Thursday, May 31, 2012

Types Of Neck Wear: Neckties, Ascots, Bolo Ties And More

Types Of Neckwear: Neckties, Ascots, Bolo Ties And More

Neckwear For Men

Although the traditional necktie is the preferred neck wear for most men, it is by no means the only neckwear. Ascots can be worn with casual sportswear or with formal day wear. The ascot is part of the formal morning suit which is used for daytime affairs like weddings. Ascots are usually made from silk and are available in many colors. Formal day dress most often uses gray, but may use other hues depending on the wearer and the occasion.

The morning suit originated as a less formal look used by men in the 18th century for riding. More practical and comfortable than frock coats, this look gradually evolved and became that standard for formal day attire during the Edwardian period. The ascot derives its name from the British horse race the Royal Ascot. It is a formal occasion and gentlemen attending usually wear morning coats and ascots.

The bolo or string ties are relatively new to the men's fashion scene, dating back to around the 1930s. The are widely associated with Native American tribes of the southwest US, although versions of this neckwear were also worn by Argentinian gauchos. The bolo or bola tie is usually a cord or narrow braided leather strap fitted through a slide which controls the fit. The ends of the cord are finished with metal tips called aiguilettes. The bolo is worn under the shirt collar and the slides may be made from metal, plastic, stone and even coins. The bolo tie is the official tie of several states in the United States Southwest.
Blue Neckwear

The bandana is informal neck wear usually used in American Western attire. It consists of a scarf, usually patterned and brightly colored, which is folded into a triangle and tied at the back of the neck. The bandana is usually worn over the shirt collar. Bandanas were used by American cattle drivers. They could be pulled up over the mouth and nose to keep out dust and sand kicked up by cattle. Film makers love to use them as masks in films featuring Old West bank robberies.

Bow ties today are most often associated with formal evening wear. They are worn with both black tie (dinner jacket) and white tie (tailed coat) formal suits. The terms black tie and white tie were once quite literal and referred to the color of the bow tie that was appropriate for the occasion. Formal bow ties are now available in a variety of colors and patterns and can be coordinated with the cummerbund that is usually worn at the waist in formal evening attire.

The necktie is the most common accessory in modern men's fashion. Neckties are long, tapering strips of fabric, cut on the bias, folded and sewn. Most neckties have pointed lower edges, although squared off edges have been worn from time to time during the twentieth century. The ties are worn under the shirt collar and knotted over the top button of the shirt. Neck ties are may be made of silk, wool, linen or synthetics. They made be solid colored, striped or patterned. The ends of the tie are worn over one another and hang straight down to cover the buttons of the shirt.

There is more to
neckwear than the necktie and gentlemen may choose from several options depending on the occasion. In may areas of the US, bolos are interchangeable with neckties for daytime wear. Ascots may be worn in the bandana style for casual day apparel. They can be worn under or over the shirt collar. Men can make their own fashion statement with the right use of neckwear.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Fashions of Celebrities Kate Moss

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Tweet of Ashley Tisdale and Sarah Hyland Beach Party

Current info about twitter Ashley Tisdale and Sarah Hyland party beach is not always the easiest thing to locate. Fortunately, this report includes the latest Ashley Tisdale and Sarah Hyland Beach info available.

See how much you can learn about
Ashley Tisdale and Sarah Hyland Beach when you take a little time to read a well-researched article?  Don't miss out on the rest of this great information.

Association for what is sure to be on good publicity boasts, Ashley Tisdale and Sarah Hyland on the beach waterfront of Venice.
Ashley Tisdale and Sarah Hyland
Ashley Tisdale and Sarah Hyland
Ashley Tisdale and Sarah Hyland
Ashley Tisdale and Sarah Hyland
Ashley Tisdale and Sarah Hyland
Ashley Tisdale and Sarah Hyland
Ashley Tisdale and Sarah Hyland
Ashley Tisdale and Sarah Hyland
Ashley Tisdale and Sarah Hyland
Ashley Tisdale and Sarah Hylands at Beach

The two cuties showing their beach bodies, and also working with Austin Stowell and Matt Lanter for the photo shoot for the new look of Surf op. Tweeting the day before hitting the heat Venice Beach, Miss Tisdale wrote: "It 'so soon ... But it's so good! Off to do a photo shoot on the beach :) ineedcoffee"

Meanwhile, fortunately for the efforts op Austin, "stayed with some of the best people I've met in this city  @ashleytisdale @mattlanter @sarah_hyland when you look at that?"

