"With seven of the twelve songs on this CD unreleased during Bolan's lifetime, for the first time, we are able to enjoy and understand more fully in context the direction in which Marc Bolan's music may have been heading as he approached his thirties, before tragedy struck in September 1977." These "Final Cuts" are an odds-and-sods collection of music Marc Bolan had been working on – and it's in various stages of completion – before he was killed in 1977. Some of the music here appears on other recordings of late cuts; some are reworkings of tunes or alternate takes of tracks that appeared on Futuristic Dragon or Dandy in the Underworld; some never appeared at all. You have to be a hardcore T. Rex and/or Bolan fan to want this music…
Recorded during Marc Bolan's U.S. visits during 1971 and 1972, Spaceball is the first full re-counting of four American radio sessions previously made partially available as a bonus LP within the Marc label's Till Dawn compilation in 1985. Eight songs, taped in L.A. in 1972, are reprised from that set; 11 more are collected here. The overall mood of the two CDs is sparse, but astonishingly dynamic, with the earliest session – taped for WBAI, New York, in June 1971 – especially remarkable. It opens with a pair of unaccompanied Bolan performances, previewing the as-yet-unreleased "Cosmic Dancer" and "Planet Queen." The guitar heavy "Elemental Child" follows, a surprising inclusion given the song's freak-out dynamics, but it's an effective piece, all the more so after bandmates Mickey Finn and bassist Steve Currie join in a few minutes into the song.
Mosaic Records, known for its historic compilations of Blue Note recordings in either box sets or the Mosaic Select series, introduces its Contemporary line with this reissue of Earl Klugh's 1985 recording. At the least, it is a curious anomaly to all the label's other packages. At best, fans of Klugh will be happy to revisit tunes they may have only owned on vinyl. It's primarily the same syrupy orchestrations by Don Sebesky, the same lugubrious after-hours tempos, and Klugh's laid-back, mostly acoustic guitar framing movie themes, ballads, and an occasional standard. The solo acoustic takes of the swing evergreen "Ain't Misbehavin'" and an always bluesy "See See Rider" are still the standout cuts, flute beautifully leads and identifies the wondrous, poignant "Nature Boy" and "A Certain Smile," while oboe fronts the "Theme from Picnic."
In Concert – Carnegie Hall is George Benson's final recording for Creed Taylor's CTI label, and was mostly recorded on one night in 1975. There was some additional recording done at Rudy Van Gelder's studio in 1976, where Taylor replaced the original rhythm section of Wayne Dockery on bass and Marvin Chapell on drums with Will Lee and Steve Gadd, for whatever reason Taylor had at the time. Regardless, this is a solid "live" effort with Benson cooking on all burners, beginning with a monster version of Dave Brubeck's "Take Five," which had been cut on an earlier album and had become a staple in the live set.