Mr. Big ~ Defying Gravity

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Mr. Big is another band that I never really listened to, but, after listening to “Defying Gravity”, I may need to reconsider this. I really enjoyed this album full of hard rock & pop, with swirling guitars, good vocals & songwriting, bombastic drums & of course that wonderful bass playing of Billy Sheehan. You can really feel the rhythm section melding together with Billy Sheehan along with Matt Starr, who will be Mr. Big’s fill in drummer since Pat Torpey was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Pat will be working on the album as a drum programmer & filling in on percussion. Eric Martin & Paul Gilbert flow together as one on guitars. 4 original members on this album & it rocks. The back catalogue may need for me to listen to them as well…if I can find them. I rate this 5 out of 5 Music Guru Stars. Buy this NOW!

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NEAL MORSE ~ The Similitude Of A Dream

Neal Morse ~ Thesimilitudeofadream

 

The new album from Neal Morse brings you some of the finest musicianship in prog along with christian lyrics. The good thing about Neal Morse, is even if you’re not a christian music lover, you’ll love this anyway. The lyrics are sometimes not clear that it’s about his beliefs, but, if you know that going in, you get his references. Sometimes it sounds just like a positive message to you. This 2 CD set brings Mike Portnoy, Randy George, Bill Hubauer, Eric Gillette, along with the talented Neal Morse together again with some of the finest progressive rock music. Again, even if you’re not a religious person, you will love this album. This gets 5 out of 5 Music Guru Stars.

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Gary Wilson ~ Let’s Go To Outer Space

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This eclectic album reminded me of Frank Zappa within the first few words. It’s kind of quirky, just like Zappa’s work. This is a Space Rock Opera of sorts. It tells a story of Space, romance, monsters, mannequins, & more. Gary finds martian girl, Gary marries martian girl, Gary loses martian girl, and so on. There is a video for “She’s The Girl From Mars”, that you can see online, that really is way out there. Some really weird stuff on this album, but, if you’re a fan of Frank Zappa’s quirkiness, you may really enjoy this. Gary does sing while Frank speaks through his songs. Me, I rate this 3 out of 5 Music Guru Stars.

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Various Artists ~ Backroom Blues Volume Five

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Another great volume of music from Bongo Boy Records. This time we have the blues. There are 18 great songs on this compilation. Starting off with one of my favorite songs on the album, “Fantasy” from Mike Gallemore, a great upbeat song in the tradition of the J. Geils Band. On this compilation, you get a variety of blues from slow drawn out blues to upbeat fast paced blues like the one listed above. Another one of my favorite songs on the album is “The Last To Know” by Slim Chance & The Gamblers. This one sounds like a mixture of the Steve Miller Band & Stevie Ray Vaughn. 18 songs by 17 different artists. There are 2 songs by Bobby Rue. Check this out if you like blues, you won’t be disappointed. I give this 5 out of 5 Music Guru Stars.

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The Winery Dogs ~ Dog Years 2013-2016

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What can I say about this band that I haven’t already said. They’re one of the great new bands of this decade. With the talents of MIKE PORTNOY , one of the best newer drummers out there, BILLY SHEEHAN, the only bass player that I’ve heard that plays lead bass, which up until now, has only been done correctly by JOHN ENTWISTLE & CHRIS SQUIRE. If you watch the DVD of this set, you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about. Also, RICHIE KOTZEN, singer/songwriter extraordinaire. This man writes great songs & delivers them perfectly. This set comes with a DVD/Blue Ray & an EP featuring 5 songs including 2 covers. 1 by Gary Wright (Love Is Alive) & also 1 by David Bowie (Moonage Daydream). On the visual disc, you also get 8 music videos in addition to the live concert. Check out both the Billy Sheehan bass solo as well as the Mike Portnoy drum solo. I think you’ll really get a bang out of both of them. This gets 5 out of 5 Music Guru Stars.

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Michael Monroe ~ The Best

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This album features the once lead singer of Hanoi Rocks, the glam rock band who could’ve been one of the big time arena acts, but for some reason, never quite got their due. Now, Michael Monroe with his own solo band, brings you a 2 CD set compilation of Michael’s solo endeavors. He’s been solo for a long time, until he rejoined with Hanoi Rocks again until 2009. They disbanded once before in 1985. Included on this disc set are some rare & even some new songs, including a cover of Steppinwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride” featuring Slash on guitar. This compilation also reminds me a lot of Mott The Hoople. I am a fan of Mott The Hoople, & there are a lot of similarities whether it’s on a hard heavy song or a ballad. This is an album that you can play loud & be proud. I would rate this 4 out of 5 Music Guru Stars.

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Various Artists ~ Homestead Volume One

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This one is a little harder to describe than any other Bongo Boy release. This release seems to favor a country flair with mostly acoustic guitars along with some other instruments involved. Some tracks are good. Some not so much. Katheryn Shipley’s “Shine Your Love”, which almost favors a gospel song starts the album off. This was a great song to get someone excited to hear what was coming next. The only problem is some of what follows is not very good. Some of it is good, but, again, some not. One track, while I did not like the vocals, I really liked the lyrics was Bobby Rue’s “I Like The Days”. It really brought me back to my days growing up. As I said, some tracks I liked, some not so much. Give it a listen, you tell me what you think. I rate this 3 out of 5 Music Guru Stars.

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