Panton’s 2015 Re-Issue Shows Big Things Can And Do Come In “Little” Packages

Courtesy:  eOne

Courtesy: eOne

As each day passes this month, Phil’s Picks is presenting its annual “Best of” lists.  That mass of lists launched yesterday with the year’s top new EPs.  Today, we move from EPs to albums.  Today’s list doesn’t focus on new albums, but album re-issues.  Make no bones about it, every year, hundreds of albums are re-issued both on CD and vinyl (as well as digital platforms).  So they are just as valid as being considered in any critic’s year-end lists as anything else.  Keeping that in mind, today Phil’s Picks is offering its list of the year’s Top 10 New CD Re-Issues.  This year’s list is topped by Diana Panton’s 2015 album I Believe in Small Things.  Also included in this year’s list of top re-issues are titles from Rich Robinson, Black Sabbath, Pain of Salvation and others.

As always, the list includes both the Top 10 records and five extra honorable mention titles for a total of 15 records.  Keeping that in mind, here for your consideration are the Phil’s Picks 2016 Top 10 CD Re-Issues


1) Diana Panton – I Believe In Small Things


2) Rich Robinson – Woodstock Sessions Volume 3


3) Rich Robinson – Through A Crooked Sun


4) Rich Robinson – Llama Blues


5) Allen Stone – Radius


6) Junkstars – This Means War


7) Faith No More – Album of the Year


8) Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath


9) Black Sabbath – Paranoid


10) Black Sabbath – Master of Reality


11) Pain of Salvation – Remedy Lane: Revisited, Re-Mixed and Re-Lived


12) American Hi-Fi – American Hi-Fi


13) Michael Jackson – Off The Wall


14) Pete Seeger – Pete


15) Shooter Jennings & Hierophant – Black Ribbons



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Memphis International Records’ New Charlie Rich Collection Is A Must Have For Country Music Fans

Courtesy: Memphis International Records

Courtesy: Memphis International Records

Late next month Memphis International Records will release its new Charlie Rich tribute record Feel Like Going Home: The Songs of Charlie Rich to the world.  The record, while hardly the first ever collection of the classic country singer’s songs, is definitely one of the rare Charlie Rich collections worth hearing.  That is due in part to the songs that were chosen for the record.  That will be discussed shortly.  They are only a part of what makes this record stand out.  The artists who were chosen for the compilation are just as important to note as the songs that were chosen.  That will be discussed later.  The different approaches taken to Rich’s songs rounds out the most important of the record’s elements.  Listeners will find, in hearing this record, that each element is important in its own way to the record’s presentation.  All things considered, the record in whole proves to be a piece that any classic country fan should have in his or her own music library.

Memphis International Records’ new Charlie Rich tribute record is a piece that every classic country fan (and even every country fan in general) should have in his or her own music library.  That is due in no small part to the songs chosen for the record.  Thirteen of Rich’s songs were chosen for the record, some more well-known and some not so well-known. The record’s second offering, ‘Caught in The Middle’ is one of those lesser known pieces.  The song was originally the b-side to the single ‘Who Will The Next Fool Be.’  Speaking of that song, it is also included in this compilation later in its sequencing. The record’s opening song ‘Lonely Weekends’ is one of Rich’s more well-known pieces.  It was originally a single included in Rich’s debut 1960 record Lonely Weekends With Charlie Rich.  Even ‘Midnight Blues’—originally included in Rich’s 1971 album A Time for Tears—is here along with a number of other songs that fans of all ages will enjoy. The songs are enjoyable not because they are such a solid mix of Rich’s songs from his Sun Records days, but also because of the artists tapped to record the songs.

