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Close matches1
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Bobby BareDetroit City & Other Hits/500 Miles From Home/Talk Me Some Sense/Bird Named Yesterday (plus bonus tracks) ... CD
RCA/BGO (UK), Mid 60s. New Copy 2CD ... Just Sold Out!
Four gems from the early RCA years of Bobby Bare – plus bonus tracks too! First up is Detroit City – a classic early album from the great Bobby Bare – proof that the man had plenty of charms in the years before he started working with hip singer/songwriter material! The set kicks off with the huge title cut – a track that Bobby does better than just about anyone else – and it follows with a host of well-chosen cuts and some surprisingly great originals – showing an early songwriting side of Bare that didn't always get exposure in later years! Bobby's got a great edge in his vocals, even young – less of the pop modes that you'd hear on some of his singles – on titles that include "Shame On Me", "Detroit City", "Is It Wrong", "Dear Wastebasket", "The Gods Were Angry With Me", "Book Of Love", and "I Don't Believe I'll Fall In Love Today". 500 Miles is early genius from Bobby Bare – a set that shows just how great he was at the start – able to bring a special spin to a country tune, even amidst some of the fuller Chet Atkins production at RCA! Bobby's got a very unique style – maybe more urban than you might expect, but still with a twang – a quality that always made him perfect for songs of moving and longing, as in the title cut. There's plenty of other numbers in that mode, too – including a few penned by Bobby himself – in a lineup that includes "Let Me Tell You about Mary", "Abilene", "Worried Man Blues", "Sailor Man", "Homestead On The Farm", "Gotta Travel On", "500 Miles From Home", and "I Wonder Where You Are Tonight". Talk Me Some Sense is wonderful work from Bobby Bare – a record that already shows the young singer reaching for hip material, and coming up with a mature way of putting over a tune that's unlike anyone else! There's some slight currents of folk in the music – but as with the early John Hartford records on RCA, the style is more country overall – but also in a very different space too – inheriting some of the hipper inflections of the changing 60s, even amidst familiar RCA production – which puts a really special spin on all the tunes. Titles include "A Little Bit Later On Down The Line", "Got Leavin On Her Mind", "Long Black Veil", "All The Good Times Are Past & Gone", "You Can't Stop The Wind From Blowing", "Heaven Help My Soul", "It Ain't Me Babe", and the great original "Passin Through". Bird Named Yesterday is one of the coolest Bobby Bare albums of the 60s – a precursor to some of his concept albums of the 70s, but done in a bit of a different mode too! Bobby delivers these little recitations between most of the tunes – speaking in different characters, but in a way that evokes some of the larger spirit that Lee Hazlewood brought to his projects of the period – a quality that's also echoed in the way that Bare puts over a tune – mature, and with a nice sense of distance that brings about a slight current of wit – quite unusual for RCA country at the time! The set includes some great tunes by a young Jack Clement – and titles include "Somebody Bought My Old Hometown", "The Air Conditioner Song", "The Day The Saw Mill Closed Down", "Bird Named Yesterday", "The Old Gang's Gone", and "They Covered Up The Old Swimmin Hole". Bonus tracks include "The Town That Broke My Heart", "Don't Do Like I Done Son", "Sandy's Crying Again", and "When Am I Ever Gonna Settle Down". CD

Close matches2
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Tony BennettTony Makes It Happen/Yesterday I Heard The Rain ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), Late 60s. New Copy ... $14.99
A pair of late 60s Columbia classics from Tony Bennett – back to back on a single CD! First up is Tony Makes It Happen – a very jazzy album, with a group that features Joe Wilder and Joe Newman on trumpets, Urbie Green on trombone, Joe Soldo on flute, and orchestrations from Marion Evans – all of whom really bring out those unique qualities that set Bennett apart from so many other singers in his generation! Where a Vic Damone might have used his inherent richness to push things over the top, the maturing Tony is a master of restraint – still able to run the full gamut of his amazing range, but set up with these beautiful arrangements that bring some adult understanding to the tunes, in a beautifully subtle vibe. Titles include "What Makes It Happen", "I Don't Know Why", "Can't Get Out Of This Mood", "She's Funny That Way", "A Beautiful Friendship", and "Don't Get Around Much Anymore". Next is Yesterday I Heard The Rain – fantastically mature work from Tony Bennett – a record that follows in that great direction the singer was taking in the 60s – delivering sophisticated vocals that didn't care much for the charts, but which really stand the test of time as the years go by! As on some of Tony's best from the period, arrangements are by Torrie Zito – whose careful orchestrations always let Bennett's vocals soar out in the lead, while also hitting some occasional flourishes that bring just the slight touch of drama to the music – but never in the over the top styles of some of his contemporary! Space is the key here – lots of space between the words and the notes – which makes even simpler songs sound pretty darn amazing. Titles include "Sweet Georgie Fame", "Fool Of Fools", "Only The Young", "I Only Have Eyes For You", "Yesterday I Heard The Rain", and a surprisingly great version of "Hushabye Mountain". CD

Close matches3
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Elvin BishopLive! Raisin Hell ... CD
Capricorn/BGO (UK), 1977. Used ... $9.99
... CD
(Remastered edition.)

Close matches4
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Bobby BlandGet On Down/Reflections In Blue ... CD
ABC/BGO (UK), 1975/1977. New Copy ... $9.99 16.99
A pair of ABC Records classics from Bobby Blue Bland – back to back on a single CD! First up is Get On Down – brilliant later work by Bobby Blue Bland – done with backings that are much fuller than on his earlier albums – a mixture of strings and horns that really expand the sound! That doesn't keep things from being soulful, though – as Bobby's in incredible form vocally, really rising to the occasion of the session with some of his best vocal performances of the decade. Great throughout – and one of his few true classic sessions after the early Duke years. Titles include "Today I Started Loving You Again", "I Take It On Home", "I Hate You", "If Fingerprints Showed Up On Skin", and "Too Far Gone". Reflections In Blue is a bit of a shift for Bobby Blue Bland – a record that picks up some slight touches of the disco generation, thanks to arrangements by Michael Omartin – but a record that, thanks to Bobby's fantastic vocals, still really stands out from the pack! The shift is a bit like the one that Johnnie Taylor was taking at the time – music that's still rooted in southern soul and blues, but which has some slight updates at a few points – but never in a way that's trying to put Bobby on the dancefloor at Studio 54! Instead, warmer keyboards, strings, and some well-crafted guitar lines are used in a few spots – while other tracks retain more of the horn-heavy arrangements that made his Duke Records material so great. Throughout it all, Bland is vocally fantastic – on titles that include "It Ain't The Real Thing", "The Soul Of A Man", "I Got The Same Old Blues", "Five Long Years", "It's All Over", and "If I Weren't A Gambler". CD

Close matches5
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Bobby Blue BlandHis California Album ... CD
ABC/BGO (UK), 1973. New Copy ... $8.99
A nice little record from Bobby Blue Bland – quite different from his 60s sides for Duke/Peacock, and recorded in California (as you might guess from the title!) with a smoother more soulful approach that comes off surprisingly well! The style works well for Bobby – and kind of gave him a new lease on life during the 70s, as he mixed his rougher bluesy vocals with some hipper arrangements – still quite deep in soul, but with a compressed sound that creates a new mode of expression. Titles include "Goin Down Slow", "Up & Down World", "Help Me Through The Day", "Where My Baby Went", "Friday The 13th Child", "This Time I'm Gone For Good", and "I've Got To Use My Imagination". CD

Close matches6
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Arthur BlytheDa Da/Basic Blythe ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), 1986/1988. New Copy 2CD ... $8.99 16.99
A pair of 80s albums from saxophonist Arthur Blythe – back to back in a single set! Da Da is a set that mixes some of the sharper edges of Blythe's earlier records with a few more contemporary touches – but always at a level that still has the reedman standing far from the mainstream! The core group here features Olu Dara on trumpet, Cecil McBee on bass, John Hicks on piano, and Bobby Battle on drums – and on the acoustic tracks, there's some great energy between them that soars with a soulful spirit birthed in the loft jazz years, maybe swung a bit straighter than before. A few other tunes add in some extra elements – an electric bass on one number, some light strings on another – but the core of the album still has a magnificent focus on that tone that Blythe had only perfected even more on records like this, especially on the more laidback numbers, which come as a real surprise, and reflect a ballad style we might not have guessed in the early days. Titles include "Odessa", "Esquinas", "After Paris", "Crescent", and "Break Time". Next up is Basic Blythe – not exactly basic work from Arthur Blythe, as the set features an added string ensemble too – but a record that certainly has the saxophonist really hitting a whole new level of genius! There's a great core group here – with John Hicks on piano, Anthony Cox on bass, and Bobby Battle on drums – and the strings are added in around the edges, never getting to much in the way of the combo energy, but also fleshing out the sound with this beautiful richness that only seems to enhance the sharp tone of Arthur's alto sax! The arrangements are great, too – hardly the usual "with strings" material, and instead very creative – with this mix of soul and sophistication that reminds us a bit of the Bill Lee scores for early Spike Lee films, but even longer and with the key addition of Blythe in the lead. Titles include "Lenox Avenue Breakdown", "Faceless Woman", "Ruby My Dear", "Heart To Heart", and "As Of Yet". CD

Close matches7
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ CalderaCaldera/Sky Islands ... CD
Capitol/BGO (UK), 1976/1977. New Copy ... $5.99 14.99
A pair of killers from this jazzy Latin combo of the 70s! First up is the self-title Caldera album – a jazzy Latin fusion classic – and the first album by the border-crossing combo! The group features both North and South American players – coming together in a hard-riffing approach to fusion that rivals the best fusion combos of both the California and Brazilian scenes at the time. There's a few nice moments that really belie their more southern roots – and recall the choppy fusion of Airto, or the vocal scatting of Flora – but the set's also got a sunny west coast finish, thanks to some wonderful production from Wayne Henderson – who kicks things up in a way that the group hardly matched on later albums! Guest stars include Raul De Souza and Roberto Da Silva – and titles include the funk classic "Coastin", plus "Guanacaste", "Out Of The Blue", "El Juguete", and "Synesthesia". Nest is Sky Islands – a set that's recorded with a smooth soulful style that's right up there with the best of the Capitol Rare generation! Caldera mixes together nice jazzy saxes with guitars, percussion, and some great keyboard work by Eduardo Del Barrio – all produced by the group with a sweet arching style that's very much in the Brazilian fusion style of the time – a wonderful blend that also gets a dose of California warmth, which is just the right element to send the whole thing home nicely! Tracks include the classic "Sky Islands", plus "Pegasus", "Carnavalito", "Triste", and "Ancient Source". CD

Close matches8
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Ian Carr & Don RendellChange Is ... CD
BGO (UK), 1969. New Copy ... $9.99 16.99
A fitting title – for a great album! Change Is marks a real turning point in the career of the Ian Carr/Don Rendell team – as the pair seem to go out even farther than before, leaving behind some of the straighter rhythms of earlier sets, to explore a realm of looser time and space. The ensemble still has a soulful undercurrent that keeps things compelling – even when the overall style gets a bit out – and thanks to strong horn work from the leaders, plus lyrical work on piano and harpsichord by Michael Garrick, the album's every bit as great as earlier classics like Dusk Fire or Shades of Blue. Garrick contributed 2 great tunes to the album – "Black Hair" and "Cold Mountain" – and other titles include "Elastic Dream", "One Green Eye", and "Mirage". CD

Close matches9
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Stanley ClarkeModern Man/I Wanna Play For You ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), 1978/1979. New Copy 2CD ... $9.99 19.99
Stanley Clarke at the height of his powers – two 70s classics back to back on CD! Modern Man is a bit more high concept than before for Stanley Clarke – almost a suite of sorts, but one that still has some great standout tunes in the mix! Although Clarke used to bring his higher concepts to bear in the space of a single song, this one's more of a full exploration of the character in the title – served up at the best moments with more soul than on previous albums from Stanley, some nicely tuneful tracks that almost get a bit funky at points. There's a bit of vocals on the record – courtesy of Dee Dee Bridgewater and others – and guests include Freddie Hubbard, Stan Getz, Harvey Mason, Tom Scott, and Airto. Titles include "More Hot Fun", "Slow Dance", "He Lives On", "Dayride", "Got To Find My Own Place", "Closing Statement", and "A Serious Occasion". I Wanna Play For You is a wickedly funky album from Stanley Clarke – perhaps his most fully-formed album of the Columbia years, and a set that really brings together his jazz and soul styles! There's a definite R&B vibe going on, but it's also one that's still quite heavy on bass work from Stanley – a groove that's not far from Bootsy Collins at times, but perhaps with a bit more jazz inflections. Jamming is kept to a minimum, which is fine by us – and the album's filled with really tuneful tunes that have an almost George Duke-like appeal. Guests include Tom Scott and Stan Getz on saxes, George Duke on piano, Harvey Mason and Steve Gadd on drums, and Dee Dee Bridgewater on vocals. Titles include "I Wanna Play For You", "Just A Feeling", "Strange Weather", "My Greatest Hits", "School Days", and "Blues For Mingus". CD

Close matches10
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Stanley ClarkeRocks Pebbles & Sand/Let Me Know You ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), 1980/1982. New Copy ... Just Sold Out!
Funky fusion galore – two Stanley Clarke albums on a single CD! Rocks Pebbles & Sand is killer work from Stanley – a set to start off the 80s, but still very much in that unique blend of jazz, rock, and soul he forged so well in the 70s! The set begins with really heavy drums and bass – nicely propelled, but never too strong or too jamming – a great balance that really sets the pace well for the record as Clarke and the combo pulsate through a range of nice little numbers – often linked with a cool motorcycle sound effect! There's a few 80s touches, mostly in the keyboards, but these are never too modern – and all used very nicely. Titles include the extended "Story Of A Man & A Woman" suite – plus "Danger Street", "All Hell Broke Loose", "Rocks Pebbles & Sand", and "Underestimation". On Let Me Know You, Stanley Clarke's a lot more soul-based than fusion – but that's A-OK with us, because we like this sort of work a lot better than his jamming jazz rock of the 70s! The record's got a great mellow soul vibe – laidback and gently stepping – sometimes in a way that's a bit commercial, but never with as many of the cloying styles as hurt other records like this at the time. Stan sings, plays bass and guitar, and other players include Greg Phillinganes on Fender Rhodes and mini-moog, Ndugu Chancler on drums, Michael Sembello on guitar, and Paulinho Da Costa on percussion. Titles include "Straight To The Top", "Let Me Know You", "You Are The One For Me", "Play The Bass", "New York City", and "Secret To My Heart". CD

Close matches11
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Graham CollierDown Another Road/Songs For My Father/Mosaics ... CD
Fontana/Philips/BGO (UK), 1969/1970/1971. New Copy 2CD ... $9.99 19.99
3 incredible albums from the British jazz scene at the end of the 60s – all together in one 2CD package! Down Another Road is incredible work from one of England's greatest jazz talents – bassist Graham Collier, a player with an amazing ability to absorb a lot of the modern and progressive influences of his jazz generation – but all without succumbing to the same indulgences as them – a fact which resulted in a razor-sharp style that forged some of the freshest jazz ever to come out of the UK. This 1969 album is a masterpiece – filled with a modal groove and a strident searching theme, yet also as tight and grooving as most of the best Blue Note sessions from the same time. Harry Beckett's on trumpet, Nick Evans is on trombone, John Marshall plays drums, and Stan Sulzmann handles the reeds. Tracks include "Down Another Road", "Danish Blue", "The Barley Mow", and "Aberdeen Angus". Songs For My Father is a masterpiece of modernist soul jazz, with a sound that recalls the best late Blue Note work by Lee Morgan or Hank Mobley. Alan Wakeman's tenor is perfectly pitched, and searingly searching; Harry Beckett's trumpet is round, lyrical, and filled with soul; and the piano of John Taylor comps along in chunky modal grooves that make the whole album fall together brilliantly. Tracks include "Song One", "Song Two", "Song Three", etc – and they're all fantastic! Mosaics is a wonderfully searching session – filled with warm McCoy Tyner-esque modal moments, and searing post-Coltrane solos! The album comprises one long piece – Collier's "Mosaics" – performed live by a group that includes Alan Wakeman on tenor and soprano, Harry Beckett on trumpet, and Geoff Castle on piano. "Mosaics" has that amazing mid 60s Coltrane quality of going out in a spiritual kind of way – yet always returning to the groove, never getting too free, and always remaining firmly focused on the direction ahead. All players are great, and the record crackles with the intensity of a classic session on Impulse! CD

Close matches12
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Jessi Colter with Waylon JenningsCountry Star Is Born/Leather & Lace ... CD
RCA/BGO (UK), 1970/1981. New Copy ... $13.99
The first-ever album from Jessi Colter – paired here with a famous duet set with husband Waylon Jennings! First up is A Country Star Is Born – the fantastic debut of Jessi Colter – done at a time when the lady had already hitched up with Waylon Jennings at a personal level, and was also sharing some of his nascent outlaw qualities in her music! In fact, we might make an argument that this album predates some of Jennings' bigger outlaw moments – and also has a similar sort of quality in the early years – with qualities in Colter's voice that are very different than the Nashville mainstream, almost as if she's equally aware of phrasing from female folk singers – set to a very hip batch of tunes from Colter herself (as Miriam Eddy), Harlan Howard, Willie Nelson, and Mickey Newbury. The set includes a duet with Waylon Jennings on "I Ain't The One" – and other titles include "It's Not Easy", "He Called Me Baby", "Too Many Rivers", "Cry Softly", and "If She's Where You Like Livin". Leather & Lace is the first full album of duets between Jessi Colter and Waylon Jennings – two romantic partners who'd been crossing paths on records a few times during the 70s, and finally got the chance to step out in an album of their own! The approach is a bit like some of the other RCA pairings of stars during the 70s, in that sometimes Waylon is mostly in the lead, sometimes Jessi – but you can definitely hear the sympathy that both feel for each other, and the album's most special moments really come when they share the lead together. Titles include "Pastels & Harmony", "You Never Can Tell", "Rainy Seasons", "I'll Be Alright", "You're Not My Same Sweet Baby", "Storms Never Last", and "What's Happened To Blue Eyes". CD

Close matches13
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Bo Diddley & Chuck Berry/Howlin Wolf, Muddy Waters, & Bo DiddleyTwo Great Guitars/Super Super Blues Band ... CD
Chess/BGO (UK), 1964/1968. New Copy ... $9.99 16.99
A pair of amazing all-star albums from Chess Records – back to back on a single CD! First up is Two Great Guitars – in which Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry come together in a really unique album for Chess Records in the 60s – and that's saying a lot, given all the groundbreaking sounds we heard from that label at the time! The format is quite unusual – as each side features a long instrumental jam that really lets the guitarists work out their differences – in modes that are almost proto-funk more than blues, rock, or soul – with lots of wicked guitar lines that are way ahead of their time in terms of recording space! The long tracks are "Chuck's Beat" and "Bo's Beat" – but the duo also shine brilliantly on the shorter tunes "Liverpool Drive" and "When The Saints Go Marching In". Next is The Super Super Blues Band – a group that definitely lives up to its name – given that the lineup features the Chess Records stalwarts Bo Diddley, Howlin Wolf, and Muddy Waters! The set's maybe a bit more in the mode of Wolf or Waters than some of Bo's own records – although there's a bit of that riffing spark of his at times – and the tracks are often nice and long, with more than enough room to make you feel like Phil Chess gave these guys plenty of space in the studio to hang out, and find the right way to interact. As much as we love Chess albums with short songs and a soulful punch, we really appreciate it when they can break format and open up on a session like this – which really helps create a unique moment on record! Titles include "Goin Down Slow", "Long Distance Call", "Sweet Little Angel", "Ooh Baby & Wrecking My Love Life", and "Spoonful". CD

