Neil Young – Jones Beach – June 14th 1989

•August 25, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I see that “Hitchiker” will be finally be released by Neil Young on September 8th. I never knew about the album until recently – how about Chrome Dreams Neil? Anyhow, I will buy it immediately on release. 1970s Neil Young is irresistible. The 1980s were another story….that was until the glorious summer of 1989. That year Neil released “Eldorado” – a Japan only EP (easy to obtain on Amazon these days) and the “Freedom” – my personal favorite from his canon – and one of my favorite records of all time. I’m not sure why this record resonates so well with me – I clearly remember the first time I heard it was in the Coffee Inn (long gone) in Dublin. Mostly the record, famous for “Rocking in the Free World,” is a rag-tag collection of leftovers and an extraordinary cover of “On Broadway.” But everything fits together perfectly and unexpectedly.

freedom vhsAbout a year after the release of Freedom – a VHS tape appeared under the same name. This was Neil playing live and solo at Jones Beach – a fantastic concert – but only 7 tracks. WTF? Many years later, I obtained a bootleg DVD (there is also a soundboard CD circulating), with perfect sound and really poor video. For the most part, this is 90 minutes of Neil, with his guitar and harmonica playing solo – an unbelievable setlist (?his greatest ever). Accompanied only by Ben Keith and Frank Sambedro, the great surprise is saved till last – a duet rendition of “Down by the river” with Bruce Springsteen. It is a fantastic concert. Hopefully, some day, anyday, we will get a nice high res audio-video release of this 5 star concert.

NEIL YOUNG JONES BEACH JUNE 14TH 1989 SETLIST

  1. My my hey hey (Out of the blue)
  2. Rockin’ in the free world
  3. Comes a time
  4. Sugar mountain
  5. Pocahontas
  6. Helpless
  7. Crime in the city
  8. For the turnstiles
  9. This old house
  10. Roll another number
  11. Too far gone
  12. This notes for you
  13. The needle and the damage done
  14. No more
  15. After the goldrush
  16. Heart of gold
  17. Ohio
  18. Rockin’ in the free world
  19. Powderfinger
  20. Down by the River (with Bruce Springsteen)
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My Lifetime in Albums

•August 24, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Since January I have been listening to my life – one album a year for every year. Once album per artist – unless they had a very long career. Here is the list, roughly 2/3rd of the way through the year. Thoughts and reflections to follow.

