May 29, 2017

Zeebra - The Rhyme Animal (1998) ☠

Country: Japan
Language: Japanese (日本語)
Genre: Hip-Hop
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☠: Selected by Sentinel
© 1998 Polystar Co. Ltd.
*No professional reviews available for this release.

tags: zeebra, the rhyme animal, 1998, flac,

King Giddra - Sora Kara No Chikara 空からの力 (1995) ☠

Country: Japan
Language: Japanese (日本語)
Genre: Hip-Hop
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☠: Selected by Sentinel
© 1995 P-Vine Records
*No professional reviews available for this release.

tags: king giddra, sora kara no chikara, 1995, japan, japanese rap,

Smooth - Smooth (1995)

*A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: U.S.A
Genre: Hip-Hop, R&B
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© 1995 Jive Records
AllMusic Review by Andrew Hamilton
Smooth, sultry, sexy '90s tales of lust which somehow haven't blown up like they should have. It must be a lack of promotion; it's certainly not talent, songs, singing, or production. This is one enjoyable CD; Smooth has the kind of voice men like, oozing sex in every inflection. She could be singing businesses' names and addresses from the yellow pages and still sound risqué. For some reason, Smooth singing to hip-hop beats never gets old. "Way Back When" is definitive Smooth; it has it all -- nifty rapping, upfront backing vocals, and Smooth spitting out some biting lyrics. Some power cuts include "Blowing Up My Pager," a tale about a girl being paged into saying yes by a persistent admirer; "P.Y.T. (Playa Young Thugs)" features 2Pac with the self-proclaimed "Female Mack" on a hypnotic keeper. Listen as she shamelessly proclaims what she's looking for on the erotic "Good Stuff." She gives instructions to her lover during "Swing It to the Left Side." Thirteen strong pleasing tracks; Smooth could get a rise out of a dead man.

tags: smooth, smooth album, 1995, mind blowin

Big L - Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous (1995) ☠

*A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: U.S.A
Genre: Hip-Hop
Style: Hardcore Hip-Hop
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☠: Selected by Sentinel
© 1995 Columbia, Sony Music Entertainment Inc.
AllMusic Review by M.F. DiBella
Having made a name for himself as a guest MC on D.I.T.C. (Diggin' in the Crates) projects such as Diamond D.'s Stunts, Blunts & Hip-Hop and Showbiz & A.G.'s Runaway Slave, the flamboyantly gifted Lamont Coleman (aka Big L) dropped his debut in early 1995. A product of the mean streets of Harlem, L made his bones in the rap game with his rapid fire freestyle delivery and clever punchline-peppered rhymes. A patchwork album with a few outstanding cuts, Lifestylez fails to package the lightning-in-a-bottle talent of this cut-above MC. The album showcases L as a master of the lyrical stickup undressing his competition with kinetic metaphors and a brash comedic repertoire. The lead track, "Put It On" produced by Kid Capri, is a party cut with a criminal attitude. "M.V.P." snatches a brief segment from DeBarge's "Stay With Me" (later aggrandized on the Notorious B.I.G.'s popular remix of "One More Chance"). "Da Graveyard" features a young Cam'ron (here Killa Kam) and most notably a superb verse from a pre-Jigga Jay-Z (at the outset of his solo career). With better production and marketing, Big L might have found himself with a platinum album but instead he settled for platinum respect. This album captures the dynamic potential of a street legend, a legend who would later be gunned down in his prime.

tags: big l, lifestylez ov da poor and dangerous, 1995, flac, lifestyles of the poor and dangerous,

Various Artists - Supercop (Music From & Inspired By The Dimension Motion Picture) (1996)

