Monday, February 27, 2017

The Rolling Stones - Havana Moon, The Stones Rock Cuba on 3/25/2016; With Their Career In It's Sixth Decade, The Rolling Stones Truly Take A Licking And Keep On Ticking; Still The World's Greatest Rock & Roll Band

Photo: Steve Atkins

The Rolling Stones played a free concert in Havana, Cuba on March 25, 2016, capping off an historic week in which the thawing of relations between Cuba and the United States was celebrated with an official visit by President Barack Obama. The concert had it all: history for one thing, Cuba had never seen a rock concert on the scale of this magnitude. The concert had a huge audience; estimates varied but it's a safe bet that the Stones played to several hundred thousand people. The Rolling Stones are never short on drama, but this one had drama to the max. The one thing this concert had that may be surprising is that the Stones, despite their advanced ages, gave a superb performance, much more about that below.

Photo: NME

First, about the event:
“Finally, the times are changing,” proclaimed Mick Jagger to a vast, euphoric crowd in Havana on Friday night, as the Rolling Stones completed their Latin American tour with a concert that may well prove a pivotal moment for a generation of Cubans.

Hundreds of thousands thronged to the Ciudad Deportiva stadium to see the British rockers, who follow hard on the heels of a visit by Barack Obama, in a week that few on this island are ever likely to forget.

Amid growing hopes of reform and further opening, the Stones frontman emphasised how far the country has already come in cultural opening from the 1960s, when their songs were considered ideologically divergent.

“We know that years ago, it was difficult to listen to our music in Cuba, but now here we are in your beautiful land,” Jagger said in Spanish. “I think that, finally, the times are changing. That’s true, no?” The crowd roared their agreement.

It was the closest to an overt political statement in the two-hour concert, which some democracy activists feared would be used by the one-party state to perpetuate its hold on power.

The Stones – who long ago made the transition from youth rebels to rock aristocrats – avoided any hint of criticism of the current government of Raúl Castro. Instead, they largely let their music – and spectacular special effects – speak for themselves about the benefits of greater engagement. Their fans had still bigger expectations.

“This will be one of those weeks that people will use to measure other events. In the future, they’ll ask, was it before or after the Stones played,” predicted Tania Livia, a businesswoman attending the concert. “This is the biggest moment in my life,” said tattooed club owner Ferrer Castillo, who had travelled 200km by bus and taxi to see his heroes.

“For me, this is a historical moment on the same level as Nelson Mandela walking out of prison,” suggested Francoisse Fraissenet, a French woman who said she has seen at least 25 gigs by the Stones. Another fan from Brazil pushed her way to the front to ask: “Where do I get a concert T-shirt?”, but it wasn’t that kind of gig.

This was a free concert, rushed into being in just a few months. There were no seats, no refreshment kiosks and only a handful of rusty metal portable toilets. With no turnstiles, estimates of the crowd size were largely guesswork. Some said 200,000. Others more than half a million. All this observer can report is that it was dense, stretched in all directions as far as the eye could see, and was extremely good natured.

When it came to the staging, no expense was spared. Even before the music started, the lighting and video displays were breathtaking. While many Cubans have to make do with small, old grainy televisions in their homes, here they were suddenly in a field staring up at giant high-definition screens.

Considering the paucity of time that the team had to unpack the 85 container loads of equipment, set up the stage and erect the lighting rigs and screen towers, there were remarkably few glitches. Jonathan Watts for The Guardian, in Havana, Cuba, Saturday 26 March 2016.
Note: The above is an excerpt, the complete article appears in the booklet to the concert CD/DVD/BRD, The Rolling Stones: Havana Moon..

Photo: MQLTV

The Rollings Stones: Havana Moon
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For the record, when the Rolling Stones took the stage at Ciudad Deportiva stadium on March 25, 2016, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were both 72, Charlie Watts 74, and Ronnie Wood 68. I am sure that when they were in their thirties, they never imagined themselves as rocking septuagenarians. So, then, it is a little bit amazing to report that Havana Moon is as good a live Stones record as they have ever done. Yes, I know that's a rash statement, but if you listen to any track in this tight two hour set you will hear a band playing like they mean it. Perhaps most incredibly, you will hear Jagger doing a vocal in which he doesn't sound any older than when the song was first recorded; it doesn't matter whether it's a rocker like the set opener "Jumpin' Jack Flash" or a sensitive ballad like "Angie".

The band sound is very muscular and the mix is excellent. The guitar work by both Richards and Wood is phenomenal; you might think these two have played together before. Watts' drumming is always just what the song needs, so reliable. The Stones have said in interviews that they consider every concert to be an opportunity to continually get better, to outdo everything they've done before. This might sound like hyperbole, but I would say that the evidence is right there in the proverbial grooves.

Those are the primary members. The support musicians have been with them a long time and they excel as well, especially Chuck Leavell on piano; he also serves as the band's musical director. They have Darryl Jones on bass and backing vocals, Karl Denson and Tom Ries play saxes (Ries doubles on keyboards), and Bernard Fowler and Sasha Allen handle vocals. At this point they play like a well oiled machine.

