- FOUR TOPS: FOUR TOPS NOW: 1969: 3 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Like the Dionne Warwick that is reviewed below- an album of well known songs by others that in some cases are a little too well known. Where are the Motown written material? Albums in the 1960’s were never a Motown strength they were great on singles but by this time The Four Tops hits had dried up- nothing on this- and I deduced it half a point for having to suffer through another version of “Little Green Apples!”
- FOUR TOPS: SOUL SPIN:: 1969: 3 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: The Four Tops released two albums in 1969- as the month ends I was a little behind in my goal of a 1969 album a day average so why not listen to both of them? Again a solid effort from a group of professionals but there is nothing here that stands out and no big Four Top hits- had Motown given up on them at this point?
- PAUL MCCARTNEY: PIPES OF PEACE: 1983: 2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Coming off “Tug Of War” I was expecting a lot and what a let down this was. This was the start of a bad period for McCartney. This has the sound of “Tug Of War II” but it comes up empty in the songwriting department. “Say, Say, Say” was a big hit with Michael Jackson but it’s not really much to write home about. Favorite song here is “So Bad.”
- THE DCEMBERISTS: I’LL BE YOUR GIRL: 2018: 3 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: This is the first Decemberists album that is somewhat disappointing. The songs aren’t as sharp to me and it doesn’t sound like a Decemberists album. It feels like they were trying to do something new-which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This is my first listen to this- the 3 stars is a tentative grade this is one I will have to spend some time with. I could be wrong.
- THE DECEMBERISTS: TRAVELING ON: EP: 2018: 4 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: After what sounds like a detour on I’ll Be Your Girl- the Decemberists return to the more familiar Decembrists sounds with an EP released near the end of 2018. This is more like it. Like every song- the 5 on the EP.
- DIONNE WARWICK: SOULFUL: 1969: 3 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Where are the Bacharach/David songs? Not a one. Warwick on this album gives the usual competent performances but I think she tackles songs that are just too big in popularity- three Lennon/McCartney songs but is she really going to shine on Hey Jude that just came out months earlier? Every song on the album was a huge hit and well known by others and I don’t see where anyone would want her version compared to the original. Maybe the idea was to show she could do other things than perfect Bacharach/ David songs? This was her first album on the Scepter label that had no Bacharach/ David. Not that its an awful album just middle of the road.
- GUY CLARK: THE SOUTH COAST OF TEXAS: 1981: 3 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Not a career highlight but a Guy Clark album willed with songs written by Guy Clark can’t be a bad thing can it? Ricky Skaggs would get a lot of mileage out of Heartbroke.New Cut Road and Rita Ballou other standouts. Produced by Rodney Crowell who had a big hit with the Clark/ Crowell song “She’s Crazy For Leaving” which is on here.
- TOWNES VAN ZANDT: DELTA MOMMA BLUES: 1971: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Album #4 a change in direction for Townes a blues album recorded in New York City after recording his first three in Nashville. “Rake”, “Nothin'” ,”Turnstyled, Junkpiled” “Brand New Companion”, “Delta Blues Mama”, “Where I Lead Me”- favorites.