The reviews this week span the decades, with two new musically divergent albums: one from a different-flavored Americana band, the other from a funk-jazz outfit. The column wraps up with a collection from Lee Michaels, who successfully left the music business behind a long time ago.
'Heavy Howl,' Moonsville Collective (Independent Release, HHHH)
This late-October release comes from a seven-member band that plays a brand of Americana-flavored music with a variety of old-timey and modern influences. Seth Richardson (double bass), Drew Martin (drums/percussion), Matthew McQueen (mandolin), "Dobro Dan" Richardson (Dobro/slide/resonator) and Sean Kibler (fiddle) provide a fertile music bed for guitar/banjo/songwriter/vocalists Corey Adams and Ryan Welch.
"Blue Money Grove" shows the upbeat, near-rockabilly side of MC's music; "Cow and The Cream" shows the thoughtful bluegrass-flavored side. McQueen's mandolin, Richardson's Dobro and Kibler's fiddle all play interesting roles, plus nifty solos.
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Other favorites include the slightly cynical "Big Jimmy," the harmony-and-solo-laden "Rollin' In Paradise," the contemplative "End of the Line" and the nifty instrumental "Chickens Hate Heat."
This is a great collection for broad-minded listeners.
'Huntertones,' Huntertones (Independent Release, HHH)
This CD/EP released today also is available for download, and it features six horn-driven songs from a Brooklyn-based band that originally formed in Columbus, Ohio. The lineup is Dan White (saxophones), Jon Lampley (trumpet and sousaphone), Chris Ott (trombone and beatbox), Joshua Hill (guitar), Theron Brown (keyboards), Adam Deascentis (bass) and John Hubbel (drums).
This music isn't really my bag, but I enjoyed the funky opener "Rumpus Time" until there were too many solos and tempo changes. The beat box/sax/sousaphone trio number "Hip Mr. Hampton" is my other favorite piece.
This music is occasionally cinematic and serves up a different slice of horn-based music.
'Heighty Hi -- The Best of Lee Michaels,' (Manifesto Records, HHHH)
This CD releasing today features 20 songs from an artist nationally known for one song, "Do You Know What I Mean," his 1971 organ-and-drum-powered hit single still residing on classic rock radio. There is a seven-CD box set arriving the same day.
The title song of the collection is from his eponymous 1969 A&M records release. He recorded seven albums for A&M from 1968 to 1973, many featuring fuzzy guitars and other instruments. He retired from the music biz in the early 1980s, focusing on his Los Angeles-based Killer Shrimp restaurant.
My favorite songs besides the hit are a live-in-the-studio "Stormy Monday," the smaller hit "Can I Get a Witness," the title song, plus the psychedelic "If I Lose You" and "Hello."
This collection (or the box) is great for classic rock fans who know the surprisingly multi-talented Lee Michaels for only a couple of songs.
Ricky Flake, a former punk rocker and current music fan, lives in Biloxi. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.