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Album reviews Album reviews with TONY BURKE: April 23, 2024

New releases include Jack Bruce, Music From Laurel Canyon 1967 - 1975 and Dylan LeBlanc

Jack Bruce
Smiles & Grins - The Broadcast Sessions 1970 - 2001
Esoteric Box Set
★★★★★

 

FEATURING BBC radio and TV appearances from Jack’s post Cream period — the extent of his songwriting and musicianship is breathtaking.

Across four CDs there are broadcasts by The Jack Bruce Band, with Carla Bley and Mick Taylor; challenging jazz rock collaborations with Jon Hiseman and John Surman; two full BBC Radio 1 In Concert broadcasts with Graham Bond, Art Theman and Chris Spedding; an Old Great Whistle Test; Jazz In Britain and  a Sounds of The ’70s session.

On two BluRay discs there are two Old Grey Whistle Test’s (OGWT); Later With Jools Holland performing Sunshine Of Your Love; a solo performance of Theme From An Imaginary Western https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eszCRHkI9zA and a never broadcast German Beat Club TV show with Tony Williams and John McLaughlin.

With a 64-page booklet stuff with photos, it’s a fine memorial to one of Scotland’s greatest musicians.

 

Music From Laurel Canyon 1967-1975
I See You Live On Love Street
Grapefruit Box Set
★★★★

 

NESTLED above smoggy Los Angeles in the Hollywood hills, Laurel Canyon was the place to be for musicians, in the late ’60s and early ’70s.

Laid back, its winding rounds and swimming pools attracted everyone from Frank Zappa, members of Canned Heat, CSNY, Joni Mitchell, Jim Morrison (who wrote the title track — Love Street “where the creatures meet,” assorted singer-songwriters, country rockers, wannabe rock stars and “long haired weirdos.”

A short drive to Sunset Strip and The Troubadour club, the canyon was a hive of creativity, dope fulled parties and a bohemian lifestyle.

Seventy-two tracks from bands like Love, The Doors, Buffalo Springfield, The Byrds; lesser lights including cult songwriter Judee Sill and real obscurities — Susan Carter, Cyrus Farya anyone?

Superb booklet stuffed with hippy memorabilia from the period.

Dylan LeBlanc
Coyote (Extended)
(ATO Records)
★★★

 

HAILING from Shreveport, Louisiana singer-songwriter Dylan LeBlanc has released five albums since his recording debut in 2010 including the original version of Coyote last year.

This new extended version includes unissued sides from the original album plus five sides recorded live in the FAME studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

Described as a “concept album” about Coyote, a man on the run from his past and how people have a love affair with seeing their fellow man get torn apart, it sounds heavy stuff, but don’t let that put you off.

LeBlanc says this is the album he always wanted to make. He writes haunting songs, with the laid-back feel that the FAME Studio generates.

Pick of the bunch are the title track Coyote, The Crowd Goes Wild https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdQnvfolaCU and the five live sides.

The best Americana album of 2024 — so far.

 

 

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