These recently released CD's, books and DVD's are sure to please
THE BEATLES - On Air -- Live at the BBC Volume 2 (Apple/Capitol, $18.17) This was social media in Great Britain in 1963, during the first flash flood of Beatlemania: George Harrison singing "Do You Want to Know a Secret" for Deanne and Jenny in Bedford; Paul McCartney belting "The Hippy Hippy Shake" for a student at the bassist's old grammar school in Liverpool; Ringo Starr stumbling over names on a request card from Yorkshire. That year, the Beatles ran riot over the BBC, even landing a weekly radio series of studio performances, dedications and wisecracks, Pop Go the Beatles -- a vigorous innocence and outreach that propels this second culling of the group's Beeb work. The Beatles are enjoying the speed and lunacy of stardom here: tugging their roots forward in Little Richard's "Lucille" and a sparkling cover of Buddy Holly's "Words of Love" a year before they cut it for a record; going deep into their Cavern-era song bag for Chuck Berry's "I'm Talking About You" and Carl Perkins' "Glad All Over." The mounting hysteria of concerts seeps into "Misery," taped at a BBC theater in March 1963; the live audience can barely contain its screams in the middle. You also hear the distance growing: "It's amazing that you can hear us as we're in America now," Lennon cracks in a pretaped chat in early '64. There would be no more dedications to schoolgirls in Liverpool. The Beatles now belonged to the world.* * * * - David Fricke, Rolling Stone
THE WHO - Tommy: Super Deluxe Box Set (Geffen/UMe, $91.05) As the first popular "rock opera," Tommy has plenty to answer for. But measured against pale 21st-century Broadway offspring, the Who's magnum opus still rules. Besides an impressive book, the news on this box is a virtually complete set of Pete Townshend demos, with the composer's warm tenor taking lead on every song. It makes for remarkable alternate versions. "The Hawker (Eyesight to the Blind)" hews closer to its Sonny Boy Williamson roots; "Sally Simpson" as a sort of music-hall piano romp. Semi-acoustic versions of "Acid Queen" and "Pinball Wizard" are delicious; a minor rocker ("Trying to Get Through") and a backward-tape jam ("Dream One") appear as well. The fierce '69 live recording comes from tapes that were thankfully stashed away by the band's sound man after Townshend ordered them destroyed. They prove the music's power even without actors -- just the four dudes who cooked it up in the first place. * * * * * - Will Hermes, Rolling Stone
VAN MORRISON - Moondance (Deluxe Edition) (Warner Bros., $54.08) "Here we go to the main course!" ad-libs Van Morrison on an extended "Caravan," one of the shaggy outtakes on this five-disc unpacking of the Belfast bard's 1970 jazzy-pop masterpiece. That LP is nearly all main course, and if the numerous alternate takes here often feel incomplete without their sublime, brassy final arrangements, they compensate with intimacy -- see "Into the Mystic," take 11, mainly just Morrison and acoustic guitar. The set's grail is the long-lost outtake "I Shall Sing," a Caribbean-style confection that became a signature for many (Miriam Makeba, Judy Mowatt, Art Garfunkel). Its author delivers a meaty, scatted-up reading here, alongside a ferocious early version of the soul burner "I've Been Working" (His Band and the Street Choir) and a roadhouse-piano reading of Bessie Smith's "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" -- the sound of an Irish bluesman cruising at high altitude. * * * * 1/2 - Will Hermes, Rolling Stone
PAUL McCARTNEY - New (Hear Music/Concord Music Group, $14.88) Paul McCartney has nothing to gain from working. Having already lorded over one of rock & roll's most definitive catalogs, the 71-year-old icon could have simply spent his autumn years rearranging jazz standards (as he did on 2012's Kisses on the Bottom), or worse, cranking out an endless stream of tired Beatles simulacra. Instead, he's jamming with the surviving members of Nirvana (which happened earlier this year) and recruiting a small army of visionaries to help craft his 16th solo album. That willingness to dabble apparently appeals to producer Mark Ronson, who lends both the title track and the loping "Alligator" a past-is-future swagger. Other partners leave their mark as well: Adele knob-twiddler Paul Epworth adds stately cinematic swoop to opener "Save Us," Ethan Johns (Kings of Leon) brings a clean minimalism to the humming "Hosanna," and Giles Martin, son of Beatles producer Sir George, gives muscular heft to the fuzzy "Appreciate." McCartney earns points just for seeking out new ideas, but New hangs on the strength of the songs. He's got formidable storytelling chops (which especially inform the dreamy "On My Way to Work"), but he is also smart enough to get out of the way of a bombastic hook, as on the punch "I Can Bet." New is as apt an album title as you'll find: Not only does it announce McCartney's first batch of original songs in six years, it also celebrates the idea that pop music can still invigorate, inspire, and surprise -- even if you had a hand in inventing it. * * * * - Kyle Anderson, Entertainment Weekly
THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND - Brothers and Sisters: 40th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition (Mercury, $79.80) The Allman Brothers Band's first Number One album, 1973's Brothers and Sisters, was a miracle of recovery and reinvention amid grim, enforced change: the deaths, in 1971 and 1972, respectively, of guitarist Duane Allman and bassist Berry Oakley. Guitarist Dickey Betts took a greater leading and writing role, increasing the country light and buoyancy in the Allmans' electric-blues stampede ("Ramblin' Man," "Southbound," "Jessica") as new pianist Chuck Leavell added more barrelhouse and fusion dynamics. The road to that symmetry is caught in this four-CD set by a disc of rehearsals and outtakes that sounds like the work of a more brawny, Southern Grateful Dead, at once winding ("A Minor Jam"), earthy and hurting (Gregg Allman's howling in Ray Charles' "I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town"). A complete 1973 concert from San Francisco's Winterland shows the new lineup's confidence and style of ascension (the stately, climbing pathos in the middle of "Whipping Post") at bright, striving length -- before the family really fell apart. * * * * - David Fricke, Rolling Stone
THE BAND - Live at the Academy of Music 1971 (Capitol/UMe, $61.16) In these days of near-instantaneous, shit-sounding YouTube bootlegs, it's hard to recall how great live recordings can be. Rock of Ages is indeed a great live recording -- in his 1972 Rolling Stone review, included with this reissue, Ralph J. Gleason called it a "classic" straight out of the gate, ranking alongside "sacred" in-concert LPs like Mingus at Monterey. Taken from multi-track tapes of the '71 four-night stand that sourced Rock, this five-disc set combines the expanded 2002 reissue with a soundboard recording of the run's fabled New Year's Eve gig, which was capped by a balls-out, back-from-exile Dylan cameo. Rarely do the historic and the ecstatic match up so juicily. With jazz pros playing contrapuntal horn charts specially written for the shows by New Orleans maestro Allen Toussaint, the Band kill it on nearly every song, often improving the originals. The mournful gospel-blues arrangements on "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" add a new emotional layer to Levon Helm's Southern-man plaint, and the Dylan tracks are off-the-hook. The reading of "Like a Rolling Stone" is one of the most breathtaking ever, with Dylan hollering like a man just out of prison. All totaled: a trunkload of what at this point are barroom folk standards, played so vividly you'll be bellowing along. * * * * * - Will Hermes, Rolling Stone
TUNE IN -- THE BEATLES: ALL THESE YEARS VOL. 1 - Mark Lewisohn (Crown, $22.94) Spectacularly well sourced and researched, Tune In draws on decades' worth of author Mark Lewisohn's interviews in this first volume of what he promises will be a 3,000-or-so-page trilogy about the band. Obsessive Beatles fans will recognize his name. His on-again, off-again role as the band's in-house historian, he's published some indispensable books about them, including the geek's paradise that is Recording Sessions, in which he detailed every backing vocal and bass note the Beatles ever recorded inside the hallowed white rooms of Abbey Road. Though he was once on the Beatles' payroll, Lewisohn serves only the truth here. (It's been decades since you could entirely trust the Beatles' own memories, partly because of their age, partly because of their agendas.) He nails all the riveting and/or heartbreaking subplots from the band's earliest years: John Lennon and Paul McCartney losing their mums while still in school; Stu Sutcliffe, the beloved, if terrible, bassist finding the love of his life in Germany only to die of a brain hemorrhage at 21; manager Brian Epstein failing to get the band he adored a record contract even as labels signed a group of singing trumpeters, a 10-year-old schoolboy, and a singing Canadian wrestler. The saga is clearer and richer here than it's ever been. Lewisohn writes in novelistic detail and with the obvious conviction that none of the previous Beatles biographies have ever been good enough -- even if, until this very moment, they had to be. * * * * - Jeff Giles, Entertainment Weekly
NOTHING' TO LOSE: THE MAKING OF KISS (1972-1975) - Ken Sharp with Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons (It Books/Harper Collins, $20.88) Every few pages in this entertaining if uncritical oral history, somebody new remembers that Kiss stood gigantic in their platform boots, that their pyrotechnic theatrics took Alice Cooper's schtick to an unheard-of new level, that they destroyed headliners, or that Ace Frehley sure drank a lot. Four ambitious toilers let their comic-book makeup, marketing, merch and metal evolve through four early albums, ultimately to superstardom with Alive! Revelations about New York's pre-punk glam scene and the 1970s hard-rock, touring circuit alternate with heartwarming small-town tales of a 1973 public-library benefit in Palisades, New York, and 1975 Kiss Day in Cadillac, Michigan. Detroit radio and Slade get deserved props, and there's a cream-pie fight with Rush -- but less than you'd fear about groupies, almost nothing about drugs, and way more about spectacle than actual music. With this band, that's only fair. * * * - Anthony DeCurtis, Rolling Stone
