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VISCERAL CANDY – Visceral Candy feat. Tim Stiles LP + All The Rest EP + By Qreepz EP

Album: Visceral Candy feat. Tim Stiles LP+ All The Rest EP + By Qreepz EP

Artist: Visceral Candy

Label: self-released

Release Date: November 18, 2016

www.visceralcandy.bandcamp.com / www.timstilesmusic.com

The Upshot: Indie rock, dark pop, and hip-hop get mashed up inna Seattle stylee.

BY FRED MILLS

If you peer closely at the Bandcamp tags accompanying this collaboration between Seattle-based indie rockers Visceral Candy (primarily Seth Swift, plus input from Ian Hernandez and Josh Street) and hip-hop MC Tim Stiles (also of Seattle, and frontman for Passion Party), you’ll spot terms such as “dark pop,” “electronic,” “rock & roll,” “a cappella,” “Asian instruments,” and, er, “dogs.” Make what you will of those categories, but they do suggest a musical approach that is anything but staid or traditional.

Visceral Candy feat. Tim Stiles is an ambitious project which does indeed blend disparate styles while remaining a riot of accessibility for modern ears. A perfect example is “Plastic Sleep,” in which Stiles unleashes a rapid-fire barrage of snarky, at times politically-fueled beat manifestoes against a backdrop of jittery, arpeggiated guitar/keyboard riffage and a funk-reggae rhythm; devotees of British post-punkers The Pop Group will find common ground with American hip-hop here. Elsewhere one also hears sonic overtones of Talking Heads, Death Grips, Radiohead, George Clinton, and the Beach Boys—some amazing vocal harmonies pop up here and there—although the musicians cloak their specific influences so adroitly that it would be folly to assert the prominence of one over another. Pay close attention to the snarky “Coffee & Cigarettes” and its sister track “Cigarettes & Coffee” and you’ll see what I mean.

The album, incidentally, is available both digitally and on limited edition colored vinyl (250 copies, with 21 different color combinations inserted randomly in the sleeves).

Meanwhile, Swift is apparently a busy and industrious gentleman, as he has released two Visceral Candy digital EPs since the LP dropped late last year. All The Rest, a six-songer, features Stiles and another one of Swift’s collaborators, Jay Battles, guesting on the track “Nancy Killers”; Battles also appears on “Mud.” And the seven-song. By Qreepz comprises remixes of selected V.C. tracks, including several from the 2016 full-length Both My Dogs Died So I Wrote This Album. One imagines that by the time you finish reading this review, Swift will have another track or two stashed safely away.

DOWNLOAD: “Plastic Sleep,” “Clown Shoes,” “Coffee & Cigarettes”

 

JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE – Kids in The Street

Album: Kids in The Street

Artist: Justin Townes Earle

Label: New West

Release Date: May 26, 2017

www.NewWestRecords.com

The Upshot: Never one to shy away from excising his personal demons via song, Earle is just as honest and confessional here as he’s ever been.

BY JOHN B. MOORE

Capping off his trilogy of albums about family (2014’s Single Mothers and 2015’s Absent Fathers), Kids in The Streets is just as charming and powerful as its predecessors.

A soon-to-be-father, Earle – never one to shy away from excising his personal demons via song – is just as honest and confessional here as he’s ever been. And surprisingly, despite songs like “What She’s Crying For” and the prison bound ditty “15-25,” the album is surprisingly positive. The nostalgic title track and the upbeat “What’s Going Wrong,” find Earle almost singing through a smile.

There are a lot of firsts on this album: It’s his first for New West Records; He traveled to Omaha to record, rather than sticking with his regular turf in Nashville; and despite this being his seventh record, it’s the first one where Earle looked outside his regular crew for a producer. While this is very much an Earle affair the extra help from Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, Jenny Lewis) brings added depth to the music here.

The record closes with the beautiful, “There Go a Fool,” complete with soft horns and a pessimist’s take on optimism, which is exactly what you’d expect from Earle – cautious hopefulness.

 DOWNLOAD: “What She’s Crying For,” “15-25” and “There Go a Fool”

 

GOSPELBEACH – Another Summer of Love

Album: Another Summer of Love

Artist: GospelbeacH

Label: Alive Natural Sound

Release Date: June 16, 2017

www.alive-records.com

The Upshot: Harmony-strewn sunshine pop and elegantly jangling psychedelia for your perfect summer soundtrack.

