…Playing a piano of 1851 (well tuned but far from the crystalline brilliance of a modern Steinway - think Bösendorfer crossed with a fortepiano) by Johann Baptist Streicher, Hardy Rittner draws powerful, dramatic yet eloquent musical sounds from this veteran instrument. (…) The recording from MDG is a 2+2+2 variant but thanks to the single instrument, there is less sonic confusion and the quality is of amongst the highest that the company has issued.
The seemingly bottomless record collection of Nick Saloman from the Bevis Frond has spawned the third in an ongoing series of albums collecting obscure instrumental tracks from the '60s and '70s, and while many of these songs support the popular notion that the hipper and more interesting rock artists of the day were fond of vocal numbers, there are some fun and exciting tunes to be found on this set. Roaring Blue draws its title from the lead-off track, a swinging dance tune by the Sound of Jimmy Nicol, featuring the drummer who briefly replaced an ailing Ringo Starr during a tour in 1964 (this may explain why Nicol's drums are so far up in the mix), while members of the long-running U.K. pop band Blue Mink appear on the track "Beat Party" under the pseudonym the Underground, and John McLaughlin adds guitar licks to "Trans-Love Airways" by Big Jim Sullivan.
Another installment in Collectables' The Ultimate Christmas Album series, volume 3 gathers a mix of well-known and offbeat holiday tunes, including Nat King Cole's "The Christmas Song", The Singing Dogs' "Jingle Bells", The Supremes' "Twinkle Twinkle Little Me", The Ventures' "Sleigh Ride", Johnny Mathis' "Winter Wonderland", Perry Como's "Home For The Holidays", Burt Bacharach' "The Bell That Couldn't Jingle", Paul Anka's "It's Christmas Everywhere", Percy Faith's "We Need A Little Christmas", Andy Williams' "Happy Holidays", Ray Charles' "Christmas Time", Eartha Kitt's "Santa Baby".
The third volume of the Rare Cuts series on Master Stroke presents rarities from 1977 to 1982 from News Of The World to Hot Space. Not only is the their peak in popularity, but also a peak in their experimentation with other musical styles and with flirtations with many and various fashion statements. None of the tracks on this disc are new, but it is a nice compilation of the rarities floating around in different forms…