Ace Frehley’s New Record Is The Exception To The Rule About Covers Compilations

Courtesy: eOne

Covers collections are a dime a dozen.  From one genre within the bigger musical universe to the next, they are overly abundant offerings.  There is no denying that in the bigger picture of things, covers collections are little more than space fillers used by acts for the purpose of fulfilling contractual obligations between new albums.  Many of those albums are that and little more.  However, every now and then at least one rarity rises above the rest to do at least a little more, and actually show some value.  Ace Frehley’s latest covers compilation is one of those rarities.  Released Friday through eOne, the 12-song record stands out in part because of its featured covers.  This will be discussed shortly.  The performances of the songs play their own part in the album’s presentation and will be discussed a little later.  The production that went into the record rounds out its most important elements and will be addressed later, too.  Each noted item is important in its own right to the whole of the collection.  All things considered, they make Frehley’s latest space filler a work that will appeal to plenty of classic rock fans.

Ace Frehley’s latest covers compilation, released Friday through eOne, is an interesting addition to this year’s field of new space fillers.  That is because unlike its counterparts, it actually proves itself to actually be worth at least some value.  That is due in part to the record’s featured songs.  While there are some notable works featured in the record from some very well-known bands, there are also some lesser-known deep cuts from those bands, too.  Mountain’s ‘Never in my Life’ is an example of one of those deep cuts.  The band is well-known, and while Climbing!, the album in which the song is featured, is considered a hit for Mountain, the song itself was never considered to be one of the album’s biggest hits.  ‘I’m Down,’ which was a b-side to The Beatles’ hit song ‘Help!,’ is another example of Frehley including a lesser-known work from a big name band in this record.  Cream’s ‘Politician’ is yet another example of the noted lesser-known songs featuring in this record.  While the album in which the song is featured – Wheels of Fire – is the world’s first platinum-selling double album, the song was never used as a single.  To that end, it is more of a deep cut.

On the other end of the spectrum, works, such as The Rolling Stones’ ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash,’ The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s ‘Manic Depression’ and Deep Purple’s ‘Space Truckin’’ (whose lyrics Frehley changes slightly here when he sings, “we’re space ace truckin’) are examples of the more well-known works featured in the album.  Between these songs and the lesser-known pieces is in reality a little bit of a rock music history lesson.  Audiences get to learn about some big name bands (I.E. The Rolling Stones, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin) and those who were more mid-level (Mountain, Paul Revere & The Raiders) while also getting a starting point on discussions on the acts and their catalogs.  What’s more, being that those lesser-known works are rarely if ever played on corporate terrestrial radio and are just as rarely presented in other acts’ covers compilations, their inclusion adds to their importance.  Keeping all of this in mind, the compilation’s featured songs actually prove at least some value to its presentation.

While the songs featured in Frehley’s new covers set present at least some value, the performances of said songs plays just as much importance if not more.  That is because while Frehley and his fellow musicians do stay at least somewhat true to their source material throughout the record, they  also give the songs a new updated sound.  Case in point is the group’s performance of The Rolling Stones’ hit song ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash.’  The Rolling Stones’ original composition is energetic in its own right, and the band’s live performances of the song step things up in the song even more.  Frehley and company’s version here however really amps things up.  Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards’ guitars are replaced in this case by that of Frehley and guitar goddess Lita Ford.  The duo also takes on Mick Jagger’s vocals jointly and definitely take things collectively in a whole new direction.  It should be noted that Ford does drop some f-bombs here, so some listener discretion is advised.  Honestly, its disappointing that Ford would work blue here since the original song did not need any foul language in order to be enjoyable.  Charlie Watts’ steady, subtle time keeping has even been replaced by an equally heavy drum line here.  Simply put, the performance in whole does stay true to the source material in terms of sound, but in terms of style it is a completely different song.  So that is certain to generate its own share of interest and discussion among listeners.

