Rhino, Warner Records’ Black Sabbath Re-issues Are Mostly Successful Presentations

Courtesy: Rhino Records/Warner Records

It goes without saying that Black Sabbath is one of the most important and influential bands in the modern history of music.  The same can be said easily of its second front man, Ronnie James Dio.  The two sides came together to craft only three albums – Heaven and Hell (1980), Mob Rules (1981), and Dehumanizer (1992) – amid their tumultuous relationship.  Now thanks to Rhino Records and Warner Records, the first two of those three records are newly available.  Released Friday through Rhino Records and Warner Records, the re-issues will find appeal among audiences, though are imperfect.  The imperfection comes from concerns raised through the incongruence of the bonus content between the re-issues’ platforms.  This will be discussed a little later.  The re-issues’ most important positive comes in the form of their liner notes.  They will be discussed shortly.  That the re-issues are available on two platforms each is its own important element that will be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the re-issues’ presentations.  All things considered, they make the re-issues mostly positive additions to any hard rock and Black Sabbath fan’s library.

Rhino Records and Warner Records’ new re-issues of Black Sabbath’s Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules are interesting new presentations of the iconic albums.  The records’ re-issues stand out positively in large part due to their liner notes.  The liner notes featured in the Heaven and Hell re-issue were crafted by Rolling Stone magazine writer Kory Grow and artist Lynn Curlee, who created the album’s original cover art.  The duo’s notes create a solid framework for the record.  One of the most interesting items that Grow points out in his notes is that apparently, Ronnie James Dio was not immediately on board when the vocalist opening came up with Black Sabbath.  Grow cites comments from Dio’s wife Wendy, writing that she said of this item, “When Ronnie went into Sabbath, I don’t think he was elated about the job at first…he was more of a melodic  singer and writer.”  Grow goes on to note that Dio eventually found his place within the band.  This is information that audiences are not going to find on Wikipedia when researching Black Sabbath, and just one of Grow’s most notable reflections.   He also points out how the job of firing Ozzy Osbourne from the band ended up on then drummer Bill Ward.  Grow cites Ward in the liner notes’ opening page as saying of the unenviable duty, “Sometimes I don’t know if I’ve ever actually gotten over it.”  That statement would make sense, considering Ward’s own unceremonious departure from the band.  The guilt he felt likely led to Ward’s own alcoholism, and the fight that led to his split from the group.   As if all of that is not enough, Grow also points out that Dio’s famed devil horns sign rose to fame during his first-ever live run with Black Sabbath.  The story is so interesting because, as Grow points out, the development of the hand gesture was in fact part of Dio’s much bigger attempt to separate himself as a personality from Osbourne.  It shows how deeply Dio thought about making sure he was not compared to Osbourne.  This is one more item that is sure to engage and entertain audiences in regards to the liner notes.  When the rest of Grow’s notes are considered along with the items pointed out here, the whole of his work in this case makes for a fully engaging and entertaining introduction to the album.

Staying on the note of the liner notes, Curlee’s recollection of how she was picked to create the Heaven and Hell cover art makes for its own interest.  Curlee points out that until having been commissioned to create the cover art, she had never even listened to Black Sabbath.  That admission will generate its own share of laughs and appreciation for her work.  Audiences will be just as interested to learn the back story on the art.  She points out that it in fact was a painting that she had already created prior to having been commissioned for the Heaven and Hell project.  In other words, she did not have to do but so much to create the album’s cover art.  Even more interesting here is Curlee’s note that she has only listened to Heaven and Hell maybe twice in her life.  There is no disrespect aimed at the band, just admission that she is more a fan of 80s new wave than metal.  Curlee’s overall reflections, together with those of Grow, form a solid foundation for Heaven and Hell.  They collectively show so much why the record’s liner notes are so important to its whole.

Grow also crafted the primary liner notes for the re-issue of Mob Rules.  In the case of these notes, audiences will be interested to learn of the connection between Black Sabbath and The Beatles in this record.  Grow tells the story here that in writing the title song for Mob Rules, the band actually used instruments that were themselves used by The Beatles at a house previously used by that band in record.  As Grow points out in his liner notes, the instruments were “found lying around.”  He later points out that when the band later relocated to the U.S. to finish crafting Mob Rules, the title track had to be redone because as Grow notes in using The Beatles’ old equipment, “the sound of the track was completely different from the rest of the record.”  He cites bassist Geezer Butler as saying that the amp that he used at Lennon’s mansion led to sound problems.  This story alone is enough to keep audiences engaged and entertained.  When it is considered along with the rest of Grow’s notes, the whole makes Grow’s notes in this case just as entertaining and engaging as those that he crafted for the Heaven and Hell re-issue. 

Artist Greg Hildebrandt, who created the cover art for Mob Rules adds to the engagement and entertainment through the liner notes.  He points out in his commentary that as with Curlee, he knew nothing of Black Sabbath when he was tapped to create Mob Rules’ cover art.  The difference here is that being commissioned for the project, his fandom for the band grew.  Additionally, Hildebrandt points out in his notes, a nightmare that he had was the inspiration for the Mob Rules cover art.  That anecdote will be left for audiences to learn themselves.   He explains how that painting went on to become the album’s cover.   Here’s a hint:  It happened when Black Sabbath’s members made the first move.  That will also be left for audiences to learn for themselves.  Between these stories and those shared by Grow, no doubt is left as to the importance of this re-issue’s bonus liner notes.  Keeping in mind the importance of these notes and those featured with the Heaven and Hell liner notes, the overall liner notes clearly prove to be an important aspect of these re-issues.  They do a lot to make these re-issues a joy for audiences.  For all the good that the liner notes do for the re-issues, there is one negative to the recordings.  It comes believe it or not through the bonus content.