*A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: U.S.A
Genre: Hip-Hop, Electronic, Rock, Funk, Stage & Screen
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© 1996 Interscope Records
AllMusic Review by Adam Greenberg
The soundtrack to Jackie Chan's Supercop holds all of the action of the movie and manages to spread across genres in the process but remain coherent. There are some serious oddities in the roll call for the album, but throughout the whole, the album manages to pull itself together. The album starts out with an odd techno version of Carl Douglas' martial arts movie standard "Kung Fu Fighting," performed by Tom Jones himself. Later, Warren G contributes a reworking of the Tina Turner classic "What's Love Got to Do With It." Following in the covers department, Devo puts in a cover of Trent Reznor's "Head Like a Hole," and Siobhan Lynch puts in an eerie, dark techno version of the Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive." There are West Coast rap pieces from 2Pac as well as Tha Dogg Pound. Punk and ska are represented by songs from Rocket From the Crypt and No Doubt. Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell sounds oddly similar to Rob Zombie on "Caged in a Rage," and Joel McNeely finishes the album with the rock instrumental "Main Title From Supercop." While the usual course of a soundtrack involves a mixing of genres, which can often go horribly wrong when the mixing becomes incoherent, Supercop holds together remarkably well, if only because of the novel covers of various songs, and the reappearance of Devo

tags: various artists, supercop music from and inspired by the dimension motion picture, super cop soundtrack, ost, flac,

Conjunto Acapulco Tropical - Mi México, Lindo Es (2003 Reissue) ☠

*Grabaciones originales. Se incluye una foto del disco en el archivo.

Country: Mexico
Language: Spanish (Español)
Genre: Tropical
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☠: Selected by Sentinel
© 2003 BMG Entertainment México, RCA Records
*No professional reviews available for this release.

tags: conjunto acapulco tropical, acapulco tropical, mi mexico lindo es, mi mexico, lindo es, flac, descarga,

Rose Tattoo - Scarred For Life (1982) ☠

*A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: Australia
Language: English
Genre: Hard Rock
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☠: Selected by Buccaneer
© 1982 Albert Productions
Review by Ian Winwood for Teamrock.com
On the cover of 1982’s Rose Tattoo’s Scarred For Life (6/10), the five members of the band are staring at the camera with looks that seem to ask: “Did you spill my pint?” This, really, is all you need to know regarding the songs that comprise the Sydney group’s first four albums, now reissued.

tags: rose tattoo,

Rose Tattoo - Assault & Battery (1981)⚓

Country: Australia
Language: English
Genre: Hard Rock
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© 1981 Albert Productions
Review by Jimmy (Captain Oi) for RazorCake.org
It's funny how even some of the greatest stuff can fall through the cracks, you know? I remember seeing Rock'n'Roll Outlaws, what I now know is their debut album, in a long-gone record store back in '82 or so, being intrigued by their bald singer, and then putting it back on the shelves 'cause the band name was too wimpy. Now that I finally get to hear what was on that album, not to mention the four that followed it, I realize I should've taken that puppy home with me. Rose Tattoo's debut is surely the missing link between punk and bar rock—part Ramones, part AC/DC and maybe a dash of a pissed-off Faces-era Rod Stewart in the vocals—and one of the finest albums to come out of the late ‘70s. This was one of those rare bands that managed to wrestle rock back from the overpaid pretty boys and give it back to the streets, a band that you'd best believe meant it when they sang "Nice boys don't play rock 'n' roll" and drove the point home by adding "I'm not a nice boy." This is the soundtrack for an ass-kicking both metaphorical and literal. This is what rock'n'roll was born to do, namely scare the shit outta you while getting you to move a little. The band followed up their stunner of a debut with Assault & Battery, which, while not as intense as its predecessor, packs a mean wallop behind another strong set of songs. From there on in, as with so many other bands, it's downhill, with each of the last two albums losing even more of that crucial raw edge and sliding ever closer into bad ‘80s rock land, although, to their credit, they're even good at that. Captain Oi has seen fit to reissue all four of the band's albums with extensive liner notes and the requisite bonus tracks. Much thanks is due to the Captain for giving me a new favorite band of the week, even if it took me twenty-two years to pay attention.

tags: rose tattoo, assault and battery, 1981, flac,

Rose Tattoo - Rose Tattoo (1990 Limited Edition)

