THE BLOG
11/28/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Compact Reviews of This Week's Compact Discs, For Those Who Still Care #5

PICK OF THE WEEK.

7 WORLDS COLLIDE -- THE SUN CAME OUT

The brainstorm of singer-songwriter and New Zealand pop legend Neil Finn, 7 Worlds Collide first came about in 2002, when Finn and a stellar group of musicians that included Eddie Vedder, Johnny Marr, Ed O'Brien & Phil Selway of Radiohead, and Neil's brother, Split Enz founder Tim Finn, put on a series of concerts to benefit the international medical humanitarian organization Medecins Sans Frontieres. This time, sans Eddie Vedder, but including Wilco, the concerts happened again, as well as this 2 CD studio LP, that is just remarkable from top to bottom.

This year the benficiary of all proceeds will go to Oxfam, which you could read all about here and the full roster of musicians can be found here.


ALICE IN CHAINS -- BLACK GIVES WAY TO BLUE

First studio album in 10 years with new vocalist William DuVall filling in for the late Layne Staley. Sounds a lot like Alice In Chains with Layne Staley. Elton John guests. (Really)

ELVIS COSTELLO -- THE COSTELLO SHOW (LIVE AT THE EL MOCAMBO, 1978)

There are few I respect as much as Elvis Costello for his brilliant songwriting and his relentless work ethic. Not everything hits the mark- "North," his heavy-handed love letter to Diana Krall and "My Flame Burns Blue," his clumsy live record with the Metropole Orkest, both come to mind -- but you can't blame the guy for trying.

This new series of reissues about to be released over a period of time, sounds like a great idea; live concerts from the vaults. But why the hell start with something most Costello die-hards have in one form or another?

"Live At The El Mocambo" was a famous, promo-only LP that many of us had a hard time getting our mitts on back in the day. 30 years later, it finally gets a separate, commercial release after being packaged as a bonus CD in the first boxed set of Rykodisc reissues, which in all fairness to the UMG, is now out of print. But after countless reissues where the die-hard E.C. fans were made to buy the same records over and over again for the bonus material -- "My Aim Is True" and "This Year's Model," at my count have been released 6 times -- it would have been nice to see something we had never seen before.

DENNIS DIKEN WITH BELL SOUND -- LATE MUSIC

New Jersey legend, Smithereens' drummer, and pop music connoisseur Dennis Diken, releases his first solo album with help from some of his pop music buddies, Pete DiBella, Andy Paley, Jason Falkner, Andrew Sandoval and The Wondermints. Diken's got a great voice, and the songs and arrangements will hit that soft spot you have reserved for all your fave 1960s bands. Great stuff!

COREY HARRIS -- BLU.BLACK

I can't remember Corey Harris ever releasing a bad record. No artist has been as consistent with his forays into blues, reggae and African roots music, and on Blu.Black, Harris once again hits the mark. Blu.Black is a collection or originals, save one cover, Burning Spear's "Columbus," that focuses on the "African-American story of earlier centuries and connects it to present day and future generations." Harris has always remained true to his heritage and its music and this new record does not disappoint.

IAN HUNTER -- YOU'R NEVER ALONE WITH A SCHIZOPHRENIC (2 CD 30TH ANNIVERSARY REISSUE)

2009 remaster of Ian Hunter's US commercial, solo breakthrough, now features 6 bonus tracks and a full disc of live material featuring the late, great Mick Ronson on guitar. Nicely done.

TRACK LIST

Disc: 1
1. Just Another Night
2. Wild East
3. Cleveland Rocks
4. Ships
5. When The Daylight Comes
6. Life After Death
7. Standin' In My Light
8. Bastard
9. The Outsider
10. Don't Let Go - Demo
11. Ships [Take 1]
12. When The Daylight Comes - Early Version
13. Just Another Night - Early Version [aka The Other Side Of Life]
14. Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On
Disc: 2
1. F.B.I. - Live In Cleveland 18/6/79
2. Once Bitten Twice Shy - Live In Cleveland 18/6/79
3. Life After Death - Live In Cleveland 18/6/79
4. Sons And Daughters - Live At The Hammersmith Odeon 22/11/79
5. Laugh At Me - Live At The Hammersmith Odeon 22/11/79
6. Just Another Night - Live At The Hammersmith Odeon 22/11/79
7. One Of The Boys - Live At The Hammersmith Odeon 22/11/79
8. Letter To Brittania From Union Jack - Live In Berkeley 7/7/79
9. Bastard - Live In Berkeley 7/7/79
10. All The Way From Memphis - Live In Cleveland 18/6/79
11. Cleveland Rocks - Live In Cleveland 18/6/79
12. All The Young Dudes - Live At The Hammersmith Odeon 22/11/79
13. When The Daylight Comes - Live In Cleveland 18/6/79
14. Sweet Angeline - Live In Cleveland 18/6/79


