Blue Rodeo – Five Days In July (1993)

Blue Rodeo is a Canadian country rock band formed in 1984 in Toronto, Ontario. Five Days in July is their fifth studio album, and was released by WEA on October 26, 1993. The band’s most commercially successful album, it has been certified six times platinum as of 2008.
The album was recorded on singer/guitarist Greg Keelor‘s farm in Southern Ontario in July 1993. While the band originally intended for the recordings to serve only as demos, they found that the songs had a warmth and spontaneity that warranted releasing the collection as an album. Guest musicians on the album include Sarah McLachlan, Colin Linden and Anne Bourne. This album was keyboardist James Gray’s first album with the band.
This album is supposed to be a tribute to the Harvest-era Neil Young sound. “5 Days in May”, “Hasn’t Hit Me Yet” and “Bad Timing” were notable hit singles for the band.
Blue Rodeo‘s best album — and the first of a trilogy of brilliant records that would feature the band at its most epic, brave, and experimental (also featuring Nowhere to Here and Tremolo) — Five Days in July began with Daniel Lanois‘ advice to the bandmembers that they not be confined by a recording studio, so they dragged their equipment out to Greg Keelor‘s farmland home and made what is essentially the ultimate “campfire” album. With the exception of the dynamite harmonic cover of Rodney Crowell‘s “Till I Gain Control Again,” the songs have a loose, stoney feel about them — both Keelor‘s and Jim Cuddy‘s works feel like they just kind of organically evolved, which actually makes a whole lot of sense given the circumstances under which they were written and recorded.
This is the album that at once solidified Blue Rodeo‘s position as the main trailblazers of contemporary alt-country and one that became a career-defining benchmark by which all their later work would be measured. The fact that their Small Miracles tour in 2008 was still made up of half of this record should be indicative of its incredible importance in the Blue Rodeo canon. The big hits are here (“Bad Timing,” “Hasn’t Hit Me Yet,” “5 Days in May”), as are some hauntingly famous cameos by Sarah McLachlan (“Dark Angel,” “Know Where You Go/Tell Me Your Dream”). With the exception of a few upbeat feel-good numbers along the way, the album is a pretty mellow affair — a perfect record for perfectly endless listenability.
This was the album in which all of Blue Rodeo‘s artistic and commercial ambitions would come to fruition: to create epic, rootsy, melodic rock; to break through big commercially (in Canada, at least, where they very rightly became huge megastars); and to create for the world new instant classic solid albums — not just random collections of songs, but the type of flawless album that leaves listeners already breathlessly anticipating what will await them on the next release. Five Days in July is the quintessential and — along with Nowhere to Here and Tremolo — defining moment of Blue Rodeo‘s career to date, and it is proof positive as to why they have remained Canada’s all-time greatest band ever since. It would seem an impossible act to follow, if Blue Rodeo hadn’t already so effortlessly done so. A bona fide classic, in every sense of the word.


1. “5 Days in May” – 7:12
2. “Hasn’t Hit Me Yet” – 5:14
3. “Bad Timing” – 5:09
4. “Cynthia” – 4:40  (Vocals – Anne Bourne)
5. “Photograph” – 4:10
6. “What is This Love” – 6:16  (Vocals – Sarah McLachlan)
7. “English Bay” – 3:20
8. “Head Over Heels” – 4:01
9. “‘Til I Gain Control Again”  (Rodney Crowell)  – 4:29
10. “Dark Angel” – 5:16  (Vocals – Sarah McLachlan)
11.”Know Where You Go/Tell Me Your Dream” – 9:22  (Vocals – Sarah McLachlan)

All songs by Greg Keelor and Jim Cuddy, except where noted.

Companies, etc.


Released: October 26, 1993
Recorded by Comfort Sound Mobile, Toronto
Mixed at Reaction Studios, Manta Eastern Sound
Mastered at Sterling Sound
Genre: Country rock
Length: 59:09

Label – WEA Records

Earth, Wind & Fire – Illumination (2005)

Illumiation is the 19th album by R&B band Earth, Wind & Fire. It was released in September 2005 on Sanctuary Records. It featured collaborations with several artists including Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Kenny G, Kelly Rowland,, and Brian McKnight.

