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Stephen Davis

Reporter

  • Good Old Boys

    The Ambrose Bierce of rock & roll has released another selection of his bitter and desperately sardonic fantasies. Good Old Boys has a conceptually "Southern" atmosphere; it also has drunkenness and depression, fun celebrations of political figures, lunacy, congenital birth defects and obsessional portraits of stereotypes that can leave the listener confused as to whether […]

    • Album Reviews
  • Presence

    Led Zeppelin's seventh album confirms this quartet's status as heavy-metal champions of the known universe. Presence takes up where last season's monumentally molten Physical Graffiti left off — few melodies, a preoccupation with hard-rock rhythm, lengthy echoing moans gushing from Robert Plant and a general lyrical slant toward the cosmos. (Give an Englishman 50,000 watts, […]

    • Album Reviews
  • Metamorphosis

    Metamorphosis is both interesting and embarrassing, a curio and an outrage. Its 14 tracks consist of jams, outtakes, alternate takes and primitive versions of songs the Rolling Stones later revised into more polished numbers, all recorded (roughly) during their first six years. But one can't really call it a Rolling Stones album. The hideous artwork […]

    • Album Reviews
  • Made in the Shade

    Metamorphosis is both interesting and embarrassing, a curio and an outrage. Its 14 tracks consist of jams, outtakes, alternate takes and primitive versions of songs the Rolling Stones later revised into more polished numbers, all recorded (roughly) during their first six years. But one can't really call it a Rolling Stones album. The hideous artwork […]

    • Album Reviews
  • Get Up With It

    Miles's longtime audience will without doubt find this a bizarre set. Within the space of this double album Miles plays organ on half the tracks, marking the first time in a 30-year recording career that he has appeared on an instrument other than trumpet or fluegelhorn. Other oddities include three electric guitars on several cuts, […]

    • Album Reviews
  • Miles of Aisles

    Miles of Aisles is a four-sided live album with a greatest-hits feel to it that collects 18 numbers from Mitchell's successful concert tour of last winter. It's a strong album of her best songs performed mostly informally, backed on sides one and four by reedman Tom Scott and his band — an interesting album because […]

    • Album Reviews
  • Smiler

    The magnificent catarrh has a new album, Smiler, and it contains what by now you would expect: several energetic new examples of the Stewart/Wood world view, a couple of boozy renditions of classic R&B standards, a sentimental soundalike of Rod's smasheroo "Maggie May," at least two ho-hum instrumental interludes lasting an average of less than […]

    • Album Reviews
  • Berlin

    Lou Reed's Berlin is a disaster, taking the listener into a distorted and degenerate demimonde of paranoia, schizophrenia, degradation, pill-induced violence and suicide. There are certain records that are so patently offensive that one wishes to take some kind of physical vengeance on the artists that perpetrate them. Reed's only excuse for this kind of […]

    • Album Reviews
  • Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

    These boys — singer/piano player Elton John, librettist Bernie Taupin and producer Gus Dudgeon sure do relish their fantasy. One evening last summer I found myself in a screening room in Los Angeles with all of the above, plus the guitarist, the bass player and the rest of the white-suited English retinue that follows Elton […]

    • Album Reviews
  • History of the Grateful Dead, Vol. 1 (Bear's Choice)

    I can't say too much for old Bear's taste, considering the wealth that must exist in the library of Dead concert tapes. But Volume One of The History of the Grateful Dead consists of selections from a pair of late 1970 dates in which the band was still making the transition from acidic filmstrip music […]

    • Album Reviews