Ruining My Hearing With...
THE SHAGGS/Philosophy Of The World: I ordered the 2011 remastered CD from the folks currently staging the Shaggs musical and I can report: it's definitely as good as the Shaggs are gonna get. Which is pretty darn good, for those with, umm, "adventurous" tastes. I hesitate to make this a wholehearted recommendation until folks actually sample a song or two, but i-tunes makes that easy. Give the samples a listen, then if you're converted, rush to www.TicketCentral.com and buy the cool new remaster. $16 and worth every foot-footin' (as in their biggest "hit", "My Pal Foot-Foot") penny.
CHICAGO/Live In '75: What can I say, Chicago was my second concert ever (after Linda Ronstadt!) and I've always enjoyed their 70's music. The fine folks at Rhino Handmade have released a limited edition, 2 CD set of a concert culled from their 6/24-25 1975 shows in Largo Maryland. If you have any interest whatsoever in early live Chicago, eschew the crappy PD stuff that's flooding the market and get this set. Amazing sound, all the hits, booklets, liner notes, the whole Handmade deal. www.rhinohandmade.com
DON DIXON & MARTI JONES/Living Stereo: Their latest 2011 release, a set of duets from these extremely talented and tasteful musicians. Self-released on the D.A.R. label (Dixon Archival Remnants), music like this needs to be supported with $$ so there will be MORE music like this. Dixon produced REM and the Smithereens (their first album and their most recent) and has released a whole bunch of great Southern pop over the years. Don's better-half Marti Jones sings real good and has her own catalog of classics. Samples can be heard at Amazon, but don't get a lossy Mp3 of this, buy the CD. www.cdbaby.com has them!
MICHAEL CARPENTER/SOOP#3: Carpenter has been putting out great power-pop-ish music for years, but the SOOP (Songs Of Other People) has been especially fun for moi. Great covers of great songs, ranging from Nick Lowe to the Beatles to the Brady Bunch (!). His stuff's available at i-tunes and some on Amazon, but Carpenter is also soliciting subscribers/benefactors to help him put out five CDs worth of material this year. If fans don't support these artists, nobody will, so I coughed up -- check out his site at http://www.mcarp.com/ and maybe you will too.
ROBERT JOHNSON/"The Complete Recordings": Yes, "the" Robert Johnson, bluesman and inspiration for Clapton, Zeppelin and who knows how many others. All of Johnson's catalog has been long available, but this new 2 CD release is a digital remaster and something of a revelation. Basically, this material has never sounded so good. Much of the 78RPM hiss has been eliminated without peeling away at the essentially high end, leaving the clearest sound yet. I've probably bought ten different versions of this material over the years, but this one is a distinct improvement.