A look at the latest from Kingsley Flood and Rockin Jason D. Williams, an eclectic covers collection spotlighting Bob Dylans 80s output, and a vinyl reissue of a Bonnie Raitt classic.

Kingsley Flood, Live at the Armory
George Halls guitar work provides even more of a backbone here than on Kingsley Floods stellar studio albums: Unassumingly raucous, it simultaneously grounds this live collection of the bands best songs recorded in front of a small crowd at the Armory in Somerville, Massachusetts and sends it soaring at all the right moments. His turn on Devils Arms Full, all winking swagger and rockabilly raunch, is a particular standout.
But as usual with these Boston-based folk-punk (or is it punk-folk?) rockers, Live at the Armory lives and dies by frontman Naseem Khuris lyrics and his breathless delivery of them. On rockers like Strongman and Sun Gonna Lemme Shine, his compelling, wild-eyed rasp is impassioned, pointed and best of all, unique; theres just no one else out there who sounds like this guy.
Factor in killer horns and Jenee Morgans beautiful harmonies and counterpoints, and you have the perfect entry into Kingsley Floods world if youve yet to experience it -- or the perfect celebration of it if you have. (Info at kingsleyflood.com)

Rockin Jason D. Williams, Hillbillies and Holy Rollers
Williams isnt exactly the force of nature here that he was on 2010s Killer Instincts, but the (slightly) slower place actually suits the new album well, taking Williams boogie-woogie piano licks and laconic vocal drawl in cheeky new directions.
One of the albums originals, the opening title track, stomps and rolls as it lays out the country push-and-pull of juggling the Good Book on Sundays, Saturday nights in bars. Meanwhile, This is Rock & Roll, the most obvious nod to Williams muse Jerry Lee Lewis, allows him to beat the keys with his usual fervor while celebrating early rocks power and pleasures.
But its the covers that really make Hillbillies a keeper Williams sly piano take on Johnny Cashs Folsom Prison Blues stands among that songs most enjoyable versions. And his snappy Sweet Georgia Brown actually breathes new life into the old chestnut, effectively swiping it back from the Harlem Globetrotters. Short, punchy and irrepressible, Hillbillies and Holy Rollers is a half-hour or so well spent. (Info at rockinjasondwilliams.com)

Various Artists, Bob Dylan in the 80s, Volume One
There are pleasures to be found in Bob Dylans much-maligned 80s output, and the contributors to Bob Dylan in the 80s prove it on one of the most consistent collections of Dylan covers to come along in a while.
The album only has one flat-out disaster: Reggie Watts truncated, jumbled up version on Brownsville Girl, easily Dylans masterpiece of that decade. But the rest of the tracks are all worthwhile: The Hold Steadys Craig Finn was made to cover Sweetheart Like You, and Glen Hansards ragged Pressing On, from Dylans Saved, captures the simplicity and beauty of Bobs gospel output.
Some of these songs were just so well constructed by Dylan that it would take a concerted effort to do them poorly Jokerman and Dark Eyes come to mind, and the versions here, by Built to Spill and Dawn Landes with Bonnie Prince Billy, are suitably stunning.
More impressive, though, are the lesser tracks that the cover artists make their own: When The Night Comes Falling From the Sky, a Springsteen knockoff from Empire Burlesque, becomes a jangly triumph in Lucius hands. And Got My Mind Made Up, a bluesy trifle from Knocked Out Loaded, translates much better in Langhorne Slims banjo-laden Americana version.
Bob Dylan in the 80s shows that era to be a more than worthy inspiration to Bobophiles present and future. Not to mention deserving of space on your Bob mixtape (whatever that is). (Info at 80sdylan.com)

Vinyl Spotlight: Bonnie Raitt, Nick of Time
Capitol Records/UMe has issued a vinyl re-release of Bonnie Raitts Nick of Time to commemorate its 25th anniversary, which is as good a reason as any to revisit the album and Im happy to report it holds up beautifully. Awash in gravelly blues and poignant ballads, its smooth without being slick, and her slide guitar work is, frankly, mesmerizing.
Raitts two original compositions are easily among the albums best: The opening title track is one of the most thoughtful meditations on aging ever set to music. And The Roads My Middle Name, closes the album with a rollicking, worn-in vibe that feels well-earned.
In between those two tracks are an impressive array of blues rock efforts, several of which today feel like standards. The buoyant riff Raitt puts on John Hiatts Thing Called Love only amplifies the songs infectious appeal, and on Bonnie Hayes winking Love Letter, Raitts crisp drawl generates the steam heat of as-yet-unrequited love.
Twenty-five years later, the remastered vinyl edition is a wonderful way to relive all these songs rarely has an artist been better suited for vinyls warm tone. If you somehow missed it the first time around, theres no (nick of) time like the present to discover Raitts stunning comeback. (Info at bonnieraitt.com)

Peter Chianca writes about books and a lot more for Petes Pop Culture, Parenting & Pets Blog at northofboston.wickedlocal.com/section/blogs. Email him at pchianca@wickedlocal.com.