The songs that were chosen to make up the body of Feel Like Going Home: The Songs of Charlie Rich are important to note in the record’s presentation because they represent a very distinct period in Rich’s career.  That period is Rich’s time with Sun Records.  The period specific songs are only one part of what makes this record stand out for country fans.  The artists chosen to perform the songs are just as important to note as the songs themselves.  That is due in part to the fact that the performers tapped for the project do not come only from the world of country music.  Singer/songwriter Susan Marshall, for instance, crosses musical borders, writing and performing pop, folk, and rock music.  Shooter Jennings, the son of the late, great Waylon Jennings crosses those borders, too writing and performing country and rock songs.  Preston Shannon, who takes on Rich’s ‘Easy Money’ is a blues artist, not country.  Simply put, the artists tapped for the project are not just country artists.  They run the gamut just like Rich himself did during his career.  Taking such an approach is a real tribute in itself to Rich and his contributions to the music industry.  On another level, the fact that each artist only takes on one song each, rather than taking on multiple compositions, makes them and the record even more enjoyable to hear.  Speaking of hearing the songs, the arrangements that each artist presented of his or her given song rounds out the most important of the record’s elements.

The songs that were chosen for Memphis International Records’ new Charlie Rich collection and the artists tapped to perform those songs are each important elements in their own way in examining the record’s presentation.  While each element is clearly important to the record’s overall presentation, they are not the record’s only key elements.  The performances put in by each artist are just as important to note as the performers themselves and the songs chosen for the record.  Jim Lauderdale’s take on ‘Lonely Weekends’ largely pays honor to Rich’s original tune, but amps things up a little bit with his guitar-driven take on the song and an electronic organ in place of Rich’s original piano.  By and large, the two renditions are the same, save for those differences, and of course the choir in the background.  Considering this, anyone that is familiar with the original song will enjoy this take on the classic tune just as much as the original.  Much the same can be said of ‘Easy Money.’

Preston Shannon’s take on ‘Easy Money’ has taken the original sax-driven song and stepped it up even more, replacing the original sax line with a guitar.  The drums are also more prominent in Shannon’s take on the song than on the original.  It is just one more way in which the record’s performances prove to be just as important to its presentation as the songs and artists tapped for the record.  The album’s closer and title track is perhaps the greatest example of the importance of the record’s featured performances.

Kevin Connolly almost directly mirrors Rich with his performance of the beautifully painful ‘Feel Like Going Home.’  While the arrangement is slightly different here from the original—Rich used a piano in his original tune while Connolly used a steel guitar (or what sounds like a steel guitar)—the effect is still the same.  It will garner tears from listeners of any age and musical taste.  Connolly expertly captures that gravelly tone in Rich’s voice in his take on the song here, adding even more impact to the song.  The end result is a song that is so powerful in its painful delivery that it makes the perfect closer for the record and yet another example of the importance of the performances presented throughout the record.  Between Connolly’s performance, those of Preston Shannon, Jim Lauderdale, and all of the other artists, the performances shine through brightly from beginning to end.  They combine to prove in the end that the performances, while not precise mirror images of Rich’s originals, are just as good as Rich’s songs if not better.  When the performances are set against the songs and performers chosen for the record, all three elements join to show in whole why this tribute record is not just another obligatory piece meant to prey on consumer spending habits.  They join to make this collection one that country music fans of all ages should have in their personal music libraries.

Memphis International Records’ new Charlie Rich collection Feel Like Going Home: The Songs of Charlie Rich is a record that every county music fan should have in his or her music library.  That is because the songs presented in the record are in themselves a musical history lesson on Rich and his contributions to the music industry.  The performers tapped to record the chosen songs are just as vast as they styles of music that Rich composed during his career.  Their performances of those songs, while not mirror images of Rich’s songs, do the original songs justice just as much as they do Rich’s own legacy.  They could even  be argued to be just as good as Rich’s originals if not better.  Keeping all of this in mind, Feel Like Going Home: The Songs of Charlie Rich proves in the end to be, again, a must have for any country music fan.  It will be available in stores and online on Friday, October 14th.  It can be ordered online now via Memphis International Records store.  More information on this and other titles from Memphis International Records is available online now at:









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Memphis International Records To Release Charlie Rich Tribute Record This Fall

Courtesy: Memphis International Records

Courtesy: Memphis International Records

A country music legend will be honored this fall with a new tribute record.

