Friday, December 07, 2007

Various Artists - Coolest Songs in the World, Vol. 1 (Wicked Cool, 2007)

When I used to subscribe to Sirius Satellite Radio, I was an avid listener to Little Steven's Underground Garage, which played a wonderful selection of straight ahead unadorned rock and roll. Each week the DJ's would highlight one particular song, and this disc is the first in a (hopefully long running) series collecting these selections. The songs actually cover a pretty wide range of "Nuggets" style rock from the sing-a-long power pop of the opening "On the Airwaves" by The Shazam, to the no-frills garage rock of "I Can't Stand It" by The Greenhorns and "I Woke Up This Mornin" by The Mooney Suzuki. Think of this as a modern day equivalent of the Back From the Grave series of garage rock samplers from the 1960's. While most of these bands received little traditional radio airplay, that's more of an indictment against corporate rock radio than the level of the music. These samplers are at a budget price and are well worth checking out for fans of old-school rock and roll.

Frank Frost and Sam Carr - Last of the Jelly Roll Kings (Blue Label, 2007)

Guitarist, harmonicist and singer Frost and drummer Carr were stalwarts in the legendary Delta Blues band The Jelly Roll Kings. Frost has since passed on while Carr still gigs occasionally. This disc releases the remainder of the recordings the two made together both in the studio and live in concert. The joy of this recording comes from the deep roots that they both have in the music. Things get a little sloppy and out of tune at times, but that is part of the charm. Many of these songs have been heard before and are considered standards, but the group plays them with panache and complete authority, and even chestnuts like "Black Cat Bone" and "Rock Me Baby" sound fresh and current in their hands. This is a fine and enjoyable disc, and with traditional delta blues fading away as the masters of the idiom pass on, it's another chance to relive a sweaty night in the juke joint of the mind.

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