This 2014 BGO two-fer pairs 1972's Blue River and Stages: The Lost Album, largely recorded in 1972 but released in 1991. It's a nice pairing, containing Andersen's acclaimed Columbia debut and the record he cut for the label immediately afterward, a record the label didn't release until two decades later. Andersen made good records before and good records after, but these two albums are arguably his peak and it's nice to have them together on a two-fer.
"Stages" is a cover album by English recording artist Melanie C. The record is Chisholm's sixth studio album, and the fourth to be made under her own independent record label Red Girl Records. The album features a collection of song covers from various musical theatre shows and films, which consequently makes it Chisholm's first studio album where she holds no writing credits whatsoever to any of the tracks. The iTunes digital release of the album features a bonus track; a cover of Cole Porter's "Anything Goes".
If Shotgun Willie played a bit like a concept album, Phases and Stages was a full-blown one, tracing the dissolution of a marriage and devoting one side to the wife's perspective, the second to the husband's. If anything, Willie overplays his hand a bit, insisting on grafting the "Phases and Stages" theme between crucial songs to the point of genuine irritation. But, pretend that never happened, erase it from your mind, and Phases and Stages is easily the equal of its remarkable predecessor, a wonderful set of music that resonates deeply, as deeply as the words.