New Music Monday: Joe Bonamassa, Paul McCartney, Slash, Sonny Landreth, Tedeschi Trucks

New Music Monday brings a dizzying array of fresh items from the likes of Bob Wayne, Garbage, Great White, Joe Bonamassa, Kill Devil Hill, Slash and Sonny Landreth, as well as new reissues and concert souvenirs from Albert King, Flotsam and Jetsam, Paul and Linda McCartney, Simply Red and the Tedeschi Trucks Band. Also out with new releases this week: Blind Guardian, Allan Harris and Takana Miyamoto, Diablo Swing Orchestra and Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Gus G’s Firewind project, among many others.

SIT TIGHT FOR THE MAY 21, 2012 EDITION OF NEW MUSIC MONDAY …

ALBERT KING – I’LL PLAY FOR THE BLUES FOR YOU (BLUES): A remarkable mixture of sharp Chess modernity and the down-home sizzle of Stax, this 1972 gem confirmed Albert King’s status as touchstone for some of the biggest rock guitarists of the era — and ultimately become one of the most influential blues recordings of the 1970s. Made complete with sidemen from the Otis Redding and Isaac Hayes bands, I’ll Play the Blues For You remains as funky as it is hard-eyed. The reason for buying this new edition, beyond the sparkling 24-bit remastering, lay in four instantly essential bonus tracks — two of which are additional takes on music from the initial release. The originals are “I Need Love,” and a wah-wah driven instrumental called “Albert’s Stomp.” A newly discovered version of the title track adds some very cool horns. Meanwhile, “Don’t Burn Down The Bridge” is presented as a raw, straight-ahead number, without the horns. — Nick DeRiso

ALLAN HARRIS AND TAKANA MIYAMOTO – CONVERGENCE (JAZZ): Harris, the Nat King Cole-ish singer, may not seem particularly well cast in a project honoring Tony Bennett and Bill Evans’ celebrated mid-1970s collaborations. And Miyamoto, who in 2006-07 worked with former Evans trio drummer Marty Morell on a concert series and album honoring the legendary pianist, might seem a bit too on the nose. But both have played in a variety of settings over the years (Miyamoto with Nnenna Freelon and Rene Marie; Harris with Tommy Flanagan and Bill Charlap), giving each a broad vocabulary with which to interpret these familiar standards. The resulting album doesn’t so much pay tribute to what came before, as use it as a reference point to build something completely their own. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

BLIND GUARDIAN – MEMORIES OF A TIME TO COME (POP/ROCK): The two-disc best of compilation is made up of mostly remasters of some of their best songs and a few re-recordings done in 2011. Guardian fans will have all of these songs, some several times over, but it’s a nice introduction to the band. My only complaint is that 16 songs aren’t nearly enough for an overview of their career. — Fred Phillips

BOB WAYNE – TILL THE WHEELS FALL OFF (COUNTRY): Wayne’s follow-up to Outlaw Carnie is a more accurate reflection of him as an artist. While his Century Media debut was made up primarily of re-recorded tunes, this one is mostly new material and shows off more facets of his music. His old boss Hank III also shows up for a duet. (More here.) — Fred Phillips

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Chris BarberMemories of My Trip (Blues)
David BasseUptown (Jazz)
David Kikoski TrioConsequences (Jazz)
Delta MoonBlack Cat Oil (Blues)

DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA – PANDORA’S PINATA (POP/ROCK): One of the most creative bands in metal today. They take rock and metal, swing, opera, and whatever other genre they happen to think of and mash them all together. Sometimes it’s a mess, but when it works, it’s awesome. — Fred Phillips

FIREWIND – FEW AGAINST MANY (POP/ROCK): This is Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Gus G in his natural habitat. Firewind is probably the most consistent band in the power metal genre, and that doesn’t change with this release. — Fred Phillips

FLOTSAM AND JETSAM – THE COLD [DELUXE EDITION] (POP/ROCK): The 1980s thrash act’s overlooked 2010 album gets a re-release with some classic bonus tracks added on. The record is easily the outfit’s best since 1995’s Drift, a personal favorite. — Fred Phillips

GARBAGE – NOT YOUR KIND OF PEOPLE (POP/ROCK): Where she once prowled around on stage like something hunting prey, singing every word with this kind of S&M-y undercurrent of man-breaking passion, Shirley Manson now opens up in the most disarming ways. That’s probably fitting, considering how much time has passed. By giving us a peek behind her ass-whipping armor, she’s made her return less about recalling Garbage’s past glories than about pushing her own songcraft into raw, new emotional places. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

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GREAT WHITE – ELATION (POP/ROCK): I really haven’t liked much that Great White has done since the 1980s, and nothing’s different on the band’s first record without singer Jack Russell — who is now fronting Jack Russell’s Great White, a lesson obviously not learned from the L.A. Guns or Ratt debacles. There are a couple of good tunes here, but most of it is forgettable. — Fred Phillips

Harold BuddIn the Mist (Pop/Rock)

