Columbia's Legacy label has unveiled a handful of new "best of" collections this month.
Jazz fans can pick up The Steep Anthology from saxman Branford Marsalis, while world music buffs can check out 7 Seconds, The Best of Youssou N'Dour, which includes "7 Seconds," his duet with Neneh Cherry, as well as a cover of the Beatles' "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" that was previously unavailable in the United States.
For those with a more classic yearning, Ray Conniff gets an entry in the label's Essentials series. The Essential Ray Conniff is a two-disc set with recordings of "Greensleeves," "Brazil," "Blue Moon," "Hello Dolly," "A Time for Us," "Theme from 'New York, New York'" and more.
Finally, Rockford's power-pop classic rockers Cheap Trick finally get their Essentials entry from Legacy.
The two-disc The Essential Cheap Trick includes all of the standards, from "Surrender," "California Man," "I Want You to Want Me," "Ain't That a Shame," "Dream Police," and "Voices" to "Stop This Game," "She's Tight" "If You Want My Love,""Tonight It's You" and "The Flame."
There's also a live version of "Mandocello," recorded in Chicago with Billy Corgan in 1998, and their duet with Chrissie Hynde, "Walk Away," from 1990.
Rhino Records has paired with Elektra to reissue three more albums in the Yes catalog. Tormato, from 1978, found the band in a lyrical mood (and winding down its "classic Yes period"), concentrating on Jon Anderson's falsetto vocals, and starting to move away from the 15-minute jam sessions that characterized earlier albums. It spun off the ecological friendly single "Don't Kill the Whale." The reissue includes nine bonus tracks.
Drama, from 1980, found the band in turmoil, with Anderson and keyboardist Rick Wakeman quitting during the early sessions. The result was a six-song mix of progressive and modern rock, thanks to the new blood of The Buggles duo, Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes (who would leave Yes with Steve Howe to form Asia after this album).
The original album only includes six tracks, including the FM classic "Tempus Fugit." The reissue includes more bonus tracks than the original album had songs — 10 in all. Some are alternate or demo versions of the songs from the regular album, others are previously unreleased demos from the period.
Finally, Rhino also offers a remastered version of 90125, the 1983 album that brought back Anderson to a modernized Yes driven largely by newcomer Trevor Rabin. It was the band's most successful "pop radio" release, exposing the band to a whole new legion of fans while alienating some of their old progressive rock audience.
Including the mega-hits "Owner of a Lonely Heart," "It Can Happen," and "Leave It," this was a whole new musical attack for Yes, though it didn't last long — only one other new Yes studio album would follow in the '80s. The remastered version of 90125 offers remixes of "Leave It" and "It Can Happen" and "Owner of a Lonely Heart," as well as "Make It Easy" and "It's Over," two non-original album tracks that sound like Rabin was trying to write songs for Survivor or Night Ranger at the time.
Move over Avril; here's a girl with real chops.
Twentysomething Aussie singer-songwriter Butterfly Boucher not only delivers an impressive batch of instantly catchy pop-rock songs on her debut album, she also produced the CD and played virtually every instrument on it.
That amazing feat for a newcomer is matched only by the intelligence and development of her songwriting. There are a dozen tracks on Flutterby, and almost everyone of them offers a lyrical and musical hook that could stick in your brain for days, after just one listen.
From the lovelorn wanting of "(I think I'd like my) Soul Back" to the helplessness of "I Can't Make Me (love you)" to the punchy melancholy of "Another White Dash," Flutterby is a fulfilling, addicting pleasure.
It opens with "Life Is Short," a poppy guitar riff bit of radio-ready rock, but hits its true stride later in the gorgeous minor key musings of "A Walk Outside" when she sings "which came first/the love or the love song…in the end it doesn't matter/in the end they all go home/I thought about it for a minute/music's in the kiss we hold/music is a walk outside."
She follows that with a warm piano hymn in "Never Leave Your Heart Alone," a couple more upbeat rock tracks, and then the gorgeous "Don't Point, Don't Scare It," a song about the fickle nature of love, which has a timeless feel with its minimalistic lightly plucked strings and cello backing. The album ends with another quiet piece, the dreamily sparse acoustic guitar ballad "Drift On."
From its folkish singer-songwriter moments to its poppy radio-friendly tracks to touches of punkish guitar in its rock moments, Flutterby offers a range of styles, all unified by Boucher's affecting vocals and lyrical sense. With any luck, this debut is just the beginning for this deeply talented new artist.