Contemporary Music Genres Survey,
1960 to 2010

Charles H. Smith, Ph.D.

Scope:   These records and links identify outstanding popular music albums from roughly a time just before the emergence of the Beatles (1963) through to about 2010, a period of fifty years, keying on those acts that have made, or are making, lasting contributions to their art.  The focus is on the more specialized genres; i.e., those styles falling outside the mainstream of commercial pop:  for example contemporary folk, bluegrass, new age, electronic, World, blues and classical crossover styles. (Note: the CD numbers preceding the selections pertained to their catalog numbers at Western Kentucky University during the period the project was run, circa 2000 to 2013.)

  Feedback regarding this collection may be sent to
Charles H. Smith at:  charles.smith@wku.edu

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CD 03092: Bill Morrissey: Songs of Mississippi John Hurt. The legendary Mississippi John Hurt died in 1966, the same year Bill Morrissey, a contemporary folk singer/songwriter, first heard his music. Morrisey had a simple and laconic style that well suits Hurt's music, which combined blues, folk and country influences to produce a sweet, gentle and rhythmic sound that still draws favor from musicians in all those genres. *ac*bl*cf*tf

CD 03091: Red House Painters: Songs for a Blue Guitar. Red House Painters formed in San Francisco in 1989 and were active throughout the 1990s. The group's leader, singer/songwriter Mark Kozelek, was known for "his very personal and emotional songs of despair, pain and suffering" (wikipedia.org). The group's music has been described as Indie rock, folk rock, or dream pop, but in general they were one of the leaders of the so-called "slowcore" movement in alternative rock. This CD is one of their later ones, from 1996. *ar

CD 03090: Mos Def: The New Danger. Mos Def's career began in the 1990s, and he has since become a major star both as a rap artist and screen actor (multiple award nominations for each). He is one of the leaders of socially conscious rap and has been associated with a number of related political and social causes. This album achieved Gold status and reached the top 5 on Billboard. *hi*pc

CD 03089: Terry Reid: Terry Reid. Terry Reid, rock singer and guitarist, has been active since the mid-1960s, when he was hanging around with people like Graham Nash, Jimmy Page, and the Rolling Stones, and opening for many of them in concert. This critically acclaimed solo album was released in 1969. Several years later Reid moved largely behind the scenes, concentrating on sessions work, mostly for well-known American performers like Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt. *eg*rk

CD 03088: John Hammond: I Can Tell. This early (1967) John Hammond collection features Hammond on vocals, harmonica, and acoustic guitar, and an all-star supporting cast including Bill Wyman, Duane Allman, the significant portion of the group that would become The Band, and others. The material: well, the blues, of course, with covers of classics by the likes of Willie Dixon, Howlin Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Chuck Berry... *ag*bl

CD 03087: Del McCoury: High Lonesome and Blue. This 2004 release has an apt title, perfectly descriptive of the music of one of bluegrass music's leading citizens. How prominent is he? Well, he's won 31 International Bluegrass Music Association Awards, and been their Entertainer of the Year four consecutive times. *bg

CD 03086: The Fugs: The Fugs First Album. I would not blame you if you don't know The Fugs; they were never very well known. But they were certainly--uh, interesting, and had a fair amount of influence on later acts. Above all, perhaps, they are most remembered as the first act to take potty-mouth to the level it deserves; still, beneath the blisters they were also a creative and effective vehicle for satire and political criticism: note their 'Night of Napalm' and 'War Kills Babies,' bonuses on this extended collection. *ar*cm*pc

CD 03085: Harry Nilsson: Nilsson Schmilsson. The late Harry Nilsson was a bit of an odd man-out in the 60s and 70s. Although a well-covered and respected songwriter, he made most of his fame as a singer of other people's material. But then his voice was extraordinary (for example, 'Without You,' included here), and he had a talent for bringing life to quirky material as well. *mr*ss

CD 03084: Niyaz: Niyaz. Niyaz continues the general direction started by Vas--melodic, percussive and rhythmic Persian music, sold not only by its own inertia but by the mysterious vocals (and hammered dulcimer playing) of Azam Ali. Most of the tracks here feature Urdu and Persian poetry, including several works by Rumi. Some of the other instruments used: bass guitar (Tony Levin), frame drums, synthesizer, electric guitar, guitar viol, tabla, oud, tombak, darbuka, etc., etc. *is*na

CD 03083: Kronos Quartet: Black Angels. This 1990 CD features the KQ's performance of composer George Crumb's 'Black Angels,' inspired by the Vietnam War. Also included are works by Tallis, Marta, Ives, and Shostakovich. *cl

CD 03082: Indigo Girls: Indigo Girls. Folk rockers Amy Ray and Emily Saliers got together in the 80s and by the end of the decade had become a major act on the circuit. This was their first major release, and remains their most successful one. *cf*rk*ss*wm

CD 03081: The Kinks: Something Else. A classic (1967) five-star release by one of the great bands in rock 'n roll history. It includes the magical 'Waterloo Sunset,' generally acknowledged as one of the finest songs in the mid-60s repertoire. *ar*rk*ss

CD 03080: Lee "Scratch" Perry: Lord God Muzick. Reggae music from one of the leading producers in the genre. *rg

CD 03079: Medieval Baebes: Mirabilis. Now here's something you don't see every day: a punk Medieval music girly band. Actually, apart from the visuals, they're pretty far from punk; this is atmospheric "nymph" fare that gets the most air play on New Age stations. *cl*na*tf

CD 03078: John Adams: The Dharma at Big Sur / My Father Knew Charles Ives. This two-CD set (one for each work) couples of pair of 2003 compositions by Adams, one of our leading classical composers. The first work is something of a meditation for electric violin (played by Tracy Silverman); the second, a three part piece sounding just about the way you would expect Charles Ives to sound had he lived a hundred years later and had absorbed a minimalist (though not dominantly so) influence. *cl

CD 03077: Edgar Meyer: Edgar Meyer. A one-man-show release by the well-known crossover (bluegrass, classical...) bass player and composer. Edgar multitracks himself on just about all of the cuts, playing, in addition to bass, piano, guitar, dobro, and mandolin. *ac*cl*jz

CD 03076: John Martyn: Solid Air. This fine two-CD retrospective of works from the British folk/jazz guitarist and songwriter John Martyn includes all his best known pieces (e.g., 'May You Never,' 'Couldn't Love You More,' 'One World,' 'Solid Air,' and 'I Don't Wanna Know'). Martyn also has a very distinctive voice--a soothing yet rough vehicle that well suits his bluesy material. *ag*bl*cf*jz*ss

CD 03075: Rufus Wainwright: Rufus Wainwright. The first, critically acclaimed, album by the son of Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle. "In addition to his baritone singing voice, he plays both piano and the guitar...some of his songs feature just Wainwright with his piano, his later work is often accompanied by rock instrumentation or a symphony orchestra... Wainwright is an avid opera fan, and the influences on his music are evident, as well as his love of Franz Schubert's Lieder... Some of Wainwright's songs have been described as 'Popera' (Pop Opera) or 'Baroque Pop'. Many of his compositions are densely packed, dizzying amalgams of strings, horns, operatic choruses, ragtime rhythms and his own distinctively warm vocal timbre" [from wikipedia.org]. *ar*cf*ss

CD 03074: Randy Newman: Good Old Boys. A reissue of the classic 1974 album by Newman, enhanced by a whole second CD of previously unissued material. Sit back, fondle a nice rum and coke, and listen to old Randy give hell to everyone who deserves it... *ss

CD 03073: The Incredible String Band: First Girl I Loved. The Incredibles rank number two in the list of quirky 60s and 70s acts (who's number one?--'gotta be Captain Beefheart, I suppose...), but with them the quirkiness had less to do with wierdness or indecency or outright repulsiveness than it did with their extraordinary commitment to literate themes and gentle, near-psychedelic imagery. This 1972 live performance includes a bit of this and that, perhaps most notably an offering of Robin Williamson's well-covered song 'First Girl I Loved.' *ac*ar*ce*cf

CD 03072: Laura Nyro: Eli and the Thirteenth Confession. Laura Nyro was one of the best songwriters of the late 60s, and eventually an affecting singer. This classic release includes several of her most covered compositions, including 'Sweet Blindness,' 'Eli's Coming,' and 'Stoned Soul Picnic.' *mr*ss

CD 03071: Jerry Jeff Walker: Gypsy Songman: A Life in Song. A made-to-order retrospective by an elder statesman of the country-folk border zone. Everybody knows his 'Mr. Bojangles,' but Walker has been putting out a lot of material for a long time. These selections were recorded all at once, in 1999. *cf*cy*ss

CD 03070: Quicksilver Messenger Service: Happy Trails. "Though not ultimately as popular as contemporaries Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead, the band was integral to the beginnings of their genre. With influences in jazz and Ravel, as well as a strong folk background, the band attempted to create a sound that was individual and innovative" [from wikipedia.org]. It should also be noted that the band's lead guitarist, John Cipollina, was one of the best of his time. *eg*rk

CD 03069: Keb' Mo': Slow Down. This Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter/guitarist has a firm foundation in the blues of Robert Johnson, but often extends his style out in the direction of soul and r & b. Active since the 1970s, his career only really took off in the 1990s and since that time he has been much in demand. Three Grammy awards have followed, including for this 1998 release (for "contemporary blues album"). *bl*rb

CD 03068: William Orbit: Strange Cargos: The Best Of. Orbit is best known as a producer, but "is also a composer and multi-instrumentalist who has specialised in keyboard electronica and much of his work also features accomplished guitar playing. He has also recorded several largely instrumental solo albums under the name Strange Cargo which features vocals by Beth Orton...among others. 'Water from a Vineleaf' was a chart success" [from wikipedia.org]. *am*el*im

CD 03067: My Bloody Valentine: Loveless. This album was released to great acclaim in 1991 but the band became largely inactive shortly thereafter; in 2007, however, they reunited and planned new releases and tours for 2008. They were originally formed in Ireland in 1984, but then relocated to London. "The band's use of guitar distortion, vibrato, and digital reverb placed them as part of the shoegazing genre" [from wikipedia.org] of alternative rock. *ar*eg

CD 03064: Keith Jarrett: Radiance. Two more CDs full of splendid solo piano from jazzman Keith Jarrett, this time from concerts recorded in Osaka and Tokyo, Japan, in 2002. *jz*pf

CD 03063: Leonard Cohen: The Future. A 1992 recording by the monotonic poet laureate of popular music. "His work often explores the themes of religion, isolation, sexuality, and complex interpersonal relationships...more than a thousand renditions of his work have been recorded...Cohen was inducted into the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with a speech by Lou Reed on March 10, 2008 for his status among the 'highest and most influential echelon of songwriters'" [from wikipedia.org]. *cf*ss

CD 03062: Delbert McClinton: Room to Breathe. Texas native McClinton has fashioned a successful career as a singer-songwriter since the 1960s, first mostly as a sideman and then out front. McClinton is the consummate cross-over act, deftly exploring the links among country, blues, and rock styles, as in this peppy 2002 release. *bl*cy*rk*ss

CD 03061: Guided by Voices: Bee Thousand. The prolific (they put out just about one album a year from 1987 to 2004, and as many ep's) Guided by Voices formed in the early 80s in Dayton, Ohio. Their work "shows influence from post-British Invasion garage rock, psychedelic rock, progressive rock, punk rock and post-punk" [from wikipedia.org]. *ar*rk

CD 03060: Harry Connick Jr.: Come By Me. Harry Connick Jr. is the latest descendant of the Jack Jones-Dean Martin-Frank Sinatra lineage that extends back to the 1950s. Connick sings and plays piano, and is here backed not only by a "big band," but a full orchestra as well. This 1999 release was one of the first stops on the way to sustained success. *mr

CD 03059: The Decemberists: The Crane Wife. Wikipedia classifies The Decemberists' music as: Indie rock / Indie folk / Baroque pop / Art rock, so maybe you get the general picture. This is a very polished act, with just enough acoustic/electric backup to complement some very erudite lyrics intelligently delivered by vocalist Colin Meloy. *ar*cf*ss

CD 03058: June Tabor with Martin Simpson: A Cut Above. This 1989 release combines the talents of one of the best finger-style guitarists in the business (Simpson) with one of the best vocal stylists in folk (Tabor). Mostly traditional material delivered with style and grace. *ag*cf*tf

CD 03057: Rickie Lee Jones: Duchess of Coolsville, An Anthology. Songwriter-vocalist Jones scored instant success in the late 70s and for a few years thereafter, then largely sank out of sight, though continuing to release material from time to time. Recently, her career has been on the ascendant again. *mr*ss*wm

CD 03056: Ramones: Road to Ruin. I guess whoever it was who named this album back in 1978 knew what he was talking about--three decades later, and three of the four Ramones are now dead (and the fourth "retired" to performing traditional Appalachian music). *ar*pc

CD 03055: Richard Hell & the Voidoids: Blank Generation. Kentucky native Richard Hell (born Richard Meyers) left school in the 60s to try his hand at poetry in New York; before long he was also performing music and teamed up with Tom Verlaine to form the band Television. This album and its famous title song (now often recognized as a "top ten" work of the punk style) came a few years later. Since that time he has pursued a successful career in a number of artistic genres, including poetry, film acting, fiction, and music. *ar

CD 03054: Bombay Dub Orchestra: Bombay Dub Orchestra. The music on this two-CD set is a bit hard to pigeonhole, but it did score a big success in 2007 on the "New Music" programs, where it ranked among the year's favorites. It combines ambient, house, and dubbing style electronica under an orchestral sweep, often or usually with a distinctly South Asian music nod. Actually, quite a bit of it sounds like (but isn't) film music--to something swelling with exotic, languorous, themes. *am*el*ho*im*is*na

CD 03053: Laurie Anderson: Bright Red. This 1994 release is pretty typical Laurie Anderson fare: minimalist spoken word/performance art. Nobody sounds even remotely like Laurie Anderson, though, so she's got plenty of room to keep on keepin on. She's helped out here by hubby Lou Reed, Adrian Belew on guitar, Brian Eno on keyboards, and Joey Baron on drums. *ar*pc*ss

CD 03052: The Yardbirds: Five Live Yardbirds. This famous album (with ten bonus tracks added!) was recorded before the group went commercial; i.e., when they were dominantly a blues band led by Keith Relf (vocals and harmonica) and Eric "Slowhand" Clapton. A bit rough at the edges, maybe, but surely with as much energy as anyone at that time had. *bl*eg*rk

CD 03051: Beth Orton: Central Reservation. This 1999 release by English singer/songwriter Orton was the one that put her in the spotlight. Orton's musical form has sometimes been termed "folktronica" because of her projects with William Orbit; to my ears however her material sounds more like typical contemporary folk, with perhaps a bit more beat. Orton is known for her support of a number of political and ethical causes. *cf*pc

CD 03050: Davey Graham: The Complete Guitarist. Still little known here, Graham is one of the great influences on twentieth century guitar styles, having integrated jazz, blues, classical, and international sources to produce a sound that ignited the British contemporary folk movement in the 60s. This 1977 release samples a bit from all, and is further augmented by eight bonus tracks that were recorded years later. *ag*cf

CD 03048: Fairport Convention: What We Did on Our Holiday. Fairport is still around and going strong these days, but this is from their early lineup that included Sandy Denny, Ian Matthews, Richard Thompson, Simon Nicol, Martin Lamble, and Ashley Hutchings. Part traditional material, part original material, and entirely class material. *cf*rk*ss

CD 03047: Van Der Graaf Generator: Pawn Hearts. Van Der Graaf Generator was a moderately successful "progressively alternative" rock band from the late 60s and 70s. Some of the music on this, their best known album, is really extraordinarily dramatic, even if it represents a kind of art music that now really does sound like it comes from the 60s or 70s... *ar

CD 03046: BT: This Binary Universe. Trancemaster BT is one of the current day's top electronic music artists, known especially for his development of trance music, and the stutter edit technique. This highly successful two-CD album "features a mix of many genres, including jazz, breakbeats, and classical music. Three songs feature a full 110-piece orchestra. BT has said that the album has a lullaby-like quality, inspired by his daughter, Kaia, who sat on his lap throughout most of the song writing process" [from wikipedia.org]. *am*el*ho*im*na

CD 03045: Jerry Douglas: Restless on the Farm. A 1998 release by the king of the dobro, with an all-star supporting cast including Sam Bush, Edgar Meyer, Viktor Krauss, Sonny Landreth, Steve Earle, Maura O'Connell, Tim O'Brien, Russ Barenberg, etc. *ac*ag*bg

CD 03044: John Zorn: 50th Birthday Celebration Volume 3: Locus Solus. As is often the case with John Zorn projects, this program often slips right into and past the totally arcane. Nominally it is jazz, but a kind of jazz that takes improvisation almost right out of the realms of music. *jz

CD 03043: Canned Heat and John Lee Hooker: Hooker 'n Heat. Canned Heat, though best known for a few fairly light singles, was at heart a potent blues band, so this collaboration with one of the most respected bluesmen of his time was a natural. *bl*rk

CD 03042: Mississippi John Hurt: Last Sessions. Recorded in 1966, the year Hurt died, these were indeed the "last sessions." Hurt had been a popular country blues performer back in the early part of the century, then had largely given up music until he was "rediscovered" in the early 60s. His popularity since, especially as an influential guitar stylist, has never flagged. *ag*bl*cy*tf

CD 03041: Butch Hancock: War and Peace. Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Hancock has worked both as a solo artist and with others since the 70s, usually in a country style strongly tinged with folk and rock accents. This 2007 release showcases his writing talents, but he also plays practically all the instruments appearing on it, besides handling the vocals. On one cut he is joined by Joe Ely and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, his partners in the long term project The Flatlanders. *cf*cy*rk*ss

CD 03040: John McLaughlin: Devotion. Guitar whiz John McLaughlin here, in one of his best releases. Backed by Buddy Miles on drums, Larry Young on keyboards, and Billy Rich on bass. McLaughlin was one of the leaders of the jazz fusion movement, and this 1971 release shows why. *eg*jz

CD 03039: Ralph McTell: Not Till Tomorrow. McTell is little known in this country, but in Britain he is something of an institution, and this 1972 album shows why--it includes some of the best song-for-song song writing in the contemporary folk genre, along with excellent performances from McTell on guitar, and an impressive array of sidemen. Its 'Birdman' and 'Gypsy' are two of the most stirring performances in this style of music. *ag*cf*ss

CD 03038: Jeff Beck: Truth & Beck-Ola. A two-fer CD combining two well-known late 60s, post-Yardbirds, albums by one of best electric guitarists in the business. Most of the music is straight-ahead rock, with blues accents. Sidemen include Rod Stewart on vocals, Ron Wood on bass, and Nicky Hopkins on piano. *eg*rk

CD 03037: Jack DeJohnette: Works. Percussionist DeJohnette is best known for his work as a sideman with the ECM stable of performers; this program of selections is taken from various releases and features him working with the likes of Lester Bowie, John Abercrombie, Terje Rypdal, Miroslav Vitous, David Murray, Arthur Blythe, Peter Warren, Eddie Gomez, and Dave Holland. *ac*jz

CD 03036: Shawn Colvin: Fat City. Joni Mitchell-influenced singer-songwriter and multi-Grammy award winner Shawn Colvin first worked professionally in the late 70s, and in the 80s developed a commercially-oriented contemporary folk style that linked her with Suzanne Vega and Mary Chapin Carpenter. Fat City, nominated for two Grammys, is from 1992, before her career really took off a few years later. *cf*ss*wm

CD 03035: William Orbit: Hello Waveforms. British musician/producer Orbit is known as Madonna's producer, and as the composer/performer of electronic ambient instrumental music. This CD, released in 2006, features lush electronica with occasional vocals, and made a considerable success in the electronica and New Age markets. *am*el*im*na

CD 03034: Mark Isham: Film Music. This early Windham Hill CD is from the mid 1980s, and showcases some of the best of trumpeter/synthesizer player and composer Mark Isham's film scores from the period: for Mrs. Soffel, The Times of Harvey Milk, and Never Cry Wolf. *fi*im

CD 03033: João Gilberto: João Gilberto. The great "Brazilian singer and guitarist [who is] credited with having created the bossa nova beat and is known as the 'Father of Bossa Nova.'...João Gilberto, aka the 'White Album' (1973), featured hypnotic minimalist execution, limited to the singer, his guitar, and Sonny Carr on drums" [from wikipedia.org]. *in

CD 03025: Toni Braxton: Ultimate. This compilation CD features eighteen tracks from one of the most successful r & b / soul / pop female acts of recent years. Included is her superhit 'Un-Break My Heart.' Braxton has been nominated for over thirty major singing awards, and's been the winner of half of them. *mr*rb

CD 03024: Nanci Griffith: Lone Star State of Mind. Nanci Griffith has been a mainstay of the country/folk crossover market since she first emerged in the 1980s. This 1987 release was her first chart success, and included her impeccable reading of 'From a Distance,' the Julie Gold song later made a major hit by Bette Midler. *cf*cy*ss

CD 03023: Steel Pulse: Reggae Greats. Steel Pulse is a British roots reggae band hailing from Birmingham, where they formed in the 1970s. Led by David Hinds (vocals and guitar), who writes most of their material, they have put out a dozen albums since 1975 (including a Grammy winner in 1986). Their message is a political one, but it is of a hopeful type incorporating optimistic ideals. *pc*rg

CD 03022: Easy Rider: Soundtrack. Music from, and inspired by, the iconic 1969 "hippie motorcycle" film starring Peter Fonda, Jack Nicholson, and Dennis Hopper. Disc one consists of the original soundtrack music (material by Steppenwolf, The Byrds, Roger McGuinn, Jimi Hendrix, etc.); disc two, additional works from the period 1967-69 (e.g. by The Band, Jefferson Airplane, The Who, Procol Harum, Joe Cocker, The Moody Blues, The Youngbloods, Blue Cheer, Eric Burdon, etc.). *fi*rk

CD 03021: Charlie Haden, Jan Garbarek & Egberto Gismonti: Magico. Three top names from the world of ECM jazz team up for a set of elegant (but not emotionally lacking!) "chamber jazz" trios in this 1980 release: Haden on double-bass, Garbarek on sax, and Gismonti on guitar and piano. *ac*ag*jz*pf

CD 03014: Spirit: Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus. Spirit was a Los Angeles band that flourished in the emerging psychedelic rock era of the late 60s and early 70s. This, their fifth album, is regarded as one of the finest of the period's art-rock efforts, "with a tapestry of literary themes about the fragility of life and the complexity of the human experience...best illustrated by the recurring lyric 'life has just begun'" [from wikipedia.org]. Apart from its literary aspirations it also featured novel production techniques and clever integration of the Moog synthesizer. *rk

CD 03006: Andraé Crouch: Mighty Wind. "Andrae Crouch has won numerous awards and honors over the years including eight Grammy Awards, four GMA Dove Awards, and ASCAP, Billboard and NAACP Awards. In 2004, he became the only living contemporary Gospel artist--and just the third in history--to have a star enshrined on the Hollywood Walk of Fame" [from wikipedia.org]. This 2006 release is a 40th anniversary celebration of Crouch's upbeat (incorporating r & b and latin rhythms) style. *rb*re

CD 03005: Bob Marley and the Wailers: Live! Recorded live at the Lyceum, London, on 19 July 1975, just as Marley was beginning to attain major international stardom. *rg*ss

CD 03004: Nick Drake: Five Leaves Left. Poor Nick Drake: Never known during his own short life, and now among the most celebrated of folkies out there. It just goes to show that real talent cannot be kept down forever. *cf

CD 02989: Scott Walker: Scott 2. Little known over here, except possibly for his work with the Walker Brothers ('The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine'), expatriate Scott Walker found major success in Britain and Europe in the mid and late 1960s both with his group, and as a solo artist. Walker had one of the best voices of the period, powerful yet mellow, sounding a bit like a combination of Jack Jones and Andy Williams--but he frequently tackled more challenging material, such as works by Jacques Brel. Although the arrangements here sound a bit dated now, this was a Number One album in Britain in 1968. *mr

CD 02988: The Pogues: Rum Sodomy & the Lash. Ah yes, the conservatively dressed, smoothly harmonizing, ever respectable and respecting Vogues: Where would we... --Eh what? Oh! The Pogues, you say... Oh dear... Well, just take everything I just said and think of the exact opposite... Yes, that will do nicely... *ar*cf*pc

CD 02987: The Replacements: Let It Be. "The Replacements were an American alternative rock band formed in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1979... [They] began as a punk rock group, but began to incorporate other subgenres of rock music and became instrumental in the development of early alternative rock. Following the critically acclaimed Let It Be (1984), the band signed to Sire Records, becoming one of the first American underground rock bands to sign to a major record label" [from wikipedia.org]. *ar

CD 02986: The Psychedelic Furs: Should God Forget, A Retrospective. The Psychedelic Furs formed in the late 70s and were one of the first important punk acts in Britain. "While the band's rise paralleled the first wave of MTV, the Furs had little in common with the pre-packaged, fashion-oriented acts who dominated the music video channel for much of the '80s. ...the Furs were progenitors of the guitar-based alternative rock that would, ironically, begin to find a mass audience at the same time the band was winding down" [from the liner notes]. *ar

CD 02985: Paul Weller: Wild Wood. English singer-songwriter and guitarist Weller began his career in the mid-70s and by the end of the decade was experiencing major success with The Jam. In the 80s he led another successful and influential group, Style Council, before starting a successful solo career. Wild Wood, his second solo work, reached #2 on the British charts, and in the years since he has piled up a long string of hit albums and singles. He has also been influential in the world of style, in the 1980s being the main figure in the Mod Revival. *eg*rk*ss

CD 02984: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Director Stanley Kubrick had originally hired renowned film composer Alex North to do the music for this seminal movie, but in the end decided to use pre-existing classical works: by Richard Strauss, Gyorgy Ligeti, Aram Khachaturian, and Johann Strauss. It was a decision that greatly enhanced the effect of the film. *cl*fi

CD 02983: Crowded House: Woodface. New Zealander Neil Finn (earlier a member of the superb N.Z. band Split Enz) was the guiding light behind this Australian band active circa 1985 to 1996. Finn is a leading force in New Zealand music, having even been made OBE by the Queen in 1993 for his efforts (probably not incidentally, Crowded House was reputedly Princess Di's favorite band...). This 1991 release is finely crafted rock-folk-pop in the best Beatles tradition, filled with memorable hooks but underlain with a depth that is only noticeable after repeated listenings. *rk

CD 02982: King Sunny Ade and his African Beats: Aura. King Sunny Ade's infectious (Nigerian) juju music neatly fills the gap between jazz and Afro-pop. This 1984 Island Records release is one of his best, and features a cameo on harmonica by Stevie Wonder. Ade has been a very influential figure, both in terms of his music, and the recognition that he received that opened the way for later African musicians like Youssou N'Dour, Baaba Maal, and Salif Keita. *ia*jz

CD 02981: Rage Against the Machine: Evil Empire. "Evil Empire is the second album by Rage Against the Machine... released on April 15, 1996...the album's title is taken from the phrase evil empire, which was used by former U.S. President Ronald Reagan and many Western conservatives in describing the former Soviet Union. The album was positively received by many critics and received the most Grammy nods of the band's career" [from wikipedia.org]. *ar*hi*pc*rk

CD 02980: The Albion Dance Band: The Prospect Before Us. In the 1970s the Albion Dance Band was an ever-changing conglomerate of British folk musicians whose mission was related to the revival of traditional forms, though often updated with contemporary (including electric) instrumentation. Group organizer Ashley Hutchings is joined in this well known recording by Shirley Collins, John Tams, Simon Nicol, Dave Mattacks, and others. *cf*tf

CD 02979: 10,000 Maniacs: Blind Man's Zoo. 10,000 Maniacs was a very popular alt-rock band for much of the 80s and early 90s, then stumbled on for a number of years after lead vocalist Natalie Merchant left them to pursue a solo career in 1993. This is their most successful release, which although missing the Top 10 went Gold. *ar*cf

CD 02978: Máire Brennan: Perfect Time. Máire (pronounced, and since 2002 spelled, "Moya") Brennan is one of the top names in Celtic music, having been for many years the lead singer for the band Clannad. In this solo 1998 CD she explores her renewed faith in Christianity--while managing to not turn the set into "Christian music" per se. *ce*cf*mr*re*ss

CD 02977: Joan Baez: Joan Baez. The first album (with three bonus tracks), circa 1960, by the then nineteen-year-old Baez. Consisting of traditional material like 'Silver Dagger,' 'House of the Rising Sun,' 'Girl of Constant Sorrow,' and 'Henry Martin,' the recording features nothing more than Joan's voice and guitar, but this is quite enough to hold one's attention--no wonder she was such an instant success... *tf

CD 02976: Richard Thompson: Mock Tudor. Richard Thompson, ex- of Fairport Convention, is one of best triple-threat singer/songwriter/guitarists (acoustic and electric) around. Perennially a critic's favorite (and listed as number twenty on Rolling Stone's list of 100 all-time greatest guitarists), this 1999 release represents typical fare. Sidemen include Dave Mattacks on drums and Danny Thompson on bass. *ag*cf*eg*ss

CD 02974: Mahavishnu Orchestra: Birds of Fire. One of the early sensational jazz-rock fusion albums by this group, led by guitarist John McLaughlin. Besides McLaughlin, the group members were Billy Cobham on drums, Jerry Goodman on violin, Jan Hammer on keyboards, and Rick Laird on bass. Jimi Hendrix meets Miles Davis and John Coltrane. *eg*jz

CD 02973: Weather Report: Heavy Weather. The most successful of a string of very successful albums by the jazz fusion group led by keyboardist Joe Zawinul, and featuring Wayne Shorter on sax and Jaco Pastorius on bass. This 1977 release includes the crossover hit 'Birdland,' penned by Zawinul. *jz

CD 02972: Rosanne Cash: Black Cadillac. Singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash has found success since the end of the 1970s in a crossover style that incorporates modern country, rock, blues, and whatever else suits her fancy. In this 2006 release she comes to grip with the then-recent deaths of her father and step-mother, country legends Johnny and June Carter Cash. *cy*rk*ss*wm

CD 02971: Joanna Newsom: Ys. This CD was one of the big surprise success stories of 2006. Harpist and little-girl-voiced Newsom writes and sings orchestrated poetry that reminds one of some of Donovan's trippier moments, or better yet, the Incredible String Band. You will probably either hate or love this stuff... *ar*cf*na*ss

CD 02970: Neil Young with Crazy Horse: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. This early (1969) Neil Young release was his second solo album, coming just before he was asked to join Crosby, Stills and Nash. Included are three of his best known songs, 'Cinnamon Girl,' 'Down by the River,' and 'Cowgirl in the Sand,' but one would have to say that this is also one of his most "guitar-y" albums. *cf*eg*rk*ss

CD 02969: Beastie Boys: Beastie Boys Anthology, The Sounds of Silence. This hip hop group from New York City is one of the longest-lived successful hip-hop groups. Starting out as a punk act in 1979, they turned to hip-hop for their first solo album in the mid-80s and have never looked back. "They're well-known for their eclecticism, jocular and flippant attitude toward interviews and interviewers, obscure cultural references and kitschy lyrics, and performing in outlandish matching suits" [from wikipedia.org]. *ar*hi*rk

CD 02968: Ben Harper: Fight for Your Mind. Multi-Grammy winner Harper released this his second album in 1995 to wide international acclaim. Harper defies easy classification as his music incorporates elements of folk, blues, gospel, soul, reggae, and rock, and he often collaborates with artists themselves known for one or more of these styles. Harper has a good voice but is also an effective instrumentalist, especially on guitar. *bl*rb*rg*rk*ss

CD 02967: Elana James: Elana James. Elana James is an American singer, violinist and songwriter who performs mostly in a jazz context integrating "Hot Club of France" styles with traditional country and old-timey music. This 2006 CD was her first as a solo act, but she also has a string of albums going back ten years with The Hot Club of Cowtown. She made news when she was invited to tour with Bob Dylan, the first woman to do so in thirty years. *ac*cf*jz

CD 02966: The Moody Blues: In Search of the Lost Chord. Well, this 1968 album is definitely hippie-trippy-psychedelic-ville, but it's all in good fun (and actually does have something of a running theme, concerning self-discovery). Especially the unforgettable 'Departure' that begins the voyage... "Timothy Leary's dead--no, he's outside, looking in..." (from 'Legend of a Mind'). *rk

CD 02965: Wilco: Being There. This two-CD release was Wilco's second, from 1996. Wilco is among the most successful of the alt-rock/alt-folk/folk rock acts, having so far garnered four Grammy nominations and two wins since they first emerged in the 90s as an extension of the equally interesting band Uncle Tupelo. *ar*cf

CD 02964: Salif Keita: M'Bemba. This 2005 release is a really spectacular piece of Afro folk/pop from singer/songwriter Salif Keita. The mood ranges from an easy Calypso-like swing to much darker material, and throughout one is aware of some very potent producing/arranging talents, especially evident in the rhythm section and Keita's weaving vocals. If you don't take instantly to the first two tracks in particular, then I'm not sure I want to know you! *ia

CD 02963: Chick Corea & Bela Fleck: The Enchantment. An unlikely combination, perhaps--banjo and piano--but here we have two of the best and most inventive performers on these instruments. This 2007 CD wowed just about everybody. *ac*jz

CD 02962: Fleetwood Mac: Then Play On. Once upon a time, before they went mainstream, Fleetwood Mac was Britain's best blues band--in fact, after the demise of the Beatles in 1970, they were voted Britain's best band, period, for two years in a row. This album, their fourth, dates from 1969, and is generally considered their finest effort. Among the high points is the memorable two part Peter Green composition 'Oh Well,' featuring an intoxicating guitar hook. *bl*eg*rk

CD 02961: Yusuf (Cat Stevens): An Other Cup. Well, one wouldn't know quite what to expect from this 2006 release. Stevens emerged in Britain in the mid 1960s as a teen idol, then had a breakdown and metamorphosed in the late 60s into a sensitive quasi-folkie singer-songwriter, and for several years thereafter was a chart-topping international attraction. Suddenly he abandoned it all, adopted Islam, and largely dropped out of sight for thirty years. So now he's back--but here continues with the same kind of approach that proved so successful for him in the early 70s: quiet or bouncy songs with simple but affecting messages. *ss

CD 02960: Christopher O'Riley: Second Grace: The Music of Nick Drake. Classical pianist Christopher O'Riley continues his project of transforming pop star compositions into solo piano pieces (earlier recordings targeted Radiohead songs). One might wonder how such an approach would work in the case of an introverted folkie like Drake, but Drake's "simple" music has enough surprises (including jazz influences) to sustain the effort. *cl*pf

CD 02959: Keith Jarrett: The Carnegie Hall Concert. This two-CD set captures another of pianist Keith Jarrett's stunning solo concerts, this one recorded in 2005 in Carnegie Hall. Need I comment that this is pretty remarkable stuff?? *jz*pf

CD 02958: Blind Faith: Blind Faith. Blind Faith, consisting of Eric Clapton, Ric Grech, Stevie Winwood, and Ginger Baker, was one of the first rock supergroups. This album, released in 1969, was their only work--but it was an immediate smash success, and remains a marker set of the music for the period. Sorry, this CD has the stock cover (not the original British one that featured Baker's teenage sister, naked...). *eg*rk

CD 02957: Lou Reed: Berlin. This early Lou Reed project (1973) was not the glam rock that some of his fans were expecting at the time; instead, as the liner notes describe it, it was a "beautifully bleak" collection, an "unforgiving tale of drugs, death and sexual betrayal met with confusion, revulsion and anger." Sidemen included Michael and Randy Brecker, Jack Bruce, Aynsley Dunbar, Tony Levin, and Stevie Winwood. *ar*ss

CD 02956: Radiohead: The Bends. Radiohead is an "alternative rock" band, but that tag does little justice to the leadership role they are currently playing on the music scene. This was their second CD, from 1995, when they were just beginning to grab everyone's attention. *ar

CD 02955: Stefan Grossman: Best of the Transatlantic Years. Grossman has been one of the world's leading country blues guitarists since the 1960s, both as a performer and an educator/guitar instructor. This compilation is taken from three albums put out between 1970 and 1972, when Grossman was a mainstay on the British folk circuit. The 23 selections feature Grossman as soloist and in small combos with other performers. *ag*bl*cf

CD 02954: Marc Anthony: Otra Nota. Salsa singer and balladeer Marc Anthony ranks among the best known American-born Latin performers. This CD, from 1993, is from his early days of success, shortly after he turned to the effervescent style he is now well known for. *in

CD 02953: Janis Ian: God & the FBI. Janis Ian first crashed the folk circuit in the early 1960s, when she had barely reached her teen years. In the late 60s and 70s she came to national attention, then settled back to a lower key career, usually out of the limelight. This 2000 release shows that she still knows what she's doing. *ss*wm*pc

CD 02952: Iron & Wine: Our Endless Numbered Days. Iron & Wine is the project name of singer-songwriter and native South Carolinian Sam Beam. Beam follows in the steps of Nick Drake and Elliott Smith; his music is quiet and unassuming acoustic Indie folk or folk rock, lyrically elegant and delivered in a manner not far from early Simon and Garfunkel. *cf*ss

CD 02951: Tish Hinojosa: Retrospective. "Since 1988, singer-songwriter Tish Hinojosa has been part of the vibrant Austin music scene. She has drawn numerous critical accolades for her borderless approach to music, blending Mexican folk and country music with a modern singer/songwriter sensibility and touches of pop. This is her first multi-label career retrospective covering songs from many of her acclaimed albums" [from the liner notes]. *cf*in*ss

CD 02950: The Duhks: Migrations. "The Duhks (pronounced like 'ducks') are a 5-member Canadian folk-rock-Celtic-old time-bluegrass-contemporary-Latin-French Canadian-gospel (though usually described as folk rock or bluegrass) group...Their music draws heavily on all of the North American musical traditions, while successfully integrating Latin-music-influenced percussion" [from Wikipedia.org]. This is their third album; earlier efforts had already won them a Juno award and a Grammy nomination. *ac*cf*tf

