Mitchell: Rare, ethereal outing for Bush

This is Kate Bush’s first new studio album of all original music in six years and only her second original studio album in 18 years.

Kate Bush; 50 Words For Snow [Fish People]

This is Kate Bush’s first new studio album of all original music in six years and only her second original studio album in 18 years.  Bush did release an album very early this year with reworkings and remakes of some of her old material with the CD titled Directors Cut, so committed fans of Bush will be delighted with this new release.

There are only seven tracks on 50 Words For Snow but the album clocks in at around an hour where some of the mellow, extended tracks like Misty (13:33) and Lake Tahoe (11:05) suggest the long dormancy of winter weather.

This new disc is a very carefully measured set of tunes where the sound is ethereal and often meandering as Bush sings the joys and praises of snow beginning with the first song Snowflake where the song follows the journey down from the clouds to an awaiting ghostly figure.

On the dream sequence Misty, Bush imagines making love to a snowman whose remains in the morning are nothing but a wet blanket, dead leaves and last year’s grass clippings.

The somewhat poppier song Wild Man speculates on the could-be existence of the abominable snow man or the Yeti while Elton John helps out with the semi-accessible and most conventional song, Snowed In At Wheeler Street, which is more or less a straight forward love song.

There probably isn’t a hit pop song on 50 Words For Snow but long standing Kate Bush fans really don’t care too much about her commercial viability.

This CD makes for a very handsome package with a hard cover book liner and lyrics with attractive albeit grey toned graphics.


Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band; Ultimate Hits [Capitol]

Bob Seger has released two Greatest Hits packages—in 1994 and Vol. 2 later in 2003—and both were superb retrospectives with almost no overlap of material.

This new two-CD set, titled Ultimate Hits for differentiation, is also superb even for fans who already have the previous two Hits packages, with its new material, 24-page booklet of vintage photos and lyrics all neatly bundled.

Here are late ’70s heartland rock with 26 classic blue collar rock ‘n’ roll gems and smash hits like Old Time Rock And Roll, Night Moves, Still The Same, We’ve Got Tonight, Against The Wind, The Fire Down Below and Mainstreet.

Seger offers up Fire Lake, and his lone country crossover hit with the Rodney Crowell-penned Shame On The Moon.

Fans will also want this disc for the hitherto unreleased mono version of the late ’60s hit Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man (which ,incidentally, doesn’t feature the Silver Bullet Band, but who wants to quibble) as well as the two new songs.

Seger offers a rousing take of Little Richard’s Hey Hey Hey (Going Back To Birmingham) as well as his superb version of Tom Waits’ Downtown Train that Seger recorded in 1989 but did not release because Rod Stewart beat him to the punch the same year with his hit version.

There are a couple of songs that did not make the transition from the earlier hits sets such as my absolute fave Seger rocker Sunspot Baby but old and new fans will love this superb collection released just in time for the Christmas rush.


Michael Jackson;

Immortal [Epic]

I am not sure if this should be labelled as a Michael Jackson album as it contains no new music and no participation, to my knowledge, from MJ himself. Instead there are mash up remixes and medleys here that were developed for the latest Cirque Du Soleil stage extravaganza.

However, the CD title Immortal does follow a MJ trend with past album titles such as Forever and Invincible which MJ has since proven not to be true.

Anyway, only the most dedicated MJ fan will want this release of greatly altered MJ music while big fans of Cirque Du Soleil will probably be even more interested.  This comes as a single CD or a deluxe two CD set with a couple more remixes, mash-ups and medleys.


Styx; Regeneration,

Volume I & II

[Eagle Records]

Styx used to sell this two-CD set only at their concerts for fans who wanted a memento.  Now the album has been picked up by Eagle Records for national distribution but the music really remains as a souvenir for strident fans of the band who can’t seem to get enough.

Styx simply re-recorded with their current lineup and lead singer Gowan 16 of their old hits such as Come Sail Away, Too Much Time On My Hands, Lorelei, Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man), Blue Collar Man etc. while eschewing their only no.1 hit, Babe.  As a result this is a very incomplete collection and, truth be told, the music clocks in at under 80 minutes so it could have easily fit on a single disc.

Moreover, these versions don’t illuminate the earlier recordings and to the trained Stygian ear they aren’t as good.



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