EMINENT HIPSTERS - Donald Fagen (Viking, $18.66) In 1974, when Steely Dan were in the midst of making six of the decade's best rock albums in a span of six years, they came to despise touring and made the Bartleby-like decision to stop. Donald Fagen, Steely Dan's manager, doesn't seem to have warmed to performing since then: In a 2012 tour diary that forms the second half of this slim, satisfying memoir, he describes his feelings toward a Texas audience who seem uninterested in an old R&B song he's offering: "They despised the old Ray Charles tune, and I started to despise them." As the show continues, Fagen imagines a fire that leaves ungrateful fans "charred and wrinkled." This isn't snark, it's bile. If you want to read about the kick-drum sound on "Peg," or the hidden meaning of "Rikki Don't Lose That Number," go pound salt. This is less about Fagen's career than about his tastes. He grew up as a "rotten little bookworm" in New Jersey, in an era when everything cool, from hard bop to Fellini, was underground and had to be pursued. He writes insightfully about music, films and books, and disposes of the 1960s counterculture with a quip: "It was fascinating, for about a week, anyway." Then in less than a page, he skips ahead from his 1969 college graduation to the 2012 diary of complaints and gags. ("the hotel is old and ailing, like me") Steely Dan's lush songs about loathsome men harbored a cynical viewpoint, and with this remorseless, hilarious book, Fagen reveals himself as a first-class grump, a profane Eeyore with anxiety attacks and a mastery of jazz chords. But Eminent Hipsters is also a convincing testimonial to the honing effect of a lifelong devotion to the culture of misfits, weirdos and cranks. * * * 1/2 - Rob Tannenbaum, Rolling Stone
JIMI HENDRIX - Hear My Train a Comin' (Experience Hendrix/Legacy, $11.88) Yet another Hendrix doc? At least it's a great one. This American Masters doc is clearly timed to coattail All Is by My Side, the biopic starring OutKast's André Benjamin to which the Hendrix estate denied music-use rights. They're certainly on board for this film, which includes interviews with the Hendrix family, girlfriends, journalists and Paul McCartney. But the star is the music, showcased with a spectacular audio mix. In one bit of tape-vault magic, engineer Eddie Kramer plays back the dazzling vocal track from "Castles Made of Sand." Newly found footage from the 1968 Miami Pop Festival adds to a well-known story. Yet it's the familiar -- including the proud, heartbroken "Star-Spangled Banner" from Woodstock -- that still, somehow, remains most astonishing. * * * * 1/2 - Will Hermes, Rolling Stone
Eric Clapton's ultimate guitar-concert event is available
by 1888 Media
ast spring in New York City, Eric Clapton once again assembled an unparalleled lineup of the world's most celebrated guitarists for the fourth incarnation of his legendary Crossroads Guitar Festival. While the previous three festivals were all hosted in sprawling outdoor stadiums, Clapton took the festivities indoors for the first time this year to "The World's Most Famous Arena" Madison Square Garden. You can now relive highlights from that epic, two-night display of guitar virtuosity with new video and audio collections from Rhino.
Held every three years since 2004, the Crossroads Guitar Festival has quickly become the ultimate guitar-concert event, where the world's greatest players perform together to raise funds for the Crossroads Centre in Antigua. Clapton founded this treatment and education facility in 1998 to help people suffering from chemical dependency.
This year's shows featured performances by Clapton, the Allman Brothers Band, Blake Mills, Buddy Guy, Derek Trucks, Doyle Bramhall II, Gary Clark Jr., Jeff Beck, John Mayer, Keith Richards, Keith Urban, Los Lobos, Robert Cray, Sonny Landreth, Steve Cropper, Vince Gill, Warren Haynes and more.
Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013 became available on November 19 for a suggested list price of $29.99 (two Blu-ray discs) and $24.99 (two DVDs). Both versions feature nearly five hours of music across 45 tracks, plus conversations with the artists and other behind-the-scenes footage from this all-star concert.
For the first time ever, audio highlights from the festival will also be released on CD and digitally, featuring 29 tracks. Released on the same day as the videos, the 2-CD set and digital download will be available for a list price of $19.98.
In addition to rousing performances of blues classics and renowned hit songs, many of the most memorable performances saw artists coming together for some stirring collaborations. Among the highlights were the surprise pairing of John Mayer and Keith Urban for the Beatles' "Don't Let Me Down," Vince Gill and Clapton taking on "Lay Down Sally," Keb Mo and Taj Mahal covering the Sleepy John Estes' song, "Diving Duck Blues," Gill performing "Tumbling Dice" with Urban and Albert Lee and members of the Allman Brothers -- Gregg Allman, Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks -- joined forces for a haunting acoustic cover of Neil Young's "The Needle and the Damage Done."
As you would expect, Clapton features prominently throughout the show, including with his own band for "Tears In Heaven." The legendary guitarist also tore through the Derek and the Dominos' classic "Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad" with the Allman Brothers Band, revisiting the time in 2009 when he joined the band during their annual residency at the Beacon Theater in New York.
The first Crossroads Guitar Festival was held in 2004 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas and gathered together an unprecedented collection of guitar icons from blues, rock and contemporary music. The sold-out show was chronicled in a two-disc DVD that has since gone on to become one of the world's top-selling music DVDs, achieving the 10x platinum mark in the United States alone. The other two DVD sets met similar acclaim. The 2007 collection was certified 6x platinum, while the set from 2010 was certified 4x platinum.
CD Track Listing
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