SEPTEMBER OCTOBER 2005

 

     
 


CHUCK BERRY

 
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER


DAVE MASON

BRIAN ENO

YES

JOHN WILLIAMS
 
     
  CHUCK BERRY
Gold
(
Chess / Geffen / UME)

The influence that Chuck Berry had on all the great early ‘60s pop bands—from Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys to The Beatles, Stones and beyond—is still the stuff of legends. Long time fans and newcomers to the Berry phenomenon will marvel at the track by track greatness of his 2005 double CD Chuck Berry Gold collection from Universal. Like most of the Gold compilations from Universal, the tracks here represent the cream of the crop when it comes to Berry’s smash hits. Following a string of unimaginable successes—starting out in 1955 with the release of “Maybelline” through to the 1961 release of “Come On”—Chuck Berry was actually put in jail by American officials on, of all things, a morals charge. While Chuck tried to kick things back up with early ‘64 hits like “Nadine (Is It You?)”, “You Never Can Tell” and “Promised Land,” little did he know the stage was being set for the British Invasion of mid ‘64. How ironic is it that while The Beatles and Stones were peppering their ‘64 invasion with various Berry classics, old Chuck was just getting out of the slammer. By then, much of the magic was gone—despite his 1972 one-off slapstick number one hit “My Ding-A-Ling.” That said, Gold’s 50 song classics, tracks that reigned supreme by 1960, place Berry in that rare echelon of the 20th century’s greatest rockers. Or as John Lennon put it, “Don’t give me any sophisticated crap, give me Chuck Berry.” As is the case with all of Universal’s Gold series, Chuck Berry Gold features top liner notes, killer photos and track by track listing of these fabled Chicago recording dates and session personnel. www.universalchronicles.com

 


 
  EMERSON LAKE & PALMER
Beyond The Beginning
(Sanctuary)

Following their respective departures from King Crimson and The Nice, bassist Greg Lake and keyboard wiz Keith Emerson formed Emerson Lake & Palmer with drummer Carl Palmer. The ‘70s heyday of this first ever progressive rock supergroup is fondly remembered on a 2005 double DVD set on Sanctuary entitled Beyond The Beginning. In addition to ELP’s 44 minute headlining performance (on Disc 2) at the 1975 California Jam, the DVD set also includes the full length version of the group’s history entitled “Beyond The Beginning” and loads of assorted rare and spectacular footage. Disc 1 collects a revealing array of ELP related footage including early ‘70s clips from Beat Club, a clip from the 1970 Isle Of Wight, promo clips of “I Believe In Father Christmas”, live clips from their ‘92 and ‘97 comebacks, as well as three amazing 1969 clips of Lake with King Crimson, Emerson with The Nice and Palmer drumming on the legendary “Fire” video from Arthur Brown. Add in unseen rehearsal footage from 1973, a documentary on those famous ELP album covers, a 24 page color booklet and a recent video interview with the late great Bob Moog discussing the impact his early synthesizers had on Keith Emerson and you come away with the definitive DVD on prog-rock’s most colorful, flamboyant virtuosos. www.emersonlakepalmer.com

 


 
 

DAVE MASON
Alone Together / Headkeeper
(BGO)

After he left Traffic for a second time, U.K. guitar legend Dave Mason surprised the music world with an album now often referred to as one of the greatest of 1970. Featuring one memorable track after the next, Alone Together found Mason in the company of rock greats such as his co-founder in Traffic, Jim Capaldi, drummers Jim Keltner and Jim Gordon as well as Leon Russell, Delaney & Bonnie, John Simon, Rita Coolidge and more. Despite legal wranglings with his label at the time, Mason returned in 1972 with Headkeeper—an album of half studio and half live tracks that rekindled some of the Alone Together spark, with a brilliant title track and a pair of live Traffic covers. Mason would go on to a star studded career with numerous solo albums on Columbia Records, yet for a fleeting moment back in 1970, Alone Together provided a most intriguing musical dynamic. In 2005, U.K. based BGO Records has released a fine Mason 18 track CD reissue of Alone Together—pairing the album with ‘72s Headkeeper, complete with in-depth liner notes, fine remastering and graphics. A bona-fide guitar great from the heyday of ‘60s rock, Mason is long overdue for his first studio album of the 2000’s. Let’s hope he gets to make it happen. www.bgo-records.com

 