The recording process for Illumination was originally conceived as a solo album for singer Philip Bailey. He recorded songs for the project “This Is How I Feel”, “Work It Out” and “Elevated”. A few months into recording, Bailey wanted to shift the focus of the project. He decided to make it into an Earth, Wind & Fire album- a move that was inspired by his oldest son, who co-wrote the song “Work It Out”. Bailey reached out to the remaining members of the band to help work on what became their next studio recording.

Following 2003’s The Promise, Earth, Wind & Fire went back to the studio and refined and updated their approach to music with a more contemporary neo-soul sound on Illumination, and the gamble paid off plentifully, as it’s one of the group’s freshest and most fully realized album since the glory years of the ’70s, when the group was releasing one timeless single after another. What makes Illumination work so well is their approach to staying contemporary without looking ridiculous in the process. The production from start to finish is polished and ready for prime time urban radio airplay, while still maintaining a sensibility of the old-school sound that made it work in the first place. Guest appearances are the norm, rather than the exception, with nonstop cameos from a wide range of artists, from OutKast and the Black Eyed all the way to soft rock horn tooter Kenny G. But the crown jewel of the album is unquestionably the eight-minute jam “Show Me the Way,” with Raphael Saadiq handling lead vocals in a way that should make Maurice White blush with pride, confident in the knowledge his influence is very much alive and well in the next generation of soul musicians. The album’s final pieces are puzzling, as Brian McKnight‘s eloquent appearance on the ballad “To You” is roughly knocked out of place as the fitting closer by a smooth jazz cover of OutKast‘s “The Way You Move,” an ill-fitting move for an otherwise outstanding record. Sequencing error aside, Illumination is the musical defibrillator other aging soul musicians should grab a hold of and take note.


1. “Lovely People (feat.” – 4:28
Written-By – Keith Harris,
2. “Pure Gold” 4:40
Written-By – James Harris III, Terry Lewis, Tony L. Tolbert, Bobby Ross Avila, Issiah J. Avila
3. “A Talking Voice (Interlude)” – 0:19
Written-By – Philip Bailey
4. “Love’s Dance” – 4:28
Written-By – James Harris III, Terry Lewis, Tony L. Tolbert
5. “Show Me The Way (feat. Raphael Saadiq)” 7:47
Written-By – Taura Jackson, Raphael Saadiq
6. “This Is How I Feel (feat. Kelly Rowland, Big Boi & Sleepy Brown)” – 4:21
Written-By – Patrick Brown, Marqueze Ethridge, Ray Murray, Antwan Patton, Rico Wade
7. “Work It Out” – 4:29
Written-By – James Bailey, Taura “Aura” Jackson, Raphael Saadiq, Kelvin Wooten
8. “Pass You By” – 4:59
Written-By – Raphael Saadiq, Taura Jackson
9. “The One” – 5:11
Written-By – Brandon Bennett, Patrick Brown, Samuel Christian, Ray Murray, Rico Wade
10. “Elevated (feat. Floetry)” – 4:37
Written-By – Marsha Ambrosius, Darren Henson, Keith Pelzer, Natalie Stewart
11. “Liberation (feat. Vikter Duplaix)” – 5:25
Written-By – Junius Bervine, Vikter Duplaix
12. “To You (feat. Brian McKnight)” – 4:37
Written-By – Brian McKnight
13. “The Way You Move” – 4:36
Written-By – Antwan Patton, Carlton Mahone, Patrick Brown

Bonus tracks
1. “Love Together (feat.” – 4:28
Written-By –, Keith Harris
2. “Autumn (feat. Music Soulchild)  (only on the Japanese release)” – 4:37

Companies, etc.


