Back in the ‘70s, the British Monty Python's Flying Circus comedy troop expanded the reach of their humor not only through their popular TV show, but also through movies and a series of albums. The Legacy label has now reissued three of those albums on CD, each with bonus tracks, which include bits not on the original discs, as well as alternate versions of the original album tracks. The reissues include 1973's Matching Tie and Handkerchief (which includes the “Cheese Emporium” and “Pet Shop” sketches), the 1975 soundtrack to the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail (which includes the “Camelot Song” and a bonus track of the “Run Away Song”) and 1980's Contractual Obligation Album which includes “Sit On My Face” and “I Like Chinese.”
Legacy has also delved into the country vaults to reissue some of Dolly Parton's early albums, each with bonus tracks. The label has issued 1971's Coat of Many Colors, 1973's My Tennessee Mountain Home and 1974's Jolene. Among her early hits from these discs were “My Blue Tears,” “Daddy's Working Boots” and “I Will Always Love You.”
Reprise Records has gotten into the “best of” game this week with a new collection from Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks. Crystal Visions: The Very Best of Stevie Nicks features 16 tracks, including her duets with Tom Petty on “Stop Dragging My Heart Around,” and with Don Henley on “Leather and Lace.” It also offers “I Can't Wait,” “If Anyone Falls in Love,” “Talk To Me,” “Stand Back,” and a live version of “Rhiannon,” along with her recording of “Silver Springs” with Fleetwood Mac and her live recording of “Landslide” with the Melbourne Symphony.
For those with a hard rock hankering, Warner Bros. has paired with Rhino to issue a new compilation from the band that invented Heavy Metal -- Black Sabbath. The Dio Years is a 16-track disc that features three newly recorded songs from the reunited lineup featuring Ronnie James Dio at the mic, as well as the classic recordings of “Heaven and Hell,” “The Mob Rules” and a live recording of “Children of the Sea” among others.
James Morrison's debut album has already sold a million copies worldwide, thanks to its triumphant chart-topping initial release in his native England. The young 22-year-old singer-songwriter draws on a host of classic influences, with comparisons ranging from Joe Cocker and Rod Stewart to Bob Seger. He's a soulful singer with a style that owes a lot to ‘70s AM radio, which you can especially hear on songs like his first triumphant lead single, “You Give Me Something,” which sounds like old school early-‘70s Stevie Wonder with its cascading vocal and string arrangements and soulful electric piano backing.
There's a Lenny Kravitz blues element to the rock of “Call the Police” and a confessional element to “This Boy” and “The Last Goodbye” that fans of James Blunt and John Mayer will appreciate. And in the fist-raising emotion of “Wonderful World,” Morrison offers a look at the other side of the emotions that color Louis Armstrong's classic track of the same name. While Armstrong's hit extolled the positive aspect of living, Morrison opines, “I know that it's a wonderful world/but I can't feel it right now/well I thought that I was doing well/but I just want to cry now.”
The slow but urgent musical drive of the late-night “One Last Chance” perfectly captures the desperation of the lyric, where Morrison croons:
“I've got one last chance to get myself together
I can't lose no more time it's now or never
and I try to remember who I used to be
I've got one last chance…”
At 11 songs, Undiscovered is a short album, but each track is a definite keeper. Morrison is a strong vocalist and songwriter, don't miss discovering him! For song samples, videos and more info, check his site at www.jamesmorrison-us.com.