Madonna – Music (2000)

FrontCover1.jpgMusic is the eighth studio album by American singer Madonna, released on September 18, 2000 by Maverick and Warner Bros. Records. Following the success of her previous album Ray of Light (1998), she intended to embark on a tour. However, her record company encouraged her to return to the studio and record new music before going on the road. Her collaboration with producers Mirwais Ahmadzaï and William Orbit resulted a more experimental direction for the album. Music has an overall dance-pop and electronica vibe, with influences from rock, country and folk. The album was mostly recorded at Sarm West and East Studios in London, England. Elaborating a country theme for the album, Madonna reinvented her image as a cowgirl.

Music was generally acclaimed by most critics and earned five Grammy Award nominations, ultimately winning one for Best Recording Package given to art director Kevin Reagan. In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked it number 452 on the magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The record was also a commercial success, debuting at number one in over 23 countries across the world and selling four million copies in its first ten days of release. In the United States, Music debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with first week sales of 420,000 units, making it her first album to top the chart in more than a decade since Like a Prayer (1989). It was certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for three million units shipped in the United States and has sold over 11 million copies worldwide, becoming one of the best-selling albums during the 2000s century.

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The album was promoted with her concerts at Brixton Academy and Roseland Ballroom, as well as several television performances such as the 2000 MTV Europe Music Awards and the 43rd Grammy Awards. It was also supported by the Drowned World Tour, which grossed over US$75 million, making it the highest-grossing tour by a solo act of 2001 (the fourth overall). Three singles were released from the album. The lead single, “Music”, topped the record charts in 25 countries worldwide and became Madonna’s 12th number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100. It was followed with another Hot 100 top-five hit “Don’t Tell Me” and “What It Feels Like for a Girl” which attained the top-ten position in several countries worldwide. “Impressive Instant” was released as promotional single, peaking at number one on the Hot Dance Club Play chart.

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For the artwork for Music, Madonna wore a blue shirt, jeans, red boots and a blue cowboy hat. In it, she faces the camera, while in the background a car and a gas station are seen. The country was a constant theme throughout the design, as the album’s title, which was a logo that simulated a buckle, showing the silhouette of a cowboy while riding a horse and a yellow background; the bright colors give a sharp contrast compared to the photograph. Photo sessions were conducted by Jean Baptiste Mondino, who had worked previously with the singer on photoshoots and music videos.[25] According to Fouz-Hernández, the artwork is “a complete celebration to the field” western United States. He also added that it “is camp, notably Madonna’s combination of Western clothing with expensive shoes and bright red high heels. In particular, there is a clear evocation of Judy Garland – a major gay icon – in the artwork”. The art direction and design for the album were done by Kevin Reagan.

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The pictures were shot in Los Angeles, California, in April 2000. In an interview with CNN’s Style with Elsa Klensch, Mondino said that he was the one who had the idea of the western themes for the album, and also stated: “[Madonna] wasn’t sure at first, but I told her that if she didn’t like it I won’t charge her. But she loved the final result!”. Madonna also decided to use her new country style during her public appearances for Music’s promotion; including jeans, shirts and cowboy hats. On her next tour in 2001, Madonna included a segment based entirely on this ambient. Meanwhile, Fouz-Hernández explained that “in this appearance Madonna may be parodying and criticizing Country, which symbolizes among other things, the supremacy of the white man, the ambition of the European pioneers and the American Dream. However, we do not realize that while recognizing the importance that the country has in American popular culture, and joins a long list of artists who have done this previously. Despite this, the cowgirl image of Madonna has become one of her most recognized reinventions. (by wikipedia)

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Filled with vocoders, stylish neo-electro beats, dalliances with trip-hop, and, occasionally, eerie synthesized atmospherics, Music blows by in a kaleidoscopic rush of color, technique, style, and substance. It has so many layers that it’s easily as self-aware and earnest as Ray of Light, where her studiousness complemented a record heavy on spirituality and reflection. Here, she mines that territory occasionally, especially as the record winds toward its conclusion, but she applies her new tricks toward celebrations of music itself. That’s not only true of the full-throttle dance numbers but also for ballads like “I Deserve It” and “Nobody’s Perfect,” where the sentiments are couched in electronic effects and lolling, rolling beats. Ultimately, that results in the least introspective or revealing record Madonna has made since Like a Prayer, yet that doesn’t mean she doesn’t invest herself in the record. Working with a stable of producers, she has created an album that is her most explicitly musical and restlessly creative since, well, Like a Prayer.

