Content tagged 'Folk Rock'
Past, Present and Future (Album of the Day)
Life And Times (Album of the Day)
If the 1970s singer-songwriter movement is most closely associated with Southern California, the East Coast had a strong representative in Jim Croce. The Philadelphia-born troubadour brought an urban directness and a gentle sense of humor to the music – along with a colorful cast of characters. His fourth studio album, LIFE AND TIMES, profiles a “Roller Derby Queen,” “Speedball Tucker” and “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” (which went to No.1 on the U.S. singles chart on this day in 1973). Though no one was better at these amiable story-songs, Croce could also break your heart with intimate ballads like “These Dreams,” and the unerring balance he maintains between these moods makes LIFE AND TIMES one of the performer's very best albums.
Matters Of The Heart (Album of the Day)
Tracy Chapman's breakthrough 1988 debut announced the arrival of a major talent in no uncertain terms, and four years later MATTERS OF THE HEART showed her continued growth as a singer-songwriter. As you might guess from its title, the 1992 Elektra set shifts some of the performer's focus from societal problems to personal concerns, but Chapman's nuanced lyrics and passionate delivery remain as compelling as ever. Stylistically, the collection touches upon blues, jazz and world musics while remaining listener-friendly; several seasoned hitmakers (including members of the Heartbreakers, the E Street Band and Bobby Womack) lend their instrumental skills to these ten originals. MATTERS OF THE HEART celebrates its 25th anniversary today, and this direct and powerful album still cuts straight to the heart.
Songs For Beginners (Album of the Day)
SONGS FOR BEGINNERS may have been the title of Graham Nash’s solo debut, but he was hardly a novice; the singer-songwriter had a long string of hits for The Hollies and Crosby, Stills & Nash under his belt. The 1971 Atlantic collection features plenty of high-profile guests (David Crosby, Jerry Garcia, Dave Mason, and Rita Coolidge among them) lending support on 11 fine originals, including topical material like "Military Madness" and hit single “Chicago” and several songs inspired by his recently ended romance with Joni Mitchell. The Gold-certified SONGS FOR BEGINNERS remains one of Graham Nash’s best albums, and to celebrate his birthday we'll give it another spin today.
This Is The Story (Album of the Day)
On this day in 1962, siblings Charlie and Craig Reid were born in Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland; two decades later, they would be better known as The Proclaimers. From opener “Throw The 'R' Away” to such originals as “The Joyful Kilmarnock Blues,” the duo wear their heritage on their sleeves on THIS IS THE STORY, their 1987 debut. The Reids get an assist from fellow Scot Gerry Rafferty, who co-produced a full band version of the collection's “Letter from America,” which became a No.3 U.K. hit. Beyond that, the collection is predominantly acoustic folk-rock, with the brothers' perfectly matched voices and deft guitar work keeping the energy level high. The buoyant and tuneful THIS IS THE STORY was a terrific start to The Proclaimers' still-ongoing career, and we'll give it another spin to wish the Reids a happy birthday.
Sweet Baby James (Album of the Day)
James Taylor seems pretty unassuming for a musical pioneer, but when SWEET BABY JAMES came out in 1970, it put him in the vanguard of the singer-songwriter movement. Actually his second album (after a self-titled release for Apple), James' Warner Bros. debut took off with audiences in need of a breather from the turmoil of the late 1960s; such gentle ballads as “Country Road” and the Top Ten hit “Fire And Rain” were easy-going but never empty-headed. Though some of L.A.'s top session players (and pal Carole King) lend instrumental support here, Taylor's warm voice and acoustic guitar work are enough to hook you on their own. The Rock And Roll Hall Of Famer was born on this day in 1948, and to celebrate his birthday, we'll give another listen to SWEET BABY JAMES.
Heavy Horses (New Shoes Edition) (Album of the Day)
Released between SONGS FROM THE WOOD (1977) and STORMWATCH (1979), HEAVY HORSES was the second in a trilogy of folk-rock albums from Jethro Tull. Lead singer and flautist Ian Anderson explained its particular focus on horses and agricultural life saying, "as a child, my big passion was to get off the leash and explore the local wooded and leafy suburbs." The result was a Top 20 album on both sides of the Atlantic, one whose commercial success was also met with critical praise for its melodies, instrumentation and Anderson's signature flute playing. Now, a 40th anniversary “New Shoes Edition” adds 9 bonus tracks (7 of them previously unreleased), a full May 1978 concert from Berne, Switzerland and an extensive new booklet, making the 3-CD/2-DVD set the definitive version of Tull's HEAVY HORSES.
Paradise And Lunch (Album of the Day)
Truly a musician's musician, guitarist Ry Cooder has been a bridge connecting contemporary audiences to a dizzying variety of traditional musics for almost half a century. His ongoing career includes a string of acclaimed albums for Reprise, of which PARADISE AND LUNCH was his fourth - and one of his best. Produced by Russ Titelman and Lenny Waronker, the 1974 collection touches on blues, gospel, jazz and folk, with Ry applying his distinctive stamp to such highlights as “Jesus on the Mainline,” “Tattler” and “Ditty Wah Ditty,” which features Earl “Fatha” Hines on piano. Though there are other stellar instrumentalists (including saxophonist Plas Johnson and drummer Jim Keltner) supporting the headliner's faultless fretwork, Cooder's down-home vocals are just as important to the set's soulful appeal, and PARADISE AND LUNCH is heaven for roots rock fans.