Close matches14
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Earth Wind & FireEarth Wind & Fire/Need Of Love ... CD
Warner/BGO (UK), 1971. New Copy ... $14.99 18.99
A pair of spiritual soul classics – the rare early Warner Brothers albums from Earth Wind & Fire – back to back on a single CD! Earth, Wind & Fire's first album was recorded at a time when the group recently had ties to the Chicago soul and jazz scenes, and a range of experience that ran the gamut from work with Sun Ra, the Artistic Heritage Ensemble, The Pharoahs, Ramsey Lewis, and countless other influential groups. Headed up by Maurice White on drums and percussion, the group forged an amazing blend of all these influences, creating a future soul sound that pushed black music to the next level – taking a wealth of previously underground modes of expression, and fusing them into a soaring sound that would soon put them at the top of the charts. This album's a lot looser and freer than their Columbia albums – with plenty of raw funk and some nice off-beat jazz soling. Includes the classic break track "C'Mon Children", plus "Fan The Fire", "Bad Tune", and "Moment Of Truth". Need Of Love is one of the two early Earth Wind & Fire LPs recorded for Warner – and the one that shows their amazing roots in the avant-garde jazz scene in Chicago! At the forefront, the record's a righteous soul album with an ensemble funk sound – but deeper in, there's a lot of jazz-based playing, and a number of moments that almost get "out" in the solos! Surely this one couldn't have been made without the spiritual advancements in jazz made by the AACM – and EWF couldn't have helped rubbing shoulders with those players, considering that they all often gigged together in the Chicago studio scene, and that they'd also shared some time together in groups like The Pharoahs and Phil Cohran's Artistic Heritage Ensemble. Titles include "Energy", "Beauty", and a nice remake of Donny Hathaway's "Everything is Everything". CD

Close matches15
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Dave EdmundsRiff Raff/Hear You Rockin ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), 1984/1987. New Copy ... $9.99 16.99
A pair of Dave Edmunds Records – back to back on a single CD! Riff Raff is Dave Edmunds in the 80s – still very much in charge of that special voice that made him a standout rocker from the UK scene the decade before – but also doing plenty to change with the times! Dave's vocals and famous guitar twang are wrapped around the kind of catchy tunes he always did so well – and the production, handled with help from Jeff Lynne, has some electro touches and compression around the vocals – elements that work surprisingly well, as in Lynne's own musical shift during the decade! There's plenty of classic Edmunds moments throughout – and titles include "Busted Loose", "Breaking Out", "Far Away", "How Could I Be So Wrong", "Can't Get Enough", and "Something About You". I Hear You Rockin is a late 80s set from Dave Edmunds – but one that has him working live, at a level that's maybe more tied to some of his late 70s material than you'd expect! The group perform a fair bit of older hits, and Dave's vocals and twang-heavy guitar are very much in fine formation – giving the whole thing a Stiff Records sort of vibe, on titles that include "Girls Talk", "Here Comes The Weekend", "Queen Of Hearts", "I Knew The Bride", "I Hear You Knockin", and "Crawling From The Wreckage". CD

Close matches16
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Joe FarrellJoe Farrell Quartet/Outback/Moon Germs ... CD
BGO (UK), Early 70s. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99
A trio of classic LPS by Joe Farrell – in a 2CD set! The self-titled quartet set is one of his first LPs as a leader – and a stellar session that's easily one of the early high points for the legendary CTI label! It features a key quintet of like-mined up-and-comers that includes Chick Corea on keyboards, John McLaughlin on guitar, Dave Holland on bass, and Jack DeJohnette on drums – players who definitely know the farther reaches of jazz, yet hang just on the inside here with Joe – providing some amazing accompaniment for his lines on soprano, tenor, and flute. Titles include "Molten Glass", "Song Of The Wind", "Motion", "Follow Your Heart", and "Circle In The Square". Outback is another killer set – a drawn-out quintet side – with Chick Corea on electric piano, Buster Williams on bass, Elvin Jones on drums, and Airto on percussion. It's got some strong choppy reed/percussion interplay – but with a sharpness and focus that you don't always hear – and the are all nice & long. Titles include "Outback", "Sound Down", "November 68th" and "Bleeding Orchid". Moon Germs is one of the best records ever cut by funky sax man Joe Farrell! The album's virtually the blueprint for later 70s funk of this type, and played perfectly by Farrell and a very hip quartet lineup! Players include Joe on soprano and tenor sax, Herbie Hancock on keyboards, Stanley Clarke on bass, and Jack DeJohnette on drums – playing with a very angular sense of rhythm that really dives the record! Titles include the great cut "Great Gorge", which has a tight modal sample groove, plus "Times Lie", "Bass Folk Song", and "Moon Germs". CD

Close matches17
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Gap BandGap Band (1979)/Gap Band II/Gap Band III ... CD
Mercury/BGO (UK), 1979/1980. New Copy 2CD ... $15.99 19.99
Massive music in a wonderful package – three funky classics from The Gap Band! First up is the group's self-titled album from 1979 – the start of the legendary second chapter for the Gap Band – the point when the group had reemerged as the tight funky trio of the Wilson Brothers, with a groove that would really set them up nicely for the 80s! This first album in the new format has a wonderfully tight feel – still plenty of sharp edges that echo their earlier groove, but a leaner quality too – one that's got the bass and drums snapping together wonderfully, really setting the tone for the heaviest grooves. There's also a few mellower cuts too – which really sound great, and give the record the same sort of balance you might hear on work by Heaven & Earth at the time. War's Lonnie Simmons produced – and held the cash bag all the way to the bank! Titles include "I'm In Love", "Got To Get Away", "Messin With My Mind", "Shake", "Baby Baba Boogie", "Open Your Mind Wide", and "I Can Sing". Gap Band II features mean, lean grooves from The Gap Band – a legendary batch of mainstream funk from the end of the 70s – and a record that really has the trio working at the top of their game! There's a wonderful balance here between funky numbers and mellow ones – the latter of which really help pace the record nicely, giving it a depth that takes the group way beyond the cliches of some of their contemporaries, and firmly establishing the Gap Band as one to watch for the 80s! Titles include the massive "I Don't Believe You Want To Get Up & Dance" – with its classic "Oops Upside Your Head" refrain – plus "Who Do You Call", "No Hiding Place", "Steppin Out", "You Are My High", and "Party Lights". Gap Band III is sagreat one from the Gap Band – funky gems and sinister groovers – the best of both worlds for the group! Tunes like "Burn Rubber On Me (When You Want To Hurt Me)" and "Humpin" packed 80s dance floors for good reason, and put the band in steady rotation, while numbers like "Yearning For Your Love" showed the band could drop the tempo, stretch out a bit, and deliver the mighty mellow. This one's certainly at the top of the heap of 80s groovers, as far as we're concerned – a record that really took the Gap Band over the top! Other tracks include "Nothin' Comes To The Sleepers", "Are You Living", "The Way", "Gash Gash Gash" and more. CD

Close matches18
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Gap BandGap Band IV/Gap Band V Jammin ... CD
BGO (UK), Early 80s. New Copy 2CD ... $15.99
A pair of early 80s classics from the Gap Band – back to back in a single set! First up is Gap Banc IV – perhaps the ultimate album for The Gap Band – and sure, it was a hit, but the record still sounds great today, and the constant sampling of some of the record has kept it fresh in the crates for years and years! The band have lost the heavier funk sound of earlier years, and working in a slick 80s groove mode that they both helped to define and put on the charts with the tracks "Outstanding" and "Early In The Morning", both two killer grooves with a complicated instrumental feel, and some wicked harmony vocals over the top. Lonnie Simmons is still producing the band – and other tracks include "Lonely Like Me", "Stay With Me", "Talkin Back", and "You Dropped A Bomb On Me". On the second album, the Gap Band are definitely Jammin – hitting that fierce funk mode they do so well, with lots of snapping lines at the bottom of the rhythms! The style is trademark Gap all the way through – a percolated approach to funk that's tight, but never too slick – in a groove that's different than some of their other mainstream counterparts at the time – hard to describe accurately, but almost with a touch of jazz in the mix! Charlie Wilson handles most of the lead vocals, with support from brothers Robert and Ronnie – and Ronnie produced most of the set. Titles include "Where Are We Going", "Shake A Leg", "Jam The Motha", "Someday", "You're Something Special", "I'm Ready", "You're My Everything", "Smile", and "Jammin In America". CD also features the bonus track "Party Train (special dance mix)". CD

Close matches19
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Tim HardinPainted Head ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), 1972. New Copy ... Just Sold Out!
A sublime early 70 set of rustic-accented folk, soul & blues from Tim Hardin that's heavy on covers – with tunes penned by Willie Dixon, Randy Newman, and others – in a soulful rock mode that's just ragged enough to give it a loose charm unlike any of Hardin's earlier work! Tim's in fine, effortlessly soulful voice here on material that could have found him going over the top, ala Joe Cocker, but he's tastefully restrained throughout. An underrated gem! Titles include the a loosely buzzing cover of the eternal Bo Diddley via Willie Dixon masterpiece "You Can't Judge A Book By The Cover" and Dixon's "Do The Do", plus "Midnight Caller", "Yankee Lady", "Lonesome Valley", "Till We Meet Again", "I'll Be Home", "Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out" and more. CD

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HiroshimaEast/Providence ... CD
Epic/BGO (UK), 1989/1992. New Copy 2CD ... $9.99 16.99
A pair of later albums from one of the most unique fusion groups of their generation! First up is East, a record that really has Hiroshima embracing both their name and their previous approach to tight jazzy fusion – a set that's very electric, but also uses plenty of koto, taiko, and shamisen to give the music a strong Japanese flavor! The strongest lead comes from Dan Kuramoto, whose keyboard work and reed lines get plenty of space – but the set's also a definite group effort, with a warm sense of sympathy between the players – something you'd definitely need to blend acoustic and electric elements in this way! Machun sings lovely lead vocals on a few tracks – and titles include "East", "Tabo", "Streetcorner Paradise", "Daydreamer", "Living In America", and "Thousand Cranes". Providence showcases the continuing evolution of the Hiroshima sound – a set that still features the group's blend of electric fusion and more traditional Japanese elements – but which also marks a bit of a shift in the style of electric instruments at the time! In other words, the vibe here is more early 90s fusion than the sound of their earlier records – a shift in the choice of keyboards used by leader Dan Kuramoto, which are mixed alongside koto, shamisen, taiko, and percussion. Jeanette Clinger sings lead vocals in a few spots – and titles include "Turning Point", "Island World", "Time On The Nile", "With This Heart", "Kazen", "Providence", "One Of Us", and "Ribbon In The Sky". CD

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HiroshimaThird Generation/Another Place/Go ... CD
Epic/BGO (UK), Mid 80s. New Copy 2CD ... $9.99 16.99
A trio of albums from Hiroshima – collected together in one 2CD set! First up is Third Generation – a real breakout album for Hiroshima – and a set that seems to show up in just about every collection of vintage fusion albums we look at! The set's the group's third, as you might guess from the title – and it's got the Hiroshima quintet sliding together in a perfect groove – soulful fusion that's maybe got a strong Cali vibe, but which occasionally has a few exotic touches on the instrumentation – all handled in a style that's kind of an 80s update of the Japanese soul fusion mode of the late 70s. Rhythms are electric at a few points, but their offset by some koto, shamisen, and nice use of flutes and saxes by leader Dan Kuramoto – on titles that include "Heavenly Angel", "We Are", "Ren", "From The Heart", "Sukoshi Bit", "Long Walks", and "Distant Thoughts". Another Place is a record that definitely has Hiroshima taking their origins seriously – as although the album's still got the same fusion vibe as before, it almost seems to step up even more Japanese elements too! The rhythms are maybe a bit more programmed than in the past, but the album also makes use of wood flutes, koto, taiko, shamisen, and other Japanese instrumentation – and features some occasional vocals from June Kuramoto too – all in a slinky fusion style with a slight eastern current. Titles include "One Wish", "Save Yourself For Me", "I Do Remember", "The Game", "Undercover", and "What's It To Ya". On Go, Hiroshima are maybe moving a bit far from the fusion of their roots – but the overall sound here is still sweetly electric, and served up in a nice mix of eastern and western styles! If anything, the group seem even more focused on melody – not in a commercial way, but using more stripped-down instrumentation at times to focus on the special sweetness created in the compositions of leader/reedman Dan Kuramoto – who also plays keyboards and even a bit of shakuhachi on the album. There's vocals on the set – sung lead and soulfully by Barbara Long – but the main focus is instrumental, and titles include "Go", "I've Been Here Before", "311", "Obon", "No 9", "Why Can't I Love You", and "Hawaiian Electric". CD

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✨✧ Freddie HubbardGleam ... CD
CBS/BGO (UK), 1975. New Copy 2CD ... $9.99 19.99
Jazz funk genius from Freddie Hubbard in the mid 70s! Gleam was a Japanese-only double album from the jazz giant in its original release – mighty funky at times, too – right up there with some of the best Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock Japanese sets from the 70s! It's a live set captured in March of '75 at Tokyo's Yubin Chokin Hall – long numbers played by a group that includes Freddie on trumpet, Carl Randall on tenor and flute, George Cables on electric piano, Henry Franklin on bass, Carl Burnett on drums, and Buck Clark on percussion! Each player has plenty of space to groove, and it's very well captured – you can hear the most expressive solos and the most subtle nuances. Some great solos by Freddie and the rest of the players – breathless tenor & flute by Randall, keys by Cables that are jazz funk perfection and interplay between Burnett's drums and Clark's congas & percussion that's somehow tense and comfortable at the same time. The shortest number in the set runs more than the 7 minutes and the longest is more than 20 minutes – and none is one second shorter than necessary, actually leaving us pining for more – making it all the more vital in the double album format. Released on 2CDs here! How this great album has been so hard to find over the years is a mystery. Titles include "Kuntu", "Spirits Of Trane", an amazing cover of Stevie Wonder's "Too High", "Midnight At The Oasis", "Ebony Moonbeams", and "Put It In The Pocket". CD

Close matches23
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Incredible String BandIncredible String Band/5000 Spirits Or Layers Of The Onion/Hangman's Beautiful Daughter ... CD
Elektra/BGO (UK), Late 60s. New Copy 2CD ... $10.99 19.99
Important early work from The Incredible String Band – three albums in one great package! First up is the first album from the Incredible String Band – a real treasure from the trio of Clive Palmer, Mike Heron and Robin Williamson – who each sing and write, and bring unique charm to their own material! The sound is very folksy, and really lives up to their name – mostly just music on fiddle, banjo, mandolin, and guitar – served up in a blend that both echoes British traditional styles, yet paves the way for new expressions in the acid folk generation to come – especially on the group's original material. The group are really wonderful at this point – with a sound that drew them wide acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic – and titles include "Maybe Someday", "October Song", "When The Music Starts To Play"", "Schaeffer's Jig", "Womankind", "The Tree", "Whistle Tune", "Dandelion Blues", "Good As Gone", and "Footsteps Of The Heron". Next is 5000 Spirits – a UK psychedelic folk gem that finds the group challenging conventions across the board – both artful and inviting, it's wonderful stuff! At this point, Clive Palmer had left, and Mike Heron and Robin Williamson contribute lead vocals with the additional vocalist Licorice also taking lead on a few tunes, the sound is fleshed out with more accompaniment and a rich warmth on a bevy of instruments – guitar, sitar, bowed gimbri, finger cymbals, tamboura, oud, rattles, flute, bass and piano. Includes the lovely and oft-covered "The First Girl I Loved", plus "Chinese White", "No Sleep Blues", "Painting Box", "The Eyes Of Fate", "The Hedgehog's Song", "You Know What I Could Be", "Gently Tender", "Way Back In The 1960s" and more. On Hangman's Beautiful Daughter, The Incredible String Band are paired down to the core duo of Mike Heron and Robin Williamson – using the studio as a most impressive adjunct member of the group at this point! This is an extremely talented pair – each playing myriad instruments – sitar, organ, guitar, hammer dulcimer, harpsichord, gimbri, whistle, pipe, oud, mandolin, mouth harps and more. Previous vocal collaborator Licorice sings on one song, and Dolly Collins and David Snell contribute flute organ, piano and harp – but the main duos incredible way of layering their magic with multitracking in the studio the real masterstroke of the effort. Titles include "Koeoaddi There", "Witch's Hat", "The Water Song", "Swift As The Wind", "Nightfall", "Waltz Of The New Moon", "Three Is A Green Crown" and more. CD

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✨✧ Ivy LeagueThis Is The Ivy League/Sounds Of The Ivy League/Tomorrow Is Another Day (plus bonus tracks) ... CD
Picadilly/BGO (UK), Mid 60s. New Copy 2CD ... $16.99 19.99
A huge amount of music from The Ivy League – a hip UK group from the 60s, but one who never crossed over big on our side of the Atlantic! The trio were first formed to sing backup vocals on sessions for other folks, but they clearly rose up on their own, thanks to well-crafted harmonies that are clearly inspired by some of the bigger American pop acts of the times, but which also often have a surprising current of jazz – quite a nice blend as these guys can shift between styles you might hear from the Four Seasons and Four Freshmen, with maybe dose of The HiLos thrown in for good measure! The setting is definitely rock, though – superbly produced in the best Brit style of the 60s – which helps give a very unique spin to the way these guys come together. This huge set features everything known to have been recorded by the group – the full albums This Is The Ivy League, Sounds Of The Ivy League, and Tomorrow Is Another Day – plus 19 more songs from singles and EP releases! CD

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Milt JacksonSunflower/Goodbye ... CD
CTI/BGO (UK), 1973/1974. New Copy ... $8.99 14.99
Two CTI label gems from vibist Milt Jackson – back to back on a single CD! Sunflower is proof that Milt Jackson was easily the hippest member of the Modern Jazz Quartet – and one of the few who could really open up into different sounds away from that combo! This sweet 70s set for CTI is totally great – a whole new chapter for Jackson's vibes, and a real re-setting of the soulful modes he'd explored as a leader in the 60s. There's a wonderfully warm and chromatic feel to the set from the start – as Milt's vibes are set in fuller arrangements from Don Sebesky – with added instrumentation from Herbie Hancock on electric piano, Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, and Phil Bodner on reeds. The highlight of the album is a nice long take on "People Make The World Go Round", but it's all pretty sweet, and other titles include nice versions of "Sunflower" and "What Are You Doing For The Rest Of Your Life" – and Jackson's own "SKJ" and "For Someone I Love". Goodbye is classic work from vibist Milt Jackson – opening up his bag a lot for the 70s, in a way that makes for some wonderfully casual grooves! The album's not as moodily funky as some of Jackson's other CTI records, but it is a nice batch of laidback tunes played with a distinctly soulful edge – handled by a group that features Cedar Walton on piano, Hubert Laws on flute, Ron Carter bass, Steve Gadd drums – and some guest trumpet from Freddie Hubbard on the track "SKJ". Other titles include "Opus De Funk", "Detour Ahead","Goodbye", and "Old Devil Moon". CD

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Jimmy James & The VagabondsNew Religion/London Swings/This Is Jimmy James & The Vagabonds/Open Up Your Soul (plus bonus tracks) ... CD
Pye/BGO (UK), Late 60s. New Copy 2 CDs ... $14.99
Four classic albums from this hip British soul group – issued here in a single set, with bonus tracks too! First up is New Religion – a record that was also released in America by Atlantic Records. Although they were a UK soul act, Jimmy James and The Vagabonds were a perfect match for the Atlantic soul stable of the 60s. The group had a smooth group style that was partly uptown, partly northern soul – as clearly illustrated in this album, which is divided up into a "mood red: you feel like leaping" side, and a "mood blue: you feel like digging deeper" side. The band chose some good material that really helps them maintain a solid socking soul sound – including "The Entertainer" and "Ain't Love Good, Ain't Love Proud" by Tony Clarke, "Ain't No Big Thing" and "I'm Just A Fool For You Girl" by Gerald Sims, and "Little Boy Blue" and "People Get Ready" by Curtis Mayfield. Also features "Come To Me Softly", a sweet dreamy ballad by Jimmy, and kind of a bit crossover hit for the boys. London Swings is two-sided monster – as the album was originally split with work from the Alan Bown Set too! Here, the CD features just the live material from the soul group – a smoking performance from Jimmy James & The Vagabonds – one that goes way past the sweetness of their hits, and which has a crowd-pleasing, party-hearty approach to soul that's really great! Jimmy and the group serve up versions of "Sock It To Em JB", "That Driving Beat", "Ain't Too Proud To Beg", "You Don't Know Like I Know", and "Don't Know What I'm Gonna Do". This Is Jimmy James & The Vagabonds is a record that featured some crossover tracks with New Religion – but the set here just features the exclusive cuts – including "I Feel Alright", "I Can't Get Back Home To My Baby", "Never Like This Before", "I Don't Wanna Cry", and "You Showed Me The Way". Open Up Your Soul is a record with a really wonderful sound – the deeply soulful vocals of Jimmy James & The Vagabonds, mixed with rich arrangements handled by Nicky Welsh, and produced to perfection by Brit maestro John Schroeder! The record's got the sophistication of some of the Richard Evans productions over at Chess/Cadet at the same time – and, no surprise, the group lead off with a great cover of The Dells "Wear It On Our Face" – then roll into cuts that include "Cry Like A Baby", "Good Day Sunshine", "Four Walls", "Everybody Loves A Winner", "If You're Gonna Love Me", and "Open Up Your Soul". CD also features 7 more bonus tracks from singles – including "Why", "Bumper To Bumper", "Close The Door", "Give Us A Light", "I Wanna Be your Everything", "Hungry For Love", and "Don't Know What I'm Gonna Do". CD

