New Music Monday: Deck the halls with Amy Winehouse, the Black Keys and Nils Lofgren

Here’s a run down — with a few of our thoughts — on some notable music projects, both new and reissue, slated for release for the week of Dec. 6, 2011. That includes fresh product from Amy Winehouse, Brad Mehldau, the Black Keys, Carmine Appice, Elvis Costello, Nils Lofgren and Warren Haynes — as well as interesting updates of older items by the Bee Gees, Gary Wright, Neil Diamond, the Human Beinz and others.


1982Pintura (Jazz)
AfterNo Attachments, Metal Mind (Pop/Rock)

AMY WINEHOUSE – LIONESS: HIDDEN TREASURES, REPUBLIC (R&B): A duet with Tony Bennett? Great. A duet with a rapper? Does not compute. — S. Victor Aaron
—Can this album make good on the sweeping displays sorrow that seemed to surround her early passing? I’m not sure. As much as I appreciate Winehouse’s connective passion for her childhood heroes, the fact is she never gave herself a chance to move too much beyond easy mimickry. You wonder what she might have done, if she’d lived to be Bennett’s age, to build upon the foundation of influences like Washington — to create something that felt more like her own. — Nick DeRiso

André RieuKing of the Waltz [Collector's Edition], Universal Import (Classical)
Andrew HellerChristmas Wonder (Country)
Anthony DavidLocation, Location, Location (Pop/Rock)
ArenaThe Seventh Degree of Separation, Ais (Pop/Rock)

B.B. KING – MIDNIGHT BELIEVER; LIVE IN JAPAN; TOGETHER FOR THE FIRST TIME … LIVE; IN LONDON; INDIANOLA MISSISSIPPI SEEDS; LIVE IN THE COOK COUNTRY JAIL; TO KNOW YOU IS TO LOVE YOU, UNIVERSAL JAPAN (BLUES): Get a sneak peek backstage at a B.B. King show, as Something Else! Reviews visits with this blues legend: (More here.)Nick DeRiso

BEE GEES – MAIN COURSE, RHINO FLASHBACK (POP/ROCK): A really good disco album might strike some as a contradiction in terms, but the Brothers Gibb brought songcraft they had been honing for about ten years and producer Arif Mardin’s sleek production brought in a new horde of listeners, and has stood the test of time. The disco and the falsetto would get out of hand in a few years, but Main Course was just the right helping of both. — S. Victor Aaron

BRAD MEHLDAU – THE ART OF THE TRIO RECORDINGS: 1996-2001, NONESUCH (JAZZ): A compilation of the live sets that made Mehldau, and reinvigorated piano jazz just when it needed a boost in the worst way. (More here.)S. Victor Aaron

Britney SpearsB in the Mix the Remixes 2 [Bonus Track], Sony Japan (Pop/Rock)
BurzumFrom the Depths of Darkness, Ais (Pop/Rock)
Cal TjaderAgua Dulce, Beat Goes Public (Jazz)

CARMINE APPICE – CLASSICS, VERESE SARABANDE (POP/ROCK): Should be an interesting collection for drummers. It pulls together some of the best songs from many of Appice’s bands. — Fred Phillips

CaseAin’t Gonna Dance: Recordings 1980-85, Damaged Goods (Pop/Rock)
Charlie McCoyLonesome Whistle: A Tribute To Hank Williams (Country)
ChevelleHats Off To the Bull, Epic (Pop/Rock)
Con Funk ShunTouch/Seven/To the Max, Cherry Red (Pop/Rock)
Cradle RockLullaby Versions of Songs Recorded By the Eagles, Brash Music (Children’s)
Crosby, Stills & NashCrosby, Stills & Nash, Audio Fidelity (Pop/Rock)
Django ReinhardtSwing Guitars, EMI (Jazz)
Edith PiafLa Mome de Paris; Fais Moi Valser; A Portrait (Vocal)
Elva & TomasFlamenco: The Music Of Andalusian Gitanos (International)