Date Artist Album Year
01/01/17 The Beatles Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 1967
01/02/17 The Velvet Underground The Velvet Underground & Nico 1967
01/03/17 The Doors The Doors 1967
01/04/17 The Kinks Something Else 1967
01/05/17 Love Forever Changes 1967
01/06/17 The Moody Blues Days of Our Future Past 1967
01/07/17 Tim Buckley Goodbye and Hello 1967
01/08/17 Van Morrison Astral Weeks 1968
01/09/17 Jimi Hendrix Electric Ladyland 1968
01/10/17 The Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet 1968
01/11/17 The Band Music From the Big Pink 1968
01/12/17 Big Brother & The Holding Company Cheap Thrills 1968
01/13/17 Blood Sweat & Tears Blood, Sweat & Tears 1968
01/14/17 The Byrds Notorious Byrd Brothers 1968
01/15/17 Frank Zappa Hot Rats 1969
01/16/17 King Crimson In the Court of Kind Crimson 1969
01/17/17 Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin 1969
01/18/17 Captain Beefheart Trout Mask Replica 1969
01/19/17 Crosby, Stills & Nash Crosby, Stills & Nash 1969
01/20/17 Santana Santana 1969
01/21/17 Fairport Convention Liege & Leaf 1969
01/22/17 Derek & the Dominoes Layla & Assorted Love Songs 1970
01/23/17 Traffic John Barleycorn Must Die 1970
01/24/17 The Grateful Dead Workingman’s Dead 1970
01/25/17 Black Sabbath Paranoid 1970
01/26/17 Nick Drake Byther Lyter 1970
01/27/17 Spirit Twelve Dreams of Doctor Sardonicus 1970
01/28/17 Simon & Garfunkel Bridge Over Troubled Water 1970
01/29/17 The Who Who’s Next 1971
01/30/17 Marvyn Gaye What’s Goin’ On? 1971
01/31/17 David Crosby If I Could Only Remember My Name 1971
02/01/17 Can Tago Mago 1971
02/02/17 Jethro Tull Aqualung 1971
02/03/17 The Allman Brothers At Filmore East 1971
02/04/17 Joni Mitchell Blue 1971
02/05/17 David Bowie The Fall & Rise of Ziggy Stardust 1972
02/06/17 Yes Close to the Edge 1972
02/07/17 Roxy Music Roxy Music 1972
02/08/17 Harvest Neil Young 1972
02/09/17 Something / Anything Todd Rundgren 1972
02/10/17 Eagles Eagles 1972
02/11/17 Aphrodite’s Child 666 1972
02/12/17 Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon 1973
02/13/17 Bob Marley Catch A Fire 1973
02/14/17 Little Feat Dixie Chicken 1973
02/15/17 Elton John Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 1973
02/16/17 Mike Oldfield Tubular Bells 1973
02/17/17 John Martyn Solid Air 1973
02/18/17 Emerson Lake & Palmer Brain Salad Surgery 1973
02/19/17 Gene Clark No Other 1974
02/20/17 Gram Parsons Grevous Angel 1974
02/21/17 The Meters Rejuvenation 1974
02/22/17 Bad Company Bad Company 1974
02/23/17 Tom Waits The Heart of Saturday Night 1974
02/24/17 Richard & Linda Thompson I Want to See Bright Lights Tonight 1974
02/25/17 Gordon Lightfoot Sundown 1974
02/26/17 Bob Dylan Blood on the Tracks 1975
02/27/17 Parliament Mothership Connection 1975
02/28/17 Patti Smith Horses 1975
03/01/17 Brian Eno Another Green World 1975
03/02/17 Willie Nelson Red Headed Stranger 1975
03/03/17 Rod Stewart Atlantic Crossing 1975
03/04/17 Tangerine Dream Rubycon 1975
03/05/17 Boston Boston 1976
03/06/17 Electric Light Orchestra A New World Record 1976
03/07/17 Peter Frampton Frampton Comes Alive 1976
03/08/17 Stevie Wonder Songs in the Key of Life 1976
03/09/17 Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers 1976
03/10/17 Ramones Ramones 1976
03/11/17 Boz Scaggs Silk Dreams 1976
03/12/17 Fleetwood Mac Rumours 1977
03/13/17 Meat Loaf Bat out of Hell 1977
03/14/17 Iggy Pop Lust for Life 1977
03/15/17 Steely Dan AJA 1977
03/16/17 Television Marquee Moon 1977
03/17/17 Original Soundtrack Saturday Night Fever 1977
03/18/17 Sex Pistols Never Mind the Bollocks 1977
03/19/17 Blondie Parallel Lines 1978
03/20/17 Jean Michel Jarre Equinoxe 1978
03/21/17 Queen Jazz 1978
03/22/17 Kraftwerk The Man Machine 1978
03/23/17 The Cars The Cars 1978
03/24/17 Van Halen Van Halen 1978
03/25/17 Elvis Costello This Years’ Model 1978
03/26/17 Supertramp Breakfast in America 1979
03/27/17 Tubeway Army Replicas 1979
03/28/17 The Clash London Calling 1979
03/29/17 The Specials The Specials 1979
03/30/17 The Police Regatta De Blanc 1979
03/31/17 Pink Floyd The Wall 1979
04/01/17 Neil Young Rust Never Sleeps 1979
04/02/17 The Jam Sound Effects 1980
04/03/17 ACDC Back in Black 1980
04/04/17 UB40 Signing Off 1980
04/05/17 Joy Division Closer 1980
04/06/17 Dire Straits Making Movies 1980
04/07/17 Echo & the Bunnymen Crocodiles 1980
04/08/17 Pretenders Pretenders 1980
04/09/17 The Human League Dare 1981
04/10/17 Motorhead No Sleep Till Hammersmith 1981
04/11/17 New Order Movement 1981
04/12/17 Adam & The Ants Kings of the Wild Fronteir 1981
04/13/17 Squeeze East Side Story 1981
04/14/17 Depeche Mode Speak & Tell 1981
04/15/17 OMD Architecture & Morality 1981
04/16/17 Donald Fagen The Nightfly 1982
04/17/17 Roxy Music Avalon 1982
04/18/17 Joe Jackson Night & Day 1982
04/19/17 Dexys Midnight Runners Too-Ray-Ay 1982
04/20/17 ABC Lexicon of Love 1982
04/21/17 Michael Jackson Thriller 1982
04/22/17 The Cure Pornography 1982
04/23/17 REM Murmur 1983
04/24/17 Violent Femmes Violent Femmes 1983
