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March 2023

Kristine England

March 28, 2023

The Free Music

Free Music (Part 1)

The Habibi Funk label has been issuing compilations of 70s African funk bands to bring greater attention to an incredible group of musicians. The latest showcases The Free Music, a group led by Najib Alhoush, a Libyan composer and producer. Culled from ten albums, Free Music (Part 1) is filled with infectiously funky, danceable grooves. The label notes, “when we made the selection for this album, we could have chosen a completely different number of tracks and the album would have been equally strong.” It’s likely listeners will be graced with a Part 2 down the road.

"The Free Music I"

2 Tone / Various Artists

Dance Craze

Dance Craze is a movie filmed throughout 1980, celebrating 2 Tone Records’ special place in British rock history with acts like the Specials, The Selecter, Madness, The Beat (known as the English Beat here in the States), Bad Manners and the Body Snatchers, all known for bringing ska to the mainstream. Director Joe Massot (The Song Remains the Same) was interested in Madness after meeting the band during its first US tour, but the project evolved to include more of the iconic 2 Tone roster. The film has been remastered, and the Blu Ray and DVD release is accompanied by a deluxe edition 3 LP or 3 CD box sets.


The Velvet Underground


Lou Reed’s last album with the Velvet Underground was a departure from the band’s earlier work. The title, allegedly inspired by the group’s new label encouraging them to deliver an album “loaded with hits,” definitely hit a more commercial stride than any of the three previous outings. Classics like “Sweet Jane” and “Rock and Roll” are broadly known, but some of the best tunes on the record showcase (like “Oh Sweet Nuthin’) the vocals of Doug Yule. Rhino Records’ mammoth vinyl reissue features nine LPs (with stereo, mono, and full-length mixes), demos, live recordings and outtakes.

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Herbie Hancock

Empyrean Isles

An album that truly defines what “classic” means, the 1964 Herbie Hancock recording featured a fully legendary contingent of musicians: trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Tony Willliams (the latter two were also his cohorts in the Miles Davis group). With some of the Hancock’s most recognizable tunes like ““Oliloquy Valley” and “Cantaloupe Island,” the latest reissue of Empyrean Isles Blue Note Classic Vinyl Edition is stereo, all-analog, mastered by Kevin Gray from the original master tapes, and pressed on 180g vinyl.

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Pink Floyd

Dark Side of the Moon, 50th Anniversary Edition

Naturally, I can’t ignore the major reissue of the month from my favorite band. Dark Side of the Moon turned 50 this month. The album catapulted Pink Floyd into the public consciousness and remained on Billboard’s Top 200 Album charts for a record-breaking 724 consecutive weeks from its release in 1973 to April 1988. From the lush soundscapes to the timeless lyrics with themes of life, loss, greed, madness, aging and coping with modern society, it’s rightly been hailed as a masterpiece countless times.Remastered, again, the set contains, Blu-rays, merch (original poster and stickers), vinyl, a book of sheet music, and more.

Dark Side Of The Moon (Live at Wembley Empire Pool 1974) Movie

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