Back in the mid-‘70s, composer Jeff Wayne put together an ambitious project – an album rendering of H.G. Wells War of the Worlds, told via a mix of narration and song with a backing orchestra. The resulting album, Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds was released in 1978 and has since sold more than 13 million copies and won several awards for its mix of story and song. Richard Burton served as the album’s narrator, and Justin Hayward, lead singer of The Moody Blues, sang on several tracks. Also involved were Julie Covington, David Essex and Phil Lynott. Capitalizing on the new Tom Cruise movie version of the story, Columbia’s Legacy arm has reissued the project on CD in two forms – as both a double CD and as a box set that includes a book and four CDs of never-before-released recordings from the sessions and subsequent remixes of the key songs. For song samples and more information, check http://www.thewaroftheworlds.com/
Slash Records has paired with Rhino Records to spotlight the nearly 25-year history of Milwaukee’s Violent Femmes on Permanent Record: The Very Best of Violent Femmes. The 16-song hits collection includes the band’s seminal roots-punk hits “Blister in the Sun” and “Add it Up,” as well as “Gone Daddy Gone/I Just Want to Make Love to You,” and their later hits “Nightmares” and “American Music.” Also available seperately is Permanent Record: Live and Otherwise, a DVD that features all of the Violent Femmes’ music videos as well as a concert recording in 1991.
Black Eyed Peas
"Rub it on your belly like an ultrasound!” the Peas rap on one disco-augmented track.
It’s a typical line of silly lyrical fun from the Black Eyed Peas, who are back with their fourth album of poppy hip hop and R&B to get the parties started this summer. Written and recorded during their 18-month tour for their breakthrough album Elephunk, the new CD Monkey Business opens with a hand-clappin’ Mexican horn-flavored “Pump It,” driven by samples of “Misirlou” (a key Dick Dale surf guitar theme song from the movie “Pulp Fiction”).
From there they slip into a more smooth groove-mix in “Don’t Phunk With My Heart,” where Stacy Ferguson ponders silkily, “I wonder if I take you home/would you still be in love, baby?”
Justin Timberlake, who also sang on Elephunk, turns up to guest on the throbbing R&B build-up of “My Style” and Sting turns up to croon on the light reggae album closer “Union;” there are also hosts of happening samples, including Jack Johnson slipped into “Gone Going.”
The Peas scored a major coup in roping in the godfather of soul, James Brown to belt out “you got to rock with the funk” on top of the funky cowbell dance track “They Don’t Want Music.”
In between these key tracks are a wide mix of samples, strings, beats, raps and fun. On the cool reggae party anthem “Dum Diddly,” they resurrect The Musical Youth’s “Pass The Dutchie,” And on “My Humps,” they actually manage to turn the words humps and lumps into a sexy tease (Ferguson sings “I’m gonna make you scream/cuz of my hump/my hump, my hump, my hump/my lovely lady lumps/check it out!”)
Whether you’re a fan of hip hop or not (generally I’m not), you’ll find plenty to groove to on this CD. You won’t find a disc that melds more styles or has more funky fun that Monkey Business this summer.
Don’t miss it!