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Buena Vista Social Club Nonesuch World Circuit 79476-2


This is a recording featuring a number of Cuban musicians  that are performing new and old songs in a style that is unique to Cuba. The sheer enjoyment they had in recording this work shows right through in the performances captured on this CD. Ry Cooder produced this disc and plays on it as well. He wrote the opening liner notes and notes that he felt that he had trained all of his life for these performances but at the same time was startled to find the music was very different than what he had expected. It was a rich and unique style that he called a treasure! The recording is spectacular with a deep rich soundstage and a terrific performance. I find myself tapping my foot, my fingers, and my head while listening. I have to hold myself down! The music captures your very soul. This and the other Cuban discs I mentioned above are all worth every penny and any effort you have to put into finding them.  They will be favorites for years to come.

Simon Wynerg "Simon" Narada Lotus ND-61039


Simon Wynberg is a composer and a performer and plays his compositions on the acoustic and electric guitars. On the cover he is shown playing a special acoustic guitar with 10 strings - 8 on the frets and two bass harp strings. Simon reveals in the liner notes that he wrote the songs specifically with the guitar being integrated as a composer who was not a guitarist would. His compositions and performances are wonderful. They range from new age to a blend of classical and jazz. They reflect Simon's prowess as a classical performer. I enjoy all of the tracks on this disc and I know you will too. I recommend this especially to any guitarists as well. I have found his playing to inspire new ideas in my own musical efforts [emphasis on efforts -
grin].

Arthel "Doc" Watson and David "Dawg" Grisman "Doc & Dawg"
Acoustic Disc ACD-23


This HDCD recording is a treasure and a treat. Doc and Dawg have been touring together in 1998 and their playing is sheer delight. Doc is a living legend and plays and signs his heart out on this CD. Combine that with everything that can be done on a mandolin performed by the "Dawg" himself and the accompaniment of the excellent guitarist, Jack Lawrence and you have a treat! I saw this group play together and it sounds just like they do live on the stage. Doc's voice is even better than I can ever remember and fingers are flying faster then ever! Get this disc, you will listen to it over and over. It has old-time favorites and others that will have you tapping your foot and grinning with delight.

Dolly Varden "The Thrill of Gravity" Evil Teen Records ETR 10007-2


Dolly Varden is a Chicago treasure and this is their second release. They are self described as "what the natural progression of country ought to be". I would say that if you had to draw comparisons, the "Jayhawks" and "Poco" in the year 2000 comes to mind. The first CD was recorded on a porta-studio but this one is in full digital splendor as it was recorded on multiple-track ADAT machines. The music has an original sound and all of the songs were written by members of the band. The playing on the CD is original, fun, and entertaining. Vocals are handled by Steve Dawson and Diane Christiansen. Mark Balletto plays lead guitar and lap steel [wow Mark, backwards guitar…!]. Matt thobe drives the groove with drums and percussion. Mike Bradburn provides the bottom with electric and upright bass. They are always playing dates in and around the Chicago area. Buy this CD and if you are lucky enough to get a chance to hear them live, dig-it!

Alice Coltrane--Priceless Jazz Collection - GRP9914


This album is a treasure chest of Alice Coltrane's work.  For those of you who have never heard Alice play, you are in for a treat. For those of you who have, this is a must get CD. It features recordings made in the late 60's and early 70's. Most have been released on older vinyl media and some on CD but the transfer quality here is great. She has teamed up with excellent sidemen, Pharoah Sanders, Ron Carter,  Joe Henderson, Cecil McBee, and Rasheid Ali as well as others on these sessions. Alice is featured on harp and piano and creates a hypnotic listening experience where the listener is moved at times to pause, reflect and relax. Other parts of her work make one feel as though they have traveled to a far off place where the origin of all our spiritual culture stemmed [wow--did I say that?]. Prepared to be thrilled with your purchase and transported to Alice nirvana!

Buddy Miles "Miles Away From Home" Hendrix Records HIPO40141

Buddy Miles latest recording is R&B based with a definite Buddy feel! Buddy sings lead vocals and plays the drums as well as a track on guitar. Henri Brown, bassist, guitarist, keyboardist, background vocalist, and producer, brings a smooth sound to the mix but keeps the excitement on top. The writing on the album is split between Henri and Buddy and they also dip into a few others including a Gregg Allman penned song, "Dreams". Buddy's drumming and vocals are right on target and if you have liked his sound in the past, you will like the migration to R&B. This recording is easy to listen to and reminiscent of the work of the Isley  Brothers and Billy Preston. Great session players round this out to another enjoyable Buddy

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