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The Lady In The Balcony: Lockdown Sessions

Eric Clapton

Blues - Released November 12, 2021 | Mercury Studios

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Unable to perform his 2021 spring tour at the Royal Albert Hall due to COVID-19 restrictions, Eric Clapton, a staunch defender of free access to his concerts, is playing an intimate show at Cowdray House, a plush mansion in England’s Sussex countryside. Spectators? Only one. In the balcony, his wife Melia McEnery, for whom the work is titled, in the form of a declaration of love: The Lady In The Balcony: Lockdown Sessions. But anyone else can watch too, since the whole thing was captured by Russ Titelman and even screened in the cinema. This is how the maestro responds to the harshness of the current situation: by offering moments of grace. With his musicians Chris Stainton (keyboards), Nathan East (bass) and Steve Gadd (drums), Clapton plays a whole range of classic blues songs from his discography: Key To Highway by Big Bill Bonzy, his cover of JJ Cale's After Midnight, Man of the World and Black Magic Woman written in the early days of Fleetwood Mac by Peter Green, whom Clapton salutes in passing, or the vintages Layla or Tears In Heaven. The old friends end on electric with Muddy Waters' brilliant Long Distance Call and Got My Mojo interspersed with Bad Boy from Clapton's first album. With the unlikely acoustics offered by the venue and a particular attention to the impeccable sound recording, Slowhand goes on a journey, in a peaceful mood, among friends. A Dantean era calls for an exceptional concert. © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz
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The Lady In The Balcony: Lockdown Sessions

Eric Clapton

Blues - Released November 12, 2021 | Mercury Studios

Unable to perform his 2021 spring tour at the Royal Albert Hall due to COVID-19 restrictions, Eric Clapton, a staunch defender of free access to his concerts, is playing an intimate show at Cowdray House, a plush mansion in England’s Sussex countryside. Spectators? Only one. In the balcony, his wife Melia McEnery, for whom the work is titled, in the form of a declaration of love: The Lady In The Balcony: Lockdown Sessions. But anyone else can watch too, since the whole thing was captured by Russ Titelman and even screened in the cinema. This is how the maestro responds to the harshness of the current situation: by offering moments of grace. With his musicians Chris Stainton (keyboards), Nathan East (bass) and Steve Gadd (drums), Clapton plays a whole range of classic blues songs from his discography: Key To Highway by Big Bill Bonzy, his cover of JJ Cale's After Midnight, Man of the World and Black Magic Woman written in the early days of Fleetwood Mac by Peter Green, whom Clapton salutes in passing, or the vintages Layla or Tears In Heaven. The old friends end on electric with Muddy Waters' brilliant Long Distance Call and Got My Mojo interspersed with Bad Boy from Clapton's first album. With the unlikely acoustics offered by the venue and a particular attention to the impeccable sound recording, Slowhand goes on a journey, in a peaceful mood, among friends. A Dantean era calls for an exceptional concert. © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz
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After Midnight

Eric Clapton

Blues - Released October 8, 2021 | Mercury Studios

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After Midnight

Eric Clapton

Blues - Released October 8, 2021 | Mercury Studios

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The Capitol Session '73

Bob Marley & The Wailers

Reggae - Released September 3, 2021 | Mercury Studios

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In America in 1973, unless you were a serious music obsessive, chances were good you were not familiar with reggae music and hadn't heard of Bob Marley & the Wailers. That said, the critical acclaim that greeted their first two albums for Island Records, Catch a Fire and Burnin', and the buzz generated by their first U.S. tour was starting to change that. Producer Denny Cordell was ahead of the curve; he was a fan after hearing Marley's early Jamaican releases, and his label Shelter Records gave the Wailers their first American release, a single of their Lee "Scratch" Perry-produced classic "Duppy Conqueror" in 1971 (though the label misspelled it "Doppy Conqueror"). When the Wailers were wrapping up an American tour in October 1973 with a pair of concerts in San Francisco, Cordell invited them to play a private show in Los Angeles, booking the Capitol Records recording studio, bringing in a camera crew to videotape the set, and inviting friends and fans to cheer on the band. The Capitol Session '73 gives this performance its first authorized release after the long-lost tapes were rediscovered. It also captures the Wailers in a unique moment: Bunny Wailer had quit, and Joe Higgs, who had mentored the Wailers in their early days, joined the tour to fill his spot in the harmonies. And though Peter Tosh was still on board, within months he'd leave to go solo. The Capitol Session '73 preserves an evening where the original Wailers fading out and Marley's era as unquestioned leader would soon begin, and one of the things most striking about this material is how strong the Wailers were as a band. Marley clearly had the voice and the charisma to be a frontman, but here he's fully integrated with the other musicians, and the vocal spots from Tosh bring a welcome contrast, with Tosh's ominous cool complementing Marley's warmth and passion. Tosh's guitar work is equally strong here, and Earl "Wire" Lindo's keyboards support the melodies while turning up the tension. The peerless rhythm section of Aston "Family Man" Barrett and his brother Carlton Barrett is a model of sinewy, efficient groove, and while it takes a few songs for the band to fully hit their mark, by the time they swing into "Burnin' and Lootin'" and "Midnight Ravers," they sound unstoppable, and the finale of "Get Up, Stand Up" tells you all you need to know about why this band became legendary. The set list is also a welcome corrective to the overly simplified image of Marley as a ganga-fortified merchant of sunny vibes; despite the veneer of Rasta calm, this is music of protest, and all the more powerful for its rebellious heart. While 1975's Live! remains the definitive document of Marley on-stage, The Capitol Session '73 is a welcome reminder of the joyous power of the Wailers, not just Marley, and it's a valuable addition to their catalog. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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The Capitol Session '73

