The Rough Guide series of compilations is generally excellent, but every once a while a dud does pop out. While not bad, this is far from everything it could be, given the range and history of gospel music. It captures some, but not all, the big names. And so listeners have vintage Five Blind Boys of Alabama with "Stand By Me," a song they later revisited, but no Five Blind Boys of Mississippi. And while the Soul Stirrers are here, it's not a cut from their heyday with Sam Cooke, and where are the Highway Q.C.'s? Gospel's real golden age, in the '50s, is woefully under-represented, and while the Golden Gate Quartet, whose influence was paramount to so many, is mentioned in the notes, there's nothing by them. Mahalia Jackson justifiably gets two tracks, but no Clara Ward, and you have to wonder about the inclusion of the Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir. The new generation of gospel seems to be lacking, with nothing from the critically acclaimed Sacred Steel school.
The Rough Guide to Irish Folk provides an introduction to the different styles and artists within the genre. Established groups like De Danann and Deata and newer artists perform jigs, reels, and "sean nos, " a traditional form of a cappella singing. Rich in heritage and creativity, this collection should whet the appetite of anyone interested in contemporary Irish folk performers.
This Rough Guide is a psychedelic treat that is full to bursting with far-out Brazilian grooves. Discover cutting-edge explorations by artists like Tom Zé, Laranja Freak and Jupiter Maça, then dig deep into the archive and let loose to the retro vibrations of Quintal De Clorofila and José Mauro. Next, revel in one of the first ever reissues of the track ‘Renata’ from a rare 1970 EP by offbeat psych-garage band, Liverpool. The second (bonus) disc is a reissue of Jupiter Maça - A Sétima Efervescência, originally released in Brazil in 1996 as Antídoto 011292-2.