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Alan Parsons Project - Eye In the Sky
The Alan Parsons Project  - Eye In the Sky
Worth it for the opening cut alone. Remember the Chicago Bulls in Jordan's heyday? They'd introduce the Bulls with the lights turned out (back before every team did that) and this song, "Sirius," blaring. Even if you weren't a fan, you couldn't help but have goose bumps. But you've never heard that tune sound like this! .

Alan Parsons, who first took up an apprenticeship as a sound engineer at EMI and was later responsible for several Paul McCartney productions and the Pink Floyd album Dark Side of the Moon at the legendary Abbey Road Studios, drew upon his experience in order to further his solo career. While the co-producer Eric Woolfson wrote the songs, Parsons – who had an uncanny feeling for sound – conjured up a lush mélange of synthetic and natural sounds. Arista
Ann Peebles - Straight from the Heart

This album from the early '70s has certainly not mellowed with age. Her singing is sharp and soulful, and comes right from the heart ("Slipped, Tripped And Fell In Love"). The beat is powerful, throbbing, young and fresh ("What You Laid On Me") or surging and groovy ("How Strong Is A Woman?"). The arrangements come across as sophisticated and well balanced, yet do not balk at harsh attacks from the winds nor from the use of Hammond and Hohner keyboards, which were so popular at that time. Melody, singers and big band are airy and finely interwoven ("Somebody's On Your Case"), while a fusion of soft swing and snappy acerbity ("I Pity The Fool") rounds off this album which is filled with pure emotion, heart and soul.

Aretha Franklin - Unforgettable: A Tribute To Dinah Washington
Aretha Franklin - Unforgettable: A Tribute To Dinah Washington
This is Aretha Franklin's 1964 tribute to one of her heroes, the great Dinah Washington, who died in late 1963. Franklin delivers her highly personalized takes on songs made famous by Washington, backed by the cream of New York's finest session musicians. Columbia
Bill Withers - Just As I Am
Bill Withers - Just As I Am
"…This doesn't sound like a debut because it is backed up by years of song writing and a mature, soulful voice that is honest and warm. This is a superb album for the quality of songs, singing and a backing that contained Stephen Stills (guitar), Donald 'Duck' Dunn (bass) and Jim Keltner (drums) among others…This is a beautiful sounding LP and Speakers Corner has done a superb job as ever. Bill's Greatest Hits sounds pale by comparison." Recording = 9/10; Music = 10/10 – Jason Kennedy, Hi-Fi+, Issue 56

By the time Bill Withers made this, his debut recording, he'd already served for many years in the US Navy, had a job as a milkman and installed toilets in jets for American airplane construction companies. All the while, he bombarded record companies with self-produced demo tapes that landed in the dustbin. In 1971 came his breakthrough when the successful producer Booker T. Jones hauled him onboard and sent him into the studio with guitarist Stephen Stills, drummer Al Jackson and bass player Donald "Duck" Dunn. In his debut album, Withers demonstrates his universal, mature competence as a singer, composer and performer, which was hardly surpassed in his later recordings. Sussex
Blood, Sweat & Tears - Child Is Father To The Man
Blood, Sweat & Tears - Child Is Father To The Man
There'll be disappointment in store for those who expect to hear the voice of David Clayton-Thomas when listening to the present Blood, Sweat & Tears LP, Child Is Father To The Man. Experts will know however that on the group's very first album they will get to hear the excellent Al Kooper. The man is far more than a singer, for he not only plays the piano and various other keyboards but has also composed almost all the numbers and made the arrangements for the string ensemble. Bluesy pieces such as "I Love You More…" and "I Can't Quit Her" and the vocals from Kooper are the real gems here. The amalgamation of pop, classic and jazz, which was made so popular in the Sixties by such groups as Chicago Transit Authority, Colosseum and Soft Machine, is here combined by Blood, Sweat & Tears with the acid-folk-rock mix emanating from San Francisco. Columbia
Byrds - Greatest Hits
The Byrds - Greatest Hits

The original release of this album in the summer of 1967 was a landmark moment in the Byrds history. After four highly acclaimed albums and a wealth of singles, the group could look back on a career in which they had rewritten the book of contemporary American music. Every time the Byrds released a new record they seemed to coin a fresh musical adjective. After folk rock, jazz rock and raga rock, they were labeled "space rock," having introduced science fiction and new age themes into songs like "Mr. Spaceman" and "5-D." Even while pushing forward towards their most musically experimental period, they were feeling the burden of their own history. Both "So You Want To Be A Rock N' Roll Star" and "My Back Pages" saw them looking back a little sardonically at all they had achieved. Their classic first era was punctuated by the release of this compilation.  Columbia
Carlos Santana & Buddy Miles : Live Carlos Santana & Buddy Miles - Live! 'Live' was the watchword of the liberated and permissive post-Woodstock era, when anyone and everyone could do wonderful things and musicians really let themselves go – and it opened the door for Santana and his musicians. While devotees of pure styles found it hard to dip into the bubbling melting pot of progressive rock, others – hungry for emotion – plunged eagerly into the moloch world known as 'Sounds of the 70s'.
Among the great events during this time was the get-together of Santana and a grandiose group of musicians together with Jimmy Hendrix’s ex-drummer Buddy Miles at the Sunshine Festival in Hawaii. Inspired by the electrifying atmosphere we hear the smacking sound of an organ in John McLaughlin’s "Marbles", lush rocking Latin grooves ("Lava") and gospel-like vocal artistry ("Evil Ways"). After an intensively re-worked version of the old favourite "Them Changes", in which the band certainly lets one know that they can be 'heavy' when they want, the musicians let themselves go in 25 improvised minutes in "Free Form Funkafide Filth". Such unleashed power could never be tamed and captured on tape in the studio simply because it can only be created in the freedom of an open-air stage.

Chet Atkins - Mister Guitar
Chet Atkins - Mister Guitar
This album features Chet Atkins as "Mister Guitar," who - as a soloist - only allowed a small and highly discreet rhythm group to accompany him. The result is a refreshingly pure and unadulterated steel-string sound without frills and padding and so has little in common with the commercial country music of the masses. With his relaxed, technically perfect and highly variable playing technique, Atkins churns out simple, yet highly melodic, numbers. RCA Living Stereo
Diana Ross & The Supremes - Join The Temptations
Diana Ross & The Supremes  - Join The Temptations
That two of the most successful vocal groups of the '60s were set down for posterity on an LP borders on a small miracle from a musical point of view. From an economic standpoint, however, the recording contract of The Temptations with Motown was a flop. Although the group earned enormous sums of money through fees and royalties, the record company only paid them the pathetic sum of $500 weekly until the group fell apart due to restrictive policies. But the frustration over the record company bosses is neither heard from The Temptations nor from Diana Ross, all of whom belt out the songs as if their lives depended on it. There's plenty of variety too, with all the different arrangements such as the profoundly bass-driven "Try It Baby" and the orchestral "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me." And there are side glances in the direction of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell ("Ain't No Mountain High Enough") and Stevie Wonder ("A Place In The Sun") too. All in all, this album is an inspired mixture of soul and easy listening, which is spiced with a touch of showbiz. Motown
Diana Ross - Diana Ross
Diana Ross  - Diana Ross
After her separation from The Supremes, Diana Ross presented herself in a remarkably casual manner on the cover of her first solo album. Many had feared that she would only now appear in ritzy clubs, dressed up to the nines, and singing the childish little love songs of her early years, which had brought her the unflattering nickname "Princess of plastic pop." But no. The ego trip on record took her swiftly towards a punchy, broad-band sound which gave soul music of the '70s a new impetus. Despite this, the present album isn't just filled with racy numbers; there are a number of ballads with top-notch arrangements such as "Reach Out And Touch" and "Now That There's You," both of which stand out for their silky strings, meticulously dosed background singing and powerful chords on the piano. And the album also includes a brand new arrangement of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," which had been previously released to whet the appetite, and was voted among the 10 best single releases ever produced by the magazine Rolling Stone. The superlative could well be applied to this debut solo album as it must surely be one of Diana Ross' best performances of her entire career. Motown
Doobie Brothers - The Captain and Me
The Doobie Brothers -  The Captain and Me
The Doobie Brothers started life as Pud in 1969 in Chateau Liberte, a club in the mountains of California. The group took on the slang name for marijuana cigarettes one year later. The Captain And Me is considered to be the group's most concentrated and versatile production since it contrasts aggressive, hard numbers with gentle ones full of melody. The very first number, "Natural Thing," shows how winsome vocal folk music and electric guitar riffs can be amalgamated into rock music. Warner Bros
Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

