ALBUM OF THE WEEK

AM Taxi "We Don't Stand a Chance," Virgin/EMI

THE HIGH FIVE!!

  • Jeff Cook "Shaken, Not Stirred," Quest
  • Jenn Franklin "Girl Invisible, Vol. 1," Groove House
  • Ashley Ray "Ashley Ray EP," Show Dog/Universal
  • Austins Bridge "Times Like These," Daywind/New Day
  • Glee "Glee: The Music, Journey to Regionals," Columbia/Sony/Fox

Barbra Streisand "One Night Only: Barbra Streisand and Quartet at the Village Vanguard, September 26, 2009, CD and DVD," Columbia/Sony

Barbra Streisand sings jazz, accompanied by a simple piano and jazz drums, in front of only 123 people at the Vangaurd. You get to listen in, right down to her comments about the songs. Her much-loved voice rings out, a little bit husky, as she explores various aspects of love and reminisces about the old days.

You can truly hear that Streisand drives the songs, rather than the songs informing what she is to sing. She is in control. And it is not the quality of her voice, but rather the quality of her energetic singing that grabs your attention and draws you into her fold once again. When you listen, you'll feel as warm as if you were in the audience too, and she was winking at you as you sat there in the back row.

*****Shelton's Single of the Week: "THE WAY WE WERE"*********

EDITOR'S NOTE: THE VILLAGE VANGAURD IS A UNIQUE, TINY JAZZ CLUB IN GREENWICH VILLAGE, BUT NO TOURIST OR VILLAGE FREAK EVER GOES THERE, IT IS SO WELL HIDDEN. ONLY JAZZ FREAKS, LEGEND FREAKS AND REAL NEW YORKERS KNOW OF THE VILLAGE VANGAURD. THAT MS. STREISAND SANG AT THE VANGAURD IS EXTRAORDINARILY UNIQUE. THIS 47-YEAR VETERAN OF THE CITY STREETS IS PLEASED AS HELL.Barbra STREISAND'S STATUS AS ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL SINGERS OF OUR GENERATION IS ALL THE MORE REMARKABLE NOT ONLY BECAUSE HER POPULARITY HAS BEEN ACHEIVED IN THE FACE OF A DOMINANT MUSIC TREND - ROCK AND ROLL - THAT SHE DID NOT FOLLOW, BUT ALSO BECAUSE, DESPITE AN AMAZING SINGING VOICE THAT ENTHRALLED PRACTICALLY EVERYONE WHO HAS HEARD IT, SHE HAS ALWAYS USED SINGING AS A STEPPING STONE TO OTHER CAREERS. SHE IS A TRUE HERO.

Green Day "21st Century Breakdown," Reprise/Warner Bros.

Billie Joe Armstrong at first seems to have grown younger over the years. His first fans have reached the age he was when he first became the heartthrob of teenaged punk girls across the U.S. Armstrong was the founder of pop-punk before pop-punk was washed up. He could still shock our parents back in those days. He has been around for a while now.

And thus, because of the laws of nature, he has grown older, and so has the rest of Green Day. With a little attention to the new "21st Century Breakdown," we see that, behind that same faux-Brit-punk accent, the lyrics and music have both matured. That bouncy sound so pronounced on "Dookie" is still there, but more subdued. The rock is just as heavy, but alternates with moody clips and even tracks that could be defined as "groovy."

Lyrically, the band is trying to make a statement about where it stands in this insane world. Rebellion is the general conclusion. Revolutionary love, burning cars, graffiti and bandanas are the themes. Concept albums, including this one, generally have their own charm, anyway. There isn't anything too poetic going on here, or anything too politically specific. But this hand grenade is presented with more than a dusting of music passion and experience.

************LATE BUT GREAT***********

*******Shelton's Single of the Week: "HORSESHOES AND HAND GRENADES"**********

EDITOR'S NOTE: DOOKIE, THEIR THIRD ALBUM, TRANSFORMED THE ENNUI THAT RULED THE DAY INTO A RACKET THAT AFFIRMED LIFE. THEY PLAY PEPPY POP-PUNK, UNCOMPLICATED BY HEAVY METAL OR DEEP THOUGHTS AND ARE LODGED ON RADIO, WHERE THEY STILL REMAIN.

Cyril Neville "Brand New Blues," M.C.