Bob Marley & The Wailers

Reggae - Released September 3, 2021 | Mercury Studios

In America in 1973, unless you were a serious music obsessive, chances were good you were not familiar with reggae music and hadn't heard of Bob Marley & the Wailers. That said, the critical acclaim that greeted their first two albums for Island Records, Catch a Fire and Burnin', and the buzz generated by their first U.S. tour was starting to change that. Producer Denny Cordell was ahead of the curve; he was a fan after hearing Marley's early Jamaican releases, and his label Shelter Records gave the Wailers their first American release, a single of their Lee "Scratch" Perry-produced classic "Duppy Conqueror" in 1971 (though the label misspelled it "Doppy Conqueror"). When the Wailers were wrapping up an American tour in October 1973 with a pair of concerts in San Francisco, Cordell invited them to play a private show in Los Angeles, booking the Capitol Records recording studio, bringing in a camera crew to videotape the set, and inviting friends and fans to cheer on the band. The Capitol Session '73 gives this performance its first authorized release after the long-lost tapes were rediscovered. It also captures the Wailers in a unique moment: Bunny Wailer had quit, and Joe Higgs, who had mentored the Wailers in their early days, joined the tour to fill his spot in the harmonies. And though Peter Tosh was still on board, within months he'd leave to go solo. The Capitol Session '73 preserves an evening where the original Wailers fading out and Marley's era as unquestioned leader would soon begin, and one of the things most striking about this material is how strong the Wailers were as a band. Marley clearly had the voice and the charisma to be a frontman, but here he's fully integrated with the other musicians, and the vocal spots from Tosh bring a welcome contrast, with Tosh's ominous cool complementing Marley's warmth and passion. Tosh's guitar work is equally strong here, and Earl "Wire" Lindo's keyboards support the melodies while turning up the tension. The peerless rhythm section of Aston "Family Man" Barrett and his brother Carlton Barrett is a model of sinewy, efficient groove, and while it takes a few songs for the band to fully hit their mark, by the time they swing into "Burnin' and Lootin'" and "Midnight Ravers," they sound unstoppable, and the finale of "Get Up, Stand Up" tells you all you need to know about why this band became legendary. The set list is also a welcome corrective to the overly simplified image of Marley as a ganga-fortified merchant of sunny vibes; despite the veneer of Rasta calm, this is music of protest, and all the more powerful for its rebellious heart. While 1975's Live! remains the definitive document of Marley on-stage, The Capitol Session '73 is a welcome reminder of the joyous power of the Wailers, not just Marley, and it's a valuable addition to their catalog. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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A Bigger Bang