ELVIS COSTELLO – THE RETURN OF THE SPECTACULAR SPINNING SONGBOOK, HIP-O (POP/ROCK): This sprawling set includes 3 discs (CD, DVD, 10” vinyl EP) of music recorded over a two-night stand at the Wiltern in Los Angeles on May 11 and 12, 2011. The second disc is a DVD focusing on Costello’s show on May 12, 2011, including a special guest appearance by the Bangles. Limited to 1500 copies worldwide, each set is individually numbered with a special commemoration card personally signed by Costello. Not ready to spring for the bloated price tag that goes with all these goodies? A single and double-disc version will be available next year. (More here.)Nick DeRiso

Emerson, Lake & PalmerLive At the Mar Y Sol Festival ’72, Shout! Factory (Pop/Rock)
Fred WesleyThe Lost Album, Hip-O Select (R&B)
Freddie HubbardSplash, Beat Goes Public (Jazz)
Gary NumanDead Son Rising (Electronic)

GARY WRIGHT – THE DREAM WEAVER, AUDIO FIDELITY (POP/ROCK): The title track, Wright’s most recognizable hit, was one of the first all-synthesizer pop projects, featuring only drums — either Jim Keltner and Andy Newmark — along with his keyboards. “Dream Weaver” was actually inspired by a book that George Harrison had given Wright. “Yes, George had given me several books written by Paramahansa Yogananda, a god-realized master whose poem “God, God, God” contained the words ‘when at night, my mind weaver dreams …,’ Wright told me. “He became my guru and, later on, George’s guru as well.” Wright had earlier contributed piano to Harrison’s massive production ‘All Things Must Pass.’ (More here.)Nick DeRiso

George JacksonDon’t Count Me Out: The Fame Recordings, Vol. 1, Kent UK (R&B)
Giant SandBackyard Barbecue Broadcast; Cover Magazine; Is All Over the Map (Pop/Rock)
GleeGlee: The Music, Vol. 7, Sony (Pop/Rock)
Graveyard JohnnysSongs From Better Days, Ais (Pop/Rock)
Harpers BizarreFeelin’ Groovy [Deluxe Expanded Mono Edition], Now Sounds (Pop/Rock)

HELIX – WILD IN THE STREETS; LONG WAY TO HEAVEN (POP/ROCK): There’s a name I haven’t heard in a while. I don’t remember much about these albums, to be honest, but I do remember that one song I had on several K-Tel style compilations. “Give me an R (R) O(O) C(C) K(K). Whatcha got? ROCK. Whatcha gonna do? ROCK YOU.” Ah, good times. — Fred Phillips

Jimi Jamison/Bobby Kimball - Kimball/Jamison [Bonus Tracks], Ais (Pop/Rock)
Jimmy BuffettTake the Weather with You (Pop/Rock)
Jimmy Page/David CoverdaleCoverdale Page, Sony Japan (Pop/Rock)

JON ANDERSON/RICK WAKEMAN – THE LIVING TREE IN CONCERT PART ONE, GONZO MULTIMEDIA (POP/ROCK): Don’t go in expecting mountains to come out of the sky, prog-rock style. This was quieter, more direct. In fact, The Living Tree, a delicately powerful 9-song duo recording featuring two Yes alums, pointed to this reenergized muse inside of a more personal context for Anderson in 2010 — something that his subsequent solo triumph with Survival and Other Stories confirmed. A tour with Wakeman followed, with a blended setlist from tracks from their old band and this new project, including “And You & I,” “Living Tree (Parts 1-2),” “Long Distance Runaround,” “Time and a Word,” “23/24/11″ and “Southside of the Sky” among others. (More here.)Nick DeRiso

KornThe Path of Totality, Roadrunner (Pop/Rock)
Larry Joe TaylorTexas Music Festival 23: Tunes, Winding Road (Easy Listening)
Lee “Scratch” PerryNu Sound & Version, On U Sounds (Reggae)
Levert IIDedication, Kes (R&B)
LFOFrequencies, Warp (Electronic)

LITTLE RIVER BAND – A LITTLE RIVER BAND CHRISTMAS (HOLIDAY): Looking for a cool change this holiday season? You can always count on the Little River Band. Some rock acts start out edgy, later mellowing out to adult contemporary … sometimes blissfully, sometimes not. LRB was playing the adult contemporary format from the word “go,” using a note-perfect blending of sweeping vocals and polished musicianship to place 11 songs in the Top 40 in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Transfer that sound to Christmas, and this one should make for a Yuletide project that’s an approachable delight. (More here.)S. Victor Aaron

