There are a number of arguments to be made for and against Maria Muldaur's 2008 antiwar statement Yes We Can! on Telarc (before actually listening to it; remember, we live in a cynical culture). The "perceived" negatives all relate to the intent of the recording and who it's supposed to reach (no doubt an expression of the same set of beliefs rooted in Muldaur's 1960s music), and the fact that it's loaded with guests (in all fairness, these star-studded affairs seldom work). On Yes We Can!, her guests include Muldaur's old friends (Joan Baez, Bonnie Raitt, Phoebe Snow, Jane Fonda, and Holly Near) and influences (Odetta) and new pals (writers/spiritual gurus Anne Lamott and Marianne Williamson, and Indian spiritual teacher Amma). Does it read as if it is yet another exercise in self-referential backslapping? Yep. But don't believe everything you read on the back of a CD jacket. The positives are all musical.
Twelve Inch Eighties is the successful 3CD range by Crimson Productions, compiling extended alternate mixes of some of the biggest hit singles of the 80s. Each themed release is housed in a sleek 3CD digipak with abstract imagery representative of early dance label releases. These carefully selected titles across the range bring together the finest eighties pop, dance and disco, amongst other genres, in all their full 12” single glory. Can You Feel It is a collection of some of the biggest 80s dance classics in their full extended 12” form, keeping you on the floor for longer.
Bon Jovi's four-CD/one-DVD box set of rarities, 100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can't Be Wrong, inspires two immediate reactions. The first: How in the world did Bon Jovi have four discs' worth of unreleased material in their vaults? The second: Who on earth would want to hear 50 rarities from Bon Jovi? To anybody who's not a devoted fan, the New Jersey group always seemed like a quintessential singles-driven band…
The record has an interestingly stately air to it, considering Polly Eltes' breathy, quirky vocals and Michael Karoli's apparent fascination with variations on reggae rhythms (not too surprising, considering the spiritual link between Can and the output of Jamaican mixers.) The complete set would be more compelling and striking, though, if there were a little more focus – Karoli and Eltes spend quite a bit of time simply drifting into thematic hooks, leaving the listener in limbo for too long on a regular basis. When it clicks, though, it is excellent.
Hip-O Select's 2004 compilation Get It While You Can: The Complete Legendary Verve Sessions is not the first time Howard Tate's revered sessions for Verve have reached CD. About ten years earlier, in the summer of 1995, Mercury released the almost identically titled Get It While You Can: The Legendary Verve Sessions, which contained all of Tate's 1966 debut – also titled Get It While You Can – along with five bonus tracks, for a total of 17 cuts.
Legendary blues guitarist/songwriter/vocalist Elvin Bishop returns to Alligator Records with CAN'T EVEN DO WRONG RIGHT. With his ''so-loose-they're-tight'' road band behind him, along with friends Charlie Musselwhite and Mickey Thomas, Bishop has created one of the best albums of his career. CAN'T EVEN DO WRONG RIGHT finds Bishop playing, writing and singing some of the most spirited and distinctive blues and roots music today. The CD proves that Bishop is as vital and creative an artist now as he was when he first hit the national scene in 1965 with The Paul Butterfield Blues Band. He is as slyly good-humored and instantly crowd-pleasing as he was when he was scoring Southern rock-styled hits during the 1970s. For five decades, he has never stopped touring or releasing instantly recognizable music featuring his groundbreaking playing, easygoing vocals, witty lyrics and good-time humor.
Cut from the same cloth as the band's 1973 Deliver the Word LP, War's 1975 Why Can't We Be Friends? is a masterpiece in its scope and breadth. And, emerging as the last work the band would do for its longtime label, United Artists, it became a fitting swansong, powering up the charts and giving War its fourth and final number one hit…