The setlist for this show could not have been better. For early singles they did "Satisfaction" and "Painted Black". There were the middle period rockers such as "Jumpin' Jack Flash", "Honky Tonk Women", and "Brown Sugar"; the explosive guitar work was most satisfying. From Exile On Main Street, Jagger ripped it up on "All Down the Line" and "Tumbling Dice". After "Honky Tonk Women", Jagger did all the band intros, speaking what sounds like fluid Spanish I might add. The intros are edited out of the CD except for the last one in which he introduces Keith Richards. Jagger then gave the spotlight to Richards, who took the lead vocal on the next two songs, a very bluesy "You Got the Silver" and a rousing "Before They Make Me Run".

There were later hits like "Miss You" and "Start Me Up", still sounding shiny and new. There were the concert staples from the Let It Bleed album, a fiery "Gimme Shelter" with nice vocals by Sasha Allen and a very long "Midnight Rambler". In the entire set, my only quibble would be that the call and response between Jagger and the crowd (at the peak of "Midnight Rambler") drained the song of its usual drama and danger in that moment. That's a small nitpick. Considering all the factors, I'm guessing that it added to the audience enjoyment.

They saved "You Can't Always Get What You Want" for the encore. Entrevoces, a Cuban choir, started the song beautifully, then the Stones played a version that was ridiculously good. Then they closed the night with "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction". Jagger spoke to the audience in Spanish quite a bit. In about two hours of performance, The Rolling Stones made an excellent case for the continuation of their title of the world's greatest rock and roll band. I think there are several hundred thousand Cubans who would agree.

The setlist from the concert is shown below, courtesy of Havana Moon offers the entire concert, in correct running order on two CDs, which is my ideal for a live album. The director of the film was quoted as saying that he wanted a program that could be broadcast on television throughout South and Central America. Apparently, for the purpose of time, five songs were omitted from the program, but those same songs are included on the DVD as bonus tracks. The package is also available with two CDs plus Blu-ray disc.

Havana Moon is the latest in a series of archival Stones concerts, which they have made available at very reasonable prices. There is a touch of irony in this because tickets to the Stones' regular concerts are so expensive. Still, the archival releases are to be applauded and encouraged. The street price for Havana Moon with DVD is about $21 or with Blu-ray disc $25. The DVD and Blu-ray disc have two sections that are not on the CDs. One is an introduction with shots of Havana, Cuba and the site of the concert, the set-up of the stage and speaker towers, etc. The other is an interlude of interviews with the band during which a performance of "Loving Cup" plays in the background; this song is not part of the live set.

Watch "Brown Sugar"

There are three more tracks from Havana Moon available as videos: "It's Only Rock 'N' Roll (But I Like It)", "Paint It Black", and "Out of Control".

01. Jumpin' Jack Flash
02. It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It)
03. Tumbling Dice
04. Out of Control
05. All Down the Line (by request)
06. Angie
07. Paint It Black
08. Honky Tonk Women (followed by introduction of band members)
09. You Got the Silver (Keith Richards, lead vocals)
10. Before They Make Me Run (Keith Richards, lead vocals)
11. Midnight Rambler
12. Miss You
13. Gimme Shelter
14. Start Me Up
15. Sympathy for the Devil
16. Brown Sugar
17. You Can't Always Get What You Want (with Cuban vocal group 'Entrevoces')
18. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction

Bonus Videos
Watch the Out Now! trailer

Watch Havana Moon, Behind the Scenes posted by Sergio Barone

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Monday, February 20, 2017

Ronnie Baker Brooks - Times Have Changed & Delbert McClinton - Prick Of the Litter, Two New Must-Hear Albums That Seem Like They Were Made For These Times

The rich keep getting richer,
We can't feed our poor.
The whole wide world,
About to go to war.

Times have changed
Times have changed
Nothing remains the same
Today is a brand new game
Times have changed

So sings Ronnie Baker Brooks on the title track of his new album Times Have Changed. Brooks and Delbert McClinton have released the first new albums to get me excited in 2017. These are not specifically blues albums, but both are steeped in the blues. I don't know if periods of political and social turmoil are specifically conducive to the blues, but I do know two things. Times definitely have changed, and these two records sound especially good right now.

Photos courtesy of Ronnie Baker Brooks

Ronnie Baker Brooks - Times Have Changed
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Ronnie Baker Brooks (RBB) has been called "Chicago Blues Royalty" referring to his lineage as the son of blues legend Lonnie Brooks. His younger brother, Wayne Baker Brooks, has also made his mark as a blues guitarist. According to his bio, RBB first picked up the guitar at age six; at 19 he joined his father's band where he played with many of the guitar greats. Since going solo in 1998 he has made four albums, the latest of which is Times Have Changed, just released. Produced by Steve Jordan, Times Have Changed is as strong a soul album as it is a superb blues album.

The album opens with a familiar (if you were around in 1968) cover version of Joe Tex's "Show Me". Brooks' version is so true to the original that I went back and played both for comparison, and the Brooks version is far and away better. Brooks' vocals are not only perfect but I love when he calls out guitarist Steve Cropper, who was such an integral part of the house band at Stax Records in Memphis. I'm not going to try to single out each and every track here, I encourage you to listen to them all, either with the track list below, or using the Spotify link above.

Lonnie Brooks guests on the instrumental "Twine Time" and you will have as much fun listening as they were obviously having in the studio when this was recorded. The title track follows, which is an RBB original, and his observations are as perceptive as his presentation is powerful. The tune features heartfelt lyrics, an indelible melody, and a pleasing finish provided by Memphis rapper Al Kapone, who Brooks calls a bridge between the blues and hip-hop.