 
  BRIAN ENO
Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks
(Astralwerks)

Having earned his reputation as a producer (David Bowie, U2), rock icon (Roxy Music) and New Age pioneer, back in 1983 Brian Eno joined forces with his brother Roger Eno and fellow producer Daniel Lanois for an album that stands out as one of his finest. In the spirit of his late ‘70s masterpiece, Music For Airports, Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks made for a truly essential masterwork of electronic sounds. Eno’s incredible ambient genius was equally matched with the pedal steel guitar sounds of Dan Lanois, so much so that some compared the album’s weightless, airy sound to that of Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia’s desert-hued sonic paintings. Perhaps the greatest thing about this 2005 Apollo remaster on Astralwerks / Virgin is the greatly detailed and distortion free Direct Stream Digital sound quality. An audiophile nightmare when it was first released as a ticking, popping cluster bomb black vinyl Lp over twenty years ago, the veil has been lifted on this 12 track Apollo CD remaster, justly placing it up among the greatest sounding ambient CDs albums of all time. In 2005 Astralwerks has also reissued Eno’s 1985 hour long single disc, one piece ‘holographic’ soundscape entitled Thursday Afternoon. Also out in 2005 on Astralwerks is a never before released CD collection from Eno entitled More Music For Films. Consisting of 21 tracks recorded between 1976 and 1983, More Music For Films features six previously unreleased tracks as well as four unreleased, alternate tracks from the ground-breaking Apollo album. www.enoshop.co.uk

 


 
  YES
Yes: Greatest Video Hits
(WSM / Rhino)

This first ever release of Yes: Greatest Video Hits can be described as a musical arm wrestle of sorts. There are two main theories of Yes music here: the ‘70s Yes represented by seasoned videos for “Wondrous Stories,” “Don’t Kill The Whale” and “Madrigal” (all featuring guitarist Steve Howe) and video clips of the ‘80s and early ‘90s Yes with guitarist Trevor Rabin, including their now famous made for MTV videos for “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” “Leave It” and “Rhythm Of Love.” Keeping the cord in tact are Yes founders Chris Squire and Jon Anderson, who appears in all the videos except for two rarely scene videos depicting the 1980 Drama lineup of Squire, Howe, White and The Buggles (Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes). Howe’s work with Yes on Tormato is well represented here with a killer concept video of their ‘78 single “Don’t Kill The Whale” while the 12 track DVD splits the difference with “Owner Of Lonely Heart” and other, now nostalgic made for MTV videos from the crazy ‘80s. Underscoring the value of these three distinct lineups and interspersed throughout are track by track video commentaries from Howe, Rabin, Squire, Alan White along with the stand-up comedics of Rick Wakeman. www.nfte.org


 
  JOHN WILLIAMS
The Ultimate Guitar Collection
(Sony Music)

On his recent CD releases, classical guitar favorite John Williams has featured African music (on 2001’s The Magic Box) and traditional Venezuelan music (on his 2004 CD El Diablo Suelto). A 2004, 41 track double CD set looking back at some of Williams’ finest recordings over the past twenty years, John Williams The Ultimate Guitar Collection collects further proof of the maestro’s sheer guitar mastery. Since his early years studying with Andres Segovia and recording with Julian Bream, Williams has displayed a knack not only for playing the guitar but also for adapting and redefining on guitar some of the greatest classical melodies of all time. The Ultimate Guitar Collection is filled with a slew of indelible Williams adaptations of classical titans like Bach, Scarlati, Handel, Elgar, Vivaldi and Eric Satie, modern soundtrack masters such as Ennio Morricone, Stanley Myers and Nino Rota along with classical guitar icons such as Isaac Albéniz, Francisco Tárrega, Agustin Barrios, Manuel Ponce and Leo Brouwer. Underscoring his unique status as the most accomplished classical guitarist of the 20th Century, Williams has also chosen to include his version of “The Entertainer”, (originally from Williams 1996 album John Williams Plays The Movies) written by Scott Joplin along with a three piece number written by Charlie Byrd entitled “3 Blues For Classic Guitar” (from Williams’ 1988 album The Spirit Of The Guitar). As The Ultimate Guitar Collection points out, whatever genre or era of the guitar Williams chooses to interpret he always does it with the utmost in respect, taste and fretboard finesse. www.johnwilliamsguitar.com

 



 

 

 
 
 
   
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