"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…
This stunning and generous collection belongs right at the top of the heap in its respective repertoire. The Debussy is still a comparative rarity in concert if not on disc, a remarkable fact given that it's wholly gorgeous from first note to last. Jean-Efflam Bavouzet's excellence as a Debussy pianist already has been acknowledged by just about everyone who has heard him, and needs no further advertisement here. The performance is outstanding, sensitive to every nuance, but also very French in its clear-eyed sensibility and understanding that focused rhythm and supple tempos prevent the music from turning excessively sentimental or blandly pretty. And in Tortelier, Bavouzet has a conductor who seconds him every step of the way. A similar sensibility informs these swift, razor-sharp, and utterly thrilling accounts of the two Ravel concertos. That for the left hand seldom has sounded so exciting, or in its jazzy central march section, so sinister. Listen to the bite that both soloist and orchestra bring to that descending scale theme, and notice the way Bavouzet shapes his cadenza so as to preserve the illusion of multiple parts played by multiple hands–all without slowing down at the tough passages. It's really an amazing performance by any standard. Even the dark opening, often merely murky on other recordings, has shape and urgency, the buildup to the initial entry of the piano creating incredible tension.