The Three Sounds – Bottoms UP! (1959/2009) [AcousticSounds DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz]

The Three Sounds – Bottoms UP! (1959/2009)
DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz | Time – 39:55 minutes | 1,57 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download  | Source: acousticsounds.com | Artwork: Front cover  | © Blue Note Records
Recorded: September 16, 1958 (#2, 8), September 28, 1958 (#3), February 11, 1959 (#1, 4-7) at Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ.

Mastered from the original analog master tapes by by Kevin Gray & Steve Hoffman at AcousTech.

The Three Sounds were part of the trio explosion. Begun in 1956 in Benton Harbor, Michigan as the Four Sounds and consisting of Gene Harris on piano, Andrew Simpkins on bass and Bill Dowdy on drums (the saxophonist was dropped by the time the group moved to Washington, D.C. in 1957), the Sounds eventually migrated to New York City where they were “discovered” by Lou Donaldson. After a single record for Riverside with Nat Adderley, the Three Sounds signed an exclusive contract with Alfred Lion on Blue Note Records. Over the course of five years, the Sounds released nine LPs and appeared on albums by Lou Donaldson and Stanley Turrentine.

The second record by the Three Sounds (which, like too many of their recordings, has yet to be reissued on CD in the U.S.) features the increasingly popular group in prime form. Pianist Gene Harris, bassist Andy Simpkins and drummer Bill Dowdy are in top form performing their brand of funky jazz, which left plenty of room for inventive solos along with the percolating grooves. On this set, the trio plays seven standards (including “Besame Mucho,” “Love Walked In” and “I Could Write a Book”), plus the original “Jinne Lou.” Well worth searching for. –Scott Yanow

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The New Basement Tapes – Lost On The River (2014) [HDTracks 24-96]

The New Basement Tapes – Lost On The River (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:13:32 minutes |  1,57 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Master, Official Digital Download |  Source:HDTracks |  Front cover
© Electromagnetic Recordings | Recorded: March 2014, Capitol Studios

Produced by T Bone Burnett, Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes was written and performed in creative collaboration by Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens, Taylor Goldsmith, Jim James and Marcus Mumford. The artists and Burnett gathered in Capitol Studios in March to write and create music for a treasure trove of recently discovered lyrics handwritten by Bob Dylan in 1967 during the period that generated the recording of the legendary Basement Tapes.
The album will be released this year by Electromagnetic Recordings/Harvest Records (Capitol Music Group), and will be accompanied by a Showtime documentary titled, Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued, directed by Sam Jones (the Wilco documentary, I Am Trying To Break Your Heart). The film will present an exclusive and intimate look at the making of Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes set against the important and historical cultural backdrop of Bob Dylan’s original Basement Tapes.
Bob Dylan’s original Basement Tapes – recorded by Dylan in 1967 with musicians who would later achieve their own fame as The Band – have fascinated and enticed successive generations of musicians, fans and cultural critics for nearly five decades. This collective recorded more than a hundred songs in the basement of a small house in upstate New York that summer and fall, including dozens of newly-written Bob Dylan future classics such as, “I Shall Be Released,” “The Mighty Quinn,” “This Wheel’s On Fire,” “You Ain’t Going Nowhere” and “Tears Of Rage.”
Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes celebrates the discovery of new Bob Dylan lyrics from that noted 1967 period and marks a unique creative opportunity for Burnett, Costello, Giddens, Goldsmith, James and Mumford, who are bringing them to life nearly 50 years later. For Burnett, whom Dylan has entrusted with this endeavor, it was imperative to provide an environment in which these artists could thrive. “Great music is best created when a community of artists gets together for the common good. There is a deep well of generosity and support in the room at all times, and that reflects the tremendous generosity shown by Bob in sharing these lyrics with us.”

