‘Late Nights And Heartbreak’ Is One Of 2016’s Most Surprising Albums

Courtesy: Record Kicks

Courtesy: Record Kicks

Hannah Williams is one of the music industry’s most well-kept secrets.  The UK-based singer first made a name for herself in 2012 with her debut album Hill of Feathers.  That album’s lead single ‘Work It Out’ earned her fame around the world.  Its companion video has more than one million views.  Four years and thousands of tour miles later—with a number of sold out shows along the way—the young soul powerhouse has released her follow-up to Hill of Feathers in the form of her sophomore album Late Nights and Heartbreak.  While her debut album set her on her path to fame, this latest offering could very well be the record that makes her a mainstream hit.  One song supporting that statement is the socio-politically charged ‘Ain’t Enough.’  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Woman Got Soul’ is another song that shows the strengths of Late Nights and Heartbreak.  It will be discussed later.  Williams’ cover of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Dazed and Confused’ is one more song showing the strengths of this album, and is hardly the last example of those strengths, too.  In fact, every one of the songs included in this album could be cited in exhibiting what makes this record stand so proud.  All things considered, Late Nights and Heartbreak proves to be one of this year’s top new independent albums if not one of the year’s top new albums overall.

Hannah Williams’ sophomore album Late Nights and Heartbreak is one of this year’s top new independent albums and potentially one of the year’s top new albums overall.  That is exhibited throughout the album’s 13-song body crafted by Williams and her new backing band, The Affirmations.  One of the songs that best serves to show the album’s strengths is ‘Ain’t Enough.’  In terms of its musical arrangement, it echoes the arrangement presented in Marvin Gaye’s hit song ‘What’s Going On?’ but does so without merely replicating that arrangement.  Adam Holgate’s guitar licks and Jai Widdowson-Jones’ infectious beats join with the group’s horn section—Nicholas Malcom (trumpet), Liam Treasure (trombone) and John Pratt (baritone saxophone)—to make a rich sound that echoes Gaye’s timeless work but still maintains its own identity separate from that of Gaye’s song.  What’s even more amazing here is the fact that the group’s presentation feels so effortless.  There are a lot of acts out there who try way too hard to resurrect the sound of a certain era only to end up failing miserably in their efforts.  The Affirmations make it clear that it is not one of those acts in this composition.  Instead it shows itself to be an act that has clearly spent a long time perfecting its collective abilities.  The end result here, again, is a work that sounds wholly genuine.  In turn it turns out to be just one of so many standout arrangements presented in this album.  The song’s musical arrangement is clearly important to displaying the album’s overall strengths.  It is just one part of what makes the song stand out.  The song’s socio-politically charged lyrical content is just as important to note as its musical arrangement.

The musical arrangement presented in ‘Ain’t Enough’ is clearly an important part of the song’s presentation.  It is one clear example of what makes LNAH such a strong new effort from Hannah Williams.  It is just one part of what makes the song (and album) stand out.  The song’s lyrical content is just as important to note here as its musical arrangement.  Williams takes on the country’s political leaders in the song’s lyrics, her vocal delivery sounding like a hybrid of Nina Simone and Janis Joplin, if one can even begin to fathom such a combination.  She sings here, “It’s hard to believe/All these things that you say/When so much of what we have is being taken away/This ain’t a nightmare/No, this is real life/Wake up to all these problems/Cause they ain’t solved overnight…If this is you doin’ all you can/It definitely ain’t enough.”  She goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “Before you accuse/Take a look at yourself/Is peace what you want/Or is it more about wealth/Lining your pockets/Pulling wool over our eyes/Getting rich from selling weapons/Watching innocents die.”  There’s no doubt from here about the song’s topic.  Williams makes no bones about it here.  She is not happy about what the world’s political leaders are doing at the expense of the people. Yet she’s not screaming about it unlike so many acts out there today.  But it is definitely a concerted statement.  Again, it is a statement that would fit just as well with the protest songs of the 60s and 70s as it does with today’s socio-politically minded songs.  One could even argue that it outshines its modern counterparts.  When this is taken into consideration alongside the song’s infectious musical arrangement, the whole of the song shows clearly why it is one of the album’s strongest songs. In turn it shows in part why LNAH is a solid record in whole.  It is just one of the songs that supports the latter statement.  ‘Woman Got Soul’ is another example of what makes this record stand out.

‘Ain’t Enough’ is one of the strongest offerings from Hannah Williams’ new album Late Nights and Heartbreak.  It shows in part through its infectious musical arrangement an influence from the likes of Marvin Gaye, yet still maintains its own identity.  Even better is that The affirmations make what they do seem effortless and genuine.  When the song’s socio-politically minded lyrics are set against that arrangement, the end result is a song that will move people and transport them back to another era.  While both elements work to make this song clearly stand out, the song in whole is just one of this record’s most notable works.  ‘Woman Got Soul’ is another of the album’s most notable works.  Its musical arrangement is one reason that it stands out so clearly.  The song’s arrangement is led by Jones’ and keyboardist James Graham.  The pair forms the foundation for the song’s arrangement while Adam Holgate adds his own extra spice to the song through his guitar riff.  The trio’s arrangement is a mid-tempo groove that while laid back, is still infectious in its own right.  That’s especially the case as the group’s horns come in and help the song progress.  The arrangement presented in this song stands out clearly from that of ‘Ain’t Enough.’  It does a lot to make the song stand separate from LNAH’s other songs and still entertain audiences by itself.  As important as it is to the song’s presentation, it is just one part of what makes the song stand out.  The song’s lyrical content is just as important to note here as its musical arrangement.

