Rock Legends Edition
Humble Pie - Joint Effort
Here's a real treat for fans of classic rock band Humble Pie; a "lost album" recorded in 1974-75. That era was not a good time for the Pie; their albums Thunderbox and Street Rats were poorly received and founder and front man Steve Marriott had left the band in a (failed) attempt to replace Mick Taylor in the Rolling Stones. But Marriott returned for this record, never released until now. The effort opens in a funky mood as the guys cover James Brown's "Think" before moving into "This Ol' World," a Marriott co-write with bassist Greg Ridley that presages the sound the Black Crowes would tap into some 15-years later. Highlights include a take on Betty Wright's "Let Me Be Your Lovemaker" that recalls Steppenwolf, an interesting interpretation of the Beatles' "Rain" and "Snakes & Ladders" which is classic Humble Pie at their best.
Martin Barre - Roads Less Travelled
Barre has often included Jethro Tull songs on his solo albums but this time out he forgoes material from the band he played guitar with for more than 30-years. That being said, Roads Less Travelled is perhaps the most Tull-like record he's ever made, noticeable from the get-go as opening cut "Lone Wolf" features Barre playing not only electric guitar but also acoustic instruments like mandolin and banjo, set to an arrangement that recalls Tull's Songs from the Wood and Heavy Horses era. The prog-rocking "Out of Time," like most of the cuts here, features lead vocals from Dan Crisp, who while certainly not an Ian Anderson clone, channels the Jethro Tull singer's oeuvre on the cut and others like "I'm on My Way" and "(This is) My Driving Song" in particular. Band background singer Becca Langsford handles lead vocals on the somewhat ominous "Badcore Blues" and takes the mic again for the jazzy and soulful "And the Band Played Only for Me;" Barre plays all the instruments on the instrumental "Trinity."
The Chocolate Watchband - This is My Voice
Since this band had its heyday some 50-years ago, you might think that this album is a collection of vintage material or a long lost effort. But surprise, This is My Voice is newly recorded material featuring founding vocalist David Aguilar, who also penned about half of the material here. His best efforts are "Judgement Day," a sitar-enhanced psych blues, the Bo Diddley-informed "Take a Ride" and "Til the Daylight Comes," a commentary on the current state of the country, complete with a quote from President Trump. Also included are covers of Frank Zappa's "Trouble Everyday," Bob Dylan's "Desolation Row" and "Can't Seem to Make You Mine," a Sky Saxon tune originally done by the Seeds. Also lots of fun is band guitarist Tim Abbott's sitar-soaked instrumental psych-fest, "Bombay Pipeline."
Focus - Focus 11
In just a few years it will be half a century since Dutch band Focus hit it big with the odd earworm instrumental "Hocus Pocus," but the band has not been sitting around on their laurels. Still helmed by singer, flautist and multi-instrumentalist Thijs van Leer, 11 finds the band in fine form on "Who's Calling?," the jazzy and high energy fusion rocker that opens the album, as well as on the jaunty, going-to-the-(Renaissance)-fair "Heaven" and the understated "Winnie." Guitarist Menno Gootjes, drummer Pierre van der Linden and bass man Udo Pannekeet shine on this truly group effort, with Gootjies necessarily getting more time in the spotlight, particularly on the aforementioned "Winnie." The album's closing cut, the 11th on the record, is the fittingly sublime "Focus 11."
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