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Old 02-18-2013, 11:41 PM   #1711 (permalink)
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:43 AM   #1712 (permalink)
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It is not a popular view these days, but I think the Thin Lizzy albums with Eric Bell are their best. It is a strange paradox that he did not want to be a rock star, while Phil Lynott wanted nothing else.
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:52 PM   #1713 (permalink)
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Ah, the best-laid plans of mice, men and trolls, huh? It's been a year and a bit since I first announced this section, and here I am only now getting it underway. Probably a lesson not to trumpet things before I know when I'm going to be able to actually write them! Not that I'll learn from it, but sure what's the harm? Anyway, here we go, a year later than planned --- about par for my journal, I think you'll agree...

Why do some bands just not make it? I guess there could be many reasons, apart from the obvious, that they were no good. Maybe it's lack of support from the label, maybe internal divisions within the band, or a sense of disillusion if your first record doesn't do well. Could be a lot of things I suppose. The upshot however is that we can often be left, with one seriously good album and the gnawing, frustrating realisation that there will be no more. I've certainly known a few bands who have released a pretty stunning debut and then disappeared without a trace. It's like watching one season of a great TV show then finding out it was cancelled or that they just didn't make any more. There's a feeling of an opportunity lost, the possibility that we might have been bearing witness to something truly great, but that for whatever reason, it's not going to be. Some debuts that go no further are of course rightly consigned to the trashcan of history, while there are others who are still making albums who should maybe have stopped a long time ago. So where do you find the middle ground? If most artistes that debut then go no further are deservedly dumped, what jewels is it possible to pick out of the general slush heap?
Tears in floods --- Odyssea --- 2004 (Scarlet)


How about this one, from Italy's Odyssea, who only recorded the one (excellent) album before breaking up. This is without question a band who should have been encouraged to have built on the success of their debut --- I don't know if it was successful commercially, I'm talking about the quality of the music, the writing, the musicianship --- but as this came out nine years ago now I think we can say with sad certainty that they are not likely to come back with another album. I suppose it's possible, but rather improbable. Which is a real pity, as this is a stormer of a first attempt.

A short instrumental gets us going, with nice Floyd-style effects and some lovely, lush keyboard work --- not credited, unfortunately --- then the album explodes with “Fly”, featuring Labyrinth's Roberto Tiranti on vocals. It's a power metal stormer, thundering along on freight train drumming courtesy of Chris Paresi, great guitar attack from Pier Gonella, and an excellent hook that takes the song right into your brain where it refuses to leave. I really wish I knew who was playing those keys, as they really add an extra dimension to the music! Some great shredding from Gonella though.

Tiranti heads off back to Labyrinth, leaving his bandmate, guitarist Gonella, to carry on and regular vocalist and frontman Carlo Firaci takes over for the rest of the album, starting with the blistering “The king”, which keeps up the pressure, rocketing along with again those uncredited keyboards looming large in the background, and an impressive midsection instrumental really makes the song. Faraci's vocals are certainly different to those of Tiranti, but his voice definitely suits the music his band makes.

The standout of the album for me is “Falling star”, opening on a very heavy synth line with backing tracks, then Gonella's guitar joins the melody as the synth gets more spacey, and the song becomes a real anthem as Faraci sings his heart out, the hook in this almost heavy, heavy AOR: you could imagine hearing this on the radio no problem. Course, it never happened, but that's another story. The moody, almost blues-like verse contrasts sharply with the heavy rock choruses, Faraci sometimes sounding like Bernhard Weib from Axxis. He can certainly hit the high notes, of that there's no doubt. There's a great sense of power and also of drama about this song, and the unknown keyboard player really gets into his (or her) stride here, adding in Vangelis-like flourishes that really flesh out the song.

“Burning time” ramps up the speed, a real thrashfest as it rocks along, driven on Paresi's shock-and-awe drumming, while Gonella shred away to beat the band. Slowing everything down, “Try again” is an acoustic ballad on which Faraci really gets to stretch his vocal muscles, while Gonella proves he is just as capable of being quiet and restrained on the guitar as he is of kicking up a storm. Again, the keyboards add a real sense of atmosphere to the song, and as a ballad it may not be perfect but it's pretty good. Things get going again with “Angel cries”, then the title track is actually broken into two parts, part 1 being titled “El ultimo canto” (which my limited Italian tells me is “the last song”) and is a powerful instrumental with a lot of dramatic elements, into part 2, “Miserable man”, much faster and harder --- and longer --- with a lot more input from the anonymous keyboard guy. In fact, keyboard really drives this track, which unlike part 1 is not instrumental.

“Apocalypse, part 1” is however, and very short too, mostly fiddling around on the synth, then the album closes on “Creatures”, another fast and heavy rocker, very guitar-driven. A great melody with a wonderful hook and some excellent and effective backing vocals to finish a really good album.

It really is surprising, as I said at the start, to see that this band only released the one album and then split up. Perhaps due to Pier Gonella's time being taken up by his work in Labyrinth, I don't know. Maybe this was a side project for him. Either way, it turned out some really good music and it's really a pity that we won't hear anymore from Odyssea.

TRACKLISTING

1. Intro
2. Fly
3. The king
4. Falling star
5. Burning time
6. Try again
7. Angel cries
8. Tears in floods Part I: El ultimo canto
9. Tears in floods Part II: Miserable man
10. Apocalypse Part I
11. Creatures
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:28 AM   #1714 (permalink)
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Some things never change --- Supertramp --- 1997 (EMI)


Despite the title, for fifteen years it had and has been quite obvious that things have changed, and drastically within the Supertramp fold, leading to a watering-down of their music and a serious waning of their popularity. When guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and co-founder of the band Roger Hodgson left in 1982 after the superlative "Famous last words", the band struggled to cope without his input, his presence, his inspiration. Of course, maybe internally they didn't, but looking at their output from that to this, it's clear that many of the sounds, melodies, ideas and themes that characterised their previous albums --- including such commercially successful ones as "Breakfast in America" and "Even in the quietest moments" --- departed with Hodgson. Although Rick Davies had always co-written and sung with Roger, it was the latter who was known as the voice of Supertramp, since most if not all of the singles have his voice and he always tended to sing on the more "up" songs, while Davies tended to take the more mature, downbeat, serious ones. This of course led to Hodgson being identified with such hits as "Breakfast in America", "The logical song", "It's raining again" and "Dreamer"; he presented the "happy", some might say more poppy side of Supertramp, and people knew the band by his voice.

