December 03, 2008


We've recovered from the mess that was our site collapse. With all that behind us, we now only have the stress of the holidays coming up. Stress enough. By the way, I'm beginning to get reports that the Black Sabbath SACD (Paranoid) has been cancelled (or is unattainable), with the likelihood that Brain Salad Surgery (ELP) SACD is not far behind. I'm trying to check on this as it would be a crying shame should both titles on SACD were eliminated especially since they are so obviously done.

Well...we have a little bit for you today but not much. But before we sign off for today, Lindsay Planer wanted me to let you know that we should have weekly editions of As The Disc Spins throughout the month of December. These should make great Holiday Buyers' Guides for readers interested in DVDs and Box sets. Lindsay will try to fill each column with at least five sets on review.

We're going to make this short and get right to the meager offerings that we have for today but I'll get a few reviews up for Friday as well as introduce the #17 entry of Albums You MUST Hear Before You Die!

We'll see you back here on Friday.

For the long promised Albums You MUST Hear Before You Die! list (#16), I will be posting a letter each post until exhausted (there were only 17 21 25 27 29 30 31 32 33 34 emails).  Some were only a few titles, some only one.  But there were more than a few that were massive and a few extended, well-detailed lists.  I’ll post them as I received them.  Today, I have a list of 25 classic albums +3 tunes with commentary. Thanks to Patrick for his list:

RUSH- "Power Windows"- My All-Time favorite band, having the pleasure of seeing them 63 times. Having cut my teeth on "Hemispheres", this is the disc I go to when I want to hear the band in a "emotionally experimental" state. Start at track two and take it to the end.
ELTON JOHN- "Tumbleweed Connection"- Outstanding follow up to "Elton John"; in my book everyone should own "Elton John" through "Blue Moves."
AXE- "Offering"- Great hot weather music for the park or beach. One of melodic rock's most underrated bands. Solid.
TOMITA- "The Planets"- Very early intro to electronic keyboard wizardry. Might not hold up to today's technological gurus, but this was an eye-opener at first listen. 
GENESIS- "Seconds Out"- I must have purchased several different copies of this gem (Album, CD, Japanese Import Album, Remastered CD, Japanese Remastered Mini-LP CD), but they all contain a live album that not only sounds phenomenal, but is a very emotional listen while navigating through it. The final songs presented, "Cinema Show/Los Endos", will completely blow you out of your socks. Play this one at full volume to test your system. The low end supplied by Tony Banks' foot pedals will bring down the house.
JOHNNY VAN ZANT- "Round Two"- Great "Florida Rock" from little brother. This is memorable because they played the Park West in Chicago supporting this album, and literally about 25 people showed up. They played their GUTS out as if the world was ending. Lead guitarist Robbie Gay gave a completely unforgettable performance (where is he now?!?!?).
GAMMA "1", "2", "3"- Ronnie Montrose project that was eye opening and jawdropping at the same time. Lead singer Davey Pattison gives very strong performances by up by Ronnies guitar wizardry. Couldn't wait for GAMMA "4" to be released, sine the first three came pretty quick. Then waited.....and waited. Pattison then pairs with Robin Trower for some juicy stuff. Gamma "4" FINALLY comes to light a few years back. A great set of discs.
WHO- "Quadropenia"- What can you say about this that hasn't been said. I much prefer this over "Tommy." Another "multi purchase."
CAMEL- "Dust And Dreams"- Everything Camel came out with was flawless. Andy Latimer's guitar work is so beautiful to listen to. This concept piece ebbs and flows with great emotion. Everyone should have at least one Camel disc in their quiver.
PINK FLOYD- "Animals"- Everyone has their Floyd favorite, this one for me probably due to the fact I saw this show at Soldier Field Chicago from about 100 feet, dead center. Great playing from Gilmour. The sounds took center stage versus the conceptual lyrical bend of the next albums. [Editor: I was here too].
BERLIN- "Count Three And Pray"- My favorite female vocalist of all time. For such a diminutive figure, Terri Nunns' pipes are HUGE. This album guests David Gilmour, no doubt due to producer Bob Ezrin. I felt very fortunate to see this tour, and this was always a not-to-be-missed show any time they visited Chicago.
UFO- "Strangers In The Night"- Live from the International Amphitheater in Chicago, circa 1979. I was fortunate to attend this show band (in smokey haze, I must admit), Schenker in his laced up to the crotch leather boots. It is nice to have this disc as a document for my memory banks. A great recording that captures the full power that the band offered live.
CHINA CRISIS- "Flaunt The Imperfection"- Precise recording, due to Walter Becker's flawless production skills. Find this disc and put in your cart- stat!
QUEEN- "Innuendo"- My favorite Queen album because it is a bit less pompous and grandiose than previous oferings. Heartfelt songs and great playing. This was the beginning of the end.
ULTRAVOX- "Quartet"- Quirky, "experimental" 80's piece, produced by George Martin. Hard to categorize. A "Top Five Ever" concert at Chicago's Aragon Ballroom had a ultra theatrical set design that was visually stunning.
BEE GEES- "Main Course"- Pre Saturday Night Fever, mind you. Better developed than their earlier works.
PORCUPINE TREE- "Coma Divine"- Yes, there is a pattern to my choices. Great songwriting, state of the art production, and aurally provocative. I had seen this bands discs at my local record swaps forever, and I inquired with my favorite vendor about them. He was very surprised that I didn't have anything from them. So I bought "Coma Divine", went to my car a popped it in the player. Minutes later, I went back into the vendor, salivating. I purchased everything he had. I have since been a huge supporter of everything that Steven Wilson is associated with. And he is, without a doubt, the Master Of The 5.1 Mix.
MASSIVE ATTACK- "Mezzanine"- Trip-Hop pioneers gives the listener an ultra hypnotic soundscape. The best "chill" around.
THE EXPLORERS- S/T- Phil Manzanera and Andy McKay (Roxy Music) project. Kind of a "mini" Roxy, with flawless musicianship and stellar songs. Seek this out.
TheThe- "Soul Mining"- First official release after the initial "Uncertain Smile" EP, elusive Matt Johnson's "art project" turned out to be a "go to" party favorite. EVERYONE loved this!
QUEENSRYCHE- "Warning"- 1st album from one of Seattle's finest. Bellowing vocals, twin leads, cannon drums. Super tight, imaginative heavy rock. Album ending song "Roads To Madness" is their "Stairway to Heaven."
THIN LIZZY- "Live/Life"- Career ending live album had Philip near the end. Super emotional set covered all the Lizzy bases. "The Sun Goes Down" tugs at my giblets everytime I hear it. Classic British crowd in the mix really set the ambiance.
MARILLION- "Misplaced Childhood"- A progressive masterpiece from start to finish. Steven Rothery may be second to Gilmour as far as British rock guitarists go.
So that's my 25, but I can't sign off until I mention three VERY IMPORTANT GEMS-
JOHNNY RIVERS- "Secret Agent Man"
FLAT AND SCRUGGS- "Theme From The Beverly Hillbillies"

