When We Were Young - Dusted - Go Beat: 543 707-2
Rollo (out of Faithless) has made a good album under the moniker "Dusted".
Enlisting the assistance of such musicians as Mark Bates, Martin McGory, and
Tim Vogt, this project has seen the realization of an atmospheric and in
places extremely moving set of tracks.
Let me get one thing straight right
from the start, though. Atmospheric does not imply a swirling, muddy mish-mash
of uncoordinated sound. "When We Were Young" has an audio that is
crystal-clear and very easy to identify positioning in the stereo soundstage.
The melodic themes have a direction and purpose which, in the main, carries
the listener through the whole CD. I enjoyed most of the
variety and the concept, which is well covered in the track listing
Track One, 'Childhood' sets the scene perfectly. A sequence of lush
chord-changes is accompanied in places by a certain 'groove' and some sound
effects which are reminiscent (rather than explicit quotes) of 'Childhood',
including what sounds like some admonishing remarks from the parent-figure. At
least, that's my interpretation. I liked the Lou Reed / Leonard Cohen type of
vocal treatment in 'Time Takes Time', too, with its gospel chorus for added
texture and contrast.
All is not sweetness and light with the album, though. I felt that track 7 was
probably the worst and deserved better than the (to me) poor female vocals.
These sound just like one of the current supply of manufactured 'divas',
trying to sound 'soulful' but missing the point of real feeling and
expression. It's a shame because the Debussey style piano break in the
track is really something special. And probably the worst aspect of the whole
album is the transition from track 7 to track 8. Why start # 8 with the beat
that had already become quite annoying by the end of track 7? Still, it gets
better after about 3 minutes when it goes bluesy and moody. Then guess what?
Track 9 and it's that beat again! Aaggrr! This could really get annoying!
Let's end on an upbeat though, if you'll excuse the pun. There are quotes in
track 6 that sound as if they are spoken by Jean-Luc Picard. Did respecting
one's Mother play a large part in TNG (?). Nicely done, anyway. And the ironic
pseudo-quotes from a mock-Oscar ceremony, thanking every person or thing that
has had an effect upon the recipient, in track 11, made me smile. So that's
how I'd like to remember this CD: some amusement, some poignancy, and some
very good music-making.
For reference, complete track listing:
2. Time takes time
3. Want u
4. Hurt u
5. If you go down to the woods
6. Always remember to respect your Mother part 1
7. The biggest fool in the World
8. Oh, how sweet
9. Always remember to respect your Mother part 2
11. The Oscar song
12. Under the Sun
13. If I had a child
The 13th Apostle - The Rev. Vince Anderson and his Love Choir - Dirty
Gospel: 43157 07992
Is the mixture of spiritual and secular as practiced by The Rev Vince an
'unholy alliance'? I've said it before and I'll repeat it here - most
certainly not! His music is strong enough to find a very welcome place on both
sides of the 'divide'. Knowing this from my previous encounter with Vince
(Popular Music Reviews - Part 41), I was delighted when "The 13th Apostle"
dropped on my mat. Even more so when I'd pressed 'play' on the CD deck. This
album is outstanding. Vince does full justice to his gravelly, Jim Morrison
type of voice. There is a variety of styles, and some tempo changes in the
songs, too. Altogether a very rewarding package.
As an opening cut, 'Dear Lunatics' is as manic as you'd expect. Anyone who
remembers Screaming Lord Sutch's records will feel very at home immediately.
Now Sutch, despite being part of the beat generation, came out of the
Rock and Roll tradition, so its apt that Vince's track 2 is a solid bouncy
rocker in the style of Croce's "...Leroy Brown". So, by track 3, we're ready
for a slower pace, and we get it in a soulful piece that's somewhere between
Otis Redding and the Stones' "Wild Horses".
We get some more tempo changes - and some of these are within a song. Take
track 8 (subtitled "...but I got Jesus in my head" in the sleeve notes) which
starts with some spoken gospel picked up off the radio. It continues as a
pretty slow 12-bar, and this runs for 5 verses, the 3rd of which is an
instrumental. During the repeats of the last line of verse 5, the tempo picks
up and up until you could almost sing 'I Got The Music In Me' along with it.
Very nicely done . . . and then it all slows down again. 'Hallelujah' as the
reverend exclaims, almost as an introduction to track 9. Hallelujah indeed.
I think I've given enough here to give a taster of the album and to let you
know how much I am enjoying it. There are no bad segments to this album
(unlike the previous one), and at 46 minutes, it's more like a full album's
worth. I still want more, but maybe I'll just have to be patient and wait for
the next outing by Vince and his excellent band.
For reference, complete track listing:
1. Dear Lunatics
2. Train Whistle Blowin'
3. Angel, Save My Breath
5. Blame It On The Bottle
6. Honeywell Street Bridge
7. Sweet Redemption
8. Trying To Be An Asshole
9. The Hellelujah Side
10. New Orleans, 11 a.m.
For Certain Because . . . - The Hollies - EMI: 7243 4 98952 2 5
When I reviewed the fantastic Hollies album "Butterfly" a while ago, I made
mention of its 'sister' release "For Certain Because..." and promised myself
(and you) that I would get hold of it as soon as possible. Well I didn't have
to wait long, I'm delighted to say.
Like "Butterfly", this CD has the mono LP release tracks in their entirety,
followed by the stereo versions of the tracks. The mono mix-down seems cruder
than was the case for "Butterfly" and, in particular, has more of the
instrumentation at too low a level. This spoiled the sequence for me to such
an extent that I always leap ahead to # 13 for the Stereo versions.
'What's Wrong With The Way I Live' is a great opener. Those vocals ring out
like a bell - something that The Hollies always seem to master. And what an
innovative track # 2 is. With it's "Instant Karma" style of piano intro, I
wondered if Mr. Lennon had gleaned some ideas from fellow north-westerners.
Having a slow 3/4 rhythm for verse and 4/4 for the chorus is daring but this
track really pulls it off. And talking of influences, track 3 has a hint of
the "Marrakesh Express" about it, and that's no fault as far as I'm concerned.
My personal favorite is probably 'High Classed' with its vaudeville style and
tongue-in-cheek lyric. As for a least fave, that would have to be track 5,
merely for the odd pronunciation of 'look' sounding more like 'luck'.
A subtle difference but not there for the irony, surely. Another standout, for
the right reasons, is 'Peculiar Situation'. I loved the biographical story of
this couple - would you call that a duography? Ending on the hit that
spent 12 weeks in the UK charts, peaking at the number 2 position, 'Stop!
Stop! Stop!' is a great up-beat way to end a fine CD. Anyone who likes The
Hollies at all will feel immediately at home with this CD. Whether the CD
itself, with its slightly oversize case, will feel 'at home' depends on one's
CD rack - it doesn't fit mine!
For reference, complete track listing:
1. What's Wrong With The Way I Live
2. Pay You Back With Interest
3. Tell Me To My Face
5. Suspicious Look In Your Eyes
6. It's You
7. High Classed
8. Peculiar Situation
9. What Went Wrong
11. Don't Ever Think About Changing
12. Stop! Stop! Stop!
13. What's Wrong With The Way I Live
14. Pay You Back With Interest
15. Tell Me To My Face
17. Suspicious Look In Your Eyes
18. It's You
19. High Classed
20. Peculiar Situation
21. What Went Wrong
23. Don't Ever Think About Changing
24. Stop! Stop! Stop!
Graham Vine -
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