Manufacturer: Fantasy / Universal Music Group
Brand: CREEDENCE CLEARWATER
One of the most essential collections a rock fan can own their biggest hits on one double-length disc. Proud Mary; Who'll Stop the Rain; Travelin' Band; Fortunate Son; Lodi; Down on the Corner; Susie Q; Bad Moon Risin', and more. Few bands of the 1960s retained as much a sense of the roots of rock and roll as did Creedence Clearwater Revival. Their music is rife with country, rockabilly, and R&B influences, a combination that produced several hit singles--most of which are present on this collection. These include "I Heard It through the Grapevine," "Lodi," "Up Around the B ," "Who'll Stop the Rain," and of course "Bad Moon Rising." This is an excellent greatest-hits collection, and a perfect introduction to the music of a band that has been enduringly influential. --Genevieve Williams
Columbia Records will release Bruce Springsteen's twenty-first album,'We Shall Overcome The Seeger Sessions,' on April 25. The album features Bruce's personal interpretations of thirteen traditional songs, all of them associated with the legendary guiding light of American folk music, Pete Seeger, for whom the album is named. Speaking of the origins of the new music, Springsteen said, "So much of my writing, particularly when I write acoustically, comes straight out of the folk tradition. Making this album was creatively liberating because I have a love of all those different roots sounds... they can conjure up a world with just a few notes and a few words." The premise was simple. Bruce Springsteen invites a dozen or so New York City musicians--packing banjos, fiddles, accordions and the like--to his New Jersey farmhouse for a three-day hootenanny, and tape is rolling. The results are sublime, his 21st album featuring their versions of songs harvested from Springsteen's dog-eared LPs by Pete Seeger. Not all written by Seeger, the songs are how the American folk icon interpreted them, and these organic recordings, with no rehearsals or overdubs, pay tribute with the simplicity and spontaneity he intended. It's not hard to link Springsteen's dissatisfaction with American politics to the protest song "We Shall Overcome" or even the Irish ballad "Mrs. McGrath," where he alters the lyrics to read, "I'd rather have my son as he used to be/Than the King of America and his whole navy." But the beauty of these Seeger Sessions are pieces that underscore the mood of the bandleader, which borders on down-home amusement: the bluegrass outlaw ballad "Jesse James," the Dylanesque "Pay Me My Money Down" and the euphoric "Jacob's Ladder," a gumbo-and-whiskey-fueled romp that could pass for the closing hymn at the Church of Asbury Park. --Scott Holter
12 Tracks California's Los Lobos are the reigning kings of Tex-Mex/Rock Espanol. But this debut CD by the San Angelo, Texas band Los Lonely Boys might herald a changing of the guard. This is truly a band of brothers, led by guitarist/vocalist Henry Garza and his younger, bass-and-drum-playing siblings Jojo and Ringo. Like a lot of groups, they had to move away to achieve fame--in their case, to Nashville. But after the release of their EP, Willie Nelson heard them, put them on tour as his opening act, and recorded them at his studio. Stylistically, the Garza brothers' bilingual songs about love and life combine Stevie Ray Vaughan blues, Santana-style guitar licks and R&B. Nelson helps out on guitar, with Reese Wynans on keyboards. Produced by Keb Mo and B.B. King producer John Porter, the music is honest, driving, and down home, especially on the organ-filled uptempo tracks "Senorita" and "Tell Me Why." The stinging guitar solo on the Afro-anthemic "Onda" recalls the '70s grooves Santana built his chops on, while "The Answer" and "More than Love" are raw power ballads that show off this group's dynamism and diversity. --Eugene Holley, Jr.
Chris Isaak begins his third decade as one of the most distinctive recording artists- and the epitome of modern cool-with his first career-spanning retrospective. Best of Chris Isaak CD features every hit, led by "Wicked Game," and including many fan favorites such as "Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing," plus four previously unreleased tracks.
