RELEASE TUESDAY: September 2, 9, and 16, 2014

September 16th, 2014

RELEASE TUESDAY: September 2, 9, and 16, 2014


The Beatles: The Beatles In Mono Vinyl Box Set (Capitol)
File Under: Pop, Rock, Vinyl

They’re only virtually the most important music group in music history. Back in 2009, we got remasters of their full catalog in mono on CD. This year, as promised for some time now, the mono catalog (up through The Beatles aka The White Album when the albums stopped being done in mono) is now out on vinyl.

Various Artists: Catch Action: The Sophisticated Boogie Funk Of Sheridan House Records (Ubiquity)
File Under: R&B, Box Set, Vinyl, Compilation

A beautiful set from Ubiquity chronicling a sampling of records as released by 70s/80s label Sheridan House. Wax Poetics is hosting a contest giving one of the vinyl box sets away. A 2-CD version has also been released.

Etta James: Rocks The House (Argo/Jackpot)
File Under: R&B, Live

A fiery live LP recorded by Etta James in Nashville. The album has been reissued on blue vinyl.

Orlando Julius & The Heliocentrics: Jaiyede Afro (Strut)
File Under: Afrobeat

The Heliocentrics pair with legendary Afrobeat saxophonist to create a wonderfully funky record. You can hear their cover of James Brown’s “In The Middle” over at Wax Poetics.

Ryan Adams: Ryan Adams (Pax Am/Blue Note)
File Under: Rock

Ryan Adams’ self-titled album is far beyond a debut but a deeper look still into his musical journey.

Jimi Hendrix: Rainbow Bridge (Legacy)
Jimi Hendrix: The Cry Of Love (Legacy)
File Under: Rock

Legacy continues to release material from Hendrix. These two are older albums released posthumously, even originally. The Cry Of Love finds its way to CD for the first time.

Smokey Robinson/The Miracles/Smokey Robinson & The Miracles: Various Albums (Motown/Universal)
File Under: Soul, Reissue

A number of Smokey Robinson & The Miracles as well as solo Smokey Robinson albums are finding their way to a digital storefront, some being available for the first time in years. Some titles, released between the 1960s through the 1980s, include:

Greatest Hits From The Beginning
A Pocket Full Of Miracles
The Season For Miracles
One Dozen Roses
Flying High Together
Yes, It’s You Lady
Touch The Sky
Smoke Signals

Afro Latin Vintage Orchestra: Pulsion (Ubiquity)
File Under: Soul, Jazz, Psychedelic, Library

A funky, quirky record from the tight ALVO crew exploring new territories. Here a teaser below.

RELEASE TUESDAY: August 26, 2014

August 26th, 2014


Brad Paisley: Moonshine In The Trunk (Sony Nashville/Arista)
File Under: Country

Megastar Paisley returns with his latest album.

Kem: Promise To Love (Target Deluxe Edition) (CMG)
File Under: R&B

A standard version of this album exists, but Target is selling a deluxe version including a couple of bonus tracks, “I Believe In Your Love” and “In The Meantime.”

Lou Donaldson: Lush Life (Blue Note/Universal)
Bud Powell: The Amazing Bud Powell, Vol. 1 (Blue Note/Universal)
Wayne Shorter: Juju (Blue Note/Universal)
Herbie Hancock: Speak Like A Child (Blue Note/Universal)
Terence Blanchard: Flow (Blue Note/Universal)
File Under: Jazz, Vinyl, Reissue

The newest release of these is Terence Blanchard’s 2005 album, and the batch stretches back to classic Blue Note era albums like Lush Life and Juju.

RELEASE TUESDAY: August 19, 2014

August 20th, 2014


Benjamin Booker: Benjamin Booker (ATO)
File Under: Rock

A really nice debut from this young rock and roller. NPR was streaming the album last week, and we were hooked. A couple months ago, he performed on David Letterman, singing his hit “Violent Shiver.”

