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The Early Bird 9-17-21 – 9-23-21: Top New Recorded Releases Reviewed

There are two, and only two, types of people in the world: those who settle for the 25 song streaming version of Bob Dylan’s Springtime in New York: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 16 / 1980-1985 and those of who us who set our alarms for midnight because they couldn’t live one more second than they had to to hear Bob Dylan cover Dave Mason’s “We Just Disagree,” Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” (is this the place to repeat Zim’s infamous take down when Neil got off stage at “The Last Waltz” and told Dylan, “Try following that” and Dylan replied “So I should fall asleep out there?” Probably not), Elvis Presley’s “Mystery Train” on the pay to play 57 track box set. You do get one of Dylan’s masterpieces from that era, “Dark Eyes,” on the streaming version. I loved Dylan’s 80s and this is outtakes, alt takes, live, etc from three albums, Shot Of Love (Grade: A), Empire Burlesque (Grade: A-), Infidels (Grade: B+), and deal me in guys. Yes, I woke up in the middle of the night to buy the box set and I’d do it again (Grade: A).

Let’s stay in nostalgia mode: I couldn’t stand Andrew Lloyd Webber’s highbrow/lowbrow axis of bland for decades, but after reading his biography, and after going to watch him being interviewed (here) I mellowed, and I never didn’t love “Jesus Christ Superstar” from its earliest days as a double album onwards, on his Jesus Christ Superstar (50th Anniversary / Deluxe), we get an additional album of outtakes, demos, etc., and while my born again big sister Feriel considers it sacrilegious she admits she hasn’t really heard the pretty straight retelling of the Christian lord’s death and resurrection. For a slacker like me, show me an album with Yvonne Elliman singing “I Don’t Know How To Love Him” or Murray Head’s epic take on “Heaven On Their Mind” and I’ll show you a Grade: A. I can’t think of a single Nick Lowe album I haven’t loved, and while Jesus Of Cool and Party Of One are the cream of the crop, The Convincer followed Dig My Mood and both of them are reflections of Lowe’s Americana at its very best, The Convincer (20th Anniversary Edition) includes a new to me cover of “Mama Said” (Grade: A); leading up to the box set, we have three additional songs to the three previously dropped on Get Back(Take 3) which continues to sound like Billy Preston auditioning for the role of fifth Beatle (the black and homosexual Billy would have roiled their fanbase more than Lennon dating a Japanese woman) -the keeper is the new take on “One AFter 909” (Grade: A); Brian Wilson is re-recording solo on piano and starts with an instrumental take on one of his greatest “God Only Knows”, it is as lovely and fragile as Wilson himself (Grade: A-); the second track from Elvis Presley’s upcoming final recording sessions in Nashville box set “Until It’s Time For You To Go – Take 5” is fine if irrelevant (Grade: B+); the missing link that binds Ghosteen, according to Nick Cave, “Earthlings”, is so great it would have fit on his best album -off the upcoming rarities set (Grade: A); Ozzy and Lemmy duet on Hellraiser” and it sure works (Grade: B+); Sharon Van Etten covers the Velvet Underground from the upcoming VU tribute album with a lovely “Femme Fatale” (that’s Angel Olsen harmonizing) (Grade: A-); Tony Bennett finally grew old (he has alzheimer’s disease and his Radio City gig was his last) but it ain’t dark right this second with a swinging take at Cole Porter’s ode to prostitution “Love For Sale” shared by Lady Gaga belting out the track right besides him (Grade: B+). Phew…

I reviewed Lil Nas X’s contender for album of the year, Montero, yesterday (here) (Grade: A) and so after a whole lotta oldies as newbies, here is the performance artist and jazz hip hop spoken word rap state of the art Moor Mother’s Gil Scott-Heron soundalike Black Encyclopedia of the Air

PS? I know, I know, the early bird is a day late… it would be more ironic if you paid me, bitch.

Jesus Christ Superstar (50th Anniversary / Deluxe) – Andrew Lloyd Webber – A

Springtime in New York: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 16 / 1980-1985 – Bob Dylan – A

God Only Knows – Brian Wilson – A-

Until It’s Time For You To Go – Take 5 – Elvis Presley – B+

Montero – Lil Nas X – A

Black Encyclopedia of the Air – Moor Mother – B+

Earthlings – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – A

The Convincer (20th Anniversary Edition) – Nick Lowe – A

Hellraiser – 30th Anniversary Edition – Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Motörhead – B+

Femme Fatale – Sharon Van Etten – A-

Get Back (Take 3) – The Beatles – A

Love For Sale – Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga – B+

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