Wheels represent ratings from 1 to 5 (best).
Ice on the driveway? This is the perfect CD for cold winter nights, a roaring fireplace, and a glass of your favorite libation. In fact, grab the whole bottle, cause Eric Bibb's latest release, Booker's Guitar, will make you feel warm. The title song is about legendary bluesman Bukka White's National Steel guitar. There are other originals and a few standards, all given a silky smooth vocal treatment accompanied by lean, sparse instrumentation. This album is a great place to catch up on your blues listening. Being bikers, we're usually pre-disposed to loud music that drowns out traffic noise and enhances the sound of those true duals. But once in a while, when we slow down and just cruise, or put away the bike on a cold day (some of us, anyway), there's nothing finer than listening to a great acoustic album. Unplugged, as they say. Mr. Bibb, who was raised in a musical family and got his first steel guitar at age 7, has concocted an album that transcends pre-conceived notions of what the blues is all about. Traveling music? You bet. Bibb's songs connect with that wanderlust in all of us. Moreover, with the economy in the proverbial crapper (unless you're a wall street type), there's much here to soothe the soul. But even more importantly, Bibb has woven a truly unique album of blues, folk, and gospel Americana. It's a welcome departure from much of the current prefab noise. One listen to this and you'll be longing for spring, and a road that runs through the delta.
Flashback Release Of The Month
Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out
That Ya-Ya's is one of the greatest live rock albums ever is undisputed. But it also happens to be one of the best rock albums period. Right up there with Springsteen's Born to Run and Sgt. Pepper's. And now we're treated to a deluxe re-mastered edition that's so good you'll want to leave the iPod at home and take this set along in all of its plastic and paper glory. The setting was 1969 and Jagger and Co. were ensconced at NY's Madison Square Garden for two nights. The tour was mainly to promote the release of the equally excellent Let It Bleed album. It's impossible to listen to Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out and not wanna play air guitar. In fact, if you haven't listened to "Midnight Rambler" while riding, one might actually question your love for bikes and rock 'n' roll in general. The swaggering "Sympathy For the Devil" is of course the album's high point and manages to sound even better here-another reason for buying the actual CD. The song's place in motorcycle culture was assured during the Stones' performance at Altamont, thanks in part to a well-documented incident with the Hells Angels. The roadhouse anthems "Little Queenie" and "Honky Tonk Women" remain classic odes to loose women (sorry ladies), beer bottles, and pool tables. OK, you've heard it all before. Ah, but there's extra discs included in this new package, one of which contains Ike and Tina doing an absolutely smokin' version of Otis Redding's "I've Been Loving You Too Long." So smoking that it'll melt your tires. There's certainly more surprises here than in a box of Cracker Jack. Trust us. Ride (quickly) down to your local record store (there's still a few around) and buy this set. It'll be money well spent.
We suppose it was inevitable that the guys from Orange County Choppers would finally figure out that the only thing missing from their impressive resume was a rock and roll album. OCC Rocks is a collection of 17 classic rock tracks, "hand-picked by Paul Sr." and culled mainly from Sony's back catalog (their distributor, Red, is a division of Sony). Not hard to guess the lineup-Mountain, Nugent, Blue Oyster Cult, Toto, etc. (However we'd have to second guess the inclusion of Toto). There are even four tracks by The Orange County Choppers Band, a group of friends and workers from the famous institution. Naturally, Paul Sr. has his own guest vocalist appearance on a surprisingly good cover version of "Summertime Blues." Who knew? But we suspect the guys aren't gonna quit their day jobs and launch a stadium tour. In the end, there's no big surprises here, except for what's missing-like tracks from other Sony power hitters like Aerosmith and Pearl Jam. Still, it makes for an enjoyable ride. Maybe Aerosmith's Tyler is saving his songs for his own custom motorcycle company's compilation? Even Harley had its own classic rock series a few years ago. And of course, Paul Sr. and crew are one-upping the competition-they've built a custom bike just for the occasion. Maybe this latest shot from OCC will launch a new war of the CD compilations by other builders. We say bring em on!
So Cal Metal Meltdown
Korn, Poison, Motley Crue, Van Halen, the long list of Southern California bands dabbling in various forms of metal reads like a rock 'n' roll Who's Who list. Many say there are so many metal bands practicing their craft in So Cal that there would have to be a year-long festival to showcase all of them. This CD can save you a little bit of time. So Cal Metal Meltdown offers up two songs each from five different bands-Throttle, Dia De Los Muertos, Swirl, On Bended Knee (OBK), The Mike Albert Project (of ex-Megadeth fame), Texas Death Star, and Krome. All of the aforementioned tour around the Golden State and have started invading other parts of the country, much to the chagrin of law enforcement, children, and small pets. The songs are fairly diverse, from thrash to speed metal, all meant to be played loud. The label says it's sending copies of the CD over to our men in Iraq and Afghanistan. We can't think of anything better to listen to while lobbing rounds at the enemy. For more peaceful purposes, the CD certainly makes a good soundtrack for waging war on traffic. Those with lots of points on their driving record need to be careful-any music that gets you amped up and has you exceeding the speed limit is best listened to with discretion.
3 1/2 Wheels