We're going to keep the Best Album of ALL Time up for a long while as we continually update it. But I'll say this: The Beatles took the lead with not only The White Album but also the fact that they have been selected with two albums. Like The Albums You MUST Hear Before You Die! run, which does not show signs of stopping (I'm still getting emails, which I have no problem with and encourage - Send Them In), I'm hoping that this new thing stays strong. Send in your selection (one only, please) for the album that is the ruler of all.

If you have missed the last As The Disc Spins (updated), check it out here.

To access the previous site and catch up, click here.






Savoy Jazz have a few albums coming in 2009 that will initially include a collection by Judy Garland called Love Songs (y'know...for that mystical holiday known as Valentine's Day). It will be joined by a 2CD Various Artists collection called Most Relaxing Classical Music for Weddings in the Universe, and Blending Times from Ravi Coltrane. All Savoy Jazz titles are scheduled for January 13.

Bee Gees fans should watch intently for a 3CD Deluxe Edition of Odessa (1969). This album will contain a whole lot of history with alternate versions and mixes, demos, Mono album versions, and a vocal version. And of course, the original tunes of the album. This Deluxe Edition is being planned for reissue on January 13 by Reprise Records.

Sire Records will release East of Angel Town by Pop artist, Peter Cincotti on January 13.

Nonesuch Records will release an LP for Dan Auerbach of his album title, Keep It Hid. It is planned for January 20.

We mentioned a Rush compilation scheduled for January 27 called Retrospective 3. It will now have an alternative version of the album with a combined CD/DVD package. It is scheduled for release on the same date of January 27 by Atlantic Records.

Here's my favourite reissue of the day and its coming on Vinyl LP. Nonesuch Records will release a 2LP version of My Life in the Bush of Ghosts by Brian Eno and David Byrne. It is currently scheduled for February 3. Very nice!!



Review - Magazine - The Complete John Peel Sessions - CD

Magazine was the influential band almost no one heard of. Do a poll amongst your peers and odds are that 99 out of...99 have not heard of them. Yet their albums were pretty fine works dating back to late '78 through their final year in 1981. This BBC Peel Sessions is a grand piece to have in your collection if you're a Magazine fan. You don't know who they are? No? then check them out and become a fan. The Complete John Peel Sessions is a good add in to a library of Magazine albums.





Review - David Byrne/Brian Eno - Whatever Happens Will Happen Tomorrow - CD

The last time that David Byrne (Talking Heads) and Brian Eno got together they created a the stunning My Life In the Bush of Ghosts. This new album is a collaboration that accentuates the fact that 1) these guys simply make great music together, and 2) Talking Heads should reform. Whatever Happens Will Happen Today is a fun album.




Front Page Review (FPR) - Project Grand Slam - Play - CD

Moody jazz is such sweetness to enjoy and very hard to ignore if done right.  The debut album by Project Grand Slam (made up of important jazzmen, Robert Miller, Haim Cotton, Ron Thaler, and Gilad Ronen, who have individually played with more known musicians so as to impress immensely) called Play takes the best kinds of jazz and produces 13 superb jazz pieces that include a gorgeously repeatable vocal track with “The Captain of her Heart” as well as a bonus instrumental version of the 1986 hit classic by Double.  The song is perfectly sung by Judie Tzuke, which represents the only vocal track on this album of jazz club tunes.  In addition to the previously mentioned song, five tracks found on this album have been featured in Lipstick Jungle, a TV series on NBC starring Brooke Shields (“Out of Tahini,” “Ode to Jerry,” “Riding the Berks,” “Heat 2007,” “Studio One”).  At times, this album wants to snuggle up with you and at other times, move you around.  You will enjoy the tunes found on Play, especially their wonderful version of “The Captain of Her Heart.”  **** (4 Stars)











Copyright 2002-2009 Matthew Rowe.
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212 Frech

"Even though most of the people I knew in my youth are gone, I still reach out to them..." Norman Maclean - Paraphrase

"...we should enjoy every sandwich." -- Warren Zevon
"Buy the ticket, take the ride." -- Hunter S Thompson
" best wake up 'fore tomorrow comes creepin' in...: -- Mark Farner (Grand Funk Railroad)
"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be." -- Kurt Vonnegut
"Because they wouldn't let me go for three..." -- Woody Hayes (OSU)
"Show me peaceful days before my youth has gone" -- Neil Diamond (Serenade)