Wait ‘Til Spring- Jim Lauderdale and Donna The Buffalo
Singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale helped lay out the blueprint for the Americana movement of the ’90s, earning high critical marks for an eclectic series of albums that spanned hard country, slick pop, rootsy rock & roll, blues, folk, R&B, and bluegrass. He never sold that many records on his own, but his compositions were recorded — often with considerable success — by a number of contemporary country stars, including George Strait, Patty Loveless, Vince Gill, Mark Chesnutt, Kathy Mattea, and George Jones, among others. Lauderdale was born in Statesville, North Carolina, in 1957 and grew up loving country music; however, he was also drawn to the theater and later moved to New York, where he landed roles in two national touring productions. He subsequently settled in Los Angeles, where he began playing the now-legendary alt-country hot spot the Palomino Club. >> Read more…
-Steve Huey, AllMusic.com
Rootsy folk-rock sextet Donna the Buffalo formed in 1987 in Ithaca, NY. The group’s three vocalists — Tara Nevins, who also plays fiddle, guitar, and accordion; guitarist Jeb Puryear; and keyboardist Joe Thrift — add another layer of diversity to the group’s eclectic and often socially conscious sound.
Guitarist Jim Miller, drummer Tom Gilbert, and bassist Jed Greenberg complete the ensemble. Donna the Buffalo started touring almost immediately after they formed, and they continue to do extensively. The group is a regular attraction at festivals like Merlefest and Telluride, and has also shared the stage with likeminded artists such as 10,000 Maniacs, Los Lobos, and Rusted Root.
-Heather Phares, AllMusic.com
It’s difficult to pigeonhole musicians like Jim Lauderdale. He’s been called “country,” but that seems more of a convenient label than an accurate description of his talent. Lauderdale, after all, recorded an album with Ralph Stanley in 2000, and joined with Donna the Buffalo in 2003 for Wait ‘Til Spring. Country singers, after all, don’t make a habit of associating with jam bands (imagine Merle Haggard recording with the Grateful Dead). The combination, however, works remarkably well here. Lauderdale obviously wanted a sonic twist to his homegrown songs, and Donna the Buffalo obliges. >> Read more…
-Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., AllMusic.com
It Might As Well Be Spring- Lorez Alexandria
A solid singer who is superior at interpreting lyrics, gives a soulful feeling to each song, and improvises with subtlety, Lorez Alexandria was a popular attraction for several decades. She sang gospel music with her family at churches starting in the mid-’40s and worked in Chicago nightclubs in the 1950s.
With the release of several albums for King during 1957-1959, Alexandria became popular beyond her hometown, and by the early ’60s she was living and working in Los Angeles. In addition to the King label, her earlier recording sessions were for Argo and Impulse, while her later albums were for Discovery and Muse. Despite a long period off records (only a few private recordings during the 1965-1976 period), Alexandria survived through the many changes in musical styles and could be heard in excellent form up until she retired in the mid-’90s. Not long after retiring, Alexandria suffered a stroke, and her health declined until her death in May 2001.
-Scott Yanow, AllMusic.com
Mrs. Spring- Johnny Trouble
In 2002, singer, guitarist and songwriter Johnny Bluth, together with two colleagues, the band “The Johnny Trouble Trio”. Initially the road as a street musician in and around Stuttgart, they have played over half of Europe by 2011.
After several concerts in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark and Norway, the trio has grown to a quintet.
The current line-up is: Johnny Bluth on vocals and the acoustic guitar, Felix Berchtold plays the electric guitar, the bass plucks Tall Tony, Wendl uses the steel guitar and dobro. New growth they found in 2010 with the living in Switzerland Paul Burkhalter on the snare drum.
The band’s sound could be described as classic 50’s Country and Rock-A-Billy Music. However Johnny Bluth wrote beside his authentic compositions and songs in the singer-songwriter style, see the big appeal to his concerts.
