Mississippi Delta Dues is a complete departure from Mickey Baker's landmark 1950s electric guitar work for Ray Charles and others. With acoustic bottleneck specialist Stefan Grossman at his side and surprisingly backed by the London Strings Orchestra, the talented guitarist covers a variety of tunes by long-dead bluesmen. Excluding the bonus tracks, this was previously released as House of the Blues, Vol. 5 on the Blue Star label.
As compilations go this is up there with the best. 28 tracks of the Beach Boys at the top of their form (or close to the top, anyway). And at the price this is great value. It's easy to forget just how important the Beach Boys were to the progression of popular music in the 1960s. Brian Wilson used to watch what the Beatles were doing and try to match them on the artistic level. The Beach Boys 'Pet Sounds' was born of this rivalry and Paul McCartney regarded it as one of the greatest popular-music albums ever made. It spurred the Beatles to complete 'Revolver' and then make 'Sgt Pepper'. Brian Wilson was the Beach Boys' creative genius and when he broke down they lost their leadership position. However they left a huge repertoire of major hits, many of which are captured on this compilation. Some of the most finely crafted pop-music recordings ever made are here. Pete Doggett has written a paragraph in the accompanying booklet giving a little background to each of the tracks, which makes for interesting reading.
In a musical career that has spanned seven decades, Quincy Jones has earned his reputation as a renaissance man of American music. Jones has distinguished himself as a bandleader, a solo artist, a sideman, a songwriter, a producer, an arranger, a film composer, and a record label executive, and outside of music, he's also written books, produced major motion pictures, and helped create television series. And a quick look at a few of the artists Jones has worked with suggests the remarkable diversity of his career – Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra, Count Basie, Lesley Gore, Michael Jackson, Peggy Lee, Ray Charles, Paul Simon, and Aretha Franklin…
Covering 50 Cent, Cat Stevens, Faith Evans, and more on steelpan drums should not sound this gimmick-less. It helps that the Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band is, first and foremost, a strong funk ensemble. The Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band is a pet project of the German instrumental group the Mighty Mocambos, a practiced collective that makes versatile deep funk. Bacao is a vehicle for bandleader and guitarist Björn Wagner's dedicated enchantment with the steelpan drum, which he and three other band members play on a new debut full-length called 55.