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Billy Altman


  • Natural Wonder

    It's a measure of Stevie Wonder's place in our collective unconscious that merely saying his name immediately conjures up images of Eddie Murphy's Saturday Night Live impression — the neck arched upward, the body swaying, the braids flying. To many listeners, especially during the past decade, when hip-hop so dominated the black-music scene, Wonder has […]

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  • Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991

    Since everything from psychedelia to disco has eventually come back to haunt us, it should come as no surprise that one of the more popular genres of the Seventies, Southern rock, seems to be rearing its boogieing little head faster than you can say twin — make that triple — guitar solos. After all, it […]

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  • Draw the Line

    Since Aerosmith's name and logo don't even appear on the outer sleeve of Draw the Line, someone obviously feels rather secure about the band's position in the hard-rock sweepstakes. The group is famous now — that's the message transmitted by Abe Hirschfeld's front-cover drawing. But fame and security don't always mix. Draw the Line is […]

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  • Lust For Life

    Iggy Pop's second comeback album leaves one with ambivalent feelings: glad that Iggy is alive, apparently well, writing, singing and performing again, but upset because his new stance is so utterly unchallenging and cautious. Taken purely on its own terms, Lust for Life is a successful album. Side one is quite good, starting with the […]

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  • Love You

    Brian Wilson's appearance last fall on Saturday Night was just about the last straw in the sequence of events surrounding his public reemergence. For someone who cared, it was revolting to watch him sit at the piano in a sandbox, singing "Good Vibrations" by himself, his voice barely able to carry a melody. Worse, he […]

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  • Sleepwalker

    Even as a staunch Kinks supporter, I was beginning to have my doubts. Although the band's following has grown steadily since they made it into the Seventies (by the skin of their teeth) with "Lola," they seemed to have peaked with Muswell Hillbillies. Ray Davies seemed hopelessly stuck on a thematic dead-end street (perhaps he […]

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  • High Voltage

    Those concerned with the future of hard rock may take solace in knowing that with the release of the first U.S. album by these Australian gross-out champions, the genre has unquestionably hit its all-time low. Things can only get better (at least I hope so). A band whose live act features a lead guitarist (Angus […]

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  • Sleepless Nights

    Sleepless Nights has been collected from two sources. Nine of the tracks come from early 1970 sessions in which the Flying Burrito Brothers, led by Gram Parsons, sought to record a nononsense country album, covering such standard fare as "Green, Green, Grass of Home," "Crazy Arms" and "Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down." The remaining […]

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  • Head On

    Head On focuses on no less than three apologies by leader Randy Bachman for his group's very existence. Even more oddly, Bachman's defense rests on moralistic rather than artistic grounds. According to "Average Man," "Stay Alive" and "Lookin' Out for #1," it's the work ethic that has propelled BTO to the top of the heap. […]

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  • Crisis? What Crisis?

    Supertramp, whose Crime of the Century was a surprise hit of 1975, are back with a neatly timed followup, Crisis? What Crisis? (with suitably heady cover — a man sunbathing amid rubbish while rain falls and smokestacks blow pollution into already ominously gray skies). The biggest crisis is trying to get through both sides of […]

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