This two-fer CD (which replicates a double-LP reissue from 1976) pulls together two strong albums Joe Simon recorded in 1969 onto one disc. While The Chokin' Kind sounds a bit more spare in terms of its arrangements and production, and Better Than Ever lacks any songs written by Harlan Howard, for the most part these two albums fit together quite well; both sets are steeped in Southern soul with a pronounced C&W influence, and both make the most of Simon's strong, sad, and smoky voice. Both halves of the disc are also seasoned with a healthy selection of covers, and if Simon doesn't exactly cut Otis Redding on "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" or Glen Campbell on "Wichita Lineman," he brings qualities to both that set them apart from the better-known originals. And Joe Simon is at the top of his form on all 22 tracks; impassioned without overplaying his hand, and displaying a disarming emotional honesty that brings a touch of sorrow to even his most optimistic moments, this is stuff anyone who loves Southern soul will fall for. Strong material well presented (except for some audio anomalies on "Wounded Man"), this isn't quite as useful for beginners as Rhino's superb Music in My Bones: The Best of Joe Simon, but anyone with a taste for Simon's early work will love it.
This CD reissue of a Pablo date features Frank Foster (on tenor and soprano) and Frank Wess (tenor, flute and alto) at their best. They perform three Wess originals, one by Foster, and a variety of mostly underplayed standards (including Neal Hefti's "Two for the Blues," plus "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most") and a surprisingly uptempo "Send In the Clowns." With pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Rufus Reid and drummer Marvin "Smitty" Smith offering stimulating support, this is an excellent showcase for the two Franks. A follow-up Concord set (Frankly Speaking) used the same personnel.
Setlist captures 12 performances by country legend George Jones recorded live in Boston, Texas, Kentucky, and Tennessee between 1982 and 1987. All the performances are previously unreleased and include heartfelt versions of such hits as “Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes,” “She Thinks I Still Care,” “If Drinkin' Don't Kill Me (Her Memory Will),” and “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” Recommended to both collectors and casual listeners of classic country.