The day will come when you can use something you read about here to have a beneficial impact. Then you'll be glad you took the time to learn more about Ashley Tisdale and Sarah Hyland Beach.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

James Moody - Wail Moody, Wail! 1955

James Moody's mid-'50s band was a septet featuring four horns including the leader's tenor and alto. The bop-based group had plenty of spirit (as best shown here on the 14-minute title cut) if not necessarily a strong personality of its own. This CD (a straight reissue of the original LP plus two additional titles from the same session) is accessible, melodic and swinging; trumpeter Dave Burns is the best soloist among the sidemen. AMG.

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Brick - Good High 1976

The debut album from the Atlanta-based funk aggregate spawned three singles and a host of soul numbers. The first single from the album was "Music Matic," a smooth yet funky composition in which the group expresses the lyric in unison, augmented by Jimmy Brown's commendable flute and sax solos. The second single was "Dazz," which was defined by the group in the chorus as "disco jazz." With Regis Hargis' twanging guitar and Brown's long-winded sax riffs, the catchy hook line caught on across the nation and the song claimed the number one spot on the R&B charts for four consecutive weeks (it reached number three on the pop side). "Can't Wait" is set in a looping sci-fi rhythm through the verses before seguéing to a hopping groove. Brown's refreshing saxophone work can be heard on the instrumental cuts "Southern Sunset," whose title provides a good setting, and "Sister Twister." Having a fetish for jazz, the self-contained quintet glimmer on this extended jazz composition, which includes funky basslines. The third single, "That's What It's All About," the only ballad featured on the album, has an soft melody and encouraging lyric delivered by Brown's husky baritone. Every song is complemented by Brown's impressive horn exhibition and the group's overall musical ability. AMG.

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Eddie Gale - Black Rhythm Happening 1969

Love it or hate it, trumpeter Eddie Gale's second Blue Note outing as a leader is one of the most adventurous recordings to come out of the 1960s. Black Rhythm Happening picks up where Ghetto Music left off, in that it takes the soul and free jazz elements of his debut and adds to them the sound of the church in all its guises -- from joyous call and response celebration on the title track (and album opener), to the mournful funeral sounds of "Song of Will," to the determined Afro-Latin-style chanting on "Mexico Thing" that brings the pre-Tommy Dorsey gospel to the revolutionary song style prevalent in Zapata's Mexico -- all thanks to the Eddie Gale Singers. Elsewhere, wild smatterings of hard and post-bop ("Ghetto Love Night") and angular modal music ("Ghetto Summertime," featuring Elvin Jones on drums and Joann Stevens-Gale on guitar), turn the jazz paradigm of the era inside out, simultaneously admitting everything in a coherent, wonderfully ambitious whole. There is no doubt that Archie Shepp listened to both Ghetto Music and Black Rhythm Happening before setting out to assemble his Attica Blues project. The album closes with "Look at Teyonda," a sprawling exercise in the deep melding of African and Latin folk musics with the folk-blues, flamenco, and jazz rhythms. Funky horns (courtesy of Gale, Russell Lyle, and Roland Alexander) moan toward Fulumi Prince's startlingly beautiful vocal. Stevens-Gale's guitar whispers the tune into the field before the saxophones and brass come to get it, and when they do, long open lines are offered slowly and deliberately, as Jones' shimmering ride cymbals triple-time the beat into something wholly Other. Black Rhythm Happening is a timeless, breathtaking recording, one that sounds as forward-thinking and militant in the 21st century as it did in 1969. AMG.

