Added on 02-Nov-2007
Most releases reviewed this year would be excellent gifts, from last week's long-awaited Ramones "It's Alive 1974-1996" to New Orleans' Theresa Andersson's EP reviewed early in 2007. Here are a few more potential gifts, with the first CD tackling the growing problem of homelessness.
"Give US Your Poor," Various Artists (Appleseed Recordings,
This Sept. 25 release features various famous recording artists (Bruce Springsteen, Natalie Merchant, Keb Mo, Jon Bon Jovi and others) singing songs with musicians/songwriters who have faced the problem of homelessness.
There's a depressing tone to many of the songs, because the subject is so serious. So it comes off cool that Bonnie Raitt and bluesman Weepin' Willie Robinson do a playful, New Orleans version of "Walkin' The Dog."
Other favorites include Bruce Springsteen and Pete Seeger singing "Hobo's Lullaby"; Keb Mo and Eagle Park Slim assaying "Baby Don't Let Me Go Homeless"; Buffalo Tom's sadly anthemic "Ink Falling"; the ironic "Feels Like Home," by Mario Frangoulis; and the old folk song "Boll Weevil," done by Dan Zanes and 11-year-old Kyla Middleton.
An informative booklet accompanies this meaningful recording, which you should be able to obtain locally. If not, shop online at www.appleseedrec.com.
"Invasion of the B-Girls," Josie Cotton (Scruffy Records,
This Oct. 9 release is a good one to give to a fan of old, shlocky movies. And, it brings back Josie Cotton from a long, unwelcome absence. In other words, this time Josie is re-recording "great songs from bad movies," as she describes them. These songs were sung by some of the greats (Eartha Kitt, Shirley Bassey, Wanda Jackson and others), and Josie has a wonderful voice.
The opening song, "Maneaters (Get Off the Road)," comes from the gore classic "She Devils on Wheels," and is my favorite of the crop. Other highlights include the sultry "Who Killed Teddy Bear?" and the oddly touching "Goodbye Godzilla," which is a vocal version of an instrumental theme.
Ask for this interesting CD locally or shop at major online retailers like Amazon and iTunes.
"Queen Rock Montreal + LIVE AID," Queen (Eagle Vision,
This Oct. 30 dual release captures Queen when they were one of the world's biggest bands, rocking the 18,000 seat Montreal Forum. There are two simultaneous releases: the special-edition double DVD considered here, clocking in at 138 minutes; and a single-disc, 95-minute release without the added "Live Aid" footage.
Queen was the first band to shoot an entire show in 35mm, and they were at the height of their powers on Nov. 24-25, 1981. Originally titled "We Will Rock You," the Montreal film was launched at the Cannes Film Festival of 1983.
The performance is almost flawless - featuring Brian May's inventive, almost orchestral guitar playing; Roger Taylor's athletic, power-packed drumming; John Deacon's melodic bass on the bottom line; and Freddie Mercury's fantastic voice on top of May and Taylor's pin-point harmonies.
Fans of their early albums only get "Keep Yourself Alive" and "Sheer Heart Attack," but who can blame the band for concentrating on their later, better-known material for this show.
And, viewers can choose several audio options, with or without commentary from May and Taylor.
The double-disc release includes a slew of "Live Aid" footage, including the full set originally telecast worldwide on 7/13/85. Also, Freddie and Brian's poignant "Is This the World We Created," shown later that evening, is also here, plus rehearsal and news footage. Queen fans can snag either version locally or shop online at www.eaglerockent.com.
(Christmas CDs received this year will be considered over the next column or two, plus mentions of some received in the past.)
Ricky Flake is a former punk rocker, working musician (he sings with South Mississippi's Tribute to the Ramones, COMMANDOS; and, drums with the Deacons) and music fan who lives in Biloxi. Reach him at q