04/25/17 Big Country The Crossing 1983
04/26/17 Aztec Camera Hard Rain 1983
04/27/17 The The Soul Mining 1983
04/28/17 ZZ Top Eliminator 1983
04/29/17 Eurythmics Touch 1983
04/30/17 Bruce Springsteen Born in the USA 1984
05/01/17 Prince Purple Rain 1984
05/02/17 Sade Diamond Life 1984
05/03/17 Lloyd Cole & the Commotions Rattlesnakes 1984
05/04/17 Brian Adams Reckless 1984
05/05/17 Frankie Goes to Hollywood Welcome to the Pleasuredome 1984
05/06/17 The Style Council Cafe Bleu 1984
05/07/17 Kate Bush Hounds of Love 1985
05/08/17 The Jesus & Mary Chain Psychocandy 1985
05/09/17 Tears for Fears Songs from the Big Chair 1985
05/10/17 Sting Dream of the Blue Turtles 1985
05/11/17 Prefab Sprout Steve McQueen 1985
05/12/17 Talking Heads Little Creatures 1985
05/13/17 The Replacements Tim 1985
05/14/17 XTC Skylarking 1986
05/15/17 The Smiths The Queen is Dead 1986
05/16/17 Steve Earle Guitar Town 1986
05/17/17 Peter Gabriel So 1986
05/18/17 Crowded House Crowded House 1986
05/19/17 Paul Simon Graceland 1986
05/20/17 The Bangles Different Light 1986
05/21/17 U2 The Joshua Tree 1987
05/22/17 Level 42 Running in the Family 1987
05/23/17 Guns ‘n Roses Appetite for Destruction 1987
05/24/17 Terence Trent D’Arby Introducing the Hardline 1987
05/25/17 The Housemartins The People Who Grinned Themselves to Death 1987
05/26/17 George Michael Faith 1987
05/27/17 Pet Shop Boys Actually 1987
05/28/17 Leonard Cohen I’m Your Man 1988
05/29/17 Morrissey Viva Hate 1988
05/30/17 Cowboy Junkies The Trinity Session 1988
05/31/17 Public Enemy It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back 1988
06/01/17 Sonic Youth Daydream Nation 1988
06/02/17 Talk Talk Spirit of Eden 1988
06/03/17 Life’s Too Good Sugercubes 1988
06/04/17 The Stone Roses The Stone Roses 1989
06/05/17 De La Soul 3 Feet High and Rising 1989
06/06/17 The Beautiful South Welcome to the Beautiful South 1989
06/07/17 Nirvana Bleach 1989
06/08/17 The Beastie Boys Paul’s Boutique 1989
06/09/17 Pixies Doolittle 1989
06/10/17 The Cure Disintegration 1989
06/11/17 Heaven or Las Vegas Cocteau Twins 1990
06/12/17 The Las The Las 1990
06/13/17 Uncle Tupulo No Depression 1990
06/14/17 Garth Brooks No Fences 1990
06/15/17 Happy Mondays Pills Thrills & Bellyaches 1990
06/16/17 World Party Goodbye Jumbo 1990
06/17/17 The Sundays Reading Writing & Arithmetic 1990
06/18/17 Primal Scream Screamadelica 1991
06/19/17 My Bloody Valentine Loveless 1991
06/20/17 Matthew Sweet Girlfriend 1991
06/21/17 Simply Red Stars 1991
06/22/17 Pearl Jam Ten 1991
06/23/17 Red Hot Chili Peppers Blood Sugar Sex Magic 1991
06/24/17 Massive Attack Blue Lines 1991
06/25/17 REM Automatic for the People 1992
06/26/17 Pavement Slanted & Enchanted 1992
06/27/17 Dr Dre The Chronic 1992
06/28/17 Spiritualized Laser Guided Melodies 1992
06/29/17 Aphex Twin Selected Ambient Works 1992
06/30/17 Annie Lennox Diva 1992
07/01/17 Sugar Copper Blue 1992
07/02/17 Suede Suede 1993
07/03/17 Afghan Whigs Gentlemen 1993
07/04/17 The Posies Frosting on the Beater 1993
07/05/17 The Authers New Wave 1993
07/06/17 Aimee Mann Whatever 1993
07/07/17 Grant Lee Buffalo Fuzzy 1993
07/08/17 Morphine Cure for Pain 1993
07/09/17 Oasis Definately Maybe 1994
07/10/17 Jeff Buckley Graceland 1994
07/11/17 Portishead Dummy 1994
07/12/17 Soundgarden Superunknown 1994
07/13/17 Underworld Dubnobasswithmyheadman 1994
07/14/17 Weezer Blue Album 1994
07/15/17 Green Day Dookie 1994
07/16/17 Teenage Fanclub Grand Prix 1995
07/17/17 The Jayhawks Tomorrow is the Green Green Grass 1995
07/18/17 Supergrass I Should Coco 1995
07/19/17 Ron Sexsmith Ron Sexsmith 1995
07/20/17 Pulp Different Class 1995
07/21/17 Emmylou Harris Wrecking Ball 1995
07/22/17 Foo Fighters Foo Fighters 1995
07/23/17 Beck O Delay 1996
07/24/17 DJ Shadow Entroducing 1996
07/25/17 Jamiroquay Travelling Without Moving 1996
07/26/17 Ocean Colour Scene Mosely Shoals 1996
07/27/17 Manic Street Preachers Everything Must Go 1996
07/28/17 Super Furry Animals Fuzzy Logic 1996
07/29/17 EELs Beautiful Freak 1996
07/30/17 Radiohead Ok Computer 1997
07/31/17 The Verve Urban Hymns 1997
08/01/17 Eliott Smith Either / Or 1997
08/02/17 The Chemical Brothers Dig Your Own Hole 1997
08/03/17 Guided By Voices Mag Earwig 1997
08/04/17 Stereophonics Word Gets Around 1997
08/05/17 Ry Cooder Buena Vista Social Club 1997
08/06/17 Mercury Rev Deserters’ Songs 1998
08/07/17 Gomez Bring it On 1998
08/08/17 Catatonia International Velvet 1998
08/09/17 Neutral Milk Hotel In the Aeroplane Over the Sea 1998
08/10/17 Lucinda Williams Car Wheels on a Gravel Road 1998
08/11/17 Dixie Chicks Wide Open Spaces 1998
08/12/17 Air Moon Safari 1998
08/13/17 The Flaming Lips The Soft Bullitin 1999
08/14/17 Travis The Man Who 1999
08/15/17 Wilco Summerteeth 1999
08/16/17 Beth Orton Central Reservation 1999
08/17/17 Muse Showbiz 1999
08/18/17 Dream Theatre Metropolis Part 2 1999
08/19/17 Mogwai Come On Die Yung 1999
08/20/17 The Dandy Warhols 13 Tales of Urban Bohemia 2000
08/21/17 Ryan Adams Heartbreaker 2000
08/22/17 Lambchop Nixon 2000
08/23/17 Grandaddy The Software Slump 2000
