Eagle Rock Keeps Soaring With Santana’s Latest Live Release

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision/Montreux Sounds

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision/Montreux Sounds

Thank goodness for Carlos Santana.  And Thank goodness for Eagle Rock Entertainment.  This has been stated before already with the 2012 release of Carlos Santana: Greatest Hits Live at Montreux 2011.  Now Eagle Rock has finished what it started with the release of Santana’s performance that same year with fellow guitar legend John McLaughlin (The Mahavishnu Orchestra).  It has already been noted of seeing Carlos Santana and company live before that to see these musicians perform live is to not just see a concert.  Seeing Carlos Santana and his band mates live is to truly take part in a musical experience.  That applies in this brand new release just as much as in Eagle Rock’s previous live Santana Blu-ray.  The musical experience is just one portion of what makes Santana & McLaughlin: Live at Montreux 2011 such a joy for music aficionados.  Tied directly into the experience is the show’s set list.  Just as with Santana’s previous live release via Eagle Rock, this show’s set list feels more like one giant jam session than a specifically structured set list.  This is far better than anyone could realize.  And lastly, audiences with HDTVs will appreciate the clarity of the recording’s sound and picture.  Those with surround sound home theater systems will especially appreciate that clarity.  Together with the set list and the general performance, it is one more factor that reminds audiences why Eagle Rock Entertainment is the leader of the pack in live recordings.

Taking in a performance of Carlos Santana and his band mates is more than simply taking in a performance from the highly talented musicians.  Taking in a performance of these individuals is taking in a full musical experience.  This is just as true in Santana & McLaughlin: Invitation to Illumination as it was on Carlos Santana: Greatest Hits Live at Montreux 2011.  It is incredible to see Santana and his band mates sharing the stage throughout the two-hour plus performance.  Unlike so many other bands out there today, Santana steps back on multiple occasions, allowing his band mates to get their fair share of time in the limelight.  Simply put, he not only talks the talk, but walks the walk, too.  Such humility, willingness to share the spotlight, and talent shows why Santana is still one of the greatest guitarists in modern music history.  Audiences that have not yet gotten to see Eagle Rock’s previous performance from Santana and company will be in awe at the talent of both drummers Dennis Chambers and Santana’s own wife, Cyndi Blackman Santana.  Blackman Santana’s skill with the sticks is unparalleled.  Watching her perform whether with the rest of the band or by herself on her drum solo is like watching controlled chaos.  By contrast, Chambers’ own performance behind his kit is the picture of talent and composure.  Chambers’ body language is one of someone that is entirely relaxed.  Yet his playing would seem otherwise.  It’s an amazing juxtaposition.  The band overall presents such talent throughout its performance. 

The band’s performance throughout the two-hour plus concert is the central point of the recording.  Also to be taken into consideration in the overall presentation is the show’s set list.  The set list for this concert was comprised largely of songs from the classic 1973 album, Love Devotion Surrender.  However, fans will also take note early on of the medley of songs including covers of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’, Bob Dylan’s ‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’ and saxophonist John Coletrane’s ‘Peace on Earth’.  It even contains a cover of Albert Ayler’s ‘Our Prayer.’  The cover of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ was the highest of highlights throughout the medley of tunes.  From the guitar work of both Santana and McLaughlin to David K. Matthews’ keyboards to every part in between, it is a cover that would make both Jimmy Page and Robert Plant proud if they see this performance.  The same can be said of the late John Bonham’s son, Jason, too.  While it’s a cover, one can’t help but think to one’s own self, which version is really better?  Zeppelin’s version or this updated take on the classic song?  That’s a tough call.  But what can be said is that it is just as good as the original, if not better.  It is an amazing point in the overall performance.  Audiences will of course each find their own moment that they will call their favorite.  This is just one of so many from which audiences will be able to choose.  And it’s just one of so many that make Invitation to Illumination such a joy for audiences of all ages.

