Rhapsody Streamnotes: May 26, 2016

No time to write an intro today. For some explanations, see the last month's Music Week posts, somewhere under here. Still haven't heard Merle Haggard's 1990s Curb albums. Would have done Prince, but he isn't on Rhapsody. Didn't list Coleman Hawkins' back catalog because it's huge and I've only added two titles -- nowhere near a complete mop-up. The Joint Venture album is the only thing I've found by the late avant-trumpet player Paul Smoker. Festen was a last minute addition, but I'm glad to have something new to report. Still, all the new A-list records are jazz. Tell Beyoncé to start sending me her shit.

Most of these are short notes/reviews based on streaming records from Rhapsody (other sources are noted in brackets). They are snap judgments based on one or two plays, accumulated since my last post along these lines, back on April 28. Past reviews and more information are available here (8163 records).

Recent Releases

Adult Books: Running From the Blows (2016, Lolipop): Postpunk trio from Southern California (originally Orange County), first album, singer ordinary but the guitar-bass-drums is rock solid, making ordinary riffs seem perfectly functional. B+(*)

Bobby Avey: Inhuman Wilderness (2015 [2016], Inner Voice Jazz): Pianist, plays in Dave Liebman's Expansion group and has several albums on his own. This has one solo track, three trios, and four cuts with alto saxophonist John O'Gallagher -- a fine match for the pianist's own edgy style. B+(***) [cd]

The Bill Belasco Trio: Three Musicians (2016, Summit): San Francisco drummer, leads a piano trio, with Denny Berthiaume on ("piano and arrangements") and Chuck Bennett on bass. Standards, with one original by the bassist. Cover looks like a cover too. B+(*) [cd]

Ran Blake: Ghost Tones: Portraits of George Russell (2010 [2015], A-Side): Age 75 when he recorded this, Blake is an innovative, idiosyncratic, and for me often difficult pianist with a lot of solo work and duos with vocalists. But his subject here is one of my all-time favorite jazz masters, one he should know exceptionally well given that they both taught at New England Conservatory over several decades. A mix of solo and group pieces as he picks over key titles from Russell's discography, thoughtful, testy, and sometimes extraordinary. B+(***) [dl]

Jane Ira Bloom: Early Americans (2015 [2016], Outline): Soprano saxophonist, one of the few specialists, seventeenth album since 1980. Postbop, but trio feels exceptionally lively from the start -- helps to have Mark Helias on bass and Bobby Previte on drums. A- [cd]

Mike Bogle Trio: Live at Stoney's (2015 [2016], MBP/Groove): Dallas-based piano trio, with Lou Harlas (bass) and Steve Barnes (drums). Pianist has two previous albums, the first from 1994. Five originals; covers from Chick Corea, Dexter Gordon, Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington. Can make a splash, maybe even too splashy. B [cd]

Charles Bradley: Changes (2016, Daptone): Retro-soul singer, third album since 2011 when he was already in his sixties so you have to figure the James Brown/Wilson Pickett effects were learned young and have only deepened with age. Something I should be a sucker for, but impressed as I am, minor nags keep getting in the way. B+(*)

Anthony Braxton: 3 Compositions (EEMHM) 2011 (2011 [2016], Firehouse 12): EEMHM stands for Echo Echo Mirror House Music, a "system" reportedly explained in the 20-page booklet. Each piece fills nearly an hour of disc space, the seven iPod-wielding musicians sloshing back and forth in an endless tumult. Of course, they also play conventional instruments: saxes (Braxton), cornet (Taylor Ho Bynum), guitar (Mary Halvorson), violin (Jessica Pavone), tuba (Jay Rozen), bass (Carl Testa), percussion (Aaron Siegel), doubling on a few others. B+(**)

Marialuisa Capurso/Jean-Marc Foussat: En Respirant (2016, Fou): Voice (and "effets, objets") and synth (AKS, and "voix, etc."), three improv pieces recorded live in Berlin. Breathes, but but doesn't do much more. B [cd]

Etienne Charles: San Jose Suite (2015 [2016], Culture Shock): Trumpet player, born in Trinidad, studied at Florida State, teaches at Michigan State. Fifth album, looks like it was commissioned by an outfit called San Jose Jazz although he also checked San Joses in Costa Rica and Trinidad. Some Latin grooves, but doesn't really take off until the three-part "Speed City," introduced by Dr. Harry Edwards talking about the institutional racism he encountered at San Jose State University, first as an athlete then as a coach -- crucial history and rousing music. B+(**) [cd]

Rhys Chatham: Pythagorean Dream (2016, Foom): Guitarist/trumpeter, roots in post-classical avant-garde (LaMonte Young, Tony Conrad, Eliane Radigue) although he also pops up in experimental rock (e.g., no wave) and possibly jazz (if you wish to take this that way). Instrumental, tends to repeat background patterns as if gargling them, still they have some fascination. More generally a subject for further research (as is Conrad and Radigue -- I have some unplayed records by each). B+(***) [cd]

Claudia Quintet: Super Petite (2015 [2016], Cuneiform): Drummer John Hollenbeck's long-running -- eight albums in nineteen years -- bar band, originally named for a conspicuous fan. With soft instruments -- Chris Speed (clarinet, tenor sax), Red Wierenga (accordion), Matt Moran (vibes), Dres Gress (acoustic bass) -- building on rhythm tracks, most of their records have been enchanting. This one less reliably, perhaps because the groove is prone to collapse. B+(**) [cd]

Jeremy Cunningham Quartet: Re: Dawn (From Far) (2016, Ears & Eyes): Drummer, seems to be his first album, with Josh Johnson (alto sax), Jeff Parker (guitar), and Matt Ulery (bass). Starts off sounding both edgy and grooveful, but that's mostly Parker. Slows down to merely pretty. B+(*) [cd]

Lucy Dacus: No Burden (2016, Egghunt): Singer-songwriter from Virginia, first album, guitar strum is basic but compelling, has something to sing about. B+(***)

Dälek: Asphalt for Eden (2016, Profound Lore): Experimental hip-hop crew from Newark, handful of albums since 1998, moved to a metal label for this, which certainly cranks up the reverb. B+(*)

Open Mike Eagle + Paul White: Hella Personal Film Festival (2016, Mello Music Group): White, I gather, is the beat guy, not that this is much of a beat album. Eagle is an alt-rapper who keeps things interesting even when I'm not tuning in closely. B+(***)

