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Thursday, April 26th, 2012
Music Reviews

The Beat’s Record Roundup - James Brown, B.B. King and More

James Brown

The Singles Volume Eleven – 1979-1981 (2011)

Hip-O Select

The multi-nicknamed icon’s forgotten period doesn’t quite convince me he was “The Original Disco Man,” but even Brown’s less successful efforts are worth a listen or three. Later, he’d be rediscovered, thanks in no small part to the efforts of Eddie Murphy’s Saturday Night Live hot tub sketch and Sylvester Stallone (Rocky IV and “Living in America,” the latter a hit but way less funky than anything on this collection).

- Christopher C. Manson


B.B. King

Live at the Royal Albert Hall 2011

Shout! Factory

Not bad for an 85-year-old blues legend whose only hit single was “The Thrill Is Gone” (the man says so himself). King certainly doesn’t need any help from Slash, Ronnie Wood, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks and the guy from Simply Red, though it is nice of them to show up and share some love. Also available on DVD and Blu-ray.

- Christopher C. Manson


Marcus Lewis

Facing East

Sharp 11 Records

Atlanta trombonist Lewis is not exactly an old jazz veteran (he’s 34), but he has played with Sugarfoot’s Ohio Players (as in Leroy Bonner), and that makes him instantly cool to a former Dayton guy like me. Yes, and he’s sat in with Aretha Franklin and Bruno Mars, too. Facing East is only five tracks, but Lewis and his seven associates—including a fine pair of saxes and a strong-blowing trumpet—make the most of their 27 minutes of music. Lewis’ horn sings richly, leading like a vocalist over his rhythm section.

- Bruce Collier


Little Richard

Here’s Little Richard

Specialty

Remastered and expanded edition of seminal early rock ‘n roll long player is sufficient evidence that the consistently fine 33 1/3 wasn’t birthed by the Beatles. The great early hits—“Tutti Frutti,” “Ready Teddy,” “Slippin’ and Slidin’,” “Long Tall Sally,” “Rip It Up,” “Jenny Jenny”—are all here, along with a couple of demos and an interview with Specialty Records founder Art Rupe.

- Christopher C. Manson


Hank Roberts, Bill Frisell, et.al.

Everything Is Alive

Winter & Winter

Everything is Alive looks to be the ninth collaboration between cellist Roberts and guitarist Frisell. Jerome Harris plays bass and Kenny Wollesen drums in this mixed bag of an album, truly deserving of the overused word “eclectic.” Frisell, who I’m convinced can play anything, seems to be in a race lately to see how far he can stretch, and who all he can sit in with. Roberts’ sharp, plucky style, gently woven in and out among the 10 tracks, can best be described as folk-cerebral, if there is such a genre.

- Bruce Collier