Manufacturer: J&R Adventures
2011 collaboration between Los Angeles based singer/songwriter Beth Hart and Blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa. Produced by Kevin Shirley (Joe Bonamassa, Led Zeppelin, Black Crowes), the album features Hart's interpretations of 10 soulful Blues songs, with Bonamassa on guitar and his ace band filling out the tracks. Beth collaborated with Bonamassa and Shirley on choosing songs, and the final set list features numbers made famous by artists including Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, Bill Withers, Ray Charles, Delaney & Bonnie, Tom Waits, Etta James and others.
From the summer of '73, every cut a winner. Includes Higher Ground; Living for the City; Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing , and more. One of Stevie Wonder's best albums, and the one where his more fanciful, free-form moments gel perfectly with his knack for irresistible pop singles, 1973's Innervisions swings between delicate and airy ballads, Latin-influenced rhythms (the hit "Don't Worry 'Bout a Thing"), and his own synth-heavy versions of gut-bucket soul (the determined spiritual questing of "Higher Ground"). The striking juxtaposition between "Vision," a barely breathed hope that a world of peace might be upon us, and the great "Living for the City," a funky, pulsing tale of racism, is powerful, haunting, and still all too relevant. --David Cantwell
Feat. 'What A Wonderful World' 'People Get Ready' & 'Stormy Monday' When Eva Cassidy is swinging her way through "Cheek to Cheek" and getting down and bluesy on "Stormy Monday" on this live set from 1996, it's nigh impossible not to get swept up in her voice's vast, barreling force. Her full range, though, becomes most obvious--and soul-shaking--on the slower side, as with Paul Simon's "Bridge over Troubled Water," Buffy Sainte-Marie's "Tall Trees in Georgia," and "What a Wonderful World." On these latter tunes, Cassidy's mix of aching clarity and rich warmth has a melting quality, speaking through the body to some evanescent presence that she seems to know all too well. She improbably makes Sting's "Fields of Gold" an emotional powerhouse just as easily as she makes Billie Holiday's "Fine and Mellow" an offhand declaration of feeling equal to nearly anything in the jazz vocal canon. In doing so she earns her place among the great singers--artists who could take any song and stamp it indelibly as their own. What Eva Cassidy had in her short life was an unbelievably perfect voice and a musical soul that grasped gospel, folk, blues, jazz, and all points in between as if they were mere stops on a single train ride. Alas, her ride ended in 1996, tragically early. --Andrew Bartlett
Manufacturer: Sony Legacy
17 tracks of tuneful '70s soul from one of the decade's best. Includes both the Sussex and Columbia hits: Ain't No Sunshine; Lean on Me; Use Me; The Same Love That Made Me Laugh; Lovely Day; Just the Two of Us; Grandma's Hands , and more! Not to be mistaken with Bill Withers's Greatest Hits or even the 1994 best-of with which it shares its name, Lean on Me nevertheless shares much with those two earlier retrospectives--notably the likes of such '70s soul-pop gems as the title track, "Ain't No Sunshine," "Lovely Day," and "Use Me." Like the earlier Lean on Me, this remastered selection includes 18 tracks, 13 of which overlap with the '94 set. Withers's oeuvre is something less than expansive: he recorded 10 albums for Sussex and Columbia between 1971 and 1985, then gracefully exited the business with three top 10 hits to his credit. The singer's warm vocals and wise lyrics have held up splendidly through the years, making him a likely candidate for periodic rediscovery. This anthology stands as the title of choice for the next wave of soul fans Withers wins over. --Steven Stolder
Having firmly established themselves as "The Grateful Dead of the South" via their enormously successful 1971 Live at the Fillmore East double album, the Allman Brothers had just begun work on a new studio collection when slide guitarist Duane Allman died in a motorcycle accident. Undaunted, the group rallied together and completed Eat a Peach, which, via inclusion of the 34-minute-plus "Mountain Jam," blossomed into a double LP. While keyboardist-singer Gregg Allman shone on tracks like Sonny Boy Williamson's "One Way Out" and his own "Melissa," it was second guitarist Dickey Betts who came out from under the departed Allman's shadow with his lead vocal on "Blue Sky" and his incendiary playing throughout. --Billy Altman
On Me And Mr.Johnson, Eric Clapton covers 14 of the 29 songs Robert Johnson, the most mythic figure of the blues, wrote and recorded in his lifetime. For fans of deep blues,it doesn 't get any better than this. After the success of Clapton 's first two traditional blues albums 1994 's Gram- my-winning triple-platinum, #1 pop From The Cradle, and 2000 's Grammy-winning, double-platinum,#3-charting Riding With The King collaboration with B.B.King Me And Mr.Johnson finds Clapton once more at the crossroads of blues and rock. It's impossible to overemphasize the importance of singer-guitarist-songwriter Robert Johnson's contribution to blues music. The same can be said of Eric Clapton, one of Mr. Johnson's most dedicated interpreters. From his work with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers to Cream and beyond, Clapton has arguably attracted more widespread attention to Johnson's music than any other living musician. A decade after his all-blues From the Cradle (which included no Johnson material), Clapton jumps into the icon's catalog with both feet by covering 14 Johnson tunes. With a stripped-down veteran band that includes such longtime associates as drummer Steve Gadd, keyboardist Billy Preston, and harmonica ace Jerry Portnoy, the guitarist attacks these songs with passion, intelligence, and a refreshing lack of blues-rock pretense. From the upbeat jump of "32-20 Blues" and "They're Red Hot" to the slower, grinding "Little Queen of Spades" and "Milkcow's Calf Blues," Clapton acquits himself well, eschewing his slicker inclinations with arrangements that underscore Johnson's rawest tendencies--although perhaps he doesn't seem sufficiently terrified when walking with Lucifer on "Me and the Devil Blues." Still, this is a successful and admirable return to his roots, one that will hopefully introduce an even larger audience to Johnson's seminal work. --Hal Horowitz
Grammy Award-winning rock pioneer Boz Scaggs is releasing his new album, A Fool To Care via 429 Records. His most compelling work to date in a celebrated and prolific career, this new collection of songs boasts Scaggs trailblazing blend of rock, soul, jazz and R&B taken to new heights and is the next chapter in the storytelling for which he is beloved. A Fool To Care is the follow-up to the critically acclaimed, Billboard Chart-Topping album, Memphis that the WSJ called, The Wizardry of Boz; and USA Today calling his vocals, Sublime...With Scaggs songwriting as distinct as ever, A Fool To Care showcases the masterful patchwork of influences and innovations that make up a Boz Scaggs album. Produced by Steve Jordan (Stevie Nicks, Bob Dylan, John Mayer) and recorded at Blackbird Studio in Nashville, A Fool To Care features two very special guests Bonnie Raitt contributes slide guitar and vocals on Hell To Pay and Lucinda Williams trades vocal lines with Scaggs on Whispering Pines.
Abraxas is the second studio album by latin rock band Santana. Consolidating the interest generated by their first album, Santana (released in May 1969), and their highly acclaimed live performance at the Woodstock Festival in August 1969, the band followed-up with Abraxas in September 1970. The album's mix of rock, blues, jazz, salsa and other influences was very well received, showing a musical maturation from their first album and refining the band's early sound