ZZ Top – Tejas (1977)

FrontCover1Tejas is the fifth studio album by the American rock band ZZ Top. It was released in late November 1976. The title is a Caddo language word meaning ‘friends’, which is the origin of the name of the band’s home state, Texas.

Frontman Billy Gibbons said about the album:

It’s fair to say that this is a transitional record, although I’m not really sure what we were transitioning from and what we were becoming. (laughs) It may be representative of how rapidly things were changing in the studio.

The equipment was becoming more modernized, and the way that music was being recorded was different – things were moving faster. It was still pre-digital, but there was better gear that was more readily available. We made use of it all.

This period was the wrinkle that kind of suggested what was to come, and change would become a necessary part of the ZZ Top fabric.

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Tejas was produced by Bill Ham and recorded and mixed by Terry Manning. In 1987, a digitally remixed version of the recording was released on CD and the original 1976 mix version was discontinued. The remix version created controversy among fans because it significantly changed the instrument balance and the sound of the instruments, especially the drums. (by wikipedia)

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1977s Tejas is a transition album for Texas rockers ZZ Top. It is the beginning of their step away from the Blues Rock that had brought them fame and a lot of record sales and towards the 1980s Electronic Blues that would eventually make them a worldwide phenomenon. There is more of the former Blues Rock than the latter Electronica here though. Tejas is almost as good a ZZ Top’s masterpiece Deguello, but is held back by some weaker tracks, something Deguello didn’t suffer from. Still there are some amazing songs here, notable the blazing, yet tongue in cheek Arrested for Driving While Blind, the countrified and rollicking She’s a Heartbreaker, and the achingly beautiful Asleep in the Desert. Overall Tejas is an important part of ZZ Top’s discography, and a very good album.(by Karl)

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On Tejas, ZZ Top countrified the bluesy posture of their previous albums, resulting in a slight detour between the madcap spirit of Fandango and the psychedelic strut of Deguello. While the album lacks any singles as strong as “Tush” or “La Grange,” “Arrested for Driving While Blind” is one of ZZ’s classic anthems, capturing the group’s wacky humor and jaunty good-time boogie. Other highlights include the driving “Enjoy and Get It On,” “Avalon Hideaway,” and the fine instrumental “Asleep in the Desert.” (by Jim Smith)

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Personnel:
Frank Beard (drums, percussion)
Billy Gibbons (guitar, vocals, harmonica, fiddle)
Dusty Hill (bass guitar, keyboards, vocals on 01., 06., 07., 08., background vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. It’s Only Love 4.24
02. Arrested For Driving While Blind 3.09
03. El Diablo 4.22
04. Snappy Kakkie 2.59
05. Enjoy And Get It On 3.26
06. Ten Dollar Man 3.41
07. Pan Am Highway Blues 3.15
08. Avalon Hideaway 3.08
09. She’s A Heartbreaker 3.02
10. Asleep In The Desert 3.25

All songs are written by Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard,
except 10 (written by Billy Gibbons)

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Karl Jenkins – Imagined Oceans (1998)

FrontCover1Sir Karl William Pamp Jenkins CBE (born 17 February 1944) is a Welsh multi-instrumentalist and composer. His best known works include the song “Adiemus” and the Adiemus album series; Palladio; The Armed Man; and his Requiem.

Jenkins was educated in music at Cardiff University and the Royal Academy of Music: of the latter, he is a fellow and an Associate. He was a member of the jazz-rock band Soft Machine. Jenkins has composed music for advertisement campaigns and has won the industry prize twice. (by wikipedia)

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This work by Welsh composer Karl Jenkins (now Sir Karl Jenkins) was inspired by thirteen lunar mare for which the tracks are titled. The musical style is similar to Jenkins’s Adiemus compositions and each track explores the meaning of its Latin name through various musical techniques. Unlike most of the Adiemus pieces, the lyrics for Imagined Oceans consist of syllables from the tracks’ titles rather than invented text. (IC B. (icberry))

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Karl Jenkins’ successful combination of new age, jazz, and classical influences continues with Imagined Oceans, a musical interpretation of 13 of the Latin-named areas of the moon which were once believed to be vast stretches of water. The recorder of Pamela Thorby features heavily throughout, as does the imaginative use of voices; three female singers with a collected range of over three and a half octaves furthers the ethereal feel. There are as many highlights in this dense and complex collection as there are impenetrable sections that will require several listens.

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The pizzicati “Mare Vaporum (Sea of Vapours),” distinguished by the use of steam-like cymbals and a mesmeric flute part; “Mare Australis (Southern Sea),” a Mozart-influenced piece featuring Australian didgeridoo; and “Lacus Pereverantiae (Lake of Perseverance),” driven by a relentlessly repetitive (syncopated) rhythm, are among the best tracks. The musical metaphors are strewn throughout and ably continued with “Mare Imbrium (Sea of Showers),” punctuated by pizzicato string raindrops. Jenkins goal, “To create a world of aquatic fantasy,” is ably achieved with this intricate and involved collection. (by Brendan Swift)

In other words: Another masterpiece of the one and only Karl Jenkins.

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Personnel:
Karl Jenkins Ensemble conducted by Nic Pendlebury
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Heather Cairncross (Alto)
Sarah Eyden (Soprano)
Micaela Haslam (Mezzo-Soprano)
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Pamela Thorby –(recorder)

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Tracklist:
01. Mare Crisium Introitus (Sea Of Crises) 2.53
02. Lacus Serenitatis (Lake Of Serenity) 4.54
03. Mare Vaporum (Sea Of Vapours) 4.28
04. Mare Australis (Southern Sea) 6.44
05. Lacus Somniorum (Lake Of Dreams) 2.40
06. Lacus Pereverantiae (Lake Of Perseverance) 8.45
07. Lacus Doloris (Lake Of Sorrow) 4.55
08. Mare Undarum (Sea of Waves) 4.58
09. Palus Nebularum (Marsh Of Mists) 3.11
10. Sinus Iridium (Bay Of Rainbows) 2.15
11. Mare Imbrium (Sea Of Showers) 4.48
12. Lacus Temporis (Lake Of Time) 5.14
13. Lacus Lenitatis (Lake Of Tenderness) 3.26
14. Mare Crisium (Sea Of Crises) 5.40

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