Amidst various computer challenges, I did come across some interesting music news items this week that I wanted to share.
Pride And Joy, the documentary that heralded filmmaker Robert Mugge made on Alligator Records in 1992 gets its Blu-Ray release from MVD Entertainment Group on April 22. The film features performances by Koko Taylor, Elvin Bishop, Lonnie Brooks and Katie Webster culled from the label’s 20th anniversary tour. The Blu-ray edition contains bonus material including 10 additional songs.
April 22 also finds MVD putting out Johnny Winter With Dr. John Live In Sweden 1987 on DVD, CD, vinyl and digital formats. The release captures the two music legends live in a Swedish studio. As a bonus, there will also be an archival 1972 performance of “Prodigal Son.”
If you like your gospel old school, then you will like the new Daptone release Panola County Spirit by the Walker Family Singers. Panola County is in Mississippi so you will getting be gospel from the original source. Bluesman Mike Eldred, from Stray Cat Lee Rocker’s Big Blue band, recorded his new album Baptist Town at Sun Studios with David Hidalgo, Robert Cray and John Mayer lending support.
Let The Record Show Dexys Do Irish And Country Soul is the upcoming release from Kevin Rowlands’ current Dexy ensemble. The album, which Rhino will release digitally on June 4, mixes interpretations of Irish tunes with some new originals.
On May 20, 4AD will release a new benefit collection for the Red Hot Organization will showcase covers of Grateful Dead tunes. The 5-disc Day of the Dead set includes contributions from Mumford & Sons, Lone Bellow, Wilco with Bob Weir, Courtney Barnett, Jenny Lewis, Jim James, Sharon Van Etten and the National – and that is just disc 1.
PBS’ American Masters series has a pair of music documentaries slated for May. On the 3rd, they are will be screening Amy Berg’s acclaimed Janis Joplin doc Janis: Little Girl Blue, while the May 27 program will be The Highwaymen: Friends Till the End, about the country supergroup that included Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson.
May also finds some cool new reissues from Real Gone Music. They have packaged together the final two ‘60s albums by the influential San Francisco band Beau Brummels. One is Triangle, which was produced by Lenny Waronker, and the other was their pioneering country-rock offering Bradley’s Barn, which was done in Nashville with some of Music City’s top side men.
Two of the Staples Singers’ mid-Sixties’ efforts, Amen! and Why have been combined into a single CD. These two album, which were their first studio albums for Epic, were produced by the great Billy Sherrill. It is the first time either has come out on CD.
Sherrill also has a hand on many of the Johnny Paycheck cuts that you will find on Take This Job and Shove It—The Definitive Collection, a 40-tune set of music he made for Epic. On the lighter side, there’s Dan Fogelberg’s Definitive Anthology contains 28 tracks selected from 11 of the soft-rock troubadour’s albums.
Saxophone titan Cannonball Adderley made two albums with the innovative producer David Axelrod: The Price You Got To Pay To Be Free and Music, You All, and both are will be making their CD debuts in May.
In the vinyl-only category, Real Gone are reissuing of the debut from the rock supergroup Cactus. Not heard of them? This 1970 album featured Vanilla Fudge rhythm section of bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice, Amboy Dukes vocalist Rusty Day and guitarist Jim McCarty (not the Yardbirds drummer but the guy who played with Mitch Ryder and Buddy Miles, among others). The soundtrack for the 1985 horror fest Return of the Living Dead includes some blazing punk rock from the likes of including The Cramps, 45 Grave, The Flesh Eaters, The Damned, Roky Erickson and T.S.O.L.
Columbia/Legacy celebrates the 90th anniversary of the birth of music god Miles Davis with a pair of releases. Everything’s Beautiful (due May 27) is a Robert Gasper-led project that has guest spots by Bilal, Illa J, Erykah Badu, Phonte, Hiatus Kaiyote, Laura Mvula, KING, Muldrow, John Scofield and Stevie Wonder. On April 1, the label will release soundtrack to the bio-pic Miles Ahead, which combines some classic Miles material with new soundtrack music.
Miles Ahead isn’t the only jazz bio movie coming out this Spring. Born To Be Blue looks at the life of the troubled jazz great Chet Baker. Having seen the film, I can say that Ethan Hawke does a marvelous, memorable job portraying Baker in this film, which is a lyrical look at his life focusing mainly on his mid-Sixties comeback. IFC Films releases the film on March 25, while Rhino is putting out the soundtrack CD.
Good news/bad news (well, disappointing news) about the upcoming Joe Walsh/Bad Company tour. Rich Robinson, who know him as the Black Crowes guitarist, will be joining Bad Company for this tour. The disappointing news is that Mick Ralphs has decided to sit out the tour. So the original riff master won’t be playing but he will have a very talented substitute. In other tour pairings, Peter Frampton and Lynyrd Skynyrd are hitting the road together. Don’t forget Frampton get his start in the bluesy British rock band Humble Pie.
Condolences go out to a number of musician’s families this week. Perhaps more prominently, rock-wise, is the death of keyboard virtuoso Keith Emerson of an apparent suicide. He was 71. His band Emerson, Lake & Palmer were one of the prime movers in the prog rock scene. While growing up in the ’70s, I was never a big fan of that style of rock but I certainly can appreciate his talents. Here is an interesting clip of ELP from their Cal Jam appearance in 1974
Grammy nominated jazz vocalist Ernestine Anderson, whose career covered 6 decades, passed away at the age of 87. Louis Meyers who helped co-found SxSW died on the eve of the conference. Noted Brazilian percussionist Nana Vasconcelos died at the age of 71. Frank Sinatra Jr. died of a heart attack before a scheduled concert in Daytona Beach, FL; he was 72. Gogi Grant topped the charts in 1986 with the tune “The Wayward Wind;” she passed away at the age of 91.