Typically when one thinks of bonus content, such content is considered a good thing.  For the most part, the bonus content featured in the re-issues is good.  The problem comes in comparing the bonus content featured in the re-issues in their CD and vinyl platforms.   The CD platforms present more bonus content than the vinyl presentations.  In the case of the Heaven and Hell re-issue, the live tracks recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon in London between Dec. 31, 1981 and Jan. 2 1982 are featured in the re-issue’s CD platform, but not the vinyl presentation.  Everything else is there on each platform in terms of the primary and bonus content, but that one aspect separates the two platforms’ presentations.  In regards to the Mob Rules re-issue, there is a discrepancy in the bonus content here, too.    In this case, the discrepancy is even wider.  The bonus live content from the band’s Apr. 22, 1982 show is presented only on the re-issue’s CD platform.  Why the incongruence happened with the re-issues’ bonus content happened is anyone’s guess.  It is not explained in either record’s liner notes.  Regardless, it is a limitation that rewards only those who buy CDs versus those who prefer vinyl.  It is a weird direct counter to Niji Entertainment’s recent re-issues of Dio’s Evil or Divine: Live in NYC and Holy Diver Live.  Those re-issues were clearly aimed more at Dio fans who prefer vinyl to CD.  These Black Sabbath re-issues, which feature Dio fronting the band, are aimed more at CD aficionados rather than vinyl fans.  That there is a certain bias (intended or not) here detracts from the re-issues’ overall presentations.  Of course even as much as it detracts from the re-issues’ presentations, it is not enough to make them failures.  To that end, there is one more positive to note here, that being that the re-issues were made available on both platforms.

It would have been easy for officials at Rhino Records and Warner Records to limit these Black Sabbath re-issues to just one platform or another in deciding how to release them.  That the decision was made to offer the records to issues on both sides of the “musical aisle” showed that those officials meant to reach as many audiences as possible.  This may seem inconsequential on the surface, but the fact of the matter is that there are labels that to this day, release albums, EPs and re-issues strictly on one platform or another.  Doing so limits record sales, and in turn, appeal for records and acts.  So in providing the re-issues on both platforms means that equal numbers of audiences will get to experience them.  It is just too bad that all of the bonus content was not presented in each platform.  Even with that one negative in mind, the wide availability of the re-issues in terms of platforms, and the liner notes that accompany the re-issues more than make the re-issues positive presentations.  They make the re-issues presentations that hard rock fans and Black Sabbath fans alike will mostly appreciate.

Rhino Records and Warner Records’ brand new re-issues of Black Sabbath’s Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules are largely successful offerings for hard rock and Black Sabbath fans alike.  That is due in part to the extensive liner notes that come with the re-issues.  While the re-issues’ liner notes make for plenty of engagement and entertainment, the re-issues do have one notable negative, the incongruence of certain bonus content between the platforms on which the albums were re-issued.  There is some bonus content featured in the re-issues’ CD presentations that was not featured in their vinyl presentations.  Why that is the case is anyone’s guess.  Regardless, it is not enough to make the re-issues failures, though it is a matter that one cannot ignore.  The very fact that the recordings were re-issued on CD and vinyl ensures a far reaching appeal and potentially high sales for the records.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the recordings.  All things considered, they make the recordings welcome additions to any hard rock and Black Sabbath fan’s library.  The re-issues are available now.

More information on this and other titles from Rhino Records is available online at:

Websitehttps://www.rhino.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/RHINO

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/Rhino_Records

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://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.

Rhino Records To Re-issue Two Classic Black Sabbath Albums

Courtesy: Rhino Records

Two classic Black Sabbath albums will get the re-issue treatment this winter.

Heaven and Hell (1980) and Mob Rules (1981) are scheduled for re-issue March 5 through Rhino Records. The albums were the only Black Sabbath records recorded with Ronnie James Dio during what would be his first stint with the band. Dio’s second stint in 1992 was shorter, resulting in the album Dehumanizer.

The forthcoming re-issues of Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules will release on separate 2CD sets and 2LP sets. The 2CD sets will retail for MSRP of $19.98 and the 2LP sets for $31.98. The vinyl sets will feature the same bonus content that is featured in the 2CD sets.

The full track listing for the CD and LP sets is noted below. Audiences can download a live take of the song ‘Heaven and Hell‘ and a previously unreleased live version of the song ‘The Mob Rules‘ as digital singles now.

