New CD releases that are sure to please

With all of the hoopla lately over the Beatles reissued CDs, there are several new releases that you should know about. I have always felt that it was my job to look at all new music and tell you about the best of it. A customer told me the other day that I was the filter, always filtering out the “bad” music and telling him about the “good” music and he appreciated that.

A nice compliment, I thought. A lot of what we stock in the store is music I have learned about from you.

So here are some new CD releases that I think you will like.

John Mayall & the Bluesmakers, “Tough.” Mayall, still tearing it up at 75 years of age, is back with a brand new lead guitar player and one great set of blues rock that reminds me of his work in the late 1980s and early ’90s from “Chicago Line,”  “A Sense of Place” and “Wake Up Call.”

Bruce Hornsby & Noisemakers, “Levitate.” On Hornsby’s new CD, he is back to his unique mix of rock, pop, country and jazz with excellent arrangements and great vocals.

Tom Russell, “Blood and Candle Smoke.” With the title taken from his great song,

“Guadalupe,” Russell has his best batch of songs since “Borderland.” This time,

Calexico, a great band in their own right, is backing Russell on a number of songs.

Dan Fogelberg, “Love In Time.” Fogelberg’s final recording is made up of demos he was working on when he was diagnosed with cancer. He wrote three new songs, including a love song to his wife, finished the recording in late 2006 and put it in a safe deposit box, asking his wife not to release it until after he was gone.

Steven Stills & Manassas, “Manassas Pieces.” In my opinion, some of Stills’ best work was with Chris Hillman in Manassas. This CD is a collection of songs that for some crazy reason didn’t make the two 1970s releases. Rhino Records has put together a single disc of 15 great tracks from this underrated supergroup.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, “Speed of Life.” This is the Dirt Band’s first studio album in five years, and in my opinion, their best since “Symphonium Dream” way back in 1975. Not to be missed among the 13 great songs are covers of “Going Up the Country” and

“Stuck In the Middle With You.” All in all, a great effort from a band that is amazingly 43 years old!

Guy Clark, “Some Days The Song Writes You.” Clark has been a personal favorite since the 1970s and this, his 14th album, is further evidence that he is one of the finest songwriters to ever come out of Texas, and that is saying a lot. Ten of the 11 songs are co-written by Clark in the perfect follow-up to the great “Workbench Songs.”

Mark Knopfler, “Get Lucky.” As I said last week and feeling even stronger about it now, this is one of my favorite Mark Knopfler CDs. His finest work is what he has done since his very serious motorcycle accident in 2003, and “Get Lucky” is further proof. An e-mailer said, “Knopfler gets better with age.” I agree — the older I get, the better he sounds!


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