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George JonesStill The Same Old Me/First Time Live/One Woman Man/Friends In High Places ... CD
Epic/BGO (UK), 1980s/Early 90s. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99
Four later albums from the great George Jones – packed together in a 2CD set! First up is Still The Same Ole Me – and on the set, George Jones is still definitely the same old me – even if his voice has aged and changed over the years! The album's got some great songs that really hit the more heartbreaking side of the Jones spectrum – which was always his best in later years – and titles include "Couldn't Love Have Picked A Better Time To Die", "Daddy Come Home", "Good Ones & Bad Ones", "You Can't Get The Hell Out Of Texas", "Same Ole Me", and "Together Alone". First Time Live is maybe one of the best George Jones albums of the 80s – a live set, and one that's got this easygoing charm that really holds the whole thing together! Backings are by The Jones Boys, who work perfectly with George – giving him support that feels relaxed and more spontaneous than some of his studio work of the time. Titles include "Tennessee Whiskey", "Fox On The Run", "I'm Not Ready Yet", "Who's Gonna Chop My Baby's Kindling", and "He Stopped Loving Her Today". One Woman Man is an overlooked gem from the end of the 80s – a set that has George hitting some of the vocal moments of his 70s classics, in a mix of tunes that really open up his charms. Titles include "I'm A One Woman Man", "Don't You Ever Get Tired", "Burning Bridges", "Pretty Little Lady From Beaumont Texas", "A Place In The Country", and "Just Out Of Reach". Friends In High Places is a set of duets with some of George's contemporaries, and a whole host of younger talents he inspired – a lineup of guests that includes Shelby Lynne, Emmylou Harris, Randy Travis, Vern Gosdin, Tim Mensy, Ricky Scaggs, and others – on titles that include "A Few Ole Country Boys", "Love's Gonna Live Here", "If I Could Bottle This Up", "I've Been There", "It Hurts As Much In Texas", and "You Can't Do Wrong & Get By". CD

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Thad Jones & Mel LewisPresenting Thad Jones & Mel Lewis & The Jazz Orchestra/Live At The Village Vanguard/Big Band Sound Featuring Miss Ruth Brown ... CD
Solid State/BGO (UK), 1966/1967. Used 2CD ... $18.99
A trio of classics from the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra! First up is the initial Presenting album – great music by one of the hippest large American ensembles of the late 60s – almost a US equivalent to the groovy sound of the Clark Boland Big Band over in Europe! Trumpeter Thad Jones and drummer Mel Lewis had already made some great music together on their own – but once they came together in a record like this, they really found a great new direction for their energy – a bold musical force that's strong enough to also encompass the rich talents of players who include Pepper Adams on baritone sax, Joe Farrell on tenor, Jerome Richardson on soprano sax, Richard Williams on trumpet, Bob Brookmeyer and Tom McIntosh on trombones, Hank Jones on piano, and Richard Davis on bass! The sound is full, but never overwhelming – and like the Clark Boland group, this one has a great way of breaking open to allow key soloists to have some great space on their own – a modern approach, and one that still never has the band losing its groove. Titles include "ABC Blues", "Mean What You Say", "Three & One", and "Once Around". The next album was recorded live in the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis home turf at the Village Vanguard! The group at this point was a freshly-created outfit filled with some of the best large group jazz soloists of the time – players that included Jerome Richardson, Joe Farrell, Eddie Daniels, Pepper Adams, Richard Williams, and Bob Brookmeyer – not to mention Jones and Lewis themselves! The style here is very much in the mode that the Clarke Boland Band was crafting in Europe during the same period – a redefinition of the larger jazz group, in a way that allowed it to swing with the dynamic energy and soul of some of the smaller combos of the 60s. And while the Jones/Lewis group had many years over which to hone their craft, they've never sounded better than on these initial recordings – as you'll hear on tracks that include "Samba Con Getchu", "A That's Freedom", "Bachafillen", and "Little Pixie". On the last album in the set, Ruth Brown joins the big band of Thad Jones and Mel Lewis – in a set that's a real standout in the career of all three artists! Thad and Mel already have a pretty great groove going at this point – a large ensemble approach to jazz, yet one that's swingingly soulful – very much on a par with some of Gerald Wilson's hip work of the same time at time. And adding in Ruth Brown's vocals is a great choice – as she not only needs a great showcase like this for her amazing voice, but also because she really helps unlock a soulful sort of energy that the group always had in their instrumental music. The approach is a bit like some of Etta Jones' best 60s recordings – a nice shift for Brown – and titles include "Black Coffee", "Fine Brown Frame", "You Won't Let Go", "Trouble In Mind", and "Be Anything (But Be Mine)". CD
(Out of print, includes slipcase.)

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Thad Jones & Mel Lewis OrchestraMonday Night/Central Park North ... CD
Solid State/BGO (UK), 1969. New Copy 2CD ... $9.99 16.99
Two early albums from this hip late 60s ensemble! Monday Night is genius work from the Jones & Lewis group – easily one of their best albums! If you've ever wondered why these guys got the chance to make so many records, check out this excellent early set and hear them at their finest. The group's a kick-ass one – with a host of all-star players like Jerome Richardson, Jerry Dodgion, Eddy Daniels, Seldon Powell, Roland Hanna, Richard Davis, and of course Jones and Lewis themselves – and the overall groove is similar to the Clarke-Boland Big Band at their best. Lots of rolling riffing rhythms, and breakout solos that really respect the members of the group – and which light a fuse under nearly every track. Features the funky groover "Mornin Reverend", plus "The Waltz You Swang For Me", "Say It Softly", "The Second Race", and "Kids Are Pretty People". Central Park North is excellent work from the team of Thad Jones and Mel Lewis – arguably one of their best albums from the late 60s, and a set that's got some really great funky big band numbers! There's a nice bouncing groove to the group that they normally don't have – possibly because Richard Davis is playing some Fender bass on the set, which brings in a nice focus on the bottom end – and the best numbers have a sock-soul feel that's in the best late 60s large group soul jazz mode! Titles include "Tow Away Zone", "Jive Samba", "The Groove Merchant", and "Central Park North". CD

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✨✧ Juicy LucyJuicy Lucy/Lie Back & Enjoy It/Get A Whiff Of This (plus bonus tracks) ... CD
Vertigo/BGO (UK), Late 60s/Early 70s. New Copy 2CD ... $16.99 19.99
Three full albums from Juicy Lucy – plus bonus tracks too! First up is the self-titled debut from Juicy Lucy – an American act who made a trip to the London scene in the late 60s, where they found a way to forge a whole bunch of influences into a very unique groove! Had they stayed back home in Cali, Juicy Lucy might have gravitated towards the Bay Area scene, and ended up sounding a bit freakier and hippieish – but in London, they sharpened their sound, unleashed some deeper bluesy currents, and put the whole thing together with a mix of wit and flair that really set them apart! The group boasts great lead vocals from Ray Owen, a cool mix of electric and acoustic sax parts from Chris Mercer, strong lead guitar from Neil Hubbard, and a range of great sounds from Glenn Ross Campbell – who uses steel guitar and mandolin in ways that are very different than American groups of the time. Forgive the album its quickly-dated, exploitative cover – because it's got a lot more to offer than that – and titles include "Chicago Northwestern", "Train", "Nadine", "Mississippi Woman", "She's Mine She's Yours", and "Just One Time". Lie Back & Enjoy It is hard and heavy work from Juicy Lucy – a group who are even stronger here on this second set than on their debut – effortlessly spinning out lines that are very much in the best hard rock modes of the period, but which also retain some nice bluesy influences as well! The group's a sextet – and in addition to some very unique vocals from singer Paul Williams, who also plays piano and congas, the set also has some surprisingly nice use of steel guitar and mandolin, but never in ways that sound like the instruments might in the handling of some of the Cali crowd at the time. Lead guitar is from Mick Moody, sax and keyboard lines are from Chris Mercer, and titles include "Pretty Woman", "Built For Comfort", "Whisky In My Jar", "Hello LA Bye Bye Birmingham", "Thinking Of My Life", and "Willie The Pimp". For Get A Whiff Of This, the title's a bit of a joke, especially in relation to the cover – but Juicy Lucy come on strong here, with a searing sound that shows that they're way past the novelty of the image on the front! Over the course of the previous records, the group really honed their unique blend of American blues and Brit hard rock inspiration – very well-focused here, with a sound that paves the way for some of the bigger crossover acts that would soon dominate American radio in the mid 70s – something the group unfortunately never got the chance to do. Titles include "Mr Skin", "Midnight Rider", "Mr A Jones", "Sunday Morning", and "Jessica". 2CD set features the bonus b-side tracks "Walking Down The Highway" and "I Am A Thief". CD

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✨✧ Steve KhanPublic Access/Headline/Crossings ... CD
GRP/BGO (UK), Late 80s/Early 90s. New Copy 2 CDs ... $9.99 19.99
A trio of later albums from a guitarist who first rose to fame in the 70s! First up is Public Access – a record that's got a slightly goofy cover, but a sound that's much richer than you might expect – thanks in part to great work on the album from percussionist Manolo Badrena! Some of the music here echoes the earlier fusion of guitarist Steve Khan – but other tunes bring in some warmer, Brazilian-y elements – including a bit of vocalization from Badrena, with occasional chorus work from Lani Groves and Vivian Cherry. The rest of the group features frequent partner Anthony Jackson on bass and Dave Weckl on drums – and titles include "Sise", "Silent Screen", "Mambosa", "Butane Elvin", "Botero People, and "Kamarica". The set then follows with three long tracks from Headline – a record that has guitarist Steve Khan almost returning to straight small combo work – although still with some of the wider colors of the fusion modes he first unleashed in the 70s! The album's got a tight core group here – Khan on guitar, Anthony Jackson on bass, Dennis Chambers on drums, and Manolo Badrena on percussion – and Chambers' drum performance is maybe more direct and swinging than some of Khan's previous drummers, which works especially well on the album's versions of songs by Joe Henderson and Ornette Coleman! Titles include "Caribbean Fire Dance", "All Or Nothing At All", and "Turnaround". Last up is Crossings – a great title for this set from guitarist Steve Khan – as the crossings here reflect Steve's increasing ear towards other cultures and rhythms in his music as the years moved on – even while still keeping things in a relatively fusion-based mode! Steve's got plenty of those warm colors that he always brought to his playing – working with a tight lineup that includes bassist Anthony Jackson, drummer Dennis Chambers, percussionist Manolo Badrena, and tenorist Michael Brecker. Titles include "Descarga Khanalonious", "Melancholee", "Inner Urge", "Capricorn", "What I'm Said", "Pee Wee", and "Think Of One". CD

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Steve KhanTightrope/Blue Man/Arrows ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), Late 70s. Used 2CD ... $11.99
A trio of classics from Steve Khan – all brought together in a single package! First up is Tightrope – beautiful fusion from guitarist Steve Khan – one of those great 70s players who could play things tight, yet still keep an edge! The album's got a well-produced groove – the same sort of soulful undercurrent you'd get in other Columbia fusion sets of the period – yet Khan's guitar has a bit more rasp than most, less of the sanded-down, clean-toned notes that you'd get from some of his contemporaries. Bob James produced, and you can certainly hear his ear on some of the keyboard parts – especially the sweet Fender Rhodes, handled by both James and Don Grolnick. Titles include "Some Punk Funk", "Darlin Darlin Baby", "The Big Ones", "Star Chamber", "Tightrope", and "Soft Summer Breeze". Next up is Blue Man – a sweet 70s fusion set from guitarist Steve Khan! The set's got that best Columbia Records groove from the time – a sound that could easily cross over to fusion fans on both sides of the tracks – those who dig soulful undercurrents, thanks to the album's keyboards from Don Grolnick – and those who might like a bit more rockish-lines, thanks to Khan's raspy edge on his guitar. Things never get too jamming, and there's a nice sense of space that definitely helps keep the soul of the record intact – on tracks that include "Some Downtime", "Daily Bulls", "Daily Valley", and "The Little Ones". Arrows is the last in a classic trilogy of late 70s fusion albums that Steve Khan cut for Columbia records – and a set that really has him bringing his sound together in a wonderful way! Khan was working with Steely Dan on the Gaucho album at the time of the recordings – testified by Donald Fagan's notes to the record – and he really seems to have picked up their large overall musical vision, that way of making things perfect, but never in a slick style – working here with other fusion giants who include Don Grolnick on Fender Rhodes, Michael Brecker on tenor and soprano sax, and Randy Brecker on trumpet – plus lots of great drums from Steve Gadd. Titles include the extended "City Suite", plus "Candles", "Daily Village", "Calling", and "Some Arrows". CD

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✨✧ Freddie KingLarger Than Life ... CD
RSO/BGO (UK), 1975. New Copy ... $9.99 16.99
The last album recorded by Freddie King – mostly done at the Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin – which continues the great 70s update the Texas bluesman was bringing to his sound! There's bits of soul and funk in the mix, but Freddie is still the main attraction in the lead – wickedly sharp guitar lines mixed with raspy soul vocals – all with a nicely focused level that really makes us wonder where Freddie would have gone if he'd stayed with us a bit longer! The changes since his King Records years are enormous, and King seems right on the cusp of a new sense of confidence and majesty in the world of American blues – on titles that include "You Can Run But You Can't Hide", "Ain't That I Don't Love You", "Boogie Bump", "The Things I Used To Do", "Have You Ever Loved A Woman", and "It's Better To Have (And Don't Need)". CD

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KoobasKoobas (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), Late 60s. New Copy ... $9.99 14.99
An overlooked gem from The Koobas – a group who tried very hard and made some excellent records in the late 60s – only to see this set come out after the group had thrown in the towel! Don't let that stop your ears from digging in deep, though – as the whole thing's a subtle masterpiece from a time when so many other things were going on – a record that's got its own sort of logic that's completely charming – neither garage or psych, but with the wit and sharpness of both – set to these fantastic vocals from Keith Ellis, a singer whose bite would also hit big with Juicy Luicy, but who somehow sounds more sinister here. It's hard to sum up the charms of the record in a few short words, but they're definitely there the moment you first give the record a listen – smart songs, creative production, and lots of twists and turns that really keep things interesting – on titles that include "Here's A Day", "Constantly Changing", "Barricades", "Royston Rose", "Gold Leaf Tree", and "Mr Claire". CD features bonus tracks too – "Face", "Champagne & Caviar", "Sweet Music", "First Cut Is The Deepest", "Gypsy Fred", "Sally", and "Walking Out". CD

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Kool & The GangLadies' Night/Celebrate/Something Special/As One/In The Heart/Emergency (3CD set) ... CD
BGO (UK), Late 70s/Early 80s. New Copy 3CD ... $18.99 20.99
A massive package of work from the mighty Kool & The Gang – 6 full albums from the 80s, served up here in a 3CD set! First up is Ladies Night – a shameless dancefloor cash-in move – but a record that's still pretty darn great as well! You all know the big title cut "Ladies Night", so we won't bother to describe it – but we can say that the group wisely hooked up with Deodato, who produced, mixed, and even played keyboards on the album. Deodato keeps a nice jazzy punch in the tracks, while still moving towards the slickly produced funk sound that was the group's main approach at the time of the record. JT Taylor's on vocals, and the album's even got a few mellow cuts – like the crossover easy number "Too Hot" – amidst the midtempo 80s grooves that really step out and make the whole thing move. Other tracks include "Ladies Night", "Hangin Out", "Tonight's The Night", "If You Feel Like Dancin", and "Got You Into My Life". The next album is Something Special indeed – as the album was one of the biggest hits for Kool & The Gang, and showed that the group still had plenty of energy left to groove into the 80s! The record features production work by Brazilian music maestro Eumir Deodato – who by this point had become a sweet and smooth talent with a real flair for putting over a modern soul groove! Deodato's approach is really great – smooth, yet soulful, without any tricks or gimmicks – and a real appreciation for lead vocals and a catchy little hook! The album features the group's party classic "Get Down On It", plus "Steppin Out", "No Show", "Pass It On", "Be My Lady", "Take My Heart", and "Good Time Tonight". As One is solid 80s grooving from Kool & The Gang – a group who inspired so many others in the early 80s soul generation, but who could still do it better than most of the rest! The style here is tight and smooth, but never too slick – and Deodato's giving the group some really great production for the album – helping them to focus their energy and soar soulfully, but without resorting to any stiff gimmicks or cliches! There's a great groove running through most of the numbers here – a confident quality that's never too commercial, and which bubbles along nicely throughout. Titles include "Street Kids", "Big Fun", "As One", "Hi De Hi Hi De Ho", "Let's Go Dancin", and "Pretty Baby". In The Heart is a sweet set that's part of a big early 80s run from Kool & The Gang – a time that saw the funk legends really hitting the mainstream, and winning over a huge new audience in the process! Given that the Gang virtually invented ensemble funk at the start of the 70s, they're perfectly poised here to move into modes that so many of their younger competition were trying – but never did so well – that blend of 80s elements and more sharply-fused funk instrumentation, all honed down into a tightly snapping groove. The real surprise, though, is the group's growing ability for ballads – which put records like this into hands of folks who never would have dug their funk a few years before. And while we might have had a few problems with that shift at the time, the passage of years has got the whole thing sounding pretty darn great to our ears – especially in comparison to so much weaker work from the time. Titles include "In The Heart", "Joanna", "Tonight", "Straight Ahead", "September Love", "You Can Do It", and "Home Is Where The Heart Is". Last up is Emergency – one of the key classics from the second chapter of the group – when their lineup and sound were a lot leaner than before, and they managed to cross over big to a much wider audience than before! The upbeat cuts show that the group were still kings of the funky dancefloor – and the mellower ones are equally great too – showing a rising ballad style that proved to be the group's big crossover card at the time – a way of putting over a laidback track, but with plenty of soul. This approach is heard to great effect on the album's great single "Cherish" – and other tracks include "Bad Woman", "Surrender", "Emergency", "Misled", "Fresh", and "You Are The One". CD

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✨✧ Hubert Laws/George BensonIn The Beginning/In Concert Carnegie Hall ... CD
CTI/BGO (UK), 1974/1976. New Copy 2CD ... $5.99 14.99
A split CTI package – with a record apiece by Hubert Laws and George Benson! Hubert Laws is first with In The Beginning – moody work from one of the most groundbreaking flute players of the 70s – and a real standout in the legendary catalog of CTI Records! Hubert Laws was not only richly talented, but he was also capable of a large number of styles – and this double-length set for CTI has him moving past the electric funky jazz that was the usual manner of the label. The set features backing by a range of different keyboardists – from Bob James, to Clare Fisher, to Richard Tee – plus tenor by Ronnie Laws, percussion by Airto, drums by Steve Gadd, and guitar by Gene Bertonicini. All tracks are long, and the material spans funk, jazz, and even a bit of classically influenced playing. Titles include "Mean Lene", "Restoration", "Moment's Notice", and "Reconciliation", and "In The Beginning". Next up is George Benson In Concert Carnegie Hall – one of his hardest-hitting albums of the time! In a way, the record returns George to his early years at CTI – particularly the album Beyond The Blue Horizon – as the set's got a stripped down smaller group, working in a tight blend of electric jazzy bits that's very nice! Ronnie Foster lays down some great keyboards on the set, Hubert Laws is on flute, and George himself plays a hollow body with a nice soulful tone – stretching out on some straight jazz on most cuts, but also hitting a few of his smoother notes from the mid 70s. Titles include "Sky Dive", "Take Five", "Octane", "Summertime", and "Gone". CD