HEAVEN AND HELL: DELUXE EDITION
2-CD Track Listing

Disc One: Original Album (2021 Remaster)
1.       “Neon Knights”
2.       “Children Of The Sea”
3.       “Lady Evil”
4.       “Heaven And Hell”
5.       “Wishing Well”
6.       “Die Young”
7.       “Walk Away”
8.       “Lonely Is The Word”
 
Disc Two: Bonus Tracks
1.       “Children Of The Sea” – Live B-Side Of “Neon Knights” *
2.       “Heaven And Hell” – Live B-Side Of “Die Young” *
3.       “Lady Evil” – 7” Mono Edit (unreleased on CD)
Hartford Civic Center, Hartford, CT (August 10, 1980)
4.       “Neon Knights” *
5.       “Children Of The Sea” *
6.       “Heaven And Hell” *
7.       “Die Young” *
Hammersmith Odeon, London (Dec 31, 1981- Jan 2, 1982)
8.      “E5150”
9.      “Neon Knights”
10.    “Children Of The Sea”
11.    “Heaven And Hell”
 
2-LP Track Listing
Side One
1.       “Neon Knights”
2.       “Children Of The Sea”
3.       “Lady Evil”
4.       “Heaven And Hell”
 
Side Two
1.       “Wishing Well”
2.       “Die Young”
3.       “Walk Away”
4.       “Lonely Is The Word”
 
Side Thee
1.       “Children Of The Sea” – Live B-Side Of “Neon Knights” *
2.       “Heaven And Hell” – Live B-Side Of “Die Young” *
3.       “Lady Evil” – 7” Mono Edit (unreleased on CD)
4.       “Neon Knights” – Live 1980 *

Side Four
1.       “Children Of The Sea” – Live 1980 *
2.       “Heaven And Hell” – Live 1980 *
3.       “Die Young” – Live 1980 *
 
MOB RULES: DELUXE EDITION
2-CD Track Listing

Disc One: Original Album (2021 Remaster)
1.       “Turn Up The Night”
2.       “Voodoo”
3.       “The Sign Of The Southern Cross”
4.       “E5150”
5.       “The Mob Rules”
6.       “Country Girl”
7.       “Slipping Away”
8.       “Falling Off The Edge Of The World”
9.       “Over And Over”

Bonus Tracks
10.    “The Mob Rules” – Heavy Metal Soundtrack Version
11.    “Die Young” – Live B-Side Of “Mob Rules” 7” *
12.    “The Mob Rules” – New 2021 Mix **
Live At The Hammersmith Odeon London (31/12/81 – 2/1/82)
13.    “Country Girl”
14.    “Slipping Away” 
15.    “The Mob Rules”
16.    “Voodoo”
Live At Portland Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OR, April 22, 1982 
17.    Intro **
18.    “Neon Knights” **
 
Disc Two: Bonus Tracks
Live At Portland Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OR, April 22, 1982
1.       “N.I.B.” **
2.       “Children Of The Sea” **
3.       “Voodoo” **
4.       “Black Sabbath” **
5.       “War Pigs” **
6.       Drum Solo **
7.       “Iron Man” **
8.       “The Mob Rules” **
9.       “Heaven And Hell” **
10.    Guitar Solo **
11.    “Sign Of The Southern Cross/Heaven And Hell” – Reprise **
12.    “Paranoid” **
13.    “Children Of The Grave” **
 
2-LP Track Listing
Side One
1.       “Turn Up The Night”
2.       “Voodoo”
3.       “The Sign Of The Southern Cross”
4.       “E5150”
5.       “The Mob Rules”
 
Side Two
1.       “Country Girl”
2.       “Slipping Away”
3.       “Falling Off The Edge Of The World”
4.       “Over And Over”
 
Side Three
1.       “The Mob Rules” – Heavy Metal Soundtrack Version
2.       “Die Young” – Live B-Side Of “Mob Rules” 7” *
3.       “The Mob Rules” – New 2021 Mix **
4.       “Sign Of The Southern Cross/Heaven And Hell” – Reprise **
 
Side Four
Live At The Hammersmith Odeon London (31/12/81 – 2/1/82)
1.       “Country Girl”
2.       “Slipping Away” 
3.       “The Mob Rules”
4.       “Voodoo”
 
* previously unreleased in North America
** previously unreleased 

More information on this and other titles from Rhino Records is available online at:

Website: http://www.rhino.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Rhino_Records

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.

Metallica’s ‘S&M2’ Will Appeal Mostly To The Band’s Most Devoted Fans

Courtesy: Rhino/Blackened Recordings

Veteran hard rock band Metallica recently made headlines when its members announced they were working on new music.  The announcement came only months after the band released its latest live recording, S&M2.  The recording features a performance held by the band and the San Francisco Symphony.  The extensive concert was a two-night performance by the band and orchestra that marked the anniversary of the band’s original April 1999 performance with the collective, and of the opening of the symphony’s new Chase Center.  The recording likely will find itself appealing mainly to the band’s most devoted audiences.  That is due in part to its set list, which will be discussed shortly.  That the concert was released through various, separate platforms actually makes the recording appealing to a very targeted audience, too.  This will be discussed a little later.  The one positive on which all audiences can agree is the recording’s production.  It will be discussed later, too.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the recording.  All things considered, they make S&M2 a presentation that Metallica’s most devoted audiences will find more appealing than general audiences.

Metallica’s latest live recording S&M2 is a presentation that will appeal mostly to the band’s most devoted fans.  That is proven in part through its set list.  The 24-song set list is largely the same as that featured in the band’s 1999 recording S&M.  Rather than adding in some deep cuts, such as ‘The God That Failed,’ ‘King Nothing,’ or ‘Dream No More,’ the band largely played it safe here, essentially just cutting and pasting.  To the set list’s defense of course, there are four new songs that are likely among the songs that the band members announced it is working on for its next album.  There are also some relatively well-known classic compositions that will entertain audiences during a break by the band.  The compositions are performed by the members of the symphony.  But again, save for those compositions and the four new tracks, the rest of the concert’s set list is essentially a copy and paste from the 1999 show.  To that end, yes, the four new songs are motivation, but general audiences will find it potentially not enough motivation considering that they and the classical compositions are really the only changes to the set list.  It is just one of the concerns raised by the recording.  The varied platforms on which the concert was released add their own concerns.

