April 13: Happy Birthday Al Green

I’m thankful for every moment.
~Al Green

The music is the message, the message is the music. So that’s my little ministry that the Big Man upstairs gave to me – a little ministry called love and happiness.
~Al Green

“Green plays the boyish Sam Cooke supplicant–or maybe a smooth Otis Redding, or an assertive Smokey Robinson–with the startling is-that-a-synthesizer? high note…”
~Robert Christgau (in 1970 – review of “Gets next to you” album)

Let’s Stay Together (Live 1972):

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January 22: Aretha Franklin released Lady Soul in 1968

…1968’s Lady Soul proved Aretha Franklin, the pop sensation, was no fluke. Her performances were more impassioned than on her debut, and the material just as strong, an inspired blend of covers and originals from the best songwriters in soul and pop music.
~John Bush (allmusic.com)

Chain of Fools – Live 1968:

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January 17: Aretha Franklin released Soul ’69 in 1969

One of her most overlooked ’60s albums, on which she presented some of her jazziest material, despite the title. None of these cuts were significant hits, and none were Aretha originals; she displayed her characteristically eclectic taste in the choice of cover material, handling compositions by Percy Mayfield, Sam Cooke, Smokey Robinson, and, at the most pop-oriented end of her spectrum, John Hartford’s “Gentle on My Mind” and Bob Lind’s “Elusive Butterfly.”

Her vocals are consistently passionate and first-rate, though, as is the musicianship; besides contributions from the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, session players include respected jazzmen Kenny Burrell, Ron Carter, Grady Tate, David Newman, and Joe Zawinul.
– Richie Unterberger (allmusic) Continue reading “January 17: Aretha Franklin released Soul ’69 in 1969”

The Best Albums 2016: 20 to 11 (part 2/3)

(Check out part 1 here, 30-21)

20 Cass McCombs – Mangy Love

Released: August 26 , 2016
Producer: 
Rob Schnapf, Cass McCombs & Dan Horne
Label: Anti Records
“Mangy Love makes itself distinct from its predecessors with its outright jazziness and ethereality. Wit’s End was a traipse though the densely forested hills of solitude; Big Wheel and Others was a road trip through odd, nameless American sub-societies,; and Mangy Love is Cass McCombs in outer space.”
– Dustin Lowman (Drowned in Sound)
This album really made me listen to the lyrics, I was fooled by the sweet melodies – but the lyrics are tough, hard, rough poems about love,sex, life and death. McCombs knows how to play with words (Switch):
Turn you on, you light up the room
Turn you off, it’s dark as a tomb– Hallgeir
End of Year lists
# 33 – American Songwriter
# 59 – Gorilla vs. Bear
# 29 – LA Music Blog
# 26 – MOJO
# 25 – Piccadilly Records
# 7 – Q Magazine
# 31 – Stereogum
# 31 – Uncut
Best songs: Opposite House, Bum Bum Bum and Switch 

Continue reading “The Best Albums 2016: 20 to 11 (part 2/3)”