Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

From Abba's Hits in Hindi to Unplugged Neil Young

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

From Abba's Hits in Hindi to Unplugged Neil Young

Article excerpt

HANDS UP if you thought I'd forgotten about that big old pile of CDs I started to review three months ago, but could only get as far as "R" in the alphabet. Never let it be said that Big Steve lets any loose ends lying around. We're gonna make it all the way through this time.


Salma & Sabina, "Salma and Sabina Sing the Hits of Abba in Hindi" (Musiknatet Waxholm).

Frankly, I'm not sure if this is a new release or not, and I haven't a clue if you'll ever find a copy (I managed to pick up the last one lying around in a huge import distributor's warehouse when I visited Chicago a while back). The rhythms aren't quite as solid as on the originals, but "Mitha Maze Dar," which translates roughly as "Dancing Queen," is a masterpiece in any language. A.

***** Sam & Dave, "Sweat 'N' Soul" (Rhino/Atlantic Records).

These two frenetic soul men got to sing all the best Isaac Hayes/David Porter songs cranked out in the Stax A&R department in the '60s, and they were backed by the impeccable musicianship of Booker T. and the MGs. You get 50 cuts, about 40 of which are among the greatest recordings you'll ever own - an entertainment bargain at just about any price. A+.

***** Nina Simone, "A Single Woman" (Elektra Records).

Nina Simone hasn't released an album in years, so it's nice just to have her back. She's trying to cash in on the recent successes of peers Shirley Horn, Abbey Lincoln and Ernestine Anderson. As good as she sounds backed by rich strings and tackling material by the likes of Rod McKuen, of all people, I miss her old gospel/folk stylings, and I'd like to hear her cut loose at least once or twice on a good uptempo number. B.

***** Darden Smith, "Little Victories" (Chaos/Columbia Records).

First, let's chuckle at the fact that Darden Smith, who now seems to be marketed as much to the adult-contemporary world as to the country field in which he started, is being produced by longtime popmeister Richard Gottehrer, who produced, among many others, Blondie and the Go-Gos. Then, let's admit that this one isn't quite as solid an album as "Trouble No More," his last album. …

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