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Champion Jack Dupree, Forever and Ever (Rounder Records)

Back Home in New Orleans, the legendary Champion Jack’s first-ever recording in New Orleans, was released last year to universal praise. However, Forever and Ever does that LP—which seemed to […]

Van Halen, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (Warner Brothers Records)

Ever since the sappy “Jump” became Van Halen’s first chart-topping single, the band has pursued melody at the expense of the mischievous abandon that fueled its earlier records. But with […]

Randy Travis, High Lonesome (Warner Brothers Records)

This record’s most remarkable feature is that songs with many contributing musicians—the average is about 12—can sound so cohesive, and simple. The credits for “Let Me Try,” the ballad that […]

Robert Nighthawk and His Flames of Rhythm, Live on Maxwell Street, 1964 (Rounder Records)

Robert Nighthawk was among the earliest of Mississippi bluesmen to emigrate to Chicago, and this disc, recorded by blues historian Norman Dayron in September 1964, is about as lowdown, dirty, […]

The Dynatones, Chopped and Channeled (RNA Records)

For a debut disc on Rhino’s RNA, these Bay Area rock ‘n’ soul jivemeisters don’t waste any time turning on the heat. From the opening growling guitars on “When I […]

Darrell Nulisch and Texas Heat, Business As Usual (Black Top Records)

Darrell Nulisch has been around for some time, having fronted bands for Anson Funderburgh and Ronnie Earl for the past ten years. This fine, solid disc is Nulisch’s first album […]

Turtle Island String Quartet, On the Town (Windham Hill Jazz)

Do you swing? This disc certainly does, with a departure from TISQ’s usual mix of self-compositions to unique interpretations of standards, mostly compositions from the ’30s. Represented here are sophisticated, […]

Cypress Hill, Cypress Hill (Rough House/Columbia Records)

South Central Los Angeles is a rough place, as any hip-hop listener from any socio-economic background knows. N.W.A. first showed us the reality of police and gang violence amid the […]

Manhattan Transfer, The OffBeat of Avenues (Columbia Records)

The success of this album will have a lot to do with how it is marketed, and whatever poor sucker is stuck with that task must have already lost great […]

Jim Cooper with Ira Sullivan, Tough Town (Delmark Records)

This is the first release by the veteran Chicago vibraphonist, with a little name recognition help from tenor saxophonist Ira Sullivan, a stalwart on the Chicago jazz scene in the […]