But on the evidence of their last few albums Supertramp have never managed to recapture that special something that Hodgson brought to the table. "Famous last words" was a tour-de-force, a fitting swansong for the man who had guided Supertramp through twelve years and seven albums, but when the last echoes of "Don't leave me now" had faded away into the distance, there was a numbing sense of finality, and to be honest, had Supertramp disbanded then I would not have been that surprised. Perhaps, in the light of what came next, they should have done so. But no doubt Rick Davies and John Helliwell, who had been there from the early years, believed the band could survive his departure, and unlike Queen without Freddie or Lizzy without Phil, they forged ahead and tried to continue without him.

Without him though their music leaned away from the happy pop sensibilities of their hit albums and returned in the main to the progressive rock, blues/jazz themes of their first two albums, with a lot of the material coming across both as dour and dated. Though they scored a minor hit with "Cannonball" from the first album post-Hodgson, "Brother where you bound", the album did not do well and though it was praised by critics I found it meandering and boring. With only six tracks on it I believe it represented poor value for money too, even if the title track was over sixteen minutes long. The followup, "Free as a bird", was marginally better, but I could still only pick out one or two --- literally --- good tracks off it.

I believe they returned to a measure of their previous glory though with this, their, to date, penultimate album. There's a mixture of the long prog rock wandering songs that tend to crop up on the self-titled debut and some reasonably good rock, a bit of pop and it's almost something for everyone. Of the later (post-Hodgson) albums I'd say it's far and away the best, even if sadly it was followed by one of their worst ever. The album cover is very clever, a typical Supertramp motif that echoes the sleeves of "Breakfast in America" and "Famous last words", as well as "Crime of the century" but is more closely linked to the cover for 1974's "Crisis? What crisis?", with the advent of afternoon tea doggedly persisting despite the fact that the characters appear to be living on the moon. Some things, indeed, never change.

The music had changed though, and even with some quite impressive tracks this is still a long way removed from the heyday of Supertramp; there would be no hit singles from this album --- "Cannonball" has to date been their last incursion on the pop charts --- but it does at least improve on the track numbers, with this album containing twelve in all, compared to the previous nine on "Free as a bird" and the laughable six on "Brother where you bound". It also features the very first solo lead vocals from Mark Hart, who had joined the band in 1986 and had first tried out his singing on one track on the prior album, though in that case he had shared vocals with Davies. It probably isn't the best of signs that the album opens with a nine-minute epic, rather slow and plodding and with a downbeat message, but throughout the album it does brighten up and the style takes a turn back towards the more "happy" Supertramp sound of the seventies and eighties.

The album opens with "It's a hard road", soft digital piano and organ, bass guitar thrumming away and it's almost like a sort of a tuneup, the bass mostly leading the line as the piano chimes away in the background, soft synth laying down a backdrop until the drums cut in and the familiar sax work of John Anthony Helliwell sweeps up Rick Davies' voice in a funky, jazzy song that details the dreams of someone waiting to make it --- "Right now I'm just trying to survive/ Livin' rough, hangin' tough, shapin' up" --- his faith unshakeable that he will break into the big time. Over the last few years Davies has introduced more and more brass into the Supertramp sound, pulling them towards a more jazz area than in the Hodgson era, and it does work but reduces the commercial appeal of the band, making their current music less accessible to those who don't know them.

Davies has of course always shared vocal duties with his departed partner, and we know him from many Supertramp songs that didn't make it as hits, such as "Bloody well right", "Rudy" and even "Goodbye stranger", so it's no wrench to hear him sing here --- he has after all been bossing the vocals for fifteen years now --- and his voice certainly suits the dour almost blind optimism of this song. To be fair, for a song over nine minutes this does not seem stretched or overlong. There's a return of sorts to a pop sound with "You win I lose", those familiar uptempo Supertramp piano lines leading the way, and it's more boppy and even poppy: you could hear Roger singing this. Some great organ too from Mark Hart, and a wonderful little sax solo from Helliwell that evokes the golden years of the band. There's actually a lot of their massive hit "Breakfast in America" in this, then "Get your act together" is a more typical Davies composition, with a sort of half-bitter worldweariness about it, juxtaposed against a swinging uptempo melody with some fine harmonica. Sort of reminds me of "Put on your old brown shoes" from "Famous last words". More trumpets and trombones add to the upbeat tone of the song despite the somewhat sardonic lyric, which could almost be in response to the unswerving, almost naive faith expressed in the opener.

Nice organ and piano on "Live to love you", essentially the first ballad on the album, with what sounds like the ghost of Roger Hodgson in the backing vocals --- guess that must be Hart --- and another fine sax solo from John Helliwell, while the title track goes almost dance/funk with hard cracking drums and jazzy guitar, warbling organ and a tight bassline. Hints that our "new friends" may not be as reliable as they seem in lines like "In some countries far from here/ You know, the ones we used to fear/ Are they just waiting to return to/ Their old evil ways?" and some very acrobatic guitar from Mark Hart mark this out as different to the usual thing we've come to expect from Supertramp. An uptempo song with a bleak message and a warning, and a piano solo from Davies the like of which we really haven't heard since the seminal closer for "Breakfast in America", "Child of vision". Joined by Helliwell's horn then it makes a fine instrumental end to the song, with the sounds of sirens threaded through the tune, as if the point hadn't already been made.

The standout of the album by a long way comes with "Listen to me please", with a boppy, uptempo song that just fizzes with energy and a great fast piano opening, with vocals for the first time on the album shared by Davies and Mark Hart, though the former not surprisingly dominates. It seems to be a cautionary tale about perhaps not putting all your trust in record label executives? "We'll make it easy for you/ Plan evertyhing you do/ Won't have to work very hard/ You'll make it big from the start/ Don't have to take it from me/ Here's a list you can see/ For every one of those names/ I brought them fortune and fame." Or maybe it's just a warning that there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. It's when the chorus gets going though that the song really takes off, and in the fadeout it speeds up and gets quite frenetic. "Sooner or later" then goes back into the slow funk groove of the title track, again driven mostly on piano and organ. It's the first song to feature Mark Hart on solo vocals, and he does really well. He's no Roger Hodgson, but his more falsetto voice contrasts nicely against Davies' baritone, and either way it's nice to hear a different singer. The song itself is no great shakes, though it does feature some nice interplay between Helliwell and Davies.

