Saturday, December 29, 2007

Ric Ocasek - Fireball Zone

1 Rockaway
2 Touch Down Easy
3 Come Back
4 The Way You Look Tonight
5 All We Need Is Love
6 Over and Over
7 Flowers of Evel
8 They Tried
9 Keep That Dream
10 Balance
11 Mister Meaner
12 Fireball Zone

Review by Jason Damas
Fireball Zone marked the beginning of the second half of Ric Ocasek's solo career. His first two releases, 1983's Beatitude and 1986's This Side of Paradise, were really extensions of Ocasek's work with The Cars; instead of sounding like grand statements made by solo albums, they both sounded like extensions of what The Cars were doing at the time. This was especially true of the latter album, which even featured a handful of hit singles that were more popular than any that The Cars would score in the remainder of their career. After the demise of that band in 1987, Ocasek went on hiatus and returned to recording in 1991 with Fireball Zone, his first post-Cars solo album. Surprisingly, however, it isn't as much of a departure as one might imagine. The same elements that made The Cars music so accessible and enjoyable is still all in place, and Ocasek wrote a much stronger batch of songs this time around than was featured on the final Cars collaboration, the dismal Door to Door. Fireball Zone is also easily the sunniest Ocasek solo collaboration; much of the material is relatively sprightly and colorful, and the disc includes some musical experiments that Ocasek would never have touched when he was still with The Cars. The album is led by the uptempo "Rockaway" (one of the album's first singles) and the first 8 tracks are nearly infallible; "Touch Down Easy" and "Come Back" are easily two of the most Cars-ish songs that Ocasek ever released, and "All We Need Is Love" has a light reggae vibe. Many of the songs feature a choir of female background singers, something that is a surprising and major departure for Ocasek; and unfortunately one that only works part of the time. Unfortunately, towards the end of the album, things begin to fall apart: Ocasek throws in a bunch of metallic, bottom-heavy numbers that almost completely lack hooks, and they keep Fireball Zone from truly being a great album. While this disc was a major commercial disappointment, failing to produce any real hit singles, the Heartbeat City-era sounding ballad "The Way You Look Tonight" has become a staple on in-store play lists of fast food restaurants and discount department stores nationwide.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Cars - Just What I Needed: The Cars Anthology

The Cars - Just What I Needed: The Cars Anthology

1 Just What I Needed Ocasek 3:46
2 My Best Friend's Girl Ocasek 3:46
3 Good Times Roll Ocasek 3:48
4 You're All I've Got Tonight Ocasek 4:16
5 Don't Cha Stop Ocasek 3:05
6 Moving in Stereo Hawkes, Ocasek 4:47
7 Take Me Now [#] Ocasek 4:01
8 Cool Fool [#] Easton, Ocasek 2:42
9 Let's Go Ocasek 3:36
10 Candy-O Ocasek 2:39
11 Dangerous Type Ocasek 4:32
12 Double Life Ocasek 4:26
13 Got a Lot on My Head Ocasek 3:01
14 It's All I Can Do Ocasek 3:47
15 Night Spots [#] Ocasek 3:09
16 Slipaway [#] Ocasek 3:43
17 That's It Ocasek 3:24
18 Panorama Ocasek 5:46
19 Gimme Some Slack Ocasek 3:35
20 Don't Go to Pieces Hawkes, Ocasek 4:03
21 Touch and Go Ocasek 4:58
22 Don't Tell Me No Ocasek 4:02
23 Shake It Up Ocasek 3:35
24 Since You're Gone Ocasek 3:33
25 I'm Not the One Ocasek 4:15
26 Cruiser Ocasek 4:58
27 The Little Black Egg [#] Stone 2:54
28 Funtime [#] Bowie, Pop 3:10
29 You Might Think Ocasek 3:08
30 Drive Ocasek 3:57
31 Magic Ocasek 4:00
32 Hello Again Ocasek 3:49
33 Why Can't I Have You Ocasek 4:05
34 Breakaway Ocasek 3:47
35 Tonight She Comes Ocasek 3:57
36 You Are the Girl Ocasek 3:56
37 Strap Me In Ocasek 4:26
38 Door to Door Ocasek 3:20
39 Leave or Stay [#] Ocasek 3:02
40 Ta Ta Wayo Wayo [#] Ocasek 2:48