The legendary Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland joins RBB for a positively stunning version of the Eric Clapton/Robert Cray composition "Old Love". This is so good that I am certain it would turn Clapton into a fan, if he's not already. "Come On Up" is an unstoppable powerhouse RBB original that features guests Felix Cavaliere (The Rascals) and Lee Roy Parnell. The album closer, "When I Was We", sounds like the great lost 60s soul track and this glorious finish was also written by Brooks.

This is one of those albums on which every track excels. I urge you to check out the album trailer, below, then listen to some of it. If you find this music at all appealing, you might be fascinated, as I was, to read Ronnie Baker Brooks' description of making the album. I'm going to give you a little of it below, just to whet your appetite; read this excerpt then follow the link at the end to read the full story.
...“We used the same mics that Al Green used on his record”, says Brooks. “Matter of fact, we were using much of the same band! It kind of took that vibe.” The first track recorded was a cover of Curtis Mayfield’s Superfly hit Give Me Your Love. The second, Twine Time, the instrumental jam from Alvin Cash.

“To be honest with you, when Steve said ‘Man, we need an instrumental,’ the first person I thought of was Freddie King. Steve wanted something more appealing to all people, not just guitar players. He said ‘What about Twine Time?’’ I said, ‘Is he serious?’ Yeah, Twine Time. But that song was a key to this album. Man, that just lit the fire for this record. It became one of the funnest tracks we did"...
Read the full story.

Watch the album trailer:

Track List - Click on song name to listen.

01. Show Me (feat. Steve Cropper)
02. Doing Too Much (feat. “Big Head” Todd Mohr)
03. Twine Time (feat. Lonnie Brooks)
04. Times Have Changed (feat. Al Kapone)
05. Long Story Short
06. Give Me Your Love (Love Song) (feat. Angie Stone)
07. Give The Baby Anything The Baby Wants (feat. “Big Head” Todd Mohr & Eddie Willis)
08. Old Love (feat. Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland)
09. Come On Up (feat. Felix Cavaliere & Lee Roy Parnell )
10. Wham Bam Thank You Sam
11. When I Was We (feat. Archie 'Hubby' Turner)

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Photos courtesy of Delbert McClinton

Delbert McClinton - Prick Of the Litter
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Delbert McClinton is a well respected Texas blues musician, who over the course of decades has been honored with three Grammy awards. The Lubbock native has mastered a blend of blues, rock, and country that perfectly fits his weathered voice.

I first encountered him in the early 70s, when I was working as an FM D.J., and McClinton was part of a duo named Delbert & Glen. After they split, McClinton's solo albums could always be counted on for quality. But now, over fifty years into his career, he has added something new to the mix, it's jazz and it suits him incredibly well. Thom Jurek from explains how McClinton put together the musicians for this project.
The Self-Made Men are a studio and live group assembled by singer and songwriter Delbert McClinton for his 19th album, 2017's Prick of the Litter. The singer assembled them for the purpose of capturing a softer, jazzier side of his sound, inspired by the tunes and music of Johnny Mercer and Nat King Cole. The core band is comprised of seasoned studio and road veterans. The core of the group includes guitarist Bob Britt, keyboardist Kevin McKendree, bassist Mike Joyce, drummer Jack Bruno, and trumpeter Quentin Ware.
The album opens with "Don't Do It" a track that both rocks and swings with a soulful swagger. The song features guest turns by Lou Ann Barton on vocals and Jimmie Vaughan on guitar. McClinton's voice strikes me as somewhere between Louis Armstrong and Steve Forbert.

I love, love, love the band sound that kicks in on track two, "Doin' What You Do", and continues for the rest of the record. The key is the sound of the electric guitar combined with the keyboard, which in this case is electric piano. The rhythm section is right on time, and with McClinton's endearing vocals in a song that begs to be replayed, this tune (by all rights) ought to be his next Billboard charting single.

Everything I just wrote about track two, also applies to track three, "Middle of Nowhere", except that on this one his voice leans more toward a cross between Forbert and Rod Stewart. It's similarly easy to love "San Miguel"; on this one the vocals remind me of Toy Caldwell singing "This Ol' Cowboy" with the Marshall Tucker Band. "Pulling the Strings" is a slow and bluesy number that opens with the great line, "Life's a bitch but it's so sublime, I'm going nowhere but I'm making good time." McClinton's talky vocal reminds of Mark Knopfler's similar humorous persona ("Hot Or What" from Privateering).

"Neva", another deliciously bluesy jazz number, again with McClinton's talky vocal, reminding this time of Tom Waits at his smoothest. "Waits at his smoothest" is not quite the oxymoron that it may seem. On Waits' soundtrack to One From the Heart, his vocals are very reminiscent of Louis Armstrong, so, if we filter them back through Steve Forbert, we've come full circle.

I've cited quite a few touchstones that come to mind listening to this album, and I haven't even mentioned yet Dan Hicks, Southside Johnny Lyon, or Dr. John. It's not that McClinton sounds specifically like any one of these talents, it's just that the songs are so good, the band is so right, and the vocals are so perfect for this material that they inspire comparisons. Every track on this record is another solid reason to love Prick Of the Litter by Delbert McClinton.

Track List - Click on song name to listen.