JOE BONAMASSA – DRIVING TOWARDS THE DAYLIGHT (BLUES): Another platter of heavy blues cast with a hard stomping rock bent. The new twist, if you will, is the introduction of other guitarists to push Bonamassa further (Aerosmith guitarist Brad Whitford, Brad’s son Harrison, Pat Thrall, ex-Beach Boys Blondie Chaplin), but Bonamassa is clearly self-motivated. The more notable shift is the scaling back on the original tunes and a heavier reliance on covers. This time, the covers trump Bonamassa’s own compositions, which, while all competent, are beginning to sound like rewrites of his songs from he recent prior albums. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

Joey Ramone“…Ya Know?” (Pop/Rock)
John MayerBorn and Raised (Pop/Rock)
John ZornTemplars-In Sacred Blood (Pop/Rock)
Keith UrbanStory So Far (Country)

KILL DEVIL HILL – KILL DEVIL HILL (POP/ROCK): You know one thing for sure about this new outfit formed around former Black Sabbath/Dio drummer Vinny Appice and Pantera bassist Rex Brown – the rhythm section is going to be tight. So is everything else on this collection of timeless hard rock tunes. — Fred Phillips

KimbraVows (Pop/Rock)
Linda OhInitial Here (Jazz)
Magic SamLive 1969: Raw Blues (Blues)
MercyMeHurt and The Healer (Pop/Rock)
Michael Bloomfield and Nic GravenitesBlues at the Fillmore 1968-69 (Blues)

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P.J. PACIFICO – THE LIVE EP (POP/ROCK): This singer-songwriter typically plays solo shows, alone with his guitar — prompting fans to ask for recordings that reflect this rawly emotional, stripped down approach. So, after releasing the full-band effort Outlet in 2011, Pacifico vowed to make good on the promise, booking a date at a huge, warm-sounding room in the back of a Southport, Connecticut, church and bringing in a professional recording rig. “I’m proud of them all,” Pacifico says, “mostly because I’m playing them just the way I wrote them on a my couch — just me and my guitar. Just the way my fans told me to.” The always-busy Pacifico is gearing up for a tour through Holland and Germany in June. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

PAUL AND LINDA McCARTNEY – RAM [DELUXE REISSUE] (POP/ROCK): This album was initially criticized for everything that makes it sound unexpectedly bold, fascinatingly unedited and utterly misjudged today. Skip to “The Back Seat of My Car,” its soaringly constructed, yet desperately sad closing track, and you’ll see why. Sure, like the rest of Ram, the song is a little unfocused — too overstuffed with ideas, too reliant on multi-tracked McCartneys, not as rustic as his solo debut and somehow tossed-off sounding anyway, simply too long — yet it remains a homespun, wildly inventive gem: Gutsy and unprecious at one point and then a testament to Paul’s enduring pop sensibilities at others. There is a sense of limitless possibility. Sure, Ram would have benefited from having someone else to bounce ideas off of, but its essential pop magnetism — its compulsively listenability — simply can’t be denied. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Paula WestLive At Jazz Standard (Vocals)
Peter CincottiMetropolis (Jazz)

SIMPLY RED – LIVE AT MONTREUX DVD/Blu-ray (POP/ROCK): This two-hour, 18-song set, principally recorded in 2003, is highlighted by a near-definitive reading of the band’s breakout hit “Holding Back the Years,” a song that’s still so full of longing for a life not yet lived. Of course, in a move that betrays the vintage of this concert, elsewhere we find an abundance of cuts from Simply Red’s then-current release Home, with mixed results. Luckily, the lesser tracks from that album are sprinkled throughout the set, and they’re augmented by the absolute best of the rest of the band’s 25-year catalog — giving Montreux rare momentum for a Simply Red project. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

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SLASH – APOCALYPTIC LOVE (POP/ROCK): I’m really surprised by how much I like this record. I’m still not completely sold on Myles Kennedy, but I love the raw, rocking songs scattered around the album. — Fred Phillips

SONNY LANDRETH – ELEMENTAL JOURNEY (BLUES): Over 11 previous albums, this slide virtuoso has resisted doing the one thing that was expected: The guitar record. When he finally did, you knew there would be some care put into it — and there is. Landreth has given us something powerful, abstract, and less bound up in his Louisiana roots than most anything he’s done before — a tour de force argument for Landreth as a musical voice, independent of Spanish moss-covered cliche. The results are a triumph, with no words needed. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

TEDESCHI TRUCKS BAND – EVERYBODY’S TALKIN’ (BLUES): With only four tracks carried over this group’s celebrated debut Revelator and introducing a new song — “Nobody’s Free” — Everybody’s Talkin’ is much more than some live rendition of a studio album. Leveraging the deep, full sound of a seasoned touring band replete with two drummers, a horn section of male backup singers of lead vocal caliber, this rock ‘n’ soul orchestra never sounds too cluttered or overwrought. That’s to say, the arrangements are tight, and they aren’t always the same you hear them on the originals. A warning, though: There’s only eleven songs spanning across those two discs, with six of them running over ten minutes. That’s no criticism — these musicians have the chops to let it all hang out, so why not give the public their whole package — but for these not accustomed to hearing songs veering off into Improvisation Land and staying a spell, it can test their attention span. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

The CultChoice of Weapon (Pop/Rock)
The Oak Ridge BoysBack Home Again (Country)
Various artistsPutumayo Presents: Bluegrass (Country)

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