Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Hello to anyone out there reading. I wish you all a very Happy New Year. I hope 2011 brings you many good things.

"Another Year Over and A New One Just Begun. Lets Hope its a Good One Without any Fear." -John Lennon

Happy New Year 2011

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"The Concert for New York City" - Various Artists

Back in, I believe November or December 2001 after the World Trade Center attacks Paul McCartney organized this massive benefit concert featuring some of the best musicians of all time. I watched the nearly all day long TV coverage of the event on VH1 which I video taped. The actual concert was nearly eight hours long in its original live showing but it was very life affirming and uplifting to see all these Firefighters and Police Officers in the middle of all this sadness, celebrating life.

This double disc CD does capture that feeling but not as well as the film version. This CD captures basically a majority of the music performers but no double disc collection could capture all the music as each performer did three or more songs. Overall I prefer the original live coverage because it kept all the unplanned events in there. The DVD of the concert has been edited down and feels far too slick for me. I bought this CD and I have not listened to it since 2001 or 2002. I am happy that my money went to the Robin Hood Relied Fund though. The album is more a historical document that helps me to remember a moment in history when Rock and Roll saved some people's world and helped ease their pain.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

John Denver - "Rocky Mountain Christmas"

Since this will probably be my last post before Christmas I wanted to break my alphabetical rhythm and write about one of my favorite Christmas Albums.

John Denver's "Rocky Mountain Christmas" was originally released in 1975 in conjunction with a TV special of the same name, sadly the TV film has yet to be released on DVD. The majority of the album consists of familiar Christmas Classics rearranged by Denver, including "The Christmas Song" and "Silver Bells." There are also some unfamiliar picks like the wonderful "Aspenglow" and "Christmas for Cowboys" as well as the true oddity on the disc "Please Daddy Don't Get Drunk this Christmas."

Denver's acoustic arrangements add warmth to the songs and the whole album brings out the feel of snowy mountains and sitting around the fireplace with a Christmas Tree. The CD reissue, part of Legacy Records Essential Holiday Classics series, includes excellent liner notes about the recording of the album. If you download the album (which is more expensive than buying the physical CD) you get three more tracks "The Music is You," "Perhaps Love (shortened version, I believe without Placido Domingo)" and "Dreamland Express." This is a wonderful Christmas album that will bring out the spirit of the season, even if you are not a fan of Denver's music this is a fine addition to anyone's Christmas Collection. Merry Christmas Everyone.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Phil Collins - "Both Sides"

Several years ago someone who was very special to me gave me this CD. It is not the best CD but I have sentimental value attached to it.

I think it was intended to be some kind of concept album as the title track speaks of urban decay and problems on the streets. The rest of the album, however, focuses on Collins' usual love songs and relationship ideals. It is uncertain if the concept is about two sides to relationships or what, but the concept is vague and does not come through.

That being said the album is focused pop music with hooks and is pleasing to the ears if not super memorable. I just looked on Amazon and it seems the album has been relegated to download only and is not being printed as a physical copy anymore. I'm going to hold on to my copy for my sentimental reasons.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Phil Collins - "No Jacket Required"

Phil Collins biggest solo album, which firmly established him as one of the most popular musicians of the 1980s and gave him fame outside the successful group Genesis, of which he was lead singer and drummer.

Released in 1985 and winner of the Album of the Year Grammy award, this album is firmly planted in the 1980s yet it is still incredibly entertaining. The use of synthesizers and electronic music puts the album firmly in the 80s style but Collins was at the height of his pop abilities at that time and the songs are extremely catchy. The album sticks in your head and you can't help but tapping your foot or singing along.

I know it is slick hook infused pop that really doesn't have any bigger picture than sounding good and selling records but it is a really fun album that has four of Collins' biggest hits "Sussudio," "Don't Lose My Number," "One More Night" and "Take Me Home." Hey sometimes we all need a little pop and fun music to keep us going and this one is mine. If you are looking for an excellent album of 1980s pop here is one and if you are a fan of Phil Collins this is one of his finest moments.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Johnny Clegg & Savuka - "The Very Best of"

I first heard Johnny Clegg when one of my good friend's boyfriends used to make her mixed CDs of feel good music. One of them included some Johnny Clegg music and I was instantly caught by the sound. Clegg is a white South African, his band Savuka are all black South Africans. This group recorded Four successful albums not only in Africa but they also gained popularity in Europe and the United States in the late 1980s early 90s.

Their music is essentially American Pop music infused with African rhythms, words and instruments, think Paul Simon's "Graceland" album. Clegg though infuses many of the lyrics with strong political commentary about the South African government of the time. So while it is catchy and danceable it also has a deep message.

This 17 track compilation collects songs from their four albums and showcases the group at their best. Mixing political tunes like "One (Hu)' Man, One Vote" with excellent pop like "I Call your Name" and their biggest hit "Dela." This album is actually all most listeners will need of the group, it showcases them excellently.