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Pleasure principles

King Sunny Adé still brings the beats
King Sunny Adé's music is bubbly as a tonic — a percolating, pop-infused update of the traditional Yoruba sound. "My songs are made to lift worries, so people can be happy and dance their troubles away," declares the 62-year-old Nigerian world-music star.
By: TED DROZDOWSKI  |  July 10, 2009


Head with wings

Remembering Morphine’s Mark Sandman
Mark Sandman died with his boots on. Or at least the rock-and-roll equivalent of the Old West gunfighter’s epitaph.
By: TED DROZDOWSKI  |  July 06, 2009


Levon Helm | Electric Dirt

Dirt Farmer Music/Vanguard
Helm's 2007 Dirt Farmer won the Best Traditional Folk Album Grammy for its acoustic arrangements of songs plucked from the Delta soil of the Band drummer and singer's rural Arkansas youth.
By: TED DROZDOWSKI  |  June 23, 2009

Steven Wright | I Have a Pony

Warner Bros. (2009)
"I used to be a parking attendant in Boston at Logan Airport. I parked jets. They let me go, though, 'cause I kept locking the keys in them."
By: TED DROZDOWSKI  |  June 09, 2009


Easy Star All-Stars | Easy Star's Lonely Hearts Dub Band

Easy Star (2009)
A dub-wise version of the Beatles' classic album seems a novelty concept, but this madly entertaining disc is a buoyant tribute to the flexibility of the Fab Four's open-ended vision of pop, as well as the low-tech sonic trickery perfected in Jamaica's famed Studio One.
By: TED DROZDOWSKI  |  May 12, 2009


King Wilkie | King Wilkie Presents: The Wilkie Family Singers

Dead Oceans (2009)
Today, "risk" is less popular than George W. Bush, but this former Virginia band — now in NYC — are rolling the dice hard.
By: TED DROZDOWSKI  |  April 28, 2009


Various artist | Chicago Blues: A Living History

Raisin (2009)
The first two generations of electric Chicago blues are either dead or on the endangered list, but this double-disc set proves the style still has teeth and claws.
By: TED DROZDOWSKI  |  April 14, 2009


Ramblin' Jack Elliott | A Stranger Here

Anti- (2009)
The country-blues songbook as written by Son House, Blind Willie Johnson, Mississippi John Hurt, and Charley Patton seems like natural, if previously unexplored, territory for this folk legend.
By: TED DROZDOWSKI  |  March 30, 2009


Diana Krall | Quiet Nights

Verve (2009)
Jazz as the language of love is the theme of this hitmaker's 12th album, an achingly pretty tribute to the spirit, pace, and sound of the bossa nova.
By: TED DROZDOWSKI  |  March 23, 2009


Holy rollers

The Blind Boys of Alabama and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band
The double bill of the Blind Boys of Alabama and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band at Symphony Hall on Friday is a match made in New Orleans.
By: TED DROZDOWSKI  |  March 24, 2009

Soul survivors

A short list of gospel essentials
Gospel recordings go back to the 1920s, the beginning of commercial recording.
By: TED DROZDOWSKI  |  March 23, 2009


Roots of spring

Homegrown recordings from Boston and beyond
Homegrown recordings from Boston and beyond
By: TED DROZDOWSKI  |  March 18, 2009


Shemekia Copeland | Never Going Back

Telarc (2009)
Telarc (2009)
By: TED DROZDOWSKI  |  February 18, 2009


Griot act

Malian performer Rokia Traoré breaks through with Tchamantché
Some albums are extraordinary because they capture their time. Others are great because they transcend it.
By: TED DROZDOWSKI  |  February 12, 2009


Review: Matthew Stubbs's Soul Bender

VizzTone (2009)
This solo debut is a departure from Stubbs's regular gig playing guitar for blues great Charlie Musselwhite.
By: TED DROZDOWSKI  |  January 27, 2009


Review: Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison

Legacy Edition
Early rocker turned country icon Cash hit California's Folsom like a lightning bolt on January 13, 1968, delivering two raw shows to a captive audience.
By: TED DROZDOWSKI  |  December 09, 2008


A small, good thing

Fred Frith and Cosa Brava try songs for a change
It's no surprise that Fred Frith, who's one of the world's leading improvising musicians and a wildly inventive composer, would form a group called Cosa Brava.
By: TED DROZDOWSKI  |  December 09, 2008


Fast-breaking music

You heard it here first
WFNX has always been a maverick radio station.
By: TED DROZDOWSKI  |  December 03, 2008


Ani DiFranco | Red Letter Year

Righteous Babe (2008)
This is DiFranco’s most sophisticated album, a musical convergence of her best qualities: warm singing, graceful writing, experimentation.
By: TED DROZDOWSKI  |  September 23, 2008


Mix nuts

An interview with breakout roots-music production stars the Tremolo Twins
Pop music has a history of great production teams.
By: TED DROZDOWSKI  |  September 23, 2008


Interview: Dick Smothers

Mom always liked him best
The Smothers Brothers have spent 50 years in funny business.
By: TED DROZDOWSKI  |  September 17, 2008

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