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James Luther Dickinson

Let’s get it straight from the get-go; Jim Dickinson was primarily a piano player. But he was also one of the great music makers of Memphis – which is saying a lot in a town whose lore included Sam Phillips, Stax’s Al Bell and Steve Cropper, the Ardent Studios and Hi Records crews, and many ... ...

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Allan Holdsworth

With a career spanning 45 years, Allan Holdsworth’s blistering, bop-fueled legato radically altered our approach to electric guitar, and he’s now the recipient of this 12-CD retrospective (for those in the cheap seats, check out the two-CD version, Eidolon). Listen to “Checking Out” from 1982’s I.O.U. album and you already know he’s moving into new ... ...

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Coco Montoya

It’s been awhile since Coco Montoya’s last studio effort, but he comes out firing here. From the Albert King-style blast that kicks off the opener, “Before The Bullets Fly,” to the loud, raucous blues rock of the closer, “Truth Be Told,” He is spot on. The tunes here cover a lot of ground. “I Want ... ...

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Roy Orbison & Friends

The year 1987 saw Roy Orbison in the midst of a triumphant resurgence. His ’60s recording “In Dreams” was featured in the hit film Blue Velvet. He joined Dylan, George Harrison, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne in the Traveling Wilburys. And that September, he taped the Cinemax special A Black & White Night at Hollywood’s ... ...

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Pieta Brown and Valerie June

Singer/songwriter Pieta Brown enlists talent – and lots of it – to back her ethereal songs and vocals on her latest. Calexico lends a hand with the opener “In The Light” while Mark Knopfler plays along on the jaunty “Street Tracker” and David Lindley slides through “Take Me Home.” The best, though, may be Brown’s ... ...

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Michael Nesmith

Aside from being in the Monkees, Mike Nesmith was a talented songwriter and key contributor to the birth of country-rock. His new autobiography, Infinite Tuesday, is accompanied by a 14-track CD retrospective and provides insight to the musician’s early career. An early Monkees track is “Papa Gene’s Blues,” a fun piece of folk-rock from the ... ...

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Steve Khan

Steve Khan has spent the last few albums mixing Latin music and jazz. The project has worked beautifully, culminating in this effort that takes tunes from Thelonious Monk, Bobby Hutcherson, Ornette Coleman, Steve’s dad Sammy Cahn, and others and mixing the styles in a way that lets Khan and band shine. Let’s talk about Khan’s ... ...

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Tedeschi Trucks Band

Live albums can be a remedy for contract disputes or a way to stall for time during a creative dry spell. For Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, it’s really the best way to be heard on a recording. Live is their natural habitat. When they’re feeding off each other and the raw energy of an ... ...

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Various Artists

Subtitled “1950s & 1960s Oddball Labels,” these three boxed sets collect nuggets from dozens of independent record labels that popped up across post-Elvis America then faded away as the British Invasion and the pretentious spoiler called “rock” put – ironically – a choke-hold on its own roots. Each 10-disc box covers the state’s homegrown blues, country, ... ...

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George Barnes

When Chet Atkins arrived in Chicago for his first RCA recording session in August 1947, he was astounded to meet George Barnes, who’d been hired to play rhythm guitar. To Chet and others, Barnes was guitar royalty, a virtuoso the teenaged Atkins encountered the same place he’d first heard Merle Travis and Les Paul – ... ...

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