Spring- Tracy Chapman
Tracy Chapman helped restore singer/songwriters to the spotlight in the ’80s. The multi-platinum success of Chapman’s eponymous 1988 debut was unexpected, and it had lasting impact. Although Chapman was working from the same confessional singer/songwriter foundation that had been popularized in the ’70s, her songs were fresh and powerful, driven by simple melodies and affecting lyrics. At the time of her first album, there were only a handful of artists performing such a style successfully, and her success ushered in a new era of singer/songwriters that lasted well into the ’90s. >> Read more…
-Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AllMusic.com
Spring Song- Wesley Thunder and the Sad Cowboys
When It’s Springtime In Alaska- Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash was one of the most imposing and influential figures in post-World War II country music. With his deep, resonant baritone and spare percussive guitar, he had a basic, distinctive sound. Cash didn’t sound like Nashville, nor did he sound like honky tonk or rock & roll. He created his own subgenre, falling halfway between the blunt emotional honesty of folk, the rebelliousness of rock & roll, and the world-weariness of country. Cash’s career coincided with the birth of rock & roll, and his rebellious attitude and simple, direct musical attack shared a lot of similarities with rock. However, there was a deep sense of history — as he would later illustrate with his series of historical albums — that kept him forever tied with country. And he was one of country music’s biggest stars of the ’50s and ’60s, scoring well over 100 hit singles.
Cash, whose birth name was J.R. Cash, was born and raised in Arkansas, moving to Dyess when he was three. By the time he was 12 years old, he had begun writing his own songs. >> Read more…
-Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AllMusic.com
Of the three thematic Cash CDs simultaneously released in the spring of 2000 (the others are God and Love), Murder is the most sensible. For one thing, there are actually far fewer Cash songs about murder than there are Cash songs about love or God, so this compilation is a more thorough retrospective of a niche in his repertoire. In addition, one has to admit that Cash’s somber vocals and flair for storytelling are well-suited for tales of assassination. Also, this is a well-selected set of 16 tunes, spanning the mid-’50s to the mid-’90s. With the exception of the classics “Folsom Prison Blues” (the original Sun version), “The Long Black Veil,” and “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town,” most of these will be unfamiliar to many Cash fans, taken as they are from LPs, B-sides, and live recordings. Most of them are moving, sometimes chilling performances, whether Cash takes on the role of the killer or an observer. Cool overlooked cuts include 1965’s spare and spooky “Hardin Wouldn’t Run,” and “When It’s Springtime in Alaska (It’s Forty Below),” recorded with wife June Carter.
-Richie Unterberger, AllMusic.com
Big Time- The Howlin’ Brothers
Although they look like a bluegrass band, and at times incorporate bluegrass trappings and rhythms, the Howlin’ Brothers (who are not brothers by birth) are most decidedly an Americana string band, but in a reconfigured 21st century version, incorporating rock, pop, gospel, jazz, R&B, Dixieland, country blues, and who knows what else into the mix along with a scattering of old-time Appalachian string band material and approach. Formed in Ithaca, New York at Ithaca College in 2003, the Howlin’ Brothers (Ben Plasse on upright bass and banjo, Ian Craft on fiddle, mandolin, and banjo, and Jared Green on guitar and harmonica; all three share vocals and harmonies) developed a fun, foot-stomping live show and an avid following in the Ithaca area, then decided to relocate to Nashville in 2005 and try their luck. >> Read more…
-Steve Leggett, AllMusic.com
If there ever was a group that named themselves well, it is The Howlin’ Brothers. Ian Craft (banjo, mandolin, fiddle, vocals), Jared Green (guitar, harmonica, vocals), and Ben Plasse (upright bass, banjo, vocals) hoot, holler, growl, and of course, howl their way through the dozen tracks contained on their new album, again appropriately titled Howl.
The production is impeccable, the music is a cross between modern blue grass and country, but the vocals are primal, looking back to the style that came out of the Appalachian Mountains and the swamps of the South. It all adds up to a well-crafted combination of old and new. >> Read more…
-David Bowling, March 15, 2013, blogcritics.org
“They are authentic and the real deal through and through.”