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Sam Rivers - Contours 1965

On Contours, his second Blue Note album, tenor saxophonist Sam Rivers fully embraced the avant-garde, but presented his music in a way that wouldn't be upsetting or confusing to hard bop loyalists. Rivers leads a quintet featuring trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Joe Chambers through a set of originals that walk a fine line between probing, contemplative post-bop and densely dissonant avant-jazz. Each musician is able to play the extremes equally well while remaining sensitive to the compositional subtleties. Rarely is Contours anything less than enthralling, and it remains one of the high watermarks of the mid-'60s avant-garde movement. AMG.

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The Muffins - Manna-Mirage 1978

Manna/Mirage was the Muffins' first album and remained their best work. It is a fantastic blend of Canterbury prog and Henry Cow-ish intricacy, with a soupçon of improvisation. Completely instrumental, the music can also be linked to Happy the Man for its melodic side. "Monkey With the Golden Eyes" is a nice introductory track seguing into the fantastic "Hobart Got Burned," which starts with a calm atonal improvisation and builds up to a bombastic main theme. Then comes "Amelia Earhart" (16 minutes), a track superior to anything that came out of Canterbury. You must hear it to believe it. Canterbury-type prog never got that good. Finally, "The Adventures of Captain Boomerang" (23 minutes) is a long complex suite, with a humorous touch not unlike some of National Health's material. Manna/Mirage would have become a classic prog album, if only it had come out of Canterbury instead of late-'70s U.S.A. Since Cuneiform Records reissued it on CD in 1991, the album has enjoyed quite a bit of fame in progressive rock circles. AMG.

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Whiskey Howl - Whiskey How 1972

The band was subject to rapid success from the time of its formation in 1969, and an equally rapid demise, breaking up in 1972, shortly after the release of their first album.

The original band was composed of John Witmer (vocals), Peter Boyko (guitar), Gary Penner (bass), John ("B.J.") Bjarnason (harmonica) and Ron Sullivan (drums). By their second performance, they were an opening act for Led Zeppelin. They later opened for or played with such artists as the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Johnny Winter, Big Mama Thornton, Screaming Lord Sutch, Elvin Jones, Chuck Berry, B.B. King, Bobby Blue Bland, Buddy Guy, Lonnie Johnson and Doug Kershaw.

The band's rapid early success is exemplified by their appearance at the historic 1969 Toronto Rock and Roll Revival concert, which was headlined by The Doors and at which John Lennon's Live Peace in Toronto 1969 album was recorded. At the time, the band was less than a year old, with band members still being in their teens or early twenties.

The band's concert performance locations during their first year included the prestigious Convocation Hall, where they opened for Chuck Berry, and Massey Hall, where they opened for Bobby "Blue" Bland, Buddy Guy and Lonnie Johnson, in the latter's last public appearance. The band then returned to Varsity Stadium for the Toronto Rock Festival, on March 26, 1970, where they shared the bill with Canned Heat, Small Faces, Amboy Dukes, The Zombies and Brian Auger and The Trinity, among others.

Band personnel at the time of recording the first album were Richard Fruchtman (bass, vocals), Wayne Wilson (drums), Dave Morrison (guitar, vocals), Michael Pickett (harmonica, vocals) and John Witmer (vocals). Witmer was a founding member and Wilson an early member of the band, in 1969; Pickett had joined in 1970, replacing original harmonica player John ("B.J.") Bjarnason, who had left the band to study to become a chiropractor. The album was produced by noted American producer and engineer Johnny Sandlin, associated with the Allman Brothers Band, among others, and featured Chuck Leavell, then of the Allman Brothers, on keyboards.[8]

The band regrouped on occasion after 1972 and in 1981 regrouped for a recorded reunion performance at Toronto's famed El Mocambo club, resulting in their second, and final, album release. At that time, original members Witmer and Pickett were joined by John Tilden (guitar), Rick Burkett (bass), Ed White (drums), John Johnson (tenor saxophone), Simon Wallis (baritone saxophone) and Dave Dunlop (trumpet).

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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Beyond Musicology and Further...

