Let’s take a look at this week’s albums, reissues and other musical updates from classic artists making musical waves yet again.
Spotlight Release of the Week: Back in June of 1983, Diana Ross entertained nearly a million New Yorkers with one of the biggest free concerts – if not the biggest – concert held in Central Park. One problem: The first attempt at the concert got rained out halfway through, thanks to a nasty electrical storm. Ross stood her ground and returned to play the full show in full, marking a huge a moment in her career. The concert was originally broadcast on TV and these days you could spend hours watching clips on it on YouTube, but this week, Diana Ross – Live in Central Park concert is available on DVD. The show is a parade of colorful costume after colorful costume, and of course, hits – and not just Ross’s own, as she covers her dear friend and frequent collaborator Michael Jackson. Ross teases the crowd: “Do you know ‘Beat It’?”
Also out this week are releases from veteran artists at opposite ends of the music world. First, Carlos Santana lets his distinct guitar stylings – heavy with jazz and Latin music influences – shine on his 36th album, an instrumental collection titled Shape Shifter. Santana vocalists Andy Vargas and Tony Lindsay lend their vocals on one song, “Eres La Luz.”
Willie Nelson pulls a Johnny Cash and dedicates his grizzled, country vocals to a covers album, titled Heroes. It includes Nelson’s take on modern songs like Coldplay’s “The Scientist” (which is, without a doubt, the album’s highlight) and Pearl Jam’s “Just Breathe.” But the real head-scratcher here is “Roll Me Up,” Willie’s collaboration with Kris Kristofferson, country outlaw Jamey Johnson, and fellow famed marijuana enthusiast, rapper Snoop Dogg.
And finally, for those in search of a protest song for the 21st century, there’s the Michael Moore-approved Occupy This Album four-disc compilation (tagline: 99 songs for the 99 percent!), in celebration of the Occupy Wall Street political movement. A mix of modern indie rockers and classic liberal voices like Jackson Browne, Joan Baez, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Yoko Ono, Tom Morello and more comprise the album. And ties to liberal documentary director Michael Moore move beyond just the ideological: He covers Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin'” on the album. Listen below.
–Jillian Mapes, CBS Local