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Close matches1
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ AirtoFree/Identity/Promises Of The Sun (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Arista/BGO (UK), 1972/1975/1976. New Copy 2 CDs ... $14.99
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

Close matches2
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Kevin AyersRainbow Takeaway/That's What You Get Babe ... CD
EMI/BGO (UK), 1978/1980. New Copy ... Just Sold Out!
Two later solo albums from Kevin Ayers – back to back on a single CD! First up is Rainbow Takeaway – a record that's a bit out of time, given all the changes that were taking place in the UK scene – but which still has Ayers doing all those wonderful things that made his solo career so great! The tunes are fantastic – filled with unusual images, and that sense of removed wit that Kevin always had, and which always made him so far less indulgent than the rest of the prog generation. And while the cover and some of the production almost hint at an AOR approach, the whole thing instead is hiding with a more unique vision underneath – maybe in the way that Phil Manzanera could do the same on his late 70s albums. Like those records, there's a lot of elements here that are hard to compare to anything else – but in a good way, as that's always been the charm of Ayers. Titles include "Ballad Of A Salesman Who Sold Himself", "Rainbow Takeaway", "View From The Mountain", "Goodnight Goodnight", and "Hat Song". That's What You Get Babe Is a record that definitely proves that talents like Kevin Ayers can't be dimmed at all – no matter what the setting! By 1980, Ayers was far from the proggy generation in which he fit so well – but the man was still a hell of a songwriter, and had a voice that was just about the only one that could do his lyrics justice – a bit like Leonard Cohen during this stretch in his career. And like Cohen's mid period records, the album doesn't always go out of its way to provide Kevin with the arrangements and production that might make them shine the most – but that doesn't stop the man himself from bringing the most out of his words – all with a quality that cares nothing about the punk and disco changes that happened in the past few years, and which just focuses on the songs. Titles include "You Never Outrun Your Heart", "Super Salesmen", "Money Money Money", "I'm So Tired", "Where Do The Stars End", and "That's What You Get". CD

Close matches3
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Back DoorBack Door/8th Street Nites/Another Fine Mess ... CD
Warner/BGO (UK), 1972/1973/1974. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99
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 matches4
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Bobby BareMe & McDill/Sleeper Wherever I Fall/Bare/Down & Dirty ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), Late 70s. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99
Four late 70s albums from Bobby Bare – all brought together in a single set! First up is Me & McGill – a really special sort of album from the great Bobby Bare – a set that's a collaborative effort with songwriter Bob McDill, as you can probably guess from the title! Bob gives Bobby tunes that are nicely different than some of the mid 70s material he was recording for RCA – maybe a bit more down to earth, with less easy attempts at wit – and at a level that show a maturing Bare, in styles that are similar to some of the shifts that Merle Haggard was taking at the time. Titles include "If You Think I'm Crazy Now", "Look Who I'm Cheating On Tonight", "The Woman In Every Man's Life", "Tired Of The Road Joe", "You Made A Believer Out Of Me", and "Till I Get On Feet". Sleeper Wherever I Fall is Bobby Bare's first album for Columbia Records – a bit of a return to straighter material than some of his concept records for RCA from a few years back – material that really helps the maturing singer find a way towards some of the adult territory that some of his contemporaries were handling at the time – but all without ever sounding too commercial or mainstream, maybe a shift towards territory of some of the non-outlaw material of David Allen Coe. Titles include "Hot Afternoon", "Goin Up's Easy Goin Down's Hard", "Sleep Tight Good Night Man", "What Did It Get Me", "The Last Time", and "Rodeo Queen". Bare is a record that reunites Bobby with songwriter Shel Silverstein – the talent who really helped him reignite his music at the start of the 70s! The songs here are maybe a bit less concept, or joke-oriented than some of Silverstein's more famous material – a great reminder that Shel can be a hell of a songwriter in more conventional modes – and a few tracks on the record are by other writers too. Throughout it all, that great Bobby Bare vocal approach really makes the best of the songs – titles that include "This Guitar Is For Sale", "Too Many Nights Alone", "Greasy Grit Gravy", "Sing For The Song", and "Yard Full Of Rusty Cars". Down & Dirty is a strong live set from Bobby Bare – a singer we mostly associate with studio work, but who's clearly at home here in front of a crowd! There's maybe some slightly more rockish phrasing in some of the instrumentation – but the live presentation keeps things from ever sounding commercially overdone – and the songs are a mix of material from the kinds of singers who always bring out the best in Bobby Bare – a fair bit from Shel Silverstein, plus more from Bob McDill, Townes Van Zandt, and Kris Kristofferson. Titles include "Some Days Are Diamonds", "Numbers", "Tequila Sheila", "I Can't Watch The Movie Anymore", "Qualudes Again", "Down To My Last Come & Get Me", and "Good For Nothing Blues". CD

Close matches5
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Shirley BasseyNever Never Never/Good Bad But Beautiful ... CD
United Artists/BGO (UK), 1973/1975. New Copy 2CD ... $8.99 16.99
Two early 70s albums from Shirley Bassey – back to back in a single set! Never Never Never is a warmly-crafted 70s album from the great Shirley Bassey – a set that continues that great move she was making at the end of the 60s – shaking off some of the bolder, brassier styles that famously got her going at the start, but which were maybe sounding a bit dated after the James Bond soundtracks got too much play! Instead, Bassey's opening up in a nicely mature mode – maybe making the same sort of shift between soul and adult modes that Johnny Mathis was hitting during the same period – and working with great UK maestros Johnny Harris and Arthur Greenslade, both able to balance strings and soul on titles that include "Never Never Never", "Make The World A Little Younger", "No Regrets", "Going Going Gone", "Somehow", "I Won't Last A Day Without You", "The Old Fashioned Way", and "Someone Who Cares". On Good Bad But Beautiful, Shirley Bassey is at her mellow best – sounding very different than the brassy vocalist who first rose to international fame with "Goldfinger" – yet still able to work through all the rich aspects of her great vocal range! Arthur Greenslade handles the backings, and the style is mature, and updated in maybe the way that Frank Sinatra was hitting at the time – both in the choice of songs, and in the way that Greenslade sets Shirley up for the best reading of the lyric. Titles include "I'll Be Your Audience", "Emotion", "Good Bad But Beautiful", "Jesse", "Run On & On & On", "Feel Like Makin Love", and "I'll Be Your Audience". CD

Close matches6
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Chuck BerryChuck Berry/More Chuck Berry ... CD
Chess/BGO (UK), Late 50s/Early 60s. New Copy ... $8.99 14.99
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

Close matches7
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Bobby BlandGet On Down/Reflections In Blue ... CD
ABC/BGO (UK), 1975/1977. New Copy ... $8.99 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 matches8
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 matches9
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Box TopsLetter/Cry Like A Baby/Non Stop/Dimensions (plus bonus tracks) ... CD
Bell/BGO (UK), Late 60s. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99
Four full albums from the Box Tops, plus bonus tracks too! First up is The Letter/Neon Rainbow – a powerhouse set from The Box Tops – a 60s group who showed the world that the Memphis scene had as much to offer the world of rock as it did the worlds of blues and soul – thanks to the all-great pedigree of this album! Not only does the group feature a very young Alex Chilton on lead vocals, the set was also recorded at the new American Recording Studios headed up by Chips Moman – with tracks on the record from the classic soul songwriting team of Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham, not to mention a few by the young Bobby Womack too! The bit hit "The Letter" leads off the set, but the album's way more than just that it – filled with great tunes that include "I Pray For Rain", "I'm Your Puppet", "Happy Times", "Neon Rainbow", "Break My Mind", "She Knows How", and "Everything I Am". Cry Like A Baby is a fantastic album from The Box Tops – the kind of all-great, no-filler record that really set them apart from some of their 60s contemporaries! At this point, Alex Chilton's still not a songwriter, but he sounds tremendous in the lead on vocals – working with superb Memphis production, amidst a host of great tunes from the team of Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham, plus a few other key songwriters too! Penn produced the record, and really gives it a fantastic sound – the kind of special touches and genre-bending elements of his own later records – on titles that include "Deep In Kentucky", "Cry Like A Baby", "Trouble With Sam", "The Door You Closed To Me", "Lost", "Fields Of Clover", and "Every Time". Non Stop is beautiful work from The Box Tops – a set that has the group moving way past their early hits, and finding this really sort of special place in the world of up-and-coming artists in the 60s! The Box Tops were maybe one of the first Memphis rock groups to really put together all the great elements that were bubbling in that city's scene during the 60s – the unique hybrid of soul, country, R&B, and other influences that were filtering into groups via the cross-cultural vibe of the city. That quality really comes through here – partly in the group's performance and the lead vocals of Alex Chilton, partly in the great production by Dann Penn, who also wrote a number of tracks with Spooner Oldham, and partly in the way that fuller arrangements are used to underscore some more soulful touches in the music. Titles include "Sandman", "Choo Choo Train", "I'm Movin On", "People Gonna Talk", "She Shot A Hole In My Soul", "I Met Her In Church", "I Can Dig It", and "If I Had Let You In". Dimensions is maybe one of the most soulful albums by The Box Tops – and that's saying a heck of a lot, as there's plenty of other soul elements moving through the other records! Alex Chilton's really finding his own here, and contributes a number of his own songs to the record, as a harbinger of his great legacy to come – and the production is slightly shifted, with Tommy Cogbill and Chips Moman taking over from Dan Penn, and maybe bringing in even more elements from the wide crossover between rock and soul on the Memphis scene. Titles include "I See Only Sunshine", "Together", "The Happy Song", "Rock Me Baby", "Sweet Cream Ladies", "I Must Be The Devil", "Midnight Angel", and "Soul Deep". Bonus cuts include "Since I Been Gone", "Lay Your Smile On Me", "King's Highway", "Take Me To Your Heart", "Georgia Farm Boy", "Come On Honey", and "You Keep Tightening Up On Me". CD

Close matches10
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Pete Brown & PibloktoThings May Come & Go – But The Art School Dance Goes On Forever/Thousands On A Raft (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Harvest/BGO (UK), 1970. New Copy 2CD ... $8.99 16.99
Two fantastic albums from one of the most unique artists to record on the UK scene at the start of the 70s! First up is the long-titled Things May Come & Things May Go But The Art School Dance Goes On Forever – pure genius from the mind of Pete Brown – and a seminal slice of sound from the Harvest Records empire – a record that's every bit as messed up as you'd guess from the title – and we mean that in the best way possible! The album flies its freak flag high, but never in a messed up or sloppy way at all – as Brown wickedly weaves together all these jazzy currents with his own brash, bold lyricism – making the best of the amazing guitar skills of Jim Mullen, and keyboard work of Dave Thompson – who are definitely a cut above the usual jazz rockers of the period, and are able to match the drama of Pete's vocals, but also help him from never sounding too self-absorbed. They definitely don't make 'em like this anymore – as you'll hear on titles that include "High Flying Electric Bird", "Someone Like You", "Walk For Charity Run For Money", "Golden Country Kingdom", and "Firesong". Next is Thousands On A Raft – a record filled with long hair, jazzy riffing, and all the best hope that the early years of prog had to offer – all coming together on a record that's years ahead of its time! It's really hard to put a label on Pete Brown's sounds with Piblokto – music that's maybe more poetic than most of its contemporaries, but also has more of a bite, too – definitely that wit of Brown's that never dimmed at all, and instrumentation that's super-sharp, and super-smart – but never too full of itself to be overly indulgent. The songs are longer than on the previous Piblokto record, but in ways that only flesh out the ideas even more fully – on titles that include "Highland Song", "Aeroplane Head Woman", "Got A Letter From A Computer", "Thousands On A Raft", and "Station Song Platform Two". 2CD set features lots of bonus tracks – "High Sorrow", "Raining Pins & Needles", "Dawn Of A Night Wasp", "Aeroplane Head Woman (alt)", "My Last Band", "Broken Magic", "Flying Hero Sandwich", and "Can't Get Off The Planet". CD

