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  Listen Up! 1/18/02 Listen Up!

Friday, Jan. 18

Randy Weston, "African Rhythms," Gitanes Records. I've tried getting into Randy Weston's music before, but usually found it a bit too serious, too foreboding. Then, I saw this one lying downstairs, and put it in the CD player. It's delightful. The seriousness is there; Weston doesn't like to joke around with his music. But, it's looser than other stuff I've heard, with different band configurations, and lovely melodies all over the place. Oh, there's some filler - an electric bass solo goes on way too long, for example - but this is an album I think I'll want to hear again.

Isley Brothers, "Funky Family," Columbia Records. These are mostly funky, mostly upbeat, mostly forgettable singles from the Isleys 70s days. I enjoy each of them for their beats, for Ronnie's soulful voice, for the propulsive bass, for Ernie's meandering guitar. But, I can't remember these songs. These are not the Isleys cuts I love.

Beach Boys, "Sunflower/Surf's Up," Capitol Records. I never heard this stuff before. It starts off promisingly, with a great rock tune called "Slip on Through," then starts meandering through Brian Wilson's tortured post-breakdown mind. Not terrible, occasionally tuneful, but sadly debilitated.

Bottle Rockets, "Songs of Sahm," Bloodshot Records. No time to say much beyond the fact that this is a great tribute to a great artist. The Bottle Rockets clearly love the material, from the familiar to the obscure, and do it justice.

Temptations, "Greatest Hits," Classic World Productions Inc. Beware of imitations. Yep, Eddie Kendricks and Dennis Edwards are in tow, with some other Temptations from some point in the group's history, and the arrangements are faithful, but these are recreations. Good recreations, but pointless to anybody not getting a royalty check from the sale of this record.

--Steve Pick



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