When a clutch of unfinished lyrics written during Bob Dylan’s 1967 sojourn at Big Pink in Woodstock, New York was discovered in 2013, there were really only two choices left for his publisher: either they could be collected as text or set to music. Once the decision to turn these words into songs was made, there was really only one logical choice to direct the project: T-Bone Burnett, the master of impressionistic Americana. He had played with Dylan during the Rolling Thunder Revue of 1975 and 1976 — a tour that happened to occur in the wake of the first official release of The Basement Tapes — but more importantly, his 2002 work on the Grammy-winning O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack established him as deft modernizer of classic American folk and country, skills that were needed for an album that wound up called Lost on the River. Burnett decided to assemble a loose-knit band of Americana superstars to write the music and play as a band. That’s how Burnett’s old pal Elvis Costello, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes, Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons, and Rhiannon Giddens of the Carolina Chocolate Drops became a band called the New Basement Tapes (the name seems more of a formality than an actual moniker), and if Burnett’s intent was to approximate the communal spirit Dylan had with the Band at Big Pink, the execution was much different. The New Basement Tapes recorded Lost on the River in a real studio fully aware there was an audience awaiting their output, an attitude that’s the polar opposite of the ramshackle joshing around of the original Basement Tapes. Thankfully, nobody involved with Lost on the River contrives to replicate either the sound or feel of the 1967 sessions, even if the artists consciously pick up the strands of country, folk, and soul dangling on the originals. Wisely, the songwriters steer their given lyrics toward their own wheelhouses, which means this contains a little of the woolliness of a collective but Burnett sands off the rough edges, tying this all together. Certainly, some musicians make their presence known more than others — there’s a slow, soulful ease to James’ four contributions that stand in nice contrast to Costello’s canny bluster (“Married to My Hack” would’ve fit onto any EC album featuring Marc Ribot) — but the best work might come from Goldsmith, who strikes a delicate, beguiling balance between his own idiosyncrasies and the Americana currents that flow out of The Basement Tapes. Then again, the whole project is rather impressive: Burnett and the New Basement Tapes remain faithful to the spirit of The Basement Tapes yet take enough liberties to achieve their own identity, which is a difficult trick to achieve. –Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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The Libertines – The Libertines (2004/2014) [HDTracks 24-96]

The Libertines – The Libertines (2004/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time: 42:05 |  930 MB | Genre: Rock
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks  |  Digital Booklet | @ Rough Trade Records

The Libertines is the eponymous second album by the British indie rock band The Libertines. It was produced by Mick Jones and originally released on August 30, 2004. The album instantly hit #1 in the UK, selling 72,189 copies in its first week. It was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

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The Eagles – Hotel California (1976/2013) [HDTracks 24-192]

The Eagles – Hotel California (1976/2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 00:43:23 | 1,56 GB | Genre: Rock
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Front Cover | © Asylum Records

Chart History/Awards
- The song, “Hotel California” won the 1978 Grammy Award for Record of the Year and “New Kid in Town” won for Best Arrangement For Voices.
- Hotel California was nominated for Album of the Year but lost to Fleetwood Mac’sRumors.
- The album was #1 on the Billboard 200 chart for four separate weeks in 1977.
- The single, “Hotel California” topped the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for one week in May 1977.
- “Hotel California” is one of the best-selling singles of all time, certified Platinum (Digital Sales Award) by the RIAA for one million digital downloads. Rolling Stone magazine ranked it #49 on its list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”
- Hotel California is ranked #37 on Rolling Stone’s list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time”.
- Hotel California has been certified 16x Platinum in the United States and certified multi-Platinum status worldwide.
- Inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2008.

Hotel California is the fifth studio album by the Eagles and was released on December 8, 1976. Their first album without Bernie Leadon and with Joe Walsh, it became their best-selling studio album, with over 16 million copies sold in the United States alone and over 32 million copies worldwide. The album firmly established the Eagles as the most successful American rock band of the 1970s.

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The Decemberists – What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World (2015) [ProStudioMasters 24-44.1]

The Decemberists – What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44.1 kHz | Time – 00:53:03 minutes |  607 MB | Genre: Rock
Studio Master, Official Digital Download |  Source:ProStudioMasters.com |  Front cover
© Capitol Records | Recorded: 2014