Brand: Fogerty, John
John Fogerty reclaims his rightful place among America's most iconic and revered artists with Revivial; 12 all-new songs that incorporate the best elements of an artist that deeply resonates with generations of music fans and thousands of other artists he has influenced throughout the years. The self-referential title of Fogerty's first album in three years is no mere play on words; this is as close as he's gotten in a long while to duplicating the loose swamp blues, country, folk, soul and rock that he so memorably created a template for in Creedence Clearwater Revival. Thankfully the advertisement for downloaded ringtones in the disc's booklet is the only contemporary influence creeping into this stripped-down set of rootsy rockers and ballads. Fogerty's voice sounds great throughout; passionate, more committed and comfortable with these songs than he has seemed in years. His material has often leaned towards politics, especially as it concerns the working class, but seldom as directly as on the gutsy choogle of "Long Dark Night" and the rollicking "I Canâ€™t Take it No More." He seems like a cranky dad on "It Ain't Right," railing about spoiled pop tarts in the spotlight, and "Summer of Love"'s look back at the titular time in the late '60s falls on the schlock side. But Fogerty charges into "Longshot" like the angry young man of "Fortunate Son," singing "I ain't got no 'ristocrats a-hangin' in my tree" with an assurance and intensity that reaches through the speakers and grabs the listener. Just like in the old days. --Hal Horowitz
Manufacturer: Mercury Records
This first-ever Mellencamp retrospective contains his first hit, 1979's I Need a Lover ; his huge singles Jack and Diane; Hurts So Good; R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.; Pink Houses , and more, plus a brand-new song, Without Expression . 16 tracks in all. The Best That I Could Do collects the singles that led John Mellencamp into the radio/jukebox pantheon he celebrated in "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A." and "Cherry Bomb." While albums such as American Fool, Uh Huh, and Scarecrow held Top 10 spots for months, their spinoff hits made this Hoosier disciple of Jagger, J.B., and Iggy into something like a Reagan-era John Fogerty: not only were "Pink Houses," "Paper in Fire," and "Crumblin' Down" wise (and wiseacre) dispatches from an America where it wasn't always morning, they could fill a dance floor and get you pounding the dashboard on the way home. --Rickey Wright
Manufacturer: Sony Legacy
Reissue of the mid-'70s outlaw country classic featuring Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter and Tompall Glaser, with original artwork, liner notes (from Chet Flippo) and nine "lost" tracks! Less successful when it's sentimental (Waylon Jennings' "My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys") than when it's wry (Willie Nelson's myth-puncturing "Me and Paul"), this cash-in compilation of previously released cuts was just in time to grab the first platinum record ever awarded a country album. It's not bad, but both Jennings' contemporaneous Dreaming My Dreams and Nelson's Red Headed Stranger are more nuanced tastes of the good-bad-but-not-evil-ol'-boy lifestyle. (Not to mention much of Tompall Glaser's own Outlaw compilation.) This 1996 CD reissue adds nine more tracks from the era as well as a new Jennings-and-Nelson version of Steve Earle's "Nowhere Road." --Rickey Wright
In an unmatched outpouring of virtuosity and energy, Vince Gill has created a 4-CD set of 43 new and original songs that MCA Records will release Oct. 17 under the title These Days. The collection is an artistic tour de force that displays Gill's mastery of lyrics and musical styles, ranging from traditional country and bluegrass to jazz and rock. To accompany him on this ambitious undertaking, Gill turned both to artists he knew and had worked with before and to those whose music he admired at a distance. "I never try to fill up my records with famous people," Gill says. "I try to fill them up with the most talented people I can find on the face of the earth." By the time the project was completed, that group included Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt, Diana Krall, Rodney Crowell, Phil Everly, the Del McCoury Band, Emmylou Harris, John Anderson, Lee Ann Womack, Jenny Gill, Amy Grant, LeAnn Rimes, Gretchen Wilson, Guy Clark, Trisha Yearwood, Bekka Bramlett, Michael McDonald, steel-guitar master Buddy Emmons and many other musical standouts. These new recordings of mostly recent Gill compositions are the culmination of a project aimed at recording four distinct albums: rock, romance, vintage honky-tonk, and acoustic. The Rockin' Record, virtually perfect from start to finish, begins with "Workin' on a Big Chill," its swampy groove straight out of John Fogerty and a showcase for Gill's guitar virtuosity--a groove he resumes on "Cowboy Up," with cameo harmonies from Gretchen Wilson. "Sweet Thing" and a duet with Rodney Crowell on "Nothin' for a Broken Heart" pulsate with Chuck Berry intensity that contrasts with the solid, '60s Memphis groove of "Bet It All on You." The Reason Why showcases Gill's legendary ease with ballads, several of them enhanced by creative string arrangements by David Campbell (Beck's father), including "What You Don't Say" with LeAnn Rimes and "The Memory of You" with Trisha Yearwood. The stunning "Faint of Heart," a remarkably sultry jazz duet with Diana Krall, could become a standard. Some Things ...