Close matches11
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Johnny BurnetteRock N Roll Trio/Tear It Up ... CD
Coral/BGO (UK), 1956/1957. New Copy ... $8.99 14.99
A pair of full length albums from Johnny Burnette – one of the greatest talents in the early years of rock and roll! First up is the seminal Rock & Roll Trio album on Coral from 1956 – a stunning little record and one that's had an undeniable influence on the sound of guitar-based music for generations to come – from rockabilly to garage, psych, and punk – thanks to groundbreaking work from the Johnny Burnette Trio! The album's one of the first really raw records to be cut as a full length rock release – not a handful of previous singles mixed with filler, but a nonstop jammer that has the core trio occasionally augmented by larger horns, but never losing the energy of their sound – or that incredible bite on guitar. The use of fuzz here is landmark – especially on the classic "Train Kept A Rollin" – the group's remake of a Tiny Bradshaw tune, refocused in energy that would later be picked up by The Yardbirds. But the whole thing's great, too – and other titles include "Sweet Love On My Mind", "Lonesome Train", "Honey Hush", "I Just Found Out", "Chains Of Love", "I Love You So", and "Rock Billy Boogie". Tear It Up was a later 90s album that pulled together more obscure moments from the trio – but the quality of the work is rock-solid throughout – as Johnny and Dorsey Burnette play with raw intensity and razor-sharp musicianship. Titles include "Shattered Dreams", "My Love You're A Stranger", "Oh Baby Babe", "Tear It Up", "You're Undecided", "Midnight Train", and "If You Want It Enough". CD

Close matches12
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ CalderaCaldera/Sky Islands ... CD
Capitol/BGO (UK), 1976/1977. New Copy ... $8.99 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 matches13
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Glen CampbellGentle On My Mind/By The Time I Get To Phoenix ... CD
Capitol/BGO (UK), 1967/1968. New Copy ... $8.99 14.99
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

Close matches14
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Glen CampbellGlen Travis Campbell/I Knew Jesus/I Remember Hank Williams ... CD
Capitol/BGO (UK), 1972/1973. New Copy 2CD ... $8.99 16.99
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 matches15
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Larry CarltonWith A Little Help From My Friends/Singing Playing ... CD
BGO (UK), 1968/1973. New Copy ... $13.99
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 matches16
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
CherBackstage/Golden Greats ... CD
Imperial/BGO (UK), 1968. New Copy ... $8.99 14.99
Two 1968 albums by Cher – back to back on a single CD! First up is Backstage – a great little solo album from Cher – recorded during her overlooked run of non-Sonny Bono material for Imperial Records in the late 60s – a sublime stretch that really opens up her vocals with a surprisingly soulful vibe! That's definitely the case here, as Harold Battiste is helping Sonny out on production – adding some nicely deep currents to the music, as Cher takes on tunes by Bob Dylan, Miriam Makeba, Tim Hardin, and a surprisingly diverse array of artists – transforming every song in the process, and really making the music her own! Titles include a great sitar-laden version of "Masters Of War", plus "The Click Song", "Reason To Believe", "Do You Believe In Magic", "Take Me For A Little While", "A House Is Not A Home", and "Song Called Children". Golden Greats features loads of solo material that Cher recorded for Imperial Records without Sonny Bono on vocals – working alone, because the duo were contracted as a pair to Atlantic at the time! Sonny's still got a great hand in the music, though – producing most of it, and contributing a fair bit of original songs, next to material that Cher takes on from others, and really makes her own. Titles include "Hey Joe", "Alfie", "Sunny", "All I Really Want To Do", "I Feel Something In The Air", "You Better Sit Down Kids", "Come & Stay With Me", and the mega-hit "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)". CD

Close matches17
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Ornette ColemanMusic Of Ornette Coleman – Forms & Sounds/Skies Of America ... CD
Sony/BGO (UK), 1967/1972. New Copy 2CDs ... $8.99 16.99
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

Close matches18
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Graham CollierDown Another Road/Songs For My Father/Mosaics ... CD
Fontana/Philips/BGO (UK), 1969/1970/1971. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99
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 matches19
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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 matches20
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Mike CooperOh Really/Do I Know You/Trout Steel/Places I Know/Machine Gun Co (plus bonus tracks) (3CD set) ... CD
Dawn/BGO (UK), Late 60s/Early 70s. New Copy 3CD ... $16.99
An amazing legacy in music from Mike Cooper – a British musician who started out in the world of folk blues, but never ended up moving towards some of the rockish modes of his contemporaries – instead finding his very own sort of special space in the freedom allowed by the Dawn Records label! The set begins with the very spare Oh Really – a set that has Mike Cooper mostly on guitar and vocals, in a style that's part Piedmont, part Delta blues – but also given a more folksy spin, and graced with Cooper's unusual vocals – almost making the whole thing feel like a spare acoustic version of Canned Heat territory – with titles that include "Maggie Campbell", "Saturday Blues", "Electric Chair", "Crow Jane", and "You're Gonna Be Sorry". Do I Know you is a record that follows up with a sound that's maybe a bit fuller than Mike Cooper's debut, but still relatively spare – with Mike on acoustic guitar and slide guitar, Harry Miller on bass (really great bass, by the way!), and Poor Little Anne on a bit of vocals. Miller brings these deep tones to the record that really transform things – and titles include "Do I Know You", "Start Of A Journey", "First Song", "Theme In C", and "The Link". Trout Steel is a beautiful set from the British scene at the start of the 70s – a record that's got a fairly folksy tone, but lots of jazzy currents as well! The set was issued on the seminal Dawn Records label – and really shows that imprint's commitment to the left side of the spectrum – as Mike Cooper's vocals and acoustic guitar come into play with more guitar from Stefan Grossman – plus alto sax from Mike Osborne, tenor and soprano from Alan Skidmore, piano from John Taylor, and bass from the late Harry Miller – all key players on the UK avant jazz scene of the time! The mix of these players with Cooper's core inspiration is not unlike some of the most progressive material coming from Island Records – or, even better, the special jazzy moments on records by Tim Buckley or Tim Hardin – company that Cooper could very easily keep, given the strength of his songwriting. Titles include "Don't Talk Too Fast", "On My Way", "Hope You See", "Weeping Rose", "Trout Steel", "I've Got Mine", "That's How", and "Pharoah's March". Places I Know blends Cooper's acoustic guitar and rootsy vocals with some very compelling arrangements from Mike Gibbs – the British jazz talent who was already known for his larger ensemble creations at the time, but who works here in these really subtle ways – to inflect Cooper's core inspirations with just some slight instrumental colors, tones, and phrases on most numbers – while Cooper brings in the core Machine Gun Co group on a few more. The result is a record that's way more than familiar folk – and arguably a lot hipper than most of the British acid folk of the time, too – on titles that include "Night Journey", "Paper & Smoke", "Country Water", "Time To Time", "Goodbye Blues Goodbye", and "Places I Know". The Machine Gun Co album is a partner record to Places I Know – recorded in the same sessions, but with tracks that are longer, and even more openly expressive – all with backings from the sweet Machine Gun Co quartet, a group with some especially nice electric piano from Alan Cook! Heavy use of that instrument really works against some of the folksier elements in Cooper's music – with these blocks of warm sound and color that really illuminate the tunes, and almost unlock a new level in the vocals. Cooper plays a bit of electric guitar at times – and titles include "So Glad That I Found You", "Lady Anne", "Midnight Words", and "Song For Abigail". CD also features songs from singles – "Your Lovely Ways (parts 1 & 2)", "Time In Hand", and "Schaabisch Hall". CD

Close matches21
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Country GazetteTraitor In Our Midst/Don't Give Up Your Day Job ... CD
United Artists/BGO (UK), 1972/1973. New Copy ... $8.99 14.99
A pair of overlooked gems from Country Gazette – a hip country-styled band from the start of the 70s! First up is Traitor In Our Midst – a pretty great set from a country rock group who clearly have a sense of humor – but one who also have some surprisingly great chops as well! In some way, these guys are a bit like labelmates Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – who also were maybe approaching acoustic roots music with a tongue in cheek vibe at the start – but also provided plenty to get past any sort of joke they were trying to hide behind! There's excellent instrumentation on the set – fiddle, mandolin, and banjo – and the vocals often harmonize at level that would make most bluegrass groups pretty darn proud. Plus, Jim Dickson put the whole thing together with perfect production – on titles that include "Forget Me Not", "Sound Of Goodbye", "Aggravation", "If You're Ever Gonna Love Me", "Anna", "Tried So Hard", "Keep On Pushin", and "Lost Indian". Next is the excellent Don't Give Up Your Day Job – a set that reminds us that of all the country rock groups at the start of the 70s, Country Gazette have probably got more instrumental talents than most! In fact, these guys come across more like some of the new wave of bluegrass groups that were appearing on indie labels than you'd expect from some of the bigger label work of the time – harmonizing wonderfully, and serving up instrumentation that's heavy on deft fiddle, mandolin, banjo, and guitar! There's a really fresh approach – a bit like that new way of presenting old roots that groups like Seldom Scene were touching on – and the group serve up their own material, and work by Elton John, Don McLean, and CSNY. Titles include "Huckleberry Hornpipe", "The Fallen Eagle", "My Oklahoma", "Teach Your Children", "Honky Cat", "Snowball", and "Deputy Dalton". CD

Close matches22
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DeodatoWhirlwinds/Artistry ... CD
MCA/BGO (UK), 1974. New Copy ... $8.99 14.99
Two post-CTI gems from Deodato – back to back on a single CD! Whirlwinds is sweet keyboard soul from Deodato – a set that steps off nicely from the strengths of his big hits on CTI, hitting a similarly flowing groove that's really great! The instrumentation here is a bit more expanded than before, but never in a way that buries the keyboards – and Deodato's right out front on a range of electric keys that get some great support from John Tropea's finely-honed work on guitar! Titles include "Havana Strut", "Whirlwinds", "West 42nd Street", and a nice cover of Steely Dan's "Do It Again". And heck, even the album's version of Glen Miller's "Moonlight Serenade" manages to come off like a funk tune! Artistry is a live set from Deodato – but one that's very much in the mode of his best CTI studio sessions – with soaring, over the top keyboard work that's totally great – backed by some tightly compressed guitar, bass, and drums, with just enough funk in the mix to keep things interesting! As with other Deodato records from the time, there's a mix of moods here that comes together nicely – a range that goes past his easy hits, and shows Deodato to be one of the hippest, most soulful keyboard talents of his generation. Titles include a great version of "Super Strut" that grooves for over 8 minutes, and which has some firey guitar that really competes with Deodato's work on the keys – and other tracks include "Farewell To A Friend", "Pavane For A Dead Princess", "Rio Sangre", and "Jivin". CD

