This latter period Chumbawamba collection benefits from the inclusion of "Give the Anarchist a Cigarette," "Ugh! Your Ugly Houses" (a sideswipe at the non-taste of the celebrities featured in Hello magazine), "Enough Is Enough" (originally recorded with Brit rappers Credit to the Nation) and the catchy/cloying "Timebomb." Most of the material is taken from Anarchy (1994) and Swingin' With Raymond (1996). "Mouthful of Shit," the highlight of Anarchy, makes a welcome return. 23 tracks is surely enough Chumbawamba for even the hardiest of die-hards, but if you don't have the studio albums, this is the best place to start.
This three-CD box set, in producer and then label Boss' weirdly wired brain, encompasses two different sides of Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Discs one and two represent sporadic live recordings of Kirk from 1962 to 1972, all of them previously unreleased and issued courtesy of a Kirk collector named George Bonafacio. These two discs contain Kirk classics such as "Domino," "Blacknuss," and an excerpt from "Three for the Festival," as well as singular Kirk interpretations of "I Say a Little Prayer," "Freddie Freeloader," "Lester Leaps In," "Giant Steps," "Sister Sadie," and more…
Fans of muscular progressive rock will love Solar Fire, a concept album loosely designed around cosmology. The album opens with the majestic "Father of Night, Father of Day," which has the drive and complexity of a prime King Crimson track. As unlikely as it may seem, the track was controversial in Mann's native South Africa because of the "Father of black, father of white" line, implying that apartheid might not extend to infinite space. The album moves on to the progressive rock/jazz fusion of "In the Beginning, Darkness," a swinging, even funky track that benefits from soulful vocals by Doreen Chanter and Irene Chanter of the Grove Singers. The same duo contributes to the title track, a slow piece that begins with a fairly standard rock structure and incorporates a massive progressive jam in the middle.
The night was November 26, 1995; the club: Richard's on Richards in Vancouver; and the lineup with Duke Robillard comprised Marty Ballou on bass, Marty Richards on drums, and "Sax" Gordon Beadle on tenor and baritone sax. They were touring with Jimmy Witherspoon and this album captures the set before they brought "Spoon" to the stage. It was taped for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's "Saturday Night Blues" program with host Holger Petersen. Seven of the nine songs on Stretchin' Out also appear on 1996's Duke's Blues. That one is truly a gem, but for fans who don't have it yet, one might recommend this recording instead. "Too Hot to Handle" and "That's My Life" are the only tracks that aren't on Duke's Blues. Even if you do have Duke's Blues, Stretchin' Out is still well worth the purchase because of the great extended jams and shoot-from-the-hip guitar licks you won't find anywhere else. Robillard sings a few bars on Albert Collins' "Dyin' Flu" with no mic. You have to strain to hear him over the inevitable amplifier hums and crowd support of a live recording (one fan yells "Duke it out!"), but that's what makes it so cool and compelling.
For those who like a little mysticism and classical influence in their smooth jazz, Japanese-born composer and keyboardist Keiko Matsui has long been the ticket. She was Billboard's number one Independent Contemporary Jazz Artist in 1997 and is the top New Adult Contemporary female instrumentalist of her time. In the early days (she's up to 14 albums now), Matsui did it with a mix of thunderous film score-like sweeps, elegant and jazzy piano command, and a guest sax solo here and there to score some radio hits. On The Ring, she continues her recent trend of all those same elements and gorgeous melodies without concern for pop airplay considerations.