Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

. . . but Their Music Lives On

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

. . . but Their Music Lives On

Article excerpt

SEVERAL ARTISTS now departed are still making a mark with new releases or related items. Here's a look at some posthumous musical offerings that are either on the table or in the works.

Fans of the late, controversial rapper Eazy-E (Eric Wright) can look forward to a mid-January CD release of new material.

"Str8 Off The Streetz of Mutha-ph-in' Compton" includes a dozen Eazy-E tracks, some recorded just prior to his death, others recorded during the last four years of his life. The first single, "Just Tah Let U Know," will hit the streets in early December.

Eazy-E, a founding member of gangsta rap group NWA and the owner/president of Ruthless Records, died of AIDS-related illness last March. Among the many bands Eazy released on his label are current chart-toppers Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.

In the wake of Jerry Garcia's death, a terrific Grateful Dead-inspired entry has cropped up that will be of interest to Deadheads and non-Deadheads alike.

"The Music Never Stopped - Roots of the Grateful Dead" (Shanachie) comes highly recommended. This disc contains 17 original-artist versions of some of the Dead's favorite cover tunes, an excellent reminder of the depth and breadth of American music that Garcia and crew drew on.

But you don't have to give a spit about the Dead's music to fall in love with this disc. Both the familiar and obscure are covered here. Every one is either worth revisiting or discovering for the first time, from Merle Haggard's touching bad-boy lament "Mama Tried," to Charlie Patton's scratchy slide blues "Spoonful," to Marty Robbins' Tex-Mex epic "El Paso."

Rounding out the list are vintage cuts from Obray Ramsey, the Dixie Cups, the Rev. Gary Davis, Cannon's Jug Stompers, Bob Dylan, Howlin' Wolf, Chuck Berry, Henry Thomas, Jimmy Reed, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Bonnie Dobson, Buddy Holly, Woody Guthrie and the Pindar Family with Joseph Spence.

Perhaps the most stunning thing about this disc is the seamless way in which it all hangs together as a complementary piece. It's like getting a compilation tape from a smart music-fanatic friend who's gone cherry-picking with taste through the vault. …

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