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She may have sacrificed some cohesion for that willful creativity but it’s hard to begrudge her that, since so much of the album works. If, apart from the haunting closer “Gone,” the Orbit collaborations fail to equal Ray of Light or “Beautiful Stranger,” they’re still sleekly admirable, and they’re offset by the terrific Guy Sigsworth/Mark “Spike” Stent midtempo cut “What It Feels Like for a Girl” and Madonna’s thriving partnership with Mirwais. This team is responsible for the heart of the record, with such stunners as the intricate, sensual, folk-psych “Don’t Tell Me,” the eerily seductive “Paradise (Not for Me),” and the thumping title track, which sounds funkier, denser, sexier with each spin. Whenever she works with Mirwais, Music truly comes alive with the spark and style. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

Okay, that´s really not my kind of music … but I can recommend her version if the Don McLean song “American Pie” … one of the finest ballads in the history of Rock … Even her video-clip is a good one.

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Personnel:
Mirwais Ahmadzaï (keyboards, programming)
Madonna (vocals)
Guy Sigsworth (guitar, keyboards, programming)
Sean Spuehler (programming)
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Mirwais Ahmadzaï (guitar on 04. + 07.)
William Ørbit (keyboards, guitar on 03. 05. + 10., background vocals on 03. + 05.)
Steve Sidelnyk (drums on 03., 05. +  10.)
Paul Stacey (guitar on 10.)

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Tracklist:
01. Music (Madonna/Ahmadzaï) 3.45
02. Impressive Instant (Madonna/Ahmadzaï) 3.37
03. Runaway Lover (Madonna/Orbit) 4.47
04. I Deserve It (Madonna/Ahmadzaï) 4.23
05. Amazing (Madonna/Orbit) 3.43
06. Nobody’s Perfect (Madonna/Ahmadzaï) 4.59
07. Don’t Tell Me (Madonna/Ahmadzaï/Henry) 4.40
08. What It Feels Like For A Girl (Madonna/Sigsworth/Torn) 4.44
09. Paradise (Not For Me) (Madonna/Ahmadzaï) 6.33
10. Gone (Madonna/LeGassick/Young) 3.29
11. American Pie (McLean) 4.36
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12. American Pie (A Long Long Time Remix) (McLean) 6.08

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A long, long time ago
I can still remember how that music used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And maybe they’d be happy for a while

But February made me shiver
With every paper I’d deliver
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn’t take one more step
I can’t remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride
Something touched me deep inside
The day the music died

So bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
And them good ol’ boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
Singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die”

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Did you write the book of love
And do you have faith in God above
If the Bible tells you so?
Now, do you believe in rock ‘n’ roll
Can music save your mortal soul
And can you teach me how to dance real slow?

Well, I know that you’re in love with him
‘Cause I saw you dancin’ in the gym
You both kicked off your shoes
Man, I dig those rhythm and blues
I was a lonely teenage broncin’ buck
With a pink carnation and a pickup truck
But I knew I was out of luck
The day the music died

I started singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good ol’ boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
Singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die”

Now, for ten years we’ve been on our own
And moss grows fat on a rollin’ stone
But that’s not how it used to be
When the jester sang for the king and queen
In a coat he borrowed from James Dean
And a voice that came from you and me

Oh, and while the king was looking down
The jester stole his thorny crown
The courtroom was adjourned
No verdict was returned
And while Lenin read a book on Marx
A quartet practiced in the park
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day the music died

We were singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good ol’ boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
Singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die”

Helter skelter in a summer swelter
The birds flew off with a fallout shelter
Eight miles high and falling fast
It landed foul on the grass
The players tried for a forward pass
With the jester on the sidelines in a cast

Now, the halftime air was sweet perfume
While sergeants played a marching tune
We all got up to dance
Oh, but we never got the chance
‘Cause the players tried to take the field
The marching band refused to yield
Do you recall what was revealed
The day the music died?

