Musicians! Send your CDs, vinyl and/or cassettes to Beachcomber, P.O. Box 5707, Destin, FL 32540 5707. Email MP3s and streaming links to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Christmas Wish
Herb Alpert Presents
My parents were fans of trumpeter Alpert, and for many Christmases there was always a new Tijuana Brass album under the tree. This is his second Christmas album (first was in 1968), and TB has been replaced with a choir and strings. In the tradition of all those celebrity yuletide LPs I still have packed away somewhere, this one offers a mix of sacred and popular tunes. Alpert’s sound, always clear and shiny, floats above a smooth orchestral underpinning. It’s all good holiday stuff. His instrumental “Santa Baby” recording is my new favorite. I always hated those sleazy lyrics.
- Bruce Collier
Cage the Elephant
There are lots of familiar tunes here, including “Whole Wide World,” which is currently getting heavy airplay. But there are plenty of others that are just as good, the sweetest of them “Rubber Ball,” with its almost whimsical instrumentals and endearing vocals. “Instant Crush” is an almost-ballad, though it’s backed up by a persistent drumbeat and some pretty lively strings. “Punchin’ Bag” jumps with a great beat that’s a hybrid of Beatles-era rock and New Alternative. Along with all of the new tracks, Unpeeled contains highly recognizable rereleased singles like “Cigarette Daydreams” and “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked,” making this one of 2017’s most worthwhile listens.
- Joni Williams
Royal Potato Family
Capps isn’t local, but he comes through often enough that we’ve adopted him and root for him on his world tours. This is Capps and his band in fine form, relaxed and dripping with gritty southern soul. Capps’ production choices share a kindred spirit with his live shows—vocals with room to breathe and copious amounts of heart. Grayson Capps is part of the 2018 30A Songwriters Festival lineup.
- Nikki Hedrick
Live at Zardi’s
Verve’s new release has all the earmarks of classic jazz history. Fitzgerald reportedly recorded this live at Zardi’s in Los Angeles in 1956, just days before recording Verve’s first album (of Cole Porter songs). There are 21 tracks, interspersed with Ella chatting and joking with the audience and band. Her voice—modestly girlish and worldly-wise at the same time—is supple and inexhaustibly energetic. Like Sinatra, she can make a three-minute song tell you more than a three-act play. This might be the best one-volume compendium of vintage Ella available, cream of the crop. Treat yourself this Christmas.
- Bruce Collier
Everyday Is Christmas
Our greatest living songwriter (sorry, Mr. Dylan) takes on holiday favorites with pleasing results. He’s still in fine voice, and the inventive arrangements give the moldier oldies (“White Christmas,” etc.) a fresh feel. Among the guest stars here are Take 6 and Trombone Shorty, who were no doubt honored to be invited to this legend’s Christmas party.
- Chris Manson
E Pluribus Americana
The band of recognizable Pensacola faces fuses roots, rock and Americana for a compelling debut. They further tip their hat to their influences with a strong cover of the classic Blind Willie tune ‘Nobody’s Fault But Mine”…after all, what would roots music be without the spirit of the blues? If nothing else, pick up the album because it heavily features slide guitar—I’d love to have more of that on the local scene.
- Nikki Hedrick
Pensacola’s Spearman Brewers are back with nine Cajun-infused blues tracks thick with New Orleans cobblestone traditions and bayou blues. It’s porch-sitting, moonshine-drinking music if there ever was such a thing. Framed with acoustic instrumentation and harmonica, Another Round is a successful outing for the band. I hope we don’t hear about their “closing time” anytime soon.
- Nikki Hedrick
Still Got That Hunger
The End Records
British rock band The Zombies have been around since 1958. “Tell Her No” and “Time of the Season” are part of the soundtrack of my childhood. This album, released in 2015, boasts original band members Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent (who wrote or co-wrote most of the songs), with former Argent and Kinks bassist Jim Rodford, Steve Rodford and Tom Toomey rounding it out. Start with track 5 (“I Want You Back Again” from 1965) and time-travel. Then start at the beginning for more of the same—blues, rock and the occasional flight of Metal Age harmony (think Uriah Heep). The Zombies will appear at the 2018 30A Songwriters Festival.
- Bruce Collier
Our Favorite Music of 2017
The Eagles back on tour.
Portugal. The Man, Woodstock
HAIM, Something to Tell You
Luke Bryan. I saw his interview with Robin Roberts—I liked him before, but I love him now. He is such a kindhearted, genuine person. What you see is what you get both on and off stage.
Magna Carta Cartel, The Demon King EP
Greta Van Fleet, Black Smoke Rising
The xx, I See You
Kendrick Lamar, DAMN.
Vince Staples, Big Fish Theory
Charlotte Gainsbourg, Rest
Kelela, Take Me Apart
The War on Drugs, A Deeper Understanding
Julien Baker, Turn Out the Lights
Will Hoge, “Thoughts & Prayers”
Code Orange, Forever
Converge, The Dusk in Us
Rodney Crowell, Close Ties
Bob Dylan, Triplicate
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, The Nashville Sound
Youssou N’Dour, Afrika Rekk (Reedition)
Randy Newman, Dark Matter
Brad Paisley, Love and War
Sunny Sweeney, Trophy
Daphne Willis, “Somebody’s Someone”
Chuck Berry, Chuck
The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Prince & the Revolution, Purple Rain Deluxe
R.E.M., Automatic for the People (Deluxe Edition)
Dion, Kickin’ Child: The Lost Album 1965
The Replacements, For Sale: Live at Maxwell’s 1986
Dusty Springfield, A Brand New Me: The Complete Philadelphia Sessions
The Rough Guide to Hillbilly Blues
Singles Soundtrack (Deluxe Edition)
FWB Vintage Records is stocked and ready with great gift ideas for your music-loving family, friends and co-workers. Choose from a huge selection of vintage vinyl records, newly remastered albums on vinyl, plus 45s, CDs and cassettes. We also carry new and vintage turntables, receivers and speakers, Ortofon phono cartridges, record cleaning kits and supplies, posters, prayer candles, pins, stickers, lunch boxes, vintage signs, Beatles bags and gift certificates. Open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday and Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesdays. Located at 217 Racetrack Road NW in Fort Walton Beach. Discover more at www.fortwaltonvintagerecords.com.