Thursday , February 22 2024
Two notable collections of previously released music really stand out from the pack this week.

New Album Releases 10/14/08: Kenny Chesney, Keane, Nikka Costa, Lucinda Williams, David Bowie, Johnny Cash, Buena Vista Social Club, Sean Noonan Brewed by Noon & More

Although its not our usual practice to spotlight reissues over new releases featuring actual new music, there are two notable collections of previously released music which really stand out from the rest of the pack this week.

David Bowie's iSelect is certainly not the first collection to draw upon his past material. It is however, the first where the artist himself has hand picked a selection of some of his favorite songs over the years, and added his own commentary to them. As it turns out, the somewhat obscure album tracks he has chosen here — songs like "Win" (from Young Americans) and "Sweet Thing/Candidate" (from Diamond Dogs) — also happen to be among my own Bowie favorites. The closet thing to an actual hit single included here would probably be "Loving The Alien."

The Legacy Edition of Johnny Cash's classic At Folsom Prison is also worth a second look here, since it includes a DVD, as well as the complete, never before released second set from that historic jailhouse stand. Legacy always does a great job on these deluxe editions of the classics, and this one is no exception.

Getting back to the new releases which actually feature new music, Kenny Chesney's Lucky Old Sun is probably the most likely to be ringing cash registers of the lot. The country superstar's twelfth album is said to be a decidedly mellower outing, and if you spring for the deluxe version you get an additional disc featuring live tracks.

Lucinda Williams is joined by the likes of Elvis Costello, Matthew Sweet and the Bangles' Susanna Hoffs for Little Honey, which is rife with her usual beautifully sung songs of love and regret. Nikka Costa does Stax Records proud by turning in an old school, retro-soul record on her new Pebble to a Pearl. British popsters Keane are in Perfect Symmetry on their third album.

Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas this week are Los Lonely Boys, Al Jarreau, Tony Bennett, and (if you happen to shop at Borders anyway), the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.


Saleski's Choice: Sean Noonan Brewed by Noon – Boxing Dreams

I love a good musical crossover. By that I don't mean when a country star has a pop hit. No, what I'm talking about is a tune that is taken completely out of context by being covered in a different genre. One of my favorite records is called Brand New Second Hand, a collection of pop tunes that have been Reggae-fied. The amazing thing is that there are songs that I used to absolutely hate, but ended up loving in Reggae form. Remember "On and On"? "Down in Jamaica they got lots of pretty women…."? Stephen Bishop? Super-icky. As a Reggae tune (by Aswad)? Awesome.

Okay, so now that I've got that ramble out of the way, let's talk about Sean Noonan. Oh, he's a crossover artist alright. But go ahead and give Boxing Dreams a listen and you tell me what this is. Jazz? Rock? Afro-Celtic? A fusion of sorts? For the record, the correct answer is: yes, yes, yes, yes.

What this record has in common with the aforementioned Reggae covers album is the element of surprise. As you listen, your brain ear bits want to attach the music to a genre….but it never happens. Awesome.

El Bicho's Masked Music Pick: Buena Vista Social Club – At Carnegie Hall

I had never been aware of Cuban music until I worked in a Barnes & Noble bookstore, but that first Buena Vista Social Club album completely captivated me. My high school Spanish isn’t enough for me to translate the songs, but singers like Ibrahim Ferrer and Omara Portuondo, well-known artists in their homeland, clearly conveyed the emotions of the stories, demonstrating that the U.S. embargo hasn't affected our collective unconscious. The talented Cuban musicians assembled were led by album producer Ry Cooder. This two-disc set was recorded at Carnegie Hall on July 1, 1998, the group’s only concert. Wim Wenders’ Oscar-nominated documentary was shot the same night, so this could be considered that film’s soundtrack. It is a definite must-have on my list. If you like good music, it should be on yours.   

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

Kenny Chesney
Lucky Old Sun [Deluxe Edition]
Blue Chair/BNA/Sony BMG
Contemporary Country, Country-Pop

Nikka Costa
Pebble to a Pearl
Neo-Soul, Retro-Soul

Perfect Symmetry
Alternative Pop/Rock

Ray LaMontagne
Gossip in the Grain
Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock

Lucinda Williams
Little Honey
Lost Highway
Alternative Folk, Americana, Alternative Country-Rock

Daniel Barenboim
Mozart: Requiem; Bruckner: Te Deum
EMI Classics
Classical and Romantic Choral Music

Paris Bennett
A Royal Christmas
Holiday, Contemporary R&B, Christmas, Adult Contemporary

Tony Bennett
A Swingin' Christmas
RPM Records/Columbia
Vocal Jazz, Traditional Pop, Christmas

David Bowie
Album Rock, Experimental Rock, Pop/Rock, Prog-Rock/Art Rock

Buena Vista Social Club
At Carnegie Hall
Cha-Cha, Son, Bolero, Mambo

Buttless Chaps
Indie Rock, Alternative Country-Rock

Johnny Cash
At Folsom Prison [Legacy Edition 2CD/DVD]
Traditional Country, Country-Pop, Progressive Country