Christian Gregory: Count On You EP (Movement)
File Under: R&B

Another debut project. This one comes from Christian Gregory, who partnered with singer-songwriter Michael Kiwanuka to form Movement Records. Okayplayer is still streaming the full EP. We’re loving “Won’t Get Nowhere” which has an incredibly slow but sensual beat with Gregory launching into a pristine falsetto.

You can also check out the title track’s official video:

Bebel Gilberto: Tudo (Sony Masterworks)
File Under: Global Grooves, Brazilian

Brazilian music + last name of Gilberto = immediate purchase.

Smokey Robinson: Smokey & Friends (Verve)
File Under: Soul, Covers

The guest list is big: Elton John, Steven Tyler, John Legend, Mary J Blige, and the list goes on. The results, however, leave a lot to be desired.

RELEASE TUESDAY: August 12, 2014

August 11th, 2014


Brian Setzer: Rockabilly Riot: All Original (Surfdog)
File Under: Rock & Roll

A fun new record from Brian Setzer.

The Gaslight Anthem: Get Hurt (Island)
File Under: Pop, Rock

New material following their acclaimed 2012 album Handwritten.

Ethan Johns: The Reckoning (Three Crows Records)
File Under: Rock, Blues

Johns is usually on the other side of the board, although this isn’t his solo debut. Instead, Ryan Adams puts on the producer hat while Johns gets behind the mic.

Donny Hathaway: The Best Of Donny Hathaway (Friday Music)
File Under: Soul, Compilation, Vinyl

An odd title to be reissuing given that it’s not considered to be the standard best of by Hathaway. Still, even at nine tracks, the selection is a good one, although by no means is it any more of a taste of the man’s great talents.

RELEASE TUESDAY: August 5, 2014

August 3rd, 2014


Spoon: They Want My Soul (Loma Vista/Republic)
File Under: Rock

Their new single “Do You,” seen below, is catchy! You can hear the entire album up until release day via iTunes First Play.

Clairy Browne & The Bangin’ Rackettes: Love Cliques EP (Vanguard)
File Under: Pop, Vinyl

A follow-up EP to their breakout debut album Baby Caught The Bus. Aside from it being released on mp3, a vinyl version is also seeing the light of day.


LC Cooke: The Complete SAR Recordings (ABKCO)
File Under: Soul, R&B, Compilation

Not sure how we missed this last week, but LC Cooke’s complete SAR recording along with 2 tracks he did with Checker and another through Destination was released last week. Check out an interview and article we did for Wax Poetics.

RELEASE TUESDAY: July 29, 2014

July 27th, 2014


Various Artists: Beck Song Reader (Capitol)
File Under: Pop, Rock

One of the most unique ideas for releasing new music was brought forth by Beck, who originally released it as sheet music only Now, artists like Jack White, Fun, Norah Jones, Jason Isbell, Swamp Dogg, Jack Black, and even Beck himself have recorded the tracks.

James Brown: Get On Up: The James Brown Story Soundtrack (UMe)
File Under: Soundtrack, R&B, Soul, Funk

Back in 1991, Brown’s box set entitled Star Time received a Grammy for Best Album Notes with contributing work from Harry Weinger on the liner notes. Over 20 years later, and Harry is still helping to preserve the man’s legacy.

A couple of tracks here are previously unreleased including “Please Please Please (Live)” and “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World (Live).”

The film opens nationwide on August 1st.

As only James Brown could do…

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers: Hypnotic Eye (Warner Bros.)
File Under: Rock

Tom Petty returns for his lucky 13th album.

N’Sync: The Essential (Sony/Legacy)
File Under: Pop, Compilation

In the late ’90s/early ’00s, Justin Timberlake, Lance Bass, JC Chasez, and the rest of the gang ruled pop radio and the album charts. This 2-CD compilation chronicles their success.

