There have been previous attempts to marshal a lot of British psychedelia into one compilation, but Real Life Permanent Dreams is a little different from those. This four-CD, 99-song box set isn't a best-of, but more like an attempt to assemble a very wide (though still representative) cross section of material, most of it pretty obscure to the average listener. For the most part, it succeeds in delivering a high-quality anthology that manages to offer a lot to both the collector and the less intense psychedelic fan, though it's by no means the cream of British psychedelia.
A killer collection of this unique musical moment from Gerry Mulligan – with material that appeared on the albums Concert Jazz Band, Concert Jazz Band At The Village Vanguard, A Concert In Jazz, Concert Jazz Band On Tour Guest Soloist Zoot Sims, and Gerry Mulligan 63 – plus unissued tracks, too! This four disc-set contains all of the existing Concert Band Sessions from May 1960 to December 1962, and makes available for the first time five previously unreleased performances. Some seven others, whose original tapes are either missing or lost, are notated here for the sake of discography. This was, arguably – after and aside from Mulligan's piano-less quartet with Chet Baker – the most visionary music he ever made. It eclipses his nonet recordings of the 1950s because of the sophisticated charts written by trombonist Bob Brookmeyer, and the writing Mulligan was doing formed the strength of this band – though this is not immediately apparent at the outset of Disc One. The set commences with a version of the band that included six brass, four reeds, Mulligan on baritone (and piano occasionally), bass, and drums.
Carry On is a four-CD set, spanning 50 years and includes more than five hours of music and includes a 113 page booklet. Produced by Graham Nash and Joel Bernstein with Stephen Stills, Rhino s anthology spotlights the remarkable scope of stills career with essential recordings, live cuts, new mixes, and 25 previously unreleased tracks. The tracks unfold mostly in chronological order, and the anthology leads off with its oldest entry: "Travelin " a previously unreleased recording that Stills made at age 17 in Costa Rica (one of the many places he lived growing up in a military family). The youngest track, recorded only a few months ago, features CSN performing "Girl From The North Country" in New York City during a sold-out five-night run at the Beacon Theater that closed the group s acclaimed 2012 world tour.
During the last quarter of the 20th century, and thanks largely to Eric Clapton's remarkable devotion to his memory, Robert Leroy Johnson posthumously became the most celebrated Delta blues musician of the pre-WWII era. Among numerous editions of his complete works and various anthologies that combine his recordings with those of his contemporaries and followers, J.S.P.'s The Road to Robert Johnson and Beyond combines many of his essential performances with those by dozens of other blues artists from Blind Lemon Jefferson and Henry Thomas to Muddy Waters and Elmore James. 105 tracks fill four CDs with several decades' worth of strongly steeped blues that trace the African American migration from the deep south on up into Chicago. This is a fine way to savor the recorded evidence, as primary examples from Blind Blake, Charley Patton, Son House, Charlie McCoy, Walter Vincson, Skip James, Ma Rainey, Tampa Red, Kokomo Arnold, Scrapper Blackwell, Leroy Carr, Lonnie Johnson, and Peetie Wheatstraw lead directly to early modern masters like Big Joe Williams, Sonny Boy Williamson, Big Bill Broonzy, Johnny Temple, Leroy Foster, Johnny Shines, Homesick James Williamson, Robert Jr. Lockwood, Snooky Pryor, Little Walter, and David Honeyboy Edwards, among many others.
Heaven knows, the Scotsman born Donovan Leitch was ripe for ridicule, even when he was hitting the charts with regularity. He was the ultimate flower child, and his airier pronouncements made cynics want to tighten up those love beads around his neck. Listening to Troubadour, however, it's striking how versatile, melodic, and agreeable most of his material sounds decades after "Mellow Yellow" has faded into a jaundiced yellow. Clearly under the sway of Bob Dylan early on in his career, Donovan nevertheless was capable of directing his reverence into something as enchanting as "Catch the Wind." Amping up as the '60s progressed, he assembled a series of psychedelic-pop classics, including "Season of the Witch," the "Hey Jude"-like sing-along "Atlantis," and the uncharacteristically driving "Hurdy Gurdy Man" (the latter features three-quarters of what was to become Led Zeppelin providing stellar support). This two-disc anthology may be more Donovan than some desire, but the booklet, seven previously unreleased tracks, and expansive perspective it provides makes it a more-than-worthy overview for those who take their paisley folk-rock with a beatific smile.