Review: The jazz and blues-focused DOL division of Moscow-based archivists Vinylogy LLC hits the jackpot once again with this sumptuous reissue of the Etta James album, At Last. Originally released back in 1961 on the Argo Records subsidiary of the iconic Chess operation out of Chicago, At Last provided James with a wealth of chart hits, not least the title track and "All I Could Do Was Cry" which was co-written by future Motown mogul Berry Gordy. It's for this fact and more that musical historians regard this album as an important footnote in the development of Rhythm & Blues. Great work as usual from the DOL crew - do check their other reissues of Chet Baker and Nina Simone that dropped this week.
Review: Despite being 57 years old, Charles Mingus's 1959 full-length Mingus Ah Um still sounds incredibly fresh. It's rightly regarded as one of the greatest jazz albums of all time, an accolade based not only on the consistently high quality of the tracks, but also their musical variety. So, while "Goodbye Porkpie Hat" and "Self Portrait in Three Colours" are traditionally melancholic, down-tempo jazz explorations, the album also contains the gospel-influenced rush of "Better Git In Your Soul", the high-octane Duke Ellington tribute, "Open Letter To Duke", and the atmospheric late night blues of "Pussy Cat Dues". Thanks to the excellent re-mastering work audible on this vinyl reissue, Mingus Ah Um has never sounded so good.