Author

Peter Galvin

For a guitarist of Jeff Beck’s genius, his so-called best-of collection is surprisingly lame. Although his fretwork is rarely less than dazzling, most of the material on Best of Beck is uninspired. Only on Curtis Mayfield’s ”People Get Ready” — on which Beck is paired with old buddy Rod Stewart — is the musical total greater than the sum of its parts. C+

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A look at three new Motown Records

A look at three new Motown Records

An album of Motown love songs that doesn’t include Marvin Gaye’s ”Let’s Get It On”? And how about a collection of songs by the label’s ”leading” ladies that includes more tracks by minor artists like Brenda Holloway than by diva emerita Diana Ross? The mediocre song selection of Motown Love Songs and Motown Leading Ladies is truly inexplicable, considering the wealth of material there is to choose from.

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The fourth sequel to the 1962 original, Live at the Apollo 1995, James Brown’s newest concert recording breaks no new ground. Yet even at his most run-of-the-mill, he’s a miracle of modern music. After all, how many 67-year-old men do you know who can work a Harlem crowd into a frenzy singing songs like ”Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine”? B+

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What timing. As Michael Jackson pines away for his lost childhood on HIStory, fans can enjoy the musical fruits of his troubled early years on Soulsation! 25th Anniversary Collection’s four-CD chronicle of the Jackson Five’s Motown days. Although the group’s major hits are exhausted by the end of disc two, even the filler sparkles with Michael’s long-lost exuberance. B+

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