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Antonio Carlos Jobim – Wave
For this recording only the best of the best was good enough, as can be seen from the names of participating soloists on the sidelines such as Jimmy Cleveland and Urbie Green (trombone), and Ron Carter (bass) who created a sensation together with Miles Davis in the early 60s. Once again – as so often during that era – the excellent sound is all thanks to the recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder.
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George Benson : The Other Side Of Abbey Road
Jazz purists probably turned up their noses when this LP appeared in 1970. George Benson, influenced by Wes Montgomery, had only just gone from being a well kept secret to a bright star in the celestial jazz firmament. Despite his tender age!! His youthful, happy-go-lucky ways may well have led him and his producer Creed Taylor to turn to this important Beatles album and – without great pathos or standing in awe – they put the music through a mincer as it were, adding a large pinch of jazz spice and a good portion of strings and Latin percussion on the way, and serving up this tasty dish to jazz freaks and beatniks.
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Humble Pie : Smokin’
Smokin’ lives up to its name. It’s a rockin’, feel-good time with a loose and natural production and delivery that successfully captures the band’s live prowess. A gradual, coke-fuelled decline in quality on subsequent albums makes this Humble Pie’s studio peak and ensured that the band would remain overlooked and under-rated, especially in their native UK. But fans of rootsy rockers like The Stones, The Faces and Cream (as well as more modern acolytes like The Black Crowes) should definitely check out The Pie and Smokin’ is the perfect place to start: a great band and legendary frontman at the top of their game, proving that they could rock in the studio just as well as they could in the Fillmore.
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Joan Armatrading – s/t
“Where are all the voices gone?” A good question in today’s bizarre musical world of video clips and techno where one searches in vain for a tender, sweet-perfumed flower. But it’s really not so important – as long as we can still find music’s bedrock, so to speak, or are even lucky enough to have it in our audiophile treasure chest. Now that numerous pop groups have finished crossing the dark valley of electronic sensationalism, and “unplugged” sound is accepted as the true ideal in the ‘90s, it is precisely the music from years gone by that has suddenly become “in” once again. Here we find all the ingredients of good, basic song tradition: a great deal of natural singing, refined guitar sound, a little steel guitar, and a pinch of Wurlitzer organ.
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Joe Cocker – With A Little Help From My Friends
This man is living proof that you can be born in Sheffield and still sing like a negro from Mississippi. His personal idol is Ray Charles; Eric Burdon and Van Morrison are among the few white singers who can be put on a par with him. His performance at the Woodstock Festival made him a cult star in the New World; and the New York Times called him the best singer of all times. His name? Joe Cocker!
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Paul Desmond – Summertime
The climax he has reserved for the final number: his version of Gershwin’s Summertime from Porgy and Bess is one of the most lovely and lyrical ever – and completely free of schmaltz. This CTI album from Paul Desmond is, despite the large number of horns, a real pleasure – thanks to that magician in the recording studio, Rudy von Gelder, whose genius has captured this large ensemble on tape for our enjoyment.
Soundgarden – Telephantasm
A reunited Soundgarden release their first collection of music since 1996 in the form of Telephantasm. This multi-label, career-spanning retrospective album includes beloved band hits, deep back catalogue cuts and a never-before-heard unreleased track entitled “Black Rain,” taken from the Badmotorfinger recording sessions. Telephantasm marks the first time ever a collection of its kind has been collated in one place.
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Supertramp – Breakfast in America
On the surface Supertramp have gone for a sound on BIA that broadly covers many polished L.A. pop rock bands of the era, but the sharp lyrical humour and lashings of Wurlitzer piano remind you that it's very much still the same Supertramp that had steadily built up a loyal following over the previous eight years. Indeed, an album of this quality greatly expanded their audience for a little while and even one listen to it today lets you know that they thoroughly deserved it. Not groundbreaking or industry defining, just a thoroughly engaging and memorable listen. Includes The Logical Song, Breakfast in America and A Voucher To Download MP3 Version Of The Album
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Suzanne Vega – Suzanne Vega s/t
Suzanne Vega is the 1985 eponymous debut album by Suzanne Vega. It was a well-received pop-music album by music journalists in the U.S. and reached platinum status in the United Kingdom. Produced by Lenny Kaye and Steve Addabbo, the songs feature Vega's acoustic guitar in straightforward arrangements. A video was released for the album's song "Marlene on the Wall", which went into MTV and VH1's rotations. In 1989, Rolling Stone magazine listed Suzanne Vega at number 80 on its "100 Best Albums of the Eighties". It is also mentioned in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
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The Police – Reggatta de Blanc
Regatta De Blanc translates to White Reggae, and this record showcases the Police's original blend of reggae-rock. This 1979 record served as a major breakthrough for the Police with big-time hits "Message In A Bottle" and "Walking On The Moon." Regatta De Blanc also served as the vehicle for Stewart Copeland's only lead vocal appearance with "On Any Other Day." This is the record that served notice to the world that The Police were to be a superstar band in the 1980s.
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Toni Childs – Union
Union’s release in 1988 announced a bold, incendiary new voice in the singer/songwriter sweepstakes in Toni Childs.
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Wes Montgomery – Down Here On The Ground
Sales figures of the first two LPs for World Pacific Records were minimal at the time when Wes Montgomery’s first band was purely a family affair called The Montgomery Brothers. From California, Wes travelled eastwards, and the Riverside label produced his first jazz recordings. But it was with the label Verve and Creed Taylor, who had risen to the position of producer, with whom he made his true success story.