Blues and honky-tonk merge in "Help me down that road", great piano work from Rick Davies and a soulful vocal performance, then there's almost a sense of gospel to "And the light", one of the other standouts with lush organ and some great guitar, the first really slow song on the album, and in effect the first proper ballad. Brilliant smoky sax solo in it, then "C'est what?" is a return to uptempo poppy music and with a fine piano intro is almost a fast "Bloody well right", though some punching brass adds real teeth to it, as well as Hart's screaming guitar. It's the second-longest track, at over eight minutes, with some jazzy backing vocals, very danceable I would think, and it gives the brass section a real chance to shine. Very happy, very bouncy and again for such a long track doesn't drag or seem overextended. The album then closes on another ballad, the rather beautiful and quite uplifting "Where there's a will".

Opening on solo piano from Davies, the song mixes blues and gospel, with some solid drumming from longtime skinsman Bob Siebenberg, and Davies almost preacher-like on the vocals with some of the most basic truisms of humanity: "I don't know nothin' about this world/ And all its pains/ I can't tell you why we can't/ All just get along/ But after all is said and done/ Gotta keep on keepin' on!" Couldn't have said it better myself Rick! Great chorus on the backing vocals and a fine powerful ending that brings to a close a Supertramp album that stands head and shoulders above the work post-Hodgson, and which they completely failed to repeat on their next, and so far last, outing.

TRACKLISTING

1. It's a hard world
2. You win, I lose
3. Get your act together
4. Live to love you
5. Some things never change
6. Listen to me please
7. Sooner or later
8. Help me down that road
9. And the light
10. C'est what?
11. Where there's a will

There is, weirdly, a "hidden track" which is in fact the other one on which Mark Hart takes lead vocals, but as it's uncertain where it comes in the album --- my version shows it at the beginning, as "track 0" while Wiki lists it as track 10 --- I'm not going to go into it. I can't remember if it's on my original CD or not, but I don't remember it to be honest.

For a brief moment then in the late nineties Supertramp managed to recapture, at least partially, the magic and the excitement that characterised such albums as "Crime of the century", "Breakfast in America" and "Crisis? What crisis?" but the true spirit of the band left along with Roger Hodgson. In many ways, "Some things never change" can be seen as quite an optimistic album, from the blind faith of the opener to the determined insistence of the closer, and there are some really upbeat messages on it. There are of course darker elements, with the title track and yes even the opener can be viewed from a position of negativity and scorn, but this is a well put together album and recalls, probably for the last time in their career, the Supertramp I used to know and love.

Note: Supertramp videos are almost non-existent on the net. Where you can find them they're invariably "not available in your country", so rather than search YouTube fruitlessly I've provided a link here to the full album on Grooveshark. It's worth listening to.
Grooveshark - Free Music Streaming, Online Music
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Old 02-23-2013, 09:27 AM   #1715 (permalink)
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Once upon a time --- Simple Minds --- 1985 (Virgin)


I was never, truth to tell, a big Simple Minds fan. I got the greatest hits of course, and had a listen to one or two albums along the way but back in 1985 you really couldn't turn on the TV or radio without hearing one of their hits, all from this pretty seminal album. In the end I decided what the hell, four singles, the album must be good and I bought it. I wasn't disappointed, because it really is quite an excellent album. It didn't spur me to buy their next one or indeed go back through their catalogue, an impression some artistes have had on me, but I certainly did not regret buying the album. Their most commercially successful, it followed the big hit single "(Don't you) forget about me", and although that wasn't and isn't on this album, the song is forever inextricably linked with the album and the singles that came from it, and this was certainly Simple Minds' golden period.

It was their second number one album in the UK and the only one ever to chart inside the top ten in the USA. After this they would have two more successful albums taking them up to 1995, but then sales would begin to slide and would only recover for their last album released in 2009. They would never again trouble the US chart, their best effort after this peaking at number 70, for 1991's "Street fighting years", another number one for them here. Their singles, too, from this album did phenomenally well over here, and quite well in the US, in the latter case most of them breaking the top twenty barrier. But again, after this they would sink without a trace.

But 1985 was their year and they were on top of the world. Literally. Anyone around my age will remember the powerful video shot to accompany the single "Alive and kicking", at the top of a mountain and the sun going down over the shoulder of said mountain as the song faded to an end. It was, I recall, very effective and very impressive.

It's the title track that gets us going, with jangly guitar and echoey little keyboards before the latter set up a nice little AOR-style fanfare, the percussion thumping along as Jim Kerr's distinctive voice cuts in, the song not without its share of funk and dance but still with a rocky little punch. Quite similar in ways to the work being put out at the time by Tears For Fears I feel, a certain sense of new wave about it too. Kerr is in fine voice, and his voice is strong, easily rising above the guitars drums and keys and ably supported by Robin Clark, whose voice would become integral to such hits as "Alive and kicking" and "Sanctify yourself", later in the album, and who really added an extra dimension to Simple Minds' music. Nice guitar break then Robin comes in with a solo vocal piece, more vocalise really, kind of "Whoa-whoa-ooh-ohhh" that fades the song out and we're into one of the big hits, "All the things she said", with a synthy opening and a pulsing bass and guitar, again with an edge of soul or funk about it.

On this Clark backs Kerr on the vocals rather than just adding vocalise, and there's a kind of suspense about the melody, as if it's waiting for something to happen. Some very nice piano on this from Michael MacNeil, powerful percussion too courtesy of Mel Gaynor. Great little instrumental break then about halfway in, before the vocals return to take the song to its conclusion. Charlie Burchill's rapid jangly guitar carries "Ghostdancing", and it's a much faster song than either of the two before it, almost in the vein of "See the lights" or "Speed your love". Touches of gospel too in the vocals between Robin Clark and Jim Kerr, and Burchill's guitar takes on a distinct flavour of U2's The Edge as the song goes on. There's a big finish then as Gaynor gets in on the act, trundling away behind the drumkit, and the song fades out into the other big hit single.

If Simple Minds were known for anything around this time, other than that song from "The Breakfast Club", it was "Alive and kicking", and with good reason: it's a powerful song. With a soft, lush atmospheric keyboard intro it runs into a great duet between Clark and Kerr before he takes the chorus solo, with a rippling piano and keyboard line from MacNeil, and if "All the things she said" seemed like it was building to something, this definitely is. The passion and intensity increases until the duet spills over into the bridge and on into the chorus, and there's a stunning solo performance from Robin Clark at the end, backed by Mel Gaynor pounding away with gusto at the skins. But not before a beautiful piano solo by MacNeil that then leads to the climax of the song. Perfect.

