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Rock - Released November 8, 2019 | Island Def Jam

Though it appears in the aftermath of their dissolution in 2014, and the deaths of both actual Allman brothers, Duane and Gregg, this 50th anniversary retrospective box set is arguably the only career overview of the band one can call representative. Arranged over ten LPs or five compact discs, Trouble No More examines in depth each incarnation and stage of the pioneering rockers. It convincingly formulates the argument that no other American band accomplished more musically (especially live) by seamlessly marrying rock, blues, jazz, and R&B to each other and to extended improvisation. This set compiles 61 Allman Brothers Band classics, live performances, and rarities -- including seven previously unreleased tracks -- all painstakingly remastered, with and a hefty 88-page book full of photos and a lengthy historical essay by ABB historian John Lynskey that recaps all 13 incarnations of the band's lineup. Lynskey co-produced the set with fellow ABB authorities Bill Levenson and Kirk West. Sequenced chronologically, the music and its accompanying visuals offer a detailed, rounded portrait of this legendary band at their best in all incarnations. It forever puts to bed the argument that after Brothers and Sisters in 1972 they were done creatively until Warren Haynes signed up for their second re-formation in 1989. The set is bookended by versions of the Muddy Waters-penned title track. Disc one is an unreleased studio demo from 1969, while disc five's electrifying closer is taken from the farewell shows at the Beacon Theater. The demo is interesting, mainly for the brief, raw interplay between guitarists Dickey Betts and Duane Allman. Some listeners may be surprised to find only the studio version of "Whipping Post" here, but given how many long jams are included, it's a small omission; besides, "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" from the same Fillmore East concerts is included. There is a previously unissued version of "Mountain Jam" from the Watkins Glenn Music Festival in 1973 that has never been issued before either. At just over 12 minutes, it's nowhere near as long as the one from Eat a Peach, but it does offer the Chuck Leavell version of the band with Betts, Gregg, Jaimoe, Butch Trucks, and bassist Lamar Williams. at their best with three special guests: guitarists Robbie Robertson, Jerry Garcia, and Bob Weir! There are excellent choices from the albums Win Lose or Draw and Enlightened Rogues (otherwise spotty documents) that showcase Betts' fine songwriting on "High Falls," Crazy Love," "Pegasus," and "Can't Take It with You," co-composed with actor Don Johnson. The final disc houses most of the unreleased material, all of it cut live during the Peach Records years, between 2000-2014. The ten-minute read of Fenton Robinson's "Loan Me a Dime" with Derek Trucks and Jimmy Herring on guitars is one of two tunes with this lineup, who offer up their own take on the tune that Duane played on for Boz Scaggs' self-titled debut in 1969. Likewise a 1999 show, with Betts and Jack Pearson on guitars, delivers a read of the latter's "I'm Not Crying" and features the composer's impassioned vocals. While Trouble No More is almost certainly for hardcore fans only (given its cost and [beautifully] assembled excess), it is also the only Allman Brothers Band compilation ultimately worth owning for those same enthusiasts. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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R&B - Released March 29, 2019 | Island Def Jam

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R&B - Released March 29, 2019 | Island Def Jam

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R&B - Released October 26, 2018 | Island Def Jam

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R&B - Released October 19, 2018 | Island Def Jam

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Pop - Released April 20, 2018 | Island Def Jam

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R&B - Released April 13, 2018 | Island Def Jam

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R&B - Released April 13, 2018 | Island Def Jam

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R&B - Released March 23, 2018 | Island Def Jam

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R&B - Released March 23, 2018 | Island Def Jam

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R&B - Released March 23, 2018 | Island Def Jam

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R&B - Released March 9, 2018 | Island Def Jam

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R&B - Released February 23, 2018 | Island Def Jam

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R&B - Released February 9, 2018 | Island Def Jam

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Rock - Released January 1, 2018 | Island Def Jam