Release date: September 20, 2005
Recorded: 2004-2005, Flyte Tyme West at The Village Recorders, Larrabee North Studios, Los Angeles, California, Magnet Vision Studios, Santa Monica, California, Blakeslee Recording Company, Hollywood, California, The Dungeon Recording Studio, Atlanta, Georgia
Genre: R&B, funk
Length: 69:04

Label – Sanctuary Records

Dobie Gray – Hey Dixie (1974)

Hey Dixie (1974), Dobie Gray‘s (vocals) third (and final on MCA Records) LP — left no mistake as to the direction his music was headed. As he had done on previous collections, Gray‘s blend of rural soul is injected with a sense of the Nashville scene that had been a part of both the Drift Away (1972) and Loving Arms albums. Joining Gray‘s core instrumental and songwriting constituency of Mentor Williams (producer), Mike Leech (bass), Reggie Young (guitar), Troy Seals (guitar), David Briggs (keyboards) and Kenny Malone (drums) are Lonnie Mack (guitar) and members of the Muscle Shoals house band — especially the five-piece horn section of Harvey Thompson (sax), Ben Cauley (trumpet), Charles Rose (trombone), Harrison Calloway (trumpet) and Ronnie Eades (sax).
The infusion of the top-shelf session talent with thoroughly excellent material resulted in Hey Dixie‘s slightly edgier and less rural-influenced sound. Mack‘s old-fashioned thumper “Watch Out for Lucy” is given a Southern rock treatment that isn’t too far removed from the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s “What’s Your Name” or the rowdy honky-tonkin’ “Gimmie Three Steps.” The title track hearkens back to “Reachin’ for the Feeling” from his previous platter with the steady and ultimately danceable rhythm lying between Nashville’s upscale countrypolitan sound and MOR pop. “So High (Rock Me Baby and Roll Me Away)” — which would be covered to great effect by Dave Mason — has a freewheeling groove similar to that of Gray‘s 1972 hit “Drift Away.” The distinct vocal harmonies during the opening bars of “Roll On Mississippi” immediately suggest comparisons to or influences by the Statler Brothers and the Oak Ridge Boys. Gray‘s own “The Music’s Real” is a suitable tribute to his collaborator and producer Mentor Williams and is parenthetically monikered as “Mentor’s Song.”
The somewhat forced “How Can You Live All Alone” is nice, if not arguably detached, leaving the reworking of Allen Toussaint‘s “Performance” as the unlikely contender for the most affective ballad on Hey Dixie.


A1. Hey Dixie – 3:06  Written-By – Lonnie Mack, Troy Seals
A2. Haw Can You Live All Alone – 3:10  Written-By – Lonnie Mack, Troy Seals
A3. So High (Rock Me Baby & Roll Me Away) – 3:11  Written-By – Jack Conrad, Mentor Williams
A4. Watch Out For Lucy – 3:11  Written-By – Lonnie Mack
A5. Old Time Feeling – 3:08   Written-By – Tom Jans, Will Jennings

B1. Turning On You – 3:13  Written-By – Troy Seals, Will Jennings
B2. Roll On Sweet Mississippi – 3:56  Written-By – Bill Anthony, Bob Morrison
B3. Can You Feel It – 3:06  Written-By – Danny Seals, John Bettis, Troy Seals
B4. Performance – 2:57  Written-By – Allan Toussaint
B5. The Music’s Real (Mentor’s Song) – 3:15  Written-By – Dobie Gray


“Performance” is dedicated to Edith Piaf and Ta-Ta.

Release Date: 1974
Genre: Pop-Soul
Duration: 32:13

Label – MCA Records

Buddy Guy – Slippin´ In (1994)

Whereas on 1993’s Feels Like Rain Buddy Guy flirted with pop and R&B material, on Slippin’ In, released one year later, he firmly reasserts his bluesness. From the very first track on, Guy lets his incomparable guitar loose. Throughout the album, he even experiments with Hendrix-esque effects on his guitar (perhaps at the prodding of producer/engineer Eddie Kramer), but the results never seem kitschy or gimmicky. Accompanied on half of the tracks by ex-Stevie Ray Vaughan associates Tommy Shannon and Chris Layton, the groove is deep and swinging. It makes you realize how much of Vaughan‘s signature sound lay in his rhythm section. There are only two original Guy compositions on Slippin’ In, but since he has always been better as an interpreter than a writer, this is a non-complaint. Playing a superb foil to the leader is none other than Johnnie Johnson, whose solo on “7-11” simply takes over the track. The difference in sound quality between this album and Feels Like Rain is astounding. Whereas on Feels Like Rain the sound was often thin and unimpressive, über-engineer Kramer has created an ideal sonic space here for Guy‘s music. Some may feel that the individual instruments are too distinct, but for those who feel that the development of multi-tracking and other advances in recording technology are good things will not be disappointed. Also absent from Slippin’ In is the rotating all-star casts of notables that appeared both on Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues and Feels Like Rain. This is encouraging, because an artist of Guy‘s stature and caliber does not need celebrity appearances to make his records worth investigating, a fact which he proves masterfully on this album.


