Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New Music Releases – November 24, 2009

Lots of interesting releases this week including: Miles Davis- The Complete Columbia Album Collection 71-disc (70 CDs and 1 DVD). This collection combines 52 of Davis's albums (with bonus tracks) along with a 250-page booklet and a 1967 live DVD. Also we have the Pixies - Minotaur (Deluxe Edition) (5-CD, 6-Blu-ray DVD, 6-DVD box set), Britney Spears The Singles Collection (deluxe 30-CD box set), Buddy Holly - Not Fade Away The Complete Studio Recordings and More (6-CD box set), Genesis - The Movie Box, 1981-2007 (5-DVD box set), Kraftwerk - The Catalogue (8-CD box set), Thompson Twins - Thompson Twins Box Set (8-CD box set) and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - The Live Anthology (4-CD box set). We also have the long awaited album from Susan Boyle (I Dreamed A Dream) and American Idol runner up Adam Lambert (For Your Entertainment). There’s also four Neil Young remastered LPS, three Beatles remasters, Moby - Wait for Me (2-CD & DVD edition) and Medeski Martin & Wood - Radiolarians The Evolutionary Set (5-CD, 2-LP, 1-DVD box set). Look for new music by Bon Jovi (The Circle), Lady Gaga Murder By Death, Rihanna (Rated R) and Shakira (She Wolf). And to show that Christmas is on the way, we even have Bob Dylan (Christmas in the Heart) on vinyl!

Buy New Music Here!

Adam Lambert - For Your Entertainment
Adriana Evans - Nomadic
A-Ha - Nothing Is Keeping You
Alexandre Desplat - The Twilight Saga New Moon The Score
Beatles - A Hard Day's Night (remastered CD & t-shirt)
Beatles - Help! (remastered CD & t-shirt)
Beatles: Magical Mystery Tour (remastered CD & t-shirt)
Beautiful Supermachines - Shut Up
Birdman - Pricele$$
Black Diamond Heavies - Live at the Covington Masonic Lodge (vinyl)
Blakroc - Blakroc
Blur - All The People... Blur Live In Hyde Park 7/2/2009
Bob Dylan - Christmas in the Heart (vinyl)
Bon Jovi - The Circle
Brett Anderson - Slow Attack
Brian Jonestown Massacre - One (vinyl)
Brimstone Howl - Big Deal (vinyl)
Britney Spears - Britney Spears The Singles Collection (deluxe 30-CD box set)
Bryan Ferry - The Best of Bryan Ferry
Buddy Holly - Not Fade Away The Complete Studio Recordings and More (6-CD box set)
CFCF - Continent (vinyl)
David Sardy - Zombieland Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Dethklok - Dethalbum II (vinyl)
Elbow - Seldom Seen Kid (Live at Abbey Road) (CD & DVD)
Evan Miller - Beeswax Ephemera
Fever Ray - Fever Ray (2-CD & DVD edition)
Fever Tree - Fever Tree (vinyl remastered)
Genesis - The Movie Box, 1981-2007 (5-DVD box set)
Georgia Anne Muldrow - Early
Gift of Gab - Escape 2 Mars
Gov't Mule - By a Thread (vinyl)
Gray Matter - Take It Back (vinyl reissue)
Holopaw - Oh, Glory. Oh, Wilderness.
Ike Reilly - Hard Luck Stories
James Pants - The Seven Seals
Jamie Cullum - Pursuit
Jay Reatard - Blood Visions (reissue)
Jay Sean - All or Nothing
Kraftwerk - The Catalogue (8-CD box set)
Lady Gaga - Bad Romance
Lady Gaga - The Fame Monster (2-CD edition)
LCD Soundsystem - 45 33 Remixes (vinyl)
Les Claypool - Of Whales and Woe (vinyl reissue)
Les Claypool Frog Brigade - Purple Onion (vinyl reissue)
Loney Dear - Citadel Band (vinyl)
Love - Love Lost
Martin Sexton - Black Sheep (vinyl reissue)
Medeski Martin & Wood - Radiolarians The Evolutionary Set (5-CD, 2-LP, 1-DVD box set)
Melody Gardot - My One & Only Thrill + Live in Paris EP
Memphis Bleek - The Process E2
Mercury Program - Chez Viking (vinyl)
Miles Davis - The Complete Columbia Album Collection (70-CD & 1-DVD box set)
Miracle Condition - Miracle Condition
Moby - Wait for Me (2-CD & DVD edition)
Murder By Death - Finch

