(The Prince Estate/Sony Legacy)
Eventually changing his name from The Artist back to that by which we all know him, Prince returned with his first album in three years in 1999 with Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic.
Revisiting this pre-millennial year, Ultimate Rave is released as a 2 CD/DVD and highly collectable purple vinyl featuring the original album, 2001 remix album Rave In2 The Joy Fantastic and the live pay per view Rave Un2 The Year 2000.
An essential fan release from The Prince Estate, rare tracks, unreleased b-sides, live tracks and remixes are ripely presented for aural plunder as an impressive list of guest stars from Chuck D, Sheryl Crow and Gwen Stefani play superb cameos.
Arguably the real joy contained within is the full 1999 New Year’s Eve PPV live show featuring George Clinton and Lenny Kravitz alongside a top form performance by Prince.
Rave, Joy and Fantastic perfectly sum up this dynamic release and positively adds to the reputation of this purple Prince who posthumously continues his stellar reputation skywards and beyond the stars.
Polymath producer, engineer, songwriter, musician and magician, Alan Parsons has taken inspiration from his own Midas touch to conjure up an album of sublime songs and deft magical performances from his assembled cast of musical assistants.
Renowned for his masterful, ear-worming soft-rock album releases of the 70s and 80s with his band partner Eric Woolfson, Parsons returns with a solo album that blends together the finest of musical ingredients to cook up an album of Parsonic satisfying sounds.
Former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett plays all the aces on instrumental opening track The Sorcerer’s Apprentice as the first of many guest vocalists Jason Mraz smoothly croons on the catchy follow-up Miracle.
Stepping up to the mic, legendary Foreigner vocalist Lou Gramm delivers classy vocals on power ballad Sometimes as touring band saxophonist Todd Cooper plays a full hand of lead vocals on three steady and beautiful AOR songs.
From Alan Parsons’ live band vocalist PJ Olsson and guitarist Ian Bairnson, from the 70s and 80s APP band, effortlessly roll out the soft rock signature sound on Beyond The Years of Glory.
Interestingly, Fly To Me has a dreamy, floating blend of Beatles’ musical motifs, most fitting given that Parsons worked on the production team for the Abbey Road and Let It Be recordings.
Consummately constructed, written and performed, The Secret is finally out and well worth the wait for those who are Alan Parsons curious.
Be Bop Deluxe
With Bill Nelson’s predilection for naming his albums after his favourite guitars, this expanded 4 disc release of Futurama with bonus and live tracks – including a ‘lost’ BBC concert – and new stereo mixes from the original tapes gives substantially more twang for your buck!
Original production by Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker reveals an adventurous recording placed somewhere between Bowie and Roxy Music as dynamic and futuristic songs Stage Whispers, Maid In Heaven, Sister Seagull and Jean Cocteau testify.
Lavish and immersive with astute recollections from Nelson himself, this is an exhaustively curated boxed set of wondrous Deluxe music.
Live At The Rainbow
It’s always a joy when long forgotten concert footage that has lain in some dark and dusty vault is unearthed, restored and presented in superb condition from the day it was first captured.
This CD/DVD redux reveals multi-platinum selling band Foreigner on their UK return and playing songs from their eponymous first album and a couple of tracks from follow up slab Double Vision.
The quality of the film and the raw energy of a band with their feet on the stairway to the stars shine through as core band players Mick Jones, Lou Gramm and Ian McDonald play pulsating classics Feels Like The First Time, Cold As Ice, Hot Blooded and Double Vision.
All Things Are Quite Silent
Folk-Rock titans Steeleye Span’s enchanting early line up of Ashley Hutchings, Martin Carthy and Maddy Prior recorded a triptych of albums in a two year period that still chimes and jigs down the years. Newly re-mastered, these collected recordings and additional songs from the same time period retain a remarkable jaunty lustre with an enthusiastic delivery from the band.
Involving traditional jigs and reels with original storytelling songs about Blacksmiths, Shoemakers, Sailors and Generals, Span preserved and progressed the British folk tradition. Something which this folk-rock institution continues to do still touring into their fifth decade.