Baker began his comeback after five years of musical inactivity with this excellent CTI date. Highlights include "Autumn Leaves," "Tangerine," and "With a Song in My Heart." Altoist Paul Desmond is a major asset on two songs and the occasional strings give variety to this fine session.
Tupelo, Mississippi's Paul Thorn has a knack for synthesis. His father was a Pentecostal preacher, so Thorn grew up with gospel, but he noticed that, in his own words, "white people sang gospel like it was country music, and the black people sang it like it was rhythm & blues," and a mix of the two gospel styles – with some gutbucket blues, old-time rock & roll, a sharp pop sense, and a gift for good old storytelling thrown in – pretty aptly describes Thorn's own brand of inspirational roots rock. Like the professional boxer he once was, he drives his music home with patience, skill, and purpose, putting his own restless energy at the heart of things. This set of originals, which follows 2012's What the Hell Is Goin' On?, an album of covers, finds Thorn at his best, and no song here even comes close to being filler. Thorn writes about his native South and its characters with incisiveness, and that old Saturday night/Sunday morning split between the secular and the sacred has always been his favorite theme, the notion that you can mess up, fall from grace, and then still find some kind of personal redemption is what makes Thorn's blend of gospel country rock and R&B sound so naturally joyous.
First brand new studio album with the original reunion line-up since Mean Machine in 1981 - over 30 years ago.
Too Hot to Sleep is the seventh album from rock band Survivor, released in 1988. It was a relative commercial disappointment, reaching only #187 on the Billboard album charts, though "Across The Miles" is one of their biggest AC chart hits. After this album, founders Frankie Sullivan and Jim Peterik put the band on indefinite hiatus, while lead vocalist Jimi Jamison would continue to tour under the Survivor name. Drummer Marc Droubay and bassist Stephen Ellis were replaced by studio musicians on the album. The lineup of Sullivan and Jamison would not reunite until 2000.
When Van Morrison's double-length It's Too Late to Stop Now was released in 1974, it was an anomaly. Compiled from eight nights on his 1973 tour with his 11-piece Caledonia Soul Orchestra, it appeared months prior to Hard Nose the Highway. Contrary to standard industry practice of the time, its contents weren't doctored in the studio afterwards: There were no added overdubs or masked flubs. Some critics took issue with its sound – claiming the band, particularly the horns, were too thin – but there was no debate about the performances. It remains revered as one of the greatest concert recordings ever.
While Van Morrison is, to be kind, an erratic and temperamental live performer, he's in stellar form throughout the double album It's Too Late to Stop Now, a superb concert set that neatly summarizes his career from his days with Them (represented by scorching renditions of "Gloria" and "Here Comes the Night") through 1973's Hard Nose the Highway ("Warm Love," "Wild Children"). In addition to the hits, including "Caravan," "Domino," and "Into the Mystic" (the final line of which gives the album its title), Morrison even pulls out a handful of R&B chestnuts ("Bring It on Home to Me," "Ain't Nothin' You Can Do") before capping off the collection with a show-stopping rendition of Astral Weeks' "Cyprus Avenue." An engaging, warm portrait of the man at the peak of his powers. [This double-live set was re-released on CD in 2016.]
Gehennah is back with their fourth album, Too Loud to Live, Too Drunk to Die!. Gehennah was formed in 1992. Influenced by Venom, Bathory, and Motörhead, the quartet earned a loyal following for their thrashy, black 'n roll during the 90s. Finally in early 2015, Gehennah released the extended EP Metal Police via Metal Blade Records, a comeback that gained praise from old and new supporters. Now, the band has returned again with their first full-length offering in nearly 20 years, Too Loud to Live, Too Drunk to Die. Recorded at Studio Cobra in Stockholm, Sweden and produced by Martin Eherencrona, Too Loud to Live, Too Drunk to Die proves to be worth the wait, featuring 13 tracks brimming with drinking anthems, anti-establishment themes, and dirty, raw street-attitude.
For a band that scored two major hit singles in their first year as recording artists, the Electric Prunes were given precious little respect by their record label, Reprise Records; the group was allowed to perform a mere two original tunes on their debut album I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night), and when their second, Underground, didn't sell, they became glorified session men under composer and arranger David Axelrod on Mass in F Minor. When the Prunes couldn't play Axelrod's charts to his satisfaction, they were replaced by session men, and the original bandmembers weren't even invited to participate on two "Electric Prunes" albums later released by Reprise, Release of an Oath and Just Good Old Rock and Roll.