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Ramsey LewisFunky Serenity/Golden Hits/Solar Wind/Sun Goddess ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), Early 70s. New Copy 2CD ... $15.99 19.99
A quadruple-header from Ramsey Lewis – four albums from his great 70s electric period on Columbia Records! First up is Funky Serenity – sweet electric funk from Ramsey Lewis! The album's one of his best from the 70s – and it's got Ramsey on Fender Rhodes, electric harpsichord, and other keyboards, grooving away in an open-ended 70s mode that still retains all the heavy soul of his classic work for Chess. Morris Jennings adds in some very nice percussion with his drum work, and Cleveland Eaton's on funky bass, giving the set a strong bottom groove. Features the sublime sample cut "My Love For You", a great version of "Knights In White Satin" that's done with a weird spacey groove, plus the tracks "Kufany Mapenzi (Making Love)", "Serene Funk", "What It Is!", and "Dreams". Golden Hits isn't a "best of", but instead has Ramsey and his funky mid 70s trio with Morris Jennings and Cleveland Eaton revisiting some of his best loved material from the Cadet years, but with the groovy Rhodes and wah wah sound that we dig so much about his CBS recordings. Unlike some of the other records from this period, the group's nice and stripped down, just the electric piano, bass and drums, so the groove's nice and wide open, Ramsey and company popping along with the sanctified soulful vibe of his 60s work, but updating their sound with some nice electric touches. 9 numbers in all: "Hang On Sloopy", "Blues For The Night Owl", "Hi-Heel Sneakers", "Carmen", "Delilah", "Wade In The Water", "Slippin' Into Darkness", "Somethin' You Got", and "The In Crowd". Solar Wind was cut smack dab in the middle of Ramsey's glory days at Columbia Records – with great production help and work on bass from the mighty Cleveland Eaton! The style is nice and lean, with just some occasional fuller touches – and Ramsey plays plenty of Fender Rhodes, in addition to bits of Arp and moog too – in a setting that's mostly trio, with a few guest players stepping into the mix from track to track! There's a nice degree of fuzz at points, thanks to added help from Steve Cropper – and titles include a great funky version of "Summer Breeze", plus "Solar Wind", "Come Down In Time", "Love for A Day", "Hummingbird", "Jamaican Marketplace", and "Sweet & Tender You". Sun Goddess is one of our favorite Ramsey Lewis albums ever – and a perfect summation of the genius that was brewing on the Chicago scene in the late 60s and early 70s! The album has Ramsey working strongly with Earth Wind & Fire – no surprise, given his close ties to Maurice White, who was the drummer in Ramsey's trio before starting his own group – and the shared relationship both artists had with producer Charles Stepney! The three were all key parts of the late 60s sound at Chess Records – but here, they've brought the same soulful energy to Columbia – working in a wider, more mature groove for the 70s – one that has Lewis' wicked Fender Rhodes lines stretching out strongly over tight, compressed, funky lines from EWF! The centerpiece of the set is the massive 7 minute "Sun Goddess", but there's lots of other nice ones like "Living For The City", "Gemini Rising", and "Jungle Strut". Funky, electric, and sublimely wonderful all the way through! CD

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Johnny MathisHeart Of A Woman/When Will I See You Again/I Only Have Eyes For You/Mathis Is (bonus tracks) ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), Late 70s. New Copy 2CD ... $16.99 19.99
Four great albums from the 70s soul years of Johnny Mathis – all brought together in a single set, and with bonus cuts too! First up is The Heart Of A Woman – on which the voice of Johnny Mathis meets the soulful arrangements of Paul Riser and HB Barnum – all wrapped up with Johnny Bristol production! Johnny's tender voice, the gently sweeping arrangements and soul-rooted production make this one a gem. Titles include "Woman Woman", "Sail On White Moon", "Feel Like Makin Love", "It's Gone", "Memories Don't Leave Like People Do", "Strangers In Dark Corners", and "The Way We Planned It". When Will I See You Again finds Johnny taking on a comparably diverse batch of tunes, from a bright & breezy take on the Gamble & Huff penned title track, to a soaring Roger Nichols/Paul Williams medley, to more intimate strings-backed numbers. Another sweet set from a legendary vocalist, and the titles includes "Mandy", "Nice To Be Around", "You're Right As Rain", "You And Me Against The World", "The Things I Might've Been" and more. I Only Have Eyes For You has Johnny finding a new sort of groove with arranger Gene Page! Page had done funkier work in other settings, but here he mixes up soul and strings in a nice balance of modes for Mathis – blending ballads with a few gentle groovers, the latter of which really have Johnny taking off in great new directions – and finding a way to hold onto the spotlight as the 70s move on! Titles include "Do Me Wrong But Do Me", "The Hungry Years", "I Only Have Eyes For You", "Do You Know Where You're Going To", "Ooh What We Do", "When A Child Is Born", and "Every Time You Touch Me I Get High". Mathis Is has Johnny working with lots of strong Philly soul currents – thanks to arrangements and production from Thom Bell – which makes for a much more soul-based record than usual! Titles include "Hung Up In The Middle Of Love", "I Don't Want To Say No", "Sweet Love Of Mine", "I'll Make You Happy", and "As Long As We're Together". 2CD set features bonus tracks "Fifty Fifty" and "Nothing In This Whole World". CD

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John MayallTurning Point ... CD
Polydor/BGO (UK), 1969. New Copy ... $8.99 14.99
An album that definitely lives up to its title – as the set is definitely a turning point in the career of John Mayall, and the debut of brand new lineup that helped move his music past a the straighter sound of American blues! There's still plenty of blues at the core – and great vocals and harmonica from the leader – but the lineup also features no drums at all, which gives very open space to freeplay between the acoustic guitar of Jon Mark, the bass of Steve Thompson, and the wicked work of Johnny Almond on tenor, alto, and flute! The jazzy elements that Almond brings to the music are wonderful – and really open up the sound, and showcase a whole new side of Mayall's talents too – as the group here play live at the Fillmore East, on titles that include "The Laws Must Change", "California", "I'm Gonna Fight For You JB", "Room To Move", and "Saw Mill Gulch Road". CD

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MotelsAll Four One/Little Robbers (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Capitol/BGO (UK), Early 80s. New Copy 2CD ... $16.99 19.99
A pair of 80s pop classics from The Motels – back to back in a single set, and with bonus tracks too! First up is All Four One – a super-huge set from The Motels – and a record that still has the group holding onto a lot of credibility at a time when so much mainstream pop was really skewing towards the thin side of the spectrum! The vocals of Martha Davis are a big part of the album's success – as they've got this subtle sense of drama learned from the new role of female singers in the wake of punk rock, but tuned towards material that was maybe a bit more able to cross over on the charts – thanks to well-crafted guitar licks that underscore the best part of the lyrics. The approach is a nice balance – definitely less dated and a lot less cloying than some of Davis' contemporaries – on titles that include the hit "Only The Lonely", plus "Mission Of Mercy", "Take The L", "Change My Mind", "Art Fails", "So LA", "Apocalypso", "Forever Mine", and a remake of "He Hit Me (It Felt Like A Kiss)". On Little Robbers, The Motels are strongly in hit territory – the vocals of Martha Davis providing a nice blend of the rough and the smooth – in style that made the singer one of the real standouts in pop at the time! The group have a great way of brewing up the tunes – familiar elements that hint at drama, but never go too far – just the right balance to make the lyrics land perfectly, but never come off as overdone or insincere. Titles include the hit "Suddenly Last Summer" – plus "Where Do We Go From Here", "Monday Shutdown", "Isle Of You", "Footsteps", "Tables Turned", and "Remember The Nights". Bonus tracks include "Mission Of Mercy (apocalypso version", "Schneekin (apocalypso version)", "So LA (acpocalypso version)", "Who Could Resist That Face", and "Only The Lonely (live)". CD

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Mr FoxMr Fox/The Gipsy ... CD
Transatlantic/BGO (UK), Early 70s. New Copy ... $14.99 18.99
The first two albums from Mr Fox – UK folk contemporaries of Fairport Convention and Pentangle, but a group who are maybe even more committed to the traditional roots in their sound! The self-titled Mr Fox features vocals from both Bob and Carole (later Carolanne) Pegg – singing together and trading leads in a way that really elevates the majesty of the music – which, according to them, comes from the ancient world of the Yorkshire dales – a quality that definitely comes through in the way they vocalize the words. Instrumentation is mostly acoustic, but these guys use electric bass in the best ways of their bigger contemporaries – really setting the music apart from familiar folk, and giving it a sinister edge at the bottom – and occasionally peppering things with organ lines too. Titles include "The Hanged Man", "Join Us In Our Game", "The Ballad Of Neddy Dick", "Mr Fox", and "Salisbury Plain". The Gipsy is a record that expands the sound nicely from the group's debut – adding in some slight electric touches in surprising places – including the fiddles and organ – and also using some original material by the group that really burns with a nice deep edge. There's an attempt here to move past conventional acid folk styles – although never in commercial ways – just compelling juxtapositions of instrumentation and vocal interplay, which almost seems to unlock more of a pagan vibe in their sound! Titles include "House Carpenter", "The Gipsy", "Aunt Lucy Broadwood", "Mendle", and "All The Good Times". CD

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Gene PageHot City/Lovelock ... CD
Atlantic/BGO (UK), Mid 70s. New Copy ... $9.99 16.99
A pair of 70s soul classics from arranger Gene Page – back to back on a single CD! First up is Hot City – an excellent album of Barry White-styled instrumentals – put together by Barry's right hand man Gene Page, and produced by Barry himself! The record's one of the best that Gene Page ever cut – apart from his seminal blacksploitation soundtracks – and it's very much in the mode of White's Love Unlimited Orchestra albums from the same time, although perhaps with less of a string section – and more of an emphasis on funky drums at the bottom. Players are an all-star cast of LA studio groovers that includes David T Walker and Ray Parker on guitar, Ernie Watts and Wilton Felder on saxes, and Clarence McDonald on keyboards – and tracks are mostly originals by Page and White. Titles include "Jungle Eyes", "She's My Main Squeeze", "I Am Living In A World Of Gloom", "Satin Soul", and "To The Bone". Lovelock features Gene Page at the height of his 70s powers – using all the talents he forged as a background artist for other soul talents, and all the majesty he added to his soundtrack work – all focused nicely into a sweet set of warmly soulful grooves! The style's a bit clubby, but also has some wider depth too – maybe an undercurrent of fusion that comes from players like Lee Ritenour and David T Walker on guitar, Joe Sample and Sonny Burke on keyboards, and Oscar Brasher on trumpet – who find a way to work wonderfully alongside the albums vocals from singers Merry Clayton, Edna Wright, and Jim Gilstrap – all with a style that's not unlike some of the best Quincy Jones material of the time! As with Quincy, there's a sense of care and confidence that really holds the album together – on titles that include "Higher My Love", "Organ Grinder", "Into My Thing", "Wild Cherry", "Fantasy Woman", "Straw In the Wind", and "Together Whatever". CD

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Tom PaxtonHow Come The Sun (plus Tom Paxton EP) ... CD
Reprise/BGO (UK), 1971. New Copy ... $7.99 14.99
A great step forward for Tom Paxton – his first album on the Reprise label, and a set that really pushes the best post-folk modes of the singer! Tom's in this very dark setting here – still singing and playing acoustic guitar, but draped with these mature elements from a well-chosen group of accompanists – which includes some especially great sounds from David Horowitz on piano, organ, and melodica – elements which mix with some light string touches to really bring a moody vibe to the record – maybe more Brit late 60s folk at times than much of Paxton's earlier material. Titles include "I Had To Shoot That Rabbit", "Icarus", "Prayin For Snow", "How Come The Sun", "She's Far Away", "Little Lost Child", and "A Sailor's Life". CD also features the bonus Tom Paxton EP from 1967 – much more folksy overall, with original tunes that include "The Marvelous Toy", "Beau John", "Deep Fork River", and "My Dog's Better Than Your Dog". CD

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✨✧ Pamela PollandPamela Polland/Have You Heard The One About The Gas Station Attendant (with bonus track) ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), 1971/1973. New Copy 2CD ... $9.99 19.99
Two albums by Pamela Polland – one of which was never issued in the 70s! First up is the self-titled Pamela Polland – an obscure bit of 70s underground rock – the first solo album by Polland, who might be better known for her work in the psych-folk group Gentle Soul at the end of the 60s. This album's got a style that's a bit different than work by Gentle Soul – a lot more personal, and at times, a bit more rootsy – but not in a folksy way, instead more of that kind of early 70s California "back to nature" kind of rock – if that makes any sense at all. There's some great little songs on the record that show Pamela as a potentially huge figure in 70s rock – had she not gotten stuck off on the sidelines so much – but that fact makes the album all that much more compelling. Titles include "The Rescuer", "Texas", "Lighthouse", "The Dream", and "Sing A Song Man". The set also features Pamela's never-issued second album – Have You Heard The One About The Gas Station Attendant – a record that was finished, but squashed by Columbia Records as part of a political move after the label fired president Clive Davis! Polland was Davis' pet project at the time – and got top-shelf treatment for this second album – Elton John producer Gus Dudgeon put together most of the set in London, and Pamela is even more expressive, more thoughtful in both her singing and songwriting – with help from a host of key London studio talents, but all working in an understated mode that really sets the songs perfectly. CD

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Lee RitenourCaptain's Journey/Feel The Night/Rio ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), 1978/1979. New Copy 2 CDs ... $10.99 19.99
Sweet fusion from the great Lee Ritenour – three classic albums on two CDs! First up is Captain's Journey – a masterful fusion set from guitarist Lee Ritenour – one that expands his sound a bit more than usual by adding in vocals on a number of tracks – but in a way that really gets at the mainstream soul influences that bubble through his jazz work! The set features key vocal appearances from Patti Austin, Tom Baylor, and Bill Champlin – all singers who really know how to respect the instrumental side of a tune, too – which is great, given that the record also features keyboards from Dave Grusin and Patrice Rushen too. Titles include "That's Enough For Me", "Sugarloaf Express", "What Do You Want", "Matchmakers", "Morning Glory", and "The Storm". Feel The Night is a key album from a time when Lee was still very much at the top of his game! Although tight overall, the album's never too commercial to be cloying – and Lee's approach here is a great example of the way that mainstream 70s fusion managed to balance all its best elements nicely – from soulful rhythms on the bottom, to sharp-edged solos on the top, to some of the smoother studio glue that holds the whole thing together in the middle! Ritenour plays a range of different guitars – and other players include Don and Dave Grusin on keyboards, plus keys from David Foster as well – plus saxes from Ernie Watts, piano from Joe Sample, and drums from Steve Gadd. Patti Austin sings a bit on the set, but the album's a mostly-instrumental affair overall – and titles include "Feel The Night", "Market Place", "Wicked Wine", "French Roast", and "Midnight Lady". Rio is smooth jazzy fusion from Lee Ritenour – a classic set that was originally only released in Japan, part of the underground Japanese Fusion movement of the late 70s, famous for groove hounds for that added level of soul that often wasn't showing up in American releases at the time! The album was recorded in both Rio and LA – with work by a mixture of Brazilian and American fusion players, including Chico Batera, Oscar Castro Neves, Alex Acuna, Don Grusin, Dave Grusin, Steve Forman, and Marcus Miller. Includes the smooth funk classic "A Little Bit Of This & A Little Bit Of That", plus the cuts "Simplicidad", "Rainbow", "Rio Funk", "San Juan Sunset", and "Ipanema Sol". CD

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✨✧ Rockin BerriesIn Town/Life Is Just A Bowl Of Berries (plus bonus tracks) ... CD
BGO (UK), Mid 60s. New Copy 2CD ... $16.99 19.99
A huge amount of material from The Rockin Berries – one of the great almost-rans of the UK scene in the 60s – a group who should have stormed our shores during the British Invasion, but somehow got left off the boat! The group's got everything shared by all their best contemporaries – a great way with a tune, an ear for a catchy hook, and a way of mixing harmonized vocals with harder rocking moments at a level that means that there's plenty at the core, and the combo need no sweetening up in the studio! They also have two lead singers – Clive Lea and Geoff Turton – who sound great when harmonizing together, and can also split off and really let the group cover a nice range of material. Both of the albums here were produced by Brit sound maestro John Schroeder – Rockin Berries In Town and Life Is Just A Bowl Of Berries – and the set also features 36 more bonus tracks from singles and EP releases at the time – 60 tracks in all! CD

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Tom ScottDesire/Target ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), 1982/1983. New Copy ... $9.99 16.99
Sweet sax from the great Tom Scott – two early 80s Columbia albums in a single package! Desire is proof that Scott could still make an electric jazz album sound more soulful than most of his mainstream contemporaries! There's a really great sense of balance here – production that's certainly polished, but instrumentation that's never sleepy at all – those always-sharp reeds we love from Tom, especially on alto and soprano sax – plus some great keyboard work from Victor Feldman, who has a similar sense of space and timing ot match Scott's groove! The set's got a feel that's a bit like some of the few really great albums from Dave Grusin – and some cuts have vocals, although mostly of the backup type. Titles include "Desire", "Sure Enough", "The Only One", "Stride", "Chunk O Funk", and "Meet Somebody". Target features a wide range of styles from saxophonist Tom Scott – some tracks that are in the funkier fusion he scored with in the 70s, but others that have some soul and pop touches as well! Scott's horn is still nice and sharp when he gets to step out in the solo spotlight – more so on the instrumental tracks, but a bit less so on the vocal ones – which feature singers who include Maria Muldaur, Kenny James, and Lee Ving. Other players include Harvey Mason on drums, Ernie Watts on tenor and alto, Victor Feldman on keyboards, and Paul Jackson on guitar – and titles include "Burundi Bump", "The Biggest Part Of Me", "He's Too Young", "Aerobia", "Target", and "Come Back To Me". CD

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Earl ScruggsNashville's Rock/Dueling Banjos/Storyteller & The Banjo Man/Top Of The World ... CD
BGO (UK), Early 70s/Early 80s. New Copy 2CD ... $15.99
Four post-Flatts albums from the great Earl Scruggs – served up in a single set! First up is Nashville's Rock – a very unusual album from legendary bluegrass musician Earl Scruggs – a set that has him taking on a whole host of famous 60s rock tunes, and turning them into hip banjo-led instrumentals! By the time of the record, Earl had influenced a host of countless rockers – and it's quite a compelling change for Scruggs to handle material from that same scene, but bring it all right straight back to Nashville with his performance! Later Scruggs might end up in territory that was too rockish, but this record definitely has his classic sound right up front in the mix – even on the few tracks that might have a female backing chorus. Titles include "Everybody's Talkin", "Nashville Skyline Rag", "Hey Jude", "Love Is Just A Four Letter Word", "Bridge Over Troubled Water", "Honky Tony Women", and "Train Number Forty Five". Dueling Banjos is a record that takes its title from the big Deliverance hit by Eric Weissberg – but a set that reminds the world that when it comes to banjo, there's maybe nobody better than the great Earl Scruggs! And while the record has some of the elements of the Earl Scruggs Revue sound – in that his sons Randy and Gary are on the set – the whole thing is also all instrumental, and has a much more bluegrass-oriented vibe – thanks in part to great help from Vassar Clements on fiddle, Josh Graves on dobro, and Chip Young on guitar! The instrumentation is fantastic – and titles include "Peking Fling", "Just Joshin", "Flint Hill Special", "Black Mountain Blues", "Fireball Mail", and "Lonesome Ruben". Storyteller & The Banjo Man is a fantastic return to form for the great Tom T Hall – and a record that hints a bit at the bluegrass direction his later small label records would take! Earl Scruggs and his sons provide great musical backing, while Tom sings lead in that fantastic style of his – sometimes telling his own stories, sometimes singing the words of others – all in a lean, respectful, acoustic-driven setting that's maybe even better than most of Hall's own records at the time! Titles include "Shackles & Chains", "The Engineers Don't Wave From The Trains Anymore", "Song Of The South", "Don't Give Your Heart To A Rambler", "Dim Lights Thick Smoke", "No Expectations", "There Ain't Country Music On The Jukebox", and "Don't This Road Look Rough & Rocky". Top Of The World is a great late career album from Earl Scruggs – a set that features his sons still in the mix, but with a whole sort of production style and presentation that almost makes the whole thing a tribute to Earl's greatness! There's plenty of strong banjo solos in the lineup – and guests include Ricky Skaggs, Tracey Nelson, and the Burrito Brothers – but all used sparingly, with just the right vocal augmentation next to the instrumentation – and plenty of room for solos throughout. Titles include "Till the End Of The World Rolls Round", "Lay Me Down In Dixie", "Roller Coaster", "Carolina Star", "We'll Meet Again Sweetheart", and "Love Gone Cold". CD

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SearchersSearchers – A & B Sides 1963 to 1967 ... CD
Pye/BGO (UK), Mid 60s. New Copy ... $14.99 16.99
The first-ever full collection of all the groovy singles The Searchers recorded for the Pye Records label in the 60s – a 32 track set that includes both the a and b-side of every 7" release for the label! The Searchers were one of the leading lights of the early British invasion – a group who could harmonize as well as The Beatles, and who had a similar knack for turning out catchy tunes that packed plenty of punch, and which were a nicely stripped-down contrast to some of the more overblown production of American pop of the time! In addition to penning their own tunes, the group often covered work by American artists – taking US tunes and giving them a Brit Invasion flavor in a really great way – thanks to a lean sound, and lots of well-tuned guitar lines! Titles include "Western Union", "Second Hand Dealer", "Crazy Dreams", "This Feeling Inside", "I Pretend I'm With You", "Saturday Night Out", "When You Walk In The Room", "Sugar & Spice", "It's All Been A Dream", "Saints & Searchers", "I'm Never Coming Back", "Too Many Miles", and "Lovers". CD

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Third Ear BandThird Ear Band's Music From Macbeth ... CD
Harvest/BGO (UK), 1972. New Copy ... $8.99
Shakespeare never sounded so compelling before – given a very cool soundtrack by the Third Ear Band, who were moved to work on this project in collaboration with director Roman Polanski! The music is fantastic away from the film – very different than some of the group's earlier records, and a lot more eerie too – as some of their usual string and reed elements almost take on an electronic vibe in the process! Most tracks are very spacious and open, with the violin and oboe crafting some especially sharp, angular sounds – almost as if the group were let loose in some sort of analogue electronic studio. Titles include "The Beach", "The Banquet", "Dagger & Death", "Bear Baiting", "Groom's Dance", "Prophesies", and "Wicca Way". CD

Close matches51
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Robin TrowerBack It Up ... CD
Chrysalis/BGO (UK), 1983. Used ... $6.99
... CD
(Out of print.)

