On AwwlRight!, his eighth outing at the Hammond B3 for Savant Records, pianist-turned-organist Mike LeDonne uses the same personnel and prescription that have worked so well for him in the past, guiding his sure-handed Groover Quartet through its paces in a series of bracing tunes that are all but guaranteed to quicken the mind and enliven the soul of anyone who admires and appreciates robust and well-designed contemporary jazz.
Twenty-five tracks round up an extremely haphazard but nevertheless intriguing "best of" Marc Bolan's last five years, drawing equally from the regular albums and familiar boogies, and the wealth of archival material excavated by the Unchained and Alternate series. Certainly not compiled with the hit hunter in mind (only "The Groover" and "Dreamy Lady" truly fall into that category), Very Best of, Vol. 2 is instead devoted to illustrating as many facets of Bolan's career as it could, from the pensive introspection of "Spaceball Ricochet," to the grinding self-aggrandizement of "The Groover," and onto the sharp autobiography of "Over the Flats" and "Funky London Childhood." As such, and especially when viewed in tandem with Very Best of, Vol. 1, it serves up a delightful portrait of Bolan's '70s, at a price that is difficult to squabble with.
Judas Priest's 18th studio album, FIREPOWER began under inauspicious circumstances. First, guitarist Glenn Tipton, diagnosed with Parkinson's disease a decade ago, found it necessary to retire from the road; second, they lost out to Bon Jovi for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; and finally, former drummer Dave Holland passed on before this set's issue. But the sound of FIREPOWER remains unbowed. Its undiminished power and assaultive mayhem are somewhat tempered in its slower moments by slowly unfurling rage, loss, and menace. It was begun in 2016 by Rob Halford, Tipton, and new guitarist Richie Faulkner. They chose two veteran producers to bring it home: Tom Allom, who helmed every JP album between 1979's Unleashed in the East (Live in Japan) and 1988's Ram It Down, and Andy Sneap, master producer/engineer of modern metal.
At the time of the release of Think (About It) in 1972, Lyn Collins had been a member of James Brown's performing revue for about two years. Her full-throated voice had earned her the nickname "the Female Preacher" and a shot to record her own album. Of course, the Godfather was in the producer's chair, writing four of the nine tracks, directing the J.B.'s as they laid down their usual funky grooves, and liberally adding vocals throughout. The title track is the main point of interest here; from Collins' throat-ripping vocals to the track's nasty groove to Brown's background interjections, this is a killer. (Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock later sampled the track for their rap classic "It Takes Two"). The rest of the record is a little uneven: "Just Won't Do Right" is a good doo wop-ish ballad with some churchy organ and great vocals by Collins and Brown, "Wheels of Life" is a nice little groover that sounds like vintage Aretha Franklin, and "Women's Lib" is a very slow ballad that lets Collins show off her anguished yowl of a vocal to its fullest.