When S&M2 was released, it was done so on a wide range of platforms.  There is the standard, least expensive 2CD platform; the standalone Blu-ray platform, the slightly more expensive 2CD/DVD platform and even a combo pack.  Considering all of the platforms on which the concert was made available, outlets, such as Target and Walmart only made the standard 2CD platform available in stores.  Audiences who wanted to hear and see the concert in full have to order the Blu-ray platform and 2CD/DVD combo pack.  That means spending extra money on shipping and handling as well as sales tax versus just paying a little bit of extra sales tax in store.  To that extent, it decrease motivation to purchase the full concert unless one is, again, among the most devoted fans of Metallica.  Considering that most major retailers are charging a maximum of approximately $15 for the Blu-ray, one cannot help but wonder why that was not made available in store along with the 2CD set or even in place of that set.  To that extent, the multiple platform availability of the recording does seem like a positive on the surface, but looking at the costs and availability in store versus online, it actually becomes more of a concern.  Together with the limitation in new material in the concert, again, general audiences become even less motivated to purchase this recording.  For all of the concerns that are raised by the concert’s set list and its availability, one positive can be noted of the recording.  That positive is its production.

Audiences who watch the full audio-visual presentation on Blu-ray or DVD will agree that the audio was balanced well in post production.  There have been some complaints about the 5.1 surround sound, but odds are the people who raised those concerns had their TVs improperly set up.  Many TVs are created nowadays so that audiences need just set their TVs to surround sound setting and they can enjoy the concert’s audio for live setting.  In the same breath, the cinematography is impressive in its own right.  Considering the construction of the symphony’s new facility, the cameras had to be adapted.  Audiences are often presented with wide angle shots, and even right up on stage with the band.  The transitions are stable from one to the next while the shots themselves give a positive view of just how expansive the concert hall is.  The cinematography also does well to capture the impact of the lighting, which helps to set the mood for the concert.  Keeping all of this in mind, those responsible for capturing the performance in person and in post production are to be commended for their work.  That is because it provides home viewers the best seat in the house and fully immerses those audiences in the concert experience.  Keeping that in mind, this is the one true saving grace for S&M2.  Together with the concert’s honestly limited set list and equally limited availability, it serves to make this presentation appealing mainly for the band’s most devoted audiences.

Metallica’s latest live recording S&M2 is an intriguing new presentation from a group that is one of the most respected bands in the music industry today.  It is a presentation that will appeal mostly to the band’s most devoted audiences.  That is due in large part to the concert’s set list.  The set list is a near mirror image from the band’s 1999 recording S&M save for four new tracks and a small handful of well-known classic compositions. That the band and its label made the concert available only in its 2CD platform in stores, and made the rest of its platforms available online only detracts even more from its appeal.  Had the standalone Blu-ray and/or the 2CD/DVD platform been made available in store, that might have helped the recording’s appeal at least somewhat, but that did not happen.  To that end, that division detracts even more from the recording’s presentation.  The one saving grace to this recording is its production.  Those who recorded the concert in person and those who handled its post production are to be commended for their work.  It gives home audiences the best seat in the house.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the recording.  All things considered, S&M2 proves to be a presentation that will appeal most to Metallica’s most devoted fans.  It is available now.

More information on S&M2 is available along with all of Metallica’s latest news at:

Website: http://www.metallica.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/metallica

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

‘Loud Hailer’ Speaks “Volumes” About Beck’s Talent, Importance

Courtesy: Rhino Records

Legendary guitar virtuoso Jeff Beck will release his latest live recording this fall.  The recording, Live at the Hollywood Bowl, will be released Oct. 6 via Eagle Rock Entertainment.  Considering that this is still August, that is a while to wait. Beck’s fans do have something to satiate themselves while they wait for that recording’s release, though in the form of his most recent recording Loud Hailer.  The 11-song studio recording was released July 15, 2016 via Rhino Records, and was his first full-length studio recording – at the time – in six years.  While more than a year has passed since its original release, it still speaks just as loudly (yes, that awful pun was fully intended) today as it did in its original release.  That is due to the songs’ diverse musical arrangements and their equally diverse range of lyrical topics.  The record’s opener, ‘The Revolution Will Be Televised’ supports that statement.  The same can be said of the deeply moving ‘Scared For The Children’ and of the funky ‘O.I.L.’ Each song in its own way shows why this record stands out.  When set alongside its other eight songs, the whole of the songs proves that this record speaks volumes about not only Jeff Beck but also his fellow musicians.

Jeff Beck’s latest live recording Live Hailer is a work that speaks volumes about the legendary guitarist’s place in today’s music community.  It says loud and clear that he is still one of the industry’s elite artists.  That is made evident from the album’s outset in the form of ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.’  This infectious blues-rock composition is a slow but heavy and is a solid starting point for the album.  That is thanks to the pairing (in this critic’s view) of Beck with fellow guitarist Carmen Vandenberg. The pair’s work conjures thoughts of some of rock’s greatest blues-based works past and present.  Drummer Davide Sollazi and bassist Giovanni Pallotti partner to add even more depth to the song’s arrangement. Singer Rosie Bones’ vocal delivery (and the effects used to enhance that delivery) put the finishing touch to the song’s arrangement.  When all of the noted parts are joined as one, they make this arrangement a work that easily sticks in listeners’ minds.  With this in mind, the song’s arrangement is only one part of what makes it stand out. Its lyrical content is just as important to note.

