Unplugged

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The Cure - Disintegration (1989)

Have you ever really, really, wanted something but when you finally achieved it, suddenly found that you were not so sure? This is in some ways the situation Robert Smith (born 21 April 1959) found himself in with Disintegration (released May 1989). He wanted The Cure to make a legendary record – ‘a grand...

Manic Street Preachers - Resistance Is Futile (2018)

Martin Luther King, who was assassinated 50 years ago this month, spoke of ‘hewing a stone of hope from a mountain of despair’, and in some ways the Manics feel like they have gone through a similar exercise with Resistance is Futile, released 13 April 2018 by Columbia Records.       The title of their...

Radiohead - The Bends (1995)

If Radiohead had only released Pablo Honey, their first album, today they would only be remembered as a ‘one hit wonder' band that emerged from the huge shadow created by Nirvana. In Creep Thom Yorke sang that he would like to be special, but it was with The Bends that he really achieved it. This was the first masterpiece of the most...

Merle Haggard - Mama Tried (1968)

Recorded between February and June 1968, Mama Tried was the seventh album by Merle Haggard in three years; but such an abundance of material was totally justified, as it became the best work of his ‘golden age’. Without being a conceptual album it has a recurring theme: prison, from the iconic cover to the wonderful song...

Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite - No Mercy In This Land (2018)

Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite follow up their 2014 grammy award winning album Get Up! with another gem for blues lovers - and potentially another grammy - No Mercy in this Land, released 30 March.    Harper wrote or co-authored all ten tracks on the album, as well as co-producing, singing and...

Eric Clapton - Slowhand (1977)

Eric Clapton, a name synonymous with God, at least in the blues/rock world of artists; “Clapton is God” was once sprayed all over his homeland, England. So ‘legend’ is cheap change next to that, but for a man whose career has spanned 5 decades, playing his fabled ‘Blackie’ a ‘56-’57 Composite Fender Stratocaster (including on this...

Jack White - Boarding House Reach (2018)

Boarding House Reach marks the third full length project from Jack White, after releasing six compelling albums as front man of The White Stripes. This record (released on 23 March) shows White beginning to experiment with some different sonic styles, a natural course of progression after sticking fairly routinely to The White...

Aerosmith - Rocks (1976)

In May 1976 the “Bad Boys of Boston”, Aerosmith,  released their 4th album Rocks. A decidedly perfect title for an album that certainly rocks. Unlike previous efforts, this record peels off the veneer of their pop/rock smash hits Walk This Way and Sweet Emotion, and bares the rawer, purer harder side of the band. That said, there’s no...

Sue Foley - The Ice Queen (2018)

The Ice Queen, released 2 March, represents Sue Foley’s coming of age as a a singer, songwriter and guitarist. It is particularly appropriate that this, her best album to date, was recorded with the support of her long-time colleagues Charlie Sexton, Jimmie Vaughan and Billy Gibbons (of ZZ Top) at the Firestation studios in San Marcos, just...

Jefferson Airplane - Volunteers (1969)

California based Jefferson Airplane were one of the pioneers of psychedelic rock in the 1960s, a band made up of Marty Balin/vocals, Paul Kantner/guitar vocals, Grace Slick/vocals, Jorma Kaukonen/lead guitar, vocals, bassman Jack Casady, and Spencer Dryden on drums. Volunteers was the last album with this original lineup, and veers somewhat away...

Free - Fire And Water (1970)

Free was formed in London in 1968 with the coming together of a quartet of very young and talented group of musicians: singer Paul Rodgers, guitarist Paul Kossoff, bassist Andy Fraser and drummer Simon Kirke. After recording two notable albums in 1969, a great opportunity came to them that same year when the newly created supergroup Blind...

Jimi Hendrix - Both Sides Of The Sky (2018)

It is incredible that 48 years after his death, records keep appearing from one of the most ‘profitable dead’ in the history of rock, Jimi Hendrix. We could be cynical and talk about how profitable even the last recording made by the great lefty is, but better to keep it simple, because to listen again to any recordings by Hendrix is...

Elvis Costello - This Year's Model (1978)

Building on My Aim is True and now teamed with the Attractions, Elvis Costello seemed to be moving at breakneck speed on his follow-up album, firing out catchy songs and spitting out acid lyrics, backed up by amphetamine-fueled music.     On the barnstorming This Year’s Model (released 17 March 1978), produced by Nick...

Love - Forever Changes (1967)

Arthur Lee and his group Love are responsible for one of the best albums of all time. Forever Changes is a monumental work in which Lee colours the 11 songs, all acoustic, with wonderful string and wind arrangements. For this reason he spent three weeks with the arranger; singing and humming just as he wanted it to sound. Whether it is called...

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)

When Red Hot Chili Peppers’ guitarist Hillel Slovak died of a heroin overdose in 1988 the band were thrown into grief and confusion, but soon 18 year-old superfan John Frusciante (born 5 March 1970) stepped up to be what seems now like an obvious new member of the group.   Despite his clear talent and enthusiasm, however, no-one...

Rory Gallagher - Irish Tour (1974)

Rory Gallagher was just like how he seemed when he played the guitar; he didn’t have any side, he could do anything with his instrument but he was against any unnecessary showiness and theatricality. What Rory liked to do most was to play, if possible with an audience in front, and forget all the rest. That said, when Rory started to play no...

Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac - Fleetwood Mac (1968)

Peter Green had become the shiniest star in the British blues/rock universe when he took over from Eric Clapton in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. His tenure with the band was as brilliant as it was fleeting, managing to record just one record, A Hard Road. In a world where guitarists had become like Gods, Green was the absolute focus of the...

Shame - Songs Of Praise (2018)

Songs of Praise is a very promising first album from the South-London group Shame, who show a massive amount of versatility and capability in this collection of alternative rock tunes.        Released on 12 January, the sarcastic title encapsulates a lot of the lyrics on the tracks, which are mainly...

Joe Perry - Sweetzerland Manifesto (2018)

Joe Perry’s latest solo album, Sweetzerland Manifesto, released January 19th on his own Roman Records label, adds to the impression that Aerosmith’s co-founder, key composer and lead guitarist is a man who loves variety and is having a lot of fun.   It is true that Perry suffered a heart attack while on stage in July 2016 but...