The Decemberists belatedly embraced their indie pop sensibilities (or at very least their fondness for R.E.M.) on 2011’s The King Is Dead, and were rewarded with a number one chart placing and the group’s greatest commercial success to date, leading some to wonder if Colin Meloy and his bandmates were going to go for more hooks or return to the more ornate sound of their earlier work now that they had a large audience waiting for the follow-up. As it turns out, 2014’s What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World finds the Decemberists managing to have it both ways; if anything, many of these songs are brighter and hookier than those on The King Is Dead, but if this is pop, it’s pop that’s keenly intelligent, melodically adventurous, obsessively literate, and perfectly willing to explore sadness and disappointment rather than just the upbeat moods that are expected to accompany catchy melodies. The melodies on “Lake Song” and “Till the Water Is All Long Gone” may be more streamlined than you’d hear on Picaresque or The Crane Wife, but the arrangements are richly detailed, playing on the dynamics of Chris Funk’s guitars, Jenny Conlee’s keyboards and accordions, and John Moen’s percussion, and the group takes much pleasure in the dour beauty of its melodies. The band also embraces its upbeat side on this album with numbers like “The Wrong Year” and “Philomena” (the latter pondering teenage lust as only the Decemberists can), and the opening track, “The Singer Addresses His Audience,” is a witty but cutting meditation on the notion of fame, its impact on the culture, and where the Decemberists fit into the puzzle in the wake of hit records and appearances on Parks & Recreation. There’s still more than enough folk in the Decemberists’ approach to make them stand apart from their peers on the upper reaches of the pop charts, and the intuitive smarts of their stylistic vision are still front and center, but What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World is an album where the creative sprawl is more a matter of how this divergent selection of melodies and moods interacts, rather than how many elements can be folded into one song; this is very clearly the Decemberists, but with a new kind of focus in their songs and arrangements that makes it clear this album’s sound is a result of creative evolution, not an offering to their newer, larger audience, and it’s a sweet and sour wonder that rewards repeated listening. –Mark Deming

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The Crusaders – Street Life (1979/2014) [Qobuz 24-192]

The Crusaders – Street Life (1979/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/192 kHz | Time – 00:39:24 minutes |  1,42 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download |  Source:Qobuz |  Front cover
© MCA Records | Recorded: at Hollywood Sound Recorders, Inc., Hollywood, CA

Street Life is a studio album by the American jazz band The Crusaders. It was a top 20 album on three Billboard charts and represents the peak of the band’s commercial popularity. The title track, featuring singer Randy Crawford, was a Top 40 pop single (#36) and became the group’s most successful entry on the soul chart (#17). “Street Life” also hit the disco chart, peaking at #75, and was featured in both Sharky’s Machine, directed by Burt Reynolds in 1981, and Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown, released in 1997.

Although the Crusaders could not have known it at the time, their recording of “Street Life” (which features a memorable vocal by Randy Crawford) was a last hurrah for the 20-year old group. Their recordings of the next few years would decline in interest until the band gradually faded away in the ’80s. However this particular set is well worth picking up for the 11-minute title cut and there is good playing by the three original members (Wilton Felder on tenor, soprano and electric bass, keyboardist Joe Sample and drummer Stix Hooper) along with guitarist Barry Finnerty; horn and string sections, plus additional guitarists are utilized on Sample’s commercial but listenable arrangements –Scott Yanow

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The Crusaders – Rhapsody And Blues (1980/2014) [Qobuz 24-192]

The Crusaders – Rhapsody And Blues (1980/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/192 kHz | Time – 00:39:02 minutes |  1,36 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download |  Source:Qobuz |  Front cover
© MCA Records | Recorded: Britannia Studios, Hollywood, CA, March 1980

Back in 1954, Houston pianist Joe Sample teamed up with high school friends tenor saxophonist Wilton Felder and drummer Stix Hooper to form the Swingsters. Within a short time, they were joined by trombonist Wayne Henderson, flutist Hubert Laws, and bassist Henry Wilson and the group became the Modern Jazz Sextet. With the move of Sample, Felder, Hooper, and Henderson to Los Angeles in 1960, the band (a quintet with the bass spot constantly changing) took on the name of the Jazz Crusaders. The following year they made their first recordings for Pacific Jazz and throughout the 1960s the group was a popular attraction, mixing together R&B and Memphis soul elements with hard bop; its trombone/tenor frontline became a trademark. By 1971, when all of the musicians were also busy with their own projects, it was decided to call the group simply the Crusaders so it would not be restricted to only playing jazz. After a few excellent albums during the early part of the decade (with guitarist Larry Carlton a strong asset), the group began to decline in quality. In 1975, the band’s sound radically changed when Henderson departed to become a full-time producer. 1979’s “Street Life” was a hit, but also a last hurrah. With Hooper’s decision to leave in 1983, the group no longer sounded like the Crusaders and gradually disbanded. In the mid-’90s, Henderson and Felder had a reunion as the Crusaders but in reality only Joe Sample has had a strong solo career. –Scott Yanow

The Crusaders’ follow-up to Street Life did not result in any additional hits (does anyone remember Bill Withers’ vocal on “Soul Shadows?”) and found the group’s R&Bish music sounding closer to a formula. Each of the three remaining original Crusaders (Wilton Felder on tenor, soprano, alto and electric bass, keyboardist Joe Sample and drummer Stix Hooper), who are joined by an expanded rhythm setion, contribute at least one original apiece but the group’s concept was starting to sound a bit tired. –Scott Yanow

