September 08, 2008


As we begin to wind our way through the waning month of September, we can already see the signs of an approaching Fall season. That means that many holidays and remembrances are around the corner. One of the more traditional ones is Christmas. Christmas is a holiday that is enjoyed by a lot of folks throughout the world in many forms. As it shows signs of arriving, one of those signs is the announcement of Christmas or other Holiday music. And I have notice of a lot of them, so many that I decided to dedicated a post to it.

For those that send me annual Christmas playlists and CDs, I'm anxiously awaiting those.

In addition, I incurred some problems this weekend that were PC-related and needed to attend to those. That prevented me from doing the reviews that we have to format because of time constraints. We do have a lot of reviews all ready to go as well. I'll be posting them beginning on Wednesday, hoping to have them caught up by Monday of next post. Sorry about that but we'll get them out.

We are announcing our new Best Album Poll, this one for Black Sabbath. This is going to be interesting because we have several periods of the band that not only differentiate the band from each period BUT best works from each of those periods as they compete against each other. I'm already betting that Paranoid takes the Osbourne period, hands down. But I could be mistaken. Regardless, we're going to go for broke here and see just what YOU think is the best album from the band. Have fun bustin' your brain with this one. Send me your Best of Black Sabbath Albums Poll choices here. Qualify your choice all you want; it's encouraged.

As an aside, someone suggested that I create a page of past polls and their results. I might just do that.

I'm including a link to stream the new single from Keane called "Spiralling." Enjoy it.

We'll see you on Wednesday.

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.






Christmas is breaking out all over.  We have a range of upcoming Christmas albums that signal the arrival of the holiday better than the changing weather does (anymore). 

Rounder Records’ Zoe Records label will release a Christmas album of originals and covers from Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, Mary Chapin Carpenter on September 30 in anticipation of the season.  Called Come Darkness, Come Light, this album will explore the depths of Christmas’ spirit and why it resonates within us.  I look forward to this one.

Rounder Records also will release the first Holiday-themed album from Bela Fleck & The Flecktones.  It is called Jingle All the Way and is a covers classic set stamped with the sound of The Flecktones.  This is penciled in for September 30.

Island Records will release a Christmas album from Melissa Etheridge that combine Etheridge originals with a few classic covers (“Blue Christmas,” “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Merry Christmas, Baby”).  The album, which is called A New Thought For Christmas (and sports a great cover), is slated for release on September 30.

Verve releases several collections beginning with the September 23 release of It’s Christmas from LedisiIt’s Christmas will feature 12 songs, five of them original compositions.

Epic Records will release Christmas Spirit by Los Lonely Boys on October 14.

Rhino Records will release Christmas by Al Jarreau on October 14.

Hip-O Records will release a Various Artists package of 14 classic Christmas tunes called Classic Rock Christmas.  This compilation will features songs by Elton John (“Step into Christmas”), Bryan Adams (“Christmas Time”), The Moody Blues (“December Snow”), Lynyrd Skynyrd (“Run Rudolph Run”), Richie Sambora (“O Come all Ye Faithful”), with even more by Styx, Joan Osborne, Timbuk 3, .38 Special, Elvin Bishop, Pat Benatar, and more than these.  Classic Rock Christmas is planned for October 14.

Epic Records will release a collection called Winter Songs featuring female singer-songwriters like KT Tunstall (“Sleigh Ride”), Katy Perry (“White Christmas”), Fiona Apple (“Frosty the Snowman”), Emily Wells (“O Holy Night”), and Priscilla Ahn (“Silent Night”), amongst other current female stars.  Winter Songs is scheduled for October 14 in both CD and LP formats.

Hip-O Records and Sanctuary Records will release a Christmas CD from .38 Special called The Best of .38 Special: The Christmas Collection.  This album will contain ten traditional songs.  It is slated for September 23.

Razor & Tie Records will release The Miracle of Christmas by Neil Sedaka on October 7.