01. Don't Do It (feat. Jimmie Vaughan and Lou Ann Barton)
02. Doin' What You Do
03. Middle of Nowhere
04. Skip Chaser
05. San Miguel
06. Pulling the Strings
07. Neva
08. Like Lovin' Used to Be
09. Jones for You
10. The Hunt Is On
11. Bad Haircut
12. Rosy

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Twelve Inch Eighties: The Complete Collection, Demon Dazzles With Eight New Triple Disc Collections Of The Decade's Best

Demon Records has just released a group of albums under the title Twelve Inch Eighties that collects extended twelve inch versions of some of the 80s best songs. This is a great concept, whether you are are an eighties fan or a record collector. Twelve inch singles proliferated during the eighties (until they were supplanted by CDs); these long versions were often remixes as well, and they rarely appeared on the regular album releases of most artists.

Twelve inch singles were known to have the best sound quality and terrific bass. This had something to do with the fact that a 12" vinyl record had plenty of physical room for the grooves so they wouldn't be packed as tightly as they were on a typical LP. Twelve inch singles usually ran at 45 rpm, which allowed for even more vinyl real estate of per minute of groove. Whatever the technical reason, when I listened to these Demon collections I was quickly reminded of the 12" reputation for sound quality. Demon did a phenomenal job with the production and mastering of these releases. They just sound great.

Twelve inch singles were designed for club play; some of them are even called club mixes. I guess that makes them disco records by default, but these are decidedly not disco collections, per say. I'm sure there are plenty of disco compilations out there, but instead the Twelve Inch Eighties releases present a lineup of excellent rock, pop, and soul tracks for your enjoyment. Feast your eyes on the complete track lists below, and check out the sample song or album trailer for each collection. These songs have an average length of more than six minutes each and there are ten songs per disc. With three CDs per album, you are receiving thirty semi-rare tracks for a retail price that works out to less than five dollars (US) per CD.

Listen to the Thompson Twins "Hold Me Now" (12" Version)

Hold Me Now - A collection of classic love songs extended, remixed and reimagined

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CD 1:
01. Through The Barricades (Extended Version) - Spandau Ballet
02. Every Time You Go Away (Extended Remix Version) - Paul Young
03. Whistle Down The Wind (12" Version) - Nick Heyward
04. Hold Me Now (12” Version) - Thompson Twins
05. I Second That Emotion (12” Version) - Japan
06. See The Day (12” Version) - Dee C. Lee
07. World Without You (Extended Worldwide Mix) - Belinda Carlisle
08. When Will You (Make My Telephone Ring)?(12" Version) - Deacon Blue
09. The Taste Of Your Tears (Breaker Heart Mix) - King
10. Fantastic Day (12" Version) - Haircut 100
CD 2:
01. State Of Independence (Full Length Album Version) - Donna Summer
02. Do What You Do (12" Remix Version) - Jermaine Jackson
03. How 'Bout Us (12” Version) - Champaign
04. Shake You Down (Extended Club Mix) - Gregory Abbott
05. If You Were Here Tonight (Soft Version) - Alexander O'Neal
06. I Need You (12" Version) - The Pointer Sisters
07. Wishing Well (Three Coins In A Fountain Mix) - Terence Trent D'arby
08. Rain Or Shine (Remix) - Five Star
09. Girl I'm Gonna Miss You (Long Version) - Milli Vanilli
10. In And Out Of Love (12” Version) - Imagination
CD 3:
01. Keeping The Dream Alive (Solang' ManT räume Noch Leben Kann) (Extended Version) - Münchener Freiheit
02. Broken Wings (12” Version) - Mr. Mister
03. I Get Weak (12” Version) - Belinda Carlisle
04. If She Knew What She Wants (Extended Remix) - The Bangles
05. One On One (12" Version) - Daryl Hall & John Oates
06. Change Of Heart (12" Extended Club Remix) - Cyndi Lauper & The Bangles
07. Never Knew Love Like This (Extended) - Alexander O'Neal & Cherelle
08. Tell Me If You Still Care (12" Version) - The S.O.S. Band
09. (You Are My) All And All (Take Twenty Three) - Joyce Sims
10. Ring Of Ice (Extended UK Remix) - Jennifer Rush

When The Going Gets Tough - A collection of extended Pure Pop excellence

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CD 1:
01. Leave A Light On (Extended Version) - Belinda Carlisle
02. Walk Like An Egyptian (Extended Dance Mix) - The Bangles
03. Maneater (Extended Club Mix) - Daryl Hall & John Oates
04. More Than You Know (Dance Mix, Pt. 1) - Martika
05. Cross My Heart (Dance Mix) - Eighth Wonder
06. I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down (Extended Mix) - Paul Young
07. If You Let Me Stay (Extended Version) - Terence Trent D'arby
08. You Got It (The Right Stuff) (12" Version) - New Kids On The Block
09. I Owe You Nothing (Club Mix) - Bros
10. Warning Sign (12" Version) - Nick Heyward
CD 2:
01. Fake (Extended Version) - Alexander O'Neal
02. When The Going Gets Tough (Extended Version )- Billy Ocean
03. Eyes (Extended Remix) - Donna Summer
04. Stay Out Of My Life (12" Version) - Five Star
05. Bad Boy (Remix) - Miami Sound Machine
06. Whenever You Need Somebody (Lonely Hearts Mix) - Rick Astley
07. The Goonies 'R' Good Enough (Dance Remix) - Cyndi Lauper
08. Just Got Lucky (12" Version) - Jo Boxers
09. Won't You Hold My Hand Now (Heavy Times Mix) - King
10. Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl) (12" Version) - Haircut 100
CD 3:
01. John Wayne Is Big Leggy (Groovy Long Version) - Haysi Fantayzee
02. Happy Birthday (Dance Mix) - Altered Images
03. You Take Me Up (Machines Take Over Me)(12" Version) - Thompson Twins
04. Fantasy Island (Almighty Mix) - Tight Fit
05. When We Were Young (12" Club Mix) - Bucks Fizz
06. The Promise You Made (Extended Version) - Cock Robin
07. Brother Louie (Special Long Version) - Modern Talking
08. Call Me (Viva Mix) - Spagna
09. Handful Of Promises (12" Version) - Big Fun
10. I Only Wanna Be With You (Extended Version) - Samantha Fox