Everything takes off at a gallop then for "Oh jungleland", some very new wave keyboards from MacNeil with more funky guitar from Burchill, a sort of shuffle really in places, and suprisingly "I wish you were here" was not chosen as a single. I know there are strong tracks here, but I would have taken this over the final single, "Ghostdancing", any day. It just seems that more commercial, and has a hook reminsicent of the best of Spandau Ballet, who would have been around and doing well too at this time. But I suppose every track can't be released; I do think this would have improved on the eventual poor showing, in comparison, of "Ghostdancing" had they gone the other way. Again there's a great sharp piano line leading the song with some fine vocal harmonies, then we're into the last single from the album --- actually released second --- with "Sanctify yourself", a big, frenetic, energetic number that really allows Jim Kerr his head and also lets Mel Gaynor cut loose.

There's a real flavour of gospel on the song, with a great vocal chorus and an almost messianic performance from Kerr, then the album ends on the appropriately-titled "Come a long way", with a big booming drum opening, sparkling keyboards and chugging guitar, and a really Depeche Mode keyboard melody along the way. Great bass line running through it too, and it's a good closer if not the strongest track on the album; still a powerful end to what has gone down as one of Simple Minds' best and most popular albums.

TRACKLISTING

1. Once upon a time
2. All the things she said
3. Ghostdancing
4. Alive and kicking
5. Oh jungleland
6. I wish you were here
7. Sanctify yourself
8. Come a long way
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Old 02-24-2013, 07:46 AM   #1716 (permalink)
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It is not a popular view these days, but I think the Thin Lizzy albums with Eric Bell are their best. It is a strange paradox that he did not want to be a rock star, while Phil Lynott wanted nothing else.
Really, I thought these albums were somewhat disjointed and focused a bit too much on the gentler side of things. But I do think that Vagabonds of the Western World is a good album though and the first where the trademark Thin Lizzy sound can really be noted.
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:26 AM   #1717 (permalink)
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Rare --- Asia --- 1999 (Resurgence)


Rare indeed. Not only is it the only, to date, totally instrumental Asia album, but it's also the only one to feature only two of the band, these being John Payne on guitar and bass and the ubiquitous Geoff Downes, on of course, keyboards. The album is made up half of music written for a documentary about salmon, and half the soundtrack for a Sega videogame which was never produced. It's an interesting insight into the more playful side of this mega-band, and also notable as Payne was for twelve years the recognised voice of Asia, having taken over from original vocalist John Wetton in 1992 and remained with the band until the "classic lineup" reformed in 2008, and yet he does not sing a word on this album. As a result, we get to appreciate the more his skills on the frets, which though he played guitar on all those albums during that period tends to get a little overlooked, as he was usually supplemented by other guitarists.

Most of the tracks are quite short, though there are a lot of them. The album opens on "The waterfall", with rippling (sorry) piano and the famous trumpet fanfare from Downes on the keys, but the track lasts less than a minute and we're into "The journey begins", with another soft piano line and some nice steady bass, then some pulsing synth and higher-register keys with a piano line straight out of really any of Asia's ballads, more fanfare and then some of the only real vocals on the album, though they're probably made on synth, those choral vocals, and the song reaches an end and pulls us into "The seasons", which has a vibrating sort of synth line that then becomes somewhat industrial with a vocoder-ish sample and some sharp guitar. Lots of drama in this one.

Cool sliding guitar lines from Payne as the banks of synths swirl and eddy in the foreground, then deeper, bassy keys and some nice piano with a strings-style ominous passage which finishes the track. "The gods" then opens on swirling synth with softer strings-style keys again, and it's clear even from this early stage that this is going to be mostly a keyboard-oriented album. Some more choral vocals then a big rippling sound like a gong is taken by soft piano, and "The whales" comes in on pounding percussion (doesn't mention who does the drumming... probably synth-created I would think) with a breathy synth and a cinematic, expansive sound. A descending guitar and keys line then takes the track towards its end, with a hard cello-like ending. More choral vocals open "The journey continues", though it doesn't continue for long, the track lasting just short of a minute and a half. Basically built on a droning synth and then flowing piano line, it leads into "The reservation", one of the longer tracks at almost three minutes, which carries the same basic melody from the previous track on, adding some echoey drums but pretty much the same music, with a hard synth part leading into some sort of chanting (again, I assume, sampled on Downes's synth) and a running piano with some nice guitar from Payne.

The only real problem with these tracks is that in general they're all too short. You're just getting used to their development and seeing where they go when suddenly they're over. This is, as I say, one of the longer ones, but given that its running time is 2:58, that's not saying much. "The bears" is a big heavy orchestral sound, with thunderous drums and violin, cello and oboe sounds on the synth, another building fanfare that then goes back to the sort of tuba-like sound, very deep and heavy but trotting along at a fair pace. It's over two minutes though, which ironically is too long, as the basic idea is just used over and over again with a few embellishments here and there, like some nice flute near the end. It gets a little boring, to be honest. Much nicer is "Under the seas", with a bright, dreamy piano melody and some sound effects on the synth --- surf, thunder, that sort of thing --- and the piano gets faster and more urgent as the piece comes to a close, with something like vibes or marimba added in too.

Surprisingly for a song titled "At the graveyard", we open with sprinkling, uptempo synth but then the mood does indeed change and we have a very Mahler-esque, funereal sound with booming drums that seem in the distance, and while some crying guitar or violin I think would have fitted well in here, Payne stays relatively quiet on it. It's a short one again and takes us into the somewhat longer "Downstream" on a slow fanfare after which high-pitched choral, angelic voices rise from Downes's synth and are joined by ones even an octave higher. Solo flute then for a moment before the heavy synth returns and we get the fast piano from the ending part of "Under the seas", joined by the returning fanfare on the synth, before "The ghosts", one of the songs which almost reaches the three-minute mark, is esentially cymbal clashes and sound effects, rather like Rush's "Didacts and narapets" from "Caress of steel" before deep low synth and bass come in, then proper percussion cuts loose and carries the tune, the synth very low in the mix and finally we hear a lovely piece of guitar from Payne. it's about time! This is the twelfth track, and the first time I've been able to hear his contribution on anything other than the bass. He doesn't waste his opportunity, making sure to fire off one of those introspective, sweet solos he's known for, but too soon it's over and we're on to the next track.