The lyrical content at the center of ‘The Revolution Will Be Televised’ is presented in more spoken word fashion than singing. It finds Bones stating, “The revolution will be televised/You can watch in HD/You talk like a weekend warrior/From the safety of your city/The graphics won’t be as realistic as Grand Theft Auto 3/Guess that makes the wheel unwheelable/This s**** real baby/I think you’d better turn the volume down/So you can’t hear them plea/Suppose you’d better change the channel…the revolution will be televised and you can choose to watch or not/But if we all just talk from the safety of our sofas there won’t be much of a revolution to watch.”  Bones comes across as making a social commentary here, saying the revolution will only happen, but only if people get out and get involved instead of sitting at home hiding behind keyboards and in front of their televisions.  That is just this critic’s own interpretation and should not be taken as the only interpretation.  When this is set against Bones’ spoken word style delivery of that seeming message, it makes the song that much heavier.  When her delivery and statement join with the song’s already heavy musical arrangement, the whole of those elements shows clearly this song is a solid starter for Loud Hailer and – in itself – why Loud Hailer speaks so loudly.  It is just one of the songs that stands out in this record.  ‘Scared for the Children,’ which comes a little later in the record’s sequence, shows just as much why Loud Hailer speaks volumes.

‘Scared For The Children’ stands out just as much as ‘The Revolution Will Be Televised’ because it is so in a way that is completely unlike its counterparts on this album.  Musically speaking the song is another blues-based composition.  But its gentile, ethereal  melody – driven largely by Beck – is one that evokes such powerful emotions in itself.  If not for the obvious social commentary at the heart of its lyrics, the song’s musical arrangement could be interpreted as a romantic work or something meant to evoke thoughts of other innocence.  When it is joined with the noted commentary, it makes the song in whole one of those works that is heavy without having to be heavy. The commentary in question addresses how far the world has fallen over time.  That is evident as Bones sings in the song’s lead verse, “Billy skipped school again/Lookin’ like a fool again/What a little waste/For a taste of a big boy’s life/I’m scared for the children/Computer screens and magazines/Manufactured hopes and dreams/Playin’ in a comfy box/Cause mother’s got her shows to watch/I’m scared for the children/This is the end of the age of the innocent/One more game before they go/This is the end of the age of the innocent/What do we leave them with/I suppose we’ll never know.  The concern continues as Bones sings about “little boys having too much fun playing with a big boy’s gun’ and an old man “kissing the last blade of grass” as “the last bird dies.”  Again, Bones makes a very heavy statement here.  What is so interesting here is that in so many cases, one might expect such powerful statements to be more forceful and coupled with a much harder-edged composition.  Yet even in this setting both elements work so well alone and partnered.  When they are joined, they make ‘Scared For The Children’ a song that will most definitely stick with listeners just as much as ‘The Revolution Will Be Televised,’ proving yet again why Loud Hailer speaks so loudly to Beck’s continued place in the musical universe.  It is not the last of the record’s songs that serves to support that statement, either.  ‘O.I.L.,’ the album’s penultimate composition is one more example of what makes Loud Hailer another bold statement from Jeff Beck.

‘O.I.L.,’ like ‘The Revolution Will Be Televised’ and ‘Scared For The Children’ is another clear example of why Jeff Beck’s latest full-length studio recording is another bold, loud statement from the veteran guitarist.  That is evident in part through the song’s infectious old-school funk-based arrangement.  The arrangement plays out like the best works from Sly and the Family Stone, Parliament Funkadelic and other similar acts.  Even more interesting is the infusion of Beck’s blues influence into that arrangement.  The coupling of those styles works surprisingly well.  The song’s lyrical content adds even more interest for listeners as Bones seems to sing about celebrating life, but in a clean way, even going so far as to say she doesn’t want to use drugs to celebrate.  It’s a simple statement, but a positive one nonetheless.  Bones’ seeming celebratory lyrics, coupled with the song’s equally celebratory arrangement, is certain to put a smile on any listener’s face and have any listener dancing along. Keeping that in mind, that whole stands out from the previously discussed songs and the rest of the album’s songs.  That being the case, that continued diversity and originality (musically and lyrically), shows once more why Loud Hailer is such a standout album.  When the song is joined with its counterparts, the whole of those songs makes Loud Hailer a work that says loud and clear that Jeff Beck is still one of the most important names in the musical universe today.

Jeff Beck’s latest full-length studio recording Loud Hailer is a work that proves from start to finish was well worth the — at the time – long six-year wait. That is due to the diversity displayed throughout in its musical and lyrical content.  From the musically heavy to the emotionally heavy to points in between, this record offers plenty for every listener.  That is proven in part through the songs discussed here.  That is not to discount the other eight songs that make up the rest of the record’s body.  All things considered, the musical and lyrical content presented in this record makes it a work that says loud and proud that Jeff Beck is still one of the musical universe’s elite artists.  Loud Hailer is available now in stores and online.  More information on the album (as well as his upcoming live recording Live in Hollywood – set for release Oct. 6 via Eagle Rock Entertainment) is available online along with Beck’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.jeffbeck.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/jeffbeckmusic

 

 

 

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Rhino Records Streaming ZZ Top’s Live Take Of ‘Sixteen Tons’

Courtesy: Rhino Records

Courtesy: Rhino Records

ZZ Top is set to release its first ever live recording next month.