Review by Greg Prato
While casual admirers of the Cars can stick with their 1985 Greatest Hits collection, more serious fans should go right to the more thorough two-CD set Just What I Needed: The Cars Anthology. Whereas Greatest Hits stuck more or less with their singles, The Cars Anthology contains strong album cuts, non-album B-sides, demos, and unreleased takes, as well as all the expected hits (and a 27-page booklet crammed with rare photos and the band's bio). Just about every rock fan is long familiar with such tracks as "Just What I Needed," "Shake It Up," "Magic," and "Let's Go" (to name a few), but the collection's main attraction is its abundance of unfamiliar material. Such previously released album tracks as "Dangerous Type," "Gimme Some Slack," and "Cruiser" are highlights, as are the rarities "Cool Fool" (one of their hardest-rocking tracks ever), "That's It," a cover of Iggy Pop's "Funtime," and a pair of album-closing early demos ("Leave or Stay" and "Ta Ta Wayo Wayo"). At nearly two and a half hours long, Just What I Needed: The Cars Anthology is the ultimate Cars collection, which only confirms their standing as one of the finest bands of the new wave era.


The Cars [Deluxe Edition]

The Cars [Deluxe Edition] (including 14 rare tracks) in 320 kbps/44.1 kHz quality
1 Good Times Roll Ocasek 3:45
2 My Best Friend's Girl Ocasek 3:44
3 Just What I Needed Ocasek 3:43
4 I'm in Touch With Your World Ocasek 3:30
5 Don't Cha Stop Ocasek 3:03
6 You're All I've Got Tonight Ocasek 4:13
7 Bye Bye Love Ocasek 4:13
8 Moving in Stereo Hawkes, Ocasek 4:43
9 All Mixed Up Ocasek 4:15
10 Good Times Roll [live] Ocasek 3:39
11 My Best Friend's Girl [demo version] Ocasek 3:52
12 Just What I Needed [demo version] Ocasek 3:27
13 I'm in Touch With Your World [demo version] Ocasek 3:28
14 Don't Cha Stop [demo version] Ocasek 3:19
15 You're All I've Got Tonight [demo version] Ocasek 4:05
16 Bye Bye Love [demo version] Ocasek 4:07
17 Moving in Stereo [demo version] Hawkes, Ocasek 5:02
18 All Mixed Up [demo version] Ocasek 4:50
19 They Won't See You [#/demo version] Ocasek 3:56
20 Take What You Want [#/demo version] Ocasek 6:04
21 Wake Me Up [#/demo version] Ocasek 3:52
22 You Just Can't Push Me [#/demo version] Ocasek 3:27
23 Hotel Queenie [#/demo version] Ocasek 3:08

Review by Greg Prato
Back in 1996, Rhino Records had plans for a Cars rarities disc entitled Prototypes, which was to include their entire first album in demo form, as well as other rarities from all eras of the band. And even though Ice magazine ran a story on it and a track listing was set, the album never saw the light of day for reasons unknown. Three years later, Rhino reconsidered (helped by a fan write-in campaign), and issued a similarly assembled package, The Cars: Deluxe Edition. A two-CD set, it contains their classic 1978 self-titled debut in its entirety (an album you just can't hear enough), while the second disc presents the complete album in demo form, with an additional five early demos of previously unreleased compositions tacked on at the end. Diehard fans will have a feast with disc two, the demos for such radio standards as "My Best Friend's Girl," "Just What I Needed," "You're All I've Got Tonight," and "Bye Bye Love" capture the songs in their rawest form — akin to what they must have sounded like back in the band's club days. Out of the five unissued songs, two are instant classics (the amiable "Wake Me Up" and the red-hot rocker "Hotel Queenie"), while "They Won't See You" proves interesting, despite an underdeveloped chorus — which is forgivable, since these are demos, after all. [Note: since a demo version of "Good Times Roll" couldn't be found, a live take from 1978 is used on disc two.]


