Monty Python Sings (again)/Monty Python’s Flying Circus (live) (the cheerful insanity of mad sheep and englishmen)

python pyton 2      In the midst of the nineteen seventies with all of the great music and adoring nostalgia the rare few of us embrace, there lay in haste a band of merry minstrels known to the happily deranged as Monty Python’s Flying Circus. We chosen few (and many still at large I might add) are the ones who have entered another dimension, not only one of sight and sound but of a most off key balance of the psyche with no questions to ask. The course of action taken here would be your basic attempt at spotting a looney, avoiding being gunned down by gangster sheep, and not to be trodded upon by a massive hedgehog named Spiny Norman, (who by the way is still on the loose). The Pythonic madmen have always encountered and never shied away from a song in their hearts ready to be given to the world with strange intention. And here we have a culmination of doodles that have been penned over the years by our idiosyncratic idiots and their idiocy. Besides colluding in collusion with cacophony and confined concentration (or maybe just confined) considering continuous contempt for the very inspiration of their cheerful debauchery, another partner involved in these mental crimes is none other than Neil Innes of the Bonzo Dog Band (formerly known as the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band) of the Da Da genre, having co-written some of the tunes from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”. What am I talking about? So! There is a question after all! I don’t know…they don’t know…and no one needs to know! You may charge your predominant attention over to those good old days when greedy songs pertaining to money, the unknown ingredients in Spam, or slightly less than manly lumberjacks parading through the forest may be just what you require for what ails you. And if nothing is ailing you…give it time. The following disc bestows upon us a live performance of the Pythonians from good old nineteen seventy, a wonderful and amusing time for madness and nostalgia. If you look up in the sky, you may be shot at by sheep (or if your fortunate…shoot one yourself), bite into an amphibious confection, or view the famed (and unwanted) albatross. That is the beauty of Monty Pythons Flying Circus. Nudge nudge wink wink say no more…

John Coltrane & friends/sideman: trane’s blue note sessions

coltrane    The rite of passage in the free flowing enigma that is called jazz involves a great deal of freedom to improvise, experiment, and rearrange the music to your own personal style and virtuosity. This album is a fantastic example of all those things. This three CD set contains the original mono recordings during John Coltrane’s blue note sessions, collaborating, jamming, and many times handing over the reins of those sessions to the many sidemen who had the extraordinary experience to play with him. In fact, all jazz musicians started out as sidemen waiting for the opportunity to carry their water with one of the great heavy weights. John Coltrane’s classic “Giant Steps” album was no different. He surrounded himself with musicians who mastered and encompassed the very instruments they held in their able hands. His “Standards” album was more of a melodic venture, but still gave way to the open door of musicianship which would fulfill the sax man’s needs. Aside from the original cuts this collection also features many bonus tracks of the songs with variations, unprecedented solos, and alternate versions. The tunes in many cases are extensive, once again handing over the spotlight to the rest of the band to feature their solo capabilities in solid motion. This set boasts massive liner notes and photos in a little book outdone only by the grand selection of music. A most delightful assembly of Trane’s works during 1956-1957.

Herbie Hancock/Speak Like a Child (pinnacle of an artist)

herbie hancock      In the years that Herbie Hancock had been sought out by Miles Davis, he unleashed much of his passion within the heart of the band, bringing an original sound to an already well established jazz veteran with the power of improvisation behind him, which is where much of the riffs within the jazz world come from. He was one of the first jazz musicians to embrace the synthesizer, and interpolated funk into the land of jazz. His past solo efforts have always been melodic, even crossing over the line between jazz and pop with elements of soul with well seasoned results. His unique blend of jazz introduced a blues methodology as well, leaving a style that pioneered an open door for different variations of the jazz persona. Born in Chicago Illinois, Herbie Hancock, though with Miles Davis at the time, managed to record solo efforts as a sideman which sprouted a series of inventive aspects of music he was able to explore. This 1968 re-release on vinyl holds one of Herbie Hancock’s grandest pinnacle moments. He felt he had finally achieved a culmination of all that he had learned in the years prior to its release in 1968, integrating a tangled combination of horns he had always hoped for. “Speak Like a Child” may be the title, but Herbie Hancock has certainly demonstrated in his poignant career that he doesn’t play like one.