Empirical: Connection (2015 [2016], Cuneiform): British postbop quartet -- Nathaniel Facey (alto sax), Lewis Wright (vibes), Tom Farmer (bass), Shaney Forbes (drums) -- fifth album since 2007. They play fast and hard, and while the sax is a little rough around the edges, the vibraphonist is a talent deserving wider recognition. B+(***) [dl]

Brian Eno: The Ship (2016, Warp): Two pieces, the title a 21:19 slab of murky ambience, perhaps a death metaphor, or maybe just deadly boring -- I couldn't help but thinking maybe he's thinking of that downside he produced for the late David Bowie's Low. The other is the three-part "Fickle Sun," the initial 18:03 piece rubbing in the sores opened by the opener, the second blessedly thin, then a rather miraculous 5:18 take of Lou Reed's "I'm Set Free," which delivers the transcendent moment the rest of the album so desperately needed. Almost graded much lower. B+(*)

Orrin Evans: The Evolution of Oneself (2014 [2015], Smoke Sessions): Pianist, well established since 1996, comes up with a strong trio with Christian McBride and Karriem Riggins -- two cuts add Marvin Sewell on guitar. A little less than half originals, presumably the other tunes have personal significance -- he certainly plays them that way. B+(***)

Festen: Festen (2015 [2016], Clean Feed): Swedish avant quartet, no one I've ever heard of: Isak Hedtjärn (reeds), Lisa Ullén (piano), Elsa Bergmann (double bass), Erik Carlsson (drums). Four pieces, hits spots both sweet and sour, shows there's still room for a pianist in a cutting edge sax quartet as long as she makes enough noise. A- [cd]

Field Music: Commontime (2016, Memphis Industries): English indie pop group, echoes too many groups without quite coming together. B

Erik Friedlander: Rings (2016, Skipstone): Got the title wrong on unpacking, where I listed this as "Black Phebe" -- the name of the cellist's trio (Shoko Nagai on piano and accordion, Satoshi Takeishi on percussion). Don't know why at his point, as the cover and spine can only be read as Rings. Title comes from three pieces that "use live looping at a compositional process" and jump to a higher energy orbit. B+(***) [cd]

The Funky Organics: The Funky Organics (2016, Chicken Coup/Summit): Aptly named organ-drums rhythm section with trumpet (Rick Savage) and sax (Bob Hanlon). B [cd]

Kevin Gates: Islah (2016, Atlantic): Gangsta rapper from Baton Rouge, nominally his studio debut after a whole mess of mixtapes. Christgau notes "so much [criminal/sexual] detail" and claims it "has more hooks than a Temptations best-of" but I caught little if any of that (OK, something about pussy) in two plays, nor did I notice the single Dan Weiss has been hyping ("Kno One"). B+(*)

Trevor Giancola Trio: Fundamental (2015 [2016], self-released): Canadian guitarist, probably his debut album, a trio with Neil Swainson on bass and Adam Arruda on drums, a few originals but mostly standards ("Just One of Those Things," "You Go to My Head") and jazz tunes, including two from Elmo Hope. Nice postbop middle ground. B+(*) [cd]

Glitterbust: Glitterbust (2016, Burger): Experimental guitar duo, Alex Knost (Tomorrows Tulips) and Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth), favors the latter's tunings, finds some chatter to sample, but doesn't aim to signify much, just guitar drone. B+(*)

Will Goble: Consider the Blues (2015 [2016], OA2): Bassist, second album, mostly originals, with tenor saxophonist Gregory Tardy in rip roaring form, Louis Heriveaux on piano, and Dave Potter on bass. First cut has a vocal by Tabreeca Woodside, a feint they never follow up on (and just as well). B+(*) [cd]

Gunwale: Polynya (2016, Aerophonic): Free sax trio, with Dave Rempis (alto, tenor, baritone) leading, Albert Wildeman on bass, and Ryan Packard on drums (and electronics). Not familiar with the latter, but Rempis took over Mars Williams' slot in Vandermark 5, making a huge impression. He does tend to go ugly here, but there's more to it. B+(***) [cd]

Barry Guy: The Blue Shroud (2015 [2016], Intakt): British avant-bassist, founder and leader of London Jazz Composers Orchestra, comes up with another large-scale orchestral piece here, at times an opera with Savina Yannatou's voice, otherwise thirteen pieces including strings (violin, viola, bass), four saxes (one doubling on oboe, another on "reed trumpet"), trumpet, tuba, guitar, piano, two drummers. Difficult music, often remarkable. B+(***) [cd]

Cory Healey's Beautiful Sunshine Band: Beautiful Sunshine (2016, Shifting Paradigm): Drummer-led quintet with trumpet (Jake Baldwin), tenor sax (Brandon Wozniak), guitar (Zacc Harris), and electric bass (Erik Fratzke) -- not a fusion outfit, probably just easier to find electric bass and guitar these days. Postbop with some trickiness. B+(*) [cd]

Homeboy Sandman: Kindness for Weakness (2016, Stones Throw): Alt-rapper Angel del Villar, specializes in EPs because that's what his vinyl fetish usually weighs out as, but this runs 39:10, and is solid enough. They pretty much all are. Upside: "Speak Truth." Down: "God." B+(***)

Mimi Jones: Feet in the Mud (2015 [2016], Hot Tone Music): Bassist, also sings but less so here than on her previous two albums. Produced by Luis Perdomo, with Jon Cowherd on piano and rhodes, Samir Zarif on soprano sax, and Jonathan Barber on drums. Bouncy postbop. B+(*) [cd]

The Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra: Storming Through the South (2016, Summit): Kenton died in 1979. Trumpeter Mike Vax rounded up the Stan Kenton Alumni Band in 1991 to mark the 50th anniversary of Kenton's debut, and they've hung together for 25 years now. Kim Richmond is the only name I recognize, and many of the arrangements are still credited to Kenton -- no revisionism here. But where the original tended to be extravagant and pompous, this outfit is much more fun. B+(*)

Linda Gail Lewis: Heartache Highway (2015 [2016], Ball and Chain): Jerry Lee's younger sister, cut two records for Smash when she was 22 -- one Together with the Killer -- then nothing until the only other album I'd noticed, 1990's International Affair (released in Sweden). Looks like she has more than a dozen albums since then. This seems to be another Swedish label -- hard to find anything about it, although Steve Gibbons and Robbie Fulks seem to be involved. Rockabilly, piano central, change-of-pace ballad reminds me a bit of Patsy Cline. B+(***)