The Rolling Stones

Rock - Released June 12, 2021 | Mercury Studios

Eight years separate 2005's A Bigger Bang, the Rolling Stones' 24th album of original material, from its 1997 predecessor, Bridges to Babylon, the longest stretch of time between Stones albums in history, but unlike the three-year gap between 1986's Dirty Work and 1989's Steel Wheels, the band never really went away. They toured steadily, not just behind Bridges but behind the career-spanning 2002 compilation Forty Licks, and the steady activity paid off nicely, as the 2004 concert souvenir album Live Licks proved. The tight, sleek, muscular band showcased there was a surprise -- they played with a strength and swagger they hadn't had in years -- but a bigger surprise is that A Bigger Bang finds that reinvigorated band carrying its latter-day renaissance into the studio, turning in a sinewy, confident, satisfying album that's the band's best in years. Of course, every Stones album since their highly touted, self-conscious 1989 comeback, Steel Wheels, has been designed to get this kind of positive press, to get reviewers to haul out the cliché that this is their "best record since Exile on Main St." (Mick Jagger is so conscious of this, he deliberately compared Bigger Bang to Exile in all pre-release publicity and press, even if the scope and feel of Bang is very different from that 1972 classic), so it's hard not to take any praise with a grain of salt, but there is a big difference between this album and 1994's Voodoo Lounge. That album was deliberately classicist, touching on all of the signatures of classic mid-period, late-'60s/early-'70s Stones -- reviving the folk, country, and straight blues that balanced their trademark rockers -- and while it was often successful, it very much sounded like the Stones trying to be the Stones. What distinguishes A Bigger Bang is that it captures the Stones simply being the Stones, playing without guest stars, not trying to have a hit, not trying to adopt the production style of the day, not doing anything but lying back and playing. Far from sounding like a lazy affair, the album rocks really hard, tearing out of the gate with "Rough Justice," the toughest, sleaziest, and flat-out best song Jagger and Richards have come up with in years. It's not a red herring, either -- "She Saw Me Coming," "Look What the Cat Dragged In," and the terrific "Oh No Not You Again," which finds Mick spitting out lyrics with venom and zeal, are equally as hard and exciting, but the album isn't simply a collection of rockers. The band delves into straight blues with "Back of My Hand," turns toward pop with "Let Me Down Slow," rides a disco groove reminiscent of "Emotional Rescue" on "Rain Fall Down," and has a number of ballads, highlighted by "Streets of Love" and Keith's late-night barroom anthem "This Place Is Empty," that benefit greatly from the stripped-down, uncluttered production by Don Was and the Glimmer Twins. Throughout the album, the interplay of the band is at the forefront, which is one of the reasons the record is so consistent: even the songs that drift toward the generic are redeemed by the sound of the greatest rock & roll band ever playing at a latter-day peak. And, make no mistake about it, the Stones sound better as a band than they have in years: there's an ease and assurance to their performances that are a joy to hear, whether they're settling into a soulful groove or rocking harder than any group of 60-year-olds should. But A Bigger Bang doesn't succeed simply because the Stones are great musicians, it also works because this is a strong set of Jagger-Richards originals -- naturally, the songs don't rival their standards from the '60s and '70s, but the best songs here more than hold their own with the best of their post-Exile work, and there are more good songs here than on any Stones album since Some Girls. This may not be a startling comeback along the lines of Bob Dylan's Love and Theft, but that's fine, because over the last three decades the Stones haven't been about surprises: they've been about reliability. The problem is, they haven't always lived up to their promises, or when they did deliver the goods, it was sporadic and unpredictable. And that's what's unexpected about A Bigger Bang: they finally hold up their end of the bargain, delivering a strong, engaging, cohesive Rolling Stones album that finds everybody in prime form. Keith is loose and limber, Charlie is tight and controlled, Ronnie lays down some thrilling, greasy slide guitar, and Mick is having a grand time, making dirty jokes, baiting neo-cons, and sounding more committed to the Stones than he has in years. Best of all, this is a record where the band acknowledges its age and doesn't make a big deal about it: they're not in denial, trying to act like a younger band, they've simply accepted what they do best and go about doing it as if it's no big deal. But that's what makes A Bigger Bang a big deal: it's the Stones back in fighting form for the first time in years, and they have both the strength and the stamina to make the excellent latter-day effort everybody's been waiting for all these years. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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A Bigger Bang - Live on Copacabana Beach

