Sound journalism, grounded in facts and Biblical truth | Donate

New and noteworthy

MUSIC | Four new albums reviewed

New and noteworthy
You have {{ remainingArticles }} free {{ counterWords }} remaining. You've read all of your free articles.

Full access isn’t far.

We can’t release more of our sound journalism without a subscription, but we can make it easy for you to come aboard.

Get started for as low as $3.99 per month.

Current WORLD subscribers can log in to access content. Just go to "SIGN IN" at the top right.


Already a member? Sign in.

I Love You Lord

Siya Dikana

This South African producer, songwriter, artist, husband, and father may not know it, but the giants on whose shoulders he’s standing are none other than Andraé Crouch & the Disciples, who also blended ­gospel motifs with sophisticated R&B stylings capable of crossing over to non-fans of both. The differences are that Dikana and his disciples sing not only in English (seven songs) but also in Zulu (three), Xhosa (two), and Afrikaans (one), and that Dikana sings better than Crouch. Furthermore, R&B stylings have gotten more sophisticated over the last 50 years. Dikana has obviously been paying attention.

Fragments: Time Out of Mind Sessions (1996-1997): The Bootleg Series, Vol. 17

Bob Dylan

On the first of this box’s five discs, the engineer Michael Brauer takes a cue from Giles Martin’s Beatles refurbishments and gives the best Dylan album of the ’80s and ’90s (combined) a starting-from-scratch sonic upgrade. “We got a particular type of sound on this record, which you don’t get every day,” said Dylan of the original at the ’98 Grammy Awards. By carefully erasing Daniel Lanois’ otherworldly distancing and letting the many elements breathe, Brauer has too.

Heichal Hymns: Sephardic Spiritual Hymns

Rabbi David Menachem, Daniel Akiva

Menachem plays oud and sings. Akiva plays acoustic guitar. The genres include piyyutim (liturgical Jewish poetry set to music) and zemirot (Jewish hymns). Both “Adon Olam” (“Lord of the Universe”) and “Yigdal” (“Great Is the Living God”) have been around for 600 years or more and have their own Wikipedia pages. “HaAderet VeHaemunah” (“The Glory and Faith”) is a Hasidic favorite. The melodies and the playing provide an overview of Leonard Cohen’s musical roots, the singing an overview of Robin Williamson’s vocal ones. Time-tested, reverent, beautiful, and alive.

You Wear It Well: A Decade of All Dressed-up Pop, Rock ’n’ Roll and Country Songs, 1953 to 1962

Various artists

These 30 spirited recordings invoking the suggestibility of all things sartorial play like an especially fun episode of Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour. Great and/or silly voices and sensibilities abound (Carl Perkins, Tennessee Ernie Ford, the Coasters, Norman Brooks making like Al Jolson, Johnny Desmond). If you’re guessing that Nancy Sinatra’s prime placement on the cover ­signals the inclusion of her boots song, you’re guessing wrong.

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan Stefan Rousseau/AP


Critics have split over whether the second, third, fourth, and fifth discs of Bob Dylan’s Fragments box qualify as necessities or as vault scrapings intended to exploit deep-pocketed Dylan fans who can’t resist anything with “bootleg” in the title. Both camps are right. The early takes on Discs 2, 3, and 5 fall short of the ones that ended up on Time Out of Mind, but they’d also have made for a better-than-­average Dylan album if neither Dylan nor his producer Daniel Lanois had continued forging ahead and if the tender, acoustic “The Water Is Wide” had been tacked on as a coda.

And then there’s Disc 4, comprising live performances circa 1998-2001 of Time Out of Mind in its entirety (with “Mississippi” subbing for “Dirt Road Blues”) and thus preserving for posterity one of the nine times that Dylan has ever played the black- comedy epic “Highlands” to a crowd. Until the compilers at Columbia get around to giving the so-called Never-ending Tour a box of its own, these fragments will do. —A.O.

Arsenio Orteza

Arsenio is a music reviewer for WORLD Magazine and one of its original contributors from 1986. Arsenio resides in China.



Please wait while we load the latest comments...