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Robin TrowerBLT/Truce ... CD
BGO (UK), 1981. Used ... $11.99
... CD
(Out of print.)

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Ike & Tina TurnerCome Together/Nuff Said ... CD
Liberty/BGO (UK), 1970/1971. New Copy ... $14.99 16.99
A pair of Ike & Tina Turner classics – back to back on one CD! First up is Come Together – a key crossover set for the soul duo! Ike and Tina Turner crossed over big by this point in their career – grabbing a lot of ears that were mostly listening to rock music, but who finally got that many of their heroes were influenced by the pair – who were then throwing things back towards all their copycats with a record like this! Case in point is the album's famous cover of "Come Together" – which has Tina hitting some of her slinkiest, sexiest modes on record – while also mixing things up with plenty of deep soul elements on other tunes too! There's a great blend of rock and soul – Fillmore vs Muscle Shoals – and in addition to "Come Together", other titles include "Contact High", "I Want To Take You Higher", "Honky Tonk Woman", "Evil Man", "Doin It", and "Young & Dumb". Nuff Said is one of the most iconic albums from the team of Ike & Tina Turner – a set recorded at a time when the duo were complete superstars in both the world of rock and soul – and were able to step out with a heck of a lot of power in the grooves! Ike produced and arranged the album in his studio, and he also changed the name of Kings Of Rhythm to The Family Vibes – showing that strong shift they'd made into funkier modes for the 70s – augmented here by the presence of Leon Ware's songwriting talents on a number of the songs. Tina's the real star, of course – and sounds tremendous on titles that include "Baby", "Sweet Flustrations", "I Love What You Do To Me", "Tell The Truth", "I Love Baby", and "Nuff Said". CD

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✨✧ Stanley TurrentineCherry/Don't Mess With Mister T/Sugar Man (with bonus tracks) ... CD
CTI/BGO (UK), Early 70s. New Copy 2CD ... $9.99 19.99
A trio of classic CTI Records albums from tenorist Stanley Turrentine – with bonus tracks too! First up is Cherry – one of the best CTI albums from the early 70s – and one of Stanley Turrentine's funkiest records as well! The album's got a sharper edge than most other Turrentine albums of the time – a quality that goes beyond Stan's already soulful approach to the tenor, and which brings in some tight changes and more pronounced rhythms that really give the best cuts a great groove! The group's a sextet – with Bob James on electric piano, Milt Jackson on vibes, Cornell Dupree on guitar, Ron Carter on bass, and Billy Cobham on drums – and titles include a monster version of Weldon Irvine's "Sister Sanctified" – a great funk tune that's probably best known as the sample for "My Philosophy" by BDP! Other tracks include "Speedball", "Cherry", and "The Revs". On Don't Mess With Mister T, Stanley Turrentine meets Bob James – on a record that's one of the 70s classics on CTI! Bob James handles the arrangements – with that laidback, mellowfunky approach to jazz that he helped pioneer at the time – lots of modal chords in the rhythms, and these wonderfully soulful solos by the great Stan himself! James plays keyboards on the set – and Harold Mabern adds some piano too – and the lineup also includes the mighty Eric Gale on guitar, and Idris Muhammad on drums. Titles include the great title cut – a remake of Marvin Gaye's "Don't Mess With Mister T", plus "Too Blue", "Two For T", and "I Could Never Repay Your Love". Sugar Man is a classic set from Stanley "Sugar Man" Turrentine – a nickname the reedman had at the time, given the success of his famous CTI Records version of "Sugar"! This set follows in that same great mode – jazzy, but a bit funky too – although couched with this gentle sense of soul that's perfect for that spacious style of soloing that Turrentine perfected over the years – a way of blowing openly, and without too much fuss – but managing to hit all the right notes along the way! There's a great glow to the whole record – an excellent easygoing sense of soul – and titles include an incredible reading of "Vera Cruz", done with Deodato on piano, and at a breakaway speed that's just great, and worth the price of the record alone! Other tracks feature piano by Harold Mabern or organ by Butch Cornell – and titles include "The Stretch", "Just As I Am", and "Pieces Of Dreams". Bonus tracks include "The More I See You", "Don't Mess With Mister T (alt)", "Mississippi City", and "Harlem Dawn". CD

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Porter Wagoner & Dolly PartonJust Between You & Me/Always Always/Porter Wayne & Dolly Rebecca/Love & Music ... CD
RCA/BGO (UK), Late 60s/Early 70s. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99
Four full albums from this legendary pair – packed together in a single 2CD set! First up is Just Between You & Me – a fantastic early album in the pairing of Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton – a duo who really took the country duo style into fantastic territory with records like this! Dolly actually wrote a number of the album's best cuts, and her strong vocals really seem to push Porter even more than on his own records – an odd pairing, but one that works beautifully throughout! Titles include the heartbreaking alcoholic tale "Mommie Ain't That Daddy" – plus "Because One Of Us Is Wrong", "The Last Thing On My Mind", "Two Sides To Every Story", and "Put It Off Until Tomorrow". Always Always is a gem through and through – the kind of record that really stands testament to the strength of the pair! Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton were always way more than just another country duo coming together as a gimmick – as both singers have so much to offer, they really make a hell of a lot of magic when they work together on albums like this! The set kicks off with the totally great rave up "Milwaukee, Here I Come" – and segues nicely into classic honky tonk duets mode, the polished Nashville Sound, and oddball Porter recitations – on gems that include "Yours Love", "Malena", "Why Don't You Haul Off And Love Me", "Always, Always", "No Reason To Hurry Home", "The House Where Love Lives", "Good As Gold", and "Anything's Better Than Nothing". Porter Wayne & Dolly Rebecca is an album that continues one of the best themes of the Parton/Wagoner pairing – its way of using Dolly's youthful songwriting as a great way to help keep Porter's music relevant – in a record of heartbreaking tunes that go way way past the usual country duo style! Titles include "Run That By Me One More Time", "Tomorrow Is Forever", "Silver Sandals", "Mendy Never Sleeps", "We Can't Let This Happen To Us", "No Love Left", and "I'm Wasting Your Time & You're Wasting Mine". Love & Music is a record that has the Porter Wagoner/Dolly Parton team still sounding great in an RCA 60s sort of way – maybe modes that the pair could continue to do so well, even though some of their labelmates were moving off into other directions. There's loads of great cuts on the record by both Porter and Dolly – and they trade leads and come together vocally in ways that are still head and shoulders above most other country music male/female pairs – on "Sounds Of The Night", "Laugh The Years Away", "If Teardrops Were Pennies", "Love Is Out Tonight", "You", "There'll Always Be Music", and "In The Presence Of You". CD

Close matches56
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Porter Wagoner & Dolly PartonOnce More/Two Of A Kind/The Right Combination Burning The Midnight Oil/Together Always ... CD
RCA/BGO (UK), Early 70s. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99
Four classic RCA albums from the team of Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton – all brought together in a single set! Once More is a pivotal moment in the duo career of Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton – both solo singers who'd worked together on earlier records, but really seemed to hit their stride around the time of this set! Both Porter and Dolly gel together perfectly – often singing together, not trading back and forth as much – in ways that only make the lyrics of the songs resonate more strongly. Titles include "I Know You're Married But I Love You Still", "Daddy Was An Old Time Preacher Man", "A Good Understanding", "Let's Live For Tonight", "Once More", "Fight & Scratch", and the tear-jerker "Ragged Angel". Two Of A Kind is a great pairing of Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton – one an aging country singer, yet still in his prime – the other a soon-to-be superstar, getting her youth balanced out a bit more by the presence of Porter! The tunes here are the perfect sort of music for the pair to work together – some songs that have separate parts that give each singer a distinct character – others harmonized together in a mighty nice way. Dolly wrote a fair bit of material for the set, and Porter had a hand in a few too – and titles include "Oh The Pain Of Loving You", "Possum Holler", "The Flame", "The Fighting Kind", "Two Of A Kind", "There'll Be Love", "Is It Real", and "Curse Of The Wild Weed Flower". On the next album, Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton are definitely the Right Combination – singing here with a chemistry that not only reflects Dolly's years on stage with Porter, but which also echoes some of the tension of their relationship backstage! The tunes are a mix of originals – some by Wagoner, some by Parton – plus a few other well-chosen numbers – all of which expand their duo style nicely, marking it as way more than just some record company attempt to cash in by bringing two stars together! Titles include "More Than Words Can Tell", "The Right Combination", "Her & The Car & The Mobile Home", "Burning The Midnight Oil", "On & On", and "The Fog Has Lifted". The title of Together Always is maybe a bit un-prophetic – given that a few years later, Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton would hardly be together – but the record's a great one from that wonderful stretch when the pair could really make magic singing together on record! The tunes are all original numbers – some by Dolly, some by Porter – new material that makes the album every bit as strong as solo efforts by either singer, and which show that these RCA duo sessions weren't just filler material in the catalog! Titles include "Love's All Over", "Take Away", "Lost Forever In Your Kiss", "Looking Down", "Poor Folks Town", "Ten Four Over & Out", and "You & Me Her & Him". CD

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Porter Wagoner & Dolly PartonWe Found It/Porter N Dolly/Say Forever You'll Be Mine/Porter & Dolly ... CD
RCA/BGO (UK), Early 70s. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99
A killer 2CD set – one that features 4 full albums from the country duo of Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton! First up is We Found It – a gem of a record from the glory days of the Porter Wagoner/Dolly Parton partnership on record – a set that's overflowing with original material penned by each of the singers, which gives the whole thing a way of feeling a lot more personal and pointed than most other country duo albums! Porter and Dolly really share the vocal chores equally – and maybe break off less into the separate modes of some of their earlier records, but in a good way – on titles that include "Love City", "I've Been Married", "Satan's River", "I Am Always Waiting", "That's When Love Will Mean The Most", and "How Close They Must Be". Porter N Dolly doesn't have the most original title in the set – but it's a record that really continues the great legacy of original material and special songs that always made a Dolly/Porter project so wonderful! Titles include "Sixteen Years", "Together You & I", "Please Don't Stop Loving Me", Too Far Gone", "We'd Have To Be Crazy", "The Power Of Love", and "The Fire That Keeps You Warm". Say Forever You'll Be Mine is the last full album of duet material recorded by Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton – issued after the pair had a split, but served up in a way that really lives up to their long legacy of work for RCA together – as the record is the 12th in a row from the pair! There's a touch of that changing country production that RCA was using at the time – but Dolly's vocals are superb, and Porter does a pretty good job too – on a set of tracks penned by both, with a few outside contributions too. Titles include "Our Love", "Something To Reach For", "Again", "I Have No Right To Care", "How Can I Help You Forgive Me", and "Life Rides The Train". Porter & Dolly is a record that has Porter Wagoner sporting a strange perm on the cover – an image that maybe says a bit about the music inside – as the 1980 release features older unreleased tracks done during the earlier RCA years of the duo – cleaned up and modernized a bit, yet still with those great Porter/Dolly vocals at the core! Titles include "Daddy Did His Best", "Singing On The Mountain", "Hide Me Away", "Little David's Harp", "Touching Memories", and "Beneath The Sweet Magnolia Tree". CD

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Geno Washington & The Ram Jam BandHand Clappin Foot Stompin Funky Butt/Shake A Tail Feather/Hipsters Flipsters Finger Poppin Daddies/Runnin Wild (plus bonus tracks) (3CD set) ... CD
Pye/BGO (UK), Late 60s. New Copy 3CD ... $16.99
A huge package – four full albums by this excellent soul group – plus lots of bonus tracks too! First up is Hand Clappin Foot Stompin Funky Butt Live – filled with sockin soul from Geno Washington – an ex-American marine who recorded to big fame in the UK in the late 60s – working with the legendary Ram Jam Band, an act that rivaled some of the best American combos of the southern party circuit at the time! The approach here is certainly soul-based, but it's also something different – given the actual overseas origin of the recording – and in a way, the record's a perfect example of the influence that African-American military had in Europe in the 60s – as their presence on the continent really helped to shape and authenticate the sounds of some already-willing overseas combos. Geno's vocals are great, and the tracks are all upbeat and lively – very much what you'd expect from the title! Titles include "Philly Dog", "Ride Your Pony", "Road Runner", "Up Tight", "Land Of 1000 Dance", "Que Sera Sera", "Get Down With It", and "Willy Nilly". Shake A Tail Feather is a hard-smoking album that bears all the best 60s hallmarks of Geno Washington and his Ram Jam Band! The album's not as much a live effort as the previous two, but still keeps all the best spontaneous qualities in the music – a feel that really makes you think that Washington and the band were just partying in the studio, rattling the tunes off as they came to them – with all the confidence and swagger earned from a never-ending stream of gigs in the UK! Titles include "Raise Your Hand", "You Got Me Hummin", "Tell It Like It Is", "Use Me", "Understanding", "Knock On Wood", "I'm Your Puppet", "Who's Foolin Who", and "Hold On To My Love". CD also features 7 more bonus tracks – including "Seven Eleven", "Alison Please", "Each & Every Part Of Me", "Give Em A Hand", and "Dirty Dirty". Next is Hipsters Flipsters Finger Poppin Daddies – a bit of soul, a bit of R&B, a bit of beat group grooving – all wrapped up in a classic 60s set from Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band! Geno's American roots are inflected and appreciated strongly here – not just by the Ram Jam combo, who groove things up with plenty of influences from Atlantic and Sue Records – but also by the audience, who seem to go even more crazy for Geno than the crowds at the Apollo did for James Brown! Washington's vocals are somewhat rough and raspy – perhaps not the instant hit sort of sound for the US market, but a perfect fit for the rougher-edged grooves going on here – partyful soul that's never too poised, and which features lots of covers of 60s classics throughout. Titles include "Herk's Works", "Day Tripper", "I Can't Turn You Loose", "Shotgun", "Raise Your Hand", "Who's Foolin Who", "It's A Wonder", and "Wild Thing". Last up is one more live album – Runnin Wild – with 11 more tracks that include "Rock Me Baby (parts 1 & 2)", "High Heel Sneakers/Mary Ann", "Knock On Wood", "I Take What I Want", "Gimme A Little Sign/Raise Your Hand", "I Got You Babe", and "I Get So Excited". Plus, the package features 33 more bonus tracks – including later singles, rare b-sides, and some EP-only tracks! CD

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Mike WestbrookMetropolis ... CD
RCA/BGO (UK), 1971. New Copy ... $9.99 16.99
A seminal bit of work from Mike Westbrook – recorded back in the early years of his career, when he still had a pretty sharp edge! Like Westbrook's first few albums on Decca, this set features the British avant jazz maestro playing piano with a large ensemble of some of England's finest jazzmen – including Ray Warleigh, Alan Skidmore, Harry Beckett, Kenny Wheeler, Paul Rutehrford, and Harry Miller. Norma Winstone sings on a few tracks, bringing in her lovely voice in the way that she does on Westbrook's best albums – but overall, the set's a bit more out there and more avant than some of his earlier work, but still has the majestic cohesiveness that makes his work of the time so great. The work is one long piece, split into 9 segments. CD

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Andy WilliamsChristmas Present/Other Side Of Me/Andy/Let's Love While We Can ... CD
Sony/BGO (UK), Mid/Late 70s. Used 2 CDs ... $6.99
... CD

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Don WilliamsDon Williams Vols 1, 2, & 3 ... CD
JMI/BGO (UK), Early 70s. New Copy 2CD ... $16.99 19.99
The first three albums from Don Williams – brought together here in a single set! First up is Don Williams Vol 1 – well-crafted work from Don Williams – an artist who began as a songwriter, but really hit his stride on this debut album! Williams has a gentle, easygoing vocal approach – one that might owe as much to the singer/songwriter generation at the tail end of the folk years – and which is a nice change from some of the more overblown style of the bigger acts of the time. The set was recorded by Jack Clement, but in a way that's different than some of his outlaw work to come – nicely laidback, on tunes that include originals by Williams and Bob McDill. Titles include "Come Early Morning", "Amanda", "My Woman's Love", "I Recall A Gypsy Woman", "Endless Sleep", and "Too Late To Turn Back Now". Don Williams Vol 2 is a set that has Don Williams finding a bit more of his own ground as a country singer – like the first, produced by Allen Reynolds in Jack Clement's studio – which gives the whole thing a very different vibe than mainstream Nashville work of the time! Williams is often introspective, and his voice really fits that mode – never in a way that's fake at all, and which makes for a very adult approach to country music – yet one that's also not got that world-weary, beaten-down quality of contemporaries. Songs include a number of Williams originals, and tunes by Bob McDill – titles that include "Wish I Was In Nashville", "Oh Misery", "Atta Way To Go", "Down The Road I Go", "I Don't Think About Her No More", and "Your Sweet Love". Don Williams Vol 3 is a real career-defining record for the singer – a set that furthers that warm, mature style that made Williams almost a Jim Reeves voice for the 70s – but set to themes that were more adult, and which really reflected the growing sophistication in country music songwriting. The instrumentation is expanded slightly from before – with some especially nice steel guitar and dobro from Lloyd Green – and titles include "Fly Away", "Ghost Story", "I've Turned You To Stone", "Such A Lovely Lady", "Lovin Understandin Man", "Goodbye Isn't Really Good At All", and "I Wouldn't Want To Live If You Didn't Love Me". CD

