It is coming up to five years since Sarah Chang, then in her early teens, made her brilliant and moving concerto recording debut in the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto on EMI (12/93). Her concerto recordings for the label since then have been of brilliant showpiece works like the Lalo Symphonie espagnole (5/96) and the Paganini First Concerto (1/95) rather than of the central repertory. It is good here to have her remarkable artistry revealed again at full stretch in astonishingly mature interpretations of the Mendelssohn and Sibelius concertos.
Although he had been playing for years, it wasn't until the 1990s that R.L. Burnside's raw electrified Delta blues were heard by a wide audience. His new fans celebrated his wild, unbridled energy, so it made sense for him to team with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, the warped indie rock band that's all about energy. However, the very purists who celebrate Burnside hate Spencer, believing that the latter mocks the blues. As the blistering Ass Pocket of Whiskey proves, Spencer may not treat the blues with reverence, but he and his band capture the wild essence of juke-joint blues. And that makes them the perfect match for Burnside, who knows his history but isn't burdened by it. Together, Burnside and the Blues Explosion make raw, scintillating, unvarnished blues that positively burns.
Savoy is a Norwegian-American indie rock trio formed in 1994 by co-singer/songwriter/guitarist Paul Waaktaar-Savoy (formerly Pål Waaktaar) of a-ha, along with his wife, Lauren Waaktaar-Savoy (formerly Lauren Savoy). Multi-instrumentalist Frode Unneland joined the couple as drummer. Warner Bros. released Savoy's debut album, Mary Is Coming, in 1996. Finding commercial success in Norway, it was followed by 1997's Lackluster Me for EMI. Though Savoy was formed during a hiatus for a-ha, the European synth pop icons reunited in 1998, and Paul Waaktaar-Savoy would continue to write, record, and tour for both bands over the next six years. Savoy won Spellemann Awards (Norwegian Grammys) for Best Pop Band for their third and fourth albums, 1999's Mountains of Time and 2001's Reasons to Stay Indoors, both issued by EMI.
Scorpions is a German rock band formed in 1965 in Hanover by Rudolf Schenker. Since the band's inception, its musical style has ranged from hard rock to heavy metal. The lineup from 1978–92 was the most successful incarnation of the group, and included Klaus Meine (vocals), Rudolf Schenker (rhythm guitar), Matthias Jabs (lead guitar), Francis Buchholz (bass guitar), and Herman Rarebell (drums)…