Linda Gail Lewis: Hard Rockin' Woman! (2015, Lanark): Another recent album, distinguished mostly by its jungle cartoon cover. Her rockabilly is indelible, even when it doesn't rock quite hard enough. B+(**)

Lok 03+1: Signals (2016, Trost): Group name comes from the 2005 album Lok 03 with married avant-pianists Aki Takase and Alexander von Schlippenbach and their son Vincent von Schlippenbach, aka DJ Illvibe (turntables, sampler), with drummer Paul Lovens the plus-one (part of the Schlippenbach Trio at least since 1972). B+(**) [bc]

Tony Malaby Paloma Recio: Incantations (2015 [2016], Clean Feed): Tenor saxophonist, also plays soprano, as a sideman he often steals the show, but is often more moderate as a leader. This quartet, named for a 2009 album, has Ben Monder (guitar), Eivind Opsvik (bass), and Nasheet Waits (drums). Starts self-effacingly moderate, but catches fire in the end. B+(***) [cd]

Mexrrissey: No Manchester (2016, Cooking Vinyl): Ad hoc group of Mexican musicians, including Camilo Lara (Mexican Institute of Sound) and Sergio Mendoza (Calexico), rearrange a batch of Morrissey songs. Has some novelty value, although that's sort of what I thought about the originals, too. B+(*)

Nick Millevoi: Desertion (2015 [2016], Shhpuma): Philadelphia-based guitarist, has a couple albums, plans to name this quartet after the album: Jamie Saft (organ, piano), Johnny DeBaso (upright and electric bass), Ches Smith (drums), plus a couple extras on trombone and violin. Guitar has a heavy fusion ring to it, but group skews more avant, keeping it interesting. B+(**) [cd]

Myriad 3: Moons (2016, ALMA): Piano trio, Chris Donnelly in the leader's seat, Dan Fortin on bass and Ernesto Cervini on drums, with everyone pulling an extra instrument or two (mostly electric) for variety. Not fusion, but they do like a good groove. B+(*) [cd]

Naftule's Dream: Blood (2013 [2016], self-released): Fifth album from a group led by clarinetist Glenn Dickson, or sixth if you count the 1992 album by Shirim Klezmer Orchestra that launched the group name -- Naftule, of course, is the legendary clarinetist Naftule Brandwein (1884-1963). This one's rather dark and twisty, especially Andrew Stern's guitar backed by Jim Gray's tuba. B+(***) [cd]

Oddisee: The Odd Tape (2016, Mello Music Group): Amir Mohamed el Khalifa, born in DC, father from Sudan, used to think of him as an underground rapper but this is all instrumental, and I gather not his first. B+(*)

Luis Perdomo: Montage (2015 [2016], Hot Tone Music): Pianist, from Venezuela, based in New York since 1993, ninth album, solo, not spectacular but grows on you. B+(*) [cd]

Ivo Perelman/Matthew Shipp: Corpo (2016, Leo): Liner notes start (I'll spare you the ALL CAPS): "Warning, contains highly concentrated improvisation. Unless you have engaged in regular meditation or other immersive activity, you may not want to begin with a full dose." I'm a fan of both, and have heard their tenor sax-piano duos (and larger groups) going back to 1996's Bendito of Santa Cruz, so I figured I could take it. But I guess I'm too lazy a listener, too easily annoyed. B+(*) [cd]

Ivo Perelman: Soul (2015 [2016], Leo): Brazilian tenor sax man plus Matthew Shipp (piano), Michael Bisio (bass), and Whit Dickey (drums) -- the latter Shipp's regular trio. Everything jointly credited, so figure improv but at least they came up with nine titles. No squawk, nothing over the edge, but the sort of tight avant interplay that keeps circling around on you, rewarding close attention but pleasurable anyway you take it. A- [cd]

Ivo Perelman/Karl Berger: The Hitchhiker (2015 [2016], Leo): Tenor sax duets with Berger playing vibraphone. Marvelous at first, but struggles to fill out an hour. B+(**) [cd]

Ivo Perelman/Joe Morris: Blue (2016, Leo): Morris plays acoustic guitar here -- not his norm, certainly not powerful enough to deflect let alone direct the tenor saxophonist in any direction, just enough to scuff up the edges, adding fractal detail. Which is to say just enough. A- [cd]

Ivo Perelman: Breaking Point (2015 [2016], Leo): Quartet, the other names on the cover but not on the spine: Mat Maneri (viola), Joe Morris (bass), and Gerald Cleaver (drums). Maner can get on my nerves at times, but generally adds a rich dynamic here. B+(***) [cd]

ResAUnance: Migration (2014 [2016], FMR): John Bacon (vibraphone, percussion), Jonathan Golove (electric cello), Erin Gunduz (voice), Michael McNeill (piano). Two folk songs from Thrace, two pieces each by Bacon and McNeill. Arty chamber jazz, the vocalist not so hard to take but I'd rather not. Still impressed by the pianist. B+(**) [cd]

Dave Rempis/Joshua Abrams/Avreeayl Ra + Jim Baker: Periheleon (2015 [2016], Aerophonic, 2CD): Cover/spine just gives you last names, as if these Chicago avant-gardists are household names. Alto/tenor/baritone sax, bass, drums, plus piano/electronics -- three long pieces, just barely over the single-disc limit so 43:09 + 40:32. Runs the range of their art, with Rempis remaining one of the most impressive saxophonist of his time. A- [cd]

Snarky Puppy: Family Dinner Volume Two (2015 [2016], Decca): A jazz group of some sort, formed in Denton, Texas in 2004 but now based in Brooklyn. Group itself led by bassist Michael League, with eighteen members listed, twenty-two guests, plus the group Nola International. Most pieces have vocals, few jazzy (although you do get bits of Latin and African). B-

Snarky Puppy: Culcha Vulcha (2016, Decca): Studio album, cranks up the jazz-funk grooves, piling guitars and keybs on so thick the whole thing buckles under the dead weight. Personnel list comes to twenty-one, few obvious guests, virtually no vocals. Stripped down to pure shtick, makes me wonder if I haven't cut them too much slack. C+

Ron Stabinsky: Free for One (2015 [2016], Hot Cup): Pianist, had a debut album last year with Jack Wright, recently joined Mostly Other People Do the Killing. This is an hour of solo improv, not smashing enough to keep my ears turned in, but not without interest either. B+(*) [cd]

