New Music Monday: Alvin Lee, Art Garfunkel, Gillan & Iommi, Jeremy Spencer, Robert Cray

Make way for red-hot new stuff from the likes of Ten Years After’s Alvin Lee; Ian Gillan and Tony Iommi; Fleetwood Mac’s Jeremy Spencer; Joey DeFrancesco with Larry Coryell and Jimmy Cobb; and Robert Cray.

Out with key reissues and live documents this week are Art Garfunkel, Art Pepper, Queen and the Jackson 5. New Music Monday also includes new releases of note from Eluveitie, the Kelly McCarty 3 and Saga, among many others.

SO LET’S GET GOING, WITH THIS AUGUST 27, 2012 EDITION OF NEW MUSIC MONDAY …

Abandoned PoolsSublime Currency (Pop/Rock)
Aimee WilsonUnto Us The Sun (Pop/Rock)
Alanis MorissetteHavoc and Bright Lights (Pop/Rock)
Albert CummingsNo Regrets (Blues)
Amanda BreckerBlossom (Pop/Rock)
Amie PenwellWalking With You (Pop/Rock)

ALVIN LEE – ROAD TO FREEDOM (POP/ROCK): A terrific mixing and matching of styles that updates, expands and yet still some how completely recalls Lee’s tenure in Ten Years After. He opens the album with a title track that echoes the spooky blues of “I’d Love to Change the World,” then closes with a funky cool update of “Love Like a Man,” from TYA’s 1970 release Cricklewood Green. In between, Lee gets into a deep Delta blues groove on tracks like “Save My Stuff” and the terrific “Blues Got Me So Bad,” and sounds like a Booker T. and the MGs throwback on “Down Line Rock.” There’s Latin spice on the smart instrumental “Son of the Red Rock Mountain,” and a laidback J.J. Cale/Eric Clapton vibe on standout cuts like “Nice and Easy” and “Walk On, Walk Tall.” (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

ArmadaPaper Ghosts (Pop/Rock)

ART GARFUNKEL – THE SINGER (POP/ROCK): Garfunkel has described his work in compiling this 34-song, two-disc set as something of a “swan song.” He reportedly is suffering from a condition called vocal paresis, which has severely limited his ability to perform. The Singer, featuring cuts both from Garfunkel’s time with Paul Simon and as a solo artist, underscores the tragedy of that. Included are his stirring takes on “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “Breakaway,” “Scarborough Fair,” “The Sound of Silence,” “April Come She Will,” and the mid-1970s gem “My Little Town.” Other highlights: “All I Know,” “Barbara Allen,” “For Emily,” “(What A) Wonderful World,” “So Long Frank Lloyd Wright,” and two newly recorded performances in “Lena” and “Long Way Home.” (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

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ART PEPPER – UNRELEASED VII: OSAKA, JAPAN, NOVEMBER 18, 1980 (JAZZ): The latest in a series of bootleg recordings cleaned up and made fit for official release by Laurie Pepper. The Unreleased Art Pepper series chronicle the music in the final period in Pepper’s life, a man reinvigorated after many difficult years and reassuming his place as one of the finest bop alto-saxophonists to follow in the wake of Charlie Parker. He used a mix of evergreen standards and bebop originals for his set list, which, admittedly, finds a lot of overlap with the set lists of prior Unreleased Art Pepper volumes. That’s to be expected, though, since these concerts were all performed at roughly the same time. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

Betty BuckleyAh, Men! The Boys of Broadway (Vocals)
Bill Nelson’s Red NoiseSound on Sound (R&B)
Caroline HerringCamilla (Folk)
Chilly GonzalesSolo Piano II (Jazz)
DalaThis Moment Is a Flash (Folk)
Divine FitsA Thing Called Divine Fits (Pop/Rock)
DweleGreater Than One (R&B)
Dwight YoakamUnder the Covers (Country)
Etta JamesLive at Montreux (R&B)

ELUVEITIE – THE EARLY YEARS (POP/ROCK): The Swiss folk metal masters celebrate their 10th anniversary with a double-CD release that includes their debut album Spirit, as well as a complete re-recording of their very first EP. — Fred Phillips

GILLAN AND IOMMI – WHO CARES (POP/ROCK): While I would have liked to have a full album of new material like last year’s fantastic “Out of My Mind,” this collection of classics and rarities should do nicely. (More here.) — Fred Phillips

Grateful DeadDick’s Picks Vol. 28 2/26/73: Lincoln, NE; 2/28/73: Salt Lake City, UT (Pop/Rock)
Harry ShearerCan’t Take a Hint (Pop/Rock)
Jay Jesse JohnsonRun With the Wolf (Blues)

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JEREMY SPENCER – BEND IN THE ROAD (POP/ROCK): There’s plenty of the expected blues excursions here. But the former original Fleetwood Mac guitarist finds inspiration everywhere, uncovering inspirational wellsprings that reside far beyond iconic Delta cottonfields and shotgun shacks: There are devotional nods to his time away from music, even a trio of tunes based upon poetry. In the end, this gives Bend in the River the feel of a career valedictory. It’s gloriously hard to pin down. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Jerry Jeff WalkerLive From Dixie’s Bar & Bus Stop (Country)

