CD reviews: Roadhouse blues, the Rolling Stones
"Pinoy Blues Jam"
This compilation of 18 tracks from seven Filipino blues bands is both a showcase of the nascent local blues scene and a promotional vehicle for Roadhouse Manila Bay located at the back of Mall of Asia in Pasay City.
Most of the featured acts remind of essential influences in American blues. First Philippine Blues competition finalist Ian Lofamia Band rocks to the beat of Muddy Waters, the gifted Bleu Rascals trio is beholden to Steve Ray Vaughan while The Tarantulas injects ‘60s garage rock blues to its tribute to Pinoy rock.
The venerable Dr. Crowley leads the charge with a rocking opener followed by an acoustic number laced with a skanking backbeat. Plug wraps it all up with a metal guitar-driven slow burner.
An indie release under Roadhouse Rekords, Pinoy Blues Jam is available at Roadhouse Manila Bay and as a digital download from Amazon and iTunes.
The electronic backdrops that prop up Ellie Goulding’s second album cry out “heard them all before.” Halcyon’s sonics resound with rock/electro/R&B samples that have populated pop music since Madonna’s cross-over to dance diva. Quite simply, it’s music waiting to be remixed.
UK’s latest pop phenomenon does the next best thing. Goulding makes her malleable voice stand out above the swarm so her girl-in-trouble warbles send the message loud and clear. Her singing cross-references the weird rasps of Bjork, Enya’s Celtic trills as well as the more conventional pop-rock balladry of Kate Bush.
The production may be auto-tuned but Goulding manages to put across a plague of sorrows in “Don’t Say A Word,” fervent hope in “Anything Could Happen” and love hurts in “Figure 8”
“Lights,” Goulding’s first album came out two years ago after she built a reputation via the Internet. Her debut was blind-sided for prematurely reaping chart success and critical acclaim. For the second time, "Halcyon" delivers on her initial promise.
Celtic Woman is a revolving cast of singers and musicians who, on paper, are expected to take Celtic music to the global stage. Celtic music refers to the traditional music of folks in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and lands beyond.
Clannad is the music’s most aggressive proponent but Celtic Woman has a more pop-oriented agenda. Thus, "Believe," the ensemble’s sixth album, compiles original compositions and remakes padded by a soaring choir, Celine Dion-ish vocals and old country instrumentation mostly lilting bagpipes and fiddles.
In execution, the exercise brings back memories of Irish pop-rockers Big Country by way of The Corrs. Sure, there’s middle-of-the-road charm, literally, when the group takes on Rod Stewart’s “Sailing,” Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and the standard “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” But then, there’s also the dueling guitar exhilaration of “The Foxhunter” and a grand sweeping ode to Mama Mary.
"Believe" is a 5-star promo package for an enduring world music genre.
The Rolling Stones
Another decade, another massive Rolling Stones re-collection. For fans and completists, it’s 10 tracks more than the 40 Licks compilation a decade back plus two brand-new songs.
Here’s how the 50-song "Grrr!" stacks up: 24 songs from the ‘60s, twelve from the ‘70s, seven from the ‘80s, three from the ‘90s and four from Noughties. As a comprehensive career overview, "Grrr!" starts right with the group’s very first single, a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Come On,” and concludes with newer compositions: “Doom and Gloom” and “One More Shot,” which look back at the pop-rock beginnings of Jagger and Company.
"Grrr!" with over three hours of marathon listen is a fitting golden anniversary offering from these mythic rock and roll warriors.