The Beckies, The Beckies: It must be said that it's a real shame that this album couldn't have been added to our digital catalog several months ago, as Michael Brown, the man behind The Beckies, died on March 19, 2015. It would've been wonderful if we could've interviewed him about this underrated power pop classic, which has been held up by those who know their hooks and harmonies as one of the best of its kind…not that Brown didn't already have a well-established history for composing catchy tracks, having already been part of The Left Banke and Stories. If you're a fan of artists like the Raspberries, Cheap Trick, the Records, the Flamin' Groovies, and Shoes, then this is an album that you must hear, and once you have heard it, don't be surprised to find that you've fallen for it in a big way.
Betty Carter, Finally: “There's only one…Betty Carter.” So begins this live album by Ms. Carter, but it's a line borrowed from Carmen McRae, who famously said, “There's really only one jazz singer - only one: Betty Carter.” And speaking of famousness, Finally earned a degree of notoriety as a result of having been recorded in 1969 but not released until 1975 due to the master recording being stolen. It may not be Carter's definitive live album - you'd need to flip a coin to decide if that honor belongs to The Audience with Betty Carter or Betty Carter at the Village Vanguard - but it's a strong performance nonetheless.