Almost certainly Elton John's biggest seller, save his first greatest hits collection. The hits on this sprawling double disc set include "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting," the title track, and "Bennie and the Jets," and the album tracks include: "Love Lies Bleeding" and "Candle in the Wind." DJM
Elvis Presley - A Date with Elvis
Elvis Presley - A Date with Elvis
"The new Elivs album is a wonderful thing, with the noiseless surfaces and high-quality graphics and packaging I've come to expect from Speakers Corner's LP reissues...As with their other LPs, to hear the Speakers Corner version of the record is to hear it as the person who bought the original might have. To me, that's the best one could ask for, historically, artistically, and for the sheer fun of it." - Art Dudley, Stereophile, June 2005

Good products are worth their weight in gold when times are a little harsh - and this album was certainly a genially placed stopgap. In 1959, at the time when RCA launched this record on the market, the label’s shinning rock star was out of the country doing his military service in Germany. In order to comfort all his fans during his forced absence, the record bosses produced an album with a smartly uniformed Elvis on the cover, smiling widely to let his faithful followers know that he’d be back soon. There was a special calendar, too, so that his fans could count off the days until his return. This marketing ploy was extremely successful. The record became a highly desirable collector’s item and even years later illegal dollars still flowed from pirate copies.

The RCA producers kept mum about when and where the tracks were recorded. But who cares about that when listening to Elvis giving the "blue grass" classic "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" his unmistakable, rockabilly sound? The other titles, all of them performed by a well-proven ensemble of rock ‘n’ roll musicians, are filled with the honest, powerful language of the young - or from today’s viewpoint, old - Elvis. Which takes us back full circle to the date. What better way is there to celebrate the 50th birthday of rock ‘n’ roll than with this early album by its King? RCA
Elvis Presley - Elvis' Christmas Album
Elvis Presley - Elvis' Christmas Album
The King recorded his first Christmas album in sessions of September 5-7, 1957 at Radio Recorders in Hollywood. It was simply entitled Elvis' Christmas Album and was released in October 1957. It initially hit No. 1 for four weeks on Billboard's pop album chart and revisited the chart due to strong sales in subsequent holiday seasons through 1962. RCA
Elvis Presley - Elvis Is Back
Elvis Presley - Elvis Is Back
"…While the opener, 'Make Me Know It,' may have you thinking you've bought a teen album, Presley's steamy take on 'Fever' will change your mind. This track alone makes the album worth having, and of course Bill Porter's recording is as good as anything you'll ever hear on your system. You can hear Elvis's jewelry rattle!" Music = 10/11, Sound = 9/11 – Michael Fremer, www.musicangle.com

During the King's artistically unproductive period of military service, no costs or efforts were spared and no consolatory promises of things to come were left unsaid by the management in order to keep Elvis alive and well in the minds of his vast circle of fans. At last the great coup was landed: Elvis Is Back was what everyone was waiting to hear and American radio and television broadcasting stations made a gigantic medial feast of it. With the ink scarcely dry on his demobilization papers, Elvis entered the studio in March 1960 and recorded a whole series of numbers which later became worldwide hits, such as "Are You Lonesome Tonight" and "It's Now Or Never." Released as singles, these tender ballads created a sensation, while the LP with numbers such as "Dirty, Dirty Feeling," "Like A Baby" and "The Thrill Of Your Love" underlined Elvis' enhanced qualities as a rock, blues and gospel singer. That his voice - despite everyone's fears - had lost nothing of its erotic thrill is more than amply demonstrated in his rendering of "Fever" alone, which is accompanied merely by bass and percussion. RCA Living Stereo
Elvis Presley - For LP Fans Only
Elvis Presley - For LP Fans Only

Along with A Date With Elvis, For LP Fans Only is one of the most important special productions of the young King of Rock 'n' Roll. Because Elvis had been conscripted into the US Army, no new recordings could take place, and so record producers delved deep into the sound archives and dug out a few singles from his Sun Records days, mixed them with a couple of early RCA songs and a number from the Love Me Tender soundtrack, and, presto! a new Elvis LP was born. The overwhelming success of this album is not solely confined to the stylistic homogeneity of this collection of fresh, youthful songs. Far more, it's because for many fans the record offered the only substitution for the highly coveted but rare original singles "That's All Right," "Mystery Train" and "My Baby Left Me." RCA

Elvis Presley - From Elvis In Memphis
Elvis Presley - From Elvis In Memphis
A record by Elvis, produced in Tennessee. What’s so special about that? Surely everyone knows that the King sobbed his early songs into the local radio microphones. But From Elvis in Memphis is far more than just one of around 40 albums which he produced during the course of 35 years. “This marks what is probably the most impressive comeback in the entire history of pop music,” enthused the normally reticent New York Times.

What had happened? In 1969, after a 14-year meteoric career in show business and movies, and an exemplary PR campaign, Elvis returned to his hometown to record these songs which, in their style, are reminiscent of those recorded in the Fifties for Sun Records. Alongside the lavishly mixed pop and blues numbers (“Power Of My Love”) and country sound (“I’m Movin’ On”), there is also one of the greatest chart-busters and heart-breakers of a whole generation: “In The Ghetto.” There is certainly no room for discussion about the value of this collector’s item – the astronomical price for a good used copy speaks for itself. RCA
Elvis Presley : Elvis' Golden Records Volume 3
Elvis Presley - Elvis' Golden Records Volume 3