08/24/17 The Avalanches Since I left You 2000
08/25/17 Goldfrapp Felt Mountain 2000
08/26/17 Emimem The Marshall Mathers LP 2000
08/27/17 The Strokes Is This It? 2001
08/28/17 Elbow Asleep at the Back 2001
08/29/17 Turin Brakes The Optimist LP 2001
08/30/17 Starsailor Love is Here 2001
08/31/17 I am Kloot Natural History 2001
09/01/17 Tool Lateralus 2001
09/02/17 The Shins Oh Inverted World 2001
09/03/17 Coldplay A Rush of Blood to the Head 2002
09/04/17 Brendan Benson Lapalco 2002
09/05/17 Neko Case Blacklisted 2002
09/06/17 Queens of the Stone Age Songs for the Deaf 2002
09/07/17 The Libertines Up the Bracket 2002
09/08/17 The Roots Phrenology 2002
09/09/17 The Rising Bruce Springsteen 2002
09/10/17 The White Stripes Elephant 2003
09/11/17 Drive By Truckers Decoration Day 2003
09/12/17 The Pernice Brothers Yours Mine and Ours 2003
09/13/17 Death Cab for Cutie Transatlanticalism 2003
09/14/17 The New Pornographers Electric Version 2003
09/15/17 Broadcast Haha Sound 2003
09/16/17 Sufjan Stevens Michigan 2003
09/17/17 Arcade Fire Funeral 2004
09/18/17 Keane Hopes & Fears 2004
09/19/17 Franz Ferdinand Franz Ferdinand 2004
09/20/17 Brian Wilson Smile 2004
09/21/17 Kasabian Kasabian 2004
09/22/17 Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds Abattoir Blues / Lyre of Orpheus 2004
09/23/17 Hot Fuss The Killers 2004
09/24/17 I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning Bright Eyes 2005
09/25/17 Bloc Party Silent Alarm 2005
09/26/17 Spoon Gimmie Fiction 2005
09/27/17 My Morning Jacket Z 2005
09/28/17 Sleater Kinney The Woods 2005
09/29/17 Low The Great Destroyer 2005
09/30/17 Robert Plant The Mighty Rearranger 2005
10/01/17 Artic Monkeys Whatever People Say I am… 2006
10/02/17 Belle & Sebastian The Life Pursuit 2006
10/03/17 David Gilmour On An Island 2006
10/04/17 Back to Black Amy Winehouse 2006
10/05/17 Snow Patrol Eyes Wide Open 2006
10/06/17 Raconteurs Broken Toy Soldiers 2006
10/07/17 Band of Horses Everything All The Time 2006
10/08/17 Bon Iver For Emma 2007
10/09/17 Okkervil River The Stage Names 2007
10/10/17 Robert Plant & Alison Krauss Rising Sand 2007
10/11/17 Rilo Kiley Under the Boardwalk 2007
10/12/17 Of Montreal Hissing Fauna 2007
10/13/17 Interpol Our Love to Admire 2007
10/14/17 Delta Spirit Ode To Sunshine 2007
10/15/17 ELbow The Seldom Seen Kid 2008
10/16/17 Fleet Foxes Fleet Foxes 2008
10/17/17 Kings of Leon Only By the Night 2008
10/18/17 Vampire Weekend Vampire Weekend 2008
10/19/17 Sigur Ros Med Sud Eyrum 2008
10/20/17 MGMT Oracular Spectacular 2008
10/21/17 Last Shadow Puppets Age of Understatement 2008
10/22/17 Animal Collective Merriweather Post Pavilion 2009
10/23/17 Biffy Clyro Only Revolutions 2009
10/24/17 Field Music Field Music 2009
10/25/17 M. Ward Hold Time 2009
10/26/17 Mumford & Sons Sigh No More 2009
10/27/17 Besnard Lakes Besnard Lakes 2009
10/28/17 Larsen B Musketeer 2009
10/29/17 John Grant Queen of Denmark 2010
10/30/17 Yeasayer Odd Blood 2010
10/31/17 Wolf People Steeple 2010
11/01/17 Blitzen Trapper Destroyer of the Void 2010
11/02/17 Beach House Teen Dream 2010
11/03/17 The National High Violet 2010
11/04/17 Tame Impala Innerspeaker 2010
11/05/17 PJ Harvey Let England Shake 2011
11/06/17 The Black Keys EL Camino 2011
11/07/17 Jonathan Jeremiah A Solitary Man 2011
11/08/17 Singing Adams Everything 2011
11/09/17 Decemberists The King is Dead 2011
11/10/17 Iron & Wine Kiss Each Other 2011
11/11/17 The Vaccines What Do You Expect from the Vaccines? 2011
11/12/17 Lana Del Ray Born to Die 2012
11/13/17 Jack White Blunderbuss 2012
11/14/17 Howlin’ Rain Russian Wilds 2012
11/15/17 Alt-J An Awesome Wave 2012
11/16/17 Mark Lanegan Blues Funeral 2012
11/17/17 Dr John Locked Up 2012
11/18/17 Frank Ocean Color Orange 2012
11/19/17 Jonathan Wilson Fanfare 2013
11/20/17 Palma Violets 180 2013
11/21/17 Steve Mason Monkey Minds in the Devil’s Time 2013
11/22/17 Caitlin Rose The Stand In 2013
11/23/17 Jason Isbell Southwestern 2013
11/24/17 Steven Wilson The Raven that refused to sing….. 2013
11/25/17 Matthew E White Big Inner 2013
11/26/17 The Felice Brothers Favorite Waitress 2014
11/27/17 St Vincent St Vincent 2014
11/28/17 War on Drugs Lost in the Dream 2014
11/29/17 Sturgill Simpson Metamodern Sounds of Modern Country 2014
11/30/17 Hozier Hozier 2014
12/01/17 Hurray for the Riff Raff Small Town Heroes 2014
12/02/17 Hiss Golden Messenger Lateness of Dancers 2014
12/03/17 Grimes Art Angels 2015
12/04/17 Julia Holter Have You My Wilderness 2015
12/05/17 Father John Misty I Love You Honeybear 2015
12/06/17 Kendrick Lamar To Pimp a Butterfly 2015
12/07/17 Courtney Barnett Sometimes I sit and Think 2015
12/08/17 Gretchen Peters Blackbird 2015
12/09/17 Jamie XX In Colour 2015
12/10/17 Margo Price Midwest Farmer’s Daughter 2016
12/11/17 Michael Kiwanula Love and Hate 2016
12/12/17 Case, Lange, Viers Case, Lange, Viers 2016
12/13/17 David Bowie Blackstar 2016
12/14/17 Max Jury Max Jury 2016
12/15/17 Kevin Morby Singing Saw 2016
12/16/17 Julia Jackson Don’t Let the Kids.. 2016

