2010 mini album from the veteran Britpop outfit fronted by Tim Booth. Produced by Lee 'Muddy' Baker, The Night Before seems fearless in comparison to its predecessors, a product, no doubt, of the way it was conceived: the band set up an ftp site to which they all contributed, downloading and updating each other's efforts at various intervals whilst Baker knocked things into shape. This "virtual" recording process (which eventually led to recording sessions in Brighton and Oswestry), was presumably inspired by the band's history of working with Brian Eno and has brought out the best in James, the results proving as diverse and intriguing as anything the band have attempted before.
With the confusing plethora of Elmore James discs out on the market, this is truly the place to start, featuring the best of his work culled from several labels. Highlights include James' original recording of "Dust My Broom," "It Hurts Me Too," "T.V. Mama" (with Elmore backing Big Joe Turner), and the title track, one of the best slow blues ever created. Slide guitar doesn't get much better than this, making this particular compilation not only a perfect introduction to Elmore's music, but an essential piece for any blues collection.
The official release of The Basement Tapes – which were first heard on a 1968 bootleg called The Great White Wonder – plays with history somewhat, as Robbie Robertson overemphasizes the Band's status in the sessions, making them out to be equally active to Dylan, adding in demos not cut at the sessions and overdubbing their recordings to flesh them out…
This 15-track compilation focuses on the earliest sessions recorded by Etta James for Modern Records between 1955 and 1957. James was only a teenager when she first recorded for the L.A.-based label. Her youthful exuberance and powerhouse delivery still generate that initial excitement captured on these remastered versions of "The Wallflower (Roll with Me Henry)," "The Pick-Up," "W-O-M-A-N," and "Good Rockin' Daddy." This set is a great introduction to James' early raw recordings; however, it excludes a few tracks from the superior The Best of the Modern Years on Metro Blue.
The Band of Heathens are a veteran group no strangers to the Americana scene. Formed since 2005, the Austin, Texas based group tends to primarily stick to a sound grounded in rock with plenty of country, blues and soul influences mixed in for good measure. In other words, they fit the Americana definition quite well.