by VVN Music
The Rounder Records reissue initiative continues in June with the genre for which the label may be best known, Americana.
Rounder VP of A&R Scott Billington said "Long before the term ‘Americana’ was used to describe a genre, Rounder Records was exploring the common threads that run through American roots music, and the way contemporary musicians had begun to tie those threads together. The June digital release from Rounder includes many classic roots rock and Americana titles, including Laura Nyro’s exquisite final album, and the surprising collaboration between Tiny Tim and Brave Combo."
This month's releases run from rockabilly star Sleepy LeBeef to folk-based David Bromberg and rockers NRBQ to Ann Wilson's first solo album.
This Town Is Wrong - Nerissa & Katryna Nields
Based in Western Massachusetts, sisters Nerissa and Katryna Nields celebrated their 25th anniversary as a performing pop/rock/folk duo in 2016, beginning with their celebrated quintet, The Nields. This Town Is Wrong, which stands as one of their best recordings, is the “soundtrack” to Nerissa’s novel of the same name, about a pair of 13-year-old girls who use rock and roll to cope with adolescence. Gorgeous harmonies and hooks abound.
Hope & Glory - Ann Wilson
2007’s Hope and Glory is the first solo album by Heart co-front person Ann Wilson. Produced by Ben Mink, the album comprises an imaginative selection of covers that focus on social and political issues, including The Youngbloods’ Get Together, John Lennon’s Isolation, and the Animals’ We Gotta Get Out of This Place, along with her original Little Problems, Little Lies. Wilson’s musical guests include Elton John, Gretchen Wilson, Wynonna, Deana Carter, Rufus Wainwright, Shawn Colvin, and, on three tracks, her sister Nancy Wilson.
Seastories - Minnie Driver
Minnie Driver is best known as an actress, with roles in films such as Good Will Hunting and on television’s Will and Grace. However, music was always been a part of her work as an artist, going back to her college days in London. She delivers the all-original songs on Seastories, her second album for Rounder’s Zoë imprint, with the confidence of a seasoned singer and songwriter. She is supported on four of them by Ryan Adams and the Cardinals.
BMFA - Martha Wainwright
The title of Martha Wainwright’s 5-song EP, BMFA, is an acronym for an unprintable insult, written about her father, Loudon Wainwright III. It’s a perfect introduction to her mischievous and provocative songs, released as a precursor to her first full-length album.
Nothin' But the Truth - Sleepy LaBeef
Sleepy LaBeef is one of the original rockabilly artists—a powerful singer and versatile guitarist who is a living jukebox of American rock and roll, country music and blues. This 1985 live album might be the best representation of his fervent, gospel-inflected music on record. With drummer Tom Lewis and bassist Brent Wilson (who went on to form The Wagoneers), keyboardist Steve Staines, harmonica player Scott Billington, and guitarist E. J. Ouellette in a program that ranges from a wild rendition of Otis Blackwell’s Let’s Talk About Us to a medley of Hank Williams and Johnny Cash songs.
Sideman Serenade - David Bromberg
Multi-instrumentalist David Bromberg has had a full career as a sideman for artists such as Bob Dylan, Jerry Jeff Walker, Tom Rush, Carly Simon, The Eagles, Bonnie Raitt, and many others, as well as an artist in his own right, with six popular albums released by Columbia in the 1970s. His 1990 Rounder Records debut balances original songs with traditional and older tunes such as Big Bill Broonzy’s Long Tall Mama. The star-studded guest roster includes Dr. John, Jorma Kaukonen, Jackson Browne, John Sebastian, and many others.
Turn it Around - The Duke Robillard Band
Duke Robillard is an extraordinary guitarist, at home in settings that have ranged from jazz to rock to all shades of the blues. After founding and eventually leaving the jump blues revival band Roomful of Blues, he made a series of adventurous rock-leaning albums for Rounder. The rollicking edition of his band on Turn It Around features the vocalist Susann Forest, bassist Scott Appelrouth, and drummer Doug Hinman in a program of originals and a few covers that include the Doc Pomus/Mort Shuman classic Sweets For My Sweet.
Return of the Boogie Man - Preacher Jack
“Preacher Jack” Lincoln Coughlin is a longtime fixture of Boston area clubs, playing a style of Jerry Lee Lewis-influenced boogie woogie piano that might seem more appropriate for a Southern juke joint. This album combines best tracks from his two Rounder albums, made in the 1980s, alternating solo piano performances with songs backed by George Thorogood’s rhythm section, The Destroyers, with Sleepy LaBeef on lead guitar.
Dance Hall Dreams - Rosie Flores
Born in San Antonio, raised in California and based in Austin, Rosie Flores is a real deal honky-tonk country and rockabilly singer, and one of the best guitar players in the genre. This set of energetic originals (and one Wanda Jackson cover) finds her in peak form, backed by slide and steel guitarist Cyndi Cashdollar, drummer Donald Lindley, bassist Sarah Brown, and keyboardist Justin Reinhardt. Some tracks were recorded live at the Cibolo Creek Country Club in San Antonio.