Elvis made a whole lotta records, but not all of them sounded very good. Well, this is one of the absolute audiophile classics among the Elvis catalog. And the songs – every one of them – are worth inclusion in any collection. Don't miss a true classic. RCA
5th Dimension - Portrait
The 5th Dimension - Portrait
In order to establish into which dimension this band with its promising name was trying to move, it might be a good idea to define its musical field. Although, or maybe precisely because, the colorful "flower power" cover suggests the happy-go-lucky hippie world, the 5th Dimension cannot be pigeon-holed as regards its musical style. All the numbers come from varying stylistic directions and are refreshingly different and well-contrasted in character. Alongside the funky, rock title "Puppet Man" and the groovy "Feelin' Alright?" there are soul-like, provocative, solidarity songs such as "Save The Country" and "People Gotta Be Free." Of course romantic pop ballads typical of the times have also found their niche here, such as "This Is Your Life" and Burt Bacharach's hit "One Less Bell To Answer." The vocal qualities of soloists Billy Davis Jr., Marylin McCoo Davis and Florence LaRue Gordon certainly deserve to be heard over and over again. No wonder, then, that this album has often been praised as the best the group ever recorded. Bell
Fleetwood Mac - The Pious Bird Of Good Omen
Fleetwood Mac - The Pious Bird Of Good Omen
Fleetwood Mac's first compilation is a hodgepodge of tracks from their first two albums, singles and sessions where Peter, John and Mick backed up Chicago piano legend Eddie Boyd. Standout tracks include "The Sun Is Shining," "Jigsaw Puzzle Blues," "Albatross" and "Black Magic Woman." Blue Horizon
Four Tops - Reach Out
The Four Tops - Reach Out
One of the best Four Tops records of the '60s, Reach Out starts out right with the glorious "Reach Out, I'll Be There," the group's second pop/R&B chart-topper. Reach Out did better than any other original LP by the group, almost breaking the Top Ten. Tamla Motown
Graduate : Original Soundtrack
Original Soundtrack  - The Graduate
The soundtrack to this Oscar and Golden Globe winning film was put together from already existent, successful pop numbers. No words are really necessary about the music, since numbers such as "Sound of Silence," "Mrs. Robinson" and "Scarborough Fair" have entered into the annals of musical culture ever since they were used in the film. It is astounding to note how seamlessly the various works fit snugly into the film's context, as though they had been specially written for the scenes. It catapulted Simon & Garfunkel right to the top of the list of ballad singers, and it also includes instrumental insertion numbers by Dave Grusin, who virtually fell into oblivion after all the hype about this provocative movie. Columbia
Harry Belafonte - Harry Belafonte At the Greek Theatre
Harry Belafonte - Harry Belafonte At the Greek Theatre

On a late summer evening in 1963, a show took place at Los Angeles' open-air Greek Theatre in, which had fans flocking to the Hollywood mountains. Those who were not lucky to get a ticket climbed to the surrounding trees to see the Calypso man from a distance at least. Others were waiting, recording equipment at the ready, namely the sound engineers from RCA, and in the following year the eagerly anticipated album was released. Some of the songs, such a the giddy-paced "Zombie Jamboree," "Look Over Yonder" and the delightfully schmaltzy "Try To Remember," had only been released as studio recordings. The majority of the other numbers were brand new and were now heard for the very first time in the exciting live atmosphere, something that comes over authentically in this release. RCA
Harry Belafonte - The Midnight Special
Harry Belafonte - The Midnight Special
No attempt has ever been made to compare Harry Belafonte with other singers of his own generation or generations following. Perhaps this is because there simply is no other singer in the American folk scene who possesses anything remotely comparable to his uniquely silky yet dusky voice, or his genial mix of calypso, blues, gospel and traditional songs. The present album provides a wonderful testimony to the Jamaican singer's flexibility. It includes songs such as "Midnight Special," a prisoner's nocturnal prayer for freedom, and "On Top Of Old Smokey," which Belafonte instills with intricate rhythm and Caribbean flair. And the tailor-made arrangements are no less thrilling: whether possessing all the drive of a stomping big band, filled with the intimacy of a smoochy small ensemble (with Bob Dylan on harmonica) or with an earthy, folksy, bluegrass sound - there's all that and plenty more! To put it in a nutshell: a veritable feast of traditional music which doesn't sound the least bit traditional. RCA
Harry Belafonte with Miriam Makeba - An Evening with Belafonte & Makeba
Harry Belafonte with Miriam Makeba    - An Evening with Belafonte & Makeba
Songs from Africa: Just by reading this subtitle, one might well ask oneself whether an album with such an unpretentious title would ever manage to find its way to the charts. But as soon as the disc is placed on the turntable, all doubts are dispelled that this collection of songs was actually one of the top sellers of its genres in the Sixties. The melodies, all of which stem from South African tribal songs, are treated lovingly to sensitive new arrangements. It goes without saying that the producers only wanted a minimum of background instrumentalists for these two star singers in order to preserve the original character of the songs. A little bit of guitar here, a touch of mouth organ there, and the soft rhythm of drums are all that are needed for the soft springy sound. Central to the authentic sound is a mixed chorus that mostly uses the traditional art of antiphonal singing with the soloists.

Such delightful sounds and harmony will make you want to put the stylus back on the groove again and again. This is addictive music of the world, which one can listen to for hours on end. RCA
Henry Mancini - Breakfast at Tiffanys
Long nights, dizzy parties, a variety of men-friends and breakfast standing before the window display of the famed jewelry company govern the life of the dazzling Holly Golightly, who has in reality a very ordinary name and poverty-stricken background. All the more rich is the musical carpet that Henry Mancini lays beneath the feet of the exotic, wealthy-husband-seeking socialite. The tender, plaintive worldwide hit "Moon River" apart, Mancini and his Hollywood musicians mix a sugar-sweet sound with enough acrid elements to glaze over the capricious lady's character. The cool big band sound is spiced with a bold trumpet solo ("The Big Blow Out") and mellow violins with a suspiciously tame male choir ("Breakfast At Tiffany's"). As is well known, there is a great deal of dancing in the film, including a number with a Latin-American rhythm ("Latin Golightly") and a grooving mambo ("Loose Caboose"). At the end of the film even the "Moon River" swells to become a bubbling cha-cha, as though to say that a "happy end" must in no way sound sentimental.
Henry Mancini - The Pink Panther
The film director Blake Edwards brought into existence what is probably the best opening sequence to his comic crime film when he commissioned a young enterprising company to produce an animated Pink Panther cartoon film. The creative team came up with the idea of giving the cold, glittering diamond the guise of a cool, pink panther, which leads a bungling detective on a merry dance to the slinky sound of the Panther theme.
Mancini would not be Mancini if he did not bathe the film location – the skiing resort Cortina d'Ampezzo –in highly varied musical colours and genres. His well-known love for dance music finds itself in the samba ("It Had Better Be Tonight"), the shuffle ("Champagne And Quail"), and the cha-cha ("Something For Sellers"). But also the ballad, sung by a muted trumpet and saxophone ("Royal Blue"), or the simple combination of keyboard and strings ("Piano And Strings") are all woven into the story. One of the most memorable and delightful sounds is that of the accordion, whose melodies evoke an atmosphere that is filled with the Bohème, Paris and the sound of the musette. This music is never gaudy, but subtle, just like a panther padding quietly along. And if your appetite is now whetted for more, there is an extra portion of Mancini to be found in "Breakfast At Tiffany's"
Hot Tuna - Burgers

Burgers is the third album by Hot Tuna, the folk rock offshoot of the founders of Jefferson Airplane — Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady. So why not, when searching for musical salvation, amalgamate their hippy-like simple lifestyle and folksy music with the formation of a second band called Hot Tuna — emotional yet not so synthetically hotted-up? Even in the very first number, "True Religion," whose airy, bubbling folksy finger-picking soars up into powerful waves of rock, the message of this first studio album comes over loud and clear.