Memphis International Records has announced that it will release a new collection of Charlie Rich cover songs this fall. Feel Like Going Home: The Songs of Charlie Rich will be released Friday, October 14th.  In anticipation of the album’s release, Memphis International Records has released a video about the project.  It can be viewed online here.

Feel Like Going Home: The Songs of Charlie Rich features performances from the likes of Shooter Jennings, Jim Lauderdale, Charlie Rich, Jr. and others.  Charlie Rich, Jr., Charlie Rich’s son recently got to hear the album in whole and had the following to say to the record’s producer, Michael Dinallo:


Hi Michael,

Man, we couldn’t be more pleased with the album.  I love it.  Totally AWESOME! ! !  Dad would have absolutely loved every bit of it too.  I love the creativity and inventiveness, the soulfulness.  And it sounds young and fresh. The sucker pops. Dude, you produced a killer album. I’ve very honored and proud to be on it.  Love the guitar parts too, extremely musical and gels the whole thing. One of the coolest projects in years.  I’ll do everything I can to help spread the word and promote it.
All the best pal,


The full track listing for Feel Like Going Home: The Songs of Charlie Rich is noted below:


Feel Like Going Home: The Songs of Charlie Rich track listing:

  1. “Lonely Weekends,” Jim Lauderdale
  2. “Caught in the Middle,” Malpass Brothers
  3. “Whirlwind,” Juliet Simmons Dinallo
  4. “Sittin’ and Thinkin’,” Will Kimbrough
  5. “Time and Again,” Susan Marshall
  6. “Break Up,” Charlie Rich Jr.
  7. “Who Will the Next Fool Be,” Holli Mosley
  8. “Rebound,” Shooter Jennings
  9. “Midnight Blues,” Anita Suhanin
  10. “Easy Money,” Preston Shannon
  11. Don’t Put No Headstone on My Grave,” Johnny Hoy
  12. “Everything I Do Is Wrong,” Keith Sykes with Grace Askew
  13. “Feel Like Going Home,” Kevin Connolly


More information on this and other titles from Memphis International Records is available online now at:









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Jennings’ New Album More “Solid Country Gold”

Courtesy:  Entertainment One Music

Courtesy: Entertainment One Music

The year is still young.  But this critic’s list of candidates for the year’s best albums is already beginning to fill up quickly.  The Slide Brothers and Experience Hendrix, Inc. have already made the case to be candidates with their new releases.  Now another album has made the case to be not just on the list of the year’s best albums, but also the year’s best Country Music albums.  It’s Shooter Jennings’ new album, The Other Life

The Other Life is proof that one should never judge a book (or a CD) by its cover.  At first glance, one glance at the artwork for Shooter’s new album might lead some to believe that this album is going to be much like that of Black Ribbons, which he recorded with the members of Hierophant.  The artwork used throughout the album’s packaging is quite similar to images used throughout albums released by Tool.  But one listen through this album reveals something quite different.  What listeners get in this latest release from one of Outlaw Country’s best is eleven radio ready and easily accessible country songs. Every listener will find something especially entertaining from this album’s song list.  Every song carries a familiar vibe from Shooter’s previous LPs.  But they don’t sound like the songs from his previous releases.  In simple terms, each song on this album is an original work similar to his previous songs in feeling only.  One of the album’s brightest shining moments comes halfway through the album in the song, ‘Outlaw You.’ 

‘Outlaw You’ is bound to become a fan favorite both on the record and at live shows.  It is a defiant stance against so much pop country that tries to call itself pure country.  Jennings sings loud and proud in this song, “Hey pretty boy/With the baseball hat/Couldn’t hit country with a baseball bat/Country ain’t just about where you’re at/It’s about being true/To what’s inside of you/You say you’re an outlaw/With the perfect boots/That you got from the record label’s image group/Sing another man’s song/With a big drum loop/Listen, son/You ain’t got a clue/You can’t buy true/I’ll tell you what they should do/They should outlaw you!”  This echoes the sentiment of Jennings’ fellow Outlaw Country artist, Hank III.  Hank III wrote a similar song some time ago about how so much pop country tries to masquerade as real country.  This song is one more that any country purist will surely appreciate and enjoy as it has the exact same true emotion.

