By Robert Kinsler
Monkees singer-drummer Micky Dolenz, singer-songwriter Steve Forbert, singer-guitarist Gary Moore and blues queen Shemekia Copeland shine on new releases.
Album: Remember (Robo Records)
You might be interested in buying this if you like: The Monkees, Paul Williams, Neil Diamond.
Tell me more: On the welcome return of Micky Dolenz, the Monkees singer-guitarist-drummer dips into his own past to offer up remarkable reworkings of some of his favorite songs. From a flamenco-tinged take on the Beatles’ “Good Morning Good Morning” and a wistful version of the old Carole King classic “Sometime in the Morning” he first sang as a member of the Monkees in the 1960s, Dolenz still has the ability to surprise. Other highlights include his original country tune “Quiet Desperation” and a stellar performance of the power-pop gem “Many Years” (penned by “Remember” producer David Harris).Dolenz has long had one of rock’s best voices and displays his still-powerful pipes across the dozen tracks on “Remember.” Information: www.roborecords.net.
Album: Over With You (Blue Corn Music)
You might be interested in buying this if you like: Neil Young, Ben Harper, Harry Nilsson.
Tell me more: Although Steve Forbert has been issuing celebrated discs since the late 1970s, the Mississippi native continues to chronicle the world around him – and the people who live there – with the enthusiasm of a child. On “Over With You,” his first studio album release in three years, the noted singer-songwriter .uses his distinct baritone in the service of a concept album about the nature of personal relationships. From the bouncy ‘70s-styled melodic rock of “All I Need to Do” to the hushed approach of “In Love With You” to the timeless sonic gait of “That’d Be Alright” (featuring Ben Harper on lead guitar), Forbert’s blend of folk and Americana sounds as authentic as ever. Information: www.steveforbert.com.
Album: Blues For Jimi (Eagle Rock Entertainment)
You might be interested in buying this if you like: Jimi Hendrix, Walter Trout, Joe Bonamassa.
Tell me more: Few rock guitarists (if any) have been as influential as Jimi Hendrix. And few guitarists were as able to capture the magic and power of Hendrix as Irish musician Gary Moore. And although the world sadly lost Moore when he died in February 2011, like Hendrix his light continues to shine via his recordings. Thankfully, Eage Rock Entertainment has just released “Blues For Jimi” on audio CD, DVD, Blu-ray, digital audio and digital video. Recorded and filmed at the London Hippodrome on Oct. 25, 2007, Moore seemingly brought back the spirit of Hendrix as he delivered heavy versions of “Purple Haze,” “Stone Free,” “Foxey Lady” (my favorite performance of the bunch) and others at an incredible tribute concert. At the end of the night, Moore was joined by drummer Mitch Mitchell and Billy Cox (of the Jimi Hendrix Experience) for three tracks. Information: www.eaglerockent.com.
Album: 33 1/3 (Telarc International/Concord Music Group)
You might be interested in buying this if you like: Bettye LaVette, Etta James, Bonnie Raitt.
Tell me more: Blues is a genre where great artists are allowed to emerge on the scene, and over time, build solid careers based on strong recordings as well as via impressive appearances at legendary clubs and big outdoor festivals. At only 33, Shemekia Copeland is already a leading force in the blues world and one of the genre’s leading proponents. The singer has already performed in the White House (sharing a bill with Buddy Guy, Mick Jagger and B.B. King) and was proclaimed “Queen of the Blues” at the Chicago Blues Festival in 2011. On the aptly-titled “33 1/3″ (her age at the release of the album), the Harlem, New York native is clearly in a league all of her own; her voice belts out forcefully on the Chicago blues rocker “Lemon Pie” and on the soulful ballad “A Woman,” while her spellbinding cover of Bob Dylan’s “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” and buoyant take on Sam Cooke’s “Ain’t That Good News” showcase her full-fledged interpretive skills. Information: www.concordmusicgroup.com.
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