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Cars Complete Studio Discography

1978 The Cars
1979 Candy-O
1980 Panorama
1981 Shake It Up
1984 Heartbeat City
1987 Door to Door

Biography by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Blondie may have had a string of number one hits and Talking Heads may have won the hearts of the critics, but the Cars were the most successful American new wave band to emerge in the late '70s. With their sleek, mechanical pop/rock, the band racked up a string of platinum albums and Top 40 singles that made them one of the most popular American rock & roll bands of the late '70s and early '80s. While they were more commercially oriented than their New York peers, the Cars were nevertheless inspired by proto-punk, garage rock, and bubblegum pop. The difference was in packaging. Where their peers were as equally inspired by art as music, the Cars were strictly a rock & roll band, and while their music occasionally sounded clipped and distant, they had enough attitude to cross over to album rock radio, which is where they made their name. Nevertheless, the Cars remained a new wave band, picking up cues from the Velvet Underground, David Bowie, and Roxy Music. Ric Ocasek and Ben Orr's vocals uncannily recalled Lou Reed's deadpan delivery, while the band's insistent, rhythmic pulse was reminiscent of Berlin-era Iggy Pop. Furthermore, the group followed Roxy Music's lead and had artist Alberto Vargas design sexy illustrations of pinups for their record sleeves. These airbrushed drawings were the group's primary visual attraction until 1984, when the group made a series of striking videos to accompany the singles from Heartbeat City. The videos for "You Might Think," "Magic," and "Drive" became MTV staples, sending the Cars to near-superstar status. Instead of following through with their success, the Cars slowly faded away, quietly breaking up after releasing one final album in 1987. Ric Ocasek (guitar, vocals) and Ben Orr (bass, vocals) had been collaborators for several years before forming the Cars in 1976. Ocasek began playing guitar and writing songs when he was ten. After briefly attending Antioch College and Bowling Green State University, he dropped out of school and moved to Cleveland where he met Orr, who had led the house band on the TV show Upbeat as a teenager. The two began writing songs and led bands in Cleveland, New York City, Woodstock, and Ann Arbor before settling in Cambridge, MA, in the early '70s. In 1972, the pair were the core of a folk trio named Milkwood. The band released an album on Paramount Records in late 1972, which was ignored; the record featured keyboards by a session musician named Greg Hawkes. By 1974, Ocasek and Orr had formed Cap'n Swing, which featured Elliot Easton on lead guitar. Cap'n Swing became a popular concert attraction in Boston, but the group broke up in 1975. Ocasek, Orr, and Easton formed a new band called the Cars in 1976 with former Modern Lovers drummer Dave Robinson and keyboardist Hawkes. Early in 1977, the Cars sent a demo tape of "Just What I Needed" to the influential Boston radio station WBCN and it quickly became the station's most-requested song. For the remainder of 1977, the group played Boston clubs, and by the end of the year, they signed with Elektra Records. The group's eponymous debut album appeared in the summer of 1978 and it slowly built a following thanks to the hit singles "Just What I Needed" (number 27), "My Best Friend's Girl" (number 35), and "Good Times Roll" (number 41). The Cars stayed on the charts for over two and a half years, delaying the release of the group's second album, Candy-O. It would eventually sell over six million copies. Recorded early in 1979, Candy-O wasn't released until later that summer. The album was an instant hit, quickly climbing to number three on the charts and going platinum two months after its release. The record launched the Top Ten hit "Let's Go" and sent the band to the arena rock circuit. Perhaps as a reaction to their quick success, the group explored more ambitious territory on 1980's Panorama. Though the album wasn't as big a hit as its predecessors, it nevertheless peaked at number five and went platinum. Before recording their fourth album, several bandmembers pursued extracurricular interests, with Ocasek earning a reputation as a successful new wave producer for his work with Suicide and Romeo Void (he even produced some demos for Iggy Pop). The Cars released their fourth album, Shake It Up, in the fall of 1981, and it quickly went platinum, with its title track becoming the group's first Top Ten single. Following the success of Shake It Up, the Cars recorded the soundtrack to the short film Chapter-X and then took an extended leave, with Ocasek, Orr, and Hawkes all recording solo albums in 1982; Ocasek also produced the debut album from the hardcore punk band Bad Brains. The Cars reconvened in 1983 to record their fifth album, Heartbeat City, which was released in early 1984. Supported by a groundbreaking, computer-animated video, the album's first single, "You Might Think," became a Top Ten hit, sending Heartbeat City to number three on the album charts. Three other Top 40 singles — "Magic" (number 12), "Drive" (number three), and "Hello Again" (number 20) — followed later that year, and the record went triple platinum in the summer of 1985. At the end of the year, the group released Greatest Hits, which featured two new hit singles, "Tonight She Comes" and "I'm Not the One." The Cars were on hiatus for much of 1985 and 1986, during which time Ocasek, Easton, and Orr all recorded solo albums. During 1987, the group completed its seventh album, Door to Door. The album was a moderate hit upon its summer release in 1987, launching the single "You Are the Girl," which peaked at number 17. Door to Door had seemed half-hearted, sparking speculation that the group was on the verge of splitting up. The Cars announced in February of 1988 that they had indeed broken up. All of the members pursued solo careers, but only Ocasek released albums with regularity, and became a much sought-after alt-rock producer by the '90s (having worked with the likes of Weezer, Bad Religion, Black 47, Hole, Guided by Voices, No Doubt, Nada Surf, Johnny Bravo, D Generation, Possum Dixon, Jonathan Richman, the Wannadies, and solo releases by former Suicide members Alan Vega and Martin Rev, among others). Easton later reappeared with Creedence Clearwater Revisited, while sadly, Orr lost a battle with pancreatic cancer on October 3, 2000. After Orr's death, a few new Cars releases appeared on the marketplace, including the concert DVD Live (taped originally in Germany during 1979, it included an interview with the group shortly before Orr's passing), plus a double-disc deluxe edition of their classic self-titled debut album, and a more extensive hits collection, Complete Greatest Hits. By early 2002, Ocasek was at work putting together a Cars documentary film, comprised of backstage footage and unreleased promo clips that the band filmed itself.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Michael Penn Complete Studio Discography