The musical arrangement presented in ‘Woman Got Soul’ is key to the song because it clearly establishes the song’s identity separate from the other arrangements presented throughout LNAH.  It is a laid back piece that is still just as infectious as the album’s other arrangements.  While it is obviously an important piece of the song’s overall presentation, it is only one part of what makes the song such a strong effort.  The song’s lyrical content is just as important to note as its musical arrangement.  The song’s lyrical theme seems rather to the point as Williams sings, “There’s a lot in this world/That makes you do wrong/You see you got to think hard/If you wanna stay strong/There’s a lot of people/That can’t resist/Screwing up their whole lives…I was taught how to love, not how to fight/We don’t want no trouble/We don’t need no more/You’re so amusing/At a dance floor/All my women/Sing it with me/Show me how you do/Woman got soul.  The song evolves into a jam session of sorts from here with Williams and company eventually singing over and over again, “woman got soul/We don’t need no more.”  It has to be inferred through such simplistic lyrical content, that the song is one of female empowerment.  It seems like Williams and company are telling women to be proud of who they are and just get out there, not be one of those people who love drama and ruining their own lives.  If that is indeed the case, then in all honesty, it’s even better than Beyonce’s female empowerment anthem ‘Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)’ and the Destiny’s Child song ‘Independent Women.’  That’s a bold statement, and audiences will agree with it after comparing all three works.  That is especially the case when the song’s musical arrangement is set alongside its lyrical content.  Even as strong as it is in its combined musical and lyrical simplicity it is just one more of the songs included in this album that shows the album’s strengths.  Williams’ cover of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Dazed and Confused is another one of this record’s strongest efforts.

‘Aint’ Enough’ and ‘Woman Got Soul’ are both clear examples of what makes LNAH a solid new effort from Hannah Williams.  That is evidenced through the songs’ musical arrangements and their lyrical content, both of which stand firmly on their own merits.  They create identities for the songs that are separate from both one another and from the rest of the album’s songs.  While both songs stand clearly as two examples of what makes this record such a strong effort, they are just two of the album’s high points.  Williams’ take on Led Zeppelin’s ‘Dazed and Confused’ is yet another of the album’s many high points.  In regards to the song’s musical arrangement, the song maintains the original composition’s sound.  However, it also gives the song a little bit of a kick so to speak.  Rather than being the slower, more bluesy piece that Led Zeppelin crafted so long ago, this take on the song is more of an up-tempo piece.  The funk elements incorporated into this take from Williams and her fellow musicians in The Affirmations adds even more enjoyment to the song.  Even with the song’s original arrangement being stepped up here, the fact that it still stayed true to its source material still makes it a completely enjoyable work.  It makes the group’s take on the classic a work that Zeppelin’s fans, Williams’ fans and rock fans alike will appreciate.

The lyrics presented here have been slightly altered from the original, since they are performed from a female vantage point.  That aside, they are still largely the same as the original save for that one alteration.  Keeping that in mind, Williams’ delivery packs a punch that hits just as hard as that of Robert Plant.  Even more impressive is that it does this all while, again, giving the song its own identity even in that right.  Considering the group’s ability to balance the original composition with its own take on the song, it shows once more why this song is another of the album’s strongest points.  When it is joined with ‘Ain’t Enough,’ ‘Woman Got Soul,’ and the rest of the album’s songs, it becomes wholly clear why this latest effort from Hannah Williams is one of this year’s biggest surprises.  They reveal the album to be one of the year’s top new independent albums and potentially even one of the year’s top new albums overall.

Hannah Williams’ sophomore album Late Nights and Heartbreak is one of this year’s biggest surprises.  The 13-song album proves through its diverse musical arrangements and its equally varied lyrical topics to be one of the year’s top new independent albums and potentially even one of the year’s top new albums overall.  ‘Ain’t Enough,’ ‘Woman Got Soul’ and the group’s take on Led Zeppelin’s ‘Dazed And Confused’ each fully support those statements.  They are just some of the songs included in this record that do so, too.  ‘In Your Arms’ with its bittersweet musical arrangement and equally painful lyrical story is yet another example of what makes this record stand out among its competitors.  ‘Callin’ Me Back’ stands out on its own merits, too and adds even more enjoyment to this album.  Much the same can be said of the album’s closer, ‘Your Luck Can Change.’  Between those songs, the pieces more directly noted here, and the album’s other offerings, the whole of this record proves to be a work that is one of this year’s biggest surprises.  It will grip fans of funk, soul, and even R&B across the board with its stunning arrangements and equally strong lyrical content.  All things considered, it proves to be once more, one of the year’s top new independent albums and potentially one of the year’s top new albums overall.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on Late Nights and Heartbreak is available online now along with all of Hannah Williams’ latest news at:

Website: http://www.hannahsoulwilliams.bandcamp.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pg/hannahwilliamsandtheaffirmations

Twitter: http://twitter.com/hannahfwilliams

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Santana-McLaughlin Montreux Re-Issue Is Another Shining Beacon From Eagle Rock

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Forty-eight years ago a man named Claude Knobs founded the Montreux Jazz Festival. In the decades since its founding, the once jazz-only festival has grown to become one of the world’s most renowned festivals featuring acts from every one of the music industry’s genres. Sadly, Knobs passed away two years ago. But even in his absence, the festival has continued on and remained one of the world’s elite music festivals. And thanks to the efforts of the people at Eagle Rock Entertainment that reputation has been held strong due to the label’s partnership with Montreux Sounds. The companies’ partnership has resulted in a number of performances from the festival’s history being released in recent years. That list includes performances from the likes of: Stan Getz, Phil Collins, Etta James, ZZ Top, and The Raconteurs among so many others. Last week, that list grew just a little more when the companies revisited Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin’s 2011 Invitation to Illumination performance and re-issued the concert in a double-disc CD presentation. Originally released on DVD and Blu-ray in 2013, this latest release is just as enjoyable for those that might not already own the concert’s original DVD and/or BD presentation. Of course it is just as enjoyable for anyone that already owns said presentations, too. The main reason that it is so enjoyable is its set list. Just as with Eagle Rock’s 2012 Santana live release, Greatest Hits Live at Montreux 2011, this show’s set list feels more like one giant jam session than a specifically structured set list. By direct connection, the stage presence of the musicians on stage is just as noteworthy in the recording’s enjoyment and success. Last of note in this recording is the concert’s audio mix. Those with surround sound home theater systems will especially appreciate that clarity of the recording’s audio mix. Together with the set list and the band’s stage presence, that expert audio mix is one more factor that reminds audiences why Eagle Rock Entertainment is the leader of the pack in live recordings. Collectively, all three elements show why this recording is one of the best of this year’s crop of re-issues.

Eagle Rock Entertainment’s new double-disc presentation of Carlos Santana & John Mclaughlin’s performance at the 2011 Montreux Jazz Festival is not the first time that the recording has been released. Despite that, this audio-only presentation is just as enjoyable as the concert’s 2013 DVD and Blu-ray presentation of the concert. This applies both for those that already own the concert’s DVD and/or Blu-ray presentation and for those that have neither. The main reason that it is so enjoyable for all involved is its set list. The nearly two and a half hour performance (two hours and fourteen minutes to be exact) is composed of sixteen tracks that touch on quite a few different genres. There is a tribute to Led Zeppelin early on as Santana and company cover the legendary rock band’s hit single ‘Stairway to Heaven.’ There are also tributes to Miles Davis and John Coletrane later in the performance in the form of ‘Black Satin’ and ‘A Love Supreme’ respectively. There is also another tribute to Coletrane earlier in the show in the form of ‘Naima,’ which is another of the legendary sax player’s greatest hits. As if these numbers aren’t enough, there are also of plenty of other original pieces performed by Santana and his fellow musicians pulled from Santana and McLaughlin’s 1973 album Love Devotion Surrender. The combination of the artists’ covers and original compositions results in a set list that is rich and completely engaging. Being so rich and engaging, audiences won’t even realize that so much time has passed by the time they reach the concert’s finale performance. That in itself is the mark of a truly talented group of musicians. Speaking of the musicians’ collective talents, their talents are another reason that audiences will enjoy this latest release of Invitation to Illumination.

The extensive set list compiled for Invitation to Illumination is in itself plenty of reason for fans of Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin to pick up this newly re-issued concert recording. It runs nearly two and a half hours and spans some sixteen songs. At no point in that time will audiences ever find themselves checking the time as the concert progresses. Rather, they will find themselves becoming lost in the concert in the best way possible. That says quite a bit within itself. Of course the concert’s chosen set list is only part of what makes it so enjoyable. The stage presence of Santana and his fellow musicians is another reason that audiences will enjoy the show. Taking in a performance by 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 hear Santana and his band mates sharing the stage throughout the two-hour plus performance. Unlike so many other acts 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 will be in awe at the talent of both Dennis Chambers and Santana’s own wife, Cyndi Blackman Santana as they work behind their kits. 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. It’s yet another way in which the band’s stage presence shows itself to be an important part of the recording’s whole. Together with the show’s extensive set list, both elements show once again why Invitation to Illumination is a brightly shining live recording from Eagle Rock Entertainment.

The set list assembled for Invitation to Illumination and the stage presence of the assembled musicians are both key reasons that the recording is so entertaining for audiences. They are just part of the whole of the recording’s enjoyment in its new double-disc CD presentation. The concert’s final audio mix rounds out the reasons that the concert shines so brightly. Those with surround sound home theater systems will especially appreciate that clarity of the recording’s audio mix. That is not to say that those without a home theater system will be left out in the cold per se. Rather it is just to say that the audio mix really lends itself to a home theater system even having been recorded at an indoor venue. There is something about the combined talents of the musicians on stage that just gives the performance that much power. This includes both the concert’s more raucous moments and even its more reserved moments. Audiences will agree with this sentiment when they pick up this recording for themselves. Together with the concert’s set list and the performers’ stage presence, it becomes the finishing touch on a recording that is one more brightly shining recording from Eagle Rock Entertainment even having been previously released.

