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Contemporary Blues

461 Ocean Boulevard [Remastered]

461 Ocean Boulevard [Remastered] Lowest new price: $4.95
Lowest used price: $3.88
Model: 2138988

Clapton's solo career began in earnest with this 1974 LP, and what a giant step this was. He hit #1 as he tackled reggae (his smash version of I Shot the Sheriff ), blues ( Motherless Children ) and R&B (his hit take on Willie and the Hand Jive ). An early masterpiece!

This was Clapton's comeback record after a long bout with heroin addiction. Up through 1970 or so, he had been a restless musical seeker, opening rock up with his guitar experimentation, trying to get to the bottom of the blues. There is none of this on 461. He seems relieved just to be alive. It's a low-key affair, and that suits him. Some of his best songs are here, as well as his cover of Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff." Torn and frayed from the melee inside him, this album may be the most personal blues he ever made. --Steve Tignor

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Playlist: The Very Best Of Charlie Wilson

Playlist: The Very Best Of Charlie Wilson Lowest new price: $3.72
Lowest used price: $4.06
Model: 35228537

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Baduizm Lowest new price: $4.99
Lowest used price: $1.19
Model: 2069427


Badu and her large turban appeared out of nowhere in early 1997, on a murmuring, romantic album that trod the median between old-school soul and contemporary electronic R&B. Badu's songs, especially the hit "On & On" and the catchy "Certainly," recall Sade in their polished, subtle sexiness. Badu almost never raises her voice--save the occasional "ooh-wee!" exultation--but she skillfully uses repetition and chanting to empower her words. Later portraying a beautiful swamp queen, she was one of the only good things about the movie Blues Brothers 2000. --Steve Knopper



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Clapton Chronicles - The Best of Eric Clapton

Clapton Chronicles - The Best of Eric Clapton Lowest new price: $4.98
Lowest used price: $1.12
Brand: Clapton,Eric
Model: 2031208

This first-ever collection of Eric Clapton's greatest hits covering the period he has enjoyed his greatest success is more than a retrospective of one of rock's greatest artists. Best of 1981-1999 not only ranges from his Unplugged "Layla" to massive #1s "Tears In Heaven" and "Change The World", but also features two new songs written for major soundtracks, summer's Runaway Bride and fall's The Story Of Us. It doesn't get any better than the best of Eric Clapton - and this is the best.

Certified Platinum by the RIAA. (4/01)

If this were your first exposure to Eric Clapton, a bit of bewilderment would be in order. This is the legendary guitar icon? This is (as his early apostles once proclaimed) God? Ranging from the mid-'80s through the late '90s, The Clapton Chronicles owes less to the groundbreaking blues-rock of Clapton's '60s and '70s classics than to the polished-to-a-glare pop of Phil Collins, who produced one of the tracks included in this 14-song anthology. His reinterpretation of his greatest recording--the once-gripping, now-placid "Layla"--perhaps best illustrates Clapton at middle-age: Who wants to bask in his darkest period? Not Clapton, who converts his surging, purging charge into a soothing stroll. And perhaps not fans of such docile MOR fare as "My Father's Eyes," "Tears in Heaven," and the two new tracks, "Blue Eyes Blue" and "Get Lost." --Steven Stolder

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Keb' Mo'

Keb' Mo' Lowest new price: $4.88
Lowest used price: $1.77
Model: 2011510


Every few years, an acoustic guitar player decides he wants to be the next Robert Johnson and endears himself to the blues world--Rory Block, John Hammond Jr., and Taj Mahal have crossed this road in the past. Veteran backup guitarist Kevin "Keb' Mo'" Moore has the freshest approach to pulling it off, turning Johnson's devil-obsessed classics "Come on in My Kitchen" and "Kindhearted Woman Blues" into friendly folk music on this 1994 debut. Unlike many of the great bluesmen, the personable Moore doesn't aspire to be evil or even rebellious; he writes terrific songs (most notably the opening "Every Morning" and "Dirty Low Down and Bad") and performs them with talent and charisma. --Steve Knopper

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Trouble Is...

Trouble Is... Lowest new price: $9.79
Lowest used price: $1.92
Model: 2015821

Kenny Wayne Shephard's has established himself as an immediate sensation-the most gifted young guitarist to arrive in years. His much-anticipated second album, Trouble Is..., is an astonishingly, powerful follow-up that proves him to be an artist with a boundless future ahead of him. A stinging set of electric blues played with passionate conviction, Trouble Is... should dramatically expand his already-huge fan base.

Certified platinum by the RIAA. (1/99)

It's not hard to understand the appeal of Kenny Wayne Shepherd, currently being hailed as the heir to Stevie Ray Vaughan. He's young (an increasing rarity in blues and blues-related genres), he writes catchy songs, and his "Blue on Black" is widely played on rock radio. Trouble Is . . . is an enjoyable listen, from rockers like "Slow Ride" and "Chase the Rainbow," to swingy mid-tempo songs like "True Lies" and "(Long) Gone," to slower almost-ballads such as "Nothing to Do with Love" and the all-pervasive "Blue on Black". Expect to start hearing "I Found Love (When I Found You)" at high school proms and homecoming dances. It remains to be seen how Shepherd will develop, but he's among the most promising young guitarists out there today. -- Genevieve Williams

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Boz Scaggs - Greatest Hits Live

Boz Scaggs - Greatest Hits Live Lowest new price: $14.00
Lowest used price: $10.41
List price: $19.98
Brand: Universal Music
Model: 2239263

* His first ever live DVD * Filmed in high definition video * Mixed in stereo and surround sound * Bonus features include extra track, 15 minute documentary, and photo gallery From his early days with the Steve Miller Band, to his smash hits as a solo performer, Boz Scaggs has been a respected musician for decades. Greatest Hits Live features Scaggs in concert at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, and as Scaggs himself says, "It's not just any band that can pull off this song list." From the jazz-tinged "Harbor Lights," to the desperately blue "Loan Me a Dime," to hit songs including "Lowdown" and "Lido Shuffle," Greatest Hits Live provides a powerful overview of the artist's most recognized work.