The group’s take on The Animals’ ‘We Gotta Get Outta Here’ is another example of the importance of the performances of the featured songs here.  The Animals’ original rendition of the song was grounded in its bass line and vocals.  In the case of Frehley and company’s take on the song, Frehley takes on the bass line, using the guitar instead for that famous line.  Between that, the semi-operatic vocal delivery and the bombastic drumming, the whole of the song takes on a distinctly 80s hair metal vibe that echoe the sounds of KISS (no surprise there) instead of presenting the song in its more subdued original presentation.  At the same time, considering that the song’s lyrical content focuses on a relationship matter and “needing to get out of this place,” the song’s energy in this presentation does seem to work in its own right.  To that end, it is sure to generate its own share of interest and engagement.

On another hand, the performance of The Beatles’ I’m Down’ stays almost true stylistically to its source material.  Yes, it’s amped up compared to the original, but compared to let’s say The Beatles’ performance on The Ed Sullivan Show, this performance actually echoes that performance relatively well, even despite being so amped up.  As a matter of fact, this performance is actually a step up from the Beatles’ original song.  That is not to say that The Beatles’ original is bad by any means.  That should not be misconstrued.  Rather, Frehley and company took a song that was great to begin with and stepped it up, improving upon it even more.  Between this performance, the others noted here and the rest of the collection’s performances, it can be said that the performances pose their own importance to the record’s presentation just as much as the songs themselves.  The performances are just one more part of what makes the collection worth hearing, too.  Its production rounds out its most important elements.

The production of Origins Volume 2 is important to note for the very reason that has already been raised in examining the performance of the record’s featured songs:  the performances take the original songs from decades ago and really amp them up.  This is important because in so many of the songs, there is a lot more going on than in these works than the originals.  In other words, there is more need to balance all of the elements to ensure each song presents the fullest performance.  Those behind the record’s production are to be applauded for their efforts, too.  For all that is going on in each song, the guitars, bass, vocals, and drums are quite well balanced.  The energy is transmitted just as well because of that expert work that went into balancing each element within each song.  The end result is an album that works just as well for its aesthetics as for its content.  When this is considered along with the record’s content and the performances therein, the result is a covers collection that while it is a covers set, actually proves itself worth hearing at least once if not more.

Ace Frehley’s new covers compilation Origins Volume 2 is an interesting follow-up to his 2016 set Origins Volume 1.  That is due in part to its featured songs.  The songs are a balance of well-known works and deep cuts.  They and the bands that performed them can actually serve as a starting point on discussions about rock’s modern history.  That is actually a positive in its own right.  The performances of the featured songs is important to this record because they stay true to their source material in terms of sound, but stylistically, they clearly show Frehley’s own influence, what with the overly bombastic nature of each performance.  That is certain to generate its own share of discussion among audiences.  The record’s production puts the finishing touch to its presentation.  That is because it ensures for all of the elements going on in each song, those elements are well-balanced, making the record just as worth hearing for this aesthetic element as for its content.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make the compilation a presentation that is the exception to the rule for covers compilations.  It is available now.  More information on the set is available along with all of Ace Frehley’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.acefrehley.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/officialacefrehley

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/Ace_Frehley

 

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Guerilla Ghost Debuts New LP’s Second Single, ‘The Immigrant Song’

Courtesy: Third Eye Entertainment/Infecting Cells PR

Guerilla Ghost debuted its latest single this week.

The duo — Tron Jovi and Bad Graphics Ghost — debuted its new single ‘The Immigrant Song‘ Friday.  It come from the group’s forthcoming album We Get What We Deserve, which is scheduled for release July 31 through Third Eye Entertainment.  Its debut comes less than a month after the act debuted the album’s lead single, ‘Wesley Snipes in Demolition Man.’

While ‘The Immigrant Song’ bears the same name as the famed song from famed rock band Led Zeppelin, this is not a cover of that song.  Rather, it addresses the oppression of African-Americans.

Bad Graphics Ghost talked about the song, including its lyrical theme, in a recent interview.