Marlene DietrichThe Best from 1929-1959 (International)
MC5Black to Comm/Live at the Royal Festival Hall London [2CD/1DVD], Easy Action (Pop/Rock)
Michael Martin MurpheyAmerica’s Horses (Country)

MOTLEY CRUE – 30TH ANNIVERSARY BOX SET, UNIVERSAL JAPAN (POP/ROCK): No one milks money from fans with compilations of songs they’ve already got quite like Motley Crue. Here’s another one. (More here.)Fred Phillips

Muck and The MiresA Cellarful of Muck (Pop/Rock)

NEIL DIAMOND – THE VERY BEST OF NEIL DIAMOND, SONY (POP/ROCK): I’ve been trying to figure out what I was going to get my Mom for Christmas. Problem solved.Fred Phillips

NILS LOFGREN – OLD SCHOOL, VISION MUSIC (POP/ROCK): This is Lofgren’s initial project since the twin deaths of fellow E Street Band members Danny Federici and Clarence Clemons, devastating losses that imbue the album with darker undercurrents, and his first original project in six years. “It was worth the wait,” Lofgren told me. “All of a sudden, I had 12 songs. I’m proud of them. They are all over the place — as am I, as a person making my way. As grateful as I am for the journey, I also have a lot of eye-opening causes for concern. I had to make a record to express that.” The result: Lofgren pushes back (and hard) on Old School, against modernity’s self-centered hypocrisy, our own reckless disregard for things we should hold more dearly, even the physical infirmities associated with middle age. (More here.)Nick DeRiso

Orion the HunterOrion the Hunter (Pop/Rock)
Peter HammillPno GTR Vox: Live Performances by Peter Hammill, Fie (Pop/Rock)
PhishHampton/Winston-Salem ’97, Jemp (Pop/Rock)
Preschool PopstarsDaycare Dance Party (Pop/Rock)
Robin ThickeLove After War, Interscope (R&B)
Rodney CrowellBut What Will the Neighbors Think? (Country)
Roy AyersStep Into Our Life/Prime Time, Cherry Red (Jazz)

SEAN COSTELLO – AT HIS BEST: LIVE, LANDSLIDE (BLUES): There have been a lot of newcomers to the blues scene over the last ten or fifteen years, but few gave us more reason to be excited about the future of the blues than Sean Costello. He was a completely developed package, revitalizing the genre using more than a dozen years of experience most blues players don’t get in a lifetime. As it tragically turned out, however, Costello died in 2008 — after issuing only a handful of albums, and one day short of his twenty-ninth birthday. As far as he had come in his short time on earth, one could sense he hadn’t yet reached the ceiling of his abilities yet. This album is sure to be another reminder of what might have been for this talented young bluesman. (More here.)S. Victor Aaron

ShakiraEn Vivo Desde Paris [CD/DVD] (Latin)
Steven WilsonCenotaph, Ais (Electronic)
T-PainRevolver, RCA (R&B)

Tangerine DreamSorcerer; Green Desert, Esoteric (Electronic)

THE ALLMAN BROTHERS – ONE WAY OUT (POP/ROCK): How many times have you heard Gregg Allman’s “Midnight Rider”? I know I heard it so often I thought I’d never want to hear it again. And yet somehow the version on One Way Out is so invigorating it’s like a new song. Trucks’ slide work howls from your left speakers and more often than not I found myself transfixed by his playing. Burbridge’s bass work rarely takes center stage, instead burbling insistently in the background and providing a thick, meaty foundation. While the older material may not be the most challenging for such a tremendously talented bassist, every note and lick oozes with evidence of his proficiency. (More here.)Tom Johnson

The Allman Brothers BandHittin’ the Note; S.U.N.Y. at Stonybrook: Stonybrook, NY 9/19/71 (Pop/Rock)
The Balfa BrothersThe Balfa Brothers Play Traditional Cajun Music, Vols. 1-2, Ace UK (International)