Close matches23
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Dr JohnRemedies/Desitively Bonnaroo ... CD
Atlantic/BGO (UK), Early 70s. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99
Two funky classics from Dr John – back to back in a single set! First up is Remedies, one of the records that made Dr John a legend back in the day – a set that steps off from New Orleans roots into a world of weird funk, tripped-out sounds, and lots and lots of super-heavy grooves! The album's got a nicely exploratory vibe – as the first side features shorter funky cuts, but the second half really stretches out, and features a side-long track that has the Doctor at his most freewheeling – mixing deep currents from soul and blues with all the great ear for studio techniques he'd developed over the years – fused into a sound that's almost a fantasy of a soulful subculture in the swamps. Titles include "Loop Garoo", "Wash Mama Wash", "What Goes Around Comes Around", "Mardi Gras Day", and "Chippy Chippy" – plus the side-long "Angola Anthem". Desitively Bonnaroo is filled with tight funky work from Dr John – a second collaboration with producer Allen Toussaint, and a set that follows strongly on their Right Place record of the year before! The groove's not as messed-up as on the first few Atlantic records by the Doctor – but in it's place is a sweet electric funk mode, kind of an update on 60s New Orleans grooves – handled here by The Meters and a host of other key players from the Crescent City scene! Toussaint's production and arrangements are tight, but never slick at all – still much earthier than the later work, especially that on Warner Brothers, that was handled by the producer. And the tunes have a good focus that keeps Dr John on track lyrically – even though we'll admit that our main love of this record comes from the keyboards, bass, and funky drums! Titles include "Stealin", "What Comes Around (Goes Around)", "Mos' Scocious", "Rite Away", "R U 4 Real", "Let's Make A Better World", "Sing Along Song", "Go Tell The People", "Quitters Never Win", and "Can't Git Enuff". CD

Close matches24
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✨✧ Earth Wind & FireEarth Wind & Fire/Need Of Love ... CD
Warner/BGO (UK), 1971. New Copy ... $13.99
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 matches25
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✨✧ Don EllisAutumn/Shock Treatment ... CD
BGO (UK), 1968. New Copy 2CD ... $8.99 16.99
Two late 60s classics from trumpet legend Don Ellis – back to back in a single set! Autumn is an album of explosive power and imagination from Don Ellis – a set that shows him very firmly shaking off the more academic mode of earlier years, and heading into hipper, more youth-oriented directions! The group's still a bit band on most numbers – but it's one with a lean, well-crafted sound that's not really big band jazz, and which also features some elements of later soundtrack scoring. Players on the date are all great – and include Frank Strozier, John Klemmer, and Ira Schulman on saxes – plus Pete Robinson on clavinet, piano, and electric piano! The set begins with the beautiful extended "Variations For Trumpet" – a suite-type number that has plenty of great colors from Ellis, plus loads of other horn work too. Other titles include "Indian Lady", "Pussy Wiggle Stomp", "Scratt & Fluggs", and "Child Of Ecstasy". Shock Treatment is one of the first really funky records from Don Ellis! Ellis was an emerging California trumpeter/composer who'd noodled around with some modern big band work in the mid 60s – but this hip 1968 session has him adding in elements like clavinet, Fender Rhodes, sitar, timbales, vibes, percussion, and even a spot of vocals to change the groove to a more mod and swinging one. Titles include "Mercy Mabye Mercy", "New Kind Of Country", "Zim", "Star Children", "Opus 5", "Rasty", "The Tihai", and "Milo's Theme". Plus, the CD also includes some bonus tracks not on the original album! CD

Close matches26
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Joe FarrellPenny Arcade/Upon This Rock/Canned Funk ... CD
BGO (UK), Mid 70s. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99
3 killer CTI classics from Joe Farrell in a 2CD set! Penny Arcade has grooves so sharp you could cut your trousers on them! Farrell's angular reed style is in perfect form here – grooving with a small group that includes Herbie Hancock on piano, Joe Beck on guitar, Steve Gadd on drums, and Don Alias on percussion – a combo that's got a harder, tighter feel than most CTI groups – a key reason why Joe's records of this time are so legendary! Includes a version of Stevie Wonder's "Too High" – one that breaks all over the beginning with these riffs by Farrell, then grooves into a CTI electric funk mode for about 13 minutes. All tracks are long – and other tracks include "Hurricane Jane", "Geo Blue", "Penny Arcade", and "Cloud Cream". Upon This Rock is another massive set from the funky reedman – with a lean, edgy groove to the set that's totally great. One cut features a guest group – with Herbie Hancock on piano, Steve Gadd on drums, and Don Alias on percussion – and the album includes the massively break-heavy title cut "Upon This Rock", plus "Seven Seas", "I Won't Be Back", and "Weathervane". There's nothing canned on Canned Funk – as the sound, style, and groove of the record is as fresh and freaky as the classic image on the cover! The sax lines are as angular as the rhythms – tight, choppy, and completely funky – no wonder the record's a CTI classic that folks have dug for years! Tracks are all nice and long – and titles include "Canned Funk", "Animal", and "Spoken Silence". CD

Close matches27
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Jose FelicianoSouled/For My Love Mother Music ... CD
BGO (UK), 1968/1974. New Copy 2 CDs ... $8.99 16.99
Overlooked genius from Jose Feliciano – two great albums on a single CD! On Souled, Jose Feliciano really lives up to the title – stepping out strongly with the same style used on his "California Dreamin" hit – a massive blend of strings, soul, and Jose's unique vocal approach! Feliciano came out of the Latin market in the 60s, but by the time of this record he's really a key crossover force in soul – and one that helped establish the brown-eyed variant of the music through his massive work for RCA. The instrumentation is often as groovy as the record – with backing by a small combo that includes Milt Holland on percussion, Ray Brown on bass, and Mike Melvoin on keyboards – plus added arrangements from RCA talents George Tipton and All Capps. Titles include the groovy "Hitchcock Railway", plus "Younger Generation", "Sad Gypsy", "Hi Heel Sneakers", "She's Too Good To Me", and "Sleep Late My Lady Friend". For My Love Mother Music is kind of a mixed bag of sorts from Jose Feliciano, but a nice one too – recorded in the same year as his sublime And The Feelin's Right album, but not as concise as that one – and more of a collection of different modes explored on Feliciano albums over the few previous years. Steve Cropper's working with Jose on production here – and some tracks have a rootsier Memphis-inspired sound, while others pick up a bit more of a warmer LA glow. Feliciano himself is perhaps a bit too "heartfelt" at times – working the lyrics and notes with an earnestness that's fine, but which kind of holds him back a bit, and doesn't let his voice flow along with the tunes in the way that we really like on other records – but the overall style is still pretty great, and Jose's always a lot hipper than most of his contemporaries! Titles include "Blame It On The Sun", "Mother Music", "Shoo-Fly", "I Like What You Give", "Stoney Heart", "For My Love", and "World Without Music". CD

Close matches28
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Wayne FontanaWayne One (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Fontana/BGO (UK), Late 60s. New Copy 2CD ... $8.99 16.99
Wayne Fontana without The Mindbenders – and sounding really cool, really groovy, and a like a completely different singer than before! A big part of the credit for the record might go to Les Reed – who sets up that great Fontana vocal style with modes that are jazzier than before, and which also echo other mod currents on the London scene – mixing in familiar American standards and soul tunes with a more swinging 60s style – which gives the whole thing the charms of similar work at the time by Alan Price or Georgie Fame! The whole thing's great – a real revelation – and titles include "It Was Easier To Hurt Her", "Please Stop The Wedding", "My Friend & I", "Star Of Eastern Street", "Internal Circle", and "Perfidia". 2CD set features 22 more fantastic tracks – all excellent solo singles that continue the trend of the album – titles that include "Dayton Ohio 1903", "Charlie Cass", "Pamela Pamela", "Storybook Children", "Waiting For A Break In The Clouds", "24 Sycamore", "The Sun's So Hot Today", "The Impossible Years", and "Mind Excursion". CD

Close matches29
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✨✧ Gap BandGap Band (1979)/Gap Band II/Gap Band III ... CD
Mercury/BGO (UK), 1979/1980. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99
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 matches30
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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 ... $14.99
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 matches31
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✨✧ Gap BandGap Band IV/Gap Band V Jammin ... CD
BGO (UK), Early 80s. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99
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 matches32
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Gap BandGap Band VI/Gap Band VII (with bonus tracks) ... CD
BGO (UK), Mid 80s. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99
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

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Mickey GilleySongs We Made Love To/That's All That Matters To Me/You Don't Know Me/Put Your Dreams Away ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), Late 70s/Early 80s. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99
Four full albums from the biggest years on record for Mickey Gilley – a time when he'd risen from an almost-accidental country singer, to become a great crossover talent who could still hold on to his roots! Gilley was a childhood relative and close associate of Jerry Lee Lewis – and like Jerry, could play a pretty mean piano, as well as sing both upbeat tunes and more sensitive material – all of which comes to play here, even as Mickey was opening himself up to greater fame, thanks to new exposure in the growing commercial country market. You'd be hard-pressed to call this material hard country – but there's also lots more going on at the core than the hot country of the generation to follow. CD features four albums and 40 tracks in all – titles that include "Jr P Jones", "Just Long Enough To Say Goodbye", "Lonely Wine", "When I Lose You Anna", "My Affection", "Drinking Old Memories Down", "The More I Turn The Bottle Up", "Million Dollar Memories", "Texas Heartache Number One", "If I Can't Hold Her On The Outside", and "Don't You Be Foolin With A Fool". CD

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Merle HaggardJust Between The Two Of Us/The Fightin' Side Of Me ... CD
Capitol/BGO (UK), 1966/1970. New Copy ... $8.99 14.99
Two very different albums from Merle Haggard – both of them pretty darn great – one a duet with 60s wife Bonnie Owens, the other a great live album! Just Between The Two Of Us is one of the greatest albums that Bonnie Owens ever recorded for Capitol Records – and not just because husband Merle Haggard was along to help on vocal duets! The mixture of Haggard and Owens is quite different than some of the other country duos of the time – possibly because of some of the struggles of their own time together, which not only seems to move the music away from some of Merle's usual themes, but also has the pair being surprisingly honest and open about their melancholy moods. And although Hag's usually the main songwriter on his records, Bonnie penned most of the original songs here, recorded next to a few Bill Anderson gems too. Titles include "Just Between The Two Of Us", "A House Without Love Is Not A Home", "Stranger In My Arms", "Forever & Ever", "I Wanta Live Again", "Our Hearts Are Holding Hands", "Slowly But Surely", and "So Much For Me So Much For You". Fighting Side Of Me is best known for the reactionary title tune, quite unfortunately, since it's a really amazing document of Haggard and the Strangers at their all time best. Like most of Merle's live shows throughout the years, it's bookended by some great original tunes like "I Take A Lot Of Pride In What I Am" and "Today I Started Loving You Again", plus a travelogue of 20th Century country music – from the spare sadness of Jimmie Rodgers's "T.B. Blues" to the Western swing of "Corrina, Corrina", to Tommy Collins's "When Did Right Become Wrong", Johnny Cash's "Orange Blossom Special", Hank Snow's "I'm Moving On" and well beyond. All of which is to say it's one of the best live country albums ever recorded for a major label! CD