Trailer for Twelve Inch 80's Digging Your Scene & Can You Feel It

Digging Your Scene - A collection of classic 12” remixes straight from the edge of the 80s

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CD 1:
01. Pretty In Pink (Berlin Mix) - The Psychedelic Furs
02. I Ran (So Far Away) - A Flock Of Seagulls
03. European Son (12") - Japan
04. Einstein A Go-Go (12" Mix) - Landscape
05. Brilliant Mind (12" Mix) - Furniture
06. (Feels Like) Heaven - Fiction Factory
07. The First Picture of You (12" Version) - The Lotus Eaters
08. Love All Day (And Night) - Nick Heyward
09. Lover Come Back To Me (Extended Remix) - Dead Or Alive
10. Love On Your Side (No Talkin') (12" Version) - Thompson Twins
CD 2:
01. Love & Pride (Body And Soul Mix) - King
02. Apollo 9 (Francois K Splashdown Mix) - Adam Ant
03. I Could Be Happy - Altered Images
04. Shiny Shiny Dance (12 Inch Version) - Haysi Fantayzee
05. Chihuahua (12" Version) - Bow Wow Wow
06. Don't Fall In Love (I Said) (Extended Mix) - Toyah
07. Nobody's Fool (12" Version) - Haircut 100
08. Bridge to Your Heart (The Unabridged Version) - Wax
09. (Si Si) Je Suis Un Rock Star (Extended) - Bill Wyman
10. Love of the Common People (12" Mix) - Paul Young
CD 3:
01. Digging Your Scene (Long Version) - The Blow Monkeys
02. Funky Town (Dance Mix) - Pseudo Echo
03. E=MC2 (12 Inch Remix) - Big Audio Dynamite
04. Real Gone Kid - Deacon Blue
05. Radio Africa (Extended Version) - Latin Quarter
06. Skin Deep (Extended Version) - The Stranglers
07. I Feel Free (Extended) - Belinda Carlisle
08. In Your Room (12" Remix) - The Bangles
09. Method of Modern Love (Extended Mix) - Daryl Hall & John Oates
10. Bop 'Til You Drop (Remixed) - Rick Springfield

Can You Feel It - A collection of some of the biggest 80s dance classics

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CD 1:
01. Can You Feel It - The Jacksons
02. Inside Out (12" Version) - Odyssey
03. Body Talk (Album Version) - Imagination
04. (What Can I Say) To Make You (Hateful Club Mix) - Alexander O’Neal
05. She Won't Talk To Me (12" Extended) - Luther Vandross
06. Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car (Extended Version) - Billy Ocean
07. Indestructible (Extended Version) - The Four Tops featuring Smokey Robinson
08. Who's Zoomin' Who? (Dance Mix) - Aretha Franklin
09. Funkin' for Jamaica - Tom Browne
10. Seasons Change (12" Version) - Exposé
CD 2:
01. I Don’t Wanna Get Hurt (Extended Version) - Donna Summer
02. Together Forever (Lover's Leap Extended Remix) - Rick Astley
03. Nothing's Gonna Stop Me Now (Extended Version) - Samantha Fox
04. Toy Boy (Extended Bicep Mix) - Sinitta
05. Blame It on the Boogie (PWL Mix) - Big Fun
06. Love Pains (Steve Hurley's Remix) - Liza Minnelli
07. My Heart Goes Bang (American 'Wipe Out' Mix) - Dead Or Alive
08. I'm so Excited (Extended Version) - The Pointer Sisters
09. Let's Hear It for the Boy (Extended Version) - Deniece Williams
10. Lost In Emotion (F.F. Remix) - Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam
CD 3:
01. Get On Your Feet (Pop Vocal) - Gloria Estefan
02. The Slightest Touch (The Pettibone Touch Remix) - Five Star
03. Walk Away (12” Club Mix) - Joyce Sims
04. Prove Your Love (Extended Remix) - Taylor Dayne
05. Roses (12" Version) - Haywoode
06. This Is The Right Time (Extended Version) - Lisa Stansfield
07. Girl You Know It's True (Maxi Version - Super Club Mix) - Milli Vanilli
08. Deep in Vogue (Banjie Realness) - Malcolm McLaren & The Bootzilla Orchestra
09. What's Going On (Club Version) - Cyndi Lauper
10. Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home) (Extended Club Mix Version) - Paul Young

Rhythm is Gonna Get You - Collects even more classic Pop anthems from the 80s in all their alternatively mixed beauty.

