And they said it couldnt be done. Actually, ABBAs popularity peaked right about at the height of the disco craze. But funked-up versions of Thank You For The Music and Dancing Queen just dont seem right somehow. That is, until you listen to trombonist Landgren and his cohorts, including horns, a rapper, even ABBAs own Benny Andersson on the concluding When All Is Said and Done. The trip-hopped versions of familiar ABBA tunes show a side of the sugary-sweet pop group that lends itself to a driving beat and bass-heavy treatments. Highlights include a soulful Voulez-Vous and a rocking Summer Night City, but every cut reinvents the Swedish superstars, often slowing down the beat and separating out the unison vocals.
Bill Wymans Rhythm Kings Just For A Thrill (Fuel 2000)
One of the only surviving ex-Rolling Stones, Wyman has been out of the spotlight since leaving the legendary band in 1993. His Rhythm Kings is a collective of old pals and new friends who enjoy the old-time blues and R that first brought his former band together. This is the groups fourth disc, and like the others its an enjoyable program as long as youre not taking things too seriously. Loose and amiable describes the atmosphere. Among the pals on hand for these sessions are Martin Taylor, Andy Fairweather-Low and Mark Knopfler. The vocalists Albert Lee, Bevery Skeete, Fame, and Wyman, among others are properly laid-back and greasy. Its no Satisfaction, but fans of Jools Holland, Louis Jordan, or early rock and roll will enjoy the proceedings.
John Pizzarelli Knowing You (Telarc)
Guitarist and singer Pizzarelli takes on such varied American songwriting masters as Johnny Mandel, David Frishberg, Sammy Cahn, and Brian Wilson. Coffee, Black from the Broadway musical Big is a caffeine-fueled romp that drops quotes from the old Maxwell House commercials into the mix. Other highlights include Aint That A Kick In The Head? which sounds like a set-closer as the patrons have one more for the road. The Shadow Of Your Smile has a similar late-night vibe, though this time more like its being played to a nearly-empty lounge. Pizzarelli follows that formula throughout the album, mixing up-tempo and more laid-back numbers. Pizzarellis playing and his vocal phrasing are so clear and casual that its easy to overlook their brilliance.
Thievery Corporation The Cosmic Game (ESL Music)
This is not your fathers electronic music. Unlike, say, Klaus Schulzes excursions on the space machine, Thievery Corporation explores a lot of territory in its trippy blend of beats, acoustic guitars, and various world musics. This is closer to easy listening than to the sonic excursions of Tangerine Dream. Lounge music morphs into world music so effortlessly you hardly notice. The Washington D.C. DJ duo of Rob Garza and Eric Hilton continues to produce music that is at once interesting and unknowable. Winding its way from the dance clubs to the blissed-out listening rooms across the country, The Cosmic Game includes such exotic instruments as sitar, berimbau and tabla alongside real and synthetic horns and sound effects in its 16 tracks.