Album Reviews rss

Billy Ocean: Remixes and Rarities (Cherry Pop)

August 21, 2019

Billy Ocean made a splash in 1984 with his smash hit album Suddenly, which propelled him to a respectable success for the rest of the decade. Cherry Pop’s latest in its Remixes And Rarities offers up two discs’ worth of variants and hard-to-find remixes that serves as a nice reminder of what made Ocean so special.

Grateful Dead: Aoxomoxoa (Rhino)

Fifty years after its release, the flawed third studio album from San Francisco psychedelic titans The Grateful Dead finds itself reissued. The album was the band experimenting in the studio in an attempt to make an innovative studio album, thanks to the arrival of sixteen track technology. Unfortunately, it would become the band’s costliest studio album, resulting in an oddly dreadful sounding rush-released album that would get a full remix two years later. This collection features both mixes, as well as a handful of live recordings from a few months prior to its release.

Various Artists: The Great Tragedy: Winter Dance Party 1959 (Bear Family)

To honor the 60th anniversary of “The Day The Music Died,” German label Bear Family compiled a thorough and compelling scrapbook that encompasses and highlights of the talents lost that day, performers who appeared on the tour, musical tributes to the victims, and an in-depth booklet with super-rare photos and historical background of that fateful winter tour.

Chicory Tip: The Complete Chicory Tip (7T’s)

Chicory Tip was a short-lived group who had a brief but prolific career, cumulating in a wonderful hit single written by a pre-fame Giorgio Moroder. Unfortunately, there’s a cautionary tale attached to this promising young band as well.

Prince: Originals (NPG Records/Warner Brothers)

The latest in a series of excursions into the legendarily prolific Prince offers up a compelling theme: fifteen songs Prince gave to friends and his protégées. Even though the ubiquity of some of the hits casts a bit of a shadow on Prince’s versions, on the whole this is an interesting look into his talent.

Love Unlimited Orchestra: The 20th Century Records Albums (1973-1979) (Mercury/UMe)

Barry White’s orchestral project Love Unlimited Orchestra initially offered up an interesting hybrid of classical, R&B, and early shades of disco. As witnessed by a new box set that compiles his releases for 20th Century Fox, it started off as a high-end, sophisticated concept, yet wound up morphing into something embarrassingly cringe-inducing.

Wes Montgomery: Back On Indiana Avenue: The Carroll DeCamp Recordings (Resonance Records)

Jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery’s recording career was tragically cut short, thanks to his sudden death less than a decade after releasing his first solo album. This new two-disc set captures Montgomery and a host of musicians in various arrangements several years before he released his debut, and it’s a collection of a young talent in fine form well before the world knew his name.

Cilla Black: Cilla/In My Life/Sher-oo!/Modern Priscilla (SFE)

The latest installment in SFE’s Cilla Black reissue campaign focus on her career with EMI, offering two of her first albums and two of her final albums for the label. The four albums offered here highlight Black’s stylistic versatility as she takes on R&B, Pop, Jazz, and Disco, to mostly good effect.

The Anemic Boyfriends: “Fake I.D.” c/w “Bad Girls In Love” (HoZac Archival)

This fantastic little seven inch single compiles the two best sides from one of the finest punk bands to come out of Alaska circa 1981.

Hootie & The Blowfish: cracked rear view: 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Rhino)

Though Hootie & The Blowfish were easily one of the most annoyingly ubiquitous bands of the Nineties, their debut album was an album worthy of the hype and success. Twenty-five years later, it’s still the rare thing: a critically underrated album that happened to sell twenty-one million copies, and this boxed set offers up a wonderful document of how one of the best-selling albums of all time came to be.