– Brendan Benson
“They juxtapose many forms of traditional music together: country blues, bluegrass, folk, gospel, to create a very fresh and unique sound that is completely their own.”
– Bill Hurley/The Alternate Root TV
“They are content to not worry with the current contemporary music scene and just build their own.”
– Warren Haynes
“Tennessee trio The Howlin’ Brothers offer a distinctly bluegrass take on the blues, adding upright bass, fiddle and banjo to covers of greats such as Muddy Waters as well as pumping out original foot stompers”.
– Time Out Chicago
Those Baby Blues- The Keller Sisters
Sheryl and Kerry grew up in San Francisco and started singing together at an early age performing in glee clubs, choirs and musical theater.
Daughters of film and theater performer ” Eileen Christy ” the summers were spent on the road learning from the best . They were also discovering guitars and folk music. They started performing in their teens as a duo playing an eclectic mix of folk, country rock and standards.
Sheryl and Kerry put performing aside for a few years to raise their families and then started playing rock and blues with the ” Blue Tuesday ” band in the San Francisco Bay area. They are now back hitting the stage as ” The Keller Sisters ” once again performing mostly their original music which combines storytelling , personal experience , humor and warmth and has been called American Folk Pop. >> Read more…
I Won’t Forget About You- Jesse Dee
Alligator Records is pleased to announce the signing of Boston-based soul singer/songwriter/guitarist Jesse Dee. With his warm and honest sound, his instantly memorable melodies and positive, slice-of-life lyrics (evoking the heyday of the Brill Building songwriters), Jesse expertly updates soul music for contemporary audiences…
…Dee won the 2010 Boston Phoenix Music Poll Award For Best R&B Act, both for the strength of his live show and the aftershocks of his 2008 debut CD, Bittersweet Batch (7Not Records/Munich Records). Dee regularly plays to packed clubs in New England and has toured Europe multiple times, earning new fans at every gig. Dee has opened for soul greats Al Green, Solomon Burke, Etta James, Bettye LaVette, and blues rockers Los Lobos and the J. Geils Band, and has shared stages many times with fellow soul singer James Hunter. The Boston Herald declares, “Dee has an explosive voice. He possesses a powerful, raspy tenor and an uncanny phrasing ability that can’t be taught.”
Born in 1980 in Boston, MA, Dee grew up in nearby Arlington. He got his first taste of soul music from local oldies radio station WODS when he was eight years old. As a child, he was drawn to the sounds of The Drifters, The Shirelles, Smokey Robinson, Sam Cooke and other doo wop, Motown and R&B greats. He was playing guitar by age 18, and by 19 was fronting a band. During this time, Jesse immersed himself in the music of Otis Redding, Jackie Wilson, Solomon Burke, Etta James, James Brown and all the deep soul masters, listening, learning, writing and continuing to hone his craft by playing live every chance he could get. >> Read more…
Soul singer/guitarist Jesse Dee makes his Alligator Records debut in impressive fashion with On My Mind/In My Heart, a follow-up to Dee’s self-produced and self-released debut, 2008’s Bittersweet Batch. Dee’s rousing vocals connect with the listener, like a direct reflection of the old-fashioned hard work the artist invested in developing his musical career. In addition to those soulful, raw pipes, the Boston, Massachusetts bred Dee wrote or co-wrote each of the eleven songs on this effort. Further controlling the direction of the disc, he serves as the set’s producer, alongside Jack Younger.
“On My Mind, In My Heart” establishes the vibe of the album at the onset, presenting retro-soul production at its best. Steve Mossberg embodies the cliché of vintage piano lines while John Aruda throws down on a strong tenor sax solo. Dee delivers a vocal that fuses soul and jazz; his tone is breathtaking.