Howlin' Wolf - The London Howlin’ Wolf Sessions
Howlin' Wolf - The London Howlin’ Wolf Sessions
This is the classic teaming of master and student. In 1971, when Howlin’ Wolf met Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts and Ian Stewart for this recording, the Wolf had long been established as one of the all-time blues greats. His accompanying cast was a literal Who’s Who of white British rockers. Not that the Wolf was impressed. He apparently was somewhat skeptical of the idea of recording with white Brits. But the music tells quite another story. Captured were fantastic versions of "Sittin’ On Top Of The World," "Little Red Rooster" and "Killing Floor" among other Wolf standards. Also onboard was Hubert Sumlin, the guitar virtuoso whose funky, impossible-to-imitate licks made Wolf’s music that much more recognizable. In fact, Clapton reportedly refused to do this session until the producers, who were trying to save money by leaving Sumlin out, agreed to include Sumlin. Clapton knew that Howlin’ Wolf was only Chester Burnett (his real name) without Hubert Sumlin. Chess
Ian Dury- New Boots and Panties It is not difficult to call Ian Dury the very epitome of British rock music in the Seventies. The rough charm of his bawdy Cockney accent, spiced with snotty rock, which he often belted out in pogo punk, was just the thing for the boulevard and lent a voice to the British working class. His penchant for the grotesque, which he often expressed in the most vulgar of words (»I bet your mother fed you with a catapult«) or what Sounds magazine described as brutal fairground music, gave birth to a collection of weird characters who were looking for a home in vinyl, as Village Voice observed.
This search resulted in the present album, which consists of a whole gamut of earthy downtown sounds. Beginning with the mechanical drive of disco beat ("Wake Up And Make Love With Me") and pure, unadulterated rock ("I’m Partial To Your Abracadabra"), Dury and his band work towards smirking circus music to arrive at hard punk. His lyrics are honest, coarse and harsh and thus totally unacceptable for glamorous pop venues. You simply had to hear him live – or on this record.
It's a Beautiful Day

Did he or didn't he? — "Of course he did!," maintain the most faithful It's A Beautiful Day fans with utter conviction. They are quite sure that the master of the Hammond organ, Jon Lord, was guilty of having "stolen" the theme tune of the spicy Indian-sounding "Bombay Calling," when composing his Deep Purple hit "Child In Time." Lord, however, shrugged the criticism off and in typically British fashion made no secret of the fact that he was a great fan of the group. And with good reason.

Because this group, with its trivial name, turned upside down the normal balance of instruments used in hippy-style music. Not the usual guitar, but a violin was used as a solo instrument, hushed, yet poignant organ sounds were employed to produce shadowy effects, and the ears were bombarded with distorted amplified notes as in "Wasted Union Blues."

But right at the center of the sound were the brilliant violin playing and wonderfully harmonizing vocal duo with its feather-light rhythmic parts, which bask in the light of the Flower Power movement. Peaceful, yet with a clear militant quintessence to indicate the group's otherness, this LP is an authentic testimonial to musical social history during the wild 1960s.

J.J. Cale - Naturally
J.J. Cale - Naturally
Oklahoma born J.J. Cale released Naturally, his first solo recording, in 1971. Featuring Cale's classic song," After Midnight" (previously covered by Eric Clapton), Naturally established the singer-songwriter's distinctive laid back country-rock style. As well as "After Midnight", Naturally also includes the hit singles "Crazy Mama" and "They Call Me The Breeze". This 180-gram reissue is noteworthy for its unpretentious musical presence and for Cale's singular style. Beautifully recorded, with clearly defined, punchy bass, this reissue, mastered in Germany, represents an immense improvement over the original A&M version used by way of comparison, and is the first time that this classic recording has been available as an audiophile LP. A&M
Jackson 5 - ABC
Jackson 5 - ABC
The Jacksons were the youngest members of the well-established Motown artist pool. Discovered by Diana Ross at a benefit concert in 1969, many regarded the boy group as a signal of freedom from racism and life in the ghetto. The music of the bubblegum clan – a mixture of innocence and total professionalism, according to the magazine Rolling Stone – was particularly appealing to other kids of the same age, who couldn't get their hands quickly enough on masses of their idols' concert tickets and various merchandise such as hairspray aerosols, watches and T-shirts. There were dozens of Jackson Five juvenile products on the market, but it must be said that the amazing success of the Five was truly earned from an artistic standpoint. The subtle and lively use of their voices, the boys' innate understanding of rhythm and verve, and their good constitution which allowed them to appear very often on stage all played a part in making the Jacksons the idols of millions of young people. Motown
Janis Joplin - I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!
Janis Joplin - I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!

When Janis Joplin died in October 1970 at t he early age of 27, thus involuntarily confirming the beatnik adage "live fast, love hard, die young," it was only a matter of time before she was crowned the "Queen of Rock." Of greater importance than this posthumous entry into rock 'n' roll's hall of fame is the recognition during her lifetime of her explosive vocal style, which – so Vogue – "turned the whole history of singing upside down." Joplin's discography is just as short and changeable as her life. After two LP releases with the standard "cast" of rock musicians in the band Big Brother And The Holding Company, with whose excellent musical support she obtained her first recording contract with Columbia Records in 1968, the company provided her with a group augmented with organ and winds. For those Woodstock fans whose ears are still ringing with the band's full, meaty wind sound and Janis' bluesy soul singing, this album is an absolute must. Columbia

1.  Try (Just A Little Bit Harder) 2.  Maybe 3.  One Good Man 4.  As Good As You've Been To This World 5.  To Love Somebody 6.  Kozmic Blues 7.  Little Girl Blue 8.  Work Me Lord

 

Jefferson Airplane - Volunteers
Jefferson Airplane - Volunteers
"Jefferson Airplane," wrote Rolling Stone magazine, "is a ship which transports its passengers to the revolutionary fantasies of their own minds." As self-appointed executors of chaos and anarchy, Jefferson Airplane turned on their fans with musical sexual allegories, drug-extolling lyrics and revolutionary songs. In 1966, armed with a lucrative recording contract from RCA-Victor, they won against much opposition from recording company bosses and released their album Volunteers, thereby bringing what is probably the very best recording from their early years to the public. RCA
Joan Armatrading - Joan Armatrading
Joan Armatrading - Joan Armatrading
Where are all the voices gone? A good question in today's bizarre musical world of video clips and techno where one searches in vain for a tender, sweet-perfumed flower. But it's really not so important - as long as we can still find music's bedrock, so to speak, or are even lucky enough to have it in our audiophile treasure chest. Now that numerous pop groups have finished crossing the dark valley of electronic sensationalism, and unplugged sound is accepted as the true ideal in the '90s, it is precisely the music from years gone by that has suddenly become in once again. Here we find all the ingredients of good, basic song tradition: a great deal of natural singing, refined guitar sound, a little steel guitar, and a pinch of Wurlitzer organ. This recording from 1976 was Joan Armatrading's first step on the ladder to a sensational career which has not yet come to an end - perhaps because she has remained to her own original style. The album is just right for teenies and twens wanting to discover the soft, rock-like ballads from the days when their dads had long hair and wore John Lennon glasses. For the older generation it is like revisiting old times - when music was really handmade. A&M
Joe Cocker - With A Little Help From My Friends
Joe Cocker - With A Little Help From My Friends

This man is living proof that you can be born in Sheffield and still sing like a black man from Mississippi. His personal idol is Ray Charles; Eric Burdon and Van Morrison are among the few white singers who can be put on a par with him. His performance at the Woodstock Festival made him a cult star in the new world. The New York Times called him the best singer of all times. His name? Joe Cocker! Joe always needed a little help from his friends to get him back on his feet after an exhausting tour or a drug trip. It was this cover version of the classic Beatles song that made Joe Cocker and his first album famous, even though the title is the penultimate number of the B side. But no one minds that because all the foregoing songs are so powerful that waiting is sheer pleasure! Without a doubt, many listeners would define this compilation as the very best of Joe Cocker. A&M
Joe Williams - Me and the Blues
Joe Williams - Me and the Blues
When someone such as Joe Williams (not to be confused with Big Joe Williams) speaks of himself in the same breath as the blues, then he is claiming a privilege that can only be granted to a very few. But then Williams, who grew up in the blues metropolis of Chicago and performed as early as the Thirties with Jimmie Noones and later with Coleman Hawkins and Lionel Hampton, was one of the first and last of the great big band singers. As one of the permanent great musicians of the Count Basie Band, he helped the ensemble to renewed popularity in the Fifties, but then turned his attention to smaller bands, returning in later years to the all-star ensemble as a special guest.

