Thursday, July 18, 2019

The Dickey Betts Band Keeps The Spirit Of The Allman Brothers Band Alive With "Ramblin' Man"

Guitarist, singer, songwriter Dickey Betts (original member of The Allman Brothers Band) returned from an extended hiatus to begin performing live once again with The Dickey Betts Band. Members of the band include his son Duane Betts, Frankie Lombardi, Mike Kach, Pedro Arevalo, Damon Fowler and Steve Camilleri. On July 26th, The Dickey Betts Band will release their first live album in over a decade and it features their historic 2018 performance at the St. George Theatre in New York. It will be released on CD and on vinyl, as well as capturing the entire performance on Blu-ray.

The 90-minute set features a load of The Allman Brothers Band classics, beginning with the blazing back-to-back instrumentals "Hot 'Lanta" and "Blue Sky." The show also includes a guest performance from Devon Allman (son of Gregg Allman) on The Allman Brothers Band original "Midnight Rider." The highlight of the night is certainly the 21-minute jam of "In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed," as the band sound in perfect unison. Dickey Betts and Mike Kach take the lead vocals on "Whipping Post" and "Ramblin' Man," before closing out the evening with a jazzy rendition of "Jessica." To find out more about The Dickey Betts Band's new live album "Ramblin' Man: Live At The St. George Theatre," please visit facebook.com/dickeybetts.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

New Music From Indie-Rock Bands Custard Flux, Towner, The Prime and Radio Free Honduras

From Detroit, MI comes the sophomore effort titled "Echo" from the psychedelic rock band Custard Flux. Custard Flux is led by multi-instrumentalist Curvey, who also leads the progressive, psych-rock band, The Luck Of Eden Hall for over 30 years. The new eight-track album begins with the up-lifting, rock/pop melody of "Supernatural," which would have fit in perfectly during the sixties "summer of love." Custard Flux continue with the more experimental instrumentation of the title song "Echo" and the nostalgic British pop/rock vibe of "America." Custard Flux wrap up their new album with the acoustic build-up of "Gold" and the six-minute, final trip of "Suns And Daughters," which showcases the wonderful songwriting talents of Curvey on this latest release. To find out more about Custard Flux and their latest release "Echo," please visit custardflux.bandcamp.com.


Next, from Ann Arbor, MI comes the debut release from the four-piece alternative rock band, Towner. The new four-song EP was recorded live (mostly) and showcases the addictive quality of their raw, garage-rock sound. They begin with the uptempo, pop-rock anthem of "Freaks In Common," as their minimalist approach draws you into their sound. The short, thirteen-minute EP keeps the energy flowing with "Calm Down," before closing with the nostalgic, new wave appeal of "Moving Target." To find out more about Towner and their new self-titled EP, please visit towner.bandcamp.com


Moving on to Chicago comes the latest release "Eternal Sky" from the alternative rock band, The Prime. The new five song release signals the 2.0 version of the band, which re-grouped back in 2018. The band's original beginning dates back almost a decade ago, but this latest release features a strong showing of commitment. They kick things off with "Paradox," a rock number that slowly draws you into the band's sound, as you get hooked by its chorus. They pick the energy up with "Live On" and display a heavier rock sound on "Simple Town," before closing their new short release with the power pop melody of the title song "Eternal Sky." To find out more about The Prime and their latest release "Eternal Sky," please visit theprimechicago.com.


Finally we arrive at the Chicago-based Latin band Radio Free Honduras, who recently released their new album titled "Mis Suenos." It features only six tracks performed by a diverse collection of musicians from the Chicago area, lead by Dan Abu-Absi (guitarist for JT and The Clouds). The album also includes contributions from Charlie Baran, who was an original member of the Honduran musical group Banda Blanca. The songs on this new release are all sung in Spanish, except for their cover of Badfinger's "No Matter What." The music on this album contains a Santana-inspired Latin rock flair, as displayed in the opening track "Suavecito." Radio Free Honduras perform a Spanish cover of Willie Nelson's "On The Road Again," giving the song that mariachi band vibe. They finish up their new album with the Latin flair of "La Negra Tomasa (Bilongo)" and the emotional acoustic delivery of "Dulce Y Delicada." To find out more about Radio Free Honduras and their latest release "Mis Suenos," please visit radiofreehonduras.com.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Alan Simon Tackles The French Revolution With "Chouans" & Magma Revisits Their Past With "Zess"

Composer Alan Simon, creator of the legendary "Excalibur" rock opera series, returns with his musical interpretation of the French Revolution. The two-disc set titled "Chouans" was released back in May to coincide with the 230th anniversary of the beginning of the revolution. Simon uses his knowledge of the "Excalibur" rock opera to bring together the worlds of classical music and rock to make an outstanding statement.

The complete 23-song set start out with the strong, exciting energy of the beginning "Overture" and the striking "L'Incorruptible." Simon also points out the hardships of the French Revolution with the ballads "Ma France, Mon Esperance" and "L'Amazone." The way they are sung (in French), with such beauty and grace, allows the listener to feel what is being sung in each song. The straight up rock of "L'Infernale Dase" and "God Save The King" will place Alan Simon among some of the best songwriters in progressive rock music.