“This song is one of my personal favorites on the record and possibly one of the better songs we’ve written and recorded,” he said. “Our dear friend and frequent collaborator Commakazee blessed us with her signature brand of harmony and melody to help drive the urgency of the song’s message home. I wrote this after watching a video of a young girl crying for her father after he was wrongfully arrested and sent to ICE concentration camps along the southern border. Being a father of two daughters myself, this moved me to the deepest pits of my heart and soul. I was moved to say something and to speak it loudly. I believe that no one should have to suffer for the racist and sexist stigmas enforced upon their people and culture by a fascist capitalist empire that seemingly refuses to show sympathy or practice tolerance of other beings.”

“For a country that claims to be founded as a safe haven for refugees and immigrants fleeing their homelands from political and religious persecution, it’s devastating to witness us become a nation thriving with racial injustices and violence in the name of Christianity,” added Bad Graphics Ghost. “Everyone deserves the right to equal treatment and the promise of a better future for themselves and their family. That being said, it was only fitting to debut this song during the weekend while America celebrates it’s “independence”. I hope this song strikes a nerve in all who listen, specifically motivating them towards positive change. If god does exist, we are all made in her image. If god does exist, may she show mercy on the world. No child left behind.”

‘The Immigrant Song’ is available to stream and download through Spotify, Google Play, and the duo’s official Bandcamp page.

Pre-orders for We get What We Deserve are open now.

More information on Guerilla Ghost is available along with all of the group’s latest news and more at:

 

Websitehttp://guerillaghost.bandcamp.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/guerillaghost

 

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Marcus King’s Solo Debut Is Almost As Good As Gold

Courtesy: Fantasy Records

Singer-songwriter Marcus is one of the next big names in the music industry.  Only 23 years-old, King has done more in his life so far than most people his age.  A fourth-generation musician – his grandfather was a country music guitarist and father an active musician — he started performing at the tender age of 11.  He has recorded and performed with some of the biggest names in the music industry by the time he became an adult, and has released three full-length studio recordings with The Marcus King Band – Soul Insight, The Marcus King Band and Carolina Confessions.  Late last month, he released his solo debut record, El Dorado.  The 12-song album has been met largely with praise from audiences and critics alike, and justifiably so, too.  The record boasts easily accessible lyrical content centered on the matters of life and love. The LP’s musical content offers just as much to appreciate.  The combination of those elements makes for lots for listeners to like.  ‘Too Much Whiskey’ is just one of the songs that serves to show how that combined content positively impacts the album.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘The Well,’ the album’s lead single is another example of the power of the album’s combined musical and lyrical content.  It will be discussed a little later.  The same cane be said of the slow blues composition ‘Wildflowers & Wine.’  When these songs are considered along with the likes of ‘Turn It Up,’ ‘Say You Will’ and the subdued ‘Love Song,’ as well as the rest of the album’s works, the album in whole proves a positive debut for King that while maybe not solid gold is still solid in its own right.

Marcus King’s solo debut album El Dorado is a solid start for the singer-songwriter, who has accomplished so much so early in his still young life.  Its combined lyrical and musical content gives audiences plenty to appreciate, despite some questionable sequencing.  This is proven in part late in the album’s run in the form of ‘Too Much Whiskey.’  The song’s musical arrangement is an old school country music composition that shows clearly, the influence of King’s grandfather, who was himself a country music guitarist.  The arrangement easily lends itself to comparisons to the best works of Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, just to name a couple of key similarities.  It boasts that infectious, old school honky tonk sounds that made country music during the 1970s and 80s.  That arrangement alone was enough to make this song one of El Dorado’s best offerings, if not its best work.  Of course it is just one part of what makes the song stand out.  As noted already, its lyrical content adds its own share of enjoyment to the work’s whole.