Neil Young - After the Gold Rush (vinyl remastered)
Neil Young - Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (vinyl remastered)
Neil Young - Harvest (vinyl remastered)
Neil Young - Neil Young (vinyl remastered)

Buy Neil Young Music Here

NOFX - Cokie the Clown EP
Nosound - A Sense of Loss
Numero Group - Light: On the South Side/Pepper’s Jukebox
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez - Xenophanes (vinyl)
Oren Ambarchi - Intermission 2000-2008
Paramore - Brand New Eyes (vinyl)
Partis - Cryin' Shame
Pixies - Minotaur (Deluxe Edition) (5-CD, 6-Blu-ray DVD, 6-DVD box set)
Primus - Frizzle Fry (vinyl remastered)
Queen - Absolute Greatest (remastered)
Raincoats - The Raincoats (remastered)
Ramones - KSAN Show Live
Red Sparowes - Aphorisms (vinyl)
Rihanna - Rated R
Russian Circles - Geneva (black vinyl)
Russian Circles - Geneva (clear vinyl)
Shakira - She Wolf
Slew - 100% (vinyl)
Sting - Sting A Winter's Night...Live from Durham Cathedral
Susan Boyle - I Dreamed A Dream
Swell Season - Strict Joy (vinyl)
Tahiti 80 - Activity Center
Telepathic Butterfiles - Wow & Flutter!
The Black Keys - Blakroc
The Lucy Show - ...undone (reissue)
Thompson Twins - Thompson Twins Box Set (8-CD box set)
Timbaland - Shock Value 2
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - The Live Anthology (4-CD box set)
Tom Waits - Glitter and Doom Live (vinyl)
Townes Van Zandt - In The Beginning
Underworld - Athens
Various Artists - A Very Special Christmas Volume 7
Various Artists - Alan Lomax in Haiti (10-CD box set)
Various Artists - Californication Season 3 (soundtrack)
Various Artists - Daptone Gold (2-LP vinyl)
Various Artists - Ninja Assassin: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Various Artists - Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (soundtrack)
Various Artists - The Princess and the Frog (soundtrack)
Various Artists - Wrecktrospective

Music News & Notes

Lambert Performance Draws Complaints

Of the millions of viewers who watched the American Music Awards Sunday night, only 1,500 people called in complaints to ABC following Adam Lambert’s controversial, show-closing performance. According to Reuters, the Federal Communications Commission would not confirm nor deny whether viewers registered complaints with the agency following Lambert’s “For Your Entertainment,” which featured simulated oral sex with a male backup dancer, a brief make-out session with a male keyboardist and a middle finger to the stunned audience.

If I may add a lttile editorial, quite frankly, this freak does not belong on television. I thought it was beyond 'way over the top' and I was embarrassed for the audience who had to sit there and watch it. Me? I just turned the channel, it was that bad. It is sickening that every singer has to come out there with an entourage of dancers and props - hell, just sing the freaking song and let your voice and the music be what is important, because frankly, that's what it is supposed to be about.


Yes, it's that time of year

ASCAP Announces the Top 25 Holiday Songs of the Decade

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) has released their list of the 25 most played holiday songs over the last decade. ASCAP tracks the number of plays each song on the radio receives so it knows how to pay out to the composers and publishers.

Topping the list for the decade is one of the oldest songs, Winter Wonderland, which was first recorded in 1934, followed by The Christmas Song and Sleigh Ride.

Most notable is that all except two of the songs in the 25 would be considered holiday standards and those two songs, Wonderful Christmastime and Do They Know It's Christmas?, land at numbers 24 and 25.

ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams commented on how hard it is to get new music on the list. "This is a tough list for any of us to break into. There's a sense that people tend to gravitate towards tradition, especially at the holidays, and our top 25 list confirms this. So, whether you're listening to holiday music on an iPod or a vintage record player, these time-honored favorites are sure to evoke the magic of the season and memories of holidays past."

There are a couple of changes on the list of the artist with the most performed version. After decades of hearing Jingle Bell Rock by Bobby Helms, the Daryl Hall and John Oates version has taken over as the most played. Also changing leading performer is Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let is Snow! (Aaron Neville to Michael Buble), I'll Be Home for Christmas (Amy Grant to Josh Groban), Silver Bells (Kenny G to Anne Murray) and Frosty the Snowman (Ronettes to the Beach Boys)

Remember that ASCAP is one of two performance rights organizations in the U.S. If there are songs that you are sure you hear every year yet aren't on the list, they are most likely by songwriters affiliated with Broadcast Music, Incorporated (BMI).

