You know we're talking slow week here when the biggest release on the list comes from a guy who hasn't had a bonafide hit record in some two decades.
But you still have to give ol' Alice Cooper his props. On his new concept album, Along Came A Spider, the guy who single handedly invented the rock theatrical spectacle that spawned several decades of imitators from Kiss to Marilyn Manson to Slipknot, still shows the young bucks how to get it done.
In my original review here a few weeks back, I wrote that although there isn't anything here as memorable as "I'm Eighteen" or "School's Out," the band still rocks pretty hard and Alice's voice has held up remarkably well. This one probably won't sell that many copies past the diehards, but it's good nonetheless to see Alice still going a lot stronger than you might expect (especially for a guy who's gotta' be pushing 60).
Another guy who saw his best years a few decades back, but is apparently still going strong is Rick Springfield. I was never a fan, but like Alice, I'll give Springfield credit. He's more or less maintained his teen-idol good looks, and I have to admit that the single "What's Victoria Secret?" (don't tell anyone, but I saw it performed on General Hospital this week) is a damned hooky sounding little pop tune. I'm sure our fearless leader Connie Phillips already has her copy of Springfield's new Venus in Overdrive.
Also of note this week is a recording of one of the last HBO standup performances from the late, great George Carlin. Just be forewarned that in addition to Carlin's usual brilliance, there's ample use of those "seven words" (and a few more) on It's Bad for Ya.
Since it's a slow week and all, we bent the rules a little this week and allowed Josh Hathaway to write about the Stones (we don't usually cover DVD's here), as well as plug a couple of his buddies (since they are also friends of ours). Mark Saleski also gives us his take on the new collaboration between an MG and a Rascal.
As for me, wake me up when it's August.
If I was to make up a list of my favorite guitar players (But of course, I wouldn't dare do that because then I'd be exposing myself to the Internet scourge known as GuitarFan™. You know the type. They blurt out things like "Where's Slash?!!" and "Dimebag!" — think of it as a kind of Rock and Roll Tourette's) then Steve Cropper would have to be there. Going all the way back to his smokin' work with Booker T & the MGs, Cropper's guitar has always had that unique twang that I just love.
On Nudge It Up a Notch, Cropper is joined by Felix Cavaliere, vocalist and B3 player for the Rascals. I'm afraid I may have to turn this up very loud.
P.S. Yes, I was sucked in by the record player on the cover.
I'd like to throw out a special plug for a free new release before we get to my Official Pick of the Week. Somrod has just released Magic Junk Radio 11: Slow Ahead. The download is free and well worth the listen.
Martin Scorsese's tour film of the Rolling Stones' Shine a Light makes its way to DVD and Blu-Ray. Just think, Blu-Ray fans, you'll be able to count the cracks in Keith's face. Mick Jagger's lips will be in high definition.
The spectacular soundtrack was released earlier this spring; now we get the images to go with the words. The real question about this release is can the Oscar-winning director breathe life into the stale genre that is the concert film? Can he present The Stones in a unique way? Can he present live music in a unique way? Can he at the very least present them in an engaging way? We've heard the soundtrack, so we know the music is there. I can't wait to feast my eyes on the visuals.
Here are all of this week's new album releases courtesy of All Music Guide:
Along Came a Spider
Heavy Metal, Hard Rock
Steve Cropper/Felix Cavaliere
Nudge It Up a Notch
Venus in Overdrive
Love on the Inside
Contemporary Country, Country-Folk, Country-Rock
Schubert: Grand Duo; Variations; Marches militaires
Romantic Music for Piano Duo
Bobo Motion [Remastered]
Boogaloo, Latin Jazz, Salsa, Latin Folk
Illbient, Dancehall, Experimental
It's Bad for Ya
Observational Humor, Standup Comedy
Cephas & Wiggins
Modern Acoustic Blues, Acoustic Blues, Folk-Blues, Piedmont Blues
Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper
Love Heals: The Complete Recordings
Psychedelic, Psychedelic Pop
Maynard Ferguson Octet [Remastered]
Crossover Jazz, Hard Bop, Bop
Fine Arts Quartet
Four American Quartets
Modern and Contemporary Chamber Music
Chris Newman: Piano Sonatas
Contemporary Piano Music
Eddie Loves You So
Soul, Memphis Soul, Deep Soul, Southern Soul
Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, British Folk
The Cool World [Remastered]
Afro-Cuban Jazz, Bop
Oh! Mighty Engine
Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Indie Pop
Nobody Left to Crown
At the Museum of Modern Art [Remastered]
John Antill: Corroboree; An Outback Overture
Modern Ballet and Orchestral Music
The Kingston Trio
Turning Like Forever: Rarities, Vol. 2
Collectors' Choice Music
Folk Revival, Folk-Pop, Traditional Folk
The Very Best of Little Richard [Specialty]
Rock & Roll, R&B, New Orleans R&B
Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Americana
Night Flyer: The Singer Songwriter Collection
Traditional Bluegrass, Progressive Bluegrass, New Acoustic
Luck's Changing Lanes
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Post-Grunge
Scars on Broadway
Scars on Broadway
Alternative Metal, Progressive Metal
Death Metal/Black Metal, Alternative Metal, Heavy Metal, Rap-Metal
The Terrible Twos
Jerzy the Giant
Children's Folk, Sing-Along
James Jackson Toth
Waiting in Vain
Neo-Traditional Folk, Alternative Country, Indie Rock
Rock The Net: Musicians For Network Neutrality
Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Experimental Rock, Indie Rock
Andre Williams & the New Orleans Hellhounds
Can You Deal with It?
Island Def Jam
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock