Sunday, April 19, 2015

CD Review: Omnivore Recordings Gives You A History Lession With "Beale Street" And Live Album From Art Pepper

In 1978, an album entitled "Beale Street Saturday Night" was released to remind people about how important the early music scene of this particular Memphis, TN street was to birth of rock 'n' roll. The album was produced by James Luther Dickinson, who worked with the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and the Flamin' Groovies amongst others and features musicians like Sid Selvidge, Sleepy John Estes, Furry Lewis and Teenie Hodges. It was recorded live at Ardent Studios, at the Orpheum Theater and at the artists' homes. The album became a cult classic in the Memphis area, but now Omnivore Recordings is releasing a remastered version of the album for the first time on CD.

The fourteen songs that make up this release is a history lesson and jam session all in one. Beginning with Sid Selvidge on piano for the original "Walkin' Down Beale Street," which is a lost folk/blues/gospel gem that gets the lesson started on high note. Grandma Dixie Davis places you back in time with her classy jazzy delivery of "Beale Street Blues," while Sleepy John Estes gives you your first account of the times on Beale Street during it's heyday with "Big Fat Mama/Liquor Store." The classic acoustic blues of "Furry's Blues" by Furry Lewis reminds us of an earlier time when songs were all about the stories as the music laid the backdrop for these tales. The Mud Boys & The Neutrons' "On The Road Again" comes straight from Bob Dylan & The Band's "Basement Tapes" as the feeling mirror each other. You only wish you were there to experience it in person. The album closes with Grandma Dixie Davis returning with the playful piano tune "Roll On, Mississippi." To find out more about this wonderful release, please visit

Omnivore Recordings closes out the new Art Pepper trilogy with "Neon Art: Volume Three," which includes three songs recorded live during his 1981 tour of Japan. The "Neon Art" trilogy began back in February and focused on his live recordings from his 1981 world tour. Volume three continues with the inspiring 24-minute smoothness of "Make A List (Make A Wish)" as Pepper is in complete command of this performance. He goes off slightly with some impulse ramp-ups, but the rhythmic flow of the song keeps the melody going. The slow, mellowness of "Everything Happens To Me" showcases the full emotion that Art Pepper and his band place into their performances as you just melt your troubles away listening to this great piece of music. The album closes with the funky rhythm of "Arthur's Blues" as the band and audience enjoy the performance very much. To find out more about this latest volume of "Neon Art" and the other volumes, please visit

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