Tyla Gang: Stereo Tactics (2013 [2015], Cherry Red): Singer for the great pub rock band Ducks Deluxe (1972-75), Sean Tyla did a couple albums as Tyla Gang, then Sean Tyla's Just Popped Out, then hung it up from 1983 until 2007, when he reorganized his Gang and flirted with a possible Ducks Deluxe reunion. This retro risks becoming generic until he checks some politics ("Runaway") and finds a dramatic break ("Chinee Moon"). B+(*)

Tyla Gang: Live in Stockholm (2014 [2015], Cherry Red): Don't recognize any song title here, but they play from the middle of a rock tradition they relentlessly affirm -- well, maybe one title (worth quoting anyway), "Texas Chainsaw Massacre Boogie." B+(*)

Greg Ward: Touch My Beloved's Thought (2016, Greenleaf Music): Alto saxophonist from Chicago, has a couple previous albums, got a commission for a piece to go with dance and flashed back to Charles Mingus' The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady. Came up with a tentet with three saxes and four brass to cover the harmonics and piano-bass-drums to keep it all moving. A- [cd]

Matt Wilson's Big Happy Family: Beginning of a Memory (2015 [2016], Palmetto): Drummer, has fifteen or so albums since 1996 plus numerous side credits -- one of those guys who always seems to be helping others out. Dedicated this to his late wife, Felicia, who died at 50 in 2014. Thirteen musicians listed, but doesn't feel like a big band, probably because the numerous horns express more than arrangements. B+(***) [cd]

Recent Reissues, Compilations, Vault Discoveries

Fame: Jon Savage's Secret History of Post-Punk 78-81 (1978-81 [2012], Caroline True): British broadcaster/music writer, wrote England's Dreaming: Sex Pistols and Punk Rock and has assembled at least seven CD compilations. I only recognize a few things here (Noh Mercy's "Caucasian Guilt" is a find), with the ones that lean punk packing a lot more punch than the ones that skew towards industrial/ambient. Would be interesting to read the rationale behind the picks, which I guess means the picks don't speak for themselves. B+(**)

Merle Haggard: Best of the Capitol Years (1966-76 [2016], Capitol): The catalog minders return with a new rehash of old product, much as they've done many times before (1990, 1996, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2012, and that's just the CD era). This one runs 19 cuts -- the same first 19 on 2007's Hag: The Best of Merle Haggard (which samples some later material to get to 26 cuts). It has five not on 2002's 20 Greatest Hits, subs the studio versions of "Okie" and "Fightin' Side," and keeps them in better chronological order. A

Coleman Hawkins: Intimate: Duo, Trio, Quartet & Quintet Recordings 1934-38 (1934-38 [2016], Acrobat): The fount of all worthwhile saxophone playing, as one guide put it, he broke with big bands in 1934 when he moved to Europe and found himself recording with small pick-up groups, taking melodic responsibility for whole songs and driving them in ways no one expected. I wouldn't call these "intimate," at least in the sense of later "quiet storm" balladeering. Actually, one tour de force after another. A-

Allen Lowe: Julius Hemphill Plays the Music of Allen Lowe (1989-91 [2016], Constant Sorrow): This digital-only release surfaced on Lowe's Bandcamp without any of his customary documentation, but a little digging suggests that the music is from Lowe's first two albums (At the Moment of Impact and New Tango '92). Hemphill, who died in 1995, played alto sax on those albums (Lowe played tenor). Interesting music, even within Hemphill's catalog, although the concept is a little odd. B+(**) [bc]

Allen Lowe: Louis Armstrong: An Avant Garde Portrait (1992 [2016], Constant Sorrow): Recorded live at Knitting Factory, originally released as Mental Strain at Dawn: A Modern Portrait of Louis Armstrong (1993, Stash), the band included Doc Cheatham and Robert Rumboltz on trumpet, Paul Austerlitz (clarinet, bass clarinet), David Murray (bass clarinet, tenor sax), Lowe (alto/tenor sax), Loren Schoenberg (tenor sax), John Rapson (trombone), and Ray Kaczynski (drums). Some old, some new, Lowe is clever enough he rarely tips his hand. B+(***)

Lyrics Born: Now Look What You've Done, Lyrics Born! Greatest Hits (1997-2015 [2016], Mobile Home): Tokyo-born Tom Shimura, grew up in Salt Lake City and Tampa before settling in Berkeley, first noticed in the duo Latyrx before releasing his solo debut Later That Day in 2003. I have four (of five) albums at A- or higher, or six (of seven) counting Latyrx (two cuts here), so it's not like he needs a compilation to rescue good cuts from bad albums. Includes the two catchiest cuts from last year's Real People -- my top-rated album last year, but deprecated by several critics I more often agree with. A- [Later: A]

Joey Negro: Remixed With Love by Joey Negro: Vol. Two (2016, Z, 2CD): British DJ/house producer David Lee, has his alias on dozens of albums, including this title's 2013 predecessor. Source material here is mostly 1970s disco. Mostly artists I recall, but rarely songs -- and while these are certainly danceable, that's only part of the thrill. B+(*)

Professor Longhair: Live in Chicago (1976 [2016], Orleans, EP): Roy Byrd (1918-80) didn't record much until the last decade of his life, when he finally cashed in with a batch of live albums, often so moving redundancy didn't matter. This one is of a piece with them, but on the short side -- seven cuts (not counting a 0:19 intro), 29:08, doubt if there's anything here the New Orleans piano master hasn't done many times elsewhere, not that fans will mind. B+(**)

Blind Alfred Reed: Appalachian Visionary (1927-29 [2016], Dust-to-Digital): Taking this on faith, as I haven't seen or heard this luxury package: an 84-page hardcover book by Ted Olson with the same 20 cuts as Document's Complete Works plus two tunes by the West Virginia Night Owls, expensive at $30. I can't say that the packaging is worth the premium, but I have been assured by Clifford Ocheltree and Phil Overeem that the remastered sound is a big plus -- so it seems even more irresponsible not to list it than to grade something I haven't heard. A-

Old Music

Jane Ira Bloom: Mighty Lights (1982 [1983], Enja): Soprano saxophonist, had a couple self-released albums before but this would have made an impressive debut, especially with Charlie Haden on bass, Ed Blackwell on drums, and a then-little-known Fred Hersch on piano. B+(***)