Here's the top 25 of the decade with each entry followed by the songwriter and the aretist who recorded the most played version.

1.Winter Wonderland - Felix Bernard, Richard B. Smith (Eurythmics)

2.The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) - Mel Tormé, Robert Wells (Nat King Cole)

3.Sleigh Ride - Leroy Anderson, Mitchell Parish (Ronettes)

4.Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Ralph Blane, Hugh Martin (Pretenders)

5.Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - Fred Coots, Haven Gillespie (Bruce Springsteen)

6.White Christmas - Irving Berlin (Bing Crosby)

7.Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! - Sammy Cahn, Jule Styne (Michael Buble)

8.Jingle Bell Rock - Joseph Carleton Beal, James Ross Boothe (Daryl Hall & John Oates)

9.Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer - Johnny Marks (Gene Autrey)

10.Little Drummer Boy - Katherine K. Davis, Henry V. Onorati, Harry Simeone (Harry Simeone Chorale & Orchestra)

11.It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year - Edward Pola, George Wyle (Andy Williams)

12.I'll Be Home For Christmas - Walter Kent, Kim Gannon, Buck Ram (Josh Groban)

13.Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree - Johnny Marks (Brenda Lee)

14.Silver Bells - Jay Livingston, Ray Evans (Anne Murray)

15.Feliz Navidad - José Feliciano (Jose Feliciano)

16.Frosty The Snowman - Steve Nelson, Walter E. Rollins (Beach Boys)

17.A Holly Jolly Christmas - Johnny Marks (Burl Ives)

18.Blue Christmas - Billy Hayes, Jay W. Johnson (Elvis Presley)

19.It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas - Meredith Willson (Johnny Mathis)

20.I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus - Tommie Connor (PRS) (John Mellencamp)

21.Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane) - Gene Autry, Oakley Haldeman (Elvis Presley)

22.(There's No Place Like) Home For The Holidays - Bob Allen, Al Stillman (Perry Como)

23.Carol Of The Bells - Peter J. Wilhousky, Mykola Leontovich (David Foster)

24.Wonderful Christmastime - Paul McCartney (Paul McCartney)

25.(24) Do They Know It's Christmas? (Feed the World) - Midge Ure (PRS), Bob Geldof (PRS) (Band Aid)


The Strokes Hope To Record Fourth Album In January

The Strokes are hoping to start recording their much anticipated fourth studio album in January.

Writing on his side project Nickel Eye's Twitter page, Nikolai Fraiture said The Strokes are on the hunt for a suitable studio with their manager Ryan Gentles.

He tweeted: “While the guys are in LA, I went to scout some studios in NYC with Ryan today for what looks like Jan recording!!! mood = fucking excited!”

However, speaking to Pitchfork, Julian Casablancas was slightly more cautious about the band reconvening.

"We're supposed to get back together in January but don't hold me to that. We've been trying to do it for years. I'm always available and they know that but getting together is tough," he explained.


Here are a selection of box-set offerings this season:

AC/DC "Backtracks" (Sony)

The essence of a box set is great packaging, lots of swag and hard-to-find content. All that is here on the latest AC/DC box set. The high-end version comes in a box made to look like a road-worn amplifier, complete with AC/DC logo. But look - the top comes off to reveal one of the treasures inside actually IS a working amplifier that you can plug a guitar into a jam along!

The three CDs lean heavily on B-sides and live tracks that were released piecemeal as part of something else, and not a whole lot can be considered truly rare. That's particularly true with the early tracks featuring original singer Bon Scott, who died in 1980. But the band has pretty much scraped the bottom of the Bon barrel in previous post-mortem releases. The most interesting Scott track here is a live version of "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" from Sydney, Australia in 1977.

The other two CDs feature various live cuts with current singer Brian Johnson, nicely mixed and cleaned up from the soundboard. Two DVDs include alternate versions of many promo videos (there's some nice Bon Scott stuff here), as well as a 2003 concert in a tiny club in Germany.

