<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Picks 6/1/15


CD: ‘Duets: ReWorking the Catalogue’ by Van Morrison

Usually these records that pair a singer with other usually big-name artists tend to be driven by marketing and promotion to the detriment of the music. Not so in this case. The best known current big name on the set is pop star Michael Bublé, and he acquits himself gracefully against arguably one of the greatest blue-eyed soul singers ever. Rather than re-do his hits, Morrison digs deep into his song catalog and chose his duet partners for their ability to really sing like be can. Highlights include tracks with Mavis Staples, Taj Mahal, his daughter Shana Morrison, British jazz singer Gregory Porter, Natalie Cole and one of the last recordings by the late Bobby Womack, but all 16 songs are great and run a nice gamut of styles. Van’s in magnificent voice and remains the star up against all.

CD: ‘A Fool To Care’ by Boz Scaggs

Best known for bringing a sexy sophistication to rocking R&B music in the 1970s with hits like “Lowdown” and “Lido Shuffle,” Scaggs goes back to his blues and soul roots on this wonderful set of authentic southern music (as well as on its predecessor, Memphis). A superior singer with an ear for great songs – both albums feature his favorites – he goes old school with an up-to-date appeal.

CD: ‘My Weekly Reader’ by Nellie McKay

The 33-year-old singer-songwriter and Broadway musical actress revisits and reworks 13 songs from the 1960s with wit, imagination and utterly contagious charm. Be it the British Invasion (“Sunny Afternoon” from The Kinks, “Itchykoo Park” from the Small Faces and the Hermans Hermits hit “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter”), the San Francisco psychedelic scene (numbers from Moby Grape, Steve Miller Band and Country Joe & The Fish) or numbers from Frank Zappa, folkie Richard Farina or the CSN/Jefferson Airplane chestnut “Wooden Ships.” Every number is a delightful winner.

From The Progressive Populist, June 1, 2015


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