He closes out his new musical with the passion of "Un Nouveau Monde" and the inspirational build-up of "Le Vent De La Memoire." To find out more about Alan Simon's latest work "Chouans," please visit cherryred.co.uk

The French progressive rock band Magma return with their new studio album "Zess." The release features a seven track suite that's origins date back to 1977. The "Zess" suite debuted at a concert in 1979 and became part of the band's concert repertoire until 1983, when it was retired for good, until this new release. Now, for the first time in it's 38-minute entirety is "Zess," performed by Magma, in association with The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. While the words may be a mystery, unless you speak French, the music and the harmonies are amazing and finally have their proper place among the rest of the extensive Magma catalog. To find out more about their new release "Zess," please visit seventhrecords.com.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Classic Albums By Bob Marley And John Lee Hooker Get New Anniversary Vinyl Releases

Back on June 14th, The Marley Family, Island Records and UMe celebrated the 35th anniversary of the best-selling reggae album of all time, Bob Marley & The Wailers' "Legend" with a new double vinyl release. Just five years earlier, to mark the 30th Anniversary of "Legend" album, a new remastered double, color vinyl set was released with the addition of of the U.K. only bonus tracks "Easy Skanking" and Punky Reggae Party."

So how do you make it even better for the 35th anniversary? First off, for this new re-issue of "Legend," the record company took the original "BMW1" versions of the songs (not the remixes) and remastered them for this new double, black vinyl release. Every care went into the new 180-gram pressing of this timeless album on vinyl. You can certainly hear the separation of the vocals and instruments, as the harmonies of I-Threes (Rita Marley, Judy Mowatt and Marcia Griffiths) come shining through on the tracks "Easy Skanking" and "Satisfy My Soul." The clarity, along with the quietness makes this the new benchmark and the must own version of this album on vinyl. To find out more about the new 35th anniversary release of Bob Marley & The Wailers' "Legend," please visit smarturl.it/legend35.

Another classic album getting reissued is "The Country Blues Of John Lee Hooker." Back in 1959, three different labels gathered the recordings of John Lee Hooker for his different debut albums. The Chess label released "House Of Blues," the Vee-Jay label released "I'm John Lee Hooker" and the Riverside label released "The Country Blues Of John Lee Hooker." This last release has become one of the pinnacles of Hooker's career, as it gathered thirteen acoustic blues numbers that showcased the sound of John Lee Hooker at its most basic. The songs only featured Hooker with an acoustic guitar performing traditional songs like "How Long Blues" and "Good Mornin', Lil' School Girl." The legendary John Lee Hooker is know for his storied lyrics, as displayed in the songs "She's Long, She's Tall, She Weeps Like A Willow Tree" and "I Rowed A Little Boat." Even as he was only entering his early 40's, John Lee Hooker played the blues well beyond his years.

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of this landmark blues album, Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio remastered the recordings from the original master tapes. The Craft Recordings label will release this new remastered version of "The Country Blues Of John Lee Hooker" on 180-gram vinyl on August 2nd. To find out more about this new vinyl edition, please visit johnleehooker.limitedrun.com.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Steve Goodman's Final Two Albums Get Re-Issued By Omnivore Recordings

On July 19th. Omnivore Recordings will be releasing new expanded editions of the final two albums from American singer/songwriter Steve Goodman. While Goodman's own singing career found moderate success in the early seventies, his songs would take on a life of their own for other artists like Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, John Denver and Judy Collins. Steve Goodman passed away in 1984 at the young age of only 36 from his battle with leukemia, but his legacy continues to live on to this day. He wrote a song "Go Cubs Go" for his beloved Chicago Cubs that still gets played at Wrigley Field after every home win.

The two albums that are being reissued, is the live album "Artistic Hair" and his final studio album during his lifetime, "Affordable Art." The "Artistic Hair" album gets nearly doubled in length, adding an additional ten bonus tracks that also feature some of Goodman's best live tracks that were originally featured on the Steve Goodman "Anthology" box set. This new release is a much welcomed addition to the Steve Goodman catalog, as it shows the artist in his true live setting. The original release showcases Goodman wonderful live nature as he creates lyrics for "Winter Wonderland" and showcases some of his greatest original hits like "Old Fashioned" and "City Of New Orleans." He also presents his love for the classics like "The Water Is Wide" and "Red Red Robin." The bonus tracks include more of Goodman's own wonderful compositions like "Lincoln Park Pirates" and "Men Who Love Women Who Love Men," in great quality. The best part is Goodman's humor is definitely appreciated on these songs.

Steve Goodman's final studio album "Affordable Art" also gets expanded with the addition of eight previously unreleased acoustic tracks. The album is a mix of studio and live recordings and features his amazing songwriting, like "Talk Backwards" and "When My Rowboat Comes In." His love for baseball is heard in the acoustic strumming version of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame," "A Dying Fan's Last Request" and in the first bonus track, a radio station recorded version of "Go Cubs Go." The bonus tracks are rounded out with acoustic versions of the album tracks "Vegematic," and "Old Smoothies," along with stark, acoustic versions of "Friday Night," "Fire Escape" and "It Took Me So Long." Both new releases also feature a full-color 12-page booklet with new essays and previously un-issued photos. To find out more about these two new releases from the Steve Goodman catalog, please visit omnivorerecordings.com.