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The Early Bird: Top New Recorded Releases 7-23-21 – 7-29-21 Reviewed

Kanye West’s last two albums, Jesus Is King as Kanye and Jesus Is Born with Sunday Service Choir from 2019 were both excellent though the born again Kanye was not to a majority’s taste. Two years later, there is zero doubt about Donda (named for his late mother), it is his most listener friendly since, why, since 2010’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. There is no doubt that Kanye has more skills than anybody out there, his sound is a unique r&b and pop and gospel cut and paste, post and recorded and add a track, reaching a height of heights with Don Tolliver on “Moon” and, wait for it, Jay Z on “I’m Going to Jail Tonight”. Not yet officially released and who knows if  and when it is released it will be this (pace The Life Of Pedro‘s mutations) … but having heard it once, there isn’t a bad track on the entire enterprise and enough are great (Grade: A).

Remaining with albums, I reviewed Jackson Browne’s high melodic quotient politics and dating young(er) women on Downhill From Everywhere here (Grade: B), the jazz guitarist John Pizzarelli has two new albums, the first with his late father Bucky on a glorious guitar interloping between father and son on Live at the Vineyard (Grade: A- ), the other on Better Days Ahead (Solo Guitar Takes on Pat Metheny), which is precisely what it claims to be (Grade: B+),  the deluxe version of Pop Smoke’s Faith which adds four songs, none of which will change your mind (Grade: B+). the 2008 live set from Glen Campbell may well have been late in his career but not that late, I saw him 2012 perform a similar set with complete power and dignity (here) and in 2008 he was filled with the music on a terrific album with a touch too much new stuff (Grade: A-).

Over at singles, “Too Late (Band Version) – Infidels Outtake,” is an early, better take on “Foot Of Pride,” I love them both but this is very hooky, very pretty and a bit better (Grade: A). April Rose Gabrielli you may remember not just from her single earlier this year “Tameless” but also from her  lead singer (and songwriter) with The Rose Monarchs rockers band who haven’t toured since 2019, and her work with Kulick (who is opening for her tonight at The Bitter End”), her new song is a beautiful piano ballad with impeccable singing and sweet harmonies, out on Soho Records (rocknyc’s SohoJohnny’s other record label) (Grade: A-), Lorde’s “Stoned at the Nail Salon” is no “Solar Power” and is still pretty good, lo-fi, guitar plucked acoustic song (Grade: B). Finally, Childish Gambino uses his upper falsetto for a fine cover of Brittany Howard’s lovely song (Grade: B+)

Do You?  – April Rose Gabrielli – A-

Too Late (Band Version) – Infidels Outtake – Bob Dylan – A

Stay High – Childish Gambino, Brittany Howard – B+

Live at the Vineyard – Bucky Pizzarelli, John Pizzarelli

Live From The Troubadour – Glen Campbell – A-

Downhill To Everywhere – Jackson Browne – B

Better Days Ahead (Solo Guitar Takes on Pat Metheny) – John Pizzarelli

Donda – Kanya West – A

Stoned at the Nail Salon – Lorde – B

Faith (Deluxe) – Pop Smoke – B+



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