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Zawinul SyndicateBlack Water/Lost Tribes ... CD
BGO (UK), 1989/1992. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99
Two Joe Zawinul albums – back to back on a single set! Black Water is funky fusion from the late 80s combo of keyboardist Joe Zawinul – a set that takes off nicely from his classic work in Weather Report, then adds in both a dose of soul and more global elements! The group features Joe on a host of different keyboards – with Gerald Veasley on some very heavy bass, Scott Henderson on guitars, and Lynne Fiddmont Linsey on vocals and percussion – joined at times by Carl Anderson and Kevin Dorsey, who both give the set a full, righteous vibe! Instrumentation is heavily in an 80s electric mode, but warmed up nicely by the other touches and percussion – and titles include "Black Water", "Carnavalito", "In The Same Boat", "Familial", "Medicine Man", "They Had A Dream", "And So It Goes", and "Monk's Mood". Lost Tribes is a record that has the legendary keyboardist Joe Zawinul dipping further into the mix of jazz and global elements brought forth by his Syndicate group – served up here with a really unusual mix of elements, and a strong balance between acoustic percussion and electric instrumentation! The voice is as powerful here as the groove – sometimes song soulfully, but other times used almost more as another instrument – opening the door further to some of the global sensibilities that Zawinul was bringing to some of his later work with Weather Report. the group features Mike Baker on drums, Randy Bernsen on percussion, and Gerald Veasley on bass – and titles include "Changes", "San Sebatian", "Rua Paula Freitas", "South Africa", "Patriots", and "Lost Tribes". CD

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✨✧ AirtoFree/Identity/Promises Of The Sun (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Arista/BGO (UK), 1972/1975/1976. New Copy 2 CDs ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A trio of albums from percussionist Airto – with bonus tracks too! First up is Free – one of the coolest, grooviest albums you'll ever hear from the legendary percussionist Airto – a set that mixes his own Brazilian roots with the electric genius of 70s CTI – all with stunning results! Airto's in the lead – and blows some beautiful wood flute lines alongside percussion – but the album also features killer contributions from Joe Farrell on soprano sax, Hubert Laws on flute, Keith Jarrett on piano, and Chick Corea on Fender Rhodes – as well as a hip bit of vocals from Flora Purim as well! There's some added horns at parts – but the arrangements are relatively spare and subtle – so that most tracks have a core organic quality, very similar to Airto's work on Buddah/Cobblestone, but given a bit more of a CTI twist. Most tunes are quite long and free-flowing – and titles include "Lucky Southern", "Flora's Song", "Creek (Arroio)", and "Return To Forever". Identity is a soaring set of grooves from one of the world's greatest percussionists – a standout set as a leader from Airto, and a key set in his wonderful run of work from the 70s! The album's still got the loose, free feel of Airto's earliest work, and isn't nearly as crossover-oriented as some of the Flora Purim sets from the time – still strongly in a rootsy, earthy sort of vibe – and produced with a very respectful sound by Herbie Hancock. Herbie plays some Arp on the record, and Wayne Shorter brings in some soprano sax too – but the core elements of the album are Airto's range of percussion instruments, keyboards and piano from Egberto Gismonti, drums from Roberto, trombone from Raul DeSouza, and a bit of vocals from Flora. Titles include "Flora On My Mind", "Cafe", "The Magicians", "Tales From Home", "Identity", and "Encounter". Promises Of The Sun is a record that departs nicely from earlier work, yet still keeps all the best elements intact! Airto's percussion work is firmly at the core of the set – giving it a nice acoustic base to work from, while also adding in touches of electric guitar by Toninho Horta, bass by Novelli, and keyboards from Hugo Fattoruso. The groove is a wonderful blend of the acoustic and electric, organic and synthetic – and is often crafted in a majestic vibe that seems to be inspired by the work of Milton Nascimento from the early 70s. Tracks include "Circo Marimbondo", "Zuei", "Candango", "Ruas Do Recife", "Georgiana", and "La De Casa". CD features bonus tracks "Creek (alt version)", "So Tender", and "Jequie". CD

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✨✧ Glen CampbellGentle On My Mind/By The Time I Get To Phoenix ... CD
Capitol/BGO (UK), 1967/1968. New Copy ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A pair of Capitol Records classics from Glenn Campbell – back to back on a single CD! First up is Gentle On My Mind – an insanely wonderful early album from Glenn Campbell – the kind of music that's not really rock, pop, or country – but instead a unique summation of all, at a level that only Campbell could do this well The album kicks off with the sublime pop hit "Gentle On My Mind" – one of those jangly tunes that we could listen to forever – and then soars into a beautiful blend of tunes from different sources, including covers of Nilsson's "Without Her", Rod McKuen's "The World I Used to Know", Jimmie Rodgers' "It's Over", and Donovan's "Catch The Wind" – as well as the huge hit "Mary In The Morning". Glenn's got a hell of a voice – and it sounds great on all the tracks! By The Time I Get To Phoenix begins with Glenn Campbell's amazing take on the title tune by Jimmy Webb – a pure moment of 60s genius! The pairing of Glen Campbell and Jimmy Webb is probably one of the greatest ideas ever in the history of pop music – as you'll hear on the album's title track, "By The Time I Get To Phoenix". Glen's original hit version of the song – written by a wee Jimmy at a young age – forever cut the way for his unique blend of pop, country, and easy vocal styles. The tune also kicks off this pretty nice little album of tracks that features great lesser known numbers, including some surprisingly great country covers. Titles include "Back In The Race", "My Baby's Gone", "Tomorrow Never Comes", "Bad Seed", "Love is A Lonesome River", and "I'll Be Lucky Some Day". CD

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✨✧ Larry CarltonWith A Little Help From My Friends/Singing Playing ... CD
BGO (UK), 1968/1973. New Copy ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
Two early gems from guitarist Larry Carlton – back to back on a single CD! First up is the Uni album With A Little Help From My Friends – pre-fusion, and done at a time when a whole generation of guitarists were trying to find a way forward – and experimenting in a number of different formats! The vibe here is maybe like some of the Wes Montgomery or George Benson Verve or CTI records of the late 60s – really chromatic guitar lines that carve out a beautiful lead over some arrangements that are fuller than a combo, but never overdone – arranged by Foster Wakefield, who we don't know at all – but with the tasteful spaciousness of a Claus Ogerman or a Don Sebesky! Larry sounds great on the record – really working out some lines that are quite different than a jazz guitarist might have sounded a few years before – and strongly pointing the way to his future. Titles include "With A Little Help From My Friends", "Don't You Care", "Mac Arthur Park", "Odd Couple", "Eleanor Rigby", and "Monday Monday". Next is Singing/Playing, and the title's no lie – as Larry Carlton steps out in a warmly-produced session that's got a really sweet LA studio vibe – one that mixes together early fusion backings and compressed vocalizations – in a way that maybe makes the whole thing feel like an overlooked A&M Records gem from the Nick DeCaro years! Larry's got this easygoing vocal style that's very down to earth, and set up in these sweet arrangements directed by Stewart Levine – soulful, jazzy, and with occasional currents of funk – and with some great keyboard touches from MIchael Omartin next to Larry's guitar and vocals. Titles include the great "American Family", plus "Wavin & Smilin", "Easy Evil", "Free Way", "Captain Captain", and "With Respect To Coltrane". CD

Close matches66
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✨✧ Classics IVSpooky/Mamas & Papas/Traces/Song ... CD
Imperial/BGO (UK), 1968/1969/1970. New Copy 2 CDs ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A quartet of albums by Classics IV – a fantastic late 60s group who hardly ever get their full due! The group's forever remembered for their huge title hit on the first album – but throughout these records they maintain a really wonderful sound – all while also pushing themselves a bit too! Lead singer Dennis Yost has this great raspy style – and maybe brings more soul to their records at times than you might expect, with a quality that's nicely balanced by the later sunshine pop elements that sometimes make these guys an important precursor to the soft rock in years to come. There's a nice sense of evolution over the three years in which these albums were recorded – and the production just seems to get groovier and groovier – on titles that include their classic "Spooky" – plus "You Are My Sunshine", "Goin Out Of My Head", "Bus Stop", "Poor People", "Book A Trip", "Traces", "Soul Train", "Bed Of Roses", "Stormy", "24 Hours Of Loneliness", "Pick Up The Pieces", "Where Did All The Good Times Go", "Traffic Jam", "Rainy Day", "Free", "Mamas & Papas", "Nobody Loves You But Me", "The Funniest Thing", and "The Letter". CD

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✨✧ David Clayton ThomasDavid Clayton Thomas/Tequila Sunrise/David Clayton Thomas (with bonus track) ... CD
BGO (UK), Early 70s. New Copy 2CD ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A trio of solo albums from David Clayton Thomas – packaged here with a bonus track too! First up is the self-titled Columbia set David Clayton Thomas – great early solo work the singer who'd rose to fame as part of Blood Sweat & Tears – stepping out here with a sound that's maybe even more soul-based than his music with that famous group! The set features production from Bobby Colomby, of BS&T – and the groove is somewhat similar, but with less horns, and a lot more riffing guitar, keyboards, and other elements used to bring out some of the funkier currents in David's vocals! A few tracks were recorded in Memphis, with guitar from Steve Cropper – and the record even features some arrangements from Claus Ogerman and Jimmy Giuffre. The set includes a remake of of "Magnificent Sanctuary Band" – with a break at the start that's as funky as the original – and other titles include "We're All Meat From The Same Bone", "Sing A Song", "Don't Let It Bring You Down", "Once Burned", "Stealin In The Name Of The Lord", and a surprisingly great take on the Gram Parsons tune "She". Next is Tequila Sunrise – a fantastic solo album from David Clayton Thomas – and a set that still retains the amazing vocals he brought to Blood Sweat & Tears, but which has a completely different focus overall! Clayton-Thomas wrote almost all the songs on the set – and he works here with a tight core group that features William Smitty Smith on keyboards and arrangements, and plenty of guitar from Danny Kortchmar – both musicians who give the whole record a very strong, tight vibe that makes the whole thing feel like it comes from some hip early 70s group. Titles include "Friday The 13th Child", "My Song", "Last Time That She Cried", "The Face Of Man", "Nobody Calls Me Prophet", and "Fallin By Degrees". Next up is another self-titled album – David Clayton Thomas, from 1973 – with David himself handling arrangements, and doing a mighty nice job – getting plenty of sweet keyboards from William D Smith, and strong lead guitar from Domenic Troiano – both of whom echo the funky rock currents in the music. There's a bit of a Memphis rock vibe to the record at times – and titles include "Small Family", "Professor Longhair", "Harbor Lady", "Harmony Junction", and "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby". CD also features the bonus track "Some Hearts Get All The Breaks". CD

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✨✧ Ornette ColemanMusic Of Ornette Coleman – Forms & Sounds/Skies Of America ... CD
Sony/BGO (UK), 1967/1972. New Copy 2CDs ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A great couple of harder-to-find Ornette Coleman records – nicely paired up in a 2CD set! First up is The Music Of Ornette Coleman, from 1967 – which is beautiful record that serves as both a showcase for Ornette's "serious" writing efforts – and his ability to play with a larger ensemble! It kicks off with Ornette playing trumpet solos with The Philadelphia Woodwind Quintet as they perform his "Forms & Sounds" live. That's followed by recordings of Ornette's "Space Flight" and "Saints & Soldiers" performed by The Chamber Symphony of Philadelphia Quartet, a string ensemble that brings a new light to Ornette's compositions! Skies Of America is an ambitious record with full orchestra, in a haunting sound that's light years from any of his smaller group recordings of the 60s and 70s! There's an incredible feel to the strings used here – played by the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Measham – all tied up and dark, with swirling sounds that run up beautifully from the bottom, then take off to the skies promised in the title – opening the door for Ornette to come in and solo freely over the top – in a magical mix that easily makes the record a standout in his long and mighty career! Harmolodic theory is definitely a part of Coleman's conception here – but in very different ways than his quartet or quintet recordings. Lots of tracks on this one, including "Skies Of America", "The Men Who Live In The White House", "Sunday In America", "Dreams", "Native Americans", "Silver Screen", "The Artist In America" and more. CD

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✨✧ John FaheyOf Rivers & Religion/After The Ball ... CD
Reprise/BGO (UK), 1972/1973. New Copy ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A pair of wonderful albums from the great John Fahey – back to back on a single CD! First up is Rivers & Religion – a really unique album by John Fahey – issued during a short stretch of initial mainstream approval, and a brief time of recording for Warner Brothers! Some of the album's quite different than the spare, solo Fahey you might know – and mixes his legendary guitar work with more elaborate elements than usual – additional instrumentation that includes bass, banjo, clarinet, piano, trombone, and fiddle – but all used at a level that really supports John's presence, not occludes it. Other tracks return to spare acoustic steel string guitar – creating an evocative balance that's mighty nice. Titles include "Funeral Song For Mississippi John Hurt", "Texas & Pacific Blues", "Dixie Pig Bar B Q Blues", "Lord Have Mercy Song", and "Deep River". After The Ball is a set with a disco ball on the cover, but a record that fits right in with the best early 20th century aesthetic in the work of John Fahey – particularly his way of reiimagining older musical traditions! There's a bit of added instrumentation on the record – two tracks that have some slight trad jazz flourishes – but overall, the album's mostly a solo effort with loads of wonderful guitar work from John – still as creative and as complicated as in his best recordings for Takoma! Other added instrumentation sometimes expands the sound with mandolin or banjo, but again in very sensitive ways – and titles include "Bucktown Stomp", "Om Shanthi Norris", "Beverly", and "Horses". CD

Close matches70
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✨✧ Gap BandGap Band 8/Straight From The Heart (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Total Experience/BGO (UK), Late 80s. New Copy 2CD ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A pair of late 80s gems from the Gap Band – back to back, with bonus tracks too! First up is Gap Band 8 – very sharp work from The Gap Band – working confidently in a mid 80s boogie soul mode with a couple of solid slow jams and that funky synthesizer groove which they had pretty much perfected by this point! The Gap Band's way of inflecting easygoing 80s soul and more ballad-y numbers with funky synth and bass, as well as diverse styles of percussion is a big piece of the pie at this point in their career – as is the supremely catchy songwriting. Definitely an overlooked Gap Band effort worth revisiting! Includes "Big Fun", "I Can't Live Without Your Love", "Get Loose, Get Funky", "Don't Take It Away", "I'll Always Love You", "Bop B Da Da (How Music Came About)", "I Owe It To Myself" and more. Straight From The Heart is great work from the later, leaner sound of the Gap Band – a time when the group were working with a bit more programming than before, but still very much in the funky soul territory of their roots! Like contemporaries Cameo, Gap Band were able to make a great shift into the electro soul generation – one that maybe even got them greater fame than in the early years – almost as if their initial impulses were waiting for the 80s funk generation to really find the right sort of sound for their groove! The whole album's rock-solid – filled with tunes that should have been hits – and titles include "Come & Dance", "All The Way Yours", "I'm So Satisfied", "You Told Me That", and "Straight From The Heart". 2CD set features six bonus tracks from Gap Band 8 – "Big Fun (mega mix)", "Zibble Zibble (dub-zibble money mix)", "I Owe It To Myself (rmx)", "Big Fun (Bandolero mix)", "Big Fun (serious dub mix)", and "Bop B Da B Da Da (ext version)". CD

Close matches71
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✨✧ Isley BrothersInside You/Real Deal ... CD
T Neck/BGO (UK), 1981/1982. New Copy ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
Two early 80s groovers from the Isleys – on one great CD! Inside You is a strong extension of the group's funky 70s style – moving into a more compressed mode that had been taking hold of the group's style over the past few albums, giving them a smoother finish, but one that actually brought out some even more soulful feelings from their overall work. As always, we dig the mellow cuts best – especially the two part "Don't Hold Back Your Love", and the stepper "Welcome Into My Heart". Other tracks include "First Love", "Baby Hold On", and "Love Zone" and "Inside You". The Real Deal is authentic 80s grooving from the Isleys – mostly an album of upbeat, electro-grooving numbers that change up the style a bit more from their 70s funk work. But as usual for this period, they actually sound best on the ballads – clocking in with the sweet slow tune "All In My Lovers Eyes", and sounding even nicer on the anthemic "I'll Do It All For You" – a great little track with a bubbling, steppish groove. Other tracks include "The Real Deal", "Stone Cold Lover", "Are You With Me", and "Under The Influence". CD

Close matches72
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✨✧ Earl KlughFinger Paintings/Heart String/Wishful Thinking ... CD
EMI/BGO (UK), 1977/1979/1984. New Copy 2CD ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A triple-header from Earl Klugh – three records that helped redefine the sound of jazz guitar at the end of the 70s! First up is Finger Paintings – a real breakout album for Earl, and the kind of record that got him on the a-list of fusion players for the rest of the 70s! The title here is especially well-chosen – as the tunes have a gently colorful feel that's never too slick, despite the tighter setting of the album – with light arrangements by Dave Grusin that still leave Earl plenty of space to work his subtle magic on the strings of the guitar. Titles include "Keep Your Eye On The Sparrow", "Summer Song", "Dance With Me", "Dr Macumba", "Long Ago & Far Away", and "Cabo Frio". Heart String has Klugh working in this warm, mellow mode that's mighty nice – set to gentle orchestrations by Dave Matthews, which work perfect for Klugh's groove! There's nothing too over the top here, and Earl mixes acoustic and electric in a great sort of blend – using the former instrument to help keep a sort of soul to the proceedings, and never let things get too slick. Titles include "Heart String", "Spanish Night"," Pretty World", "Rayna", "Waiting For Cathy", "I'll See You Again", and "Acoustic Lady (parts 1 & 2)". Wishful Thinking is smooth fusion from one of the greats – and although an 80s set, a record that still holds onto most of the best warmth of Earl Klugh's earlier years! The production is surprisingly laidback at points – never too many 80s gimmicks or easy attempts at a hit – and Earl plays with arrangements from Dave Matthews, Don Sebesky, and Johnny Mandel – all top-shelf talents who know best how to keep the sound in line. All tracks are Klugh originals – and tunes include "Tropical Legs", "Wishful Thinking", "A Natural Thing", "All The Time", and "The Only One For Me". CD

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✨✧ LA ExpressLA Express/Shadow Play ... CD
Epic/BGO (UK), 1976. New Copy ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A pair of jazz funk classics from this group who got their start with reedman Tom Scott! First up is the self-titled LA Express – funky fusion with a bit of a studio feel – played by the LA Express, a combo best known for their work with Tom Scott – stepping out here strongly on their own! Even without Scott's sax in the lead, the sound here is still pretty darn sharp – and the lineup features Robben Ford on guitars, Victor Feldman on keyboards, Max Bennett on bass, and John Guerin on drums and percussion – plus saxophones from David Luell, who kind of steps in where Scott left off! There's some nice jamming that's on the tighter side of the CTI sound – with lots of choppy sax lines from Luell over sweet electric rhythms – and titles include "The Shrug", "Stairs", "Cry Of The Jungle", "It's Happening Right Now", "Western Horizon", and "Down The Middle". Shadow Play is proof that the group could stand strongly on their own away from former leader Tom Scott! This time around, the sound is a bit more built-up than before – put together with a slight dose of soul in the mix, which really warms things up from the sharper sound of their debut! The album features vocals on 3 numbers – wonderful wordless scatting from Joni Mitchell on the track "Nordic Winds" – which almost comes across like a rare Euro fusion cut from the time – and straighter soulful singing from Paulette McWilliams on the tunes "Double Your Pleasure" and "Dance The Night Away". Players include Victor Feldman on keyboards and percussion, David Luell on saxes, Peter Maunu on guitar, Max Bennett on bass, and John Guerin on drums – and other titles include "Shadow Play", "Chariot Race", "Velvet Lady", "Mad Drums & Englishman", and "Vortex". CD

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✨✧ Junior ParkerLike It Is/Honey Drippin Blues ... CD
Mercury/BGO (UK), 1967/1969. New Copy ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A pair of late 60s gems from the bluesy singer Junior Parker – back to back on a single CD! Like It Is features standout soul from the great Junior Parker – a singer who started out in blues, and already had a big legacy of music for Sun and Duke Records by the time of this Mercury set – but maybe sounding even more amazing here with some soul touches in the backings! The set was produced by Bobby Robinson, and arranged by Gene Bowlegs Miller – and has a Memphis recording pedigree that's a bit like the best way that Stax/Volt was mixing blues and soul in the late 60s! There's still some of the slower-burning Duke moments, but there's also some great sock-soul tracks too – on titles that include "Come Back Baby", "Just Like A Fish", "Country Girl", "Sometimes I Wonder", and "Cracked Up Over You". Honey Drippin Blues is killer work from Junior Parker – an artist who was already great in his early Duke Records years – but one who really seemed to take off even more as the 60s moved on! On records like this, Parker picks up a strong undercurrent of funky soul – a groove that's a perfect fit for Mercury's Blue Rock label – which often did a great job of merging the worlds of blues and soul – especially in the music of Junior Wells. Production has lots of nice Chicago soul touches, and at times Junior's vocals move into a territory that's almost a bit like the groove of Tyrone Davis at the time. Great stuff throughout – and titles include "I Got Money", "Lovin Man On Your Hands", "Easy Lovin", and "I'm So Satisfied". CD

