David Crosby: For Free (BMG, CD). This is Crosby’s seventh solo album and in recent interviews the 79-year-old has talked about nearing the end of days, not knowing how much longer he might be around. He is making the best use of that time by putting out solid album after solid album. With the title song, a cover of the classic by Joni Mitchell, whom he dated in the 1960s, Crosby also reaches back to his days in The Byrds, as they recorded the song in 1973. One has to love the way Crosby interprets the song; it is almost haunting as it is just vocals by Crosby and Sarah Jarosz with only James Raymond’s piano.

The album is produced by Crosby’s son, Raymond, who worked with Dan Garcia and both mixed the album, along with Crosby. A multi-instrumentalist, Raymond also plays on most tracks, whether it be synth bass, synth guitar, various keyboards, acoustic guitar or drum programming. Raymond also co-wrote four songs with his father and penned another three by himself.

The album opens with an ode to California in the sunny “River Rise,” which features the voice of co-writer Michael McDonald (Steely Dan, The Doobie Brothers). Steve Postell co-wrote and plays acoustic guitar on “I Think I,” one of the highlights, as Crosby sings that life does not come with an instruction manual, but he finally has found his way. Raymond had a hand in writing both songs.

Donald Fagen (also Steely Dan) contributes the wonderful “Rodriguez for a Night,” a new song, co-written with Crosby and Raymond. Dean Parks plays guitar on the track, which does have a Steely Dan feel. There are very nice guitar sounds on the Raymond-penned “Boxes,” which is about being unable to summon one’s better angels, but “nothing less than trying will do.” Also self-reflective are “Shot at Me,” on talking with a Middle East veteran and with again fine Parks guitar playing, and the closing “I Won’t Stay for Long,” which opens “I’m standing on the porch/ like it’s the edge of a cliff.” Grade: A

Clint Morgan: Troublemaker (Lost Cause, CD). This follow-up to his critically-acclaimed 2016 album “Scofflaw” finds Morgan combining country, gospel, blues, Americana and old-school rock ‘n’ roll, with dollops of humor. Morgan often sings with the same modulation as Johnny Cash, as on the opening highlight, “Hangman Woman,” which features the piano and then guitar on an extended instrumental break. “Big River” also has the Cash influence, which is very natural, as the song was written by Cash. It features a lively sax and ends with a bit of Ray Charles’ “What’d I Say,” with backing vocalists.

The gospel elements come in on “Go Down, Moses,” with vocals by sisters Ann and Regina McCrary. Plus, Morgan talks directly to God in the rocky, sardonic “It’s Rough Out Here.” “She Take My Money” is a Chuck Berry-like rocker.

Humor can be found in “Ain’t That the Blues,” a playful lament in which his body is all worn out; “Hungry Man Blues,” in which his woman is perfect in everything except cooking (“she don’t know a kitchen stove from a kangaroo”); and “I’ll Love You If I Want To,” which lists all the awful, but funny things his woman can do at their wedding or down at the waffle house.”

Morgan resurrects “Somebody Put a Walmart on the Farm” from his 2008 solo debut album, alternating verses here with Kinky Friedman. The track features a nice fiddle. There is lots of name-dropping in the nice “Too Rich to Sing the Blues,” while rain sounds open and close the slow blues of “Hurricane Harvey.” Another highlight – two actually – is “Cover of Living Blues,” a parody of Shel Silverstein’s “Cover of the Rolling Stone” that features slide guitarist Watermelon Slim, who worked with Muddy Waters. The CD’s bonus track is another take of “Cover of Living Blues,” this time sung by Slim. Grade: B+

John McTigue III: It’s About Time (Mc3, CD). McTigue can play all kinds of music, as he demonstrates with this album, his first solo album, but he really likes alternative country. He has played with Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Steve Cropper, Hank Williams III and Jim Lauderdale, among others.

“The album represents many of the different styles of music I’ve enjoyed playing and creating while traveling around the world over the years,” McTigue says in a press release. “I wanted this record to have the spontaneity and creative freedom of improvisation as well as some arranged compositions.”

The album is a stylistically diverse collection of duets between McTigue and some of the most distinctive talents in roots music today. There is a rockabilly treatment of the classic “Deep Ellum Blues,” with Greg Garing on vocals and Kenny Vaughan on guitar; the Greg Garing original blues shuffle, “Store Bought Liquor”; the classic country tune “Ashes of Love,” with Tim Carroll vocals and reimagined with a Brazilian Baiaõ feel; and two Carroll originals, “Keeping Time” and “Talk to God.”

