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Rock - Released November 11, 2016 | Omnivore Recordings

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Rock - Released September 28, 2018 | Blue Plate Music

The 27th disc in the Best of Mountain Stage series is the first to be devoted to a single artist. Although dates aren't specified in the notes, it is compiled from two shows. Yet at just over 42 minutes, it's on the short side. Longtime guitarist Al Anderson covers the first nine tracks and his replacement Johnny Spaminato contributes to the final four, but their sound remains the same. NRBQ's off-the-wall diversity is well represented, as the band covers both the '60s chestnut "Our Day Will Come" (a barely in-tune, tossed-off lounge version), Jad Fair's experimental "Mule in the Corn" (featuring pianist Terry Adam's most idiosyncratic piano playing), Carl Perkins' pickin' and grinnin' "Tennessee," and even Vince Guaraldi's "Christmas Time Is Here." This is their sixth live album, and even though a handful of songs have not appeared on other live discs and the performances (especially a hopped-up "Crazy Like a Fox" and a cooking five-minute "I Got a Rocket in My Pocket") are solid, this is recommended for those who have already jumped on the Q bandwagon. Like many of their club shows, they forgo their hits and best-known songs for offbeat covers. That illustrates the veteran group's range, but the album ultimately doesn't portray a well-rounded example of its strengths. It's good, especially for fans, but far from essential. ~ Hal Horowitz
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Rock - Released September 28, 2018 | Omnivore Recordings

Booklet
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Rock - Released March 16, 2018 | Omnivore Recordings

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Rock - Released October 20, 2017 | Omnivore Recordings

Booklet
Some might wonder why, in the three years after 2014's Brass Tacks, NRBQ have opted to release a 17-minute EP rather than a full-length album, especially when it only features two original tunes alongside three covers. But if 2017's Happy Talk is a small dose of the Q, it's also solid and satisfying, and shows the group's core strengths are in great shape. Terry Adams' keyboards have as distinctive a personality as anyone in American music, and his tuneful sense of joy is as fresh on these songs as it was in the '70s and '80s. Guitarist Scott Ligon and bassist Casey McDonough fit their spaces in the NRBQ formula with ease and élan, helping Adams carry this band's trademark gumbo of American musical influences, from piano jazz to dirt-simple rock & roll with any number of stops in between. And drummer John Perrin maintains a comfortable behind-the-beat snap that suits this band all but perfectly. "Head on a Post" is a jaunty, blues-informed rocker that harks back to NRBQ's classic era, while "Yes, I Have a Banana" is a witty exercise in cheerful absurdity. The two-minute cover of "Only the Lonely" is fine if not remarkable, but things get swinging on "Blues Blues Blues," which starts as a classic 12-bar exercise and then heads out into unchartered territory. And the closing cover of Rodgers & Hammerstein's "Happy Talk" is at once reverent and fresh, honoring the melody while discovering hidden nuances in the lyrics. As with nearly everything they've released, Happy Talk is a record that no one but NRBQ could have made; they still have a sound and a collective mindset that sets them apart from their peers, and after a half century they still make magic. And 17 minutes of music like this is plenty to be grateful for. ~ Mark Deming
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Pop - Released January 25, 2011 | Rhino

This title became the final studio effort from NRBQ to include Al Anderson (guitar/vocals), marking the conclusion of their 23-year association. The split was ultimately amicable, with Anderson effectively retiring from both the band as well as touring, preferring to mine his considerable songwriting talents in Nashville, TN. Message for the Mess Age includes a baker's dozen of originals -- many of which quickly became performance standards -- all epitomizing NRBQ's uncanny brand of omni-pop. It is fitting that both the Whole Wheat Horns -- featuring Donn Adams (trombone) and Gary Windo (tenor sax) -- as well as Johnny Spampinato, Anderson's replacement and brother of co-founding member Joey Spampinato, are included in the proceedings. However, his contributions to this release are decidedly un-stringed, as he fleshes out the horn section performing on trumpet during the Terry Adams- (keyboards/vocals) penned bit of dadaism titled "Spampinato." Each of the highly individualistic writing styles that have become synonymous with the band are explored. Terry Adams' straight-ahead, driving rock, which is often enhanced with interesting key changes and a somewhat quirky chorus, is heard on tracks such as "Over Your Head," "Girl Scout Cookies," and the atonal jazz fusion-influenced "Everybody's Smokin'." Joey Spampinato's beautifully constructed melodies -- which are at times reminiscent of Paul McCartney or Brian Wilson -- can be found on "Don't Bite the Head" and the mid-tempo ballad "Ramona." The latter track even pays homage to the Fab Four with the lyric "Just love me do/Don't love me not." Equally strong -- if not arguably stronger -- are the compositions by Anderson. His upbeat love songs, "A Little Bit of Bad" and "Nothin' Wrong With Me," definitely lean into the cosmopolitan country music that would consume his post-NRBQ activities. ~ Lindsay Planer
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Rock - Released January 1, 1988 | Rounder