Me and the Blues manifests itself as a blues from a modern viewpoint in that it amalgamates the austere, gritty primeval sound of the Southside with a brilliantly arranged big band sound. The result of this extremely pure synthesis of sound (also from a technical standpoint) reveals a variety of blues that integrates such elements of mainstream jazz as were typical of the day. It is no wonder therefore that all the great names such as Thad Jones, Clark Terry, Ben Webster and Kenny Burrell gathered together to participate as soloists or in the background in this recording. RCA
John Lee Hooker - It Serve You Right To Suffer
John Lee Hooker - It Serve You Right To Suffer
John Lee Hooker himself did not know his exact date of birth. If he hadn't died at around the age of 80, this ageless musician would still be easily pulling the next generation to his gigs. Hooker remains a phenomenon, a mysterious figure of black rhythm and blues, a charismatic king who reigns supreme in rock 'n' roll's Hall of Fame. John W. Peters described his music as a synthesis of scorching emotional ardour, unrelenting rhythmic intensity, and original poetry of a highly personal character. Anyone hearing him for the first time may well be startled at the unfiltered passion and power of his music.

And another surprise is in store for those who compare Hooker's late recordings with those made in the Sixties. His unmistakable, raw voice has fully matured, but his incantory style of singing appears markedly finer and more flexible. And then there is the perfect gem of a rhythm group whose sinewy sounds fill the grooves with merciless gravitational force. It's enough to make your spine tingle! Impulse

John Mayall - Bluesbreakers
John Mayall - Bluesbreakers
One the seminal blues recordings of the '60s.Bluesbreakers features the precocious talents of Eric Clapton and the solid contributions of drummer Hughie Flint and Bass player John McVie. Mayall contrived at least 15 different Bluesbreakers lineups, but it was this album that produced commercial success (it was a Top Ten seller in the UK) and which established Eric Clapton (heard here in his post-Yardbirds and pre-Cream period) as the great blues guitarist of his generation. Superb blend of blues covers and Mayall originals. Decca
Johnny Cash - At San Quentin
Johnny Cash - At San Quentin
Johnny Cash was a country legend even during his lifetime, although, or perhaps because, he was very different from the numerous country singers with checkered shirts. When performing he chose to wear black as a symbol of solidarity with the oppressed and those who had no rights. His chosen outlaw image was just as convincing as the train-like boom-tiddy-boom sound of his rhythm group who lent their typical sound to many of his 500 songs. At the very zenith of his career, Cash (who himself had committed a few minor offenses) had the idea of singing and playing for the bad guys behind the prison walls for nothing. Initially his suggestion to market the live recording was rejected, but finally his record company decided to release the album At Folsom Prison. Fired by the success of his jailhouse recording, Columbia Records released At San Quentin shortly afterwards. The recording, in which Cash and his combo were frequently applauded more or less at the end of each verse, exceeded all expectations. Today it is still considered by Cash fans to be the best live recording by the "man in black.' Columbia
Johnny Winter - Second Winter

Johnny Winter released the album Second Winter, a passionate and fervent collection of songs, just a few months after his record debut. This legendary band's steadfast commitment to blues is apparent in every single note they play, although tender emotions are all the more discernible in hard, rock 'n' roll-like outbursts than ever before. Winter blends his crystal-clear, unmannered guitar playing with the gravelly charm of his raspy voice to produce a compact sound in which both his own compositions and old favorites (Johnny B. Goode) are revived. It is quite clear that the white shooting star is on a par with the giants of blues as far as vocals and guitar playing are concerned.

Johnny Winter - Self-titled
When an international weekly magazine calls a musician the »white pope of black art«, then it sounds suspiciously like charitableness towards a blues musician in his prime, whose good years are in the past. As if! In the case of Johnny Winter, the reviews of his 2011 tour were just as glowing as in his early years, when Rolling Stone magazine described the gaunt Mississippi bard as »a cross-eyed albino with long fleecy hair playing some of the gutsiest fluid blues guitar you have ever heard«. Intentional or not: Winter was able to win for himself some of the 'rocker' laurels that were reserved for the young Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix. But Winter let everyone know that he was only interested in the blues, gutsy, evoking Howlin' Wolf's and Muddy Waters' growling groove, yet nimble-fingered enough on the strings to conjure up astoundingly sleek garlands of sound that fit precisely into each bar of music.
Winter remains pretty cool when people attempt to identify personal afflictions in his music: »When I play blues, I feel good« he stated recently to a journalist. That the same goes for over 40 years ago is substantiated by both sides of this debut album.
Joni Mitchell - The Hissing of Summer Lawns
Joni Mitchell -  The Hissing of Summer Lawns
For many, the soft and crystal-clear voice of Joni Mitchell at the beginning of her career will remain indelible in their memory. The innovative style of her peaceful, folk guitar music caught the attention of David Crosby, member of the highly popular band Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and in 1968 he produced her very first album. Only three years later she became inspired by the cool flow of modern jazz and set off on new musical paths. The Hissing of Summer Lawns represents a great leap away from the folk scene. Even the very first number, "In France They Kiss On Main Street" stands out thanks to its surprisingly unconventional melodic writing. Asylum
Jose Feliciano - Feliciano!
Jose Feliciano  - Feliciano!
In 1969, when José Feliciano aroused the American people’s anger by singing live a soul version of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” he assured himself the reputation as one of the most successful cover-version performers of all time. He even carried off two Grammy awards for his soul version of the Doors number “Light My Fire,” which is found on this recording. But Feliciano! does not merely excel for its hits from the Sixties such as “California Dreamin’,” “Sunny” and three smash hits from the Beatles. It also reveals this entertainer’s stupendous musicianship on the acoustic guitar and pampers the listener with creamy string arrangements and a thrilling Latino drive. RCA
Little Feat - Dixie Chicken
Little Feat - Dixie Chicken
Little Feat's idea to present in music the American dream of unlimited freedom got off to a slow start. Although the critics were impressed by the mix of bone-dry garage rock and powerful road-movie sound, according to Little Feat's guitarist Paul Barrere their "stewpot of American music" wasn't quite to the taste of the public. This changed overnight with their third album Dixie Chicken, in which the band didn't do everything differently but did do quite a lot better. The high-pitched voice of front man Lowell George and the waves of his wailing slide guitar, together with the subtle use of funky elements, all go to produce a highly varied highway feeling. Warner Bros.
Little Walter - The Best of Little Walter
Little Walter - The Best of Little Walter
Little Walter is the best blues harp player there ever was - period, bar none. His style, his tones, his solos were absolutely revolutionary and forever changed the landscape of blues harmonica. The man could make a tiny harmonica sound as big and versatile as a saxophone.