While it is not the first time that Eagle Rock Entertainment has released the concert, the company’s new double-disc CD presentation of Invitation to Illumination still shines just as brightly as the concert’s previous DVD and Blu-ray presentation. This is the case both for those that already own one or both of the previously released presentations and for those that don’t already own either. The show’s set list coupled with the stage presence and talents of the performers makes for plenty of enjoyment in its new re-issue. The concert’s expert audio mix makes it even more of a joy for audiences. All three elements taken together make Invitation to Illumination a concert that is just as enjoyable the second time around as the first. Santana & McLaughlin: Invitation to Illumination Live at Montreux 2011 is available now in stores and online. More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:

Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Eagle Rock Entertainment Off To A Solid Start In 2015 With Live At Knebworth

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Woodstock. Live Aid. Farm Aid. The Concert For New York City. These concerts are just some of the biggest concert events of the 20th century. As memorable and important as they are to the music industry and the history of modern popular music, they are only a small handful of the most important concerts held throughout the 20th Century. Next Tuesday, Eagle Rock Entertainment will add another concert to that list when it releases Live at Knebworth. The concert was held June 30th, 1990. Tabbed as “The Best British Rock Concert Of All Time,” it was held to raise money for Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy and for The Brit School For Performing Arts. Even a quarter of a century after it was originally held, it proves to be just as enjoyable a concert experience as any that have been held since, including those previously noted. One of the reasons it proves so enjoyable twenty-five years after it was originally held is its lineup. The show’s lineup consists solely of British acts, many of whom had themselves received the coveted Nordoff-Robbins Silver Clef Award at one point or another. Along with the acts tapped to perform at the benefit, their choice of songs for the concert adds to the concert’s enjoyment. Having noted both the concert’s lineup and the performers’ chosen songs, they would be nothing without equally notable production values. Thankfully, the audio and video both prove to be quality even a quarter of a century after the concert was first held. The audio has even been tweaked, creating a sound that especially those with home theater systems will appreciate. The combination of all three elements in this one presentation makes the package in whole even a great start to 2015 for Eagle Rock Entertainment.

When it was originally held on June 30th, 1990, Live at Knebworth was tabbed as being “The Best British Rock Concert Of All Time.” When compared to other major concert events such as Woodstock, Live Aid, Farm Aid, and others that have been held since, it proves to be more than just “The Best British Rock Concert Of All Time.” It proves to be one of the best concerts of all time, too. One reason for the concert being bestowed both titles is its lineup of performers and acts. The concert’s lineup is composed of some of the greatest British acts of the 20th Century including but not limited to names that today are music royalty. The list includes the likes of: Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Robert Plant, and Genesis. Audiences will be interested to find out that many of the acts tapped for the concert also were recipients of the Nordoff-Robbins Silver Clef Award. That aside, audiences will especially enjoy every act’s performance. From Clapton’s full on performance of ‘Tearin’ Us Apart’ to Paul McCartney’s emotional performance of ‘Hey Jude’ to Pink Floyd’s ethereal ‘Shine on You Crazy Diamond’ to its equally driving show closer ‘Run Like Hell,’ the acts chosen for this concert and their performances keep audiences fully engaged from start to finish, clearly showing the importance of their inclusion in the show.

Speaking of the songs , the songs chosen by the acts on the bill are just as important to the presentation in whole. That is because in large part, the songs chosen by each act are songs that were familiar to fans then and are just as familiar and popular with the current generation of fans. Dire Straits’ set included the hugely popular ‘Money For Nothin.’ Genesis included its beloved hit ‘Pinball Wizard’ in its set along with ‘Mama’ and ‘In The Midnight Hour’ among a number of other fan favorites. The Beatles’ ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ and ‘Hey Jude’ are even older than this recording. But they are just as popular with Beatles fans of all ages today as they were when Paul McCartney was part of the then Fab Four. So having both of those songs included in his set will create a sense of both joy and nostalgia among fans of both McCartney and the Beatles regardless of age. The sight of McCartney’s late wife Linda singing along, handling keyboard duties serves to enhance those feelings even more, this showing even more the importance of the set lists chosen by each act. Robert Plant’s mix of solo material and Led Zeppelin classics generates just as much enjoyment for anyone that has any knowledge of Plant’s career both on his own and as part of what remains one of the greatest rock bands of all time. The songs noted here are songs that are still played on classic rock radio stations across America and even the U.K. to this day. The fact that they were just as insanely popular back then as they are even today speaks volumes. It’s just a microscopic view of the impact of the acts’ set list on the enjoyment of this recording. There are plenty of other songs that could make that argument just as easily. And audiences will agree with that sentiment, even finding their own songs to make that argument when they pick up this recording for themselves next week. It still isn’t all that makes the concert so enjoyable for audiences. The quality of the footage both in terms of its video and audio lies at the base of everything. If not for the quality of the footage in both avenues, neither the acts nor their set lists and performances overall would be worth the watch.

