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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Album Review: Traveling Wilburys - Traveling Wilburys Volume One (1988)

Put two of Britain's best musicians together, add rock 'n roll's greatest vocalist and folk music's greatest songwriter, and throw in Tom Petty just for the hell of it, and what do you get? A rather surprising combination packaged into one supergroup. The Traveling Wilburys isn't meant to be taken seriously - of course, they're serious about making music, they just don't take the process of making it seriously. This results in an equally surprising gem - Traveling Wilburys Volume One, a collection of bold, eccentric, daring and ambitious numbers that works extraordinarily well. No other band could get away with it - many have no doubt tried, and stopped right at the point where people started throwing tomatoes at them. And that's when they've read out the song list. Songs like "Handle with Care", the Orbison-centric "Not Alone Anymore", the Dylan-esque "Tweeter and the Monkey Man" and the ever popular 'End of the Line" are all delightful reflections of the laid back nature and relationship between Dylan, Orbison, Petty, Lynne and Harrison that made this otherwise outlandish project work brilliantly. It's an unfathomably good thing they re-released this baby. A

Album Review: Johnny Cash - American VI: Ain't No Grave (2010)

The late great Johnny Cash, sadly, has been gone from us around eight years now, and even in death his voice still draws in a crowd thanks to the contract he signed with Rick Rubin's American Recordings label. Many of his greatest triumphs, many will say, come from this unusual collaboration with Rubin and Cash. To date, a total of six albums have been produced since 1994, many of them garnering critical appraisal, including the salubrious 2002 offering, American IV: The Man Comes Around. Of course, some of them don't quite rate as highly as IV . For me, Ain't No Grave is something that fills the space in my CD collection better than it fills my time. It simply doesn't hold my attention. Bar the likes of the title track, "Redemption Day", and "Aloha Oe", the songs are just too mellow to be fully appreciated. Tedious is another word that comes to mind, but that is probably too strong a word to describe them. My verdict - stick to the others and you can't go wrong. B-