|Freedom and Fear / Words Like Bullets||Words Like Bullets||5:46|
|Devil in Disguise / Words Like Bullets||Words Like Bullets||6:25|
|Voices in the Head / Words Like Bullets||Words Like Bullets||7:33|
|Devil in Disguise [Vocal] / Words Like Bullets||Words Like Bullets||7:08|
On his third solo outing -- and his second with his backing band Great Southern -- Allman Brothers lead guitarist Dickey Betts moves back into the deep-fried Southern boogie that the Brothers are (in)famous for and serves it up with just a smidgen of country and comes out with another winner.
Once again the mood is laid back and greasy with the guitars taking center stage in a funky, spunky mix that concentrates as much on the backbeat as it does on the swinging Southern boogie blues. Hence Betts digs deep into New Orleans as a source of inspiration on tracks like "Good Time Feeling," "Dealin' With the Devil," and "Back on the Road Again." Again relying heavily on the harmonica stylings of Topper Price for color and nuance, Betts uses this cue as a way of bringing the entire band into the proceedings this time out. While it's true that his guitar is the centerpiece of the album, Great Southern is present more as a unit than as Betts' backing band. On the title track, a ballad that offers a ghostly narrative of the end of the Civil war, Betts also uses Bob Dylan's backing choir of Bonnie Bramlet, Clydie King, and Shirley Mathews for added emotional impact as well as a string section. While the string section could have been dispensed with, it doesn't hurt too much as the integrity of the song is so focused and sharp it's a minor nuisance. Production on this set is a bit muddier than on the Great Southern album that preceded it, and this is a good thing. There is more immediacy in the band's presence on the record than the studio's. Given that this was issued in 1978, when the bottom was about to drop out of rock & roll in favor of things like new wave and rap, this album holds up surprisingly well over two decades later. The shuffle and roll that was then Betts' trademark is refreshingly untouched by the production or musical excesses of the time. There is no attempt to be "relevant" or "cutting edge." But there is no retro feel on this disc either; it sounds consistent with a man's vision who's always considered himself right on time and still does. Loud, tough, and funky, Atlanta's Burning Down is a winner.
This volume of Mingus material brings together three sessions from 1952 and 1953, all of which emphasize vocal material. The first set of arrangements leans towards a cooler side of Mingus, with careful brushwork from Al Levitt, airy alto lines from Lee Konitz, and the inclusion of a cellist. Max Roach handles the drums on the second session.
While there is no record of how the musicians felt about working with lyrics like "If you make believe with all the fine chicks/Then you're sure to get some crazy way-out kicks," presumably everyone was more enthused about "Paris in Blue," which features a relaxed and spare Jackie Paris vocal in a more distinctly Mingus-like setting. The third session runs straight down the middle, 1950s-style, neither overly cool nor anywhere near avant. Honey Gordon holds forth in a husky, Sarah Vaughan-influenced alto. She is joined by the rest of her singing family on "You and Me" and "Bebopper," a de rigeur vocal tribute to jazz hipster style.
As a celebration of "Tom" Jobim's 60th birthday in 1987, a Brazilian consort simply called the Organization sponsored an album that anthologized his output as a composer. Jobim made the final choices of 24 tunes, recorded them with his band of family and friends, and the results were released privately in a limited edition. Recorded at around the same time as Passarim, it's possible that Jobim did not want this retrospective to compete with his new material. Not until 1995 did the Brazilian arm of BMG put out a commercial edition of this project in a very handsome two-CD box with a beautifully illustrated 38-page color booklet (alas, the contents could have been easily squeezed onto only one CD). It's far from a casual project, obviously carefully rehearsed and polished; rather it's an intimate one, using a minimum of resources, backed only by Jobim's simply-stated piano on several tracks. There is the expected quota of greatest hits like "Desafinado," "One Note Samba," "Chega de Saudades," and "Wave," yet the bulk of the material is not very familiar, often dispatched in to-the-point slices that sometimes clock in at less than two minutes. Jobim also takes a personal flyer by including his countryman Heitor Villa-Lobos' haunting "Seresta No. 5," with just himself on piano backing Danilo Caymmi's vocal, followed by his own "Modinha." Jaques Morelenbaum provides the occasional string arrangements and cello solos, again keeping things uncluttered and decidedly less ambitious than Claus Ogerman's charts on a previous Jobim retrospective, Terra Brasilis. Sometimes the arrangements are unpredictable; "The Girl From Ipanema" omits the words of the first chorus, picking up the thread on the bridge, and the stunning "Estrada do Sol" shifts gears several times. The feeling of saudade is very much front and center on Jobim's birthday present to himself -- he later said that this was his favorite album -- and all of his connoisseurs should try to hunt it down in the import bins.