Well, I say next track, but "The sun" is only half a minute long, and basically a few notes on the synth before "The moon", slightly longer at just over a minute, has some ominous clashes and sounds backing the synth, a heavy, solid synth ending and then "The sharks" almost brings this first part of the album, the documentary soundtrack, to an end with more ominous keyswork from Geoff Downes, very dramatic and with this time no percussion, until that big gong sound again comes in and Payne introduces a walking bass line against which Downes threads a warbly little synth line with some effects, pitch-bends and so forth, some breathing noises (would this not have been more appropriate on the track "The whales"?), heavy drumming now leading us to the end of the piece, and indeed there "The journey ends" on the final track of this part, a little sprightly piano run with the recognised Asia keyboard fanfare and some last choral voices.

And so into the game music we go with the opener called "The Indians", and rather expectedly starting with a Native American chant which I have to say gets really wearing after the first twenty seconds or so, boring and repetitive, and it lasts for almost a minute of the nearly three the track runs for. Luckily it then fades out and the remainder of the track is carried on pizzicato strings and guitar --- nice to hear it --- then "The angels" comes in on an almost Jon and Vangelis bassline with sweeping synth and twinkly little piano runs from Downes, slow and measured, almost heartbeat really. Quite nice, and even nicer when Payne's guitar claws its way into proceedings, though again the tune is mostly dominated by the keyboards and synthesisers. Some nice heavy percussion near the end, and Payne gets in some nice riffs before it fades, taking us into "The horizons", a very proggy synth piece, very pastoral and relaxed, almost Genesisesque, then bringing in some nice introspective guitar which the synth backs for once, instead of the other way around.

"To the deep" is more bubbling synth with attendant sound effects as Downes reasserts his dominance, the tune very reminscent of Vangelis on his "Oceanic" album, some decent guitar from John Payne finding its way into the latter half of the piece, then "The game" sounds almost trancey, with drum machine sounds and a cantering beat, some nice rock guitar building the tension alongside some siren sounds. In fact, despite what I said just a moment ago, though it started off like a club track it's suddenly become the closest to rock on the album so far, and a real chance for Payne to shine and show us what he can do on the frets. The album closes on "The exodus", which does sound like a dance tune this time around, with bipping keyboards, sweeping synths and a thumping drumbeat, some nice piano in fact that does remind me of Asia's sound but also puts me in mind of those old Western movies. Pretty poor ending, in my opinion. Well, pretty poor album overall really.

TRACKLISTING

1. The waterfall
2. The journey begins
3. The seasons
4. The whales
5. The gods
6. The journey continues
7. The reservation
8. The bears
9. Under the seas
10. At the graveyard
11. Downstream
12. The ghosts
13. The sun
14. The moon
15. The sharks
16. The journey ends
17. The Indians
18. The angels
19. The horizons
20. To the deep
21. The game
22. The exodus



I don't see an awful lot to get excited about here. Okay, it's a different album and a chance to see a rare (sorry) side of two of the members of Asia we normally don't get to see, but the music to be fair is adequate though not much more than that. There's no single track I can point to and say it was worth the price of this album. It's all ambient and kind of electronic, and though there are flashes of the Asia sound in there from time to time, most of the time you wouldn't know it was them if you didn't already.

Rare indeed. For completists only.
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Old 02-28-2013, 02:58 PM   #1718 (permalink)
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A good but underappreciated album is one by the ex-Rainbow keysman, Tony Carey, an album which in fact has his two hit singles on it. Despite what we may all think, he's a big hit in Europe, but over here really only known for the two hits and for the time he spent with Blackmore, most effectively on the seminal “Rising” album. But there's some great writing on this album, “Some tough city”, and it's one of those songs I'd like to concentrate on here. It is in fact one of his hit singles, so you may know it, or have heard it on the radio or MTV --- I recall around the early eighties it was doing the rounds with a pretty half-decent video.

A fine, fine day (Tony Carey) from “Some tough city”, 1984
Music and lyrics by Tony Carey

The song concerns an ex-con who has done his time in jail, and on his release returns to his old stomping grounds. Through the lyric and indeed the video we're given the impression he used to be something of a big noise in his neighbourhood, perhaps a crime boss. Calling a cab, he goes down towards Central Park and waits for the buzz to begin as people realise he's back. But no-one does. His time has past, and he must accept that the world has moved on without him.

It's a sobering tale, though of course it's hard to feel sympathy for someone who has broken the law and by all accounts has spent quite a long time inside --- ”You did your sittin'/ You did hard time” --- and in the video he's an old man, trying to hang on to the past and recapture former glories. Thinking he'll be hailed and revered when he gets out of the can, he's depressed and disappointed to find that time has moved on and left him behind.

However, there are those who have not forgotten him. Although his old crew all welcome him back with open arms, he's visited by people who are looking for revenge, as their boss tells the protagonist ”I see you made it back alright/ I see you're none the worse for wear” and soon afterwards “Uncle Sonny” is shot, dying in Tony's arms, perhaps a testament to your past catching up with you, or the tenacity of those who wait on the outside for you to be released so they can have their vengeance. As I said, a sobering tale.



When my Uncle Sonny blew back into town,
Said "I'll just go for a ride and have a look around."
And he took off his fedora, stuck his fingers in the crown,
And he pulled out twenty dollars and he laid that money down.

And he called out to a taxi cab, "Take me down to Central Park,
And keep that meter runnin' to the twenty dollar mark."
And he kept his eyes turned forward and he sat up straight and tall
And no one even noticed him, no one cared at all.

It's a fine, fine day for a reunion.
It's a fine, fine day for comin' home.
You did your sittin', you did hard time.
But you ain't gonna sit no more,
they can't keep you there no more.
It's a fine, fine day;
And nothin's gonna take it,
nothin's gonna take it away
It's a fine, fine day.

First time I saw Sonny I was just about this tall
And he always made my momma kinda crazy when he'd call.
Him and my old man would stand and whisper in the hall;
Then they'd disappear, and maybe not come home at all.

Then one day Sonny stopped comin' round
Heard he'd gotten himself into a little trouble out in town.
Sometime after that he finally disappeared for good:
And he pulled that ol' Houdini, like we always knew he would.