Marc Broussard: A Life Worth Living (Vanguard)
File Under: Pop, Soul

The album cover looks like it could have been on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. Marc’s new album is streaming in full over at his official website.

Eric Clapton & Friends: The Breeze: An Appreciation Of JJ Cale (Bushbranch/Surfdog)
File Under: Rock

Clapton pays tribute to the man who inspired him throughout his career. Other artists paying tribute to Cale include Tom Petty, Willie Nelson, Derek Trucks, Mark Knopfler, and John Mayer, among others.

Cassandra Wilson: Traveling Miles (Blue Note/Universal)
Donald Byrd: Blackbyrd (Blue Note/Universal)
Joe Henderson: Mode For Joe (Blue Note/Universal)
Kenny Burrell: Midnight Blue (Blue Note/Universal)
Kenny Dorham: Afro-Cuban (Blue Note/Universal)
File Under: Jazz, Vinyl

For their fifth installment of jazz vinyl reissue series, Blue Note offers up some new(ish) (Cassandra Wilson) and some classics (Kenny Dorham, Donald Byrd, Joe Henderson, and Kenny Burrell).


July 25th, 2014

Dom Flemons may be most recognized as a member of the Grammy-winning group Carolina Chocolate Drops, but he is no stranger to solo work. On his latest project, Prospect Hill (which we’re also happy to see was released on vinyl), he continues blazing down the folk path that made many music fans fall in love with him but also expands his comfort zone with extremely positive results.

It’s readily apparent that this album – and this career – is a true labor of love for him. As you scan through the album booklet, where most artists only cobble together a Thank You’s section, Flemons has taken the time to give a full paragraph commentary on each track presented on this 14-track opus. It’s this attention to detail that breathes added life into each track but also helps to bring understanding and sense of community to the folk craft that he is both trying to shine a light upon its past while also paving a road for its future.

There are tracks that harken to the styles that were prevalent on albums like Genuine Negro Jig by the Carolina Chocolate Drops like “Polly Put The Kettle On,” a traditional that he has arranged here, or “But They Got It Fixed Right On” with its well-placed jug playing (by Flemons) and Brian Horton’s sax. However, Flemons also pays tribute to the jazz of New Orleans on “‘Til The Sea Runs Dry” with some fantastic clarinet work (also by Brian Horton). On the studio version of “I Can’t Do It Anymore,” he cites Fats Domino, Carl Perkins, and Hank Ballard as influences and with an electric guitar sprinkled throughout the track played by Keith Ganz, there’s a nod to ’40s and ’50s rock and roll. On the acoustic version shown below, it oozes a ’40s postwar blues feel. Both versions are sensational.

The full album was premiered via USA Today and is still available for a limited time.

He’s on a handful of tour dates through mid-August before joining up with Pokey LaFarge on the Central Time Tour as a special guest and master of ceremonies, which is sure to be a fantastic time for those who are into the American roots music scene.

With Prospect Hill, Flemons proves that his professed American Songster title is well-earned. The genre couldn’t ask for a better spokesperson, from the standpoint of an artist who is well-versed on its history and one that is well-equipped to keep carrying its torch.

RELEASE TUESDAY: July 22, 2014

July 20th, 2014


Dom Flemons: (Music Maker Relief Foundation)
File Under: Folk, Roots

The former Carolina Chocolate Drop is releasing a solo album of songs new and old. Fans of CCD will not be disappointed with this album.

Back in June, American Songwriter premiered the lovely “San Francisco Baby.”

Common: Nobody’s Smiling (Def Jam)
File Under: Hip-Hop

The Chicago MC releases a brand new album of hard hitting rhymes and partners up with other upcoming talent from the city. A standard and deluxe edition exist, but so does this Target exclusive version which includes another bonus track entitled “City To City.”

Okayplayer is streaming the album in full prior to release.

