Chicago guitarist Jimmy Dawkins would have preferred to leave his longtime nickname "Fast Fingers" behind. It was always something of a stylistic misnomer anyway; Dawkins' West Side-styled guitar slashed and surged, but seldom burned with incendiary speed. Dawkins' blues were generally of the brooding, introspective variety – he didn't engage in flashy pyrotechnics or outrageous showmanship. It took a long time for Dawkins to progress from West Side fixture to nationally known recording artist. He rode a Greyhound bus out of Mississippi in 1955, dressing warmly to ward off the Windy City's infamous chill factor. Only trouble was, he arrived on a sweltering July day! Harpist Billy Boy Arnold offered the newcomer encouragement, and he eventually carved out a niche on the competitive West Side scene (his peers included Magic Sam and Luther Allison).
There may be no better place to hear how both punk and prog rock informed the New Wave of British Heavy Metal than Iron Maiden's self-titled debut. Often overlooked and overshadowed by the glorious Bruce Dickinson years, it's easy to forget that Iron Maiden was itself a game-changer when it appeared on the scene in 1980…
There was a time when you could walk into your average record store and find the singles section by spotting the big block of black rows. These rows signaled the whereabouts of the Ds and tended to eat up a disproportionate space of the singles section. In 2004, the Mute label condensed all of these releases into Remixes 81-04, which itself was ironically (or fittingly) presented in multiple versions. This particular version is a triple-disc set that attempts to function as a representative sampling of Depeche Mode's innumerable remixes. It does an admirable job, making a point to highlight glorified extended versions and radical reworkings alike.
The venerable pianist of the Beaux Arts Trio joins the Emerson Quartet for two memorable performances. To the uncommon clarity and rhythmic drive of the string players, Menahem Pressler adds some of his own expansive personality. The mix works beautifully. You can hear every note in the scores, and everything is played with great expression and enough rhythmic tension to keep the music flowing.