Live – Greatest Hits From Around The World will be released on Friday, September 9th via Rhino Records. In anticipation of the recording’s release Rhino is streaming the band’s performance of Merle Travis’ song ‘Sixteen Stones’ online now here. After Travis wrote and recorded the song, it would go on to be made famous by Tennessee Ernie Ford. The band’s performance of the song features a guest appearance by fellow veteran rocker Jeff Beck.

Live – Greatest Hits also includes performances of a number of ZZ Tops biggest hits including: ‘La Grange,’ ‘Sharp Dressed Man,’ ‘Legs,’ ‘Gimme All Your Lovin,’’ and a number of others. The full track listing for the recording is noted below. Pr-orders for the record are open now at Amazon on CD, vinyl, and via iTunes.

 

Greatest Hits From Around The World tracklisting with location of each track’s recording

 

  1. Got Me Under Pressure                  New York
  2. Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers          Las Vegas
  3. Cheap Sunglasses                          Paris
  4. Waitin’ For The Bus                         Chicago
  5. Jesus Just Left Chicago                  Chicago
  6. Legs                                                SãoPaolo
  7. Sharp Dressed Man                        Los Angeles
  8. Rough Boy (with Jeff Beck)             London
  9. Pincushion                                       Berlin
  10. La Grange                                     Dallas
  11. I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide                Vancouver
  12. Tube Snake Boogie                       Rome
  13. Gimme All Your Lovin’                   Houston
  14. Tush                                               Nashville
  15. Sixteen Tons (with Jeff Beck)        London

 

More information on Live – Greatest Hits From Around The World is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.zztop.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/zztop

 

 

 

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.

‘A Decade Of Dio: 1983 – 1993’ CD Box Set Available Now; Pre-Orders Open Now For Vinyl Box Set

Courtesy;  Rhino Records

Courtesy; Rhino Records

The wait is finally over, Dio fans.

A Decade of Dio: 1983 – 1993 is officially available now on CD box set.  The six-disc box set features Ronnie James Dio’s first six solo albums—Holy Diver (1983), The Last in Line (1984), Sacred Heart (1985), Dream Evil (1987), Lock Up The Wolves (1990), and Strange Highways (1993) in one complete collection.  It is retailing for $34.98.

Pre-orders for the collection’s vinyl platform, which is expected to retail for $99.98, are currently available now here.  Pre-orders can be placed here.  The vinyl collection will be available Friday, October 4th.   It will come with a bonus 7” vinyl single containing the original 1983 take of ‘Evil Eyes’ on one side and ‘Time To Burn’ on the other.  The take of ‘Evil Eyes’ that is presented in the vinyl set’s bonus 7” disc was originally released as the b-side to the title track from Holy Diver.  As an added note, it is completely different from the take presented in Dio’s 1984 album The Last in Line. ‘Time To Burn’ was the only studio track to be included in Dio’s 1986 live recording Intermission.

Both versions are presented in boxes featuring new artwork by Marc Sasso.  Sasso was the man behind the artwork on a number of Dio’s original albums.  More information on these upcoming box sets and other titles from Rhino Records is available online now at:

 

 

Websitehttp://www.rhino.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/RHINO

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/Rhino_Records

 

 

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.

 

Rino Records To Release New Dio Box Set

Courtesy;  Rhino Records

Courtesy; Rhino Records

Rhino Records is releasing a very special new box set this year for fans of legendary rocker Dio.

A Decade of Dio: 1983 – 1993 will be released this year.  The multi-disc set culls Dio’s first six solo albums: Holy Diver (1983), The Last in Line (1984), Sacred Heart (1985), Dream Evil (1987), Lock Up The Wolves (1990), and Strange Highways (1993).  The CD set will be released in stores and online via Rhino Records on Friday, July 22nd and will retail for MSRP of $34.98.  It will also be available as a multi-disc vinyl box set on Friday, October 4th.  The vinyl box set will retail for MSRP of $99.98.  It will come with a bonus 7” vinyl single containing the original 1983 take of ‘Evil Eyes’ on one side and ‘Time To Burn’ on the other.  The take of ‘Evil Eyes’ that is presented in the vinyl set’s bonus 7” disc was originally released as the b-side to the title track from Holy Diver.  As an added note, it is completely different from the take presented in Dio’s 1984 album The Last in Line. ‘Time To Burn’ was the only studio track to be included in Dio’s 1986 live recording Intermission.

Pre-orders for both the CD and vinyl box set are available now.  Both versions are presented in boxes featuring new artwork by Marc Sasso.  Sasso was the man behind the artwork on a number of Dio’s original albums.  The CD Pre-orders are open here and the vinyl pre-orders here.

More information on these upcoming box sets and other titles from Rhino Records is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://www.rhino.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Rhino_Records

 

 

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.

Beck Announces New Upcoming Album, Tour Dates

Courtesy:  MadInk PR

Courtesy: MadInk PR

Jeff Beck has a new album on the way and new tour dates to boot.

The veteran guitarist announced this week that he will release his new album this summer.  The as yet untitled album is currently scheduled to be released Friday, July 15th.  He will also release his new book Beck01 the same week on Tuesday, July 12th.  It will be published by Genesis Publications.  The upcoming album will be Beck’s first full-length studio recording in more than six years.  His last full-length album was Emotion & Commotion.  It was released in spring of 2010.  Cover art, track listing, and more information on Beck’s new album will be announced as the album’s release date nears.