Marion Walter Jacobs' ascent to becoming one of the greatest exponents of the sound known as Chicago Blues began in 1951 when he became a fixed member of Muddy Waters' band. Two years later he rocketed to the top of the charts with the smash hit "Juke." From there, he established his own group and scored more hits like "Sad Hours" and "My Babe." Along with his virtuoso technique and his love of experimenting with echo effects, Little Walter is noted for his clear, unfussed style which occasionally brings back memories of Louis Jordan's saxophone melodies, thereby taking up influences from popular jazz. This album covers the whole spectrum of his playing. Chess

"Now we're talking...now we're talking! This IS the BLUES...It's a great pleasure to have this stunning album on quiet, 180 gram vinyl...The sound, in glorious mono, is to die for. There is nothing I can say other than buy it!" - Richard Foster, Hi-Fi+, Issue 40, www.hifiplus.com
Lovin' Spoonful - Do You Believe In Magic
The Lovin' Spoonful - Do You Believe In Magic
In the mid-Sixties the Lovin' Spoonful had a smash hit which today would make every clever manager or "wannabe" pop star turn green with envy. The New York Times described their music as "timeless; traditional yet modern; lively and attractive to all generations." This is good-time music that reached the masses, music that combined the best of blues, jazz, country and folk. Kama Sutra
Maggie & Terre Roche- Seductive Reasoning Thanks to their undeniable musical talent, which allowed them to be taken seriously in the folk scene, the industrious Roche sisters’ career began when they were young. The duo began by singing Christmas carols, doo-wop song syllable puzzles, and tricky barbershop harmonies. They finally caught the attention of Paul Simon, who brought the gifted girls in as backup singers on his LP "There Goes Rhymin’ Simon", and was primarily responsible for the birth of their first recording. The lavishly produced album achieved high critical acclaim. Although it was a worthy professional debut, the public was hesitant to buy the album. The specialist magazine Rolling Stone commented drily and somewhat at a loss that the Roches weren’t everyone’s cup of tea.
Maggie and Terre Roche are a well-rehearsed vocal team however: with a range from hazy, finely balanced voices singing as one, right up to pearly, radiant brilliance, the Roche sisters enthusiastically penned a songbook which is almost without exception their very own creation. Mechanical bluegrass music ("Wigglin’ Man"), a steam-train character ("If You Emptied ...") and a somewhat crude and unrefined country aura make the subtle lyrics easily accessible to all, but the LP also offers the listener wonderfully ill-humoured verse ("The Mountain People") and story-like prose ("West Virginia"). This is a truly exceptional album, and well worth being discovered!
Mahavishnu Orchestra - The Inner Mounting Flame
The Mahavishnu Orchestra - The Inner Mounting Flame
The liner notes for The Inner Mounting Flame were written by the guru Sri Chinmoy – now that's a real sales point! The music too burns right from the very first note to the last as though it were licked by the flames of hell fire. The wealth of ideas, sheer vitality and supreme soloistic virtuosity of the five top-notch musicians from four different countries is absolutely first class. In addition there is their truly dreamlike interplay; one could say they were born and grew up with the same "spirit." "Meeting Of The Spirit," "The Dance Of Maya" and "You Know You Know" are the highlights of his first Mahavishnu Orchestra. Aspiration – struggle, hope and desire – is seen as an inner mounting flame which takes man towards "divine perfection." Well, opinions differ of course. But what is certain is that this music from 1971 is still amazingly fresh and creative even 36 years later – and luckily it is available once again in the form of a vinyl disc. Columbia
Mantovani - The American Scene
Mantovani - The American Scene
Annunzio Mantovani was born in the traditionally musical city of Venice in 1905. At the age of only 23, he was director of the Hotel Metropole's own orchestra in London and it was with this orchestra that he made his first recordings. It took 20 years,however, for him to become a world-famous star. The final breakthrough of the "Mantovani Sound" came in 1951 with his waltz "Charmaine" which was produced for the American market. This sound was utterly different from that of otherentertainment orchestras at that time. Mantovani created such a lush and intense violin sound that critics believed it was the result of recording tricks - anassumption that Mantovani easily disproved withhis numerous concerts. This album -TheAmerican Scene - demonstrates the whole spectrum of one of the 20th century's most genial arrangers. London
Martha & The Vandellas - Dance Party
Martha & The Vandellas - Dance Party
One of the top "girl groups" of all time (Rock & Roll Hall of Famers since 1995) Martha Reeves & the Vandellas, dominated the female side of Motown of the mid sixties, although unlike the Supremes, led by the breathy and demure Diana Ross, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas had a stronger, more soulful sound, which made Top 10 hits of Holland-Dozier-Holland creations like "(Love Is Like A) Heat Wave," "Nowhere to Run," "Honey Chile" and their anthem, "Dancing In The Street." This classic 1965 release is one of their best full-length albums because not only does it feature the hits, it is also packed with Motown dance standards of the day like "Hitch Hike" and "The Jerk." Gordy
Marvelettes - The Marvelettes
The Marvelettes - The Marvelettes
"Perhaps the best studio album the Marvelettes ever recorded. The spotlight was shared between Horton and Young, and one can attest to the differences in their styles (Horton was earthier, Young the more pop-oriented). In addition to their classic hit "The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game" and what is the best version of the Van McCoy warhorse "When You're Young And In Love," there are some would-be hits such as "The Day You Take One (You Have To Take The Other)" and the lovely ballad "This Night Was Made For Love." This was an artistic triumph and proof that girl groups can mature with age." - All Music Guide. Tamla Mowtown
Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper, Steve Stills - Super Session
Mike Bloomfield,  Al Kooper, Steve Stills - Super Session
The musicians are aiming high with their desire for a Super Session, for it's not something that can be planned. Only when the time, place and audience play along, when one's lucky star is shining brightly, and the musicians have a good day, then one of music's great moments might be captured on tape. Not forgetting the recording technicians who also have to be in the mood. In 1968 this all happened to be the case with the majority of the nine numbers on this Columbia LP. All in all, one must consider the numbers with Steve Stills as most successful in the sense of a session because here each musician inspires the others. In the super session with Kooper and Bloomfield, the guitarist stands in the limelight while the other musicians back him up. Columbia
Moody Blues - Days Of Future Passed
The Moody Blues - Days Of Future Passed
Compositions and arrangements for pop group and symphony orchestra belong to the British pop scene like the Queen to Commonwealth. The Moody Blues, one of a seemingly never-ending number of groups which sprang up in the North of England, ventured early into new territory in that they undertook an ambitious project which is sought to mediate between classical tradition and modern music and which might very well be described as a real crossover. Their very first long-playing record, made in 1967, was a smash hit right from the start. The album Days of Future Passed jumped into the U.S. charts within a few weeks and remained there for almost two years, bringing the group their first Gold Disc.

As the title suggests, the six individual recordings fit together within the programmatic framework of a passing day. This synthesis of orchestral music and original flower power sound, where the past melts with the future, results in Nights in White Satin, a timeless superhit.

