Music Consumption in the MP3 Era
Music Consumption in the MP3 Era

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Name: uao
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Note: the copyrighted audio material on this site is for listening only, and is not downloadable. It is provided as illustrations to the articles, and to interest people in the legal purchase of these artists' material. Any copyright holder who would like their material removed should contact me, and I'll remove it.

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Saturday, January 21, 2006
 

Weekend Reissue Roundup #36 01/21/06

Aerosmith: Big Ones (1994)   Sheryl Crow: The Very Best of Sheryl Crow (2003)   Bad Company: Bad Company (1974)   Lobo: Me and You and a Dog Named Boo (2006)


Artist: Album (label, release date) 1-5 stars

Aerosmith: Big Ones (Universal International, January 17, 2006) ****
Sheryl Crow: Best Of Sheryl Crow (Universal International, January 17, 2006) ***
Bad Company: Bad Company (Audio Fidelity, January 17, 2006) ****
Lobo: Me and You and A Dog Named Boo & Other Hits (Collectables, January 17, 2006) **

Aerosmith: Big Ones
Aerosmith: Big Ones (1994)
Aerosmith has defied an awful lot of odds over the years. There were Stephen Tyler and Joe Perry's famous drug addictions, which had gotten so bad in the early 80's the band was essentially blacklisted by record companies, after numerous blown gigs, ruined sessions, and a nasty Tyler/Perry split. When Geffen signed them in 1984, they were signing a had-been 70's hard rock/arena rock band when hard rock and arena rock were very much out of style. No Aerosmith album had reached the top-10 except Rocks, in 1976. Critically, they were second string; a mix of the Rolling Stones and the New York Dolls, they were considered derivative and dull. In short, nobody should have predicted the career renaissance the band had in store when it released Done With Mirrors in 1984. When Big Ones was released in 1994, the band was bigger than it had ever been before; Get A Grip was their first #1 album, and hits like "Rag Doll", "Love In An Elevator", "Janie's Got A Gun", and "Livin' On The Edge" are just a few of the songs they found massive, inescapable airplay with. The band continues to sell records in droves; three of four regular albums since Big Ones has made the top-5; their 2001 Superbowl appearance confirmed their overlord status. So how good is Big Ones? It's good; the hits have some grit and attitude even if both are simulated, the riffs are plentiful, and you can sing along with everything here. It makes a good companion piece to Greatest Hits, which covered their first Columbia era. But it's not great; as much as I admire their comeback and appreciate their keeping rock 'n' roll an entertainment for the masses, it's all pretty slick. Still, there are worse crimes than slickness. Since this was originally issued in 1994, it's missing all of their subsequent, and slicker hits, recorded for Columbia again. A pricier but much better Aerosmith compilation is the career-spanning O, Yeah! Ultimate Aerosmith Hits from 2002, which covers all of their Columbia/Geffen hits.

Sheryl Crow: Very Best Of Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Crow: The Very Best of Sheryl Crow (2003)
The Very Best of Sheryl Crow was originally released in 2003, and was the first real career anthology of Crow's work. As a former backing singer for Michael Jackson, Crow, as has been mentioned often, was a music veteran by the time she released her debut, Tuesday Night Music Club in 1993. On that debut, she established herself in the tradition of singer/songwriter; subsequent releases have attempted to find an uneasy balance between the classic rock-retro "If It Makes You Happy" and "My Favorite Mistake" and the more adult alternative sound of "Every Day Is A Winding Road" and "Soak Up The Sun". The rap against her has always been a lack of originality, and the cliched song titles support this theory: "A Change Would Do You Good", "There Goes The Neighborhood", "Light In Your Eyes" are hardly original turns of phrase, and her musical ideas have always been more recycled than innovative. She also never revisited the quirky personality hinted at in her woozy ode to L.A. "All I Wanna Do", her debut single. Which leaves one with a certain sense of blah as the radio hits and misses troop by; it's a good thing her arena rock version of Cat Stevens' eminently hummable "The First Cut Is The Deepest" was tacked on to the end of this, because "I Shall Believe" would have been a real snoozer to go out on. There's nothing really bad here except the woefully self-pitying country duet "Picture", which can be blamed on Kid Rock. As a collection, this'll do; everything you really need is here (some non-album film tracks are missing, the best being "Sweet Child O' Mine"), and some of her ballads like "Home" are pretty enough. Whether or not you lsten to it depends on how hard up you are for classic rock/alternative adult music. There are other alternatives out there.

Bad Company: Bad Company
Bad Company: bad Company (1974)
Bad Company was one of the quintessential arena rock acts of the 1970's, full of strutting cock rock, outlaw themes, guitar flash, and the vocals of Paul Rodgers, who used to fall near the top of the list on "best male vocalist" polls of the day. As megaplatinum titans, they didn't quite have the personality other huge acts of the day did. They weren't mythological lords of paganism, like Led Zeppelin, for whose Swan Song label they recorded. They weren't vaguely fruity and arty like Queen. They weren't piledriving speed demons like Deep Purple, not dungeons and dragons like Uriah Heep. Their debut album didn't feature their mugs, their self titled anthem "Bad Company" didn't do much to establish an identity beyond a vaguely outsider one. Yet, in retrospect, this lack of frills and pomp makes their music a lot more enduring in the long run. Bad Company is a fine debut, recorded in 1974 by the supergroup of Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke (both ex-Free), bassist Boz Burrell from King Crimson, and guitarist Mick Ralphs from Mott The Hoople, who brought "Ready For Love" with him from his old band. "Ready For Love" oudoes the Mott original, "Can't Get Enough" and "Bad Company" remain excellent no-frills hard rock radio staples. As for the rest, it's better than typical hard rock filler. "The Way I Choose" has a nice bluesy slant to it, "Rock Steady" is a strong guitar-riff-and-cowbell driven number that could have been a hit, "Don't Let Me Down" is a slow piano-based bluesy wailer with a nice gospel-chick backing chorus and sax-and-power-chord middle eight. Bad Company's next album, Straight Shooter, would prove a bigger hit. But their debut is rich with little nuggets, and is arguably the better disc.

Lobo: Me and You and A Dog Named Boo & Other Hits
Lobo: Me and You and a Dog Named Boo (2006)
Here's a 70's relic you never hear about anymore. Florida-born Lobo (Roland Kent LaVoie) used to perform in a group called the Rumors in the early 60's, which also included Gram Parsons among its members. In 1964, he made his recording debut with The Sugar Beats, where he met long-time collaborator Phil Gernhard, who produced all the hits on this album. Lobo's solo career began in earnest in 1971 with Introducing Lobo! which earned him a top-5 hit with "Me and You and a Dog Named Boo", a pop confection only slightly more rocking than the Archies, but catchy nonetheless. He had three other #1 adult contemporary hits: the weepy "I'd Love You To Love Me", a #2 pop hit from 1973, "Don't Expect Me To Be Your Friend", and "Where Were You When I Was Falling In Love" (which isn't included here). By 1979, he had run out of gas, and after an attempt to launch his own label failed, he retired in 1985. He still has a following in Taiwan, of all places, and has released material for that market in recent years. Musically, he's somewhere between Cat Stevens and Bobby Goldsboro; his music is lightweight in the special way only early 70's AM radio was. Most of the ten cuts here saw some chart action, but only "I'd Love You To Love Me" and "Me And You and A Dog Named Boo" are likely ever to get another play in this house. But if you're some kind of AM radio completist, here's a nice, concise little package.

     

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Comments:
Darn I'm going to be singing 'me and you and a dog etc' for the rest of the day now!
 
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