I don't know about you, but as far as I'm concerned this must be the most exciting week in music history!
Why? Well, because the recently televised award show by the Academy of Country Music featured an array of guests that proved to be the most enthralling ever!
Why? Because in the tradition of Hank Williams, Patsy Cline and other celebrated country greats, America was blessed with a batch of guest stars that finally put country music on the map of American popular culture!
And thus--if you'll forgive me for breaking with a layout tradition that this blog has maintained for 186 consecutive posts--I'd now like to introduce a special guest star that may make this the most widely-read blog in New This Week's history! Ready?
This week's special guest star: Rihanna!
Next week? Rather than focus on new album releases, I've decided to devote next week's post to the best carwashes in California's San Fernando Valley! And I don't want to promise anything I can't deliver...but I understand American Idol's Steven Tyler drives a car!
Robbie Robertson: How To Become Clairvoyant (Macro-Biotic/429) The fifth solo album by the legendary leader of classic rockers the Band has arrived--and it's filled with great songs, a guest list including the likes of Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Tom Morello, Trent Reznor and Robert Randolph, among others, and instructions that--rather incredibly--will allow those who purchase the album to become an actual mind-reader! The tracks--admittedly an unusually-named lot--include several classics-to-be, including "Eat Lots Of Carrots," "Study Those ESP Cards With Five Images Including The Wavy Lines," "Listen To A Lot Of Late-Period Incredible String Band," and the spectacularly understated "Literally Change Your Name"! Word is Robertson's planned follow-up will come with a set of x-ray glasses that will allow consumers to see through walls or--are you listening, ladies?--other things! Gangsta Sexy," "Been To Hell," and "I Don't Wanna Die"--apparently their concert classic "They Call Me Effeminate, But Then They Don't Even Read The Newspaper" will remain unreleased!--rocks so hard it will make your eyes water! Don't listen to naysayers who tell you that's purely a function of your subconscious ultimately realizing life will never again be as great as it was five years ago! After all, only dorks say "nay" instead of "no"! Jefferson Airplane mainstays Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady, a wealth of hard-charging, bluesy rock 'n' roll and an actual tattoo--seriously, it's a freebie enclosed in the package--the album is a welcome blast of music that is excellently performed and surprisingly entertaining! Because the band's music is blues-based and by definition timeless, it's surprisingly supple, removed from all contextual cues that might render it meaningless in a few short years, and ultimately worthy enough to make me want to follow them on Twitter! the Beatles, Rolling Stones, the Doors, Pink Floyd, Linkin Park--and re-evaluate their worth! And in light of Leon Russell's recent return to the spotlight--just one more thing we have Elton John to thank for!--the time has come to listen to Mr. Russell himself, who cut a legendary figure in the late '60s and early '70s then perhaps involuntarily wandered off, waiting to be re-listened to in 2011! The verdict? He's quite good! He was then, and is now! Admittedly his voice takes some getting used to--it's kind of quirky--and his whole looking-like-Jesus thing is a bit off-putting, but with classics like "This Masquerade," "A Song For You" and "Tight Rope" under his belt, he seems quite substantial and a good kind of guy to have around, especially since it's been a while since the last Chili Peppers record! I can't wait to appreciate him again in five more years! Future Starts Slow," "Nail In My Coffin," and the predictably frisky "Pots And Pans," which finishes the album shortly before the trademark 20-second closing segment, as always featuring band members Jamie Hince and Alison Mosshart being brutally slain just for kicks and, of course, consistency with their well-chosen band name! I don't know why, but I'm thinking Osmonds! Cannonball Adderley, Warne Marsh, and Kenny Burrell among others, and the level of musicianship heard throughout borders on the astonishing. The benefit of compilations like this: Low-priced and featuring 25 tracks, this is the album to start with if you've never heard the man. Highly recommended! Phil Spector was largely ignored by radio--causing dweebs like me to hear it first sung by Deep Purple two years later on their Book of Taliesyn album! As a result, everything I know is inaccurately skewed! It's great! But seeing this album and its classic cover out on the racks again--well, at least available on Amazon--warms my heart and should warm yours as well! With some well-chosen material, some fabulous latter-day Spector production, and the hyper-enthused vocals of a youngish Ms. Tina Turner, this is one fine album!