1.  “I Smell Trouble”  (Written-By – D. Robey) – 3:12
2.  “Please Don’t Drive Me Away”  (Written-By – C. Brown, J. Ervin) – 3:55
3.  “7-11”  (Written-By – F. Robinson) – 6:57
4.  “Shame, Shame, Shame”  (Written-By – J. Reed) – 3:29
5.  “Love Her With A Feeling”  (Written-By – L. Fulson) – 4:27
6.  “Little Dab-A-Doo”  (Written-By – B. Guy) – 5:19
7.  “Someone Else Is Steppin’ In (Slippin’ Out, Slippin’ In)”  (Written-By – D. LaSalle) – 4:26
8.  “Trouble Blues”  (Written-By – C. Brown) – 3:07
9.  “Man Of Many Words”  (Written-By – B. Guy) – 3:02
10.  “Don’t Tell Me About The Blues”  (Written By – J. Quinn) – 6:16
11.  “Cities Need Help”  (Written-By – B. Guy) – 5:29

Companies, etc.


Release Date: October 25, 1994
Recorded at Arlyn Studio and at Chicago Recording Company.
Genre: Blues
Styles: Chicago Blues
Duration: 49:39

Label – Silvertone Records

James Walsh Gypsy Band – James Walsh Gypsy Band (1978)

Gypsy was an American progressive rock band from Minnesota, formed as The Underbeats (1962–1968). Gypsy was the house band at the Whisky a Go Go, West Hollywood, California for about eight months from September 1969 to 1970 and were known in 1970 for their US Billboard Hot 100 single “Gypsy Queen Part 1 and 2”. Most of Gypsy’s music was composed and written by guitarist and singer Enrico Rosenbaum. Drummer Bill Lordan went on to play with Sly & the Family Stone and a long career with Robin Trower. Keyboardist James Walsh continued the band in various incarnations as The James Walsh Gypsy Band.
In 1978, James Walsh formed “The James Walsh Gypsy Band”. The group released one album by the same name on RCA. This was a reformed band with James Walsh being the only original member. The music was also significantly different from any of Gypsy’s previous albums.
Many of the songs contained horn arrangements and had a Top 40 sound to them. For a number of reasons, including that this was the height of the disco era, the album sold poorly.
Two songs from the album, “You Make Me Feel Like Livin” and “Cuz It’s You Girl”, did receive some airplay. This would be the last album of new material released by the group for over two decades.


A1.  You Make Me Feel Like Livin’ – 3:12
A2.  Love Is For The Best In Us – 3:24
A3.  Bring Yourself Around – 3:59
A4.  Don’t Look Back – 3:44
A5.  Cuz It’s You, Girl – 3:59
A6.  You – 4:07

B1.  Gray Tears – 5:17
B2.  My Star – 1:58
B3.  Whole Lotta Givin’ To Do – 3:35
B4.  Lookin’ Up I See – 5:21
B5.  Someday – 3:20


Other Credits

Dale Menton – string arrangements
The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra – strings
Alfons Mucha – cover art
Cindy Bosdech – art
Ron Geslin – art direction

Released: 1978
Genres: Blue-Eyed Soul, Funk
Style: Pop Rock
Length: 41:56

Label – RCA Victor Records

Marvin Gaye – In The Groove (1968)

I Heard It Through the Grapevine! is the eighth studio album by soul musician Marvin Gaye, released on August 26, 1968 on the Motown-subsidiary label Tamla Records. Originally released as In the Groove, it was the first solo studio album Gaye released in two years, in which during that interim, the singer had emerged as a successful duet partner with female R&B singers such as Kim Weston and Tammi Terrell. The album and its title track are considered both as Gaye’s commercial breakthrough.