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✨✧ Mike HarrisonMike Harrison/Smokestack Lightning/Rainbow Rider ... CD
Island/BGO (UK), Early 70s. New Copy 2CD ... $8.99 16.99
Three overlooked albums by British singer Mike Harrison – all brought together in a single set! First up is the self-titled Mike Harrison – a wonderful solo debut from the singer who made Spooky Tooth sound so great on their albums, maybe even sounding better here on his own! The album is clearly conceived and put together by Mike – with backup help from The Junkyard Band, who underscore the yearning, earnest qualities in his vocals – spun out with a snakey, raspy charm, with a sound that's maybe a more intimate take on territory explored by Procol Harum. The songs are great, and the whole record has a quality level that really attests to the all-great quality of Island Records at this point – with tracks that include "Pain", "Lonely People", "Mother Nature", "Call It A Day", "Damian", and "Wait Until The Morning". Smokestack Lightning is great solo work from Mike Harrison, ex-Spooky Tooth – a fantastic singer who should have been huge as a solo act – maybe a bit like Colin Blunstone, whose sound with The Zombies was so important, but could never have a huge career on his own – even while he created some wonderful albums in the process! This set's a well-crafted gem through and through – recorded at Muscle Shoals, but with a sound that's free of any of the hoke of those oft-used studios – as instead of bending to southern modes, Harrison uses the ace musicians to underscore some of the depth of his own approach in a really great way. Titles include "Turning Over", "Wanna Be Free", "Tears", "What A Price", and "Paid My Dues". Rainbow Rider has Mike Harrison maybe hitting some harder rock territory than before, with some roots rock moments – more a part of the overall sound of the group, and with some pretty heavy guitars up there in the lead – which seems to bring out a very different quality in Mike's vocals. Titles include "Okay Lay Lady Lay", "Like A Road Leading Home", "Maverick Woman Blues", "You & Me", "I'll Keep It With Mine", and "Friend". CD

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John HiattHangin Around The Observatory/Overcoats ... CD
Epic/BGO (UK), 1974. New Copy ... $8.99 14.99
Two Epic albums from John Hiatt – back to back on a single CD! First up is Hangin Around The Observatory – an early gem from the great John Hiatt – a singer/songwriter who seems to spring into the world with a sound and style that's already fully formed! Hiatt recorded the album at Columbia's Nashville studios – which might emphasize some of the country currents in his music – but as always with his albums, there's a special, specific sort of vibe going on – smart songwriting, and an approach that's post-folk, with vocals that sometimes have a Randy Newman or Tom Waits sort of bite – a quality that maybe kept John far from the charts, but high in the hearts of critics and fans over the 70s. Titles include "Maybe Baby Say You Do", "Whistles In My Ears", "Full Moon", "Ocean", "Little Blue Song For You", and "Hangin Around The Observatory". On Overcoats, John Hiatt really finds his own groove – a special singer/songwriter mode that would make him one of the most distinct talents of his time – and part of a unique 70s lineage of new male singers, which might include Tom Waits and John Prine! As with both of those artists, there's a lot of older roots in Hiatt's music – but taken apart, and reworked towards newer modes – with especially smart songwriting that kind of sneaks up on you, especially when delivered with the raspy charms of John's vocals. Titles include "One More Time", "I'm Tired Of Your Stuff", "I Want Your Love Inside Of Me", "The Lady Of The Night", "Motorboat To Heaven", and "Smiling In The Rain". CD

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HiroshimaThird Generation/Another Place/Go ... CD
Epic/BGO (UK), Mid 80s. New Copy 2CD ... $6.99 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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HolliesBus Stop/Stop Stop Stop ... CD
Imperial/BGO (UK), 1966. New Copy ... $8.99 14.98
A pair of mid 60s albums by The Hollies – Bus Stop and Stop Stop Stop from 1966! Both sets find the group working a fairly raucous, but still pretty sweet Brit rock mode. Bus Stop has more of a straight forward rockin' vibe and the tracks include "Bus Stop", "Candy Man", "Baby That's All", "I Am A Rock", "Sweet Little Sixteen", "Mickey's Monkey", "Little Lover" and more. Stop Stop Stop a bit more adventurous in instrumentation, with a bit of jangly folk rock. Titles include "Stop! Stop! Stop!", "Don't Even Think About Changing", "Crusader", "Peculiar Situation" and more. CD

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✨✧ John Lee HookerUrban Blues ... CD
Bluesway/BGO (UK), 1967. New Copy ... $8.99 14.99
A fantastic late 60s set from John Lee Hooker – one that has the legend working in a mode that echoes some of the funkier soul styles of the time, but with a vibe that's still very much in the best spirit of his classic work! The groove is slightly amped up by the electric bass of Eddie Taylor and tight drums of Al Duncan, but the session just features a quartet – with the mighty Phil Upchurch on second guitar next to John's lead – and Hooker delivering some fantastic vocals throughout! Titles include "Hot Spring Water (parts 1 & 2)", "Backbiters & Syndicaters", "Mr Lucky", "Cry Before I Go", "I'm Standing In Line", "The Motor City Is Burning", "Want Ad Blues", and "I Can't Stand To Leave You". CD

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✨✧ Freddie HubbardGleam ... CD
CBS/BGO (UK), 1975. New Copy 2CD ... $8.99
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

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Ashley HutchingsRattlebone & Ploughjack ... CD
Island/BGO (UK), 1976. New Copy ... $8.99 14.99
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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✨✧ 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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Jefferson AirplaneBark/Long John Silver ... CD
Grunt/BGO (UK), 1971/1972. New Copy 2CD ... $8.99 16.99
A pair of early 70s Jefferson Airplane albums – back to back in a single set! First up is Bark –underrated later Airplane – issued at the time on their own Grunt label! Bark came out in '71, after the departure of co-founder Marty Balin, but despite that obviously important loss, there are some pretty cool positive changes in approach, even if it wasn't enough to keep the group flying for too much longer! For one, it's got some excellent violin by Papa John Creach on several tunes – and Slick and Kantor's vocals and songwriting are still in solid shape here. Titles include "When The Earth Moves Again", "Feel So Good", "Crazy Miranda", "Wild Turkey", "Law Man", "Think", "War Movie" and more. Long John Silver is the last studio effort from Jefferson Airplane – and an underappreciated gem! At this point, Airplane was on the descent, landing gear in place – with the foundations for the band members' one-time side projects Jefferson Starship and Hot Tuna ready to relaunch as primary projects. High quality early 70s rock – and not at all a rehash of their mid-to-late 60s heyday – with some really cool leftfield post-hippie blues rock tunes. Includes "Long John Silver", "Aerie (Gang Of Eagles)", "Twilight Double Leader", "Milk Train", "The Son Of Jesus", "Easter?", "Trial By Fire", "East Starch Mom" and more. CD

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Antonio Carlos JobimTide/Stone Flower ... CD
CTI/BGO (UK), Early 70s. New Copy ... $8.99 16.99
A pair of CTI records gems from Antonio Carlos Jobim – back to back on a single CD! First up is Tide – an incredible record from the first off-key note to the last! The album's filled with some wonderfully moody LA studio sounds, arranged by Deodato, and a has a great swirling mix of sound that weaves around Jobim's lofty guitar and piano beautifully – complex, but still with the airy sense of space that Antonio Carlos first brought to his music in the 60s. From the very first note, you can feel the strange magic of Jobim and Deodato at work – as the album appears to be smooth and mellow, yet has a strangely unsettling undertone that keeps us coming back after all these years! Tracks include "Tema Jazz", "Carinhoso", "Rockanalia", and a nice remake of "Girl From Ipanema". Stone Flower is one of Antonio Carlos Jobim's greatest records – and a perfect blend of his subtle bossa genius with the moody electric sound of CTI! Jobim plays electric and acoustic piano, guitar, and sings a bit – and Deodato handled the arrangements with a breezy brilliance that matches all the magic of Jobim's wonderful compositions, but gives them a slightly more fluid feel too – in a way that's somewhat more sophisticated than the sound of Jobim's previous CTI outings – Tide and Wave. Other players on the album include Joe Farrell on soprano sax, Hubert Laws on flute, and Airto on percussion – and there's a great mix of Brazilian and American styles on the set – electric, sinister, breezy, and always wonderful! Includes the titles "Sabia", "God & The Devil In The Land Of The Sun", "Children's Games", "Stone Flower", "Brazil", "Tereza My Love", and "Choro". CD

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Alphonso JohnsonMoonshadows/Yesterday's Dreams/Spellbound ... CD
Epic/BGO (UK), 1976/1977. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99
A great run of records from Alphonso Johnson – the best of his career, wrapped up here in one sweet set! First up is Moonshadows – one of the earliest of bassist Alphonso Johnson's funky fusion albums for Epic! Moonshadows is a nice little set of choppy grooves that recalls the best Herbie Hancock moments of the early 70s, plus some of the side projects of the Headhunters. Warmly funky, but with a nice edge – with a more jazz funk rooted sound than the later, slightly heavier Spellbound! The great group of players includes Patrice Rushen is on keyboards, Benny Maupin on reeds, Lee Ritenour on guitars, Airto Moriera on percussion, Gary Bartz on sax, plus Narada Michael Walden and Ndugu Chancler on drums. Tracks include "Stump", "Cosmoba Place", "Involuntary Bliss", "On The Case", "Amarteifio", "Pandora's Box" and the breezy "Up From The Cellar", which features vocals by Flora Purim! Yesterday's Dreams is a killer all-star session of funky fusion tracks – with a nice tight sound produced by Skip Drinkwater! Yesterday's Dreams differs a little from Alphonso's other strong mid 70s efforts in that it's not as spacey as a whole – but the rubbery, cleanly funky grooves are just as strong – and the record as a whole makes for more of a showcase for his excellent group of players! Bassist Johnson leads the session, but there's a huge amount of guests, such as Grover Washington, Patrice Rushen, Mike Clark, and Sheila Escovedo. Plus, Jon Lucien, Diane Reeves, Flora Purim, and Phillip Bailey all sing on the record! Titles include "One To One", "As Little As You", "Scapegoat", "Show Us The Way", "Tales Of Barcelona", and the future soul classic "Love's The Way I Feel 'Bout Cha". Spellbound is a soulfully spacey fusion set from Alphonso Johnson – with a really catchy sound! The maestro is working in an eclectic mode that's part Earth, Wind, & Fire, part Return To Forever, and part Alphonze Mouzon/Tommy Bolin jamming. The best moments on the record are the more straight ahead ones – which really flirt with chunky rock sounds on the other side of the rubbery fusion funkiness! Mouzon's working on all kinds of electric sounds on this one – a bunch of custom bass effects, steel drums and more – with Clyde Criner working with a long list of keys and synthesizers, Kevin Shireve on guitar and David Igelfeld on drums and percussion. Titles include "Face Blaster", "Summer Solstice", "Bahama Mama", "Nomads", and Moonlight Conversation" "Feelings Are. . .The Hardest Words To Say" and "Earthtales Suite". CD