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CD 1:
01. State Of Shock (Dance Mix) - The Jacksons
02. Rhythm Is Gonna Get You (Special 12” Dance Mix)- Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine
03. Love’s About To Change My Heart (Clivillés & Cole 12” Mix) - Donna Summer
04. Freeway of Love (Rock Mix) - Aretha Frankli
05. Stop To Love (12” Mix) - Luther Vandross
06. Hitmix (The Official Bootleg Megamix) - Alexander O’Neal
07. Just The Way You Like It (Long Mix) - S.O.S. Band
08. Touch Me (I Want Your Body) - Samantha Fox
09. Cuddly Toy (Extended Mix) - Roachford
10. Dignity (Extended Version) - Deacon Blue
CD 2:
01. Total Eclipse of the Heart - Bonnie Tyler
02. We Built This City (Special Club Mix) - Starship
03. Out of Touch (Club Version) - Daryl Hall & John Oates
04. Kyrie - Mr. Mister
05. Eye of the Tiger (Special Extended European Version) - Survivor
06. Playing with the Boys (12” Version) - Kenny Loggins
07. Human Touch (Extended Mix) - Rick Springfield
08. Hazy Shade Of Winter (Purple Haze Mix) (Clean Version) - The Bangles
09. She Bop (Special Dance Mix) - Cyndi Lauper
10. Circle In The Sand (Beach Party Mix) - Belinda Carlisle
CD 3:
01. Go Wild in the Country (12” Version) - Bow Wow Wow
02. See Those Eyes (Dance Mix) - Altered Images
03. Life in Tokyo (12” Extended Version) - Japan
04. Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You) (Extended Version) - A Flock Of Seagulls
05. We Are Detective - Thompson Twins
06. Alone Without You (Scorcher Mix) - King
07. Fight For Ourselves (Extended Remix) - Spandau Ballet
08. Medicine Show (12 inch Remix) - Big Audio Dynamite
09. Hey Manhattan! (JFK Version) - Prefab Sprout
10. Dreamtime (Extended Remix Version) - Daryl Hall

Let's Groove - The first dip into the classics 80s Disco scene. These extended hits will keep you in your platforms all night long.

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CD 1:
01. This Time I Know It's For Real (12" Extended Remix) - Donna Summer
02. Jump (For My Love) - The Pointer Sisters
03. Let's Groove (Special Remixed Holiday Version) - Earth, Wind & Fire
04. Walk Right Now (12" John Luongo Disco Mix) - The Jacksons
05. Party All the Time (Special Version) - Eddie Murphy
06. Use It Up and Wear It Out (12" Single Edit) - Odyssey
07. Never Too Much - Luther Vandross
08. Fake 88 (12" House Mix) - Alexander O'Neal
09. Love Come Down (12" Version) - Evelyn "Champagne" King
10. Take Your Time Do It Right (12” Version) - The S.O.S. Band
CD 2:
01. That's The Way (I Like It) - Dead Or Alive
02. Tell It to My Heart (Club Mix) - Taylor Dayne
03. It's Raining Men (12" Mix) - The Weather Girls
04. So Macho (Extended Club Mix) - Sinitta
05. The Time Warp 2 (Brand New Extended Version) - Damian
06. Don't Drop Bombs (Remix) - Liza Minnelli
07. Hey Music Lover (Spatial Expansion Mix) - S'Expres
08. Doctorin' The House (Vocal Verse) - Coldcut feat. Yazz & The Plastic Population
09. Baby Don't Forget My Number (Pennsylvania Six-Five-Thousand Heart Line Mix) - Milli Vanilli
10. Go Deh Yaka (Club Mix) - Monyaka
CD 3:
01. The Eve of the War (Deep Space Mix) - Ben Liebrand
02. All Around the World (Long Version) - Lisa Stansfield
03. Tribute (Right On)(The Screaming Cat Mix) - The Pasadenas
04. All Fall Down (Full Length Version) - Five Star
05. Caribbean Queen (No More Love On The Run) (Extended Mix) - Billy Ocean
06. Loco In Acapulco (PH Balance Mix) - The Four Tops
07. Conga (Dance Mix) - Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine
08. Let's Go Round Again (12" Version) - Average White Band
09. Another Night (Dance Mix) - Aretha Franklin
10. Move Closer (New Mix) - Phyllis Nelson

Trailer for Twelve Inch 80's You Spin Me Round

You Spin Me 'Round - 80s pop classic anthems in their glorious alternatively mixed editions.

Buy at Amazon

CD 1:
01. You Spin Me Round (12” Murder Mix) - Dead Or Alive
02. I’m Not Scared (Disco Mix) - Eighth Wonder
03. Losing My Mind (Extended) - Liza Minnelli
04. Never Gonna Give You Up (12” Cake Mix) - Rick Astley
05. I Feel The Earth Move (Club Mix) - Martika
06. Criticize (12” Remix) - Alexander O’Neal
07. The Finest (12” Extended) - S.O.S. Band
08. Dinner With Gershwin (12” Extended Version) - Donna Summer
09. 1, 2, 3, (Extended Version) - Gloria Estefan
10. Can’t Wait Another Minute (12” Mix) - Five Star
CD 2:
01. Safety Dance (12” Version) - Men Without Hats
02. Quiet Life (12”) - Japan
03. Love Plus One (12” Version) - Haircut 100
04. Doctor Doctor (Long Version) - Thompson Twins
05. 99 Red Balloons (12” Club Mix) - Nena
06. Don’t Talk To Me About Love (Extended) - Altered Images
07. Girls Just Want To Have Fun (Extended Version) - Cyndi Lauper
08. Break My Stride (Remix/Club Version) - Matthew Wilder
09. Live It Up (12” Remix) - Mental As Anything
10. Down Under (Extended) - Men At Work
CD 3:
01. Heaven Is A Place On Earth (Heavenly Version) - Belinda Carlisle
02. Manic Monday (Extended Remix) - The Bangles
03. Holding Out For A Hero (Club Mix) - Bonnie Tyler
04. I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do) (Extended Club Mix) - Daryl Hall & John Oates
05. Celebrate Youth (Dance Mix) - Rick Springfield
06. Come Back & Stay (12” Mix) - Paul Young
07. Take That Situation (Rhythm Mix) - Nick Heyward
08. My Favourite Waste Of Time (12” Jumbo Remix) - Owen Paul
09. When Will I Be Famous (12” Infamous Mix) - Bros.
10. My Camera Never Lies (12”) - Bucks Fizz