THE BLACK KEYS – EL CAMINO, NONESUCH (POP/ROCK): The needle here just vibrates on the right side of the speedometer — from a deliriously inventive reduction of Smokey Robinson’s atmospheric trills, these piercing post-punk riffs and sock-hop beats on the stand-out track “Stop Stop,” to the arena-rock anthem “Nova Baby.” Whereas 2010′s Brothers – while deftly balancing both the modern rock and Delta styles that have long obsessed the Black Keys — came off like a chest-bumping celebration of summer, El Camino is this angry shove back against winter. Gassed up and ready to roll, this follow up — from the very first — is on a serious tear. (More here.)Nick DeRiso

The CrampsFile Under Sacred Music: Early Singles 1978-81, Munster (Pop/Rock)
The CureBestival Live 2011, Play It Again Sam US (Pop/Rock)

THE DEAD MILKMEN – THE KING IN YELLOW (POP/ROCK): Another blast from my misspent youth. Never was a huge fan, really, but I wore out a cassette copy of Big Lizard in My Back Yard. — Fred Phillips

The FallErsatz G.B., Cherry Red (Pop/Rock)

THE HUMAN BEINZ – GARAGE DAYS, VOL. 1, VARESE SARABANDE (POP/ROCK): A batch of previously unissued tracks the Human Beinz laid down before the memorable one-hit-wonder song “Nobody But Me” awarded them fame. While a loose and youthful exuberance does trim the material, the band was actually a touch more polished and together than the standard garage-rock combo. A well versed act, the Human Beinz dipped their fingers in an olio of genres, and did so with verve, confidence and a knowing wink. (More here.)Beverly Paterson

The Mighty Mighty BosstonesThe Magic of Youth, Big Rig (Pop/Rock)
The RootsUndun, Island (Rap)
Throbbing GristleThrobbing Gristle’s Greatest Hits (Pop/Rock)
Tim HalperinRise and Fall (Pop/Rock)
Todd RundgrenWith a Twist; One Long Year, Esoteric (Pop/Rock)
Travis TrittTen Feet Tall and Bulletproof (Country)
Various artistsAmy’s Jukebox: The Music That Inspired Amy Winehouse, Chrome Dreams (Easy Listening)
Various artistsFrom Paris to Vienna: Unforgettable Melodies from the Golden Age of Light Music (Classical)
Various artistsFurther Mellow Cats ‘n’ Kittens: Hot R&B and Cool Blues, 1945-51, Ace UK (R&B)
Various artistsMasterpieces of Modern Soul, Vol. 3, Kent UK (Pop/Rock)
Various artistsNow That’s What I Call Disney, EMI (Children’s)
Various artistsPiccadilly Sunshine, Pt. 6: British Pop Psych (Pop/Rock)
Various artistsThe Chief & Age Blues Story, Fuel 2000 (Blues)
Various artistsThe Jewel Paula Soul Story, Fuel 2000 (R&B)

VARIOUS ARTISTS – WARREN HAYNES PRESENTS THE BENEFIT CONCERT, VOL. 4, EVIL TEEN (POP/ROCK): Features Gov’t Mule — doing a devastating new version of “Worried Down With The Blues,” originally included on their 2001 release The Deep End: Vol. 1, the first following bassist Allen Woody’s untimely passing — along with Bob Weir and Friends, John Hiatt and the Goners, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, moe and others. The set was recorded Dec. 21, 2002 at the 14th annual Warren Haynes Christmas Jam in Haynes’ hometown of Asheville, N.C.; all proceeds from the album benefit the Asheville chapter of Habitat for Humanity. The Christmas Jam tradition continues this year with the 23rd installment on Dec. 10, 2011. (More here.)Nick DeRiso

VOLBEAT – LIVE FROM BEYOND HELL/ABOVE HEAVEN, REPUBLIC (POP/ROCK): Volbeat is one of my favorite discoveries of recent years. Their 2007 Johnny Cash tribute “Sad Man’s Tongue,” made an immediate connection with me, and I’ve grown to like them even more over the years. Their versatility is amazing as they blend everything from country and rockabilly to pop rock to death metal. This should be a good one. — Fred Phillips

William RossA Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, Varese Sarabande (Stage & Screen)
Willie ClaytonThe Tribute: One Man, One Voice, End-Zone (R&B)

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