BY FRED MILLS

Amid all the present-day lauding of the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, it’s easy to forget that those steamylazycrazysexycool days of ’67 did not constitute a single discrete event—they were a collective state of mind. This matters, because one cannot recreate an event; by definition, it’s past, and it will remain in the past. (Just ask the people who misguidedly thought Woodstock ‘94—and, incredibly, the subsequent Woodstock ‘99—would be a good idea.)

You can conjure mental spaces, however, and for my money, the sophomore GospelbeacH album is not only perfectly titled, it’s a study in both perfect conception and perfect execution. For starters, examine the album cover: A young girl kneels beside her suitcase, gazing wistfully out a motel window, pondering the morning sunlight and what the remainder of her journey will hold. Flip the record sleeve over, and there’s the girl again, now attired in a bathing suit and floppy hat to shield her delicate pale features from the sun, standing on the shore, staring at the sea. Yes, of course it’s the Pacific coast shoreline, in all its promised-now-delivered allure. Another summer of love awaits her, and GospelbeacH will be her soundtrack.

The band’s debut album, 2015’s Pacific Surf Line, wasn’t shy about its Cali worship; two of GospelbeacH founder Brent Rademaker’s other groups, psychedelic warriors The Tyde and mystic Americana wranglers Beachwood Sparks, have shared similar sentiments. But Another Summer of Love is a remarkable achievement unto itself, brimming with such instantly memorable sunshine pop delights as “In The Desert” (with its jangly, warm chords, and breathy harmonies, it’s a sleek marriage of Byrds and Hollies) and “Sad Country Boy” (all 12-string, humming organ, and Mamas & Papas vocals). From the former track:

“In the desert there’s a thousand things I want to say to you
Stretched across the river run where the waters once flowed through
The sunlight on our faces
The pictures rolling by
In the desert there’s a thousand things I want to say to you…”

Even a nominally “darker” tune like the minor chord-powered psychedelia of “Strange Days” can’t help but feel ultimately optimistic as its protagonist works through a state of disorientation; when a trip ends, of course, a new beginning looms.

And if there’s a more perfect song for the Summer of ’17 than “Hangin’ On,” I don’t want to know about it. Here, Rademaker and his gang (which includes Jason Soda abetting Rademaker on guitars and vocals, Jonny Niemann on piano, organ, and mellotron, and Rademaker’s co-songwriter Trevor Beld Jiminez; plus a host of guests from the Beachwood Sparks, Wilco, and Eels extended families) have crafted a timeless tune destined to be on mixtapes throughout the hot months and beyond. It opens with a brusque chordal flourish, the rhythm section confidently laying down the path ahead on a heartbeat pulse, and then we’re off, a sonic starburst of guitars, keys, and harmonies, all melodic urgency and lyrical yearning:

“Hey baby what you running for?
There ain’t nobody chasing you no more
I turned around and you were miles away
You stole my heart and you got away with it.”

Yes, that is indeed a Springsteenian piano riff, and yes, that is indeed a Tom Pettyish guitar solo, each populating the tune. GospelbeacH knows how to take the good parts of classic rock and ignore the overwrought ones. As the song nears its conclusion, Rademaker nears his, too. Initially uncertain, he’s now prepared to make a leap of faith: “I’m hangin’ on, hangin’ on, but I’m ready to let go.” It’s a breathtakingly beautiful song.

Welcome to your own Summer of Love, kids. Make the most of it, because it will be fleeting. But with GospelbeacH as your summer soundtrack, it will be memorable. Perfectly elegant, at that.

Consumer Note: Talk about going the extra mile. The band and its label have conspired to create one of the most beautiful slabs of colored vinyl you’ll likely come across this summer (or, for that matter, the entire year). And in addition to the eye candy that is the sunburst splatter LP, the limited edition LP also comes with a bonus blue vinyl 7”, “Dreamin’” b/w “Change of Heart.” Life is sweet.

DOWNLOAD: “Hangin’ On,” “In the Desert,” “Strange Days,” “I Don’t Wanna Lose You”

VARIOUS – Easy Rider OST + KIDS OST (LPs)

Album: Easy Rider OST + KIDS OST (LPs)

Artist: VARIOUS ARTISTS

Label: Geffen/MVDaudio + Island/MVDaudio

Release Date: February 24, 2017

http://www.mvdaudio.com/

The Upshot: A pair of fascinating aural period snapshots, one from the hippie era and the other from the middle of the alt-rock explosion.

