"The Awakening" is a diverse album marked by romantic ballads, chunky dance tracks and even a fusion instrumental. The single, “Remote Control,” is a vibrant piece of dance music with Otis Jr. ‘s steady rhythm guitar, catchy ensemble vocals and Mark’s smooth tenor gliding over a powerful rhythm track. “Remote Control” sets the tone for The Reddings’ other strong party songs “Funkin’ On The One,” “It’s Friday Night,” and “Doin’ It.” On everyone of these songs Dexter’s energetic lead bass lines and the trio’s graceful harmonies again and again show the Reddings’ great innate musical talent in action.
While at least one track from this album showed up decades ago on an Epic compilation, the remainder of this album has remained in the Columbia archives until Reel Music had it remastered and release. The sound is incredible - even with some of the tracks in mono, This is the result of Steve Alaimo's production at the AGP studios in Memphis, the Memphis Boys backing (see the Ace album for more detail) supported by the Memphis Horns, and Bill Lacey's remastering. This is a stunning album - strong songs, great production and Gwen McCrae in fine voice. The hits - which are certainly evident 40 years later were buried as Columbia was in the midst of moving to its HBS-inspired black music strategy under the leadership of Clive Davis. This is a great addition to any 70s soul library.
The Smell of Incense are a Norwegian prog/psych band with roots in the mid eighties and a long, sordid history that includes connections to such hardcore and obscure Scandinavian D.I.Y. acts as The New Incredible Headcleaners, Famlende Forsøk, Ym:Stammen, and Døve Munker. Smell have existed as a fluid and sporadic lineup for years, issuing just three studio albums along a handful of singles and collaborations in since 1986. The band's debut album 'All Mimsy Were the Borogoves' consisted mostly of a number of little-known as well as irreverent covers, while their later releases focused more on original material blending pop, folk, trip-hop and heavy psych for a unique sound reflecting both the psychedelic traditional and experimentation present in much of modern Scandinavian progressive music…
Cherubini’s major sacred works are generally quite marvelous. The two Requiems have a distinguished history on disc. Toscanini recorded the C minor, Markevitch the D minor, and my colleague David Vernier praised the recent release of the C minor piece on Carus. They are both truly excellent: grave and austere, but also dynamic, moving, and well worth hearing. The same is certainly true of the large-scale Masses: the Missa solemnis in D minor and E major and the Mass in F are especially memorable. Their grandeur never strains for effect and is always leavened with the composer’s Italian lyricism. Cherubini may not have been well-treated by history, but he knew what he was doing.