Monday, October 6, 2008




I mentioned the exciting new Creedence Clearwater Revival remasters--which you can read about in detail HERE in a wonderful piece by my friend and fellow Huffington Post blogger Mike Ragogna-- in last Tuesday's new release blog. I have since gotten hold of the set and I have to say I am crushed with disappointment. I spent 30 minutes comparing the new editions with the last 20 bit remasters from a few years back and every time, the older versions came out ahead. While the new editions offer some worthwhile bonus tracks, the remastering is very muddy. There is little punch in the drums and where the separation and presence of the guitars on the older editions gave you a feeling of being right in the middle of the recording studio, the new remastering plops everything right in your face, with the instruments begging the listener to fight for their attention. Too bad. Keep your old set.


On the other hand, the new CD by The Iguanas, "If You Should Ever Fall On Hard Times," which I gave a brief shout-out to in that same new release piece, deserves a bit more attention after a weekend of repeated listening. The first few releases by The Iguanas are fun but uneven recordings. Fan favorites like the straight ahead rock and roll of "My Girlfriend Is A Waitress," or the Texas cha-cha by way of Desi Arnaz on "Oye Isabel" and "Para Donde Vas" are satisfying pieces of music that work better in a live setting than on record. It wasn't until their 2003 release "Plastic Silver 9 Volt Heart" that the band's fusion of blues, classic R&B, zydeco, cajun, Tex-Mex and roots rock & roll took a very comfortable backseat to the songs themselves which put the record in drive.

That trend continues on the new CD. Songs like "Malas Vibras" with it's ominous groove and Tijuana Brass horn & marimba arrangement and "Okemah" with it's spokenword verses and triumphant chorus take the listener into more demanding territories than anything ever before on an Iguanas release.

I found this review which nails it:

The quartet gathers together a boatload of incendiary influences, from down home rhythm & blues to spicy Latin grooves, also weaving in plenty of hot jazz and rollicking rock through the songs, but never makes a look-at-us big deal out of it. It's all done on the natch, and like a lot of things in the Crescent City, it's hard to define exactly what makes them so strong. If You Should Ever Fall On Hard Times is their first album since the storm, and is surely a huge source of pride for these men. Of course, it doesn't hurt that this is the best album they've ever made, but even more amazing is how you can feel the enduring soul of the city on every note played and sung here. The Iguanas got back home. Let's repeat that: The Iguanas got back home. For those in New Orleans who went through the rising water and the devastation of their city afterward, this band is offering hope on each of these moving and momentous songs that the healing has begun.

I'd credit the writer, but I couldn't find his name. You could find the whole review HERE


There is a new Joe Henry produced Allen Toussaint CD due early next year on the Nonsuch label. "The Bright Mississippi" is an album of standards with Toussaint backed by such jazz heavies as Brad Mehldau, Nicholas Payton, Marc Ribot and Joshua Redman. More HERE


Stay tuned for a review of The Pretenders show at the Highline Ballroom, and tomorrow's new release blast, which will feature what could be the three best releases of the year.


One of the great lost singles of the 70's has found it's way into my iTunes library courtesy of my pal Steve over at POWER POP. Listen to it HERE. Then go thank Steve over HERE.


Anonymous said...

Peppermint Lump was the great Who single that wasn't! Sounded like a great single from the "Happy Jack" era.

A real favorite. I like it better then any track on "Who Are You?" except for the title track.


cmealha said...

I know I have Peppermint Lump on vinyl somewhere in my cardboard boxes in the attic but I had totally forgotten about it. What a great memory. Thank Steve for me. I was too lazy to figure out how to thank him on his site