BY MICHAEL TOLAND

Youth culture changes over the decades, but someone will come along and exploit it no matter the era. Easy Rider (1969) and Kids (1995) come from such different sensibilities as to seem to be from two different planets, but the sex, drugs and rock & roll – mostly drugs – ethos provides a connecting thread. The films have become iconic for different generations (no matter how little either may actually hold up on viewing decades later), and MVDaudio makes the argument that the soundtracks have as well – hence these colored vinyl reissues.

Long considered the ultimate counter-culture film of the 1960s (at least by those who watched the counter culture from a distance), Easy Rider boasted a soundtrack that, like rock soundtracks today, mixed known quantities with up-and-comers, and popularized songs now considered classics. The Steppenwolf two-fer that opens the album made staples out of “Born to Be Wild” and, to a lesser extent, Hoyt Axton’s “The Pusher.”  The set also introduced the world to the Roger McGuinn/Bob Dylan co-write “Ballad of Easy Rider,” performed here in a solo acoustic version by McGuinn. (His band the Byrds would release a full-band take as a single the next year.) The rest is a mishmash of sixties folk and acid rock, from the sublime (the Byrds’ “Wasn’t Born to Follow”) to the dated (Fraternity of Man’s “Don’t Bogart Me,” AKA “Don’t Bogart That Joint”) to the ridiculous (the Holy Modal Rounders’ “If You Want to Be a Bird,” the Electric Prunes’ “Kyrie Eleison”). Jimi Hendrix’s “If Six Was Nine” and a cover of the Band’s “The Weight,” re-recorded by the band Smith when the original couldn’t be licensed, also appear. With its best (and worst) tracks easily available elsewhere, the Easy Rider soundtrack mainly serves as a curio for devotees of its era, though diehards who want this edition will be rewarded with beautiful clear vinyl. (Not to mention we refugees from the counterculture who were on hand to watch the film in theaters when it originally came out! –Freak Flag Ed.)

Written by Harmony Korine and directed by Larry Clark, both of them infamous for exploring cultural pockets with elusive moral centers, Kids arrived in the middle of the alt.rock nineties, just as grunge was fading, indie rock rising and the vapidity of “modern rock radio” hadn’t yet calcified. Supervised by Dinosaur Jr./Sebadoh’s Lou Barlow and mostly performed by the Folk Implosion, his side project with John Davis, the soundtrack reflects the transition. Though over half of the cuts come from the Davis/Barlow factory, the duo jumps all over the place stylistically just like a collection of various artists. Hence the trip-hop grooves of “Simean Groove,” “Wet Stuff” and “Nothing’s Gonna Stop,” the plaintive folk of “Spoiled” (performed by Sebadoh), the catchy indie pop of the hit “Natural One” and the vein-bulging screamcore of “Daddy Never Understood.” Interestingly, instrumental underscores like “Crash” and “Jenny’s Theme” prove the most compelling material twenty-two years on. Barlow breaks up the monopoly with Lo-Down’s “Mad Fright Night” (the only one of the film’s many hip-hop songs to survive), pioneering indie rock act Slint’s epic “Good Morning Captain” and a pair of tracks from pop savant Daniel Johnston, both dedicated to cartoon character Caspar. Perhaps by virtue of it being both younger and less popular, Kids sound fresher than Easy Rider, though not even “Natural One” is as iconic as the best tracks from the sixties relic. Obsessives for the film will want this, especially with its brightly colored wax; the rest may just want to cherrypick on Spotify.

DOWNLOAD: “Wasn’t Born to Follow,” “Ballad of Easy Rider,” “Nothing’s Gonna Stop”

 

 

PAINT FUMES – If It Ain’t Paint Fumes It Ain’t Worth a Huff

Album: If It Ain’t Paint Fumes It Ain’t Worth a Huff

Artist: Paint Fumes

Label: Get Hip

Release Date: September 16, 2016

www.gethip.com

The Upshot: Scuzzy garage, classic punk, and blazing surf that’s drenched in more echo than you can shake a distortion pedal at.

BY FRED MILLS

Better late than never: Though the latest album from Charlotte, NC, scuzz/garage-core appeared last fall, yours truly must admit to being rather late to the table—something hereby rectified.