Trailer for Twelve Inch 80's People Hold On

People Hold On - A collection of some of the biggest 80s dance classics in their full extended 12” form

Buy at Amazon

CD 1:
01. People Hold On (12” Disco Version) - Coldcut Ft. Lisa Stansfield
02. Theme From S’Express (12” Version) - S’Express
03. Beat Dis (Extended Dis) - Bomb The Bass
04. Love Can’t Turn Around (12” Extended Version) - Farley “Jackmaster” Funk
05. Promised Land (Club Mix) - Joe Smooth
06. Rock It (12”) - Herbie Hancock
07. I Wonder If I Take You Home (Extended) - Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam
08. Alice I Want You Just For Me! (12”) - Full Force
09. Got To Get (Extended) - Rob N Raz Ft. Leila K
10. Body Work - Hot Streak
CD 2:
01. Just Be Good To Me (12” Extended) - S.O.S. Band
02. The Lovers (12” Extended Version) - Alexander O’Neal
03. Come Into My Life (12” Mix) - Joyce Sims
04. I Really Didn’t Mean It (12”) - Luther Vandross
05. Love Is In Control (12” Dance Remix) - Donna Summer
06. Jump To It (Original 12” Mix) - Aretha Franklin
07. Shake It Up Tonight (12”) - Cheryl Lynn
08. Something’s Jumpin’ In Your Shirt (Walk The Body Mix) - Lisa Marie with Malcolm McLaren and The Bootzilla Orchestra
09. Love House (12” Black Pyramid Mix) - Samantha Fox
10. I’ll House You (Gee St. Reconstruction Mix) - Jungle Brothers
CD 3:
01. Dr Beat (Long Version) - Miami Sound Machine
02. Automatic (12” Special Remix) - The Pointer Sisters
03. Saturday Love (12” Version) - Cherrelle & Alexander O’Neal
04. Roots Suite - Odyssey
05. Lovely Day (88 Remix 12” Version) - Bill Withers
06. Dance Little Sister (TTD’s Remix) - Terence Trent D’Arby
07. Living In America (Extended R&B Dance Mix) - James Brown
08. System Addict (M&M Remix) - Five Star
09. Lover Boy (12” Extended Mix) - Billy Ocean
10. Just An Illusion (Extended) - Imagination

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Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Otis Redding - Live At The Whisky A Go Go: The Complete Recordings; Otis Comes To Life On This Box Set, A Little Bit of Memphis in La La Land

Photo: Team Rock

Imagine you could climb into a time travel device and transport back to 1966 to see Otis Redding perform at a club on the Sunset Strip. Just imagine... Otis Ray Redding, Jr. was born on September 9, 1941, and he died at the age of 26 in a plane crash on December 10, 1967. During his short life, he distinguished himself as one of the greatest soul icons ever with his singing, his songwriting, and his explosive live performances. Regarding the latter, the Concord Records Group has recently released Redding's 1966 live recordings from The Whisky A Go Go, located on Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, California. Redding performed at that legendary venue, Friday, April 8 (two sets), Saturday, April 9 (three sets), and Sunday, April 10 (two sets).

Stax recorded all of these shows with the intention of releasing a live album. The result, In Person At The Whisky A Go Go, wound up being a posthumous release in 1968 offering ten tracks. In 1993, Stax released seven additional tracks from that weekend that had not been included on the 1968 album as Good to Me: Live at the Whisky a Go Go, Vol. 2.

Collectors, completists, and fans of Otis Redding were thrilled by the recent release of the complete recordings, with the seven sets contained on six compact discs in the physical box set; these recordings were nicely formatted to seven separate discs, one for each set, on the digital download of the album. It all sounds unedited, giving you each set from start to finish complete with all of the introductions, between song patter, and the stage announcements at the conclusion of each set. Here are the specs for this release:

Friday, April 8th -
First set: 7 tracks, 27 minutes, six songs plus intro
Second set: 13 tracks, 1 hour, 3 minutes, thirteen songs with no separate intro

Saturday, April 9th -
First set: 8 tracks, 35 minutes, seven songs plus intro
Second set: 6 tracks, 31 minutes, five songs plus intro
Third set: 8 tracks, 33 minutes, seven songs plus intro

Sunday, April 10 -
First set: 9 tracks, 44 minutes, eight songs plus intro
Second set: 14 tracks, 59 minutes, thirteen songs plus intro

There are a grand total of 65 tracks and the running time is 4 hours, 47 minutes (this includes six intros and 59 songs); forty-two of the Redding performances and five of the intros are previously unreleased. Although each of the seventeen unique songs had been previously released, the beauty of this package is the opportunity to witness each live set as Redding performed it.

