Compact Discs Worth a Listen the Summertime Harvest Is Ripe for Releases from Blues to Reggae

By Frank Scheck, | The Christian Science Monitor, August 12, 1994 | Go to article overview

Compact Discs Worth a Listen the Summertime Harvest Is Ripe for Releases from Blues to Reggae


Frank Scheck,, The Christian Science Monitor


From the catchy lyrics of reggae girl-group Worl-a-Girl to the scorching blues of guitarist Jimmy Thackery to dynamic rapper MC Solaar's French vocals, the following spotlights some of the most notable recent music releases. Some of them are debut recordings with US labels. Jimi Hendrix

Woodstock (MCA)

Just in time for you-know-what comes this audio, video, and laser disc release, documenting the legendary singer-guitarist's early-morning performance at Woodstock. It wasn't Jimi's best work, but Hendrix and Woodstock fans will want to own this digitally enhanced collection of 11 songs, including his infamous bluesy version of "The Star-Spangled Banner." An informative booklet is also included. Youssou N'Dour

The Guide (Columbia)

This African singer-songwriter's most impressive album yet. It features a crystalline production spotlighting endlessly energetic rhythms crossed with soaring melodies. N'Dour is achieving a popularity here that's rare for world-music artists (the album is sung mainly in Wolof), thanks in no small part to his amazing voice. The best cut, "7 Seconds," is a duet with Nenah Cherry. Worl-a-Girl

(Chaos/Columbia)

A dazzling debut by a dancehall reggae girl-group ("world of girls," spoken with a Jamaican accent), lending a sweetness and feminist slant to a musical idiom that has mainly been dominated by misogynistic male rappers. The album combines stellar harmonies and catchy lyrics with a pulsing hip-hop beat. Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers

Trouble Man (Blind Pig)

Formerly the guitarist for the Nighthawks, Thackery has been gaining a reputation as one of the hottest guitarists in blues. In his second album, produced by Jim Gaines (who knows something about great guitarists, having previously worked with Stevie Ray Vaughn and Santana), Thackery demonstrates that the hype is justified. With a stripped-down three-piece band and a beefed-up guitar tone that leaps out of the speakers, this is scorching blues. In Their Own Words

A Bunch of Songwriters Sittin' Around Singing

(Razor & Tie)

New York's Bottom Line nightclub has, for the last five years, produced a popular and acclaimed series of evenings hosted by New York radio fixture Vin Scelsa, featuring informal performances and talks with notable songwriters. This fascinating release captures some of the best moments from the series and features performances by a diverse group, including Dion, Joey Ramone, Richard Thompson, Ric Ocasek, and others. Toni Childs

The Woman's Boat (DGC)

A song cycle depicting a woman's birth, life, and death, performed by one of the most powerful and distinctive voices in rock. It is a truly international melange, featuring Indian and African musicians, as well as backing vocals from the popular Euro-African a cappella group Zap Mama. The recording also includes exotic instruments from around the world as well as startling sound effects. A bit precious and pompous, and lacking the power of her first album (Union), it nonetheless has a certain fascination. Big Joe Turner

Jumpin' With Joe -

The Complete Aladdin & Imperial Recordings Amos Milburn - The Best Of Amos Milburn - Down the Road Apiece (EMI)

Two essential new compilations for rhythm-and-blues lovers, drawn from the vaults of two venerable * & B labels. "Jumpin' With Joe" features the legendary Kansas City blues belter in his big-band years, including many rare tracks and several collaborations with Fats Domino. "Down the Road Apiece" captures the best moments in the career of the seminal Texas boogie-woogie pianist Milburn (cited by Fats Domino as a major influence), who had a string of chart-topping hits in the late 1940s and 1950s. MC Solaar

Prose Combat (Island)

MC Solaar is such a powerful and distinctive rapper that you won't even mind the fact that he's singing in French. …

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