Music News 2/24/2021

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AROUND 1970 

Bob Dylan, 1970 (Columbia, 3 CDs, $21.98) – Here are three CDs worth of great sessions around the time of the recording of two 1970 albums, Self Portrait and New Morning. Complete recordings from May 1, 1970 feature George Harrison on nine tracks including “Mama, You’ve Been On My Mind,” “All I Have to Do is Dream,” and “Matchbox.” 

Ali Akbar Khan, THAT WHICH COLORS THE MIND (Owsley Stanley Foundation, 2 CDs, $25.98) – On May 29, 1970, in San Francisco, a performance by Indian instrumental masters was recorded by the Grateful Dead’s sound engineer, Owsley Stanley.  Sarod master Ali Akbar Khan was accompanied by sitar player Indranil Bhattacharya, and a young Zakir Hussain playing tablas (Zakir is the son of Allah Rakha, Ravi Shankar’s long-time tabla duet partner). A magical evening is now available to hear again. 

Mr. Hussain talked about the recording on NPR’s Saturday Edition here

The Band, STAGE FRIGHT: 50th Anniversary Edition (Capitol, 2 CDs, $20.98) – Stage Fright, the Band’s third album, contained some great songs: “The Shape I’m In,” “The Rumor,” “Just Another Whistle Stop,” “Time to Kill,” “W.S. Walcott Medicine Show,” and the beautiful “Stage Fright” (one of Rick Danko’s greatest vocals). The anniversary set includes many alternate mixes, demos from the Calgary Hotel in 1970, and a full concert recording from a June, 1971, Royal Albert Hall appearance. 

VOICES OLD & NEW  

Willie Nelson, THAT’S LIFE (Sony Legacy, $13.98) – Willie’s second album devoted to songs associated with Frank Sinatra, following My Way (2018).  Songs include “I Won’t Dance,” “Luck Be a Lady,” “Lonesome Road,” and “Nice Work If You Can Get It.”  

Neil Young & Crazy Horse, WAY DOWN IN THE RUST BUCKET (Reprise, 2 CDs, $19.98) – In November, 1990, after the release of Ragged Glory, Neil Young and Crazy Horse played a torrid marathon show at the Catalyst, in Santa Cruz. The sets included many songs from Ragged Glory, plus gems like “Cortez the Killer,” “Like a Hurricane,” “Cinnamon Girl,” and “Don’t Cry No Tears.”  

Cecilia Bartoli, QUEEN OF BAROQUE (Decca, $18.98) – A wonderful compilation of older Bartoli recordings—by such composers as Handel, Pergolesi, Scarlatti, Caldara, and Porpora—as well as two world premieres of works by Leonardo Vinci and Agostino Steffani, all in a small hardback-book package. 

Julien Baker, LITTLE OBLIVION (Matador, $16.99) – The young singer/songwriter’s third album expands her guitar and piano arrangements with bass, drums, keyboards, banjo, and mandolin, most played by Ms. Baker.