New live albums (and more) revive careers
Didn't get quite enough new music in your Christmas stocking? Here are some of the things I've listened to over the past few weeks — besides Christmas carols — you might want to check out:
Earlier this year, Sony released a live concert set of Pink Floyd's The Wall, recorded two decades before. Now the label and ex-Floyd leader Roger Waters have unleashed his own live, 2-CD set, which covers a lot of Wall material, as well as other classic Floyd cuts like "Money,""Time,""Brain Damage,"and "Wish You Were Here." In The Flesh was recorded a bit more recently than The Wall Live. However, it features material from his 1999 world tour, and includes a bevy of background singers to pump up the dramatic moments of "Mother,""Another Brick in the Wall Part 2,"and songs from his solo albums.
King Crimson has been on the road a lot recently, and their own Discipline Global Mobile Records has released Heavy ConstruKction, a 3-CD documentation of the band's spring 2000 European tour. The disc includes lots of material from their recent discs, The ConstruKction of Light, ThraK and VROOOM, reinterpretations of classics like "Lark's Toungues in Aspic" and "Three of a Perfect Pair," as well as a cover of David Bowie's "Heroes." The group's recent penchant for improvisational jams is well-represented with extended instrumental explorations of various themes. This live recording, as well as a number of other King Crimson limited releases and side projects are available through the Web site at www.disciplineglobal-mobile.com.
The Doors were stopped in the heyday of their career by leader Jim Morrison's death. But the rest of the members still occasionally work together on archival projects as The Doors. Now the remaining Doors have put together some new material with producer Ralph Sall, and have played with a host of other bands to cover classic Doors songs on the disc Stoned Immaculate – The Music of the Doors. New from Elektra, the disc features members of the remaining Doors performing "Break on Through" with Stone Temple Pilots, "Riders on the Storm" with Creed, "Peace Frog" with Smash Mouth, "L.A. Woman" and "The End" with Days of the New, "Love Me Two Times"with Aerosmith, "Wild Child" with The Cult, "Roadhouse Blues" with John Lee Hooker and "Is Everybody In?"with William S. Burroughs, among others. Stone Temple Pilots and The Cult have always betrayed Doors influences, and their contributions, along with Creed and Days of the New stay astoundingly true to the original sound and spirit of the Doors' classic catalog.
The Raspberries had a handful of hits in the early '70s, including 1972's Top 5 "Go All the Way," before singer Eric Carmen went solo. Now two of the band's original members, Wally Bryson and Dave Smalley, along with Scott McCarl (who actually replaced Smalley in the band in 1974) have released a new six-song CD of Beatles-influenced power pop on the tiny Legendstar Records label. It's not exactly a ground-shaking return (the vocals are sometimes strained and the production doesn't have the depth of a major label-backed release) but stalwart Raspberries fans will probably want to seek out its sing-song melodies. Bryson's lush "When Is Your Dream?" and McCarl's jangly, staccato "Love in My Eyes" are the best bits here, sounding like they were lifted from the early Lennon-McCartney songbook.
For more information, check the Web site at www.raspberries.net.