This classic recording has a beautiful balance of African aesthetics meet American soul, jazz, funk, rock and pop. The songs have a vintage sound that could only have been made by a South African playing American music in 1971. Along these lines, the album cover is the perfect visual representation of the music. While having a 1970's sound, "Hugh Masekela & the Union of South Africa" is by no means outdated, nor will it ever. The disc has an enjoyable mix of slow ballads, township infused instrumentals and fast funk. The song writing is superb, the musical improvisation is good and the voices soar.
With his static-dusted voice and predilection for early rock antiquity, M. Ward has always come across as one of his generation's more understated bards. Interpreting the ever-deepening subtleties of his catalog generally requires repeated listens, and such is the case with his ninth solo effort, the appropriately moody More Rain. Easing in with a minute-long rainstorm soundscape, he leads off with the dreamy acoustic gallop of "Pirate Dial," a genial folk-pop hymn perfectly suited for the patient rotations of a vinyl long-player. A stuttering guitar groove on the Neko Case-aided "Time Won't Wait" quickens the album's pulse, setting up the similarly paced lead single, "Confession," a classic Ward track replete with a rich vein of warm backing vocals and soaring trumpet solo.
Laurence Hobgood, Brian Torff, and Paul Wertico's Union is a busman's holiday for the musicians. On their second album, they take tunes from everywhere – the folk song "Jacob's Ladder," Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Double Rainbow," Lionel Bart's "Where Is Love?" from the musical Oliver, and some originals – and have fun with them, sometimes playing slowly and thoughtfully, sometimes melodically and warmly, sometimes in cacophonous free improvisation. The spontaneity of the sessions is added to by the recording process, which is strictly direct to stereo, unmixed and unedited, and in that sense true jazz. The players are familiar enough with each other to play sympathetically, but since they only get together occasionally, there are plenty of surprises. It may not be their best, most considered work, but there's some fine playing. (William Ruhlmann, AMG)
Laurence Hobgood is best known for being singer Kurt Elling's regular pianist. Hobgood's solos are thoughtful and inventive, so it is only right that he finally has a chance to fully shine on this CD. The date actually features a co-op group that also includes the virtuosic bassist Brian Torff (who has had a lower profile since he impressed many during his period with George Shearing) and drummer Paul Wertico. Most of their collaborations on this set are taken at slow to medium tempos, with the improvisations being melodic, lightly swinging, and full of subtle surprises. Torff has a few features (being particularly impressive on "Amazing Grace"), Wertico plays well in support, and Hobgood is in top form. The program concludes with a humorous version of "What Am I Here For." Recommended (Scott Yanow, AMG).
The kings of Norwegian death-metal, BLOOD RED THRONE have been unleashing hell on earth since 1998. The band was formed by Daniel «DØD» Olaisen (formerly of Satyricon) and Terje «Tchort» Schei (formerly of Emperor) back in 1998. During the last 18 years the band has recorded 7 albums with great critics, toured internationally in headliner and co-headliner spots, and also ripped apart most of the greatest metal festivals on the planet. The band saw a major member-change in 2011 and a new extreme energy to their name. On July 15th 2016 Blood Red Throne released «Union of Flesh and Machine», their eight studio album, and follow up to the success of «BLOOD RED THRONE» of 2013.
Gary Puckett & the Union Gap were originally an actual band, but by the time the musicians entered the recording studio with producer and songwriter Jerry Fuller, the focus fell on Puckett's strong, smooth baritone voice, and the Union Gap part of the equation was buried under a MOR barrage of strings, horns, and choirs. The formula worked, however, and the group enjoyed five Top 40 hits between 1967 and 1969.
"Bond of Union" album which sees Berry joined by former Sammy Hagar and Boston guitarist Gary Phil, ex- Sammy Hagar, Montrose, and Night Ranger keyboard man Alan Fitzgerald, and another ex- Hagar band player, drummer David Lauser. Not too heavy, not too light – just perfect, middle of the road classic melodic rock, with keyboards mixing equally with guitars and smooth vocals gliding over everything.