The set also comes with a 164-page coffee table book laden with previously unpublished photos from 1974 to the present, a vinyl record duplicating the first CD of "rarities," a poster from their 1977 European tour, buttons, stickers, temporary tattoos and a 1975 vintage AC/DC guitar pick. It's not cheap, at $200-plus, but for true fans, it's probably worth it.

- Wayne Parry, AP Writer

Michael Jackson, "Hello World: The Motown Solo Collection" (Motown)

While the documentary "This Is It" shows Michael Jackson as a man able to thrill with his smooth moves and voice up until his death, the three-CD box set "Hello World: The Motown Solo Collection" shows Jackson as a boy launching into the pop stratosphere.

With a bright yellow package depicting a cherubic, Afro-haired Jackson on the cover, the superb collection features every Jackson solo recording released from 1971 to 1975 - albums "Got To Be There," "Ben," "Music & Me" and "Forever, Michael." Also included are songs released from the Jackson vault after he became the King of Pop, the 1984 album "Farewell My Summer Love" and 1986's "Looking Back to Yesterday," featuring previously unreleased masters.

Bonus tracks, colorful photos, album covers, original liner notes and essays by Motown's Suzee Ikeda and author and professor Mark Anthony Neal complete the box set.

Most of all, "Hello World" showcases Jackson's glorious voice, an instrument so nuanced that he sounds much older and wiser than his young years. A spoken word intro leads into Jackson's soulful cover of the Bill Withers classic "Ain't No Sunshine": Jackson lets his boyish falsetto soar over backing strings, in complete control over the vocal dips and swoops.

Other tunes span from harpsichord-tinged ballads to funky gems such as "Rockin' Robin," a sure-fire hip shaker. His voice lowers in register on "Forever, Michael," taking on the more mature tone to define his later albums and hits.

Just to hear a sweet-voiced Jackson take on Edwin Starr's soul stomper "Twenty-Five Miles," wailing over distorted guitar, makes this collection truly worth it.

- Solvej Schou, AP Writer

"Def Jam 25" (Def Jam)

There is no Jay-Z without the Def Jam label. No Public Enemy. No Kanye West, Beastie Boys, Rihanna or LL Cool J. Sure, these game-changing talents would have been heard regardless. But Def Jam had the savvy and sheer willpower to make them superstars.

That's why this five-disc history of Def Jam's 25-year history is an essential ingredient for any serious rap music collection. Even if you have all the songs in album or single form, or buried among thousands of MP3s in your computer, the box set's track sequence puts them in context, connecting the dots as rap moves from fringe to revolution to mountaintop.

The Def Jam story starts when party promoter/artist manager Russell Simmons met punk rocker/rap producer Rick Rubin, who was making records out of his New York University dorm room. Their first hit - and the box set's first song - was LL Cool J's "I Need A Beat."

That cut was just a voice and a drum machine. By the end of disc one, rap has taken a sonic quantum leap with Public Enemy's furious "Fight the Power." The whole collection is filled with such fascinating evolutions and connections: Nikki D to Foxy Brown; Boss to Rick Ross; Onyx to DMX; Sisqo to Ne-Yo.

There also are one-hit wonders (Montell "This Is How We Do It" Jordan) gems (Method Man and Mary J. Blige's "You're All I Need To Get By") and enough Jeezy and Ludacris to keep Atlanta happy. And, of course, Jay-Z, from his breakthrough "Hard Knock Life" to his appearance on Rihanna's "Umbrella."

Jay-Z's presence means more than just timeless lyrics. He represents the industry smarts and hustle of Simmons and his alter ego, Lyor Cohen, who succeeded Rubin as Def Jam partner and resident Caucasian. There have been a lot of big rap labels over the past 25 years. Only Def Jam has played the vicious rap game to perfection without getting played.

None of the Def Jam stars got killed. Russell Simmons is now a hip-hop institution. Cohen is the heir to Ahmet Ertegun. Rick Rubin's 24-carat ears are headed to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. There is no "show" without the "business," and Def Jam did both better than any rap label ever.

- Jesse Washington, AP National Writer

"Miles Davis: The Complete Columbia Album Collection" (Columbia/Legacy)

Miles Davis never liked to look back, always staying contemporary as he moved from bebop at the beginning of his career to hip-hop at the end. With this 70-CD collection, released to coincide with a major exhibition "We Want Miles" at a Paris museum, Davis deservedly becomes the first jazz musician to receive the comprehensive treatment usually reserved for a Mozart or von Karajan in the classical realm.

