Album Review

The Turtles Emerge from Their Shells

  How good were the Turtles? At their best, so good that they couldn’t screw things up even when they tried. After they topped pop charts with 1967’s addictive “Happy Together” and made the Top 10 with songs like “It Ain’t Me, Babe” and “She’d Rather Be with Me,” their struggling independent label, White Whale,… Continue reading The Turtles Emerge from Their Shells

Album Review

Two More Chances to Discover Chip Taylor

Chip Taylor probably remains best known as the composer of such 1960s hits as “Wild Thing,” “I Can’t Let Go,” and “Angel of the Morning.” Nevertheless, he just keeps getting better as the years go by. Returning to music in the mid 90s after a long stretch as a successful professional gambler, he went on… Continue reading Two More Chances to Discover Chip Taylor

Album Review

Supergroups Don’t Get Any More Super Than This

The “supergroup” label—which critics and fans first applied to such late 1960s outfits as Cream, Blind Faith, and Crosby, Stills & Nash—has arguably since been overused. But if ever an outfit deserved the supergroup tag, it’s the Traveling Wilburys, whose members’ reputations loom so large that it’s difficult to believe their collaboration actually took place.… Continue reading Supergroups Don’t Get Any More Super Than This

Album Review

Profane, Profound, and Political

“Allen Ginsberg is not only one of the world’s best poets, but one of its finest citizens as well,” wrote legendary producer John Hammond, when he released the First Blues double LP on his own label in 1983. “Long impressed with his musical abilities—I recorded Allen in 1976 but Columbia Records refused to issue the… Continue reading Profane, Profound, and Political

Album Review

Live Classics from Van Morrison’s Vaults

Though only 27 years old in the spring of 1973, Van Morrison had already compiled an astonishing catalog of music. He had made great records—including “Gloria,” a “B” side now regarded as a classic—with his Irish garage-rock band Them; entered the Top 10 as a soloist with “Brown Eyed Girl,” one of the most lovable… Continue reading Live Classics from Van Morrison’s Vaults

Album Review

Live Springsteen: The Floodgates Have Opened

I’m old enough to remember the day in November 1986 when Bruce Springsteen fans stood in line to buy the just-released Live 1975-85, a mammoth five-LP boxed set that debuted on the charts at No. 1. (The collection was also available in the then-new CD format, and for the unenlightened, on cassettes and 8-tracks.) For… Continue reading Live Springsteen: The Floodgates Have Opened