CD 02949: Tom Waits: Swordfishtrombones. The inimitable Tom Waits, again growling his way into our hearts and minds as only he can do. *ar*ss

CD 02948: Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense. A "special new edition" of the 1984 "movie," containing "seven previously unreleased live tracks." In the late 70s and early 80s Talking Heads was *the* alt-rock group--they practically invented the genre. Includes some of their best known pieces, e.g. 'Psycho Killer' and 'Take Me to the River.' *ar*fi

CD 02947: Solomon Burke: Nashville. Big time soul/r & b by one of the giants of the genre. In this 2006 release he teams up a lot of Nashville folks, like Buddy Miller, Dolly Parton, Gillian Welch, Sam Bush, Patty Griffin, and Patty Loveless. Some years back Burke was elected to the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame. *rb

CD 02946: Waylon Jennings: Honky Tonk Heroes. This famous album, released in 1973 on RCA Victor, helped define the movement that became known as "outlaw country." All the material on the album was written or co-written by the veteran country artist Billy Joe Shaver. The cuts 'You Asked Me To' and 'We Had It All' became successful singles. *cy*ss

CD 02945: Mike Oldfield: Ommadawn. This was the third of Mike Oldfield's epic instrumental albums from the 1970s, the best known of which was the sensationally successful Tubular Bells. Ommadawn itself was a top five placer on the British charts, but didn't do so well here. If you have a daughter who loves horses, or were once a girl who loved them yourself (or still do!), you must listen to the last 3:20 of the second and concluding track on this album, by far the most adorable ode to our four-legged friends ever set to disc. *cf*im

CD 02944: Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers: Modern Lovers 88. Jonathan Richman is a legendary regional musician from the Boston area. He has always been something of a maverick, but a maverick with a firm foot in garage rock and "good-time" music. Every once in a while he surfaces to record a little gem like this one. *ar*rk

CD 02943: Taj Mahal: The Essential. This two-CD set samples from the vast repertoire of one of our country's most flexible singer/composer/instrumentalists. Taj Mahal's career began in the 1960s, but he's still going strong, turning out material ranging from traditional country and electric blues to folk, original songs, and international music collaborations. A two-time Grammy winner, in 2006 he was made by act of legislature the "Official Blues Artist" of the State of Massachusetts (his home state). *bl*cf*ia*tf

CD 02942: Lucinda Williams: Car Wheels on a Gravel Road. Three-time Grammy winner (including this album) Lucinda Williams has been out there refining her craft since the mid-1970s, but it was this 1998 album that brought her to stardom. One of America's finest songwriters, she performs in a style that combines alt-folk and alt-country, with bits and pieces of blues, rock, etc., etc. thrown in as seen effective. *ar*cf*cy*ss*wm

CD 02941: Emmylou Harris: Wrecking Ball. Twelve-time Grammy winner and Country Music Hall of Fame singer Emmylou Harris gets to do pretty much as she chooses, and for this Grammy-winning Daniel Lanois-produced set she sampled from the cream of the songwriting world, including Lanois, Steve Earle, Julie Miller, Neil Young, Anna McGarrigle, Bob Dylan, Lucinda Williams, Jimi Hendrix, Gillian Welch, and Rodney Crowell. *cy*mr

CD 02940: UB40: The Very Best Of, 1980-2000. UB40 is a British reggae band that formed in 1978. They have been immensely successful through the years (especially at home, where they have racked up over 25 top-twenty singles and nearly twenty top-twenty albums), with hits such as 'Red Red Wine,' 'Can't Help Falling in Love,' and 'I Got You Babe' (with Chrissie Hynde). *rg

CD 02939: Gordon Lightfoot: The United Artists Collection. This is a two-CD set of the Gordon Lightfoot of "the early years," before he turned pop with songs like 'Sundown.' Now an elder statesman of the folk (especially Canadian folk) scene, Lightfoot's early career in the 1960s blended a traditional sound with a contemporary edge, and banked on his fine singing, guitar-playing, and compositional abilities (e.g., 'For Lovin Me' and 'Early Morning Rain'). *cf*tf

CD 02938: Asleep at the Wheel: Tribute to Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. This 1994 tribute to the leading light of Western swing music features an amazing array of walk-ons, including Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton, Huey Lewis, Merle Haggard, Vince Gill, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, Chet Atkins, etc. *cy

CD 02937: Amazing Blondel: Evensong/Fantasia Lindum. Amazing Blondel was a short-lived early 70s group from England that played a strange but pleasant hybrid of contemporary folk and Renaissance music. If you enjoy either or both the Incredible String Band or Dowland pieces for lute, you might very well find them quite entertaining. *ar

CD 02936: A Tribe Called Quest: The Anthology. This highly influential American hip-hop group, formed in 1988, "is generally regarded as pioneers of alternative rap music, having helped to pave the way for socially aware hip-hop artists. All Music Guide calls them 'the most intelligent, artistic rap group during the 1990s' [from wikipedia.org]. This generous 19-track CD surveys their first ten years, during which they produced five original albums distinguished by a not-over-the-top social consciousness, humor, and jazz accents. *hi*pc*ss

CD 02935: Van Morrison: Astral Weeks. "Astral Weeks is a folk-rock and r & b album...released in November 1968 on Warner Bros. Records. Astral Weeks was critically acclaimed upon its first release. It has often been placed on the most authoritative lists of best albums of all time: in the 1995 MOJO list of 100 Best Albums it was listed as #2 and was #19 on the Rolling Stone Magazine's The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2003. It became and remains a cult favourite, despite the fact that it failed to achieve significant mainstream sales success for decades" [from wikipedia.org]. *cf*rb*rk

CD 02934: Joe Jackson: Night and Day. Singer-songwriter-pianist Joe Jackson has an easy style that fits somewhere between jazz and pop: light entertainment, but with a decided touch of sophistication. This 1982 CD was his breakout work. *jz*mr*pf*ss

CD 02933: Al Di Meola: Consequence of Chaos. Al Di Meola has won more Downbeat jazz guitarist of the year awards than he has wallspace to display. This highly successful 2006 release has him playing both electric and acoustic instruments in a variety of forms ranging from fusion to Spanish classical to "modern jazz." Sidemen include Chick Corea, John Patitucci, and Barry Miles. *ag*eg*jz*mr

CD 02932: Sex Pistols: Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols. The Sex Pistols formed in London in 1975. Their one studio album--this one--caused a revolution within rock and led to the punk movement in the U. K. 'God Save the Queen' from this release is probably the single most famous song from the genre. *ar

CD 02931: Ryan Adams: Heartbreaker. Singer-songwriter Adams' solo career began with this well-received release in 2000. Within a year it was on to even greater successes with collaborations with Willie Nelson, television ads, Grammy nominations, etc. etc. Adams performs in a style touching on folk, country rock, alt-country, and rock. *cf*cy*rk*ss

CD 02930: Rob Wasserman: Trios. A set of (mostly) trios with Wasserman on electric standup bass, and various notables. Quite notable, actually, including: Brian Wilson, Jerry Garcia, Willie Dixon, Elvis Costello, Neal Young, Bruce Hornsby, and Chris Whitley, among others. *ac

CD 02929: Arlo Guthrie: Amigo. Arlo Guthrie may still be best known for 'Alice's Restaurant,' but he's put out a lot of other good recordings through the years. This is one of them, a topical and other issues-oriented work from 1976 that would have made his father proud. *cf*pc*ss

CD 02800: Clifton Chenier: Zydeco Dynamite (anthology). A great 40 track, two-CD anthology of the leading light of zydeco music. *ca

CD 02769: George Thorogood: Live. George Thorogood plays a powerful brand of small venue (re: bar) electric blues that has made him a mainstay act up and down the Middle Atlantic coast. From time to time he reels out a national-level hit (e.g. 'Bad to the Bone'), but mostly he is a regional artist--one who is especially effective live in concert. *bl*rk

CD 02768: Mamadou Diabate: Heritage. Mamadou Diabate, a kora player from Mali, has made a rapid ascendence within the international folk scene, including winning the "World Music Artist Of The Year" from the American Folk Alliance in 2006. This is virtuoso music; the kora is a traditional Afrifcan string instrument that produces a flowing, bubbling sound resembling both a harp and a harpsichord. *ac*ia*tf

CD 02767: Mamadou Diabate: Behmanka. Mamadou Diabate, a kora player from Mali, has made a rapid ascendence within the international folk scene, including winning the "World Music Artist Of The Year" from the American Folk Alliance in 2006. This is virtuoso music; the kora is a traditional Afrifcan string instrument that produces a flowing, bubbling sound resembling both a harp and a harpsichord. *ac*ia*tf

CD 02756: The Fisk Jubilee Singers: In Bright Mansions. Hailing from Fisk University in Nashville, these are the latest incarnation of the group that traces its famous history back to the 1870s. At that time proceeds from their early tours helped save the University from financial ruin. The present recording features a program of eighteen spirituals, including readings of many of the most famous songs in that genre. 'Accompanied by an especially informative guide booklet. *re*tf

CD 02736: Anouar Brahem: Le Voyage de Sahar. After a string of first-rate releases Brahem has become one of the European jazz label ECM's top attractions. Brahem, an oud player from Tunisia now living in Paris, specializes in intimate, atmospheric chamber jazz works in the mood of North Africa or the Middle East; here his sidemen are on the accordion and piano. Sometimes sombre, sometimes reflective, sometimes flashy, but always affecting. *ia*im*jz*na

CD 02730: Blue Cheer: Vincebus Eruptum. Well, if you're a rock 'n roll historian you know that this is a key title in the evolution of heavy metal rock. Blue Cheer's material has sometimes been referred to as "proto-metal psychedelia"; one thing's for sure, their version of 'Summertime Blues' sure was a sensation when it was released in 1968. *rk

CD 02729: The Dixie Hummingbirds: Thank You for One More Day. A collection of songs celebrating the 70th (!) anniversary of this enduring Gospel singing group--it was way back in 1928 that 12-year old James Davis, eventually to become the group's leader, got together with some of his pals to start singing regularly as an a capella group. One of their best known works (recorded both by themselves alone, and later with Paul Simon), 'Loves Me Like a Rock,' is included in this set. *re

CD 02713: Seekers of the Truth: The Complete Piano Music of Georges I. Gurdjieff and Thomas de Hartmann Vol. 1. In this two-CD set pianist Cecil Lytle explores the piano music of the great Greek-Armenian mystic G. I. Gurdjieff and his amanuensis Thomas de Hartmann. This is very spare, spiritually emotional music. *cl*is*pf

CD 02712: Anoushka Shankar: Rise. Ravi Shankar's daughter Anoushka released this Western-influenced CD of small forces-based sitar and keyboards music to excellent reviews in 2005. *cl*is*jz

CD 02711: Bruce Springsteen: We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions. Ever since his album Nebraska Springsteen has shown a strong interest in folk music, and in this 2006 CD (with accompanying DVD) he sets out a program of largely traditional material, dedicated to the influence of Pete Seeger. *cf*tf

CD 02709: Steve Tilston: Such & Such. Tilston is one of England's finest tunesmith-lyricist-singer-guitarists, though he is little known here. He specializes in adroitly written mini-stories accompanied by dazzling fingerpicking in a contemporary folk style. This CD was rated the number one release for 2004 as considered by the listeners to leading folk radio station WUMB in Massachusetts (the second time Tilston has achieved this honor)--an amazing accomplishment, considering the fact that the work was not even available in the U.S. at that point. *ag*cf*ss

CD 02707: Harry Partch: Delusion of the Fury. Partch, who died in 1974, was one of America's most original and iconoclastic musical voices. He was influenced by folk music, American Indian and ancient Greek forms, and African and Asian music, and devised a whole family of unique instruments to play his own compositions, which were based on just intonation theory. But he also spent many of his years as a hobo and alcoholic, and this theatre piece of his--a first recording--reflects some of his general alienation with the musical establishment. *cl

CD 02703: Shahram Shiva: Rumi: Lovedrunk. "Rumi is the greatest exponent of the ecstatic intoxication of sacred love. Shahram Shiva, Rumi translator, performer and author, captures the essence of the poet's message through his passionate performances. This union of spoken verse and music melds magic with love" [from the liner notes]. This is pretty remarkable stuff--if you like the narrated form, give this a listen! *is

CD 02702: Sigur Rós: Takk. I can't help thinking that this Icelandic band's creations sound like the music of the rock supergroup Yes either (or both) played at the wrong speed, or backward. In any case, there's a lot of expansiveness to their sound, which neither quite qualifies as rock or as ambient while approaching symphonic in attitude. *ar*na*rk

CD 02701: Big Brother & the Holding Company, Featuring Janis Joplin. A classic blues/rock album from 1967, featuring vocals by the legendary singer Janis Joplin. Includes one of the group's two significant top forty hits, 'Down on Me.' *rk

CD 02700: Philip Glass: Orion. "Orion is a live recording of the ninety-minute work commissioned by Arts, Dance, and Music Productions which premiered in Athens on June 3, 2004 (with The Philip Glass Ensemble) as part of the Cultural Olympiad in Greece. The recording features Eleftheria Arvanitaki vocalist, Mark Atkins on didjerido, Wu Man on pipa, Gaurav Mazumdar performing a sitar work by Ravi Shakar, Ashley MacIsaac on fiddle, Foday Musa Suso on kora, and the Brazilian ensemble Uakti...Glass's desire was to create a 'truly multi-cultural, international music work'...Those familiar with Glass's music will have an idea about what to expect--minimalist motifs repeated over and over, subtly changing both rhythmically and harmonically" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. *cl*na

CD 02699: Swan Silvertones: My Rock/Love Lifted Me. A special "twofer" collection of material by this eminent gospel group, led by the phenomenal singing of Claude Jeter. Includes hits such as 'Trouble in My Way,' 'The Day Will Surely Come,' and 'How I Got Over.' *re

CD 02698: Irma Thomas: True Believer. Thomas cut this CD at about the age of fifty in 1992, at the top of her powers (though she was pretty impressive even back in the early 1960s when she first came to prominence). She is sometimes called "The Soul Queen of New Orleans," and indeed her influences are fairly obviously connected to that city, including big doses of the blues, jazz, and r & b. *bl*ca*rb

CD 02697: Jade Warrior: Jade Warrior. Wow--a flash from the past... The reissue of a 1971 album by this one-time cult group whose music has recently experienced something of a renaissance. Why? Because it is at one time avant-garde while often being uncommonly ethereal and beautiful, half the time sounding like Jethro Tull and the other half, like modern-day Bill Frisell or any number of dreamy New Age acts. *ar*na*rk

CD 02696: Jerry Lee Lewis: Last Man Standing. Hey, haven't you always wanted to hear a CD comprised of new performances by Jimmy Page, Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr, Merle Haggard, Rod Stewart, Willie Nelson, Kid Rock, Eric Clapton, Little Richard, Kris Kristofferson, John Fogerty, Neil Young, Mick Jagger, George Jones, B. B. King, Buddy Guy, Don Henley, Keith Richards, and Robbie Robertson? If so, and if you're a Jerry Lee Lewis fan to boot, here's your chance! *pf*rk

CD 02695: The Clash: London Calling. "The Clash's 1979 release remains an audacious rock landmark, and is considered by many fans to be the greatest album of the original British punk movement...the quartet confidently stretching its musical approach to embrace elements of reggae, R & B, rockabilly and jazz, while broadening its political consciousness to explore new lyrical insights" [from the CD back cover]. *ar*pc*rk

CD 02694: Can: Monster Movie. Can was like no other group before or since. During the late 70s they were the last word in experimental avant garde rock 'n roll, leaning on improvisation, percussive sounds, electronics, and rhythmically repetitive, dreamy (but not lush) instrumental interludes. One of this album's cuts, the hypnotic 'You Doo Right,' was excerpted from a day-long long improvisational session (that is, the boys were playing along for some twenty-four hours straight!). Highly recommended! *ar*rk

CD 02693: Mercan Dede: Su. This is music of the Middle East (you can almost smell the camels...), as interpreted by expatriate Mercan Dede (now a Canadian resident), a devotee of Sufi sounds and moods. 'With lots of wordless vocals, wailing flutes and violins, percussion, and electronica--and even some fairly strong jazz influences. *is*na

CD 02692: Cirque du Soleil: . Cirque du Soleil is a Montreal-based theatre group that specializes in acrobatics, pantomime and dance productions linked to particular subject themes (recently they gained international attention with their show fashioned around Beatle tunes), and performed to composed music (one might call these "circus ballets"). The music involved is kind of hard to describe, since it integrates various elements of world, theater, classical, New Age and ambient styles--but more often than not is dramatically inspired, sounding something like an updating of the Carmina Burana. *ar*na

CD 02691: Cirque du Soleil: Allegria. Cirque du Soleil is a Montreal-based theatre group that specializes in acrobatics, pantomime and dance productions linked to particular subject themes (recently they gained international attention with their show fashioned around Beatle tunes), and performed to composed music (one might call these "circus ballets"). The music involved is kind of hard to describe, since it integrates various elements of world, theater, classical, New Age and ambient styles--but more often than not is dramatically inspired, sounding something like an updating of the Carmina Burana. *ar*na

CD 02690: Kate Rusby: The Girl Who Couldn't Fly. A 2005 CD from the English singer who is probably this generation's finest interpreter of British traditional material. It's all in her voice--exquisitely sensitive and feminine. Actually, the most remarkable cut on the album is her melancholy rendition of 'You Belong to Me', an old standard from the 50s and 60s made a hit by, among others, Patti Page, Jo Stafford, and the Duprees: "See the pyramids along the Nile..." *cf*tf

CD 02689: Ralph Towner: Time Line. "To me, this is the best of the solo guitar sets by Towner since Solo Concert. To my ears, he hits a cool balance of improvisational fluency, attention to form and flow and the one-man-trio feel he attributes to Bill Evans. Really beautiful, with a live, spacious sound accurately capturing the resonant hall in which it was recorded" [from an Amazon.com customer review]. *ag*cl*jz

CD 02688: Vangelis: China. "Vangelis displays through this brief set of pieces a candid array of 'clichés'; but these 'clichés' he conveys (or rather: skilfully mimics) are also exactly that for the Chinese THEMSELVES: those are some of the rutinary devices of their music, their musical commonplaces, so to speak. China could well be, in some of its best moments...quite a beautiful musical instance of what the ancient Greeks called MIMESIS, not a mere servile imitation of a given model but the delicate rendition of a much more subtle likeness..." [from an Amazon.com customer review]. *im*na

CD 02687: Todd Rundgren: Something/Anything? Todd Rundgren doesn't quite get the respect he deserves--most of what he has put out for top forty consumption admittedly is pretty lightweight, but behind the scenes he has been an important force in the development of the popular music industry. This two-CD set is of material that first saw the light of day in 1972, moreover, is entirely weightier fare. *mr*rk

CD 02686: Ali Farka Touré & Toumani Diabaté: In the Heart of the Moon. Two of West Africa's most celebrated musicians collaborate here in wonderful style. The late (2006) Ali Farka Touré was an acoustic blues guitarist; Toumani Diabaté is a virtuoso on the kora, a stringed instrument that sounds like a cross between a harp and a harpsichord. The resulting instrumental synthesis gets my vote in the "music least likely to be disliked by any discriminating listener" competition. *ac*ag*ia

CD 02685: Bill Frisell: East/West. A two-CD live set by the ever-busy Bill Frisell, one of today's great jazz guitarists. Frisell has technical chops, but mostly he excels at choice of material and an uncanny ability to integrate instrumental styles and moods: this slow, ambling fare is equally successful as background music, or for supporting more intensive musings. Includes original pieces by Frisell, but also his renditions of many familiar works such as 'Shenandoah,' 'A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall,' 'I Heard It Through the Grapevine,' 'Days of Wine and Roses,' and 'Goodnight Irene.' *eg*jz

CD 02684: Kate Rusby: 10. Affective and attractive Brit Kate Rusby celebrates her tenth year as a professional musician with this set, released in 2003. Rusby is one of the brightest lights on the English folk circuit at the moment, and this CD proves that she can write her own material as well as cover traditional songs. *cf*ss*tf

CD 02683: Echo and the Bunnymen: Heaven Up Here. "Digitally remastered and expanded version of the Bunnymen's Second Album. The mood...is much darker and more intense than their debut album...The songs tend to be more atmospheric and textured as well...The five bonus tracks include an extended version of 'Broke My Neck' and four previously-unreleased live tracks. The package also includes new liner notes and plenty of photos in the booklet..." [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. *ar*rk

CD 02682: Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Jajouka. The story behind this recording is pretty remarkable, but too long to relate here. Basically, it concerns the interest Brian Jones (the late original guitarist for the Rolling Stones) took in the music connected with the pagan rites of an ancient sect in Morocco. This is, in fact, World music--and pretty elemental at that--but it is revealing to recognize Jones as an early pioneer in its promotion. With interesting liner note comments by Paul Bowles, William S. Burroughs, and others. *ia

CD 02681: Fairfield Four: Standing in the Safety Zone. A 1992 issue from one of the leading acts in gospel music, Nashville's Fairfield Four. The group was one of that genre's big names back in the 1940s, but then disbanded for many years, only to reunite in 1980. *re

CD 02680: David Bowie: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. The early (1972) glam-rock release featuring Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust days, with Mick Ronson on guitar. *ar*rk

CD 02679: Faces: A Nod Is as Good as a Wink... Ah, a return to the days of Mod, and a young Rod Stewart fronting this straight ahead, blues-influenced, rock band that emerged from the ashes of the earlier, and equally successful, Small Faces. The new incarnation included, along with Stewart, Ronnie Lane and Ron Wood (later to become the lead guitarist for the Rolling Stones). *rk

CD 02678: Bonnie Raitt: Bonnie Raitt. This is Bonnie Raitt's debut album, from 1971--at a time when she was best known as "John Raitt's daughter" (Raitt sr. was a major Broadway star), and before Mr. Raitt ended up being most known as "Bonnie Raitt's father." Raitt is basically a blues singer/guitarist, but sometimes she veers into rock, pop, and r & b. *ag*bl*eg*rk

CD 02677: Clifton Chenier: The Best Of. Sometimes referred to as "the King of Zydeco," the late (1925-1987) Clifton Chenier needs no further build-up here. *ca

CD 02676: Cheb i Sabbah: La Kahena. "On his new CD, named for a 7th-century freedom fighter, the Algerian mixmaster DJ Cheb i Sabbah takes the music of the North Africa and Moorish Spain on a magic carpet ride that floats electronica/techno effects over Berber, Jewish, Black African, and Arab instruments and genres, with vocals by some of world music's most evocative female singers" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. *el*ia

CD 02675: Paul Simon: Surprise. Paul Simon may not still be crazy after all these years, but he is still one of music's biggest names, and here is his latest (2006) work. *ss

CD 02674: Ennio Morricone: Once Upon a Time... The Essential Ennio Morricone Film Music Collection. A two-CD set of spaghetti-western music from films such as The Good the Bad and the Ugly and A Fistful of Dollars, plus more recent material from, among others, The Untouchables, The Mission, The Thing, and Hamlet. Morricone received a special honorary Oscar at the 2007 Academy Awards ceremony. *fl*mr

CD 02673: Jon Hassell: Maarifa Street. "In an era of world fusions and unlikely global collaborations, Jon Hassell continues reformulating the alchemy of his Fourth World music in fascinating and original ways. Maarifa Street is his first electric album in some time, and it's a deliriously seductive brew of Miles Davis-meets-dub stuttered through sampled groove fractures. Drawn from live recordings made over the last few years, the album illustrates Hassell's gift for carving soundscapes in real time, laying his breathy, harmonized trumpet lines across an interior panorama of ambient voodoo jazz" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. *el*im*jz

CD 02672: Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention: Freak Out! Very early Frank Zappa (circa 1966) at his irreverent and startlingly original best. When Frank died in 1993 Suzy Creamcheese must have cried her heart out... *ar*eg*rk*ss

CD 02671: Moby: Hotel. This two-CD set from one of this generation's most flexible musical minds features an array of twenty-five pieces ranging from introspective vocal works to movie-like instrumentals to electronic ambient and New Age constructions. This is the music of a peaceful, focussed, and responsible man. Moby's music starts from a Christian perspective, but here the inspiration and message is implicit, always avoiding preaching or barking. *am*ar*el*im*ss

CD 02670: Gary Numan: Hybrid. There's a lot of angst and anger expressed in this 2003 two-CD release, but Numan is a sophisticated artist and manages to filter it through enough beats and electronics to come out sounding more mysterious than p.-o.'d. Still, pretty dark and intense as a set. *ar*el*rk

CD 02669: Brian Eno: Another Day on Earth. "Another Day on Earth is an ambient song cycle that is full of yearning and a mood that Brian Eno has called 'brave and resigned.' Even in song, Eno is a master of ambience, creating detailed soundworlds and lyrics that don't so much make sense as create a feeling. It's taken him 15 years to create a new vocal album, and the songs span that time, with the welcome reprise of 'Under,' a devastatingly beautiful hymn of loss and redemption..." [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. *am*na*ss

CD 02668: Allen Toussaint: Southern Nights. A classic concept album from 1975, with great songs and performances by one of New Orleans' top r & b performers. Toussaint's career began in the 1950s, but he's still going strong. Toussaint is best known as a pianist and songwriter; among his best known titles are 'Working in a Coal Mine' and 'Brickyard Blues.' *ca*pf*rb

CD 02667: Youssou NDour: Immigrés. "Youssou's stunning international debut was both a patriotic appeal to his Senegalese compatriots living abroad and a declaration of his intent to make his music heard around the world...Immigrés, with its rattling percussion, strong melodies and pulsating West African horns shows N'Dour at his best...The intoxicating percussion lets rip, the brass is crisp, and the clarity of both the lead guitar and Youssou's swoon-inducing vocals is astounding..." [from the CD back cover]. *is*ss

CD 02666: Velvet Underground: White Light/White Heat. This classic album from 1968 was the VU's second, with both John Cale and Lou Reed still aboard, and the performances raw and intense. *ar*rk

CD 02665: Patty Griffin: 1000 Kisses. Nominated for a 2003 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album, this is Patty Griffin as a mature artist. Although a bit hard to classify, her material falls somewhere in the vicinity of contemporary folk, alt-country, folk-rock, or singer-songwriter. *cf*ss

CD 02664: Harold Budd: As Long As I Can Hold My Breath / Avalon Sutra. The inimitable (and supposedly retiring from music) Harold Budd leaves us with a two-CD collection of his minimalistic New Age/jazz piano playing and small ensemble work. Most of the material can only be described visually in terms of gently falling snow. *ac*na*pf

CD 02663: Bob Marley & the Wailers: Burnin' (deluxe edition). This expanded two-CD version of the original milestone album includes alternate takes of 'Get Up Stand Up' ('I Shot the Sheriff' is also in this set) and a whole CD devoted to a live performance at Leeds, England, in 1973, previously unreleased. *pc*rg*ss

CD 02662: Burning Spear: Marcus Garvey. Burning Spear, aka Winston Rodney, has a fascination with the story of the life of Jamaican publisher and civil rights advocate Marcus Garvey (1887-1940). This album is dedicated to Garvey's memory, and relays Rodney's philosophy of black unity as advocated through a foundation of honesty, peace, and love. *pc*rg

CD 02661: Ray Davies: Other People's Lives. The term "songwriter's songwriter" is often bandied about to describe songwriters whose sensitivity to lyrics and story is so great as to impress other songwriters, much less fans. Ray Davies, long the lead singer of and inspirational force behind the English band The Kinks, is one of these people; in fact, he ranks among the most prominent and prolific of them all. Strangely, this 2006 CD is Davies' first solo album, but it looks like he still has things to say. *ss

CD 02660: Judy Mowatt: Black Woman. Jamaican singer Judy Mowatt started her career in the late 60s as a reggae performer (though more recently she has turned to gospel singing). Mowatt worked closely with Bob Marley for a number of years. This CD, originally from 1980, was one of her biggest successes. *pc*rg*wm

CD 02659: Beck: Mellow Gold. This 1994 release by Beck was his first on a major label. Characterizing his music is a bit difficult, as he draws on a variety of contemporary styles ranging from folk to grunge. 'Always the storyteller, however. *ar*rk*ss

CD 02656: James Brown: Live at the Apollo, 1962. Expanded edition. Here we are, in the early days of James Brown's career, at the Apollo Theater, that most-famous-of-all venues of African American popular music. This is truly one of greatest recorded live performances in the history of American music. A 1998 addition to the Grammy Hall of Fame. *rb

CD 02649: Carla Bley: Sextet. This Carla Bley set was recorded back in the late 80s for the ECM label--which means a rather straight-ahead but abstract-sounding European kind of jazz. Carla Bley is on the organ; among the other five players is the well known bassist Steve Swallow. *jz

CD 02645: Joni Mitchell: Blue. Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell was one of the 1970s' most successful performers. This 1971 album, one of her best releases, includes memorable tracks such as 'Carey,' 'A Case of You,' and 'All I Want.' *cf*ss*wm

CD 02636: Alan Stivell: Zoom 70 / 95. A 2-CD survey of the man who more than anyone else was responsible for the worldwide Celtic music revival over the last third of the twentieth century. Includes 35 cuts in all, ranging from solo Celtic harp pieces to an array of string and electric band group ensembles. *ac*ce*cf*ie

CD 02635: Tin Hat Trio: Memory Is An Elephant. In this 1999 CD the Trio is up to its usual tricks, which means atmospheric acoustic pieces featuring violin, accordion, and guitar-banjo-mandolin, and ranging in style from French cabaret to avant garde experimental "New" music recalling jazz and classical forms. *ac*im

CD 02634: Ralph McTell: From Clare to Here: The Songs of Ralph McTell. Englishman McTell is one of the few contemporary folkies to mark a number one hit (with 'Streets of London'), but his catalogue at this point contains dozens of other covered songs, including the title cut. McTell is also a very fine acoustic guitarist and an affecting singer, but here the focus is on songwriting. *ag*cf*ss

CD 02633: The Horse Flies: Gravity Dance. This 1991 release is one of the best by this enduring string band, who seem to be able to handle just about any kind of rootsy material in the general realm of alt-country or alt-folk. *ac*cf*cy

CD 02632: Patrick Ball: The Music of Turlough O'Carolan. Ball is pretty much the leading Celtic harpist, especially among those who favor traditional approaches. In this work he takes on history's most famous composer for the instrument, the 17th/18th century blind itinerant Irish bard Turlough O'Carolan. *ac*cl*tf

CD 02631: Ferron: Not a Still Life. Canadian Ferron is a "folk singer/songwriter and poet. In addition to being one of Canada's most famous folk musicians, she is one of the most influential writers and performers of women's music, and an important influence on later musicians such as Ani DiFranco and the Indigo Girls" [from wikipedia.org]. This is a live album from 1992. *cf*ss*wm

CD 02626: Aster Aweke: Live in London. "There's no mistaking Aster Aweke's primary influences. Listen, for example, to her early '90s albums...with their Memphis-style horn section, soulful keyboards and crackling drums, and it's immediately apparent why she's sometimes been dubbed the 'African Aretha Franklin.' Lady Soul, along with the Godfather, James Brown, and vocally versatile jazz singers such as Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, loom largely in her roots, her deep R&B/funk groove a reminder that bridges are meant to be crossed" [from globalrhythm.net]. Ethiopian Aweke has a strong following among American expatriates from that nation. *ia*jz*rb

CD 02625: Cherish the Ladies: New Day Dawning. Cherish the Ladies is an ever-changing group of woman musicians who sing and play acoustic folk music from the world tradition--though usually with a decided Celtic emphasis. This offering indeed features British Isles music, including a rousing version of the well known Robert Burns song, 'Green Grow the Rushes Oh.' *ac*cf*ie*tf

CD 02624: Roy Harper: Stormcock. Roy Harper has never become very well known in the U.S., though in Britain he has a considerable reputation as a sensitive singer-songwriter in a contemporary folk mold. This CD is one of his early efforts, from 1971, and features four long pieces of contemplative nature performed solo, on voice and guitar. *ac*cf*ss

CD 02623: James Blood Ulmer: Odyssey. This is "a very different and exciting recording from a unique and instantly recognizable guitar voice. It also poignantly captures a period of bold musical experimentation in downtown early 1980's New York City when funk, punk, jazz, and blues were seamlessly co-mingling, and young lions in three-piece suits were only beginning to xerox jazz's past" [from the liner notes]. *ar*eg*jz

CD 02622: Dougie MacLean: The Dougie MacLean Collection. This is a "best of" collection of the songs of Dougie MacLean, one of the leading singer/songwriters of the new Celtic/British folk scene. MacLean is known as a singer of both traditional and original materials, but here the latter are featured. *ac*cf*ss

CD 02621: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Here's a brass- and piano-centered band that is right at home with a variety of familiar upbeat styles: boogie-woogie, swing, mambo, dixieland, and big band jazz, to name a few. Includes both vocal and instrumental pieces. *ca*jz*mr

CD 02620: Terje Rypdal & The Chasers: Blue. Norwegian Rypdal is one of that rare breed of electric jazz guitarists who composes works that are often cross-listed in classical music catalogues. He claims as some of his influences Jimi Hendrix, Hank Marvin (of the Shadows), Jeff Beck, Stevie Winwood, Eddie Van Halen, Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, Charlie Byrd, and John McLaughlin. *eg*jz

CD 02619: Christy Moore: The Christy Moore Collection 81-91. Christy Moore, onetime leader of the band Planxty, is fast becoming the leading elder statesman of the Irish contemporary folk scene. In this retrospective program of twenty traditional and contemporary songs (composed by himself, and others) the earlier firebrand of political criticism plies somewhat more reflective waters. *cf*ie*pc*ss*tf

CD 02618: Koko Taylor: Queen of the Blues. The title says it all--except to indicate the wonderful sidemen here: Albert Collins, James Cotton, Son Seals, and Lonnie Brooks. *bl

CD 02617: Joan Armatrading: Me Myself I. Joan Armatrading's music programs range in just about as many directions as anyone's can--blues, MOR, contemporary folk, jazz, singer/songwriter, West Indian--but ultimately are held together by her remarkable, almost masculine, voice. This is early Joan, from 1980. *bl*cf*rb*ss

CD 02616: Philip Glass: Music in Twelve Parts. "'Music in Twelve Parts,' written by Philip Glass between 1971 and 1974, is a deliberate, encyclopedic compendium of some techniques of repetition the composer had been evolving since the mid 1960s...[It is] both a massive theoretical exercise and a deeply engrossing work of art" [from the liner notes]. Glass is one of the originators of and leading figures in the style known as "minimalism." *cl

CD 02615: Ani DiFranco: Not a Pretty Girl. This 1995 CD from DiFranco (put out by "Righteous Babe" Records...) helped land her at the top of the heap in the alt-folk category. DiFranco has a confessional style of writing that complements her short black hair and punk jewelry, clothes and attitude, and an interesting vocal (reminds me of Laurie Anderson) delivery that is well served by her percussive (reminds me of Patty Larkin) guitar play. *cf*ss*wm

CD 02614: Bill Miller: The Red Road. Bill Miller brings a Native American perspective to his singing and songwriting. Some of his material verges on contemporary folk, while other tracks revert to a very traditional sound making use of flutes and Native American dances--or, even, both directions on the same piece. *ac*cf*in*ss

CD 02613: Sergio & Odair Assad: Play Piazzolla. The internationally-acclaimed Assad brother team here teams up to play the music of the late Astor Piazzolla, leader of the "new tango" school of classical music. *ag*cl

CD 02612: Luther Allison: Soul Fixin' Man. "Magnificent, emotion-drenched electric blues...his solos are on a par with B. B. King's, his slide swoops and soars. His gritty voice choked with passion, Luther delivers a fever-and-chills performance" [from the liner notes]. *bl*eg

CD 02536: Neil Young & Crazy Horse: Rust Never Sleeps. One of folk-rocker Neil Young's most successful albums, originally released in 1979. "My my, hey hey, rock and roll is here to stay. It's better to burn out than to fade away..." (from 'My My, Hey Hey'). *rk*ss

CD 02535: Dave Swarbrick: Smiddyburn & Flittin'. England's premier traditional/contemporary fiddler Dave Swarbrick has made a successful career as a longtime member of Fairport Convention while involving himself in solo projects or in collaboration with that other English stalwart of the folk revival, singer and guitarist Martin Carthy. This "twofer" collection combines works originally released in 1981, and features the backing of various members of Fairport. *ac*cf*ie*tf

CD 02534: Philip Aaberg: High Plains. The first (1985) release by this well-travelled pianist (he also works in rock, blues and classical contexts, with people like Mike Marshall, Bernie Krause, Elvin Bishop, Peter Gabriel, John Hiatt and Roy Rogers). His solo piano work, as here, is light, brisk, and atmospheric, reminding one at times of George Winston or a somewhat more aesthetically involved Jim Brickman. *pf*na

CD 02533: The Smiths: The Queen Is Dead. A classic rock album from 1986 from the English band led by Morrissey (vocals) and Johnny Marr (guitars). *rk

CD 02532: Carrie Newcomer: My Father's Only Son. "Indiana's Carrie Newcomer would seem to be the very model of the modern folk musician. She quickly dispels that notion, however, with the very first song . . . before Newcomer even opens her mouth, her folk-rock band shatters any possible mood of introspection with a twangy electric guitar riff and soulful organ chords . . . Newcomer sings, celebrating such pop-music prejudices as action over thought and passion over prudence. Not every song on My Father's Only Son escapes the endemic carefulness of coffeehouse folk as successfully as 'Crazy in Love,' [however,] and Newcomer sometimes gives in to whispery quaintness" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. *cf*ss*wm

CD 02531: The Firesign Theatre: Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers. This 1970 stream-of-consciousness concept album is a comedy classic, though not of the variety featuring one-liners. Think more in terms of the radio theatre of Garrison Keillor or Riders in the Sky, but at at least two higher levels of esoterism... Google "Georgie Tirebiter" and see what you get. *cm