1989 March (RCA)
1992 Free-for-All (RCA)
1997 Resigned (57 Records/Epic)
2000 MP4: Days Since a Lost Time Accident (Epic)

Biography by Jason Ankeny
One of the most acclaimed singer/songwriters to emerge during the late 1980s, Michael Penn was seemingly destined for a career in show business. The oldest son of director Leo Penn and actress Eileen Ryan, he was born August 1, 1958 in New York City's Greenwich Village area; within a year, the family relocated to Los Angeles, and there Penn's younger siblings Sean (later recognized among the finest actors of his generation) and Chris (a noted character actor acclaimed for his work in features like Reservoir Dogs) were born. While his brothers focused on acting, Michael turned to music, and following an early obsession with the Beatles learned to play guitar; by high school he joined his first band, covering hits by performers including the Rolling Stones and David Bowie. He soon turned to writing his own songs as well. In the early 1980s, Penn formed the group Doll Congress, which garnered a fervent local following but never expanded their fan base outside of Southern California; frustrated, for a time he even left music, following in the family tradition by appearing as an extra in a number of television series, including the classic St. Elsewhere. In 1987, Sean Penn hosted Saturday Night Live and brought Michael along as a musical guest; the performance revived his interest in music, and he soon reunited with ex-Doll Congress keyboardist Patrick Warren to begin composing the songs which comprised his 1989 debut, March. Upon its release, the album became a significant critical favorite, earning acclaim for its sparkling Beatlesque folk-pop and clever, Elvis Costello-like wordplay; the lead single, "No Myth," even became a surprise hit and helped launch the LP into the Top 40. Another minor hit, "This and That," followed in 1990.In the wake of his initial success, Penn went on a lengthy hiatus; when he returned in 1992 with his sophomore effort, Free For All, he met much greater commercial resistance than he faced with March, and after only a few weeks, the album fell off the charts. He then spent five years pondering his next move, finally resurfacing in 1997 with Resigned; while critics again praised Penn's songcraft, the record, like its predecessor, failed to catch on outside of his loyal cult following. Around the same time, he also began collaborating with the acclaimed young filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson, scoring his 1997 debut Hard Eight; later that same year, he composed the music for the critical favorite Boogie Nights, also making a cameo appearance in the film as an Eighties-era record producer. In late 1997, Penn married fellow singer/songwriter Aimee Mann; Mp4: Days Since a Lost Time Accident followed in early 2000. In 2005, after a long falling out with Epic records, Penn released Mr. Hollywood, Jr. 1947 on his own Mimeograph label. A song cycle about post-World War II Los Angeles, it features guest appearances from Mann, Buddy Judge and Patrick Warren.