Never overly reliant on the Holland-Dozier-Holland machine, Marvin Gaye weathered their departure pretty well, turning to Norman Whitfield (for the epochal “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”) as well as Ivory Joe Hunter, Ashford & Simpson, Frank Wilson, and, for two songs, his own pen. One of Gaye‘s other R&B hits from In the Groove, the impassioned “You,” is in the Four Tops style (it’s patterned after “Reach Out”), while “Chained” is another brilliant performance and production of a sub-standard tune. The Brill Building standard “Some Kind of Wonderful” and “There Goes My Baby” were early-’60s throwbacks in sound and feel, quite a jarring effect in context. After “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” became one of the biggest hits of 1968, Motown re-released the LP as I Heard It Through the Grapevine.

By 1968, Marvin Gaye had released only a few solo singles in three years. Between his Kim Weston duet, “It Takes Two” and his Tammi Terrell duets, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Your Precious Love” among others, Gaye released only one single, “Your Unchanging Love“, which peaked at number 33 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Motown brought Gaye back to the studio to record a solo album. Recording difficulties aside, Gaye’s vocals went through a transition through this period. Perhaps done on purpose, Gaye’s earlier collaborator Norman Whitfield and his pupil, Frank Wilson, began to write songs they felt fit the singer’s chaotic personal life: Gaye’s marriage to Anna Gordy was turbulent as was life on the road in which Gaye grew a constant dislike to live performances and his personal disagreements with Motown CEO Berry Gordy had started to create strain in his relationship with the Motown label.

On top of that, during an October 1967 engagement at Hampden-Sydney College with Terrell, the younger Terrell collapsed from exhaustion into Gaye’s waiting arms. Terrell was later diagnosed at the end of the year with having a brain tumor, which depressed Gaye. Some speculate Terrell’s illness and subsequent death two and a half years later affected Gaye’s performances in which he went from being a soul stylist in the same way his idol Sam Cooke had been into a more gospel-influenced soul vocalist who sounded more in par with Otis Redding, James Brown, and Temptations lead singer David Ruffin. However, during the recording of what would become Gaye’s biggest-selling and signature single of his career, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine“, Whitfield decided to force Gaye to raise his vocal register higher than what he was used to, which Whitfield already tried successfully on Ruffin during the recording of the Temptations hit, “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg“. Though Gaye and Whitfield reportedly argued over the sessions of “Grapevine”, Whitfield was able to get what he wanted from Gaye, and the duo started a collaboration that lasted into the beginning of 1970.

When Whitfield presented “Grapevine” to Berry Gordy, the producer was stunned when Gordy turned it down sensing the song “wasn’t a hit” and that “it sucked”. Nevertheless, Whitfield released a version of the song by Gladys Knight & the Pips in an attempt to “out-funk Aretha Franklin‘s “Respect“.

Gordy eventually agreed to allow “Grapevine” in the album, now titled In the Groove. But Whitfield was still determined to get Gaye’s version of the song released as a single. Motown instead issued the Ivy Jo Hunter-produced “You“, which was recorded after “Grapevine” and showcased Gaye hollering in falsetto for the first time. Another single, “Chained“, would peak at number 32 on the pop chart. The latter song was climbing the chart when radio deejays began playing “Grapevine”, much to Berry Gordy’s chagrin. To everyone’s surprise, when Gordy finally allowed the release of Gaye’s version of “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”, the song blew up on the charts upon its October 1968 release. By the end of the year, the song had hit number-one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Hot-Selling Soul Singles charts and by 1969 had reached number one on the UK Singles chart becoming Gaye’s first international smash. However, when Gaye heard about its success, he acted coldly to it due to his depressed state over Tammi Terrell. He later told a biographer he felt the song’s success was “undeserved”.

Nevertheless, Motown re-released the album as I Heard It Through the Grapevine and, due to the song’s success, the album shot up to number 2 on the R&B albums chart and peaked at number 63 on the pop albums chart. Gaye’s album wasn’t the only album to be re-released after a hit single: in 1970, The Miracles‘ Make It Happen album, initially released in 1967, was re-released in 1970 as Tears of a Clown, after that song hit number-one in the US and internationally. That same year, Diana Rossself-titled debut album was re-released as Ain’t No Mountain High Enough after that song’s success. Though Whitfield only produced just one song on the album (producers included Ivy Jo Hunter, Ashford & Simpson and Frank Wilson), Gaye and Whitfield will embark on a two-album collaboration. However, after “That’s the Way Love Is” became a hit for Gaye in 1969, Motown released the song a second time on the album of the same name. This album also marked Gaye’s first attempts at producing himself in the studio with his own self-penned songs, the funky gospel dancer, “At Last I Found a Love”, and the smoother “Change What You Can”.