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✨✧ RoutersLet's Go/Play 1963's Great Instrumental Hits/Charge/Chuck Berry Songbook ... CD
Warner/BGO (UK), Early 60s. New Copy 2CD ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
Four classic albums from The Routers – one of those unusual 60s groups who never really existed as a real band – but whose name was used to sell some very groovy records at the time! The Routers came from the same production talents who handled The Markettes – who also made some sweet instrumental albums for Warner Brothers at the time – and like that "group", the real music here is mostly played by the cream of LA's session musicians – including Wrecking Crew heavyweights like drummer Hal Blaine, and tenor sax legend Plas Johnson. All tunes are instrumental – and some follow a surf rock mode, while others focus on a particularly strong mode that made The Routers soar – kind of a jaunty, chanting style that was particularly great for big crowds at a live event. As you might guess from the album titles here, some of the records are heavy on Router-ized covers, while others feature original material – and titles include "Let's Go", "Sting Ray", "Martian Hop", "Half Time", "Bucket Seats", "Make It Snappy", "Mashy", "Charge", "Illinois Loyalty", "Ramblin Wreck", "School Days", "Sou'wester", "Pep Rally", "Roll Over Beethoven", and "Bye By Johnny". 48 tracks in all – and complete notes on the "group"! CD

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✨✧ Scott WalkerStretch/We Had It All ... CD
BGO (UK), 1973/1974. New Copy ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A pair of great early 70s efforts from the always unpredictable Scott Walker – 1973's Stretch and We Had It All from '74! Both records are Scott's tribute to modern country, with songs written by Jerry Reed, Tom T Hall, Billy Joe Shaver and others like that, along with tunes by writers Scott had covered before, such as Randy Newman and Jimmy Webb. Stretch may have seemed like a pretty remarkable creative stretch from the kind of haunting emotionalism and soaring, darkness-tinged pop of his earlier solo efforts, but there's a pretty direct line in some ways. His inimitably expressive voice carries the mood, with folksier touches to the songcraft and production paired with the occasionally lusher strings and other grand touches. We Had It All has a similar vibe, with Scott pulling off touching country balladry and rollicking stripped down jams just as well. 21 tracks in all: Sunshine", "Just One Smile", "Use Me", "Where Love Has Died", "Low Down Freedom", "We Had It All", "What Ever Happened To Saturday Night", "Old Five And Dimers Like Me", "Delta Dawn" and more. CD

Close matches77
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✨✧ Grover Washington JrAll My Tomorrows/Soulful Strut/Breath Of Heaven ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), 1994/1996/1997. New Copy 3CDs ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A trio of 90s albums from Grover Washington! All My Tomorrows is an overlooked gem from reedman Grover – recorded in his later years, but a set that's actually got more of an acoustic style overall – one that goes back to the roots farther than any of Grover's fusion records! Washington's a great straight player in this setting – filled with soul on tenor and soprano sax – and working with top-shelf small group players like Eddie Henderson on trumpet, Hank Jones on piano, Bobby Watson on alto, and Robin Eubanks on trombone. Guitarist Romero Lumbambo arranged one great Brazilian-tinged number – and other arrangements are by Grover, Larry Willis, Slide Hampton, and Freddy Cole – who sings on two tracks too. Titles include "E Preciso Perdoar", "Happenstance", "All My Tomorrows", "Nature Boy", "Flamingo", and "Estate". Soulful Strut is bouncy soul from Grover Washington – a set that returns to his earlier roots in a space between soulful fusion and R&B! The slinky Washington soprano sax gets plenty of space in this set – blown with those seductive notes that always made Grover one of the most distinctive players on the instrument – and the backings often have this gentle R&B groove that's even stronger on the few cuts here with vocals. Titles include "Soulful Strut", "Bordertown", "Village Groove", "I Can Count The Times", "Headman's Hunt", and "Can You Stop The Rain". Breath Of Heaven is a holiday record from Grover Washington – but one that's got a fair bit more to offer than just the usual Christmas tunes! The set mixes older favorites and lesser-known numbers – all done in that soulful fusion style that Washington brought to his records from other seasons of the years – set up here with the leader on alto, tenor, and soprano sax – amidst arrangements from vibist Joe Lock, and keyboardist Donald Robinson, and guitarist Hiram Bullock – all of whom play on the record. Lisa Fischer sings on one number, but most of the record is instrumental – and titles include "Breath Of Heaven", "The Magi's Song/A Child Is Born", "I Wonder As I Wonder", "Christmas Time Is Here", "The Love In His Infant Eyes", and "Christmas Day Chant". CD

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✨✧ Chuck BerryChuck Berry/More Chuck Berry ... CD
Chess/BGO (UK), Late 50s/Early 60s. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
A double-helping of Chuck Berry brilliance from his early years on Chess Records – music that always has way way more to offer than you might think! Sure, some of Chuck's hits are very familiar – and sure, the man could later be a bit of a parody of himself – but there's no denying the power of this early material, and the revolutionary way Chuck had of playing guitar – rooted in blues, paving the way to rock, and also opening the door to lots more funky soul in years to come! The guitar work alone is worth the price of admission, but the songs and vocals are wonderful too – and the CD features 26 titles that include "Down The Road A Piece", "Mad Lad", "Sweet Little Rock & Roller", "Anthony Boy", "Little Queenie", "Oh Baby Doll", "Confessin The Blues", "Almost Grown", "Jo Jo Gunne", "Wee Wee Hours", "Too Much Monkey Business", and "Brown Eyed Handsome Man". CD

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✨✧ Jackie De ShannonMe About You/Laurel Canyon/Put A Little Love In The Heart/To Be Free ... CD
Imperial/BGO (UK), Late 60s. New Copy 2CD ... Out Of Stock
Four classic albums from Jackie DeShannon – all in a single set! First up is Me About You – sophisticated Jackie at her best – working with great arrangements from Jack Nitzsche and Nick DeCaro – both cats from the California scene we can really trust for "cut-above" pop work like this – music that goes way past the simple sounds of DeShannon's start – into cool adult territory that really makes the album great. Jackie's vocals are surprisingly soulful in the setting – even more so than before – and the tunes include lots of gems, including versions of Van Dyke Parks' "High Coin", John Sebastian's "Didn't Want To Have To Do It", and Tim Hardin's "Baby Close Its Eyes". Also includes "I Keep Wanting You", "Me About You", and "Nicole". Next is Laurel Canyon – heady work from Jackie DeShannon's later years in 60s pop – an album with themes and styles that go way beyond her earlier recordings – as you might guess from the hip Laurel Canyon reference in the title! Jackie's working here in a mode that's much more strongly in a singer-songwriter style than before – with arrangements and backings that are a lot more organic, and less pop-tuned than ever – almost in a Laura Nyro approach on some numbers. As usual, a good portion of the tracks were written by Jackie herself – including "Holly Would", "Come & Stay With Me", "LA", "Too Close", and "Laurel Canyon" – and the album also features a few well chosen tracks by other writers too, like "Bitter Honey" by Paul Williams & Roger Nichols, "I Got My Reason" by Barry White, and "You've Really Got A Hold On Me" by Smokey Robinson. Put A Little Love In Your Heart is quite possibly the last great hit from singer Jackie DeShannon – an album built around the righteous spirit of the title track – filled with really wonderful original tunes penned by Jackie and soul singer Jimmy Holiday! The album may well be the best to explore the space between pop and soul that often characterized Jackie's work – and the overall sound is somewhat similar to some of Dusty Springfield's best pop/soul work from the same stretch. 10 of the album's 12 tracks are originals by Holiday and DeShannon – all set to soaring orchestrations by James Langeford, which often have a pronounced influence from the sound of Atlantic Records in the late 60s! Titles include "Put A Little Love In Your Heart", "You Are The Real Thing", "River Of Love", "Movin", "You Can Come To Me", "You Have A Way With Me", and "I Let Go Completely". To Be Free is an interesting little record – with kind of a crossover California soul feel overall – recorded with Rene Hall arrangements that echo a few rootsy modes at times, mixed in with fuller orchestrations that step a bit back towards Jackie's earlier years on Imperial – a surprisingly nice blend, with a fresh sound for the 70s. The album features a number of great tracks co-written with Jimmy Holiday – a fellow Imperial talent – and titles include "Mediterranean Sky", "Sooner Or Later", "What Was Your Day Like", "Livin On The Easy Side", "Brighton Hill", and "When Morning Comes Again". CD

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✨✧ Georgie FameTwo Faces Of Fame/Third Face Of Fame ... CD
CBS/BGO (UK), 1967/1968. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
2 classic albums from British vocalist Georgie Fame – back to back on one CD! First up are Two Faces Of Fame – live and studio – as each side of the album was recorded in each mode! Side one features the Brit jazz vocalist swinging in a live set recorded in early 1967 – done with lots of Hammond organ in the lineup, and an overall style that picks up a lot from Ray Charles and Mose Allison, but filters it through the groovier beat group styles of 60s London. Side two is even better, and features Georgie singing in more of a jazz-based mode – with lineups that feature some striking players that include Tony Oxley, Peter King, Gordon Beck, and Tubby Hayes. Tracks include a wonderful take on Mongo Santamaria's "El Pussycat", plus the tunes "Do It The Hard Way", "It Could Happen To You", "C'Est La Vie", "River's Invitation", "Greenback Dollar Bill", and "Keep Your Big Mouth Shut". Third Face Of Fame is an even better album – one that has Fame moving past the swinging Mose Allison-inspired jazz vocal mode of earlier records, into a groovier style that picks up a range of different sounds! Georgie kicks off the album with his version of the ever-popular late 60s "Ballad Of Bonnie & Clyde" – and seems to use that tune as an excuse to explore a nice range of older jazz vocal approaches, including one tune that even has him reciting the lyrics in a Beatles-sounding monologue! Arrangements are by Harry South, with players that include Gordon Beck, John McLaughlin, Ronnie Scott, Tony Coe, and Ian Hammer – and titles include "Ballad Of Bonnie & Clyde", "Ask Me Nice", "When I'm Sixty Four", "Someone To Watch Over Me", "Blue Prelude", "Bullets Laverne", "This Is Always", "Mellow Yellow", and "Side By Side". CD

Close matches81
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✨✧ Merle HaggardPortrait Of Merle Haggard/Keep Movin' On ... CD
BGO/Capitol (UK), 1970s. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
A pair of Capitol Records killers from Merle Haggard – back to back on a single CD! First up is A Portrait Of Merle Haggard – a 1969 album that shows just how much he'd grown and matured during his 60s years at Capitol Records – and almost a celebration of all that time, given how many great songs Merle manages to put inside the record! The set begins with the sublime "Working Man's Blues" – a tune that's got jazzier currents than Hag ever had a few years back, but which also delivers a very pointed message to the bulk of his audience – and creates a new anthem for Merle in the process. The record then progresses with a host of other fantastic tracks, half originals by Haggard, and all showing the many moods of the maturing singer – "What's Wrong With Stayin Home", "Silver Wings", "I Die Ten Thousand Times A Day", "I Came Close To Living Alone", "Who Do I Know In Dallas", and a great version of "She Still Thinks I Care". Keep Movin On is a mid 70s effort from Merle Haggard, and one that shows just how much he continued to bring his best to his work for Capitol Records – not just in his vocals, but in his songwriting too – as the album features almost all original material by Haggard! The mood nicely varies, and Hag hits some of those maturing masculine modes that were coming in with some of his contemporaries – blending "stay at home with the wife" sort of songs with others that echo more of the hellraising and sadness of younger years – all as a beautiful testament to his genius! Titles include "Movin' On", "Life's Like Poetry", "September In Miami", "Here In Frisco", "Always Wanting You", "Kentucky Gambler", "A Man's Gotta Give Up A Lot", "I've Got A Yearning", and "These Memories We're Making Tonight". CD

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✨✧ Ashley HutchingsRattlebone & Ploughjack ... CD
Island/BGO (UK), 1976. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
One of the strangest records ever from Ashley Hutchings – a set that's even more ancient-sounding and enigmatic than his music with Fairport Convention and Albion Band! In a sense, the album follows the spirit of both groups, and their effort to plumb the past and fuse it with the present – yet here, Hutchings is almost trying to create a documentary of old recordings – even though the material is all newly-recorded, but handled with a more ancient aesthetic that hearkens back to the 78rpm generation! Players aren't listed, and there's no credits at all – but it's pretty clear that Hutchings has some of his key Fairport Convention partners on board to help with the sound – which is served up in a mix of acoustic instrumental and vocal modes, sometimes with spoken introductions through each side-long collage of tunes. CD

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✨✧ Steve KhanPublic Access/Headline/Crossings ... CD
GRP/BGO (UK), Late 80s/Early 90s. Used 2 CDs ... Out Of Stock
A trio of later albums from a guitarist who first rose to fame in the 70s! First up is Public Access – a record that's got a slightly goofy cover, but a sound that's much richer than you might expect – thanks in part to great work on the album from percussionist Manolo Badrena! Some of the music here echoes the earlier fusion of guitarist Steve Khan – but other tunes bring in some warmer, Brazilian-y elements – including a bit of vocalization from Badrena, with occasional chorus work from Lani Groves and Vivian Cherry. The rest of the group features frequent partner Anthony Jackson on bass and Dave Weckl on drums – and titles include "Sise", "Silent Screen", "Mambosa", "Butane Elvin", "Botero People, and "Kamarica". The set then follows with three long tracks from Headline – a record that has guitarist Steve Khan almost returning to straight small combo work – although still with some of the wider colors of the fusion modes he first unleashed in the 70s! The album's got a tight core group here – Khan on guitar, Anthony Jackson on bass, Dennis Chambers on drums, and Manolo Badrena on percussion – and Chambers' drum performance is maybe more direct and swinging than some of Khan's previous drummers, which works especially well on the album's versions of songs by Joe Henderson and Ornette Coleman! Titles include "Caribbean Fire Dance", "All Or Nothing At All", and "Turnaround". Last up is Crossings – a great title for this set from guitarist Steve Khan – as the crossings here reflect Steve's increasing ear towards other cultures and rhythms in his music as the years moved on – even while still keeping things in a relatively fusion-based mode! Steve's got plenty of those warm colors that he always brought to his playing – working with a tight lineup that includes bassist Anthony Jackson, drummer Dennis Chambers, percussionist Manolo Badrena, and tenorist Michael Brecker. Titles include "Descarga Khanalonious", "Melancholee", "Inner Urge", "Capricorn", "What I'm Said", "Pee Wee", and "Think Of One". CD
Also available Public Access/Headline/Crossings ... CD 9.99

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✨✧ RoulettesStakes & Chips (with bonus tracks) ... CD
EMI/BGO (UK), Early 60s. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
Strong work in the lead by The Roulettes – a group who initially replaced the John Barry Seven as the backing group behind UK rocker Adam Faith – but who here really seem to find a great sound of their own! The combo had changed a bit by the time of this debut – and benefits from great guitar by a young Russ Ballard – in a mix of beat and sweet styles that are often recorded with the same sort of echoey charm of early Beatles material, but which also get occasional jazz and blues moments that tie them more strongly to the growing wave of mod music to come. CD adds in lots of bonus tracks to the original album – 22 titles in all, with tracks that include "Bad Time", "Settle Down", "I'll Remember Tonight", "You Don't Love Me", "Stubborn Kind Of Fellow", "Yesterday Today & Tomorrow", "The Long Cigarette", "Junk", "Tell Tale Tit", and "Me Body". CD

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✨✧ Savoy BrownLion's Share/Jack The Toad ... CD
Decca/BGO, 1972/1973. Used 2 CDs ... Out Of Stock
... CD

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✨✧ Ben SidranFree In America/Doctor Is In/Little Kiss In The Night/Live At Montreux ... CD
BGO (UK), Late 70s. New Copy 2 CDs ... Out Of Stock
Four albums from the great Ben Sidran – a mighty hip jazz singer, and a great pianist too! First up is Free In America – a great little set all the way through – and about as classic as you can get for Sidran in the 70s! The album's got a bit more soul in the mix, but still has some jazzy elements in the backings – and where things were sometimes messed up in the past, they're much more straightforward here – in ways that make the record really sparkle nicely! Ben's voice is still really compelling, and as on his best albums, there's some nice funky grooves in the mix that keep things fresh. Players include Phil Upchurch on bass and guitar, Woody Shaw on trumpet, David Newman and Sonny Seals on saxes, and Richard Tee on organ. Titles include the great instrumental "Let's Make A Deal" – a fast groover with guitar and keyboards riffing away, sounding like some lost jazz funk gem from the Fantasy Records catalog – plus "Beg For It", "Cuban Connection", "Free In America", "New York State Of Mind", and "Feel Your Groove". Doctor Is In is one of Ben Sidran's biggest records from the 70s – a smooth combination of jazz, fusion, soul, and a bit of New Orleans groove! There's still a very unique feel to Sidran's music here – a sense of personality that really makes the whole thing sparkle – and which keeps the record from sounding too much like anyone else. Grooves are a great mix of jazz and soul elements – in territory that certainly has a 70s LA sort of quality, but which never gets too poppy or commercial – thanks to Ben's vocals, and mostly small combo backings from players who include Phil Upchurch on bass, Blue Mitchell on trumpet, Larry Carlton on guitar, and Tony Williams on drums. Nick DeCaro adds in a bit of extra strings from time to time – and titles include "Silver's Serenade", "Charlie's Blues", "Be Nice", "Goodbye Porkpie Hat", "One Way Grave", and "See You On The Other Side". Little Kiss In The Night is one of our all-time favorites from the great Ben Sidran – thanks to a strong dose of fusion in the mix! The grooves here are somehow a bit sharper than the few Sidran records before – with a quality that almost reminds us of Fantasy Records soul from the mid 70s, or some of the best jazz-tinged R&B sets of the time – all linked back nicely to Ben's rootsier elements from the start. As always, Sidran's got some really top-shelf musicians on board to help him find his groove – including Phil Woods on alto sax, Blue Mitchell on trumpet, and Arthur Adams on guitar – and arrangements on many numbers are by Mike Melvoin, who sounds even funkier here than we'd expect. There's a great instrumental on the set called "The Cadillac Kid", which has a nice hard fusion groove – and other cuts include "Face Your Fears", "Doing You", and "Moose The Mooch". Live At Montreux is tightly funky work from Ben Sidran – thanks to a strong lineup of players, and the open-ended relaxed setting of Montreux! The tracks here are a bit longer than some of Ben's studio sides for the label at the time – and almost hearken back to the more open flow of his Blue Thumb years – with plenty of room not only for Sidran's great vocals, but also from instrumental contributions from Steve Khan on guitar, Mike Mainieri on vibes, and the Brecker Brothers on horns. Titles include "I Remember Clifford", "Eat It", "Song For A Sucker Like You", "Midnight Tango/Walking With The Blues", and "Come Together". CD

Close matches87
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✨✧ George Smith & The Chicago Blues BandBlues With A Feeling – A Tribute To Little Walter (plus bonus tracks) ... CD
World Pacific/BGO (UK), 1969. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
A smoking little set from George Harmonica Smith – an album recorded in late 60s LA, but done with plenty of Chicago blues touches! The players here are all top-shelf – and include Muddy Waters on guitar and Otis Spann on piano – who definitely help keep a Windy City vibe going on the record – that spare, raw, but electrified approach to the music that was still wonderfully fresh at the time of the sessions. And Smith's vocals alone are totally great – very deeply soulful – but also alternate strongly with sharp lines on harmonica too. Titles include "Mellow Down Easy", "Key To The Highway", "You Better Watch Yourself", "Last Night", "West Helena Woman", "Tell Me Mama", "Juke", and "Everything Gonna Be Alright". CD features 3 bonus tracks – "Love With A Feelin", with vocals by Lucille Spann – plus "Just A Feelin" and "Goin Down Slow". CD

