Adriano BaTolba Orchestra “Live ‘n’ Loud”

To tell the truth upfront – when it comes to Adriano, I am biased. This guy, pretty famous in Germany and surrounding countries for his involvement with “Dick Brave & The Backbeats”, leading to Gold and Platinum records as producer and guitarist, who played in front of 85.000 people at “Rock am Ring”-Festival, 120 Million people on TV at the opening performance of the Eurovision Song Contest 2011 as a special guest of host Stefan Raab and at P!NK’s wedding, is one of my best (and oldest) friends  dating back from kindergarden days. However, if this counts – I might have listened to any song on this album more than a hundred times, have witnessed dozens of concerts of the Adriano BaTolba Orchestra – a 13 piece Rockabilly big band that can’t deny its Jazz, Blues and Jive influences – and still the sound does not bore me a second. “Live’n’Loud” is an EP in the tradition of 10″ records some of you might remember. 6 cuts from last spring’s concerts and two bonus tracks – one live favorite of Adriano “Summertime Blues” played in Trio style as it is tradition for all Orchestra gigs and a studio version of the single “Hard Luck, Bad Luck ‘n’ Misery”. In addition to a live version of the later, the other 5 songs include

  • another original song “Jean Jean Jeannie”,
  • a Rockabilly Jazz Orchestra transformation of the White Stripe’s classic “Seven Nation Army”,
  • a stunning instrumental – Earl Hagen’s classic tune “Harlem Nocturne”
  • “You’re The Boss”, a song written by legendary Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller, sung as a duet with Ira, courtesy of The Silverettes, a up and coming all-girls-Rockabilly-trio, as it was meant to be for Elvis and Ann Margret (who recorded a version in 1963 that remained unreleased for nearly 30 years, up until 1991). Gave this song a fine jazzy touch!
  • Last but not least “Cotton Eyed Joe” (!!!). Yes, the one Swedish guys from Redex gave a Eurodance treat back in the 90s, but actually it pre-dates the 1861–1865 American Civil War.

Could not tell you which song to prefer – actually depends very much on my mood, but would not skip any song. Sometimes the jazzy ones, sometimes the rockers your feed can’t stand still while listening. However, these bits prove what a great live treat the ABO is and the quality of all musicians. So listening to this records is second best to having the chance to witness it live, good value for money. Especially the original songs indicate that we can expect quite a lot from further releases. Highly recommended!

 

David Bowie “Where Are We Now”

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Quite a surprise … after 8 years of (almost) silence, David Bowie got back with a bang at his 66th birthday last Tuesday. The news caught me at 7am, just checked Facebook to see: David Bowie is back with an immediate single release, a full service 17 song album “The Next Day” to follow early March. Double check whether this is some April Fool’s joke – easy to proof, the single is already for download at iTunes.

7.15 this is on my iPod, at the end of the day almost 20 listens … something I would have never expected, listen all day to a NEW Bowie tune. And the man knows how to keep a secret … met his Producer Tony Visconti back in summer 2011 at a Kristeen Young gig in London – not a glimpse. Met his bass player Gail Ann Dorsey last summer when she accompanied Lenny Kravitz on tour … no indication that she is in contact with the man at all. Not one sign in world-wide web, only comments about retirement and rumours about health issues. Wow, did not think this would work these days! Well done, David.

However, glad to see Gail Ann and Tony joined forces with Bowie on the new record, just missing (surprisingly) Mike Garson from my personal favorites. Can’t wait to listen to “The Next Day”. But “Where Are We Now” first:

imagesWhat makes this song brilliant obviously is that there is a song at all. Apart from that it is a good song to come back with (although not inventing himself new as one might expect from Bowie). A ballad looking back to Bowie’s Berlin years, quoting places such as “Potsdamer Platz”, the nightclub “Dschungel”, the famous department store “KaDeWe” and “Boese Bruecke” … mood and vocals very much remind me of “hours …”, his 1999 record, in particular the single “Thursday’s Child”. Overall this song would fit very well into Bowie’s better Oeuvre from 1999′s “hours …” (“Survive”, “Something In The Air” via 2002′s “Heathen” (“Slip Away”, “Heathen”) to 2003′s “Reality” (“The Lonliest Guy”). Nothing new, but not the worst recordings to compete with. The main theme of the song – looking back to places from the past and asking oneself where you are now – might not catch the very young, but for those 30+ it might be the soundtrack to a well-known sentiment.

 I did not expect Bowie to come up with such a new sound as he did with the Industrial of 1995′s “Outside” or 1997 “Earthling”‘s Drum&Bass (especially because I do not hear such kind of “new” sound in music these days), so a “new classic” is very welcome these days. Tony Visconti told in an interview that “Where Are We Now” is not the typical sound of the new record, some more “rockers” to expect and some “new Bowie” … glad to hear what we got so far and excited to hear more new tunes. Resumé: Bowie is the one to watch out for in 2013, the man has something to say!