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 New '70s Artist CDs & DVDs

Blacklight Bar

A roundup of summer 2010 CD and DVD releases by '70s artists.


The Steve Miller Band - BINGO!THE STEVE MILLER BAND - BINGO! (Roadrunner, $12.99) On his first studio album in 17 years, Steve Miller returns to his blues roots but gives BINGO! the slick party-pop vibe of classic Miller albums like The Joker and Fly Like an Eagle. With singer Sonny Charles of the Checkmates, Miller and the band beef up bar-blues warhorses like "Rock Me Baby." He puts his own mellow voice to spacier, early-Fleetwood-Mac-like takes on songs such as Otis Rush's "All You Love (I Miss Loving)" and veers into schmaltziness on the R&B duet "Sweet Soul Vibe." Miller doesn't say anything here that he hasn't said before, but hardcore fans will be glad he's saying anything at all. * * * - Mark Kemp, Rolling Stone

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - MojoTOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS - Mojo (Reprise, $9.99) Mojo is dynamite -- Petty and the Heartbreakers' matured return to the elementary fury of their first golden-twang era, capped by 1981's Hard Promises. The performances are natural knockouts -- cocksure grooves, pithy knife-play guitars and little overdub fuss -- worked up, then nailed, some on the first full take, at the band's suburban Los Angeles rehearsal space. Petty can't help stressing the authenticity here, and the credits include the make and vintage of every instrument and the exact tracking date of each song. It's almost too much detail, a distraction from what actually makes these songs work: drummer Steve Ferrone and bassist Ron Blair's blues-train shuffle; Mike Campbell's snarling breaks; the way Scott Thurston's harp dogs the guitars, Little Walter-style, the whole way. "I'm writing it for the band to play," Petty told us last fall, referring to the songs he was bringing to the sessions. You don't get that kind of cool with Pro Tools and Auto-Tune. It takes a great band, playing as one for the toughest audience in the world: itself. * * * * - David Fricke, Rolling Stone

Ozzy Osbourne - ScreamOZZY OSBOURNE - Scream (Epic, $7.99) Ozzy Osbourne usually rises or falls to the level of his guitarists. He invented metal with Tommy Iommi and wrote some of its greatest anthems with Randy Rhoads -- but things went downhill when Zakk Wylde joined the band in 1988. Replacing Wylde is a 29-year-old Greek clone named Gus G. He's got chops and shows them off on songs like "Time," but producer Kevin Churko has processed his riffs to the point that they sound like generic "active rock." It's a shame, because Ozzy shows signs of life on the six-minute "Diggin' Me Down" and on "Crucify," where he compares himself to Jesus. * * * - Andy Greene, Rolling Stone

Jackson Browne - Love Is StrangeJACKSON BROWNE AND DAVID LINDLEY - Love Is Strange (Inside, $19.68) Here's an album to please the fans who didn't follow Jackson Browne on his Eighties detour into fight-the-power songs. This two-disc live set, cut in Spain in 2006 with stringed-instrument maestro David Lindley, revisits gems from Browne's Laurel Canyon heyday and highlights choice later stuff, like the haunting, oud-framed "Looking East." Browne's voice has barely aged, and Lindley's liquid slide is exquisite; versions often rival the originals. Spanish friends add shine -- like Luz Casal, whose reading of "These Days" echoes that of Browne's late lover Nico * * * 1/2 - Will Hermes, Rolling Stone

Devo - Something For EverybodyDEVO - Something For Everybody (Warner Bros., $8.99) In the 20 years since the last album from these Ohio New Wave satirists, the world has become a much more Devo place: The synthesized dance rock the band pioneered with hits like "Whip It" is everywhere, and its theory that civilization is becoming dumber through de-evolution no longer seems far-fetched. Combining the punk-funk fury of Devo's earliest recordings with synth pop, this ninth disc is frantic and wall-to-wall catchy (particularly "Human Rocket"). Tossing around goofy buzz-speak like "Don't tase me, bro," Devo have held on to their core belief: If you want to be subversive, be utterly, unrelentingly pop. * * * 1/2 - Barry Walters, Rolling Stone

