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|Graceland (2011 Remaster)
Lowest new price: $4.81
Lowest used price: $1.60
Brand: Simon, Paul
Paul Simon's 1986 masterpiece, Graceland, took home that year's Album of the Year Grammy on the strength of a collection that included "The Boy In The Bubble," "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes," "You Can Call Me Al," and a title song that won the Record of the Year Grammy. The CD's bonuses include a demo version of "Homeless," an alternate version of "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes," and an early version of "All Around the World or the Myth of Fingerprints." Graceland has sold more than 14 million copies worldwide.
|O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Lowest new price: $3.81
Lowest used price: $0.21
Bluegrass became pop music for a while when the soundtrack to this 2000 Coen Brothers film became one of the 10 top-selling soundtracks ever. Here's the complete T-Bone Burnett-produced soundtrack plus a CD with 14 more tracks, 12 of which are unissued re
The best soundtracks are like movies for the ears, and O Brother, Where Art Thou? joins the likes of Saturday Night Fever and The Harder They Come as cinematic pinnacles of song. The music from the Coen brothers' Depression-era film taps into the source from which the purest strains of country, blues, bluegrass, folk, and gospel music flow. Producer T Bone Burnett enlists the voices of Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris, Ralph Stanley, and kindred spirits for performances of traditional material, in arrangements that are either a cappella or feature bare-bones accompaniment. Highlights range from the aching purity of Krauss's "Down to the River to Pray" to the plainspoken faith of the Whites' "Keep on the Sunny Side" to Stanley's chillingly plaintive "O Death." The album's spiritual centerpiece finds Krauss, Welch, and Harris harmonizing on "Didn't Leave Nobody but the Baby," a gospel lullaby that sounds like a chorus of Appalachian angels. --Don McLeese
- Roots music CD
Lowest new price: $5.49
Lowest used price: $1.60
The quintessential singer-songwriter album, its essence just Joni on acoustic guitar or piano, alone with her intimate, confessional songs. Oh, those songs!- River; A Case of You; Carey; This Flight Tonight; All I Want ; the title track, and 4 more.
Joni Mitchell would go on from this '71 recording to make more popular, more ambitious, and more challenging albums, but she's never made a better one. Working with minimal accompaniment (Stephen Stills and James Taylor are two of the four sidemen), the Canadian thrush summoned an involving song cycle of romance found and lost. Though Blue is an uncommonly intimate representation, it's also astonishingly open and gracious. Songs such as "All I Want," "Carey," "California," and "A Case of You" work equally well as poetry and pop music. --Steve Stolder
- MITCHELL JONI
- R&P INTERNATIONAL
|Seals & Crofts' Greatest Hits
Lowest new price: $3.51
Lowest used price: $1.52
Brand: SEALS & CROFTS
Certified at 2 million units by the RIAA. (2/01)
Although the prime exponents of the '70s California soft rock style were album artists such as America, Bread, and Poco, Seals and Crofts--essentially an AM singles band--have aged even better. The key is in their tight songwriting. "Summer Breeze," "Diamond Girl," and the rest of the hits display an odd, but apt, sense of arrangement and instrumentation--and enough of a rock & roll sensibility to keep their sound from slumping into period piece laid-backism. Case in point: The duo's first band was the Champs, noted for the fake-Latin crudhopper "Tequila." Even so, it's not grit, but ace songcraft that captures the prize here. All of the ace songs are included. --Gavin McNett
|The Stranger [Vinyl]
Lowest new price: $28.82
Lowest used price: $13.30
Includes digital download insert.
Lowest new price: $5.49
Lowest used price: $5.41
A quadruple platinum #1 smash and the best-selling album of 1972, Harvest was Neil Young's fourth solo effort. With the gold #1 'Heart Of Gold,' Top 40 'Old Man,' powerful 'The Needle And The Damage Done,' controversial 'A Man Needs A Maid' and 'Southern Man' companion 'Alabama', Harvest won inclusion in Rolling Stone's '100 Greatest Albums Of All Time'.
|The Essential Leonard Cohen
Lowest new price: $11.52
Lowest used price: $6.80
The best collection yet from one of pop music's most influential, enduring and fascinating artists! Includes Suzanne; Bird on a Wire; Sisters of Mercy; Famous Blue Raincoat; First We Take Manhattan; Ain't No Cure; Night Comes On; I'm Your Man; Tower of Song; Chelsea Hotel #2; Hallelujah, and more.
This two-disc retrospective traces the Canadian bard's musical maturity from poet and novelist who sang a little to multidimensional artist whose oracular vocals and increasingly rich arrangements are every bit as compelling as his verse. Even when Cohen came to prominence through the 1960s songcraft of "Suzanne" and "Bird on a Wire," the "folksinger" tag never really fit. Later highlights ranging from the deadpan drollery of "Tower of Song" and "Everybody Knows" to the apocalyptic anthemry of "First We Take Manhattan" and "Democracy" suggest that other labels might be more appropriate: cabaret surrealist, spiritual gadfly, sensual prophet, agent provocateur. Cohen chose the selections, drawing more than half of the 31 tracks from three landmark albums--his 1967 debut Songs of Leonard Cohen, 1988's I'm Your Man, and 1992's The Future--along with four from 2001's Ten New Songs. The collection justifies its title as deep as it goes, though it's a shame that Cohen's commercial profile couldn't justify the more elaborate box set his artistry warrants (one that would at least include lyrics and musician credits). Those who sample the consistently inspired music here might come to the conclusion that everything Cohen records is essential. --Don McLeese
|Sultans of Swing: The Very Best of Dire Straits
Lowest new price: $7.88
Lowest used price: $2.02
Brand: Warner Bros
Driven by the cinematic songwriting and superb guitar playing of Mark Knopfler, Dire Straits's music had a unique sound, presence and staying power that made them one of the world's most successful bands. Sultans Of Swing is a new anthology featuring the band's finest moments and biggest hits.
This compilation repeats seven tracks from 1988's Money For Nothing anthology. Given that Mark Knopfler and crew have recorded one new album during the decade between best-of collections, how different could Sultans of Swing be? For one thing, CD dominance has made for longer compilations, and this one is fleshed out by singles, three tracks from 1991's On Every Street, and Knopfler's solo "Local Hero" theme, performed live. More importantly, the second track here is the band's terrific second single, "Lady Writer," previously only available on the otherwise dismal Communiqué LP. Five tracks from Dire Straits' huge Brothers in Arms LP appear here, but only two tracks surface from Making Movies, the group's pinnacle achievement. Ultimately, if you own Making Movies and this compilation, you own the essential Dire Straits. --Bill Holdship
Lowest new price: $9.59
Lowest used price: $0.74
Brand: Autumn Leaves
Five years after her death at age 33, Eva Cassidy is an international star. Songbird, a platinum-selling smash, reached #1 in England, Ireland, and the U.S. a recent Nightline profile about Eva generated more emails than almost any other program in it's history. When you hear this album, you'll know why the Washington Post raved that "she could sing anything... and make it sound like it was the only music that mattered." (43 minutes)
Songbird cherry-picks tracks from the three locally released albums of Eva Cassidy, whose hauntingly beautiful vocals went virtually unheard outside her native Washington, D.C., during her short 33 years with us. Lost to melanoma in 1996, Cassidy sang with an unaffected purity and an astonishing ability to make both classic and contemporary songs sound like they were written just for her. Sting's "Fields of Gold" finally lives up to its title through the alchemy of Cassidy's transcendent rendition, while other tracks on this anthology showcase her ease in the realms of pop (Christine McVie's "Songbird"), soul ("People Get Ready"), gospel ("Wade on the Water"), and traditional standards ("Autumn Leaves" and "Over the Rainbow"). Framed by understated jazz and pop arrangements, Cassidy's clear, soulful voice and exquisite phrasing make her that rarest of vocalists whose interpretations are a complement to any song. A fine introduction to a true talent. --Billy Grenier
|The Best of Bonnie Raitt
Lowest new price: $9.00
Lowest used price: $3.61
With nine Grammy Awards, more than 15 million album sales and a membership in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame under her belt, this babe from Burbank, California has established herself as the world's top rock-'n'-soul blues woman. The first-ever "best-of" for this wonderful vocalist and guitar slinger, this definitive collection rounds up 18 classics from Bonnie's best-selling Capitol albums.
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