CD 02530: Martin Carthy, Norma Waterson & Eliza Carthy: Waterson : Carthy. A program of traditional songs brilliantly performed by two generations of the Carthy/Waterson clan (Martin C. on guitar and vocals, Norma W. on vocals, and Eliza C. on fiddle and vocals), one of the first families of British folk. *ie*tf

CD 02529: Sweet Honey in the Rock: Live at Carnegie Hall. A classic live performance by Bernice Johnson Reagon and friends featuring a splendid program of gospel-tinged folk, blues, traditional, and international vocal music. *bl*cf

CD 02528: The Pogues: If I Should Fall From Grace With God. This 1988 release captured The Pogues at their "punk-folk" best, with leader Shane McGowan contributing his usual brilliant songwriting and lyrics and boozy, slurred vocals. Includes an appearance by the late Kirsty MacColl (who died in 2000 saving her son in a motorboat accident) on the hit song 'Fairytale of New York', and six bonus tracks. *pc*rk*ss

CD 02527: Jane Siberry: When I Was a Boy. Canadian Siberry is perhaps best known for co-writing (with k. d. lang) the song 'Calling All Angels,' included here. Siberry has sometimes been described as having created a "post-punk" folk style emulating Joni Mitchell; I think I could buy that, though she also seems to succumb to a confessional approach from time to time. This release features contributions by Michael Brook and Brian Eno. *cf*wm

CD 02526: Los Lobos: How Will the Wolf Survive? Los Lobos is basically a rock band, but in their music one can hear strong echoes of Tex-Mex, country, blues, r & b, and even traditional Spanish culture themes. This album was their first major work and it created a considerable sensation when it was released in 1984; the band has been a mainstay act ever since. *bl*rb*rk

CD 02525: Herbie Hancock: Future Shock.The highly successful 1983 jazz-funk fusion recording from virtuoso keyboards player Hancock. *jz*pf*rb

CD 02524: Altan: Horse With a Heart. This 1989 debut album by County Donegal act Altan, with Frankie Kennedy at the helm, is often adjudged their finest release. The program, much of it in Gaelic, consists of a compelling set of reels, jigs, airs, and songs. Phil Cunningham and Donal Lunny sit in on some of the tracks. *cf*ie*tf

CD 02523: Patrick Sky: Songs That Made America Famous. This celebrated cult title from 1973 is just about all anyone remembers Patrick Sky for at this point. Laced with profanity and satirical intent, it sets new lyrics to a program of otherwise familiar tunes from the folk, blues, country, and Americana traditions with hilarious results. No one seems to be spared: Richard Nixon, the Pope, Radcliffe girls, Okies, Robert E. Lee, rednecks, rock stars, etc., etc. *cf*cm*pc

CD 02522: Clarence Gatemouth Brown: Gate Swings. Brown died in September 2005 shortly after being evacuated from the path of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. An influential electric blues guitarist and multi-instrumentalist, over his career Brown won eight W. C. Handy Awards, a Grammy (and was nominated for five others), and the National Academy of Arts and Sciences Heroes award. *bl*eg

CD 02521: The Balfa Brothers: J'ai Vu Le Loup, Le Renard et La Belette. Cajun fiddler Dewey Balfa founded this band back in the 1960s after giving a rousing performance at the Newport Folk Festival. Balfa died in 1992, but not before succeeding in his goal of bringing the music of this genre to a much wider audience. This particular Balfa Brothers album, featuring a program of traditional songs, was released in 1976. *ca

CD 02520: Peter Tosh: Scrolls of the Prophet: The Best of Peter Tosh. This collection of fifteen tracks well captures the heart and soul of the late Peter Tosh's (1944-1987) music. Tosh was one of reggae's leading voices, both in the sense of his work with Bob Marley's Wailers and as a solo artist, and as a politically uncompromising musician. *pc*rg*ss

CD 02519: Grateful Dead: Workingman's Dead. This early (1970) Dead album is both one of their most celebrated, and "rootsiest," including 'Uncle John's Band,' 'Cumberland Blues,' 'Casey Jones,' and 'Dire Wolf.' This CD version adds seven bonus tracks to the original lineup. *cf*rk

CD 02518: Joseph Spence: The Complete Folkways Recordings 1958. Joseph Spence (1910-1984) was an inconoclastic Bahamian acoustic guitarist and blues singer. Although little known outside the folk crowd, his music and playing style have been very influential, intriguing players ranging from Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder to John Renbourn and Jerry Garcia. *ag*in*tf

CD 02517: The Roches: The Collected Works Of. A 2003 nineteen cut survey of the career of this very influential "Joisey" urban punk folk sister vocal trio. *ar*cf*wm

CD 02516: The Spencer Davis Group: The Best Of. Fifteen tracks from this highly successful mid-60s British blues band, which included a very young Stevie Winwood. Features 'Gimme Some Lovin,' recently voted in an English poll as the top rock 'n roll song in music history. *bl*rk

CD 02515: Rory Block: Ain't I a Woman. Singer and virtuoso acoustic blues guitarist Rory Block released this thematic album in 1992. Guest performers include Mark Knopfler, John Hall (now Congressman John Hall, but once the leader of the band Orleans), and John Sebastian. Block's career extends back to the 60s, but she only began to receive widespread recognition in the 80s; since the 90s she has been a four-time W. C. Handy award winner. *ag*bl*wm

CD 02514: Patty Larkin: I'm Fine. Features some of this Boston area guitarist-singer-songwriter's best material, including the title cut, 'Justine,' and 'Caffeine.' *cf*ss

CD 02513: Stan Rogers: Fogarty's Cove. The first, and some still say best, album by the late, great Canadian folkie whose career was tragically cut short by an airplane fire. Includes the title cut, plus other well known songs by Rogers such as 'Forty-five Miles,' 'Barrett's Privateers,' and 'Watching the Apples Grow.' *ac*cf*ss

CD 02512: Buffalo Springfield: Retrospective: The Best of Buffalo Springfield. A survey of the best material put to wax by this short-lived mid-1960s folk-rock supergroup, including Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Jim Messina, and Richie Furay. *rk

CD 02511: Steve Earle: Guitar Town. This was the first of singer-songwriter Steve Earle's releases, and it helped earn him the 1986 Country Artist of the Year award given out by Rolling Stone magazine. Earle is one of his generation's best songwriters, having so far been nominated for eleven Grammy awards. His material often incorporates a decided left-wing political slant. *cy*ss

CD 02377: 777: System 7.3 Fire + Water. "Sprawled out across two discs of original and very remixed tracks, this is a wondrous set that combines trance, ambient, space, weirdness, jazz, and of course the pulsing and gliding guitar of Mr. [Steve] Hillage. This gets stuffed into the 'dance and DJ' pigeonhole, but really, it's so much more" [from an Amazon.com customer review]. *am*el*ho

CD 02370: Eleftheria Arvanitaki: Ola Sto Fos (Everything Brought to Light). Okay, I'd not heard of her either, but on listening one discovers an MOR soprano with only fair vocal range, but who manages to sound good across a wide selection of emotional terrain. The material is excellent (though sung in Greek, lyrics are given in English), and the backup band first-rate. Strangely, and despite her black hair, she bears a pretty strong physical and facial resemblance to Carly Simon (if one can judge from several hundred photos on the Web...). *ie

CD 02368: Groundhogs: The Best Of. The Groundhogs were a three-man British blues band most active in the late 60s and early 70s. For a while they did quite well, scoring three top ten albums; this success probably can be attributed mainly to the superb playing of their guitarist leader Tony "T. S." McPhee, one of the best. If you're a Stevie Ray Vaughan-style blues guitar fan, take a listen (and note the occasional obvious debt to Jimi Hendrix). *bl*rk

CD 02367: Trilok Gurtu: African Fantasy. Five-time winner as jazz percussonist in the annual DownBeat polls, Bombay native Gurtu has played with an impressive list of folks, including Joe Zawinul, Pat Metheny, the Labecque sisters, John McLaughlin, Oregon, L. Shankar, Jan Garbarek, Zakir Hussain, and Don Cherry. In this 2000 CD he crosses a lot of boundaries, producing a "jazz fantasy" uniting South Asian and African sounds. *ac*ia*is*jz

CD 02366: Klaus Schulze: X. Album number ten by this key figure in the history of electronic music, and godfather to the ambient, techno, house, and trance genres. I'll bet you know at least some of this music, even if you've never heard of Klaus Schulze himself. *am*ar*el

CD 02362: Bert Jansch: Bert Jansch / It Don't Bother Me. The first two albums, circa 1965, by one of the twentieth century's most influential acoustic guitar stylists. Jansch would later form the innovative jazz-folk string band Pentangle and record memorable guitar duets with his countryman John Renbourn, but it is in these two early recordings that history was really made. *ag*cf

CD 02361: Gerry Milnes and Lorraine Lee Hammond: Hell Up Coal Holler. Lorraine Lee (Hammond) has long been known as a leading dulcimer player, and here she teams with Milnes for an intimate set of traditional, rural, and mountain tunes. *ac*tf

CD 02355: Sam Bush: King of My World. A 2004 release from one local boy who certainly made good. *ac*bg

CD 02354: Rosco Gordon: No Dark in America. Recorded in 2002 just before the 74 year old pianist died, this set does full justice to the Memphis native's unique r & b style. Gordon was especially known for his ballads, but here enlisted a bunch of younger Nashville players who brought out the bounce and shuffle of his piano playing style, without concealing any of his famous good-naturedness. The title track, the last song Gordon completed, is a defiant yet upbeat anthem concerning the 9/11 WTC attack: "...there's no dark, it's always light in America." *bl*pf*rb

CD 02353: J. J. Cale: The Very Best Of. Tulsa Sound singer-songwriter J. J. Cale has been at his mix of country, rockabilly and blues for over forty years, though not always in the limelight. He is probably best known for writing two of Eric Clapton's most famous songs, 'After Midnight' and 'Cocaine.' They're both here, along with eighteen other tracks. *bl*cy*rk

CD 02352: Robin Holcomb: Robin Holcomb. Gee, Robin Holcomb is really a class act. In this, her first release (from 1990), the singer-songwriter is sparse and poetic, yet absolutely gripping: "When you're blinded to the moon and its rise, How can you know the planting times? Streetlights tell lies. Deliver me." The mood is enhanced by the efforts of class sidemen like Wayne Horvitz, Bill Frisell, and John Caulfield. *ss*wm

CD 02351: Kaki King: Everybody Loves You. This self-produced 2003 CD was the first by King, an acoustic guitar virtuoso of the Michael Hedges-Preston Reed school of play (lots of notes produced by directly tapping the strings rather than plucking them). This is a player who stands a good chance to become one of the leading stylists of her generation. *ag

CD 02350: Cowboy Junkies: Black Eyed Man. Canadian band Cowboy Junkies formed in Toronto in the mid 1980s and began a career exploring some of the more unusual sideroads of alt-rock and alt-country. This 1992 release features Margo Timmins out front on the vocals, several songs by brother and producer Michael, and a couple of very good Townes Van Zandt covers. *ar*cy

CD 02349: Hüsker Dü: Zen Arcade. Generally regarded as their masterpiece and as one of the most influential recordings of the entire punk rock oeuvre, this eclectic 1984 album was Hüsker Dü's third. A concept album about an adolescent who runs away from home, the work shifts through jazz, punk, acoustic, pop, and psychedelic sequences until all is revealed as a dream in a long album-ending instrumental. *rk

CD 02348: The Klezmatics: Possessed. "Klezmatics mix jazz, folk, rock and Jewish music into a unique and powerful new sound. This album is one of the more challenging of their many works, leaping from genre to genre with seeming abandon" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. *is

CD 02347: The Seldom Scene: Best Of. This 1986 release captures many of the great moments from this legendary bluegrass act's stellar career, including the sensational vocals by the group's founder, the late John Duffey. *bg

CD 02346: The Klezmorim: Metropolis. A 1981 recording by one of the first internationally known acts in the klezmer music genre. *is

CD 02345: Adrienne Young & Little Sadie: The Art of Virtue. "The Art of Virtue is a fun, poppy country-folk album--more folk than country and more either than pop, but nevertheless accessible while remaining true to its roots... This is a string band, featuring Young on clawhammer banjo, that knows what it's doing... Fusing past and present in her pop-inflected old time music, Adrienne Young applies a worldly compassion, a poet's pen and a spirit of independence and self-reliance to her sophomore effort" [from two Amazon.com editorial reviews]. *cf*cy

CD 02344: The Roots: Things Fall Apart. The Roots' fourth album, from 1999, and acclaimed by many as a milepost recording in the hip-hop catalog. "It opens with a film dialogue sampled, social commentary... [leading] the listener to expect something special, and The Roots more than fulfil any expectations of the listener. It's never been their style to promote bravado and posturing and they don't fall victim to this; its more about self-awareness and social observation, coupled with elements of smooth soul and ambitious jazz" [from an Amazon.com customer review]. *hi*rb

CD 02343: Mary-Chapin Carpenter: Come On Come On. Singer-songwriter Carpenter in her best known, multi-Grammy-winning, 1992 release. *cf*cy*ss

CD 02342: Sly & Robbie: In Good Company. Sly & Robbie represent one of the most famous and prolific production teams in music, their specialty being reggae. This is a 2001 collection of some of their best work, including cuts by Grace Jones, Black Uhuru, Joan Armatrading, Joe Cocker, Toots Hibbert, Dennis Brown and others. *rg

CD 02341: Ani Difranco: Puddle Dive. This 1993 CD continued the Difranco image that has now become familiar: folk-punk, cute, pierced, poetic, intelligent, acoustic guitar-driven, and not afraid to say what's on her mind. 'Nice to see that such a person can still become a superstar in today's world. *cf*ss*wm

CD 02340: Michael Franti & Spearhead: Stay Human. "There aren't many hip-hop artists out there today who give a damn about putting positive messages in their music, but Michael Franti is one of them. Ever since his days with seminal group Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, Franti has infused his sounds with insightful and thought-provoking lyricism, and this latest Spearhead joint is no exception... Through a make-believe community radio station, Franti tells the tale of Sister Fatima, a healer and activist who is being put to death for a crime that her community believes she didn't commit" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. *hi*rb*ss

CD 02339: Luka Bloom: The Acoustic Motorbike. Luka Bloom started out as Barry Moore, Christy Moore's younger brother, then changed his name and style. This, his second album under his new persona, is probably his best so far, with lots of acoustic guitar, Irish sentimentality and emotion, and straight from the heart song writing. *cf*ss

CD 02338: Cabaret Voltaire: The Original Sound of Sheffield '83 / '87; Best Of. This "best of" collection is "from one of the most important groups in the history of industrial & electronic music... [it] covers their most accessible period. 'Sensoria', 'I Want You', 'Don't Argue', and 'Here to Go' not only ruled the underground scene, but the mainstream dancefloors as well. Compiled with the help of Richard H Kirk, the collection features the full 12 Inch mixes, many of which are on CD for the first time, along with one track, previously unavailable on any format" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. *am*el*ho

CD 02337: Patty Griffin: Living With Ghosts. This was Patty Griffin's breakthrough 1996 release, a collection of her older songs set to folk rock or alt folk arrangements. Sensitive and engaging, she has since moved from one success to another, including Grammy nominations and other awards. Her songs are also becoming popular through covers by well-known artists such as the Dixie Chicks, Bette Midler, Emmylou Harris, and Mary-Chapin Carpenter. *cf*rk*ss*wm

CD 02336: Raihan: Syukur. The Malaysian group Raihan is now one of that country's top musical attractions, having emerged in 1997 with a style of pop devotional Islamic music that is honest, bright, and refreshingly straightforward. Interestingly, two of the songs on this their second CD are sung by Yusuf Islam, better known to Western audiences as Cat Stevens. *is*re

CD 02335: Melissa Etheridge: Greatest Hits: The Road Less Traveled. The well known 80s and 90s lesbian singer-songwriter and cancer survivor plays seventeen of her best songs. *ss*wm

CD 02334: Sage Francis: Personal Journals. "Sage is an accomplished spoken word poet and emcee with several competitive titles to his name within both genres. He also performs with a live band, Art Official Intelligence, and together with Joe Beats and DJ Perseus, forms the Non-Prophets. He is equal parts serious and silly, but never fails to be entertaining" [from an Amazon.com review]. *cm*hi*ss

CD 02333: Pierce Pettis: Great Big World. A 2004 CD by a man who is finally becoming recognized as one of our best singer-songwriters in a contemporary folk or alt-country vein. Side players include Alison Brown on banjo, Stuart Duncan on fiddle and mandolin, Kenny Malone on drums--and the great Danny Thompson on acoustic bass. *cf*cy*ss

CD 02332: Richard Shindell: Somewhere Near Paterson. Shindell's fourth CD, from 2000, was his most impressive yet. If you like sensitive lyrics and singing gracing a first-rate contemporary folk instrumental setting, this one's for you. Side performers include Larry Campbell, Denny McDermott, Lucy Kaplansky, Dar Williams, Kenny White, and Lincoln Schleifer. *cf

CD 02331: Ozomatli: Street Signs. Los Angeles band Ozomatli marries a basically Latin groove to jazz, hip- hop, and rock. In this CD they continue to move afield, integrating a classical symphony and a touch of North African Rai. A hearty mix, and a 2005 Grammy winner. *in*jz*rk

CD 02330: Mos Def: Black on Both Sides. "Mos Def, one-half of the much loved Brooklyn duo Black Star, breaks out on his own with the most intense solo debut in hip-hop since The Miseducation of Lauren Hill. Like Miseducation, Black on Both Sides stretches the definition of the genre to incorporate all aspects of music of the African Diaspora, from reggae to jazz, to form a new kind of sound" [from a cduniverse.com editorial review]. *hi*rb

CD 02329: Stan Rogers: Between the Breaks...Live! The late great Stan Rogers is featured here in a live set from 1979 including nine wonderfully stirring performances--most notably of Archie Fisher's 'Witch of the Westmorland,' 'Barrett's Privateers,' and Rogers' signature tune, 'The Mary Ellen Carter.' *cf

CD 02328: Kathleen Edwards: Failer. Canadian singer-songwriter "Kathleen Edwards plainly has attitude to burn and a killer band to back it up. As a rootsy artist who sings about sexual attraction and betrayal with a languid breathiness, she inevitably has been tagged a younger Lucinda Williams, but it would make as much sense to describe her as an alt-country Ani DiFranco or a female Ryan Adams" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. *cy*ss*wm

CD 02327: Cheb Mami: Lazrag Saâni. Algerian-born vocalist (he has a three-octave range) and songwriter Cheb Mami is one of the top names in Rai, a hybrid musical style combining North African rhythms and moods with European jazz, pop, and dance styles. In 2000 his duet with Sting on 'Desert Rose' became an international best-seller. This CD is a compilation; Mami has been recording since the early 80s. *ia*ie

CD 02324: Johnny Clegg & Savuka: Cruel, Crazy, Beautiful World. "Johnny Clegg is a man caught between two worlds. On one hand, his music is so infectious that you can't help but get caught up in the sheer joy of Savuka's masterly blend of Zulu sounds and western pop. On the other hand, there is the dark heart of politics that informed Clegg's life as a white man leading a multi-racial band in South Africa during the clashes of that nation's violent struggles in change" [from an Amazon.com customer review]. *ia*pc

CD 02320: Eliza Gilkyson: Land of Milk and Honey. "Woody Guthrie's 'Peace Call' provides a timely conclusion to this collection of politically pointed material. Trading verses with Texas troubadour Eliza Gilkyson on the pacifist anthem are kindred spirits Patty Griffin, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Iris DeMent. Much of the rest of the album finds Gilkyson applying her vocal warmth and buoyant melodies to lyrics that probe the darker recesses of the human condition" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. *cf*pc*ss*wm

CD 02319: Laurie Lewis: Earth & Sky: Songs of Laurie Lewis. Singer, songwriter and fiddle and acoustic bass player Laurie Lewis draws on three of her previously released sets, and adds several new tracks. Lewis's music rides in that comfortable zone drawing on folk, country, and bluegrass, and her sidemen on the collection include the likes of Mike Marshall, Jerry Douglas, Kenny Malone, Tim O'Brien, Sam Bush, Russ Barenberg, Craig Smith, Darol Anger and others. *bg*cf*cy

CD 02315: Corb Lund Band: Five Dollar Bill. "Old style, acoustic, outlawish, punky brand of traditional country music with enough wit to go around 3 or 4 times" [from www.cdbaby.com]. *ac*cy

CD 02313: Chris Smither: Train Home. Smither is an effective singer and interpreter of other songwriters' material, but he also writes some pretty good songs himself. Meanwhile, he's also one of the best acoustic guitarists playing these days. *ag*cf

CD 02312: Ramblin' Jack Elliott: The Essential. This recording originally came out in 1976 as a Vanguard Records "twofer," and even though at that time he already seemed like he'd been around forever, his career is still going, on into the twenty-first century. Elliott is the quintessential traveling folk singer, in the lineage of Woody Guthrie and Cisco Houston. *tf

CD 02311: D. L. Menard: Cajun Saturday Night. Guitarist-singer-songwriter D. L. Menard is one of the biggest names in Cajun music, trading in a traditional sound that blends pure country with a bit of rockabilly and French influence. Helping out Menard on this release are, among others, Buck White (of The Whites), Jerry Douglas on dobro, and Ricky Skaggs on fiddle. *ca*cy

CD 02310: John Adams: On the Transmigration of Souls. This John Adams is neither our second president, a premium beer, nor the Alaskan ambient composer, but instead the well-known Californian minimalist composer and conductor. This 2004 recording consists of one twenty-five minute piece, composed in honor of the heroes and victims of the 11 September 2001 attacks. *cl

CD 02309: P. J. Harvey: Is This Desire? Polly Jean is up to her usual agonizings in this 1998 release, her fifth album. Powerful stuff, this, and fully deserving of its Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Performance the next year. *ar*rk*ss*wm

CD 02308: Gil Scott-Heron: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. This early 1970s set showcased "urban troubadour" Gil Scott-Heron in a variety of blues, jazz, and r & b contexts, but it was the title cut, one of the freshest creations of the period, that ultimately drew attention. Other titles on this CD include 'The Prisoner,' 'Pieces of a Man,' 'Home is Where the Hatred Is,' and 'Whitey on the Moon.' Some good sidemen, too: e.g., Ron Carter, David Spinozza, and Hubert Laws. *hi*jz*pc*rb

CD 02307: Mark O'Connor: Thirty-Year Retrospective. Mark O'Connor is "New Grass"'s star fiddler: when it comes to speed and technical prowess he's the top man around. While this two-CD record of his successes starts with material originally recorded in the mid-1970s, it is not merely a collection of his old works: instead O'Connor specially recorded them anew, live in a concert given in 2002. *ac*bg

CD 02306: Femi Kuti: Fight to Win. Femi Kuti, son of the late, great, African musician Fela Kuti, here carries on the family tradition with a powerful set of political songs set to a crisp Afro-beat. Kuti was born in London, raised in Nigeria (where for many years he played in his father's band), and judging from the material is apparently unafraid of ruffling the feathers of those he feels are the oppressors. *ia*pc

CD 02305: Ry Cooder et al.: Buena Vista Social Club. "Ry Cooder's name has helped bring attention to this session, but it's the veteran Cuban son musicians who make this album really special. Reminiscent of Ellington in its scope and sense of hushed romanticism, Buena Vista Social Club is that rare meld of quietude and intensity; while the players sound laid-back, they're putting forth very alive music, a reminder that aging doesn't mean taking to bed" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. *in

CD 02303: Charlie McCoy: Harpin' the Blues. A program of works by the best known harmonica player in country music--back in the days when he was playing the blues. *ac*bl

CD 02301: Donovan: Summer Day Reflection Songs. Before Donovan became enthralled with pop psychedelia, he was one of his period's best folksinger-songwriters--pretty clearly, in a Woody Guthrie mold. This two CD collection pulls together material from circa 1965-1966, including folk standards like 'Catch the Wind' and 'Colours,' and a couple of dozen more. *cf*tf

CD 02300: Dr. John: The Very Best of Dr. John. Once known in the psychedelic haze days as "the Night Tripper," Dr. John is a master of piano-based New Orleans music styles--that is to say, blues, cajun, and boogie-woogie. None of it ever seems to become dated. *bl*ca*pf

CD 02299: Doc Watson & David Grisman: Doc & Dawg. Two of the big names in instrumental music in a CD of traditional (or near traditional) tunes, with plenty of guitar and mandolin to go around... *ac*ag*bg*cf*tf

CD 02298: Devo: Q: Are We Not Men? Well, they may well have been men, but anyone who saw their spectacular first performance on Saturday Night Live! many years ago probably thinks of them as being more closely affined with the insect tribe... *ar

CD 02297: Jerry Douglas: The Best Kept Secret. It is no secret that instrumentalist extraordinaire Jerry Douglas is the best dobro player alive, as this set clearly shows. In this 2005 release he is aided by friends Sam Bush, Bela Fleck, Alison Krauss, Bill Frisell, Derek Trucks, and John Fogerty. *ac*bg

CD 02296: The David Grisman Quintet: The David Grisman Quintet. 1977 New Grass from DGQ, here consisting of mandolinist David Grisman, Darol Anger, Tony Rice, Bill Amatneek, and Todd Phillips. *ac*bg

CD 02295: Lucy Kaplansky: The Red Thread. Lucy Kaplansky's stock in trade is a strong and expressive contemporary folk voice that elegantly expresses intelligently written material, mostly on personal subjects. The Chicago native started out as a professional psychologist, though she has long since become well known enough as a solo musician (and also with the group Cry Cry Cry) to give up the day job. This, her fifth solo project, includes cameo appearances by Richard Shindell, John Gorka, and Eliza Gilkyson. *cf*ss*wm

CD 02293: Angélique Kidjo: Oyaya! It doesn't take a very long look at--or listen to--Angélique Kidjo to know you're dealing with an international star. The Benin-born singer-songwriter now calls France home, but most of her work remains in the Afrobeat tradition. "The third part in a trilogy that previously explored African roots in music from the United States (Oremi) and Brazil (Black Ivory Soul), Oyaya! fuses African and French lyrics to music that draws upon musical traditions of the Caribbean Diaspora" [from ayemusic.free.fr]. Lots of horns, and hot, danceable beats! *ia*in

CD 02292: Neil Young: Tonight's the Night. The 1975 album that secured Young's reputation as a rocker, here backed by his band Crazy Horse. In part a tribute to--and "commentary" on--Crazy Horse member Danny Whitten, who had recently died of a drug overdose. *rk

CD 02291: Steve Hackett: Voyage of the Acolyte. This mid-70s record features Hackett in his younger days, just after establishing his reputation as the lead guitarist for the progressive rock band Genesis. A lot of the material indeed sounds like Genesis (or Yes) fare; some also reminds one of another guitarist, Jeff Beck, during his Blow By Blow period (the two albums were released the same year). *eg*rk

CD 02290: Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds: The Best Of. This nearly fifteen year retrospective of Nick Cave's work gives a good sample of this alternative rock singer/songwriter's oeuvre. Cave is bit chameleonic; much of the time he seems to be inhabiting Jim Morrison's body and voice (with even darker lyrics), but you can also hear strong touches of David Byrne and Van Morrison, and even some Dylan, Tim Buckley, and DC5. *ar*rk*ss

CD 02289: Christopher O'Riley: True Love Waits; Christopher O'Riley Plays Radiohead. In one of the less likely projects of 2003, celebrated classical pianist Christopher O'Riley plays solo piano transcriptions of Radiohead songs--apparently, O'Riley is an avid fan of the group. *cl*pf

CD 02288: Natalie Merchant: The House Carpenter's Daughter. Natalie Merchant is best known as the lead singer for the group 10,000 Maniacs. In this 2003 release Merchant heads out in a new direction for her, tackling a program of traditional songs. *cf*tf

CD 02287: Marc Bolan & T. Rex: 20th Century Boy: The Ultimate Collection. Glam rocker Marc Bolan was a top star in England in the early 1970s, though here he was mostly known in connection with his band T. Rex ('Bang A Gong'). Alas, he too is no longer with us, the victim of an automobile accident in 1977. *ar*rk

CD 02286: Gillian Welch: Time (The Revelator). Take a bit of blues, country, folk and rockabilly and shuffle them up; then add in a good pinch of songwriting skills and a listenable voice, and what do you have? Well, in this case it's Gillian Welch, one of the last decade's biggest roots music success stories. *cf*cy*ss*wm

CD 02285: Stan Getz, João & Astrud Gilberto, & Antonio Carlos Jobim: Getz/Gilberto. This classic album, recorded in 1963, brought together these big names in Brazilian music at the top of their powers. This is the defining recording of the bossa nova era, including the famous compositions 'The Girl from Ipanema' and 'Desafinado.' *in

CD 02284: Bill Morrissey: The Essential Collection. Contemporary folkie Bill Morrisey is an acquired taste: the New Hampshire native has made a career out of writing and performing oft-covered self-effacing songs that dwell on simple, poignant subjects--and an off-the-cuff delivery style that only barely amounts to singing. Still, he's an original, and a keeper. *cf*ss

CD 02283: Warren Zevon: The Wind. This was singer/songwriter Zevon's last musical release; he died in 2003 at the age of 56. Winner of two Grammy awards, the work well exhibits the quick wit and sly, acerbic sense of humor that originally made him famous through songs like 'Werewolves of London' and 'Poor Poor Pitiful Me.' *rk*ss

CD 02282: Rautavaara: Cantus Arcticus. Einojuhani Rautavaara is currently Finland's most celebrated classical composer. Rautavaara has a penchant for exploration: "his works are refreshingly idiosyncratic--'Cantus Arcticus' layers taped cries of wild birds upon somber, mysterious orchestral waves--for music that is haunting, and unforgettably evocative" [from the liner notes]. *cl

CD 02281: The Horse Flies: In the Dance Tent. The Horse Flies are an alternative string band that since their formative days in the early 80s have explored material ranging from traditional fiddle sounds to art music. This live CD from 2000 does a good job of reviewing that range, which by now extends to the worlds of rock, folk, minimalist, international, and film music. *ac

CD 02280: Loudon Wainwright III: Last Man on Earth. Confessional singer-songwriter Wainwright has a long track record of irreverent musings, and more often than not he is the butt of his complaints. With Wainwright one never knows whether to laugh or cry, or do both at once. This 2001 release is based largely on his relationship with his mother, who had recently died. *cf*ss

CD 02279: Janis Ian: Between the Lines. Janis Ian's career as a topical folksinger/songwriter took off just as she entered her teens in the early 60s. This, her best known album, is from some years later, and includes her big hit 'At Seventeen.' *cf*ss*wm

CD 02278: John Mayall: The Turning Point. A classic 1969 album from bluesman-harmonica player and vocalist Mayall, including the inspiring cuts 'Room to Move' and 'California.' *bl*rk

CD 02277: Charlie Musselwhite: Deluxe Edition. Musselwhite is one of the leading exponents of the Chicago electric blues sound. This is mostly straight-ahead, mow-you-down fare tempered by his extraordinary skill on the harmonica. The material is mostly taken from three of Musselwhite's best albums, from the early 1990s. *bl

CD 02276: John Hammond: John Hammond Live. John Hammond Jr. ("Jr.," to distinguish him from his famous father, the music producer, who "discovered" Robert Johnson, Bob Dylan, and James Taylor) has been one of our leading acoustic blues performers since he first hit the scene in the early 60s. What does he sound like? Well, suffice it to say that I'll bet he breaks more guitar strings than just about anyone else around... *ag*bl

CD 02275: Gordon Bok: A Rogue's Gallery of Songs for 12-String. Long known as one of the Northeast's best storyteller/folksingers and for his work with Bok, Muir & Trickett, Bok's picking on the 12-string is equally absorbing--especially if you like the combination of a deep, rough-hewn voice and a matchingly grand and resonant musical instrument. *ag*cf

CD 02274: Kitaro: Best of Silk Road. In his lesser moments Kitaro is Japan's answer to John Tesh and Yanni. In his better moments (and this is one of them), however, the past multi-Grammy award nominee shows that he can be a master at constructing rich instrumental soundscapes: this 2003 CD is derived from the soundtrack to a Japanese television series, and rates "as a masterpiece for its serene and seductive arrangements, gentle melodies and combination of lush, majestic textures" [from www.discord.co.uk]. *im*na

CD 02273: Mimi & Richard Fariña: Best of the Vanguard Years. Writer/playwright and topical folk singer/songwriter Richard Fariña also gained fame as an inventive dulcimer player; Mimi Fariña, Joan Baez's younger sister, was also a fine singer and instrumentalist. Just two albums into their career, unfortunately, Richard was killed in a motorcycle accident. *ac*cf*pc*ss

CD 02272: Kris Kristofferson: Singer/Songwriter. An appropriate title for this two-CD retrospective collection, as Kristofferson, whatever his good looks, Nashville smile and pop persona, has always most shone as a sensitive lyricist, tunesmith, and singer. Here, he gets to perform his songs on one disc, and listen to others (including Johnny Cash, Ray Price, Waylon Jennings, Jerry Lee Lewis, Willie Nelson, Janis Joplin and Bob Dylan, among others) cover his material on the second. *cy*ss

CD 02271: Davy Graham: Folk, Blues & Beyond. Brit Davy Graham was among the most inventive and influential musicians of his generation. In Folk, Blues & Beyond--a legendary, landmark album--Graham drew on international folk, blues and popular sources to redefine play on the acoustic guitar, in so doing becoming perhaps the single most prescient force in the development of the English school of folk rock and contemporary folk in the mid 1960s. *ag*cf

CD 02270: Popol Vuh: Einsjäger & Siebenjäger. Popol Vuh's first album was released in 1970, at which point they were one of a number of German bands exploring new directions, especially in electronic music. Eventually their leader, Florian Fricke, would turn away from synthesizer-based music and move toward an airier instrumental sound (Fricke called it "fantasy music" or "shamanism music") some twenty years ahead of their time. Fricke died in 2001, but recently there has been a resurgence of interest in the group's music. Einsjäger & Siebenjäger is an early title, from 1975. *im*na

CD 02268: Donovan: In Concert. An in-concert recording from 1968 including renditions of two Donovan hits, 'Mellow Yellow' and 'There Is a Mountain,' but more importantly wonderful bordering-on-jazz performances (flute/sax virtuoso Harold McNair is on hand) of some of the best material from his albums of that period: timeless gems like 'Young Girl Blues,' 'Isle of Islay,' 'Celeste,' 'The Fat Angel,' 'Guinevere,' 'Widow With a Shawl,' and 'Writer in the Sun.' *cf

CD 02267: The Strawbs: Halcyon Days: The Very Best Of. The Strawbs were one of the most successful British art-rock bands of the late 60s and early 70s; they had several hit singles in England and even placed four of their albums on the U.S. charts. They sounded a bit like a cross between Traffic and early Yes, which perhaps is not that strange considering Rick Wakeman was their keyboardist for a while (Sandy Denny also sang for them for a period), but most of all they sounded like Dave Cousins, their leader and primary vocalist. This excellent 2-CD collection focuses on their most productive period. *ar*rk

CD 02266: David Arkenstone: Caravan of Light. Arkenstone has two Grammy nominations under his belt as well as a long string of hit CDs falling pretty squarely within the "New Age" style. His influences are diverse, ranging from pop to computer technology and Kitaro (the last explaining a lot about his generally lush instrumental arrangements and exotic approach). In this 2000 release the sounds and feelings are light and romantic, as one might have fantasies of a North African caravan experience. *im*na

CD 02265: Paul Brady: Nobody Knows: The Best Of. From even his earliest days with the Johnstons, and then with Planxty in the 70s, Paul Brady has been recognized as one of Ireland's premier folk singers and singer-songwriters. This 2001 release provides a sample of his work outside of those bands from the 70s on through the 90s. He continues to be very active, just this past month (as of this writing) touring the western U. S. as a guest of Bonnie Raitt, one of his many collaborators over the years. *cf*ss

CD 02264: Emmanuel Jal & Abdel Gadir Salim: Ceasefire. Jal, a Christian "gospel rapper," and Salim, a Muslem musician of more traditional forms, are both from Sudan. Here they collaborate in 2005 in anticipation of the cessation of violence in that country occasioned by a peace agreement between the warring factions. *hi*ia

CD 02263: Utah Phillips & Ani Difranco: The Past Didn't Go Anywhere. It was a great idea to couple the Wild Bill Hickok of contemporary topical folksingers, Utah Phillips, with the well-known and commercially successful alternative/punk folkie Ani Difranco. In this 1996 CD Phillips wrote all the words and Difranco supplied all the music--which doesn't quite describe things, as despite Phillips' ability to write beautiful songs (e.g., 'Goodnight Loving Trail' and 'The Telling Takes Me Home'), the material here consists entirely of story-telling by Phillips set to rap-like instrumentation and electronics. *cf*pc

CD 02262: Lisa Germano: Geek the Girl. This rather sobering CD of longing music by alternative singer-songwriter Lisa Germano, includes titles like 'Phantom Love,' 'Cancer of Everything,' 'Sexy Little Girl Princess,' and the title cut. A bit of a downer, I think, but at the least painfully genuine, and maybe misery needs company... *ar*wm

CD 02261: Buddy Miller: Midnight and Lonesome. Guitarist Miller writes his own material, covers others' (including several pieces by wife Julie), and sings and performs in a style not far from mid-stream country, were it not for the more serious material and deliberate injections of rock, blues, and classic material. This CD features cameos by Emmylou Harris and Lee Ann Womack. *cy*rk*ss

CD 02260: Buckwheat Zydeco & the Ils Sont Partis Band: 100% Fortified Zydeco. From a 1983 recording session, Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural, Jr., and his faithful companions play the real deal. *ca

CD 02252: Arlo Guthrie: Alice's Restaurant. This, Arlo's first album, featuring his sensational song-story of the same name, rocketed him into national prominence in the summer of 1967--just months before his father, the great Woody Guthrie, succumbed to Huntington's disease. "Walk right in, it's around the back, just a half a mile from the railroad track..." *cf

