Johnny Cash was one of the most imposing and influential figures in post-World War II country music. With his deep, resonant baritone and spare percussive guitar, he had a basic, distinctive sound. Cash didn't sound like Nashville, nor did he sound like honky tonk or rock & roll. He created his own subgenre, falling halfway between the blunt emotional honesty of folk, the rebelliousness of rock & roll, and the world-weariness of country. Cash's career coincided with the birth of rock & roll, and his rebellious attitude and simple, direct musical attack shared a lot of similarities with rock. However, there was a deep sense of history – as he would later illustrate with his series of historical albums – that kept him forever tied with country. And he was one of country music's biggest stars of the '50s and '60s, scoring well over 100 hit singles.
Taking their name from the "Eloi", the futuristic race of people in H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, ELOY was initially formed in 1969 in Germany. Inspired by THE SHADOWS and THE BEATLES, they became one of the major bands in the progressive rock scene highly influenced by the space rock of PINK FLOYD. They started off in Germany as a hard rock band with a political bent, but soon drifted into a spacier progressive rock sound…
São João Vivo is the live version of As Canções de Eu Tu Eles, the Brazilian popular music legend Gilberto Gil's fine homage to Luiz Gonzaga and forro. This is basically the same album, though of course recorded live. Compared to the studio album, a few additional tracks have been added. Perhaps the most welcome of those tracks is Anastácia's romantic "Só Quero um Xodó," which Gil recorded with great success in the '70s. Gil also presents a different version of his own "Toda Menina Bahiana," another very fine '70s hit of his. To sum it up, though, São João Vivo is indeed a nice, enjoyable live album, but it is basically unnecessary for anyone who already owns the studio album As Canções de Eu Tu Eles.
Buffalo Tom began life as a trio of pre-grunge, neo-psychedelic guitar maulers owing a heavy debt to Dinosaur Jr. (though one might argue that on Birdbrain they actually beat J. Mascis at his own game), but over the next dozen years they matured into a considerably more dynamic and intelligent band, capable of generating crunching rockers or acoustic ballads with equal precision, all of which possessed heart, soul, and a compassionate intelligence. Asides from Buffalo Tom compiles most of the band's best-known songs, including the top sides of their singles, radio emphasis tracks, a few fan favorites, and a cover of the Jam's "Going Underground" from a 1999 tribute album. While the album isn't sequenced chronologically, which would have made a greater case for their growth over time, it does a superb job of capturing the many sides of their musical personality, and it is both a fine summation of their first 11 years as a recording act and great introduction to one of the better bands to rise from the alt-rock scene in the 1990s.