It's Tuesday, which means it's time for some new music on Take Two. This week we're joined by music critic Steve Hochman and Justino Aguila associate editor of Latin at Billboard magazine.
Artist: Wilko Johnson & Roger Daltrey
Album: Going Back Home
Songs: “Going Back Home,” “I Keep It To Myself”
Johnson is a much-loved English rock cult figure, a guitarist who with the band Dr. Feelgood was the torchbearer for traditional rock 'n' roll values - both musical and in lifestyle - bridging the '60s spirit and punk (and arguably helping ignite the latter). Last year he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given just months to live. But he's still around and kicking, hard it seems, and the Who's Roger Daltrey (both an inspiration to Johnson and a fan of his) stepped forward to help him make a valedictory album. It may be sentimental in its echoes of the past, though it's anything but maudlin.
Most of the material is remade from Johnson's catalog and sounds like it could have come from even earlier, yet much of it could have been written for his current situation. The title song in particular, though coming from the ‘70s, references the mutual love for the straight-ahead, searing rock of Daltrey’s and Johnson’s respective youths, but also takes on a poignant quality given its writer is now facing his end.
Most meaningfully, this rocks sure and hard, a perfect eulogy for Johnson - and even better, one he gets to deliver himself. And he still is - he's still playing concerts, and will as long as he's able.
Artist: Glen David Andrews
Songs: “NY to NOLA,” “Movin’ Up”
Trombonist-singer Andrews is one of New Orleans' most dynamic young-ish artists, and perhaps its most maddeningly erratic, reflecting his own well-documented struggles with, well, let's call them personal demons. His shows can be indulgently unfocused displays of bravura or gripping tours de force -- sometimes both at once.
This album is very much on the tour de force side. Part of a vast New Orleans musical family that includes cousin Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews, the biggest young star to emerge from the city in recent years.
Glen David matches ambition with reach and a forceful personality here, mixing rock, funk and gospel sounds and attitudes freely and convincingly, the gospel often serving as the thread tying it all together -- but not in a self-satisfied way, but as source of striving self-awareness, at once content and questioning.
His last few JazzFest performances have been at times astounding. His next, in a couple of weeks, promises to top them all.
“NY to NOLA” puts his own spin on some musical recombinant splicing, a show of confidence. There’s still plenty of evidence of struggle in what are in many cases very personal songs — the wittily titled “Lower Power” takes on the pull of temptations and weaknesses. But with a version of “Didn’t It Rain” (featuring a sample of the classic Mahalia Jackson recording) and his own with “Movin’ Up,” his higher powers seem to be winning out. And with this album so are we.
Songs: "Saideira (feat. Samuel Rosa)," "Iron Lion Zion (feat. Ziggy Marley & ChocQuibTown)"
Santana is back with a new album, but this is his first Latin music album and it's chockfull of surprises such as collaborations with ChocQuibTown, Lila Downs, Gloria Estefan and Samuel Rosa of Skank.
The ten-time Grammy-winning rock icon Santana brings it with this album that takes you back with that Santana signature sound, but also provides a bit of a new vibe with inspiring collaborations.
In Santana's "Seideira," who he performs with Rosa, the song opens with that classic sound that takes us to the sublime. And with the vocals of Rosa, the song is rich, even in the Spanish version. However, for many purists the Portuguese version of the song is simply the track that works best. Nonetheless, the song that translates to "nightcap" is charming in Spanish and still manages to make you want to move as Santana's guitar work also takes the song to new heights.
A different vibe comes into play with the Bob Marley's "Iron Lion Zion" featuring Ziggy Marley vocals and a stealth rap from Colombia's ChocQuibTown. It's that reggae soul that gives the track life, while Colombia's ChocQuibTown delivers poetic verses in Spanish. "Nobody stops us, nor separates us" we hear in those raps allowing the song to build in melody, style and composition wrapped around Santana's masterful guitar work.
Spanish pop singer David Bisbal returns with a new album and a return to his pop roots. Bisbal, who this time had Grammy-winning music producer Sebastian Krys work on the entire album, takes this new project to new heights by showing us that signature Bisbal sound takes it to the next level vocally and through the orchestrations that make the tracks work. The pair have an undeniable chemistry musically without compromising Bisbal's body of work.
Bisbal, who is supreme when he performs solo, also takes it to another level when he collaborates with other singers. This album includes Spanish crooner Antonio Orozco and Marco Mexican balladeer Marco Antonio Solis, who can be heard in the deluxe version of the album.
In the case of the song "Olvidé Respirar" (feat. India Martinez), the pair have recorded a song that is beautifully produced without sacrificing the vocal richness of their voices, which mesh well together an outstanding pop ballad. Martinez, whose unmistakable voice, flamenco-style, allows the track to breathe in a way that connects beautifully with Bisbal.
In "Diez Mil Maneras" Bisbal shows what he does best as a vocalist whose versatility in the track is much faster in cadence, but also allows the singer to show his strength vocally and in a song that shows he's taking it up a notch. The song is both radio friendly and a pop ballad that stands on it's own on any day.
The title track, "Tú y Yo," is also a Bisbal anthem that illustrates the power of his voice and impressive range. On an international tour currently, the Spanish singer is spending the rest of 2014 promoting the album, which has a new sound that comes through thanks to the collaboration with Krys who has worked with everyone from Shakira to Ricky Martin.