Sunday, June 8, 2014

CD Review: Renew You Appreciation For Dave Van Ronk And Captain Beefheart With New Live Releases

Omnivore Recordings recently released a lost folk gem, a previously unreleased recording from Dave Van Ronk entitled "Live In Monterey." The album was culled together from a live performance of Van Ronk performing solo at Carleton Hall in Monterey, CA in 1998. Dave Van Ronk was an American folk icon who never received the attention he deserved, but his music had made an uncredited impact on the folk music world. With the recently release of the Coen Brothers' movie "Inside Llewyn Davis," which was loosely based on the life of Dave Van Ronk, Omnivore Recordings found this the perfect time to release this lost live gem.

This sixteen song release mixes his originals with some folk classic as Van Ronk delivers them with such strength and passion. The album begins with the ragtime, finger picking story of "You've Been A Good Old Wagon But You Done Broke Down." He proudly displays his own songs, moving slowly through "Blood Red Moon" and "Losers," before mixing in some of the more well-known traditional folk hymns like "Cocaine Blues" and "Spike Driver Blues." He tells stories of some songs including how "Candy Man's" arrangement came to be and shows his passion for "He Was A Friend Of Mine" and "Four Strong Winds."

To find out more about this great, newly released live recoding, please visit

One of music's most experimental musicians, besides Frank Zappa, was Captain Beefheart. His music stretched the boundaries of rock, adding elements of blues, jazz and psychedelia to create a unique experience in sound. While never hitting it big in the U.S., Captain Beefheart And The Magic Band carried a cult-type following, selling out venues across the country. Back on April 28th, Gonzo Multimedia released a rare, recently discovered live album "Live From Harpos 1980."

The eighteen-song release features Captain Beefheart during his resurgence period of popularity and near the final years of The Magic Band. The recording is very rough sounding with the in-between banter by Beefheart almost unrecognizable. The show featured songs from his latest album at the time "Doc At The Radar Station," like the heavy pounding of "Hot Head" and the tempo changing shuffle of "Ashtray Heart." His chaotic nature shines on "Dr. Dark" as the band tries to keep up with Beefheart's storied lyrics. The modern rock/punk sound of the eighties may have been brought up by Captain Beefheart as "My Human Gets Me Blues" leads the way with its control energy. The most experimental part of the show comes during the seven-minute, "Sheriff Of Hong Kong," before the night closes with the slow-build up of "Big Eyed Beans From Venus."

Even though the recording is very raw, fans will appreciate having this piece of the Captain's live history to add to their collection. To find out more about this new release, please visit

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