Lambert, Hendricks & Ross - 1957 - Sing a Song of Basie

1 Everyday Chatman 5:18
2 It's Sand, Man! Hendricks, Lambert, Lewis 2:27
3 Two for the Blues Hefti, Hendricks 2:42
4 One O'Clock Jump Basie, Durham 3:00
5 Little Pony Hefti, Hendricks 2:28
6 Down for Double Green, Hendricks, Lambert 2:11
7 Fiesta in Blue Goodman, Hendricks, Lambert ... 3:14
8 Down for the Count Foster, Ritter 2:58
9 Blues Backstage Foster 2:58
10 Avenue C Clayton, Hendricks, Lambert 2:52

Review by Scott Yanow
The premiere vocal jazz group, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross made their recording debut on this classic album, which has been reissued on CD by GRP. After unsuccessfully searching for a dozen singers in 1957 who could sing vocalese in a re-creation of some famous records by the Count Basie Orchestra, Dave Lambert, Jon Hendricks, and Annie Ross decided to overdub their voices several times instead. Utilizing just a rhythm section, the vocalists sing the witty and inventive lyrics of Hendricks in note-for-note reproductions of ten Basie records. Highlights include "It's Sand, Man!," "One O'Clock Jump," the up-tempo "Little Pony," and "Avenue C." This record was a sensation when it was released and it is still quite enjoyable and unique.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Lambert, Hendricks & Ross - The Hottest New Group in Jazz

Disc 1
Disc 2

1 Charleston Alley Henderson, Hendricks ... 3:21
2 Moanin' Timmons 2:37
3 Twisted Gray, Ross 2:19
4 Bijou Burns, Hendricks 3:19
5 Cloudburst Harris, Kirkland 2:18
6 Centerpiece Edison, Hendricks 2:29
7 Gimme That Wine Hendricks 3:00
8 Sermonette Adderley, Hendricks 3:50
9 Summertime Gershwin, Gershwin, Heyward 1:46
10 Everybody's Boppin' Hendricks 4:13
11 Cotton Tail Ellington 2:58
12 All Too Soon Ellington, Sigman 3:29
13 Happy Anatomy Ellington 1:20
14 Rocks in My Bed Ellington 3:11
15 Main Stem Ellington 2:56
16 I Don't Know What Kind of Blues I Got Ellington 3:31
17 Things Ain't What They Used to Be Ellington, Persons 2:50
18 Midnight Indigo Ellington 2:35
19 What Am I Here For? Ellington, Laine 3:01
20 In a Mellow Tone Ellington, Gabler 3:31
21 Caravan Ellington, Mills, Tizol 2:34
22 Come on Home Silver 5:30
23 The New ABC Lambert 3:08
24 Farmer's Market Farmer, Ross 2:34
25 Cookin' at the Continental Hendricks, Silver 3:08
26 With Malice Toward None Hendricks, McIntosh 2:51
27 Hi-Fly Weston 3:47
28 Home Cookin' Silver 4:27
29 Halloween Spooks Lambert 2:19
30 Popity Pop Gaillard 4:49
31 Blue Mahones 3:51
32 Mr. P.C. Coltrane 3:20
33 Walkin' [#] Carpenter 2:17
34 This Here [*] Hendricks, Timmons 4:10
35 Swingin' Till the Girls Come Home [*] Pettiford 5:22
36 Twist City [#] Gee 2:25
37 Just a Little Bit of Twist [#] Covay 2:24
38 A Night in Tunisia [*] Gillespie, Paparelli 2:45
39 A Night in Tunisia [#] Gillespie, Paparelli 2:44

