A quick glance at the heading tells the knowledgeable reader that most of what we have here are well-known lollipops. They exist in literally hundreds of recordings. Everybody will have his/her favourite pieces played by one or several of the violin greats through the last eight decades. The reissue of this twenty-year-old recital at budget price poses the question: is it worth adding yet another collection? The answer should be an unequivocal “Yes!”, since Chung is one of the stars of fairly recent times. Even before putting the disc in the CD player one knows that these will be technically impeccable readings, played with great musicality, refinement and commitment – elegant but never bland.
Goodnight Vienna was very much a follow-up to Ringo, on which Ringo Starr called upon his bevy of musical buddies. Most prominent among them was John Lennon, who again wrote the leadoff track, "(It's All Da-Da-Down To) Goodnight Vienna," and played on three songs; also included are Elton John, who wrote and played on "Snookeroo," Dr. John, Billy Preston, Robbie Robertson, and Harry Nilsson. Richard Perry again produced, bringing his strong pop sensibility to the diverse material. The only real fall-off was in the songwriting; the album's Top Ten hits were "Only You," the old Platters song, and Hoyt Axton's novelty number "No No Song," which winked at intoxicants, but little else on the set stood out. Goodnight Vienna was another enjoyable Ringo record, but it lacked the star power and consistency of its predecessor. Still, compared to the rest of his '70s albums, it was a masterpiece.
Ringo Starr kicks off Give More Love, his 18th studio album of new material, with "We're on the Road Again," an ode to the working musician that effectively summarizes the third act of his career. Following the formation of the All-Starr Band, Ringo has stuck to a regular schedule of tours and albums that pop up every two or three years. Paul McCartney shows up every so often, as he does on Give More Love, singing and playing on "We're on the Road Again" – a cameo that provides a promotional hook for its initial release, but doesn't drastically change the sound of the album. Starr remains fond of late-period Beatles, goosed with a bit of arena rock volume, and since he's working with a group of well-seasoned pros, this guitar pop is all well crafted and amiable.
Most of this CD is the complete output by Curtis Mosby & His Dixieland Blue Blowers, one of the top jazz bands active in Los Angeles in the 1920s. Although the soundtrack from its appearance in the 1929 movie Hallelujah is not here, this disc has the first-time release of two numbers from a scratchy 1924 test pressing. Otherwise, the eight selections and four alternate takes from 1927-1929 are full of spirit and strong musicianship, with highlights including "Weary Stomp," "Whoop 'Em Up Blues," "Blue Blower's Blues," "Hardee Stomp," and three versions of "Tiger Stomp."
Kay Starr was always a very underrated jazz singer. Because she had a few pop hits and gained a major name in the 1950s, Starr is often overlooked in the jazz world, but most of her vintage records are well worth investigating. This particular out-of-print LP from around 1957 (the date is approximate) features her backed by a string section arranged by Van Alexander. Although most of the songs have to deal with love, the emphasis is on ballads and the strings are heavy in spots, Starr gives a jazz feeling to each of her dozen interpretations. As usual, in spots she sounds eerily close to Dinah Washington. Highlights include "You Always Hurt the One You Love," "Don't Take Your Love from Me," "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone" and "Into Each Rain Some Rain Must Fall." Superior singing.
With Ringo, Ringo Starr finally put his solo career in gear in 1973, after serving notice with back-to-back Top Ten singles in 1971 and 1972 that he had more to offer than his eccentric first two solo albums. Ringo was a big-budget pop album produced by Richard Perry and featuring Ringo's former Beatles bandmates as songwriters, singers, and instrumentalists…