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Thursday, May 10th, 2012
Music Reviews

The Beat’s Record Roundup - Hotel Oscar, Owsley Brothers, Darius Rucker and More

Darius Rucker

Charleston, SC 1966 (2010)

Capitol Nashville

Since his country music debut in 2008 with Learn To Live, the ex-Hootie frontman settles in for his follow-up, a thematic tribute to his country idol Radney Foster. Teaming up to co-write with Nashville artists like Brad Paisley, Rucker continues to nail some charming radio-friendly mainstream country tunes. “Come Back Song” looks to be his new hit single, and the future looks good for a few others, most notably “I Don’t Care,” imbued with Paisley’s uncanny sense of humor. This is a winner for country fans, and may even convert a few fans outside the genre.

- Edward Jack

Editor’s Note: Rucker performs at Sandestin May 13 as part of the ANNIKA & Friends event—ticket info at This review originally appeared in our October 28, 2010 edition.

Tab Benoit

Legacy: The Best of Tab Benoit


Anthology of Benoit’s decade or so of work for the Telarc label is a fine introduction to the king of Cajun blues and a must for longtime fans. Fourteen tracks showcase the man’s greatness as a singer, musician, interpreter (spot-on covers of “For What It’s Worth,” “I Put a Spell on You” and “New Orleans Ladies”), and live performer (the climactic “Bayou Boogie”).

- Christopher C. Manson

Chuck Berry

Rocks (2011)

Bear Family

My main man Sonny Rollins calls jazz “the umbrella under which all other musics (sic) live,” and this indispensible single disc from the German label makes a similar case for Berry and rock ‘n roll. Similar to The Great Twenty-Eight, but with improved sonics, extensive liner notes, and an additional six cuts. You need this one.

- Christopher C. Manson

Joe Chambers Moving Pictures Orchestra


Recorded live at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola in New York, this album features veteran drummer Chambers showcasing his “Moving Pictures,” a concerto-like suite in four movements composed in 2003. Chambers and his musicians—some half-dozen that double on several instruments—fatten the sound from concert hall to Latin to Big Band stage. The mixture of other material includes Count Basie’s “Theme From M-Squad,” and a couple of Max Roach songs that feature vocalist Nicole Guiland. Parts of it may sound like vintage Tonight Show band riffs, but when you think about it, those guys were pretty good, too.

- Bruce Collier

Romain Collin

The Calling

Palmetto Records

Thanks to this album by French-born pianist and composer Collin, I now know there is a place called the Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz, because Collin graduated from it. The Calling casts Collin as leader of a piano trio of keyboard, drums (Kendrick Scott) and bass (Luques Curtis). It’s an old-school combo record, ideally released in the final days of April, aka National Jazz Month. The 12 tracks take their titles from several genres, including horror (“Pennywise the Clown”) and program music (“The Storm”). There’s even a classic 1960 Horace Silver composition, “Nica’s Dream.” It sparkles and shimmers.

- Bruce Collier

Hotel Oscar

Live at the Funky Blues Shack


Beachcomber Music Award winning trio (Best Rock Band and “Homegrown” Album, 2011-12) overcome subpar recording quality (where’s the crowd noise?) with kick-ass versions of the songs we know and love from Burgers & Fries (“Huckleberry Holiday,” thank God), a pair of new tracks from their forthcoming studio album, and some well-chosen covers. The album art is a montage of photos of musicians, fans and the Beachcomber Editor himself, who is eternally grateful.

- Christopher C. Manson

The Owsley Brothers


Lo-fi my ass. This is one of the best sounding rock records of the year and a superior follow-up to last year’s Beachcomber Music Award nominated Pure Lust, which was pretty great. J.E. Reynolds is one of the area’s top talents, and I suspect these songs would go over even without the reverb and guitar shredding. But I sure am glad they did ’em this way.

- Christopher C. Manson

Space Junkie


Intriguing epic instrumental from the Beachcomber Music Award winners (Best Alternative Band, 2011-12) requires multiple listens before you can get to the bottom of it. And even then…

- Christopher C. Manson