The last time Fleetwood Mac made an album together, they were minus Christine McVie and enough good songs to fill its 75-minute running length. They’re still without McVie on their new four-song EP, but they fixed ‘Say You Will’’s biggest problem by keeping ‘Extended Play’ at an economical 17 minutes. And if it sounds more like a Lindsey Buckingham record than an actual band one at times, at least ‘Extended Play’ is the best thing released under the Fleetwood Mac moniker since 1987’s ‘Tango in the Night.’
Who would have ever guessed that in 2013, we would be talking about a new Stooges album? The odds were certainly not in that column, but then in 2003, the unexpected happened and Iggy Pop, Ron Asheton and brother Scott plugged in once again. They toured and wowed young and old fans alike with their brutal rock and roll assault, and even released a reunion album, although 2007's 'The Weirdness' was hardly the stuff of legend and kind of a false-start comeback.
On Oct. 3, 2012, less than six months after Levon Helm lost his long battle with cancer, a large and eclectic group of his friends, family, and peers assembled on stage at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J., paying tribute to the man and his musical legacy in front of nearly 20,000 fans. The result, fittingly enough, was dubbed 'Love for Levon.'
John Fogerty’s ‘Wrote a Song for Everyone’ falls somewhere between a tribute record and a duets album. The former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman appears on all 14 songs, most of which come from his legendary catalog that spans 40-plus years. And on all but a couple of cuts, he performs with some big-name genre-crossing artists, including Foo Fighters, Kid Rock and Miranda Lambert.
There comes a point in most artists’ careers where they just don’t care about making records anymore. Or at least they don’t care about making records that their fans want to hear. They tour sporadically, playing the old songs to pay the bills. And they release new albums every five years or so because they feel it’s something they should do. Eric Clapton got to this point years ago, but on his 21st solo album, ‘Old Sock,’ he settles into not caring like it’s his full-time job these days.
Thrash metal icons Anthrax ushered in 2013 with the typical blend of accomplishments (a well-deserved Grammy nomination) and setbacks (yet another departing band member) that, of late, have defined their career; but they’ve also gone about the business of surviving, performing and recording, as indicated by the release of an eight-song EP named 'Anthem' on March 19.
Nobody really expected anything from David Bowie at this point, let alone his best album in 30 years. After virtually disappearing following the release and aborted tour in support of 2003’s underwhelming ‘Reality,’ even the rock ‘n’ roll changeling’s biggest fans figured he was finished. He was rarely seen in public, and there certainly were no rumors swirling about a new record or anything like that.
Before the Allman Brothers Band hit it big, guitarist Duane Allman had played with Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Boz Scaggs and others. After their breakthrough live album ‘At Fillmore East,’ he continued working as a busy session musician, clocking gigs with Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, Derek & the Dominos and Laura Nyro. Through it all he established himself as one of rock’s great instrumentalists; a master axman with a show-stopping signature style who’d step out of the spotlight and let others shine.
The muted tones, occasionally punched by brass or hi-hat, on Boz Scaggs’ ‘Memphis’ should sound familiar to R&B fans. They’re the same warm, subtle sounds found on soul recordings made by Al Green and other artists at Memphis’ Royal Studio in the 1970s. Green’s producer, Willie Mitchell, drew a casual, inviting timbre from the room that gave Green’s classic songs their distinctive hue. Scaggs, recording at Royal Studio with producer Steve Jordan, conjures a similar sound on ‘Memphis.’