Country: Australia
Language: English
Genre: Hard Rock
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© 1970-1990 Repertoire Records
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia
If AC/DC are the greatest blue-collar hard rock band of all time, then Rose Tattoo (also Australian, also managed by the Vanda and Young team) just may qualify as the world's greatest blue-collar punk rock band. Led by impetuous, diminutive frontman Angry Anderson (the Ronnie James Dio of punk?) and the brilliant slide-guitar work of Peter Wells, Rose Tattoo were a mean and not-so-lean gang of tattooed misfits, all of them veterans of the hard as nails Aussie pub rock scene -- in short, the kind of guys you'd cross the street to avoid. Released in 1978, their eponymous debut (issued in Europe as Rock 'N' Roll Outlaw almost two years later) is a dangerous, unpredictable, monster of a record whose power has hardly diminished an ounce in the decades since. First song, "Rock 'N' Roll Outlaw," draws the line in the sand, challenging all comers to cross at the peril of a split lip; then "Nice Boys (Don't Play Rock 'N' Roll)" (if you thought Guns n' Roses version was bad-ass, think again) delivers an uppercut to the jaw that'll set you reeling. The boogie-intensive "One of the Boys" recalls George Thorogood at his baddest, while "The Butcher and Fast Eddy" -- a gritty shuffle about dueling gangs of outlaws -- offers a Down Under adaptation of the classic Stagger Lee urban fable. First single "Bad Boy for Love" borrows its main riff rather blatantly from AC/DC's "She's Got Balls," and the lone, slow number "Stuck on You" is the Rose Tattoo equivalent of the Stooges' "Gimme Danger." "Remedy" and "T.V." are blasts of pure raw energy, and if you're not reduced to a sweating, drained pile of pulp by the time you arrive at the tee-total lunacy of closer "Astra Wally," you better check your pulse. As seemed inevitable, given their combustible nature, Rose Tattoo's career was quickly derailed by internal strife, but this only adds to the timeless mystique and unique triumph of this debut. It's as "street" as white boy rock gets -- essential hard boogie. [The 1990 Repertoire records CD reissue adds eight bonus tracks, between B-sides and live recordings to the original release.]

tags: rose tattoo,

Spice Girls - Spice (1996) ☠

*A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Pop, R&B
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 1996 Virgin Records
Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine for Allmusic.com
Spice doesn't need to be original to be entertaining, nor do the Spice Girls need to be good singers. It just has to be executed well, and the innocuous dance-pop of Spice is infectious. None of the Girls have great voices, but they do exude personality and charisma, which is what drives bouncy dance-pop like "Wannabe," with its ridiculous "zig-a-zig-ahhh" hook, into pure pop guilty pleasure. What is surprising is how the sultry soul of "Say You'll Be There" is more than just a guilty pleasure, and how ballads like "2 Become 1" are perfect adult contemporary confections. The rest of the album isn't quite as catchy as those first three singles, but it is still irresistible, immaculately crafted pop that gets by on the skills of the producer and the charisma of the five Spices. Sure, the last half of the album is forgettable, but it sounds good while it's on, which is the key to a good dance-pop record.

tags: spice girls, spice, 1996, flac,

May 27, 2017

Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti (1975)

