This is an excellent sampler that showcases the flamboyant, semi-classical style of the pianist, including "Shubert's Serenade." Władziu Valentino Liberace, known as Liberace, was an American pianist, singer, and actor. A child prodigy and the son of working-class immigrants, Liberace enjoyed a career spanning four decades of concerts, recordings, television, motion pictures, and endorsements. At the height of his fame, from the 1950s to the 1970s, Liberace was the highest-paid entertainer in the world, with established concert residencies in Las Vegas, and an international touring schedule. Liberace embraced a lifestyle of flamboyant excess both on and off stage, acquiring the sobriquet "Mr. Showmanship".
La Femme Dietrich's career lasted several decades, and when she inked a deal with Decca Records in 1939, her first recording assignment was to produce an album of her "greatest hits," so already pervasive was her fame. This 16-track collection rounds up selections recorded over a 25-year period between her signing to Decca and her later recordings for Dot and Kapp, all of which parent company MCA-Universal now owns. Besides the definitive, elegant orchestral reading of 'Falling In Love Again', Marlene also puts her pipes and personality to other hits like "The Boys in the Backroom" and "You've Got That Look (That Makes Me Weak)" from the movie Destry Rides Again, as well as a batch of classy readings of "You Do Something to Me," "You Go to My Head," and uncharacteristic, almost surreal 1957 rock & roll stabs at "Near You," and "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine" and the campy spins of her final single in 1965, "If He Swing By the String" and "Such Trying Times." All in all, a great little career overview to add to the pop vocal side of the collection.
Without a doubt, Airto put a new face on Brazilian music in the wake of the bossa nova movement, bringing back the frantic complexity of the samba translated into his own frenzied yet controlled electronic/multi-percussion idiom. Here we truly have some of the best of his early work in the U.S. as a leader for the CTI label, where Airto proves that he couldn't be suppressed even by the guiding hand of Creed Taylor. The set kicks off with a pair of great, sizzling tracks from the Free album, with Airto feverishly driving bands manned by Chick Corea on electric piano, Keith Jarrett on acoustic piano, and other American all-stars. From there, we move to the Fingers album, which features Airto's own band yet maintains virtually the same level of excitement with a deeper Brazilian streak.
The Best of 10 Years – 32 Superhits also known as 32 Superhits - Non-Stop Digital Remix is a remix album by Boney M. released in 1986. In 1981 producer Frank Farian created a thirteen-minute medley in the style of Stars on 45 called "6 Years of Boney M. Hits (Boney M. on 45)" which was issued as both A- and B-side singles in certain territories - in the UK the medley was the B-side of Boonoonoonoos 12" single "We Kill The World (Don't Kill The World)", in Germany the edited 7" version appeared as the B-side of Christmas Album single "Little Drummer Boy" and the longer version as a separate A-side 12" release in early 1982. Five years later, Farian took the non-stop medley idea one step further and extended the medley to a thirty-two track, forty-six minutes full-length album of Boney M's greatest hits with additional percussive and synthesized overdubs.
Covering prime early recordings from 1956-1960 and one mid-'80s cut, Blue Note's The Best of Jimmy Smith offers up a fine introduction to the trailblazing jazz organist. Smith's Blue Note sessions not only introduced the world to the complex solo possibilities of the Hammond B3 organ, but simultaneously ushered in the soul-jazz era of the '60s, spawning a wealth of fine imitators in the process. Before delving into more commercial terrain on Verve in the late '60s, Smith cut a ton of jam-session dates for Blue Note, often with the help of hard bop luminaries like trumpeter Lee Morgan, alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson, tenor saxophonists Tina Brooks and Stanley Turrentine, and drummers Art Blakey and Donald Bailey. All are heard here on classic cuts like "The Sermon," "Back at the Chicken Shack," and "The Jumpin' Blues," with Smith regular Turrentine and a young Morgan availing themselves in especially fine form. For his part, Smith eats up the scenery on all the sides here, taking his solo to particularly impressive heights on a fleetly swinging rendition of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home".
Four of the 13 tracks on Island's The Best of Spooky Tooth come from 1969's Spooky Two album, while the remaining tracks represent the band's less celebrated material. Spooky Tooth's mellow, easy blues-rock sound is experienced from the first track, a slick rendition of John D. Loudermilk's "Tobacco Road." Most of the band's peak material is included here, like "Better by You, Better by Me" and "Evil Woman." The dreamy, psychedelic-tinged "It's All About a Roundabout" is one of the album's best songs, proving the band could be adventurous at will. Much in the same manner is "As Long as the World Keeps Changing," with its hippie-like hallucinatory feel. Versions of the Beatles' "I Am the Walrus" and the Band's "The Weight" are covered peculiarly, but not terribly, chock full of Spooky Tooth's own laid-back formula. Missed is the greyish "Hangman Hang My Shell on a Tree" from Spooky Two, which would have made a nice addition to the set. Nevertheless, this best-of does present listeners with Spooky Tooth's most worthwhile songs. The band's unconventional sound and eased style is prevalent on each of the tracks offered here.
Neo-prog band Pendragon formed in London during the heady days of punk, but didn't coalesce until 1983, when the band began playing around London and earned a small spot at that year's Reading Festival. The lineup stabilized, after the 1985 album Jewel, around vocalist/guitarist Nick Barrett, bassist Peter Gee, drummer Fudge Smith and keyboard player Clive Nolan. Pendragon recorded the live album 9:15 in 1986 and began to establish a continental fan base the following year. European audiences proved enthusiastic, spawning a contract with the French M.S.I. label; nevertheless, the group was forced to form its own Toff label just to release material in England. Pendragon lay dormant through the rest of the '80s, but returned in 1991 with The Rest of Pendragon – a reissue of the early Fly High, Fall Far with added B-sides – and their first new album in five years, The World.