It's a fine, fine day for a reunion.
It's a fine, fine day for comin' home.
You did your sittin', you did hard time.
But you ain't gonna sit no more,
they can't keep you there no more.
It's a fine, fine day;
And nothin's gonna take it,
nothin's gonna take it away
It's a fine, fine day.

"I see you made it back alright, alright.
I see you're none the worse for wear.
It's been a long time comin':
Nothin's gonna drag you away from here!"

A fine, fine day!
And nothin's gonna take,
nothin's gonna take it away.
Oh yeah
A fine, fine day... fine day.”
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Old 03-01-2013, 12:43 PM   #1719 (permalink)
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Feeling mortal --- Kris Kristofferson --- 2012 (KK)


First, I should say I'm no fan of Kris Kristofferson, though I know of his work. I saw this and thought this is going to be one of three things: either it's a message from one of the old guard to the new rising stars, sharing his experience and giving them the benefit of his almost forty years in the business, or else it would be the old guy showing the young guns how it's done, blazin' a trail he had already carved across country music for near to half a century. The third possibility was that it would just be a revelation, an unexpected (by me) gem of an album that would make me wonder if it was worth seeking out more of his output.

Turns out, it's none of these things.

Now, before I get crucified by all you country fans (you two there, hiding behind the Batlord's cloak)or fans of the man himself, I am aware that this album has been praised by country music critics and some say it's his best. I don't see it. They call it "Kris laughing at the Reaper" (in keeping with the title) --- I find it more laughing at the record-buyers. No, not even that: there's little laughter on this album at all that I can see. I'm most likely completely wrong, but what I hear here is the voice of a tired old man who has been asked to grind out one more album before he finishes up, an album he doesn't want to record, an album he has no interest in recording. This, to me, is a man who would rather be cradling a whiskey or a coffee, sitting on the porch watching the sunset and thinking about his grandchildren than sweating his hours out in a stuffy studio, putting together songs that say little and mean less.

Sure, go ahead and aim that shotgun at me, threatening to blow my head off if I don't stop disrespecting one of country's legends. I don't care. I genuinely approached this album thinking it would be something different, something I could write about with enthusiasm, something I could recommend. But what I got was a drony, bored voice singing --- and I use the term loosely: Krostofferson is mostly on the verge of muttering or mumbling most of these songs --- very formulaic, boring, stodgy old country fare, not one of which made me want to tap my fingers (other than in frustration) or listen deeply to the lyric. It's as if he said, well let's just throw in some standard country themes, get some fiddles and harmonicas and steel guitars, and get this thing over with.

I'm truly sorry this is how this album made me feel, but I haven't been so bored since I listened to my younger brother drone on for hours about the Titanic in a way that just makes you want to fantasise about pouring petrol over yourself and looking for a match. It was a serious struggle to get through the album --- short as it is --- and I only listened to it twice, once to hear what it was like and the second time to review it properly. I'm sure --- I know he has done far better than this, but this album speaks to everything I hate about country music. It's dull, lifeless, soulless and almost borderline nasty at points.

So, feeling mortal? You won't be feeling much better after this review!

Opening with the title track it's based around an acoustic guitar and pedal steel, slow and plodding, drony and to my mind boring. Some nice electric guitar comes in, some backing vocals and to be honest not too bad but nothing to get excited about. "Mama Stewart" is more annoying, basically a slowed-down version of his big hit "Me and Bobbie McGee", again placed against a backdrop of soft acoustic guitar. Some good powerful bass then with percussion fills the song out a little, and not surprisingly given the title it's a song about an old woman dying.

A little more upbeat thanks to some fine accordion is "Bread for the body", but the tune sounds very familiar, and the ends of the lines in the verses are drawn out ridiculously long. Sarah Watkins of Nickel Creek adds some very effective violin/fiddle and Greg Liesz we've heard before, and here on pedal steel, he helps raise the quality of the music, but it's very, very generic in my view. It all slows back then for "You don't tell me what to do", an almost funereal tempo to the music, though there's some nice guitar from Mark Goldenberg, and some fine harmonica too.

There's a slow kind of honky-tonk, bar room feel to "Stairway to the bottom", with Kristofferson's voice almost breaking in sorrow, crying into his whiskey it would seem, while "Just suppose" is more acoustic and steel guitar; there's a lot of regret and tales of wasted lives on this album, which is in itself odd, as Kristofferson has been a leading light of country music for decades, and has certainly seen his dreams fulfilled, unlike the characters in his songs here. Some weird Hawaiian style guitar doesn't sit that well with me, and then we're into "Castaway", a deep thrumming bassline and the tale of a lost vessel found at sea. Sprightly accordion and uptempo drumming raises the pitch somewhat, as Kristofferson compares the drifting, empty boat to his life: "Like a ship without a rudder/ I'm just driftin' closer to the brink". Hmm.

Some high-strung steel guitar opens "My heart was the last one to know" but it's back to the slow, maddeningly slow songs that drag like someone making their way through quicksand. It's all very depressing I have to say. Of course, you're not going to pick up an album with a title like "Feeling mortal" without expecting to hear some songs about death or the contemplation of death, but hell, the guy's only 77: many artistes are still gigging at 80 and more, and there's no reason to think the end is night just yet, Kris. "The one you choose" is another cautionary tale, a bit more sprightly at least with some uptempo guitar and a vocal that's a little more upbeat, a melody not a million miles removed from Olivia Newton-John's "Country roads, take me home". For some reason, he sees a lot of humour in this song, grinning through it. Personally I don't get the joke, but there you go.

The closer is the only real uptempo song, but "Ramblin' Jack" is an annoying one to end on. I suppose it's semi-autobiographical; reminds me in places of Steve Earle's "Steve's last ramble" with boppy percussion, happy accordion and something to finally get the toes tapping, but it's a bit late for that by this point. If it's meant as a last "life ain't so bad" or "there's always something to live for", I'm afraid by now I'm far too depressed by what's gone before, and this album ain't gonna assail my ears once this review is done.

TRACKLISTING

1. Feeling mortal
2. Mama Stewart
3. Bread for the body
4. You don't tell me what to do
5. Stairway to the bottom
6. Just suppose
7. Castaway
8. My heart was the last one to know
9. The one you choose
10. Ramblin' Jack

Maybe I just don't get Kris Kristofferson's music. Maybe I just don't get the man. Maybe I have it completely wrong here. I'm the first to admit I know little about country music, but there are some artistes in that genre whose music I enjoy, and like I said earlier, this album epitomises everthing I dislike about country. If you were to play this to someone who was not a fan of country music, all you'd do is reinforce the idea they already have about the genre, and who could blame them? This is a terribly generic, almost forced record, that does not deserve to be this man's swan song, if indeed it is.