A no-nonsense guitar/bass/drums outfit, Paint Fumes describe themselves as “panic attack punk,” and that’s pretty apt, as one hears plenty of Sympathy, In the Red, Goner, Burger, and Get Hip panic scattered throughout these tidy ten songs. (That they currently call Get Hip home is no accident; they also previously recorded for the Slovenly label, if you’re sifting for additional clues as to what makes ‘em tick.) The set kicks off with “Bad Rituals,” a kind of Dead Boys-revving-into-overdrive number, and that’s quickly followed by “Brick Wall,” which is cut from vintage Nuggets cloth (think The Litter’s “Action Woman” rammed through a bank of distortion boxes). Things really get moving, however, a few tracks later on “Puddle of Blood”: following a twangy Latin-guitar intro, the band erects a massive wall of sound, equal parts surf-rock and punk-blooze and drenched in so much echo you’d swear that the aforementioned sonic structure was constructed with the express purpose of permanently walling Phil Spector and Martin Hannett into the crawlspace behind the living room.

Elsewhere there are nods to the Ramones (the rifftastic “Weird Walking”) and classic hardcore (thrash along with “Tunnel Vision”), plus more Nuggets worship (on “Planetary Plans” vocalist Elijah von Cramon perfects his punk-‘tude sneer, additionally channeling the late Stiv Bators once again). All in all, If It Ain’t Paint Fumes It Ain’t Worth a Huff is the best party-starter – and stopper, because the neighbors will definitely be calling the cops – I’ve heard all year. Bonus points for the awesome Stiff Records logo and title homage.

Consumer Note: It’s also available in “puke swirl” colored vinyl. You know you want it.

DOWNLOAD: “Puddle of Blood,” “Brick Wall,” “Planetary Plans”

DESERTSHORE – Arc of An Arrow Blind

Album: Arc of An Arrow Blind

Artist: Desertshore

Label: Darkan

Release Date: June 02, 2017

http://desertshoreband.com/

The Upshot: A set of wordless tunes from the Bay Area jazzers that emphasize mood and melody, rather than improvisation or firepower.

BY MICHAEL TOLAND

Recording instrumental music live in the studio is usually the province of jazz musicians, but don’t tell that to Desertshore. For the San Francisco band’s fifth LP Arc of An Arrow Blind, guitarist Phil Carney, keyboardist Chris Connolly and drummer Mike Wells partner with violinist Benjamin Powell and bassist Erik Kertes for a set of wordless tunes that emphasize mood and melody, rather than improvisation or firepower.

Carney favors a pedal steel-like tone, letting his carefully chosen notes resonate like a vibraphone. The classically-trained Connolly’s piano provides the tracks’ foundation, setting the tone and mood. Wells and Kertes make their presence known almost subliminally, while Powell contributes textures, rather than flowing single-note lines. “Floating,” “Sky Drifter” and “To Cross This Great Expanse” come across like ethereal soundtrack music to a film about an inner journey, remaining just compelling enough to be more than background sound.

It almost sounds like new age music, and a track like “Afterimages (Behind Your Eyes)” might well appeal to that crowd. But there’s something more substantial going on that makes Desertshore more than mere aural wallpaper.

DOWNLOAD: “Sky Drifter,” “To Cross This Great Expanse,” “Floating”

 

 

JAMIE & STEVE – Sub Textural EP

Album: Sub Textural

Artist: Jamie & Steve

Label: Loaded Goat

Release Date: July 01, 2017

www.jamieandsteve.net / www.store.cdbaby.com/cd/jamieandsteve4

The Upshot: Pure pop for ‘tones people: intricate, compelling rock and psych as pioneered by the masters.

BY FRED MILLS

Andy Partridge and Paul McCartney walk into a bar, and… Hey, it could happen. But why await a report on that fantasy summit when we have the real-life equivalent, the fifth Jamie & Steve record (and followup to 2014’s Circling). Anyone who’s followed the two North Carolina rockers will already know that the Partridge and McCartney nods aren’t random, for as one-half of the Spongetones, Jamie Hoover and Steve Stoeckel have been responsible for some of the best Brit-flavored pop and rock to come of of The States for nearly four decades.

The XTC vibe kicks off the record, in fact, with the cinematic psychedelia of “Sword of Love,” a swirling, kaleidoscopic, nigh-on immersive cornucopia of sounds and textures. That’s followed by “It’s All Because of You” which, with its peppy ukulele (possibly mandolin) riff and sweetly-textured vocal crooning, could be a long-lost outtake from Sir Paul’s second studio album, Ram (unless I miss my guess, there’s a direct nod to that record’s “Ram On” that pops up in “IABOY”). The stomping, raucous “In a Little Tango” aims to catch the listener off-guard via a succession of stylistic twists, one moment a Bonham-type thump, then a sizzling guitar solo, and then a neo-baroque flourish. And finally, “Cry” cues up, an utterly infectious contemporary take on multi-part doo-wop as filtered through the pair’s signature Merseybeat lens—the Spongetones caught in joyous reverie down on the corner under a streetlight’s glow.