*This is a double album. Contains 2 C.D.'s.
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Hard Rock
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© 1975-1987 Swan Song
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Led Zeppelin returned from a nearly two-year hiatus in 1975 with the double-album Physical Graffiti, their most sprawling and ambitious work. Where Led Zeppelin IV and Houses of the Holy integrated influences on each song, the majority of the tracks on Physical Graffiti are individual stylistic workouts. The highlights are when Zeppelin incorporate influences and stretch out into new stylistic territory, most notably on the tense, Eastern-influenced "Kashmir." "Trampled Underfoot," with John Paul Jones' galloping keyboard, is their best funk-metal workout, while "Houses of the Holy" is their best attempt at pop, and "Down by the Seaside" is the closest they've come to country. Even the heavier blues -- the 11-minute "In My Time of Dying," the tightly wound "Custard Pie," and the monstrous epic "The Rover" -- are louder and more extended and textured than their previous work. Also, all of the heavy songs are on the first record, leaving the rest of the album to explore more adventurous territory, whether it's acoustic tracks or grandiose but quiet epics like the affecting "Ten Years Gone." The second half of Physical Graffiti feels like the group is cleaning the vaults out, issuing every little scrap of music they set to tape in the past few years. That means that the album is filled with songs that aren't quite filler, but don't quite match the peaks of the album, either. Still, even these songs have their merits -- "Sick Again" is the meanest, most decadent rocker they ever recorded, and the folky acoustic rock & roll of "Boogie with Stu" and "Black Country Woman" may be tossed off, but they have a relaxed, off-hand charm that Zeppelin never matched. It takes a while to sort out all of the music on the album, but Physical Graffiti captures the whole experience of Led Zeppelin at the top of their game better than any of their other albums.

tags: led zeppelin,

Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin (1969)

Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Hard Rock
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© 1969-1987 Atlantic Records
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Led Zeppelin had a fully formed, distinctive sound from the outset, as their eponymous debut illustrates. Taking the heavy, distorted electric blues of Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, and Cream to an extreme, Zeppelin created a majestic, powerful brand of guitar rock constructed around simple, memorable riffs and lumbering rhythms. But the key to the group's attack was subtlety: it wasn't just an onslaught of guitar noise, it was shaded and textured, filled with alternating dynamics and tempos. As Led Zeppelin proves, the group was capable of such multi-layered music from the start. Although the extended psychedelic blues of "Dazed and Confused," "You Shook Me," and "I Can't Quit You Baby" often gather the most attention, the remainder of the album is a better indication of what would come later. "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" shifts from folky verses to pummeling choruses; "Good Times Bad Times" and "How Many More Times" have groovy, bluesy shuffles; "Your Time Is Gonna Come" is an anthemic hard rocker; "Black Mountain Side" is pure English folk; and "Communication Breakdown" is a frenzied rocker with a nearly punkish attack. Although the album isn't as varied as some of their later efforts, it nevertheless marked a significant turning point in the evolution of hard rock and heavy metal

tags: led zeppelin, led zeppelin album, 1969, flac,

Led Zeppelin - Houses of The Holy (1973)

Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Hard Rock
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© 1973-1987 Atlantic Records
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Houses of the Holy follows the same basic pattern as Led Zeppelin IV, but the approach is looser and more relaxed. Jimmy Page's riffs rely on ringing, folky hooks as much as they do on thundering blues-rock, giving the album a lighter, more open atmosphere. While the pseudo-reggae of "D'Yer Mak'er" and the affectionate James Brown send-up "The Crunge" suggest that the band was searching for material, they actually contribute to the musical diversity of the album. "The Rain Song" is one of Zep's finest moments, featuring a soaring string arrangement and a gentle, aching melody. "The Ocean" is just as good, starting with a heavy, funky guitar groove before slamming into an a cappella section and ending with a swinging, doo wop-flavored rave-up. With the exception of the rampaging opening number, "The Song Remains the Same," the rest of Houses of the Holy is fairly straightforward, ranging from the foreboding "No Quarter" and the strutting hard rock of "Dancing Days" to the epic folk/metal fusion "Over the Hills and Far Away." Throughout the record, the band's playing is excellent, making the eclecticism of Page and Robert Plant's songwriting sound coherent and natural.

tags: led zeppelin,houses of the holy, 1973, flac,

Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin III (1970)

Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Hard Rock
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© 1970-1987 Atlantic Records
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
On their first two albums, Led Zeppelin unleashed a relentless barrage of heavy blues and rockabilly riffs, but Led Zeppelin III provided the band with the necessary room to grow musically. While there are still a handful of metallic rockers, III is built on a folky, acoustic foundation that gives the music extra depth. And even the rockers aren't as straightforward as before: the galloping "Immigrant Song" is powered by Robert Plant's banshee wail, "Celebration Day" turns blues-rock inside out with a warped slide guitar riff, and "Out on the Tiles" lumbers along with a tricky, multi-part riff. Nevertheless, the heart of the album lies on the second side, when the band delve deeply into English folk. "Gallows Pole" updates a traditional tune with a menacing flair, and "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp" is an infectious acoustic romp, while "That's the Way" and "Tangerine" are shimmering songs with graceful country flourishes. The band hasn't left the blues behind, but the twisted bottleneck blues of "Hats off to (Roy) Harper" actually outstrips the epic "Since I've Been Loving You," which is the only time Zeppelin sound a bit set in their ways.

tags: led zeppelin,

Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II (1969)

Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Hard Rock
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© 1969-1987 Atlantic Records
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Recorded quickly during Led Zeppelin's first American tours, Led Zeppelin II provided the blueprint for all the heavy metal bands that followed it. Since the group could only enter the studio for brief amounts of time, most of the songs that compose II are reworked blues and rock & roll standards that the band was performing on-stage at the time. Not only did the short amount of time result in a lack of original material, it made the sound more direct. Jimmy Page still provided layers of guitar overdubs, but the overall sound of the album is heavy and hard, brutal and direct. "Whole Lotta Love," "The Lemon Song," and "Bring It on Home" are all based on classic blues songs -- only, the riffs are simpler and louder and each song has an extended section for instrumental solos. Of the remaining six songs, two sport light acoustic touches ("Thank You," "Ramble On"), but the other four are straight-ahead heavy rock that follows the formula of the revamped blues songs. While Led Zeppelin II doesn't have the eclecticism of the group's debut, it's arguably more influential. After all, nearly every one of the hundreds of Zeppelin imitators used this record, with its lack of dynamics and its pummeling riffs, as a blueprint.

tags: led zeppelin,

Led Zeppelin - Untitled (Led Zeppelin IV) (1971)

Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Hard Rock
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☠: Selected by Buccaneer
© 1971-1987 Atlantic Records
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Encompassing heavy metal, folk, pure rock & roll, and blues, Led Zeppelin's untitled fourth album is a monolithic record, defining not only Led Zeppelin but the sound and style of '70s hard rock. Expanding on the breakthroughs of III, Zeppelin fuse their majestic hard rock with a mystical, rural English folk that gives the record an epic scope. Even at its most basic -- the muscular, traditionalist "Rock and Roll" -- the album has a grand sense of drama, which is only deepened by Robert Plant's burgeoning obsession with mythology, religion, and the occult. Plant's mysticism comes to a head on the eerie folk ballad "The Battle of Evermore," a mandolin-driven song with haunting vocals from Sandy Denny, and on the epic "Stairway to Heaven." Of all of Zeppelin's songs, "Stairway to Heaven" is the most famous, and not unjustly. Building from a simple fingerpicked acoustic guitar to a storming torrent of guitar riffs and solos, it encapsulates the entire album in one song. Which, of course, isn't discounting the rest of the album. "Going to California" is the group's best folk song, and the rockers are endlessly inventive, whether it's the complex, multi-layered "Black Dog," the pounding hippie satire "Misty Mountain Hop," or the funky riffs of "Four Sticks." But the closer, "When the Levee Breaks," is the one song truly equal to "Stairway," helping give IV the feeling of an epic. An apocalyptic slice of urban blues, "When the Levee Breaks" is as forceful and frightening as Zeppelin ever got, and its seismic rhythms and layered dynamics illustrate why none of their imitators could ever equal them.