JOEY DeFRANCESCO – WONDERFUL! WONDERFUL! [WITH LARRY CORYELL, JIMMY COBB] (JAZZ): DeFrancesco stays completely, utterly, actually maybe too consistently in the pocket throughout. As such, Wonderful! Wonderful! doesn’t produce a whole lot of surprises. Yet, the album somehow doesn’t disappoint either, if only because it etches such a straight line back to some muscle-memory delights of another era — an era now definitively past. They may not be redrawing the past here, but sometimes homage (coupled with a serious will to fun) is enough. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Johnny MathisTender Is The Night/ Wonderful World of Make-Believe (Vocals)

KELLY McCARTY 3 – ROUX STEADY (JAZZ): It might be a bit unfair to compare the Kelly McCarty 3 to Charlie Hunter’s early trios and quartets, but that’s exactly what they sound like. Moreover, that music was some of the best fusion of the time and Hunter has largely moved on from that era. So, I greet Roux Steady with a lot of enthusiasm. Sure, this group has its own little twists but taking a nostalgia trip back to this style of acid jazz makes the listening all the more better. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

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Lionel LouekeHeritage (Jazz)
Luciana SouzaBook of Chet; Duos III (Vocals)
Magic Slim and the TeardropsBad Boy (Blues)
Michael KiwanukaHome Again (R&B)
Minus the BearInfinity Overhead (Pop/Rock)
Poor MoonPoor Moon (Pop/Rock)

QUEEN – GREATEST VIDEO HITS (POP/ROCK): A double-disc stuffed with every one of this band’s ground-breaking video masterpieces, from the eye-popping layers of “Bohemian Rhapsody” to the tough glint of “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” from the stadium-rocking thunder of “We Are the Champions” to the weird juxtaposition of a black-and-white future on “Radio Ga Ga,” Freddie Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon and Roger Taylor show that their eye for the offbeat, utterly unforgettable visual was just as complex and thrilling as their ear for rock eclecticism. The results were a whole new synthesis of rock, Tin Pan Alley, glam and opera, writ large on the small screen. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Rick HolmstromCruel Sunrise (Blues)

ROBERT CRAY – NOTHIN BUT LOVE (BLUES): I don’t remember the last time, outside of a live performance, when Robert Cray’s guitar sounded so present. Nothin But Love puts Cray’s instrument front and center — then builds some of his most interesting collaborative moments around that signature sound. There’s a reason Cray has won five Grammys, sold more records than any other guy playing the blues in the last 25 years, become the youngest ever living inductee into the Blues Hall of Fame. His records are fun to listen to, and perhaps none more — certainly for guitar fans — than this one. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

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SAGA – 20/20 (POP/ROCK): Canadian prog rockers best known for “On The Loose,” which went to No. 26 on the Billboard Charts in March 1983, Saga returns with original lead singer Michael Sadler for their 20th studio album. The title is both a tip of the hat to the band’s recording history as well as a good luck wish to keyboardist/vocalist Jim Gilmour — who had to undergo an eye operation during Saga’s most recent European tour. (The band says Gilmour’s eyesight is now, indeed, 20/20). “One thing that we agreed on was that, if and when I ever were to return,” Sadler says, “it would have to feel like it was exactly the right thing to do and exactly the right time to do it.” (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Sean RoweThe Salesman and the Shark (Pop/Rock)
SwansSeer (Pop/Rock)
TamiaBeautiful Surprise (R&B)
The FlatlandersOdessa Tapes (Country)
The O’JaysLive In Concert (R&B)

THE JACKSON 5 – COME AND GET IT: THE RARE PEARLS (POP/ROCK): A new 32-track, two-disc set focusing on the earliest days of the Jackson 5, to be released the day before Michael Jackson’s 54th birthday. Featured are versions of “You Can’t Hurry Love” by the Supremes, Jackie DeShannon’s “Movin,’” Traffic’s “Feelin’ Alright,” the Drifters’ “Up On The Roof,” the Stax classic “I Got A Sure Thing,” and “Mama Told Me Not to Come” by Three Dog Night, among others. But the undisputed highlight is the previously unheard “If The Shoe Don’t Fit,” composed by the same team that wrote “I Want You Back,” the Jackson 5′s first charttopping single in 1970: Berry Gordy, Alphonzo Mizell, Deke Richards, and Freddie Perren — known as “The Corporation.” (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

The RippingtonsBuilt To Last (Jazz)
The Wood BrothersLive 2: Nail & Tooth (Folk)
Townes Van ZandtNo Deeper Blue (Country)
TriumphLive at Sweden Rock Festival (Pop/Rock)
Various artistsAll Time Greatest Blues Songs [B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, John Lee Hooker] (Blues)

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