Courtesy:  Genesis Publications

Courtesy: Genesis Publications

Beck01 isn’t just another music memoir.  Rather it traces Beck’s music and cars—more specifically hot rods—and will feature some 400+ rare and previously unseen photographs and items of memorabilia.  The whole thing is narrated by a nearly 20,000 word manuscript.  The limited edition book will also be signed by Beck himself.  It can be ordered online via Genesis Publications’ online store.

 

Both Beck’s new album and book will be supported by a handful of live performances beginning Tuesday, July 19th in Port Chester, New York.  Fellow guitar legend Buddy Guy will join Beck on a number of those dates.  The tour also includes a special performance on Wednesday, August 10th at the Hollywood Bowl to celebrate Beck’s now five decades-long career.  The first leg of the tour is a run of dates in the northeast and runs through July 26th in Holmdel, NJ.  On July 27th and 29th Beck will be in Vienna, VA and Canandaigua, NY respectively before playing a pair of dates in the Midwest to close out July.  He will open August with a performance in Nashville, TN on Wednesday, August 3rd.  A new group of tour dates was announced this week.  It includes performances in the Midwest and west coast.  The complete tour schedule, including newly announced dates, is available via Beck’s official website and Facebook page.  Tickets go on sale Friday, April 8th for all dates EXCEPT Kansas City (available Saturday, April 16th), Seattle, WA (available Friday, April 22nd), and Saratoga, CA (Available TBA).

 

More information on Beck’s upcoming live dates is available online now along with updates on his new book and album, news, and more at:

 

Website: http://www.jeffbeckofficial.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/jeffbeckmusic

 

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.

Beck’s New Live CD Is A Welcome Addition To Any Fan’s Collection

Courtesy:  ATCO/Rhino Records

Courtesy: ATCO/Rhino Records

Later this month, veteran guitarist Jeff Beck will release a brand new live recording titled Live+. The recording, which will be released only on CD, will be released on Tuesday, May 19th. The disc is a great new collection of live performances for audiences of all ages. The main reason for this is the list of songs that make up the disc’s sixteen total tracks. The disc’s body is composed of fourteen live tracks and two brand new studio tracks. The live tracks include both Beck’s own originals and some cover tunes that audiences of all ages will recognize and enjoy. The work of those charged with handling the record’s sequencing is just as much worth noting. The songs featured on this record come from a number of shows held during Back’s 2014 tour with ZZ Top. Despite this, they weren’t just tossed around haphazardly. Rather they were placed in a specific order that guarantees audiences will remain just as engaged as if they all came from one single performance. Having noted this, there is one more positive that can be noted of Live+. That last positive is the disc’s overall audio mix. Every little nuance of the performances is captured thanks to the work of those responsible for handling both the original concert audio and those charged with balancing said levels in the disc’s “post-production.” Taking into consideration all three elements noted here, Live+ proves itself to be another good addition to any Jeff Beck fan’s music library even if it is available only via CD and digital download.

Live+ is a good addition to any Jeff Beck fan’s music library. This is the case even with the collection of live performances being available mainly via CD and digital download. The reason that it proves itself worth the addition is the list of songs that makes up the body of the record. The record is composed of sixteen tracks. Fourteen of those tracks are live tracks and two are brand new studio recordings from Beck. In listening to the fourteen live performances that make up most of this record, audiences will appreciate that it includes both familiar originals from Beck and some familiar songs from other artists, too. The covers include Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Little Wing,’ ‘Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change is Gonna Come,’ ‘Mahavishnu Orchestra’s ‘You Know You Know,’ and a pair of tunes from The Beatles in the form of ‘A Day in The Life’ and ‘Hammerhead.’ There’s even an interesting take on the traditional song ‘Danny Boy.’ and an impressive take on Stevie Wonder’s hit song ‘Superstition.’ The original songs from Beck that were included across the disc include: ‘Morning Dew,’ ‘Big Block,’ ‘Why Give It Away,’ and ‘Loaded’ are just some of Beck’s originals featured throughout the record. Some might ask what this is important to the whole of the record. It is important in that it shows Beck’s versatility. It shows that along with handling his own works with just as much ease as ever, he has a certain respect for music and musicians across the musical universe. Those that are familiar with all of the songs featured here will second that sentiment while those that might be new to both Beck’s originals and the covers he handles will agree just as much as they discover both for the first time ever.

The songs that are included across the body of Live+ are in themselves key to the record’s enjoyment. That is because they put on display Beck’s versatility as a musician as well as his respect for other musicians and musical acts across the musical universe. On a related note, the work of those charged with handling the sequencing of the songs are to be commended. Their work makes the overall listening experience through each song all the more enjoyable. As audiences will note, from song to song, those charged with handling the record’s sequencing never stick to just one style of song. The more energetic, up-tempo songs are complemented quite well by their slower, more reserved counterparts from beginning to end. As inconsequential as this may seem, it is extremely important. It is especially important in the realm of live recordings. Musical acts assemble set lists that will keep their audiences fully engaged at the actual concerts that they hold. This compilation of live performances was set up in much the same fashion even being compiled from a number of live sets. It is a tribute to their efforts and attention to such an important detail along with that of Beck himself. It’s one more reason audiences will agree that Live+ is another good addition to any Jeff Beck fan’s personal music library.

