Unplugged

Hank Williams

Hank Williams was called the hillbilly Shakespeare and, believe me, this is not an exaggeration; his imprint on country music is absolutely gigantic. In just six years of recording career Williams left a legacy that still remains the Rosetta Stone of the genre.   If the US popular music of the early twentieth century has what is...

B.B. King - Live In Cook County Jail (1971)

The intensity of the king of the bluesIn 1970, after a performance at Mister Kelly's, one of Chicago's best nightclubs, the warden of Chicago's Cook County Prison approached B.B. King to ask him to perform at the prison. He accepted and his record company decided to record him, since concerts in prisons had become fashionable after Johnny Cash's At...

Sturgill Simpson - The Ballad of Dood and Juanita (2021)

A Restless Spirit You have to hand it to country artist Sturgill Simpson; he doesn’t hang around. Following the release of two volumes of Cuttin’ Grass in the last two years, he now returns with a concept album The Ballad of Dood and Juanita (20 August 2021; High Top Mountain), which he reportedly canned within a...

Johnny Cash, the greatest storyteller

"Hello, I'm Johnny Cash" - these simple words served to assure the audience that they were before possibly the best storyteller in popular music of the twentieth century. There were people with better and more expressive voices, but nobody knew how to make better use of his than Johnny Cash; every word that came out of his mouth rang true and you...

The Wallflowers - Exit Wounds (2021)

Refocusing On Roots Rock Following Jakob Dylan’s folk solo records, Seeing Things and Women + Country, his first Wallflowers album in nearly a decade, Exit Wounds (9 July 2021; New West Records), sees him focusing once more on roots rock.     Lyrically Dylan seeks to strike a balance between the difficult times of...

John Lennon - Imagine (1971)

Lennon SquaredIt is 50 years since John Lennon said "imagine no possessions" from his huge mansion in Tittenhurst Park, in one more of the many contradictions that fill the life of the man who, together with Paul McCartney, formed the most important songwriting duo of the 20th century. Precisely from his relationship with Paul comes another of the...

Steve Jones

To understand the importance and significance of Steve Jones and the Sex Pistols, but also all the misunderstandings around them, just take a look at the British singles charts of December 1976, the same month in which they became stars, and also the most hated guys in the country. We see artists and groups like Johnny Mathis, ABBA, Mike Oldfield,...

Queen - A Day At The Races (1976)

Top Marks  A Day At The Races (10 December 1976; EMI/ Elektra) is the fifth studio album by the British rock band Queen, comprising Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon.    Recorded at The Manor, Sarm West and Wessex Studios in England, Queen sought to build on the success of their previous album, A...

Stevie Ray Vaughan - In Step (1989)

His involuntary musical testament In Step is Stevie Ray Vaughan's last solo album – specifically with his inseparable Double Trouble -  as 15 months after releasing it the singer and guitarist died in a tragic accident. It must be one of the cruelest ironies of fate, because after a lifetime of playing with fire, and countless...

The Rolling Stones - Goats Head Soup (1973)

A remarkably high level stumble In 1972 the Rolling Stones had reached the pinnacle of their art with Exile On Main Street, completing an incredible four-year period in which they released the four best albums of their career, as well as a great live album, and on which, after the Beatles' split, they had become what their motto said: "the...

David Crosby - For Free (2021)

Golden Years Octogenarian David Crosby has survived a liver transplant, multiple heart attacks and diabetes, as well as his own drink and drug problems, but he continues to surprise with his creativity and strong spirit on For Free (23 July 2021; BMG).     Nowhere is that feeling more evident than on the title track,...

Tedeschi Trucks Band - Layla Revisited (Live At Lockn' 2021)

Should Hendrix Be Covered? When I listened to Layla Revisited (Live at Lockn') (16 July 2021; Fantasy Records) I couldn’t help but think of the words of a knowledgeable friend of mine who once said: “don’t try to cover Hendrix!”        The fact is that here the Tedeschi Trucks Band have not only...

John Mayer - Sob Rock (2021)

 Some Tequila In Your Coffee Four years after releasing the hugely popular The Search for Everything, John Mayer draws together singles he has been releasing over the interim years on his eighth solo album, Sob Rock (16 July, 2021; Columbia Records).      Before exploring his latest offering it is worth...

Brian May - Back To The Light (1992)

Driven By You There is a touching moment at the end of a live version of Driven By You when Brian May, with his legendary signature Red Special in hand, turns momentarily away from the tens of thousands of fans in the stadium and gently smiles to the camera. The clear message of that moment is ‘everything I do is driven by you [the...

The Byrds - Untitled (1970)

The best summary of their career The 1970 Byrds were a totally different group from the one that had pioneered folk rock, but they didn't have much to do with the psychedelic band either; not even with the one that had practically invented country rock in 1968 with Sweetheart Of The Rodeo. The only common link was Roger McGuinn and his...

Richie Sambora

Seen A Million Faces  Richie Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi may have written a song about life on the road that peaked at number 7 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, featured in TV shows and movies, and kickstarted the hugely successful MTV unplugged series, but it all was made possible by Sambora’s mother not doing the laundry the day they...

Billy F Gibbons - Hardware (2021)

Hot! Hot! Hot! Billy Gibbons’ latest solo album Hardware (4 June 2021; Concord Records) follows hot on the tails of his 2015 offering, the Latin-tinged Perfectamundo, and 2018’s The Big Bad Blues. Here the ex- ZZ Top legend seems to have swapped his legendary ’59 Les Paul for an SG custom to successfully give shape and flavour to a...

The Beatles - Rubber Soul (1965)

The album as a work of art Rubber Soul is one of the most important albums in the history of the Beatles (and that means in the history of rock). It is the work that separates them from their first period as pop idols and put them at the vanguard of the genre, turning the recording studio into the perfect place to experiment. It was the album...

Myles Kennedy - The Ides Of March (2021)

Let Rock Ease Your Worried Mind There may be multiple layers of complexity in Myles Kennedy’s choice of title for his latest album, The Ides Of March (14 May 2021; Napalm Records). One is that ‘The Ides’ originally referred to the new moon of a given month, and so suggests a time for rebirth and celebration. On the other hand Shakespeare...