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Listening Room: Santana, Johnny Gimble and more...
“Supernatural: Legacy Edition”
Reissues of landmark albums are nothing new and a relatively safe, low-cost way for a record company to make a few extra bucks from something that’s already made an enormous amount of bucks. But this expanded edition of Santana’s 1999 comeback set, which sold more than 25 million copies worldwide, won a record nine Grammy Awards and gave the group its first No. 1 hit in the Rob Thomas collaboration “Smooth,” is far better than the usual leftover fare and shows that Santana was in a fertile musical zone even without the big-name help. The original album, micro-managed by executive producer Clive Davis and chock full of superstar collaborations still holds up well 11 years later, though we chuckle a bit to remember when the likes of Everclear, Eagle-Eye Cherry or even Lauryn Hill excited us. The second disc includes tracks such as “Angle Love (Come For Me),” “Ya Yo Me Cure,” covers of Lighthouse’s “One Fine Morning” and the Cuban group Irakere’s “Bacaloa Con Pan” and a medley of Bob Marley & the Wailers’ “Exodus” and “Get Up Stand Up.” There’s a second grouping with Dave Matthews and his drummer Carter Beauford on a loose-limbed steamer “Rain Down on Me,” while “The Calling Jam” offers another look at Santana’s team-up with Eric Clapton, which closed the original album. The majestic “Olympic Festival” from the “Girlfight” soundtrack in 2000 is a welcome inclusion for completists, though the remixes of “Maria Maria” with the Product G&B and “Corazon Espinado” with Mana will serve only a certain part of that populace, and the instrumental take on “Smooth” is unnecessary. Nevertheless, “Supernatural” is a moment in Santana’s career that’s well worth revisiting, and this version of the album definitely freshens the experience.
Johnny Gimble, “Celebrating With Friends” (CMH)***
The list of the country artists fiddle and mandolin ace Johnny Gimble has not recorded with is probably much shorter than those he has, but at 83 he’s decided to step out on his own on this charming and breezy all-star set. With Asleep at the Wheel’s Ray Benson producing, Gimble — who wrote 10 of these 14 songs — is assisted by a formidable cast that includes Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Vince Gill, Dale Watson and others, while “A Prairie Home Companion’s” Garrison Keillor pays tribute on the album-closing “Owed to Johnny Gimble” from 1994. The instrumentals are just as good as the vocal tracks, and the whole package is a worthy celebration of a remarkable life in music.
New & Noteworthy:
Backyard Tire Fire, “Good to Be” (Kelsey Street): The hard-touring Indiana band’s latest release was produced by Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin.
Misty Boyce, “Misty Boyce” (Modern Vintage): The debut album by the New Mexico singer-songwriter and Naked Brothers Band keyboardist includes a duet with fellow troubadour Ari Hest.
Jim Campilongo, “Orange” (Blue Hen): The ninth album from Norah Jones’ Little Willies bandmate was produced by Golden Palominos leader Anton Fier and features covers of songs by the Rolling Stones, the Stooges and Billy Strayhorn.
Everybody Was in the French Resistance...Now, “Fixin’ the Charts, Volume One” (Cooking Vinyl): Art Brut’s Eddie Argos and the Blood Arm’s Dyan Valdes team up for an album of “response” tracks to hits by the Mamas and the Papas, Avril Lavigne, Kanye West, Michael Jackson and others.
Free Reign, “Tragedy” (Riot Entertainment): Here’s what the Dallas Cowboys’ front line does when it’s not busy protecting Tony Romo. A rockin’ off-season is at hand.
Adam Green, “Minor Love” (Fat Possum): The Moldy Peaches partner gets help from members of Little Joy and Megapuss as well as his brother Joel on his sixth solo album.
Karnivool, “Sound Awake” (SIN): The Australian heavy rock quintet’s third full-length album is already a No. 2 hit in its homeland.
Lightspeed Champion, “Life is Sweet! Nice to Meet You” (Domino): Onetime noise rocker Dev Hynes continues on a more melodic pop path on this sophomore outing by his British-based project.
Local Natives, “Gorilla Manor” (Frenchkiss): The debut outing from the much buzzed-about indie rock quintet from Los Angeles.
Mitch Marcus Quintet, “Countdown 2 Meltdown” (Franco): The third album from the progressive jazz trio led by San Francisco saxophonist Marcus.
Joe Pug, “Messenger” (Lightning Rod): A second EP from the Illinois-based singer-songwriter that further whets an appetite for his first full-length album.
Ike Reilly, “Hard Lock Stories” (Rock Ridge): Shooter Jennings and Cracker principals David Lowery and Johnny Hickman helped out the ever-pithy Americana rocker Reilly on his latest album, which comes out on CD after a November online release.
Meaghan Smith, “The Cricket’s Orchestra” (Sire): The Canadian singer-songwriter’s first album follows a well-received 2008 EP and a cover of the Pixies’ “Here Comes Your Man” for the “(500) Days of Summer” soundtrack.
Soundtrack, “StarStruck” (Walt Disney): The companion to the latest Disney Channel movie features songs by Mitchel Musso, Sagginario, Anna Margaret and other Radio Disney luminaries.
Soundtrack, “Valentine’s Day” (Watertower/Big Machine): New songs from film co-star Taylor Swift and Jewel join a Maroon5 cover of Frank Sinatra’s “The Way You Look Tonight” and other pop fare from the romantic comedy.
Rod Stewart, “Once in a Blue Moon — The Lost Album” (Stiefel/Warner Bros.): Pre-Great American Songbook, Stewart covered songs by Bob Dylan, Stevie Nicks, Tom Waits, the Rolling Stones and others for an album whose 1992 release was ultimately shelved.
Tindersticks, “Falling Down a Mountain” (4AD/Constellation): The British rock troupe’s second North American release was recorded at studios in France and Belgium and features a rare appearance by singer Mary Margaret O’Hara.
Jenny Whitely, “Forgive or Forget” (Black Hen/Burnside): The Canadian roots musician takes on the Buddy Holly-recorded “Raining in My Heart” on her fourth album.
From The Vaults: Chuck Berry, “Have Mercy: His Complete Chess Recordings 1969-1974 (Hip-O Select); Jan & Dean, “Carnival of Sound” (Rhino Handmade)
New Music DVDs: Various Artists, “Concert By the Lake” (Eagle Rock Blu-ray)
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