We started singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good ol’ boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
And singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die”

Oh, and there we were all in one place
A generation lost in space
With no time left to start again
So come on, Jack be nimble, Jack be quick
Jack Flash sat on a candlestick
‘Cause fire is the Devil’s only friend

Oh, and as I watched him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage
No angel born in Hell
Could break that Satan spell
And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite
I saw Satan laughing with delight
The day the music died

He was singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good ol’ boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
And singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die”

I met a girl who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news
But she just smiled and turned away
I went down to the sacred store
Where I’d heard the music years before
But the man there said the music wouldn’t play

And in the streets the children screamed
The lovers cried, and the poets dreamed
But not a word was spoken
The church bells all were broken
And the three men I admire most
The Father, Son and the Holy Ghost
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died

And they were singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
And them good ol’ boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
Singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die”

They were singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good ol’ boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
Singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die”

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Cassell Webb – Conversations At Dawn (1990)

FrontCover1Cassell Webb is a British-American musician.

Texas-born Cassell Webb has enjoyed a career that carried her from late 1960s psychedelia to country music and latter-day folk-rock to modern folk songwriting, classical music production and moved her across an ocean in the process. Her voice can sound ethereal or mournful and crosses genres as easily as Webb’s career has over more than 30 years.

Born in San Antonio, Texas, in the late 1940s, Webb began playing guitar at 14 and later gravitated to the psychedelic scenes in San Antonio and Houston. She became a member of the Children, a psychedelic outfit that was part of Lelan Rodgers’ stable of artists, appearing on their 1968 Rebirth album and several singles. She later joined Saddlesore, a Texas combo whose core members, Mayo Thompson and Rick Barthelme, were survivors from the Red Krayola (another Rodgers-managed act). They stayed together long enough to record one single (“Old Tom Clark”) on the Texas Revolution label before disappearing in the early 1970s.

Webb spent time in California and New York working as a session singer and acquiring some knowledge of production as well and then returned to Texas, where she spent the next few years working with such country artists as Jerry Jeff Walker, Willie Nelson, Guy Clark, and B.W. Stevenson. It was around the time she began writing songs that she also began her long association with songwriter/producer Craig Leon. Webb went to Europe CassellWebb01in the early ’80s, first to Holland and then to England, where she remained permanently and began her solo recording career. Initially signed to the Virgin owned independent label Statik Records, for which she recorded her debut album, Llano, she later joined the roster of Venture Records, an avant grade offshoot of Richard Branson’s Virgin Records label, through which she recorded Thief of Sadness in 1987. Webb’s most representative and popular album was her third, Songs of a Stranger, which was derived from her concert repertory of other writers’ music, including Jimmy Webb (“P.F. Sloan”), Nick Drake (“Time Has Told Me”), Townes Van Zandt (“If I Needed You”), and Phil Ochs (“Jim Dean of Indiana”).

Her subsequent two albums Conversations at Dawn and House of Dreams continued her development as a songwriter. The former was again recorded for Virgin Venture and the latter released on China Records.

Webb remains based in England, where her work on such radio programs as Saturday Sequence, coupled with periodic album releases and projects, such as the dance score Klub Anima (co-written with Leon), and singing and production work with artists such as Marillion’s Steve Hogarth and back ground vocal work on Blondie (band)’s “No Exit album have sustained her career in pop music.

She has worked consistently on the productions of Craig Leon, which since 1998 have been primarily in the classical field. Webb has also been a production assistant to Leon on television projects such as the 2009 documentary Orbit: Journey to the Moon, which aired on the U.S. Discovery Channel, and Bell’aria which aired in 2010 on U.S. PBS. Webb is also a producer on the 2012 PBS broadcast Quest Beyond the Stars as well as the creator of the story concept.

Her poetry has also been published by Pen & Ink of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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Webb’s version of the Rolling Stones classic “Tell Me,” from her 1990 album Conversations at Dawn (which also included her covers of Bruce Springsteen’s “Reason to Believe” and, in a nod to her own Texas psychedelic roots, the 13th Floor Elevators’ “Splash One”), has been included on the Connoisseur Collection’s Jagger/Richard Songbook CD.

More recent work has been appearances on the new re recording of Nommos and Visiting along with live appearances of those pieces in New York; Moogfest (Asheville, North Carolina); Saint Petersburg, Russia; Berlin, Germany; and Kraków, Poland from 2014 to date.

