As he proved with his recording of A London Symphony – Record of the Year, Gramophone Awards 2001 – Richard Hickox was a Vaughan Williams specialist. This reissue of an original 1995 recording features such lesser known works from the composer as Household Music and Flos Campi. Alternating between the passionate and the tortured, between long-breathed lyricism and moments of obvious pain, Flos Campi has never really found itself in the mainstream concert repertoire, maybe because of its title, misleadingly suggesting jolly music. Household Music has equally suffered from its title, rather an off-hand one for pieces that at their best show the composer’s brilliance as an arranger. Riders to the Sea, however, is a masterpiece, seen as the finest as well as the most concentrated of Vaughan Williams’s works for the stage, conjuring up multiple layers of emotional response to the natural world, a losing battle with the sea, and the God which rules it, for the islanders in the North Atlantic.
By 1974, the phenomenon known as T. Rextacy was on the wane. The group had always been Bolan's vehicle, but the departure of some original members, the addition of three backup vocalists, and the name change, to Marc Bolan And T. Rex, signaled a significant new direction for the band.
The sound of ZINC ALLOY shows the influence of American soul music, and demonstrates an overall evolution. Where the group's biggest hits were basically gritty, straightforward rock, the sound on ZINC is flashier, more orchestrated, and generally slicker. The prominent string section and heavy echo of the opener, "Venus Loon," recalls Phil Spector. Additionally, Bolan shares many of the vocal duties with his girlfriend, the American singer Gloria Jones. In the record's sometimes operatic settings, the pair occasionally sound like Meatloaf and Karla De Vito.
New Riders of the Purple Sage is an American country rock band. The group emerged from the psychedelic rock scene in San Francisco, California in 1969, and its original lineup included members of the Grateful Dead. Their best known song is "Panama Red". The band is sometimes referred to as the New Riders, or as NRPS.
The group's second album is pretty much definitive, especially in its remastered version from Columbia's Legacy division (issued in 1996), which has really crisp, loud sound. Joe Maphis' "Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (And Loud, Loud Music)" is a great opener, a honky tonk-style number featuring David Nelson's lead vocals and Nicky Hopkins' piano sharing the spotlight with Nelson's and John Dawson's axes. The guitars on Dawson's "Rainbow" are nearly pretty enough to be a Flying Burrito Brothers or Poco number. Most of what follows is as good or better, especially Dave Torbert's "California Day" and "Contract," and Dawson's "Sweet Lovin' One." The one letdown is their cover of "Hello Mary Lou," a flat, dullish rendition that could be any bad country-rock bar band, and which isn't going to make anyone forget the numerous versions before and since -- they do somewhat better with Johnny Otis' "Willie and the Hand Jive." Powerglide is a fun record and offers one virtue that the Dead, in particular, sometimes forgot -- they know how to end a song. Jerry Garcia is present on banjo ("Sweet Lovin' One," "Duncan and Brady") and piano ("Lochinvar") -- Bill Kreutzmann and Nicky Hopkins also turn up -- but the best lead guitar work here comes courtesy of David Nelson and Buddy Cage, who plays the pedal steel.