While it may not seem like it at first listen, but another high point of this LP is its penultimate track, ’15 Million Light Years Away (featuring Jim Dandy).  Dandy’s vocals are so rich and vibrant here.  They make for an excellent counterpart to that of Jennings.  And the guitar solos thrown in will almost sure lead to thoughts of Lynyrd Skynyrd.  Lyrically, it comes across as a social commentary of sorts, with the duo singing about the legal system being perverted and of everything in the world being in a state contrary to what it should be.  The musical backing helps to set the song’s mood, too with its slower, minor sound.  It stands out unlike anything else on the record.

Perhaps the most intriguing song on The Other Life is its closer, ‘The Gunslinger.’  What makes it so intriguing is its musical side.  It starts out like any pure country song, with an acoustic guitar and soft, gentle vocals.  From there, it proceeds to crescendo to something totally different with its mix of electronics and sax part eventually ending the song.  Forget the lyrical side here.  This is a song that simply must be experienced solely for its musical side.  It’s an unlikely candidate to be one of the album’s high points.  But because it is also so different from anything else on the record, it is one of those songs that will lead to discussion for its ingenuity.  In turn, the discussions that it is sure to raise will prove why it is one of the so many high points of this album.  Put simply, every song on this album will appeal to country purists and country music fans in general.  There is not one bad moment throughout the course of this record.  Every song creates a wholly different feel within itself and its listeners with every listen.  And that is something rare at this point in the music industry.  The album will be available in stores, Tuesday, March 12th.  Before it drops though, Jennings will hit the road in support of the new album, beginning March 6th in Miami Florida on the Kid Rock Cruise.  From there, he will perform at the annual SXSW Festival in Austin, TX on March 12th and 13th.  Fans in North Carolina will also get their chance to see Shooter live.  He will be performing at Ziggy’s in Winston-Salem on Tuesday, April 16th and on Friday, May 24th at Gus’ Bar in Jacksonville, NC.  Audiences can get a full tour rundown and all the latest news and more from Jennings on Facebook at and

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Shooter Jennings Releases Album Release, Tour Dates

Courtesy:  Entertainment One Nashville

Courtesy: Entertainment One Nashville

Second generation country artist Shooter Jennings is set to release his new album, The Other Life on Tuesday, March 12th.  The new album—his fifth full length studio release—will be released via Black Country Rock/Entertainment One Nashville.  In anticipation of the upcoming release, Jennings has officially released the second single from the new album.  The new single is titled ‘Wild & Lonesome.’  It is a full-on acoustic piece in which Jennings duets with fellow musician Patti Griffin.  Griffin is just one of a handful of guests that make an appearance on the new album.  He has brought along a group of musicians who he dubbed “The Triple Crown” in recording this album.  “The Triple Crown” is famed jazz pianist Erik Deutsch, guitarist Chris Masterson, drummer Tony Leone, bassist Jeff Hill, and pedal steel player Jon Graboff.

Along with the release of the new single, Jennings has revealed the current slate of dates for his upcoming tour in support of The Other Life.  Jennings’ North Carolina fans will get not one but two chances to see him live in person during his tour.  He will make a stop at Ziggy’s in Winston-Salem on Tuesday, April 16th and another in Jacksonville, NC on Friday, May 24th at Gus’ Bar.  The whole tour kicks off on Wednesday, March 6th in Miami, Florida aboard the Kid Rock Cruise.  After returning from the cruise, Jennings will be performing at the annual SXSW Festival on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 12th and 13th.  The tour runs through Thursday, June 13th

As one can see, Shooter Jennings is going to be quite the busy person this Spring and Summer with the release of his new album and a supporting tour.  That’s not all that he’s doing though.  He is also set to co-produce a film based on the life of his legendary outlaw country father, Waylon Jennings.  The as-yet untitled film is expected to go into production in 2014.  It will allegedly focus on his father’s groundbreaking years when he went toe-to-toe against the Nashville establishment and his own personal demons to be the face of a whole new genre of country.  The film has the blessing of both Jessi Coulter and the Jennings estate.    

