Turntable Thursdays 11/9/2017

Turntable Thursdays 11/9/2017

 Robert-Plant-Carry-Fire-Cover 2017

Robert Plant, “Carry Fire”

The only thing missing on former Led Zep front man Robert Plant’s latest release “Carry Fire” is the sound of Jimmy Page’s guitar. The album’s opening cut “The May Queen” transports us back in time and is reminiscent of the days of “Physical Graffiti”, “Presence”, and “Houses of the Holy”. Backed by his current band mates, The Sensational Space Shifters (perhaps Plant’s best ensemble since Zeppelin), Plant takes listeners on a global foray melding rock, folk, African rhythms while ruminating on growing older and the sojourner’s experience with heartache and love. Plant’s authentic, distinct voice is instantly recognizable although age has given it a more soulful, smoky resonance.

From “The May Queen”, Plant and his band of musicians drift into the rhythmic, haunting “New World”, followed by “Season’s Song”. If you close your eyes during the first three cuts, you would be whisked back in time and swear you were listening to lost Led Zep cuts. Of course, sans Page.

But not one to rest on past laurels or desiring to become a human jukebox, Plant takes his listeners on a new journey, venturing into new sounds and exposing us to new rhythms. The production quality of Plant’s latest effort shows the mistral at the peak of his talent. Like a time lord, Plant leads listeners through history and shows us a glimpse of the future.

While ruminating on days gone by, Plant leaves us believing the best of this artist’s work is yet to come.

Carry Fire Tracks:
1. The May Queen
2. New World…
3. Season’s Song
4. Dance With You Tonight
5. Carving Up The World Again… a wall and not a fence
6. A Way With Words
7. Carry Fire
8. Bones Of Saints
9. Keep It Hid
10. Bluebirds Over The Mountain
11. Heaven Sent


Matt Maher, “Echos”

Rooted in grief following the death of his father, Matt Maher’s latest project “Echos” shows the love of Jesus while expressing the sadness we experience when we lose those we love.  Maher attempts to answer how believers respond in the wake of tragedy while supplying strong hooks, solid beats, and atmospherics songs, including a remolding of “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” Maher professes the human need for God as our refuge and strength and our desire for simpler, more innocent times void of the loss that accompanies life on Earth. Overall, Maher’s newest work is a solid effort featuring several songs that are sure to become worship staples.

Echoes Deluxe Tracks:
1. Echoes One
2. Clean Heart
3. What A Friend
4. Holy
5. Your Love Defends Me
6. Just As I Am
7. Awake My Soul (A Thousand Tongues)
8. Faithfulness
9. Echoes Two
10. Picket Sign
11. Wont Let Me Down
12. The Least of These
13. The Cross Forever Speaks
14. Into Your Hands
15. As Good As It Gets
16. Your Love Defends Me (Solo Piano Version)


MercyMe, “Lifer”

With the release of “Lifer”, MercyMe offers up a joyous, uplifting record filled with a number of danceable tracks alongside a couple of deeper, introspective ballads. This record demonstrates the group’s pop-writing skills and continued musical growth along what has been a trying faith journey at times. Perhaps that’s part of their appeal–relating to problems and challenges faced by you and me everyday.  “Lifer” is definitely worth a listen, especially if you need a boost spiritually and emotionally.

Lifer Tracks:

  1. Lifer
  2. You Found Me
  3. Grace Go You
  4. Best News
  5. Even If
  6. Hello Beautiful
  7. We Win
  8. Happy Dance
  9. Heaven’s Here
  10. Ghost


Turntable Thursdays 10/12/2017

I have spent the past few days listening to Chicago’s first album “Chicago Transit Authority.”

What a phenomenal record.

Chicago Transit Authority

Originally released in April of 1969 by Columbia Records, Chicago’s opening 12-cut sonic euphoria erupts in your ear, blowing your mind, and making memories from the first note to the last chord. The band’s self-described “rock-n-roll with horns” sound grabs the listener’s attention immediately. From the time the needle hits the vinyl (or when your mp3 player starts), you realize your ears are in for a new experience. Fusing brass and jazz with soulful rock and roll, Chicago Transit Authority (later Chicago) explodes on the music scene.