Stephen Stills - Stephen Stills 1970

Talk about understatement -- there's Stephen Stills on the cover, acoustic guitar in hand, promising a personal singer/songwriter-type statement. And there is some of that -- even a lot of that personal music-making -- on Stephen Stills, but it's all couched in astonishingly bold musical terms. Stephen Stills is top-heavy with 1970 sensibilities, to be sure, from the dedication to the memory of Jimi Hendrix to the now piggish-seeming message of "Love the One You're With." Yet, listening to this album three decades on, it's still a jaw-dropping experience, the musical equal to Crosby, Stills & Nash or Déjà Vu, and only a shade less important than either of them. The mix of folk, blues (acoustic and electric), hard rock, and gospel is seamless, and the musicianship and the singing are all so there, in your face, that it just burns your brain (in the nicest, most benevolent possible way) even decades later. Recorded amid the breakup of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Stills' first solo album was his effort to put together his own sound and, not surprisingly, it's similar to a lot of stuff on the group's two albums. But it's also infinitely more personal, as well as harder and bluesier in many key spots; yet, it's every bit as soft and as lyrical as the group in other spots, and all laced with a degree of yearning and urgency that far outstrips virtually anything he did with the group. "Love the One You're With," which started life as a phrase that Stills borrowed from Billy Preston at a party, is the song from this album that everybody knows, but it's actually one of the lesser cuts here -- not much more than a riff and an upbeat lyric and mood, albeit all of it infectious. "Do for the Others," by contrast, is one of the prettiest and most moving pieces of music that Stills has ever been associated with, and "Church (Part of Someone)" showed him moving toward gospel and R&B (and good at it, too); and then there's "Old Times Good Times," musically as good a rock song as Stills has ever recorded (even if it borrows a bit from "Pre-Road Downs"), and featuring Jimi Hendrix on lead guitar. "Go Back Home" (which has Eric Clapton on guitar) is fine a piece of bluesy hard rock, while "Sit Yourself Down" features superb singing by Stills and a six-person backing chorus (that includes Cass Elliot, Graham Nash, and David Crosby) around a great tune. "To a Flame" is downright ethereal, while the live "Black Queen" is a superb piece of acoustic blues. All of this is presented by Stills in the best singing voice of his career up to that point, bolder, more outgoing, and more powerful (a result of his contact with Doris Troy) than anything in his previous output. He also plays lots of instruments (à la Crosby, Stills & Nash, which is another reason it sounds so similar to the group in certain ways), though a bit more organ than guitar, thanks to the presence of Hendrix and Clapton on two cuts. If the album has a flaw, it's the finale, "We Are Not Helpless," which slightly overstays its welcome. But hey, this was still the late '60s, and excess was the rule, not the exception, and it's such modest excess. AMG.

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Stephen Stills - Manassas 1972

A sprawling masterpiece, akin to the Beatles' White Album, the Stones' Exile on Main St., or Wilco's Being There in its makeup, if not its sound. Rock, folk, blues, country, Latin, and bluegrass have all been styles touched on in Stephen Stills' career, and the skilled, energetic musicians he had gathered in Manassas played them all on this album. What could have been a disorganized mess in other hands, though, here all gelled together and formed a cohesive musical statement. The songs are thematically grouped: part one (side one on the original vinyl release) is titled "The Raven," and is a composite of rock and Latin sounds that the group would often perform in full live. "The Wilderness" mainly centers on country and bluegrass (Chris Hillman's and Al Perkins' talents coming to the forefront), with the track "So Begins the Task" later covered by Stills' old flame Judy Collins. Part three, "Consider" is largely folk and folk-rock. "Johnny's Garden," reportedly for the caretaker at Stills' English manor house and not for John Lennon as is often thought, is a particular highlight. Two other notables from the "Consider" section are "It Doesn't Matter" (later redone with different lyrics by the song's uncredited co-writer Rick Roberts on the first Firefall album) and "Move Around," which features some of the first synthesizer used in a rock context. The closing section, titled "Rock & Roll Is Here to Stay," is a rock and blues set with one of the landmarks of Manassas' short life, the epic "The Treasure." A sort of Zen-like meditation on love and "oneness," enlivened by the band's most inspired recorded playing it evolves into a bluesy groove washed in Stills' fierce electric slide playing. The delineation lines of the four themed song groupings aren't cut in stone, though, and one of the strengths of the album is that there is a lot of overlap in styles throughout. The CD reissue's remastered sound is excellent, though missed is the foldout poster and handwritten lyrics from the original vinyl release. Unfortunately, the album has been somewhat overlooked over the years, even though Stills considers it some of the best work he has done. Bill Wyman (who guested on "The Love Gangster") has said he would have quit the Rolling Stones to join Manassas. AMG.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sun Ra - Sound of Joy 1957

