Reviews by jfclams
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Everyone has to get their start somewhere. For 80's Casanova pop star Robert Palmer, it was with Vinegar Joe, a rollicking theatrical blues rock outfit from the U.K. which also featured the raunchy pipes of female counterpart Elkie Brooks and multi-instrumentalist Pete Gage. They all share the spotlight in a roughly equal fashion, through a pleasant, engaging, and versatile set of groove-heavy songs - although at certain points Brooks' vocal gymnastics can't help but get out in front. Not to mention, tracks like "Leg Up" and "Never Met A Dog" had a thread that the studio was never going to ever capture.
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This U.K. based power trio took the Cream blueprint and stretched it to deeper, darker, and more byzantine extremes on "Smoking The Day Away", a track which managed to consistently find its way on various playlists of mine for years. It's a hard act to follow, but for the rest of their debut album, May Blitz does a fairly good job, making some decent in-roads with other genres ("Fire Queen" feels like a heavier take on Mitch Ryder, "Virgin Waters" ventures into progressive/epic territory). Plus, the band's quirky sense of humor ("Squeet") matches up with the creepy album cover. This is one obscurity worth uncovering.
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A nominal rating. I really need to see the uncut episodes to deliver a true, informed verdict.
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More musical theater from Leon but it does feel a bit like he was in a bit of a cruise control mode, with three more Dylan covers and a George Harrison cover. Later in the year he released a second Asylum Choir record, too.
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This was the group's big play on a number of levels. Partly a response to the controversy generated over band member Professor Griff's comments about Jews, and also building on the popularity of "Fight the Power" which had been recorded the year before for Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing, the group constructed possibly the most conceptual album the hip-hop world has ever witnessed. There is a little bit too much filler (a failing of all concept albums, I suppose) but overall, Fear of a Black Planet is easily one of the most engaging, entertaining, and educational records ever made, in any genre, bar none.
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