I was going to start this week's column with a reference to the passing of the torch to me from the mighty Iguana Glen Boyd, but I realize this is a music column so I should either go with Sonny & Cher's "The Beat Goes On" or Metallica's "The Shortest Straw." Either way, I'm on a probationary period with our beloved New Album Releases column. If I pass, you'll be able to continue turning to Blogcritics as your source of what's new and what to think about it. To that end, we have some major releases on the docket for June 16, so let's highlight a few of them.
Let It Roll: The Best of George Harrison
On the day George Harrison was posthumously honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, it was announced that EMI was finally going to release a true, career-spanning retrospective of Harrison's solo work.
With Let it Roll, all four Beatles now have definitive retrospectives of their post-Beatles work. I haven't gotten my copy of Let it Roll yet, but I've perused the tracklisting and at first glance EMI seems to have gotten this right. I was afraid my personal favorite, "Blow Away," would be forgotten, but am pleased to report it was not. Some folks — and I bet when I do sit and listen to this I'll be one of them — would prefer the tracks were sequenced chronologically, but that's a small quibble. We live in the digital age! You can re-sequence this in any way you see fit.
Davy Knowles & Back Door Slam
Coming Up For Air
Before I fall all over myself extolling the wonders on this disc, I feel I once again must tip my cap to El Bicho, who turned me on to Back Door Slam on one of his legendary appearances on my short-lived BlogTalkRadio program, B-Sides Concept Album. The appearance wasn't quite as legendary as the time he called in after having a few beers at an NHL game, but it was legendary all the same. It was also a bit more helpful, because he was completely right about how talented young Mr. Knowles is.
In fact, you can now hear what it is that got Bicho so hot for these guys that he then passed on to me. Their performance at Bonnaroo is now available digitally through your iTunes and Amazon. He's even got a review of it written, that Bicho of ours.
That's the past, now let's roll with the new. Knowles has parted with his former bandmates, but still has possession of the Back Door Slam name. His upcoming album is being sold under the moniker Davy Knowles & Back Door Slam, but it's really just him and with all due respect to those other blokes, that's really quite enough. Those fine fellas contributed, but Knowles' voice and guitar are really where this 'band' lives. If you're curious what the new BDS sounds like, El Bicho has you covered there having seen Knowles open for Jeff Beck.
Besides, Knowles went and found some big boy contributors for this new album. Benmont Tench of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers is here to lay down some Hammond B-3 organ. Benmont Tench and Brian Eno are the keys. If one or both of them show up on an album, best you just go ahead and buy it. Peter Frampton produced the album, co-wrote a couple tracks with Knowles, and even contributes some guitar on an incendiary cover of George Harrison's "Hear Me Lord."
This is an absolute contender for my 2009 year end list. I'm not telling you it will place or how high, but it's going to be considered strongly and not just because it was released in 2009. Here is my full review of this album.