The set list and the general performance work together with this new release to make it one of the year’s best live recordings.  There is one more factor that audiences should consider in examining what makes it one more expert release from Eagle Rock Entertainment.  That factor is the presentation’s audio and video mix.  The audio and video mix of this presentation is right on par with each live recording already released so far by Eagle Rock Entertainment this year.  Those with home theater surround sound systems and the ability to set the audio on their HDTVs to a music setting will especially appreciate this.  Those audiences will be entirely enveloped by the concert and see just why taking in a performance by Carlos Santana and his band mates is in fact not just taking in a performance, but being part of a true musical experience.  Santana & McLaughlin: Invitation to Illumination Live at Montreux 2011 is available now in stores and online.  Fans can keep up with the latest news and more from Carlos Santana online at http://www.santana.com and http://www.facebook.com/carlossantana

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Deep Purple Live Is 2013′s First Great Live Recording

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/earMusic

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/earMusic

Eagle Rock Entertainment has picked up 2013 where it left off 2013.  It starts off the New Year as the continuing leader in live recordings.  The label has started off the year with another live release from the one and only Deep Purple.  Audiences will remember that the label released Deep Purple’s 1999 concert from Australia last year.  This time, audiences are taken even farther back in time with a recording of the band’s 1975 performance in Paris.

Everybody knows that Paris is known as the “City of Love.”  But when Deep Purple came through in 1975, it became the “City of Rock and Roll.”  This landmark concert recorded April 17th, 1975 at the Palais de Sports in Paris would be the last time that the band’s guitarist Ritchie Blackmore would perform live with the band before leaving to form Rainbow.  The entire show starts off with a blazing performance of the band’s classic ‘Burn.’  Singer David Blackmore’s vocals were above par here and throughout the entire set.  And the rest of the band barely lets up either as the band launches into the set’s second song, ‘Stormbringer.’  This hard rocker is one more example of everything that was once great with rock and roll.  And now that Eagle Rock Entertainment and earMusic have unearthed it and the other songs that comprise this classic concert, a whole new generation of audiences can learn what true great rock and roll is all about especially in live form.

The enjoyment doesn’t end with ‘Stormbringer.’  The guitar solos and the impromptu jam session of ‘The Gypsy’ is another great moment from this classic live recording.  It’s one more example of everything that was once right with rock and roll.  The jam session that the band breaks into here is one of those moments in which audiences can simply close their eyes and really experience the song as if they are really there.  The band continues to impress after the incredible experience of ‘The Gypsy’ with the harder edged style of ‘Lady Double Dealer.’  Again [Ritchie] Blackmore shines here.  One can only wonder in listening to this song (and the recording’s other pieces) what it would have sounded like had Blackmore ever teamed up with Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page.  Blackmore shows here and throughout the recording that he’s as good as Page if not better.  One can’t deny drummer Ian Paice’s expert timekeeping throughout this song and the rest of the record, either.  Considering that, one can’t help but wonder what a side by side bill with both Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin at that time would have been like.  It never hurts to dream, right?

So much more could be said of this landmark performance.  But that would take too much time and too much space.  It goes without saying that this entire concert experience will take DP’s more experienced audiences back to a better time.  And for those who might be new to the music of Deep Purple, this makes for an equally impressive first impression.  It serves as an excellent intro to the band’s history and everything that made (and makes) it great.  The music makes for a great live experience from beginning to end.  But the music would have been nothing without the concert’s expert audio mix.  In considering that this concert recording is nearly four decades old, the fact that recording equipment in 1975 could so expertly capture the recording is amazing in itself.  That the recording has stood the test of time for so many decades and re-mastered to sound just like a listener was there today makes this recording that much more impressive.  To make the recording even more impressive, Eagle Rock and earMusic have also included an interview David Coverdale, Ian Paice and Glenn Hughes with this new release.  The twenty-minute plus interview has the band members discussing how the band originally met and formed, the genesis of its songs and much more.  This is an original interview with the band members from.  It is not something new.  Bonus feature or not, it makes the record that much more worth the money.   This along with the equally impressive set list and audio mix makes this new live release the first great live release of 2013.  It is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online at http://www.eagle-rock.com

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Yardbirds Leave A Lasting Impression With Making Tracks

Courtesy:  MVD Visual

Courtesy: MVD Visual

When one thinks of the famed band, The Yardbirds, the names that instantly come to mind are:  Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page.  While this latest lineup of the iconic band may not boast those names, its new live release, Making Tracks shows that the band is still one of rock’s elite.  Original members Chris Dreja and Jim McCarty are still on board.  For its latest tour, the pair has brought on Ben King, Andy Mitchell, and Dave Smale.  And if the current lineup’s new release shows anything, it shows that this band’s torch is burning as bright as ever as it has been passed to a new generation of musicians.