The acts chosen for Live at Knebworth, their performances and set lists are all equally important to the concert’s overall enjoyment. However as important as each element proves to be, not one of them would be of any importance without the hard work of those charged with restoring the footage for its presentation here. Of course, being a live recording from Eagle Rock Entertainment, only the best is expected. And the best is what audiences get here. The audio has been re-worked and presented in DTS-HD. This will make anyone with a home theater system very happy as it will re-create with ear precision the feeling of actually being there. Even those without such a system will appreciate the work in question as the concert sounds just as good on a standard HDTV; especially one that allows audiences to switch to a “music” setting with their remotes. And while the original concert footage was recorded in standard definition, it doesn’t show thanks to the work of those charged with restoring the footage. Unlike so many older recordings that have been up-converted, the picture is relatively clear instead of grainy. While there is at least a little bit of that grainy look, it is hardly enough to work against the footage. Rather, it actually enhances that feeling of nostalgia created by the acts’ set lists. So to that extent, the work of those charged with restoring the concert’s footage has paid off even more than they might have known. Coupled with the set lists, the performances, and the very list of performers, the restoration work done for this concert becomes part of a whole that any classic rock fan will wholly appreciate, and that proves once more why Eagle Rock Entertainment remains today the leader in live recordings.

Live at Knebworth will be available on SD-Blu-ray next Tuesday, March 17th. Proceeds from the sale of the concert will continue to raise funds for Nordoff-Robbins Therapy and the Brit School for Performing Arts. More information on this and other releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at:

Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Eagle Rock Entertainment Releasing Classic All-Star Benefit Concert This Spring

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Eagle Rock Entertainment will release what is one of its biggest recordings to date this spring when it releases on SD Blu-ray Live at Knebworth.

Billed as “The Best British Concert Of All Time,” Live at Knebworth will be released Tuesday, March 17th on SD Blu-ray. It is presented in upscaled standard definition with uncompressed stereo and DTS-HD Master Audio. The concert was originally recorded on June 30th, 1990. It was held as a benefit concert for Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy and The Brit School for Performing Arts. Its lineup included some of the most well-known and respected musicians and acts from the UK. Many if not all of the acts in question had each themselves received the Nordoff-Robbins Silver Clef Award. They included: Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Pink Floyd, Robert Plant, Elton John, Phil Collins, Genesis, Dire Straits, Tears for Fears, Cliff Richards and the Shadows, and Status Quo. Most incredible of all was that of these performers, each one performed free of charge to support the cause.

McCartney offered up renditions of ‘Hey Jude,’ ‘Birthday,’ and ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ for his performance. When Clapton took to the stage, he gave audiences ‘Tearin’ Us Apart’ and ‘before You Accuse Me.’ Elton John moved audiences in his own way with performances of ‘Sad Songs (Say So Much’ and ‘Sacrifice.’ Genesis gave one of the most interesting performances of the concert with a medley of ‘Somebody to Love,’ ‘Pinball Wizard,’ and ‘Turn It On Again.’ Robert Plant was joined on-stage by his Led Zeppelin band mate Jimmy Page for performances of ‘Wearin’ and Tearin,’ and ‘Rock and Roll.’ Pink Floyd’s performances of ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ and ‘Run Like Hell’ were some of the concert’s most memorable moments. And they were just some of the key moments that make up the concert’s thirty-two song concert. The concert’s complete track listing is noted below.

TRACK LISTING

Tears For Fears:

1) Change

2) Badman’s Song

3) Everybody Wants To Rule The World

Cliff Richard & The Shadows:

4) On The Beach

5) Good Golly Miss Molly

6) We Don’t Talk Anymore

Phil Collins & The Serious Band:

7) In The Air Tonight

8) Sussudio

Paul McCartney:

9) Coming Up

10) Birthday

11) Hey Jude

12) Can’t Buy Me Love

Status Quo:

13) Whatever You Want

14) Rockin’ All Over The World

15) Dirty Water

16) In The Army Now

Eric Clapton:

17) Before You Accuse Me

18) Tearin’ Us Apart

Dire Straits:

19) Solid Rock

20) Think I Love You Too Much

21) Money For Nothing

Elton John:

22) Sacrifice

23) Sad Songs (Say So Much)

Robert Plant:

24) Hurting Kind

25) Tall Cool One

26) Wearing And Tearing (with Jimmy Page)

27) Rock And Roll (with Jimmy Page)

Genesis:

28) Mama

29) Throwing It All Away

30) Turn It On Again Medley: Turn It On Again / Somebody To Love /  Reach Out, I’ll Be There / Pinball Wizard / In The Midnight Hour / Turn It On Again (reprise)

Pink Floyd:

31) Shine On You Crazy Diamond

32) Run Like Hell

 

Proceeds from the sale of Live at Knebworth will continue to raise funds for Nordoff-Robbins Therapy and the Brit School for Performing Arts. More information on this and other releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at:

 

Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

“Irish Tour ’74” Is An Excellent Re-Introduction To Rory Gallagher

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Rory Gallagher is probably not the first name that most people would come up with when they are asked to name some of the most well-known guitarists in music’s modern history. While he may not be one of the most well-known musicians to have ever picked up a guitar, the artists with whom he recorded and performed in his short career are legendary. Muddy Waters and Jerry Lee Lewis were just a couple of acts that he recorded with during his career. He also performed and recorded with former members of the famed Yardbirds after that band’s initial disbanding. And that is just a small sampling of his achievements from his career. Now thanks to Eagle Rock Entertainment, a whole new generation of rock purists is being introduced to Gallagher’s talents thanks to the recent release of his Irish Tour ’74 archived live recording. The archived concert was released in a special deluxe 2-CD edition on October 21st. And it goes without saying that there is a lot to like about this recording especially for those that might not be so familiar with Gallagher and his body of work. The most obvious thing to like about the recording is the recording’s set list. The special double-disc CD set focuses primarily on Gallagher’s shows from Cork, Ireland on January 5th, 1974. It is a great piece of music history especially for those that aren’t so familiar with Gallagher and his body of work. The concert’s audio mix in this presentation is another aspect that audiences will like. Four decades have passed since the shows from Gallagher’s ’74 tour. And the audio has stood the test of time quite well, as audiences will note here. Rounding out the package is its companion booklet. The companion booklet comes with never before published pictures and new liner notes. Each factor noted here makes Irish Tour ’74 enjoyable in its own right. Together, they make this recording a welcome and important piece of music history.

Irish-born blues-rock guitarist Rory Gallagher was one of the most well-kept secrets in the music industry during the course of his short life. He recorded roughly twelve studio albums over the course of his career. Those albums have sold well over thirty million copies worldwide. For such impressive numbers, Gallagher never gained the international super stardom of his British and American counterparts at the time. But as audiences will hear in the set list contained on Eagle Rock’s double-disc release Irish Tour ’74 Gallagher was and still is deserving of far more credit and acclaim than he has ever received. The blues rock sounds presented in the show’s set list echo hints of Led Zeppelin, The Allman Brothers Band, The Doobie Brothers, and so many other great names within rock’s blues-based sub-genre. One could even argue that there are hints of Jimi Hendrix in his playing. That is evident right off the top in his performance of ‘Messin’ With The Kid.’ Audiences can hear both Hendrix and Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page in this song. Lou Martin’s frantic work on the keyboards and Rod De’ath’s drumming set against Gallagher’s guitar playing make this song an explosive opener and an equally explosive first impression for those that are hearing Gallagher’s music for the first time. Audiences will also appreciate the comparison to George Thorogood (and to a lesser extent Lynyrd Skynrd) that can be made in ‘Hands Off.’ The song’s straight forward 4/4 blues-rock vibe will have any listener jamming out regardless of their familiarity with Gallagher’s music. The mini-tribute to the Andrews Sisters in the opening of ‘Who’s That Coming’ is by itself a great touch. The song’s simple stylistic comparison to The Allman Brothers Band and even The Doors makes the song even more enjoyable for audiences. Yes, one could even make a comparison between Gallagher and The Doors. That says quite a bit about Gallagher’s talents. Listening to the rest of the songs that make up this two-disc recording, audiences will find other comparisons. In making such comparisons, it reveals even more Gallagher’s level of talent. One can only hope that the end result will be a resurgence in the popularity of his music.

The set list that makes up Irish Tour ’74 presents Gallagher as a truly talented musician. The same can be said of his band mates in these concerts. It makes one wonder why he never gained the level of fame as his counterparts despite his albums selling some thirty million copies worldwide. Perhaps this recording will help push him to that stratosphere on which his counterparts in question rest to this day. The set list itself more than makes this recording a great re-introduction to Gallagher’s works. Without a solid audio mix the recording would be nothing. Luckily though, the tapes on which these shows were originally recorded have stood the test of time quite well. The audio levels are expertly balanced in their re-mastering. The end result there is that no one part overpowers the other at any one point throughout the course of the recording. Yet again, it is proof of why Eagle Rock Entertainment remains to this day the leader in live recordings. Whether the recording be from a world renowned superstar or someone lesser known such as Gallagher, Eagle Rock Entertainment releases only the best possible recordings. It does not release recordings with inferior production values. Such expertly handled production values will make taking in Gallagher’s music all the more enjoyable and play even more of a role in re-igniting his fame.

The production values of Irish Tour ’74 and the recording’s set list are both key to the overall success of this latest archived concert. The two elements together make this recording an excellent way to re-introduce Rory Gallagher to the world. The recording is rounded out with the inclusion of a companion booklet loaded with extras. The companion booklet boasts sixteen pages of previously unpublished photos from Gallagher’s Irish tour and new liner notes outlining the tour’s highlights. Among the most interesting of the liner notes are notes concerning his performance in the worn torn region of Belfast. There are notes about his impact on that region and his influence as a musician overall during his career and much more included in the liner notes. It is one more important piece of the whole that makes Irish Tour ’74 such a wonderful re-introduction for Gallagher to the world. Together with the show’s set list and its exception production values, it becomes all the more valuable for any rock and roll purist and fan of classic rock. It becomes a recording that regardless of one’s familiarity with Gallagher and his body of work, any rock purist will enjoy. It could even lead said purists to become new fans or new fans again of Rory Gallagher.