She has also co produced the album “George Martin: The Film Scores and Original Compositions” released in 2018 on Atlas Realisations/PIAS. (by wikipedia)

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Texas-born Cassell Webb has enjoyed a career that carried her from late-’60s psychedelia to country music and latter-day folk-rock to progressive rock/pop, and moved her across an ocean in the process. Her voice, which can sound ethereal or mournful and crosses genres as easily as Webb’s career has over more than 30 years. Born in Llano, TX, in the late ’40s, Webb began playing guitar at 14 and later gravitated to the psychedelic scene in San Antonio. She became a member of the Children, a psychedelic outfit that was part of Lelan Rodgers’ stable of artists, appearing on their 1968 Rebirth album and several singles. She later joined Saddlesore, a Texas combo whose core members, Mayo Thompson and Rick Barthelme, were survivors from the Red Krayola (another Rodgers-managed act). They stayed together long enough to record one single (“Old Tom Clark”) on the Texas Revolution label before disappearing in the early ’70s. Webb spent time in California and New York working as a session singer and acquiring some knowledge of production as well and then returned to Texas, where she spent the next few years working with such country artists as Jerry Jeff Walker, Guy Clark, and B.W. Stevenson. It was around the time she began writing songs that she also began her long association with songwriter/producer Craig Leon.

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Webb went to Europe in the early ’80s, first to Holland and then to England, where she remained permanently and began her solo recording career. Initially signed to the tiny independent label Statick Records, for which she recorded her debut album, Llano, she later joined the roster of Venture Records, an off-shoot of Richard Branson’s Virgin Records label, through which she recorded Thief of Sadness in 1987. Webb’s most representative and popular album was her third, Songs of a Stranger, which was derived from her concert repertory of other writers’ music, including Jimmy Webb (“P.F. Sloan”), Nick Drake (“Time Has Told Me”), Townes Van Zandt (“If I Needed You”), and Phil Ochs (“Jim Dean of Indiana”). Webb remains based in England, where her work on such radio programs as Saturday Sequence, coupled with periodic album releases and projects, such as the dance score “Klub Anima” (co-written with Leon), and singing and production work with artists such as Marillion’s Steve Hogarth have sustained her career in music. Her poetry has also been published by Pen & Ink of Ann Arbor, MI. Webb’s hauntingly lyrical version of the Rolling Stones classic “Tell Me,” from her 1990 album Conversations at Dawn (which also included her covers of Bruce Springsteen’s “Reason to Believe” and — in a nod to her own Texas psychedelic roots — the 13th Floor Elevators’ “Splash One”), has been included on the Connoisseur Collection’s Jagger/Richard Songbook CD, alongside recordings by the Flamin’ Groovies, the Who, Mary Coughlan, Naked Prey, Melanie, Marianne Faithfull, and Ike & Tina Turner. (by Bruce Eder)

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And here´s her fourth album …. and it´s a real beautiful one:

This album has the aura of a great musical landscape (like Loreena McKennitt but without the Irish bells & whistles (thank god for that).
The centerpiece is “Darkness, Darkness” (one of many covers…) (Lillebol)
Cassell Webb has an amazing country voice, yet made a few albums on Venture that nudged psychedelia (not surprisingly given her 13th Floor Elevators past) and Americana before the term was contrived by the music press. One of the most under-rated singers ever, in my opinion – check this album ! (pkrpmusic)

This woman can enchant you … believe me ! And another highlight is of course her soft and gentle version of The Rolling Stones classic “Tell Me” from the Sixties.

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Personnel:
Andy Duncan (drums, percussion)
Craig Leon (guitar, keyboards, bass)
Cassell Webb (vocals)
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B.J. Cole (pedal steel-guitar on 03.)

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Tracklist:
01. Tell Me (Jagger/Richards) 3.51
02. A Song For Sophie Jane (Webb/Leon) 4.34
03. River Run (Webb/Leon) 6.26
04. Freedom’s Legacy (Smotherman) 4.09
05. Darkness, Darkness (Young) 5.12
06. You Take A Heart (Kaz) 3.30
07. Splash One (Hall/Erickson) 4.01
08. I Love The Wind (Vandiver) 3.40
09. In The Light (Webb/Leon) 4.33
10. Reason To Believe (Springsteen) 5.00
11. Bones And The Lady (Webb/Leon) 2.24

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