CD 02251: Michael Franks: The Best Of: A Backward Glance. Jazz singer/songwriter Michael Franks is known for his wry sense of humor and cool, calm and collected delivery: witness his perhaps best known song, 'Popsicle Toes.' This collection surveys his work from the mid 70s on through the mid 90s. *jz*ss

CD 02246: Anouar Brahem: Conte de l'Incroyable Amour. Tunisian Brahem, at this point one of the leading figures in the ECM jazz stable, here puts together a program of atmospheric and elegant instrumental jazz miniatures featuring clarinet, nai flute, bendir/darbouka (percussion), and, of course, oud (Brahem is perhaps at this point the world's leading exponent of this lute-like string instrument). Intimate, tasteful, and beautiful. *am*jz

CD 02245: Rod Stewart: It Had to Be You: The Great American Songbook. Who woulda thunk it: Rod Stewart turning his attention to old standards by Gershwin, Kahn, Kern and Porter, among others. And doing it well, to boot! Stewart has since extended his success in further releases of the same kind of fare. *mr

CD 02244: Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune. It would turn out that being the most striking topical folksinger-songwriter of his generation wasn't enough for Ochs--despondent over waning success and an injury that affected his singing, he eventually hanged himself. Too bad, as this collection of Ochs' work clearly shows. Includes the anthemic Vietnam War protest period line: "Call it peace or call it treason, call it love or call it reason, but I ain't marchin' anymore..." (from 'I Ain't Marchin' Anymore'). *cf*pc*ss

CD 02243: Deuter: Sun Spirit. A "top ten" artists in the New Age category would surely include Deuter, much of whose music sounds like a brighter, simpler, even happier, Andreas Vollenweider. Here the ever productive German multi-instrumentalist and devotee of nature and paths spiritual pays homage to the Sun, the giver of life. Try it: this is ideal meditation music, cheery and bright, but never trite or vapid. *ac*na

CD 02241: John Fahey: The Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death. One of acoustic guitarist Fahey's most mentioned titles, recorded in 1965. "It included...some of Fahey's strongest playing and most interesting compositions and interpretations. As on his other early records Fahey managed to combine country blues, ragtime, string band sounds, Indian classical music, and novelty tunes into his own unique, influential, and integrated style" [from the liner notes]. *ag

CD 02240: Mark Knopfler: Local Hero. Warning! This is not the kind of material Mark Knopfler produced wit Dire Straits, instead being the soundtrack to a low-key 1983 Burt Lancaster film with an environmentalism theme. The music is largely introspective and peaceful, with Knopfler occasionally inserting a tasteful guitar lick or two--sometimes to increase dramatic effect, but sometimes just to mellow things out. *am*fi

CD 02239: Keith Jarrett: Paris Concert. Another of Jarrett's famous live concert recordings, this one from 1988, and featuring his incomparable improvisational skills on the piano. *jz*pf

CD 02238: Fairport Convention: Liege & Lief. Certainly a candidate for the best early work by this seminal folk-rock band, including covers of traditional material and originals by the band's members, at that time consisting of Sandy Denny, Richard Thompson, Ashley Hutchings, Dave Swarbrick, Dave Mattacks, and Simon Nicol. *cf*rk

CD 02237: Robert Rich: Seven Veils. "Robert Rich unveils seven rhythm-charged compositions with the exotic, sensual ambience of the Middle East. Blazingly original music and audiophile quality sound by one of the world's top electro-acoustic artists..." [from the liner notes]. This is neither, exactly, "electronic" music nor "ambient" music, but something that might be termed "techno-soundscaping." *am*el

CD 02236: Lou Harrison: La Koro Sutro. Harrison, who died in 2003, was a leader (the leader, actually) among those bringing East and Southeast Asian (especially Indonesian) forms and sounds into Western classical music. This CD collects three of his larger pieces, one choral, one featuring violin and percussion, and one featuring violin and American gamelan. *cl*is

CD 02235: Steeleye Span: Below the Salt. British folk rock band Steeleye Span has a thirty year plus history as a favorite among folkies. This is one of their best releases, featuring the stunning vocals of Maddy Prior and brilliant arrangements and performances of such old standards as 'Spotted Cow,' 'King Henry,' 'Gaudete,' and 'John Barleycorn.' *cf*ie*tf

CD 02234: Country Joe & the Fish: Electric Music for the Mind and Body. To "Country" Joe McDonald goes the honor of writing the single most devastating line of protest of the Vietnam War era--set incongruently, and quite deliberately, to a jugband beat: "Be the first ones on your block to have your boy come home in a box..." Joe and friends were also early explorers of psychedelia, and this album is a classic within that genre. *ar*rk

CD 01996: Raffi: The Singable Songs Collection. Canadian Raffi is the leading children's songs singer in the Western world. To mark the twentieth anniversary of the creation of Troubador Records, this three-CD set was compiled from three of the artist's first works. *ch

CD 01992: George Winston: Montana--A Love Story. George Winston is still on Windham Hill after all these years, and he's still producing bright, folky yet jazzy solo piano music. In this successful 2004 release he has put together a set paying hommage to his home state. *na*pf

CD 01991: Ben Harper & The Blind Boys of Alabama: There Will Be a Light. This impressive 2004 release remains faithful to a inspirational/gospel music theme, but thoughtfully blends in blues influences. *bl*re

CD 01990: R. Carlos Nakai: Sanctuary. R. Carlos Nakai has won honors ranging from music nominations and awards in the traditional folk, Native American and New Age categories to an honorary doctorate in 1994 and a Governor's Arts Award in 1992. This collection consists entirely of material composed by Nakai and performed by him, solo, on the Native American flute. A 2003 Grammy Award nominee. *ac*in*na

CD 01989: various artists: The Great Dobro Sessions. A special recording session that brought together some of the greatest dobro players now active, including Mike Auldridge, Curtis Burch, Jerry Douglas, Josh Graves, Rob Ickes, Oswald Kiry, Stacy Phillips, Tut Taylor, Sally Van Meter, and Gene Wooten. *ac

CD 01988: Del McCoury Band: The Cold Hard Facts. "Del McCoury is singing in a mountain tenor so high, so blue, so lonesome that it seems he, or the audience, could swoon for lack of oxygen. It's a voice tempered by all the hopes and fears that make one human, as good a voice as has ever been heard in bluegrass music, maybe in all country music" [from the liner notes]. Includes Jerry Douglas on the dobro. *ac*bg*cy

CD 01987: Ottmar Liebert & Luna Negra: La Semana. Santa Fe Nuevo Flamenco guitarist Ottmar Liebert shines here in a 2004 CD of small combo acoustic music that sometimes approaches a warm, intimate, kind of jazz. *ac*ag*jz*na

CD 01986: Paul Oakenfold: Creamfields. The Creamfields project began in the late 90s; it consists of an internationally staged series of techno/dance festivals. This double CD draws on music from various acts that have appeared in the festivals, as organized by celebrated trance DJ Paul Oakenfold. *el*ho

CD 01985: Olu Dara: In the World, from Natchez to New York. Guitarist and cornet player Olu Dara continues his exploration of what might be termed "jazz folk music" in this interesting set. This is a music of mostly unclassifyable "Africanicity," embracing and integrating Caribbean, African, blues and jazz styles, sometimes all within a single piece. Dara moves along a path paralleling that taken by Taj Mahal, only Taj stays a bit more on the folk side, whereas there is more of a jazz flavor to Dara's work. *bl*jz

CD 01982: Air: Talkie Walkie. Material like this is difficult to characterize, being ambient/instrumental enough to be one of the top New Age/electronic titles of the year (2004), yet pop enough to also attract an entirely different audience. "Talkie Walkie reunites us with the Air that we love: two hopelessly indulgent romantics with an ear in the past and an eye on the future. It's meltingly good stuff--a collection of cool, cosmic pop songs that dispense with notions of time and space, wallowing instead on a cloud of poignant psychedelia" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. *ar*el*na

CD 01981: Robin Holcomb: The Big Time. Robin Holcomb is much too beautiful to be a pop star. But if you've heard her material, you know what I mean--she's more lyrical and less cynical than, say, Laurie Anderson, and isn't afraid to tackle serious subjects in a serious manner--though usually in a lofty, poetic way. Side musicians include Bill Frisell, Wayne Horvitz, and the McGarrigle sisters. *ss*wm

CD 01980: Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen: Lost in the Ozone. A classic 1971 release of pop boogie-woogie rockabilly. Features the effervescent song containing one of the period's most memorable lines: "My pappy said son, you gonna drive me to drinkin' if you don't stop drivin' that hot, rod, Lincoln." *ac*cy

CD 01979: Uncle Tupelo: Anodyne. One of the pioneer acts in alternative country, Uncle Tupelo hailed from Belleville, Illinois, taking their name in 1987 as a trio when an earlier version of the band folded. This is the last of their four CDs, released in 1993 a year before the group broke up (in part forming Wilco). This 2003 reissue contains five bonus tracks. *cy*rk

CD 01977: Michelle Shocked: Short Sharp Shocked. Michelle Shocked's best known release, featuring great tunes and thoughts from one of alt-folk's sharpest acts. *cf*ss*wm

CD 01972: Anja Lechner & Vassilis Tsabropoulos: Chants, Hymns and Dances. This amazing set features music by Tsabropoulos and the great mystic Gurdjieff, played on cello and piano. Gurdjieff, who could not read or write music, was able to relay the basics of melody and intent to his student and emanuensis Thomas Hartmann, who developed the harmonies and finished work. The results, however created, are rich with the sounds and moods of Armenia and Greek liturgical music, with both of which Gurdjieff had strongly connections. *cl

CD 01971: Susan McKeown: Sweet Liberty. A set of English and Irish traditional songs such as 'Caledonia' and 'When I Was on Horseback,' sung in variously arranged small combo setting by the sweet-voiced McKeown. Sidemen include Johnny Cunningham (one of his last sessions) and Joanie Madden. *tf

CD 01970: Dee Dee Bridgewater: Dear Ella. Celebrated jazz vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater in her tribute to the legendary Ella Fitzgerald, who died in 1996. A double Grammy winner. *jz

CD 01969: Steve Goodman: No Big Surprise, The Steve Goodman Anthology. Chicagoan Steve Goodman was one of the country's leading folk singer/songwriters of the 1970s and 80s, and it was a sad loss to the world of music when he died of leukemia in 1984 having only reached his mid-thirties. This double CD collects more than forty of his best recordings, including 'City of New Orleans,' 'The Dutchman,' 'You Never Even Call Me by My Name,' 'A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request,' 'Talk Backwards,' and 'Chicken Cordon Blues.' *cf*ss

CD 01968: Robert Fripp & Brian Eno: The Equatorial Stars. More ambient noodlings by this famous pair, last seen collaborating in this fashion some thirty years previously. This is very mind-settling stuff, comparable to the best of the same kind of fare from Steve Roach. *am*ar*el*na

CD 01966: Mari Boine: Eight Seasons. "...[Boine's] first musical experience came from the Laestadian movement, a Christian movement among the Sami people [of northern Norway]. Their pietic psalms filled the gap between the traditional Sami 'joik' and the Norwegian folkmusic. Mari Boine's roots in the Ethnic native Sami music, together with the Christian influences have, besides her adopting of jazz, rock and native music from all over the world, make her one of today's really unique artists" [from www.fortunecity.com]. This CD explores the legends surrounding a people purported to have inhabited the far northern lands of Europe in medieval times. Boine has a *very* striking voice. *cf*ie*tf

CD 01965: Moya Brennan: Two Horizons. "A lovely work notable for both its cohesiveness and its aural richness, Two Horizons likely stands as the most broadly appealing solo disc (now numbering five) yet released by Clannad vocalist Moya (aka Máire) Brennan, the oft-overshadowed elder sibling of Enya. Brennan uses a mythic tale involving a much-traveled harp (a totem for all things virtuous) as the disc's thematic center, yet it is the recording's composite sound--resonant, sumptuous, never quite overblown--that inspires repeated listenings" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. *ce*na

CD 01964: Michael Doucet & Beausoleil: Bayou Deluxe: The Best Of. Fiddler Michael Doucet and Beausoleil have been leaders in the Cajun music revival since the 1970s. This 1993 collection brings together eighteen tracks from albums spanning the 80s and early 90s. *ac*ca

CD 01963: The Rapture: Out of the Races and Onto the Tracks. The Rapture does a kind of music that has been described as "dance punk" or "disco punk": fast-moving (even frantic) and brimming with energy produced by the juxtaposition of a rapid trebly drumbeat, growling guitar work, threatening vocals, and bouncing bass. This is an EP, by the way, with six shortish tracks. *ar*ho

CD 01962: BT: Music From and Inspired by the Film "Monster." The film Monster was a considerable artistic success, and part of that success came from its soundtrack, written, produced and arranged by BT, and filling two CDs. The music traverses a wide range of emotions, not all of them pleasant, and includes scoring for such instrumental oddities as the hurdy-gurdy. *fi

CD 01961: Ian Tyson: Cowboyography. Ian Tyson has been one of Canada's top folkies for going on fifty years (he was originally part of the duo Ian and Sylvia with his wife Sylvia Fricker, composer of the major mid-sixties hit 'You Were On My Mind'), having written songs like 'Someday Soon' and 'Four Strong Winds' along the way. In this highly lauded release he pays tribute, through a set of originally composed songs, to a dying breed, the North American cowboy. *cf*ss

CD 01960: Yo-Yo Ma: Obrigado Brazil Live in Concert. In this release the celebrated cellist turns his attention to the music of South America, with the help of a small group of artist friends including the Assad Brothers, Paquito D'Rivera, Kathryn Stott, and Rosa Passos. The material is based on "rhythms from Cuba, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, and Mexico" [from the liner notes]; the composers represented include Assad, Jobim, Gismonti, Piazzolla, Barroso, and d'Rivera. *cl*in

CD 01959: Thomas Mapfumo: Chimurenga Forever: The Best Of. Zimbabwe singer-songwriter Mapfumo began his career in the 60s covering American rock 'n roll, but soon turned to a culture-based form of allegory and proverb to begin making political statements--a move which often got him into trouble, but which has also made him his country's foremost musician. This collection brings together material from the period 1978 to 1993. *ia*pc

CD 01958: Lucinda Williams: Lucinda Williams. Southerner Lucinda Williams took an early interest in folk music in the 1960s and since the mid-80s has seen her country-flavored /singer-songwriter talents achieve one success after another, including several Grammy awards. Some observers feel that it was in this 1988 album that she first fully hit her stride. *cy*ss*wm

CD 01957: David Byrne: Grown Backwards. David Byrne, now known as much for his world music fusion projects as for his original successes with the band Talking Heads, draws on both influences here to produce a rather unclassifyable, yet very satisfying, set of songs. "After years of experimenting with salsa and strings, David Byrne returns with a cohesive record that catches him at his incohesive best: the stream-of-consciousness lyrics, the sly rhythms, the unexpected bursts of melody" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. *ar

CD 01956: Ensemble Modern Plays Frank Zappa: Greggery Peccary & Other Persuasions. Not all fans of the late Frank Zappa know that he also enjoyed a considerable reputation within the classical establishment; many of his compositions in this realm were inspired by the likes of Edgard Varese (on whose music he was recognized as an authority), Anton Webern, and Igor Stravinsky. *ar*cl

CD 01955: Lisa Gerrard & Patrick Cassidy: Immortal Memory. Ex-Dead Can Dance vocalist Lisa Gerrard and Irish classical composer Patrick Cassidy collaborate here on a majestic voyage into the realm of prayer. The entire CD is rather sombre and elegaic, usually beautifully and to good effect, but leaving one wondering at times just what the overall message is supposed to be. Stacked up in another way, this program appears to be an attempt to combine "new sacred music" (e.g., Tavener, Part) with more popular film soundtrack or New Age approaches. *im*na*re

CD 01954: Choying Drolma & Steve Tibbetts: Selwa. Minneapolis-based guitarist Steve Tibbetts collaborates with the Tibetan nun and vocalist Choying Drotma here on a program of inspirational chants. Drolma sounds wonderful, and Tibbetts should be congratulated for shaping an instrumental ambience around her that never compromises the quiet, authentically meditative quality of the music. *is*na

CD 01953: Buddy Guy: Damn Right, I've Got the Blues. Electric blues from guitarist Guy, one of the leading figures in the genre. *bl*eg

CD 01952: Bela Fleck & Edgar Meyer: Music for Two. This 2004 release features two of the best known instrumentalists on the Nashville scene, collaborating (Fleck on guitar and banjo, Meyer on bass and piano) on material falling somewhere between the classical and NewGrass genres. The package includes a free DVD with additional music. *ac*bg*cl

CD 01951: Robert Earl Keen: A Bigger Piece of Sky. An early 90s CD by Keen, in a cross-over country/singer songwriter mode, with fairly conventional instrumental accompaniment. *cy*ss

CD 01950: Massive Attack: Blue Lines. Trip-hop group Massive Attack, a trio of Brits from Bristol, formed in 1988. Blue Lines was their debut album (1991). "Massive Attack were among the most innovative and influential groups of their generation; their hypnotic sound--a darkly sensual and cinematic fusion of hip-hop rhythms, soulful melodies, dub grooves, and choice samples--set the pace for much of the dance music to emerge throughout the 1990s" [from www.vh1.com]. *hi*ho

CD 01949: Clannad: Magical Ring. This 1983 release is one of the Irish band Clannad's best known (in part because it includes the famous cut 'Theme from Harry's Game'), and well shows why they were the leading group over the early period of the Celtic music revival, circa 1970-1990. *ce

CD 01948: Robbie Robertson & the Red Road Ensemble: Music for The Native Americans. Written as the soundtrack for a 1994 television special entitled The Native Americans, this music blends Robertson's semi-narratives and generally respectful songs with rather more authentic Native American music to produce a mix falling somewhere between pop music and documentary, with a bit of New Age thrown in. *fi*in

CD 01947: Cream: The Very Best Of. Cream was the first "supergroup," combining the talents of Eric Clapton on electric guitar, Jack Bruce on electric bass, and Ginger Baker on drums. Cream redefined rock music by joining its blues heritage to a world featuring "heavy" guitar licks interspersed with grand improvisational solos--a format that has changed little to this day. *eg*rk

CD 01946: Jan Garbarek: In Praise of Dreams. Jan Garbarek's latest recording is something of a return to his early John Coltrane-influenced style and away from "world music," but in this case the reason for the move is fairly apparent. Joined by violist Kim Kashkashian and percussionist Manu Katché, Garbarek has concerned himself not with a place or a music style, but instead with the abstract world of dreams. The results have been critically acclaimed, with the CD a success in both the jazz and New Age markets. *jz*na

CD 01945: Ralph Towner: Anthem. Classically-trained Ralph Towner is best known as the guitarist in the chamber jazz group Oregon, but he also has a long history of other collaborations and solo projects. This 2001 effort is one of his best, providing ample evidence of the unique niche he has carved out for himself, and why he is considered to be among the leading guitarists of his time. *ag*jz

CD 01944: John Martyn: On the Cobbles. It's been a long haul for John Martyn. He started out as a hotshot acoustic guitarist during the late 1960s heydey of the Soho contemporary folk movement in England, then turned a corner and set out in a direction paralleling that of the better known Irish singer songwriter Van Morrison: blues-influenced jazz. Many illnesses and disappointments later, he re-emerged in 2004 with this work, one of the best he has produced. If you like Van Morrison, Tom Waits or John Hammond, you will like this too, I suspect. *ag*bl*cf*jz*ss

CD 01943: Bruce Springsteen: Nebraska. An early Springsteen work (1982), with the artist communicating sans rock band accompaniment: vocals, plus harmonica and/or acoustic guitar backing. *cf*ss

CD 01942: Duck Baker: Kid on the Mountain. The subtitle to this CD is "Irish, Scottish & English Fiddle Tunes for the Fingerpicking Guitarist, Collected from All the Best Sources." Baker recorded this collection in 1979 while he was living in Britain and, as the liner notes indicate, it "remains a high point in the career of one of the most important finger-stylists." *ag*tf

CD 01941: Mercan Dede: Sufi Traveler. This double CD features nearly three hours of exploration by Canadian Dede into the world of Sufi music. Mostly instrumental and especially featuring flutes and the lute-like oud, the music ranges from the ambient- and trance-like to brighter, busier passages, all falling well within the general North African and Middle Eastern tradition. *im*is*na

CD 01940: The Wayfaring Strangers: Shifting Sands of Time. This is rather easy but "adult" popular music combining strong elements of traditional jazz, bluegrass, folk, and even klesmer in a chamber music-like string band context. Features the singing of Jennifer Kimball, banjo vituoso Tony Trischka, Matt Glaser on violin, and several other instrumentalists. *ac*bg*jz*mr

CD 01939: Kate & Anna McGarrigle: Dancer With Bruised Knees. The McGarrigles have never pushed their art very hard, but their lovely high register duet singing and strong songwriting skills have made them a musician's favorite for over a quarter of a century. This is their most acclaimed release. Their general approach puts them somewhere in the contemporary folk or singer-songwriter category. *cf*ss*wm

CD 01938: Nanci Griffith: The Last of the True Believers. This is one of sweet-singing Nanci Griffith's early productions, featuring the title track and the very popular 'Love at the Five & Dime.' Nanci will never make the final decision as to whether she's a folkie or a country singer, I guess, but then again we just don't really care anymore, do we? *cf*cy*ss

CD 01937: Jean-Luc Ponty: The Very Best Of. Almost since Ponty first hit the scene in the late 60s he has been regarded as the premier violinist in jazz. He has also been an important force in widening the instrument's range, through electronics and adaptation to fusion styles. This CD collects sixteen tracks from his albums from the period 1975-1985, when he was fruitfully experimenting with new contexts and technologies. *jz

CD 01936: Richard Thompson: 1000 Years of Popular Music. With all due respect to his talents as a songwriter, I think this is one of the best things that Thompson the performer has ever done. A few years back Thompson answered a challenge from some source that wanted some prominent musicians to choose their favorite pieces of the past millenium. Thompson took the cue and ran rather differently with the idea, taking it literally: he put together a program of songs he liked from medieval times to present. On this CD he is captured performing the set live on acoustic guitar, with only percussion backing. *ag*cf*tf

CD 01935: Clara Ponty: Mirror of Truth. This is small ensemble jazz led and played by pianist Clara Ponty and featuring her approaching-legendary violinist father, Jean-Luc Ponty, on several tracks. To my ear it comes off as rather sophisticated and atmospheric, seemingly with classical music influences (Debussy?)--otherwise put, kinda purty... *jz

CD 01934: Traffic: Feelin' Alright, The Very Best Of. Traffic had a unique sound that crossed over, at will, among rock, acid rock, folk, and avant garde. Its leader, Steve Winwood, is both a fine keyboardist and songwriter, and possesses one of the most distinctive voices in rock music; its lineup also included Dave Mason, Jim Capaldi, and Chris Wood. After a couple of hit singles early in their career, the group settled down to produce a string of classic albums that helped define the term "progressive" on early FM radio. *rk

CD 01933: Moondog: Moondog / Moondog 2. Moondog, aka Louis Hardin, died in 1999 at the age of eighty-three. As the liner notes to this CD say, "Moondog made a living on the periphery of both 'serious' music and mainstream pop," creating compact, classically-influenced pieces invoking feelings of a kind of minimalist television ad music--which fate, in fact, befell some of his compositions. As a teenager Hardin lost his sight in an accident; later he received classical training but decided to stay "on the periphery," for many years busking on a street corner in New York in the full beard, helmet and garb of a Viking warrior. He had been recording since the early 50s, but the 1969 issue of Moondog resonated with the college audience, bringing him a greater general celebrity. Later, in the 1970s, he dropped the Viking image and returned to a more downstated "peripheral" existence. *cl

CD 01932: The Flatlanders: Now Again. A 2002 mostly-acoustic set from the core trio of Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock and Joe Ely. All the songs were penned by the group (except the standout opening track 'Going Away,' by Utah Phillips), and are given, as one would expect from these folks, a generally country, rockabilly, contemporary folk/singer-songwriter treatment. *cy*ss

CD 01931: Erik Wollo: Blue Sky, Red Guitars. Like its predecessor Emotional Landscapes, this CD was a major hit in ambient/New Age circles. Wollo has a gift for arrangement and production; although his play on guitar is relatively unextraordinary, he manages to substantially enhance the effect through his creative use of atmosphere. This is excellent "sit back, relax, and put on the headphones" fare. *ag*am*im*na

CD 01930: Townes Van Zandt: Live at the Old Quarter, Houston, Texas. The late great Townes Van Zandt was one of the country's most revered singer-songwriters ('Pancho and Lefty,' 'If I Needed You'), a man with an exceptional ability to set a poignant scene with a minimum of words. This two-CD release captures him live early in his career, in 1973. *cf*cy*ss

CD 01929: Bill Miller: Spirit Songs: The Best Of. Bill Miller started out in the rock tradition, but soon let his Native American heritage take him in an "alter-native" direction better suited to his Chris Isaak-like voice, bluesy/ironic temperament, and crisp, atmospheric guitar playing. The sixteen tracks in this collection owe a good deal to Native American music and themes, but they also trust strongly to singer-songwriter and contemporary folk sensibilities. *cf*in*ss

CD 01928: The Orb: Orbus Terrarum. [Whereas the Orb's] "first two records had explored the outer cosmos of dance music, Terrarum is an earthier, less spacy ambient record, more devoted to mapping the sounds at hand. It goes to extremes to avoid the hooks of their early work, and there's barely even a hint of dance beats. When they do appear, they're mutated, bassy, more to pass through the body than to move to" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. *am*el*ho

CD 01927: Mark Heard: Greatest Hits. "I loved it that he wasn't preachy in his songs and I saw eye to eye with everything his lyrics spoke of. Often times, his songs focused on short-sighted, but popular, Christian themes that should make you stop and think about how you are living your Christian life. Of course, the music here is very 80's light rock, but it is done with perfection" [from an Amazon.com customer review]. *re*ss

CD 01926: Jerry Garcia and David Grisman: Jerry Garcia and David Grisman. Two great instrumentalists picking their way through the usual kind of bluegrass-jazz-country-folk material most folks associate them with. Originally released in 1991. *ac*cf

CD 01925: Jimmy Cliff: The Harder They Come. Cliff's classic 1972 anti-hero movie featured him both in the starring role, and on most of the accompanying musical tracks. *fi*rg

CD 01924: Manu Dibango: AfroSoulJazz, The Very Best Of. "The Lion from Cameroon distinctively blends Afro rhythms and funked-up sax: an explosive mix that has made him popular with fans of jazz, soul, funk, and world music alike" [from the liner notes]. Manu is perhaps best known for his early 70s album Soul Makossa, which helped many black Americans reconnect with their musical roots. *ia*jz

CD 01923: Eileen Ivers: So Far: The Eileen Ivers Collection. Irish-American Eileen Ivers is both beautiful to look at and just about the best traditional styles fiddler playing (nine time all-Ireland fiddle champion). She was as well, through her play on electric violin, one of the original stars, and draws, of Riverdance. Enough said. This collection features some of her best material from the years circa 1979-1995. *ac*cf*ce*ie*tf

CD 01922: Rhonda Larson: Distant Mirrors. Larson is mostly known as a flute player, but she also writes some of her material, and sings from time to time. The material here is often Celtic-influenced, but originates from many different traditions, including Armenian, classical, medieval, and Native American. The title cut is a lovely blending of a Sufi melody and Bulgarian vocals, sung in Latin. *ac*cf

CD 01921: California Guitar Trio: Whitewater. "With their technical wizardry and breathtaking fusion of classical music, blues, jazz and country--immersed within the quintessential genre of California surf rock--California Guitar Trio have earned themselves an enthusiastic community of fans and the respect of many renowned colleagues. Their stunning virtuosity and sly sense of humour have earned them a rabid following with a significant crossover into the progressive, acoustic and classical music scenes" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. *ag*cl

CD 01920: Björk: Medulla. "Bjork embarks on her strangest and most experimental musical journey here. Not just one kind of song, but many--majestic medieval-flavored music to pop to hymns to an eerie vocal ballad backed by throat singing. Bjork even beatboxes with a choir behind her, giving a sort of classical hip-hop sound to the music. Can't get that just anywhere" [from an Amazon.com customer review]. *ar*ss*wm

CD 01919: New Grass Revival: Best Of. A 1994 reissue of some of this progressive bluegrass band's best material. Personnel include founding member Sam Bush, John Cowan, Bela Fleck and Pat Flynn. *ac*bg

CD 01918: Sigur Rós: (Parentheses). "The group continues to mix the most interesting aspects of U2 (the anthem), Low (the maximalist slow-mo thing), Radiohead (the utter lack of irony in the quest to make meaningful art for stadium crowds), and My Bloody Valentine (guitar as texture), while not sounding like anyone else on this planet. The average song length on the eight untitled tracks is eight minutes, with cascades of moaning, bowed guitars colliding with low-end keyboards while the lovely, alien-registered vocals of singer Jonsi float on top" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. *am*ar*el*na

CD 01917: Sigur Rós: Agaetis Byrjun. Sigur Rós is Iceland's most popular band, for reasons that are somewhat unclear. People seem either to love them or hate them; in any case, this was their first European release (2000), after going multi-platinum in Iceland. The music itself is difficult to describe, but features a deliberate attempt at sounding gloriously ethereal (or possibly angelic or mythic) which some have taken as pretentiousness and others as reflecting real genius. Don't look for dance beats (or any kind of beat, usually) here, but neither is the music exactly what one would call ambient. *am*ar*el*na

CD 01916: Jeff Buckley: Grace. Buckley's death by accidental drowning in 1997 came just as his career was taking off. Grace, released in 1994, was a major success and featured Buckley's several octave voice, strong song-writing powers, and ability to convey sensitive material through either intimate folky or heavy rock settings. Buckley's father, Tim Buckley, was also a considerable talent and he too died at an early age. *cf*ss

CD 01914: Mark Heard: High Noon. "This collection of songs from Mark Heard's last three recordings before his death in August 1992 is a roots-rocker's delight. Electric mandolin, guitar, Chapman Stick, and the occasional accordion and fiddle grind out music that is equal parts rock, Cajun, country, and folk. The real beauty, however, lies in Heard's lyrics, which rise above romance, religion, or politics to address the human condition" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. *re*ss

CD 01913: Marcia Ball: Hot Tamale Baby. Piano player and vocalist Marcia Ball scored big with this 1986 Rounder release, a full testimony to her skill in handling New Orleans style music. Sidemen include David Murray on guitar, but this is mostly Marcia's show... *ca*pf

CD 01912: Andreas Vollenweider: Caverna Magica. Andreas Vollenweider, a Swiss electric harp player, was among the most successful international acts of the 1980s. This 1983 album was the one that brought him to prominence. The sheer originality of his sound caused quite a sensation at that time: a light and lively instrumental music lying somewhere between pop and jazz. Vollenweider's example ended up an important influence on the development of what is now loosely referred to as "New Age" music. *im*jz*na

CD 01881: Tom T. Hall: Storyteller, Poet, Philosopher. This two CD box set collects together a "best set" of singer-songwriter Hall's recordings from over the years. Hall is perhaps not as well known as he should be to the general population, but this is not the fault of the material, which reflects on the stories of the everyday world with humor and insight, and no trace of self-indulgence. *cy*ss

CD 01869: Faithless: Reverence. A U.K. group that started out in the early 90s as a project involving producers Sister Bliss and Rollo. "Faithless has separated themselves from most of their contemporaries because much of their music is more orchestral than single. Anyone who was caught up in the mid 90s trip hop, house revolution must add this to their collection" [from an Amazon.com customer review]. *el*hi*ho

CD 01868: Stephan Micus: Darkness and Light. The title of this instrumental work might well be "From Darkness to Light," as in it Micus explores the inspirational journey of the soul from less productive to more productive places. The set consists of three works; the first one is especially notable, itself in three parts, but much of it featuring Micus double-tracking a slow, glorious duet on classical guitar and dilruba (a throaty viola/cello-like folk instrument) that at one point rises to a level of joyful emotion that should leave you weeping, if you're not a turnip. *ac*na

CD 01867: Krishna Das: Breath of the Heart. "To my mind this the best Krishna Das cd yet. It has been interesting to watch his music evolve over his four cds. This latest one is basically straight up Hindu devotional chanting, with very nice accompaniment, and excellently produced. Once again all the kirtans have the extended lengths that he used on the Live on Earth album, and this allows the chanting time to fully develop" [from an Amazon.com customer review]. *am*is*na*re

CD 01866: Chris Whitley: Living with the Law. Whitley seems to be a spokesperson for the "I'm here but God knows why or what for" sector; this CD is permeated with good-old-boy singing on various bluesy and country subjects, to a simple but edgy rock accompaniment. The effort here is a lot artsier than most music of this type manages to be, and to good effect. *cy*rk*ss

CD 01865: The English Beat: What Is Beat? This rather short-lived English band was one of the most successful of the acts that took part in the late 70s-early 80s ska revival. This is straight-ahead pop music, with catchy tunes and bouncy (sometimes reggae) beats, but avoiding crass commercial hooks. *rk

CD 01863: Khaled: Hafla. "Cheb Khaled is the master of the music style called rai, which combines traditional Algerian (Arabic) music with modern western sounds. This style is appealing to everyone, whether you can understand the lyrics or not. This CD is a collection of all of his finest songs, sung live in concert" [from an Amazon.com customer review]. Celebratory and high-energy, this would be a great party record under the right circumstances! *ia

CD 01862: Kelly Joe Phelps: Slingshot Professionals. Phelps has carved out a niche for himself as a traditional country blues-based acoustic guitarist who sometimes ventures into the adjoining worlds of blues, rock, and country. Excellent guitar, good material and arrangements, and good voice: a winning combination. *ag*bl*cf

CD 01861: Virgínia Rodrigues: Nós. Although this 2000 CD was produced by smoothie Celso Fonseca and features a guest appearance from the great Brazilian singer Caetano Veloso, this is mostly Rodrigues' showcase. She has a splendidly smooth and expressive voice which is ideally displayed here in her covers of a set of rather sad and wistful melodies attached to themes derived from mythology, romance, and history. The Grecian elegance of this material is a whole world removed from most Americans' stereotypic pictures of Brazilian music (e.g., bossa nova). *in*mr

CD 01860: Youssou N'Dour: Egypt. Senegal superstar Youssou "N'Dour continues to do the crossover thing on Egypt, but rather than draw upon Western pop song constructs, he dives into Arabian and Egyptian orchestra music complete with strings, flutes, and percussion. In the past, the singer's voice often had a keening quality that allowed him to soar over his working band, the great Super Etoile, but here N'Dour smoothes over the rough edges to render some of his most delicate and subtle singing to date" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. *ia

CD 01859: Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Wilco does a kind of music that more or less falls into the alternative country-roots rock fusion category. But they are not really a "category" kind of act, being a bit too cerebral both lyrically and production-wise (imaginative use of feedback and other electronic devices, plus occasional use of orchestral backings). Still, they are definitely "in" at the moment, if 568 reviews on this album on Amazon.com is any indication. *ar*cy*el*rk

CD 01858: Mike Watt: Contemplating the Engine Room. This 1997 CD is pretty unusual, both in concept and in execution. Watt describes it as a "punk rock opera"; it consists of a compact cycle of fifteen songs exploring the world and emotions of the modern sailor: those assigned to the engine room of the ship, that is. The music conveying Watt's verging-on-narrative observations is produced by voice, drummer, and one guitarist alone (with some really good licks on guitar by Nels Cline), and, strangely, jumps back and forth from an almost old-timey ambience to a hard rock edge. The material is up to the experiment, however. *rk*ss

CD 01857: Samite: Tunula Eno. Flute and kalimba player, songwriter and vocalist extraordinaire Samite, for all his recent musical successes in the West, has not had an easy time of it. In this set he has put together a lovely group of mostly soft, introspective pieces, sonically closer to folk music than to Afro-pop, and always looking toward his homeland, Uganda. The title cut may be singled out as an especially beautiful piece, especially once you know what it's about. *ia

CD 01856: The Waco Brothers: Electric Waco Chair. Sometimes described as an American version of The Clash, this ensemble has plenty of song-writing and performance chops. "Can a Chicago bar band fronted by a transplanted British punk rocker rekindle the torch of honky-tonk tradition? Launched by the Mekons' Jon Langford as a beer-guzzling genre exercise, the Wacos have become less revivalists than reconstructionists, renewing the spirit if not the style of classic roadhouse renegades" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. *cy*rk

CD 01849: Rob Dougan: Furious Angels. This is pretty intense fare with its "I'll make you sorry, wait and see" kind of lyrics, and oddly set to heavy dance beats interspersed with sampled orchestral classical music. I'm not quite sure what the point was, but the overall effect, including the cover/sleeve art and a second CD containing fully instrumental versions of the first, is attention-grabbing, to say the least. *ho*rk*ss

CD 01848: Ghazal: The Rain. Ghazal is the duo Kayhan Kalhor and Shujaat Husain Khan, respectively a Persian master of the kamancheh (a bowed instrument a bit like a violin, though played more like a cello), and an Indian virtuoso on the sitar. The three works on this CD are improvisations based on Indian and Persian traditional themes, accompanied by tabla. A perfect blend of musical cultures this, with plenty of intense, mysterious, reflection. *is

CD 01846: Mark Isham: Vapor Drawings. Mark Isham is one of the most successful composers of instrumental--especially film--music of the past twenty-five years, and has a slew of awards and award nominations to prove it. He is also a well known stylist on the trumpet, with dozens of sessions on major performers' releases to his credit. Vapor Drawings is unique among all of these successes; it was his first solo album and featured a good deal of brilliant synthesizer work in addition to his atmospheric arrangements and trumpet play *am*el*jz*na