All six numbers are immaculately-crafted tunes, all, bringing together influences both disparate and expected while demonstrating an uncommon mastery of the arrangement process. Sub Textural amounts to an aural feast that reveals its intricacies and mysteries over multiple spins, the kind of record destined to intrigue and inspire fans and musicians alike. Perhaps in a record review at some unspecified point in the future, a writer will be inspired to pen the phrase, “Jamie and Steve walk into a bar….” Hmmm?

DOWNLOAD: “Cry,” “Sword of Love”

ARTHUR LEE & LOVE – Complete Forever Changes Live

Album: Complete Forever Changes Live

Artist: Arthur Lee & Love

Label: Rockbeat

Release Date: May 05, 2017

rockbeatrecords.com

BY LEE ZIMMERMAN

The late Arthur Lee was one of rock’s more tragic figures. Under-appreciated despite the groundbreaking efforts made with his band Love, one of the first interracial ensembles of the early ‘60s and one of the few that held high aspirations in the era of flower power and patchouli that marked the mid to late ‘60s, his tangles with the law and failure to follow up those early exceptional outings created a pattern of despair and disappointment.

Happily, once Lee finished his five year prison stint for unlawful use of a firearm, he was ready to resume his efforts under the Love branding. Sadly, two of the band’s original members, Bryan MacLean and Ken Forssi, had died during his incarceration, making a reunion of the original band impossible. He then recruited the band Baby Lemonade and embarked on a new phase of the band’s trajectory, mostly replaying past glories. A revisit to the band’s unsung masterpiece Forever Changes — an album that deserves inclusion on the same iconic plateau as Sgt. Pepper, Days Of Future Past and Smiley Smile — was offered on various occasions including as part of the U.K.‘s far reaching Glastonbury Festival from where this newly performance has been newly unearthed.

Recorded in 2003, the then-25 year old album sounds as fresh and vital as ever, thanks to the precise reproduction of the album’s intricate chamber pop arrangements. Songs such as “Alone Again Or,” “Andmoreagain,” “Maybe the People Would Be the Times,” and “The Daily Planet” still possess the power to take one’s breath away, each sweeping in their elegance and elegiac tones. Those that recall these magnificent melodies as part of the soundtrack of their memories will rejoice in the revisit, while newcomers may find themselves stunned at the artistry and imagination that Lee revelled in early on.

This performance ought to have easily qualified as one of the landmark events of the year, perhaps not as wildly hailed as Brian Wilson’s dual celebrations of Smiley Smile or Pet Sounds, but no less significant regardless. When, on “The Red Telephone,” Lee insists “I want my freedom” it’s apparent that after all he endured, he relished the fact that he was finally allowed to be unleashed.  When Leukemia claimed his life three years later, his immortality was already assured.

DOWNLOAD: “Alone Again Or,” “Andmoreagain,” “Maybe the People Would Be the Times,”

 

THE CAIRO GANG – Untouchable

Album: Untouchable

Artist: Cairo Gang

Label: Drag City

Release Date: March 24, 2017

www.dragcity.com

The Upshot: Though solid throughout, it suggests the more random approach suits Emmett Kelly and his fans.

BY JOHN SCHACHT

In 2015, Emmett Kelly and The Cairo Gang released Goes Missing, an LP spotlighting the songwriter/guitarist’s considerable power pop chops. Some tracks were so spot on (try “Be What You Are”) they read like master classes in the jangly power pop idiom—Big Star and Teenage Fanclub comparisons didn’t seem nearly as strained as they usually do.

There’s nothing quite as earwig-y on this eight-song follow-up, which the publicity calls “a tesseract-like bridging of musical and emotional dimensions.” That’s longhand for saying tracks like “Broken Record,” a mid-tempo march that kicks off the new LP, connects to more British Invasion-inspired goodness—particularly, on this track, the Byrdsian 12-string solo. The title cut is a pleasant Merseybeat strummer with some mellotron on it, while “In the Heart of Her Heart” is a rippin’ two-minute rock ‘n’ roller the Yardbirds might’ve brought to the party.