-Brent Faulkner, March 14, 2013, popmatters.com
Corrina, Corrina- Boz Scaggs
A casual listen to the Boz Scaggs discography makes one thing obvious: Boz Scaggs is both a musical seeker and a man of sizable talent as a singer, songwriter and guitarist. His explorations in blues and R&B, Rock and Jazz have produced lasting work and a career that has brought with it acclaim, a loyal followin, and an enduring respect among musicians…
…Raised in small towns in Oklahoma and Texas, Boz Scaggs took up the guitar at age 13. “As a kid in the Fifties I was swept away by music and radio. It seemed there weren’t enough hours in the day to keep up with that first wave of Rock and Roll coming out of (top 40 station) KLIF and (the local R&B station) KNOK. At night I had WLAC Nashville with deeper Blues and R&B out of the greater south, Jazz from Chicago’s WLS and out of Dallas on WRR an amazing show called Cat’s Caravan where the DJ Jim Lowe took us to school on Muddy Waters, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Memphis Slim, TBone Walker and the Delta and Chicago masters. My high school friend Lewis MacAdams later wrote about that program, ‘I embarked on a journey each night into the life I wanted to live.’
That was me, too.”
William Royce “Boz” Scaggs started playing in bands during high school in Dallas in the Sixties. He entered college at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and soon after decided instead to devote himself to journeyman playing around campuses and various clubs and resorts. Scaggs’ guitar and voice provided his self-described “ticket to ride” as he left the States to travel in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. He developed a club following in Sweden and began his recording career there in 1965 with a solo album for Polydor. Curiosity along with yearning for a Blues and R&B band brought him to San Francisco in 1967. After a stint with fellow Texan, Steve Miller, on several albums, he signed a recording contract with Atlantic Records and debuted with Boz Scaggs, produced by friend and Rolling Stone founder, Jann Wenner. That record featured the renowned Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, Duane Allman and the slow-burn-to-high-heat track, “Loan Me a Dime.” Critical acclaim followed, as did a long-term relationship with Columbia Records. Boz would make seven records for Columbia including Moments, Boz Scaggs and Band, My Time, and Slow Dancer, and featured songs such as “We Were Always Sweethearts,” “Dinah Flo,” “You Make It So Hard,” and “Slow Dancer.”
Then came the multi-platinum 1975 release, Silk Degrees featuring hits like “Lowdown,” which won the Grammy Award for “Best R&B Song”, “Lido Shuffle,” “What Can I Say” and the ballad “We’re All Alone,” which became a worldwide hit for Rita Coolidge. >> Read more…
On Memphis, Boz Scaggs pays tribute to the city’s magnificent soul tradition, Al Green, and producer Willie Mitchell and his Royal Recordings studio, whose location and personnel were used to cut it in three days. Produced by drummer Steve Jordan, the core band includes the singer and Ray Parker, Jr. on guitars, and bassist Willie Weeks, augmented by the Royal Horns & Strings, a small backing chorus, sidemen, and guests. Green’s influence is celebrated in the opener, Scaggs’ “Gone Baby Gone.” Its wafting B-3, Rhodes, fluid electric guitars, and a tight backbeat underscore his baritone croon to excellent effect. If there were doubts about the quality of his voice at this juncture, they’re immediately dispelled when his sweet falsetto emerges. In his cover of Green’s “So Good to Be Here,” Scaggs references him but digs deeper into his own trick bag with more rounded, earthier highlights. Then Scaggs begins to move the recording off the ledge a bit. His take on Willy DeVille’s “Mixed Up Shook Up Girl” reveals just how deep the late New York rocker’s R&B roots really ran as a songwriter. >> Read more…
-Thom Jurek, AllMusic.com
Blues Chair- Samuel C. Lees
Samuel C. Lees has emerged as one of the UK’s most exciting and entertaining Gypsy guitar players. Samuel’s fusing of both the smooth melodic style of Django Reindhardt and the fire and flair of modern gypsy guitar players such as Jimmy Rosenberg and Joscho Stephen surpasses convention and crosses boundaries.
