Synth pop's first international superstars, the Human League were among the earliest and most innovative bands to break into the pop mainstream on a wave of synthesizers and electronic rhythms, their marriage of infectious melodies and state-of-the-art technology proving enormously influential on countless acts following in their wake. The group was formed in Sheffield, England, in 1977 by synth players Martyn Ware and Ian Marsh, who'd previously teamed as the duo Dead Daughters; following a brief tenure as the Future, they rechristened themselves the Human League after enlisting vocalist Philip Oakey. The trio soon recorded a demo, and played their first live dates; they soon tapped Adrian Wright as their "Director of Visuals," and his slide shows quickly became a key component of their performances.
It's likely that a large portion of the audience Del Amitri won with the lightly infectious, incessantly catchy "Roll to Me" thought of the Scottish group as a new band, not an outfit that had been recording for over a decade. That may be one of the reasons why Hatful of Rain: The Best of Del Amitri was released in 1998, a mere three years after "Roll to Me" climbed into the Top Ten. (It could also be that the follow-up, Some Other Sucker's Parade, stiffed on the charts.) In any case, Hatful of Rain is an excellent overview of Del Amitri's career, containing no less than 17 tracks, including all of their American and British hits. It may overlook their early independent singles, yet the consistency of their major-label work in the '80s and '90s gives the collection a sense of cohesion, even if it is sequenced out of chronological order. What matters is that Hatful of Rain contains everything that a casual fan could want while reconfirming their stature as a solid singles band to their core constituents – and that's everything a good greatest-hits album should do.
Looked at in the cold light of day and from some years' distance, Gene Loves Jezebel would seem like the last band whose work would stand the test of time. Weird thing, though – in all their "everything goes" exuberance, from abstract goth wailing to balls-out Sunset Strip rock, the Aston brothers, much like their labelmates in the Cult, made everything work somehow. Not all the time, certainly, but Voodoo Dollies wisely draws on the best and biggest hits of the group, not to mention a couple of rarer items for the hardcore fanbase, to make an enjoyable career overview (certainly better than Some of the Best of Gene Loves Jezebel). Following a straight chronological order and enjoying the usual high quality of Beggars Banquet remastering, the 18-track collection is a fine treat. Besides the obvious numbers like "Desire (Come and Get It)," "The Motion of Love" (appearing here in a single mix), and "Jealous," the less well-known songs help to really flesh out the band's freaked-out, glammed-up appeal.
The companion volume to the hugely successful first ‘Best Of’, with yet more excellent highlights from 15 years of bassist/bandleader Bill Wyman’s post-Stones musical project, sampling six key albums. Includes standout tracks from studio and stage, where the Rhythm Kings are in their element. Numerous special guests include Albert Lee, Georgie Fame, Procol Harum’s Gary Brooker and former colleague Mick Taylor on slide guitar (‘Can’t Get My Rest At Night’). A re-cut of the Stones’ ‘Melody’ – originally from the ‘Black And Blue’ album on which Bill appeared – features Eric Clapton, while George Harrison guests on ‘Love Letters’. A lively cover of the Beatles’ ‘Taxman’ features Australian guitar virtuoso Tommy Emmanuel. Specially released to coincide with Autumn 2012 Rhythm Kings European dates. Expertly remastered by Jon Astley (whose past credits include recordings by the Who, Led Zeppelin, George Harrison and many others). Superb sound – the best in the business!
When it comes to good time R&B played by top class musicians, you can’t beat the sound of Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings. After Bill quit the Rolling Stones in 1993, the bass player set about forming his own all-star band. As well as touring the world, the Rhythm Kings released a succession of fine albums, beginning with ‘Struttin’ Our Stuff’ in 1998. We have selected the hottest tracks from this debut album, as well as songs from subsequent albums ‘Anyway The Wind Blows’, ‘Double Bill’, ‘Groovin’ and ‘Just For A Thrill’. The Kings have included some right royal players over the years, notably – keyboard players Gary Brooker and Georgie Fame, guitarists such as former Rolling Stone Mick Taylor, vocalist Paul Carrack, and blues artist Beverley Skeete.