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George JonesGeorge Jones/In A Gospel Way/Memories Of Us/The Battle ... CD
Epic/BGO (UK), Mid 70s. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99
Four great 70s albums from George Jones – all back to back in a single collection! First up is the self-titled George Jones – tremendous work from George Jones' 70s years at Epic Records – a record that maybe hides behind an understated title, but which offers all the power of the maturing singer as he moved on from his styles in the 60s! The great Billy Sherrill is at the production helm, but he keeps things from the more commercial territory of some of his other crossover country work at the time – really allowing a very strong focus on George's vocals, which are hitting this mature quality that's drenched in all his many years of booze and sadness! Instrumentation is relatively traditional, and often surprisingly lean – and titles include "We Can Make It", "All The Praises", "Let's Make History", "The King", "The Last Letter", and "I'll Take You To My World". In A Gospel Way has George Jones returning to some of the spiritual modes he explored earlier in his career – but with a more mature, more world-experienced voice that makes the message in the music even more powerful than before – especially since by this time, most of the world knew Jones more as a sinner than a saint. That tension really makes the music sparkle – and titles include "Mama's Hands", "Why Me Lord", "A Man I Always Wanted To Meet", "The Baptism Of Jesse Taylor", and "I Can't Find It Here". Memories Of Us is a stone classic from the golden 70s years of George Jones – a time when the singer was sounding very different than at his start – really done in by the loves and losses of life, but in a way that makes his interpretation of the music even more meaningful than before! The songs are mostly mellow, and filled with a sense of blueness and emptiness that's certainly telegraphed by the title – produced with a nicely understated style by Billy Sherrill – on titles that include "What I Do Best", "Memories Of Us", "Touch Of Wilderness", "She Once Made A Romeo Cry", and "I Just Don't Give A Damn". The Battle is fantastic – a set that's got George working in very mellow territory, but with a quality that still has a surprising amount of bite – songs that are slow and laidback, but which have that sense of personal pain and individual vision that always made Jones one of the most fantastic singers to ever handle this sort of material – a claim that we'd extend way past the world of country music too! Production is laidback, too – Billy Sherrill at his best – with often a tinkling piano line or steel guitar part to provide some direction for the vocals, but always in a way that lets Jones forge his own emotional path forward. Titles include "I'll Come Back", "I Can't Get Over What Lovin You Has Done", "I'll Come Back", "Love Coming Down", and the classic "The Battle". 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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KoobasKoobas (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), Late 60s. New Copy ... $8.99 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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Leo KottkeMy Feet Are Smiling ... CD
Capitol/BGO (UK), 1972. New Copy ... $8.99 14.99
A really fantastic album from Leo Kottke – the kind of 70s material that really set him apart from the rest, and which really gave him a special place away from the acoustic underground of the time! Kottke started out with a album on Takoma Records that was every bit as great a guitar classic as his famous labelmates like John Fahey and Robbie Basho – but by the time of this mid 70s live date, he'd evolved to a level where his guitar playing was even more incredible than before, but also matched with slight vocalizations, and a sense of wit that always helped avoid any too-posturing modes that might have got in his way. At some level, it's almost as if Leo were developing this personality in which the rest of himself was a way of distracting from the genius of the work of his fingers on the guitar – while he was quietly using that instrument to knock you over the head with all these unusual tunings and phrasings. Titles include "June Bug", "Standing In My Shoes", "Hear The Wind Howl", "Eggtooth", and "The Fisherman". CD

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LA ExpressLA Express/Shadow Play ... CD
Epic/BGO (UK), 1976. New Copy ... $6.99 14.99
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

Close matches51
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Major LanceBest Of Major Lance ... CD
Okeh/BGO (UK), Mid 60s. New Copy ... $8.99 16.99
Killer work from one of the best 60s soul talents of the Windy City! Major Lance was one of Chicago's first big soul stars – crossing over big on the charts with huge hits for the Okeh label during the early and mid 60s – thanks to some great tunes penned by Curtis Mayfield, and stellar production from the legendary Carl Davis! In a way, Lance's sound was a key culmination of the modes that had been bubbling under in the hometown indies like Vee Jay and Chess – taken slightly to the next level, and brought more into the mainstream by Okeh. Many of the arrangements here are by the massive Johnnie Pate – who gives the record the same sort of brilliance as the best 60s Impressions work on ABC – and the titles include "Ain't No Soul", "Investigate", "Um Um Um Um Um Um", "The Monkey Time", "Wait Till I Get You In My Arms", "Delilah", "Rhythm", "Hey Little Girl", "It's The Beat", "The Matador", "Ain't It A Shame", "You Don't Want Me No More", "You Belong To Me My Love", and "Sometimes I Wonder". CD

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Deke LeonardIceberg/Kamikaze (with bonus tracks) ... CD
United Artists/BGO (UK), 1974. New Copy 2CD ... $8.99 16.99
Two solo albums from Deke Leonard – back to back in a single set, with bonus tracks too! First up is Iceberg – an overlooked solo set from Deke Leonard – once a member of the group Man, out here on his own in a very unusual, very specific sort of style! The guitar work is every bit as sharp as Leonard's work with Man, but the music moves through a range of older influences and more personal moments – almost pub rock with glam production – although again, that's maybe too general to get at the really specific spirit of the record! Leonard's a surprisingly strong talent – and the record's one of the many that fell through the cracks back in the day, but which clearly gets great handling by a big label, with well-deserved hope for a superstar. Titles include "Razor Blade & Rattlesnake", "Jesse", "Broken Ovation", "A Hard Way To Live", "Looking For A Man", "The Ghost Of Musket Flat", and "Crosby". On Kamikaze, Deke Leonard's really finding himself as a solo artist – so much so, he begins the album with an instrumental, then continues to push his strengths on that instrument every bit as much as his edgey vocals! As with his previous record, there's some great help here from old bandmates in Man – rock-solid rhythms that feature lots of strong work on bass from Martin Ace, whose strengths also really help keep things focused. Titles include "Cool Summer Rain", "Sharpened Claws", "In Search Of Sarah & Twenty Six Horses", "April The Third", and "The Black Gates Of Death". 2CD set also features bonus tracks – "She's A Cow", "Diamond Road", "Turning In Circles", and "The Aching Is So Sweet". CD

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Jerry Lee LewisGolden Hits Of/Live At The Star Club/Greatest Live Show On Earth/By Request ... CD
Smash/BGO (UK), Mid 60s. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99
A quartet of early Smash Records albums from Jerry Lee Lewis – including some especially smoking live material! First up is Golden Hits – an early moment of Smash Records genius from Jerry Lee Lewis – a set that was one of his first for the label, after many years at Sun – and a record that definitely sought to leave the new imprint's stamp on the material! As the title implies, most of the tracks are older hits by Jerry – Sun Records material, but recast here with some of the 60s fullness that Smash did so well – although oddly not far from the roots of Sun, given that the whole thing was recorded at the Nashville studios of Sam Phillips, with Billy Sherrill at the engineering deck! Technical details aside, though – Jerry's already starting to show some of those country modes that would set fire to the second chapter of his career – on titles that include "Down The Line", "End Of The Road", "Break Up", "You Win Again", "Crazy Arms", "Fools Like Me", and "I'll Make It Up To You". Live At The Star Club was recorded in Hamburg, Germany – and is an incredible 60s performance from Jerry Lee Lewis – proof that the man was always on fire when he worked overseas, even if his star had dimmed a bit back home! Jerry gets sharp, tight backings from The Nashville Teens – but the Lewis is center stage throughout – really wailing on piano, and singing in this unbridled style that maybe even blows away his early singles – especially when combined with the sense of personality he brings out in a live setting. Titles include "Money", "What'd I Say", "I Got A Woman", "Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On", "Long Tall Sally", "Lewis Boogie", and "Matchbox". Greatest Live Show On Earth is a great early live album from the Smash Records years of Jerry Lee Lewis – and a set that really shows the new fire that was burning for the singer as he moved away from Sun Records! Smash always did a great job with live records – and this one's got a great approach that really captures the enthusiasm of the audience, the intensity of the performance, and all the charms of the man himself! Both Jerry's vocals and piano are very well-recorded – and titles include "Who Will The Next Fool Be", "No Particular Place To Go", "Together Again", "Long Tall Sally", "I Got A Woman", "Memphis", and "Jenny Jenny". On By Request, another live set from 1966 – Jerry's working with the super-tight Memphis Beats, who really manage to keep time with the boundless energy of their leader! Jerry's completely on fire – both vocally, and on the piano – which he completely decimates with fast-moving chords, and the kind of keyboard runs that must have been a piano tuner's nightmare! There's also just a hint of the country that would soon become a much bigger part of Jerry's career – mixed with really strong live versions of early rockin hits. Titles include "Little Queenie", "How's My Ex Treating You", "Money", "Crying Time", "I'll Sail My Ship Alone", "You Win Again", and "Green Green Grass Of Home". CD

Close matches54
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✨✧ Ramsey LewisFunky Serenity/Golden Hits/Solar Wind/Sun Goddess ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), Early 70s. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99
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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✨✧ Taj MahalBrothers/Music Fuh Ya/Evolution ... CD
Warner/BGO (UK), 1977/1978. New Copy 2CD ... $8.99 16.99
A trio of Warner Brothers albums from Taj Mahal – all served up as a single collection! First up is Brothers – one of the better records that Taj Mahal cut during in the later 70s – probably because it was a soundtrack, and pushed the groove into some interesting places – with Taj's gruff vocals working over some Caribbean rhythms and modern blues, and more smoothed out moments! The latter moments actually creep near or even cross over the line into kind of a fusiony soul feel, with the tightly thumping electric bass and rolling sax, but Taj keeps the overall vibe as uncommonly diverse as his other records for Columbia. Tracks include "Malcolm's Song", "David & Angela", "Night Rider", "Brother's Doin Time", "Free The Brothers", "Love Theme In The Key Of D", and "Funky Butt". Music Fuh Ya is a sweetly soulful set that has Taj Mahal really trying on some new flavors – yet still keeping things strongly in the bluesy territory of his roots! In addition to the lead vocals and lots of acoustic guitar, the set also features key contributions from Rudy Costa on a range of saxes, plus flute and kalimba too – plus other unusual elements that include steel drums, timbales, and banjo – all of which inflect different moments with freshly playful sounds, and a surprisingly Caribbean vibe at times. Titles include "You Got It", "Sailin", "Truck Driver's Two Step", "Curry", and "The Four Mills Brothers". Evolution is a well-titled set – given that the record really shows an evolution in the style of Taj Mahal! Some cuts are still in an older bluesy mode, but a few others feature some great backings from Leon Pendarvis – who creates this fuller, soaring sort of style that takes off with plenty of power! The approach is a great way to use Taj's vocals in a richer 70s soul setting – and those cuts are balanced by some more stripped-down numbers that include a few that follow in the recent Mahal use of steel drums. Titles include "Sing A Happy Song", "Lowdown Showdown", "Why You Do Me This Way", "Highnite", and "Salsa De Laventille". CD

