ALBUM SPOTLIGHT: FRANK SINATRA, Strangers In the Night— As a moment not of reinvention but rather of renewal, Strangers In the Night rises above a couple of unfortunate song selections—and the artist’s corresponding throw-away performances thereof—to stand honorably with the best of latter-era Sinatra.

Roundup: ‘Big’ Blues With a Feeling—Strong new blues albums from a couple of ‘Big’ artists who write as well as they sing:

BIG BILL MORGANFIELD’s Born Lover would make his father, one Muddy Waters, well pleased;

BIG PETE PEARSON’s Screamer and Finger In Your Eye, find this superlative bluesman getting better with age.

JEFF HEALEY, LUTHER ALLISON: SONGS FROM THE ROADTwo beloved bluesmen, both ace guitarists and deeply humanistic in their approach to the music, both gone too soon (and both victims of cancer), are honored by Ruf Records with like-titled CDs (and in Luther Allison’s case, an accompanying DVD of part of the show memorialized on the CD) that at once demonstrate their distinctive musicality and underscore how sorely missed they are on the contemporary scene, especially in the blues world.

ELLIS PAUL, The Day After Everything Changed—Ellis Paul’s his first new long player in five years turns out to have been largely, if not completely, financed by his fans—his mailing list apparently boasts some 20,000 names, and in his notes to this disc Paul writes: “People, one by one, came out of the blue to show support financially, far beyond our initial goal.” Folks, your money was well spent.

DVD REVIEW: TAIL DRAGGER LIVE AT ROOSTER’S LOUNGE Not missing an opportunity, Delmark is following its success with TAIL DRAGGER’s 2005 DVD, My Head Is Bald (the label’s best selling DVD to date), with another rousing live set captured on film for posterity, Live at Rooster’s Lounge. In short, this terrific set continues Tail Dragger’s resurrection, artistically and personally,

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