This is a deluxe box set including: Each individual item (complete opera or recital CD) presented in its original artwork, 136 pages hard-back book containing essays, a biography and chronology, rarely-seen photos and also reproductions of revealing correspondence between Maria Callas, Walter Legge and other EMI executives.
Bob James H was released in 1980 on his Tappan Zee imprint during his great run that began with Touchdown in 1978. Its immediate predecessor is the One on One duet album with Earl Klugh. James recorded it in the same way he'd been making records since joining CTI in the early 1970s: with a large, all-star studio group paired with a couple of top-flight soloists. The former group included trumpeter Jon Faddis, Randy Brecker, and Eddie Daniels; the latter features Grover Washington, Jr., Hiram Bullock, Airto Moreira, and Buddy Williams. Of course, hovering over everything is James' trademark piano, full of lovely if rote grooves and fills. The music revolves around breezy, easy themes and colorations, where the new contemporary (later, "smooth") jazz met lithe cinematic-style orchestral themes with some neat and tidy funk overtones. "Brighton by the Sea," with a tough soprano solo by Washington is a great example. Airto's hand percussion plays counterpoint to Williams drums, Gary King's deep, fretless, funk bassline holds the groove and Grover moves right into it, and then soars above it.
Bob James' most enduring recording is perhaps one of his least adventurous. Full of simple laid-back melodies, light, airy grooves, and quiet backdrops, it's a smooth jazz "masterpiece." It's an enduring part of his catalog and was the launch pad for many movie and television projects, and for a string of hit recordings for the Warner label in the 1970s, '80s, and '90s. In effect, it insured his financial security for the future. The set is notable for its heavyweight cast including David Sanborn, Ron Carter, Idris Muhammad, Steve Gadd, Eric Gale, Hubert Laws, and Earl Klugh. It also netted the monster hit "Angela (Theme from Taxi)," which continued to get airplay on smooth jazz stations into the 21st century. James is a highly developed pianist, arranger, and composer, and while the music here is as safe as milk, it nonetheless spoke to millions.
As far as major-label debuts by underground bands go, Green is fairly uncompromising. While it displays a more powerful guitar sound on "Get Up," "Turn You Inside Out," and "Orange Crush," it also takes more detours than Document, whether it's the bizarrely affecting contemporary folk of "The Wrong Child" and "You Are the Everything," the bubblegum of "Stand" and "Pop Song 89," or the introspection of the lovely "Hairshirt" and "World Leader Pretend." But instead of presenting a portrait of a band with a rich, eclectic vision, Green is incoherent. While its best moments are flat-out great, the band has bitten off more than it can chew; many of the songs sound like failed experiments, and its arena-ready production now sounds slightly dated. Nevertheless, half of the record is brilliant, and it certainly indicates that R.E.M. are continuing to diversify their sound.
The song "Keep on Tryin'" from Head Over Heels kicks off this two-fer of Poco albums (released in 1975 and 1976) and is a reasonable metaphor for the band's continued desire to break into the mainstream and enlarge what had been an appreciative but somewhat minor cult following. The quartet also relocated from the Epic label which had been home since their 1970 debut, to ABC (later MCA). With the business change came a burst of creativity, as the strong voices and songwriting skills of the Tim Schmit-Rusty Young-Paul Cotton creative nucleus dovetailed for a terrific set, shifting to a slightly more pop vein, while remaining firmly ensconced in the country, folk, and even bluegrass roots of their previous output. A cover of the rare Becker/Fagen composition "Dallas" (available only as a single before Steely Dan's full-length debut but not included on it) is an inspired choice. Paul Cotton blossomed as a songwriter with "Let Me Turn Back to You," a warm-up of sorts for "Heart of the Night," the track that three years later would ultimately provide the crossover hit they were searching for.
Rory was never a man to sit back and let the world slip by. The 70’s saw him release 10 albums in as many years, work with a great many of his heroes and tour the world. Although his recorded output in the 1980’s was more sporadic he still toured constantly, playing some of the first rock gigs behind the iron curtain as well as cementing his live reputation in Europe and the US. ‘Defender’ his third album of the 80’s, was the first release on his own label. Capo offered him the complete artistic freedom he needed, enabling him to produce the music as he wanted. He admitted “I’m not that organised, but I want anything that I’m doing to be under control, and I want the final say on things”.