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Sound Bites: Audio Reviews

February 28, 2000

``One Endless Night″ (Windcharger/Rounder) _ Jimmie Dale Gilmore

Jimmie Dale Gilmore’s new album doesn’t set out to reinvent the wheel, and that’s just fine. After a spell with a major label that included the bold and strikingly original ``Braver Newer World,″ Gilmore returns with this CD to rootsy twang, as well as the world of indie labels.

Opening with the title cut, ``One Endless Night″ is instantly comfortable and familiar. The shimmering guitars, Zen-cowboy odes and rollicking honky-tonkers are nothing new for Gilmore, but they make ``One Endless Night″ a familiar pleasure.

Twangy, quavering and utterly unique, Gilmore’s voice makes every song he sings his own. On this album, that includes work by some of the best songwriters roots music has produced: John Hiatt, Townes Van Zandt and Butch Hancock, among others.

Gilmore ventures away from Americana once, with impressive results _ his edgy version of ``Mack the Knife″ is a revelation. And while ``One Endless Night″ as a whole is not revelatory, it is excellent. Sometimes you just want a cold Shiner Bock instead of a chimay ale.

_ By Eric Fidler, Associated Press Writer.


``Fire & Skill: The Songs of The Jam″ (Epic/Ignition) _ Various Artists

Darting through traffic like it was on a Vespa scooter with a dozen sideview mirrors, The Jam distinguished itself from London’s late 1970s punk-rock explosion with a more traditional, but no less engaging, look and sound. Fashionwise, The Jam favored Mohair suits and Rickenbacker guitars. Their musical influences were the first wave of ’60s British Mod bands (The Who, The Creation, Small Faces, The Kinks) as well as American rhythm and soul bands. The Jam’s sound went from tight power-pop to rhythm and blues, a style that front man Paul Weller’s later band Style Council would explore further.

This Jam tribute album, ``Fire & Skill,″ begins and ends with contributions by Oasis’ Gallagher brothers. Liam Gallagher and Ocean Colour Scene’s Steve Craddock kick things off with a pining ``Carnation,″ while big brother Noel does an appropriate acoustic take on ``To Be Someone.″

Coolest is the Beastie Boys’ understated organ-powered R&B version of ``Start!″ with chorus sung by Cibo Mato’s Miho Hatori. More soul numbers include Heavy Stereo’s rhythmic rave-up of ``The Gift,″ and ``A Town Called Malice″ by the group Gene.

Everything But the Girl’s light turn of the acoustic ballad ``English Rose″ is splendid for Tracy Thorn’s touching voice and a string section. Easing the tempo of ``Going Underground,″ Buffalo Tom alters the original to hair-raising effect. Garbage build up the bitterness of ``The Butterfly Collector″ and creep it out with electro dirge beats, dramatic strings and Shirley Manson’s vindictive vocals.

A slightly more aggressive ``That’s Entertainment″ by Reef; Silversun’s cheery vocals on ``Art School″; and Ben Harper’s heartfelt but mismatched take on ``The Modern World″ represent the collection’s more rote renditions.

Given The Jam’s deep discography, ``Fire & Soul″ could have used a couple more songs in this set. But fans should get a kick out of the varied covers compilation, and also seek out the original recordings.

_ By J.W. Lim, Associated Press Writer.


``Copland″ (Angel) _ Copland

Whether or not you are into classical music, you have been listening to Aaron Copland all your life.

One of the first distinctly American composers, Copland wrote energetic music that has been a staple of movies, especially Westerns, and snippets of his work have become some of the most recognizable music in TV commercials. Copland, who died 10 years ago, was one of the first classical composers writing for audiences raised on radio and movie music.

The new two-CD set by EMI Classics is an opportunity to hear almost three hours of Copland’s music, performed by the St. Louis Symphony, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the Philharmonic Orchestra of the City of Mexico.

The set showcases Copland ballets ``Billy the Kid,″ ``Rodeo″ and ``Appalachian Spring.″ And, of course, there is the ``Fanfare for the Common Man,″ some of the most stirring 3 minutes and 39 seconds in music, written to inspire the soldiers of World War II.

_ By Mike Hendricks, Associated Press Writer.

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