatriate Mendes. Taking up the long-abandoned thread of his prophetic Primal Roots album of 1972, Mendes went back to the taproots of his heritage, calling upon a plethora of explosive Brazilian rhythms and sounds recorded mostly in Brazil. Though he returned to California to pile on additional tracks from L.A. sessionmen and give the production a finished sheen, there is no sense of any watering down; the thrust of the music bears the added weight and polish easily.
A versatile drummer, Lenny White is still best-known for being part of Chick Corea's Return To Forever in the 1970's. White was self-taught on drums and he largely started his career on top, playing regularly with Jackie McLean (1968) and recording "Bitches Brew" with Miles Davis in 1969. White was soon working with some of the who's who of jazz including Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, Woody Shaw, Gato Barbieri, Gil Evans, Stanley Clarke and Stan Getz among others. As a member of Return To Forever during 1973-76, White gained a strong reputation as one of the top fusion drummers, but he was always versatile enough to play in many settings.
Sphere's six track release FOUR IN ONE, performed by a group of Thelonious Monk's former accompanists and friends including Charlie Rouse, Kenny Baron, and Ben Riley, was recorded on the day of the incomparable jazz legend's death.