Released just two months after lead singer Steve Lee's fatal motorcycle accident in Nevada, Swiss rock act Gotthard's third major compilation, Heaven: Best of Ballads, Pt. 2 is a chance to hear the sandpaper-voiced rock icon at his best…
Simply a grand and eloquent performance put together by Verve records highlighting the best years of Ella Fitzgerald – that sassy, charming legendary singer in jazz. The Best of the Songbooks features a captivating lineup of some of jazz's greatest composers and arrangers. It is here that Fitzgerald records and sings songs of Cole Porter, Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart, Duke Ellington, Irving Berlin, George & Ira Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern, and Johnny Mercer.
Though her career stretched from the '30s to the '80s and she's widely considered possibly the greatest female jazz singer or all time, Ella Fitzgerald will probably forever be best known for a mid-'50s collection of albums collectively called the Songbooks, where she devoted entire albums to the works of such composers as Harold Arlen, Cole Porter, and Duke Ellington. THE BEST OF THE SONGBOOKS: THE BALLADS is one of the many compilations based on these recordings, and one of the best. From its beautiful, informative packaging to its gorgeously remastered sound, this 16-track, 64-minute collection treats the material with the respect it deserves. The material, of course, is first-rate, wall-to-wall standards from Johnny Mercer's wistful "Laura" to Ellington's sly "Do Nothin' Til You Hear From Me." Fitzgerald's performances are equally outstanding, as are the mostly big-band arrangements. This is as good as jazz ballad collections get.
Not quite as definitive of their time as Brit-pop sensations like Elastica and Sleeper and not quite as inventive and enduring as Garbage, Republica made a splash on the charts with "Ready to Go" and then more or less faded away, for stateside audiences at least. The British retrospective Ready to Go: The Best of Republica may be somewhat surprising to casual fans of the group, who may not have been aware that Republica recorded a second album, 1998's Speed Ballads, which didn't receive distribution in the U.S. An even mix of highlights from the group's two albums, Ready to Go features two versions of the group's catchy, dance-meets-Brit-pop title hit, along with the follow-up single "Drop Dead Gorgeous" and notable tracks from the more complex, electronic Speed Ballads such as "From Rush Hour With Love" and "Fading of the Man." Indeed, the collection manages to gather most of both of Republica's albums, making it the only Republica release anyone curious about the band needs to own.