Samuel’s performances combine an eclectic mix of Gypsy standards, Swing 42 and Djangoligy, modern songs, Valerie by the Zutons and Wishing Well by Free and his own original compositions.
Photo: Grey Trilby
Johnny Got A Boom Boom- Imelda May
“The problem with an artist like Imelda May is that she’s so good, it makes a critical review almost impossible to write; her performance is flawless.” – Clash Magazine
Imelda May, born in Dublin and raised in the Liberties, may be an unknown name to some, but to many she is already a superstar. She is unmistakable both in her music (a fusion of surf guitars, blues and rockabilly that wouldn’t be out of place in a David Lynch film) and her style, with a solitary curl and shock of blonde in her jet black hair. In Ireland, her debut album ‘Love Tattoo’, which she recorded and released on her own label, has gone Triple Platinum. She has shared a stage with Eric Clapton, Chuck Berry, David Gilmour, Sharon Shannon, Jeff Beck, Shane Macgowan, Kirsty McCall, Van Morrison, Lionel Richie, Wanda Jackson, Paul Brady and Meatloaf. >> Read more…
Born in Dublin, Ireland, Imelda May is a unique vocal talent, one whose gift lies outside the normal order of pop culture time and trends. Inspired by the sounds of vocal jazz à la Billie Holiday and the sound and looks of rockabilly, May began performing with the swing outfit Blue Harlem, and released a handful of independent CDs before scoring attention in 2007 with her nomination for an award as Best Burlesque Singer as well as the release of her more official debut, Love Tattoo. >> Read more…
-Chris True, AllMusic.com
Just how cool is Imelda May? With her 2011 album “Mayhem,” the rockabilly revivalist actually managed to restore Soft Cell’s overplayed, obnoxiously synthed-out new wave cover of “Tainted Love,” one of the most repellent earworms of the 1980s, to the former glory of Gloria Jones’ soulful little-heard 1965 original version.
With the new souped-up edition of her album, appropriately titled “More Mayhem,” May dares to cover the Patsy Cline classic “Walking After Midnight,” and the vocal powerhouse’s jaunty, respectable cover does right by the all-time Queen of Country Music.
Since unleashing her “Mayhem,” May, 38, has shared the stage with Oklahoma’s own rockabilly royal Wanda Jackson in New York’s Central Park, toured with guitar legend Jeff Beck (with whom she performed a stunning Les Paul tribute at the 2010 Grammys) and even sung for President Obama. Clearly, Decca wants to keep the Irish singer-songwriter’s momentum rolling, and “More Mayhem” is a smart, raucous step toward that worthy goal.
Country Pie- Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan’s influence on popular music is incalculable. As a songwriter, he pioneered several different schools of pop songwriting, from confessional singer/songwriter to winding, hallucinatory, stream-of-consciousness narratives. As a vocalist, he broke down the notion that a singer must have a conventionally good voice in order to perform, thereby redefining the vocalist’s role in popular music. As a musician, he sparked several genres of pop music, including electrified folk-rock and country-rock. And that just touches on the tip of his achievements. Dylan’s force was evident during his height of popularity in the ’60s — the Beatles’ shift toward introspective songwriting in the mid-’60s never would have happened without him — but his influence echoed throughout several subsequent generations, as many of his songs became popular standards and his best albums became undisputed classics of the rock & roll canon. Dylan’s influence throughout folk music was equally powerful, and he marks a pivotal turning point in its 20th century evolution, signifying when the genre moved away from traditional songs and toward personal songwriting. >> Read more…
-Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AllMusic.com
John Wesley Harding suggested country with its textures and structures, but Nashville Skyline was a full-fledged country album, complete with steel guitars and brief, direct songs. It’s a warm, friendly album, particularly since Bob Dylan is singing in a previously unheard gentle croon — the sound of his voice is so different it may be disarming upon first listen, but it suits the songs. While there are a handful of lightweight numbers on the record, at its core are several excellent songs — “Lay Lady Lay,” “To Be Alone With You,” “I Threw It All Away,” “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You,” as well as a duet with Johnny Cash on “Girl From the North Country” — that have become country-rock standards. And there’s no discounting that Nashville Skyline, arriving in the spring of 1969, established country-rock as a vital force in pop music, as well as a commercially viable genre.
-Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AllMusic.com
Shoo-Fly Pie And Apple Pan Dowdy- Dinah Shore
One of America’s most popular entertainers long after her mid-’40s commercial peak, Dinah Shore was the first major vocalist to break away from the big-band format and begin a solo-billed career. During the ’40s, she recorded several of the decade’s biggest singles — “Buttons and Bows,” “The Gypsy,” and “I’ll Walk Alone” — all of which spent more than a month at number one on the Hit Parade. After launching a television variety series in 1951, Shore appeared on one program or another, with few gaps, into the 1980s.
Born in rural Tennessee, Dinah Shore was performing on Nashville radio while still a teenager. Her professional career later took her to New York, where she sang with Xavier Cugat. After failing auditions with Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey however, she decided to simply become a solo singer. Shore signed to Bluebird, and recorded several hits during 1940-41, including “Yes, My Darling Daughter,” “I Hear a Rhapsody” and “Jim.” Her first million-seller came in 1942 with the prototypical blues crossover nugget, “Blues in the Night.” Later that year, she moved to Victor and hit big with “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To” and her first number one hit, 1944’s “I’ll Walk Alone.” Shore also began appearing in films, including 1944’s Up in Arms and 1946’s Till the Clouds Roll By. >> Read more…
-John Bush, AllMusic.com
I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)- The Four Tops
The Four Tops’ story is one of longevity and togetherness: these Motown legends teamed up in high school and spent over four decades without a single personnel change. In between, they became one of the top-tier acts on a label with no shortage of talent, ranking with the Temptations and the Supremes as Motown’s most consistent hitmakers. Where many other R&B vocal groups spotlighted a tenor-range lead singer, The Four Tops were fronted by deep-voiced Levi Stubbs, who never cut a solo record outside of the group. Stubbs had all the grit of a pleading, wailing, gospel-trained soul belter, but at the same time, the Tops’ creamy harmonies were smooth enough for Motown’s radio-friendly pop-soul productions. From 1964-1967, The Four Tops recorded some of the Holland-Dozier-Holland team’s greatest compositions, including “Reach Out, I’ll Be There,” “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch),” “Standing in the Shadows of Love,” “Bernadette,” and “Baby I Need Your Loving.” The group’s fortunes took a downturn when their chief source of material left the label, but they enjoyed a renaissance in the early ’70s, which saw them switching to the ABC-Dunhill imprint. Regardless of commercial fortunes, they kept on performing and touring, scoring the occasional comeback hit.
The Four Tops began life in 1953 (some accounts say 1954), when all of the members were attending Detroit-area high schools. >> Read more…
-Steve Huey, AllMusic.com
Sweetie Pie- Lady Bianca
While primarily a blues vocalist, Lady Bianca first earned notice as a session singer on a wide range of projects including recordings from Van Morrison, Frank Zappa and Merle Haggard. Born Bianca Thornton in Kansas City, Missouri on August 8, 1953, she was influenced by gospel as a child and studied at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music before lending her contralto to the role of Billie Holiday in an acclaimed production of Jon Hendrick’s Evolution of the Blues; in the early ’80s, she appeared on Morrison LPs including Beautiful Vision and Inarticulate Speech of the Heart, and also backed blues legends like John Lee Hooker and Willie Dixon. >> Read more…
-Jason Ankeny, AllMusic.com
Lady Bianca is one of the most creative and talented Women in the Blues field today.
Her Charismatic style and humor place her amongst the top Female Blues performers of her generation.
