- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 13, 2001

BLIND FAITHSelf-titled Deluxe Edition(Polydor)

Thirty-one years after rock's first "supergroup" imploded in a swirl of frustrated expectations and lost opportunities, Polydor has released the "deluxe edition" of Blind Faith's one and only album — a collection that is every bit as maddening as the group itself. The company remasters the six basic tracks on the original 1969 album, giving new life to the great "Can't Find My Way Home" and "Well, All Right," the masterful remake of the Buddy Holly classic.

Yet the remastering manages mostly to highlight the inadequacy of the rest of the songs, particularly the bloated 15-minute jam "Do What You Like."

The main selling point of the new edition is almost 11/2 hours of songs that didn't make it into the final album. Some, such as the two covers of the blues standard "Sleeping in the Ground," are better than most of the stuff on the official album. Others, such as the five lengthy untitled jam sessions (none shorter than 12 minutes), are interesting only for their late-1960s dreaminess — music strictly for those who did inhale.

Unfortunately, most of the best rare tracks have appeared elsewhere on retrospectives of the band leaders, Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood. The new collection also inexplicably leaves off the two "bonus tracks" included on the original 1986 Blind Faith CD release.

Add to that a mind-numbingly complete set of new liner notes (including an endless and nearly minute-by-minute chronology of the short-lived band), and you have the recipe for a collection that will appeal only to the dwindling band of Blind Faith devotees. — Sean ScullyEVERCLEARSongs From An American Movie Vol. II: Good Time for a BadAttitude (Emd/Capitol)

This is Everclear's music, so, of course it rocks — and it's not the "rock" of pretty-boy whiner bands such as Matchbox 20 and Counting Crows. This new offering (the second in a series) rocks like few out there today.

From the first ripped chords of the first song, "When It All Goes Wrong Again," already a mega-hit, listeners know this isn't their fathers' rock 'n' roll. Although it sounds an awful lot like "(Heard It on the) AM Radio," a huge hit of Vol. 1, the three-chord tune has a rock-anthem air about it.

It's funny, too, that the song has been included in a new Hollywood film, making it truly a "song from an American movie."

Actually, much of the CD sounds alike. That's because Art Alexakis produced it, and though his fame is relatively new, he is an old-school rocker who sticks with the tried and true. So what?

To quote David Letterman upon hearing the Black Crowes rock one night on his show, "Now that's rock 'n' roll." Although there used to be dozens of bands like the Crowes and Everclear, there are very few now, which makes each ever more precious. — Joseph CurlMANNY BOBENRIETH ENSEMBLETangata (R&L; Records)

Washington's own Manny Bobenrieth is an accordion whiz and the lead player on the first CD of his group. It highlights the music of the late, great composer and bandoneon master Astor Piazzolla. The title song at the close is an especially haunting evocation of the Argentine tango, whose suggestive rhythms come through clearly in a majority of his other compositions.

Mr. Piazzolla is famous for taking this so-called folk art and integrating it with other musical forms. The mix is irresistible. The ensemble, which includes several soloists in their own right, such as vibes and percussion player Chuck Redd, clearly feels the passion.

The Chilean-born Mr. Bobenrieth, whose day job is with the U.S. Army Band and its Strolling Strings, explains in liner notes his impressions on hearing Mr. Piazzolla play for the first time in the late 1980s at the National Press Club. The experience clearly changed his life — or at least recharged his musical batteries.

The results show up in the works here, where, for variety's sake, the six-member group also gives a Latin twist to Cole Porter's "I Love You, Samantha" and two tunes written by Brazilian artist Antonio Carlos Jobim. Less intense emotionally perhaps than reissued recordings by Mr. Piazzolla himself, the interpretations are electric with feeling and flow.

It's a nice touch, too, that Mr. Bobenrieth's remarks are translated into Spanish on the reverse side of the insert notes.

Other players in the ensemble are Kathleen Burchedean on piano, Chuck Underwood on guitar, Bruno Nasta on violin and Tom Fowler on bass.— Ann GeracimosNELLY FURTADOWhoa, Nelly(Dreamworks Records)

The throwaway title might be the year's silliest. Luckily, Nelly Furtado put much more thought into her debut album.

Miss Furtado produces a work of pure pop bliss, delving into everything from R&B; to electronic alternative. What makes the Canadian chanteuse stand out, however, is the way she borrows from her Portuguese heritage, which often leads her songs toward bossa nova.

Her unusual voice takes some getting used to, but it's also the reason Miss Furtado has become a favorite of music critics. At times she sounds like Fiona Apple, at times like No Doubt's Gwen Stefani, and at other times she seems like the fourth member of the troubled supergroup TLC. During the R&B-flavored; songs, Miss Furtado often oversings by trying to sound seductive, but she comes into her own on bossa-nova tracks, including "Legend," in which she produces the effect effortlessly.

The best track here is "Scared of You," a soft apology in English and Portuguese to a lover she pushed away. Not coincidentally, it's also the song in which she shelves some of the childish tendencies that mark the album. "Scared of You" best features the power of her voice, one that only will get stronger.— Scott SilversteinTHE CHEMICALBROTHERSMusic: Response (Astralwerks)

The fourth single released by the Chemical Brothers from their 1999 album "Surrender" is one of the strongest tracks on that album, but the accompanying mixes and new tracks added onto this disc hardly make it a collectors' item.

The duo of Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons became one of the hottest electronic acts of the 1990s, pioneering the heavy bass, fast drum lines and unusual guitar riffs that later would be taken to new heights by Fatboy Slim and others. Coming more than a year after their last album's release, though, this collection does little to whet fans' appetites for new material.

The new tracks "Freak of the Week" and "Enjoyed" are cobbled together from whatever sounds made it to the editing-room floor during the "Surrender" sessions and are interesting solely because they showcase some of the Chemical Brothers' thinking in how they wanted their third album to sound.

The two remixes of "Music: Response" also pale in comparison to the source material, which is a shame because remixes often take the best parts of a song and send them flying in new directions. Neither of the new versions can match the creative energy behind "Music: Response," especially the beeping melody that loops in the background as a computerlike voice drones, "Music that triggers some kind of response."

Two live recordings — "Out of Control" and "Got Glint?" — from the 2000 Glastonbury Festival round out the EP and are unremarkable, save for the chance to hear a stripped-down version of these tracks, custom-tailored for the dance floor.

The highlight very well may be the inclusion of the video for "Let Forever Be," a surreal musical-style romp through a woman's day and her subconscious that features a half-dozen identical women all dancing in time. Unfortunately, a video should not be the highlight of a single EP — especially one that at 50 minutes is roughly the length of the original album. — Derek Simmonsen


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