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Mark Kemp


  • Living Proof

    "I'm 74 years young," Buddy Guy announces over dusty acoustic guitar in Living Proof's opener. He sounds like an ancient Mississippi bluesman — that is, until the screaming, Chicago-style electric lead kicks in, obliterating the sepia-tone ambience. Guy's latest is a musical memoir in which he finds gratitude in "Stay Around a Little Longer" (a […]

    • Album Reviews
  • Live at the Fillmore Auditorium 10/15/66

    Grace Slick was the female face of psych rock. But she wasn't Jefferson Airplane's original frontwoman. This concert disc (one of four newly released shows) is the first official live album to feature Signe Anderson, whose style is more folk-blues mama than icy acid queen. Anderson belts out songs like "Chauffeur Blues," and elsewhere the […]

    • Album Reviews
  • Charleston, SC 1966

    Say what you will about Hootie and the Blowfish's profound mediocrity — their massive success was merely the launching pad for Darius Rucker's true calling: country. On his Nashville debut, Rucker's rich baritone, sentimental ballads and bright hooks made him the most successful African-American country singer since Charley Pride. Rucker amps up that formula on […]

    • Album Reviews
  • I Feel Like Playing

    The older he gets, the more Ronnie Wood's ragged wheeze makes him sound like a cigarette-wrecked Randy Newman. This is not a dis. That broken, damaged voice is what makes the Stones guitarist's first solo studio disc in nine years shine. He's gathered a who's who of collaborators — old Faces mate Ian McLagan, ZZ […]

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  • The Complete Mother's Best Recordings... Plus!

    Taped at Nashville's WSM radio in 1951, these early-morning broadcasts (each 15 minutes long) reveal a wonderfully relaxed Hank Williams: He jokes around, promotes Mother's Best Flour and delivers spine-tingling performances of both old hymns and classic originals like "Hey, Good Lookin' " and "California Zephyr." In all, 72 radio shows never before released in their […]

    • Album Reviews
  • Guitar Heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics of All Time

    Guitar Heaven reprises the cameo-heavy formula Carlos Santana has used since 1999's Supernatural, only this time the celeb vocalists lay into an assortment of classic-rock covers. The performances are mostly faithful to the originals, and Chris Daughtry gives Def Leppard's "Photograph" a credible kick. But only about half the songs get any traction — "Back […]

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  • Public Enemy, Broken Social Scene Lead Hopscotch Fest

    Grassroots festival also presented Panda Bear and 9th Wonder, plus panels geared for fans

    • Music
  • Junky Star & the Dead Horses

    On his own albums and his contributions to Crazy Heart, Ryan Bingham has tried hard to be the next great Texas singer-songwriter: He has the gruff voice, moodiness and melodramatic song titles ("The Poet," "Junky Star"). But on his third disc, his lyrics come off as more cinematic than believable; the title track finds him […]

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  • Chamber Music Society

    Upright-bass prodigy Esperanza Spalding was barely out of her teens when she dropped her first CD, Junjo, a stunningly sophisticated yet playful set of acoustic trio jazz: rubbery bass, piano, drums and sexy Latin melodies harking back to the Seventies Brazilian jazz of Flora Purim. For her second disc, 2008's Esperanza, she added hints of […]

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  • Spot The Difference

    Singer-songwriters Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook have named the new Squeeze album Spot the Difference presumably because there's so little difference between these versions of their classic power-pop hits and the ones on their sterling 1982 set Singles: 45's and Under. Frankly, the subtle changes aren't good. The sharp electric-guitar chops of the original "Another […]

    • Album Reviews