What our critics are listening to
02:20 PM, Jan 28, 2013
DALE WATSON AND HIS LONESTARS
EL RANCHO AZUL. Dale Watson has nothing to prove. In the upside-down world of country music, where country is actually ’70s pop, Watson has toiled for years at keeping the true honky-tonk flame burning. In an awesome, polished baritone, he celebrates sentimental ideas like getting married and seeing your daughter get married. The title of “Where Do You Want It” refers to what fellow honky-tonk legend Billy Joe Shaver supposedly said to a guy in the parking lot of a Waco bar before shooting him. But Watson’s overarching literary theme is drinking. And on “Drink Drink Drink,” Watson confesses, “Got nothing to lose now since you been gone, nothin’ but booze to lean on.” You know a guy means it when a note on his CD booklet endorses not only his guitar, amp and string makers, but his brewery: Lone Star. Jeff Spevak
LOVE OUT LOUD. Some voices seem tailor made for an intimate setting, like a dim, smoke-filled lounge back in the day. Picture Anthony David on such a stage and you’ll get his vibe. David’s husky voice captures the essence of someone afraid of taking a leap of emotional faith when he sings “I’m a afraid if I look into your eyes girl, I’m gonna like what I see” in “Can’t Look Down.” On duet “Official,” featuring Algebra, the two harmonize with ease and David’s voice caresses the microphone. Relationships are the theme on Love
Out Loud, yet this is not an album of ballads. He mixes up the tempo on this CD. “So Jaded” gave me happy feet, even though the song is about broken hearts and baggage, a not-so-happy state of being. Boy, he’s good. Sheila Rayam
MILES DAVIS QUINTET
LIVE IN EUROPE 1969. General thinking has it that the career of the great Miles Davis can be divided into stages the first great quintet (including John Coltrane and Red Garland), a side trip into the Gil Evans big band albums, the second great quintet (including Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter), and the fusion period. This four-disc Legacy issue the second in the “official” bootleg series sheds light on a third great quintet, seldom discussed because of its short life and few recordings. This group spotlighted Davis’ trumpet with saxophonist Shorter, pianist Chick Corea, bassist Dave Holland, and drummer Jack DeJohnette. Three discs are CDs of concert performances in France and Sweden. The fourth is a DVD of a specific performance in Berlin in November 1969. The music here forms an intriguing and superbly played bridge between Davis’ acoustic and electronic jazz periods.