Concord Records is celebrating the 80th birthday of the legendary Ray Charles with a special gift for his legions of fans: Rare Genius: The Undiscovered Masters. This treasure trove of newly discovered recordings, highlighted by a duet with fellow icon Johnny Cash, become available on October 25th, 2010.
Essential: A masterpiece of progressive rock music
Back in 1970, whilst browsing in my favorite used record store, i came across this album. Despite the ghastly sleeve art (not the cover pictured above), i turned it over and noticed “Sympathy” included in the track listings, a song i had heard many times on the radio in the office but had never really taken much notice of, despite it being a huge hit single. The photo of the band clinched it – in those days any strange album i found depicting “four hippies in a field / park / wood” was worth investigating as part of my “scene”.
1969, great year! Emerge this band name's Rare Earth, on the label of the same name sponsored by Motown (the great and iconic black music label). The funny thing is that this group is entirely composed by white men.
Motown's interesting bet.
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music.
Rare Bird's fab four Graham Field, Dave Kaffinetti, Steve Gould and Mark Ashton had created their own distinct sound using keyboards, bass and drums but without, unusually for the time, electric guitars. "As Your Mind Flies By" found them at the peak of their creative powers, especially on the mini-masterpiece "Flight", a four part Suite utilising their keyboard wizardry to the full. This Suite covering the whole of side 2 is a true Prog classic, unfortunately after this album the band underwent personnel changes and a change in musical direction also saw they were never to recover their previous creative form in Prog music.
Excellent addition to any rock music collection.
LOST NATION was a Michigan-based quintet. They were formed by Ron STULTS (vocals) of the psychedelic garage band UNRELATED SEGMENTS, along with Larry ZELANKA (keyboards), Craig WEBB (guitar), Art WOLFE (bass), Ron FULLER (drums), and released a single album, ''Paradise Lost'', in 1970. The group was splashed to the four winds shortly after (although WEBB would go on to play in FRIJID PINK on the albums ''Earth Omen'' and ''All Pink Inside'').
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.
There are a lot of people who'll champion the Grand Hotel album, but as far as I'm concerned, it is Exotic Birds And Fruit that is the most complete album in the latter half of Procol Harum's career. In fact, I'd say this album is the best one outside of the classic first trio of albums.
One of the reasons for my unqualified seal of approval is the absolutely gorgeous As Strong As Samson, which is a heart-breaking, nihilistic song of beauty. "Psychiatrists and lawyers/destroying mankind/driving them crazy and robbing them blind" sings Gary Brooker as Chris Copping turns in his best ever organ solo … another tearing, searing, yet emphatically melancholic piece. B.J. Wilson's drumming is top-notch on this one, rolling us all the way to heaven and back again. Every little nuance of this perfect, perfect song melts me. When Gary sings "there ain't no use" as the tune fades out, you know he's right.