What started out as a 2006 project that found Sweet and Hoffs, (aka Sid and Susie), going through the canons of ’60s artists including The Beatles, Love, The Velvet Underground, Neil Young, the Bee Gees, Bob Dylan and The Zombies has evolved into a third volume. With 2009’s Volume 2 tackling the ’70s (Mott the Hoople, Yes, Little Feat, Bread, Derek and the Dominos, Raspberries) , the two friends are shifting gears into the ’80s. Seeing as both artists are known for jangly musical manna replete with gorgeous harmonies, it’s no surprise to hear that there’s more of the same here. This particular decade also hits close to home for them as the duo got its start during this time — Hoffs as a member of The Bangles and Sweet as a major label solo artist in 1986. The cross-section of artists find the duo looking to English and American artists that were already established in this decade (Roxy Music, Dave Edmunds, Tom Petty, The Pretenders), peers from the world of New Wave (Echo and the Bunnymen, The Smiths), and domestic indie rock (R.E.M., The Bongos, The Go-Go’s, The dB’s). It’s a vanity project well worth hitting the repeat button for.
Joe Ely & Alejandro Escovedo @ the YMCA Boulton Center
for the Performing Arts, 37 W. Main St.
8 p.m. $65, $60. 631-969-1101 www.boultoncenter.org
You’d be hard-pressed to find a cooler double-shot of artists than this pair of native Texans. Joe Ely has enjoyed a successful solo career on top of being hand-picked by The Clash to open the same tour that included an infamous stop playing New York City department store Bonds in the early ‘80s, and for being one-third of the legendary Flatlanders, whose members include fellow Texas troubadours Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gilmore. On a similar level, Alejandro Escovedo has been making some of the best music of his life ever since recovering from a life-threatening bout with Hepatitis C. His last outing, 2012’s Big Station, reunited him with legendary glam-rock producer Tony Visconti for a third time and came up with a dozen gritty character-driven tunes.
Paul McCartney & Wings — Wings Over America (MPL Communications Inc./Concord Music Group) — Originally released as a 3-LP set, this 1976 live album vied with Frampton Comes Alive for being one of the decade’s greatest live sets. Twenty-seven years after its initial release, this latest reissue was unleashed in a variety of incarnations including as a Deluxe Edition Box Set made up of 3-CD/1-DVD; the original 28-track album, a bonus tracks disc, DVD of the TV documentary Wings Over the World, 112-page book, assorted memorabilia, 60-page photograph book, 80-page sketch book and download link to all of the material. As for the music, it finds Paul McCartney and this lineup of Wings at its most effective. Coming off the band’s two strongest albums, Band On the Run and Venus and Mars, Macca and company were able to mix great recent material like “Let Me Roll It,” “Picasso’s Last Words” and “Jet” with a decent dose of Beatles fare including“I’ve Just Seen a Face,” “Lady Madonna,” and “The Long and Winding Road.”
Albert King — Born Under a Bad Sign (Stax) — Despite being one of the three Kings of blues, (alongside B.B. and Freddie — both no relation), Albert King was actually born Albert Nelson. While the Mississippi native’s earliest recordings date back to the 1950s, it wasn’t until he hooked up with Memphis-based soul outfit Stax/Volt that King enjoyed crossover success. Backed by Booker T. & the MGs, the imposing left-handed guitar slinger really dug in, serving up the stinging blues shuffle “Crosscut Saw,” affecting the requisite swagger throughout the brassy declarations of “The Hunter” and gently bobs along through a lightly swinging reading of “Kansas City.” Most surprising is King’s effectiveness as a balladeer, not only on Ivory Joe Hunter’s juke joint weeper “I Almost Lost My Mind,” but on a reading of pop bandleader Ray Noble’s 1934 standard “The Very Thought Of You” that works far better than you’d expect it to.
With brothers Cody and Luther Dickinson, (both sons of the late and legendary producer/musician Jim) , at the helm of North Mississippi All Stars, the band has always avoided going down the route of producing weekend warrior-flavored blues. The rustic and raw Delta Blues associated with juke joint-flavored imprint Fat Possum has always been more of a guidepost, especially given the fact that the NMAS has worked with a number of that label’s artists in the past. The 2009 death of the duo’s pop may have caused them to go on hiatus, but their return to the studio is a testament to their father be it in the title (one of Jim Dickinson’s favorite sayings) or in the innovative way in which they blend raw playing, snippets of ambient noise and clips of previously recorded fare by late Fat Possum stalwarts Othar Turner and R.L. Burnside.
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