But the trumpeter's constant evolution caused some fans to drop away - particularly post-1970 when he turned away from acoustic music to play electro-fusion jazz. Those fans probably won't have much need for this collection - comprising the more than 50 albums Davis recorded for Columbia from 1955-85 - because they've already collected their favorite sessions plus bonus material in reissues from Columbia/Legacy's ambitious Miles Davis Series since 1996.

But this collection has a smattering of rarities and unreleased material to whet the interests of the Davis completist - including the first official release of Davis' full-length concert at the 1970 Isle of Wright festival in a band with keyboard players Chick Corea and Keith Jarrett, and a bonus DVD "Live in Europe '67," the first video to be officially commercially released featuring Davis' groundbreaking quintet with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. There are also two unissued tracks from a live recording of Davis' bebop quintet with pianist Tadd Dameron from a 1949 Paris concert, the only CD in the collection representing the trumpeter's formative years (originally released as an LP by Columbia in 1977 during Davis' five-year health-related hiatus).

The CDs - packaged in Japanese-style mini-CD jackets replicating in most cases the original cover art work - are also presented chronologically by recording session date. That enhances the collection's appeal for younger, open-minded listeners who may have heard only a few Davis albums and want to follow more closely his remarkable career. The collection - sold exclusively through Amazon.com for about $330, or under $5 per disc - includes a booklet with a basic biographical overview by French critic Frederic Goaty and capsule descriptions and discographical details on each album.

The collection does not include Davis' earliest and last recordings for other labels, but his 30-year relationship with Columbia yielded an extraordinary body of work that's all here with bonus material from previous Legacy reissues.

- Charles J. Gans, AP Writer

Various Artists, "Woodstock - 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur's Farm" (Rhino)

First there was the triple album. Then came its sequel, a double album.

Now the single largest collection of music from the three-day Woodstock festival has been gathered in the six-CD box set "Woodstock - 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur's Farm." Even with 77 songs, what's presented is a mere sliver of what was actually played at the concert 40 years ago. It would take 30 discs, not six, to release all of it.

The box set does a lot of things right - including sequencing the music in the actual order in which it was played, to at least give a reasonable semblance of what it was like there over those three days.

It also offers up more snippets of stage banter, including the entirety of farmer Max Yasgur's gracious speech to the half-million concert-goers on his property and prolonged warnings about which type of acid (not the brown!!) to take.

Unfortunately, only half of the songs are previously unreleased. That means true Woodstock aficionados will have to pay, again, for much of the music they already own.

But for anyone who hasn't upgraded from the vinyl of the original soundtrack, or never bothered to buy any of the music, this is the way to go.

There's really no way to put out a decent box set on Woodstock without including most of the music that was on the first record, anyhow. Those songs from Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Country Joe & The Fish, Jefferson Airplane and Janis Joplin were, and are, the best the festival had to offer.

Hearing them against some of the weaker previously unreleased songs only helps to make that point even more clearly.

- Scott Bauer, AP Writer

Various Artists, "Where the Action Is! Los Angeles Nuggets 1965-1968" (Rhino)

Los Angeles Nuggets refers not to a 1960s team in the American Basketball Association, but to tunes recorded by L.A. acts largely overlooked during rock's heyday.

While fans elsewhere were focused on happenings in London and San Francisco, a lively club scene developed on Sunset Strip in the mid-1960s, with performers drawing on influences that ranged from the Rolling Stones to the Monkees, "Sgt. Pepper" to "Pet Sounds," and Bob Dylan to Bo Diddley. Rhino has collected the era's Southern California sound in a 101-song, four-CD package, and it's a lively set. After all, rock 'n' roll was still a teenager then.

The collection would have benefited from a narrower focus - the scope includes such forgotten bands as the Others, the Hysterics and London Phogg, but also the Beach Boys, Byrds and Doors. The range in quality is broad, too, with surprising gems from the Light, the Garden Club and the Knack (the California version), but also a weak Monkees tune ("Daily Nightly") and bagpipes on an awful rendition of "I Love How You Love Me." There are lots of lovely three-part harmonies, but also too many tambourines, bad guitar solos and spasms of druggy '60s weirdness.

