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Notable CDs

Notable CDs | Four new or recent rock and pop releases reviewed by Arsenio Orteza

Issue: "A second chance," Nov. 20, 2010

An Introduction to Syd Barrett

Of all the rock 'n' roll acid casualties, none looms as large as the original (and late) Pink Floyd member Syd Barrett, who spent the last half of his life as a permanently self-damaged, mentally addled recluse. This re-mastered and re-mixed collection of Barrett's recordings, solo and with Pink Floyd circa 1967-1970, won't necessarily convince skeptics that LSD cost the world a lost genius, but it might convince similarly gifted young people that their God-given talent is too precious to be subjected to the Russian Roulette that is sensory derangement.

Autumn Sky

For eight albums now, the former Deep Purple and Rainbow guitarist Ritchie Blackmore (who once listed Bach as his favorite composer) and his dulcet-voiced wife Candice Night have been imbuing their mutual love of Renaissance music with a revivifying enthusiasm missing from the sometimes too-faithful recreations of their classical counterparts. Not that Blackmore and Night aren't faithful ("Night at Eggersberg"), but neither are they above subjecting rock classics to their anachronistic virtuosity (the Kinks' "Celluloid Heroes") and thereby evoking a timelessness that would otherwise remain merely theoretical

Live at the Ryman

That Jonny Lang's first album for his new label (Concord) is a seamlessly enjoyable summary of his progress from blues wunderkind to blues adult serves his old label (A&M) right for letting him get away. Looser and funkier onstage than he ever was in the studio, he still sounds older than his age (29) but with fewer signs of strain. And by including five songs from his 2006 gospel breakthrough Turn Around, and by quoting Lamentations 3:23 in "Red Light," he keeps his talented hands to the plow.


Lest anyone fear that Third Day has succumbed to the siren song of the age, they're currently on tour with Max Lucado, TobyMac, and Michael W. Smith, and their latest songs have titles like "Trust in Jesus," "Children of God," and "Surrender" (not the Cheap Trick song). Brawny, deep-South-inflected gospel rock is the band's latest aural template, with equally meaty evangelical lyrics to match, and seldom if ever has the marriage of the two sounded more made in heaven. Guaranteed to bring the lukewarm to a boil.


First released on VHS in 1984, the Everly Brothers' Reunion Concert: Live at the Royal Albert Hall commemorated the first performance by Phil and Don Everly, 44 and 46, respectively, since their notoriously acrimonious onstage breakup midway through a California concert 10 years before. There they were, older and wiser, revisiting their classic catalog ("All I Have to Do Is Dream," "Cathy's Clown," "Devoted to You") and then some ("Barbara Allen," "Step It Up and Go," "Lucille") as only they could before a crowd that included Tom Petty, their patented tenor harmonies none the worse for the wear. They even wore tuxes.

Now, thanks to the reissue mavens at Eagle Rock Entertainment, fans of the duo can relive the occasion on DVD and, thanks to the inclusion of the documentary Rock 'n' Roll Odyssey, bone up on the brothers' back story-and, of course, enjoy the performance of a lifetime by an act the likes of which we'll never see again.


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