tags: led zeppelin, untitled, untitled album, led zeppelin iv, 4, 1971, flac,

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Pendulum (1970)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Classic Rock
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© 1970-1987 Fantasy Records
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
During 1969 and 1970, CCR was dismissed by hipsters as a bubblegum pop band and the sniping had grown intolerable, at least to John Fogerty, who designed Pendulum as a rebuke to critics. He spent time polishing the production, bringing in keyboards, horns, even a vocal choir. His songs became self-consciously serious and tighter, working with the aesthetic of the rock underground -- Pendulum was constructed as a proper album, contrasting dramatically with CCR's previous records, all throwbacks to joyous early rock records where covers sat nicely next to hits and overlooked gems tucked away at the end of the second side. To some fans of classic CCR, this approach may feel a little odd since only "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" and maybe its B-side "Hey Tonight" sound undeniably like prime Creedence. But, given time, the album is a real grower, revealing many overlooked Fogerty gems. Yes, it isn't transcendent like the albums they made from Bayou Country through Cosmo's Factory, but most bands never even come close to that kind of hot streak. Instead, Pendulum finds a first-class songwriter and craftsman pushing himself and his band to try new sounds, styles, and textures. His ambition results in a stumble -- "Rude Awakening 2" portentously teeters on the verge of prog-rock, something CCR just can't pull off -- but the rest of the record is excellent, with such great numbers as the bluesy groove "Pagan Baby," the soulful vamp "Chameleon," the moody "It's Just a Thought," and the raver "Molina." Most bands would kill for this to be their best stuff, and the fact that it's tucked away on an album that even some fans forget illustrates what a tremendous band Creedence Clearwater Revival was.

tags: ccr, CCR, creedence clearwater revival, pendulum, 1970, flac,

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Mardi Gras (1972)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Classic Rock
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© 1972-1989 Fantasy Records
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Pared down to a trio, Creedence Clearwater Revival had to find a new way of doing business, since already their sound had changed, so they split creative duties evenly. It wasn't just that each member wrote songs -- they produced them, too. Doug Clifford and Stu Cook claim John Fogerty needed time to creatively recharge, while Fogerty says he simply bowed to the duo's relentless pressure for equal time. Both arguments make sense, but either way, the end result was the same: Mardi Gras was a mess. Not a disaster, which it was dismissed as upon its release, since there are a couple of bright moments. Typically, Fogerty is reliable, with the solid rocker "Sweet Hitch-Hiker," the country ramble "Lookin' for a Reason," a good cover of Ricky Nelson's "Hello Mary Lou," and the pretty good ballad "Someday Never Comes." These don't match the brilliance of previous CCR records, but they sparkle next to Clifford and Cook's efforts. That implies that their contributions are terrible, which they're usually not -- they're just pedestrian. Only "Sail Away" is difficult to listen to, due to Cook's flat, overemphasized vocals, but he makes up for it with the solid rocker "Door to Door" and the Fogerty soundalike "Take It Like a Friend." Clifford fares a little better since his voice is warmer and he wisely channels it into amiable country-rock, yet these are pretty average songs by two guys beginning to find their own songwriting voice. If Clifford and Cook had started their own band (which they did after this album) it would be easier to be charitable, but when held up against Creedence's other work, Mardi Gras withers. It's an unpretty end to a great band.

tags: ccr, CCR, creedence clearwater revival, mardi gras, 1972, flac,

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Cosmo's Factory (1970)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Classic Rock
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© 1970-1986 Fantasy Records
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Throughout 1969 and into 1970, CCR toured incessantly and recorded nearly as much. Appropriately, Cosmo's Factory's first single was the working band's anthem "Travelin' Band," a funny, piledriving rocker with a blaring horn section -- the first indication their sonic palette was broadening. Two more singles appeared prior to the album's release, backed by John Fogerty originals that rivaled the A-side or paled just slightly. When it came time to assemble a full album, Fogerty had only one original left, the claustrophobic, paranoid rocker "Ramble Tamble." Unlike some extended instrumentals, this was dramatic and had a direction -- a distinction made clear by the meandering jam that brings CCR's version of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" to 11 minutes. Even if it wanders, their take on the Marvin Gaye classic isn't unpleasant, and their faithful, exuberant takes on the Sun classics "Ooby Dooby" and "My Baby Left Me" are joyous tributes. Still, the heart of the album lays in those six fantastic songs released on singles. "Up Around the Bend" is a searing rocker, one of their best, balanced by the menacing murkiness of "Run Through the Jungle." "Who'll Stop the Rain"'s poignant melody and melancholy undertow has a counterpart in Fogerty's dope song, "Lookin' out My Back Door," a charming, bright shuffle, filled with dancing animals and domestic bliss - he had never been as sweet and silly as he is here. On "Long as I Can See the Light," the record's final song, he again finds solace in home, anchored by a soulful, laid-back groove. It hits a comforting, elegiac note, the perfect way to draw Cosmo's Factory -- an album made during stress and chaos, filled with raging rockers, covers, and intense jams -- to a close.