Still, Rhino knows how to make musical time travel fun. The antecedents of every L.A. group from the Eagles to X are here, along with early-career performances by Randy Newman, Lowell George, Stephen Stills, Ry Cooder and Warren Zevon. As always, Rhino's packaging is first-rate, with extensive liner notes and photos in a Dr. Seuss-style book. "Nuggets" offers a welcome alternative to the local classic rock radio station.

- Steven Wine, AP Writer

Richard Thompson, "Walking On a Wire (1968-2009)" (Shout! Factory)

The one-of-a-kind fretwork we've heard before, and Richard Thompson on guitar remains as distinctive and thrilling as contemporaries Jimi, Jimmy or Jerry. The boundary-defying blend of musical genres is familiar, too, as is the potent lyrical cocktail: two parts melancholy, one part humor (which pretty much mirrors real life).

No, there's nothing new in "Walking On a Wire," a four-CD, career-spanning set. Yet the collection is revelatory because it shows how consistently Thompson has delivered through the years. There's not a dud in this 71-song batch, and the many highlights are sprinkled across the decades.

The list of 1960s musicians still vital is short but includes Thompson, whose muse has never flagged. Perhaps the best song he ever wrote is the penultimate selection in this set, the poignant but funny "Dad's Gonna Kill Me," inspired by the Iraq war.

Or maybe the best song is "1952 Vincent Black Lightning," a folk tune from 1991 about keys to a motorcycle and much more. Or maybe it's "Dimming of the Day" from 1975, a ballad lovelier than a Land's End sunset. Or maybe it's "Tear Stained Letter" from 1983, which finds common ground in the music of a Kansas City roadhouse and an Irish pub.

Vote for your own favorite - "Walking On a Wire" includes at least one song from every Thompson album. He generously gives ex-wife Linda an extended turn in the spotlight, which is warranted because longtime fans still mourn the demise of their partnership in 1982. There are five cuts from his days with Fairport Convention, and obscurities from live albums Thompson released as "official bootlegs" are among the gems.

Missing is his cover of the Britney Spears hit "Oops! ... I Did It Again." Also absent is "The End of the Rainbow," perhaps the best gloomy lullaby ever. With Thompson, four CDs of material simply isn't enough.

- Steven Wine, AP Writer

Various, "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Live (9-DVD box-set)" (Time Life)

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is an odd thing. It's always felt a little late to the party, in a why-didn't-they-think-of-this-earlier-and-why-Cleveland kind of way. Yet, for its foibles, it has its place shouldn't be besmirched for recognizing rock music greatness.

This nine-DVD set attempts to deliver the cream of the crop performances from a quarter-century of induction ceremonies. It's a bit of a hit-and-miss. The star-studded lineups look good on paper, but having them attempt to pull off enjoyable impromptu jam sessions is asking a bit much.

When the artists are pulling their own weight, things go along just fine. It's neat to see Roebuck "Pops" Staples dancing the Staple Singers off the stage in 1999 after a moving rendition of "I'll Take You There." Some groups never lost their chops.

And 2005 inductee Percy Sledge gives it his all in singing his timeless love ballad "When A Man Loves A Woman." Sure he hits a few sour notes here and there, but the effort is there on his day in the sun.

But the cluster of appreciation can detract from some of the performances as well. In 1992, Johnny Cash was inducted and performed "Big River" at the ceremony with the help of what must have been everyone with a guitar from the surrounding 50 miles. Keith Richards tries mightily to add zest to the Cash fete, but gets lost in a sea of balding bodies directing traffic on stage.

The performances show a little more maturity in recent years, as does the recording and production value.

- Ron Harris, AP Writer

Pearl Jam, "Ten" (Super Deluxe Edition Box-set) (Epic)

On Aug. 27, 1991, Seattle's grunge scene would begin a trek to its zenith. Pearl Jam released the album "Ten" and seemingly every American male between 13 and 30 had a new favorite band.

And why not? Side A, with the unforgettable songs "Black" and "Jeremy," is arguably the strongest front half of an American rock album - ever.

Now to fete that standout album comes not one but four different box-set editions of "Ten," remixed, remastered and retaining the same power that drove it up the charts and made it a music shelf staple.

The Super Deluxe Edition includes a CD of the original album, digitally remastered; a second remastered CD, with six bonus tracks; four vinyl LPs, including a live concert recording made at Magnuson Park in Seattle; and even a cassette featuring demo versions of "Alive" and "Once" from "Ten."