King sings in his trademark gritty style in the song’s lead verse, “To much of that old whiskey river/Leaves a young man feeling old/That old love you still remember/Cuts you deep down in your soul.  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Lost that girl down in New Orleans/Chasing some old voodoo dream/Levee broke on Whiskey River/Got me trying to swim upstream.”  As he reaches the song’s final verse, King sings, “Shotgun Willie on the stereo/Words are speaking right to my heart/If I keep reaching for that bottle/It’s gonna tear my world apart.  He adds in the song’s chorus, “Getting tired of going crazy/Headed back to Tennessee/I gotta crawl on out of this river/’Fore it drowns me in the sea.”  Quite simply, this is a song about someone dealing with alcohol addiction.  The thing is that it is presented lyrically in a fashion that is classic country in every way.  That taken into consideration alongside the song’s musical content, which is equally infectious  classic country, makes the song in whole the record’s most standout offering and just one of the clear examples of what makes El Dorado such a strong new offering from Marcus King.

It goes without saying that ‘Too Much Whiskey’ is a key addition to Marcus King’s debut album, as has been noted.  It is just one of the songs featured in this recording that makes the album so appealing.  ‘The Well,’ the LP’s lead single is another way in which El Dorado proves itself a musical treasure in its own right.  This song’s musical arrangement is a distinct change of pace from that of ‘Too Much Whiskey.’  This arrangement boasts more of a straight forward blues-based rock sound than any country music influences.  This is important to note in that it is another way in which they record’s musical diversity is displayed.  There are hints here of influences from Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers Band just to name a few acts with similar sounds.  The dual-layered guitar approach forms the arrangement’s foundation while the drums couple with the bass and King’s vocals to flesh out the arrangement even more.  The end result of those lines combined, is an arrangement that is just as enjoyable in its own right as that at the center of ‘Too Much Whiskey.’

The musical arrangement at the heart of ‘The Well’ goes a long way toward making the song appealing to listeners.  When it couples with the song’s lyrical content, the two together make even more appealing to said audiences.  King sings in the song’s lead verse, “When I was just a youngin’/Bouncin’ on my mama’s knee/Said, “Son, there’s only one thing that sets your soul free/There wasn’t no sleep until the work was done.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Papa was a-preachin’/’Bout the fires of hell/If you want a drink of water/Got to go to the well/The Cornerstone Chuch tried to curse my soul/But the good Lord gave me that rock and roll.”  He adds in the song’s third and finale verse, “Let the spirit pull me under/To the bottom of the well/You wanna live forever/But you can never tell/So, one for the money/Two, another show/Three for the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.”  What audiences get here is what comes across as a story about perhaps King’s upbringing and perhaps a commentary about his division from established religion.  It’s a unique approach, to say the least, if in fact that is what is happening here. Keeping that in mind, when it is considered alongside a musical arrangement that is fiery (no pun intended), but not in the fashion that one might think from a song that seemingly takes on the establishment of religion, the whole of the song becomes a work that stands uniquely among others of its ilk.  That whole becomes a work that shows again why this album is such an important addition to King’s catalog.  It is just one more of the album’s important additions.  ‘Wildflowers & Wine’ is yet another example of what makes El Dorado one of the year’s early most notable albums.

‘Wildflowers & Wine’ stands out as its musical arrangement boasts its own unique musical arrangement.  This time, King and his fellow musicians opt for a distinct, direct bluesy arrangement that lends itself easily to some of the best works of Mavis Staples and BB King.  The gentle, subtle keyboards couple with King’s vocal delivery and the equally subtle percussion element and bass to make the whole a work that takes listeners back to a greater era of music.  The effect there is such a positive impact that if only for this element, the song becomes another favorite for listeners.

The musical arrangement at the center of ‘Wildflowers & Wine’ does more than its share to make the song a key addition to El Dorado, and is just one part of what makes the song stand out.  Its lyrical content, which comes across as a love song of sorts, adds to its appeal.  The song’s subject sings in the song’s lead verse, “Wildflowers and wine/An old scratchy record plays in the background of our lives/We’re still here dancing after all this time/Wildflowers and wine.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “I walk through the fields of evergreen/A golden sun like I’ve never seen/I picked them one at a time/Wildflowers and wine.”  He adds in the song’s chorus, “No, I can’t help it/Feeling the way I do/I know you feel it/Feel it the same way, too/No I can’t help it/You’re all I need tonight/You know I mean it/When I look/Look in your eyes.”  Again, this is a love song.  Fittingly, Valentine’s Day is almost here, so this would make for a fitting mood-setter for any lovers out there as the big day nears.  When these deeply emotional lyrics are set alongside the song’s gentle melody, the whole becomes a powerful work in its subtlety and simplicity.  When the song in whole is considered along with the other songs discussed here, the likes of ‘Turn It Up,’ ‘Say You Will,’ the subdued ‘Love Song,’ and the rest of the album’s entries, the album in whole proves to be a strong solo debut for King.