This reissue, prior to the release of many of Sun Ra's Saturn albums on Evidence CDs, was often thought of as Ra's second recording although now several earlier dates have appeared. The music from Sun Ra's Chicago-based band of the 1950s (some of the same tunes, but different performances, also appear on Evidence's Planet Earth/Low Ways) is quite interesting for its ties to the bop and swing traditions are much more obvious than it would be in the near future. Ra's eccentric piano and occasional electric keyboard look forward as do some of the harmonies and Jim Herndon's colorful tympani. Two previously unissued cuts (other versions of which have also surfaced on an Evidence set) augment the original LP program. AMG.

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Cecil Taylor - Unit Structures 1966

After several years off records, pianist Cecil Taylor finally had an opportunity to document his music of the mid-'60s on two Blue Note albums (the other one was Conquistador). Taylor's high-energy atonalism fit in well with the free jazz of the period but he was actually leading the way rather than being part of a movement. In fact, this septet outing with trumpeter Eddie Gale, altoist Jimmy Lyons, Ken McIntyre (alternating between alto, oboe and bass clarinet), both Henry Grimes and Alan Silva on basses, and drummer Andrew Cyrille is quite stunning and very intense. In fact, it could be safely argued that no jazz music of the era approached the ferocity and intensity of Cecil Taylor's. AMG.

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The Hollies - Butterfly 1967

This late 1967 album found the Hollies making some modest adjustments to the psychedelic era: occasionally trippy studio effects, a sitar on their most psychedelic track ("Maker"), songs that didn't always deal with boy-girl relationships. In fact, however, the group's focus remained where it usually was: modest but pleasing, similar-sounding catchy tunes with high harmonies and strumming guitars. It's not remarkable or essential, but it's certainly pleasant enough, and a bit better than their earlier 1967 LP, Evolution, with some of their better album-only cuts ("Postcard," "Pegasus," "Butterfly," "Away Away Away"). With some track alterations, the record was issued in the U.S. as Dear Eloise/King Midas in Reverse; the U.K. edition, as collectors should note, has a few songs that were never released in the States ("Pegasus," "Elevated Observations?," "Try It"). AMG.

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Eddie Gale - Ghetto Music 1968

The aesthetic and cultural merits of Eddie Gale's Ghetto Music cannot be overstated. That it is one of the most obscure recordings in Blue Note's catalogue -- paid for out of label co-founder Francis Wolff's own pocket -- should tell us something. This is an apocryphal album, one that seamlessly blends the new jazz of the '60s -- Gale was a member of the Sun Ra Arkestra before and after these sides, and played on Cecil Taylor's Blue Note debut Unit Structures -- with gospel, soul, and the blues. Gale's sextet included two bass players and two drummers -- in 1968 -- as well as a chorus of 11 voices, male and female. Sound like a mess? Far from it. This is some of the most spiritually engaged, forward-thinking, and finely wrought music of 1968. What's more is that, unlike lots of post-Coltrane new jazz, it's ultimately very listenable. Soloists comes and go, but modes, melodies, and harmonies remain firmly intact. The beautiful strains of African folk music and Latin jazz sounds in "Fulton Street," for example, create a veritable chromatic rainbow. "A Walk With Thee" is a spiritual written to a march tempo with drummers playing counterpoint to one another and the front line creating elongated melodic lines via an Eastern harmonic sensibility. Does it swing? Hell yeah! The final cut, "The Coming of Gwilu," moves from the tribal to the urban and everywhere in between using Jamaican thumb piano's, soaring vocals à la the Arkestra, polyrhythmic invention, and good old fashioned groove jazz, making something entirely new in the process. While Albert Ayler's New Grass was a failure for all its adventurousness, Ghetto Music, while a bit narrower in scope, succeeds because it concentrates on creating a space for the myriad voices of an emerging African-American cultural force to be heard in a single architecture. AMG.