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Chuck MangioneLove Notes/Disguise/Save Tonight For Me ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), 1982/1984/1986. New Copy 2 CDs ... $8.99 16.99
Three Chuck Mangione albums from the 80s – all packed here together in a single set! Love Notes is full of cool compressed flugelhorn from Mangione – and a set that also features the leader on some Fender Rhodes as well! Chuck's working here in a small combo setting that keeps up the best vibe of his fusion classics from the 70s – that compressed quality that made magic with much bigger audiences than were reached by the usual jazz players of his generation – yet handled with that well-crafted vibe that still gave Mangione some respect from the old school. Tracks are relatively long, and surprisingly creative at times – and titles include "Steppin Out", "No Problems", "Memories Of Scirocco", "Love Note", and "To The 80s". On Disguise, Chuck Mangione gets some great help from Deodato – who not only plays keyboards on the set, but also arranged and produced – in a way that gives lots of the tracks the same soulful vibe as his own records from the time! Deodato's groove is definitely more 80s-styled than some of Mangione's other music – but the overall approach is still nice and warm, and plenty soulful – thanks to those compressed flugelhorn lines that Mangione blows so beautifully. Titles include "Josephine", "Leonardo's Lady", "Love Theme From London & Davis In New York", "Diana D", and "Love Wears No Disguise" – plus the odd "Shirley MacLaine", which also features some weird rapping from Shirley herself! Save Tonight For Me explores the soulful side of Chuck Mangione – a set that still features plenty of lead solos from Chuck, but which also brings in some fuller backings that have a contemporary R&B vibe overall! Most numbers are still instrumental – although there's a bit of vocals on the set – and as with other Mangione records from previous years, keyboards are often the other key element in the mix – an instrument that Chuck's learned to solo with in a really sweet way. Titles include "Machu Picchu", "Rockin At Red Rocks", "Sweet Cheryl Lynn", "Give Your Heart A Chance", and "TJ's Gingerbread House". CD

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John McLaughlinElectric Guitarist/Electric Dreams ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), 1978/1979. Used ... $14.99
John McLaughlin music – a double-header of classic Columbia albums! First up is Electric Guitarist – a key change for John McLaughlin – post-Mahavishnu, post-Shakti, and very much the electric guitarist promised in the title! The album's one of McLaughlin's more professional fusion outings of the 70s, but still has some of the earthiness of his roots – and despite a rather large lineup that includes players from both previous groups, plus some 70s fusion superstars, John still manages to make the album come across with a nicely personal feel. Guitars are acoustic and electric, six string and twelve – and titles include "Miles Davis", "Guardian Angels", "Singing Earth", "The Dark Prince", "The Unknown Dissident", and "Desire & The Contorter". Electric Dreams is a definite electric dream for guitarist John McLaughlin – especially given that he's got Carlos Santana working here on the set! The album's very much in the best spirit of McLaughlin's late 70s work – still fusion, and still fairly electric – but also a nice change from his more jamming roots, thanks to the inclusion of some key acoustic elements from time to time. There's a nice sense of spaciousness here that shows lessons learned from McLaughlin's more meditative years – elements that clearly set the record apart from some of the too-slick or overdone fusion of the time. Titles include "New York On My Mind", "Friendship", "Phenomenon Compulsion", "My Foolish Heart", and "Do You Hear The Voice You Left Behind". CD
(Out of print.)

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MelanieFour Sides Of Melanie ... CD
Buddah/BGO (UK), 1972. New Copy 2CD ... $8.99 16.99
A classic double-length set from folk rock crossover giant Melanie – a special package that features material from some of her previous Buddah albums, mixed with some new material too! The record features four different sides of the singer's talents – her formative years, her hits, her interpretations of other folks' songs, and a "wonderland" side of imaginative material – which includes some surprising message-oriented tracks! Instrumentation is great – often fuller orchestrations used gently next to Melanie's raspy vocals and acoustic guitar – and titles include "Lay Down", "What Have They Done To My Song Ma", "I Really Loved Harold", "Johnny Boy", "Ruby Tuesday", "I'm Back In Town", "Any Boy", "Nickel Song", "Sign On The Window", "Christopher Robin", "Psychotherapy", "Leftover Wine", and "I Don't Eat Animals". CD

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Tom PaxtonHow Come The Sun (plus Tom Paxton EP) ... CD
Reprise/BGO (UK), 1971. New Copy ... $13.99
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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Johnny PaycheckMr Lovemaker/Loving You Beats All I've Ever Seen/11 Months & 29 Days/Take This Job & Shove It ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), Mid 70s. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99
Four albums from the classic Columbia Records run of Johnny Paycheck in the 70s – a time when the singer had sprung from the indie underground way into the Nashville mainstream – using his unique vocal approach to stand out both as a budding outlaw talent, and as a surprisingly strong singer of heartbreaking love songs! Producer Billy Sherrill is at the helm of all four of these albums, using the kind of lessons he was learning while reviving other aging country stars for the 70s – and the first two records are heavy on tunes from the team of Jerry Foster and Bill Rice, probably the two most love-oriented albums of the set – while the final two are heavier on honky tonk tunes and have more of an outlaw bent. Titles include "The Woman Who Put Me Here", "Loving You Beats All I've Ever Seen", "The 4 F Blues", "Take This Job & Shove It", "From Cotton To Satin", "If Love Gets Any Better", "All In The Name Of Love", "She'll Unwine Me", "The Man From Bowling Green", "Colorado Kool Aid", "Barstool Mountain", "Ain't She Something Else", "Rhythm Guitar", and "When I Had A Home To Go To". 41 tracks in all. CD

Close matches61
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Ray PriceLonesomest Lonesome/She's Got To Be A Saint/You're The Best Thing That's Ever Happened To Me/If You Ever Change Your Mind ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), Early 70s. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99
Four albums from the surprisingly strong second chapter in the career of Ray Price – that time when he'd moved from being a hero of the honky tonks to maybe taking over some of the territory previously held by Jim Reeves and Eddy Arnold! The maturing Price here still has that great voice that made all his early work so wonderful, set to arrangements that have some of the more adult styles that Columbia was really hitting strongly with at the time – a shift that nicely fits the changing material here that Ray chooses to sing, the sorts of songs that reflect a more modern 70s take on the Nashville sound. The first two albums feature tracks by a variety of songwriters – a number by Kris Kristofferson, plus more by Tom Glaser, Don Gibson, and others – and the last two albums are all written by Jim Weatherly, whose tunes turn out to be a perfect fit for Ray's style at the time. CD features four full albums, 42 tracks, and titles that include "But I Was Lying", "One Night To Remember", "Empty Chairs", "Wake Up Yesterday", "This House", "The Sweetest Tie", "Nobody Wins", "Sunday", "She's Got To Be A Saint", "The Need To Be", "Some Things Never Change", "You're The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me", "Jesus Is My Kind Of People", "If You Ever Change Your Mind", "Seeing You Again", "Until Your Ship Comes In", and "Sometime In Early August". CD

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Quicksilver Messenger ServiceQuicksilver Messenger Service ... CD
BGO (UK), 1968. New Copy ... $8.99 14.99
One of the most progressive albums on the American scene of the late 60s – a set that's definitely psych, but which has a put-together quality that's something else as well! The group still have plenty of the optimistic charms you'd expect from their placement on the SF scene of the period – but there's a way of stepping out and really letting loose instrumentally that's pretty great too – in ways that are different than the Dead on record, at least at the time – and captured surprisingly well by Capitol. Dino Valenti delivers some great lyrics – and titles include "Gold & Silver", "The Fool", "The Pride Of Man", "Light Your Windows", and "Dino's Song". CD

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✨✧ RascalsSee/Search & Nearness ... CD
Atlantic/BGO (UK), 1969/1971. New Copy 2CD ... Just Sold Out!
A pair of records that really show the evolution of The Rascals – back to back in a single set! See is harder rocking and almost deeper soul than before for the group – and a tremendous evolution in the music of The Rascals – light years past the pop hits of a few years before! The group co-produced the album with Arif Mardin, and the sounds here are even more sophisticated than their Once Upon A Dream album – in modes that are sometimes rootsy rock, sometimes looser jamming, all woven together with the complexity of some of the hipper groups recording for Columbia Records at the time. The vocals are even more confident than before – as are some of the tunes in the set – and titles include "See", "I'd Like To Take You Home", "Remember Me", "Real Thing", "Away Away", "Carry Me Back", "Nubia", and "Temptation's Bout To Get Me". Search & Nothingness is the Rascals' last album for Atlantic Records – and a set that has the combo relying more than ever on the talents of organist Felix Cavaliere! There's a great New York blend of rock and soul going on in the set – a confident, soaring sort of approach to the tunes that's past caring what any simple genre conventions might mean, or which tracks might end up on radio – even though most of the tunes here are still plenty darn catchy. The piano and organ lines on the album snap along nicely, as do some of the drums (especially on the break cut "You Don't Know") – and although group member Eddie Brigati had left by the time the album was released, he still sings lead on a few tracks. Titles include the jazzy "Nama", which is a wonderful surprise – plus "You Don't Know", "Right On", "Ready For Love", "Fortunes", "Glory Glory", and "The Letter". CD

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Jerry ReedJerry Reed/Hot A Mighty/Lord Mr Ford/Uptown Poker Club ... CD
RCA/BGO (UK), Early 70s. New Copy 2CD ... $19.99
Four albums from a time when Jerry Reed was really on fire – great little gems that work together as a collected set! First up is the self-titled Jerry Reed – a set with a title and cover that are a bit understated, but a groove that's got the Alabama wild man completely at home! As with other Reed albums from the time, there's a nice blend of styles at play – some tunes have Jerry's guitar right up front, some get a bit funky, and some have him laying back into a more traditional country-styled approach – the last of which makes for a surprisingly nice sound on the more sincere numbers. Titles include "You're Young & You'll Forget", "Alabama Wild Man", "Misery Loves Company", "Sunshine Day", "Almost Crazy", "500 Miles Away From Home", "You Made My Life A Song", and "Huggin & Chalkin". Hot A' Mighty is Jerry Reed at his swaggery, electric honky tonk, and country boogie best – the dude who will forever be remembered as the smart ass trucker sidekick in Burt Reynolds movies – but was also one of the best electric guitarists in country music, and one of the most charismatic characters of the 70s country scene! From country rock covers to weepy Nashville Sound styles, he does it all well. Includes "Goodnight, Irene", "Nashville Woman", a cowbell peppered "Sixteen Tons", "Back Home In Georgia" and more. Lord Mr Ford is a fantastic vehicle for the wit and sharpness of the great Jerry Reed – the former in his lyrics, the latter in his always-great guitar lines – the sort that made him one of the hippest pickers in Nashville back in the day! The tunes are a mix of originals and more familiar numbers – and whether Jerry's singing straight, or goofing things up, he really has a great way of making things his own through and through. Titles include the great 70s automobile tune "Lord Mr Ford" – plus "Pickie Pickie Pickie", "You Can't Keep Me Here In Tennessee", "Two Timin'", "I'm Gonna Write A Song", "Rainbow Ride", and "One Sweet Reason". Uptown Poker Club is a set with a great Jack Davis cover – and a vibrant sound from Jerry Reed to match the image on the front! The guitar work is worth the price of admission alone – chugging and funky at spots, faster-riffing and on fire at others, and surprisingly sensitive in a few other moments – especially when mixed with a bit of steel or dobro. There's also just the right balance between wit and sincerity to keep things well-rounded – on titles that include "Everybody Has Those Kind Of Days", "Lay It On My Lady", "It's Tough All Over", "You've Got It", "North To Chicago", "Honkin", "Some Of These Days", and "The Uptown Poker Club". CD