Jane Ira Bloom: Sometimes the Magic (2000 [2001], Arabesque): Another quartet, again with Mark Dresser (bass) and Bobby Previte (drums), with Vincent Bourgey taking over on piano -- who sort of vanishes into the mix (where Fred Hersch competed for your attention). B+(**)

Jane Ira Bloom: Chasing Paint: Meets Jackson Pollock (2002 [2003], Arabesque): Hard to describe the inspiration the soprano saxophonist derives from the painter's abstractions, other than that her music is exceptionally vivid here, with her high-pitched horn the perfect tool for flinging squiggles about. And her rhythm section -- Fred Hersch, Mark Dresser, Bobby Previte -- is every bit as inventive. A-

Jane Ira Bloom: Like Silver, Like Song (2004 [2005], ArtistShare): Another quartet, with Mark Dresser and Bobby Previte (as before), but with soprano saxophonist Bloom adding electronics to her mix, both personally and via keyboardist Jamie Saft. The electronics tend toward the ambient, which is to say they slow things down, but not to the point where you lose interest. B+(***)

Merle Haggard: Strangers (1965, Capitol): Born in 1937 after his parents moved from Oklahoma to California, he was nine, living in a boxcar in Oildale when his father died, and he reacted by running wild, escalating through a series of crimes and detentions until he wound up in San Quentin, just in time to witness Johnny Cash's famous concert there. He got out in 1960, and found himself playing music, writing and singing songs -- and turned out to have one of the most remarkable voices in country music. He cut a single for Tally Records in 1962, and soon got picked up by Capitol, where he recut some singles and recorded this first album. He wrote five pretty good songs here, but the best remembered ones were by others -- Liz Anderson's title song, Wynn Stewart's "Sing a Sad Song," Tommy Collins' "Sam Hill" -- making this a "Bakersfield Sound" breakthrough. B+(***)

Merle Haggard and the Strangers: Swinging Doors and the Bottle Let Me Down (1966, Capitol): Second album, group named for his first album and its breakthrough top-ten hit "(My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers," this one working its two top-five singles into the title -- two of the greatest drunkard songs in country music. His Bakersfield sound was built for bars, and the filler shows he was already rooted in honky tonk tradition. A-

Merle Haggard and the Strangers: I'm a Lonesome Fugitive (1967, Capitol): Liz Anderson was thinking of the David Jansen TV series when she wrote the title song, but it fit Haggard to a tee. Haggard wrote the rest of the songs (including "Life in Prison"), except for Jimmie Rodgers' "My Rough and Rowdy Ways" -- setting up a terrific ending. A-

Merle Haggard and the Strangers: Branded Man (1967, Capitol): The title cut is his most personal, which is not to say exclusive, prison confessional -- his pardon was still a few years away -- and Tommy Collins' "I Made the Prison Band" fits too, but "Don't Get Married" is hard to swallow, just one of too many loser songs. B+(**)

Merle Haggard and the Strangers: The Legend of Bonnie & Clyde (1968, Capitol): The title song, co-written with Bonnie Owens, had a tie-in with Arthur Penn's 1967 film, but the outlaw theme is ditched after 2:04. Strangely, Haggard oversings his ballads here, even "I Started Loving You Again" -- a song covered over sixty times the next few years, something that wouldn't happen once he was a star (and a more iconic singer). B

Merle Haggard and the Strangers: Mama Tried (1968, Capitol): A great doomed outlaw song, and that theme led him to pick several rather obvious covers, including "Green Green Grass of Home" and "Run 'Em Off" and a perfectly fine but unnecessary "Folsom Prison Blues." B+(**)

Merle Haggard and the Strangers: Okie From Muskogee (1969, Capitol): Recorded live in Muskogee, Oklahoma -- sort of a victory celebration after his breakout title hit (which he tastefully saves for last), complete with the mayor giving him a key to the city. But beyond the presentations, the concert has weak spots -- a feature for the bassist to sing, the patter about truck drivers and working men, the long intro to the lame "Hobo Bill," a new song about a dead soldier called "Billy Overcame His Size" that I doubt they ever played again -- and while the title song intro helps with context, it also reminds you that Haggard really didn't know much about Muskogee. B

Merle Haggard and the Strangers: Pride in What I Am (1969, Capitol): Only one obvious hit, the title song, but accompanied by several memorable songs, including an uncomfortable libertarian anthem, a case that the "good old days" are now, and one of the best Jimmie Rodgers covers I've heard. A-

Merle Haggard: A Portrait of Merle Haggard (1969, Capitol): As was his standard practice, give him exceptional hits to kick off two sides -- "Workin' Man Blues" and "Hungry Eyes" -- and he'll fill out an album. Works fairly well here until the strings enter and the second side gets all soggy. B+(*)

Merle Haggard and the Strangers: The Fightin' Side of Me (1970, Capitol): Another live album, this one from Philadelphia, which didn't offer him a key to the city but at least came up with a better sound engineer. He barely touches his own songbook here, with "Okie From Muskogee" the only repeater from the previous live album, seguing into his newer, even funnier "jingoistic anthem." Meanwhile, he covers Bob Wills, Jimmie Rodgers, and does a "Medley of Impersonations" (Marty Robbins, Hank Snow, Johnny Cash [thrice], Buck Owens), and Bonnie Owens fails to remember the words to "Philadelphia Lawyer." B+(**)

Merle Haggard and the Strangers: Hag (1971, Capitol): "Soldier's Last Letter" was written by Redd Stewart and Ernest Tubb, and repurposed for a much more controversial war, one which had nothing to do with "keep[ing] America free," no matter how fervently the doomed hoped. More political is the one that goes "this world's never been in the awful shape it's in," although the Jesus solution is a cop-out. More telling is "I believe the Lord knows I'm unhappy/cause I can't be myself when I'm with you," and "consider all the hurt I'm going through." B+(***)

Merle Haggard and the Strangers: Someday We'll Look Back (1971, Capitol): Nice to be reminded of Roger Miller's "Train of Life" after the title song, plus two Okie work songs -- "California Cottonfield" was borrowed, but "Tulare Dust" was so quintessential it served as title to HighTone's 1994 A Songwriter's Tribute to Merle Haggard. B+(***)

Merle Haggard: The Best of the Best of Merle Haggard (1968-71 [1972], Capitol): No idea how they came up with this title, as this is more like a second volume to 1968's The Best of Merle Haggard -- no dupes, so they picked up some minor singles, and offered "Okie From Muskogee" (live) and "Fightin' Side" (studio, for once) as bookends, like they were something special. Christgau called this The Safest of the Best. B+(***)