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Pop - Released January 1, 1998 | New Rounder

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Rock - Released May 11, 1993 | Legacy - Columbia

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Rock - Released October 26, 2018 | Omnivore Recordings

Booklet
NRBQ's fourth album (and first with drummer Tom Ardolino, solidifying a lineup that would last for close to 20 years) plays down the band's goofier tendencies in favor of a set that shows off their considerable chops as both players and songwriters. The more introspective side of the band's jazz leanings come to the forefront on "Doctor's Wind" and "Queen Talk"; Terry Adams contributes a strong, vaguely Beatlesque tune called "It Feels Good" and the lovely "Things to You," Joey Spampinato turns in a pair of subtle pop gems, "That's Alright" and "Still in School"; and can anyone explain why Al Anderson's wonderful and engagingly heart-tugging "Riding in My Car" wasn't a hit single? All Hopped Up also features a handful of stellar covers, including a jumped-up take on "I Got a Rocket in My Pocket" (Adams' barrelhouse piano truly shines), a swinging version of "Cecilia," and a rollicking ride through Big Joe Turner's "Honey Hush," and the band's loosely tight communication is a fine thing to hear on all cuts. And even the album's token weird one from Adams, "Call Him Off, Rogers" could pass for a serious pop tune if you didn't pay too much attention to the lyrics (about a dog with designs on Adams' arm). Just in case you thought NRBQ had gotten all normal on us, though, the album closes with the most extraordinary version of the theme from "Bonanza" you will ever hear. It's hard to say why anyone would want an entirely serious album from NRBQ, but All Hopped Up is closer than most, and proves their charm and their talent is what makes them great, not their idiosyncratic sense of humor. ~ Mark Deming
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Pop - Released January 1, 1986 | New Rounder

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Pop - Released January 1, 1989 | New Rounder

NRBQ's short-lived alliance with Mercury Records resulted in one of the tightest and most consistently rockin' albums of their career, At Yankee Stadium, but a year later they found themselves back on their own Red Rooster label, where the band relaxed and let their characteristic wit come to the forefront on 1979's Kick Me Hard. Opening with a musical look at America's drug laws as only NRBQ could interpret them ("Wacky Tobacky"), Kick Me Hard finds the Q indulging their fondness for goofiness on tunes like "It Was an Accident" (romance is complicated by unplanned pregnancy), "Things We Like to Do" (a rewrite of an old Ross Bagdasarian number in which the guys declare their fondness for miniskirts and the TV show CHiPs), and "Chores" (in which someone seems to enjoy doing their pig imitation just a bit too much). But as always, NRBQ also provides an equal amount of evidence that they're one of the most solid, soulful, and eclectic bands on the planet, running from barrelhouse R&B ("All Night Long"), rootsy rockabilly ("This Old House"), cool jazz ("Tenderly"), and other stuff that simply exists in a world all its own ("Electric Train"), with the band displaying sharp chops and tremendous charm throughout (especially guitarist Al Anderson and keyboard wizard Terry Adams). And as a bonus, you get perhaps the most remarkable version of "North to Alaska" ever captured by modern recording equipment! How can you go wrong? [Some reissues tack on eight bonus cuts, including the free jazz workout "Welcome to Orlando" and "What Can I Say," later covered by Yo La Tengo.] ~ Mark Deming
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Pop - Released January 1, 1989 | Virgin Records

After a dozen or so years on Rounder Records, NRBQ signed on with Virgin for the Andy Paley co-produced Wild Weekend (1989). The quartet retains its eclectic range of pop and rock mayhem, adapting several well-worn concert favorites for this studio platter. Nowhere is that more evident than the opening title track, which Terry Adams, Joey Spampinato, and Al Anderson have adapted from the Rockin' Rebels instrumental that was originally called simply "Wild Weekend." (The Q's remake was also prominently featured in The Simpsons' tenth-season episode, Sunday Cruddy Sunday.) Adams gives Crescent City props to zydeco pioneer Boozoo Chavis on "Boozoo, That's Who!" (recalling the band's "Captain Lou" Albano homage), with both Boozoo (accordion) and Charles Chavis (rub board) as well as longtime friend John Sebastian (autoharp) all putting their respective two cents in. Equaling Anderson's lead guitar are his incomparable skills as a composer. The automobile anthem "Little Floater" and the brisk-tempo "Boy's Life" are two of the best entries on the album. The same can be said of Spampinato's closer, the driving rockabilly-tinged "Like a Locomotive." It incorporates and complements the bassist's timeless melodic sense with the combo's simple yet effective no-nonsense performance. ~ Lindsay Planer
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Rock - Released January 1, 1999 | New Rounder