SoundStage! Music Online Editor's Pick Archives
September/October 2002

The Hot Club of Cowtown - Ghost Train
HighTone HCD8147, 2002

Musical Performance
****
Recording Quality

***1/2*

Overall Enjoyment
****

One of the best things about reviewing music is crossing paths with a group you knew nothing about but whose music you grow to love. The Hot Club of Cowtown is such a group for me, their mixture of Western swing and jazz being a just-right musical amalgam and not merely an academic exercise in genre blending. The trio's fourth release for HighTone, Ghost Train, keeps the high-energy and highly creative backbone of previous releases intact, but it includes more original material and even some infectious vocal overdubbing on "Forget-Me-Nots." The Hot Club of Cowtown's playing -- Whit Smith on guitar, Elana Fremerman on fiddle, and Jake Erwin on bass -- is exquisite and lively, and the sound of this disc, as with the group's other HighTone albums, is spacious and detailed. I don't know of any group exactly like the Hot Club of Cowtown -- their music sounds both familiar and new. Check 'em out....Marc Mickelson


Pete Townshend - Another Scoop
Classic Records DAD 1036, 2002

Pete Townshend - Scoop 3
Classic Records DAD 1038, 2002, two discs

Musical Performance
****
Recording Quality

**1/2*

Overall Enjoyment
****

The second and third albums respectively in Pete Townshend's series of audio notebooks, Another Scoop and Scoop 3 offer home recordings, demos, and unreleased tracks from one of the few rock stars whose output could support even one such project. While Townshend fans will swoon at the improved sonics of these two 24/96 DVD releases, I'm left wondering if such audiophile remasters will find their way into the collections of more casual listeners. They should. I'm a big fan of the original Scoop, which Classic Records has plans to re-release soon, so these two releases are right up my alley. Townshend can noodle in more interesting ways than just about any musician, and the alternative versions of well-known Who tunes are always interesting. As you might expect, sonics vary from cut to cut, ranging from OK to very good with more current material. However, the sense that these are definitive digital versions (Classic Records has released both on 180-gram vinyl too) never wavers, as the sound is absolutely clear, like it or not. If you are looking for music that's more off the cuff than over produced or you're even a casual Townshend or Who fan, you'll find these DVDs literally packed with goodies....Marc Mickelson


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