1. “You”  (Jeffrey Bowen, Jack Coga, Ivy Jo Hunter) – 2:25
2. “Tear It on Down”  (Nickolas Ashford, Valerie Simpson) – 2:35
3. “Chained”  (Frank Wilson) – 2:38
4. “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”  (Barrett Strong, Norman Whitfield) – 3:14
5. “At Last (I Found a Love)”  (Marvin Gaye, Anna Gordy Gaye, Elgie Stover) – 2:37
6. “Some Kind of Wonderful”  (Gerry Goffin, Carole King) – 2:19
7. “Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever”  (Ivy Jo Hunter, Stevie Wonder) – 2:43
8. “Change What You Can”  (Marvin Gaye, Anna Gordy Gaye, Elgie Stover) – 2:37
9. “It’s Love I Need”  (Stephen Bowden, Ivy Jo Hunter) – 2:54
10. “Every Now And Then”  (Eddie Holland, Frank Wilson) – 3:06
11. “You’re What’s Happening (In The World Today)”  (G. Gordy, R. Gordy,  A. Story) – 2:19
12. “There Goes My Baby”  (Benjamin Nelson, Lover Patterson, George Treadwell) – 2:24


Released: August 26, 1968
Recorded: 1967–68
Genre: Soul / Tamla Sound
Length: 27:08

Label – Tamla Records

Gene Loves Jezebel – The House Of Dolls (1987)

Gene Loves Jezebel (GLJ) are a British rock band formed in the early 1980s by identical twin brothers Jay Aston (born John Aston) and Michael.
The name of the band is a reference to the rock musician Gene Vincent and his song “Jezebel“.
Tagged by most fans as their favorite Gene Loves Jezebel album, with its fabulous sonics, punchy rhythms, soaring guitars, and bright and brash pop melodies, this is also the record responsible for sundering the band. In one fell swoop, producer Peter Walsh turned GLJ from a band whose brilliance lay in their ability to blend rock and goth into something truly unique, into a pop/rock monster. The group itself never sounded better. The rhythm section is exceptionally tight and powers the songs like a metronome. James Stevenson‘s guitar literally shines, glimmers, glitters, and swoops through the grooves.
It’s no surprise then that the album contained a slew of songs that quickly became college/dance classics.
The infectious “The Motion of Love”; the sweeping lushness of “Gorgeous,” guaranteed to hook the listener at first listen; the pulsating, yearning paranoia of “Suspicion”; and the driving “Twenty Killer Hurts,” which turned up in a Miami Vice episode, were classic GLJ‘s songs given an American sheen. What were missing were the gothic shadows, darkwave jangle, and Celtic undertones that once enmeshed the band’s sound. The Jezzies themselves hated The House of Dolls, not the songs themselves, but the slick production Walsh covered them in. Co-vocalist Michael Aston hated it most of all, and was frustrated by the group’s growing pop affiliation.
He quit the band in the middle of recording, and appears on only two tracks, “Message” and “Up There,” the album’s broodier tracks. Although he later returned, this was to be his last recording with the band. Of course, the album turned out to be GLJ‘s most successful, abetted by the production, and aided by Stevenson‘s full-on arena-esque guitar. It’s hard to believe this was the same band that gave the world Promise and Immigrant, and in a way it wasn’t.