 

 

Top Jazz Albums 2016 – the Critics

•December 23, 2016 • Leave a Comment

I have my own selection of best jazz albums – but there are always a few that I haven’t heard. It is remarkable how dissonant the critics are with their best-of lists. It all feels very subjective. Here are a few that I googled.

Jazzwise

  1. Tim Garland – One
  2. Branford Marsalis Quartet with Kurt Elling – Upward Spiral
  3. Dinosaur – Together, As One
  4. Donny McCaslin – Beyond Now
  5. Brad Mehldau – Ballads and Blues
  6. Charles Lloyd & The Marvels – I Long To See You
  7. EST Symphony – EST Symphony
  8. Impossible Gentlemen – Let’s Get Deluxe
  9. Aziza – Aziza
  10. Phronesis – Parallax
  11. Kit Downes & Tom Challenger – Vyamanikal
  12. Jazz At Lincoln Centre – Live In Cuba
  13. Joshua Redman and Brad Mehldau – Nearness
  14. John Scofield – Country For Old Men
  15. Jeremy Pelt – Jive Culture
  16. Bill Frisell – When You Wish Upon A Star
  17. Dhafer Youssef – Diwan of Beauty and Odd
  18. Barnes/O’Higgins & The Sax Section – Oh Gee!
  19. Jack DeJohnette/Ravi Coltrane/Matthew Garrison In Movement
  20. Michael Wollny Trio – Klangspuren

The Observer

10) John Scofield, Country for Old Men (Impulse!)

9) The Robert Glasper Experiment, ArtScience (Blue Note)

8) AZIZA, Aziza (Dare2)

7) Donny McCaslin, Beyond Now (Motema Music)

6) Kris Davis, Duopoly (Pyroclastic)

5) Esperanza Spalding, Emily’s D+Evolution (Concord)

4) MAST, Love and War (Alpha Pup)

3) Jack DeJohnette/Ravi Coltrane/Matthew Garrison, In Movement (ECM)

2) Julian Lage, Arclight / Live in Los Angeles (Mack Avenue)

1) Jeff Parker, The New Breed (International Anthem, Ltd.)

Stereogum

10 Vijay Iyer & Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith – A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke (ECM)

9 Battle Trance – Blade Of Love (New Amsterdam)

8 Tyshawn Sorey – The Inner Spectrum Of Variables (Pi)

7 Jeremy Pelt – #jiveculture (HighNote)

6 Freddie Hendrix – Jersey Cat (Sunnyside)

5 John Raymond – Real Feels (Shifting Paradigm)

4 Donny McCaslin – Beyond Now (Motema)

3 Michael Formanek’s Ensemble Kolossus – The Distance (ECM)

2 Black Bombaim & Peter Brötzmann – Black Bombaim & Peter Brötzmann (Shhpuma)

1 JD Allen – Americana (Savant)

 

Stereophile

  • Henry Threadgill’s Ensemble Double Up, Old Locks and Irregular Verbs (Pi).
  • Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, Real Enemies (New Amsterdam).
  • Frank Kimbrough, Solstice (Pirouet).
  • Fred Hersch Trio, Sunday Night at the Vanguard (Palmetto).
  • Brad Mehldau Trio, Blues and Ballads (Nonesuch).
  • Wadada Leo Smith, America’s National Parks (Cuneiform, 2 CDs).
  • Dave Douglas & Frank Woeste, Dada People (Greenleaf).
  • Krakauer’s Ancestral Groove, Checkpoint (Table Pounding Records).
  • Kenny Barron Trio, Book of Intuition (Impulse!).
  • Matt Wilson’s Big Happy Family, Beginning of a Memory (Palmetto).

