The singer in her precocious formative years, headed by her 1955 R&B smash "Roll With Me Henry" (aka "The Wallflower"). James' follow-ups included the driving "Good Rockin' Daddy," a bluesy "W-O-M-A-N," and the New Orleans raveup "Tough Lover," which found her backed by the gang at Cosimo's (notably saxman Lee Allen). Even though her tenure at Modern Records only produced a handful of hits, these 22 cuts are delightful artifacts of the belter's earliest days. The music and liner notes are identical to the previous R&B Dynamite reissue, except that the tracks have been slightly resequenced, and a couple of songs bear different titles ("Number One" has been changed to "My One and Only," "How Big a Fool" to "Call Me a Fool").
Rick Wakeman spent much of the '80s and '90s recording instrumental albums that veered toward either classical or ambient, so 2003's Out There comes as a bit of a shock: it's an honest to goodness revival of the full-throttle prog rock Wakeman pursued on his solo albums in the '70s. A large part of this is due to his decision to form a full-fledged supporting rock band. Called the New English Rock Ensemble, they're a quintet led by Wakeman and featuring Damian Wilson on vocals, Ant Glynne on guitar, Lee Pomeroy on bass, and Tony Fernandez on drums and percussion. They're a powerful and skilled outfit, able to follow Wakeman's shifting tempos and moods with dexterity without ever losing sight of their forceful rhythmic core, which keeps this rock, not new age. Wilson is a similarly versatile vocalist, as convincing on the surging "Out There" as he is on the contemplative "To Be with You."