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Commodores - Machine Gun 1974

Before the Commodores started having major adult contemporary hits like "Three Times a Lady," "Easy," and "Still," they were happy to be a full-time funk/soul band. The Southerners became increasingly pop-minded in the late '70s, but when their debut album, Machine Gun, came out in 1974, their music was unapologetically gritty. This was, without question, a very promising debut -- Lionel Richie and his allies really hit the ground running on sweaty funk items like "Young Girls Are My Weakness," "The Bump," "Gonna Blow Your Mind," and the single "I Feel Sanctified." These songs aren't funk-pop or sophisticated funk -- they're hardcore funk. What you won't find on Machine Gun are a lot of sentimental love ballads. In the late '70s, the Commodores became as famous for their ballads as they were for their funk and dance material, but believe it or not, there are no ballads to be found on this consistently funky, mostly up-tempo debut. As much as this LP has going for it, Machine Gun isn't the Commodores' best or most essential album. Machine Gun is rewarding, but their subsequent albums Caught in the Act (1975), Movin' On (1975), and Hot on the Tracks (1976) are even stronger. AMG.

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Gerry Mulligan - Age Of Steam 1971

During the 1952-65 period baritonist Gerry Mulligan was one of the most famous musicians in jazz but he spent the following five years at a lower profile, recording relatively little and not leading any significant bands. Age of Steam was a comeback record of sorts (although he had never declined), giving Jeru the opportunity to lead a big band again. The ensemble performs eight of his recent originals (the best known is "K4 Pacific"), featuring solos by Mulligan (who was now doubling on soprano), Tom Scott on tenor and soprano, Bud Shank on alto and flute, valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer and trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison. The highly enjoyable music (last available on this A&M CD in 1988) still sounds fresh and spirited. AMG.

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Bee Gees - Odessa 1969

The group members may disagree for personal reasons, but Odessa is easily the best and most enduring of the Bee Gees' albums of the 1960s. It was also their most improbable success, owing to the conflicts behind its making. The record started out as a concept album, to be called "Masterpeace" and then "The American Opera," but musical differences between Barry Gibb and Robin Gibb that would split the trio in two also forced the abandonment of the underlying concept. Instead, it became a double LP -- largely at the behest of their manager and the record labels; oddly enough, given that the group didn't plan on doing something that ambitious, Odessa is one of perhaps three double albums of the entire decade (the others being Blonde on Blonde and The Beatles) that don't seem stretched, and it also served as the group's most densely orchestrated album. Yet, amid the progressive rock sounds of the title track and ethereal ballads such as "Melody Fair" and "Lamplight" were country-flavored tunes like "Marlery Purt Drive" and the vaguely Dylanesque bluegrass number "Give Your Best," delicate pop ballads like "First of May" (which became the single off the album), and strange, offbeat rock numbers like "Edison" (whose introduction sounds like the Bee Gees parodying Cream's "White Room") and "Whisper Whisper" (the latter featuring a drum break, no less), interspersed with three heavily orchestrated instrumentals. Even the seeming "lesser" numbers such as "Suddenly" had catchy hooks and engaging acoustic guitar parts to carry them, all reminiscent of the Moody Blues' album cuts of the same era. Moreover, the title track, with its mix of acoustic guitar, solo cello, and full orchestra, was worthy of the Moody Blues at their boldest. The myriad sounds and textures made Odessa the most complex and challenging album in the group's history, and if one accepts the notion of the Bee Gees as successors to the Beatles, then Odessa was arguably their Sgt. Pepper album. The album was originally packaged in a red felt cover with gold lettering on front and back and an elaborate background painting for the gatefold interior, which made it a conversation piece just to look at. The CD reissue is surprisingly well-mastered and a bargain at mid-price. Ironically, the making of Odessa was to herald a split between the Gibb brothers that would leave the group sidelined for most of the next 18 months, and was the last to be heard from them as a trio for two years. AMG.

