For audio samples you'll 
need the RealPlayer









The Capitol Albums Vol. 1
(Capitol / Apple)

A hot button issue that’s sure to keep the proverbial musical telephone ringing off the hook well into ‘05, the four CD box set release of The Capitol Albums Volume 1 will either prove to be a musical panacea for long time Beatles fans or this kiss of death for non-believers, purists and sundry international fans never exposed to these American-only releases. Actually, Capitol Records is only finally legitimizing and setting in stone something bootleggers and collectors have known for quite a few years already. The fact is, the original Beatles Lps as released in the USA on Capitol were punch for punch, track lineup by track lineup, more fab, more impressionistic and more (cost) effective (marketable) than the group’s Fab-endorsed Parlophone albums. Case in point comes by way of the very first Beatles Lp release on Capitol in the US, Meet The Beatles. If you look at the Fab’s first two UK albums (Please, Please Me and With The Beatles), nowhere is to be found a little song called “I Want To Hold Your Hand”. The band’s first ‘signature’ song kicking off the late ‘63 Meet The Beatles release, “I Want To Hold Your Hand” can single-handedly take the credit—along with “She Loves You”, another hit single not released on their U.K. albums—for sparking off the essence of the worldwide Beatlemania phenomenon. That and other comparative footnotes aside, as someone who grew up with these different looking and sounding albums, I admit to being more intrigued by the U.S. Beatles albums, an effect quite tangible from Meet The Beatles on, including their three ‘60s soundtracks and the Summer ‘66 smash Revolver, which marked the end of the obvious U.S. / U.K. Beatles album differences. More important, this first ever CD reissue series pairs both authentic stereo and mono mixes of the Beatles U.S. releases, offering the ultimate sonic comparison. Keep in mind that many purists still regard the mono mixes as the definitive versions straight through and including The Beatles (double white album) and Abbey Road. No less an expert than the late great George Harrison admitted to preferring the mono mix of Sgt. Pepper’s. One can only hope that Capitol goes the distance this way with every Beatles record. Definitive as it is, Capitol’s 2004 Beatles box also sports a 48 booklet, lovingly encasing each album in spiffy, mini Lp jacket sleeves and finally represented in the best CD sound quality yet. With the release of The Capitol Albums Volume 1, combining Meet The Beatles (24 tracks), The Beatles’ Second Album (22 tracks), Something New (22 tracks) and Beatles ‘65 (22 tracks), justice has finally been served back in the USA.


Music For Piano And Drums

Having secured a first rate musical reputation during that fabled ‘69-74 era, drummer Bill Bruford and keyboardist Pat Moraz teamed in both ‘83 and ‘85 for a pair of albums that are considered progressive music masterpieces. Both the ‘83 album Music For Piano And Drums, and it’s ‘85 follow up Flags retained the best qualities of Bruford’s drumming in Yes with that incredible Moraz piano technique. Although it’s only the two of them locked in a prog-jazz grand piano/drum duet layered with some tasteful electronic keyboard effects, the sound is enormous and quite majestic, leaving one to only ponder the Bruford / Moraz match up in Yes that never happened. Both CD reissues are featured here with bonus tracks on what is being heralded as the first two reissues on Bruford’s new Winterfold Records. Winterfold is planning to revive and remaster Bruford's entire output between 1978 and 1985, while also planning for possible unreleased sessions. Interestingly, Bruford has simultaneously started a second label called Summerfold Records, which will devote it's resources towards overhauling his various releases since ‘85.



Greatest Hits

Back in the winter of ‘69, Neil Young and Crazy Horse recorded their signature album, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. Young followed up with After The Goldrush and Harvest, and that period has remained his most influential as a recording artist. His 2004 greatest hits collection on Reprise reflects that fact, bookending a slew of memorable FM radio classics from those golden years. Also included on the 16 track CD are other all time Young favorites including “Like A Hurricane” (1975 from American Stars ‘N’ Bars), “Hey Hey, My My” (1978 from Rust Never Sleeps), “Rockin’ In The Free World” (1989 from Freedom) and the title track from his 1991 Harvest Moon collection. These 16 tracks represent the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Young’s incredibly prolific musical pen, yet for a variety of reasons, classics like “Down By The River”, “Helpless”, “Ohio” (both from Young’s tenure with CSN&Y) and “Needle And The Damage Done”—all featured here—have etched out a permanent place in the landscape of 20th Century music lore. Featuring track by track discography information, the CD is paired with a DVD-Audio version, which mirrors the standard CD, adding in lyrics and video clips of “Harvest Moon” and “Rockin’ In The Free World."