Common: “Made In Black America”

RELEASE TUESDAY: July 15, 2014

July 13th, 2014


Erykah Badu: Mama’s Gun (Motown, Music On Vinyl)
File Under: R&B, Soul, Vinyl

MOV is putting out the first public issue of Badu’s Mama’s Gun on vinyl. Previously only promo copies were sent out to tastemakers, DJs, etc. The album finds the Soulquarians (who produced albums for The Roots, D’Angelo, Slum Village, and Common) in top form.

Erykah Badu: “Bag Lady”

Puss N Boots: No Fools, No Fun (Blue Note)
File Under: Pop, Country, Singer-Songwriter

After playing together since 2008, the trio of Catherine Popper, Sasha Dobson, and Norah Jones release their debut album that features a handful of originals and the rest are covers of primarily country music. Amazon’s exclusive version features two bonus tracks, a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Cry, Cry, Cry” and the classic “In A Shanty In Old Shanty Town.”

The band performs the Norah Jones original “Don’t Know What It Means” for the Wall Street Journal in the video below.

Jason Mraz: Yes! (Atlantic)
File Under: Pop

An exclamatory album title from Mr. A-Z. He made a short film entitled “We Can Take The Long way,” which can be seen below, to promote its release.

Various Artists: Eccentric Soul: The Way Out Label (Numero)
File Under: R&B, Soul, Reissue, Vinyl, Compilation

The boys in Chicago just keep compiling these impressive compilations of labels long lost, or sometimes never even known, outside of their home territory. The Way Out label was headquartered in Cleveland when another all-time sports talent had a grip on the city, Jim Brown.

Various Artists: Wish I Was Here Soundtrack (Columbia)
File Under: Pop, Indie, Soundtrack

Zach Braff (Garden State) is at it again with a new film and curating a soundtrack to go with it including a number of indie darlings such as Cat Power, Bon Iver, The Shins, Hozier, and The Head And The Heart. A vinyl version will follow on August 6th.

The full album can be streamed over at EW’s site. You can also hear the title track sung by Cat Power and written by Coldplay below.

3rd Bass: Cactus Album (Def Jam/Universal)
File Under: Hip-Hop, Vinyl

A vinyl reissue of the album that spawned hits like “Steppin’ To The A.M.” and “The Gas Face,” the latter of which featured a nice Aretha Franklin sample. Oh shit, another gas face victim! The video features a ton of cameos of Gilbert Gottfried, Flavor Flav, Russell Simmons, Erick Sermon, and more.

Want to see MF Doom unmasked? Check out the 2:50 mark when he was still known as Zev Love X.

Word up to MC Serch, DJ Richie Rich, and Pete Nice!

3rd Bass: “The Gas Face”


July 10th, 2014

Album: The Complete Remastered Keen Collection (ABKCO, 2011)

At Record Racks, our goal is to provide you with the best information we can when reviewing albums or providing news about releases. We’re not above being corrected. In fact, we welcome it. Music buying decisions can be swayed based on reviews, something we don’t take lightly, and even opinions need to be rooted in facts. When we screw up, we want you to know about it and be updated accordingly.

Back in 2011, we reviewed a digital box set of Sam Cooke’s material that was released outside the USA (due to licensing restrictions) covering his earlier pop recordings on Keen. In it, we incorrectly used a term about some of the songs sounding brickwalled, a technical industry term. We didn’t do our due diligence of researching the issue, and for that we apologize to not only you, our readers, but to the mastering engineer of ABKCO, Teri Landi. As it turns out, the sound quality issues in question related to what was on the original master tapes, not something done to them by Ms. Landi.

An update to the original article has been posted.

Even three years later, a number of Sam’s recordings are still only available in this set (beyond its initial vinyl release in the ’50s and ’60s, of course), which makes this set indispensable for lovers of Sam Cooke and pop music in general. We’re ecstatic that ABKCO put forth the time, effort, and resources to get these recordings to market for a new generation to discover and an older generation to reacquaint themselves with.