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  Listen Up! 3/7/03 Listen Up!

Friday, Mar. 7

The Coral, “The Coral,” Deltasonic Records. Great debut album from a young English band with a first rate 60s garage/psych record collection and a terrific sense of melody. These guys aren’t just imitations, though they pay homage to everybody from Beefheart to the Animals. They have managed to take the essence of old styles and, without actually using any modern approaches specifically, made it all seem modern. A lot to absorb here, but it’s a pleasure from the first listen.

Dave Brubeck, “Dave Brubeck’s Greatest Hits,” Columbia Records. I can’t say anything bad about Dave Brubeck, and I could really say a lot of good if the mood hit me. But, I can definitely say I have never in my life felt the urge to hear him. This lack of desire has not prevented me from hearing “Take Five” at least 500 times, and a lot of other material plenty of times as well. There are pleasures to be found in these cuts, especially in the smooth as silk alto of Paul Desmond. The world, however, is full of pleasures deeper and more fulfilling.

Eric Clapton, “The Cream of Clapton,” Polydor Records. The most overrated guitar player in rock history did indeed have greatness in him from time to time. Check out his work with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, or some of the Cream stuff, and most especially the Derek and the Dominoes “Layla” album. There are plenty of great singles compiled here – “Sunshine of Your Love,” “Presence of the Lord,” “Bell Bottom Blues,” “Layla.” But, the dreck comes up often. Clapton promoted reggae, but he sure as hell didn’t understand its rhythms and joys. And, once he got into that laconic feel, he pretty much decided he didn’t need to be too concerned about anything he ever played again.

Allman Brothers Band, “A Decade of Hits, 1969 – 1979,” Polydor Records. Now this is much more like it. The Allman Brothers were brilliant while Duane was alive, and damn good in the years thereafter. Duane Allman could sing his ass off, and the band knew how to bridge blues, rock, and country elements into stately melodies packed with emotional nuance and power. There aren’t too many wrong turns on this compilation.

--Steve Pick

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