CD 01844: Mark Lanegan: Whiskey for the Holy Ghost. This is just about as close and intimate as a good-old-whiskey-drinking-boy with a case of the cosmic woes can get. Lanegan's low, somewhat husky voice is up to the task of raising the material above mere existential moanings, however, and I have to admit that dark as the tone often gets here, it's a voice in favor of survival rather than oblivion. *cy*ss

CD 01843: Lisa Gerrard: Whale Rider. This is the music to the soundtrack of the highly successful small-budget movie about the Maoris of New Zealand. Lisa Gerrard's score is magically atmospheric and fresh, just as it should be considering the subject matter, and this in itself is refreshing: her work for Dead Can Dance and out on her own has not always managed to steer clear of airs of self-import. *fi*im*na

CD 01842: Kronos Quartet: Harry Partch: U.S. Highball. Well, you may have heard of the Kronos Quartet, but how about Harry Partch? Partch, who died in 1974, was one of America's most original and iconoclastic musical voices. He was influenced by folk music, American Indian and ancient Greek forms, and African and Asian music, and devised a whole family of unique instruments to play his own compositions, which were based on just intonation theory. But he also spent many of his years as a hobo and alcoholic, and the piece 'U. S. Highball'--partly sung and partly narrated, all in hobo idiom--reflects his general alienation with the musical establishment. *cl

CD 01841: Celso Fonseca: Natural. "Natural revisits the roots of bossa nova and samba, with instrumentation that is purposefully stripped down to Celso Fonseca's sensual voice and acoustic guitar accompanied by piano, percussion and acoustic bass" [from celsofonseca.calabashmusic.com]. This is definitely the kind of smooth, intimate fare you want on the player while relaxing with your main squeeze (or squeeze-to-be...). *in*mr

CD 01840: Issa Bagayogo: Sya. Bagayogo is another of the many fine string instrument players hailing from the West African country of Mali. Here he plays and sings a set of his own sprightly songs in a folk instrument-based style set closer to a traditional than an "Afro-pop" model. *ia

CD 01839: Tim Story: Lunz. Story specializes in a light jazz-influenced form of ambient new age piano playing, not short on technique or cerebral wanderings, but remaining atmospheric enough to qualify as "New Age" fare. Here he collaborates with German electronic music pioneer Hans-Joachim Roedelius. *am*el*na*pf

CD 01838: Iggy Pop: Nude and Rude: The Best Of. A sample of songs/performances by the legendary rock performer, with and without the Stooges, starting with the 70s and his collaborations with David Bowie, and reaching into the 90s. *ar*rk

CD 01837: Ray Kane: Wa'ahila. Ray Kane is among the most illustrious names associated with slack key, "the finger-style guitar tradition unique to Hawai'i. The development of the slack key began with the paniolo (Hawaiian cowboys) in the early 1800s. This tradition is characterized by a variety of tunings and the wealth of deep feelings each artist brings to the music" [from the liner notes]. This is a beautiful, graceful and easy style of music, very "Hawaiian-sounding," yet also capable of sustaining virtuostic play on the guitar. Both vocal and instrumental performances are included here. *ag*in*tf

CD 01836: Five Blind Boys of Alabama: Oh Lord--Stand By Me / Marching Up to Zion. A "twofer" collection of some of this celebrated gospel group's finest material. *re

CD 01835: O Brother Where Art Thou (soundtrack). The soundtrack to the hit George Clooney et al. movie, containing period music of the rural sort: country blues, gospel, old-timey, country, and folk. By an array of artists, including Norman Blake, Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris, The Cox Family, the Fairfield Four, Ralph Stanley, John Hartford, and others. *bg*bl*cy*fi*re*tf

CD 01808: Ali Farka Toure: Niafunke. Recorded in Toure's home village of Niafunke, Mali, on the banks of the Niger River, this remarkable set features both Toure's highly American blues-influenced style and the ambience of rural West Africa. "We found the perfect 'studio'--a crumbling building with high arched corridors and domed chambers, standing alone and abandoned just outside the village...On the third day, as dark descended and the snakes and mosquitoes came out, Ali arrived, plugged in his guitar and started to play" [from the liner notes]. *ag*bl*ia

CD 01807: Bill Frisell: Unspeakable. Guitarist Bill Frisell continues his remarkable recent success with this 2004 release, a 2005 Grammy winner for best jazz album. Like the previous year's The Intercontinentals, it features a slow, ambling, intimate yet cerebral approach drawing on all kinds of musical influences, urban and rural, local and intercontinental. *eg*im*jz

CD 01806: California Guitar Trio: Rocks the West. A set of live performances at several venues by one of the best cross-over classical acts. Listening to 'Bohemian Rhapsody' as performed by a classical guitar trio is a pretty strange experience... *ag*cl

CD 01805: John Cage, Lou Harrison, et al.: Percussion Works By. A CD of works for percussion by recent classical composers, as performed by the Continuum Percussion Quartet. *cl

CD 01803: David Grisman Quintet: Dawgnation. David Grisman is "Mr. Mandolin" in the world of Dawg Music, his own term for a style of instrumental bluegrass that features tight virtuoso ensemble playing with a distinct jazz accent. *ac*bg

CD 01802: Vas: Feast of Silence. The 2004, fourth, and possibly last, release by this eclectic, New Age/international/gothic-leaning duo. Apart from her mysterious beauty and great voice, co-leader Azam Ali is a virtuoso on the hammered dulcimer and has evolved a style joining various Middle Eastern and ancient European traditions with her Persian heritage. Californian Greg Ellis, "the other half," specializes in tasteful production and arrangement, and play on a kitchen sink's worth of percussion instruments. *ie*is*na

CD 01801: Robin Williamson: The Seed-at-Zero. "Williamson has set himself a great challenge in setting so many poems by [Dylan] Thomas... That the album works as well as it does is a tribute to Williamson's restraint. Accompanied variously by his guitar, harp, and mandolin, Williamson's voice, ravaged by time, touring, and smoke, is always in service to the words, and his uncluttered arrangements leave ample space in which each syllable can be fully heard and savored... The result is less musical (not a criticism) than bardic, less a collection of songs that are simply more literate than the norm and more an evening with a singer of Celtic lays ancient and modern..." [from www.ecmrecords.com] *ce*cf*ie*tf

CD 01800: Lyle Lovett: Lyle Lovett. The 1986 debut album from this now-icon of American singer-songwriters. *ss*cy

CD 01799: Tony Rice: The Bluegrass Guitar Collection. "No other guitarist in the last thirty years has had a greater impact on bluegrass music than Tony Rice" [from the liner notes]. This collection of 21 pieces from various sources includes an incredible array of sidemen, e.g. Doc Watson, Bela Fleck, Richard Greene, David Grisman, Norman Blake, Darol Anger, Sam Bush, Vassar Clements, Jerry Douglas, and J. D. Crowe. *ac*ag*bg

CD 01798: Frank Zappa: Lumpy Gravy. Another one of the late Frank Zappa's classic releases, this one from 1968, with Frank's cerebral bathroom humor enhanced by the tight, Stravinsky-esque play of the "Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra & Chorus," and a collage format. *ar*rk

CD 01797: The Flying Burrito Brothers: The Gilded Palace of Sin. This, the sensational first album by the Flying Burrito Brothers (Gram Parsons, Chris Hillman, Chris Ethridge, and Sneeky Pete), marked the emergence of a new style of music gently blending rock, folk and country ethics. It was released in 1968 to general acclaim, but the band was never quite able to repeat its success. Within five years Parsons was dead of an accidental drug overdose; Hillman (of ex-Byrds fame) remains active. Contains the Parsons/Hillman classic, 'Sin City': "On the thirty-first floor, a gold-plated door won't keep out the Lord's burning rain..." *cf*cy*rk

CD 01796: The Allman Brothers Band: At Fillmore East. A "top three" of classic live rock 'n roll performances must surely include this legendary set, recorded shortly before Duane Allman, and then bassist Berry Oakley, were killed in separate accidents. At the time of his death Allman had a reputation as an electric guitarist second only to Jimi Hendrix's on this side of the Atlantic; he especially excelled as a slide player. *eg*rk

CD 01795: Sacred Spirit: Chants and Dances of the Native Americans. This CD of mostly traditional vocal and instrumental pieces was nominated for a Grammy in the new age category in 1995. Though dressed up a bit instrumentally and atmospherically, it manages to stay faithful to the simplicity and warmth inherent in the source material. *in*na

CD 01794: Elvis Costello & The Impostors: The Delivery Man. A 2004 release by one of the best singer-songwriters around, a man with obvious rock roots, but who works hard to keep his approach fresh and evolving. *rk*ss

CD 01793: Jan Garbarek & the Hilliard Ensemble: Mnemosyne. This 1999 recording continues the remarkable success Garbarek and the Hilliards had with the earlier Officium, in which Garbarek improvised saxophone lines over the largely Renaissance vocal material prepared by the group. Both recordings raised a lot of eyebrows when they came out, but a lot of people bought them, too. *cl*jz

CD 01792: Mouth Music: Mo-Di. This is a set that almost defies description, though it is in part based on West African and British Isles mouth music styles. Some of the pieces on the CD sound just that way: international and folk-like or even new agey, but the rest, though starting in a similar place, are put through electronics-crowded arrangements that produce a much more intense, even sinister, effect. A sizable crossover hit in 1993 on the college, international, and new age charts. *ar*ia*na*rk

CD 01791: John McCutcheon: Winter Solstice. Billed as "hammer dulcimer music for Christmas, Chanukah, and the New Year's season," this set features McCutcheon's usual solid performances on hammer dulcimer, guitar, and vocals, and a lot of other acoustic instruments. It also includes McCutcheon's best known composition, 'Christmas in the Trenches,' a frequently covered accounting of a remarkable story from World War I. *ac*cf*ss

CD 01790: Santana: Abraxas. The thirtieth anniversary edition of this classic rock album, digitally remastered, with three bonus tracks taken from a 1970 live performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London. *rk

CD 01789: Jonathan Elias: American River. In American River Elias has composed a remarkable mood piece chronicling the evolution of the human occupation of the American continent, with a considerable emphasis on native American traditions. The work is part folk music, part chamber music, part new age, and part spoken word (with guest recitals by Johnny Cash, Rosanne Cash, and Kris Kristofferson). The CD was nominated for a 2005 Grammy. *cl*im*na*pc

CD 01788: Cesaria Evora: Voz d'Amor. "The Cape Verdean vocalist first turned heads on the international stage a decade ago when she was in her 50s. Now considered one of the leading figures in the morna style, a sort of slow paced blues packed with mournful lyrics, her 9th studio album is an instant classic. Dubbed the 'barefoot diva' for her habit of performing shoeless, Evora's voice is reminiscent of a mix of Edith Piaf and Billie Holiday, rich and instantly recognizable" [from www.bluecoupe.com]. A Grammy winner from a couple of years back. *bl*ia*jz*mr

CD 01787: Stefan Grossman: Yazoo Basin Boogie. If you're a fan of solo acoustic country blues guitar, things don't get much better than this. Strangely, Grossman recorded this in a maid's closet in Italy in the late 60s, but by then he was already his generation's leading student of the form, and the result was a set of twenty-two short pieces that brilliantly explore both the elegance and the virtuostic potential of the medium. *ag*bl*tf

CD 01786: Enya: Shepherd Moons. Shepherd Moons won Enya a 1991 Grammy award and has been certified quintuple-platinum. Enough said, especially for a recording not falling within a strictly pop classification. You can't help but admire the girl for her sheer stylistic originality, even if most of her recordings repeat the same basic theme of ultra-Celtic-romanticism and mega-overdubbing. *ce*na

CD 01785: June Tabor: Airs and Graces. June Tabor, of the deep, smooth and mysterious voice, is perhaps her generation's leading interpreter of English traditional material. This was her first solo recording, with sparse backing instrumentally, and it set the tone for later works in which she began to meander in the direction of an almost jazz-like delivery--a slow, acute brand of jazz. Most of the material is traditional, but the set also includes a riveting version of Eric Bogle's 'The Band Played Waltzing Matilda.' *cf*ie*tf

CD 01784: Henry Wolff & Nancy Hennings: Tibetan Bells. This recording, originally released way back in 1972, has often been referred to as "an underground classic," and for good reason. It spawned a whole series of works featuring such instruments, remarkable for their clarity and sustain (to a degree that many listeners believed that some of the sound must have been electronically produced--it wasn't). This is as "new age" as it gets, at least to the extent that the mood invoked is both authentic and ideally meditative, pure, and pristine. *ac*is*na

CD 01776: Willie Nelson: Red Headed Stranger. This classic 1975 album from one of the best known figures in American music needs no further introduction, save to say that the CD reissue contains four bonus tracks not on the original recording. *cy*ss

CD 01775: Stephan Micus: Ocean. Stephan Micus creates a style of music that is wholly his own: it is both unique, and difficult to describe. He has learned to play several dozen folk instruments from traditions circling the globe, combining and multi-tracking them into highly personal statements that explore all that is authentically human in mind and spirit. This is a music that shuns all commercialism and gloss, in so doing managing to deliver a terrific emotional wallop. *ac*im*na

CD 01774: Shankar: Vision. Electric violinist Shankar (not to be confused with Ravi Shankar) is one of the small number of virtuoso fiddlers plying the waters of jazz. The Indian influence here is obvious, but so too is the spacy, ambient jazz flavor, heightened both by Shankar's own play on his 10-string stereophonic double violin, and the guest work of Jan Garbarek on sax, and Palle Mikkelborg on trumpet and flugelhorn. Composition titles include the likes of 'Psychic Elephant,' 'Astral Projection,' and the title cut. *am*is*jz

CD 01773: Roy Rogers: Pleasure and Pain. Roy Rogers (the guitarist, not the cowboy!) has been in the business for over twenty years, long enough at last count to have picked up eight Grammy nominations for production and performance, plus three W. C. Handy Award nominations. Rogers is one of the best slide guitarists around and scarcely inferior as a straight acoustic blues or electric player. This 1998 release includes fairly typical fare for him, acoustic and electric blues in a small combo setting, with most of the tracks written by Rogers himself. Several cuts feature Philip Aaberg sitting in on piano. *ac*ag*bl*eg*rk

CD 01772: The Kinks: Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround. This is one of my favorite Kinks albums, from 1970. Yes, it does contain the hit songs 'Lola' and 'Apeman,' but don't let this distract you from other gems like 'Top of the Pops' ("and now you can *really* make some money..."), 'This Time Tomorrow,' 'Get Back in Line,' and 'Strangers.' *rk*ss

CD 01771: Magical Strings: On the Burren. This is the sort of music one would expect from a couple (Pam and Philip Boulding) living a seemingly idyllic existence on a farm by the Puget Sound: hammered dulcimer-, harp- and whistle-based, and sounding rather traditional and folksy-new age in mood. If that sounds just a bit too "cute" for your tastes, hold off judgment for a bit: the Bouldings are fine instrumentalists and arrangers, and have managed to create a real novelty: a sparkling, happy, sound that breathes with maturity and spirituality. *ac*cf*na

CD 01770: Bill Frisell: Good Dog Happy Man. This 1999 release of easy-going unclassifiable instrumental music from guitarist Bill Frisell and friends (Greg Leisz, Wayne Horvitz, Viktor Krauss, Jim Keltner, and Ry Cooder) ambles along, just like a happy dog freely making its way down a shady lane. A little bit jazzy, a little bit folky, a little bit country, it creates a really nice, mellow mood. *ac*ag*eg*im*jz

CD 01769: Ewan MacColl: Black and White, the Definitive Collection. The U.S. really has had no figure comparable to Ewan MacColl (1915-1989), though Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger come close. MacColl was one of his country's leading voices for social reform; he expressed this through journalistic writings, organizing theatre workshop settings, composing radio-plays, and last but not least his songs, many of which are well known to folkies ('Dirty Old Town,' 'The Shoals of Herring,' 'Black and White,' 'Moving-On Song,' 'Sweet Thames Flow Softly,' 'The Big Hewer,' etc.), and at least one--'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face'--to the greater public. Beyond this, he had a wonderfully expressive voice and was one of the last century's finest interpreters (and leading collectors) of English traditional music. *cf*ie*pc*ss*tf

CD 01768: Shankar: Eternal Light. In this 2000 release jazz violinist Shankar celebrates the 25th anniversary of his performing with master musicians Zakir Hussain (tabla) and T. H. Vinayakram (ghatam). To the Western ear the material sounds fairly typically Indian classical, though Shankar composed it all, and there is no one who contributes a more distinctive sound to ensemble playing than he does with his double-stringed electric violin. *cl*is*jz

CD 01724: Camel: Music Inspired by The Snow Goose. Through the leadership of keyboards player Peter Bardens (who died in 2002), Camel became one of Britain's leading progressive rock bands in the 1970s. Their all-instrumental Snow Goose concept album was based on the famous Paul Gallico story, and reminds me a lot of a somewhat gentler Yes, with a little bit of Alman Brothers and Mike Oldfield thrown in for good measure. This 2002 re-issue contains three alternate takes and sixteen minutes culled from a live performance of the work. *ar*rk

CD 01699: Penguin Cafe Orchestra: Broadcasting from Home. When the founder of PCO, Simon Jeffes, died in 1997, there could be no extending the life of this unique group. Nominally a light chamber music ensemble, PCO reflected the eclectic avant garde tastes of its leader in a way few bands have. This is the kind of quirky, esoteric, and erudite pop instrumental music likely to be embraced by those who enjoy New Yorker cartoons. *ac*cl*im

CD 01698: Momo: The Birth of Dar. "Gnawa is a music that travelled to North Africa from West Africa through slavery and now is such a big part of Moroccan culture...it is very rhythmic, it encourages people to dance. Momo play a variety of traditional Moroccan instruments while also employing a western drum kit and samples. This hybrid is what Momo call Dar music...a potent mix of North African and electronic beats" [from www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/world]. *ia

CD 01697: Caravan In the Land of Grey and Pink. Caravan was one of a genre of late 60s/early 70s British rock bands (also, King Crimson, Camel, Pink Floyd, Gentle Giant, Soft Machine, Moody Blues, Soft Machine, Roxy Music, etc., etc.) that aspired to something a bit loftier than head-banging noise, wimpish teenbeat, or warmed-over American blues. Of these Caravan was perhaps the "artsy-est," featuring calm (but not undramatic) subject themes, vocals and instrumental explorations that link them to the kinds of gentle sounds Brian Eno would produce some ten or fifteen years later. *ar*rk

CD 01675: Bloomfield, Kooper & Stills: Super Session. A classic 1968 release of performances by Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper, and Stephen Stills at the Fillmore East in New York. Bloomfield especially shines in his lead guitar role. With four bonus tracks, including a remix without horns of the group's take on Donovan's jewel, 'Season of the Witch.' *bl*eg*rk

CD 01672: Jim Brickman: Picture This. Jim Brickman has made his name through a long series of recordings featuring solo piano play. Picture This, from 1997, is perhaps the most successful of these. "Jim Brickman would like you to picture a world that is prettier, more contented, and more emotionally in-tune than the world you probably see through your windshield each day. It may be just wishful thinking, but Brickman's music indulges in the dream anyway, and those inclined to share in the momentary journey will find it is a lovely, often romantic ride" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. *mr*na*pf

CD 01671: Patty Larkin: Tango. Boston's Patty Larkin has put out a number of successful CDs featuring her strong contemporary folkish song-writing, vocalizing, and acoustic guitar talents. Her sidemen on this 1991 release include Michael Manring on bass, John Gorka on vocals, Mike Marshall on mandolin, and Darol Anger on violin. *ag*cf*ss

CD 01670: Dennis Brown: Love & Hate. A "Best Of" package featuring fifteen cuts by one of the late but great masters of the reggae genre. Includes a reading of the classic 'Silhouette,' perhaps his best known song. *in*rg

CD 01669: Ryuichi Sakamoto: Soundbytes. Ryuichi Sakamoto's career extends back to the late 70s, when he started out as a session musician and producer for various jazz, rock, and classical projects. He soon moved on, however, developing a sizable reputation as a synthesizer player and becoming increasingly influential in the emerging techno, ambient and club scenes (and later in the worlds of film and ambient composition). This 1994 issue collects various rave and electro-pop oriented tracks of his recorded in the 1980s. *am*el*ho

CD 01665: Gram Parsons: GP / Grievous Angel. Sadly, Gram Parsons was not with us for very long (he died in 1973 at the age of only 26), but in the five short years he was he managed to become perhaps the single most important pioneer of country rock--both through his stints with the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, and these two classic solo albums. Sidemen on these sessions include Emmylou Harris, Rik Grech, James Burton, Byron Berline, and Linda Ronstadt. *cy*rk

CD 01664: Vasen: Live at the Nordic Roots Festival. The Swedish folk band Vasen stays fairly close to a traditional acoustic sound, though one of their four members is a percussionist. Here they are recorded live at a 2000 festival. *ac*cf*ie*tf

CD 01663: Hassan Hakmoun: The Gift. Hassan Hakmoun is the leading musical voice for the Gnawa of Morocco. "This musical form steeped in Islamic mysticism and West African rhythms lifts the spirit and heals the wounded with songs of praises...the primary role of the Gnawi is as intermediaries in the spirit world" [from the liner notes]. This CD won a 2003 AFIM Indie award for Best Contemporary World Recording. *ia

CD 01662: Del McCoury: A Deeper Shade of Blue. A lot of people would claim that Del McCoury rests at the top of the heap in the bluegrass world, both as a guitarist and vocalist, and as a band leader. This 1994 release won an IBMA award and was nominated for a Grammy. *bg*ac

CD 01661: Holly Near: Edge. Holly Near's career path started out a bit oddly--from an early role in Broadway's Hair to a stint with Jane Fonda's Free the Army revue--but she is, after all, mostly in the tradition of the political protest folkies: people like Pete Seeger and Malvina Reynolds. Edge, from 2000, shows that she continues to be at the peak of her powers as a critic, role model, protester, and independent spirit. *cf*pc*ss*wm

CD 01660: Jimmie Dale Gilmore: After Awhile. There's a good deal of Willie Nelson to be heard here in Gilmore's plaintive voice and short, crisp, laid-back songs. But he manages to put his own musical imprint on the material as well; it's not exactly country, or blues, or rock, or contemporary folk, but someplace that manages to combine them all. *cy*rk

CD 01659: Billy Bragg: Back to Basics. This collection of material from two of Bragg's earlier albums was a big success, a showcase for his brash, socialist, "punk-folk" approach to reality. *cf*pc*ss

CD 01658: k. d. lang: Absolute Torch and Twang. k. d. lang's voyage through the hinterlands of art-country culminated in 1989 with this release. A 1990 Grammy winner for Best Country Vocal Performance, Female. *cy

CD 01657: Oysterband: From Little Rock to Leipzig. This 1991 release by one of England's best known folk rock bands features them in live performances. Includes a reading of their stellar composition 'The Oxford Girl,' a minor masterpiece of social commentary. *ac*cf*rk

CD 01656: Klaus Schulze: The Essential 72-93. No discussion of the history of electronic music can proceed very far without mentioning German-born synthesist Klaus Schulze. A founding father of (and profoundly influential figure on) both this and "New Age" genres, Schulze was an original member of Tangerine Dream in the late 60s but left the group early on to pursue a lucrative solo career. This two-CD set compiles over 140 minutes of Schulze's legacy, beginning with his first solo release in 1972. *am*ar*el*im*na*pf

CD 01655: Baaba Maal: Nomad Soul. On this 1998 release by Senegalese singer/songwriter Baaba Maal "you will find collaborations with ambient pioneers Brian Eno and Jon Hassell, Celtic influences with Irish singers 'The Screaming Orphans,' and a duet with reggae star Luciano. Afro Celt Sound System mainstay Simon Emmerson produces, as do Groucho Smykle, Ron Aslan, and Mykael Riley" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. *ia*pc*ss

CD 01646: Love: Forever Changes. Love didn't last very long, but while it was around in the mid-60s it and its group leader, guitarist Arthur Lee, managed to produce two classic rock singles ('7 and 7 Is,' and a crazed version of Burt Bacharach's 'My Little Red Book') and this 1967 album, generally acknowledged as a masterwork of its genre. This CD re-issue includes a generous seven bonus tracks. *eg*rk

CD 01643: Michael Hedges: Aerial Boundaries. Hedges' early recording Aerial Boundaries was a milestone work. "Hedges unleashed a stunning new vocabulary of finger-tapping, hammering, and harmonic slaps--processed with electronics and reverb--that still resounds today in the playing of artists from Ani Di Franco to Preston Reed" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. A Grammy-nominated album in 1985. *ac*ag

CD 01642: The Band: Music from Big Pink. This is classic fare from The Band, Robbie Robertson's 60s/70s unit, at an early point in their career path. Includes a lot of good rural, down-home folk-country-rock, including 'The Weight,' 'I Shall Be Released,' and 'Tears of Rage'--and the somewhat anomalous yet extraordinarily powerful organ piece, 'Chest Fever.' Inducted in 1998 into the Grammy Hall of Fame. *cf*rk

CD 01641: Iris Dement: Infamous Angel. Country-contemporary folk singer-songwriter Iris Dement's career took off like a shot in the early 90s. This is her first CD, from 1992-3, which includes such gems as 'Let the Mystery Be' and 'Our Town.' *cf*cy*ss*wm

CD 01640: Egberto Gismonti: Dança das Cabeças. Gismonti, one of the leading contemporary Brazilian performers and composers on guitar and piano, is simply brilliant here in his 1977 ECM solo debut album. Backed by Nana Vasconcelos on percussion, Gismonti is spurred on to some of the most virtuostic performances committed to record this side of Keith Jarrett. *ac*ag*in*jz*pf

CD 01639: Soft Machine: BBC Radio 1967-1971. Soft Machine, with its ever-changing lineup (including, early on, Daevid Allen and Kevin Ayers, and during their heyday Robert Wyatt, Mike Ratledge, Hugh Hopper, and Elton Dean) was one of the most adventurous bands of the period. Originally exploring a psychedelic kind of rock, they rapidly mutated to a jazz-rock or even dadaist orientation that made them pioneers of these forms of art-rock. The material in this collection comes from their early, most creative, period. *ar*jz*rk

CD 01638: Nick Drake: Bryter Layter. British folkie Nick Drake is a late addition to that elite of great "what if" performers like Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and Jimi Hendrix who died in the 1970s before exhausting--or probably even reaching--their potential. Does he really belong with these names? 'Don't know, though a Google search I just did pulls up more hits on his name than it does for Pete Townshend, Richard Thompson, or Steve Winwood, some equally well known characters, so maybe. In any case, this is his second, most upbeat, release, from 1970. *ag*cf*ss

CD 01631: Egberto Gismonti: Sol Do Meio Dia. More of the last word in virtuostic display on guitar. This driving Brazilian folk themes-based jazz recording is dedicated to the environment-inspired teachings of two tribes of Amazonian Indians. The sidemen here on this 1978 ECM release are Nana Vasconcelos, Ralph Towner, Collin Walcott, and Jan Garbarek--quite a solid group! *ac*ag*in*jz*pf

CD 01630: Bruce Hornsby: Spirit Trail. A 2-CD collection of Hornsby material originally released from 1986-1995. *pf*rk*ss

CD 01629: Martin Simpson: When I Was on Horseback. In this 1991 release Simpson remains close to his strength, astonishingly polished, technically brilliant instrumental renditions of traditional English and American folk material: songs, reels, jigs, etc. Simpson's guitar technique is so--beautiful--that this work also rates as New Age fare to the extent that one feels in the presence not just of "old" material, but of a spirit that can only be for all the ages. *ac*ag*cf*na*tf

CD 01628: Steeleye Span: Spanning the Years. Steeleye Span formed in the late 60s and, despite constant personnel changes, is still active. This was the leading string band of the 60s/70s folk revival scene in Britain, featuring imaginative (sometimes stunning) arrangements of traditional material, and one of the most outstanding voices in all of folk music, Maddy Prior. This 1995 2-CD compilation includes some (but by no means all!) of the best material from the first twenty years plus of the band's career. *ac*cf*ie*tf

CD 01627: Queen Ida & the Bon Temps Zydeco Band: On Tour. Featuring Al Rapone on vocals, and Queen Ida on vocals and some very tasty accordion. The real deal in authentic zydeco! *ca*tf

CD 01626: Annie Lennox: Medusa. Lennox, in a past incarnation singer for the group Eurythmics (and focus of some of the most visually startling music videos of the 80s), is out on her own in this 1995 release. Lennox sings covers here--of all sorts of material, ranging from 'I Can't Get Next to You' (the Temptations single) to 'A Whiter Shade of Pale' and 'A Thin Line Between Love and Hate.' *rk*wm

CD 01625: Robert Mirabal: Taos Tales. This beautifully realized project marries a New Age musical vision to Native American cultural and spiritual themes. "Robert Mirabal aurally gives form, function, and sacred breath to the commanding vision and essence of the magnificent Taos Valley. Flute, strings, and keyboard reflect the wide blue sky stretching over the high road into the town below. Percussion and samples capture the essence of the wind's spirit as it sculpts and buffets the rain-splashed earth. An atmospheric odyssey of history and myth, Taos Tales is splendid, humble, and vital" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. *in*na

CD 01624: Ofra Haza: Shaday. Ofra Haza, whose death at age 41 in 2000 appears to have been due to AIDS, has been referred to as Israel's pop star laureate. She was in fact her country's leading singer; she spoke five languages and could sing in several more, and had been asked to perform at a number of major national events (for example, a memorial concert staged after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin). Her highly publicized final hospitalization became a national ordeal. Shaday is one of her better known albums, featuring a bit more of a pop feel than a lot of her other material. *is*mr

CD 01609: Roxy Music: Avalon. A remastered version of the classic British rock album from 1982 featuring Bryan Ferry on vocals and keyboards (he also wrote just about all the material), Andy Mackay on sax, and Phil Manzanera on guitar. This work was Roxy Music's last for the time being, and it is quite different from their earlier, expressly avant garde, explorations, being decidedly a romantic work with more poetic aspirations. *rk

CD 01608: Moby: Ambient. Moby's ambient CD is very ambient indeed, yet still manages to relay the personality of the artist. "Moby's more conventional song structures will appeal to those who find Robert Fripp and Brian Eno's experimentation unpalatable. 'Myopia' is a good representation of Moby's ability to write accessible ambient music that never strays too far into the abstract" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. *am*el

CD 01607: Graham Parker and the Rumour: Squeezing Out Sparks + Live Sparks. This 1979 release is still Parker's best known work, and it's made all the more interesting in this package with the inclusion of a live set of the same material--recorded right around the same time. *rk*ss

CD 01599: Olu Dara: Neighborhoods. I don't know much about Olu Dara, but I do know that this 2001 CD of his exposes a considerable talent for assimilating styles--international rhythms, r & b, funk, blues, contemporary folk and jazz--all delivered with a wry, casual flair that Randy Newman would be proud of. One of the best toss-off lines I've ever heard in a song comes from his 'At the Movie Show': "...And Liz Taylor she got an anatomy award, yes she did..." 'With a strong array of sidemen, and cameo appearances by the likes of Cassandra Wilson and Dr. John. *bl*jz*rb*ss

CD 01598: Kate Bush: The Sensual World. Kate Bush: Could there possibly be another woman in popular music who better expresses through her art the combined qualities of sensuality, sophistication, and intelligence than she does? If there is--please introduce me to her... *rk*ss*wm

CD 01597: Stefan Grossman & Duck Baker: Northern Skies, Southern Blues. Stefan Grossman and Duck Baker are two of the very best traditional blues and ragtime pickers in the business. This CD features them in a set of duets, performing both old standards (like Elizabeth Cotten's 'Freight Train' and 'Shake Sugaree') and some of their own compositions and arrangements. *ac*ag*bl*cf*tf

CD 01596: Tim Hardin: Reason to Believe (The Best Of). A one-CD compilation of fifteen of the late Tim Hardin's best songs, including the title track, 'Misty Roses,' 'If I Were a Carpenter,' and others. Hardin was one of the 60s' quintessential contemporary folkies; not only was he a very fine writer, but he had quite an amazing voice: diminished yet winsome, and capable of squeezing every ounce of emotion out of his material. *cf*ss

CD 01584: They Might Be Giants: They Might Be Giants. The duo that is They Might Be Giants has done out-and-out children's albums, but all of their releases (including this, their 1986 debut) feature a child-like approach to musical delivery, even when the material itself verges on (or even moves well into) the darker realms: "I don't understand what you did to my dog--Youth culture killed my dog--And I don't think it's fair--And his suicide can be justified--By the tastemakers, how they cried and cried..." (from 'Youth Culture Killed My Dog'). *ar*rk

CD 01573: Turtle Island String Quartet: Danzón. "Throughout the group's history, TISQ has consistently pushed the envelope of stylistic interpretation, blending the worlds of classical music and jazz with other cultural sounds" [from the liner notes]. In other words, they see themselves in a role not unlike the Kronos Quartet's, serving as cross-cultural ambassadors. The target on this CD: Latin sounds. *cl*im

CD 01572: Billy Bragg & Wilco: Mermaid Avenue. "Easily the strangest co-op project ever, and easily one of the finest and most evocative albums of the year. British socialist and folkie Billy Bragg was given unprecedented access to Woody Guthrie's unrecorded lyrics. Teaming up with alt-country band Wilco and quoting from more than 50 years of country, folk, and rock music, Billy and company bring Guthrie's politics, poetry, and morality to the end of the century..." [from an Amazon.com editorial review] *cf*rk*ss

CD 01571: Eric Bogle: Something of Value. Australian contemporary folkie Eric Bogle has carved out an enviable reputation as a writer of sensitive material, often aimed at social injustices and political targets (his early works 'The Band Played Waltzing Matilda' and 'No Man's Land' are among the most potent anti-war songs ever written, and many singers have recorded them). In 2001 he was even named "Australian Humanist of the Year" for his continuing efforts. *cf*ss

CD 01570: Alison Krauss: I've Got That Old Feeling. A glimpse of the beginning of the professional career of the woman who as much as anyone has brought traditional country and bluegrass styles to a commercially wider following. *ac*bg*cy*tf

CD 01569: Warren Zevon: Warren Zevon. Singer-songwriter Warren Zevon's death in 2003 robbed the contemporary music world of one of its most irreverent talents. This is his breakthrough 1976 album, including one of his signature tracks, 'Poor Poor Pitiful Me.' *ss

CD 01568: Liz Story: Solid Colors. Liz Story's forte has always been a clean, clear Windham Hill style of solo piano play. This release--one of her early works, from 1982--is no exception. *na*pf

CD 01567: Erykah Badu: Baduizm. "Badu and her large turban appeared out of nowhere in early 1997, on a murmuring, romantic album that trod the median between old-school soul and contemporary electronic R&B. Badu's songs, especially the hit 'On & On' and the catchy 'Certainly,' recall Sade in their polished, subtle sexiness. Badu almost never raises her voice--save the occasional "ooh-wee!" exultation--but she skillfully uses repetition and chanting to empower her words" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. *jz*rb

CD 01566: John Hiatt: Bring the Family. Hiatt's career began in the 1970s, and since then he's attracted a cult following as a performer while supplying song material for acts ranging from Iggy Pop and Dr. Feelgood to the Neville Brothers, Emmylou Harris and Three Dog Night. In this 1987 recording Hiatt brings some simple but solid bluesy acoustic/electric rock arrangements (with sidemen Ry Cooder, Nick Lowe, and Jim Keltner) to a set of ten of his own songs. *rk*ss

CD 01565: Anthony Braxton: 3 Compositions of New Jazz. This late 60s album explored an experimental and rather abstract, minimalist approach to jazz that might not be to everyone's taste, yet it was an influential release both in its own time and later, and still can be viewed as exploring a group essence concept that is fundamental to all kinds of music. *jz

CD 01564: Professor Longhair: Rock 'n Roll Gumbo. Henry Roeland Byrd, aka Professor Longhair, died in 1980. His speciality was a homegrown brand of New Orleans R&B piano play, incorporating blues, rhumba-boogie and calypso stylistic influences. This glowing session from 1972 is testimony to his enormous influence on other artists, ranging from Elvis Presley, Allen Toussaint and Fats Domino, to Dr. John, Art Neville and Huey "Piano" Smith. Note the play here of guest sessionist Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown. *bl*ca*pf*rb

CD 01563: Dar Williams: Mortal City. "This 1996 album was a breakthrough of sorts for Dar Williams, moving her from the obscure folkie circuit to the obscure alternative singer-songwriter circuit. Mortal City comes closest to capturing her live show, and many of the songs here--'Iowa,' 'The Family,' 'The Christians and the Pagans'--have become live-set favorites. Like Williams herself, this disc is sentimental, sincere, and emotional; it's an album about growing up" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. *ss*wm

CD 01562: Ruben Blades y Seis del Solar: Buscando America. "The spirit of Buscando America ("Looking for America") is defined by a restless, searching attitude and a willingness to struggle with deep issues and to confront painful parts of life with strength and resolve. This is a groundbreaking work that adapts global influences, such as the doo-wop intro to 'Decisiones' and the reggae underpinnings of 'Desapariciones,' into a cohesive and powerful musical vision of what Latin American music can be. It engages the mind, touches the heart, and definitely provokes the dancing feet" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. A Grammy nominee in 1984. *in*ss

CD 01561: Arthur Blythe: Lenox Avenue Breakdown. This 1979 "Harlem jazz" album was a real sleeper, making little noise during its time, but increasingly being looked to as one of the best releases of its genre for that period. Up front is Arthur Blythe on alto sax; the sidemen are James Newton (flute), Bob Stewart (tuba), James "Blood" Ulmer (guitar), Cecil McBee (bass), Jack DeJohnette (drums), and Guillermo Franco (percussion). *jz

CD 01560: Van Broussard & the Bayou Boogie Band: 2000. The band's name here pretty much tells you all you need to know about this material: 50s/60s style swamp rock for the ages... *ca*rk

