Welcome to the record collection of singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley [1966-1997]. In what has to be one of the more fascinating music sites, Legacy Recordings, in association with Buckley’s mother, Mary Guibert, has opened up the family vault to the music her son loved best. One could get lost for hours on this site. Like going down a rabbit hole and discovering a thousand new sounds, not to mention re-discovering hundreds more, the site (https://www.jeffbuckleycollection.com) lets you peruse the inside of the late singer-songwriter’s mind. Lest we forget his father was 1960s pioneer folkie Tim Buckley [1947-1975], the son’s choices, early on, had to be influenced by the father’s. Included is Jeff’s “You And I,” the recently released collection of his earliest recordings (1993). Jazz, blues, metal, folk, rock, pop, world, soul are just the tip of this iceberg. Hovering over each spine with your mouse gives you info on each recording. Plus, you can hear a 30-second preview of everything before heading to Spotify to listen to whatever you want. It’s totally addicting. More artists should do this.
Mike Daly & The Planets are a hard-working blue-collar rock’n’roll band from the swamps of New Jersey whose new single, “Never Too Late,” is available at Amazon, iTunes and most everywhere digital music is sold or streamed. Daly has an Elvis Costello/John Lennon kind of voice and a knack for arrangement and production that puts his product atop most local phenomenons. Daly originally wrote it in his first band, Every Damn Day, for the CBS-TV dramedy “That’s Life” in 2000. Now, with the addition of some tantalizing viola and cello, the song has taken on a life of its own.
Singer-songwriter Clint Morgan sings his songs in a craggy voice of experience. In “A Sackful Of Cash,” he spits out the lyrics as if someone’s chasing him: “running from the law in a piece of junk with a sackful of cash and a body in the trunk.” Scofflaw (Lost Cause Records) is his second CD, and it’s filled with 18 searing odes to a life of crime including his take on Bessie Smith’s “Send Me To The ‘Lectric Chair.” Other tracks–especially “I Got A Gun,” “Bad Man Blues,” and “Thief In The Night”–portray the protagonist criminal in no uncertain terms. When he covers Dylan’s “Wanted Man,” it sounds real. Of course, Morgan is no convict. He’s a lawyer, a distant cousin to The Carter Family, and a hell of a barrelhouse piano player. These roots-rock bluesy country-laden slices of outlaw Americana sure do hit the sweet spot.
May I introduce the uniquely talented Anthony E. Nelson, Jr. His “Swift To Hear, Slow To Speak” (Music Stand Records), just might be one of the best damn jazz CDs of the year. It’s his fourth and best. Armed with exquisite New York City jazzmen like pianist Brandon McCune, bassist Kenny Davis, drummer Chris Beck, alto saxophonist Bruce Williams and trumpeter Josh Evans, this hotshot composer/arranger/multi-reed man can lead a band through paces usually reserved for the masters. He’s a post-bopper par excellence but can feel the blues and the swing just as mightily. He calls his music gospel-jazz and, indeed, two of the tracks were actually recorded in church. (Each song title is from a different part of the Bible.) He has a smoky, late-night feel in his tenor sax not unlike that of John Coltrane. The New Jersey musician has been playing clarinet in Regina Carter’s touring band but here he rules the roost.
Finally, three retrospectives worth picking up are 1) “Alligator Records 45th Anniversary Collection” of “Genuine Houserockin’ Music,” 2) “Stony Plain 40 Years” of “Canada’s Roots, Rock, Folk, Country and Blues Label,” and 3) “Bluesin’ by the Bayou: I’m Not Jiving” (Ace Records England) featuring Lightnin’ Slim, Lazy Lester, Schoolboy Cleve, Juke Boy Bonner, Chris Kenner and more.
The Alligator set is two CDs of barn-burning blues and boogie by the likes of Son Seals, Shemekia Copeland, Elvin Bishop, Charlie Musselwhite, Marcia Ball, Tommy Castro & The Painkillers, Koko Taylor, Joe Louis Walker, Delbert McClinton, Mavis Staples and a whole ‘nother disc with 17 more.
The Stony Plain set is three CDs with the likes of Doug Sahm, Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Ian Tyson, Steve Earle, Long John Baldry, Jeff Healey, Eric Bibb, Duke Robillard and so much more, it’s positively dizzying!
The British Ace import is one disc of unbelievable blues and Cajun from New Orleans by no one you ever heard of except maybe Clifton Chenier and Boozoo Chavis and y’know what? It might be the best one of the three. Still, you can’t go wrong with these kinds of compilations. They haven’t left my player in weeks!