It's both significant and troubling that Billy Bragg's best albums since releasing Talking with the Taxman About Poetry in 1986 were the two Mermaid Avenue volumes, in which Bragg set Woody Guthrie's unpublished lyrics to new music with Wilco serving as his collaborators and backing band, suggesting that this former one-man band suddenly needed plenty of help to communicate with his audience. Bragg sounded confident and all but unbeatable on his first few albums in the '80s, but political and creative uncertainty have dominated much of his work since then. Which is why Mr. Love & Justice is a pleasant and encouraging surprise – while hardly perfect, it's easily Bragg's best and most consistent solo effort since Don't Try This at Home, and finds him coming to terms with maturity and the changing face of the world, two bugaboos that have been dogging his muse for some time.
It stands to reason that a Lloyd Cole album called Love Story would not have a happy beginning or middle, much less ending. Actually, though, it does start out happy, "Trigger Happy," that is, and later on, Cole is "Happy for You," in which he sings, "If you love him, you should leave me." In between, things get no sunnier, as Cole and his characters drink and despair, but carry on. That determination is very much part of Cole's negative world-view: "Everybody knows this is nowhere," he says, to coin a phrase, "but you've gotta be there." (Except, one supposes, for Lucy, who jumps from the 39th floor in the rollicking "Let's Get Lost.") Typically, Cole couches these sentiments in melodic folk-rock…
18 track love song compilation featuring Dionne Warwick, Foreigner, Luther Vandross & more.
In 2013, Funky Town Grooves reissued a significant portion of Norman Connors' discography as a leader slash highly connected talent organizer. Along with straightforward Dance of Magic/Dark of Light and You Are My Starship/Aquarian Dream two-for-one releases, as well as individualized bonus-track-enhanced reissues of Invitation and Take It to the Limit, there was this - a pairing of Connors' 1974 Buddah dates. Among the highlights: a gorgeous eight-minute "Love from the Sun," a storming version of Carlos Garnett's "Mother of the Future" (with Jean Carn at full, jaw-dropping power), and Reggie Lucas' funky instrumental "Slew Foot."