Irish Tour ’74 is available now in stores and online. Along with its double-disc CD presentation, it is also available as a special eight-disc box set containing all four of Gallagher’s performances on his 1974 tour of Ireland and even more bonuses and even a triple gate fold vinyl for all the vintage rock fans. The triple gate fold vinyl re-issue can be ordered online at http://www.recordstore.co.uk/recordstore/recordstore/Irish-Tour-74-Expanded/3JHU0000000. More information on this and other releases from Rory Gallagher, as well as the latest news from Rory Gallagher, is available online at:

Website: http://www.rorygallagher.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RoryGallagher

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Eagle Rock’s Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert Re-Issue An Amazing Way To Finish Off The Year

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Freddie Mercury, the late front man of the legendary rock band Queen, was in his time one of the single most charismatic vocalists in the music industry.  Many vocalists have tried to emulate the legendary singer’s energy and style.  Few if any have succeeded.  Sadly, Freddy Mercury was taken from the world in 1991, one of so many victims of the then emerging AIDS epidemic.  The music world paid tribute to his legacy and memory in 1992 with a special live tribute concert.  The concert, held at London’s Wembley Stadium has become one of the biggest and most  powerful live concert events of the Twentieth Century, even after more than two decades since it was originally held.  The only concert event that could compare to this event is Woodstock ’94.  And now thanks to Eagle Rock Entertainment, the legacy of Freddie Mercury lives on once again thanks to the Blu-ray release of The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert.  While this SD Blu-ray release of The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert is not the first time that the concert has been released to the masses, this release is the concert’s best yet.    There is so much to be said of this latest re-issue.  The best place to start is the overall audio and video presentation.  Those charged with resurrecting the original footage are to be commended as the concert is presented here in its full original glory.  Audiences get to see the show as it looked in its original recording.  The audio sounds just as good.  This is especially the case for those with home theater systems.  The cinematography is incredible to say the least.  The crowd shots and shots of the crowd from the stage are collectively the epitome of the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words.  And of course, there is also the show’s set list and list of performers.  Both by themselves and collectively, they make a bold statement that puts the finishing touch on this incredible latest re-issue from Eagle Rock Entertainment.

The first and most obvious factor to investigate in Eagle Rock’s new re-issue of The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert is the audio and video mix.  This concert was recorded almost twenty-two years ago.  April 20th, 2014 will mark the twenty-second anniversary of this landmark concert.  Being that high definition recording was still years away when this concert was recorded, it’s obvious that the quality of the footage would not be crystal clear in this presentation.  But Eagle Rock openly noted on the recording’s case that this presentation is a Standard Definition Blu-ray.  That means that Eagle Rock openly notes that the presentation contained therein is a standard definition recording.  Those expecting pure 1080 quality video have only misled themselves.  Eagle Rock Entertainment is not to blame here.  That the footage still looks as good as it does over two decades later is a testament to those charged with maintaining and resurrecting it.  And having the option to set one’s TV to “Cinema” to gain the full concert video experience only serves to make it even better.

The quality of the concert’s video footage is impressive to say the very least.  It is presented in its original 4:3 aspect ratio.  Though, with the advent of high definition televisions, most viewers can set their monitors to present the concert in full “Cinema” mode.  That mode shows better than any how well the footage has stood the test of time.  The audio mix is just as impressive as the video in terms of its quality.  Every riff, every beat, and every chorus from the crowd of thousands is enhanced on this re-issue.  In comparison to the concert’s previous releases, the audio mix has never sounded better.  It has been enhanced so much that at times, the echoes of Brian May’s voice as he talked will make audiences think they are actually there in person.  It has been mixed that well.  That is quite the testament to those charged with restoring this concert to its former glory.  And along with the footage, it is one part of a very strong cornerstone of this recording.

The video and audio mixes serve collectively as a solid base for The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert.  The concert’s cinematography adds an extra element of enjoyment to the recording, too.  Much as was the case with Eagle Rock’s release of The Rolling Stones’ Hyde Park Live this Fall, the camera shots obtained over the course of this concert are extraordinary.  There is something to be said about an entire stadium full of people singing in unison, arms high in the air, clapping in time. The visual effect both from the stage and from high above the sea of bodies is something that cannot be put into words.  It is something that must be seen to be fully appreciated.  Even seeing the shots in question from one’s own sofa, bed, etc. is awe inspiring.  They collectively go to show the love that so many people had for Freddie Mercury and for Queen.  While the concert’s audio and video mixes are the foundation on which the concert rests, the shots obtained by the camera crews give the show its shape.  And what a shape those crews give the concert.