Now, where are my car keys? I think I hear hillbillies a-hollerin' in the distance...
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Old 03-07-2013, 11:31 AM   #1720 (permalink)
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Why is it that so many film and TV stars seem to want to get into music? I don't know if it's that they think they have a good voice, if someone has told them they have, if it's just another revenue stream they want to explore, or what. Maybe they sang in one of their movies/TV episodes and thought they could be a decent singer. Maybe the studio thought it would be a good idea. Maybe they've always harboured an unrealised dream to sing and make records. Or maybe they just need one more beach house in Hawaii --- who can survive with three, really, I ask you?

Whatever the reason, there's a long list of people who have made the crossover from the world of the big or small screen and into the studio, some good, some bad, some awful. A long time ago now it seems I featured an album by Miami Vice's Don Johnson, which to be fair was pretty damn good, but I wonder was that the exception to the rule? Many actors have made quite a successful career, or second career, in the music industry. Should they have? Do they have the talent to back them up, or is it just a case of their fame in the one medium spilling over into the other, and people just buying their records because they're fans of their movies or their TV shows? Of course, this is nothing new: Frank Sinatra was both a multi-talented film star and a million-selling recording artiste, and even David Hasselhoff had a mildly successful career as a singer.

In this section I'm going to be looking at these people and seeing how good, or bad, the albums they recorded are or were, if they deserved the fame they got in the world of music, or if they made a big mistake (in my opinion) in crossing over and should have stayed doing what they do best.



David Soul

The first star I want to look at is David Soul, star of seventies cop show "Starsky and Hutch", and also the miniseries of Stephen King's vampire horror novel "Salem's lot". He won an Emmy for his portrayal of in the film "Rage", released in 1980, but also had a relatively successful singing career, beginning in 1976 and going on, with a substantial break in the early eighties, into 1997. He recorded five full albums (not including greatest hits) and had no less than five top ten singles in the seventies, two of which were number ones.

Of course, his singing career coincided with the period of his greatest fame and popularity on TV, when "Starsky and Hutch" ruled the ratings between 1975 and 1978, so you can certainly trace a correlation between his massively popular hit singles and his run on the show. Not surprisingly, when the show went off the air the hits dried up, as people generally forgot who David Soul was, or relegated him to the position of "Hutch" from the TV show. He did pop up afterwards on the box, as well as numerous movies and stage shows.

It seems he actually began his career singing, wearing a mask on a TV show and calling himself "The Covered Man" in 1967. However when he got the call-up for "Starsky and Hutch" his career took a totally different direction and he became one of America's most famous and favoured actors of the day. I suppose you can't begrudge him then using that fame to return to his singing ambitions; unlike many, it seems not to have been a spontaneous decision or one driven necessarily by a need to widen his profile or beef up his bank balance --- though of course it did both --- but more a chance for him, now that he had the financial clout, contacts and as they say his stock was high in Hollywood, to get back into music.

Here I'm going to take a look at two of his albums, the two that gave him most of his hits and were in fact the first two he released. I'm also going to look at his last ever album, released in 1997 and from which no hit singles were taken, to see if the popularity of the first two was purely or mostly based on his TV show icon status. Once the dust had settled, as it were, was he still capable of making good music, if indeed there's anything on the first two albums other than the singles, which I already know, that constitutes good music? Or was he, without the fanbase he had built up in the seventies, left to record an album nobody wanted to hear?


David Soul --- David Soul --- 1976

So this is the one that started it all for him, the self-titled debut released at the height of his "Starksky and Hutch" fame, and from which two hit singles resulted. I must admit there's a lovely acoustic guitar opener in "(The) wall" which is a short ballad with a cool little piano piece that starts off laidback and then slides directly into a 1920s style upbeat melody for "1927 Kansas City", some nice Dixieland horns and quite a toe-tapper, very jazzy which then moves into a great cover of Leonard Cohen's "Bird on a wire", a fine gospel rendition with some great backing vocals. Sort a return to the 1920/30s style for "Hooray for Hollywood" on which Soul augments his admittedly excellent singing voice with acoustic guitar playing. "Landlord" is next up, and one thing that does become quite clear from at least his debut album is that he didn't sit down and write a bunch of songs. Most of these are either covers or written for him, though he did write the opener.

This one is a little embarrassing, with its Caribbean/reggae style and Soul doing what all white men try to do, and fail, on a reggae song, and that is to sound black. Never ever works guys. "Seem to miss so much" is far better, a nice low-key ballad with a wistful, reflective feeling. To be honest, I'm not sure what's going on here. My "Spotify" copy of this album (the only place I could get a copy without paying full-price, and I ain't doing that for an album that's thirty years old!) shows the next track as "Don't give up on us", but other sources don't show it included, so I'm just going to go with what Spotify tells me, and if I'm wrong, well, sue me. You probably know it, one of his big hits, a pop ballad based around piano with a soft vocal and some nice orchestration, nice song and the extra backing vocals from Soul himself add something extra to it. This was his first number one, both here and in the US, though his only time to make any impression on the charts Stateside, which is odd, considering he later had another number one in the UK and a top ten hit.

More nice piano in "Ex lover", touches of my mate Dan Fogelberg about it, kind of folky in its way and Soul breaks out the acoustic guitar again for this, then the rest of the songs are all his own compositions, starting off with "Topanga", a sort of boogie blues number, kind of reminds me of Bob Seger with a sprinkling of Nanci Griffith. "Black bean soup", on the other hand, is as terrible as it sounds and is just totally forgettable. To be honest, "Kristofer David" doesn't really redeem the album much either, a twee little folk song that Cat Stevens would have balked at. It seems to be a children's song, or one written for Soul's kid anyway, lots of laughing, cute insects, children's laughter. All very fine, but keep it in the nursery, David! I don't want to hear it on your album! Luckily it ends, according to Spotify anyway, on his other big hit, at least over here. "Let's have a quiet night in" is another ballad (yeah, there are a lot of them) in which Soul appeals to his partygoing wife to stay in just tonight so that they can have some time together. Not terribly likely to be honest --- I mean, what guy would rather stay in than go out? Other than me, I mean --- but it's a lovely song and Soul gives a very impassioned performance on it.