To get more information on Jennings’ upcoming film and his full list of tour dates and more, go online to and “Like” it or his official website,

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Jennings Shows His Talent, Originality Again On New LP

Courtesy:  Black Country Rock/Entertainment One

Courtesy: Black Country Rock/Entertainment One

Shooter Jennings is one of the most underrated individuals in the music industry today.  The son of music royalty, Jennings has made his own identity throughout his career, making music the way that he has wanted.  The result is two impressive modern country albums and an equally impressive and brave experiment in the form of his previous record, Black Ribbons.  When Jennings released Black Ribbons, the initial reaction was mixed.  But it showed his versatility and thus not only kept most of his audience, but also brought in a whole new faction of fans.  Now on his most recent release, Family Man, Jennings has shown just as much versatility.

Family Man bears little resemblance, if any, to Shooter Jennings’ previous recordings.  Its opener, ‘The Real Me’ is classic outlaw country with a touch of blues mixed in.  Lyrically, it’s classic Shooter right along the lines of fellow outlaw country artists Hank Williams Jr., and Hank III.  The song’s chorus is the best evidence of that.  He sings in the song’s chorus, “I’m a double-talkin’/Chicken-lickin’/Meaner than the Dickens/Sick and wicked/Hole-diggin’, pickin’/Son of a gun/And I’ll love you like the devil/Bite you like a snake/And then forsake and break/Everything I don’t take before I am done.”  The chorus itself is lyrically the heart of this song.  But it’s the lyrical delivery of the chorus that makes it really hit.  It’s almost a rap style delivery, for lack of better wording.  Just hearing Shooter deliver the chorus in this manner is impressive.  It’s something that audiences have rarely heard from him.  Set against the rest of the song it simply stands out and makes the song that much more enjoyable.

Shooter shows more of his outlaw country side in the album’s opener.  But he doesn’t stay in his safe zone on this record.  He branches out, showing quite the mix of influences time and again.  Just one example of that bag of musical influences is the album’s lead single, ‘The Dollar & The Deed.’  Jennings’ vocal style set against the music makes for an interesting combination of Bob Dylan meets Kenny Rogers mixed with a modern country love song.  Stylistically speaking, Jennings’ vocal style in ‘The Deed & The Dollar’ invokes images of Bob Dylan.  Coming from a musical standpoint, this song is classic country all the way.  One of the best comparisons that can be made is to the likes of Kenny Rogers.  Lyrically, the song is a good fit for any happy couple or hopeful happy couple to be.  He sings, “She’s got a special way/Makes me happy every day/What do the old folks say…When I feel alone/She reminds me that there’s always tomorrow/I kinda wonder if she knows/My sun comes up/Just to hear her call.”  If that’s not the basis for a romance, it’s anyone’s guess what is.  And with Valentine’s Day already right around the corner, this would make for a fitting song to set a romantic mood.

Shooter gets soft at times on his new album.  But he also shows that he’s got that outlaw still in him later in the album in the song, ‘Family Tree.’  This is not just country.  It’s pure outlaw country and is bound to become one of his biggest hits with fans both on the album in live.  He sings in this song, “We’re southern by God/Our name is mud/We’ve got each other’s backs/Cause we’ve got the same blood/Let the stock market crash/Cause we’ll always be free/We may be trash/But we’re family.” Simply put, this is an anthem for Shooter’s fans.  It will light a fire under his fans and have them singing along and pumping their fists with pride at every one of his shows.  And it’s just one more example of that makes this new album yet another success from one of this generation’s greatest all around musicians.

Jennings recently wrapped up his most recent tour in support of this album and is currently putting the finishing touches on a new album that’s due out in early 2013.  Fans can keep up with his progress online at his official website, and his official Facebook page,

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