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CD Reviews:
The Listening Room: John Fogerty, Alice In Chains and more...
 

By GARY GRAFF
@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

» See more SOUND CHECK

ROCK

John Fogerty

"Wrote a Song For Everyone"

Vanguard

****

An argument can be made that John Fogerty's Creedence Clearwater Revival hits are perfectly fine in their original form and did not need to be re-made in any way, shape or form. But "Wrote a Song For Everyone" makes a convincing case otherwise. The 14 song set features a dozen winning collaborations on some CCR's best material, each one adding some new dimension or flavor that makes the track a nearly new experience -- whether it's Foo Fighters charging through a high-octane take of "Fortunate Son," Keith Urban slipping a bit of rootsy bluegrass into Fogerty's solo hit "Almost Saturday Night" or My Morning Jacket lending a trippy vibe to "Long As I Can See the Light." Alan Jackson's deep tenor brings more resonance to "Have You Ever Seen the Rain," while Bob Seger's solo vocal-and-guitar performance gets "Who'll Stop the Rain" off to a mellow but poignant start. Fogerty's sons Shane and Tyler bring a gritty roadhouse feel to "Lodi," the Zac Brown Band turns the already ebullient "Bad Moon Rising" into a jamboree stomper and Kid Rock adds loops and soul backing vocals for a hybrid update of "Born on the Bayou," while "Proud Mary" gets an even more jubilant N'awlins dressing via Jennifer HUdson, Allen Toussaint and the Rebirth Brass Band. Brad Paisley ("Hot Rod Heart"), Dawes ("Someday Never Comes") and Miranda Lambert (the title track, with a Tom Morello guitar solo) make their mark, too, and Fogerty's two originals -- the jangly "Mystic Highway" and the grinding "Train of Fool" -- should not be overlooked amidst their august company. It's a successful experiment, and celebration, that only adds to the legacy of Fogerty and these songs.



ROCK

Alice in Chains, "The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here" (Virgin/EMI) ***1/2

The best thing about Alice in Chains is that the group knows how to sound like -- well, Alice in Chains. That's no mean feat considering that frontman Layne Stayley died 11 years ago, the kind of loss that usually stops iconic bands in their tracks. But William DuVall proved a more than capable replacement on 2009's "Black Gives Way to Blue," and "The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here" may be an even better and certainly more confident-sounding and ambitious follow-up. "Hollow," the doomy first single, gets things off to a riffy start, while DuVall and co-founder Jerry Cantrell drive "Pretty Done," "Stone" and many others with harmonic twin lead vocals. The title track offers some pointed social commentary, while "Phantom Limb" is a seven-plus minute metal opus. If the "Devil" is truly in the details, AiC nails them all here.

New & Noteworthy:

Anvil, "Hope in Hell" (The End): The Canadian rock trio welcomes new bassist Sal Italiano for its 15th studio album.

Black Star Riders, "All Hell Breaks Loose" (Nuclear Blast): Though working under a different name, guitarist Scott Gorham and his re-christened band of rock all-stars still manage to rekindle the spirit of Thin Lizzy on this debut.

Blue Cheer, "Rocks Europe" (Rainman): The famously deafening rock trio's final show from 2008 is captured on this live set, along with a pair of new studio recordings.

Marshall Chapman, "Blaze of Glory" Tallgirl): The singer-songwriter is hardly slowing down at 64, with help this time out from Will Kimbrough and Jimmy Buffett cohort Michael Utley.

Popa Chubby, "Universal Breakdown Blues" (Provogue): The mostly rowdy blues master has his way with the standard "Over the Rainbow" on his latest studio set.

Della Mae, "This World Oft Can Be" (Rounder): The Nashville-based all-female band throws its lot in, convincingly, with the acoustic roots rock of the Lumineers, Avett Brothers and that ilk.