KRIS KRISTOFFERSON -- CLOSER TO THE BONE

Kris Kristofferson returns to the essentials of his finely honed craft on his new album 'Closer To The Bone." This album is produced by Grammy Award winner Don Was and includes a bonus CD recorded live at the Olympia Theatre (Dublin, Ireland 3/21/08).


MADNESS -- THE LIBERTY OF NORTON FOLGATE

The first album of original material in 10 years from the UK pop/ska legends will remind fans and critics just how much fun this band used to be and how much they were missed. Yet another fine release from the good people of Yep Roc records.

MADONNA -- CELEBRATION

2 CD anthology with all the hits. 37 in all. The ultimate collection. 'nuff said. (Really)

ROD STEWART -- SESSIONS: 1971-1998 (4 CD set)

"For the Rod Stewart Sessions 1971-1998, Warner Bros. goes deep into the vaults to reveal the secret studio history of this very public performer with a boxed set of unreleased recordings chosen from sessions spanning 1971-1998. Encompassing more than 25 years, this collection's 63 songs, outtakes, and ephemera provide extraordinary insight into the studio work of one of rock's legendary figures and paints a picture of what might have been. Many of these performances are more stripped-down and intimate than their released counterparts, so the set becomes an illustration and a showcase of Rod's creative process."

TRACK LIST

# Maggie May (Early Version)
# Seems Like A Long Time (Alternate Version)
# Italian Girls (Early Version)
# You Wear It Well (Early Version)
# Lost Paraguayos (Alternate Version)
# I'd Rather Go Blind (Alternate Version)
# Angel (Alternate Version)
# Think I'll Pack My Bags (Early Version of "Mystifies Me")
# Farewell (Early Version)
# Girl From The North Country (Alternate Version)
# (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Man (Alternate Version)
# So Tired (Early Version)
# This Old Heart Of Mine (Alternate Version)
# To Love Somebody (Early Take)
# Sailing (Alternate Version)
# Tonight's The Night (Gonna Be Alright) (Early Take)
# The First Cut Is The Deepest (Alternate Version)
# Rosie (Acoustic Version)
# Innocent (The Killing Of Georgie Part III)
# Hot Legs (Early Take)
# You're In My Heart (The Final Acclaim) (Acoustic Version)
# I Was Only Joking (Early Take)
# Scarred & Scared (Early Take)
# When I'm Away From You
# Oh God, I Wish I Was Home Tonight (Early Version)
# Time Of My Life
# TV Mama
# Maybe Baby
# Stupid
# Guess I'll Always Love You (Alternate Version)
# The Great Pretender (Acoustic Version)
# Thunderbird
# Dancing Alone (Alternate Version)
# I Wish You Would
# Sweet Surrender (Alternate Version)
# Show Me
# Ghetto Blaster (Early Version)
# Satisfied (Alternate Version)
# Hard Lesson To Learn (Alternate Version)
# Heaven
# In My Life (Piano Version)
# Love Is A Four Letter Word
# Forever Young (Piano Version)
# My Heart Can't Tell You No (Alternate Version)
# I Go To Jail For You
# A Good Lover Is Hard To Find
# Let The Day Begin (Alternate Version)
# The Groom's Still Waiting At The Altar (Alternate Version)
# Windy Town (Piano Version)
# In A Broken Dream (1992)
# This Wheel's On Fire
# I Wanna Stay Home
# I'm A King Bee
# Looking For A Love
# Kiss Her For Me
# The Long Journey Home
# Now That You're On Your Own
# Dylan's Day Off
# On And On
# Rockin' Chair
# Sugar Lips
# The Changingman
# May You Never


BARBRA STREISAND -- LOVE IS THE ANSWER

A new Babs record produced by Diana Krall must be very exciting for fans of both. Also, comes as a 2 CD version, with the second disc featuring "acoustic versions" of the songs. (I guess the guest spots by Lemmy and Trent Reznor must be on the first disc.)

Please check out my blog, BURNING WOOD, for more.