Here is a short, but potent list of what's exciting this week.
BOB DYLAN REMASTERS
4 more Dylan titles get a much needed audio upgrade. This week it's "THE BASEMENT TAPES," "BEFORE THE FLOOD," "DYLAN & THE DEAD," (which sounds a lot better than I remembered it sounding,) and one of my very favorites, "NEW MORNING." Each is packaged in a limited edition digipak, and serve as a nice precursor to the forthcoming album of new material, "TOGETHER THROUGH LIFE," hitting the streets on 4/28.
Of course, to appreciate the sound quality and packaging, it means actually buying a CD, so...good luck with that.
GOMEZ- A NEW TIDE
I've tried for years to get this band, but they always seem to elude me. I can't pinpoint why, and that may be the problem. Here's someone else's description of "A NEW TIDE"-
"The British band follows 2006's acclaimed How We Operate with their most adventurous and ambitious work to date. A wide range of styles is incorporated into A New Tide's matchless musical brew. Flavors of Delta blues, psychedelia, and Krautrock all come into play, resulting in a musically mischievous and remarkably forward thinking collection."
I just listened to the entire record and while I didn't hear one Krautrock tune, or anything that didn't sound like everything I have ever heard from this band, I did confirm what I said in the first paragraph.
PJ HARVEY & JOHN PARISH- A WOMAN, A MAN, WALKED BY
This is the second collaboration from Harvey & Parish. Their first, 1996's "Dance Hall At Louse Point," was a moderately received follow-up to Harvey's critically acclaimed "To Bring You My Love." UNCUT describes this new release as "Grunge! Banjo! Dub! Swearing!" Coincidentally, that also described my confirmation.
DIANA KRALL- QUIET SONGS
12th release from Mrs. Costello, features arrangements by Claus Ogerman (of the Kennebunkport Ogermans) on 10 standards in a bossa nova style.
PICK OF THE WEEK
JOHN SCOFIELD- PIETY STREET
"I'm just shifting the balances for this one. I've always wanted to record and tour a blues project. That's where I started as a guitarist and I'm feeling that music more than ever of late. I launched a personal search for musical inspiration beyond the standard 12 bar blues and found it in "old time gospel" music - the closest relative to and inspiration for the R& B that we all love. I've always treasured Gospel but never really dug deep into it. My search led to countless songs that really move me. It's really powerful stuff. Of course, it will be Gospel done my way - all the arrangements are mine. "
That is John Scofield on his new release, "Piety Street," named after the famed New Orleans studio where the record was recorded. I spent most of the weekend listening to and loving this CD. Scofield enlisted some NOLA greats, George Porter Jr., Jon Cleary, John Boutte and Shannon Powell, along with current Bonnie Raitt drummer and Cleary bandmate Ricky Fataar, for a unique take on traditional gospel. Jon Cleary takes the lead vocals on the majority of the record, leaving the wonderful John Boutte with three of his own. The songs groove, with Scofield keeping his jazz fusion chops to a tasty minimum, and the band locking in for some upbeat, almost funky takes on familiar tunes.
My relentless praise for all things New Orleans, along with the mention of the word "gospel," may be exactly what turns you off about this release. I make my own eyes roll sometimes. But, "Piety Street" is a fantastic record with a great spirit and great players, and it doesn't need me to gush all over it. Listen to some of it here.
SHAMELESS PLUG # 3
THE COOL JERKS HAVE BEEN RESCHEDULED
If you're around on Friday evening, stop by Desmond's Tavern and check us out. We'll be doing two sets featuring some of your favorite soul tunes and some of our favorite soul tunes. (Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Grand Funk)
ADMISSION is either FREE or $5, depending on what time you get there and who's watching the door. It's not often you get to hear me sing. So, come on down!
(Leave the tomatoes at home.)