Another quiet week on the new recordings front, both albums and singles have been lulling and perhaps we are at the space now when months without access to major recording studios have paid a price with slowed down production. Meaning: there isn’t as much product around, simple as that.
John Prine died of Covid-19 earlier this year, a wake up call to the dangers of the virus having its way with Trump’s America, “I Remember Everything” -a lovely acoustic guitar strummed look back at his life was the last song he recorded (Grade:A). Luke Bryan drops a Father’s Day track, the maudlin and dreadful ” Build Me A Daddy” (Grade: D+). Still in country mode, the Sturgill Simpson produced new Margo Price album releases its third pre-drop single, the invigorating, piano generated “Letting Me Down” (Grade: B). Still on country but this time an album, Colbie Caillat’s band Gone West is a country coasted Lady A(ntebellum) and Little Big Town, with the added plus of Colbie who writes with the same tuneful calm on Canyons that made her solo work so necessary (Grade: B).
Paul McCartney released a three song four track EP Lucky Boy, featuring a demo of the title number and a demo take, plus two others, all part of his upcoming the Paul McCartney Archive Collection version of the overrated Flaming Pie (here) though the outtake “Oobu Joobu Pt. 1” is as strong as anything except for “Calico Skies” from the sessions. (Grade: B-). Bob Marley’s Live At The Rainbow, 4th June 1977 with The Wailers responds to punk with an agitprop masterpiece of righteousness that makes few concessions to its audience, plus the “Trenchtown Rock” is definitive (Grade: A). Still on live albums, Liam Gallagher’s MTV Unplugged (Live At Hull City Hall), recorded August 2019 is a lovely, small gem of solo bests and Oasis cuts, Liam called it Biblical! I say the next best thing to Oasis (Grade: B+). Somebody has been refiling through George’s back pages, Legends Never Die follows the must own The Complete George Jones (VOL.1 – 3), and the 63 song compilation function as a beginners manual and includes “Color Of The Blues” and “White Lightning,” as well as heartbroken ballads, drinking songs and borderline racist novelty “Dancing Mexican Boy”. (Grade: A-). Jack Garratt was touted as the next big UK man with a beard and a song till Lewis Capaldi stole the crown mostly because it took Jack four years to record the follow-up, Love, Death & Dancing and in genre, Garrett hasn’t wasted his time with an album worth of songs that are glorious, literate, well arranged, folk rock (Grade: A-).
Two hip hop drops: Aitch’s 8 song UK grime Polaris, a gliding, accented, great beats and… Destiny Child’s “Bills, Bills, Bills” sampled on “Triggered (Grade: B) . The last time I heard songs recorded from prison was Zaytoven producing raps Gucci Mane left on his voicemail (a better Gucci than today) , and now there is Drakeo the Ruler in prison for gun possession, murder (since acquitted), attempted murder, and criminal street gang conspiracy charges, recording Thank You For Using GTL on the prison’s GTL phone system and it is dank, dark, but crackling and an important show and tell of crime and punishment (Grade: B+).
Finally, Teyana Taylor was not please by Kanye West’s production of her last album, 2018’s career apex K.T.S.E., Teyana’s return “Wake Up My Love” is neo-soul gone chill like Noname (who it really resembles), SZA and H.E.R., a pleasure sure, but not as good as her work with Kanye (Grade: B+)
Polaris – Aitch – B
Live At The Rainbow, 4th June 1977 (Remastered 2020) – Bob Marley & The Wailers – A
Thank You For Using GTL – Drakeo the Ruler, JoogSzn – B+
Legends Never Die (Remastered) – George Jones – A-
Canyons – Gone West – B
Love, Death & Dancing – Jack Garratt – A-
I Remember Everything – John Prine – A
MTV Unplugged (Live At Hull City Hall) – Liam Gallagher – B
Build Me Daddy – Luke Bryan – D+
Letting Me Down – Margo Price – B
Lucky Boy EP – Paul McCartney – B
Wake Up Love – Teyana Taylor, Iman Nunez – B+
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