Close matches88
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✨✧ Back DoorBack Door/8th Street Nites/Another Fine Mess ... CD
Warner/BGO (UK), 1972/1973/1974. New Copy 2CD ... Out Of Stock
Hard-jamming jazz rock from Back Door – 3 prime era Warner albums in a 2CD set! Graced with lots of free solo work on alto and soprano sax by Ron Aspery, and a pretty strong power-trio instrumental format from Tony Hicks on drums and Colin Hodgkinson on bass, the group's early-to-mid 70s triumphs are mighty to this day. The self-titled debut is a jamming affair with genuine strains of funk and pretty great playing – and overall, it almost sounds like a rock take on the ESP sound at times! Titles include "Back Door", "Jive Grind", "Askin The Way", "Vienna Breakdown", "Plantagenet", and the classic Beastie Boys' sample track "Slivadiv". 8th Street Nites more than lives up to its predecessor, with a lots of bass-driven grooves and a couple charged takes on classic Robert Johnson and Leadbelly. Titles include "Linin' Track", "Forget Me Daisy, "Roberta", "Dancin' In The Van", "The Bed Creaks Louder", "Adolphus Beal" and more. Another Fine Mess arrived a couple years later and brings some Fender Rhodes to the mix, with titles including "I'm Gonna Stay A Long, Long Time", another fine jammy jazz rock take on the blues in "TB Blues", plus "Manager's Shirt", "Streamline Guitar", "The Dashing White Sergeant" and more. CD

Close matches89
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✨✧ Chuck BerryOne Dozen Berrys/Juke Box Hits ... CD
BGO (UK), 1958/1960. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
Two classic Chess albums from Chuck Berry – issued here on a single CD! First up is One Dozen Berrys – the fresh fruits of the labors of a young Chuck Berry – heard here at his raw, early best! The sound here is stunning – a version of Chuck that gets way past any oldies cliches – and which reminds us that at the start, his music was coming from the same Chess Records fount as Bo Diddley's riffing guitar and Muddy Waters' Chicago blues! The tunes all work together perfectly – and the familiar numbers fit in perfectly with overlooked gems that really make the album great – especially when Chuck's guitar is really given a chance to step out and solo. Titles include "La Juanda", "Sweet Little Sixteen", "It Don't Take But A Few Minutes", "Rock & Roll Music", and "Low Feeling". Juke Box Hits is way more than a "hits" album – as it's filled with some great obscure material that always gets eclipsed by Chuck's big hits. Despite the idea that these would be "new jukebox hits", the material has an approach that was probably a bit too hard for radio, but that's ok with us! Titles include "13 Question Method", "Don't You Lie To Me", "The Way It Was Before", "Away From You", "I'm Talking About You", and "Stop & Listen". CD

Close matches90
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✨✧ Arthur BlytheElaborations/Light Blue/Put Sunshine In It ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), Early 80s. New Copy 2CD ... Out Of Stock
A trio of 80s albums from saxophonist Arthur Blythe – brought together in a 2CD set! First up is Elaborations – a beautiful moment in which the loft jazz generation really got a chance to shine in the mainstream – and mostly without any sense of overdone attempts at commercialization! The album's a great summation of all the ideas that reedman Arthur Blythe was cooking up in the 70s underground – performed here with a hip group that includes Blythe on alto, Kelvyn Bell on guitar, Abdul Wadud on cello, Bobby Battle on drums, Bob Stewart on tuba, Wilbur Morris on bass, and Mohammad Abdullah on congas – some of them players who you might never have expected to be recording for Columbia Records! And yet the setting of the record doesn't interfere with their creativity at all – and instead, really seems to give Blythe and the group the sort of focus that only makes their ideas even better – on titles that include "Elaborations", "Metamorphosis", "Sister Daisy", "Shadows", and "The Lower Nile". Light Blue is a wonderful record from saxophonist Arthur Blythe – a set that features his group working through a number of tunes by Thelonious Monk – but with very different arrangements and instrumentation that change things up completely! The set came at a time when Monk was receiving a lot of new attention in the world of jazz, and at a time when Arthur's star had risen too – and the meeting of forces is wonderful – as Blythe brings all sorts of new rhythms and tonal combinations to play with familiar tunes that really transform in the process. The group is a familiar one for Blythe – and features Abdul Wadud on cello, Kelvyn Bell on guitar, Bob Stewart on tuba, and Bobby Battle on drums! And while you might scratch your head at the tuba, the instrument is often used in ways that might follow older bassline styles – but with a quality that bridges the alto and cello in a great way. Titles include "Nutty", "Coming On The Hudson", "Light Blue", "Epistrophy", and "We See". Put Sunshine In It is a record that really seems to live up to its title – as the sound here is maybe a little bit sunnier than on some of Arthur Blythe's previous albums! The record features heavy contributions from Todd Cochran – aka Bayete – who plays keyboards on most numbers, and introduces more of an electric vibe to the album than previous Blythe outings. The style isn't entirely fusion, but it's definitely warm and sunny – and Arthur responds as such with his solo work – a tight tighter and less edgey, but still nicely soulful. The album features a nice remake of the tune "Sentimental Walk" – from the movie Diva – plus the tracks "Uptown Strut", "Silhouette", "Put Sunshine In It", and "Tumalalumah". CD

Close matches91
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✨✧ Glen CampbellGlen Travis Campbell/I Knew Jesus/I Remember Hank Williams ... CD
Capitol/BGO (UK), 1972/1973. New Copy 2CD ... Out Of Stock
A trio of early 70s albums from Glen Campbell – all of them a lot more obscure than his hits! Glen Travis Campbell has a cover proclaiming that the set is "a new musical path" – and producer Jimmy Bowen works with bigger backings from Larry Muhuberac to use soaring strings next to the acoustic core, in ways that push Glen into some of the more soulful expressions he had to offer. The approach is a bit hard to describe, but it's different both from country roots, and from Jimmy Webb territory – that majestic Glen Campbell sound rising up nicely – on tunes that include "One Last Time", "I Will Never Pass This Way Again", "Sweet Fantasy", "Running Scared", "Just For What I Am", and "The Last Thing On My Mind". I Knew Jesus is a record that continues the further exploration of Glen Campbell's vocal range – with some mellow fluid moments that are awash in deeper trills, mixed with more upfront tunes that do a great job of unlocking more of the country currents in Glen's talents – a great shift, and one that would come on even more strongly in his mid 70s return to fame. The set includes a great version of the Kinky Friedman song "Sold American" – one we maybe like even better than Kinky's – plus "I Take It On Home", "I Want To Be With You Always", "Give Me Back That Old Familiar Feeling", "You're The One", and "On This Road". On the final album, Glen Campbell takes on the music of Hank Williams – but in a way that often has the sort of dreamy haze that goes with the "I Remember" in the title! The songs are all Hank's, but the presentation isn't gritty honky tonk – and instead uses fuller backings with Glen's lead vocals, almost as if the whole thing were done in the mid 60s by Chet Atkins at RCA! Jimmy Bowen's at the helm, but there's backup singers and fuller strings than before – which really changes up the Campbell takes on tunes that include "Cold Cold Heart", "Half As Much", "Your Cheatin Heart", "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry", and "You Win Again". CD

Close matches92
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✨✧ Al Di MeolaElegant Gypsy/Casino ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), 1977/1978. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
Two full fusion classics from Al Di Meola – back to back on a single CD! Elegant Gypsy really features DiMeola moving into some very dynamic territory – jamming out heavy on a mix of electric and acoustic guitars, with additional help from Paco DeLucia on acoustic at points. The instrumentation also features heavy electric piano from Jan Hammer, other keyboards from Barry Miles, bass from Anthony Jackson, and drums from Steve Gadd and Lenny White – all fusion powerhouse players who really take over the groove at times, but still leave enough room on the record for some gentler sounds from Paco and Al. Titles include "Elegant Gypsy Suite", "Flight Over Rio", "Midnight Tango", and "Race With Devil On Spanish Highway". Casino has a smaller, tighter lineup than some of Al DiMeola's other records of the time, but the overall sound is still pretty far-reaching – thanks to a mix of keyboards from Barry Miles, and a blistering array of acoustic and electric guitars from Al himself! Steve Gadd propels the group withs ome very heavy drums, and Anthony Jackson plays bass – on titles that include "Egyptian Danza", "Chasin The Voodoo", "Senor Mouse", "Casino", and "Fantasia Suite For Two Guitars". CD

Close matches93
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✨✧ Gap BandGap Band VI/Gap Band VII (with bonus tracks) ... CD
BGO (UK), Mid 80s. New Copy 2CD ... Out Of Stock
Electro-steeped funky soul from The Gap Band – a pair of mid 80s classic LPs in a 2CD set with bonus tracks! They're already past the "V" in their classic run of 80s albums at this point, and still very much at the top of their game. The core trio work with sweet production from Lonnie Simmons on VI – a pairing that continues to set the group up above most of their competition, and give them a groove that goes way past the obvious. Mellow cuts stand out as strongly as upbeat ones – and if anything, the mellow groovers are the best! Titles include "The Sun Don't Shine Everyday", "Weak Spot", "Video Junkie", "Beep A Freak", "Don't You Leave Me", "Disrespect", "I Believe", and "I Found My Baby". VII is an equally great gem – augmented by some more electro touches that definitely keep things fresh – and we mean that in the best mid-80s use of the word! A bit of an old school influence comes into the vocals at points – showing their strength with the kind of catchy chorus that works great with a bassy groove. Titles include a great ballad reworking of "Going In Circles" – plus the groovers "Lil Red Funkin Hood", "Automatic Brain", "Desire", "Bumpin Gum People", and "I Know We'll Make It". The 2CDs include 11 bonus tracks too – heavy on 12" club mixes and remixes! CD

Close matches94
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✨✧ Jim HallConcierto/Big Blues/Studio Trieste ... CD
BGO (UK), Late 70s/Early 80s. New Copy 2CD ... Out Of Stock
3 great CTI records from Jim Hall – including work with Art Farmer, Chet Baker & Hubert Laws – in a great 2CD set! Concierto is one Hall's most compelling albums from the 70s – a mix of lightly swinging tunes and more complicated numbers, recorded with some of his best partners from earlier years! Chet Baker is on trumpet, Paul Desmond is on alto sax – and the rest of the group includes Ron Carter bass, Roland Hanna piano, and Steve Gadd on drums. The centerpiece of the album is the 19 minute long "Concierto De Aranjuez", and other tracks include "The Answer Is Yes", "Two's Blues" and 5 bonus tracks including "Rock Skippin'", "Unfinished Business" plus a few alternate takes of album tracks. Big Blues is sweet and subtle genius from Art Farmer and Jim Hall – in a quintet with vibes by Mike Mainieri – in a style that eschews the electric funk of other CTI records, but has a similar sense of space, sound, and rhythm overall – proof that the label's groundbreaking approach didn't always have to be electrified! Tracks are quite long, and the two leaders effortlessly craft notes that magically hang in space with an airily soulful feel. Titles include wonderfully reworked versions of "Whisper Not", "A Child Is Born", and "Pavane For A Dead Princess". Studio Trieste is great later date with Chet Baker & Hubert Laws! The session's a larger group effort headed up by Don Sebesky, and featuring key solos by Chet Baker, Jim Hall, and Hubert Laws – all of whom get plenty of room to do their thing on the album's longer tracks! Other players include Kenny Barron, Jack Wilkins, Jorge Dalto, George Mraz, and Steve Gadd – plus bit of added percussion – and although the group is large, the overall sound is relatively lean – spacious and airy, in keeping with Baker's best moments on records like these, and always sensitive enough to let Hall's gentle work on the strings of his guitar shine through nicely! Titles include "Malaguena", "Django", "Swan Lake", and "All Blues". CD

Close matches95
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✨✧ Tony McPhee & FriendsMe & The Devil/I Asked For Water She Gave Me Gasoline ... CD
Liberty/BGO (UK), 1968/1969. New Copy 2CD ... Out Of Stock
Two early solo albums from Tony McPhee – one of which is more of a mixed group affair overall! First up is Me & The Devil – fantastic acoustic blues from Tony McPhee – maybe best known as a member of The Groundhogs, but working here in a looser, more stripped-down mode – acoustic guitar, harmonica, and spare rhythms – all of which give Tony plenty of space to stretch out in the lead! As with Alexis Korner during the end of the 60s, McPhee's clearly influenced by older American blues, but is turning the phrasing towards a mode that would be picked up and shifted in just a year or two by bigger groups in the rock world – a Swan Song legacy that includes Led Zeppelin and Bad Company. Yet in in the all-acoustic, very rootsy sound here the approach is very different – and the record also features some equally bluesy vocals by a young Jo-Ann Kelly! Titles include "Elevator Woman", "Duckin & Dodgin", "Same Thing On My Mind", "Broke Down Engine", "Buy You A Diamond Ring", and "You Better Mind". I Asked For Water is a very cool collection of bluesier work from the UK underground at the end of the 60s – a set put together by Tony TS McPhee of The Groundhogs – with work by that group, Brett Marvin & The Thunderbolts, and the Andy Fernbach Connexion – working in different settings, and with other tracks that feature vocals by Jo-Ann Kelly, who you might know from later soul fame – as well as John Lewis, Jim Pitts, and Graham Hines. Yet all work is in a country blues mode – but with phrasing that really points the way towards near-immediate rock transformations of such a sound – on titles that include "Oh Death", "Dust My Blues", "Built My Hopes Too High", "Nervous", "Boogie Woman", and "I'm So Tired". CD

Close matches96
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✨✧ Garnet MimmsCry Baby/Warm & Soulful ... CD
BGO/United Artists (UK), 1963/1966. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
2 brilliant albums from Garnet Mimms – one of the greatest soul singers of the 60s, and an artist you can never have enough of! Garnet's albums from the 60s are all great – and unlike his contemporaries, he always recorded full LPs with all great songs, a wealth of original material, and not a bit of filler. This means that the set's got 26 tracks that may well be a "best of" for Garnet – as each track sparkles as much as the next, with Garnet's roughly-hewn vocals stretching out over sweet uptown arrangements by Jerry Ragovoy and Garry Sherman. We couldn't hope for a better batch of 60s soul tunes – and titles include "Don't Change Your Heart", "Looking For You", "It's Just A Matter Of Time", "One Girl", "Baby Don't You Weep", "So Close", "Anytime You Want Me", "There Goes My Baby", "A Little Bit Of Soap", "Quiet Place", "Cry To Me", "Until You Were Gone", "Anytime You Want Me", "Thinkin", and "Prove it To Me". CD

Close matches97
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✨✧ Sly & The Family StoneSmall Talk/High On You/Heard Ya Missed Me Well I'm Back ... CD
Epic/BGO (UK), Mid 70s. New Copy 2CD ... Out Of Stock
A trio of second-period Sly Stone albums – all brought together in a single CD set! On Small Talk, Sly's still doing pretty nice for himself in 1974 – with a sound that's perhaps a bit warmer than on the early records, but still nice and soulful – and peppered with a good dose of funk! The groove is really great on the set – bubbling with a more "deep down" feel than the skittish funk of the first few records, and breaking out on some great soul numbers that show Sly to be an even better singer than before – touchingly sensitive at times, in a really beautiful way! Titles include "Loose Booty", which has a wonderful popping bass/hollow drum sound, and a tasty break in the middle – plus the cuts "This Is Love", "Wishful Thinkin", "Time For Livin", "Can't Strain My Brain", and "Say You Will". High On You is a nice little mid 70s set from Sly – one recorded without the Family Stone, but still grooving wonderfully with lots of funky edges! Sly's expanded his sound nicely here – pushing past the shorter funk of earlier years to work in some complicated instrumentation that keeps things really sounding fresh. Great examples of this are the frenetic horn bits on "Crossword", which you'll recognize from its famous Tribe Called Quest sample – or the sweeping strings on the mellow groover "That's Lovin You". The whole thing's great – and other tracks include "I Get High on You", "So Good to Me", "Le Lo Li", "Green Eyed Monster Girl", and "Organize". On Heard Ya Missed Me, Sly Stone's looking like a one-man band on the cover, but the album's definitely got the full-on collaborative vibe of his early records with the Family Stone! The main man himself has plenty of charm, and still has that wonderful ear for a sharp-tinged funky cut – but he's also working in this mode that allows for other voices to come into the mix at times, and plenty of lively funky instrumentation underneath the lyrics – which really makes the whole thing feel like a party all the way through! Titles include "Sexy Situation", "What Was I Thinkin In My Head", "Mother Is A Hippie", and "Family Again". CD

Close matches98
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✨✧ Miroslav VitousBass (aka Mountain In The Clouds) ... CD
Vortex/BGO (UK), 1972. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
One of the greatest moments ever from bassist Miroslav Vitous – a very cool album recorded for the trippy Vortex label! The lineup here has Miroslav working with key help from the American underground – piano from Herbie Hancock, tenor from Joe Henderson, and drums from Jack DeJohnette – plus added guitar from John McLaughlin, who seems to have the same spacey sensibilities as Vitous! Henderson really opens up too – in that fluid style of his post-Blue Note work on Milestone – and obviously Herbie's a great one for a set like this too – hitting some of the spiritual modes of his Warner work. Some tracks are nice and long – and titles include "Freedom Jazz Dance", "Infinite Search", "I Will Tell Him On You", "Mountain In the Cloudes", and "Epilogue". Originally issued as the album Infinite Search on Embryo, but expanded here with the additional track "Cerecka". CD

Close matches99
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✨✧ Wendy WaldmanLove Has Got Me/Gypsy Symphony/Wendy Waldman ... CD
Warner/BGO (UK), 1973/1974/1975. New Copy 2CD ... Out Of Stock
A trio of overlooked gems from Wendy Waldman – brought together in a single set! First up is Love Has Got Me – a hell of a solo start for singer/songwriter Wendy Waldman – a great album that should have had the lady right up there on the charts with some of her best 70s contemporaries, but which sadly never got the attention it deserved! Wendy wrote most of the material here herself, and sings with the confidence of a Laura Nyro or Carole King – but maybe with some of the jazzier inflections that Maria Muldaur or Joni Mitchell were bringing into their work – yet always with an individual spirit that makes it difficult to directly compare Waldman to anyone! Titles include "Train Song", "Gringo En Mexico", "Old Time Love", "Natural Born Fool", "Horse Dream", "Can't Come In", and "Thinking Of You". On Gypsy Symphony, Wendy Waldman's working at the Muscle Shoals studio – a place that really brings out some of the warmth, soul, and jazzy inflections in her vocals – yet all without reducing her music to another Muscle Shoals cliche! Instead, Wendy seems to transform the familiar lineup of players with a voice that's strong, proud, and one of the great overlooked female singer/songwriter talents of the 70s – on titles that include "You Got To Ride", "Studio Song", "Mad Mad Me", "The Road Song", "My Love is All I Know", and "Northwoods Man". The self-titled Wendy Waldman is one of the leanest albums ever recorded by Wendy Waldman – a set with small group backing that only seems to set Wendy's vocals even more free than before! As with her other great work of the time, there's a jazzy current to some of the singing – a mode that resonates with Joni Mitchell or Maria Muldaur – and as before, the songs are strong and proud, really great material that marks Waldman as one of the better songwriters of her generation, maybe right up there with Laura Nyro in spirit and openness – and like Nyro, very much her own woman. Titles include "Racing Boat", "Explain It", "Sundown", "Constant Companion", "Spring Is Here", "Wild Bird", and "Wings". CD
 
Partial matches: 5
Partial matches100
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Grace JonesFame ... LP
Island, 1978. Near Mint- Gatefold ... $11.99
A classic disco stormer from Grace Jones – recorded at Sigma Sound with a real Philly groove, thanks to arrangements from John Monster Davis – and produced with a full, soaring sound from the legendary Tom Moulton! The set may well be Grace's true club classic from the late 70s – a record that works both on the quirky levels of her early rise to fame, and on the more soulful expectations mainstream clubgoers had at the time – a beautiful balance that owes plenty to the input from Davis and Moulton! Titles include "Do Or Die", "Pride", "Fame", "Below The Belt", and "Am I Ever Gonna Fall In Love In New York City". LP, Vinyl record album
(Cover has a cutout notch.)
 
 
 



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