Kelley’s vocals don’t hurt the British Invasion comparisons, either. He sounds like George Harrison singing with some of Gerry Marsden’s mannerisms on “Real Enough to Believe,” the LP’s best guitar jangle track, and “Let It Gain You,” which blends Syd Barrett-era Floyd verses with a bridge of vintage late ’60s Dead noodling (wisely kept under three minutes). Closer “What Can You Do?” continues the blending trend, sounding like Ian Hunter wrote a song for Badfinger.

That’s a pairing that doesn’t seem so out of place, but that’s not always the case here. The strangest moment on Untouchable has to be the schizophrenic “That’s When It’s Over,” a seven-minute mash-up where the musical “tesseracting” is impossible to miss. The song veers between riffs lifted from two 60s icons whose reputations—certainly in retrospect, at least—could use some detente. The track alludes to the Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane” chord progression, and even includes a brief spoken-word bridge a la the Rhino version of Loaded. It nods even more vociferously to the outro on Jimi Hendrix’s version of “Hey, Joe,” including swinging Mitch Mitchell-like drum fills.  Kelley really digs into these latter parts, offering scorching evidence why he’s an in-demand lead guitarist for artists as diverse as Will Oldham and Ty Segall. With repeat listens, the song even makes the odd juxtaposition of reference material recede into the background—though not quite enough to forget them entirely.

Goes Missing was, according to the PR, a pastiche from different sessions in different studios, and put together via “disembodied production” into an “irresistible pop whole.” Untouchable, on the other hand, was a conscious effort to mix shit up. Though solid throughout, without hooks like the best ones on Goes Missing, Untouchable suggests the more random approach suits Kelly and his fans better.

DOWNLOAD:  “Broken Record,” “Real Enough to Believe,” “What Can You Do?”

 

JACO PASTORIUS – Truth, Liberty & Soul

Album: Truth, Liberty & Soul

Artist: Jaco Pastorius

Label: Resonance/NPR Music

Release Date: May 26, 2017

http://www.resonancerecords.org

The Upshot: No barrel-scraping collection of effluvia, but a vital addition to the slim catalog of a genius. 

BY MICHAEL TOLAND

For a guy as innovative and influential as he is, jazz bassist Jaco Pastorius didn’t record much. He made a handful of Weather Report records, sure, and appeared as a session musician here and there, most notably with Joni Mitchell. But he made only three albums before his death, and only two of those were studio records. Most of his posthumous catalog has been live recordings, some originally captured without intent to release.

The double-disk Truth, Liberty & Soul is a live record as well, but it’s a magnificent find. Originally a concert broadcast on NPR in 1982, it finds Pastorius onstage in NYC with that city’s version of his big band, with whom he recorded his second solo album Word of Mouth. For a guy whose instrument was usually out front in any mix, it seemed odd that he would choose an ensemble with a large horn section capable of dominating any arrangement. But at this point in his career Pastorius was more interested in advancing his career as a composer and arranger than an instrumentalist, and he was happy to let his bandmates take center stage. And no wonder – the core group includes saxophonist Bob Mintzer, trumpeter Randy Brecker, percussionist Don Alias and drummer Peter Erskine, all leaders in their own right, and the big band is littered with names devotees of liner notes will recognize. Late harmonica wizard Toots Thielemans also arrives as a guest on some of the tracks.

With so many talents to direct, Pastorius ranges all over his musical map here. He makes full use of the horns on swinging versions of his compositions “Three Views of a Secret” and “Liberty City,” as well as his signature take on Charlie Parker’s (or Miles Davis’, depending on what annotation you read) “Donna Lee.” Minzter’s funky “Fonebone” concentrates on the core group. Pastorius strips down to himself, Erskine, Thielemans and steel pan player Othello Molineaux on Thielemans’ “Bluesette” and Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff.” He also duets with the harmonica with a playful version of Duke Ellington’s “Sophisticated Lady” and with Erskine on a wide-ranging rhythm section improv that includes snippets of “Purple Haze” and “America the Beautiful.” Pastorius even sings on the closing cover of Mighty Sam McClain’s “Fannie Mae.” It’s almost a laundry list of the music he enjoyed making, minus any jazz fusion.

Superbly performed, the show is recorded with perfect clarity by NPR’s engineers, and packaged with an extensive booklet of essays and photos. Truth, Liberty & Soul is no barrel-scraping collection of effluvia, but a vital addition to the slim catalog of a genius.

DOWNLOAD: “Three Views of a Secret,” “Donna Lee,” “Sophisticated Lady”