"Slavicsky's Smorgasbord"

by Al Slavicsky

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Steven Curtis Chapman - SIGNS OF LIFE

Sparrow Records
If you enjoy Bob Dylan, The Wallflowers, or Hootie and the Blowfish, check out this release by Steven Curtis Chapman. Remarkable Chapman captures some of the best sounding spiritual folk tunes ever recorded since Bob Dylan was doing "Knocking on Heavenís Door" and other spiritual numbers during the early í70s. Sweetly, Chapman enhances the light on such numbers as "Celebrate You," "The Walls," and "Land of Opportunity." A release for everybody who wants to rejoice and have a good time and sing along.


Tangible Music
In the vein of what Greenwich Village had in the late 1960s and early 1970s comes along the punkish American cow soul sound of Jimís Big Ego. This CD has its high and low points, so I will focus on its high points only. "Bite Me (Hard)" is your tradition sucks song. "Butthead" is a great chant about you being a butthead of your own life, and yes, Beavis is mentioned in the line "I watch too much MTV so I guess that I am a Butthead." "Vandal" is a song about mischievous youth. No big ego here -- just good music and fun.


Starpool Records/Epic Records
Impressive release which should make a major impact in the music world. Save Ferris does a punkish ska similar to No Doubt but much more danceable and groovelike. Monique Powell's vocals soothe and melt away your heart in the way she delivers the words over the strong musicianship of the band, especially Bill Uechi's bass, Brian Mashburn's guitars, Mark Harismendy's bone breaking drums, and the band's horn section of Eric Zamora (sax), T-Bone Willy (trombone), and Jose Castellanos (trumpet). Classic cuts include "Under 21," "Lies," and their cover of Dexy's Midnight Runners' "Come On Eileen." Skank for fun with Save Ferris.


MCA Records
Despite the semi-controversial track "Barbie Girl," due to its so-called references to the world famous doll of the same name but, in fact, the song is a social commentary about how the world is so plastic and materialistic, this album is a great techno-dance oriented compact disc. Besides "Barbie Girl," other standouts include "Lollipop (Candyman)" and a song which is destined to be remixed -- "Good Morning Sunshine," with its intense, breaklike beats.


Adelphi Records/Gene's Blues Vault
Originally recorded in July 1978, this album highlights the unique country style "blues yodel" of the late "Harmonica" Frank Floyd, who had recorded on such legendary record labels such as Chess Records and Sun Records only to get lost in the shuffle with these labels. Most of the music is raw and unadulterated while maintaining its unique sound, especially on "Shampoo," which is a dirty little ditty which even today's newer generation can relate to. Historic recordings for a blues fan.

NOTE: Due to space constraints, the following reviews were not included in the print edition of GEOFF WILBUR'S RENEGADE NEWSLETTER. These reviews are only available here in the online edition.

Amazing Royals Crowns - THE AMAZING ROYAL CROWNS

Amazing Royal Crowns/Kingdom Records
Punkabilly is what the Amazing Royal Crowns do, and they do it in such a killer manner that Johnny Brunette, Carl Perkins, and the Stray Cats jump for joy. Fourteen tracks of boppin' and rockin' on tunes such as "1965 G.T.O.," "Swimming In Drinks," and the bombshell satan rocker "Do the Devil," presented in the raw retro 1950s sound. The Colonel's guitar playing is rapid R&R swinging with Jack Swinger's heavy upright bass and the beatlike drums of Super Nate enhancing King Kendall's powerful vocals. Punkers, greasers, and rockers will think this is amazing from this royal court.

Juice Bros. - JUICE BROS. 12" EP

Skunk Records
Long Beach, California punk with tons of beer-infested overtones. These drunk-infested punks deliver five ripping tunes -- "13 and Fat," "Juiced," "Joe," "Hiddeous," and "Clambake" -- which prove that the true spirit of punk is not dead and exploited. Juice Bros. pop pills, piss off people, drink beer, and get violent. Kind of the Flyboyz, Germs, or Black Flag modernized for the gangster style of the 1990s. Best original punk release out in some time. Can't get this off my turntable, for it melted right to it.

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