The Rolling Stones

Rock - Released June 12, 2021 | Mercury Studios

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Eight years separate 2005's A Bigger Bang, the Rolling Stones' 24th album of original material, from its 1997 predecessor, Bridges to Babylon, the longest stretch of time between Stones albums in history, but unlike the three-year gap between 1986's Dirty Work and 1989's Steel Wheels, the band never really went away. They toured steadily, not just behind Bridges but behind the career-spanning 2002 compilation Forty Licks, and the steady activity paid off nicely, as the 2004 concert souvenir album Live Licks proved. The tight, sleek, muscular band showcased there was a surprise -- they played with a strength and swagger they hadn't had in years -- but a bigger surprise is that A Bigger Bang finds that reinvigorated band carrying its latter-day renaissance into the studio, turning in a sinewy, confident, satisfying album that's the band's best in years. Of course, every Stones album since their highly touted, self-conscious 1989 comeback, Steel Wheels, has been designed to get this kind of positive press, to get reviewers to haul out the cliché that this is their "best record since Exile on Main St." (Mick Jagger is so conscious of this, he deliberately compared Bigger Bang to Exile in all pre-release publicity and press, even if the scope and feel of Bang is very different from that 1972 classic), so it's hard not to take any praise with a grain of salt, but there is a big difference between this album and 1994's Voodoo Lounge. That album was deliberately classicist, touching on all of the signatures of classic mid-period, late-'60s/early-'70s Stones -- reviving the folk, country, and straight blues that balanced their trademark rockers -- and while it was often successful, it very much sounded like the Stones trying to be the Stones. What distinguishes A Bigger Bang is that it captures the Stones simply being the Stones, playing without guest stars, not trying to have a hit, not trying to adopt the production style of the day, not doing anything but lying back and playing. Far from sounding like a lazy affair, the album rocks really hard, tearing out of the gate with "Rough Justice," the toughest, sleaziest, and flat-out best song Jagger and Richards have come up with in years. It's not a red herring, either -- "She Saw Me Coming," "Look What the Cat Dragged In," and the terrific "Oh No Not You Again," which finds Mick spitting out lyrics with venom and zeal, are equally as hard and exciting, but the album isn't simply a collection of rockers. The band delves into straight blues with "Back of My Hand," turns toward pop with "Let Me Down Slow," rides a disco groove reminiscent of "Emotional Rescue" on "Rain Fall Down," and has a number of ballads, highlighted by "Streets of Love" and Keith's late-night barroom anthem "This Place Is Empty," that benefit greatly from the stripped-down, uncluttered production by Don Was and the Glimmer Twins. Throughout the album, the interplay of the band is at the forefront, which is one of the reasons the record is so consistent: even the songs that drift toward the generic are redeemed by the sound of the greatest rock & roll band ever playing at a latter-day peak. And, make no mistake about it, the Stones sound better as a band than they have in years: there's an ease and assurance to their performances that are a joy to hear, whether they're settling into a soulful groove or rocking harder than any group of 60-year-olds should. But A Bigger Bang doesn't succeed simply because the Stones are great musicians, it also works because this is a strong set of Jagger-Richards originals -- naturally, the songs don't rival their standards from the '60s and '70s, but the best songs here more than hold their own with the best of their post-Exile work, and there are more good songs here than on any Stones album since Some Girls. This may not be a startling comeback along the lines of Bob Dylan's Love and Theft, but that's fine, because over the last three decades the Stones haven't been about surprises: they've been about reliability. The problem is, they haven't always lived up to their promises, or when they did deliver the goods, it was sporadic and unpredictable. And that's what's unexpected about A Bigger Bang: they finally hold up their end of the bargain, delivering a strong, engaging, cohesive Rolling Stones album that finds everybody in prime form. Keith is loose and limber, Charlie is tight and controlled, Ronnie lays down some thrilling, greasy slide guitar, and Mick is having a grand time, making dirty jokes, baiting neo-cons, and sounding more committed to the Stones than he has in years. Best of all, this is a record where the band acknowledges its age and doesn't make a big deal about it: they're not in denial, trying to act like a younger band, they've simply accepted what they do best and go about doing it as if it's no big deal. But that's what makes A Bigger Bang a big deal: it's the Stones back in fighting form for the first time in years, and they have both the strength and the stamina to make the excellent latter-day effort everybody's been waiting for all these years. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Live At Montreux 1990

John Lee Hooker

Blues - Released November 6, 2020 | Mercury Studios

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I'm In The Mood

John Lee Hooker

Blues - Released October 23, 2020 | Mercury Studios

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Steel Wheels Live

The Rolling Stones

Rock - Released September 25, 2020 | Mercury Studios

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Live At Montreux 1983

John Lee Hooker

Blues - Released September 25, 2020 | Mercury Studios

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Steel Wheels Live

The Rolling Stones

Rock - Released September 25, 2020 | Mercury Studios

Recorded live on the 1989 Steel Wheels tour, this compilation documents the Rolling Stones' explosive show in Atlantic City, New Jersey. With guest appearances including Axl Rose and Eric Clapton, the project highlights the excitement of the band's return to touring. © David Crone /TiVo
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I Didn't Know

John Lee Hooker

Blues - Released September 25, 2020 | Mercury Studios

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Hysteria At The O2

Def Leppard

Rock - Released May 29, 2020 | Mercury Studios

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Hits Vegas

Def Leppard

Rock - Released May 29, 2020 | Mercury Studios

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Dancing With The Monsters

Jeff Healey

Blues - Released April 8, 2020 | Mercury Studios

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Run Riot

Def Leppard

Rock - Released March 27, 2020 | Mercury Studios

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Rocket

Def Leppard

Rock - Released February 27, 2020 | Mercury Studios

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Odyssey - Greatest Hits Live

Take That

Pop - Released November 15, 2019 | Mercury Studios

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