"Hell, everybody's sick of all my f–-ing happy songs anyway," Steve Earle declares in the liner notes to his 2015 album Terraplane as he explains why he chose to cut a blues album. If you feel like you somehow missed Earle's Pollyanna period, you're not the only one, but if he was motivated to turn to the blues because of personal troubles – he was going through his seventh divorce while he wrote and recorded these songs – it sure sounds like he chose the right kind of musical therapy. Terraplane is the most relaxed and least fussed-over album Earle has made in quite some time, and frankly, he sounds like he's having a ball on these sessions; with rare exceptions, this isn't music that ponders the dark night of the soul, but semi-acoustic roadhouse boogie that rocks with a steady roll and gives Earle a chance to crow like a rooster as he ponders broken hearts, long lonesome highways, battles with the forces of destiny, and the enduring appeal of women in go-go boots.
Culled from the deep vaults of Chicago's Chess Records, 'Go Go Power' takes its name from a fantastic slice of gritty Chicago R&B groove by pint-sized soulster Sugar Pie Desanto. The songs here were not chart hits in the U.S., but were popular in the U.K., where clubs devoted to soul music continue to thrive. Marlena Shaw's excellent "Wade in the Water" shows that she wasn't restricted to jazz recordings, and Billy Stewart surprises with the funky rendition of the blues standard "Everyday (I Have the Blues)." As if they weren't potent enough by themselves, Sugar Pie Desanto and Etta James team up for "In the Basement" and ask you to "stop and check yourself" on "Do I Make Myself Clear." It's also nice to see lesser-known names make stellar appearances here, like the Knight Brothers – best known for their 1965 ballad "Temptation 'Bout to Get Me" – turn in a Memphis burner with "That'll Get It," while Chicago staple Bobby McClure proves he knows what he wants with the pulsing "Peak of Love." A thoroughly consistent selection that makes for a fine downtown diversion when the uptown gloss and polish of Motown seems too genteel.
Sax-a-Go-Go is the second album by Dutch alto saxophonist Candy Dulfer. It entered the Billboard Top Contemporary Jazz Album chart at #5 in February 1994, remaining in the chart for 31 weeks. The album "is dedicated to the loving memory of Beppie" and includes a version of Eugene McDaniels' Vietnam War protest song "Compared to What", first recorded by Roberta Flack on her debut album First Take (1969). "I Can't Make You Love Me" was a hit for Bonnie Raitt on her album Luck of the Draw (1991).