The Telegraph

1: Greg Abate & Phil Woods: Kindrid Spirits Live (Whaling City Sound)

2: Bucky Pizzarelli: Renaissance (Arbors Records)

4: Dr Lonnie Smith: Evolution (Blue Note)

5: Nils Landgren With Janis Siegel: Some Other Time, A Tribute To Leonard Bernstein (Act)

6: Aly Keïta, Jan Galega Brönnimann, Lucas Niggli: Kalo-Yele  (Intakt Records)

7: Sam Crockatt Quartet: Mells Bells (Whirlwind Recordings)

8: Ian Shaw: The Theory Of Joy (Jazz Village)

9: Huw V Williams: Hon (Chaos)

11: Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra: All My Yesterdays (Resonance)

12:  Avisghai Cohen: Into The Silence (Ecm)

14: Herlin Riley: New Direction (Mack Avenue)

15: Aldevis Tibaldi: Twentysix Three (Galetone Records)

17: Snarky Puppy: Culcha Vulcha (Decca)

NPR

  1. Henry Threadgill Ensemble Double Up, ‘Old Locks and Irregular Verbs’
  2. Wadada Leo Smith, ‘America’s National Parks’
  3. Jack DeJohnette / Matt Garrison / Ravi Coltrane, ‘In Movement’
  4. Mary Halvorson Octet, ‘Away With You’
  5. Michael Formanek / Ensemble Kolossus, ‘The Distance’
  6. Vijay Iyer & Wadada Leo Smith, ‘A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke’
  7. Nels Cline, ‘Lovers’
  8. Matt Wilson’s Big Happy Family, ‘Beginning of a Memory’
  9. Charlie Haden Liberation Music Orchestra, ‘Time/Life (Song for the Whales and Other Beings)’
  10. Steve Lehman & Sélébéyone, ‘Sélébéyone’

 

State.Com

  1. Henry Threadgill’s Ensemble Double Up, Old Locks and Irregular Verbs (Pi)
  2. Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, Real Enemies (New Amsterdam)
  3. Frank Kimbrough, Solstice (Pirouet)
  4. Fred Hersch Trio, Sunday Night at the Vanguard (Palmetto)
  5. Brad Mehldau Trio, Blues and Ballads (Nonesuch)
  6. Wadada Leo Smith, America’s National Parks (Cuneiform, 2 CDs)
  7. Dave Douglas & Frank Woeste, Dada People (Greenleaf)
  8. Krakauer’s Ancestral Groove, Checkpoint (Table Pounding Records)
  9. Kenny Barron Trio, Book of Intuition (Impulse!)
  10. Matt Wilson’s Big Happy Family, Beginning of a Memory (Palmetto)

2017 -50 years – an album a day

•December 22, 2016 • Leave a Comment

50-yearsOk – I must confess that I’ll be 50 at the tail end of 2017. So I thought that I would listen to my life in music by choosing an album a day to listen to. Starting on Sunday Jan 1st I plan to listen to 1 album each day from the year assigned to that week. If I have time I’ll listen to a second album (so I have a list of 600 or so records) – but only 350 are guaranteed.

These won’t be my favorite records, rather albums that reflect the rock and pop world of that reflect the sound of that particular year. Unfortunately, as I really don’t like urban music, smooth R&B or rap – much popular current music has been jettisoned. During the 1960s and 1970s, the best records were also the most popular ones. Not today. So no Beyonce, boy bands, Brittney, American Idol winners or any other crap that no-one will be listening to in 50 years. Compiling the list was quite arduous – immediately I realized that the years 1967-71 were staggeringly good years for albums, 1972 not great, 73-77 excellent, 78 not great etc. Some years were great for singles, but brutally bad for albums. The following years are particularly bad: 1981, ’83, ’87, ’89, 1990, ’92, ’96, 2004, ’05, ’07, ’08 (2009-10 weren’t great) and 2012. I’m not saying that there were no great albums in those years, but not many. 1990 was particularly horrific – I really struggled to come up with 10 albums from that year.

I decided that I would only choose 1 album by an artist, unless, like Springsteen or Neil Young – they have had very long careers and albums that have defined different eras. I have generally excluded Irish artists (unless they had international reputations) and Jazz – as I’ll probably come up with a list of 50 jazz albums for the 50 years: this will take a lot of work as jazz records are less temporarily fixed in my mind.

Although I have vinyl versions of the majority of these albums, I have decided to listen them through my home Sonos player, unless the records are at hand. That way I can plan a weekly playlist and listen to the albums at any time, anywhere in the house.