James Taylor and Carole King - Live at the TroubadourJAMES TAYLOR AND CAROLE KING - Live at the Troubadour (Hear Music, $14.99) In the Seventies, James Taylor and Carole King practically invented the sensitive singer-songwriter. Nearly four decades after first singing together onstage at L.A.'s Troubadour, the pair returned in 2007 for three nights of concerts to adoring audiences, performing note-for-note renditions of their classics: Taylor's sweet lament "Fire and Rain" and wistful "Carolina in My Mind," King's brooding hit ballad "So Far Away" and an acoustic version of her Sixties girl-group standard "Will You Love Me Tomorrow." It's a nostalgia fest, but a good one. * * * - Mark Kemp, Rolling Stone

Jeff Beck - Emotions & CommotionJEFF BECK - Emotion & Commotion (Atco/Rhino, $10.00) Jeff Beck's emotive electric guitar has always had a voicelike quality. So it's fascinating to hear the ex-Yardbird bounce off singers here. Beck brings out the nasty in U.K. soul mama Joss Stone, and he does an operatic pas de deux with coloratura soprano Olifia Safe; on a wordless "Corpus Christi Carol," he conjures the swoops of late singer Jeff Buckley, who famously covered it. But orchestral arrangements lard things down, and the variety, while admirable, makes for a scattered listen. It's best bits recall the laser focus of his 1975 classic Blow by Blow, which is always worth revisiting. * * * - Will Hermes, Rolling Stone


When You're Strange: A Film About the DoorsWHEN YOU'RE STRANGE: A Film About the Doors (Eagle Rock Entertainment, $12.99) This mesmerizing montage of archival concert, rehearsal and backstage clips -- combined with footage from the Door's experimental films and narration by Johnny Depp -- manages to be both dreamlike and utterly real. What stands out is Jim Morrison's pure charisma and performance chops: When he looks at the Ed Sullivan Show camera like a lover and sings "Girl, we couldn't get much higher" in defiance of network executives, he is rock & roll incarnate. But the most powerful scene is reserved for the extras, where the icon's misty-eyed Navy admiral father talks about his son for the first time. * * * * - Barry Walters, Rolling Stone

Bruce Springsteen - London Calling: Live in Hyde ParkBRUCE SPRINGSTEEN - London Calling: Live in Hyde Park (Columbia, $11.99) Midway through Springsteen's 2009 tour, he played this scorching festival gig in London. Captured in high-def, the show opens with a frantic cover of the Clash's "London Calling" and doesn't let up for three hours. One thing: There were more memorable gigs on the tour -- including full-album shows. Hopefully one of them is coming out next. * * * 1/2 - Andy Green, Rolling Stone

Rush - Beyond the Lighted StageRUSH: Beyond the Lighted Stage (Zoë Vision, $16.99) A documentary about Rush shouldn't be this compelling -- there are no Hammer of the Gods-style stories here. But filmmakers Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen uncovered a tale of endurance and friendship in the prog-rock trio, tracking the band's survival even after drummer Neal Peart tragically loses his wife and daughter. South Park's Matt Stone puts it best: "If you didn't give it up for them before, you gotta give it up for them now, or you're just being a dickhead." * * * * - Andy Greene, Rolling Stone

The Rolling Stones - Stones in ExileTHE ROLLING STONES - Stones in Exile (Eagle Rock, $13.99) The making of the Stones' 1972 masterpiece Exile on Main Street was a sloppy, drug-fueled affair -- but thankfully there were enough photographs, video footage and memories from the group and its hangers-on to craft this fascinating doc that's composed almost entirely of archival footage. Everyone has their say -- from Mick Jagger to the drug dealer's eight-year-old son who fondly remembers rolling the band's joints. * * * * - Andy Greene, Rolling Stone  

You Really Got Me: The Story of the KinksTHE KINKS - You Really Got Me: The Story of the Kinks (MVD Visual, $17.49) There's some rare Kinks footage here - mid-Sixties black-and-white clips of Ray Davies classics like "Till the End of the Day" buoyed by snarling brother Dave's "I'm a Lover Not a Fighter," a garage-y jam on "Milk Cow Blues" and a performance of the countrified "Death of a Clown." But this is more of an unauthorized clip job than a real film, with a lot of bad cuts and a narrator who sounds like he moonlights for the Home Shopping Network. * * - Mark Kemp, Rolling Stone

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