Merle Haggard and the Strangers: Let Me Tell You About a Song (1972, Capitol): Title is the spoken intro to the first side hit, "Daddy Frank (The Guitar Man)." But then every song starts that way (with a woman stepping in for the one about Bob Wills' fiddle), and sometimes the intros expand. Not a good idea in general, but it turns this album very personal. B+(***)

Merle Haggard and the Strangers: It's Not Love (But It's Not Bad) (1972, Capitol): A batch of relationship songs that don't come easy and are anything but romantic, and a few about alternatives that don't work out so well either. Plus a lament for "Dad's Old Fiddle," and a song about New York City that isn't as funny as Buck Owens'. B+(**)

Merle Haggard: Vintage Collections (1965-72 [1996], Capitol): Circa 1990 Capitol released a series of 20-cut CDs with themed artwork, The Capitol Collectors' Series, a series that included many 1950s crooners plus a couple rockers and country artists. For Haggard they had no problem picking 20 top-five singles from "Swinging Doors" to "Cherokee Maiden" -- then they let Rhino pick from the leftovers and they came up with the even better More of the Best. In 1998 Capitol figured it was time for another trawl through the archives, coming up with their Vintage Collections -- also 20-cuts, but not as many titles. Somewhat perversely, they only repeated eight titles (swapping in live versions of "Okie From Muskogee" and "Fightin' Side"), and they picked eight non-singles, including obscurities like "They're Tearing the Labor Camps Down" and "Family Bible." Nothing terribly wrong here, but much better compilations are possible, as shown by both of the above and the near-definitive 2007 Hag: The Best of Merle Haggard. And do beware of non-Capitol (non-MCA, non-Legacy) compilations, which are likely to have inferior re-recordings of his old hits. B+(**)

Merle Haggard and the Strangers: If We Make It Through December (1974, Capitol): Only three original songs here, the title one of his biggest hits, the other two a bit tedious (or do I mean sanctimonious? -- one on "love and honor," the other a gospel). On the other hand, credit him as the only one I've heard to credibly cover Lefty Frizzell, and he owns Floyd Tillman's "This Cold War With You." B+(**)

Merle Haggard and the Strangers: Merle Haggard Presents His 30th Album (1974, Capitol): That's just three per year for a decade, although Wikipedia counts this as only his 20th studio album -- figure several live albums, a compilation or two, and instrumental joints by the Strangers, whose very small print I dropped from the title if not the attribution -- that actually seams to be common practice. Draws on bluegrass for "Old Man From the Mountain," waxes poetic on "Things Aren't Funny Anymore," touches on blues and honky tonk and western swing and ventures south of the border. Maybe the title suggests he cuts corners to get a record out, but he doesn't cut them here. A-

Merle Haggard and the Strangers: Keep Movin' On (1975, Capitol): Three hits, none of which I'd recognize as a Haggard song save for his unique voice (actually, one is Dolly Parton's "Kentucky Gambler"). The disconnect is furthered by an original, "Life's Like Poetry," which you're more likely to recall in Lefty Frizzell's cover. The Nashville production doesn't help, until the closer, "Man's Gotta Give Up a Lot," where Haggard turns on his best Lefty impersonation. B

Merle Haggard and the Strangers: It's All in the Movies (1976, Capitol): One single, always found it rather sweet but at least it's clearly him, as is the not-quite-jingoistic "Let's Stop Pretending," but he seems to be having trouble bagging his limit, resorting to Bob Wills and Dolly Parton on the homestretch. B+(*)

Merle Haggard and the Strangers: My Love Affair With Trains (1976, Capitol): Eleven train songs, none by Jimmie Rodgers, only one by Haggard ("No More Trains to Ride"), the concept stitched together with narration and sound effects. B

Merle Haggard and the Strangers: The Roots of My Raising (1976, Capitol): Haggard should have written the title tune but Tommy Collins, practically his alter ego, channeled him perfectly. Haggard, in fact, only wrote one song here, but when he saw "roots" in the title he boned up on Jimmie Rodgers (two songs), Lefty Frizzell (a marvelous "I Never Go Around Mirrors"), and Bob Wills ("Cherokee Maiden") -- actually, Cindy Walker wrote it, and Haggard turned it into a hit. B+(***)

Merle Haggard and the Strangers: A Working Man Can't Get Nowhere Today (1975-76 [1977], Capitol): Came out a few months after Haggard's first MCA album, so technically a collection of leftovers but actually one of his strongest Capitol albums. "I'm a White Boy" seems, uh, dated, which may be why such a catchy thing never caught on, but the title song is truer today than ever. And the filler -- which includes "Blues Stay Away From Me," "Moanin' the Blues," and "Blues for Dixie" -- has rarely been sung better, and that's saying something. A-

Merle Haggard: 20 Greatest Hits (1966-76 [2002], Capitol): A pretty good intro sampler without touching any of his post-Capitol catalog (as 2007's 26-cut Hag: The Best of Merle Haggard does), although you can always quibble on these things. A-

Merle Haggard: Ramblin' Fever (1977, MCA): After twelve years with Capitol, Haggard divorced Bonnie Owens and moved to Nashville for a short stint with MCA before moving on to Epic in 1981. He wrote the title cut and co-wrote one more, but not "If We're Not Back in Love by Monday," which always struck me as one of his signature songs. No roots here, and too many strings, but he could really turn a ballad. B+(*)

Merle Haggard: My Farewell to Elvis (1977, MCA): Rushed out in October after Presley died in August, with an opening song by Haggard ("From Graceland to the Promised Land") leading into an oddly amusing "In the Ghetto" followed by '50s rockers, "Blue Christmas," and "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" Haggard does a fair impersonation with the Jordanaires helping out but if you want a record that sounds like Elvis, there are obvious alternatives. B-

Merle Haggard: The Way I Am (1980, MCA): After the Sonny Throckmorton title song comes "Sky-Bo" -- too big a conceptual stretch to work as a song. Then a bunch of stuff I've already forgotten, until the home stretch where you get "It Makes No Difference Now" and three Ernest Tubb classics. Curious how Haggard replicates Tubb's pace and intonation, invoking the original while cleaning up that notorious nasal twang. B+(**)

