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Welcome to the first New Album Releases column of 2008.

New Album Releases 01/08/08: Marah, Medeski Martin & Wood, Johnny Cash, Ultimate Grammys, Lotsa Reissues And More

Welcome to the first New Album Releases column of 2008.

So, as you would probably expect there is not one whole hell of a lot to talk about in this second week of 2008, following a somewhat less than overwhelming slate of new music from the labels during the recently concluded holiday buying season. And, of course let us not forget that the first really big news of 2008 actually happened last week, as Radiohead dropped the physical version of its much-talked about In Rainbows CD in stores on New Years Day.

Actually, the biggest news this week probably lies in the fact that the labels didn't quite get all of those holiday reissue packages out before Christmas after all. Among the unusually high volume of reissues hitting stores this week are multiple catalog titles from everyone from Billy Squier to Donnie "Ah, Leah" Iris to Sammy Hagar to The Bangles and Laura Branigan.

But since the expected big guns of the first quarter of 2008 — from artists like Coldplay and Janet Jackson — aren't expected to begin rolling out until February, for now we'll take whatever we can get. Which for this week means new albums from Marah and Medeski, Martin & Wood.

I'm actually pretty excited about Marah's new Angels of Destruction CD, since they are one of my favorite so-called "indie rock" bands — although that label doesn't always fit these guys. In the past, the Bielanko Brothers (Dave and Serge) could always be counted on for two things. One, is a kick-ass live show, and the other are great songs that cover everything from busted relationships to the joys and sorrows of drinking (like I said, my kind of band).

Musically, they can be a bit all over the place — from said indie rock to even the occasional celtic jig. On this album, they welcome new member Christine Smith on keyboards, and early reports say she brings a bit of a jazz flavor to the mix.

Like Marah, Medeski, Martin & Wood tend to defy categorization, but the one thing fans of these guys will swear by is their undeniable musical chops. Past releases have seen these guys combine elements of blues, jazz, and funk to create an intoxicating stew of musical improvisation. One never knows exactly what you will get on an album by these guys, although I hear the new Let's Go Everywhere is actually a children's album, so I guess we'll see .

Another release I'm looking forward to hearing is The Best of the Johnny Cash TV Show, which captures performances from the legendary Man in Black's TV variety show from the sixties and seventies.

A glance at the tracks listed here is disappointing only because it does not appear to include the great performances with people like Dylan and Clapton captured on last year's wonderful DVD release. Still, the Cash performances with his extended musical family including the Tennessee Three, the Carter Family, and Carl Perkins should be worth the price tag alone. Let's just hope they eventually get around to a Volume Two.

Rounding out this week's crop of new music, the Shout Factory label has a fresh new batch of those Ultimate Grammy Collections, focusing on "Classic" Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country.

Here are all of this week's new album releases courtesy of All Music Guide:

Johnny Cash
The Best of the Johnny Cash TV Show
Legacy
Singer/Songwriter, Traditional Country

Marah
Angels of Destruction
Yep Roc
American Trad Rock

Medeski, Martin & Wood
Let's Go Everywhere
MRI
Jam Bands, Post-Bop, Jazz-Funk, Soul-Jazz

Original Soundtrack
The Wire: And All the Pieces Matter — Five Years of Music from The Wire
Nonesuch
Television Music, Soundtracks, TV Soundtracks

Reverend Horton Heat
Hi-Fi Stereo
Yep Roc
Rockabilly Revival, Alternative Pop/Rock, Psychobilly

John Anderson
All the People Are Talkin'
Collectors' Choice Music
Outlaw Country, Neo-Traditionalist Country, New Traditionalist, Honky Tonk, Country-Pop

John Anderson
Countrified
Collectors' Choice Music
Outlaw Country, Neo-Traditionalist Country, New Traditionalist, Honky Tonk, Country-Pop

John Anderson
Eye of the Hurricane
Collectors' Choice Music
Neo-Traditionalist Country, New Traditionalist, Honky Tonk

John Anderson
I Just Came Home to Count the Memories [Bonus Tracks]
Collectors' Choice Music
New Traditionalist, Outlaw Country, Honky Tonk, Neo-Traditionalist Country, Country-Pop

Mickey Baker
In the 50's: Hit, Git and Split
Revola
East Coast Blues, R&B

The Bangles
All Over the Place
Wounded Bird
Jangle Pop, Paisley Underground, Pop/Rock, New Wave, College Rock

The Bangles
Different Light
Wounded Bird
Jangle Pop, Paisley Underground, Pop/Rock, New Wave, College Rock

The Bangles
Everything
Wounded Bird
Jangle Pop, Paisley Underground, Pop/Rock, New Wave

Blue Öyster Cult
Imaginos
American Beat
Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Album Rock

