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Tom Fine  |  Dec 18, 2023  |  1 comments
The first Beatles music is more than 60 years old, and the group broke up 53 years ago. Yet they and their music remain relevant. So when Apple Corps announced "The Last Beatles Song," on October 26, the world's media ran with the story.

Beatles fans span at least four generations, and the group's promotion machine is looking to hook today's youth, and perhaps rekindle old flames, with 50th Anniversary deluxe reissues of the "Red" (1962-1966) and "Blue" (1967-1970) compilations. These expanded editions—12 new tracks on Red and nine on Blue, including the new-old single "Now & Then"—sport remixes performed since 2015.

Robert Baird  |  May 30, 2023  |  5 comments
1972 is widely praised as the most fertile year ever for rock albums, notching such classics as The Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street, David Bowie's The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, and Neil Young's Harvest. But albums released in 1973 and currently celebrating their 50th anniversary may be even better: Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, ZZ Top's Tres Hombres, and Bruce Springsteen's The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle, among others. But of all the enduring albums of '73, the most exotic, audacious, and ultimately entertaining must be Alice Cooper's Billion Dollar Babies.
Larry Birnbaum  |  Feb 07, 2023  |  1 comments
"Whip dem, whip dem," sings Junior Byles on "Beat Down Babylon," to the accompaniment of whip cracks that recall the ones on Frankie Laine's "Mule Train." Produced by Mitch Miller some 20 years before Lee "Scratch" Perry produced Byles's reggae hit, "Mule Train" helped establish "the primacy of the producer—even more than the artist, the accompaniment, or the material," according to author Will Friedwald, who adds that "Miller also conceived of the idea of the pop record 'sound' per se: not so much an arrangement or a tune, but an aural texture (usually replete with extramusical gimmicks) that could be created in the studio."
Kurt Gottschalk  |  Jan 12, 2023  |  0 comments
When I discovered Blondie's breakthrough album, Parallel Lines, those lines filled my teenage mind with jealous fantasies. Whoever the object of Deborah Harry's desire was—I knew it was probably Chris Stein, her bandmate and romantic partner—was too lucky to walk the earth. Possibly, Stein wrote the lines for her, and she willingly sung them to him. In a band that contained many songwriting partnerships, the song, "Pretty Baby," was co-written by Stein and Harry.
Ken Micallef  |  Feb 03, 2022  |  3 comments
Called "the phantom" by fellow musicians and dubbed the "bearded, goateed astronaut of the tenor sax" by a close friend, trumpeter Kenny Dorham, the enigmatic Joe Henderson recorded five albums for the Blue Note label that are uniformly regarded as jazz classics. Mosaic Records has gathered those records—Page One, Our Thing, In 'n Out, Inner Urge, Mode for Joe—plus Henderson's sideman dates and alternate takes for Blue Note for a limited-edition, five-CD box set, The Complete Joe Henderson Blue Note Studio Sessions (Mosaic Records MD5-271).
Fred Kaplan  |  Jun 03, 2021  |  2 comments
A review of the Archie Shepp/Jason Moran duet album Let My People Go, in the April issue, may have startled some readers. Shepp is a tenor saxophonist known for tearing across the fiercest climes of the avant-garde (his seminal album is called Fire Music); yet at 83, he's playing standards, spirituals, and slow blues. In fact, Shepp has been exploring such traditional terrain for several decades. So—for the debut of an occasional column on underappreciated albums, artists, genres, and labels—let's shine some light on Archie Shepp's ballads.