Listening to these live sets, you really get to know Otis Redding. For one thing, Redding addresses the crowd as "Ladies and Gentlemen"; he must say it about a hundred times. You get a sense of the man that no studio collection or edited live album would give you. It feels somewhat revelatory. When he sang live, Redding had two basic speeds: slow, bluesy, and soulful like "I've Been Loving You Too Long", or uptempo where the verse(s) shift into frenetic high gear like "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction".

The songs he performed reflect where he was in his career at the time of these shows. He had yet to record "Try A Little Tenderness"; that defining tune was first released as a single in November of 1966. Redding was over a year away from writing and recording his classic "(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay", which was first released posthumously in 1968.

Still and all, these recordings show that every accolade he received was deserved and that he had evidenced the greatness that made him one of the most amazing performers of the time. Although I haven't seen direct confirmation of this, I think that European copyright law has something to do with this being released. The law says that any recording that remains unreleased for 50 years becomes a part of the public domain, meaning that it can legally be manufactured and sold by anyone. We have already seen such vault releases from the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Queen, and Bob Dylan. Surely there are more to come.

Classic songs abound in this package, starting with the set one opener "I Can't Turn You Loose". I first heard this number on a single by the Chambers Brothers. They did the song proud, but I instantly zeroed in on the songwriter's name printed right there on the label, Otis Redding. Redding leaves all other comers in the dust with his live rendition.

In Redding's performance of his own composition "Respect", you can hear the greatness of the song, but you see how different his version was in comparison to what the song became when it was recorded by Aretha Franklin for her first album, about a year later. The basic nature of the song changed along with the vantage point of the singer, from a workingman's statement of want to nothing less than a full fledged declaration of empowerment from Franklin. The story goes that the r-e-s-p-e-c-t lyric was suggested by Franklin's sister and was included as they reworked the song.

Even though some songs were played multiple times, Redding mixed up his sets and didn't play the same set twice. Things got interesting Sunday night midway through the second set. Not content to play any more repeats, Redding started doing songs that had not been performed earlier in the engagement. Among these was a cover of the Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night", a tune perhaps that Otis could relate to; it got the overdrive treatment. But, I think the most interesting track of the weekend was his ten plus minute cover of James Brown's "Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag". This track appeared briefly (a 2:30 edit) on the original '68 LP, but this is the first release of the song in its full 10:13 glory.

Redding's version surely gave Brown a run for his money. Interestingly, James and Otis were both from Macon, Georgia. Brown, at the time, was cementing his reputation as the hardest working man in show business, and Redding was right there with him as this cover amply demonstrates. The James Brown connection didn't end there; each set begins with Al “Brisco” Clark doing his signature, "Are you ready for star time?" introduction, one that I had always associated with James Brown after hearing same on his live albums. Listening to Redding do "Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag" you can hear how into it he was, seeming not to want to end the song. Eventually, after passing the ten minute mark, he and the band shift abruptly into their cover of the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction". Regardless of the fact that he had already played it earlier in the set, it was a fitting high powered end to a terrific set and a tremendous run of shows.

Otis Redding - Live At The Whisky A Go Go: The Complete Recordings
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Stream on Spotify

Tracklist: Click on song title to listen.

Friday April 8, 1966

Set 1:
01. Introduction
02. I Can't Turn You Loose
03. Pain in My Heart
04. Good To Me
05. Just One More Day
06. Mr. Pitiful
07. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction

Set 2:
01. I'm Depending on You
02. I've Been Loving You Too Long
03. Good to Me
04. Security
05. Respect
06. Just One More Day
07. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
08. Any Ole Way
09. These Arms of Mine
10.I Can't Turn You Loose
11. Pain in My Heart
12. Good to Me
13. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction

Saturday April 9, 1966

Set 1:
01. Introduction
02. Mr. Pitiful
03. Good to Me
04. Respect
05. Just One More Day
06. I Can't Turn You Loose
07. Ole Man Trouble
08. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction

Set 2:
01. Introduction
02. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
03. Any Ole Way
04. I've Been Loving You Too Long
05. I'm Depending on You
06. I Can't Turn You Loose

Set 3:
02. Security
03. Just One More Day
04. These Arms of Mine
05.(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
06. I Can't Turn You Loose
07. Chained and Bound
08. Respect

Sunday April 10, 1966

Set 1:
01. Introduction
02. I'm Depending on You
03. I Can't Turn You Loose
04. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
05.Chained and Bound
06. Just One More Day
07.Any Ole Way
08. I've Been Loving You Too Long
09.(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction

Set 2:
01. Introduction
02. Destiny
03. Security
04.Good to Me
05. Respect
06. Chained and Bound
07. Mr. Pitiful
08. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
09. Ole Man Trouble
10. I Can't Turn You Loose
11. A Hard Day s Night
12. These Arms of Mine
13. Papa's Got a Brand New Bag
14. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction

Bonus Video: Otis Redding performs "I Can't Turn You Loose" on the Ready Steady Go BBC program in 1966. There doesn't seem to be any footage available from the Whisky A Go Go, but this video shows what an Otis Redding performance was like in 1966.

Photos: Whisky A Go Go

Otis Redding's Website
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