New Music Monday: Eric Burdon, Kid Rock, Nektar, Curved Air, Carmen McRae, Iron Maiden

Eric Burdon returns with a scalding collaboration alongside the Greenhornes out of Cincinnati, a band that expertly revives the garage-rock sound of the Animals. There are also new sides from Kid Rock, Nektar and Curved Air.

Kid Rock’s Rebel Soul finds the Detroit rocker working with Audley Freed (Jakob Dylan, Black Crowes) and Vinnie Dombrosky (Sponge), as well as his own Twisted Brown Trucker backing band.

A live retrospective focusing on Curved Air, with previously unreleased BCC recordings, includes some exciting 1976 recordings with Stewart Copeland, just before he took over the drum chair in the band that would become the Police.

Nektar, which like Curved Air came to fame during the heady days of early-1970s prog, is back with a new take on some of rock music’s most memorable sides — recorded with another amazing all-star cast courtesy of Billy Sherwood, including a number of members and former members from his old band Yes.

The Burdon EP was available as a sneak-peek preview for the Black Friday edition of Record Store Day, and is being made available everywhere.

Elsewhere, you’ll find great reissues from Dio, the Who and Iron Maiden, and more uneven fare from Carmen McRae and W.A.S.P.

Alicia KeysGirl On Fire (Pop/Rock)
Atlas GeniusThrough The Glass (Pop/Rock)
Bobby BareDarker Than Light (Pop/Rock)
Blues BandBrand Loyalty (Blues)

CARMEN McRAE – CAN’T HIDE LOVE (JAZZ): Alternately fascinating and quite painful, this 1976 A&M Records project finds the great McRae struggling mightily to shake off the cobwebs of songbook standards. When it works — as on the title track from Earth Wind and Fire (with a surging arrangement courtesy of Gerald Wilson) and Bill Withers’ “I Wish You Well” — Can’t Hide Love illuminates new corners of this legendary singer’s late-period craft. Of course, just because something was new, that didn’t make it worthy of McRae’s gifts — see Alice Cooper’s “Only Women Bleed,” Eric Carmen’s “All By Myself,” so on. But those are noble failures. Worse really, though, is how the album cheats on its own concept — mixing in, sigh, songbook standards like the Gershwins’ “The Man I Love.” Similarly, the arrangements here from Wilson and Thad Jones boast a smooth gusto that Dave Grusin doesn’t begin to aspire to. Interesting, but sadly uneven. — Nick DeRiso

ChallengerThe World Is Too Much For Me (Pop/Rock)
Colour The AtlasEP (Pop/Rock)

CURVED AIR – AIR WAVES (POP/ROCK): Featuring eight live tracks recorded by Curved Air’s initial incarnation for the BBC in 1970-71, and then five more from a 1976 lineup that featured Stewart Copeland, Air Waves is an opportunity to examine both eras of this underrated prog-rock group. Ultimately, those showcases with the Police’s future drummer prove to be the most fascinating, as Curved Air expanded from its initial distinctly English prog influences into hard rock and R&B stylings. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

David SanbornThen Again: David Sanborn Anthology (Jazz)

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DIO – THE LAST IN LINE [Gold Disc) (POP/ROCK): Though Holy Diver gets most of the praise in the early Dio catalog, The Last in Line can go toe-to-toe with it, and includes a couple of my favorite Dio cuts in the title track and “One Night in the City.” -- Fred Phillips

Earl Klugh - Living Inside Your Love (Jazz)

ERIC BURDEN AND THE GREENHORNES - ERIC BURDEN AND THE GREENHORNES EP (POP/ROCK): In a gritty reimagining of the old Animals sound, Eric Burdon has joined up with Cincinnati garage rockers the Greenhornes — featuring the rhythm section from the Raconteurs — for a raggedy-ass street-fighting EP. Burdon, of course, had worked with the Greenhornes on East Grand Blues, their 2005 EP. They met up again after this year’s SXSW, when Bruce Springsteen gave such an impassioned argument for this very sound. Burdon and the Greenhornes arrived at Welcome to 1979 studio and produced this four-song cycle in a lickety-split day and a half. You can almost smell the ozone, as these guys recapture something primordial in rock — something that combines pent-up rage, pent-up sexuality and pent-up dreams. Let’s hope this is just the beginning. (More here.) -- Nick DeRiso

Great Big Sea - Xx (Pop/Rock)
Hammer Klavier Trio - Rocket In The Pocket (Jazz)
Horace Silver - Silver'n Strings Play the Music (Jazz)
Howlin' Wolf - Three Classic Albums Plus (Blues)

IRON MAIDEN - NUMBER OF THE BEAST/ PIECE OF MIND (POP/ROCK): A limited edition vinyl picture disc of the definitive Iron Maiden record and one that’s almost its equal just in time for Christmas. Why, yes, I do accept gifts from strangers. -- Fred Phillips

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John ZornThe Concealed (Jazz)
Judy CollinsLive at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Pop/Rock)

KID ROCK – REBEL SOUL (POP/ROCK): Haven’t really cared about Kid Rock in many years, but it’s always interesting to see which guy will show up for this record and just how bad it will be. — Fred Phillips

Mediaeval BaebesHuntress (Folk)
Mike + the MechanicsMike + the Mechanics [Gold Disc] (Pop/Rock)

NEKTAR – A SPOONFUL OF TIME [with Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman, Derek Sherinian, Rod Argent, others] (POP/ROCK): When you saw that Nektar was working with Billy Sherwood — a guy whose Rolodex needs its own boarding pass — you might have guessed that an all-star album was on the way courtesy of Cleopatra Records. You would have been right. A Spoonful of Time, which finds Nektar covering songs from across the rock landscape, features members and former members of King Crimson, Tangerine Dream, Cream, Dream Theater, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Deep Purple — and, of course, Sherwood’s former band Yes. The trick, for Nektar, is not getting lost in this oceanic tide of big names and recognizable sounds. The album doesn’t completely pull that off, not with some of the warhorse song selections here, but it certainly works as an approachable way to re-introduce a legacy band that, after all, made its biggest splash back in 1973-74. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

OutasightNights Like These (Pop/Rock)
Rage Against the MachineXX: 20th Anniversary Edition; Rage Against the Machine [Vinyl] (Pop/Rock)
Ron WoodI’ve Got My Own Album to Do; Now Look (Pop/Rock)

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The PoguesPogues In Paris: 30th Anniversary Concert DVD (Pop/Rock)
The Tea PartyLive From Australia (Pop/Rock)

THE WHO – WHO’S NEXT [Expanded Edition] (POP/ROCK): It’s a must-have for most people — even without the improved remastering. If you owned the 1995 remaster, there’s the bonus of the live tracks on Disc 2 and the previously unissued live takes of “Gettin’ In Tune” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again” in addition to the ’95 remaster’s live tracks. If you never bought the 1995 remaster, you need this one, period. Some may not find a remaster as thrilling as I do, and maybe don’t care about live material. In that case, move along, this reissue will do little for you. But I still think you’re missing out. (More here.) — Tom Johnson

The Winter SoundsRunner (Pop/Rock)

W.A.S.P. – INSIDE THE ELECTRIC CIRCUS/ THE HEADLESS CHILDREN (POP/ROCK): Inside the Electric Circus, for the most part, I could live without. The Headless Children is an ’80s metal classic. — Fred Phillips

Y&TLive at the Mystic (Pop/Rock)
YanniLive At El Morro Puerto Rico CD/DVD/Blu-ray (Pop/Rock)

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