Vic Chesnutt/Elf Power/The Amorphous Strums
Dark Developments
Orange Twin
Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Indie Rock

Comeback Kid
Through the Noise
Hardcore Punk

Chris Connelly
Forgiveness and Exile
Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Post-Rock/Experimental, Improvisation, Structured Improvisation, Avant-Garde

Julian Cope
Black Sheep
Head Heritage
Neo-Psychedelia, Alternative Pop/Rock

You Are My Sunshine
Tooth & Nail
Alternative Pop/Rock

Billy Currington
Little Bit of Everything
Mercury Nashville
Contemporary Country, Country-Pop

Detroit Grand Pubahs
Nuttin' Butt Funk
Electro-Techno, Detroit Techno, Club/Dance, Techno

Dillinger Four
Civil War
Fat Wreck Chord
Punk Revival, Post-Hardcore, Punk-Pop

Eroica Trio
An American Journey
EMI Classics
Modern and Contemporary Chamber Music

The Fleshtones
Stocking Stuffer
Yep Roc
Garage Rock Revival, Christmas

The Foreign Exchange
Leave It All Behind
Hall of Justus/Nicolay Music
Contemporary R&B, Underground Rap, Hip-Hop

Aretha Franklin
This Christmas [Borders Exclusive]
Holiday, Contemporary R&B, Christmas, Adult Contemporary

Bobbie Gentry
Ode to Billie Joe/Touch 'Em with Love
Nashville Sound/Countrypolitan, Country-Pop, Blue-Eyed Soul, Pop/Rock, Early Pop/Rock

Gloriæ Dei Cantores
Mark O'Connor: Folk Mass
Contemporary Choral Music

Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs
Dirt Don't Hurt
Punk Blues

Bring It On [10th Anniversary Collector's Edition]
British Trad Rock, Britpop, Alternative Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock

Paul Hillier
Toivo Tulev: Songs [Hybrid SACD]
Harmonia Mundi
Contemporary Vocal Music

I'm from Barcelona
Who Killed Harry Houdini?
Indie Pop, Chamber Pop

Al Jarreau
Contemporary Jazz, Holiday, Vocal Jazz, Christmas, Smooth Jazz, Crossover Jazz

Greatest Hits
Contemporary R&B, Urban, Adult Contemporary

Los Lonely Boys
Christmas Spirit
Roots Rock, Tex-Mex, Modern Electric Blues

The Louvin Brothers
Country Love Ballads/Ira and Charlie
Close Harmony, Traditional Country, Traditional Bluegrass, Bluegrass-Gospel

Menahan Street Band
Make the Road by Walking
Downtempo, Retro-Soul

Ingrid Michaelson
Original Signal
Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock

The Mighty Underdogs
Droppin' Science Fiction
Definitive Jux
Alternative Rap, West Coast Rap, Hip-Hop, Underground Rap

John Michael Montgomery
Time Flies
Rocket Science
Contemporary Country

Anne-Sophie Mutter
Bach: Violin Concertos; Gubaidulina: In tempus praesens
Deutsche Grammophon
Baroque and Contemporary Music for Violin and Orchestra

The Organ
Indie Rock, New Wave/Post-Punk Revival

Original Soundtrack
How to Lose Friends and Alienate People
Soundtracks, British Invasion, Alternative Pop/Rock, Hard Rock

Original Soundtrack
W [Soundtrack]
Lion's Gate
Outlaw Country, Soundtracks, Honky Tonk

Teddy Pendergrass
Life Is a Song Worth Singing [Total Soul Classics]
Sony Legacy
Philly Soul, Soul, Quiet Storm

Teddy Pendergrass
Teddy Pendergrass [Total Soul Classics]
Sony Legacy
Philly Soul, Soul, Quiet Storm

Benoît Pioulard
Indie Electronic, Electronica, Post-Rock/Experimental, Dream Pop

Secret Machines
Secret Machines
Alternative Pop/Rock

Sixpence None the Richer
The Dawn of Grace
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock

Todd Snider
Peace Queer
Mega Force
Americana, Alternative Country, Alternative Singer/Songwriter

Phoebe Snow
Verve Forecast
Singer/Songwriter, Pop/Rock, Contemporary Folk

J.D. Souther
If the World Was You
Mega Force
Jazz-Rock, Soft Rock, Singer/Songwriter

Jimmy Thackery & the Drivers
Inside Tracks
Modern Electric Blues

Various Artists
The Big Top Records Story: Classic New York Pop 1958-1964
Brill Building Pop, Doo Wop, Early Pop/Rock, Teen Idol, Girl Group, Rock & Roll, R&B

Various Artists
Country Boy's Dream
Bear Family
Americana, Country Boogie, Instrumental Country, Honky Tonk, Bluegrass, Country-Folk, Rockabilly, Western Swing, Country-Pop, Traditional Country

Various Artists
Do-Wah-Diddy: Words and Music by Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry
Brill Building Pop, Girl Group, Early Pop/Rock

The Vivian Girls
Vivian Girls
In The Red
Noise Pop, Indie Pop

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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