1. Lowdown
2. Slow Dancer
3. Heart of Mine
4. It All Went Down the Drain
5. Harbor Lights
6. Jojo
7. Ask Me 'Bout Nothin' but the Blues
8. Breakdown Dead Ahead
9. Look What You've Done To Me
10. I Just Go
11. Georgia
12. Miss Sun
13. Lido Shuffle
14. Runnin' Blues
15. Loan Me a Dime
16. We're All Alone

Singer-songwriter-guitarist Boz Scaggs has kept a fairly low profile since his heyday in the '70s and '80s--a circumstance more than rectified with Greatest Hits Live, a great-looking, great-sounding concert recorded in San Francisco in 2004. For the most part, this is Silk Degrees-style Boz, drawing from a large catalog that favors ballads (some quite lovely, like "Harbor Lights," "We're All Alone," and "Look What You've Done to Me") and deft pop-R&B-jazz à la Steely Dan (albeit with more soul and less verbal wit and sophistication). But while "Lido Shuffle," and other expected hits are here, so are several grittier, bluesier moments, including Earl King's "It All Went Down the Drain" and extended versions of the big band blues "Runnin' Blue" and the slow lament "Loan Me a Dime" (a tune from Scaggs's 1969 solo album that featured great guitar playing by the late Duane Allman). With a fine band, 16 songs, a running time that approaches two hours, some of the best DVD sound you'll ever hear, and crisp, clear visuals, Greatest Hits Live is a portrait of a veteran, durable artist who's still in his prime. --Sam Graham


  • Factory sealed DVD

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Jazz & Blues Christmas

Jazz & Blues Christmas Lowest new price: $6.69
Lowest used price: $5.95

Putumayo Presents Jazz & Blues Christmas with ten tracks of Holiday Happiness! 'Christmas Celebration' by B.B. King & Ray Charles, 'Santa's Blues' by B.B. King & Charles Brown, 'Wrap Yourself In A Christmas Package' by Randy Greer & Ignasi Terraza Trio & Charles Brown, 'Santa Baby' by Emilie-Claire Barlow and Ramsey Lewis, 'Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer ' by Topsy Chapman & Ray Charles, 'Here Comes Santa Claus' by Ramsey Lewis Trio & Riff Ruffin, 'Merry Christmas Baby' by Emilie-Claire Barlow and Dukes Of Dixieland featuring Luther Kent plus more holiday delights!



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Aaliyah Lowest used price: $14.76


Seven years after her debut at just 15 years old, Aaliyah assembled a third studio album that was astonishingly mature. Sadly, her death just a little over a month after its release stilled a promising voice in R&B. At 22, when most artists would just be getting started, Aaliyah had already progressed from pop to street to an unconventional retro-modern, risk-taking version of R&B. While lead track "We Need a Resolution" is as mainstream as it gets, there are fewer hits on this album than on previous efforts. Instead, this collection is an extraordinary romantic exposition of passion and pain. While Missy Elliott is cranking out jams for all her "club freaks," Aaliyah is like a modern-day (if less vocally gifted) Minnie Riperton, exploring the pains of moving from child star to adult sex symbol. Tracks such as "Never No More" and "I Care 4 U" (featuring Missy) are slinky, twisted ballads imbued with film-noir sultriness, as diva Aaliyah steps catlike away from the bubblegum R&B of her contemporaries. There's also the obligatory rock track tacked on near the end ("I Can Be"), but even this excels above the standard hip-hop/rock/R&B crossover fare with its Prince-like influences coupled with Aaliyah's own instinct for seduction. Aaliyah also signaled a move away from her long-standing musical relationship with producer Timbaland, who contributes just three cuts. Having started out heavily supported by R. Kelly, it appeared that Aaliyah was more than able to go it alone. --Jake Barnes


  • Blackground Records

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A Very Special Christmas Live!

A Very Special Christmas Live! Lowest new price: $3.45
Lowest used price: $0.99

A Very Special Christmas Live is the fourth in a series of Christmas music-themed compilation albums produced to benefit Special Olympics. The album was recorded live in Washington, D.C. in December 1998 at a benefit party held by then-President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of Special Olympics.

Fans of the Very Special Christmas albums will get few surprises with this in-concert follow-up to the three studio compilations. Only 2 of the 11 songs have never appeared on one of the previous editions; one of those, Eric Clapton's "Christmas Tears," is a fiery performance with Blues Traveler head John Popper guesting, while the other is a collaboration between Clapton and Tracy Chapman on "Give Me One Reason," not exactly a Yuletide standard. That mix of the useful and the puzzling is typical of the whole CD. It's good to hear Mary J. Blige's force encouraging Sheryl Crow to push her vocal limit, even on a tune as lightweight as "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree." But why doesn't Blige, the 1990s' preeminent female R&B voice, get to work out on, say, Phil Spector's "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"? Mainly because Jon Bon Jovi is instead called upon to lamely replicate Bono's vocal from the first Very Special disc. This too-often calcified offering is hardly this charity series' finest. --Rickey Wright

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