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album reviews

Cream

Goodbye Atco

"What a Bringdown." The last title of (probably) the final Cream album serves as a capsule summation of Goodbye and, indeed, the whole Cream mess. Certainly Jack, Eric, and Ginger deserved a better fate. Goodbye is not a very worthwhile album. Critics will probably tear it apart, while even bonafide Cream Freaks will have to be a little disappointed. It's like the once-famous tycoon who dies an anonymous pauper; it's just a bad way to go out. The studio version of "I'm So Gla... | More »

March 29, 1973

B.B. King

The Best of B.B. King MCA

In spite of 1972 being one of the stalest years in the history of popular music, the spate of reissues from all the major record companies and countless minor ones picks up more speed all the time, and the results (uneven as they are) are generally encouraging. All four of these albums represent attempts both at recapitulating the contributions of three black titans and cashing in on the belated widespread recognition of those contributions. Curtis Mayfield had a long string of hits with the ... | More »

Elvis Presley

Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite

My God! Another live album from my hero. He's turning them out as fast as he once made movie soundtracks. And with as little point, in view of the fact that the material, patter, structure and sound vary so little from record to record. On the other hand, they sell better than his current studio albums, and those haven't exactly been aesthetic triumphs, so maybe there is some logic to it. Just the same, "Suspicious Minds" has been released live from Las Vegas, Madison Square Garden... | More »

Dion

Greatest Hits

Dion was the original punk. Stand him up next to his contemporary male teen idols — Frankie Avalon, Fabian, Bobby Vee, Brian Hyland, Bobby Rydell, Adam Wade, Paul Anka, Neil Sedaka, Mark Valentino, etc. — and the difference is obvious. They were all simpering, heartstruck, crybabies, with the possible exception of Fabian, and the best he could come up with was "yay yay yay I'm like a tiger" which, needless to say, was somewhat less than convincing. But when Dion sang "I love ... | More »

Al Green

Green Is Blues

Green Is Blues is a resurrection of Al Green's first album for Hi. It appeared during the summer of 1969 and died quietly even though it contained Green's first substantial single hit, "Tomorrow's Dream." With Green now sitting on top of the world, Hi has repackaged the album, leaving the original liner notes ("... a young man who is a red hot rhythm and blues singer with a difference that is gonna be greatly dug by all who tune an ear to the variegated tones and shades of this... | More »

March 15, 1973

Yoko Ono

Approximately Infinite Universe

Then suddenly we realized that this time we were both drifting out in a cosmos somewhere together, like God's two little dandruffs floating in the universe.... Astral identity! Wow! Something else, right? — liner notes It is indeed a shame that the vocals on this album have been allowed to dominate the music, for the boys from Elephant's Memory have rarely sounded better. Yoko, however, in her role as lyricist, is, as they say, laughable. Her sense of poetics and metaphy... | More »

Elton John

Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player MCA Records

Visually, musically, and in every other way, Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player is an engaging entertainment and a nice step forward in phase two of Elton John's career, the phase that began with Honky Chateau. The essence of Elton's personality, on record and in performance, has always been innocent exuberance, a quality intrinsic in most of the best rock 'n' roll of the Fifties and early Sixties. Elton's only major problem after the success of his fi... | More »

March 2, 1973

Creedence Clearwater Revival

Bayou Country Fantasy

Creedence Clearwater Revival's new LP suffers from one major fault — inconsistency. The good cuts are very good; but the bad ones just don't make it. The group's sound is very reminiscent of that of the early Stones — hard rock, based in blues. John Fogerty carries the group with his good lead guitar, in addition to his good vocal and harp work. He also wrote all of Creedence's original songs, and arranged and produced the album. He probably swept out the stud... | More »

March 1, 1973

Gram Parsons

GP Reprise

Gram Parsons is an artist with a vision as unique and personal as those of Jagger-Richard, Ray Davies, or any of the other celebrated figures. Parsons may not have gone to the gate as often as the others, but when he has he's been strikingly consistent and good. I can't think of a performance on record any more moving than Gram's on his "Hot Burrito No. 1," and the first album of his old band, the Flying Burrito Bros.' Gilded Palace of Sin, is a milestone. The record broug... | More »

Gram Parsons

Grievous Angel Reprise

Gram Parsons is an artist with a vision as unique and personal as those of Jagger-Richard, Ray Davies, or any of the other celebrated figures. Parsons may not have gone to the gate as often as the others, but when he has he's been strikingly consistent and good. I can't think of a performance on record any more moving than Gram's on his "Hot Burrito No. 1," and the first album of his old band, the Flying Burrito Bros.' Gilded Palace of Sin, is a milestone. The record broug... | More »

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Song Stories

“Nightshift”

The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

More Song Stories entries »
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