Merle Haggard: Back to the Barrooms (1980, MCA): More drinking song, practically a sub-genre within country music, one he made his mark in early ("Swinging Doors," "The Bottle Let Me Down"), so no big surprise he'd pick that as an album theme -- even if this didn't coincide with a divorce and too much drinking. "Gin and Misery" is indeed miserable, something I blame on the string-laden production. But the budget didn't allow for Jimmy Bowen to ruin the entire album, so eventually Haggard rights it -- with one from Hank Jr., his own tribute to Tommy Collins, and one more bar classic, "I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink." B+(*)

Merle Haggard: Rainbow Stew: Live at Anaheim Stadium (1980 [1981], MCA): Moving on to Epic, Haggard sloughed off the two albums he still owed to MCA with a gospel set and this live joint. Starts with four songs from Back to the Barrooms then starts to have fun, probing the back catalogue, breaking for a single with the title cut -- hearing it today makes me think it would work as Bernie's campaign theme song -- a blue yodel and the 3:48 "Fiddle Breakdown." Closes with a remarkable "Sing Me Back Home," where even an audience geared to party recognizes something solemn. B+(***)

Merle Haggard: Big City (1981, Epic): After seven 1977-80 albums with MCA, first album with Epic, with Haggard penning (or co-credited) with eight of ten songs. Most look backwards, which is where he's most comfortable. B+(**)

Merle Haggard and George Jones: A Taste of Yesterday's Wine (1982, Epic): Label mates at last, so why not? Produced by Billy Sherrill, who assumed the magic would just happen. It doesn't. B

Merle Haggard: Going Where the Lonely Go (1982, Epic): Mellowing out, although the two songs from sometime-wife Leona Williams sound like something he was forced to record by couples counseling ("You Take Me for Granted" and "Someday You're Gonna Need Your Friends Again"). And "Why Am I Drinkin'" can't be a healthful sign. B+(*)

Merle Haggard: That's the Way Love Goes (1983, Epic): Title song from Lefty Frizzell, sets the tone for about as normal a set of love ballads as he's ever done, unspectacular in every way but the voice. B+(*)

Merle Haggard: It's All in the Game (1984, Epic): Freddy Powers wrote or co-wrote five of ten songs, Haggard having a hand in three but only one solo credit. The covers lean mawkish, with the pairing of "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" and "To All the Girls I've Loved Before" particularly creepy, but the nod to the late Ernest Tubb is spot on. B+(*)

Merle Haggard: Kern River (1985, Epic): The river in question runs from the slopes of Mt. Whitney through deep canyons down to Bakersfield in the south end of the San Joaquin Valley. The song is about a death in that river, and is suitably gloom. The rest of the album meanders rather than rushes, with "Big Butter and Egg Man" a curious cover, and not the only one that swings. B+(*)

Merle Haggard: Amber Waves of Grain (1985, Epic): Short (27:44) live album built around Freddy Powers' Japan-bashing title track ("would we buy our bread and butter from the Toyota man/would an Idaho spud be stamped 'Made in Japan'"), with three old hits ("Mama Tried," "Okie From Muskogee," "Workin' Man Blues") worked into medleys, two lesser-known oldies, and "American Waltz" to close. Inoffensive compared to the Reagan era, but insubstantial too. B-

Merle Haggard: A Friend in California (1986, Epic): A fairly solid album, with six originals, a cover of Floyd Tillman's "This Cold War With You," and Freddy Powers' gentle title song, all carried by his voice and the band's practiced swing. B+(**)

Merle Haggard: Out Among the Stars (1986, Epic): Two singles here peaked at 21 and 58, a bit better than 1985's Amber Waves of Grain (36 and 60) but a big drop from previous years (like three number one country hits in 1984). Nothing bad here, but the only one I really loved was his Dixieland take on "Pennies From Heaven" -- shows he could have been one helluva jazz singer if he had went that way. B

Merle Haggard/George Jones/Willie Nelson: Walking the Line (1987, Epic): Note that none of the songs feature all three singers, and while I haven't tracked them all down those I have appeared on previous duo or solo albums: two each from Haggard's 1982 duos, one with Nelson from Jones' 1979 My Very Special Guests. All the others are songs I recognize, even if I don't recall where. Not bad, but something of a fraud. B-

Merle Haggard: 5:01 Blues (1989, Epic): Sobering thought that the song that perks your ears up here is "Sea of Heartbreak" -- shows that he could have carried on as a cornball hack until we lost all interest -- but he recovers a bit at the end with "A Thousand Lies Ago" and "Somewhere Down the Line.' As it was, this was his last album for Epic, and he entered a lost decade -- only three albums on Curb in the 1990s, a mere ten percent of his prime decade. Then in 2000 he rediscovered himself as a grizzled old man, picked up by the same alt-rock label that had resuscitated Tom Waits. B

Coleman Hawkins and Chu Berry: Tenor Giants (1938-43 [2000], Polygram): Part of a series of compilations from Milt Gabler's Commodore Records (founded 1938 and folded into Decca after WWII), not sure how I missed picking up this particular one. (I recommend the 2-CD The Commodore Story and single-artist sets by Eddie Condon and Lester Young, probably others if I racked my brain -- not an especially good period for Billie Holiday but not to be avoided.) These were scraps: two sessions each for Hawkins and Berry, none together. Berry, who died young (1908-41) played in the Fletcher Henderson and Cab Calloway bands, but doesn't have much as a leader. His sets here are fine, and Hawk's -- no surprise -- are even better. B+(***)

Joint Venture: Ways (1989 [1990], Enja): Group name has been used many times (Discogs lists them as number 10), but this particular one recorded three 1987-94 albums, the principals being: Ellery Eskelin (tenor sax), Paul Smoker (trumpet), Drew Gress (bass), and Phil Haynes (drums). Somewhat hit-and-miss, although both horns have hot streaks. B+(***)

Bonnie Owens and Merle Haggard With the Strangers: Just Between the Two of Us (1966 [2015], Capitol): Originally recorded for Tally but picked up and released as part of the deal that brought Haggard to Capitol. Not sure if this was the original attribution -- aside from the 2015 digital-only release, the only cover scan I'm seeing is a 2000 reissue on King that lists Haggard first. She was born Bonnie Campbell, started singing in 1947 and married Buck Owens in 1948, leaving around 1951. She met Haggard much later, married him in 1965, divorced him in 1978. She released six solo albums 1965-70, this one duet album, and backup up until their divorce and some years afterward. Nothing special, but they do sound good together. B+(**)

