Various artists, “Ork Records: New York, New York” (Numero)
In September 1975, Terry Ork released Television’s “Little Johnny Jewel,” an amazing seven-minute song divided between two sides of a 45 rpm single. It was the first of what would become a five-year run of 45s on his tiny label, Ork Records. None became a hit, but many became definitive documents of the nascent New York punk scene, and they are all collected, along with some previously unissued tracks, on the two-CD, 49-track “Ork Records: New York, New York.”
The boxed set includes debuts from artists who became well known in punk and power-pop circles: Richard Hell (“Blank Generation”), the Feelies (“Fa Ce La”) and Chris Stamey of the dB’s (“That Summer Sun”) — plus a handful of songs from Big Star’s Alex Chilton. Other stalwarts of the CBGB music club scene turn up: Richard Lloyd, Lenny Kaye, Cheetah Chrome and writer Lester Bangs. Some tracks are rough period pieces, but along with the extensive liner notes, this collection functions as a history of the remarkably fertile late-’70s New York punk-rock scene.
Steve Klinge, Philadelphia Inquirer
John Bowman, “Beautiful Ashes” (Mountain Home)
Bowman will be celebrating 25 years in bluegrass in 2016. In 1991, he joined Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver as the tenor singer and guitarist. Two years later, he moved over to Alison Krauss & Union Station. In 1994, Bowman left to become part of the Isaacs, where he spent the next 12 years. He became a minister in 1997 and began preaching revivals across the country. From 2007 to 2009, Bowman worked with J.D. Crowe & the New South. And finally, in 2009, he became a founding member of the Boxcars.
These days, Bowman also works as a solo artist and a minister when he’s not with the Boxcars.
“Beautiful Ashes,” his latest album, is bluegrass gospel — if you don’t mind drums and piano in your bluegrass.
“Ashes,” the title track, is about packing up your regrets and dropping them into a fire. “Let the Hard Times Roll” wants hard times to roll out the door and make room for good times. “Cold Day in Hell” is about people arguing and saying it would be a cold day in hell before they spoke again.
“Lies the Devil Told” is about the mistakes the singer made in the past, among them thinking that girls loved outlaws and fast cars. “Reach of His Hand” is about a man who finally reaches for God’s hand after years of going the wrong way. “When My Travelin’ Days Are Over” is a hard-driving song about heading for heaven. Good album.
Keith Lawrence, Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer