Arts » Music

The Sounds of Seniors

by Gregg Shapiro
Sunday Aug 13, 2017

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, now in their 70s, remain productive and continue to tour on a regular basis. In their youth, the surviving half of the Beatles, along with the late John Lennon and George Harrison, made an immeasurable impact on contemporary music and culture. Of all of the Beatles albums, 1967's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Apple-Capitol-UMe), now available in a two-CD 50th anniversary edition stereo mix (by Giles Martin, son of George Martin), is probably the Fab Four's most influential recording. Whether you last listened to Sgt. Pepper a year or 20 years ago, you'll be thrilled by the new sounds you will discover in this version, on "She's Leaving Home," "With a Little Help from My Friends," "When I'm 64" and "A Day in the Life." The second disc features numerous takes of these songs, as well as 2017 stereo mixes of "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Penny Lane," which, though recorded at the same time as Sgt. Pepper, would find their way onto Magical Mystery Tour, released later in 1967.

Psychedelic sounds are also an essential component of Pink Floyd's 1967 debut album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Pink Floyd outlasted the Beatles by a few years, but were eventually undone by similar in-fighting. The solo output by PF's members was nowhere near as substantial as that of the Beatles'. Is This the Life We Really Want? (Columbia) is the fourth solo album by Roger Waters, but it's unmistakably the work of a former PF member. Produced by Nigel Godrich, ITTLWRW? succeeds by bringing prog-rock into the 21st century. As politically oriented as the best of Waters' work, its gorgeous rage equals that of similarly-minded Depeche Mode's Spirit .

Midwestern prog rock superstars Styx, featuring openly gay founding member Chuck Panozzo, return with The Mission (UMe), the band's first new studio album in more than a dozen years. A concept album chronicling the first manned mission to Mars in 2033, The Mission opens with an instrumental "Overture" boasting Styxian keyboards, while "Gone Gone Gone" delivers the band's trademark guitars and harmonies. "Hundred Million Miles from Home" slips in a funky bassline.

Adios (UMe) is being touted as the final studio album from Glen Campbell, the music legend who's been battling Alzheimer's disease for several years. Produced by Campbell's longtime musical collaborator Carl Jackson, the album features four songs by Jimmy Webb, the songwriter responsible for "Wichita Lineman" and "Galveston." The disc also features Campbell's singular interpretations of "Funny How Time Slips Away" by Willie Nelson (also heard on the track), Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" and Fred Neil's "Everybody's Talkin'."

On Paul Simon's two-CD/DVD set The Concert in Hyde Park (Legacy), he does "The Boxer" and "The Sounds of Silence." Recorded in 2012 during the Hard Rock Calling Festival in London, the live recording features songs from Simon's solo period, early ("Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard," "Mother and Child Reunion"), mid-career (Graceland ) and later ("Dazzling Blue").

Credited to Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie but also featuring Mick Fleetwood, John McVie and Mitchell Froom, Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie (Atlantic) is essentially a Fleetwood Mac album minus Stevie Nicks. Already the subject of an extensive reissue campaign devoted to 1982's Mirage, 1987's Tango in the Night, and Nicks' Bella Donna and The Wild Heart, Fleetwood Mac is never far from our consciousness. LB/CMcV is the best Fleetwood Mac album in eons, with or without Nicks, but please don't tell her we said that! The songs, written by Buckingham and McVie, fit well into the Mac's oeuvre. "In My World," "Feel About You," "Sleeping Around the Corner" and the ballad "Game of Pretend" are fabulous.

No one could accuse Willie Nelson of being idle. His 21st-century output alone amounts to an album a year, sometimes two or more, and he still finds time to be an activist for causes many of us can get behind. A marvelous mix of originals and covers, God's Problem Child (Legacy) is a welcome addition to Nelson's considerable catalog.

Willie Nelson performs at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga on Aug. 15, and at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley on Aug. 19

Copyright Bay Area Reporter. For more articles from San Francisco's largest GLBT newspaper, visit


Add New Comment

Comments on Facebook