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The Doors – The Complete Doors Studio Albums (8 Albums: 1967-1972 / 2012) [HDTracks 24-96]

The Doors – The Complete Doors Studio Albums (8 Albums: 1967-1972 / 2012)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 312:59 minutes | 6,91 GB
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Digital Artwork

The Doors, one of the most influential and controversial rock bands of the 1960s, were formed in Los Angeles, California. The 1967 release of The Doors was the first in a series of top ten albums in the US, followed by Strange Days (1967), Waiting for the Sun (1968), The Soft Parade (1969), Morrison Hotel (1970), Absolutely Live (1970) and L.A. Woman (1971), with 19 Gold, 14 Platinum and 5 Multi-Platinum album awards in the United States alone. Although The Doors’ active career ended in 1973, their popularity has persisted. According to the RIAA, they have sold 32.5 million certified units in the US. The band has sold over 100 million albums worldwide. The Doors were the first American band to accumulate eight consecutive gold LPs. In 1993, The Doors were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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The Clash – Combat Rock (1982/2013) [Qobuz 24-96]

The Clash – Combat Rock (1982/2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 00:46:14 | 1,0 GB | Genre: Rock
Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Front Cover | © Sony Music UK

On the surface of things, Combat Rock appears to be a retreat from the sprawling stylistic explorations of London Calling and Sandinista! The pounding arena rock of “Should I Stay or Should I Go” makes the Clash sound like an arena rock band, and much of the album boasts a muscular, heavy sound courtesy of producer Glyn Johns. But things aren’t quite that simple. Combat Rock contains heavy flirtations with rap, funk, and reggae, and it even has a cameo by poet Allen Ginsberg — if this album is, as it has often been claimed, the Clash’s sellout effort, it’s a very strange way to sell out. Even with the infectious, dance-inflected new wave pop of “Rock the Casbah” leading the way, there aren’t many overt attempts at crossover success, mainly because the group is tearing in two separate directions. Mick Jones wants the Clash to inherit the Who’s righteous arena rock stance, and Joe Strummer wants to forge ahead into black music. The result is an album that is nearly as inconsistent as Sandinista!, even though its finest moments — “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” “Rock the Casbah,” “Straight to Hell” — illustrate why the Clash were able to reach a larger audience than ever before with the record. [In 2000 Columbia/Legacy reissued and remastered Combat Rock.] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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The Brides of Funkenstein – Never Buy Texas From A Cowboy (1979/2013) [HDTracks 24-96]

The Brides of Funkenstein – Never Buy Texas From A Cowboy (1979/2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 42:45 minutes |  916 MB | Genre: R&B, Funk, Soul
Studio Master, Official Digital Download |  Source:HDTracks |  Front cover
© Atlantic Records | Recorded: Superdisc, East Detroit, MI; United Sound Systems, Detroit

Never Buy Texas From A Cowboy is The Brides Of Funkenstein’s sophomore recording. For this must-own audiophile download, the group became a trio, led by George Clinton. With Lynn Mabry no longer with the group, Dawn Silva is joined by Sheila Horne and Jeanette McGruder. The band incorporated a new style while under the wing of Clinton. Produced/co-produced by Clinton, Never Buy Texas From A Cowboy is an unforgettable ride, as The Brides Of Funkenstein deliver their share of surprises to listeners.

George Clinton guided and directed a new Brides of Funkenstein lineup on the group’s second and final album, Never Buy Texas From a Cowboy. This time, the Brides were a trio instead of a duo. Dawn Silva was still on board, but Lynn Mabry was gone, and Silva’s new allies were Sheila Horne and Jeannette McGruder. With the new Silva/Horne/McGruder lineup in place, the Brides delivered a sophomore effort that is as unpredictable as their first album, Funk or Walk. “Smoke Signals” (which Clinton wrote and produced with Bootsy Collins) and “Party Up in Here” are very Parliament-like, which is to be expected. But “I’m Holding You Responsible” and the 15-minute title song find the Brides delivering an unlikely mixture of Chic and P-Funk, and “Didn’t Mean to Fall in Love” isn’t P-Funk at all. The only tune on the LP that Clinton didn’t produce or co-produce, “Didn’t Mean to Fall in Love” is a romantic northern soul item along the lines of First Choice, the Three Degrees, or Honey Cone. Like Funk or Walk, Never Buy Texas From a Cowboy contains its share of surprises, and it demonstrates that the Brides of Funkenstein did the right thing by being unpredictable. –Alex Henderson

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