In 1991 Bobby Previte was given a most unusual assignment: to create a new score of music for the Moscow Circus. Previte, an innovative composer who learned from Gil Evans the joy of combining together acoustic and electronic instruments, was up to the challenging task. The result is a generally fascinating soundtrack, music that stands up by itself but makes one very curious to see how it fits into the circus routines.
Cactology is the definitive collection of music from one of the most underrated and overlooked hard rock bands of the '70s. From the opening notes of Howlin' Wolf's "Evil" (cast by Cactus as a Black Sabbath/Led Zeppelin-type monster riff sludge rocker), the listener is swept into a dark world of beer-swilling, testosterone-fueled stud boogie. On the CD's second track, the band gives Mose Allison's lightly swinging jazz/blues classic "Parchman Farm" a hyper-speed freight train treatment that shames even the Who's thunderous Live at Leeds version of Allison's "Young Man." All the while, bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice (both of whom are better-known for their work with Vanilla Fudge and Jeff Beck) add a thunderous, chops-heavy bottom end…
This expanded version of the classic album adds so much material that it really needs to be reviewed separately from the original article. The first disc of the two-CD set presents the entire album as it was originally sequenced, with the addition of the single mixes of "Freddie's Dead" and "Superfly." It's disc two that's really of interest to collectors, assembling about 40 minutes of different material from the same era, all but two tracks previously unissued (and those two were not released in the U.S.).
Roots is Curtis Mayfield's visionary album, a landmark creation every bit as compelling and far-reaching in its musical and extra-musical goals as Marvin Gaye's contemporary What's Goin' On. Opening on the hit "Get Down," the album soars on some of the sweetest and most eloquent – yet driving – soul sounds heard up to that time. Mayfield's growing musical ambitions, first manifested on the Curtis album, and his more sophisticated political sensibilities, presented with a lot of raw power on Curtis Live!, are pulled together here in a new, richer studio language, embodied in extended song structures ("Underground"), idealistic yet lyrically dazzling anthems ("We Got to Have Peace," "Keep On Keeping On," and, best of all, the soaring "Beautiful Brother of Mine"), and impassioned blues ("Now You're Gone").