The album also has seven instrumentals, ranging from the outstanding progressive rock of “Stockholm,” co-written with guitarist/producer Vaughan and improvised in the studio, to the Afro-Cuban groove of “Soul Shepherd,” another standout track. “Starbuck,” the album’s best track, is a twist on Buck Owens’ “Buckaroo,” done in a minor key and with McTigue adding a mambo groove. He keeps the original ride cymbal pattern, done by McTigue’s friend Willie Cantu, Bucks’ original drummer. The funky “The Whale Song” was written and performed with pedal steel player Ron Blakely, with Jay Weaver’s rumbling bass line throughout.  “Luceat Lux Vestra” sees Billy Contreras playing all four parts with four different fiddles or violins.

There also are two classical offerings in “Chopin Etude No. 4 (arranged in 6/8 for electric mandolin) and McTigue’s original “String Quartet No. 3.” Grade: B

Asia: The Reunion Albums 2007-2012 (Asia Heritage/BMG, 5 CDs, 4:42:16). The English rock supergroup was formed in London in 1981 and its eponymous debut album in 1982 featured one of the best first side’s I had ever heard, with “Heat of the Moment,” “Only Time Will Tell” and “Soul Survivor” the first three tracks. The band, which I was lucky enough to see in Boston in 1982, consisted of lead vocalist/bassist John Wetton (King Crimson, U.K.), guitarist Steve Howe (Yes), keyboardist Geoff Downes (Yes, The Buggles) and Carl Palmer (Emerson, Lake & Palmer).

The original lineup only lasted two albums, as Wetton left in October 1983, being disappointed with sales of “Alpha,” their second album. Wetton came back after three months, but only on the condition that Howe depart. Rough times and many lineup changes followed (see below for the Downes-John Payne years).

The original lineup reformed in 2006 to mark the band’s 25th anniversary, then issued a live double album and three studio albums, which are collected here. The live album is “Fantasia Live in Tokyo” (2007, 1:45:45, grade A) and the 18 tracks including all nine from their debut album and three from the second album. Howe performs the instrumental “Intersection Blues,” and a selection is played from each member’s former band’s catalog: Yes’ “Roundabout”; ELP’s cover of Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Band”; King Crimson’s “In the Court of the Crimson King”; and The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star.” They also perform the non-album, B-side “Ride Easy.”

“Phoenix” (2008, 65:01, grade B+) contains “Never Again,” which kind of captures the 1982 sound. The opening three songs deal with loss and the fragility of time and life. Two paired numbers last more than eight minutes, falling more into Yes category. They are “Sleeping Giant/ No Way Back,” which opens with vocalizing and then heavy organ, and “Parallel Worlds/ Vortex/ Deya.” Best are the first three tracks, which also include “Nothing’s Forever” and “Heroine,” the long instrumental close of “Alibis,” and the closing “An Extraordinary Life.”

“Omega” (2010, 61:51, grade B) followed, highlighted by the catchy “Finger on the Trigger” and the dramatic “Holy War.” The fifth and final studio album by the original lineup was “XXX” (2012, 49:39, grade A-), so named as it was the 30th anniversary of their first album. The strongest tracks are “Bury Me in Willow,” the hard-rocking “No Religion,” the upbeat “Faithful” and “Face on the Bridge.” There is some Spanish flavor on the bright “Al Gatto Nero.” This version includes the special edition bonus track “Reno (Silver and Gold),” but not “I Know How You Feel (Midnight Mix)” and the Japanese-only “Faithful (Orchestral Version).”

Howe retired from the band in 2013 and Wetton died in January 2017.

Asia: Aurora Live (Secret, 3 CDs). These live tracks are from London, Osaka Japan and Philadelphia in 1992, Koln Germany in 1994 and Brucksal Germany in 1997. The mainstays of the band during that time were original member Geoff Downes on keyboards and vocals and John Payne on lead vocals and bass. Much of this material is not very appealing because Payne’s voice is not as warm as John Wetton’s was.

For the 1992 shows, Vinny Burns was the guitarist and Trevor Thorton the drummer, with Howe doing an instrumental twice. For the 1994 and 1997 shows, the guitarist was Aziz Ibrahim, while the drummer was Michael Sturges in 1994 and Bob Richards in 1997. When “Video Kills the Radio Star” is performed solo by Downes, it is only an instrumental now.

Disc one is a full London show, with “Rock and Roll Dreams” and the oldie “Wildest Dreams” the most appealing. New at the time were “Little Rich Boy” and “Who Will Stop the Rain.” Disc two has a 1997 German acoustic concert, with good versions of “Don’t Call Me” and “Military Man,” plus the first live version of “Arena.” There is a string quartet used on “Sad Situation.” Payne goofs up the lyrics on “Heat of the Moment.”

Overall, disc three is the best, opening with solid rockers “Love Under Fire” and “Someday.” The German crowd sings along on “Summer.” Grade: B

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