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CD Reviews:
Listening Room: Buckcherry, George Clinton and more...
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

ROCK

Buckcherry, “Black Butterfly,” (Eleven Seven/Atlantic) ***

At the start of Buckcherry’s fourth album, frontman Josh Todd proclaims “I’m alive!” — an expression of both defiance and triumph well-earned by the Los Angeles quintet. Thanks to the platinum success of 2006’s comeback effort “15” and the chart, radio and ringtone domination of its hits “Crazy B****” and “Sorry,” Buckcherry brings out an album to high expectations for the first time in a good seven years. But that shouldn’t change what we know to expect from Buckcherry — swaggering, riff-heavy rock and sturdy melodies, which the group squarely delivers on “Black Butterfly.” “Rescue Me” kicks things off with a full-on wall of guitars before shifting into tuneful, ebb-and-flow dynamics. “Tired of You” (with its “Crazy B****”-echoing chorus), “A Child Called ‘It,’ ” “Fallout” and “Imminent Bailout” are overdrive, punk-tinged hard rock specials, while “Dreams” and “Don’t Go Away” show that rock ’n’ roll balladry does not have to be maudlin. “All of Me,” meanwhile, offers moodaltering acoustic, rootsy blues, while “Rose,” arguably “Black Butterfly’s” best track, is a Rolling Stones/Guns N’ Rosesflavored love song so sincere we almost believe Todd when he sings that “it’s all about love and not about money.” Todd is, in fact, in mostly good spirits on “Black Butterfly,” mitigating the album’s expected angry moments with the high spirits of the slinky, tongue-in-cheek party anthem “Too Drunk ...” or the genuinely warm emotions of love songs such as “Dreams,” “Don’t Go Away” and “All of Me.” “Black Butterfly” only falters on its closing track, “Cream,” a messy stylistic melange that falls far short of the sum of its varied parts. Until that point, however, this “Butterfly” soars.



R&B

George Clinton, “George Clinton and his Gangsters of Love” (Shanachie) **

George Clinton is seldom wanting for good ideas, and on paper the funkmeister’s latest project — augmenting the PFunk corps for a nation under a different kind of groove on this covers set — looks good. Guest “Gangsters” such as Carlos Santana, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, El DeBarge, RZA, a rare Sly Stone appearance and others make a compelling list of mothership passengers, but the lineup is ultimately better than the results. Santana’s guitar certainly soars on the Impressions’ “Gypsy Woman,” the Chili Peppers are cheerfully loose on a churchy rendition of “Let the Good Times Roll,” Stone and DeBarge trade vocal licks during a spare, loping take of Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t That Peculiar” and Kim Burrell is a highlight on “Mathematics of Love.” But Clinton’s smoky soul rasp is not quite enough to carry the other tracks, and an oddball set of middle-of-the-road pop hits such as “Our Day Will Come” and “You’re a Thousand Miles Away” are yawns compared to the front half of the album.



NEW & NOTEWORTHY:

Boston Spaceships, “Brown Submarine” (GBVI): The debut album from the new group fronted by Guided By Voices’ Robert Pollard.

Wayne Brady, “A Long Time Coming” (Peak): The comic and actor shows his musical ambitions run deeper than segments on “Whose Line is it Anyway?”

The Break and Repair Method, “milk the bee” (bluhammock music): The longawaited debut from matchbox twenty’s Paul Doucette features contributions from Tracy Bonham, Moon Zappa, Veruca Salt’s Nina Gordon and Paul McCartney guitarist Rusty Anderson, among others.

Mark Broussard, “Keep Coming Back” (Atlantic): LeAnn Rimes and Sara Bareilles guest on the Louisiana native’s third album.

Lindsey Buckingham, “Gift of Screws” (Reprise): Fleetwood Mac mates Mick Fleetwood and John McVie play on the singer-guitarist’s second solo album in three years.

Kasey Chambers &

Shane Nicholson, “Rattlin’ Bones” (Sugar Hill): The first joint recording by the Australian husband-wife duo.

Ben Folds, “Way to Normal” (Epic): The North Carolina-born piano man brings his first full-length album since 2005’s “Songs For Silverman.”

James, “Hey Ma” (Decca): The reunited British modern rockers have three original members on board for their first new album in seven years.

Jem, “Down to Earth” (ATO): The singer-songwriter recorded a chunk of her second album with Ferndale-based Enimem cohort Jeff Bass.

Jonezetta, “Cruel to be Young” (Tooth & Nail): The sophomore album from the Mississippi rock quintet.

Dave Koz, “Greatest Hits” (Capitol): Four new tracks join the smooth jazz saxophonist’s first-ever career compendium.

Ne-Yo, “Year of the

Gentleman” (Def Jam):

The decorated artist-writerproducer triple-threat’s third album has already spun off the hits “Closer” and “Miss Independent.”

Jody Raffoul, “Big Sky” (Fontana/Universal): The first national release from the Detroit-based Canadian favorite comes four years after the reputation-making “Like a Star.”

Taproot, “Our Long Road Home” (Velvet Hammer): The headbanging Ann Arbor quartet’s fourth album — recorded in with Tim Patalan at his Saline studio — is its first for the “indie” ranks after three previous releases for Atlantic Records.

Benjamin Taylor, “The Legend of Kung Folk Part 1 (The Killing Bite)” (Iris):

The latest release from the son of James Taylor and Carly Simon includes a duet with fellow music iconoclast Jamie Cullum.

Various Artists, “The Imus Ranch Record” (New West): Willie Nelson, Dwight Yoakam, Vince Gill, Big & Rich and Little Richard are among the artists contributing tracks to raise funds for embattled radio host Don Imus’ cattle ranch for ailing children.

The Veronicas, “Hook Me Up” (Sire): The twin Australian Origliasso sisters hooked up with hitmakers for Madonna, Fergie, Christina Aguilera and Good Charlotte for their sophomore album.

The Walkmen, “You & Me” (Gigantic): The New York rock troupe split sessions for its fourth album between studios in Mississippi and its home town.

Matt Wertz, “Under Summer Sun” (Universal Republic): The Kansas City, Mo., singer-songwriter moves to a major label after building an audience through his own Handwritten Records releases.

Robin & Linda Williams, “Buena Vista” (Red House):

The folk duo from Virginia delivers its first new studio album in four years.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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