Her Talent is magnified as a Blues Soul Singer and Gospel blues Boogie pianist.
Lady Bianca skills as a song writer and arranger are superb;
Lady Bianca’s style makes her one of the rare handful of original Female Blues Artistof the day.
Her style is a mixture of Blues, Boogie, Soul, Latin, Gospel and Comedy.
She has studied the vocal masters of Blues, Jazz, and Soul, Bobby Blue Bland, Etta James, KoKo Taylor. Little Willie John, Dinah Washington,
Aretha Franklin, Billie Holiday and Bessie Smith. >> Read more…
Cat’s Eye Apple Pie- Nazareth
The Scottish hard rock quartet Nazareth had a handful of hard rock hits in the late ’70s, including the proto-power ballad “Love Hurts.” Formed in 1968, the band featured vocalist Dan McCafferty, guitarist Manny Charlton, bassist Pete Agnew, and drummer Darrell Sweet. The band had relocated to London by 1970, and they released their self-titled debut album in 1971. Both Nazareth and 1972’s Exercises received favorable attention by British hard rockers, but it was 1973’s Razamanaz that moved them into the U.K. Top Ten (both “Broken Down Angel” and “Bad Bad Boy” were hit singles). Loud ‘n’ Proud and Rampant (both 1974) followed the same formula, yet were slightly less successful.
Released the following year, Hair of the Dog established Nazareth as an internationally popular hard rock band. Featuring their revamped version of the Everly Brothers’ “Love Hurts,” the album sold over a million copies in the U.S. Until the end of the ’70s, the band continued successfully as a quartet, releasing a series of Top 100 albums.
-Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AllMusic.com
Pie In The Sky- Shemekia Copeland
The daughter of renowned Texas blues guitarist Johnny Copeland, Shemekia Copeland began making a splash in her own right before she was even out of her teens. Projecting a maturity beyond her years, Copeland fashioned herself as a powerful, soul-inflected shouter in the tradition of Koko Taylor and Etta James, yet also proved capable of a subtler range of emotions. Copeland was born in Harlem in 1979 and her father encouraged her to sing right from the beginning, even bringing her up on-stage at the Cotton Club when she was just eight years old. >> Read more…
-Steve Huey, AllMusic.com
This disc, which has Dr. John at the controls as a producer, brings together a mix that brings out the best for all those concerned and involved with this project. There is no weakness here, it is a straight-ahead use of all the strengths of Shemekia Copeland, daughter of Johnny Copeland. The songs were well selected to effectively show off all her potency as a vocalist. There are some many good writers that are also players on this disc that the tunes fit like gloves. There are strong contributions by John “Fingers” Hahn, Mac Rebennack, and Shemekia Copeland herself. The tunes, varied in style, are all based in the deep blues, and were selected for their capability to push her vocal talents to constant new personal pinnacles. >> Read more…
-Bob Gottlieb, AllMusic.com
American Pie- Don Mclean
Famed for — and ultimately defined by — his perennial “American Pie,” singer/songwriter Don McLean was born October 2, 1945, in New Rochelle, New York. After getting his start in the folk clubs of New York City during the mid-’60s, McLean struggled for a number of years, building a small following through his work with Pete Seeger on the Clearwater, a sloop that sailed up and down the eastern seaboard to promote environmental causes.
Still, McLean was primarily singing in elementary schools and the like when, in 1970, he wrote a musical tribute to painter Vincent Van Gogh; the project was roundly rejected by a number of labels, although MediaArts did offer him a contract to record a number of his other songs under the title Tapestry. The album fared poorly, but Perry Como earned a hit with a cover of the track “And I Love You So,” prompting United Artists to pick up McLean’s contract. He returned in 1971 with American Pie; the title track, an elegiac eight-and-a-half-minute folk-pop epic inspired by the tragic death of Buddy Holly, became a number one hit, and the LP soon reached the top of the charts as well.
-Jason Ankeny, AllMusic.com