Fifty years in, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band is releasing its first-ever album of all original material, and it’s been produced by Jim James. Yeah, we’re so there.
And Omar Dykes, that Austin blues-rock legend, is taking on Howlin’ Wolf? Ditto.
Elsewhere, Abigail Riccards — one of our absolute favorite jazz singers — has completed a great project in support of a very cool cause. There’s a new Chic compilation that pairs the group’s best songs with some of their best collaborations.
We remember REO Speedwagon before they went soft, and a forgotten R&B guy called Ironing Board Sam. We happily await the follow up to King Kobra’s self-titled comeback, too.
Oh, and there’s a new box set of these priceless mid- to late-1970s live recordings from the MCM label, capturing the dying glimmers of Chicago’s golden age of city blues …
ABIGAIL RICCARDS – EVERY LITTLE STAR (VOCALS): We’ve been raving about Riccards around here, quite literally, for years. (Don’t believe me? Go here. And, then go here.) This time, we’re treated not just to another terrific set of interpretive gems from the now-Chicago-based jazz singer; Riccards is also donating all proceeds from Every Little Star toward a non-profit organization back in New York that is focused on bringing the arts to needy and disabled children. That’s two great reasons to pick this one up. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso
Charnett Moffett – Spirit of Sound (Jazz)
DANIEL ROSENBOOM – BOOK OF OMENS (EXPERIMENTAL JAZZ-ROCK): For someone whose done a lot of work for Hollywood projects as a sideman on movie and TV soundtracks, the whole idea of making an album — even one with no lyrics — around a fictional topic or story, is no stretch for Daniel Rosenboom, and that shows on this coherent but loose effort. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron
Devo – Hardcore (Pop/Rock)
Don Williams – Expressions; Visions (Country)
Harold Mabern – Live at Smalls (Jazz)
IRONING BOARD SAM – DOUBLE BANG (BLUES/R&B): Deliriously unself-conscious, and funky as hell, “Nothing But Your Butt” rumbles out like a throwback, sex-obsessed ’70s soul number — right down to Ironing Board Sam’s recitation of his love interest’s physical dimensions. There’s a reason for that: Ironing Board Sam is an all-but-forgotten gem from that time. Over the years, however, Ironing Board Sam became largely forgotten, having moved to the Carolinas after Hurricane Katrina, until the belated release in 2011 of the all-new Going Up and then last year of a lost 1970s-era album called Ninth Wonder of the World of Music. Now he’s a 2012 comeback award winner, courtesy of Living Blues magazine, and putting out a fun new album. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso
KING KOBRA – II (ROCK/METAL): King Kobra’s self-titled comeback album a few years ago was surprisingly enjoyable for me since I wasn’t a huge fan of the band’s work in the 1980s. I’m interested to hear what the follow-up holds. (More here.) — Fred Phillips
Michael Martin Murphey – Red River Drifter (Country)
NILE RODGERS – CHIC ORGANIZATION: UP ALL NIGHT (R&B): A deeper look not just at the hits credited to Chic, but also at the songs that featured this anytime-funk group led by uber-producer Nile Rodgers. So, you get “Le Freak,” but also Sister Sledge’s “He’s the Greatest Dancer.” Debbie Harry’s “Backfired,” as well as Chic’s “Good Times.” There’s “Everybody Dance” from Chic, as well as “Upside Down” by Diana Ross. “Dance, Dance Dance,” as well as Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family,” and so on. Even with all of that, there are notable items missing — including David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” and Madonna’s “Like A Virgin.” These guys really were everywhere. (More here.) — Something Else! Reviews
Nicky Haslam – Midnight Matinee (Pop/Rock)
OMAR DYKES – RUNNIN’ WITH THE WOLF (BLUES): Luckily, Dykes doesn’t let his passion for Howlin’ Wolf turn into mimicry. Instead, Dykes replicates the thunderclap attitude and rangy sexuality of those timeless Chess sides, but in his own inimitable way. After all, as leader of those Austin, Texas, firebrands Omar and the Howlers, Dykes has his own well-established persona through which to filter these brilliant narratives. It’s a wonder to behold as Dykes breathes smoke and fire into 14 tunes associated with Howlin’ Wolf — and one new original, the album’s title cut. (More here.) –Nick DeRiso
Pat Travers – Can Do (Blues/Rock)
PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND – THAT’S IT! (JAZZ): Its very name speaks to the old ways, and keeping them as they always were. And for a long time, maybe too long, that’s the way it’s been with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Until now. There’s an important outside voice overseeing things on That’s It!, due July 9, 2013 from Legacy Recordings, in producer Jim James of My Morning Jacket. He has worked in tandem with group leader Ben Jaffe, whose parents Allan and Sandra Jaffe founded the Preservation Hall Jazz Band in 1961, in crafting an album the nudges this mythical New Orleans institution into uncharted waters. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso
Proclaimers – Very Best (Pop/Rock)
REO SPEEDWAGON – NINE LIVES; YOU CAN TUNE A PIANO, BUT YOU CAN’T TUNA FISH (POP/ROCK): A late-1970s blast of arena rock from REO, just before Hi Infidelity turned them into pop stars. Tuna, from ’78, was to this point their biggest-selling album ever, on the strength of “Roll With the Changes” and “Time for Me to Fly,” both written by frontman Kevin Cronin. 1979′s Nine Lives was a disappointment, only reaching gold status after multi-platinum sales for Tuna, and the die was cast. Here come the 1980s, and before you know it guitarist Gary Richrath is persona non grata while Cronin is a-croonin’ “Can’t Fight This Feeling.” (More here.) — Nick DeRiso
Reverend Horton Heat – Live at the Fillmore (Pop/Rock)
RYAN COHAN – THE RIVER (JAZZ): The River is a project the compose, pianist and bandleader Cohan views as seeing the pendulum moving back toward composition somewhat, but it can’t shake the touring experiences of he and his quartet, particularly the month-long excursion through East Africa in 2008. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron
Simple Minds – Celebrate: Greatest Hits Live Tour 2013 (Pop/Rock)
Solomon Burke – Live at Montreux 2006 (R&B)
The Deadly Gentlemen – Roll Me, Tumble Me (Pop/Rock)
The Weavers – Reunion at Carnegie Hall 1963 (Pop/Rock)
Tommy Shaw – Girls With Guns; What If (Pop/Rock)
Travis Tritt – Calm After (Country)
VARIOUS ARTISTS – THE CHICAGO BLUES BOX: THE MCM RECORDS STORY [Magic Slim, John Littlejohn, Eddie Clearwater, Jimmy Dawkins and Eddie Taylor] (BLUES): Founded by French blues enthusiast Marcelle Chailleux Morgantini (thus, the MCM moniker), this label focused on live sets from 1975-77. A one-woman shop, Morgantini would bring her equipment to various Windy City locales to record many of the leading lights in what we know understand was the last of the golden age of Chicago blues. Every session is now collected here. — Something Else! Reviews
Volbeat – Guitar Gangsters and Cadillac Blood: Limited Tour Edition (Rock/Metal)
Whitesnake – Made in Britain; The World Record (Rock/Metal)