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The Pauseandplay.com Record Roundup

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Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio

Something Smells Funky ‘Round Here

Alligator Records

Blues guitarist Elvin Bishop, pianist-guitarist Bob Welsh and drum box-vocalist Willy Jordan are the Big Fun Trio. Their album’s title song is a political nod, but what follows returns to the boogie and blues fold. Bishop maintains his trademark scratchy, occasionally wailing vocal style. The guitar work has a loose, slippery beer and barbecue joint savor, both smoky and danceworthy. There’s plenty of singing, but lots of good-humored instrumentals (like “Bob’s Boogie” and “Stomp”), which I much preferred. Still, even when they’re complaining, Bishop and his associates sound like they’re having more fun than you.

– Bruce Collier

Christoph Denoth

Tanquero – Music from South America

Signum

Swiss concert guitarist Christoph Denoth aims his formidable (and formidably educated) skills at South American classical music in Tanguero. As the title indicates, there’s tango—including Gerardo Matos Rodriguez’s emblematic “La Cumparsita”—but this is not stereotypical Dancing with the Stars fare. It’s an immersion course in some real South American musical heavyweights—Antonio Lauro, Astor Piazzolla, and others. It’s just Denoth and his instrument—no piano, violin or vocals. He keeps everything focused between head and hands, a one-man chamber concert. A single musician with total control over his instrument can match a full orchestra.

– Bruce Collier

Al Di Meola

Elegant Gypsy & More Live

Earmusic

Part of jazz guitarist Al Di Meola’s Elegant Gypsy & More Live was recorded last year on his 40th anniversary tour showcasing the original Elegant Gypsy. That was Di Meola’s second album. He’s had 25 studio releases, and near as many collaborative and live albums, since. Di Meola’s hard charging rock-and-funk flavored playing still has power. One of the last of the ‘70s fusion giants, his music is a textbook example of the sound that kept people up, passing around the Almaden Mountain Red Wine bottle. To quote Al: “You wanna hear some more? You gotta yell for it!”

– Bruce Collier

Pool Kids

Music to Practice Safe Sex To

Independent

The “math” tag on this Tallahassee indie-rock project is perfectly placed. It alludes to the song structure being more complex and jazz-like than the average emo-flavored fare. Each tune on this album keeps listeners on their toes and jets out into new, unanticipated directions. It’s an all-around smart album—musically adventurous, and a pleasure to spin.

– Nikki Hedrick

Spearman Brewers

Live On The Blue Plate Special

Independent

Recorded this past July at Knoxville, Tennessee’s WDVX radio station for their Blue Plate Special show, Pensacola’s Spearman Brewers continue their quest to spread their take on Piedmont blues as far as possible. Cleanly recorded and with a studio audience in place to cheer them along, this live album is a considerable feather in the band’s cap. Nothing proves the mettle of a band quite like a one-take live album, a test Spearman Brewers passes with flying colors.

– Nikki Hedrick

Viper Pilot

Scream U.S.A.

Independent

Tallahassee has a new pop-punk band on the scene sprinkled with nihilism and counterculture lyrics about hot-button issues. This six-song EP is packed with high-energy riffs and catchy sing-along choruses. Activism and punk have a longstanding history, a principle that Viper Pilot fearlessly tackles and builds from. Here’s to new blood confronting current issues and raising awareness through their art.

– Nikki Hedrick

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