This week's column begins with two 2016 releases: the soundtrack to the hit movie, "Joy," and a solo album from a member of the Escovedo family. The final release is a concert film from late 2015. Enjoy!
'Joy: Music From The Motion Picture,' Various Artists (ABKCO Records, HHHH)
This nifty soundtrack to the Jennifer Lawrence/Bradley Cooper/Robert De Niro movie about the inventor of the Miracle Mop was digitally released Dec. 18 followed by physical release on Jan. 8. There are many cool songs: Cream's "I Feel Free," The Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody," The Ronettes' "Sleigh Ride" and The Rolling Stones' "Stray Cat Blues" among the incidental soundtrack music.
I enjoy Cream, The Bee Gees and the others above the best; but Lee Morgan's piano-and-horn-driven "The Sidewinder," Nat King Cole's lavish "A House With Love in It" and Ella Fitzgerald/Chick Webb Orchestra's "I Want to Be Happy" are my other favorites. The cover of "Mama Told Me Not to Come" pales beside the real thing.
This is a nifty collection of music from a terrific movie.
'Kicked Out Of Eden,' Javier Escovedo (Saustex Media, HHHH 1/2)
This Jan. 15 CD/digital release (LP Feb. 19) is Javier Escovedo's second solo release. He's a founding member of The Zeros and a pioneer of 1970s West Coast punk rock. Javier's musician older brothers Pete and Coke, his niece Sheila E, and his brother Alejandro are all part of the family story.
This garage-a-riffic platter presents Javier (guitar/vocals), Brad Rice (guitar/vocals), Michael "Cornbread" Traylor (bass), and Matt Hubbard (piano/organ) with various drummers, percussionists and backing vocalists tearing through a splendid set occasionally reminiscent of the late Duane Jarvis.
The rocking "Downtown" (not a P. Clark cover), the Byrds-flavored "Just Like All The Rest," the blazing "This Side of Nowhere," and the throbbing "Beaujolais" are my favorite tunes. Fans of '60s- to '70s-type rock 'n' roll will dig this album.
'Just Let Go,' Lenny Kravitz (Eagle Rock Entertainment, HHHH)
This Oct. 23 DVD/Blu-Ray/digital release arrived November 2015, but I'm just getting around to reviewing it. It features many of Lenny's big hits, "Fly Away," "It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over," "Let Love Rule" and "Are You Gonna Go My Way," as well as new material from "Strut."
The 12 songs share space with backstage footage, clips, interviews and rehearsal footage. This displays Lenny's creative process (he plays all instruments but horns on recordings), camaraderie with fellow musicians (co-writer Craig Ross and ace drummer Cindy Blackmon Santana among them) and more.
This is my favorite part of the program because the songs often last too long. Kravitz fans will deeply dig this presentation.
Ricky Flake, a former punk rocker and current music fan, lives in Biloxi. Reach him at email@example.com.