While the musical and lyrical content that makes up the body of El Dorado does a lot to make the album a positive new offering from Marcus King, the album is not without at least one negative – its sequencing.  Being that slower, more reserved songs outnumber the album’s more upbeat works, there is a lot of that music here.  The problem with that is that in examining the album’s sequencing, the album spends a lot more time focused on that slower, more reserved music than its more infectious, energetic work.  It would have made more sense to have spaced the album’s slower, reserved music out more than was done here instead of just sequencing those songs one after another for such a long time.  Sadly though, that didn’t happen here.  To that end, it is a concern that cannot and should not be ignored.  Even with that in mind, it is not enough to make the album “unlistenable.”  It is just something that hopefully King and those behind the boards will take into consideration when and if he releases another solo effort.  Even with this in mind, El Dorado still proves in the long run to be a positive new offering from Marcus King that deserves at least one listen.  It is available now.

Marcus King is in the midst of a tour in support of El Dorado.  King is scheduled to perform life Feb. 6 in Sacramento, CA as part of the tour. More information on El Dorado is available online now along with all of Marcus King’s tour dates, latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://marcuskingband.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Marcuskingband

 

 

 

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Filmspeed debuts new single, ‘Brain Dead’

Courtesy: AGR Publicity

Independent rock band Filmspeed debuted its latest single this week.

The band debuted its single ‘Brain Dead’ Friday.  The upbeat tune presents a musical arrangement that mixes old school and modern guitar rock sounds whose whole makes it instantly infectious.  A close listen leads to comparisons in part to works from Black Crowes, Buckcherry and to a lesser extent Led Zeppelin.  The important thing to note here is that even with those noted influences in mind, the song’s arrangement still manages to maintain its own identity.

‘Brain Dead’ is available too stream and download here.

More information on Filmspeed’s new single is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at http://www.facebook.com/Filmspeed.

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

No Quarter Helping With Hurricane Florence Recovery Efforts

Courtesy: Kayos Productions

Led Zeppelin cover band No Quarter is helping with Hurricane Florence recovery efforts.

The band is scheduled to perform live Feb. 2 at The Wilson Center in Wilmington, NC.  The performance is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.  All proceeds from the concert will go to the Cape Fearless Challenge By The Women of One Tree Hill.

The organization established the fundraiser concert to help area students impacted by Hurricane Florence.  The Cape Fear Community College Student Services Division will determine identify and fund those students deemed to be in the greatest need.

No Quarter founder Bryan Christiansen issued a statement saying the is glad to be part of the ongoing Hurricane Florence recovery efforts.

“No Quarter is honored to be part of the healing efforts of Wilmington, North Carolina, and is looking forward to bringing the healing power of music on board in this historic relief effort,” Christiansen said.  “Thank you for  having us.”

Tickets for the band’s concert can be purchased here.  Doors open at 6:30 p.m. the  Wilson Center is located at 703 North 3rd Street. Wilmington, NC 28401.

The concert will serve as the finale of a daylong service project in the Cape Fear region.  A silent auction (via mobile bidding) is scheduled as part of the day’s efforts.  It will feature items, such as ‘School of Rock’ memorabilia, artwork by Ruby Mazur (the artist responsible for The Rolling Stones’ famed lips and tongue logo) Helmut Lang’s famous David Bowie photo.

More information on No Quarter’s upcoming benefit performance is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.theledzeppelinexperience.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/LiveNQLZL/?epa=SEARCH_BOX

Twitter: http://twitter.com/bowsolo

 

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‘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

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