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Friday, April 27th, 2018
Music Reviews

Satchmo, Kacey Musgraves, The Good Lookings and More... The Pauseandplay.com Record Roundup

Musicians: Send your CDs, vinyl and/or cassettes to Beachcomber, P.O. Box 5707, Destin, FL 32540-5707. Email MP3s and streaming links to chris@beachcomberdestin.com.


Louis Armstrong

Pops Is Tops: The Verve Studio Albums

Verve

It’s been a good year so far for jazz legends—Sidney Bechet and now Louis Armstrong. Pops is Tops offers some 72 recordings, including rehearsals, false starts, alternates and studio chatter. Oscar Peterson sits in on a few tracks. It’s later career, American Songbook stuff—“Blues in the Night,” “Willow Weep for Me,” and “I Get a Kick Out of You,” the fare for which Armstrong and his colleagues (Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald) set the bar almost impossibly high. It’s a master class in phrasing alone. This one begs to be taken home, loosed, and just allowed to free-range.

- Bruce Collier


Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong

Cheek to Cheek – The Complete Duet Recordings

Verve

Louis Armstrong Retrospective Month on Verve continues with 75 tracks pairing Pops with Ella Fitzgerald. There are some alternates, retakes, etc., but it’s a treasure chest for both artists. In addition to the standards (“I Get a Kick Out of You” and “It Ain’t Necessarily So”), there are some lesser-known gems like “Frim Fram Sauce” and Fitzgerald’s hauntingly simple take on “Oh Doctor Jesus.” The two lay down some terrific, tingling excerpts and medleys from Porgy and Bess, including a “Summertime” that reminds you just what simply formidable instruments these geniuses possessed.

- Bruce Collier


Few Miles South

Might Could

Dang Ole Moose Records

Not strictly local, but this country group has some roots in the area and enough spunk to make a splash on the national level. With strong female vocals and traditional country instrumentation, Few Miles South is apt to make fans out of even the most jaded country connoisseurs. Standouts include the title track, with its spin on countrygirl-power, and “On Down the Road,” with alternating acoustic and pedal steel guitar riffing.

- Nikki Hedrick


The Good Lookings

The Good Lookings

Independent

They’ve been making waves all over Destin and Fort Walton Beach, and now the band has an EP of original tunes just waiting for you to spin. The Good Lookings’ currency is upbeat rock music, the kind that’s easy to move your feet to and makes you want to sing along. Maybe the band should change their name to The Good Hearings since this EP is so enjoyable. (That’s a spin on Myke VanNess’ jokes about the band name—please, no hate mail.)

- Nikki Hedrick


Dave Liebman and John Stowell

Petite Fleur: The Music of Sidney Bechet

Origin Records

Saxophonist Liebman and guitarist Stowell collaborate on 12 tracks of seldom-recorded songs by legendary jazz clarinetist-soprano saxophonist Sidney Bechet. A notoriously difficult person, Bechet had one of those careers where the musician’s misbehavior can overshadow his music. But like his fellow New Orleanian Louis Armstrong, Bechet was one of the founding fathers of modern jazz. His manner of playing stressed personal identification with the music, and singularity of tone. Liebman and Stowell skillfully employ their artistry in giving center stage to Bechet. Definitely the smart play.

- Bruce Collier


Kacey Musgraves

Golden Hour

MCA Nashville

Kacey Musgraves’ third studio album is one of the most refreshing releases of the year. The Texas native is getting bolder in her sound, highlighting her knack for vivid country storytelling with fresh, disco-leaning melodies. Musgraves’ expansion in her style allows for the sincerity of her lyrics to shine brighter and stick, whether she’s meditating on her own limits, missing her mom, or feeling the butterflies of a new, warm love. Golden Hour is about the big feelings conjured by life’s little moments, and the result is a record as infectious as it is affecting.

- Jane Morgan


No Convictions

No Convictions

Upstate Records

Specializing in what they deem “Beatdown Hardcore,” Panama City’s No Convictions is super heavy ear candy. But there is more to this angry music than mosh-worthy tempos and high energy deliveries. Lyrically, No Convictions touches on social issues like racism and anti-authoritarian messages like many genre forefathers. While lots of hardcore bands seem focused on personal trials, it’s nice to see No Convictions maintain an extensive well to pull their songs from.

- Nikki Hedrick


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