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Tim RoseTim Rose/Through Rose Colored Glasses ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), 1966/1967. New Copy ... $8.99 14.99
Two late 60s albums from Tim Rose – back to back on a single CD! First up is the self-titled Tim Rose – a fantastic solo debut from Tim Rose – issued by Columbia Records at a time when the label was taking a strong stand with singer/songwriting giants like Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen! Rose might not be totally in the territory of those legends, but steps out from previous folk work (including a group with Mama Cass and Jake Holmes!), into a mode that's trying to carve out a more thoughtful space for a male singer in the late 60s. Rose has a full voice that's clearly influenced by soul, yet has this raspy, almost boozy charm around the edges – almost crackling at times, which only adds to the spirit of the songs – which get great small group accompaniment from a studio combo that features Bernard Purdie on drums and Artie Butler on piano. Titles include "Where Was I", "You're Slipping Away From Me", "Got A Loneliness", "I'm Gonna Be Strong", "I Gotta Do Things My Way", and a version of "Hey Joe". On Through Rose Colored Glasses, Tim Rose has a very unusual vibe – kind of a raspy charm that almost puts him in soul-influenced territory, with maybe some of the elements that Burton Cummings was bringing to Blood Sweat & Tears – yet set up in a mode that's got more of a small combo rock sound overall! Arrangements are by Rose and Ian Freebairn-Smith – and there's a great drummer at the core of the sound, who kicks things with rhythmic currents that hint at funk – and which provide a crisp crackle to the music that matches Tim's energy in the lead! Titles include "Hello Sunshine", "Days Back When", "Apple Truck Swamper", "You'd Laugh", "You Ain't My Girl No More", "Let There Be Love", and "Maman". CD

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RoulettesStakes & Chips (with bonus tracks) ... CD
EMI/BGO (UK), Early 60s. New Copy ... $8.99 14.99
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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✨✧ RoutersLet's Go/Play 1963's Great Instrumental Hits/Charge/Chuck Berry Songbook ... CD
Warner/BGO (UK), Early 60s. New Copy 2CD ... Just Sold Out!
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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Tom RushTom Rush/Wrong End Of TheRainbow ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), 1970. New Copy ... $8.99 14.99
A pair of early 70s albums from Tom Rush – back to back on a single CD! First up is the self-titled Tom Rush album for Columbia – maybe the biggest album ever from Tom Rush – a set that pushes the singer strongly past his more folksy roots, and seems to set him up for a bigger career in the 70s mainstream! And yet the record's not commercial at all – done with a laidback instrumental style that moves into rock from folk, with occasional rootsy elements, but passages of softer phrasing that really work well with Tom's vocals too. Titles include "Old Man Song", "Livin In The Country", "Driving Wheel", "Rainy Day Man", "Drop Down Mama", and a really great take on "These Days". Wrong End Of The Rainbow is an album that lets Tom Rush bring in a lot more of his own songs than his Columbia Records debut – a great reminder of the early years of his career, when Tom gave the world a few songs that were picked up and redone by some of his key contemporaries! The style moves Rush even more past folk than before – still done with an intimate sense of instrumentation, which includes plenty of acoustic elements – but handled with phrasing that's very different than it would have been in the 60s, as Rush and his generation find a new way to move forward with more mature modes and a stronger sense of variety. Titles include "Starlight", "Jazzman", "Rotunda", "Biloxi", "Merrimac County", "Wrong End Of The Rainbow", and "Gnostic Serenade". CD

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Del ShannonFurther Adventures Of Charles Westover (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Liberty/BGO (UK), 1968. New Copy ... $8.99 14.99
Great material from the second chapter of Del Shannon – a time when the previous pop legend opened up to trippier modes – which makes for a really great blend on this gem of an album from 1968! Even at his pop best, there was always a genuine strain of soul-searching sadness in his voice that underscored the material, going all the way back to "Runaway" and on some of the better, if lesser-remembered work after that immortal hit. He manages to carry that trait strongly into the psych era here, with a lot of lusher baroque pop elements, and some great instrumentation – all orchestrated by Don Peake. Includes "Thinking It Over", "Be My Friend", "Silver Birch", "Rover Cool", "Colour Flashing Hair", "Gemini", "Runnin' On Back", "Conquer", "Been So Long", "Magical Musical Box", and "New Orleans (Mardi Gras)". CD features 8 more bonus tracks – including "She", "In My Arms Again", "Early In The Morning", "What's A Matter Baby", "You Don't Love Me", "Stand Up", and "The House Where Nobody Lives". CD

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Del ShannonLittle Town Flirt / Handy Man ... CD
BGO/Molehole (UK), 1963/1964. Used ... $9.99
... CD
(Out of print.)

Close matches71
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Del ShannonSings Hank Williams/One Thousand Six Hundred Sixty One Seconds ... CD
BGO/Molehole (UK), 1965. Used ... $12.99
... CD
(Out of print.)

Close matches72
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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 ... $14.99
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 matches73
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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 ... $8.99 14.99
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 matches74
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Sonny & CherLook At Us/Wondrous World/In Case You're In Love (plus bonus tracks) (3CD set) ... CD
BGO (UK), Late 60s. New Copy 3CD ... $16.99
A huge amount of music from Sonny & Cher – a set that not only includes three full albums, but also every one of their singles for Atco Records too! First up is Look At Us – a fantastic moment in 60s pop – and the record that forever launched the duo of Sonny & Cher upon the world – a completely charming, if also mismatched couple whose work together is completely fantastic! Sonny had been bumping around the LA music scene for years by the time of this record – but when he found the young Cher, the pair instantly clicked – with a chemistry that's so different than so many other male/female duos of the time – partly because of the difference in their voices, but also because of the way that each of them remain completely individual, even while singing together. Titles include the massive worldwide hit "I Got You Babe", plus versions of "Then He Kissed Me", "The Letter", and "Let It Be Me". The real treat, though, is the material by Sonny – including the tunes "It's Gonna Rain", "Just You", and "Sing C'Est La Vie". On Wondrous World Of Sonny & Cher, it seems as if the pair can completely transform anything they touch with their talents! The tunes here are a mix of older numbers and a few originals by Sonny – arranged and produced by the man himself, and given an extra dose of soul, thanks to musical backings from Harold Battiste – who finds the sort of balance that also allowed these early records to cross over to an R&B market too. The vocals are wonderful – sometimes together, sometimes trading lines or choruses, on titles that include "I Look For You", "Tell Him", "I'm Leaving It All Up To You", "Bring It On Home To Me", "Set Me Free", "Leave Me Be", "Laugh At Me", and "Turn Around". On In Case You're In Love, Sonny & Cher are singing with this perfect sense of complement that few other vocal duos of the 60s could ever hope to match! They hardly need harmony at all – and could never have it, either – given all the "nose" in Sonny's style – but that separation is what really makes the charm of the pair – guy/girl, young/old, perfect/imperfect – coming together with a set of very groovy tunes, all arranged and produced by Sonny – and given a nice bounce in the backings by Harold Battiste! The set features their classic "The Beat Goes On" – plus lots more Sonny originals, including "Monday", "Podunk", "Little Man", "Living For You", and "Love Don't Come". 3CD package also features 17 more bonus tracks from Atco singles – both a-sides and b-sides – with tunes that include "Plastic Man", "Good Times", "Love Is Strange", "Baby Don't Go", "A Beautiful Story", "Have I Stayed Too Long", "It's The Little Things", "Hold You Tighter", "Good Combination", "You Gotta Have A Thing Of Your Own", "You're A Friend Of Mine", "Circus", and "It's The Little Things" – most originals by Sonny! CD

Close matches75
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Otis SpannBlues Is Where It's At ... CD
Bluesway/BGO (UK), 1966. New Copy ... Just Sold Out!
Otis Spann made some great records over the years, but he sounds especially nice on the handful of sessions he did for the Bluesway label – which seem to take a Chess Records approach, then give the whole thing an extra-added punch! Otis is in the lead on piano and vocals, but the group's got searing guitar from Muddy Watters, Sammy Lawhorn, and Luther Johnson – kicked in by fantastic rhythms from Mac Arnold on electric bass and Francis Clay on drops – all topped by some smoking work from George Smith on harmonica! The set was recorded live in the studio, and you can definitely hear some of the guests having a good time – while the group smoke their way through tunes that include "Popcorn Man", "Spann Blues", "Chicago Blues", "My Home Is On The Delta", "Nobody Knows Chicago Like I Do", and "Down On Sarah Street". CD

Close matches76
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Otis SpannBottom Of The Blues ... CD
Bluesway/BGO (UK), 1968. New Copy ... $8.99 14.99
A raw soul classic from Otis Spann – one of those great late 60s dates from the time when Bob Thiele was producing the Bluesway label for ABC, and really found a way to bring out the best in artists like Otis! Spann had always been great, but there's a bolder, edgier quality here – both in his vocals, which really push things to the max with their inflections – and his piano playing, which is loose and fluid – in the company of Muddy Waters and Luther Johnson on guitar, George Buford on harmonica, and Lucille Spann on some additional guest vocals! Buford is great, too – a wonderful second "voice" on the record – and titles include "Diving Duck", "Shimmy Baby", "Looks Like Twins", "Doctor Blues", "Nobody Knows", "Down To Earth", "My Man", and "Heart Loaded With Trouble". CD

Close matches77
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Ike & Tina TurnerWorld Of Ike & Tina – Live ... CD
United Artists/BGO (UK), 1973. New Copy ... $9.99
A fiercely funky live set from Ike & Tina Turner – one that almost feels like some of the James Brown albums at The Apollo – given the expanded structure of the presentation, which also includes the whole Ike Turner universe! The show gets announced with this bold sense of pride – ala some of James' "showtime" announcements – and it begins with funky backings from The Family Vibe, who continue the groove throughout – then opens to the Ikettes singing on their own, before Tina takes the stage and makes the whole thing really come together! There's a great variety of material here – all of which gets a really sharp sound, thanks to the setting – and Ike and the crew really transform the tunes, and set them up perfectly for Tina's vocals to knock them out of the park. Tracks include "Let Me Touch Your Mind", "Shaft", "I Gotcha", "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window", "Dust My Broom", "I Wish It Would Rain", "Get Back", "Games People Play", "Annie Had A Baby", "Chopper", "River Deep Mountain High", and "Just One More Day". CD

Close matches78
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Stanley TurrentineCherry/Don't Mess With Mister T/Sugar Man (with bonus tracks) ... CD
CTI/BGO (UK), Early 70s. Used ... $6.99
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
(Includes slipcover.)
Also available Cherry/Don't Mess With Mister T/Sugar Man (with bonus tracks) ... CD 8.99

Close matches79
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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 ... $8.99 16.99
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
Also available Cherry/Don't Mess With Mister T/Sugar Man (with bonus tracks) ... CD 6.99

Close matches80
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✨✧ Miroslav VitousBass (aka Mountain In The Clouds) ... CD
Vortex/BGO (UK), 1972. New Copy ... $8.99 14.99
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 matches81
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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 matches82
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Wendy WaldmanLove Has Got Me/Gypsy Symphony/Wendy Waldman ... CD
Warner/BGO (UK), 1973/1974/1975. New Copy 2CD ... $6.99
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

Close matches83
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Scott WalkerStretch/We Had It All ... CD
BGO (UK), 1973/1974. New Copy ... $12.99
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 matches84
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ZephyrZephyr ... CD
MCA/BGO (UK), 1969. Used ... $6.99
... CD
(Out of print.)