The vinyl is the real cream of the crop here. It's 180-gram audiophile weight vinyl and gives a nice analog feel to the seminal album, with its pounding assault of Eddie Vedder's voice and Dave Krusen's aggressive yet fluid drum work.

The set includes a composition notebook with replicated personal notes and images from Vedder and bassist Jeff Ament.

Better still is the DVD of Pearl Jam's 1992 "MTV Unplugged" performance. Hearing them less amplified shows they weren't simply hiding behind a wall of sound. It's simply good music, plugged or unplugged.

Pearl Jam was originally named Mookie Blaylock, after the former NBA point guard. They've even thrown his rookie card into the package for style points.

- Ron Harris, AP Writer

Ella Fitzgerald, "Twelve Nights in Hollywood" (Verve)

This 4-CD collection is a real gem unearthed from Verve's vaults - 73 previously unreleased live small group recordings from the "First Lady of Song," in some cases (for example "I Can't Get Started') these are the first and/or only live versions of the songs she ever recorded. This is Ella at the creative peak of her career - from the same period when she was in the studio recording her critically acclaimed "Songbook" albums devoted to the great American popular composers and lyricists.

Nor are these scratchy amateurish recordings. Verve founder Norman Granz personally supervised the live recordings over 12 nights in 1961 and 1962 of every set Fitzgerald performed with her quartet in the intimate setting of Los Angeles' Crescendo Club - but only 12 tunes ended up on the 1961 album "Ella in Hollywood."

This collection finds Ella ranging through her entire repertoire from the familiar to the obscure, including new versions of her earliest hits ("A-Tisket, A-Tasket") and those of her peers Billie Holiday ("Good Morning Heartache") and Frank Sinatra ("The Lady is A Tramp").

Ella swings hard on uptempo numbers ("Lover Come Back to Me"), slowly caresses ballads ("But Not For Me"), sings the blues ("Baby, Won't You Please Come Home") and scats madly ("Take the 'A' Train").

And there's the spontaneity and humor ever present in Ella's live performances - whether she's messing up the lyrics to "Blue Moon" without skipping a beat, affectionately imitating Louis Armstrong and Dinah Washington on "Bill Bailey," or suddenly improvising her own Twist song when momentarily distracted by noise from dancers in an upstairs room in the midst of singing "Too Darn Hot."

- Charles J. Gans, AP Writer

Keith Jarrett, "Testament: Paris/London" (ECM)

It's been more than 35 years since Keith Jarrett created his own distinctive genre with his spontaneously composed solo piano concerts, melding the finesse and command of a classically trained virtuoso with the improvisational imagination of a top-flight jazz musician. After being sidelined by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome a decade ago, Jarrett has revised his approach to his solo concerts. On the 3-CD "Testament," presenting two late 2008 concerts in Paris and London, he's curbed the youthful exuberance that found expression in epic 40-minute-plus journeys on albums such as the multi-platinum 1975 "Koln Concert" in favor of loosely connected shorter improvised segments with more emphasis on melody and restraint in playing.

In his unusually personal liner notes, the usually private pianist reveals that these two concerts were hastily arranged at a time he needed to plunge into work because of the emotional turmoil surrounding the breakup of his marriage of 30 years. He found himself on the verge of a nervous breakdown observing cheerful couples preparing for the holiday season. But that only gave these performances a more powerful emotional impact.

The Paris concert offers sharp contrasts, beginning with some dissonant passages before Jarrett hits full stride, playing a soothing pastoral ballad in the next-to-last part before closing with rumbling flurries of notes. The London concert best illustrates Jarrett's wide-ranging tastes - jazz, blues, gospel, classical, Americana, atonal contemporary music, and pulsating vamps. The concert begins with somewhat dark melancholic melodies but ends triumphantly with Jarrett pounding out a buoyant, almost gospel-like inspirational anthem.

Above all, Jarrett offers a testament to the healing power of music to see us through troubled times.

- Charles J. Gans, AP Writer

This Date In Music History-November 24


Jim Yester - Association (1939)

Donald "Duck" Dunn - Booker T. & the MG's (1941)

Pete Best - ex-Beatles drummer (1941)

Robin Williams - The Incredible String Band (1943)

Bev Bevan - Electric Light Orchestra (1944)

Lee Michaels (1945)

Clem Burke - Blondie (1955)

Chris Hayes - Huey Lewis and the News (1957)

John Squire - Stone Roses (1962)

Gary Stonadge - Big Audio Dynamite (1962)

Tony Rombola - Godsmack (1964)

Chad Taylor - Live (1970)

They Are Missed:

Singer Big Joe Turner died of a heart attack in 1985. His enormous voice made blues hits like "Shake Rattle & Roll" a precursor to rock 'n' roll.