The Essential NOW series joins the festivities with their own release of a 25-track collection of popular versions of songs, NOW That’s What I Call Christmas.  In this collection you’ll hear “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” – John Lennon/Yoko Ono; “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” – Andy Williams; “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” – Dean Martin; “A Holly Jolly Christmas” – Burl Ives; “Run Rudolph Run” – Chuck Berry; “Feliz Navidad” – Jose Feliciano; “Silent Night” – The Temptations; and a whole lot more that you’ll immediately recognize.  I have to admit…this is one hell of a playlist although I would have made a few substitutions.  It’s an impressive collection.  It will be released on September 23 by a combined effort with UMe, BMG/Sony, and EMI.

Motown steps in with their collection of Christmas tunes called Playlist Your Way, which collects Various Artists tunes from talent like Stevie Wonder (“Someday at Chrismas”), Jackson Five (“Santa Claus is Coming to Town”), The Miracles (“It’s Christmas Time,” “Christmas Everyday”), The Supremes (“Oh Holy Night”), The Temptations (“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and the previously unreleased “Jingle Bells”), and a few others.  It is planned for September 23.

Guess who’s cashing in on some re-found success?  That’s right…New Kids on the BlockColumbia is going to reissue the band’s old Christmas album, Merry, Merry Christmas, on October 14.

Verve Records will deliver a Remixed Christmas on September 23.  Remixed is an ongoing DJ series and this is the first Holiday-themed Remix album for this series.  Lot of classic Various Artists tunes here like “What a Wonderful World” – Louis Armstrong, The Orb Remix; as well as “Zat You, Santa Claus?,” also by Louis Armstrong called The Heavy Remix.  There are eleven champion songs altogether.

Brentwood Records will release Christmas Offerings by Third Day as a DVD.  It is slated for October 7.

Word Entertainment will release a Christmas title for Travis Cottrell called Ring the Bells.  This collection of eleven traditional songs (12 if you count within the medley) will be released on October 7.

We had also mentioned the upcoming Brian Setzer Orchestra issues of Christmas Rocks: The Best-of Collection, which contains 20 traditional classics (two previously unreleased), and Christmas Rocks: The Ultimate Christmas Collection, which brings together the CD AND the DVD (LA’s Universal Amphitheatre in 2004).  The DVD had been previously broadcast on PBS in edited form but here, you get the whole 100-minute show.  Both are planned for October 7 from Surfdog Records

Time/Life will assemble a collection of Xmas favourites that add a little steam into the mix.  The set is called A Sexy Christmas and will contain twelve snow-melting songs that mix the holiday with a little snuggle.  With songs like “Please Come Home for Christmas” (Aaron Neville), “Snowflakes of Love” (Toni Braxton), and “The Mistletoe Jam (Everybody Kiss Somebody)” (Brenda White-King w/ Luthor Vandross), the theme is certainly geared toward other things. The Various Artists package will be issued on  October 7.

Time-Life also offers a collection of well-known Christmas classics – “Silver Bells” (Doris Day), “The Little Drummer Boy” (Roger Whittaker), and “Winter Wonderland” (Elvis Presley) to name a few – along with a bonus CD-Rom of 473 Christmas recipes.  In addition, the set will come with a free one-year subscription to the magazine, Taste of Home.  The Various Artists collection is called Taste of Home: Home for Christmas.  It is slated for October 7.

MCA Nashville will release Classic Christmas by George Strait containing ten holiday favorites like “We Three Kings,” “Deck the Halls,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “We wish You a Merry Christmas, and six more.  Classic Christmas will release on October 7.

There is more Time/Life works coming that include the upcoming Radio City Christmas Spectacular DVD.  This video is expected on November 4.

Decca Records will release The Three Tenors at Christmas from the well-known trio of The Three Tenors (Carreras/Domingo/Pavarotti). In addition to this release, Decca will also release a similar Christmas title called Christmas With the Great SopranosThe Great Sopranos would be the trio of Fleming/Norman/Te Kanawa.  These albums are being pegged for release on October 14 and are scheduled for CD and DD (Digital Download).