CD 01559: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: Murder Ballads. Truly said, this is mostly pretty perverse stuff (complete with a parental advisory): songs composed in part or entirely by Nick Cave that deal with the commitment of a number of murders--from the point of view, in most cases, of the murderer, and sung accordingly. Eerie, yet strangely compelling fare, never stooping to mere sensationalism. *rk

CD 01558: John Doan: Wayfarer. John Doan plays the harp guitar, an obscure 20-string instrument that produces ethereal tones ideally suited for expressing the feelings and images gathered from a pilgrimage he took in the late 90s to a number of sacred sanctuaries and retreats in the Celtic isles. In large part thanks to Doan's splendid play, this late 1999 release, replete with detailed liner notes describing all the places he visited in his travels, became one of the most successful New Age recordings of the following year. *ac*am*ce*im*na

CD 01557: Lou Reed: Transformer. Recorded in 1972 with the help of Brit glam-rock movers David Bowie and Mick Ronson, this was the album that put proto-punk performer Reed on the map as an individual performer following his days with the Velvet Underground. Includes 'Walk on the Wild Side,' his famous homage to New York's hustler and drag scene, and a couple of previously unreleased bonus cuts. *ar*rk*ss

CD 01556: Sandy Denny: No More Sad Refrains: The Anthology. Sandy Denny died in 1978 at the age of 31, victim of an apparent accidental fall. Over the span of her short career she had established herself as the premier female singer-songwriter in folk rock, both as a solo act and as lead singer for the British bands Fairport Convention and Fotheringay. As a singer she has been highly influential; as a writer she left us with gems like 'Who Knows Where the Time Goes' and 'John the Gun.' This double-CD provides a generous 34 tracks of her best material. *cf*rk*ss*wm

CD 01555: Bruce Cockburn: Anything Anytime Anywhere: Singles 1979-2002. Canadian Bruce Cockburn has been his country's most consistently successful contemporary folk performer since his emergence in the 1970s. Sometimes criticized for his relentlessly liberal philosophy-slanted political attacks, Cockburn has moved closer and closer over the years to a rock/singer-songwriter approach to his craft. *cf*rk*ss

CD 01554: Gipsy Kings: Gipsy Kings. "More than any other band, the Gipsy Kings are responsible for the renewed interest in gypsy music, and this is the album that broke them through to the international mainstream. Although their carefully crafted music is not 'pure' gypsy, their impassioned performances create a window for the uninitiated into the deeper world of flamenco and other styles. If you're not a purist, the Gipsy Kings provide powerful, highly contagious, mostly acoustic music that may represent a new form of contemporary gypsy music for the masses; or you can view it as pure pop" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. *ac*ie

CD 01553: Richard Thompson: Rumor and Sigh. Few performers match Thompson's combined talents as singer-songwriter and instrumentalist (he's one of the leading lights on both electric and acoustic guitars). The ex-Fairport Convention member is at his best on all counts on this 1991 release. *cf*rk*ss

CD 01552: Curtis Mayfield: Gospel. On playing this CD one realizes that it is basically a "greatest hits" package by the celebrated Curtis Mayfield and his Impressions; this shouldn't really come as a surprise, because of all the acts that emerged in the early days of r & b, Mayfield and his group was the one (with the possible exception of Aretha Franklin) most influenced by gospel music. So, we find included in this collection such familiar and glorious standards as 'Keep on Pushing,' 'It's Alright,' 'People Get Ready,' and 'Amen.' Amen. *rb*re

CD 01551: John Zorn: Naked City. John Zorn has composed and performed a lot of pretty weird stuff, and this 1989 recording is no exception. I guess this fare qualifies as jazz, but it is a free form avant garde kind of jazz, laden with sonic allusions to 50s rock, 1930s detective movies, and the Jets and Sharks. Zorn, as usual, is on alto sax, but "dig" the sidemen: Bill Frisell on guitar, Fred Frith on bass, Joey Baron on drums, and Wayne Horvitz on keyboards. *ar*jz

CD 01550: King Crimson: Discipline. King Crimson disappeared as an entity during the late 1970s only to rise phoenix-like from its ashes in a new form with this 1981 release. Whereas the band's early work featured spacey extravaganza-rock not far removed from the work of Pink Floyd and the Moody Blues, the new incarnation was jazzy and tightly wound and featured a more actively progressive attack. The lineup this time around consisted of Adrian Belew, Robert Fripp, Tony Levin, and Bill Bruford--all four both then and now well known figures within the popular music world. *ar*rk

CD 01549: Mary J. Blige: What's the 411? The 1992 hit CD by the originator of what some have called "hip hop soul": "its ghetto-fied grooves dominated the radio then, and they still sound fierce today, even with a slew of lesser imitators attempting to do what the rough and ready Blige did so effortlessly back in the day" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. *hi*rb

CD 01548: Ted Hawkins: The Next Hundred Years. "As a guitarist and vocalist whose performances take place mainly in the streets, Ted Hawkins stands alone in the contemporary music scene. Yet he emerges from a long tradition which includes some of the most important names in folk history--Blind Willie Johnson and Blind Lemon Jefferson, Woody Guthrie and Furry Lewis come readily to mind" [from the liner notes]. *bl*tf

CD 01545: Moby: Play. "The great iconoclast of techno returns with a smooth, sacred, and exhilarating record. Play's concoction of breakbeat rhythms, ambient mixology, and inspired blues and gospel samples cry out across musical genres and histories, imparting a time-tested wisdom to beat-driven ears" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. *am*ar*el*re*rk

CD 01540: Erik Wøllo: Emotional Landscapes. Norwegian Wøllo has a real talent for musical evocation of the ethereal and profound. "This CD will...appeal to every single fan of ambient, electro-acoustic, space and contemporary music. These profound, carefully constructed compositions offer insightful interpretations of the visual and tangible as a metaphor for the internal esoteric landscapes of the imagination" [from the 'Lloyd's Picks' website]. *am*eg*el*na

CD 01538: Ry Cooder: Paradise and Lunch. Ry Cooder has never been easy to pigeonhole; his work includes both production and performance in the worlds of rock, blues, country, and world music, and just about everything he touches is the better for it. In this early release from his catalogue he sticks pretty close to a traditional acoustic blues and old time country base. *ac*bl*tf

CD 01537: Rafael Toral: Sound Mind Sound Body. Although nominally a work primarily for electric guitar, the result here is a wandering ambient sound owing a good deal more to Brian Eno than to rock or jazz style pyrotechnics. *am*el*jz*na

CD 01536: Steven Curtis Chapman: Speechless. This, Steven Curtis Chapman's eleventh album, finally raised him to the very top of the pack of contemporary Christian music performers. *re*rk

CD 01535: Paul Butterfield Blues Band: The Paul Butterfield Blues Band. This memorable 1965 release established vocalist/harmonica player Paul Butterfield--and his two guitarist sidemen on the sessions, Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop--as leading contemporary interpreters of the Chicago blues. *bl

CD 01534: John Gorka: Land of the Bottom Line. There are plenty of singer-songwriters/contemporary folkies out of the Northeast, and Gorka is one of the best. Gorka is one of those "sensitive 90s" kind of guys; his warm baritone voice seems just right for his seemingly endless supply of lost-love songs and poetic, sometimes tongue-in-cheek, musings. *cf*ss

CD 01533: Billy Joe and Eddy Shaver: Tramp on Your Street. 'Two good old boys here in a pleasant and honest 1993 set of rock-influenced country (that is, as opposed to country-influenced rock...) tunes exploring the usual territory, only expressed quite a bit better than the common fare. BJS intended this as a tribute to Hank Williams, and Hank likely would have been proud. *cy*rk*ss

CD 01532: Miriam Makeba: Sangoma. South African Miriam Makeba's career extends back to the 1950s, and for most of that period she has probably been Africa's best known singer in the West (she won a Grammy way back in 1965). As a political activist, unfortunately, she was also exiled from her native land for most of those years. In this 1988 collection she delivers a program of South African traditional songs detailing both the political struggles of her people and their spiritual resourcefulness. *ia*pc*tf

CD 01531: Andreas Vollenweider: Kryptos. One of the key figures in the evolution of "New Age" music, jazz harpist (that is, electrified harp) Vollenweider has been less the superstar in recent years than he was in the 80s, when he sold over eight million records and became the first Swiss performer to win a Grammy. Yet Kryptos, from 1997, was both a commercial and artistic success, and demonstrates his considerable skill at navigating the common grounds among classical, jazz, and pop styles. *cl*im*jz*na

CD 01529: Martin Simpson: Cool & Unusual. Brit Martin Simpson is best known for his solo acoustic guitar renderings of traditional folk pieces. Simpson's finger picking style is clean, butter-smooth and elegant--and despite being rather atmospheric and almost new-agey at times, never lacking in virtuosity or direction. *ag*cf*tf

CD 01528: Elvis Costello: My Aim is True. This, Costello's first release (from 1977), is still probably his best known recording. It includes the memorable 'Alison,' the lyrics from which provide the album's title. This re-issue includes a whole bonus disc collecting together various outtakes, demos, and flip sides from the same early period. *ar*rk*ss

CD 01527: Rebecca St. James: Pray. For those in the mood for some light Christian rock, and a bit of encouraging dialogue on the art of prayer. *re*rk

CD 01526: Velvet Underground: The Velvet Underground. Many critics consider Velvet Underground's third album, from 1969, their best. By this point John Cale had left, leaving Lou Reed in charge, and he provides all the material here--some basic, heartfelt counterculture fare set to simple, straight-ahead rock beats. *ar*rk

CD 01525: Alvin Lucier: I Am Sitting in a Room. To create this electroacoustic classic, Lucier read and recorded a short text, then played the recording back through a loudspeaker, recorded these sounds, and then repeated the process 32 times in a row. Echoes and resonances within the room increasingly come to dominate the speech pattern, creating a complicated, rhythmic structure of pitches eventually dissolving outright into music. Lucier recorded the first commercial version of this work where and while I was an undergraduate student; he played it to one of his music classes shortly thereafter and when it finished everyone spontaneously broke out in cheers. *am*cl*el

CD 01524: Gillian Welch: Revival. Gillian Welch's music traverses a wide range of styles. The first few pieces on this CD sound much like traditional Appalachian folk, but singer-songwriter Welch and her small ensemble move progressively into a more contemporary sounding folk, country, and even rock as the set proceeds. Welch's material ranges in subject from the trials and tribulations of rural living, to religion, to the pain of dealing with various personal demons. 'Not exactly jolly fare, but performed convincingly, with a rare level of honesty. *cf*cy*ss*wm

CD 01523: Patrick O'Hearn: Beautiful World. Veteran ambient space music composer Patrick O'Hearn has in past years been nominated for a Grammy in the New Age category twice. This release, from 2003, wasn't nominated, but still became one of the most critically and commercially successful New Age CDs of the year. *am*el*im*na

CD 01522: Joe Ely: Honky Tonk Masquerade. This early (1978) Ely collection is a classic blend of country and honky tonk rock 'n roll, with a bit of rockabilly thrown in for good measure. *cy*rk

CD 01521: Cocteau Twins: Treasure. This classic, ethereal work from 1984 features the "I'll make up the words" singing of Elizabeth Fraser, "an utterly unique performer whose swooping, operatic vocals relied less on any recognizable language than on the subjective sounds and textures of verbalized emotions" [from the All Music Guide to Electronica]. *ar*el*rk

CD 01520: Fela and Afrika 70: Zombie. Nigerian Fela Kuti really got his Afrobeat mojo working on this politically charged and mightily infectious collection of four long tracks originally set down in the late 70s. This one is just about as tasty as it gets! *ia*pc

CD 01519: Elliott Smith: Either/Or. "Blessed with the voice of a wispy angel, Elliott Smith creates sad little pop songs, which, like the work of Nick Drake (to whom he's been compared) threaten to disappear into the night air. Several of the tracks here were featured in Gus Van Zant's movie Good Will Hunting, and they're among the album's best..." [from an Amazon.com editorial review] *ss

CD 01518: Soul Coughing: Irresistible Bliss. "This CD is simply brilliant. Soul Coughing produces a unique sound, combining funky drums and stand-up bass, original sampling, and, in-a-word, outstanding lyrics and vocals..." "The low, funky beats combined with the high samples and the droning monotone of the vocals form a killer combination that can't be beat..." [from two Amazon.com customer reviews] *ar

CD 01514: Cachao: Master Sessions, Vol. 1. Acoustic double bass virtuoso Israel López, better known as "Cachao," has been many things--bandleader, symphony musician, composer, arranger--but he is probably best known as the main force behind the development of the music style known as mambo. This 1993 session, produced by actor Andy Garcia, features a good sample of Cuban rumbas, congas, danzons, etc. performed by Cachao and his ensemble. *im*in*mr

CD 01513: King Crimson: In the Court of the Crimson King. The thirtieth anniversary edition of this 1969 release, which caused a sensation in its own time. The brainchild of Robert Fripp, Ian McDonald, Greg Lake, Michael Giles, and Peter Sinfield, the group followed the example of the Moody Blues into an even more esoteric place, juxtaposing dreamy Donovan-esque art lyrics onto avant-garde tending progressive rock arrangements. And no one has ever even come close to creating more instantly recognizable album cover art. *ar*rk

CD 01511: New York Dolls: New York Dolls. Gee--You don't need me to tell you what the New York Dolls were about: look at the album cover, think 1973, and note that this landmark release was produced by Todd Rundgren. *ar

CD 01510: Joan Armatrading: Joan Armatrading. Brit Armatrading, born in St. Kitts, West Indies, can hardly be confused with any other performer. As a singer-songwriter she navigates somewhere in the vicinity of contemporary folk, but her edge is a bit sharper than folk--perhaps "singer songwriter" rock, with r & b, reggae and jazz accents. Most of all, though, there's that unmistakable voice, complete with her trademark staccato delivery, and just a hint of gospel attitude. *cf*jz*rb*rk*ss

CD 01509: Art Ensemble of Chicago: Full Force. Trumpet virtuoso Lester Bowie and friends are not much for convention: this straight ahead jazz is as free-form in instrumentation as it is in source material and stylistic inspiration. AEC was founded in 1968 and enjoyed considerable success in its early days, spent mainly in Paris, but improvisation of this quality is timeless and sounds just as fresh now as it did then. *jz

CD 01507: Yolanda Adams: Mountain High...Valley Low. With this 1999 release Adams moved to the top of the contemporary Christian/Gospel music scene. "With her soaring voice, striking beauty, boundless energy plus an unshakable faith, Houston native Yolanda Adams has long been one of Gospel's biggest stars" [from elektra.com/yolandaadams/]. Adams has since been a multiple Grammy and Stellar Awards winner. *re

CD 01506: Tim Hardin: Hang on to a Dream: The Verve Recordings. The Golden Age of contemporary folk was a hard time for many of its practitioners, and some of its greatest talents (e.g., Ochs, Buckley, Croce, Farina, Drake--and Hardin) didn't make it through their ordeal. This double-CD contains just about all of Hardin's early (and best) works (for example, 'If I Were a Carpenter' and 'Reason to Believe'), providing a full picture of this sensitive and introspective artist. *cf*ss

CD 01505: Gerri Gribi: The Womansong Collection. "Women past and present have developed a vibrant oral tradition which documents their concerns, joys, struggles and achievements...This project is a small, eclectic sample of a rich heritage, a celebration of women's creativity and determination" [from the liner notes]. *cf*pc*ss*tf*wm

CD 01504: Dee Dee Bridgewater: This is New. "This 12-song homage to German composer Kurt Weill exceeds even the excellence of Bridgewater's classic vocal tributes to Horace Silver and Ella Fitzgerald. . . Weill wrote for theater, and beyond being a singer, Bridgewater is a Tony Award-winning actress, an announcer, and a noted humorist, all talents used to great effect here...Only an accomplished stage actress, who also happens to be a great jazz singer, could suspend disbelief as she does in these absolutely enthralling tales of violence, sex, and greed" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. *jz*mr

CD 01503: June Carter Cash: Wildwood Flower. When June Carter Cash died in 2003 she left behind a considerable musical legacy. This compilation, released right around the time of her death, provides a fitting testament to her memory and achievements. Featuring an amazing group of side musicians, including Johnny Cash, Norman and Nancy Blake, Maybelle Carter, Marty Stuart, Dennis Crouch, Laura Cash, and others. *cy

CD 01502: Future Sound of London: Lifeforms. This 1994 double-CD release ranks among the very top of its class insofar as the ambient electronica genre goes. "The musical structure of Lifeforms is ever elusive and the listener who tries to consciously grasp it all will miss the attractiveness of the album. It is as background music or drift-off-to-sleep sounds that the true emotional power comes forth" [from an Amazon.com customer review]. *am*el

CD 01501: Tony Rice Unit: Unit of Measure. "Tony Rice's unmistakable approach to flat-picking--fluid, economical, and always inventive--redefined the guitar's role in bluegrass. Beyond that, his timing, good taste, and sophisticated harmonic palette unveiled a new avenue of acoustic music: a subtle fusion of bluegrass, jazz, and folk music that he deems 'spacegrass'" [from the liner notes]. *ac*ag*bg*cf

CD 01500: Cowboy Junkies: The Trinity Session. In this relaxed 1987 session, taped at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Toronto, Margo Timmins is out front as the solo vocalist for a set of renderings of twelve songs, some written by the 'Junkies and some by talents ranging from Lou Reed to Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. The general ensemble atmosphere here is a slow, laid-back, bluesy electric/acoustic jazz, with liberal accents of country and MOR. *bl*jz

CD 01499: John Cougar (Mellencamp): American Fool. At the time this title was first released, I might not have considered it for a collection like this. But with the passing years the messages in Mellencamp's straight-ahead rock 'n roll have made him a major artistic spokesperson for American small town living: his may not exactly be "roots music," but it certainly relays "roots thinking." Nominated for Album of the Year at the 1982 Grammys, American Fool features two of his best early songs, 'Hurts So Good' and 'Jack & Diane.' *rk

CD 01498: Betty Carter: Look What I Got! Betty Carter delivers the vocal goods in this outstanding through-and-through jazz reading of her own and classic songs. A Grammy winner from 1988. *jz

CD 01497: Ted Hawkins: The Final Tour. Ted Hawkins was a truly elemental kind of entertainer. He was one of those few who can make a success with a minimum of fuss: by coming out on stage with nothing more than his acoustic guitar, and playing and singing the blues solo to a rapt audience for an hour straight or more. This release features him recorded live at three separate venues in 1994, not long before his death the following year. *ac*bl*tf

CD 01496: Robyn Hitchcock: I Often Dream of Trains. Oddball Robyn Hitchcock began his career in the late 70s and has since navigated a somewhat erratic course. Nevertheless, I Often Dream of Trains is a brilliant excursion into witty satire, observation, and introspection, delivered in a David Bowie-like manner, but with little more than a skeletal level of backing from sidemen. The CD is filled with memorable tracks, including the hilarious 'Sometimes I Wish I Was a Pretty Girl,' the spot-on 'Uncorrected Personality Traits,' and the boozily-delivered 'Ye Sleeping Knights of Jesus.' *ss

CD 01495: P. J. Harvey: To Bring You My Love. Polly Jean Harvey draws a good deal from Patti Smith in terms of vocal timbre, style and energy, but goes well beyond her in the direction of frank--and sometimes rather sinister--sexuality. One of my colleagues simply refers to her as "crazy," but I'm more inclined merely to accept that this is one woman who doesn't bawk at saying just what she has on her mind. Yet as we all know, not all dreams come true... *ar*rk*ss*wm

CD 01494: Black Uhuru: Red. Black Uhuru was formed in the early 70s and by 1980 had become Jamaica's top reggae band. Red, from 1981, coincided with their leap to the international scene, where, despite frequent personnel changes, they have remained successful ever since. This recording showcases them at their peak, with core trio of Ducky Simpson, Michael Rose, and Puma Jones. Produced by Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare. *in*pc*rg*ss

CD 01493: Oregon: Oregon in Performance. These 1979 live sets feature the original Towner-McCandless-Moore-Walcott quartet that helped defined the term "chamber jazz." Their all-acoustic virtuoso/improvisational approach has made Oregon popular with a number of different audiences, including those interested in world music, new age, new acoustic, and jazz styles; each member (though Walcott died in an auto accident in the 1980s) has also pursued highly successful careers as soloists and independent collaborators. *ac*im*jz

CD 01492: Martin Carthy: The Collection. Martin Carthy's recording career began in 1965, and early on he emerged as the heart and soul of the traditional song revival movement in England. Beyond possessing a fine singing voice and impeccable taste in choosing and restoring old material, he is also one of the very most important acoustic guitar stylists of his generation. The selections grouped here were compiled from five different albums covering a considerable span of years; sidemen in these sessions include Richard Thompson on guitar and John Kirkpatrick on accordion and concertina. ag*ie*tf

CD 01491: Cesaria Evora: Miss Perfumado. Cesaria Evora's voice could melt anyone: "caramel dark and warm, worn by a lifetime of sorrows and heartache, world-weary and wise to the ways of loss and treachery" [from the liner notes]. This 1992 album by the Cape Verde Islands native was an international smash success, selling 300,000 copies (!) in France alone. Evora has so far received Grammy nominations for four separate releases, including this one. *ia*ie*jz*mr

CD 01490: Freedy Johnston: This Perfect World. This 1994 CD features singer songwriter Johnston in a set of originally-composed love songs performed to what might be described as a "generic" rock beat--the kind of thing Jackson Browne has done successfully for years. From "a gifted songwriter whose lyrics paint sometimes witty, often poignant portraits of characters often unaware of how their lives have gone wrong" [from www.vh1.com], this is material just about anyone could appreciate: intelligent perspectives, emotional themes, enjoyable tunes, and the accompaniment of a solid band of sidemen. *mr*rk*ss

CD 01489: John Cale: Paris 1919. Singer-songwriter/producer John Cale's interesting career began in the 1960s when he studied modern classical music composition techniques and played with the avant garde group Dream Syndicate. He then formed the famous Velvet Underground with Lou Reed, remaining with them until 1968. Since then he has been out on his own, collaborating with figures ranging from Terry Riley, Brian Eno and Kevin Ayers, to Patti Smith, Nick Drake and Lowell George. Concept album Paris 1919 was released in 1973, and remains among the best from his now long catalog. *ar*rk*ss

CD 01488: R. Carlos Nakai: Canyon Trilogy. Solo Native American flute is featured here in this recording by Nakai, far and away the leading exponent of this sensitive, stillness-invoking instrument. The trilogy of works "reflects my impressions upon viewing ancient Anasazi and Sinagua sites in the Southwest. These cliff-dwellings with their pictographic histories continue to stir my imagination about this now mythic world" [from the liner notes]. *ac*in*na

CD 01487: Tim Buckley: Goodbye and Hello. As with his son Jeff, an equally celebrated talent, Tim Buckley indeed proved to be the "fleeting house" of his song 'Morning Glory' (included here), one of the most touchingly beautiful laments of the Beatles era. Buckley, an original and poetic singer-songwriter-folksinger who could never quite come to grips with the real world his hobo character allegorized in that work, succumbed to an accidental drug overdose in 1975. Like his British counterpart Nick Drake (who died only six months earlier) his influence has increased with the years. *cf*ss

CD 01486: Afrocelts: Seed. In this 2003 release the Afrocelts (previously known as the Afro Celt Sound System) have once again created an uncategorizable blend of sounds checking in somewhere in the vicinity of a small forces version of a Riverdance troup on acid; once again, moreover, their powerfully rhythmic and eclectic multicultural formula has met with great critical and commercial success. *ce*ia*ie*im*na

CD 01485: Can: Ege Bamyasi. Many fans and critics consider this 1972 album Can's single finest effort. Jazzy, improvisational and brimming with electronics, it yet remains squarely within a simple, almost minimalist rock world: one inhabited by dreamy organic creations that trip slyly yet relentlessly along, slashing at the listener's resistance. 'Rock 'n roll at its most elemental yet, remarkably, also at its most explorative. *ar*jz*rk

CD 01484: Antonio Carlos Jobim: Wave. Brazilian Jobim, who died in 1994, is best remembered as a light jazz composer of the first rank (e.g., 'Desafinado' and 'The Girl from Ipanema') and for the style he more than anyone else was responsible for introducing: bossa nova. Jobim also frequently performed, and Wave, recorded in 1967, is among his most commonly mentioned sets. The program on this album qualifies as the last word in perfect dinner music: light, casual, positive, and freely moving. *im*in*jz*mr

CD 01441: Greg Brown: If I Had Known: Essential Recordings, 1980-1996. This compilation presents Greg Brown, one of our country's leading contemporary folk writer/performers, at his best. In addition to the CD the set includes a DVD documentary entitled "Hacklebarney Tunes, The Songs of Greg Brown." *cf*ss

CD 01440: Brian Eno & John Cale: Wrong Way Up. A successful 1990 collaboration resembling Eno's earlier Another Green World, with the two principals contributing (producing, writing, and performing) a set of light but "adult" vocal art rock pieces. Eno's name is familiar enough; Cale is perhaps best known for his role in the Velvet Underground in the 60s. *ar*ss

CD 01439: Leo Kottke: 6 & 12 String Guitar. Yes, this is the famous 1969 recording (the one with the ornate black album cover and featured pin-up armadillo...) that got it all started for Mr. Kottke. The title, of course, is something of an understatement. *ag*cf

CD 01437: Daniel Lanois: Shine. Most people probably know Daniel Lanois as a top producer/engineer for acts like U2, Jon Hassell, Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel, Bob Dylan, Ron Sexsmith, Youssou N'Dour, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, and Harold Budd. He has won six Grammys for his efforts. But he also occasionally steps out on his own; Shine features his own vocals and gentle, contemplative material, with help from Emmylou Harris, Bono, and bluesman Charley Patton. *ss

CD 01436: Battlefield Band: Rain, Hail or Shine. Despite many personnel changes, the Battlefield Band remains one of Scotland's best traditional acts. This 1998 release delivers a full palette of Celtic songs and instrumentals, plus some CD-ROM bonus features. *ac*ce*tf

CD 01435: Adrian Legg: Guitars and Other Cathedrals. This 1990 recording represented guitar fingerstylist's Legg's highly sucessful U.S. debut. "Legg brilliantly displays his knack for pulling together a host of styles...and techniques in a fluid, emotionally charged manner" [from www.guitar9.com]. *ac*ag

CD 01434: Eleni Karaindrou: Music for Films. Eleni Karaindrou has for years found herself recognized among the ranks of the elite of film composers. Her style is emotionally sparse--if not bleak, at times--and ambient/minimalist technically, yet somehow always very ethereal and beautiful. In this 1991 recording the session players include saxman Jan Garbarek. *am*fi*im

CD 01433: Bela Fleck: Tales from the Acoustic Planet. At last count, Bela Fleck has won seven Grammy awards. In this 1995 recording he complements his remarkable banjo playing on fourteen originally-composed selections with the side play of, among others, Paul McCandless, Tony Rice, Edgar Meyer, Jerry Douglas, Bruce Hornsby, Chick Corea, Branford Marsalis, and Sam Bush. *ac*bg

CD 01431: Various Artists: Talvin Singh Presents Anokha, Soundz of the Asian Underground. There's actually not a lot of Talvin Singh himself on this 1997 collection, but it does feature a slate of performers who were key acts at his celebrated nightclub, Anokha, during the late 90s. *am*el*ho*is

CD 01430: William Bolcom & Joan Morris: George Gershwin: Piano Music. "A combination of two albums [from the 1970s], the first part of this CD is all piano...Just when you think things can't get any better, Joan Morris arrives [and] sings and swings her way through ten of Gershwin's best songs" [from an Amazon.com customer review]. *cl*jz*mr*pf

CD 01429: Arvo Pärt: Sanctuary. This is a 1998 compilation of some of Pärt's best known instrumental and vocal work. Pärt is currently one of the world's leading classical composers, highly influential for the way he has been able to join the emotional power of Russian Orthodox Church traditions to modern minimalist approaches. *cl*re

CD 01428: Brian Eno & David Byrne: My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. A 1979-1981 collaboration of songs falling squarely within the Eno-Byrne art-rock tradition. *ar*ss

CD 01427: Bert Jansch: Birthday Blues. Jansch, guitarist founder of the celebrated string band Pentangle, is featured here in an intimate 1969 set of small combo pieces that might be characterized as "folk-blues baroque" in tone. Sidemen include buddies Danny Thompson and Terry Cox from Pentangle, and standout session players Duffy Power (on harmonica) and Ray Warleigh (flute and saxophone). *ac*ag*bl*cf*ss

CD 01426: John Trudell: Blue Indians. A very interesting album of recited (almost Beat period-like) poetry with musical accompaniment, from the man Kris Kristofferson has described as "a crazy lone wolf, poet, prophet, preacher, warrior full of pain and fun and laughter and love...He's a reality check. Justice is a fire that burns inside him. His spirit cries out for it. It makes him dangerous" [from johntrudell.com]. *bl*pc*ss

CD 01408 & CD 01409: Polyphonic Spree: The Beginning Stages Of... I only recently came upon The Polyphonic Spree, but they are certainly one of the most remarkable acts of recent years. Their music falls squarely within the realm of "New Age" fare, having devolved from a late 60s attitude of flower-power and meditative positive thinking, but is presented in the form of choral orchestral "participation pop," with forces of twenty or more singing and playing at once. Strangely, they often sound rather like a whole den of Jon Andersons (of Yes fame) in some of his farther-out-there moments. *na

CD 01407: Bert Jansch: Rosemary Lane. As quiet and respectably British as this set of solo guitar and guitar plus voice pieces is, it yet glows with an extraordinary emotional power. This is my personal favorite among all the music recordings I know--Jansch at his peak on the guitar, and as a master communicator of all that is gentle, wistful, and, at times, painfully personal. *ag*cf*ss

CD 01406: Rajery: Fanamby. Rajery is the foremost player of the valiha, a native Madagascan instrument that has been described as a "bamboo zither" or "tubular harp." This soft but bright acoustic instrumental music features both frenetic dance/trance moods and more traditional sounding African tunes performed by Rajery and his very capable quartet of sidemen. *ac*ia

CD 01405: Junoon: Inquilaab. Junoon is Pakistan's answer to Western rock 'n roll; some sources consider them the best rock act ever to come out of South Asia. Their music certainly has an edge; it reminds me both message and sound-wise of U2 (no, not that Edge...), being both politically slanted and dramatically delivered. *is*rk

CD 01404: Axiom of Choice: Niya Yesh. Persian music-inspired but California-based band Axiom of Choice produces a core blend of New Age and international styles ("world fusion") varying from the slowly flowing (and sometimes quite beautiful) to the more powerfully rhythmic and percussive. *ac*is*na

CD 01403: Rhonda Vincent: The Storm Still Rages. This CD by Rhonda Vincent consists of a set of rock-solid material crossing over between traditional bluegrass and country. The nod toward commercialism is restrained and never so strong as to leave the musicians out of sight of their roots. *ac*bg*cf*cy*ss

CD 01402: Talvin Singh: OK. Talvin Singh, raised near London, was a classically trained tabla player before turning to what became his forte, a highly electric (and eclectic) blend of Indian bhangra music and drum 'n 'bass house music. His fame accelerated when in 1995 he opened the Anokha nightclub; this subsequently became a major meeting place for artists of diverse musical backgrounds. OK, from 1998, was his first solo release after working in sessions with musicians as different as Sun Ra, Björk, and Future Sounds of London. *am*el*ho*is

CD 01401: Laurie Anderson: Live in New York. This double-CD was recorded just a few days after the 11 September 2001 attacks, and achieves extra poignancy as a result. Anderson is in top form here, her now famous snideness penetrating every crack society tries to hide from view, while never stooping to mere insult. Many of her best known works are performed, including her early sensation 'O Superman,' and the more recent, and more personally revealing, 'Slip Away,' reflections on the death of her father. *ar*pc*ss

CD 01395: Roger Wallace: The Lowdown. Roger Wallace is new to me, but he is clearly a traditionalist who looks more toward his roots than he does commercial Nashville-land. I'm not sure he has much of anything new or profound to say, but he certainly has a knack of writing songs and lyrics that communicate the importance of the "regular" things in life, and a great down-home voice that succeeds admirably in delivering his message. *cy*ss

CD 01394: Television: Marquee Moon. Television was one of the top alternative/avant garde bands of the 1970s, and this was their best and most successful work. "Over a quarter of a century later the album stands up as one of rock's most auspicious debuts and one of the most lasting documents of the early and mid-'70s CBGB scene. It established Tom Verlaine as a formidable songwriter, and Verlaine and Richard Lloyd as the first truly alternative guitar heroes, combining finesse with passion and tone" [from the liner notes]. *ar*eg

CD 01393: Chris Isaak: Chris Isaak. I don't know exactly what to think of Chris Isaak: what is it about this great-looking guy with a fine voice and instantly identifyable style that makes him such a brooder? This is his first CD, from 1987, but he still sounds much like a teenage angst version of Roy Orbison and still floats his voice above his band in a biting, echoey manner fitting somewhere between California surf guitar and the blues. *bl*eg*rk*ss

CD 01391: Rodney Crowell: Diamonds & Dirt. This 1988 release was Crowell's breakthrough to commercial stardom at the age of 38, though apart from this work he has tended to lean more in the direction of roots music than mainstream fare. A major critical success, it also produced an amazing five number one singles, including 'She's Crazy for Leaving,' 'After All This Time,' and 'I Couldn't Leave You If I Tried.' *cy*ss

CD 01390: Steve Earle: El Corazón. Singer-songwriter Steve Earle had a pretty tough time for a number of years. A dependency on smack led to a stiff jail sentence; he was out by the mid 90s and started recording quality material again pretty much right away. This CD from 1997 was his third since his re-emergence, and it's perhaps his best overall: a highly intimate blend of country, folk and blues with nods to influences ranging from Townes Van Zandt and John Prine to Elvis Presley and Woodie Guthrie. *bl*cy*ss

CD 01389: Rodney Crowell: The Houston Kid. This is an entirely different Rodney Crowell from the familiar popular voice of Diamonds and Dirt. Here, the great hooks and punchy one-off country lyrics are replaced by what is essentially a concept album revolving around Crowell's tough early days as--well, a Houston kid. With a cameo by Johnny Cash on 'I Walk the Line (Revisited)', and an awful lot of heart. *ss

CD 01376: Solomon Burke: The Very Best Of. Solomon Burke never got quite the public attention that many of his contemporaries in rhythm and blues got, but the fact remains that he was one of the leading figures in the development of the cross-over genre style known as "soul." Burke's career goes back to the early 60s, but at last notice (just a while back, in December 2003) he was still going strong, with a concert appearance at a Day for the Disabled event in Turin, Italy. *rb

CD 01375: Gong: Camembert Electrique. Gong, one of the leading avant garde rock acts of their era, was formed in England in 1967 under the leadership of the irrepressible founder of Soft Machine, Daevid Allen, an Australian native. "...Camembert epitomises the early Gong (1971), i.e. stoned loonies having a great time, who also happen to be excellent musicians. It's full of raw energy, more tape loops, space-whisper and glissando guitar, topped off with inspired sax playing" [from the liner notes]. *ar

CD 01374: Jamshied Sharifi: A Prayer for the Soul of Layla. This 1997 recording was one of the most successful World Music releases of its period. It showcases "world fusion" in a manner that is accessible to Western audiences, yet manages to avoid trite treatment of its subject: "Sharifi explores and expands on Middle Eastern musical traditions, weaving exotic melodies, West African rhythms, incandescent vocals and eclectic instrumentation into rich tapestries of emotion and sound" [from the liner notes]. *is*na

CD 01366: Meg Christian: The Best of Meg Christian. Meg Christian's career as a feminist and one of the top names in women's music at this point extends back three decades and more. She is now largely retired from musical performance, but her excellent corpus of work and considerable influence within both movements has kept her far from being forgotten. *cf*pc*ss*wm

CD 01365: Stevenson, Tabor & Thompson: Singing the Storm. This is a really unusual work: material that is nominally jazz, though in fact employs folk- and folkloric-like texts and music that were originally-composed for a festival (by Stevenson). This intimate fare is performed by prominent harpist Savourna Stevenson, leading folk vocalist June Tabor, and super-sessionist blues, jazz and contemporary folk bassist Danny Thompson. *ac*ce*cf*jz*ss

CD 01331: Happy Rhodes: Many Worlds are Born Tonight. If you like Kate Bush, the chances are you'll like Happy Rhodes. Rhodes, amazingly, has an even greater range (from a high soprano to a low baritone--it often sounds like people of two different sexes are singing) than Bush has, and she sounds rather "new agey" whereas Bush tends to ply more rhythmic waters, but each writes material featuring a good deal of introspection and sensitivity, and appeals at both a sensual and an intellectual level. *na*ss*wm

CD 01323: Anouar Brahem: Le Pas du Chat Noir. This quiet, reflective jazz by Tunisian oud player Brahem and his piano and accordion playing sidemen never rushes or asserts itself. It has the flavor of a small cafe in Montmartre, or perhaps some love now past. "A tempo passed on to me by the movement of a tree I could see from my window, swaying gently in the breeze" [from the liner notes]. *ac*jz

CD 01305: Mark Isham: Mark Isham. Mark Isham, best known for his numerous film scores and heavily Miles Davis-influenced trumpet playing, here guides a relaxed journey through the world of cool jazz. Guest players include David Torn on guitars, and Chick Corea on piano. *im*jz

CD 01304: Marianne Faithfull: Strange Weather. Those who know Marianne Faithfull only from the days of the folk rock movement and her relationship with Mick Jagger will be in for a surprise here. Her forte is now an interpretative, Marlene Dietrich-cabaret/blues style supported by her deft sense of timing and ever-raspier, cracked voice. The backing musicians here (including Mac Rebennack--Dr. John--on piano, and Bill Frisell on guitar) really help create the air. Includes an updated version of her first hit, 'As Tears Go By.' *bl*jz*rb*ss