1.  Gorgeous – 3:43
2.  The Motion Of Love – 3:49 (Producer – Jimmy Iovine)
3.  Set Me Free – 3:29
4.  Suspicion – 3:48)   (Producer – Jimmy Iovine) 
5.  Every Door – 4:34
6.  Twenty Killer Hurts – 3:31
7.  Treasure – 3:57
8.  Message – 3:49
9.  Drowning Crazy – 3:18
10.    Up There – 4:41


Released: 1987
Genre: Rock
Style: Alternative Rock
Length: 39:21

Label – Beggars Banquet Records

Carlos Santana – Playin’ With Carlos (2005)

At the time of this 2005 compilation, Carlos Santana had appeared on a lot of records by other artists — around 60, according to the liner notes of this release. A multi-disc anthology of these guest appearances would be impractical, and not especially desirable. Playin’ with Carlos does offer 15 tracks Santana guested on between 1969 and 1997, though licensing obstacles prevented the inclusion of some of his most high-profile contributions, such as the ones he made to recordings by Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson, John Lee Hooker, Eric Clapton, and Lauryn Hill. Though this CD does contain cuts by some big or fairly big names (John McLaughlin, Stanley Clarke, McCoy Tyner, Michael Bloomfield and Al Kooper), it’s a bit of a ragtag batch of odds and ends that doesn’t make for especially good listening. The jump between fusion, pop, world music, new age, and Latin rock styles is a bumpy ride, but a greater problem is the blandness of much of the material, particularly when Santana is stepping outside of his trademark, fiery jazz-blues-Latin rock blend and just adding some spice to unremarkable records. Certainly for Santana fans, at times the only moments of interest here are his guitar parts, and while these have his trademark sound, they aren’t often especially memorable. Exceptions are Clyde Criner‘s “Behind the Sun,” where Santana unleashes a searing solo near the end, and Giants‘ “Fried Neckbones and Home Fries” (which Santana, the band, did in their early days), where Carlos suddenly seems at home and in his element, peeling off some real burning lines.


1. John Mclaughlin – Friendschip – 6:56
Lead Guitar – Carlos Santana

2. Gregg Rolie – Too Late Too Late – 4:33
Lead Guitar – Carlos Santana

3. Stanley Clarke – Straight To The Top – 3:56
Lead Guitar – Carlos Santana

4. Weather Report – Man With The Copper Fingers – 6:13
Lead Guitar – Carlos Santana

5. MCcoy Tyner – Hannibal – 7:03
Lead Guitar – Carlos Santana

6. Ottmar Liebert – Samba Pa Ti – 4:13
Lead Guitar – Carlos Santana

7. Flora Purim – Silver Sword – 5:39
Lead Guitar – Carlos Santana

8. Narada Michael Walden – First Love – 5:44
Lead Guitar – Carlos Santana

9. Terri Lyne Carrington – Human Revelation – 5:47
Lead Guitar – Carlos Santana

10. El Tri – Virgen Morena – 4:33
Lead Guitar – Carlos Santana

11. Luis Gasca – Little Mama – 5:26
Lead Guitar – Carlos Santana

12. Giants – Fried Neckbones And Home Fries – 6:24
Lead Guitar – Carlos Santana

13. Mike Bloomfield And Al Kooper – Sonny Boy Williamson – 3:16
Lead Guitar – Carlos Santana

14. Alex Acuña – Psalms – 5:57
Lead Guitar – Carlos Santana

15. Clyde Criner – Behind The Sun – 2:41
Lead Guitar – Carlos Santana

Companies, etc.


Release Date: May 10, 2005
Genre: Pop/Rock/Jazz
Styles: Jazz Blues / Latin Rock
Duration: 1:18:21

Label – Raven Records

The Guess Who – ’87 (EP)

The Guess Who is a Canadian rock band, formed in Winnipeg in 1965. Initially gaining recognition in Canada, the group found international success from the late 1960s through the mid-1970s with many hit singles.

In 1983, Bachman, Cummings, Kale, and Peterson (the “American Woman” line-up) reunited as “The Guess Who” to play a series of Canadian gigs and record the Together Again live album and video at the Canadian National Exhibition bandshell on June 29, 1983. The concert and subsequent releases were the first time Bachman had performed many of the songs written and recorded after his departure. Four new studio recordings were also made with overdubbed audience noise.

After the reunion, Cummings resumed his solo work, Bachman took Peterson with him for a Bachman-Turner Overdrive reunion album and tour, and Kale once again resumed touring with various musicians under “The Guess Who” banner. In the fall of 1983, Russell and Bernardi joined Kale, as well as singer Trevor Balicky and keyboardist Mike Hanford (from the 60s Winnipeg band Gettysbyrg Address). In 1985 Balicky was succeeded by former Stilettos singer Bob Fuhr and then, in 1986, Kenny Carter. Terry Read (formerly with The Lyme) came in briefly to sub for Hanford in 1986.

