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The Early Bird: Top New Recordings 9-4-20 – 9-10-20 Reviewed

A quiet week, the Autumn season kicks in next Friday, but not a dead week. Let’s start with tribute album Angelheaded Hipster: The Songs of Marc Bolan & T. Rex, the singles gave me nothing but tripadation as Joan Jett failed “Jeepster,” and I figured if Joanie couldn’t nail a song that coulda been written for her, with T-Rexs’ self appointed pixie dust glam is precisely where solo Jett was coming from, and Nick Cave’s addition of violins to Marc’s self portrait “Cosmic Dancer” was too on the money, Hal had gone wrong. Now, listening to the album through, it is better than that, produced by the late, popular SNL guy Hal Wilmer, it doesn’t give you enough of T-Rex the glam King of the mid -70s, and too much of Marc the hippie dippie guy, but it works as often as not. Lucinda Williams dramatic “Life’s A Gas” is a must hear, Marc Almond’s “Teenage Dream” is a gypsy fueled and soulful romp, and Beth Orton sings the jazzy “Hippy Gumbo” psychedelia to the point of no return. Two Lennons, Julian and Sean, add separate songs. And the hits, David Johansen’s Buster Poindexterish  “Bang A Gong (Get It On)” and Kesha takes top honors at the top with the defining moment on the 97 minute opus, “Children Of The Revolution,” is a terrific reminder of the lost boy (Grade: B+)

Over at singles, we have already covered SZA’s “Hit Different” here (Grade: A-), and while former singing pal Brandy just dropped a pretty ace album, Monica adds Lil Baby and a 2020 flavor to the sweet and soulful “Trenches” (Grade: B+), I know “I Wished On The Moon” from Billie Holiday’s  Jazz at the Philharmonic and Diana Krall stays in her lane with a swinging cover featuring a stellar piano solo on the bridge (Grade: B+), Nickelback drop a live “Animals” and include 84 seconds of crowd cheering, and while I don’t have much time for the band at all I never quite get how they picked up Limp Bizkit’s mantle for world class loser, and “Animal” catches the much loathed Canadian band at full strength (Grade: C+). A useless not ultimate remix of John’s “Instant Karma” by Yoko forty years after his murder, but really? It is a fucking great song with words we all need to hear(Grade: A), speaking of long dead icons of rock,  Duane will rinse the taste of the atrocious Allman-Betts band before the first solo is over on “Done Somebody Wrong” (Grade: A)

Back to albums, Big Sean’s first album since 2017, Detroit 2, is one of the best rappers on top of his game if not the zeitgeist here, the featured aren’t as good as the solo stuff except for the Nipsey Hussle featured  “Deep Reverence”,” certainly the Dave Chappelle spoken word is a story everybody who loves him knows well, except for the punchline (which I won’t ruin) and the Post Malone track is killer, in the end this is one of the most consistently well written rap albums of the year (Grade: A-), the deluxe DaBaby Blame It On Baby, doubles in size the chart topping album by the guy who boiled #BLM down to being harrassed in his green lamborghini, and sure it is all about the man and all the time, but it is feel good music, just not feel good about yourself music (Grade: A-). God save him, 6ix9ine never learns his lesson and will probably end up dead sooner than later, but he does grow up and more’s the pity: more “Gooba” and less “Leah” (or anything else with Akon on) would have been welcome (Grade: C+). Billy Ocean, the Trinidadian soulman with a string of great hits in the 1980s is back for the first time since 2009 with One World, and there is zero rust here, a collection of 80s style Trinidadian, soul, ska and reggae cut and paste that would have been mammoth in 1984 (Grade: B+) .

Finally, my contentious opinion on Goat’s Head Soup (minor league Stones) is given question on a fine triple, the original ten song album, outtakes and remixes, and a live album from 1973 in Brussels. I can’t believe they never released the best little rocker this side of “Star Star, “All The Rage” (is that Jagger on harp?) as a single instead of the dreaded “Scarlet”  but I am happy to have it now (Grade: A-)

TattleTales – 6ix9ine – C+

Detroit – Big Sean – A-

One World – Billy Ocean – B+


I Wished On The Moon – Diana Krall – B+

Instant Karma! (We All Shine On) – Ultimate Mix – John Lennon, Yoko Ono – A

Trenches – Monica, Lil Baby – B+

Intro/Animals (Live at Buffalo Chip, Sturgis, SD, 8/8/2006) – Nickelback – C+

Hot Different – SZA, Ty Dolla $ign – A-

Done Somebody Wrong – Live at Painters Mill Music Fair – 10-17-71 – The Allman Brothers Band – A

Goat’s Head Soup (Deluxe) – The Rolling Stones – A-

Angelheaded Hipster: The Songs of Marc Bolan & T. Rex – Various Artists – B+


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