NRBQ - NRBQ
NRBQ—the New Rhythm and Blues Quartet—is the perennial outlet for the madcap musical antics of keyboardist Terry Adams, and one of the most enduring institutions in rock. This 1999 edition of the band features longtime bass player Joey Spampinato and drummer Joey Ardolino, along with guitarist Johnny Spampinato. The delightfully off-kilter worldview of songs such as “Puddin’ Truck” and “Housekeeping” is always supported by superb musicianship. It’s a strong chapter in the history of one of the great rock and roll bands.
Sign of Truth - Tish Hinojosa
Singer-songwriter Tish Hinojosa embraces the full scope of the music of her native Texas, from Tejano corridos to honky-tonk country to roots rock, singing both in English and Spanish. An all-star band that includes multi-instrumentalist Marvin Dykhuis, pedal steel player Lloyd Maines, and accordion player Joel Guzman support her heartfelt original songs on this 2000 release. Includes her popular song Mona Lisa By the Rio Grande.
Angel in the Dark - Laura Nyro
Laura Nyro was one of the first singer-songwriters and a true musical original, inspiring generations of musicians and fans. Her exquisite Angel in the Dark was her final recording, made in the years before her death in 1997 and released by Rounder in 2001. While many pieces are intimate piano and voice performances, others were recorded with many of the best New York session players, including drummer Bernard Purdie, bassist Will Lee, guitarist John Tropea, saxophonist Randy Brecker, and trumpet player Michael Brecker. New songs include the title track and Gardenia Talk, while covers include Smokey Robinson’s Ooo Baby Baby.
Streets of Sin - Joe Ely
Joe Ely is a member of an elite group of Texas songwriters that includes Butch Hancock (who wrote two of the songs on this 2003 set) and Jimmy Dale Gilmore, often framing his songs with a rough and rowdy roadhouse sound. He is accompanied on this set by a tough ensemble that includes guitarist Rob Gjersoe, accordion player Joel Guzman, and drummer Rafael Gayol, in a set of songs that often tell of the struggles of people at the edge of society.
Live! The Loom's Desire - Laura Nyro
For many years, Laura Nyro played an annual Christmas concert at The Bottom Line in New York, backed only by her piano and backing singers. This two-album set features the best of her 1993 and 1994 concerts, with many of her best-known songs (And When I Die, made famous by Blood, Sweat and Tears, and Wedding Bell Blues, a hit for the Fifth Dimension) as well as gems like as Trees of the Ages/Emmie and her new song Angel in the Dark. Laura’s soulful vocals shine in this spare setting.
Polkatharsis - Brave Combo
From Denton, Texas, Brave Combo is known for their delightful mashup of world music dance styles. On Polkatharsis, their 1987 debut album for Rounder Records, they focus strictly on polka, played both with reverence and with a tongue-in-cheek glee that makes the music fun and accessible even to non-polka fans. Their sources here are from all over the map, from the traditional Crazy Serbian Butcher’s Dance to the German composition Happy Wanderer to the Polish-American Who Stole the Keeshka?
What's Good for You - Treat Her Right
Treat Her Right, which took its name from a 1960s Roy Head hit, was a raw-boned blues-rock quartet from Boston, fronted by Mark Sandman, who later achieved success with the band Morphine, and David Champagne. On this 1991 Rounder release, which followed their two major label releases, the band balances original songs with covers written by Buck Owens, Willie Dixon, Bob Dylan, and the Rolling Stones.
Girl - Tiny Tim with Brave Combo
Perhaps unfairly perceived as strictly a novelty act for his 1970s rendition of Tiptoe Though the Tulips, Tiny Tim was a student of American popular song and a gifted if idiosyncratic song interpreter. In 1996, he finally met his musical match with the Texas band Brave Combo, who share his wide-ranging enthusiasm and give him sympathetic backup, achieving a Tom Waits-like state of grace. Songs range from the Beatles title track, to Tin Pan Alley standards, to a heartfelt Over the Rainbow.
Too Many Santas! - The Bobs
At the leading edge of the a cappella music renaissance, The Bobs offer an album of deftly arranged Christmas and clever parodies of non-holiday songs that often veer on comedy—a perfect holiday soundtrack. Included are rearrangements of James Brown (Santa’s Got a Brand New Bag/Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag) and Albert King (Mrs. Claus Wants Some Lovin’/Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin’) and Rasta Reindeer, to the tune of the Beach Boys’ Little Saint Nick.
Paintin' the Town Brown - Ween
In the tradition of Frank Zappa, the duo of Dean and Gene Ween pushed the boundaries of pop music and alternative rock into a world of outrageous satire, with the wide-ranging musical vision to pull it off. Paintin' the Town Brown, originally released as a 2 CD set, brings together live recordings made between 1990 and 1998, including the songs Cover It With Gas and Set It On Fire, Mushroom Festival in Hell and songs from their country-leaning tour with Bobby Ogdin and the Shit Creek Boys.