Greg’s Grab Bag – David Mead/The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem/Chet Atkins and Les Paul
Greg’s Grab Bag
David Mead – Almost And Always
Following a 3-year hiatus, noted pop singer/songwriter David Mead is back with a new album scheduled for an August 25 release on Cheap Lullaby Records. Fans will find the wait to have been worthwhile because Almost And Always proves to be one of Mead’s finest albums.
The bulk of the 13 tracks on this somber and elegant collection were co-penned by Mead and Bill DeMain. The partnership pays big dividends with songs that examine the landscape of Mead’s new life after the end of his marriage.
Although Mead generally used full backing bands for previous studio sessions, the personal nature of these introspective songs called for simple arrangements with accompaniment by acoustic guitar, woodwinds and strings. This combination works throughout as the orchestral components swirl perfectly around Mead’s high and tender vocals.
With gorgeous songs like the title track, “Last Train Home” and “Blackberry Winters,” Almost And Always is an ideal soundtrack for a quiet evening at home.
The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem – In Person At Carnegie Hall: The Complete 1963 Concert
Even though we are now many months removed from St. Patrick’s Day, the spirit of Ireland has remained with me thanks in large part to the latest archival release from Legacy Recordings and The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem.
This fabulous 2-CD set captures a triumphant concert performance from these Irish folk legends at New York City’s venerable Carnegie Hall. While portions of the show have been released before, this set marks the first time the concert was made available in its entirety.
The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem enjoyed worldwide fame for their ability to present traditional and contemporary Irish folk songs with a healthy dose of humor and this set aptly demonstrates why that formula worked so well in a live setting. A large portion of the album’s 47 tracks come from the band members’ running dialogue between the songs – banter that both gives a historical perspective to the songs while also keeping the audience laughing.
Of particular note on this set are excellent renditions of classic Irish Drinking Songs like “A Jug Of Punch,” “Irish Rover,” “Galway Bay,” “The Parting Glass” and “Juice Of The Barley.”
Chet Atkins and Les Paul – Chester & Lester
Speaking of Legacy Recordings, the label reissued a classic album from Chet Atkins and Les Paul back in 2007 and I thought it was worth mentioning given the passing of Les Paul on August 13.
Recorded in 1975 and originally released in 1976, Chester & Lester is a truly special set because it not only marks Les Paul’s return to the studio following a lengthy break from recording, but it also captures two guitar masters at the top of their games enjoying a casual jam session together. Paul and Atkins’ varied styles complement each other perfectly as they traverse through a collection of standards including “It’s Been a Long, Long Time,” “Lover, Come Back To Me,” “Avalon” and “Caravan.”
The reissue, which includes 4 tracks that were not released on the original LP, is part of Legacy’s American Milestones series and is an excellent showcase of both Atkins and Paul’s legendary musical talents.
Until next time, enjoy the music!