My review of the latest album from Barry Gibb opens the column below, followed by my opinion of a vintage Van Morrison CD/DVD package and a new recording from singer/songwriter Brett Wiscons.
‘In The Now,’ Barry Gibb (Columbia Records, ☆☆☆)
Barry Gibb has likely been working on this recording for a number of years, or at least writing songs for it.
Many musical genres are represented here, and one of his sons is included in the backing band. Thankfully, the only disco-sounding song is the opener and title cut.
My favorite tunes include the throbbing, mid-tempo “Grand Illusion,” the quicker, power-poppy “Blowin’ A Fuse” and the short, beautifully orchestrated “The Long Goodbye.”
Other fans will enjoy “End Of The Rainbow,” which is dedicated to Robin, Maurice and Andy; and the sorta-sappy “Star Crossed Lovers,” dedicated to Barry’s wife Linda.
This one won’t get many repeat listens from me, but many Bee Gee/Barry fans will enjoy it.
‘It’s Too Late To Stop Now...Volumes II, III, IV & DVD,’ Van Morrison (Exile/Legacy, ☆☆☆☆1/2)
Van Morrison released his landmark live album “It’s Too Late To Stop Now” in 1973. No overdubs or fixes were applied to that release, and the same is true here. Just Van and his large band, which includes horns and a string section.
The one-hour DVD illustrates the power, tightness and dynamics of the 11-piece Caledonia Soul Orhestra, on songs like “Here Comes The Night,” a too-quick “Brown Eyed Girl,” “Moondance” and “Caravan,” among other tunes.
CD 1 (Volume II) highlights: “Come Running,” “These Dreams Of You,” playful covers of “Bring It On Home To Me,” and “Hey Good Lookin’,” “Listen To The Lion” and “Moondance;” although some fans may prefer other tunes.
CD 2 (Volume III) favorites: “I’ve Been Working,” “There There Child,” “Since I Fell For You” and the only appearance of “Wild Night.”
CD 3 (Volume IV): features many of the same songs, and the CSO plays them with flair and tightness. This package features a time when Van Morrison was at the top of his game, with his most impressive big band.
‘The Heineken Sessions Deluxe,’ Brett Wiscons (Captain Beardo Records/MAD Diamond Entertainment, ☆☆☆1/2)
This Oct. 28 release, comes from Brett Wiscons and was produced by Mark Bryan, who won two Grammys for his work with Hootie & The Blowfish.
My favorite songs include the folk-rocking “SarAZona,” both electric and acoustic versions of “Don’t Be The One,” the snarky “Side Stage” and the lusty “Sophia’s Winery.”
Broad-minded Americana fans will enjoy this recording.
Ricky Flake, a former punk rocker and current music fan, lives in Biloxi. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org