Date Artist Album Year
01/01/17 The Beatles Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 1967
01/02/17 The Velvet Underground The Velvet Underground & Nico 1967
01/03/17 The Doors The Doors 1967
01/04/17 The Kinks Something Else 1967
01/05/17 Love Forever Changes 1967
01/06/17 The Moody Blues Days of Our Future Past 1967
01/07/17 Tim Buckley Goodbye and Hello 1967
01/08/17 Van Morrison Astral Weeks 1968
01/09/17 Jimi Hendrix Electric Ladyland 1968
01/10/17 The Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet 1968
01/11/17 The Band Music From the Big Pink 1968
01/12/17 Big Brother & The Holding Company Cheap Thrills 1968
01/13/17 Blood Sweat & Tears Blood, Sweat & Tears 1968
01/14/17 The Byrds Notorious Byrd Brothers 1968

Springsteen Biography – Insightful but a little self indulgent

•December 22, 2016 • Leave a Comment

springsteenI waited for the audiobook version of “Born to Run,” the Bruce Springsteen autobiography, to become available, despite buying the hardback version of on its day of release. I am delighted that I waited. The audiobook is narrated by Springsteen himself and it is a very unusual rock biography (I have read a lot of them). Most rock biographies drag us through 60 or so pages of boring working class childhood memories – then there is the chance meeting and formation of the band, followed by 200 pages of hedonism, failed relationships, rehab and the inevitable decline. In Springsteen’s case, he uses his childhood and, in particular, his relationship with his father, to frame the entire narrative. It is compelling. The story takes us from his youth in Freehold, New Jersey, right up to the present day, including the death and eventual replacement of Clarence Clemons. There are a rich variety of characters in the story, and despite this being a rock biography, many of Springsteen’s fans will identify with his stories of his father’s failing mental health, doting on his own children and the sometimes difficult relationships with band members who were, in fact, employees.
I particularly enjoyed his descriptions of the records, the locations, the personalities involved in Bruce’s recording career and his own observations of particular events that many of us will remember fondly (the Dancing in the Dark video, Artists Against Apartheid, the Superbowl even the bootleg concert at Bryn Mawr in 1974). At last I get what Tom Joab was all about and how it fits into his discography (although Human Touch and Lucky Town are completely discarded in the narrative).
Springsteen is frank about his relationships, his depression & anxiety and, to a degree, about his family. Clearly, being an autobiography, lots of information about friends and family has been withheld – and there is probably an overemphasis on his own mental health as a consequence. At times this can be a little self indulgent – did we really need a vivid description of a panic attack, cured by a clonazepam tablet, that occurred in Dublin? Possibly the most disappointing component is how he airbrushes over the 3 year career hiatus (1975-78) that could (and for most artists would) have torpedoed his career. This was a time when Springsteen was involved extensive litigation against Mike Appel – his original manager and publisher, and was unable to tour or record. What did he actually do? This story is well documented in the book “Bruce” by Peter Ames Carlin (which, in fairness, plugs most of the other gaps). Conversely, I thought he handled his major controversy, the ending of his marriage with Julianne Philips, with tremendous dignity and grace.
petty-bookMost refreshingly, this was a biography that was not full of drug fuelled hedonism; it is a portrait of an extraordinary-ordinary guy. If you were to read only one chapter – the one about “My Voice” towards the end tells you everything.
Petty: The Biography” – the Tom Petty biography by Warren Zanes is a remarkably similar book. Petty, of course is from Florida, and he also served a long, painful apprenticeship before becoming successful. Similar to Springsteen he had problems with management, the band, his wife etc. He also became a celebrity buddy of George Harrison, Roy Orbison etc. in The Travelling Wilburys and remains one of the few 70s rock stars to continue to make good records well into this decade.
Both Books strongly recommended.

Albums of the Year 2016

•November 25, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Here are my albums of the year 2016 (so far). I would unreservedly recommend the top 20. The remainder, I enjoyed, but it is unlikely that they will receive a lot of repeat plays over the year. Also listed are the reissues of the year, from my perspective.

Rock Pop & Country

  1. Applewood Road – Applewood Road
  2. Leonard Cohen – You Want it Darker
  3. Sturgil Simpson – a Sailor’s Guide to Earth
  4. David Bowie – Blackstar
  5. Kevin Morby – Singing Saw
  6. Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
  7. Case / Lang / Viers – Case, Lang & Viers
  8. Margo Price – Midwest Farmer’s Daughter
  9. Bon Iver – 22, A Million
  10. Wilco – Schmilco
  11. Teenage Fanclub – Here
  12. Suede – Night Thoughts
  13. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tre
  14. Max Jury – Max Jury
  15. Colvin & Earle – Colvin & Earle
  16. Paul Simon – Stranger to Stranger
  17. Steve Mason – Meet the Humans
  18. Loretta Lynn – Full Circle
  19. Wolf People – Ruins
  20. Michael Kiwanula – Love & Hate

Best Jazz (that I have heard so far) 2016

  1. Tim Garland – One
  2. Dinosaur – Together, As One
  3. E.S.T. Symphony – Symphony
  4. John Scofield – No country for old men
  5. Jack DeJohnette, Ravi Coltrane, Matthew Garrison – In Movement
  6. Avishai Cohen – Into the Silence
  7. Dr. Lonnie Smith – Evolution
  8. Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau – Nearness (Nonesuch – 555845-1)
  9. Michael Formanek – The Distance
  10. Marius Neset – Snow Melt

I also enjoyed:

  • Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Person A
  • Brian Eno – The Ship
  • Teddy Thompson & Kelly Jones – Little Windows
  • The Jayhawks – Paging Mr Proust
  • PJ Harvey – Hope Six Demolition Project
  • Cate Le Bon – Crab Day
  • Turin Brakes – Lost Music
  • Field Music – Commontime
  • Parquet Courts – Human Performance
  • M Ward – More Rain
  • The Coral – Distance InBetween
  • Iggy Pop – Post Pop Depression
  • Mogwai – Atomic
  • The Gloaming – The Gloaming 2
  • Weezer – White Album
  • Damian Jurado – Visions of Us on the Land
  • Lucinda Williams – ghosts of the highway
  • Chris Forsyth – The Rarity of Experience
  • Eric Clapton – I still do
  • Michael Franti & Spearhead – Soulrocker
  • Emily Jane White – They Moved in the Shadow…
  • Tedeschi Trucks Band – Let Me Get By
  • Lambchop – Flotus
  • Cass McCombs – Mangy Love
  • Julia Jacklin – Don’t Let the Kids Win
  • Drive-By Truckers = American Band
  • Mudcrutch – 2
  • Biffy Clyro – Ellipsis
  • Brigid Mae Power – Brigid Mae Power
  • The Felice Brothers – Life In The Dark
  • Okkervil River – Away
  • Robbie Fulks – Upland Stories
  • Bill Frisell – When You Wish Upon A Star
  • The Monkees – Good Times (surprisingly good)

Soundtrack:

  • Hell or High Water – Nick Cave / Warren Ellis

Reissues :

  • XTC – Skylarking (Ape House – APELPD108)
    [Both the Blu-Ray and the 45rpm vinyl versions]
  • XTC – English Settlement (Ape House – APELPD105)
  • Impulse – 1961-1974 box set (UMA)
  • Roy Harper Stormcock (SFLP001)
  • Black Grape – It’s Great When You’re Straight…Yeah (Radioactive, Geffen Records – 5373030)
  • Super Furry Animals – Fuzzy Logic (BMG – BMGCATLP77)
  • Steve Earle – Guitar Town, Exit O & The Hard Way
  • John Abercrombie – Timeless (ECM 1047)
  • Pink Floyd – Early Years and Vinyl Reissues
  • Bruce Springsteen – Ties that Bind
  • Terry Reid – The Other Side of the River (Future Days Recordings – FDR 629)
  • The Kinks – Mono Box Set
  • Jack White Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016 (Third Man Records – TMR-387)
  • Bert Jansch – Avocet (Earth (13) – EARTHLP010)

 

Why are audiophile vinyl manufacturers ignoring Europe?

•November 17, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Here’s a strange question – how many premium American brands can you name? Although the United States dominates the technology world with companies like Apple, Facebook and Google, there are few American branded products (with the exception of Tesla cars, Grado headphones and Benchmark Hi-Fi) that appeals to me. One thing (from my perspective) that they do have is fantastic audiophile vinyl labels: Music Matters, Analogue Productions, Mobile Fidelity, Impex, Org etc. In Europe, we have Speakers Corner and Pure Pleasure but little else. To buy AP or MM records in Europe is frighteningly expensive – if you can get them the price is approximately twice that in the USA – presumably due to tariffs, duties etc. Many of the records I buy, for normal prices are pressed in the US ( as in “pressed at RTI”) on the label, so it must be possible to source vinyl from the States without it costing the earth. I am sure that there are lots of record enthusiasts, like me, who would love to subscribe to any of the Music Matters series, at American prices, but are prohibited by our overly aggressive customs and excise folks (I’m sure people walk through airports each day wearing jewellery that costs thousands , but try and buy $50 worth of vinyl from Amazon!). 

So, here’s a suggestion. Now that Music Matters have basically ceased their Blue Note series – why not partner up with Speakers Corner, send over their stampers, press lots of great vinyl at Pallas and make lots of money from us Europeans? “There’s cash in that attic.”

Aside: why not make do with the UMG blue note reissues. Here is an example: I have 3 or 4 copies of “Something Else” by Cannonball Adderley on vinyl, 2 or 3 CD versions and the 24-192 version available on HD tracks. A few months ago I bought a copy of the De Augustini “Jazz at 33” magazine that included “Something Else.” I was surprised how good the record sounded – certainly better than any of the CDs; better than the high res digital version and a 2008 US reissue. Then I noticed a Music Matters 180g 33rpm reissue available for €50 or €60 on Amazon.de. I had to know – are these audiohpile reissues really that good. They are. Aside from the unbelievable quality of the sleeve and flag pressing of the record, the sound on this release is breath-taking. It is warm, with a full-phat 3 dimensional soundstage. In comparison, the high resolution version sounds thin and stiff. If ever a record was produced to demonstrate the value of vinyl, this is it. I, having no alternative, have bought several of the 75th anniversary Blue Note releases. For some of these I also made use of Qobuz sublime to buy the high res version (for less than the price of a CD). They sound the same. This is particularly distressing considering that I am currently listening to vinyl from a €400 Project Debut Carbon turntable, and the digital  files through the Benchmark DAC 2 HGC. They sound the same: a bit thin, a bit flat, not much soundstage. Are Music Matters 33rpm worth twice the price. Yes, absolutely, no doubt.