~ Established 2011 ~

Last updated: January 4th, 2017

NOTE: This page is under construction, so some older reviews might appear different from the newest ones. Some changes may also affect the layout of artist pages, and some links may not work.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Janis Joplin – I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again, Mama!

Year: 1969
Record Rating = 9
Overall Rating = 12


Everyone – from critics and friends to record labels and management – put pressure on Janis Joplin to abandon Big Brother & the Holding Company and go solo. Aside from the same tired ol' argument that they played sloppily, I can't see what reason they had. If it wasn't for them in the first place, she wouldn't have had any reputation, so to shun them ought to have been a huge blow. When she finally did leave the band – taking Sam Andrew along with her, resulting in Big Brother's dissolution – the critics sheepishly suggested she go back to them, "if they'll have her". It doesn't surprise me that, within a year from this, she would die of a heroin overdose; her drug and alcohol use was far from "just for fun", and critical dismissal was probably a huge factor in her debauched living.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Stevie Wonder – My Cherie Amour

Year: 1969
Record Rating = 7
Overall Rating = 11


As you can tell by the preceding reviews – and as will be confirmed by a smattering of subsequent ones – 1969 was one hell of a year in music, possibly the best year of the '60s. With Stevie Wonder's gradual, but impressive improvement with each real album since the mid-'60s (so excluding any intentional throwaway Christmas or Easy Listening instrumental albums), you would think that his album in that year would have been the peak of this part of his career, especially with how great I Was Made to Love Her and For Once in My Life were. And yet, leave it to Motown to mess that all up, with what I call the Motown paradox: on one hand, the label was highly innovative, with some excellent soul-pop hits to boot, but on the other hand, the execs down there were highly conservative, forcing Las Vegas-schlock and show tune ballads and whatnot on their artists to make as many album as possible, even when dealing with their artists who happened to have significant songwriting talents, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and Smokey Robinson (who seemed a lot more content with this despotic label than the other two, who broke out of the mold, but that's a story for another time).

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Fleetwood Mac – The Pious Bird of Good Omen

Year: 1969
Record Rating = 7
Overall Rating = 10


This isn't a real album, per se. It's kind of a long story, but here goes. Mr. Wonderful wasn't released in the States for reasons I can't seem to find. In its place, about five months later, they released English Rose, which featured six selections from Mr. Wonderful – idiotically enough, all four Elmore James derivations made their way onto it; I figured that would be the reason for not releasing that album in the first place – three single sides, two of which were relatively successful in their home country, and three new songs, two of which would appear on the group's third official LP on both sides on the Atlantic. This album, a UK only release, wanted a sort of equivalent to English Rose, so it took the three single sides, found another three (four?) previously released non-album ones (one of which was well received in the UK), as well as two recordings where they backed Mississippi blues pianist Eddie Boyd (the guy who wrote blues classic "Five Long Years"), two songs from Mr. Wonderful and one from their debut. With the Complete Blue Horizon boxset, which already contained their first two albums, they cut out the three repeats, as well as the Eddie Boyd recordings (I guess they were trying to force people to buy Boyd's records...) and added one track from their third official LP (which isn't on the Complete Blue Horizon box), a different one from either of the two that appeared on English Rose, plus some alternate versions.