Pierre Boulez
Mahler: Symphonie No. 8
Deutsche Grammophon
Post-Romantic Symphony

Delaney Bramlett
Something's Coming/Mobius Strip
Acadia
Blues-Rock, Rock & Roll

Laura Branigan
Laura Branigan
Wounded Bird
Pop/Rock

Laura Branigan
Over My Heart
Wounded Bird
Pop/Rock

Laura Branigan
Touch
Wounded Bird
Pop/Rock, Adult Contemporary, Dance-Pop

Wild Billy Childish and the Buff Medways
The XFM Sessions
Damaged Goods
Garage Rock Revival, Indie Rock

Randy Crawford
Don't Say It's Over
Wounded Bird
Urban, Soul

James Ehnes
Elgar: Violin Concerto; Serenade for Strings
Onyx
Post-Romantic Orchestral Music

Stephan Genz
Mahler: Des Knaben Wunderhorn
Hyperion
Post-Romantic Song Cycle

Sammy Hagar
VOA
American Beat
Arena Rock, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Pop-Metal, Album Rock

Barbara Hendricks
Henry Purcell, Georg Friedrich Haendel: Endless Pleasure
Arte Verum
Baroque Vocal Music

Donnie Iris
Back on the Streets/King Cool
American Beat
Arena Rock, Pop/Rock, Power Pop, New Wave, Rock & Roll

Arthur Lee
Vindicator
Beat Goes On
Hard Rock

Marcus
Marcus
Krescendo
Heavy Metal, Hard Rock

Wynton Marsalis Septet
Citi Movement
Wounded Bird
Contemporary Jazz, Post-Bop, New Orleans Jazz, Neo-Bop, Swing

Wynton Marsalis Septet
In This House, On This Morning
Wounded Bird
Neo-Bop, Black Gospel

Wynton Marsalis
Levee Low Moan: Soul Gestures in Southern Blue, Vol. 3
Wounded Bird
Jazz Blues, Neo-Bop

Wynton Marsalis
Thick in the South: Soul Gestures in Southern Blue, Vol. 1
Wounded Bird
Neo-Bop

Wynton Marsalis
Uptown Ruler: Soul Gestures in Southern Blue, Vol. 2
Wounded Bird
Neo-Bop

Randy Meisner
One More Song/Randy Meisner
Acadia
Soft Rock, Adult Contemporary, Country-Rock, Pop/Rock

New Colony Six
Sides
Revola
Garage Rock

Philip Pickett
Praetorius: Dances from Terpsichore
L'Oiseau-Lyre
Renaissance Chamber Music

Original Broadway Cast
Xanadu [P.S. Classics Broadway Cast]
P.S. Classics
Film Music, Soundtracks, Musicals, Pop/Rock, Soft Rock, Adult Contemporary

The Persuaders
Thin Line Between Love and Hate/The Persuaders
Collectors' Choice Music
R&B, Soul

Billy Squier
Signs of Life
American Beat
Arena Rock, Hard Rock

Jo Stafford
Her Greatest Hits
JSP
Vocal Jazz, Traditional Pop, Vocal Pop, Nostalgia

Stone Country
Stone Country
Revola
Contemporary Country, Progressive Country

Johnny Tillotson
It Keeps Right on A-Hurtin'/You Never Can Stop Me…
Ace
Teen Idol, Country-Rock, Pop

Oscar Toney Jr.
Loving You Too Long: The Contempo Sessions
Shout
Southern Soul, Soul, Deep Soul

Various Artists
Stockingtop Pop: Dream Babes, Vol. 8
RPM
Girl Group

Various Artists
Ultimate Grammy Collection: Classic Country
Shout Factory
Traditional Country, Cowboy, Rockabilly, Country-Pop, Country Gospel

Various Artists
Ultimate Grammy Collection: Classic Pop
Shout Factory
AM Pop, Soft Rock, Singer/Songwriter

Various Artists
Ultimate Grammy Collection: Classic R&B
Shout Factory
Motown, Soul, Pop, Funk, Smooth Soul, Quiet Storm, Black Gospel, Urban

Various Artists
Ultimate Grammy Collection: Contemporary Country
Shout Factory
Contemporary Bluegrass, Adult Contemporary, Contemporary Country, Country-Pop

Various Artists
Ultimate Grammy Collection: Contemporary Rock
Shout Factory
Alternative Pop/Rock

Various Artists
Welsh Rare Beat, Vol. 2
Finders Keepers
Acid Folk, Obscuro, Psychedelic

The Ventures
In the Vaults, Vol. 4
Ace
Surf, Instrumental Rock, Rock & Roll

Wisely
Wisely
Oglio
Pop Underground, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock

About Glen Boyd

Glen Boyd is the author of Neil Young FAQ, released in May 2012 by Backbeat Books/Hal Leonard Publishing. He is a former BC Music Editor and current contributor, whose work has also appeared in SPIN, Ultimate Classic Rock, The Rocket, The Source and other publications. You can read more of Glen's work at the official Neil Young FAQ site. Follow Glen on Twitter and on Facebook.

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