TRACKLISTING

1. (The) Wall
2. 1927 Kansas City
3. Bird on a wire
4. Hooray for Hollywood
5. Landlord
6. Seems to miss so much
7. Don't give up on us
8. Ex lover
9. Topanga
10. Black bean soup
11. Kristofer David
12. Let's have a quiet night in

As a debut album then this is not terrible. In fact, it's quite good. It does suffer from some bad (and two awful) tracks, but in general it measures up quite well, considering it's the guy's first effort. It does of course follow the familiar pattern of having songs written for the artiste rather than he or she writing the songs and wanting an album to release them on, and of course there are old standards and cover versions to fill up space, but to be fair Soul does write his share of the music (even if two of those are the godawful "Kristofer David" --- I don't care if it was written for his child! --- and "Black bean soup) and also plays the guitar so he wasn't just seeing himself as a singer. Add to that the fact that he had started singing before acting, by all accounts using his own material, and I think you're left with something of a different picture to most crossover artistes.

Of course, the question was could he maintain that sort of quality into his second album? With his self-titled hitting the number two slot and giving him two chart singles, there was no danger of there not being a second album, but would the novelty have worn off for fans by then, or would David Soul's music have left them --- and, perhaps, casual record buyers and those who had helped the singles to number one and five --- with a hunger for more? Let's find out.


Playing to an audience of one --- David Soul --- 1977

When you're hot you're hot, and record company executives don't let that popularity just sit and percolate, so David Soul's second album was out the next year. It again yielded a hit single, although this time around only in the UK; the US it would appear were no longer interested and the album failed to chart there. It opens with a rockier number, which was in fact to become his second number one in the UK. The tale of a drifter looking to get back with his woman, "Silver lady" was a massive hit here, with a great arrangement and some proper backing vocals, not just his this time out. It seems he'd decided though to cut back on the songwriting, leaving most of that to some guy called Tony McAuley, who also produces the album. He writes three songs on the album himself, and does again play guitar but mostly concentrates on singing.

It's not long before the ballads come though, and in fact the next one, "Can't we just sit down and talk it over" is one such, though it is very nice, looking back to the likes of "Let's have a quiet night in", nice female backing vocals and a twangy guitar with the melody mostly carried on soft piano, a nice little guitar solo near the end. "Tattler" is a semi-country song, mid-paced with what sounds like fiddle but probably isn't. One of Soul's own songs is next, the acoustically-driven "I wish I was", a lazy, laconic almost bluesy track with some nice orchestral backing seeming slightly incongruous with the acoustic nature of the song, but it works. Sort of. Accordion coming in is something of a mild shock too, and the whole construction of the song is pretty fluid to say the least. "Rider", another song by him, is another countryfied one though it's better than the previous, with powerful backing vocals and some sweet pedal steel.

Another big success for him is "Going in with my eyes open", a mid-paced ballad with strong piano lines , while the title track is an upbeat but ultimately throwaway song about life on the road; ah it's not throwaway, but it's not too great. "Tomorrow child" is much better, with a flowing piano intro, very soft and classical sounding. Pretty sure it's some old standard; has a kind of Barry Manilow sound about it. Some lovely violin and acoustic guitar, very effective, also that orchestral touch again. Soul's in fine voice on the vocal too, and it's pretty close to being the standout on the album, the two hits notwithstanding. "By the devil I was tempted" is a fun, uptempo country/gospel song, while "Nobody but a fool or a preacher" has some nice slide guitar work and a Delta blues feel about it.

Soul's last effort on the album is actually co-written, and "Mary's fancy" is without doubt the most soul/disco/funk track on the album, with a big brass section and bouncing piano --- okay, I don't get it. It started off all bouncy funk and then slipped into an orchestral slow interlude and then back into the upbeat part; yeah, like "I wish I was" it's a bit all over the place really, hard to pin down. The album ends on "It sure brings out the love in your eyes", another uptempo song which kind of revisits and updates the basic melody of "Don't give up on us".

TRACKLISTING

1. Silver lady
2. Can't we just sit down and talk it over
3. Tattler
4. I wish I was
5. Rider
6. Going in with my eyes open
7. Playing to an audience of one
8. Tomorrow child
9. By the devil I was tempted
10. Nobody but a fool or a preacher
11. Mary's fancy
12. It sure brings out the love in your eyes

So what can we say about David Soul's second album? Well, it seems that either he quickly realised that he wasn't a songwriter or the label told him they wanted other writers. He also seems to have learned that it's not good to have too many ballads on an album, so there are a lot more uptempo songs here, and although I suspect many are covers they're a reasonably good bunch overall. At least there are no children's songs! Whatever the label, or Soul, did, it worked at least over here, as the album again scaled the charts and two of the singles were hits, one getting to the top spot. Cross the ocean however it seems this album was not met with the fervour his debut was, and whether people were just showing that they're fickle, especially when it comes to actors turning out albums, or had just lost interest altogether, it would be another two years before he would release another album, three years after that for his fourth and a whopping fifteen years before he would finally record his last album, in 1997, by which time most people would probably say "David who?"

Without knowing the story behind the recording of his first two albums --- how much record label input there was, how much creative control, if any, he had or wanted over the albums --- it's hard to say whether David Soul was manufactured in the record company's image, transposed from the small screen onto vinyl. There's no question that he was a hot property: during the seventies everyone knew who he was, much moreso than his partner in the TV show, Paul Michael Glaser, despite his name in the titles being more memorable due to having three words. Having already a decent singing voice and something of a grounding in music, he would have been easy to mould and groom for the big time in the music industry.

Whether that's what happened or not I don't know. Maybe he just decided he wanted to try his hand at getting back into music, now that he no longer had to struggle or wonder where his next paycheque was coming from. You'd have to say he did a pretty reasonable job. I mean, no-one was going to nominate these albums for Grammys or anything, but they're not trash. They show a man with a good singing voice, a lot of emotion and sincerity, and a half-decent guitar player too. Although some of the songs he wrote were frankly awful, he could occasionally turn out something decent, so he wasn't totally dependent on others writing his music, though I think his hits were all written for him.

But whatever the story, when the dust had settled and the hits had made their way back down and out of the charts, and his third album had failed to duplicate the success of the first two, the turnout of albums slowed down for Soul and his fifth release came in 1997, with "Leave a light on", which proved to be the end.
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