Almost 50 years later, Chicago is still one of rock’s most underrated, underappreciated, and underestimated bands. That may be due to the marked change in the band’s sound in the early 1980s. You only have to plug-in your earphones and crank up the volume to quickly uncover the band’s superb musicianship, dynamic songwriting, and ability to stretch its sound.

On their debut LP, the late Terry Kath unleashes some of the finest guitar work ever on record. Kath’s guitar licks were so strong that reportedly the late guitar icon Jimi Hendrix became a huge fan of Kath.

Originally called Chicago Transit Authority, the group had to change the band’s moniker to Chicago after the actual Chicago Transit Authority objected to the use of its name.

Their first record features the band’s most iconic lineup:

Terry Kath – electric and acoustic guitars, lead and backing vocals

Robert Lamm – grand piano, Wurlitzer electric piano, lead and backing vocals, Hammond organ, Hohner Pianet, maracas

Peter Cetera – bass, lead and backing vocals

Walter Parazaider – saxophones, backing vocals, tambourine

Lee Loughnane – trumpet, backing vocals, claves

James Pankow – trombone, cowbell, brass arrangements

Danny Seraphine – drums, percussion

Amid the soulful rock numbers, you’ll find a couple of experimental jams that highlight the band’s musicianship. The group pays tribute to the Beatles on ‘South California Purples’, quoting the opening lines of the Fab Four’s classic ‘I Am the Walrus’ (“I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.”) The band also pays homage to the Spencer Davis Group, with their rendition of ‘I’m A Man’.

Keyboardist Robert Lamm is credited with writing six of songs on the band’s inaugural project and is listed as a co-writer on an additional track. However, in recent interviews, Lamm says that many of the songs were only a framework in the making and weren’t really complete until the band played them, with each musician adding their personal touch on each cut. In the studio, the band would take each individual songwriter’s rough cut and transform into a gem. Perhaps that’s what makes this such a great record.

Track Listings:

Introduction (6:49); Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?(4:34); Beginnings (6:09);

Question 67 And 68 (4:46); Listen (3:24); Poem 58 (8:37); Free Form Guitar (6:49);

South California Purples (6:39); I’m a Man (6:56); Prologue, August 29, 1968 (0:57);

Someday (August 29, 1968) (4:13); Liberation (15:57)

Classic album. Do I what I did and rediscover it. It will be time well spent.

Speaking of Steve Winwood…

Steve Winwood GH Live cover

In a previous post, I mentioned that the legendary musician released a new Greatest Hits Live album at the beginning of September.

The 2 disc Live set features cuts from Winwood’s time with Traffic, Blind Faith, and the Spencer Davis Group in addition to Winwood’s considerable solo catalogue.

Track Listing:

CD 1:

I’m A Man; Them Changes; Fly; Can’t Find My Way Home; Had To Cry Today; Low Spark of High Heeled Boys; Empty Pages; Back In The High Life Again; Higher Love; Dear Mr. Fantasy; Gimme Some Lovin’.

CD 2:

Rainmaker; Pearly Queen; Glad; Why Can’t We Live Together; 40,000 Headmen; Walking In The Wind; Medicated Goo; John Barleycorn; While You See A Chance; Arc Of A Diver; Freedom Overspill; Roll With It.

Winwood is joined on the record by guitarist Jose Neto, drummer Richard Bailey, multi-instrumentalist Paul Booth, and percussionist Edson Silver. Together, Winwood’s ensemble provides fresh portraits of the singer/songwriter’s finest works, flush with imaginative improvisation, and a global, rhythmic pulse. As I mentioned in my previous post, this maybe one of the finest Greatest Hits/Live records I’ve heard. Ever. A big part of that is that Winwood sticks to the recipe but mixes up the ingredients, dishing out top-grade fare with a new flavor.

That’s a glimpse of what’s been playing on my favorite media player…what’s on yours?