Columbia will issue A Swingin’ Christmas by Tony Bennett featuring The Count Basie Big Band in both a standard CD package and a Deluxe digipak CD/DVD set.  The DVD will include Live performances and in-studio footage.  It is planned for October 14.

I’ve long told people that it is important to play classical music to children right from birth, leaving it on low in the child’s room.  It is supposed to enhance analytical skills, and other cognitive skills in those young and developing minds.  I’ve also stated that a child’s room should be awash in color and shapes as children will fixate and attempt to analyze all of this influx of mathematical and geometrical ticklers.  This principle is the reasoning behind My Baby’s Christmas, a collection of 15 Christmas classics presented by The London Boys’ Choir and The Vienna Symphony Orchestra.  This low-priced disc will be issued by Fuel Records on October 7.

Fuel Records will also release a collection of Christmas songs called Santa’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Christmas Party, also on October 7.  This collection enjoys the inclusion of classic traditional songs by Peter Noone (“The Holly & the Ivy”), The Archies (“Here Comes Santa Claus”), Lou Christie (“Christmas in New York”), Tommy Roe (“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”), Brenton Wood (“Winter Wonderland”), and The Happenings (“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”).  Other artists include Dwight Twilley, Andrew Gold, Canned Heat, Gary Lewis & the Playboys, Ron Dante, and The Ventures.  Sounds like a real party to me.  I like this title!

Crossover Records have a few Christmas albums on their slate.  The first is by Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies) and is called A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas.  It is on the schedule for October 14.  They also have one coming from Yo-Yo Ma called Songs of Love and Joy, which will be issued in a CD and a Limited Edition CD/DVD set.  It is expected on October 14.

Legacy and RCA will assemble a collection CD called Elvis Presley Christmas Duets.  This is planned for October 14.  This is a bit of studio gimmickry in the same way that Natalie Cole was able to duet with her father, Nat King Cole, through the magic of technology.  On this Elvis Presley duets album, he will be paired with singers like Gretchen Wilson (“Merry Christmas Baby”), Amy Grant (“White Christmas”), Anne Murray (“Silver Bells”), and Carrie Underwood (“I’ll be Home for Chistmas”).  There are others (what!! No Lisa Marie?...missed opportunity, RCA!!).  Definitely a good album for Elvis Presley fans.

Yo-Yo Ma has carefully assembled a collection of guest-assisted Christmas favourites called Songs of Peace & Joy.  This set will include 22 songs with assists by the likes of Diana Krall, Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile, James Taylor, Dave Brubeck, Chris Botti, and many, many others.  This album will be released in a standard CD digipak package and a Deluxe CD/DVD set that will add a 60-minute film of behind-the-scenes sessions footage, a gallery, and five music videos (“Here Comes the Sun” w/James Taylor; “You Couldn’t be Cuter” w/Diana Krall; “The Wexford Carol” w/Alison Krauss; “My Favorite Things” w/Chris Botti; and “Touch the Hand of Love” w/Renee Fleming).  This one is on my list.  Both are planned for October 14.

Columbia and INO Records will release O Holy Night by Sara Groves on October 7.




Concert Review - Jethro Tull - Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre - August 09, 2008

Jethro Tull has provided musical entertainment and originality for decades. In their show at the Jones Beach theatre on August 09, 2008, they continue well into their 30+ years of music. Sam Rosenthal attended this show and wrote up his assessment. Read on...



Review - Hawksley Workman - Between the Beautifuls / Los Manlicious - CD

Hawksley Workman was a busy man this year, releasing two albums in the span of 6 months. James Hrivnak does the earwork for you and explores both albums, Between the Beautifuls and Los Manlicious.


Review - Ascension of the Watchers - Numinosum - CD

Ascension of the Watchers is a strange name for an album of this nature, but don;t let it change your mind on what it might provide to your sense of good music. Numinosum is a very good effort.








Copyright 2002-2008 Matthew Rowe.
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Disclaimer: various news pieces may state a specific media publication or program as a source. All other news is considered 'rumour' only. That goes double for release dates.

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
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