As one should be able to tell from everything noted already, there is much to like about Eagle Rock Entertainment’s new re-issue of The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert on SD Blu-ray.  Much has already been examined with this latest release from the leader in live recordings.  But it would not be complete without making mention of the concert’s set list and its equally diverse lineup of performers.  The show itself is set up into two separate segments.  The first of those segments is the “Opening Acts” segment.  This segment allows some of the acts tapped to perform at the concert to perform their own music and warm up the crowd at the same time.  This segment runs the gamut to say the very least.  It opens with a trio of songs from Metallica and follows that up with a medley of Queen hits courtesy of Extreme.  Guns N’ Roses (the original Guns N’ Roses) closes out the opening acts segments.  Def Leppard is also one of the opening acts.  Their front man, Joe Elliot, joins Elton John, George Michael, David Bowie, Annie Lennox, and so many other acts from across the music industry for the “Main Show” segment of the recording.  Having such a wide array of artists covering the music of one band is a bold statement.  It shows the impact that Queen had on them as bands and artists.  It also goes to show the respect that those bands and artists had for Freddie Mercury.  It goes to show the kind of person he was and how important he was to so many around him.  Keeping that in mind while watching the incredible shots, and hearing the equally incredible song selections is sure to bring a smile and maybe even a tear to some viewers’ faces.  If it does one, the other, or both, then it has most certainly done its job.  It means that Eagle Rock is that much more justified in once again unearthing this important piece of music history.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other live recordings from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at http://www.eaglerockent.com and http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Zodiac Offers Even More Pure Guitar-Driven Rock On Its New Record

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Hiding Place, the second full length release from Germany’s Zodiac, is a solid follow-up to the band’s 2012 debut record, A Bit of Devil.  The band’s sophomore release picks up right where A Bit of Devil left off.  Right from the album’s outset, listeners are transported back in time to the golden era of real rock and roll and taken on a musical trip that would impress even older listeners that lived through that great age.  The band gets so much right throughout all nine of the songs collected for this record.  From the soaring guitar solos of Stephen Gall and front man Nick van Delft to Janosch Rathmer’s almost John Bonham-esque drumming to bassist Ruben Claro’s solid bass lines, so much can be said of this record.  Even the album’s lyrical side is noteworthy.  The band’s musicianship and lyrical finesse together make every song on this record a joy.  It would be impossible to examine each and every song.  Though, a few examples might work.  And what better place to start than with the album’s opener, ‘Downtown?”

‘Downtown’ is everything that makes blues-driven rock and roll so great.  It is bound to be a fan favorite with its straight forward energy and blues-based guitar riffs.  What makes this song so outstanding is the fact that just as with so many classic rock favorites, the band has made this more than just another rock song.  It’s a two-parter, with the first half being an anthem for a Saturday night on the town.  That’s especially the case considering that the band sings in the song’s chorus, “Bright lights are shining/Big city diamond/Where are you now…We’re going downtown/Where nobody knows your name.”  The chorus set against the song’s musical energy will loosen up even the person who has had the toughest of work weeks.  The jam session that makes up the song’s second half instantly conjures thoughts of rock’s greatest age.  One can close one’s eyes, take in the music, and see the band onstage jamming out together, and feeding off of the energy shared by its audiences in this segment of the song.  All of it together makes ‘Downtown’ the perfect choice to open the album.

‘Downtown’ is the perfect opener for Hiding Place.  It is certain to get any listener up and moving whether in their living room or with friends.  Just as certain to get listeners moving is the album’s third song, ‘Under My Bed.’  All four members of the band contribute their own element to make this song a hit.  The truly interesting thing about this song is how much vocalist Nick van Delft sounds like blues great Stevie Ray Vaughan in this song.  Bassist Ruben Claro’s funk-infused bass lines set against the SRV style guitar solos make this song stand out even more.  That’s not to discount drummer Janosch Rathmer’s work.  He keeps time through the song, not missing a beat as he adds his own flair to it.  As with ‘Downtown’ it would be easy to see this driving blues-based rocker being just as much of a fan favorite both on the album and in concert.

So much can be noted of the songs on Hiding Place as one can tell by now.  It would take far too long to examine each and every song on this record.  Though at least one more example can be shared showing what listeners can expect from this record.  That last example lies in the album’s penultimate song, ‘I Wanna Know.’  This song doesn’t have the same energy as ‘Downtown’ or ‘Under My Bed.’  It does boast its own energy and feel, though.  This is actually a good thing.  It’s good in that it proves the band’s slower songs can be just as enjoyable as those more up-tempo numbers.  What’s more, its contemplative lyrics are just as certain to catch listeners’ attention.  Van Delft sings in this song, ‘I wanna know/How my soul/Brought me on my knees/I wanna know/What to do/In times like these.”  The slightly slower yet equally hard musical side helps to illustrate the emotion that the band attempts to translate to listeners.  It’s one more part of the album that makes the whole presentation so fun for anyone that is a fan of pure, guitar driven rock and roll.  It’s not all that listeners have to look forward to, either.  The songs note noted here are just worthy of checking out, too.  The album is available now in stores and online.  Fans can also get a chance to hear the band’s music in person, too as the band tours in support of Hiding Place.  The band is currently in the midst of a European tour.  It will kick off the U.S. leg of its tour beginning November 14th in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  The band will make a tour stop in North Carolina on Saturday, December 7th at Amos Southend in Charlotte.  The concert is scheduled for a 7pm start time.  More tour dates and news from the band is available online at http://www.facebook.com/Zodiac.Rock and http://www.zodiac-rock.com.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.