CD 01303: Brian Eno: Ambient 1: Music for Airports. This classy but unpretentious project, drawing especially on the influences of avant-gardist John Cage and Impressionist Eric Satie, became one of the cornerstone recordings of "New Age" ambient music. This is the kind of material that gently nudges the mind toward lofty goals without letting it lose track of the more simple pleasures: Eno's music is often so ambient as not to be music, but it is never so abstract as to be remote. *am*im*na

CD 01302: Steve Roach: Light Fantastic. The creators of this striking electronic ambient adventure are credited on the following instruments and devices: analog and digital soundworlds, hybrid and fractal groove creation, acoustic percussion, fujara sample food performance, filter and fractal groove creation infusions, and tamboura. *am*el

CD 01300: Bok, Muir & Trickett: The First Fifteen Years. Gordon Bok, Ann Mayo Muir and Ed Trickett all have had successful individual careers (especially Bok, who is perhaps New England's foremost regional singer/storyteller/guitarist), but they are best known as this collective. Trickett plays acoustic guitar and hammered dulcimer and Bok a deep-throated twelve-string, and all have strong and complementary singing voices. The material is core "gentle folk music," with input from both traditional and contemporary original sources (e.g., Bok, David Mallett, Eric Bogle & Archie Fisher). *ac*cf*ss*tf

CD 01299: Tangerine Dream: Poland, The Warsaw Concert. This is the over-75 minute record of the famous December 1983 concert held under sub-freezing temperatures in the Ice Stadium in Warsaw. With the line-up of Edgar Froese, Chris Franke, and Johannes Schmoelling, Tangerine Dream had reached the peak of their touring popularity by this time, and were playing at the largest venues. This is one of their best concert recordings. *ar*el*im

CD 01298: Tin Hat Trio: The Rodeo Eroded. This is the kind of music that the term "acoustic instrumental" was invented for: relaxed tempos, guitar-violin-accordion/harmonica (and other) non-virtuoso instrumental interplays, source material originating from a wide range of traditions, and varying intensity overtones of jazz, folk, bluegrass and the avant-garde. 'Lots of playfulness here, too--but in a musicianly, not slapstick, way... Last but not least, a guesting appearance on the vocals to 'Willow Weep for Me' by Willie Nelson. *ac*bg*cf*jz

CD 01297: Yo Yo Ma & The Silk Road Ensemble: Silk Road Journeys: When Strangers Meet. This is one of the Silk Road Project recordings, an effort led by Yo Yo Ma uniting musicians and instruments from the musical heritages of Central Asia and China. Some of the material is new and some is old, some classical and some traditional, but it all shares the "faraway places" atmosphere one expects from the album title. *cl*im*is

CD 01296: Kronos Quartet: Nuevo. It seemed unlikely that a classically-trained string quartet could come to be an important force in the world of popular music, but such has been the case with the Kronos Quartet. For over twenty-five years they have championed the obscure, the avant-garde, and a whole range of remote musical traditions in a way managing to both do them justice on their own terms, and steer them in the direction of "serious" music. In Nuevo, the target is the music of the Spanish tradition. *cl*im*in

CD 01295: Krishna Das: Pilgrim Heart. Eastern spiritual chants, sung and arranged with a nod to more familiar Western stylistic sensibilities. "Krishna Das and his myriad guest musicians (including a female chorus dubbed the Kirtan Posse) incorporate Indian instruments, African percussion, electronics, even bass and guitar, into serene, richly layered songs that provide good background music for meditation or relaxation" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. *am*is*na*re

CD 01294: Bonnie Rideout: Scottish Rant. Rideout, an American who is nevertheless one of the leading Scottish traditional fiddlers, here accompanies the City of Washington Pipe Band--one of America's best--in a rowsing set including both traditional and original reels, jigs, hornpipes, marches--and, of course, rants. *ac*ie*im*tf

CD 01293: Etta James: The Best of Etta James. Etta James was one of the most successful R & B acts of the 1960s and early 1970s. After a dry period in the seventies she has rebounded, in part because of the continued success of songs like 'I Just Want to Make Love to You,' 'Almost Persuaded,' 'Tell Mama,' 'I'd Rather Go Blind,' and 'I Found a Love'--all of which are included in this generous eighteen work collection. *bl*rb

CD 01292: Robert Rich: Bestiary. Renowned electronic soundscape artist Robert Rich here turns his skills to the characterization of a collection of imaginary alien animal life forms, with results reminiscent of the soundtrack accompanying the classic sci-fi thriller Forbidden Planet. "His mastering skills are highly regarded, and his skills as a synth programmer are remarkable. His new CD...is a tour-de-force of MOTM timbres, digital post-processing, and recording technique..." [from www.synthtech.com] *am*el

CD 01291: Kraftwerk: Autobahn. Yes, this is that 'Autobahn,' the bubbling synthesizer piece that became the model composition for a whole generation of electronic music in the late twentieth century. Considering its clever imagery of the roadsong concept and upbeat execution, this is perhaps the most perfect rock tone poem yet produced. "Fahren, fahren, fahren," indeed... *el*ie*rk

CD 01290: Doug Sahm & Friends: The Best of Doug Sahm's Atlantic Sessions. Texan Doug Sahm, who died in 1999, first found success with his Sir Douglas Quintet group on "Texicano" hits like 'She's About a Mover' and 'Mendocino.' Under producer Jerry Wexler he later moved on as a solo act to a more rural, rootsier sound that led to various collaborations. On these relaxed sessions, the sidemen include the likes of Bob Dylan, Dr. John, David Bromberg, Barry Goldberg, David "Fathead" Newman, and a dozen other noteworthies. *cy*rk*ss

CD 01289: Brian Eno: Before and After Science. Another of Brian Eno's early (1977) works, this one featuring a set of relatively short and sparse vocal pieces with Eno singing. Included is the sublime 'Julie with...', perhaps Eno's best known and most atmospheric song. Accompanyists include, among others, Phil Collins, Dave Mattacks, Fred Frith, Robert Fripp, and Phil Manzanera. *ar*ss

CD 01288: The Incredible String Band: The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter. The Incredible String Band was the project of well-known folkie Robin Williamson and his associate Mike Heron. Describing their product is a bit difficult: it wed a simple British folk (or even medieval) kind of instrumentation and attitude to highly esoteric, nearly stream-of-consciousness, poetic discourses--take, for example, this, from 'The Minotaur's Song': "I'm the original discriminating buffalo man, and I'll do what's wrong as long as I can...I'm strong as the earth from which I'm born, I can't dream well because of my horns..." *cf*na*ss

CD 01287: Aphex Twin: Richard D. James Album. Aphex Twin is the project of Richard D. James, one of the most successful electronic artists of the 90s. The All Music Guide to Electronica lists the following styles as characteristic of his work: drill 'n bass, experimental jungle, experimental techno, ambient techno, acid techno, trance, techno, and IDM. On this 1996 CD the main experiment involved superimposing a rapid drum 'n bass line over basically more ambient, meandering melodies, resulting in aggressive, sometimes confrontational, textures. *am*el*ho

CD 01286: The Orb: The Orb's Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld. The British group The Orb, founded in London in 1989, was the originator of the genre known as ambient house. "Their formula was quite simple: they slowed down the rhythms of classic Chicago house and added synth-work and effects inspired by '70s ambient pioneers Brian Eno and Tangerine Dream. To make the whole a bit more listenable--as opposed to danceable--obscure vocal samples were looped, usually providing a them for tracks which lacked singing" [from All Music Guide to Electronica]. The two-CD set includes the original version of 'Little Fluffy Clouds,' the type specimen of this genre. *am*el*ho

CD 01285: Vangelis: Antarctica. Vangelis composed this icily majestic instrumental music in 1983 for a now-forgotten documentary film. It has come to rank among his most respected and frequently played works. *fi*im

CD 01284: Jefferson Airplane: Live at the Fillmore East. Bill Graham's Fillmore East was the place to be in 1968-1970 if you were a rock music fan, and the Jefferson Airplane, San Francisco's premier rock band of that era, put on no fewer than 34 performances there during the club's relatively short existence. This was from their first set of appearances there in May 1968, shortly after their rise to fame from singles like 'White Rabbit' and 'Somebody to Love' and the album Surrealistic Pillow. *rk

CD 01283: Richard Pryor: The Anthology 1968-1992. A fine two-CD collection of stand-up comic Pryor--easily the top comedian/satirist of his generation--at his observational and irreverent best. *cm*pc

CD 01269: Sun-Ra: Atlantis. The late Sun-Ra practiced a brand of percussive avant garde jazz that can only be described as "mystical": "Captured during one of the most adventurous periods for Sun Ra, Atlantis features the orchestral perfection of the best big bands of the century--and then proceeds towards mutirhythmic explosions of intensity, all of it couched in Sun Ra's mixture of interglactic mysticism and heaping doses of experiments in tone, tempo, and texture" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. *ac*jz

CD 01268: Tangerine Dream: Stratosfear. Stratosfear is another of Tangerine Dream's seminal works from the 1970s, this one from 1976. At the time the band consisted of Chris Franke, Edgar Froese, and Peter Baumann. If you're a Moog synthesizer fan, this one's for you... *ar*el*im

CD 01267: Glen Velez: Rhythms of the Chakras. Percussion virtuoso Glen Velez created this 1998 recording as a vehicle for sound healing: "Synchronizing drumming, movement, and voice yields significant benefits for anyone interested in music and sound. This active mind/body integration increases powers of concentration, focus, and breath awareness; enhances energy flow throughout the body; and provides a gateway for the whole being to participate in the rhythm-making process" [from the liner notes]. *ac*na

CD 01266: Can: Cannibalism I. Although little appreciated at the time in this country, Germany-born Can (they sang their material in English) was the leading avant-garde rock group of the 70s and a major exponent of the genre known as Krautrock. Their music was classically inspired but demanding and explorative, employing simple driving rhythms, synthesizers, cut-and-paste techniques, noise, electronics, and long improvisational instrumental interludes: imagine a combination of the structural finesse of Frank Zappa, the energy of Television, the seriousness of U2, and the counter-culture slyness of Roxy Music or Velvet Underground--and you have Can. Cannibalism I collects some of their best work. *ar*rk

CD 01265: Tom Waits: Bone Machine. This program can be described as "even more disturbing than usual," given the artist. Waits gets a lot of mileage out of being disturbing, of course, but it's not just a question of his sounds-like-death voice and undoubted ability to mess with people's heads... "I'd love to go drowning--And to stay and stay--But the ocean doesn't want me today...A rip tide is raging--And the life guard is away--But the ocean doesn't want me today..." (from 'The Ocean Doesn't Want Me') *ss

CD 01264: Robert Cray: Strong Persuader. This 1986 release was Robert Cray's entry into the top rank of urban bluesmen. Backed by his own band and The Memphis Horns, Cray performs (vocals and lead guitar) a solid set of his own compositions, along the way expanding the genre's compass without betraying its roots. *bl*rb

CD 01263: Robert Rich / B. Lustmord: Stalker. "If you like Dark Ambient music, words can not begin to describe the intriguing inner landscapes you'll explore while listening to Stalker. Vast expanses swirl into your auditory vision, sometimes punctuated by strangely disturbing animal sounds or beautified by ethereal singing/cries" [from an Amazon.com customer review]. Inspired by the Russian film of the same name. *am*el*fi

CD 01262: Lee Perry: Reggae Greats. A sample of recordings by various artists arranged by the legendary producer Lee 'Scratch' Perry, one of Jamaican music's biggest names. Includes three works performed by Perry, and seven more written by him. *in*rg

CD 01261: System7: Power of Seven. This bubbling, sprightly electronic music devolves from several ancestral roots, including progressive rock (group founder Steve Hillage played with Gong and Todd Rundgren in the 70s), ambient house, ambient techno, and trance. Power of Seven, from 1996, is probably their most acclaimed work, incorporating generous doses of dream imagery. *am*el*ho

CD 01260: Lou Reed: The Raven. So what's Lou Reed, king of the New York avant-garde in the 70s, doing these days? Well, in 2003's The Raven, based heavily on the writings and moods of Edgar Allan Poe, he sounds quite a lot like the same guy we remember from 'Walk on the Wild Side' and other classics. He's helped out by a veritable herd of notables, including Elizabeth Ashley, David Bowie, Ornette Coleman, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Willem Dafoe, and others--including, of course, his wife of many years, Laurie Anderson. Nevermore... *ar*ss

CD 01256: Ghazal: Moon Rise Over the Silk Road. Ghazal is the name of an ongoing collaboration between Indian sitar master Shujaat Husain Khan and Persian kamancheh (an ancient Iranian stringed instrument that sounds something like a violin) virtuoso Kayhan Kalhor. It is also, alternately, the name of a form of Persian poetry, or a semi-classical Indian music genre usually involving a love ballad. This largely improvisational but very intricate music spins energetically along to the beat of tablas or other percussion, conjuring up images of caravans, dervishes, and silken-clothed temptresses. *ac*cl*is

CD 01255: David Sylvian: Secrets of the Beehive. David Sylvian began his career as the frontman for the pop and glam-rock band Japan; since their dissolution in 1982 he has gone it alone, collaborating in various projects covering a broad range of the fine arts. Secrets of the Beehive, a jazz- and ambient-flavored 1987 release featuring his atmospherically-delivered vocals and songwriting talents (two of his best known compositions, 'The Boy with the Gun' and 'Orpheus,' are included), benefitted from the contributions of sidemen Ryuichi Sakamoto, Mark Isham, Danny Thompson, David Torn and others. *ar*jz*ss

CD 01254: Mike Marshall & Darol Anger: The Duo Live: At Home and On the Range. Mike Marshall and Darol Anger have been playing together for some twenty-five years now, mostly between other projects. Their virtuostically-leaning music has always been, and remains, a mix of traditional and originally-composed instrumentals, played on some combination of fiddle, mandolin, acoustic guitar, and mandocello. *ac*bg*cf

CD 01253: Randy Newman: Trouble in Paradise. If you only know him from 'Short People' you might be wondering why Randy Newman is considered one of America's very best singer-songwriters, a reputation he achieved almost from the beginning of his career in the late 60s. Well...It's all in his lyrics, always understanding, always poignant: "She was Daddy's little girl--And Daddy helped her move out on her own--She met a boy--He broke her heart--And now she lives alone--And she's very, very careful--Yes she is." (from 'Real Emotional Girl'), or "When I was nine years old--My daddy ran away--With a woman he met on a train, oh--His little boy--Ran to the room--Where his piano--Lay in wait for him." (from 'The Blues') *ss

CD 01252: Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares: Ritual. The Bulgarian State Television Female Vocal Choir (now also known as Le Mystère...--'can't imagine why...) ranks as one of the world's top vocal ensembles, and quite possibly its single most influential one. "The Choir's imaginatively arranged songs join traditional folk melodies with sophisticated harmonies and compelling rhythms, performed in an exotic six-part vocal style. Repertoire is drawn from arrangements created by Bulgaria's most esteemed composers..." [from www.iccs.bas.bg] *cf*ie

CD 01251: Christopher Franke: The London Concert. Berliner Christopher Franke was for many years a member of Tangerine Dream, and his work with that band and as a solo act has made him one of the most influential artists on the electronic music scene. This concert, recorded at the Royal Apollo Theatre in London in 1991, features the five part, forty minute, 'Circular Signs Suite.' *ar*el*im*pf

CD 01250: Radiohead: OK Computer. Radiohead, the heirs apparent to U2's brand of intelligent progressive rock, further solidified their already strong reputation with this 1997 release. *ar*rk

CD 01249: Steve Reich: Music for 18 Musicians. 'Music for 18 Musicians,' an hour-long piece composed in the mid-1970s, is one of Reich's most celebrated compositions, and a jewel in the minimalist catalogue. This explorative gamelan and Pérotin polyphony-influenced piece was enough of a milestone that some observers began speaking of it as the beginning of a "post-minimalist" movement. *cl*im

CD 01232: Alan Stivell: Journée à la Maison. Breton Alan Stivell is not so well known in this country, but for two decades he has been perhaps the world's foremost folk musician. This arises mainly from his having nearly single-handedly saved the Celtic harp from oblivion, and in so doing contributed centrally to the Celtic music revival that has played such an important part in late-twentieth century world music. On this CD Stivell is featured with a small ensemble in a more contemporary, slickly produced, format. *ce*cf*ie*na*tf

CD 01205: Gavin Bryars: Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet. This curious and unforgettably touching work by progressive classical composer Bryars features a 26-second field recording of this old religious song sung by an old tramp living on the streets of London--played over and over for 75 minutes, to varying accompaniments and tape loopings. The last two sections feature Tom Waits sitting in on the recitation. The cumulative effect of this work, a major success when it was released in 1993, is awesome. *cl*el*re

CD 01204: Jan Garbarek: Dis. A milestone 1977 collaboration between Norwegian saxophonist Garbarek and the chamber jazz group Oregon's acoustic guitarist Ralph Towner. Each is among the leading figures in jazz on his respective instrument. Atmospheric accent for the duets is provided by one of the world's few windharps, a massive self-standing and self-playing instrument whose ethereal sound is produced whenever the wind blows through its cable-like strings. *ac*jz

CD 01203: John Luther Adams: The Light That Fills the World. Alaskan composer John Luther Adams produces music one might associate equally with New Age, ambient, and minimalist "serious" genres. This particular work is the kind of meditative fare that conjurs up images of crystalline snowflakes, shimmering white landscapes, and--peace. *am*cl*im

CD 01202: Maddy Prior & June Tabor: Silly Sisters. This highly successful 1976 recording brought together the two leading English female folk singers of the era at the peak of their powers, backed by a star-studded supporting cast including Martin Carthy, Andy Irvine, Nic Jones, and Danny Thompson, among others; the material consisted both of traditional and contemporary pieces. 'Smashing good job, ladies and gentlemen! *ac*cf*tf

CD 01201: It's a Beautiful Day: It's a Beautiful Day. This is definitely the music of another era, a period in popular culture charged with strong feelings, high expectations, and not just a touch of naivety. This classic 1969 album, famously unavailable for many years due to various litigations, perhaps gives a better feeling for its times than any other contemporary recording. Also remembered for its striking album cover art. *rk

CD 01200: Bela Fleck and the Flecktones: Bela Fleck & the Flecktones. The king of the banjo, in a jazz- and bluegrass-flavored set that brought him to national prominence after its release in 1990. *ac*bg*jz

CD 01199: Philip Aaberg: Live from Montana. Many people will at first be reminded of George Winston when they hear pianist Philip Aaberg play. But the music he produces has a more atmospheric feel than Winston's, one that somehow manages to tellingly convey the many moods and sceneries of his native state. A Grammy-nominated album in the New Age category in 2001. *na*pf

CD 01198: Mike Oldfield: Tubular Bells 2003. Mike Oldfield decided to do something special when the thirtieth anniversary of the release of his one-man show magnum opus Tubular Bells came around: he went back and re-recorded it, making full use of the various improvements in audio technology that have emerged since 1973. The original release was one of the most celebrated instrumental albums of the post-Beatles era. *fi*im

CD 01197: Kate Wolf: Give Yourself to Love. At the time Kate Wolf died of leukemia in 1986 in her mid-forties she was generally acknowledged as America's leading female contemporary folk singer-songwriter. This two-CD live set records her at her best, in a series of 1982 and 1983 concerts. *cf*ss*wm

CD 01196: Bill Frisell: The Intercontinentals. Jazz musician Bill Frisell has been around for years and years, slowly expanding his technique and repertoire in any direction where his unobtrusive, atmospheric, laid back guitar style will fit in. In this 2003 effort he went deliberately "intercontinental," forging a series of cozy yet vibrant small-ensemble instrumentals and songs drawing on materials and moods from both sides of the Atlantic. From the viewpoint of mass critical acclaim, one of most successful CDs of the year. *eg*im*jz

CD 01195: Björk: Debut. Iceland's biggest star in her first solo project. Björk's candid and fresh approach to her art has served her well as a singer, songwriter, actress, and all-around entertainer. *ar*ss

CD 01194: David Bowie: Heroes. Bowie's "other" album from 1977: "One of Bowie's more stellar moments working with Brian Eno, Heroes again sees the artist moving into barely chartered waters...creating moving, emotive rock and putting it right up against some very detached and futuristic synthesized sounds..." [from an Amazon.com editorial review] *ar*ss

CD 01193: Public Enemy: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. Check it out: "It Takes a Nation of Millions was the sign that hip-hop had exploded like a grenade. A rap record as abrasive, hardcore, and eloquent as a JFK speech, the 1988 disc is one classic track after another: tense, multilayered, harmonically wild music..." [from an Amazon.com editorial review] *hi*pc

CD 01192: Future Sound of London (FSOL): Lifeforms: Remixes. "The combination of ethereal vocals with the tripped-out techno atmospherics of FSOL is an AMAZING combination!...The whole cd flows together much like the larger double-album Lifeforms, and is best listened to with headphones and subdued (or no) lighting. Ex-Cocteau Twins vocalist Liz Fraser sings on 3 of the tracks..." [from an Amazon.com customer review] *am*el*ho

CD 01191: Prince: Dirty Mind. This early album by the artist-now-again-known-as-Prince raised a lot of eyebrows when it was released for the graphic sexuality of its lyrics, but in the long run it only proved what Frank Zappa once observed: that the dirtiest part of the human body is the mind... *rb*rk*ss

CD 01190: Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon. Dark Side of the Moon is, The Wall notwithstanding, Pink Floyd's crowning achievement. It's spent over 25 years (more than twice as long as any other album ever has) in the Top 200 list since its original release in 1973; over one thousand customer recommendations grace its entry in Amazon.com. An editorial review there describes it succinctly: "This complex, often psychedelic music works very well because Pink Floyd doesn't rush anything; the songs are mainly slow to mid-tempo, with attention paid throughout to musical texture and mood." *rk

CD 01189: Robert Fripp & The League of Gentlemen: God Save the King. Robert Fripp (originally of King Crimson fame) has been one of popular music's leading experimental/avant garde guitarists and producers for over three decades now, and he remains visibly active on the scene. This music is mostly highly charged, straight-ahead instrumental rock and roll, tinged with elements of German synthesizer rock, David Byrne, and eerie, science-fiction-like sonics. *ar*eg

CD 01188: Can: Future Days. Released in 1973, this quasi-ambient venture is "Can's most atmospheric and beautiful record, a spartan collection of lengthy, jazz-like compositions recorded with minimal vocal contributions...despite the deceptive tranquility of its surface, Future Days is an intense work, bubbling with radical ideas and concepts" [from All Music Guide to Electronica]. *ar

CD 01187: David Bowie: Low. One of Bowie's most celebrated albums from his earlier years (this one, from 1977), Low features a kaleidoscope of styles and moods, and the collaboration of Brian Eno. *ar*ss

CD 01186: Richard Burmer: Bhakti Point. Quiet, reflective, meditative instrumental/electronic music by one of the masters of the genre. "If music is a language, then Richard Burmer is a storyteller of extraordinary fluency. His musical journey to an imaginary paradise, Bhakti Point, evokes images of an exotic world still wet with the dawn of creation" [from the liner notes]. *am*el*na

CD 01180: Hamza El Din: Eclipse. Nubian singer and instrumentalist Hamza El Din is a veteran performer of the Islamic African tradition who is especially known for his part in helping to make the lute-like oud a better known instrument worldwide. In this CD he presents a program of traditional and original pieces, all sung in a rather serious, even somber style. *ac*ia

CD 01179: John Klemmer: Touch. Klemmer is one of the smoothest sax players around. His career began back in the early 1960s, but with this milestone 1975 album he really hit his stride. Klemmer's music is in some respects rather typical combo jazz, but he has chosen to avoid the more abstract approaches of many of his contemporaries (Chick Corea and Keith Jarrett, for example) in favor of a very intimate, "sit by the fireplace and get warm" style. *im*jz*mr

CD 01172: The Pentangle: Light Flight: The Anthology. Pentangle was the late 60s premier experimental folk band. Fronted by Britain's two leading acoustic guitarist virtuosos of the era, Bert Jansch and John Renbourn, the group neatly integrated folk, jazz, blues, rock and classical forms to produce a synthesis alternating imaginative solos with tight ensemble play. This two-CD set features splendid sound restoration (especially on the guitars and vocalist Jacqui McShee) and three newly included works. *ac*cf

CD 01168: Jean Michel Jarre: Oxygene. Jean Michel Jarre is a big star in Europe (as was his father, Maurice Jarre, the famous film composer), but less well known here. Nevertheless, this 1976 album is one of the major milestones of electronic music, comparable in its significance to the early explorations of Tangerine Dream and Vangelis. Expanding on the earlier work of synthesizer artists such as Kraftwerk, Jarre found a way to take the edge off and create a more melodic, accessible sound. *el*im*pf

CD 01145: Sanjay Mishra & Jerry Garcia: Blue Incantation. Guitarist Sanjay Mishra's music combines a Western light jazz element with South Asian forms and instruments to produce a quiet, wandering, and ultimately soothing kind of path. Jerry Garcia guests on three of the cuts here, some of his last work. *eg*is*jz*na

CD 01144: Cris Williamson: The Changer and the Changed. This landmark 1975 album by one of the most familiar names in women's music remains among the biggest-selling independent releases of all time. Williamson is a co-founder of Olivia Records, which was instrumental in growing the movement. *cf*pc*ss*wm

CD 01143: Art of Noise: The Ambient Collection. Pop experimentalists Art of Noise have had a rather strange career, most of their work coming in collaborations with artists ranging from Frankie Goes to Hollywood to Tom Jones. The Ambient Collection, from 1990, features house music-like dance tracks and surrealistic collage pieces fit for daydreaming, fantasizing, and other pleasantly irresponsible activities. *am*el*ho

CD 01142: Steve Reich: Drumming. Reich composed this famous work for percussion and voices in the Minimalist style between 1970 and 1971. *ac*cl

CD 01141: Garmarna: Hildegard von Bingen. The Hildegard of Bingen revival has been attracting interest not only from within the classical music crowd, but from other genres as well. In this 2001 CD the Swedish folk band Garmarna treats Hildegard to an emotional--but respectful--interpretation fitting somewhere within the folk, rock and new age realms. *cf*ie

CD 01140: Gentle Giant: Octopus. This 70s art rock band sounded like a combination of King Crimson, The Moody Blues, Yes, and Queen: that is to say, atmospheric, mystical, and lyrical, but featuring occasional doses of satire and lyrical playfulness. Octopus, from 1973, remains a favorite among their sizable cult following. *ar*rk

CD 01139: Kate Bush: Hounds of Love. It is rather amazing that Englishwoman Kate Bush never became very popular in the U.S.; besides her distinctive four-octave voice and elegant good looks, her material features an urbane wisdom that should have made a lot of converts. Hounds of Love, from 1985, features some of her most impressive work, including 'Running up That Hill,' one of that decade's most splendidly painful tracks. *ar*ho*ss*wm

CD 01138: Stephan Micus: The Garden of Mirrors. The music of Stephan Micus is like no one else's. Micus has spent his life seeking out and learning to play the folk instruments of cultures ranging across the whole of Africa and Asia; his many albums feature him performing alone, but instrumentally and vocally (when he sings, he mouths artificial words) multi-tracked. The music itself is a highly communicative blend of folk idioms and 'New Music' that shuns emotional artificiality. *ac*ia*im*is*na

CD 01137: Baaba Maal: Missing You. Senegalese composer and singer (and scholar) Baaba Maal is an international star, equally at home with traditional materials or modern dance beats. He was recently featured on four tracks from the movie Black Hawk Down. In this 2001 CD he presents a program of mostly traditionally arranged material on subjects ranging from environmentalism and love, to African unity and the importance of customs. *ia*ss

CD 01129: Frank Zappa: The Yellow Shark. This was one of the late Frank Zappa's last projects. Performed with all due virtuosity and intensity by the classical group Ensemble Modern, the material is, as one might expect, entirely unorthodox, but this time extends beyond Zappa's better known small ensemble escapades to a full orchestral setting with even tighter, and more elaborate, musical textures. But the same sense of humor is evident, even through the titles of the works alone--including, for example, 'Dog Breath Variations,' 'Get Whitey,' 'Pentagon Afternoon,' and 'G-spot Tornado.' *cl*im

CD 01119: Steve Roach: Quiet Music. This 2 CD set is "a collection of pieces created in respect for silence between 1983 and 1986" [from the liner notes] by one of the leading figures in ambient music, Steve Roach. Roach's music from this period is sparse, lingering and ethereal, like the background sounds in a dream. *am*el*na

CD 01103: Toots & the Maytals: Funky Kingston. This early 1970s work was one of the first reggae albums to reach a wider popular audience, and remains one of the genre's best known titles. *in*rg

CD 01100: Canned Heat: Uncanned! The Best of Canned Heat. Canned Heat is now remembered by most for two singles from the late sixties: 'On the Road Again,' and the anthemic 'Going Up the Country.' But this material was not representative of their body of work, which was more in the core blues mold: they were in fact one of the first successful American blues bands, and were highly influential both in the U.S. and in Great Britain. This two-CD set includes previously unreleased material and alternate takes, and features cameos and other performances by John Lee Hooker, Little Richard, Harvey Mandel, and Dr. John. *bl*rb*rk

CD 01099: John Mayall, with Eric Clapton: Blues Breakers. This celebrated 1966 recording was one of the most influential of all the electric blues albums appearing in the mid-sixties. One of the best places to hear Clapton at his early raw-est. With two bonus tracks. *bl*eg*rk

CD 01098: Djivan Gasparyan: Apricots from Eden. Gasparyan is an Armenian who is the leading player of the duduk, a flute-like wind instrument whose plaintive sound captures much of the tragic mood associated with that country's history. In this release Gasparyan presents a program of rhythmic folk dances from the Ararat plateau. *ac*is*na*tf

CD 01097: Azam Ali: Portals of Grace. Iranian-born Azam Ali, vocalist and hammered dulcimer player, is the better known half of the duo Vas. In this ambitious 2002 recording she tackles songs and chants from a range of medieval European sources, backed by oud, duduk, vielle, cello, tombak, and a variety of other Western and Eastern instruments. Dedicated to Phoolan Devi, and the women of Afghanistan. *ac*cl*ie*re

CD 01096: Ravi Shankar: Chants of India. In this 1997 recording Shankar plays a set of works representative of the South Asian chant literature, incorporating mantras from various traditions. Several of the compositions are by Shankar himself. Produced by the late George Harrison. *ac*im*is*re

CD 01095: k. d. lang: Shadowland. Canadian vocalist par excellence lang's 1988 homage to classic country western and producer Owen Bradley. *cy*ss

CD 01090: John Fahey: The New Possibility: John Fahey's Guitar Soli Christmas Album. The world is sometimes an unpredictable place: who could have imagined the continuing sales success of this project by quirky acoustic guitarist Fahey, father of the new American fingerpicking guitar style, but otherwise a commercially invisible entity? Fahey died in 2001, but in this masterwork has left behind a reminder of Christmas visions extending beyond cheeky red-nosed reindeers and plastic Santas. The CD reissue not only incorporates all of the original 1968 recording, but much of the "Volume 2" issue of 1975 as well. *ag*cf

CD 01089: Rachid Taha: Made in Medina. "Rai" is a music genre that originated primarily with Algerians, and over the past two decades. It integrates traditional North African themes and moods with more Western approaches to music, and has become especially popular in Paris (where there are many Algerian expatriates). Taha's approach to the form is powerfully emotional, tinged with urban rock influences that really grab the listener's attention. Produced by Steve Hillage. *ia*ie*rk

CD 01087: Afro Celt Sound System: Volume 3, Further in Time. All of ACSS's releases thus far have been smashing successes; like the first two this one exhibits a remarkable eclecticism in which African singing styles and rhythms and Celtic-influenced original material are transformed into techno-trance sound extravaganzas. Nominated for a 2002 Grammy. *ce*ia*ie*im*na

CD 01086: Jan Garbarek, Anouar Brahem, & Shaukat Hussain: Madar. A sadly little-known crossover album on the European jazz label ECM featuring Norwegian Garbarek (on sax), Tunisian Brahem (on oud, an Arabian lute-like instrument), and Pakistani Hussain (on tablas). A good eclectic dose of powerful exoticism. *ac*is*jz

CD 01085: Stephane Grappelli: Live at the Blue Note. If you haven't heard of Stephane Grappelli--well, where have you been? Grappelli, who died in 1997, had been a leading light of jazz violin since his days of playing alongside the legendary Django Reinhardt and the Quintet of the Hot Club of France in the 1930s and 40s. Geriatrics note: Listeners may be surprised to find that this recording of sweet jazz and pop standards was made when Grappelli was no less than 87 years old... *im*jz*mr

CD 01084: Ron Sexsmith: Ron Sexsmith. Some people think Ron Sexsmith is one of the best young singer-songwriters around. 'No argument from here. *ss

CD 01083: Mickey Hart: Planet Drum. Mickey Hart, known to most as the longtime drummer for the Grateful Dead, has spent much of his professional life investigating, encouraging, and sponsoring international music featuring work by percussionists. This is one of the most celebrated of these projects, including contributions by Airto Moreira, Zakir Hussain, and Babatunde Olatunji. A 1991 Grammy winner. *ac*ia*ie*is

CD 01082: David Darling: Cello Blue. Classically-trained cellist David Darling has had a long career in crossover projects extending back at least as far as his 1960s collaborations with the Paul Winter Consort. Cello Blue furthers his more recent interest in applying the cello and electric cello to ambient chamber settings, more than justifying his reputation as the "Lord of Largo." Nominated for a 2002 Grammy. *am*na

CD 01081: John Prine: The John Prine Anthology (Great Days). John Prine was not born in Kentucky but did spend many of his early days here. This double-CD anthology spans the first twenty years of his career (through 1993), in solo work and in collaboration with singers such as Bonnie Koloc, Jennifer Warnes, and Bonnie Raitt, and instrumentalists like Steve Goodman, David Bromberg, Steve Cropper, and John Sebastian. *cf*ss

CD 01080: Sleepy LaBeef: Strange Things Happening. Multiple choice question: Sleepy LaBeef is: (1) a Norwegian hammered dulcimer player; (2) a minimalist classical composer specializing in new age tone poems (3) a jowly, middle-aged rockabilly singer and guitarist. Answer...? *rk

CD 01079: Gjallarhorn: Sjofn. The liner notes to this CD describe it as a "truly Nordic journey." Gjallarhorn is a Finnish folk band fronted by vocalist Jenny Wilhelm; their recent success stems in good part from her voice, and the group's ability to apply instruments (e.g., viola, mandola, didgeridoo, udu, kalimba, etc.) from a wide range of cultures to their largely Swedish and Finnish source material. *cf*ie

CD 01078: Hot Tuna: Hot Tuna. The best known members of Hot Tuna--Jack Casady (bass) and Jorma Kaukonen (guitar)--are perhaps most frequently remembered as original members of the legendary San Francisco band, Jefferson Airplane. But they also made a concurrent successful career as Hot Tuna, attracting sidemen like Will Scarlett and, later, Papa John Creach. This live album captures the group at its best and most typical: sounding something like the acoustic version of the Grateful Dead, and playing material taken largely from the country blues tradition of performers like Reverend Gary Davis. *ac*bl*rk

CD 01077: Loreena McKennitt: The Mask and Mirror. Canadian McKennitt abandons her harp in this 1994 release to focus her Celtic-leaning sensibilities on Moorish themes. Not to fear: there's the same riveting vocals and tight, driving, ensemble work that characterizes the rest of McKennitt's work of the last ten years. *ce*ss

CD 01076: Mary Black: The Best of Mary Black. Vocalist Mary Black began her career in the world of traditional Irish music, but in recent years has developed a much wider contemporary popular repertoire. For those who enjoy listening to intelligent singing delivered by a beautiful voice. *cf*mr*tf

CD 01075: Leonard Cohen: The Best of. I don't know what it is about Leonard Cohen; by all reason his laconic growl of a voice and downer songs should have made him a commercial washout. But then you hear a work with the shining grace of 'Suzanne,' or the lyrical fullness of 'Famous Blue Raincoat,' and you can't help but feel there's a place for him, after all... This collection features the best of his early work. *ss

CD 01074: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: The Supreme Collection Volume 1. No survey of late twentieth century genres would be complete without material by Pakistani Qawwali (Sufi) singer Khan, by anyone's assessment one of the greatest vocalists of his era. *is

CD 01073: Frank Zappa: Hot Rats. Zappa's early (1969) rock-jazz-with-variations masterpiece, featuring his exhilirating electric guitar classic, 'Willie the Pimp.' *ar*eg*jz*rk

CD 01072: Harold Budd & Brian Eno: The Pearl. Another album of impossibly sublime piano and electronic music, filled with sound images of a type matching the visuals one might expect to experience while resting quietly at the bottom of a pond, looking upward. *am*jz*na*pf

CD 01071: Taj Mahal & Toumani Diabate: Kulanjan. Taj Mahal has been a mainstay of the American blues and popular music scene since the late sixties; Toumani Diabate is the leading master of the kora, a West African instrument with harp-like qualities. In this CD they collaborate on material ranging from African traditional pieces and American blues to various contemporary styles. *ac*bl*cf*ia

CD 01070: Gidon Kremer/Astor Piazzolla: Hommage a Piazzolla. Astor Piazzolla, who died in 1992, is best known as the foremost classical composer of tango music. Kremer is among the very top classical violinists now playing, and his small ensemble-based "hommage" succeeds admirably in speaking directly to the music's elegantly romantic yet refined and melancholy essence. *ac*cl*in

CD 01069: Samite: Stars to Shine. Samite grew up in Uganda, but as a young adult he was forced to flee that country as a political refugee. Now based in the U.S., his extraordinary voice has made him a favorite collaborator in New Age, ambient, and traditional circles. This 1999 CD features his own compositions backed mostly by bright and cheerful traditional acoustic "supra-national" instrumentations. *ac*ia

CD 01068: Sweet Honey in the Rock: Breaths. Sweet Honey in the Rock is somewhat difficult to pigeonhole--yes, they are a group of six African American women and their largely a cappella music does reflect an ethnic and traditional perspective quite removed from the mainstream, but in addition to this influence there is also a strong social and political consciousness inherent in their material, a good amount of which is originally composed by the group's leader, Bernice Johnson Reagon. *cf*pc*rb*ss*wm

