John Lee Hooker, as anyone with a decent-sized blues collection knows, recorded for a virtual parade of labels early in his career, including Chess, although his stays with the company were fairly brief. Hooker's best early recordings, most would agree, were issued on Modern and Vee-Jay, not Chess.
Tom Jones became one of the most popular vocalists to emerge from the British Invasion. Since the mid-'60s, Jones has sung nearly every form of popular music – pop, rock, show tunes, country, dance, and techno, he's sung it all. His actual style – a full-throated, robust baritone that had little regard for nuance and subtlety – never changed, he just sang over different backing tracks. On-stage, Jones played up his sexual appeal; it didn't matter whether he was in an unbuttoned shirt or a tuxedo, he always radiated a raw sexuality that earned him a large following of devoted female fans who frequently threw underwear on-stage. Jones' following never diminished over the decades; he was able to exploit trends, earning new fans while retaining his core following.
Ray Charles was the musician most responsible for developing soul music. Singers like Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson also did a great deal to pioneer the form, but Charles did even more to devise a new form of black pop by merging '50s R&B with gospel-powered vocals, adding plenty of flavor from contemporary jazz, blues, and (in the '60s) country. Then there was his singing; his style was among the most emotional and easily identifiable of any 20th century performer, up there with the likes of Elvis and Billie Holiday. He was also a superb keyboard player, arranger, and bandleader…
Formed in the early '60s, Los Angeles R&B quintet the 5th Dimension first appeared as the Hi-Fi's before changing their name in 1966 to better reflect the changing landscape of popular music. Their interpretations of some of the era's popular hits as well as songs by more obscure writers were radio mainstays in the late '60s and early '70s. This collection offers up most of their highest-charting and best-known singles like "Up, Up and Away," "Stoned Soul Picnic," and their chart-topping version of "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" from the musical Hair. Working in multiple styles, these performances show just how versatile and dynamic the 5th Dimension were.
Roden was singer with the Alan Bown Set ('60s) and Bronco ('70s) before going solo on the Island label. Only two Roden albums have ever been available on CD anywhere in the world. This CD picks the best of his six albums for Island and is the first best of on either vinyl or CD. Roden has sung/played on albums by Robert Palmer, Paul Kossoff, John Martyn, Mott the Hoople and Jim Capaldi and came from the same West Midlands music scene as Led Zeppelin. He stepped into the late Jim Morrison s shoes when remaining Doors became the Butts Band and worked with legendary New Orleans producer Allen Toussaint.
Hits And Pieces The Best Of Marc Almond And Soft Cell traces Almond's singles career from Soft Cell through to his solo work and collaborations. Almond has always excelled at recording superb singles he has secured a body of work that encompasses truly outstanding originals, covers and duets. Highlights of Hits And Pieces include Tainted Love, What!, Say Hello Wave Goodbye, the Number One reaching Gene Pitney duet Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart, his interpretation of Scott Walker's cover of Jacques Brel's Jacky with its epic kitchen sink production from Trevor Horn, a cover of Donna Summer's I Feel Love…
Some find Karen Dalton's voice difficult to listen to, and despite the Billie Holiday comparisons, it is rougher going than Lady Day. But Dalton's vocals aren't that hard to take, and they are expressive; like Buffy Sainte-Marie, it just does take some getting used to because of their unconventional timbre. Her debut album has a muted folk-rock feel reminiscent of Fred Neil's arrangements in the mid-'60s, unsurprising since Neil's Capitol-era producer, Nick Venet, produced this disc too, and since Dalton, a friend of Neil, covered a couple of Neil songs here ("Little Bit of Rain," "Blues on the Ceiling"). Although clocking in at a mere ten songs, it covers a lot of ground, from Tim Hardin, Jelly Roll Morton, and Leadbelly to the traditional folk song "Ribbon Bow" and the Eddie Floyd/Booker T. Jones-penned soul tune "I Love You More Than Words Can Say." The record is interesting and well done, but would have been far more significant if it had come out five years or so earlier. By 1969 such singers were expected to write much of their own material (Dalton wrote none), and to embrace rock instrumentation less tentatively.
Features 24 bit remastering and comes with a mini-description. Quite possibly the best album to feature the talents of Chico Hamilton and Eric Dolphy – a set recorded at a time when Dolphy was an up-and-coming player on the west coast scene! Although Chico Hamilton had recorded with unusual reed players before, Dolphy brings a depth of soul and spirit to this album that's missing from a lot of Chico's earlier work at the time – a style that still holds onto some of the measured qualities of the Pacific Jazz work by the Hamilton group, yet which also opens up into some of the darker corners that Dolphy would explore more on his own recordings of the 60s.