In 1987 a four-song cassette of new material from the Kale/Russell/Bernardi/Hanford/Carter line-up appeared, called Guess Who ’87. In one of the few mainstream reviews it received, Craig MacInnis of the Toronto Star opined, “The playing is roadhouse sloppy and the songs are pure junk.”

After the BTO reunion played itself out, Drummer Peterson returned to the Guess Who just after the release of Guess Who ’87. From this point on, the band mostly concentrated on the by now very lucrative US nostalgia circuit, appearing on bills like Super 70s (in the summer of 1988) with Bachman–Turner Overdrive, Rare Earth, Mark Farner and Ray Sawyer (of Dr. Hook) and Dick Clark‘s American Bandstand Tour in 1989.

Track listing

1. Razors Edge
2. Evil Eyes
3. Is This the Love
4. Don’t Want a Broken Heart


  • Jim Kale
    bass, vocals
  • Kenny Carter
    lead vocals
  • Dale Russell
  • Sonnie Bernardi
  • Mike Hanford

Released: 1987
Genre: Rock
Length: 15:46

Label – Guess Who Records – GW 87

Jackyl – Jackyl (1992)

Jackyl is an American hard rock band formed in 1991. Their sound has also been described as heavy metal and Southern metal.

Forever confined to infamy as the authors of the one and only “Lumberjack” song, Jackyl nonetheless did have more to offer than that one chain saw-wielding song and its sightly video. In fact, their self-titled debut album has a good share of above-average early-’90s hair metal, making it one of the few albums of its era (and, yes, there were many) that stands out in retrospect. First off, Jackyl isn’t your typical hair metal band by any measure. They’re not from Los Angeles, aren’t glammed up, and don’t offer the obligatory power ballad; rather, they’re Southern rockers by nature and, perhaps uncoincidentally, have more than a passing resemblance to Brian Johnson-era AC/DC. Even so, their singalong choruses are, for the most part, unmistakingly hair metal styled, as is the glossy sheen of their production, so the songs on Jackyl are easily accessible to all. Edgy music this is not. The opening run of songs — “I Stand Alone,” “Dirty Little Mind,” “Down on Me,” and “When Will It Rain” — go down especially smoothly, pretty much as smoothly as anything offered by the likes of Warrant, the Bulletboys, Slaughter, Trixter, Love/Hate, ad infinitum. From here, the band tones down the singalong factor a bit and showcases its eccentric side: songs like “Redneck Punk,” “She Loves My Cock,” and of course, “The Lumberjack” definitely aren’t your typical hair metal fare and are essentially what set Jackyl apart from their innumerable contemporaries. In the end, they haven’t done anything too remarkable on their debut album. They’ve simply offered an above-average hair metal album with a couple highlights and a fun touch of novelty. Yet that in itself is somewhat remarkable. As a result, Jackyl is one of those few early-’90s hair metal albums you can return to with a sly grin rather than a disowning cringe. As for what came after afterward, that’s a good question that few can answer, as Jackyl disappeared as suddenly as they surfaced, confined forever to “Lumberjack” infamy.


1. “I Stand Alone” – 3:58
2. “Dirty Little Mind” – 3:30
3. “Down on Me” – 4:03
4. “When Will It Rain” – 4:34
5. “Redneck Punk”  (Jeff Worley/Ronnie Honeycutt) – 3:37
6. “The Lumberjack” – 3:32
7. “Reach for Me” (Jesse Dupree/John Hayes) – 3:34
8 .”Back off Brother” – 3:25
9. “Brain Drain” (Jeff Worley/Jimmy Stiff) – 4:58
10. “Just Like a Devil” – 3:34
11.”She Loves My Cock” – 3:51

All songs written by Jesse Dupree except as noted.


  • Jesse James Dupree – Vocals & Chainsaw
  • Jimmy Stiff – Guitars
  • Jeff Worley – Guitars
  • Thomas Bettini – Bass
  • Chris Worley – Drums

Companies, etc.


Released: August 11, 1992
Recorded: 1992
Genre: Hard rock, heavy metal
Length: 42:48

Label – Geffen Records