Making Tracks is one of the absolute must see releases of the year for anyone who has any interest in classic rock or simply great music in general.  The band’s blues rock based sound throughout the double disc presentation encompasses where music has been and where it is still going.  It’s really a sound that transcends generations.  Audiences are offered so many great songs in this new release.  Among some of the band’s finest songs are the likes of the classic ‘Heartfelt Soul’, ‘For Your Love’ and the equally well known, ‘Train Kept Rolling.’  Most audiences might recognize this song for fellow classic rockers Aerosmith’s take on the song.  Who did this song better will be left up to audiences.  But there’s no denying that this incarnation of the Yardbirds smoked this song.  It’s one of those songs that translate quite well even on the small screen.  Even home audiences will find themselves singing along and tapping their feet to this piece.

The main concert alone makes this new release from one of rock’s most respected bands worth the watch.  The set’s second disc adds to the overall enjoyment with its in depth tour documentary.  It documents the work that goes into prepping for each of the tour’s shows and the rigors of life on the road in general.  There are also personal interviews with each of the new members of the band.  Audiences will raise their eyebrows as they learn from original member Chris Dreja that the rumor of him almost becoming the bassist for fellow legendary rockers Led Zeppelin was just that.  It was a rumor and nothing more.  He notes in his interview that he never had interest in any band other than the Yardbirds.  There is also the revelation that Dreja and McCarty never lost touch in all the time since the original Yardbirds band members went their separate ways.  That in itself is such a huge statement.

The band’s documentary adds so much extra enjoyment to this new release.  The band doesn’t leave things with the documentary, though.  What live release would be complete without an encore?  Also included to finish things off are bonus songs from the Jim McCarty band and even a pair of others.  One of the most interesting of the songs from the Jim McCarty band is the Edgar Allen Poe poem turned song, ‘Dream Within a Dream.’  This was first recorded by the Yardbirds’ original lineup.  It’s just one more wonderful part of the whole that is the new Yardbirds live release, Making TracksMaking Tracks is available in stores and online now.

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Metal Blade Strikes Gold Again With Brit Rockers’ New Album

COurtesy: Metal blade Records/Rise Above Records

We are currently living in the twenty-first century.  But don’t tell that to the British hard rock band Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell.  This British three-piece takes listeners back to the days of Led Zepplin, Black Sabbath, and so many others from rock’s Golden Era.  From the opening moments of Mark of The beast, audiences know that there is something special about this band. 

What’s really intriguing about “Don’t Hear It, Fear It” is that while the songs on this album do have some lyrical content, it’s obvious that much more emphasis was placed on the music.  There is nothing wrong at all with this.  The emphasis on the album’s musical side is what makes the music that enjoyable for listeners.  The album’s opener, ‘Mark of The Beast’ is solid proof of that.  Drummer Bill Darlington’s playing on this song is right up there with Bonzo himself, the great John Bonham.  He echoes Bonham’s playing both stylistically and sound-wise thanks to the work of producer and mixer Drew Mudd and Chris Fielding along with Ed Turner.  Even vocalist/guitarist Johnny Gorilla seems to channel Tommy Iommi and Jimmy Page all at the same time.  The two together, along with vocalist Louis Wiggett’s vocals make this a solid opener for this album.

The band channels other classic rock stylings on ‘iDeath.’  This is another excellently rounded hard rock song that any true purist metal head will love.  Again, vocalist/guitarist Johnny Gorilla and drummer Bill Darlington take center stage with their talents on this semi-Motorhead style song.  The slower, sludge rock vibe from the song is a drastic change from so many of today’s hard rock acts with their down tuned crunching guitars and cookie monster style growls.  It’s only one more highlight that’s offered throughout the course of this almost hour long record.  Yes, it’s a short record.  But it’s a good record.  In a time when so much modern metal is dominating playlists everywhere, this is a record that has turned out to be another surprise success and another hit from Metal Blade Records in 2012 along with the likes of Horisont and Gypsyhawk.

“Don’t Hear It, Fear It” is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct via Metal Blade’s website at http://www.indiemerch.com/metalbladerecords/band/admiral-sir-cloudesley-shovell.

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