KISS/Rock and Roll Over (again)

kiss rnro     Never had makeup taken such a toll in rock and roll (the rhyming was purely coincidental) as in the days when Alice Cooper hit the shock rock genre innovating horrific scenarios onstage incorporating an over riding massive wave of theatrics with killer tunes. It literally took the industry by storm. Even the lighter side of David Bowie and his Ziggy Stardust persona moved the music world to a new era. When these four full faced powder and grease paint warriors took the stage in full metal makeup, they not only rocked but they really did roll everything over. The iconic straightforward latter day effort “Rock and Roll Over” continued the path of the provocative and aced the days after the success of “Kiss Alive”, following with “Kiss Alive ll”, its twisted sister (who also paved the way for many a makeup meister) counterpart. The raw guitar leads trail-blazed their way throughout the recording. The never forgotten radio tune “Calling Dr. Love” became one of the more lyrically promiscuous songs in their repertoire, while “Hard Luck Woman” poured out heartfelt emotion. Kiss became a sensation and with this newly re-released vinyl recording, the atmosphere and the drama of the thrashing power chords and commanding vocals once again takes its place on the turntables of the world at large. It even includes the original stickers of the day. So go ahead and rock…but if you find yourself rolling over just flip the disc over as well, like we used to in the day.

Johnny Cash/The Man Comes Around/Personal Jesus (vinyl single)

cash 2      A small part of a lengthy epitaph left behind by one of the true long standing legends in the world of music…Johnny Cash. A back to back (or in this case side to side) twosome swansong standing in a monolithic single gives us “The Man Comes Around” in it’s original form. This can also be found on the album, “The Legend of Johnny Cash” in an earlier version recorded prior to the rendition released as a single. The flip side harbors a well known tune written and performed by Depeche Mode some time ago without the techno pounding keyboard and percussion combination you’ve encountered from radio airplay. Johnny made this one all his own. The prominent acoustic guitar is his musical arsenal of choice alongside his trademark low tenor vocals. The song’s lyrics have been rewritten to accommodate the Lord Jesus in a far more direct way. His profound heartfelt words are a most complimentary amendment to the flip side which deals with the Lord’s return and what will follow. Johnny has never done anything halfway. And it is ever evident that even with his passing, the song remains the same.

Johnny Cash/The Legend of Johnny Cash (the music lives on)

cash    Listening to and loving Johnny Cash and his music since I was a little boy has held memories that cannot always be captured in words. My Aunt and Uncle would play his records and I was captivated by the plain truth in the lyrics and steady strumming of the six strings that accompanied them. Johnny had a most intriguing ability to let you know that what you saw was what you got about the man before you. His honesty and non-stealth approach had been and still is a most refreshing one. Throughout the many year span of such a man there had been pitfalls. Some more serious than others. Thankfully with the help of those who loved him, he was able to overcome them and rise to a place of clear thought and repose. The music has never betrayed him as well as those who listened. Johnny has always maintained his sincerity and love of the Lord and what He’s done for him which is mightily reflected in his songs throughout a career that has not been matched by many. Those times are evident in “The Man in Black”, a most recognized trademark of Johnny’s, and “The Man Comes Around”. This album released on vinyl includes a well spent journey of Johnny’s music old and new. The man has come around. And the man will stay around for a long time to come.

Katahdin Cruises (a legendary one hundred year voyage)

katahdin      This most historic event of a centuries old iron titan has delved far beyond being a several hour joyride, although it certainly is that. The historical significance has been in the making for a long time and time to come. Based in Greenville Maine, this majestic hero of the vast waters it embarks upon has given insight into the mysterious enormity of Moosehead lake as never before. The actual immensity of this lost lake, and not because of it notoriety, but rather because of its breadth and tales of old that it has accumulated over its kingship over Katahdin’s travels are not known, or at least not known to their fullness of myth, fables, and legend until you hear them told over the course of this watery voyage. Feel free to roam about and explore the power and massive construction of the monstrous creation by Bath Iron Works one hundred years ago. Enter the Captains quarters and steer the very ship that holds such recorded chronicles within the annals of time. A wonderful moment in time well spent and most enjoyable with those you love and wish to share a journey not easily forgotten.