What is more, the brilliant tonal definition of DECCA's patented Deramic Sound System does not cease to amaze and certainly does justice to this extraordinary recording. Deram

Muddy Waters - Fathers & Sons
Muddy Waters - Fathers & Sons
On the cover is Michelangelo's "The Creation Of Man," where God reaches out his hand: the intentions of the makers of Fathers And Sons could hardly be more illustrative. The enigmatic message of this album is clearly that these prodigal sons, these one-time gods of the Chicago blues, are to be given a helping hand to their comeback. And this was sorely needed, for although the Chess label had achieved good sales figures one year previously with the LP Electric Mud, they didn't really produce a convincing blues session. In order not to land once again in the pseudo-psychedelic outback with distorted electronic sound and wah-wah effects, the two legendary artists Muddy Waters and Otis Spann were joined by the three musicians who made up the Butterfield Blues Band. With this artistic core of fathers and sons and a few choice side musicians, the resulting blues recording rolled along without a hitch. A whole set of pieces were set down, enough to fill an LP, and a 30-minute live session adds further luster to the excellent studio recordings. The characteristic crisp and raw Waters studio sound is followed by a charismatic stage show which bubbles and boils with a red-hot blues atmosphere. Chess
Muddy Waters - Muddy Waters Sings Big Bill Broonzy
Muddy Waters - Muddy Waters Sings Big Bill Broonzy
In 1960, when Muddy Waters recorded this album as a tribute to Big Bill Broonzy two years after Broonzy's death, he could be sure of Broonzy's approval. "Oh yeah, Muddy is a real singer for the Blues," Big Bill, the Mississippi foundation stone, was heard to say early on in Muddy Waters' career. Full of confidence after a Best Of compilation released on the Chess label in 1959 and his legendary appearance at the Newport Folk Festival, Muddy set down his own Broonzy songs. It goes almost without saying that such successful numbers as "I Feel So Good" and "Tell Me Baby" are overflowing with a Chicago feeling that gets right under your skin. Muddy's backing band includes Otis Spann, James Cotton and Willie "Big Eyes" Smith. Chess

Muddy Waters -

Muddy Waters At Newport

Muddy Waters - Muddy Waters At Newport
Great musical events are often born of both positive and negative energies clashing with one another. And so it was at the Newport Festival in 1960, which had already been rocked by violent tumults even before it started. The allures of commerce raised its ugly head; the Mingus Band wanted their share and named a fee that the organizers were not willing to fulfill. The echo came quickly: Charles Mingus and Max Roach organized their own festival in the near-by Cliff Walk Manor Hotel, and the "Newport Rebels" were born. Tempers escalated during the Saturday night concert and commotion broke out when masses of drunken teenagers got into a fight with the security personnel. Newport was on the brink of disaster.

In the midst of this explosive atmosphere, and standing on the (quite literally) rotten planks of the festival stage, Muddy Waters performed songs which captured his audience's ears and heart, and called attention to his unique Chicago blues. For many white people, this night was the very first time that they had heard and saw a live performance by a black band. Numbers such as "I Got My Brand On You," "Hoochie Coochie Man" and "Tiger In Your Tank" are just as legendary as the members of the band, first and foremost James Cotton with his harp and Otis Spann on the piano. Chess
Paco Pena and his Group - Flamenco Puro (Live)
Paco Pena and his Group - Flamenco Puro (Live)
The Germans have their male-voice choirs, the French the musette, the Scottish the bagpipes, and the Spanish their fandangillo, solear, and tango - or to put it more concisely - flamenco. This music is far more than just folk music passed down from generation to generation, for it combines strict dance form with a free vocal melody and virtuoso guitar playing. Fame equal to that of a toreador is reaped by the few who have mastered this form of art. Paco Pena and his ensemble rank among these few, and it goes without saying that no recording studio in the world can do real justice to the fascination of flamenco. As the short sub-title puro suggests, this LP certainly lives up to expectations in encapturing an electrifying live atmosphere. Thrilling flourishes on the guitar, the sharp clack of the castanets, the rapid zapateados (heeltaps), and the typical, almost harsh singing are reproduced so clearly and spatially that one cannot help looking around to see where the musicians are standing. Those of a suspicious nature can be sure here that the Phase 4 Process is anything but a publicity stunt. Decca
Patti Smith - Horses
Patti Smith  - Horses

It isn't hard to make the case for Patti Smith as a punk rock progenitor based on her debut album, which anticipated the new wave by a year or so: the simple, crudely played rock & roll, featuring Lenny Kaye's rudimentary guitar work, the anarchic spirit of Smith's vocals, and the emotional and imaginative nature of her lyrics - all prefigure the coming movement as it evolved on both sides of the Atlantic. Arista

 

Pointer Sisters - That's a Plenty
The Pointer Sisters - That's a Plenty

That's A Plenty is bound to be a great discovery for all jazz fans and for the rhythm 'n' blues fans, and maybe for those who love a high gloss mix with a touch of rock. This LP has something for everyone. And the top-notch recording technique and sound reproduction will even satisfy demanding hi-fi freaks. Blue Thumb

Santana - Caravanserai
Santana - Caravanserai
To attempt to categorize Carlos Santana's music is, for the prophets of rock music, rather like dancing on the edge of a volcano. While the New York Times acclaimed the band as a reincarnation of Dizzy Gillespie's Cuban-jazz big band from the end of the Forties, Rolling Stone spoke of a "methadrine trip without visions." Organ-player Gregg Rolie offered a very simple explanation of the origins of the highly differentiated sound coloring and the throb and chirp of the Afro-Cuban polyrhythms: he succinctly remarked that each member of the multi-cultural band "just played the music which he had grown up with." Just how thrilling this sounds is already evident from the first number on the disc, with its sounds of nature, twisted rhythms and little snatches of melody, which – as in several other titles – remains spellbinding even without the fascinating drive of Santana's lead sound. Of course there is plenty of solo material on the guitar which manifests itself in exuberant improvisations with a fusion of rock, salsa and jazz elements. Columbia
Santana - Lotus
Santana - Lotus
Recorded in Japan in July 1973, this massive live album was available outside the United States in 1974 but held back from domestic release until long into the CD age. It features the same "New Santana Band" that recorded Welcome and combines that group's jazz and spiritual influences with performances of earlier Latin rock favorites like "Oye Como Va." (3 LPs). Columbia
Santana - Welcome

Many of Santana's rock-addict fans could well have understood the inviting word Welcome on the white LP cover as an attempt to break away from the spiritual aura of his previous album Love Devotion Surrender. And the musicians certainly managed to produce a rich Latin feeling, with such titles as "Samba De Sausalito" and "Yours Is The Light." But luckily their concessions did not alienate them from their die-hard fans in that they came up with a sort of copy of the rhythmical "Caravanserai." They truly attempted something new.

Encouraged by the success of the jazz-fusion formula created by Miles Davis and his disciples, Santana combined his virtuoso guitar playing with specially chosen electronic features. The amazingly acrobatic jazz vocalists Leon Thomas and Wendy Haas contributed complicated, quirky parts and the maestro himself vies with John McLaughlin in a dense conflict carried out on their instruments in "Flame Sky." This is an album with a strong intellectual drive and offers the discerning listener a dazzling blend of Latin, jazz and fusion.

Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66 - Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66
Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66 - Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66
An early proponent of his native Brazil's bossa-nova style, he formed the group, Brasil 65 (which later became Brasil 66 and was updated in semi-yearly increments) and scored hits with soothing, Latin-tinged pop throughout the 1960s. Sergio Mendes is the epitome of tasteful, sophisticated Brazilian pop and adult jazz, with many infectious and memorable grooves. A&M
Smokey Robinson & The Miracles - Going To A Go-Go
Smokey Robinson & The Miracles - Going To A Go-Go
Though its title track ignited a nationwide fad for go-go music, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles' Going to a Go-Go LP certainly wasn't just a cash-in effort. It's one of the best records the group put out, and the first six songs make for the best side of any original Motown LP of the '60s. Tamla
Sonny Boy Williamson - The Real Folk Blues
Sonny Boy Williamson - The Real Folk Blues
This collection includes some of Rice Miller's (A.K.A. Sonny Boy Williamson No. 2) greatest and most famous compositions from the Chess and Checker labels. Recorded in the early 1960s, Sonny Boy's trademark harp and vocals are accompanied by stars like Robert Lockwood Jr., Otis Spann, Willie Dixon and Matt "Guitar" Murphy. Every record collection needs some Sonny Boy, and this is a great place to start. Chess
Steely Dan - Can't Buy A Thrill
Steely Dan - Can't Buy A Thrill
Two names in particular spring to mind in connection with Steely Dan: Donald Fagen and Walter Becker. The two men discovered while at college at the end of the Sixties that they shared musical tastes, although they played in different bands. They subsequently formed a songwriter duo before making their breakthrough in 1972 under the name Steely Dan (a name which came from William Burrough's novel The Naked Lunch) with their debut album Can't Buy A Thrill. This LP remained for over a year in the Billboard charts, and the single taken from the album, Do It Again, leaped into the Top Ten. This was just the beginning of an extraordinarily successful career which lasted until the temporary disbandment of the group in 1981 (a brand new album entitled Two Against Nature has appeared since then). Every one of their seven studio albums was crowned with a Gold or Platinum Disc. Can't Buy A Thrill is not as polished as later albums, such as Aja or Gaucho for example, but their inimitable mixture of melodic rock, shot through with soul, jazzy rhythms and ambitious instrumental solos made Fagen and Becker stand out from all the others right from the very start. Apart from the now classic songs such as Dirty Work, Midnight Cruiser, Reelin' The Years and of course the unforgettable Do It Again, it goes without saying that all the others titles are endowed with all those qualities which make Steely Dan so unique. Recording: 1972 at The Village Recorder, Los Angeles CA., USA, by Roger Nichols and Tim Weston Production: Gary Katz. ABC
Stevie Wonder - Where I'm Coming From
Stevie Wonder  - Where I'm Coming From
One month before he turned 21, Stevie Wonder released Where I'm Coming From, the most distinctive record of his young career, and one that looked forward - in its breadth of material as well as its futuristic production aesthetic - to his many successes later in the '70s. There's a fabulous song here for nearly every type of fan; the soothing love ballad ("Think Of Me As Your Soldier"), a gritty apocalyptic funk extravaganza ("Do Yourself A Favor"), a kinetic, refreshing nod to the pop charts (the Top Ten hit "If You Really Love Me") and an agonizing piece of heartache soul ("Never Dreamed You'd Leave In Summer").
Stevie Wonder - Songs In The Key of Life 2 LP+ 7" EP
Stevie Wonder  - Songs In The Key of Life
To sing songs in the key of life, as the cover promises us, must be more of an exercise than a labor of love for a soul musician. But this album, which Stevie Wonder – just 26 years old – produced more or less on his own, turned out to be a raving success at the time. The collection of love songs, childhood recollections and ghetto scenes were considered to be the ultimate confirmation of his extraordinary talent according to People Magazine while Melody Maker considered the album to be the "most essential recording of the year." That this collection should be considered as a complete work of art is easy to understand when one has listened to it right through because it's not a collection of hits and "best-ofs," and one has the opportunity to make one's own choice of top hits. Motown
Supertramp - Crime Of The Century
Supertramp - Crime Of The Century

 

Even before Pink Floyd thrust their musical message of protest, The Mechano-hit The Wall, under the noses of the establishment and the established, the melancholic songs of the group Supertramp had long found their way into the hearts of the young who had been shaken by one crisis after the other. The LP with its surrealistic, chilling cover and eye - raising title was a success all over the world and even the sternest critics showered it with praise. Their music just floods the senses; it is as though someone has put on all the good pop records of the '60s and '70s at the same time, lamented the music magazine SOUNDS helplessly - totally fascinated by their sound. Crime Of The Century provided plenty of fodder for the hit charts and radio DJs. And even today, the balladesque collage School with its bloodcurdling harmonica introduction, the pearl-like Rhodes piano chords in the rocking Bloody Well Right, and the childlike, Mocking Dreamer are the epitome of the pop cult of the '70s. The recording quality of this disc is excellent, and what is more - it has been judged the very best album that the English quintet ever produced. Celebrate the records 25th birthday with a fantastic vinyl re - release fresh from the press. A&M

Temptations - All Directions
The Temptations  - All Directions
Including the big hit "Papa Was a Rolling Stone." This is for sure their most popular album, and it's a real hits number. "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" was a number one hit in 1972. Gordy
Temptations - Cloud Nine
The Temptations  - Cloud Nine
"Best known for their silky vocals and smooth-stepping routines, the Temptations were firmly entrenched as the undisputed kings of Barry Gordy's Motown stable when cutting-edge producer Norman Whitfield walked into the studio and announced that it was time to shake things up. The resulting freakout became the first half of the stellar Cloud Nine, an album that would become one of the defining early funk sets, with songs that not only took Motown in a new direction, but helped to shape a genre as well." – All Music Guide. Motown
Toto - Toto IV
Toto - Toto IV
"It was due or die for Toto on the group's fourth album, and they rose to the challenge. Largely dispensing with anonymous studio rock that had characterized their first three releases, the band worked harder on its melodies, made sure its simple lyrics treated romantic subjects, augmented Bobby Kimball's vocals by having other group members sing, brought in ringers like Timothy B. Schmit, and slowed down the tempo to what came to be known as 'power ballad' pace. Most of all, they wrote some hit songs." – All Music Guide. Columbia
Van Morrison - Blowin' Your Mind
Van Morrison - Blowin' Your Mind
When the "New World" had more or less overcome the "British Invasion" and was just starting to rediscover its own musical roots, Van Morrison, from Belfast, began to feel at home in the U.S. and signed a solo recording contract with the New York producer and songwriter Bert Berns in 1967. Four singles were released, of which the first, "Brown Eyed Girl," was an immediate hit. As though Berns could have foreseen his early death in December 1967, he released Blowin' Your Mind without asking Morrison's consent and so laid the foundation stone for a lengthy discography. This, Morrison's very first album, is full of easy-going songs which reach back to rhythm and blues, but there are also numbers which are filled with weighty apathy – songs which already reveal the characteristic musical genes of someone John Lee Hooker described as, "the greatest white blues singer." Bang
Vitaly Gnutov - Balalaika Favorites
Vitaly Gnutov - Balalaika Favorites
Rudolf Belov, Osipov State Russian Folk Orchestra, Vitaly Gnutov

First recordings ever made in the Soviet Union by American musical and technical staff and equipment. Recorded by Mercury on location in Moscow. Mercury

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