Both the set list that makes up the body of Live+ and the work of those charged with handling the sequencing of said songs are important to the whole of the recording in their own right. Neither would be of any consequence without the work of those charged with handling the performances’ audio. This includes both those that handled the audio at Beck’s performances with ZZ Top last year and those that handled the audio levels in “post-production.” That is those that handled the audio levels in preparation for the recording’s release. It’s thanks to their work that singer Jimmy Hall blows audiences away with his powerhouse vocals. It is thanks to them that Becks work shines through just as much both during his time in the limelight and as a member of the musical collective on stage. Even more impressive is that throughout the course of the record’s live performances, every part is balanced with the utmost expertise. This includes not only Hall’s vocal talents and Beck’s talents on guitar, but the talents of their band mates–Jonathan Joseph (drums), Rhonda Smith (bass), and Nicholas Meier (guitar)–too. No one part overpowers the other at any point throughout the performances. The end result is a collection of performances that once more proves itself another worthy addition to any Jeff Beck fan’s personal music library.

Jeff Beck’s new live recording Live+ shows plenty of reason for his fans to add this recording to their personal music libraries when it is released this month. The mix of original songs and covers shows both Beck and his band mates as quite the versatile group of musicians. It shows them as musicians that are not only greatly talented but that have great respect for other equally renowned acts. The work of those charged with sequencing the various performances is just as noteworthy. That is because the mood of the recording’s live songs doesn’t stick to just one style. The more energetic, up-tempo pieces are expertly complemented by more laid back, reserved pieces from beginning to end. The end result of that expert balance is a collection of performances that will keep audiences fully engaged from the collection’s first performance to its fourteenth. The work of those charged with handling the performances’ audio both in their live setting and in post production have made Live+ enjoyable, too. It is thanks to the work of those individuals that the performances sound so good from beginning to end. That element taken into consideration with the compilation’s set list and the work of those that assembled said set list proves Live+ in the long run to be a live recording that every Jeff Beck fan will want to add to their personal music library. That isn’t to ignore the record’s two new studio recordings, either. They add even more enjoyment to the record. Having noted all of this it can be said with certainty that Jeff Beck’s upcoming live CD Live+ deserves a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new live CDs.

Jeff Beck is currently wrapping up a handful of makeup dates with ZZ Top that were previously postponed last year. The dates in question were postponed due to an injury sustained by ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill. The last of those dates is tomorrow, May 10th. After that date, Beck will embark on a nine-date solo tour that kicks off next Tuesday, May 12th in Louisville, KY. That schedule is listed below.

Jeff Beck Newly Added Solo Dates – on sale dates noted:

May 12 The Kentucky Center –Whitney Hall Louisville, KY*

May 14 Michigan Theater Ann Arbor, MI ***

May 15 Hard Rock Live Northfield, OH*

May 16 PNC Pavilion at Riverbend Music Center Cincinnati, OH

May 17 Ryman Auditorium Nashville, TN

May 19 Fox Theater St. Louis, MO *

May 21 Chicago Theatre Chicago, IL **

May 22 Riverside Theatre Milwaukee, WI*

May 23 State Theater Minneapolis, MN*

*on sale April 10

** on sale April 11

*** on sale April 17

Live+ will be available in stores and online Tuesday, May 19th. It will retail for MSRP of $18.98 in physical form. More information on this recording, Beck’s upcoming re-issue of Live at Ronnie Scott’s and any of his other recordings is available online now along with all of the latest updates on his tour schedule and other news at:

Website: http://www.jeffbeck.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/jeffbeckmusic

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 Releases Details Of Upcoming ZZ Top Live Release

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Montreux Sounds

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Montreux Sounds

The partnership between Eagle Rock Entertainment and Montreux Sounds has led to the release of a number of archived shows from the festival’s decades-long history in recent years. Performances from the likes of Phil Collins, Carlos Santana, Etta James, and so many others have been released thanks to the companies’ partnership. Now another of music’s major names will see one of its Montreux Festival performances released this summer thanks to that partnership. The name in question is none other than classic rock trio ZZ Top.

ZZ Top: Live at Montreux 2013 will be released July 22, 2014 on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital formats. The new archived concert will be released alongside the brand new CD release of ZZ Top: The Very Baddest Of. That new CD release is a two-disc set containing forty of the band’s biggest hits. It will be released via Rhino Records. ZZ Top: Live at Montreux 2013 will see the band performing many of those hits live at the famed festival. Among the songs audiences can expect to hear are: ‘La Grange,’ ‘Gimme All Your Lovin’,’ ‘Pincushion,’ ‘Sharp Dressed Man,’ ‘Waitin’ For The Bus,’ ‘Legs,’ ‘Tube Snake Boogie,’ and ‘Tush’ just to name a handful of songs. Audiences can also expect to see the band’s performance of ‘Tres Hombres,’ ‘Fandango,’ ‘Eliminator,’ and ‘La Futura.’ Needless to say that this new archived performance is a definite career-spanning set. There is even a jazz-blues tribute to the late Claude Nobs, who founded the Montreux Jazz Festival decades ago. The performance features appearances by Mike Flanigin on Hammond organ and Van Wilks on guitar.

The concert’s DVD presentation will retail for SRP of $14.98. The Blu-ray will retail for $19.98. More information on this and other releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment and Montreux Sounds is available online at http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt and http://www.eagle-rock.com. More information on ZZ Top and all of its upcoming releases and tour news is available online at http://www.zztop.com and http://www.facebook.com/zztop. 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.