Gang of Four's existence had as much to do with Slave and Chic as it did the Sex Pistols and the Stooges, which is something Solid Gold demonstrates more than Entertainment! Any smartypants can point out the irony of a band on Warner Bros. railing against systematic tools of control disguised as entertainment media, but Gang of Four were more observational than condescending. True, Jon King and Andy Gill might have been hooting and hollering in a semiviolent and discordant fashion, but they were saying "think about it" more than "you lot are a bunch of mindless puppets." Abrasiveness was a means to grab the listener, and it worked. Reciting Solid Gold's lyrics on a local neighborhood corner might get a couple interested souls to pay attention. It isn't poetry, and it's no fun; most within earshot would just continue power-walking or tune out while buffing the SUV. Solid Gold has that unholy racket going on beneath the lyrics, an unlikely mutation of catchiness and atonality that made ears perk and (oddly) posteriors shake. With its slightly ironic title, Solid Gold is more rhythmically grounded than the fractured nature of Entertainment!, a politically charged, more Teutonic take on funk. It's a form of release for paranoid accountants.
Johnny Winter is one of the most acclaimed guitarists of the past 40 years, and his ability to straddle both the classic rock and electric blues genres has earned him a rabid fan base. The 2-CD set The Johnny Winter Anthology is the first collection to include highlights from his entire career, from his start at Imperial Records, to his rise to worldwide fame on Columbia and Blue Sky, to his late-career renaissance at Alligator, Pointblank and Virgin. Along the way, fans and newcomers alike are treated to 35 standout performances, including "Rock And Roll, Hoochie Koo," "Still Alive And Well," and "Silver Train."
One goal of the Woodstock festival was to highlight lesser-known acts along with the superstars. Johnny Winter was such an artist, yet there is no doubt his performance was on the level of a superstar. His recently released self-titled album highlighted Winter's prowess in the blues rock world, and his high energy performance at Woodstock elevated him to the level of guitar god.
This installment of Johnny "Guitar" Watson's sojourn into 1970s' style funk incorporates Funkadelic-style chants and sophisticated grooves as well as the blues and R&B master's trademark hoarse vocalizing; but, as always, his prickly, jazzy guitar soloing is the main attraction, displayed to its best advantage on burning funk tracks like "Barn Door" and "It's About the Dollar Bill."
In the mid-1960's, Abdullah Ibrahim (then known as Dollar Brand) was an avant-garde pianist influenced by Thelonious Monk who was not yet displaying much of his South African heritage in his music...