Eric Carr (Paul Charles Caravello) drummer with Kiss died in 1991 (age 41), of complications from cancer in a New York hospital. Carr replaced Peter Criss in 1980 and remained a band member until he became ill in 1991. For his Kiss stage persona, Carr was known as “The Fox.”

Freddie Mercury died of complications from aids at his home in London's Holland park in 1991 (age 45), just one day after he publicly admitted he was HIV positive. Mercury was openly bisexual and enjoyed a colorful rock star lifestyle. During his career with Queen he scored over 40 Top 40 UK singles including the worldwide #1 hit "Bohemian Rhapsody."

American blues guitarist and singer Albert Collins died of lung cancer in 1993 (age 61). Known as “The master of the telecaster”, he shared a Grammy for the 1985 album Showdown! which he recorded with Robert Cray and Johnny Copeland.

Junior Walker ("Shotgun") died of cancer in 1995.

English drummer Michael Lee died from a seizure in 2008 (age 39). Worked with Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, Little Angels, The Cult, Ian Gillan, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Quireboys and Thin Lizzy.


The first commercial radio station in the UK, Radio Manx based on The Isle of Man started broadcasting in 1964.

The "Frank Sinatra: A Man And His Music" TV special aired on NBC in 1965.

Elvis Presley's "Harum Scarum" movie was released in 1965.

In 1966, the Beatles began recording sessions for the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band LP, laying tracks for "Strawberry Fields Forever" — the track, however, doesn't make the album.

Diana Ross and The Supremes were at #1 on the US singles chart in 1968 with "Love Child."

The Beatles released the epic “White Album” in the US in 1968.

The Rolling Stones' Let it Bleed, which contained the original versions of "You Can't Always Get What You Want," "Honky Tonk Woman" and "Midnight Rambler" but no hit singles, was certified gold in 1969.

In 1972, the Los Angeles Coliseum played host to the Woodstock of the West festival, sponsored by KROQ. Performers included Stevie Wonder, Sly & the Family Stone, the Bee Gees, and the Eagles. But only 32,000 people made their way into the 100,000-seat venue. Where's Wavy Gravy when you need him?

Also in 1972, ABC-TV debuts its late-night rock show, "In Concert," put together by the same guy who brought us "The Monkees," Don Kirshner. The first show starred Alice Cooper, Chuck Berry, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Poco and the Allmans.

Ringo Starr went to #1 on the US singles chart in 1973 with "Photograph," his first of two US chart toppers as a solo artist.

Makaveli, (aka 2Pac) was at #1 on the US album chart in 1996 with "The Don Killuminati - The 7 Day Theory."

Jay-Z was at #1 on the US album chart in 2002 with "The Blueprint 2," the rapper’s first US #1 album.

Winners at the 2006 American Music Awards included, Kelly Clarkson, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Shakira, Jamie Foxx, Nickelback, Sean Paul, Black Eyed Peas, Eminem, Faith Hill, Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw and Mary J. Blige. Nelly Furtado, John Mayer and Fall Out Boy.

Evanescence's "The Open Door" was certified platinum by music-industry organization the RIAA in 2006. Selling 450,000 copies in its first week of release, the album only needed five weeks to pass the 1 million-sales mark. According to singer Amy Lee, songs on the album cover "a broader range of emotions" than the band's previous efforts -- "not just pain and sadness, but also anger and, yes, even happiness."

Fender started selling replicas of Eric Clapton's famous guitar "Blackie" in 2006.

Wildfires burn through Malibu (CA) in 2007 destroying dozens of homes including one owned by Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea. The mansion, which had been on the market for $4.8 million, "burnt to a crisp" according to Flea in a text message to the Los Angeles Times. The home was not the bassist's primary residence.

China’s communist government condemns Guns N' Roses' "Chinese Democracy." They claim the 2008 album as an attack on the country and say GN'R is part of a Western conspiracy to "grasp and control the world using democracy as a pawn." Really? Who in their right mind would use GN’R as a tool to rule the world?

"Cadillac Records", the loosely-based story of Chicago's Chess Records, has its world premiere in Hollywood in 2008.