Sometimes, "new" blues albums begin to get repetitive. Well, not this one. "Brand New Blues" needs only launch into its first song to let you know this really is something different. The organ-heavy reggae flavor was not expected, but it was welcomed. This and other genres blending in on the album, such as dub, gospel, 1950s rock, soul and funk, sound mature and tasteful in the deft hands of long-time percussionist and vocalist Cyril Neville. His syncopated beats top off the music treat. In the end, these are what launch "Brand New Blues" musically above the rest. As any music aficionado can tell you, a good rhythm is what makes or breaks any song.

However, Neville takes the tasty goodness further by getting political. "Mean Boss Blues" goes beyond simple reflections on a big bad boss and explores the discontents and suffering brought on by U.S. capitalism. Another track covers the wave of racism that hit New Orleans after Katrina. Songs that are less explicitly political, including his love songs, maintain a high standard lyricism, especially when Neville dives into innuendo ("Let me cream your beans / Need some fixin' in your kitchen!"). You will not regret, in any way, picking up a copy of the youngest of the Neville bothers' fantastic take on the blues in the new millennium.

*******Shelton's Single of the Week: "CHEATIN' AND LYIN"**********

EDITOR'S NOTE: WELCH'S SONGS SPRAWL OUT LIKE GREAT, OPEN FLATLANDS, MAKING ELEMENTS OF FOLK, COUNTRY AND ROCK IN A CAPTIVATING WAY. WELCH HIMSELF- -HALF SINGING, HALF SPEAKING SONGS--COMES OFF AS A CROSS BETWEEN A RENEGADE STORY TELLER AND A HEARTLAND ROMANTIC.

Chumbawamba "English Rebel Songs 1381-1984," PM Press/Trade Root/AK Music

This is some bad-ass anarchist...British folk music? Yes, that's right, well-known as a punk band and even a dance music band, Chumbawamba seems to love music in all its incarnations. The result of the band's efforts to make an album reaching back to the roots of working-class British folk music is spectacular, and would be a great way to slip radical politics into your grandma's music collection. Sung a cappella or with folk instruments, the sound of the album stays true to its theme.

Songs were written at different times in the last 630 years, with the earliest harkening from the 1381 Peasant's Revolt. This album is truly a history lesson, as it addresses the struggles of the Diggers, the Luddites, industrial workers and others. Welcome this one into your collection. You will learn a bit about the brilliance of music from days of yore, as well as just how radical your own foremother and forefathers were. You will find yourself scrambling to match them.

************POLITICAL ALBUM OF THE WEEK*******************

******Shelton's Single of the Week: "GOVERNOR O.K. ALLEN (AKA ANGOLA BLUES)"*************

EDITOR'S NOTE: ANI DIFRANCO LEARNED EARLY HOW TO LIVE BY HER WITS. AS A TEENAGER, SHE WORKED HER WAY AROUND BUFFALO, NY, FOLK CLUBS, AND RELOCATED TO NEW YORK CITY BEFORE SHE TURNED 20. PLEASE DO YOUR HOMEWORK AND CHECK OUT HER HISTORY. SHE HAS BEEN OFFERED CONTRACTS WITH ALL THE MAJOR LABELS. SHE HAS NEVER, EVER SIGNED WITH THEM. SHE HAS NEVER, EVER BEEN A SELL-OUT. SHE IS A COMPLETE, IRREDUCABLE ORIGINAL.

POLITICAL SONG OF THE WEEK

Chumbawamba
Song: "Declaring Peace"

song_cover Whisper the words of wisdom no more
Speak the words of wisdom no more
Shout the words of wisdom no more
The governments of the world agree
That people need bombs and banks and barriers
Harriers, tanks, and aircraft carriers to carry us to war
To drop it at my front door
But if no one pulled a trigger then no one would get shot
If no one made the bombs, no one would get blown up
If nobody believed in stinking countries
There wouldn't be any territories to fight over
If nobody held money as sacred
There'd be food for all, not just those who can't afford it
And if nobody voted for a government
They wouldn't have the right to make people fight
But first they treat us like we're nobody, no one
Then it's "Join Britain's fight, be someone--bomb someone"
But dead we're no more than dust on the floor
Of the next generation
Who are marching off to war
But no more war, we won't go away
'Cause no more war is something we've got to say
No more war, we can try to make the fighting cease
No more war, advertise for peace
No more war, I know it's easier said than done
But we can make a start by declaring peace
No more war, look I know it's easier said than done
But we can make a start by declaring peace
By declaring peace
Just remember in 1982 when the Falklands war was happening
The New Musical Express didn't say a word about it