For The Reason, those nice suburban Californians in Hoobastank refine and shade in the concentric circles of their self-titled debut, but stay safely within its platinum figure eight. "Crawling in the Dark" was the contoured heart of that album. Its combination of enormous rock chorus and elastic dreamboat vocals made Hoobastank stars and established their sound -- not original, but firmly rooted in the rousing voice of Doug Robb and guitarist Dan Estrin's slick post-grunge concoctions. Despite the usual pressure to produce another "Crawling," the songwriting duo seems to have largely been left alone for The Reason. Naturally, the presence of boffo big producer Howard Benson ensures the album's impeccable sonic accessibility. Robb's voice breaks at just the right time and for maximum emotional resonance, while the music ebbs and flows effortlessly between aggressive rockers and more introspective material. But for the most part, what you hear is what you get. Strings do pop up on a few songs, and here and there the harmonies seem too rich for reality. But these additional elements never overshadow the foursome's work. The strings punch up "Lucky"'s already uplifting chorus (the acoustic verses are a nice touch, too), while they're a lush bed of down pillows for the somewhat sappy title track. It's not that Robb's words throughout The Reason aren't genuine. Lyrics like "I'm not a perfect person, I never meant to do those things to you," "So what should I do, just lay next to you as though I'm unaffected?," and "There has to be somewhere that we can be safe from the lives we live each day" are delivered with real feeling. However, Hoobastank is still reducing teen angst (over love, escape, or a higher power) to digestible phrases, and writing sandpaper smooth rock symphonies around those couplets. So it's a formula, and one that remains unchanged from the debut. But Robb, Estrin, bassist Markku Lappalainen, and drummer Chris Hesse are a better band now -- endless touring will do that. "Same Direction" and "Just One" are standout anthems, raucous and righteous all at once. Lead single "Out of Control" lets Robb and Estrin shriek and shred with some reckless (yet still melodic and ready for radio) aggression. Meanwhile, the other, softer side of the band is represented best by "What Happened to Us?" and the drifting departure "Disappear," which both unfold as much more focused versions of Hoobastank's sometimes clunky attempts at nuance (think "To Be With You"). In the end, The Reason is really a better version of Hoobastank, written and played by more mature versions of Hoobastank. © Johnny Loftus /TiVo
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Rock - Released December 9, 2016 | Island Def Jam

Whereas Rush's first two releases, their self-titled debut and Fly by Night, helped create a buzz among hard rock fans worldwide, the more progressive third release, Caress of Steel, confused many of their supporters. Rush knew it was now or never with their fourth release, and they delivered just in time -- 1976's 2112 proved to be their much sought-after commercial breakthrough and remains one of their most popular albums. Instead of choosing between prog rock and heavy rock, both styles are merged together to create an interesting and original approach. The entire first side is comprised of the classic title track, which paints a chilling picture of a future world where technology is in control (Peart's lyrics for the piece being influenced by Ayn Rand). Comprised of seven "sections," the track proved that the trio members were fast becoming rock's most accomplished instrumentalists. The second side contains shorter selections, such as the Middle Eastern-flavored "A Passage to Bangkok" and the album-closing rocker "Something for Nothing." 2112 is widely considered by Rush fans as their first true "classic" album, the first in a string of similarly high-quality albums. © Greg Prato /TiVo
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Rock - Released November 18, 2016 | Island Def Jam

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Rock - Released November 18, 2016 | Island Def Jam

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Rock - Released November 4, 2016 | Island Def Jam

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Rock - Released July 22, 2016 | Island Def Jam

This might be the best debut album ever delivered by an American blues band, a bold, powerful, hard-edged, soulful essay in electric blues with a native Southern ambience. Some lingering elements of the psychedelic era then drawing to a close can be found in "Dreams," along with the template for the group's on-stage workouts with "Whipping Post," and a solid cover of Muddy Waters' "Trouble No More." There isn't a bad song here, and only the fact that the group did even better the next time out keeps this from getting the highest possible rating. © Bruce Eder /TiVo