tags: ccr, CCR, creedence clearwater revivial, cosmos factory, 1970, flac,

May 26, 2017

Kool G Rap & D.J. Polo - Live & Let Die (1992)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Hip-Hop
Style: East Coast Gangsta Rap, Mafioso Rap
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© 1992 Cold Chillin' Records
AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman
A strong case could be made for Live and Let Die as Kool G Rap & DJ Polo's crowning achievement. Who can really say for sure if the controversy surrounding the cover artwork -- which shows the duo feeding steaks to a pair of rottweilers, in front of two noose-necked white men -- clouded a proper consensus? With across-the-board stellar production help from Sir Jinx and Trakmasterz, G Rap (who also produces) thrives on his no-holds-barred narratives that peaked with Wanted: Dead or Alive's "Streets of New York," but most everything on this album comes close to eclipsing that song. "Ill Street Blues" is practically a sequel to it, and it manages to use more swanky piano vamps and horn blurts without making for a desperate attempt at capitalizing on a past glory. Few tales of growing up in a life of crime hit harder than the title track, in which G Rap displays the traits -- unforced frankness, that unmistakable voice, and a flow that drags you involuntarily along -- that made him a legend. The album is one story after another that draws you in without fail, and they come at you from several angles. Whether pulling off a train heist, venting sexual frustration, analyzing his psychosis, or lording over the streets, G Rap is a pro at holding a captive audience. All die-hard East Coast rap fans, especially followers of the Notorious B.I.G., owe it to themselves to get real familiar with this album and the two that predated it. If you were to take this duo's best five songs away from them, they'd still be one of the top duos rap music has ever seen.

tags: kool g rap and dj polo, kool g rap & dj polo, live and let die, 1992,

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Creedence Clearwater Revival (1968)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Classic Rock
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© 1968-1987 Fantasy Records

Released in the summer of 1968 -- a year after the summer of love, but still in the thick of the Age of Aquarius - Creedence Clearwater Revival's self-titled debut album was gloriously out-of-step with the times, teeming with John Fogerty's Americana fascinations. While many of Fogerty's obsessions and CCR's signatures are in place -- weird blues ("I Put a Spell on You"), Stax R&B (Wilson Pickett's "Ninety-Nine and a Half"), rockabilly ("Susie Q"), winding instrumental interplay, the swamp sound, and songs for "The Working Man" -- the band was still finding their way. Out of all their records (discounting Mardi Gras), this is the one that sounds the most like its era, thanks to the wordless vocal harmonies toward the end of "Susie Q," the backward guitars on "Gloomy," and the directionless, awkward jamming that concludes "Walking on the Water." Still, the band's sound is vibrant, with gutsy arrangements that borrow equally from Sun, Stax, and the swamp. Fogerty's songwriting is a little tentative. Not for nothing were two of the three singles pulled from the album covers (Dale Hawkins' "Susie Q," Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell on You") -- he wasn't an accomplished tunesmith yet. Though "The Working Man" isn't bad, the true exception is that third single, "Porterville," an exceptional song with great hooks, an underlying sense of menace, and the first inkling of the working-class rage that fueled such landmarks as "Fortunate Son." It's the song that points the way to the breakthrough of Bayou Country, but the rest of the album shouldn't be dismissed, because judged simply against the rock & roll of its time, it rises above its peers.

tags: ccr, creedence clearwater revivial, creedence clearwater revival album, 1968, flac,