Stand Back: The Anthology
(Hip-O / UMG)

A 2004 double CD set on Hip-O / UMG, The Anthology, taps the best of Southern rock legends The Allman Brothers Band, as recorded for Capricorn Records and various labels between 1969-2003. Fresh from his work as session guitar for Wilson Pickett and Aretha Franklin, Duane Allman lead the Allman’s through a sprint of now classic blues rock albums, till his untimely death in 1971. Despite the passing of their trademark guitar sound and vision, Duane’s brother Gregg Allman and second guitarist Dickey Betts continued the band’s success till the departure of Betts in 2002. There’s even a track from the 1994 Tom Dowd produced Where It All Begins and a 2003 track featuring the Allman’s lineup on their first post-Betts CD on Sanctuary, Hittin’ The Note. Even so, it’s still their early ‘70s rock classics with Duane Allman that still retains the biggest influence.


Rock 'N' Roll
(Apple / Capitol / EMI)

Released in 2004 under the supervision of Yoko Ono, John Lennon Acoustic and the simultaneous release of Rock ‘N’ Roll show two distinct sides of John Lennon’s recorded output during the fleeting ‘70s. The subject of extensive bootlegging through the years, the mid ‘70s Rock ‘N’ Roll album remains an influential moment from the official first end of Lennon’s public career before finally moving back to NYC, only to be shot five years later by a deranged, gun-toting religious psycho. Bolstered by his then companion—John’s assistant whom he referred to as Mother Superior, May PangRock ‘N’ Roll featured Lennon waxing prolific and elaborate on set of ‘50s rock and roll standards, backed by some legendary musicians, especially guitarists, including Lennon, Jesse Ed Davis and Steve Cropper. From his 2003 20th Century Guitar interview Cropper recalls, “Leon Russell was there. You had four other guitar players. Five and Lennon. So there were six guitars on the track. He had horns. He had two keyboard players. He had two drummers and a percussionist and three background singers. It was just a wall of sound.” Also recently commenting on this excellent sounding Rock ‘N’ Roll remaster, May Pang adds, "John would've loved this technology. All of his remixed albums sound so good. We can now hear all the little nuances." Released worldwide by EMI and Capitol in the USA, the CD is enhanced by bonus tracks and some way cool Lennon artwork—exemplified best by an inset tray card with his hilarious Rock And Roll caricature. John Lennon Acoustic, in the other hand features 16 acoustic demos performed as only Lennon could, with a definite highlight being a swinging doo-wop version of his Plastic Ono Band epic, “God”. Acoustic versions of his Double Fantasy songs are equally revealing and the CD is fleshed out with priceless pics and complete guitar chord charts / diagrams of all the songs.

Anthology '64 - '68

Back in the ‘60s guitarist Davie Allan set the music scene ablaze with his unique approach to the guitar instrumental genre pioneered by The Shadows and Duane Eddy. Released by Sundazed in 2004 as a 40 track double CD set or a 28 track double Lp pressed on 180gm vinyl, Devil’s Rumble / Anthology ‘64-’68 is the final word on the ‘60s recordings from Davie Allan & The Arrows. Many of Allan’s guitar instrumentals provided the ultimate soundtrack of the ‘60s world of biker and hot rod flicks like The Wild Angels and Sundazed has wisely compiled the best of Allan’s ‘60s studio albums along with hard to find singles and rare soundtracks appearances. Released with the participation of guitarist Allan and original Arrows producer Mike Curb, Devil’s Rumble compiles a slew of tracks recorded by Allan for the Tower and Sidewalk record labels, and, complete with a 16 page booklet the set offers a real historical treat for fans of ‘60s instrumental guitar groups.



Attention Artists and Record Companies: Have your CD reviewed by Send to: CD Reviews Editor Robert Silverstein, P.O. Box 630249, Little Neck, N.Y. 11363-0249
CD Reviews Feature Reviews & Features Archive Photo Archive Contact MWE3 Home


Copyright 2000-2005, Inc. All Rights Reserved