As we enter the final months of the year, I find I have a lot of review material on hand, so I'm writing up as many short reviews as possible to work them in.
'Heretics,' Toadies (Kirtland Records, HHH 1/2)
This Sept. 18 release features Toadies' fan favorite songs acoustically rearranged plus two new tunes and a cover of Blondie's "Heart Of Glass."
I'm not familiar with most songs, but the production/instrumentation is first-rate, especially the string section on "In the Belly of a Whale."
Toadies fans, emo-admirers and others will enjoy this release.
'Diamond In A Rhinestone World,' Breelan Angel (MisBavin' Records, HHH)
This eight-song Oct. 2 CD/EP arrived at the office recently. Breelan has a pleasantly reedy voice to deliver her witty lyrics. Her supporting cast is top-notch. This one isn't my bag, but classic country fans will enjoy it or download selected tunes like the bluegrassy title song.
'No Means Of Escape,' Nazareth (Eagle Rock Entertainment, HHHHH)
This Oct. 16 DVD/Blu-Ray/digital release presents a concert by the long-lived Scottish band (original bassist Pete Agnew, lead vocalist Linton Osborne, guitarist Jimmy Murrison & drummer Lee Agnew) and a documentary called "Made In Scotland."
The documentary includes vintage footage and new interviews with past and present band members, including retired lead singer Dan McCafferty. Bonus features: more interviews and an acoustic performance. Nazareth/hard rock fans will love this package, though Osborne has departed.
'Compromised,' Steve Forbert (Rock Ridge Music/ADA, HHHH)
This Nov. 6 release has Meridian émigré Forbert reunited with his 1979 producer John Simon. Steve's backed here by his road band, anchored by bassist Joey Spampinato (NRBQ). These are good tunes with intelligent, often profound lyrics and interesting instrumentation.
My favorites are "Whatever, Man" (two versions), "Compromise" and "Big Comeuppance," but all are cool. Folk and Americana fans will enjoy this one.
'We've Got A River To Cross,' Joyful Gospel (Rampart Street Music, HHH)
This CD also was mailed to the office. It features 12 soulful gospel tunes, including one written by Lionel Richie, performed by Joyful U.S.A. & The Spirit of New Orleans Choir plus instrumentalists playing keyboards/organ, bass, drums, guitar and sax. This is R&B-flavored gospel music, and for admirers of that, this recording is a wonderful example.
'Keep on Bein' Me,' Josh Fuller (indie Extreme/INGrooves Music Group, HHH 1/2)
This recent release features 13 enthusiastically performed country tunes from Josh and six able supporting players including producer Jason Rooks. Catchy tunes like the slide guitar-powered "Small Town Friday" and the wistful "Just Here" (written about his beloved mother-in-law) are equal to the big boys. Country fans will enjoy this one.
Ricky Flake, a former punk rocker and current music fan, lives in Biloxi. Reach him at email@example.com