More Great 2016 Reissues and Finds: David Fricke's Picks

Expanded classics, unearthed obscurities and other historical gems

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NRBQ, 'High Noon: A 50-Year Retrospective'
15
12/15

NRBQ, 'High Noon: A 50-Year Retrospective'

This set comes damn close, in more than 100 tracks over five CDs, to achieving the impossible: capturing the eternal striving and indomitable spirit of what is still, after these 50 years, the Best Unknown Band in America. Advanced discographers may quibble about omissions, but High Noon is best enjoyed as a big door into NRBQ's continuing pursuit of the righteous good time in rock & roll classicism, outsider jazz and the Great American Songbook – from the original quintet's explosive antics for Columbia Records in 1969 and 1970 to live and studio work from practically yesterday, under the stubborn leadership of founding pianist Terry Adams. The programming is quixotic: new stuff first, then a checkerboard chronology within eras. The effect, in fact, is exactly like a night on the town with the 'Q: great songs, hot chops and hair-trigger wit, fired at will.

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