Hip-O's Ultimate Collection: The Complete Hits will likely be too much music for most audiences, simply because most listeners don't remember much more than "Love Will Keep Us Together," "Muskrat Love," and "Do That to Me One More Time" from Captain & Tennille. They actually had many more hits than that – 11 more, four of which hit the Top Ten, actually (for the record, they are "The Way I Want to Touch You," "Lonely Night (Angel Face)," "Shop Around," and "You Never Done It Like That"). All of them are here, along with several other singles and album tracks on this generous 22-track collection. To be frank, Captain & Tennille weren't quite varied or deep enough to make this collection not lose steam toward the middle, but the highlights – the three Neil Sedaka-penned tunes ("Love Will Keep Us Together," "Lonely Night (Angel Face)," "You Never Done It Like That,") plus "Do That to Me One More Time" – are all very good, standing proudly amongst soft rock hits of the time.
Varese's original soundtrack to Psycho finds Joel McNeely conducting the Royal Scottish National Orchestra through Bernard Herrmann's classic original score. This album is the first time the entire score has been recorded for an album and its remarkable how eerie and evocative the music is, even when its separated from the film. Psycho stands as one of Herrmann's finest moments, and even if many collectors and film buffs would prefer the original soundtrack recording, this version is essential for fans of the composer, since it is the clearest, cleanest edition of score yet produced.
The 1981 Jean-Jacques Beineix film Diva is a dizzying cornucopia of delights, with a strong sense of urban cool and a cast of characters whose alternating detachments and obsessions hint at the legacy of pain and loneliness that helped form them. Its score, composed by Vladimir Cosma, is inseparable from the film, which, after all, is about music itself, and the ways that it links to desire and longing. From the beautiful arias of Wilhemina Wiggins Fernandez (who plays an opera singer in the film) to the eerie, achingly beautiful instrumental pieces composed by Cosma to set the mood for images of rain-slicked streets, Taiwanese music pirates, teenaged Vietnamese thieves, jaded middle-aged art sages, motorbikes and car chases, the score for Diva remains one of Cosma's masterpieces, a perfect companion to a film that became an international underground hit.
Quigley Down Under interprets the modern Western score from a distinctly Australian perspective. Basil Poledouris' aw-shucks melodies and quirky arrangements employ French horn, banjo, and clarinet to create a vivid evocation of gunslinger life in the Outback. While Lonesome Dove remains Poledouris' definitive work in the Western arena, Quigley Down Under possesses no shortfall of charm or imagination; its playful approach bubbles with an energy quite uncommon to the genre, avoiding portent and ponderousness to communicate the joie de vivre of its characters and setting. Most impressive is Poledouris' stirring main theme, a bold, oddly funky reinvention of the classic Western fanfare that immediately serves notice that Quigley Down Under is a horse of a very different color.
This wonderful three-disc set brings together everything Willie Mae Thornton recorded for the folk music label in the mid-'70s. It's comprised of her two released albums from 1975, Jail and Sassy Mama, and a complete unreleased album, Big Mama Swings. Thornton was still in good voice on these sessions and while not as powerful as her Peacock sides, the production is solid and these recordings make an excellent addition to her scant discography.
Two CD collection. When Purple Records was first set up in 1971, it was by no means a mere vanity label to release Deep Purple product, from Machine Head until the end of the decade; it also set out to nurture and discover raw talent too. The label would eventually become home to debut solo releases from Jon Lord, Roger Glover, David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes, as well as early releases from Yvonne Elliman and Ronnie James Dio with Elf. One of their earliest signings was a hard rock band called Bullet, featuring guitarist John Du Cann and drummer Paul Hammond, both formerly of Atomic Rooster, having played on Death Walks Behind You (1970), and In The Hearing Of (1971)…