Review by Scott Yanow
The immortal vocal jazz group Lambert, Hendricks & Ross recorded five albums during its career: one apiece for Impulse! and World Pacific and three for Columbia. This two-CD set has all of the music from LH&R's Columbia dates (The Hottest Group in Jazz, Sing Ellington, and High Flying), plus four previously unissued and three very obscure selections. Dave Lambert, Jon Hendricks, and Annie Ross were all very talented jazz singers as individuals, and were masters of vocalese. Virtually every one of their performances was special and, in the long run, influential. With assistance from the Gildo Mahones Trio, trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison (on the earliest album), and altoist Pony Poindexter (during the seven bonus tracks), the vocal group is heard in memorable form throughout the two-fer. Among the many highlights are "Twisted," "Cloudburst," Hendricks' hilarious "Gimme That Wine," "Everybody's Boppin'," "Cotton Tail," "All Too Soon," "Main Stem," "Farmer's Market," "Cookin' at the Continental," "Halloween Spooks," and "Popity Pop." Essential music for all serious jazz collections.
P.S. This is a Small Tribute to My Best Friend in Whole SPb - Kira M.! Hold on My Friend! :)


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Jazz from Denmark - Juicy Jazz - 1992

Juicy Jazz 2

1 Take The A Train
2 How High The Moon
3 Misty
4 I Can't Give You Anything But Love
5 I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket
6 Honeysuckle Rose
7 Wave
8 You Have To Swing It

Ingela Jensen, vokal
Christian Winther, tenorsax
Torben Goltermann, guitar
Jesper Grobb, piano
Carsten Jensen, bas
Gert Elm Larsen, trommer
Indspillet: Tuborg Studiet, februar 1992. Juicy Records 53 47 35 61.


Useful tool to make copy from vinyl to CD!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Add N to (X) 1996-2002 Discography

Add N to (X) Biography by John Bush
Name-checking a diverse cast of progenitors including Varйse, Xenakis, and Robert Moog, as well as Can and Stereolab, Add N to X are electro-historians of a sort, collectors of vintage synthesizer technology, and fierce propagators of the man-machine aesthetic (the cover of their second album features member Ann Shenton on the operating table with a synthesizer either being inserted or taken out of her organ cavity). The trio formed when Shenton met Barry Smith in 1993; both were fans of vintage synth and the proto-electronica crafted in the 1960s and '70s by such luminaries as Wendy Carlos, Pierre Henry and even Roxy Music. After becoming Add N to X one year later, Shenton and Smith recruited theremin expert Steven Claydon plus an organic rhythm section for their live show, consisting of Stereolab's Andy Ramsay on drums and Rob Hallam from the High Llamas. After the debut Add N to X album Vero Electronics was released in 1996 on Blow Up, the group toured America, where their propulsive live show earned more comparisons to Suicide than an ostensibly sympathetic group like Tortoise. On the Wires of Our Nerves appeared in 1998 and Avant Hard followed in April of 1999. The following year they released Add Insult to Injury, which saw the group move in a more accessible, pop direction.


Totally Fuzzy