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B.T. Express - Do It ('Til You're Satisfied) 1974

Do It ('Til You're Satisfied) features two million sellers by the New York natives; the title track and "Express" are funky, irresistible disco gems. Produced by Jeff Lane and mixed by Tom Moulton, the two dancefloor classics features hypnotic basslines, handclaps on alternate beats, and the coolest congas on the planet, all combined with masterfully mixed guitars, saxophones, flutes, strings, Barbara Joyce Lomas' blaring lead, Louis Risbrooks' bass vocal retorts, and Richard Thompson's support vocals. Lane was never able to repeat the tightness of the two tracks on subsequent albums or even on this one. "If I Don't Turn You On" and "Do You Like It" come close, but "Once You Get It," "Do It," "This House Is Smoking," and "Mental Telepathy" do not. Good, because of the two classics, but a greatest-hits collection would be even better. AMG.

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Buffy Sainte-Marie - Illuminations 1970

In the year 2000, the Wire magazine picked this spaced out gem from Native American folksinger and activist Buffy Sainte-Marie as one the "100 Albums That Set the World on Fire." Released in 1969, and now on CD, as of 2001, it was reissued as an import on 180 gram vinyl with its original glorious artwork and package. Interestingly enough, it's a record Sainte-Marie doesn't even list on her discography on her website. It doesn't matter whether she cares for it or not, of course, because Illuminations is as prophetic a record as the first album by Can or the psychedelic work of John Martin on Solid Air. For starters, all of the sounds with the exception of a lead guitar on one track and a rhythm section employed on three of the last four selections are completely synthesized from the voice and guitar of Sainte-Marie herself. There are tracks whose vocals are completely electronically altered and seem to come from the ether -- check out "Mary" and "Better to Find Out for Yourself" as a sample. But the track "Adam," with its distorted bassline and Sainte-Marie throwing her voice all over the mix in a tale of Adam's fall and his realization -- too late -- that he could have lived forever, is a spooky, wondrous tune as full of magic as it is mystery and electronic innovation. The songs here, while clearly written, are open form structures that, despite their brevity (the longest cut here is under four minutes), break down the barriers between folk music, rock, pop, European avant-garde music and Native American styles (this is some of the same territory Tim Buckley explores on Lorca and Starsailor). It's not a synthesis in any way, but a completely different mode of travel. This is poetry as musical tapestry and music as mythopoetic sonic landscape; the weirdness on this disc is over-exaggerated in comparison to its poetic beauty. It's gothic in temperament, for that time anyway, but it speaks to issues and affairs of the heart that are only now beginning to be addressed with any sort of constancy -- check out the opener "God Is Alive, Magic Is Afoot" or the syncopated blues wail in "Suffer the Children" or the arpeggiated synthesized lyrics of "The Vampire." When the guitars begin their wail and drone on "The Angel," the whole record lifts off into such a heavenly space that Hans Joachim Rodelius must have heard it back in the day, because he uses those chords, in the same order and dynamic sense, so often in his own music. Some may be put off by Sainte-Marie's dramatic delivery, but that's their loss; this music comes from the heart -- and even space has a heart, you know. One listen to the depth of love expressed on "The Angel" should level even the crustiest cynic in his chair. Combine this with the shriek, moan, and pure-lust wail of "With You, Honey" and "He's a Keeper of the Fire" -- you can hear where Tim Buckley conceived (read: stole) the entirety of Greetings From LA from, and Diamanda Galas figured out how to move across octaves so quickly. The disc closes with the gothic folk classic "Poppies," the most tripped out, operatic, druggily beautiful medieval ballad ever psychedelically sung. That an album like Illuminations can continue to offer pleasure 32 years after it was recorded is no surprise given its quality; that it can continue to mystify, move, and baffle listeners is what makes it a treasure that is still ahead of its time. AMG.

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