In the early years of Los Angeles punk, one of the premiere hardcore bands was T.S.O.L., which stood for True Sounds of Liberty. Offering poppier music than many of their contemporaries and featuring an image that appealed to punks who wanted to dive deeper into the gothic subgenre already being offered by many British punk bands, T.S.O.L. became hugely popular on the local scene but never translated that success to national exposure because of their ever-shifting lineup and sound.
Since his days with the Bud Powell Trio, drummer Art Taylor was an invaluable member of the Blue Note recording family. A.T.'s Delight is the only album made under his own name for the label and it is a remarkable one. Choosing great compositions by Coltrane, Monk, Denzil Best and Kenny Dorham, Taylor assembled a great quintet fronted by Dave Burns and Stanley Turrentine, often adding Potato's congas to the proceedings. The unique and varied arrangements and great playing pay tribute to the drummer's exceptional song selection.
Music is intertwined with different genres from classic to enigmatics.
Of all the various best-ofs and compilations that have come out over time that cover the Go-Go's career, this one is the clearest winner, by a long shot. Though by default it doesn't tell the full story, appearing as it did in 1994, in terms of containing both the famous hits and a slew of rarities and unreleased tracks, Return to the Valley of the Go-Go's is equally valuable for both neophytes and hardcore fans. The first 11 tracks alone make for an entertaining peek into the band's earliest days, with a slew of live cuts from both early rehearsals and gigs, including a number of songs taped at the legendary SF punk venue the Mabuhay Gardens. Everything's rough, energetic, and merry fun – while it's no surprise why some compositions remained unheard in later years, it's still worth hearing how the group pureed everything from straight-up punk to spaghetti Western guitar and girl group right from the start. A real treat is a romp through "Johnny, Are You Queer?" which would later get a more famous (and much more sedate!) take by Josie Cotton. Plenty of rare B-sides from the group's commercially dominant days surface here and there, and as for the big hits, they're available a-plenty: "We Got the Beat," "Vacation," "Our Lips Are Sealed," "Head Over Heels," "Turn to You," and more. Choice album cuts include "Skidmarks on My Heart" and "This Town".