Joe Diffie, Sammy Kershaw and Aaron Tippin, "All in the Same Boat" (RED): The trio tour package recorded three new songs and re-recorded some of their own hits for this good-time collaborative package.

The-Dream, "IV Play" (Def Jam): The singer, writer and producer hosts Jay-Z, Beyonce, Kelly Rowland, 2 Chainz, Fabolous, Gary Clark Jr. and Detroit rapper Big Sean as guests on his fifth solo album.

Eisley, "Currents" (Equal Vision): The fourth album by the sibling rock group from Texas includes a collaboration with Merriment on the song "Wicked Child."

Elaine Elias, "I Thought About You (A Tribute to Chet Baker)" (Concord Jazz): The title tells you exactly what the celebrated Brazilian pianist/vocalist is up to on this salute to trumpet legend.

Guster, "Live Acoustic" (Ocho Mule): The quartet takes an unplugged romp through its catalog in preparation for this year's Last Summer on Earth tour with Barenaked Ladies and the Ben Folds Five.

Hot Club of Cowtown, "Rendezvous in Rhythm" (Gold Strike): The Austin trio dips into the Great American Songbook along with some Gypsy jazz favorites on this Lloyd Maines-produced album.

Imaginary Cities, "Fall of Romance" (Votiv): The Canadian group's sophomore album features a kitchen's sink worth of sonic touches, including coffee grinders, choirs and a guitar talk box ala Peter Frampton.

Cindy Lauper, et al, "Kinky Boots: The New Musical Based on a True Story" (Masterworks Broadway): Lauper and the company from the stage adaptation of the film have a ball with this batch of songs she wrote for the production.

LIGHTS, "Siberia Acoustic" (Last Gang): The Canadian electropop star takes unplugs for this stripped-down rendering of her hit 2011 album "Siberia."

Laura Marling, "Once I Was An Eagle" (Virgin): The British folk singer strips things down on her fourth album, working with guitar, cello and drums only rather than a full band.

Cecile Mclorin Salvant, "WomanChild" [cq] (Mack Avenue): The debut outing from the winner of the 2010 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition

Skinny Puppy, "Weapon" (Metropolis): The Canadian industrial rockers weigh in on the gun debate on this pointed and at times pounding 10-song set.

The Stranglers, "Giants" (Absolute/Ear): The British New Wave veterans bring their first album since 2006 stateside after releasing across the pond in the spring of 2012.

Tricky, "False Idols" (False Idols): The British trip-hop pioneer taps a variety of artists from his new label, as well as Peter Silberman of the Antlers, to help on his latest release.

Various Artists, "True Blues" (Telarc): Blues history and heritage gets a scholarly but still enjoyable tribute from present day players including Taj Mahal, Corey Harris, Shemekia Copeland and others.

Wheeler Brothers, "Gold Boots Glitter" (Bismeaux): The second full-length release from the harmony-loving sibling-led Americana troupe from Austin, Texas.

From The Vaults: Burt Bacharach, "Anyone Who Had a Heart: The Art of the Songwriter" (Hip-O); Tony Bennett and Dave Brubeck, "The White House Sessions, Live 1962" (Columbia/RPM/Legacy; Dio, "Finding the Sacred Heart: Live in Philly 1986" CD and DVD (Eagle Rock); Marshall Tucker Band, "Live From Spartanburg South Carolina" (Shout! Factory); Paul McCartney & Wings, "Wings Over America" (Hear Music); Rise Against, "RPM10" (Fat Wreck Chords)

Soundtracks: Danny Elfman, "Epic: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" (Sony Classics); Steve Jablonsky, "Pain & Gain" (Varese Sarabande); Various Artists, "Oblivion" (Redeye); Various Artists, "True Blood: Music From the HBO Original Series Volume 4" (ATO)

New Music DVDs: Garbage, "One Mile High...Live" (Eagle Rock); Judas Priest, "Epitaph" Peter Sellers, Ringo Starr et al, "The Magic Christian" (Olive)

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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