Close matches85
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✨✧ Joe FarrellJoe Farrell Quartet/Outback/Moon Germs ... CD
BGO (UK), Early 70s. New Copy 2CD ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
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 matches86
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✨✧ Bobby BlandGet On Down/Reflections In Blue ... CD
ABC/BGO (UK), 1975/1977. Used ... Out Of Stock
... CD
Also available Get On Down/Reflections In Blue ... CD 8.99

Close matches87
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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 matches88
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✨✧ BroncoCountry Home/Ace Of Sunlight ... CD
Island/BGO (UK), 1970/1971. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
Two great albums from Bronco – one of the more unique groups on the UK scene in the early 70s! First up is Country Home – a fantastic album of funky folk, or folky funk – but maybe no surprise, since the great Jess Roden is in the group on vocals! Roden always seems to be attached to music that finds its own sort of groove – and that's definitely the case here, as acoustic instrumentation is used in ways that are nicely spacious and surprisingly soulful – almost like some rural take on the direction that urban mods were hitting in the 60s, and very different than any other sort of country-styled rock of the time! Roden produced, too – and titles include "Bumpers West", "Civil Of You Stranger", "Well Anyhow", "Home", and "Misfit On Your Stair". Ace Of Sunlight is tremendous Island Records material from Bronco – a set that already has the group changing up their sound from their debut, but still really finding a great lead in the vocals of Jess Roden! Roden's got this well-crafted style that crests and crackles, but without ever sounding forced or calling too much attention to itself – this really special quality that's always had us thinking that Jess is one of the great overlooked singers in 70s rock. Production creates some harmonic moments in his solo leads, and other tracks have some harmony support – which warms up the sound in a nice way amidst the acoustic instrumentation. Titles include "Amber Moon", "Time Slips Away", "Discernible", "Sudden Street", "Joy & Fears", and "Woman". CD

Close matches89
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✨✧ CatfishGet Down/Live Catfish ... CD
Epic/BGO (UK), 1970. New Copy 2CD ... Out Of Stock
Two classics from Catfish – back to back in a single set! First up is the self-titled Catfish – a killer classic from Bob "Catfish" Hodge – a hell of a singer from the heady Detroit scene of the 60s, and one who really made his mark with this fantastic debut on Epic Records! Bob's a blues-inspired artist at the core, but he opens up here with enough freak and fuzz to match the music of Shuggie Otis at the start of the 70s – thanks to great guitar from Mark Manko – and like some of Shuggie's first two sets on Epic, the whole thing is a mad mix of blues and rock, funk and soul – with searing guitar solos that really hold the whole thing together! The whole thing's a seminal effort for pushing this style of music past any blues rock cliches – and titles include "Catfish", "No Place To Hide", "The Hawk", "Sundown Man", "Tradition", and "Catfish/Get High Get Naked Get Down". Live Catfish is maybe the best-known of the two classic Catfish albums from the start of the 70s – a searing live set recorded in the group's hometown of Detroit, with a raw, ragged style that sets them up with all of their other hip contemporaries in the Motor City! This time around, Dallas Hodge handles the guitar with a mix of blues roots and freaky fuzz – a perfect match for the rough-edged vocals of Bob "Catfish" Hodge – as the group starts the set with Motown material, the moves into some even headier tunes of their own! Titles include "Money", "Nowhere To Run", "Letter To Nixon", "Mississippi River", and "Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On". CD

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✨✧ Classics IVSpooky/Mamas & Papas/Traces/Song ... CD
Imperial/BGO (UK), 1968/1969/1970. New Copy 2 CDs ... 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

Close matches91
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✨✧ Jackie De ShannonDon't Turn Your Back On Me/This Is Jackie De Shannon ... CD
Liberty/BGO (UK), Mid 60s. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
A pair of albums from the great Jackie DeShannon – back to back on a single CD! First up is the UK-only release Don't Turn Your Back On Me – a great batch of material with a sweet west coast pop groove – and one that includes a fair number of original tunes written by Jackie herself! Jackie's ability to write her own material really made her stand out amongst sweeter female 60s singers – and it ensured that on an album like this, she'd be working with a depth that went beyond simple pop, and which avoided the over-trodden filler that clogged up too many other albums of the genre. Titles include "Needles & Pins", "Don't Turn Your Back On Me", "She Don't Understand Him Like I Do", "When You Walk In The Room", "Oh Boy", "Hold Your Head High", "It's Love Baby", "The Prince", and "You Won't Forget Me". This Is features the young Jackie DeShannon in a really wonderful setting – partly in the mode of her earlier singles for Imperial Records, partly hitting some hipper, more adult modes – thanks in part to production help from Burt Bacharach! Burt gives Jackie a great early hit with a classic reading of "What The World Needs Now" – and in the spirit of including that tune, the record opens up a bit more to other songwriters than some of DeShannon's other albums – as Jackie's wonderful vocals really do a great job with a nice variety of work, alongside a few of her own tunes too. Titles include "What The World Needs Now", "Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying", "Take Me Tonight", "Summertime", "Go On Your Way", "After Last Night", "Am I Making It Hard On You", "Hellos & Goodbyes", and "I'm Gonna Be Strong". CD

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✨✧ Bo Diddley & Chuck Berry/Howlin Wolf, Muddy Waters, & Bo DiddleyTwo Great Guitars/Super Super Blues Band ... CD
Chess/BGO (UK), 1964/1968. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
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

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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

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✨✧ BB KingLive & Well ... CD
BGO (UK), 1969. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
BB King not just live, but well-recorded in the studio too – in this classic ABC set that showcases both sides of his talents! Side one is the live set – and it's arguably better than any of the previous other concert recordings he did for the label – with a tighter, moodier feel that's almost more small club – with backing from a combo that features Charlie Boles on Hammond, Patrick Williams on trumpet, and Lee Gatling on tenor. Live titles include "Just A Little Love", "Sweet Little Angel", "Don't Answer The Door", and "Please Accept My Love". Side two is studio material, with some mighty sweet arrangements by Johnny Pate that almost bring a bit of funk into the mix at times – particularly on the drums which really groove things along! Herbe Lovelle handles the drum kit, and overall things are leaner than any previous Pate work with King – nice and raw, on cuts that include "I Want You So Bad", "Friends", "Get Off My Back Woman", and "Why I Sing The Blues". CD

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✨✧ Freddie KingLarger Than Life ... CD
RSO/BGO (UK), 1975. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
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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✨✧ Robert KnightEverlasting Love/Love On A Mountain Top ... CD
BGO/Rising Sun (UK), 1967. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
A seminal bit of Nashville soul – the first album cut by singer Robert Knight, featuring the super-huge hit "Everlasting Love" – a tune you'll recognize instantly! The feel here is quite unique – a swirling blend of strings and soulful rhythms, of the sort that you might hear on New York uptown tunes of the time, but handled with a slightly different approach, and a style that's laidback, warm, and really mellow at times. The approach is wonderful – mature, yet personal, honest and personal, yet also professional. Many tunes on the set were written by the team of Mac Gayden and Buzz Cason, and titles include "Everlasting Love", "Somewhere My Love", "Sandy", "Somebody's Baby", "The Letter", "My Rainbow Valley", "Never My Love", "Rachel The Stranger", "It's Been Worth It All", and "Branded". The original album is expanded here by 3 tracks from the album Love On A Mountain Top – "The Moment Of Truth", "Love On A Mountain Top", and "I Can't Get Over How You Got Over Me". The other tracks on that album also appeared on the first one, so the CD avoids the repetition you'd have if you bought both records separately! CD

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✨✧ Nitty Gritty Dirt BandDirt Band/An American Dream ... CD
Liberty/BGO (UK), Late 60s. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
Two late 70s albums from Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – back to back on a single CD! First up is Dirt Band – a real shift in sound for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – as the group drop the "nitty gritty" for their name, and go for a well-rounded sound that shows off their songwriting in a very different way! There's little of the rootsy elements of Will The Circle Be Unbroken here – as the group warm things up in more of an AOR style, yet still include some acoustic elements too – almost going for a mix of country roots and more polished crossover modes, with a sound that's more in keeping with their LA roots than most of their other 70s records. Yet taken from the perspective of a mainstream record, the songwriting and execution are great – definitely a cut above – and titles include "You Can't Stop Loving Me Now", "Whoa Babe", "Escaping Reality", "For A Little While", "Lights", and "Wild Nights". An American Dream is a set that continues the country rock crossover sound of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – almost as if the group who preceded Poco and The Eagles were throwing their hat in the ring, and shining every bit as strongly in the 70s AOR limelight! You can definitely hear some of the charms of the earlier group here – and at some level, the vocals of Jeff Hanna are actually better without some of the wisecracking that could sometimes get in the way during the early years – a surprising shift for a group who always seemed to be a bit tongue-in-cheek, yet got more and more sincere as the years went on! Titles include "An American Dream", "Jas'moon", "Do You Feel The Way That I Do", "What's On Your Mind", "Happy Feet", and "Take Me Back". CD

Close matches98
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✨✧ Gene PageHot City/Lovelock ... CD
Atlantic/BGO (UK), Mid 70s. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
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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✨✧ Junior ParkerLike It Is/Honey Drippin Blues ... CD
Mercury/BGO (UK), 1967/1969. New Copy ... 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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✨✧ Sounds IncorporatedSounds Incorporated/Sounds Incorporated Studio 2 Stereo ... CD
BGO (UK), 1964/1966. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
Rollicking, rocking goodness from the mid 60s UK scene – two albums from the hard-wailing Sounds Incorporated combo! The group hailed from the south of England, but had a rocking blend of guitar, sax, and drums that was much more in the Memphis instrumental mode of the time – and although they also had a talent for laying down some sweeter pop numbers, most of their work is very much in an upbeat rock instrumental mode – somewhere between The Champs and The Ventures – but also done with some occasional cool touches that vary up the mix a bit! The group's first album is a really tasty rough-n-ready affair – and their second is a bit fuller, with some added arrangements from time to time, and some clear evidence that the group's learned to play their instruments a bit better. Titles include "Crane", "Little Bird", "Grab This Thing", "What Now My Love", "Boil Over", "Rinky Dink", "Sounds Like Movin", "Fingertips", and "Bulletts". CD
 
 
 



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