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The Early Bird: Top New Recorded Releases 9-23-22 – 9-29-22, Reviewed

Dr. John’s first posthumous release Things Happen That Way was being readied before his passing, a collection of country covers from Johnny Cash to Hank Williams twice, to, well, to the Travelling Wilburys. The Wilburys cover featured Aaron Neville and is a highlight on this, the other half are Dr. John oldies, re-recorded at the same sessions (Grade: B+).

Over to singles, I reviewed Morris Day’s Snoop Dogg feature r&b beauty “Used To Be A Playa” earlier today (here) (Grade: A-), three years after Heavy Is The Head, Stormzy returns with a major self-portrait, named after his stylist (!), the seven minute plus, tempo switching, genre transversing “Mel Made Me Do It” (Grade: B+), Kim Petras is the impressive transgendered pop star and Sam Smith is Sam Smith of that voice, together “Unholy” is an electronic anthem unlike anything we’ve heard from Sam ever (Grade: B), “Beguiled” is the lead off single from The Smashing Pumpkins upcoming new album Atum: A Rock Opera In Three Acts billed as a sequel to Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness… so you’ll know what to do (Grade: C-), DJ Xhela is the Nigerian DJ and he is great, on “Big Man Riddem” he finds the intersection of afrobeat and dancehall with Burna Boy along for the ride (Grade: A)

Back to albums, the Live At Yankee Stadium album from the 1990 two night residency was part of Billy Joel’s tour and he played 24 songs so why the album is a measly eight songs I have no idea, also, he might not be as lively but he is a better performer in 2022 than he was in 1990 (Grade: B-), speaking of measley, only nine songs on Faces live in 1971, an odd set that included two Stones and a McCartney cover but is just as rowdy but also tighter than you probably remembered; it was the “A Nod’s As Good As A Wink” Tour on London ’71 (Grade: B+), ugh forty years of “drum” and “Space” -Jerry is long gone but those two dogs remain and here they are on Madison Square Garden, New York, NY 3/9/81 (Live), there is a twelve minute “Uncle Tom’s Band” however (Grade: B-), DaBaby has yet to fully recover from his homophobic comments that lead to his being cancelled though he has remained really good on any track he jumps on and the sequel to his 2019 breakthrough, Baby On Baby 2, is actually just as good, highly addictive pop rap from a world class rapper (and homophobe) (Grade: B+)

Live at Yankee Stadium – Billy Joel – B-

Baby On Baby 2 – DaBaby – B+

Big Man Riddim (Kanipe) (feat. Burna Boy & Runtown) – DJ Xhela – A

Things Happen That Way – Dr. John – B+

London ’71 – Faces – B+

Madison Square Garden, New York, NY 3/9/81 (Live) – Grateful Dead – B-

Used To Be A Playa – Morris Day, Snoop Dogg – A-

Unholy (feat. Kim Petras) – Sam Smith – B

Mel Made Me Do It – Stormzy – B+

Beguiled – The Smashing Pumpkins – C-

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