Blind Alfred Reed: Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order (1927-1929) (1927-29 [2012], Document): Old-time country fiddler-singer, best known for the Depression Era classic "How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live." Dust-to-Digital has a new edition, Appalachian Visionary, which remasters these twenty songs (plus two from the West Virginia Night Owls), packaged in a fancy 84-page hardcover book, but this is the set I found, and I can't complain about the sound. Several classics I recognize here, including a vision of heaven ("There'll Be No Distinction There") stunningly racist ("we'll all be white in that heavenly light") and sexist ("no aggravating women to boss the men around") and more jaw-droppers I had missed ("Woman's Been After Man Ever Since." Catchy in a primitive way, and sometimes you should face history warts and all. A-

Matt Wilson: As Wave Follows Wave (1996, Palmetto): First album, drummer-led tenor sax trio -- Dewey Redman and Cecil McBee -- with Larry Goldings joining in on organ on a couple cuts. B+(**)

Matt Wilson Quaret: Smile (1999, Palmetto): Two saxes here, with Joel Frahm (tenor/soprano) the steady hand, Andrew D'Angelo (alto/bass clarinet) the wild card. Yosuke Inoue plays acoustic and electric basses. B+(***)

Matt Wilson: Arts and Crafts (2000 [2001], Palmetto): Another quartet, more conventional with piano (Larry Goldings), bass (Dennis Irwin), and one horn -- Terell Stafford on trumpet -- the album the namesake/group he would return to three more times. B+(***)

Matt Wilson Quartet: Humidity (2002 [2003], Palmetto): Back to two saxes plus Yosuke Inoue's acoustic and electric bass, only with Jeff Lederer replacing Joel Frahm on tenor/soprano sax -- closer in tone and dynamics to Andrew D'Angelo (alto sax/bass clarinet). They sound like a double-barrel shotgun edition of Ornette Coleman -- not "double your fun" but at least some sort of approximation. A-

Additional Consumer News:

Previous grades on artists in the old music section.

  • Chu Berry: Chu Berry 1937-1941 (1937-41 [1994], Classics): A-
  • Chu Berry/Lucky Thompson: Giants of the Tenor Sax (1938-44 [1988], Commodore): B+
  • Jane Ira Bloom: Art and Aviation (1992, Arabesque): B+
  • Jane Ira Bloom: The Nearness (1996, Arabesque): B
  • Jane Ira Bloom: The Red Quartets (1997-99 [1999], Arabesque): A-
  • Jane Ira Bloom: Mental WEather (2007 [2008], Outline): B+(**)
  • Jane Ira Bloom: Wingwalker (2010 [2011], Outline): B+(***)
  • Jane Ira Bloom: Sixteen Sunsets (2013 [2014], Outline): B+(**)
  • Merle Haggard: Same Train, Different Time (1969, Capitol): B+
  • Merle Haggard: A Tribute to the Best Damn Fiddle Player in the World (1970, Capitol): B+
  • Merle Haggard and the Strangers: Songs I'll Always Sing (1965-74 [1977], Capitol): A-
  • Merle Haggard: The Capitol Collectors' Series (1965-75 [1990], Capitol): A
  • Merle Haggard and the Strangers: The Way It Was in '51 (1978, Capitol): B+
  • Merle Haggard: Live From Austin TX '78 (1978 [2008], New West): B+(**)
  • Merle Haggard: Serving 190 Proof (1979, MCA): A-
  • Merle Haggard: More of the Best (1963-81 [1990], Rhino): A
  • Merle Haggard/Willie Nelson: Pancho and Lefty (1982 [1983], Columbia): B+
  • Merle Haggard: The Ultimate Collection (1966-83 [2000], Hip-O): A-
  • Merle Haggard: Live From Austin TX (1985 [2006], New West): A-
  • Merle Haggard: His Greatest and His Best (1977-85 [1985], MCA)
  • Merle Haggard: The Essential Merle Haggard: The Epic Years (1981-87 [2004], Epic/Legacy): A-
  • Merle Haggard: Down Every Road (1962-94 [1996], Capitol, 4CD): B+
  • Merle Haggard: 40 #1 Hits (1966-96 [2004], Capitol, 2CD): A-
  • Merle Haggard: For the Record: 43 Legendary Hits (1999, BNA, 2CD): B-
  • Merle Haggard: Live at Billy Bob's Texas: Motorcycle Cowboy (2000, Smith Group/Razor & Tie): B
  • Merle Haggard: If I Could Only Fly (2000, Epitaph): A-
  • Merle Haggard: Roots, Volume 1 (2001, Epitaph): B+
  • Merle Haggard: The Peer Sessions (1996-99 [2002], Audium): B+(**)
  • Merle Haggard: Haggard Like Never Before (2003, Hag): A-
  • Merle Haggard: Chicago Wind (2005, Capitol): B+(**)
  • Merle Haggard: Hag: The Best of Merle Haggard (1966-2005 [2007], Capitol): A
  • Merle Haggard: The Bluegrass Sessions (2007, McCoury): B+(*)
  • Merle Haggard: I Am What I Am (2010, Vanguard): B+(***)
  • Merle Haggard: Working in Tennessee (2011, Vanguard): A-
  • Coleman Hawkins: 46 other records
  • Matt Wilson: Going Once, Going Twice (1998, Palmetto): A-
  • Matt Wilson's Arts & Crafts: Wake Up! (To What's Happening) (2004, Palmetto): B+
  • Matt Wilson's Arts & Crafts: The Scenic Route (2006 [2007], Palmetto): B+(**)
  • Matt Wilson Quartet: That's Gonna Leave a Mark (2008 [2009], Palmetto): A-
  • Matt Wilson: Matt Wilson's Christmas Tree-O (2010, Palmetto): B+(**)
  • Matt Wilson's Arts & Crafts: An Attitude for Gratitude (2011 [2012], Palmetto): B+(**)
  • Matt Wilson Quartet + John Medeski: Gathering Call (2013 [2014], Palmetto): B+(***)


Everything streamed from Rhapsody, except as noted in brackets following the grade:

  • [cd] based on physical cd
  • [cdr] based on an advance or promo cd or cdr
  • [bc] available at bandcamp.com
  • [sc] available at soundcloud.com
  • [os] some other stream source
  • [dl] something I was able to download from the web; may be freely available, may be a bootleg someone made available, or may be a publicist promo