CD Reviews

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Elvis Presley – Prince From Another Planet

By 1972, Elvis Presley had exorcised himself from one of his worst creative periods. While much of the 1960s represented a vast wasteland of forgettable films and soundtracks, his 1968 NBC special – and his subsequent 1969 “Memphis Sessions” had restored the luster to the “King’s” shine. Never a prolific touring artist, Presley took to the road as never before, with documentaries like “Elvis On Tour” and “That’s The Way It Is” featuring the singer at full...
 
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The Mannish Boys - Double Dynamite

If you consider yourself to be a Blues fan, you need to take serious heed of these words. The Mannish Boys are a group that you really need to pay some serious attention to. They manage to pay deep attention to the history of the music, while also pushing the boundaries a little. On disc one of this set, titled "Atomic Blues," the band is particularly effective. The opener, "Death Letter," features some downright mournful notes from Sugaray Radford, and definitely gets this disc started in fine fashion. Another high-water mark on disc one is ...
 
Robert Kinsler & TJR

Music Worth Buying - Brandi Carlile and 7Horse

Orange County Register (CA) music critic Robert Kinsler and his co-host, TJR review new CDs. This week we look at Brandi Carlile new album "Bear Creek" recommended for fans of American Rock and "Let The 7 Horse Run" by 7Horse which TJ describes as Americana on Grunge.
 
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Rock’s Greatest Names Celebrated Across New DVDs

Several of rock music’s most influential artists are showcased on recently-issued DVD releases. Fans of the Doors, the Who, Queen and the Beatles all have something to celebrate this holiday season. Artist: The Doors. Title: Live at the Bowl ‘68 (Eagle Rock Entertainment). You might be interested in buying this if you like: The Doors, the Zombies, Jefferson Airplane. Tell me more: After a five-year period dominated by the Beatles and Rolling Stones, the emergence of California-spawned bands such as Credence Clearwater Revival (CCR)...
 
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Keith & Kristyn Getty - Hymns For The Christian Life

Husband and wife songwriting team Keith & Kristyn Getty have definitely made an impact on the Christian Hymn market as of late. Highly respected for writing songs such as "In Christ Alone," the couple has carved out quite the reputation in the genre. This disc features many songs that could very well become standards, with tracks such as "Oh, How Good It Is" and "Christ Is Risen, He Is Risen Indeed" designed to make an impact on the style. Personally...
 
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Hank Williams – The Lost Concerts

Artists such as Hank Williams or Patsy Cline almost seem like they are mythical figures at times more than real people. Both performers created their body of work in just a little over five years, and have been gone a lot longer than they were alive. It’s always interesting when you get to hear snippets of the real personalities behind the music. In this never-heard-before collection, two concerts are featured. Concert number one takes place in...
 
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Sammy Kershaw – A Sammy Klaus Christmas

In making his second Christmas album, Sammy Kershaw said that his goal was to simply make an album that was fun to listen to and to bring back a few memories of the Yuletide season. There were no major statements to make, just an album to enjoy whether you were Christmas shopping or having a get-together. I think Kershaw and Co. accomplished that feat. Starting with a warm and fuzzy reading of “Twas’ The Night Before...
 
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Donna Ulisse – All The Way To Bethlehem

Donna Ulisse has long been recognized as one of Country and Bluegrass Music’s most distinctive talents. Her work for Atlantic Records in the 1990s went sadly unnoticed by radio, though her 1991 single “Trouble At The Door” was a song that should have been heard by the masses. Her Bluegrass work the past few years has fared much better, as she has netted several awards for her sterling efforts. All that said, this may very well be her defining moment as an artist– and as a writer, having written or co-written each...
 
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Francesca Battistelli – Christmas

Christmas albums are a strange type of release. You only spend about six weeks each year listening to them, but if one strikes a chord within you, chances are you will return to it again and again. Look at Elvis’s Christmas Album from 1957, or Once Upon A Christmas by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. The latter was released in 1984, but to this day, I know where my copy is. So, I was intrigued when I received my copy of the Yuletide album...
 
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The Grass Cats – The Mountains, My Baby, And Me

There’s nothing finer than good Bluegrass music. You know what I am talking about. When the banjo is ringing like a bell in the night, the fiddle is sawing dust, and the guitar work sounds like it could be coming from Lester Flatt himself. At the same time, there’s nothing worse than when the fiddle player is two beats behind the mandolin player, who is about a beat ahead of the lead vocalist, who has his mind on that stunning blonde on the front row...
 
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Bobby Bare – Darker Than Light

Though Bobby Bare started making records fifty years ago, he might very well stand as an ongoing definition of the “Americana” genre. During his career, Bare has had success with Traditional Country, the Nashville Sound, Outlaw Country, and even an occasional novelty tune. In a sense, he puts it all together – save the novelty, with this inaugural recording on Plowboy Records, a label started in part by Shannon Pollard, grandson of Eddy...
 
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Black Country Communion Project - Afterglow

Legendary producer Kevin ”Caveman” Shirley put the rock guts back into Rush in the 1980s when they started to get too keyboard and synth oriented. Guitarist Alex Lifeson was asked to ditch the reverb and Neal Peart the electric drums. The problem being addressed was strikingly clear and indicative of the Eighties. “The songs had no “balls,” Shirley said. “They were thin so I was hell bent on making a heavy record.” No such issue befalls his Black Country Communion project. The Anglo/American hybrid is unfairly...
 
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Shannon Whitworth & Barrett Smith – Bring It On Home

The duo of Shannon Whitworth and Barrett Smith have been performing together for a while. Smith has been one of the key ingredients in Whitworth’s backing ensemble. However, on this album, the two are equals, as they have gone back and revived some of America’s greatest standards.The songs on here definitely hit the mark and bring back many memories. The duo slays the opening cut, and in doing so, reveal a secret in doing a...
 
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Taylor Swift – Red

In case you didn’t know, Taylor Swift has a new album out. Of course, due to the unprecedented media blitz that she and Big Machine embarked on last week, you would have had to be hiding in a cave not to know the reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year was back with a new release. I think it’s a safe assumption that by the time you read this, the album will have become her second straight to scan one million in a week – another unprecedented...
 
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Reviews: Freddie Mercury. Don McLean and George Martin

Sights and sounds abound on new DVD/Blu-ray collections - the late Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury, singer-songwriter Don McLean and Beatles producer George Martin fêted on new releases. Artist: Freddie Mercury. Title: The Great Pretender (Eagle Rock Entertainment). You might be interested in buying this if you like: Queen, Foxy Shazam. Tell me more: Freddie Mercury was one of rock music’s most original voices, with an amazing sky-reaching tenor and oversized persona to match. And while ...