CD 01067: Orb: Live 93. The Orb are ambient music's answer to the collage form; their music (if exactly it is to be termed music) reminds one at times of the sensations experienced while under nitrous oxide at the dentist's office--light, spacious, dancing, with lots of inserted samplings. The Orb is the source of the familiar ambient classic 'Little Fluffy Clouds,' a live version of which is performed here. *am*el*ho

CD 01066: Dead Can Dance: Dead Can Dance 1981-1998. This three-CD, one-DVD survey of the career of one of alternative music's most celebrated acts absolutely covers all the bases, including their nearly classical cover of the Renaissance period 'Saltarello,' their many explorations into "nouveau Gothic" rock, and the Bulgarian-influenced vocal stylizations of Lisa Gerrard. *ar*el

CD 01065: Harold Budd: The Room. A CD of beautiful, tasteful and refined minimalist solo piano pieces from an important figure in the world of ambient music. *am*jz*na*pf

CD 01064: Brian Eno: Another Green World. This early (1975) release by the leading light of ambient music features an array of short, atmospheric vocal and instrumental pieces. Guest players include Phil Collins, John Cale, and Robert Fripp. *ar*ss

CD 01063: Ali Farka Toure: The Source. West African Toure plays (guitar) in an acoustic blues style straight out of the rural Deep South, but flavors this starting point with material and arrangements more reflective of his native Old World roots. *ac*ag*bl*cf*ia

CD 01062: Roxy Music: Roxy Music. Roxy Music was Britain's 70s answer to the New York underground rock scene. Led by Brian Eno and Bryan Ferry, their music proved both prophetic and influential (for example, David Bowie), with this first album "a musical pot pourri, with Ferry's 50s-tinged vocals juxtaposed alongside distinctive 60s rhythms and 70s electronics" [from The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music]. *ar

CD 01061: John Williams: The Magic Box. John Williams is in most people's opinion the leading classical guitarist--actually, the leading guitarist--now playing. In this project he has put together a set of short African traditional pieces and set them to small combo plus guitar arrangements. *ag*cl*ia*na

CD 01060: Elvis Costello & Burt Bacharach: Painted from Memory. At first a collaboration between these two familiar names seems a bit improbable, but on hearing the material one realizes that a tunesmith is a tunesmith is a tunesmith... *mr*ss

CD 01056: Uakti / Philip Glass: Aguas da Amazonia. Uakti is a unique Brazilian group of classically trained musicians who perform New Age-inspired non-vocal music reminiscent of the rainforest on woodwind and percussive instruments they build themselves (often from very mundane materials: basically, anything that will make a musical sound). Philip Glass is, well Philip Glass, the leading light of the classical minimalist style. Here they collaborate on a dance score commissioned by a Brazilian dance company. *cl*im*in*na

CD 01055: Pierre Bensusan: Nice Feelings. With a smoothly elegant yet technically accomplished style, French guitarist Pierre Bensusan has ranked among the world's leading fingerpickers for over twenty-five years. This CD samples representative material from his earlier albums Près de Paris, Pierre Bensusan, Musiques, Solilai, Spices, and Wu Wei. *ac*ag*cf

CD 01054: Sweet Honey in the Rock: Still the Same Me. This "extraordinary collection of soulful, uplifting and entertaining songs for children is the real deal, with Sweet Honey using only their voices and percussion instruments to create an amazing and compelling sound" [from an Amazon.com customer review]. Nominated for a Grammy award in 2001. *ch

CD 01053: Sam Bush: Howlin' at the Moon. Mandolin and fiddle player Sam Bush is home-grown--he hails from Bowling Green. In this collection of fourteen sprightly vocal and instrumental works released in 1998 he explores his usual "newgrass" territory. *ac*bg

CD 01052: The Kinks: The Ultimate Collection. This double-CD set of Kinks songs truly is the ultimate sampling of their oeuvre. Those familiar only with the likes of 'Lola' and 'You Really Got Me' will have lots to explore in this 44-work compilation: Kinks frontman Ray Davies is one of the finest songwriters of his generation, having left behind a string of pop masterpieces like 'Days,' 'A Well Respected Man, ' 'Sunny Afternoon,' 'Celluloid Heroes,' and my own personal favorite, the matchless 'Waterloo Sunset.' *rk*ss

CD 01051: Greg Brown: Slant 6 Mind. Like John Prine, gruff-voiced Greg Brown (you might recognize his name from the "Prairie Home Companion" radio program, on which he often guests) shines as a lyricist, tunesmith, and observer of America and Americans. This album is vintage Brown, featuring material with pungent lines like "The little princess is singing about her parts--She says 'Come hither' but when I get hither she is yon--I was looking for what I loved, but whatever it was, it's gone." A Grammy-nominated album. *cf*ss

CD 01050: Tom Waits: Alice. One of two 2002 works by Waits, the gravel-voiced chronicler of the American condition. This one showcases the gentler side of Tom. *ss

CD 01049: John Hammond: Wicked Grin. John Hammond's career began during the 1960s folk revival, and he's been known ever since for his uncompromising, edgy vocal/guitar/harmonica performances, especially of the traditional acoustic blues repertoire. Hammond is a past Grammy winner and several-time nominee; he is also a several-time W.C. Handy award winner and this 2001 album, produced by Tom Waits (and with many of the songs written by Waits), won him yet another. *ac*ag*bl*cf*ss

CD 01048: Alan Hovhaness: Mysterious Mountain/And God Created Great Whales. At the time of his death in 2000, Alan Hovhaness was one of America's best known classical composers. Hovhaness's style is very accessible--it has a decided mystical bent--and strongly influenced by various Asian musics, especially of Japan, China, and Armenia. 'And God Created Great Whales' is unusual in that it incorporates recordings of actual humpback whale song. *cl*im*is

CD 01047: Tom Waits: Blood Money. One of two 2002 works by Waits, the gravel-voiced chronicler of the American condition. This one, as the title suggests, focusses on subjects of a somewhat seamier nature. *ss

CD 01046: Jon Hassell: Fascinoma. Jon Hassell completed a Ph.D. in musicology before journeying to Europe in 1965 to study with Karlheinz Stockhausen; he subsequently connected with the founders of the avant-garde band Can, minimalists La Monte Young and Terry Riley, and producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. This Ry Cooder-produced album of 1999 was one of the most critically acclaimed New Age/ambient recordings of its period, featuring Hassell's spacey, laid-back, atmospheric, "Fourth World" electronic stylizations and the bansuri flute playing of Ronu Majumdar. *am*im*jz

CD 01045: Zap Mama: Sabsylma. "Zap Mama are five women who are each of mixed African and European ancestry. They sing a cappella (with a little hand percussion sprinkled in) in a hybrid style that befits their background" [from an Amazon.com editorial review]. The key word in the preceding is "hybrid": the material is sung in English, French, and assorted African languages, and ranges source-wise from aboriginal chants to African folksong to cabaret-like observations and musings. A Grammy-nominated album. *iz*ie*wm

CD 01044: Joshua Bell & Edgar Meyer: Short Trip Home. Classical violinist Bell is teamed here in crossover mode with three of the leading lights of the Nashville sound, Edgar Meyer, Sam Bush, and Mike Marshall. The occasion: a 1999 live concert at Alice Tully Hall, in New York. A Grammy-nominated album. *ac*bg*cl*jz

CD 01043: Mike Auldridge, Bob Brozman, & David Grisman: Tone Poems III. Auldridge is one of the premier dobro players in the business, Bob Brozman a remarkable guitarist, and David Grisman the mandolinist who invented the "Dawg" style of progressive bluegrass music. Here they collaborate in one of the Tone Poems series to produce a long set of instrumentals incorporating traditions ranging from Hawaiian to country blues. *ac*ag*bg

CD 01042: John Renbourn: Traveller's Prayer. Ex-British string band Pentangle member Renbourn is known as one of the late twentieth century's leading acoustic guitar virtuosos, his music propelled by a nimble fingerpicking style and influences ranging from traditional English folk and American blues to Renaissance tunes. This 1998 release features him in top form, both as a soloist and in small group vocal settings. *ac*ag*cf

CD 0985: Bert Jansch: The Best of Bert Jansch. Little known in this country, Scottish folk-blues fingerpicker Jansch ranks among the most influential acoustic guitarists of the past century (a few years ago a British poll actually placed him as second--right behind blues legend Robert Johnson). This collection surveys his most creative period--1965 to 1971--when he was leading the folk-rock movement in Britain, redefining the sound of the guitar, and providing inspiration for figures ranging from Jimmy Page, Neil Young and Paul Simon, to John Renbourn, Pierre Bensusan and Alex DeGrassi. *ac*ag*bl*cf*ss

CD 0984: James Cotton: High Compression. One of the best-known Alligator Records recordings by Memphis and Chicago bluesman Cotton, among the leading harmonica players of the late Twentieth Century. In this 1984 release he is backed by the James Cotton Chicago Blues All-Stars and the James Cotton Band, and the likes of Magic Slim, Pinetop Perkins, and Michael Coleman. *bl

CD 0983: Altan: The Best of Altan. Group founder and leader Frankie Kennedy lost his battle with cancer in 1994, but Altan remains in the forefront of Irish traditional music. This double CD review includes a collection of their best studio work, plus a disc of live performances. *ac*ce*cf*tf

CD 0982: Amina: Nomad--Best Of. Tunisian-born Parisian Amina has had considerable success on the Continent since her breakthrough hit 'He Who Has the Last Word' won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1991. Her music is bright and engaging, sounding at once traditional North African and Middle Eastern, with strong accents of Western pop, blues, and disco. *ho*ia*ie*rb

CD 0981: Arvo Pärt: Tabula Rasa. This CD collects four of Pärt's best known instrumental works from the late 70s and early 80s, all in the stark but emotive minimalist style he has become famous for. The featured performers include Gidon Kremer, Keith Jarrett, Dennis Russell Davies, Alfred Schnitke, and the Berlin Philharmonic. *cl

CD 0980: Midnight Oil: 20,000 Watt R.S.L. Rock music has never had a more striking figure than Australian group Midnight Oil's leader Peter Garrett--all seven feet and shaven bald head of him. Not to mention the fact that he is both an LL.B and D.Litt., twice ran and very nearly won a seat in Parliament, and from 1989 to 1993 served as President of Australia's leading environmental organization, the Australian Conservation Foundation (Garrett calls himself "the best known politician in Australia who has never been elected"). This collection surveys nearly twenty years of Garrett and friends' work--much of which, not surprisingly, has a lot of political content. *ar*pc*rk

CD 0979: Yo-Yo Ma: The Protecting Veil (John Tavener). 'The Protecting Veil,' a forty-five minute study for cello and string orchestra, was written in 1987 by the English composer John Tavener, primarily known for his Russian Orthodox Church-inspired religious choral works. In this music the cello performs throughout, producing the impact of a meditation, though punctuated by several startling episodes of ecstatic play. One of the best known and most commercially successful classical compositions of the past twenty years. *cl*im*re

CD 0967: Ottmar Liebert: The Hours Between Night & Day. Ottmar Liebert is one of the leading figures in the "Nouveau Flamenco" movement. The Hours Between Night & Day, from 1993, is one of his best known releases and was nominated for a Grammy award. *ag*ie

CD 0944: Koko Taylor: What It Takes/The Chess Years. "What separates Koko Taylor from the blues pack is her huge, rough-hewn roar of a voice... [This collection] is a full-circle reminder of the early stages of a career that began with Taylor just sitting in for fun with her blues heroes..." [from the liner notes]. Features 'I Got What It Takes,' 'Wang Dang Doodle,' and other material by the legendary blues great Willie Dixon. *bl

CD 0943: Joe Ely: Live at Antone's. "Joe Ely's live sets have long held mythical status--first around Texas, eventually around the world. Muscular and adrenaline-fueled, Ely's powerful and offbeat mix of rock, country, folk, and Tex-Mex influences never fails to invigorate and surprise an audience. Live at Antone's captures Ely in his element--onstage at a legendary Austin roadhouse..." [from the liner notes] *cy*rk*ss

CD 0942: Dusty Springfield: Dusty in Memphis. Most music fans remember Dusty Springfield as a silken-voiced 60s hit-maker ('I Only Want to Be with You,' 'Wishin and Hopin,' 'You Don't Have to Say You Love Me'), but after that period her career turned in a number of directions. Dusty in Memphis is described in the liner notes as "a meeting of great pop songs and soul with funky arrangements" and is universally recognized as her finest album. Springfield died in 1999, shortly after being inducted into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame. Note: This edition of the work contains fourteen bonus tracks, most previously unreleased. *mr*rb

CD 0941: Annbjorg Lien: Prisme. Crystal-eyed Annbjorg Lien has quickly established a reputation as one of the foremost players on the Norwegian hardanger fiddle, a raspy-voiced member of the stringed instrument family: it sounds something like a viola with an attitude. On this 1997 release Lien rocks out with her ensemble on a set of lively instrumentals reminding one of the Grieg of the 'Hall of the Mountain King.' *ac*cf*ie*tf

CD 0940: Malvina Reynolds: Ear to the Ground. You may not know Malvina Reynolds (1900-1978) by name, but this grandmotherly-looking but feisty Californian was an influential pioneer in the world of contemporary folk music, and you may well have heard her songs (e.g. 'What Have They Done to the Rain?', ' Morningtown Ride') performed by any number of better known acts. Her speciality was topical political satire; she was responsible, in fact, for one of best known of all works produced in that genre, 'Little Boxes.' *cf*pc*ss*wm

CD 0939: The Reverend James Cleveland: The King of Gospel. A 1997 release containing nine moving pieces in the gospel music genre from the Rev. Cleveland, one of this music's leading names. *re

CD 0938: Silly Wizard: Live Wizardry. Silly Wizard is remembered as one of the very best Celtic bands, largely on the strength of the skills of singer/songwriter Andy M. Stewart and the instrumental prowess of the Cunningham brothers, John and Phil (on fiddle and accordion/concertina, respectively). This compilation CD presents them at the peak of their craft, recorded live and in concert in the 1980s. *ac*ce*cf

CD 0937: R. Carlos Nakai et al.: Feather, Stone & Light. R. Carlos Nakai is the best known and most successful of all players of the Native American flute. In this largely improvisation-based 1995 recording Nakai performs both solo and in league with skilled sidemen William Eaton (guitar and lyraharp guitar) and Will Clipman (percussion). *ac*in*na

CD 0936: Charlie Haden and Egberto Gismonti: In Montreal. A live recording featuring the equally renowned jazz musicians Charlie Haden (on the double-bass) and Egberto Gismonti (on wide-necked ten-string guitar and piano), mainstays of the progressive ECM label for over twenty years. *ac*ag*jz*pf

CD 0935: Sheila Chandra: Weaving My Ancestors' Voices. This much acclaimed 1992 release spotlights Indian-born (but now England native) Chandra exploring the nuances of the vocal drone in music descending from traditions as varied as Moorish, Celtic, South and North Indian, Spanish, and British folk. *ie*is

CD 0934: Burning Spear: Ultimate Collection. Burning Spear (born Winston Rodney) ranks among the top performers in reggae. Spear has been heavily influenced by the work of Marcus Garvey; much of his music is on the theme of the struggle for African liberation. This fine collection features twenty tracks he recorded in the 70s, 80s and early 90s. *in*pc*rg*ss

CD 0933: Dr. John: Dr. John's Gumbo. A noted early (1972) album by the gruff-voiced performer once known as "The Night Tripper." Dr. John (born Mac Rebennack) hails from New Orleans, where he grew up influenced by rhythm and blues. He describes this album as roots music, "basic good-time New Orleans blues and stomp music with a little Dixieland jazz and some Spanish rhumba blues." *bl*ca*jz*pf*rb*rk

CD 0930: Terry Riley: A Rainbow in Curved Air. Terry Riley, one of the triad of composers (Steve Reich and Philip Glass being the others) most responsible for the development of the classical music genre known as Minimalism, produced this early electronic keyboards-based masterwork of that genre in 1969. Oddly enough, the title track was even a hit single... *cl*el*pf

CD 0929: Tish Hinojosa: Culture Swing. Tish Hinojosa writes and sings in a style that reminds me a lot of Nanci Griffith--that is, drawing deeply from the well of folk-country-popular inspiration, but incorporating a keen observational talent. "With a voice as pure as a southwestern sunset, she brings together the spirit and warmth of the Anglo-Hispanic experience in each song..." [from the liner notes] *cf*in*ss*wm

CD 0928: Anita Baker: Rapture. Is this music jazz, soul, or rhythm and blues, or all of the above? I don't know, but Baker's sensuous vocals sure do capture all the delicious nuances of love and romance. *jz*mr*rb

CD 0927: Michael Hedges: Oracle. Acoustic guitarist Michael Hedges's life was cut short by a car accident in 1997. Hedges was one of Windham Hill's most successful and influential artists; he was especially known for his new approaches to the use of harmonics and percussive styles of play. This album won him a posthumous Grammy. *ac*ag

CD 0926: Ladysmith Black Mambazo: The Warner Brothers Collection. Ladysmith Black Mambazo has long been South Africa's best known traditional vocal ensemble. This collection revisits some of their best material from the late 80s, including a couple of cuts from the famous sessions with Paul Simon sitting in. *ia

CD 0925: Ravi Shankar: Live at Monterey 1967. Identifying a "best album" by renowned sitarist and cross-cultural ambassador Ravi Shankar may be a problematic goal, but most sources place this one very high on the list. *ac*cl*is

CD 0924: Vas: Sunyata. Vas is the duo Azam Ali (hammered dulcimer and vocals) and Greg Ellis (percussion). Their 1997 debut album, blending exotic percussive rhythms and Persian vocalist Ali's mesmerizing pseudo-word vocals, was a stunning success, and they have since followed it up with two equally triumphant successor works. *ac*ar*is

CD 0923: Velvet Underground & Nico: The Velvet Underground & Nico. Featuring Lou Reed and John Cale, the now legendary Velvet Underground was one of rock's first and most artistically successful alternative acts. Produced by the late Andy Warhol. *ar

CD 0922: Rory Block: Tornado. Rory Block made her reputation many years back as one of the best traditional acoustic blues guitarists around, but she has diversified over the years to become a fine songwriter and powerful vocalist as well. *ac*ag*bl*ss*wm

CD 0921: King Sunny Adé: Juju Music. Sunny Adé is the leading exponent of what is known as Juju music, the main popular music of the Yoruba people of Nigeria. "Juju music is essentially party music...the fans out there want to dance and the rhythm is basically simple and, once you hook it up, it flows endlessly..." [from the liner notes] *ac*ia

CD 0920: John Fahey: The John Fahey Anthology. John Fahey didn't make "hit music" (though his quirky and improbable Christmas album The New Possibility made him a pile of money), but as one of the fathers of the American style of solo fingerpicking guitar his artistic impact cannot be overestimated. This double-CD does a great job of surveying his more than forty-year career. *ag*cf

CD 0919: Roy Buchanan: Sweet Dreams: The Anthology. Buchanan never got the "big break" that would have put his name in the national spotlight, and in truth his oeuvre suffers a bit from inconsistency. Still, at his best he was surely one of the very finest electric blues guitarists playing. *bl*eg*rk

CD 0918: Jeff Beck: Blow by Blow. This mid-70s album presents legendary electric guitarist Beck at his artistic best: in this instance, in a set of lively instrumentals exploring the boundary zones between rock, jazz, and funk. *eg*rk*jz

CD 0917: Agnes Buen Garnås and Jan Garbarek: Rosensfole: Medieval Songs from Norway. Garnås is one of Norway's best known folk singers; Garbarek, Europe's leading jazz saxophonist and a cross-cultural and cross-temporal musical explorer par excellence. In this recording they collaborate to produce a striking set of synthesizer-backed vocal renderings of some very old--but still riveting--traditional material. *cf*ie*jz

CD 0916: Marcia Ball: Let Me Play With Your Poodle. New Orleans-groomed but currently Austin-based blues singer and piano player Marcia Ball has had a string of successful albums since she first gained national attention in the early 1980s. Ball's sound continues to evolve: witness this 1997 release, which firmly wed her Cajun roots to her new Texan surroundings. *bl*ca*pf*rb

CD 0915: The Who: Live at Leeds. This surprisingly little remembered album features one of the most electric performances of rock 'n roll ever committed to tape. The CD includes glowing in-concert renderings of 'Magic Bus,' 'My Generation,' 'Summertime Blues,' 'Shakin' All Over,' 'Young Man Blues,' various excerpts from the rock opera Tommy, and material not present on the original 33 rpm album. *eg*rk

CD 0914: George Winston: Winter into Spring. Hardly any other performer is more frequently thought of in connection with "New Age" music than pianist George Winston, for many years a mainstay of the Windham Hill label. Here's a full set of George, doing what he does best: creating gentle but bright and technically accomplished instrumentals for solo piano. *pf*na

CD 0913: Eva Cassidy: Live at Blues Alley. Many people know Eva Cassidy's story by now (she died in 1996 before being in the business long enough to make more than a local reputation); her posthumous success just goes to show that good music can and does find a way to be heard. Cassidy mostly sang middle-of-the-road classics, but no one could possibly do more with old chestnuts like 'What A Wonderful World' or 'People Get Ready' than she did. *mr

CD 0912: The Roches: The Roches. The Roches, a trio of sisters from "saboybun" New Jersey, have had a considerable impact on the development of women's music in particular, and pop vocal styles in general. Their first album featured their indescribably sweet but camp harmonies on the self-introductory track 'We,' the advisory 'Hammond Song,' and the touching lament 'Runs in the Family.' Produced by Robert Fripp, of King Crimson fame. *ss*wm

CD 0911: Stan Rogers: From Coffee House to Concert Hall. Released over fifteen years after the Canadian singer-songwriter's death in a tragic airplane fire, this collection draws together twenty carefully chosen and previously unreleased live performances of works he wrote that were never studio-recorded. *ac*cf*ss

CD 0910: Neville Brothers: The Very Best of the Neville Brothers. The New Orleans-based Nevilles have been an institution in American music for some forty years. Their material ranges from soulful ballads like Aaron Neville's superb 60s hit 'Tell It Like It Is' to full combo playing in the soul, Caribbean, and rhythm and blues traditions. *ca*in*rb

CD 0909: Brian Eno: Thursday Afternoon. In some respects ambient music pioneer Brian Eno represents the John Cage of popular music (and indeed Cage was one of Eno's influences). The atmospheric serenity and other-worldliness of this classic hour-long 1985 work can scarcely be imagined prior to its first hearing; try using headphones on this one! *am*na*pf

CD 0908: Tom Waits: Mule Variations. This 1999 release, Waits's first in a good number of years, proved that he has lost none of the Beat poet stream-of-consciousness humor--or gravelly voice--that has made him one of America's most distinctive songwriter-performers. *ss

CD 0907: Stan Rogers: From Fresh Water. Sadly, this was to be the last album of studio-recorded material from the man many would say was the most talented Canadian songwriter/folksinger of his time. And no one could match his extraordinary voice: big, deep, and powerful, yet capable of projecting great emotional detail. *ac*cf*ss

CD 0906: Angélique Kidjo: Keep on Moving: The Best Of. Benin-born and Paris-based Kidjo has risen to the ranks of top international stardom. "Her style of music varies from afro-funk, reggae, samba, salsa, gospel, jazz, zairean rumba, souk and makossa which combined together creates her soulful unique sound..." [from the liner notes] *ho*ia*ie*jz*rb

CD 0905: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: Shahen-Shah. Pakistani Qawwali (devotional sufi music) singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan gained a reputation as one of the world's most powerfully affecting vocalists. His music possesses both the exotic, transcending feel of the East, and the Western penchant for rhythm and melody. *is*re

CD 0904: Loudon Wainwright III: Album III. Singer-songwriter (and actor: the 2001 sitcom Undeclared and other appearances) Wainwright's third album, including the demented classics 'Dead Skunk' and 'Red Guitar,' further showcased his wacky brand of personal and social commentary. *ss

CD 0903: Dead Can Dance: Spiritchaser. The now defunct duo Dead Can Dance mined Gothic sensibilities, a medieval ambience, and rock roots to produce an innovative and influential cross-over sound that culminated in this, their last album, in 1996. Very powerful and moving stuff--in a low-key kind of way. *ar

CD 0902: Paul Horn: Inside the Taj Mahal I & II. This welcome compilation brings together the majority of each of the two famous atmospheric recordings jazz flutist Paul Horn made inside the Taj Mahal. Trancy and ethereal, these works are sometimes pointed to as leading examples of the genre known as "New Age" music. *ac*am*jz*na

CD 0901: Youssou N'Dour: Joko (The Link). "Youssou N'Dour, a superstar at home in Senegal and in most of Africa, possesses an astonishingly strong and supple high-tenor voice, and he writes tuneful, insightful songs about his fellow West Africans' transition from isolated rural villages to cosmopolitan big cities..." [from an Amazon.com editorial review] *ia*ss

CD 0900: Peter Gabriel: Passion: Music for the Last Temptation of Christ. Music lovers owe Peter Gabriel a considerable debt for jumping ship from the band Genesis when he did; since then no one has done more to promote the cause of world music than he has. This recording, based on the movie The Last Temptation of Christ's soundtrack, creatively explores ways of uniting international, New Age, and rock forms. *fi*im*rk

CD 0899: Terje Rypdal: Waves. Norwegian guitarist and composer Terje Rypdal has spent a thirty-year career successfully navigating his way through the hinterlands of jazz, classical, and space music. This 1978 ECM release features a four-man combo (with Jon Christensen on percussion) and a "cool" European electric/electronic jazz sound. *eg*jz

CD 0898: The Yardbirds: The Ultimate Collection. It is probably true that the Yardbirds were largely of a time and place--the mid-60s--but their lineup did include all of the three premier British electric guitarists of the rock era: Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page. This double-CD features both live and studio performances, including works like 'I'm a Man,' 'The Train Kept A-Rollin,' 'Shapes of Things,' 'Over Under Sideways Down,' and 'Smokestack Lightning.' *bl*eg*rk

CD 0897: Béla Fleck & the Flecktones: Live Art. Two discs of live performances by the man who has taken the banjo to its technically loftiest heights yet. *ac*bg

CD 0896: Kate Wolf: Gold in California: A Retrospective of Recordings 1975-1985. There seems to be some truth to the saying that the good die young. It would have been nice to have had the profoundly gentle and insightful singer-songwriter Kate Wolf around for a few more years. *cf*ss*wm

CD 0895: Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band: Trout Mask Replica. This famous and unforgettable album features the eccentric and camp observations of one Don Van Vliet (aka Captain Beefheart) and his merry band of zanies. Check out the eclectic 'Old Fart at Play' for a revolution in perspective, if that's what you're up for today. Produced by Frank Zappa. *ar

CD 0894: Ali Farka Toure, with Ry Cooder: Talking Timbuktu. "This CD is the result of a great collaboration between two very talented but different musicians...Toure plays in a rhythmic blues influenced style that is evocative of John Lee Hooker and Lightnin' Hopkins. The music here is contemporary yet distinctly African. Cooder and Toure are supported by a great group of session musicians including jazz bassist John Patitucci and guitarist Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown..." [from an Amazon.com customer review] *ac*ag*bl*cf

CD 0893: Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention: We're Only in It for the Money. When Frank Zappa succumbed to cancer in 1993, the world of music lost one of its most extraordinary figures. Witty and cerebral, yet routinely choosing to express that dry sense of humor through camp satirical and even vulgar devices, Zappa was one of the business's most exacting, honest and creative forces. R.I.P., Frank. *ar

CD 0892: Marcia Ball, Irma Thomas, and Tracy Nelson: Sing It! "...Three of the greatest singers of classic rhythm and blues pool their talents on this set of Southern soul, country and New Orleans second-line. While each singer has her moment to shine as a soloist, most songs feature these memorable voices in three part harmony..." [from the liner notes] *ca*rb

CD 0891: Richard & Linda Thompson: Shoot Out the Lights. Richard Thompson is perhaps best known for his association with Fairport Convention, the fine British folk-rock band, but for many years now he has mostly gone it alone (here, with his former wife Linda), developing a solid following as a penetrating observer/writer, singer, and guitarist. ac*ag*cf*eg*ss

CD 0890: Mose Allison: The Best of Mose Allison. You may not know Mississippi jazz sage Allison by name, but you've probably heard his music. He sounds a bit like a droll Greenwich Village version of light jazz singer/songwriter Michael Franks (the 'Popsicle Toes' man); but what makes him really unique is his ability to crank out a never-ending stream of lyrically-precisely-on-the-money, three-minute-long "slice of life" musical introspections. *jz*ss

CD 0889: Mark Isham: Tibet. Emmy-, Oscar- and Golden Globe-nominated and Grammy-winning film composer and trumpeter Isham is one of that business's most sought-after talents. In this 1989 Windham Hill release he created a spare yet expansive soundtrack evoking the mystical, inaccessible mood of the "Roof of the World." *fi*im

CD 0888: Tangerine Dream: Rubycon. A classic album of German synthesizer band space music from this influential ensemble, at this point (1975) consisting of Edgar Froese, Chris Franke, and Peter Baumann. *ar*el*im

CD 0882: J. D. Crowe & the New South: J. D. Crowe & the New South. Originally released in 1975, this milestone album expanded the horizons of bluegrass by introducing more complex scales into the music and adding a jazz flavor. Note, moreover, the personnel: in addition to Crowe, the band consisted of Tony Rice, Ricky Skaggs, Jerry Douglas, and Bobby Slone... *ac*bg

CD 0844: Laurie Anderson: Big Science. From even the first few seconds of this 1982 album listeners were tipped off that they were about to embark on a completely new kind of journey. It's now nearly twenty years and a dozen releases later, but the stylish machinations of performance artist Anderson remain instantly recognizable, though having been much imitated in the interim. *ar*pc*ss

CD 0843: Ofra Haza: Kirya. Ofra Haza, an Israeli singer of Yemenite descent, died in 2000 under suspicious circumstances while still in her early 40s. Too bad: Possessed of a powerful and flexible voice and able to sing in several languages and in several styles, she was Israel's leading female vocalist at the time of her death. Kirya--a Grammy-nominated album--provides ample evidence of her talent. *is

CD 0842: Loreena McKennitt: The Book of Secrets. It doesn't take much listening to Canadian Loreena McKennitt's fabulous voice and sensuous compositions and performances to understand why she has such a large and loyal following. This 1997 release linked her Celtic-rock explorations to experiences assimilated during a cross-continental Asiatic trip. *ce*rk*ss

CD 0841: Tangerine Dream: Phaedra. The long-lived German synthesizer band Tangerine Dream, though not a household name in this country, nevertheless has a very strong cult following worldwide, and has had a profound effect on the evolution of ambient electronic music styles. Phaedra, from 1974 (when the band's ever-shifting lineup consisted of Edgar Froese, Chris Franke, and Peter Baumann) is one of their spaciest and most ethereal all-instrumental recordings. *ar*im*el

CD 0840: Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer and Mark O'Connor: Appalachia Waltz. Not quite classical, not quite bluegrass, not quite new age, this music is the ultimate crossover fare. The partly traditional and partly original material benefits from the combined chamber music-like sensibilities of three of the finest instrumentalists now playing. *ac*bg*cl

CD 0839: Keith Jarrett: The Köln Concert. Jazz (and lately, classical) pianist Keith Jarrett is perhaps best known as a transcending master of technique. This session captured a set of extraordinary solo improvisations, and is now regarded as one of the world of jazz's essential recordings. *jz*pf

CD 0838: John Prine: John Prine. Western Kentucky's own John Prine epitomizes the term "singer-songwriter." His wry yet reverential observations have made him a national treasure; this album, his first, contains a slew of his best known pieces, including 'Illegal Smile,' 'Hello in There,' 'Sam Stone,' 'Paradise,' and 'Angel from Montgomery.' *cf*ss

CD 0837: Kate and Anna McGarrigle: Kate & Anna McGarrigle. Sister singer-songwriter team Kate and Anna McGarrigle may not have instant name recognition outside their native Canada, but few acts have earned such a universally high level of respect among their peers. This is their first (and possibly best) album, including an unsurpassable reading of their most famous song, 'Heart Like a Wheel.' *cf*ss*wm

CD 0836: Toumani Diabate (with Ballake Sissoko): New Ancient Strings. No words can give an adequate idea of just how sparkling and bright, yet trance-like, this music is. Mali musician Diabate is today's foremost student of the West African stringed instrument known as the kora, which in play sounds something like a cross between a hammered dulcimer and a harp. *ac*ia*na

CD 0835: Robert Fripp and Brian Eno: Evening Star. Combine avant-garde electric guitarist extraordinaire Robert Fripp (of King Crimson fame) with the father and leading spirit of ambient music, Brian Eno, and what do you get? Quite an esoteric exploration, to be sure, including the startling, brilliantly sublime, title track. *am*ar*eg*el

CD 0834: The Modern Lovers: The Modern Lovers. Group leader and lead singer Jonathan Richman is one of rock 'n roll's great legendary one-of-a-kinds. His approach to his subject has proved timeless and prophetic (think of the group The Cars when you listen to this CD), and he has even given us perhaps the finest cruisin' song ever written: the immortal 'Roadrunner.' *rk

CD 0833: Steve Roach: Dreamtime Return. Arizonan Roach is the leading exponent of the techno-ambient style of new age music, and this double-album exploring the myth and psychology of the Australian aborigines' Dreamtime legend rates as a first-class masterpiece. Get out your headphones, sit down and relax in a dimly-lit room, and be prepared to take a trip... *am*el*im*na

CD 0832: Charlie Musselwhite: Best of the Vanguard Years. Charlie Musselwhite is one of the--if not the--greatest living blues harp players. This collection features selected material from his first several albums in the 1960s, including sidemen such as Harvey Mandel, Barry Goldberg, John Hammond, and Michael Bloomfield. *bl

CD 0831: Norman Blake and Tony Rice: Blake & Rice. Two of the best pickers in the business in a classic recording of traditional and original folk material. *ac*ag*cf

CD 0830: Arvo Pärt: Alina. Estonian composer Arvo Pärt is perhaps today's most talked about classical composer. Strongly influenced both by Minimalism and the music of the Russian Orthodox Church, his music is sparse but powerful. Alina, consisting of delicate variations on a pair of simple themes for solo piano and piano and cello/violin, was possibly the most successful classical/new age crossover CD of 2000. *am*cl*na*pf

CD 0829: Iris DeMent: My Life. DeMent was one of the 90s' most successful new singer-songwriters. My Life, her second release, was dedicated to the memory of her father, and further showcased her strongly country-influenced and highly intimate delivery and song-writing style. *cy*ss*wm

CD 0828: Herbie Hancock: Head Hunters. The best known and biggest-selling album fusing funk and jazz, and still considered highly influential today. *jz*pf*rb

CD 0827: Steve Reich: Different Trains / Electric Counterpoint. Steve Reich is one of the two most celebrated fashioners (along with Philip Glass) of the classical music style known as Minimalism. In this CD two of his best known works are performed by a pair of quite different but equally well-established acts: the classical music crossover ensemble the Kronos Quartet, and the jazz guitarist Pat Metheny. *cl*im

CD 0826: Etta James: Mystery Lady. Etta James has had a long and distinguished career as one of our foremost blues and jazz singers, but this award-winning 1994 recording, featuring songs of Billie Holiday and dedicated to James's mother, is perhaps her crowning achievement. *jz*rb

CD 0825: Márta Sebestyén: The Best Of. Even before her featured presence on the soundtrack of the movie The English Patient, Hungarian vocalist Márta Sebestyén had worked her way to the top of the ranks of the world's leading folksingers. This CD provides a sample of her best material, with and without the band with which she is often associated, Muzsikas. *ac*cf*ie

CD 0824: Patti Smith: Horses. Some would argue that Patti Smith was one of the most important forces keeping rock music alive and vital during the disco void of the late 1970s. At the very least, a lot of today's acts owe a considerable debt to her lead. *ar*rk

CD 0823: Robert Rich: Rainforest. This 1989 release, described on its cover as "a polyrhythmic, electroacoustic journey into the lush green beauty of the tropical soundspace--in the natural harmonics of just intonation," was the first of a continuing string of highly successful projects by Californian sound sculptor Rich. Real good mind-food. *am*el*na

CD 0822: Nick Drake: Pink Moon. It's been thirty years since English guitarist/singer/songwriter Drake died of an apparent accidental medicinal drug overdose, but his moody, introspective music and mystery-man persona has finally made him famous. And a certain Volkswagen convertible ad didn't hurt any... *ac*ag*cf*ss

CD 0821: Bob Marley and the Wailers: Legend (Best Of). The sad early death from cancer at age 36 of Bob Marley deprived reggae music of its pre-eminent talent and spokesperson. This collection features fourteen of his best known compositions, including 'Is This Love,' 'I Shot the Sheriff,' 'Buffalo Soldier,' and 'Get Up Stand Up.' *in*pc*rg*ss

CD 0820: The Firesign Theatre: How Can You Be In Two Places At Once When You're Not Anywhere At All. The Firesign Theatre, an American radio comedy group, produced several delightfully abstruse albums in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This one, perhaps the most "out there" of them all, features their signature radio play 'The Further Adventures of Nick Danger.' Monty Python-esque, but more cerebral. *cm

CD 0819: Tom Waits: Rain Dogs. Tom Waits is an acquired taste, but once encountered this gravel-voiced poet and Beat Generation descendant is hard to resist. Who else could write (and recite) words like "Well it's 9th and Hennepin, and all the donuts have names that sound like prostitutes..."? *ss

CD 0812: Miles Davis: Bitches Brew. This 1970 album was a milestone both for popular music and for Davis individually: the work in which jazz went definitively electric. Also notable for the strength of Davis' side players, including, among others, John McLaughlin, Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul, Chick Corea, Dave Holland, and Jack DeJohnette. *im*jz